Friday, June 30, 2006

One, two, do I see three kitties?

Can you spot all three kitties?
Last night I had a truly wonderful time at a KnitFlick night sponsored by Yarnbar (see link in sidebar). There were many knitters out in force to watch "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit." There were so many beautiful yarns and projects going on around me. I got lucky with a "Guess the Fiber" game and guessed right, winning this scrumptious hank of Habu Bamboo! Truth be told, I was the third person to guess and silk and linen had already been tossed out there. I figured it was bamboo or soy silk, but as I've only seen soy silk rovings I went with the bamboo. Many thanks to Susan of Yarnbar for getting some really cool prizes from the ladies at Hill Country Weavers, our LYS (I took a photo of Susan but she commented that she wasn't very photogenic. I thought she took a nice picture, but I'm unsure of blog etiquette concerning photos, so I'm refraining from posting it until I learn to remember to ask people if it's okay). It was great to meet and talk with other knitters and bloggers in my community.
A great band, The Missing Tapes, played first, and once dusk set in the movie started, and I finished the knitting on the Longhorn Hoodie! Never one to waste precious knitting time, I had also brought a log cabin blanket (the rug is on the backburner as this blanket is a gift) that I could knit on in the dark - glorious garter stitch. It wasn't until later when I got home that I started to weave in and trim the ends pictured here.
Tonight was quite nice so That Guy and I went on a bike ride and stopped to watch the bats coming out from under the Congress Avenue bridge. If you've ever been to or lived in Austin then you should know about the bats. Austin boosts the largest urban bat colony in the world. So the only progress I made tonight was to sew up one side seam, including the stripe piece that I decided to inset to give me enough ease in the body. I'm getting closer!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Random Wednesday

I am so close to finishing all the knitting on the Longhorn hoodie! I'll have to finish seaming the side seams and weave in all the ends, but as this is my first sweater I'm very excited to complete it. That Guy has a band gig at 8pm so this will be a short post with somewhat superficial content. Like this picture of the youngest of our three cats, Remus. Remus is demonstrating proper form for "half-moon kitty," to borrow from the wonderful Wendy and her lovely cat, Lucy.
I do sometimes spin and have two drop spindles. While I like the Schacht pictured here, I have another lighter weight spindle that was an eBay purchase and came from overseas that I prefer to use.
These are some yummy merino rovings, also an eBay purchase. There was a third that was a lovely muted lavender colorway which I spun in a long and thick slub and knit into this scarf which I gave to a good friend in Germany.
That's all for today! I've got an hour that I can spend on the Longhorn so I'm going to take advantage of it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Longhorn hoodie progress

The Longhorn hoodie is blocked! I finished the second sleeve over a couple of evenings instead of one as the pain from getting my wisdom teeth out actually got worse and I barely even felt like knitting, let alone anything else. Apparently the third and fourth days are the worst as the sockets are starting to really close up. I last posted on Thursday mid-morning and by that evening...WHOA! It was pretty rough until this morning. I have to agree with my mom that when the pain is in your mouth it's tough to ignore! I really underestimated how much it would compromise my ability to be productive (I still needed to go to work each day to take care of laundry for the shows, check email, etc.) - the hoodie being the exception. At the end of the past couple of days it was nice to sit down and actually get something done.
Today I managed not only to go to work and be productive, and this evening I seamed the raglan sleeves to the fronts and back and pick up the stitches for the hood (I safety pinned the side seams for the photo). I'm hoping that I'll be able to finish this up in a weeks time and so I can cast on for Pearl Buck! There's a alot to catch up on at work, and we start rehearsals this week for our next production so I'm so thankful that this pain has subsided. Plus, I'm looking forward to food that is a little more solid!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Must. Knit. Through. Pain.

It is times like this where knitting becomes my solace. Tuesday, early in the morning, I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed. I'm really doing quite well. The two on the left side were completely grown out and easy to pull so they hurt very little. Of the two on the right, one was partially grown out and the other impacted. This side HURTS because of the cutting of the gums necessary to get at the teeth. To make things even more fun I am a nightime teeth grinder. I found this out when I went to get my teeth cleaned a couple of months ago. I had been very bad and had not been to the dentist for about ten years. Mind you it had nothing to do with fear, merely that I had not had insurance and put it off. Now that I'm leaving my job at the end of July I'm trying to get as much done as I can! Anyway, grinding my teeth doesn't cause pain on a regular basis, but as the entire teeth and gum area is sensitive right now it's causing a lot of pain at night. Enough to make me wake up several times. I finally figured it out though and consented to wearing my night guard which keeps the teeth from making contact. It helped immensely but I feel like a boxer when it's in my mouth!
Here's what I've finished in the past two days when I wasn't knocked out sleeping from the painkillers. The Longhorn sleeve! I've completed about one third of the second sleeve as well and I'm hoping to finish it tonight. If so I can go about blocking all the pieces and get it sewn together.
This is the reknit back of the Longhorn Hoodie that I did last week while That Guy was in Ireland. I'm going to initially baste the side seams when I get to the sewing. Although I know it will fit in the bust, with the ribbing at the bottom it may be tight across the hips (I am a hippy woman). I've already decided though that I'd like for there to be a strip of the off-white going up the side seam in keeping with a sporty look to the overall design. It will add an extra seam but I really think it will add a nice touch to the finished hoodie and give me the ease I need through the hips. I'm hoping to get all of this done in the next week so that I can start on two other projects.
I signed up for the Green Gable knitalong back at the end of April but got sidetracked by my trip to Germany and the progress I was making on the Longhorn hoodie. I love the color of this yarn (it is more rust than the red that's showing up in this picture. Hmmm, a lot of orange tones lately, am I excited about being a Longhorn or what?!) and I've read everyone's comments about what a fun and easy knit it is, and it's something I can actually wear in the Texas heat! I'll also be casting on for this.
The Pearl Buck Swing Jacket knitalong hosted by Jeanne over at A Bluestocking Knits (see the links in the sidebar). I've come in toward the end of the knitalong so I'm benefitting greatly from the many archived posts and I'm so excited to make this.

Despite the pain I'm going into work for a couple of hours so I don't have to miss our weekly staff meeting, and to prep the costumes for tonight's performance.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Irish Yarn!

That Guy returned from Ireland late Wednesday and look at all the beautiful yarn he brought back for me! When I was driving him to the airport the week before I told him that if all he brought back for me was a lovely skein of souvenir yarn, I would be happy. I mentioned in an earlier blog that I discovered he was making quite an effort to find me not just any yarn, but good yarn. He was also very keen on it being Irish yarn, from Ireland specifically (I know, he's such a keeper!). He was telling me this over the phone and I practically swooned, but then quickly reminded him not to turn down any fun activities in order to take the train 40 minutes to a seaside town in order to get good yarn. Lucky for me, oops, I mean for him, the seaside town was just the right type of fun he was looking for that last day on the Emerald Isle. Sure, the Jaeger comes from England, but they're neighbors, right? I haven't thought up projects for all of it yet but the navy tweed may be used for a baby project of some sort - the second sister called yesterday to say that they are expecting their second child early next year!
I've pictured the two new skeins of Jaeger next to an older one that I bought several years ago at Arcadia Knits in Chicago, IL. Hopefully I'll think up some way to use them together.
And what is this lonely ball of Sugar N'Cream up to? See the single strand of yellow? That was the color before I dyed it. Sunny, happy yellow. Now it is a rich shade of rust. Too bad I can't tell you what it is for! It will be part of a present so until it's finished I can't go in to detail. I've included it here because I was so pleased with how the dye job turned out.

Tomorrow I'll post on the progress of the recycled cotton log cabin rug.

Log Cabin progress

As promised here is some progress on the recycled sweater cotton log cabin. I love the variegated quality of these yarns. I'm using a book to display it on the porch railing so as to catch the last of the sunlight.

It's a large coffee table book that I fell in love with one night at the book store. That Guy went back and purchased it for a gift sometime thereafter. It's all aerial photography of the earth - really beautiful photos. It's a feast of color and texture for the eye and I often turn to it for inspiration. Here's one of the photos.

The caption for this photo reads,
"In rhythm with the tides, sea water floods along the branches of the Ord River, in northwest Australia, far into the flood plains, and then drains off again. The mangrove forests on the river bank are unharmed by the alternating drought and flood, salt and fresh water, as long as the water temperature remains stable at around 24 degrees centigrade. Roughly 60 different types of evergreens keep a grip in the soft mud thanks to their stilt roots. They are also hardy when reproducing; their sprouts can float around in the sea for as much as a year before taking root on another coast or coastal river bank."

-Photo by Bernhard Edmaier, text by Angelika Jung-Huettl, Earthsong

Whenever my life gets hectic I find myself wanting to do two things - spend time in nature, mainly hiking or biking, sometimes swimming - or knitting. If it weren't so hot all the time in Austin I 'd knit more outside!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The big stash flash!

This represents a healthy chunk of my stash. Yarn that is already designated for a specific project and various works in progress are not included in these storage containers. The Pearl Buck Swing Jacket is one of those, as is the yarn for the Green Gable (mine will be rust). I do love sock yarn as well so I've pictured some of it in a closeup.

The sock in process in the front is for That Guy. The lovely yarn cakes in the front left are some Lornas Laces that I'm looking forward to knitting up, and the rest is Regia purchased in Deutschland! Notice the distinctive red, yellow, and black for the German flag? It's self striping! I purchased enough to knit socks for myself and a scarf for my dad. I do have a couple of non-wool wearing friends, both with legitimate dermological excuses. One I've knit socks for from the wonderful cotton/lycra yarn that you can purchase from Carolyn at Greenwood Fibers on (Sorry I'm not providing links yet! I'm working my way bit by bit through Bloggers Help section. I'm just old enough that we were still using card catalogues in the high school library even in senior year. The only computer we had at home at that time was an old Atari - you know the kind that came with huge game cartridges that you actually stuck into the keyboard? Asteriods was the coolest game and the spaceship was just that little triangle?).
There's been continued progress on the log cabin rug and Bevo hoodie, although I had to take two steps back on the Bevo. I had started the chart several rows later then I should have and as a result his horns ended up a tad shorter. The raglan sleeve decreases cut off the ends of them before I could complete the chart. Now, I considered at the time of this mistake ripping the whole thing back. I didn't for one of two reasons, 1) I thought no one but me would probably ever notice so maybe I should look the other way on this one - only Allah is perfect, right? or 2) it was on the return flight from Germany, I'd been knitting the back for nine hours straight and jet lag was already setting in. Either way, I broke down the other night and let my inner perfectionist take over. Really, the ripping was much less painful than I thought it would be. Also, I finished reknitting the entire chart last night and will be finished with the rest of the back tonight and ready to move on to sleeves!

Only two more nights without That Guy - Thank goodness! My sleeping patterns are all out of whack and last night all three cats were acting crazy. Last night when I was trying to fall asleep they kept tearing through the apartment, and then they were all jockeying for the best position on the bed. The problem was that they couldn't seem to decide which was the best place. It's a good thing they're all so cute!

Friday, June 09, 2006

A change can do you good...

Guten Tag! Anyone visiting my site again (Thank you!) will notice a change in the template. I really liked the orange of the old one, but could not get over how large the type font was, so I switched to something that I think is a little gentler on the eye. Feel free to weigh in on it in the comments. I know I already posted on my friends wedding, but I had to share this fabulous photo that New York Sara took.
The high school friend that I reconnected with, her name is Sara, my name is Sarah, and so to lessen confusion we were referred to throughout the weekend to those less familiar with us as New York Sara and Texas Sarah. It worked well. This is the bride and grooms daughter being absolutely precious. Almost makes me want one of these little things myself - almost. Must get through grad school first!

Today on Sarah's Stash Flash! is some yarn that was acquired on my recent trip to Germany that I took with my dad. First up is a lovely alpaca/wool blend that was gifted to me by Astrid. And who is Astrid you ask?

Explanation: my dad's favorite activity is hot air ballooning. One morning almost 6 years ago at the Albuqueque International Balloon Fiesta he landed in a field with some other balloons. Two of these ballon pilots were friends, Harry and Gunther, over from Germany. Gunther came towards my dad shaking up a bottle of champagne and sprayed it all over him - my dad proceeded to do the same to him. Harry joined in at some point and invited my dad to a party later that evening. They've been friends ever since and my dad has been over to fly with them three times in Deutschland! This year I went along as my 30th birthday present - not to shabby, eh?! Anyway, Astrid is Harry's wife, and a prolific seamstress and knitter herself.

When she was showing me her sewing room (Naehzimmer) she pulled out this yarn and said I should have it. Now, as a Knitter, you never say no to yarn, but this was my first experience of someone gifting yarn to me from their stash. Once my initial shock subsided I realized that she was telling me that she had had more and had already made a Pulli (sweater) out of it for someone else, and that this color didn't look good on her. I thanked her graciously for her generosity and tried to prevent myself from dashing off to pack it in my luggage. It may become a poncho/shawl for my mom.

Before leaving for the trip I did some research on yarn stores. What I was able to find was somewhat slim. I'm not sure that there is the proliferation of small privately owned shops devoted strictly to yarn and fiber for handknitting as is common here in the US. I did see sock yarn in a bakery though, and purchased a goodly amount of Regia sock yarn from a little shop in Wilmadingen where we stayed for part of the trip, but it was more stationary/gift shop than yarn store. One search proved successful though, and that was for a chain store called Woelle Rodel! Astrid knew this store immediately and knew where it was located in Ulm, so that was my second stop when we visited the city one day. They have their own label and it is apparently manufactured there in Germany or the European Union, so no import fees! I bought enough to make the Pearl Buck Swing Jacket which I've been lusting after ever since that issue of Interweave Knits came out!

I am thinking that I'll cast on for it as a celebration of finishing my current job and the month that I'll have off before school starts.

More stash flashing in the days to come! Progress is being made on both the Bevo hoodie and the recycled cotton log cabin rug, but ya'll will have to wait for photos until That Guy comes back from Dublin. *Sigh* It's been so long since he was able to take a real vacation that I had forgotten how tough it is when he is away. It's just to darn quiet! That Guy plays keyboard and is hooked on sound so right now it is quiet here!!! Truth be told, I very much rely on him to make selections when it comes to music and tv/movie programs. He's funny funny funny too, so the apartment is void of laughter right now - bummer. If you get a chance to get online babe - I'm looking forward to you getting home and telling me all about your adventures in Ireland!

Also noteworthy: he emailed me to say he had arrived and all was well. He and his mom were getting ready to plan some day trips and then do some shopping in which he would look for yarn for me! How romantic is that?!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Felting, fibers, and the stash

My progress on finishing the felted bag proved to be false. I knitted up handles out of the unidentified yarn, but they just didn't felt the way I wanted them to. I followed the same procedure as I had with the bag - washing them in the machine with hot water & detergent for two full cycles. They just didn't felt as tightly as the colored yarn portions of the bag which are made out of Cascade. So you can see on the needles in the front the new handles being knit on Sz.8 needles from some light grey Cascade from the stash.

I'm largely a natural fiber lover so that is what you will see here most of the time. I do occasionally stray outside that realm to dilly-dally with something fuzzy and synthetic and I do have an ongoing blanket project that consists of Lion Brand Homespun. However, I prefer the feel and drape of natural fibers. When I'm making costumes or sewing I generally feel the same way about fabric content, although synthetics certainly have their own properties that make them quite useful, especially for theatre. If you are familiar with the Mary Zimmerman play "Metamorphoses," then you know that most of the play's action takes place in a pool onstage. When I designed the costumes for a production of it I turned to synthetics because they retained less water than natural fibers and dried quicker. But I digress...

That Guy of mine is going on a trip to Ireland for the next week and will be taking the digital camera with him. Never fear! I've decided that I will use this time to flash my stash! I have been stashing somewhat fiercely in preparation for my first year of grad school seeing as I can't really justify purchasing yarn as a school expense (it is cheaper then therapy though, right? Except I think you can get free therapy through the Student Health Center - shoot!). So I will bring you installments of Sarah's Stash Flash. The stash and I had a photo shoot this afternoon. Rather then photo it in it's natural habitat (the sewing/yarn/painting room) I decided to drag it all out on our back porch balcony to take advantage of the natural sunlight. First up, an object in progress photo.

This is my Bevo hoodie. A raglan sleeve hoodie pattern from last summer's Vogue Knitting issue with the minor adjustment of K1P1 ribbing at the bottom edge. It has a curled stockinette stitch edge but I prefer the ribbing. And now for a stash only photo.

Recycled cotton - meaning I unraveled a Goodwill sweater because I liked the varigated colors. It's been in the stash for a while, but I think it's going to become a small log cabin rug for the entryway. Thanks again to the Mason-Dixon book for inspiration! Stay tuned for more stash photos,

Monday, June 05, 2006

Wedding Fun!

My friend's wedding in Indiana this past Friday was just lovely! We had the perfect window of weather. It was held outside at a local park with a Bridal Glen. It had rained the night before, was overcast all day, and shortly before the wedding the sun broke through the clouds and provided a gentle brightness and warmth. The ceremony was beautiful - the bride's dress was unique and beautiful, just like herself. We all started to tear up when she entered, especially because the groom got a tad teary himself. She truly found a winner! After the ceremony everyone arrived at the reception venue and once safely inside it poured down rain. But as you can see from the picture above the clouds moved off and the sun returned, providing us with a glorious rainbow backdrop.

As I have known this friend since the fourth grade and was her maid of honor I was emotional throughout. She is a strong and beautiful person who has found such a good match and I'm so happy for them both. They have a beautiful little girl together, the groom has a son, and my friend also has an older daughter, so this wonderful day knit their family together forever (I had to get a knitting comment in!). Here is the bride and her daughters, all gussied up for the big day!

I also had the opportunity to catch up with another high school friend (on the right below) that I hadn't seen or talked to in years. We had a lot of fun reconnecting and I look forward to keeping in touch with her. I got to know the other bridesmaid better (on the left, which leaves me in the middle), and hope we can spend some more time together on my future visits to my hometown, Fort Fun. We clearly had a blast!

More on the felted bag tomorrow!
Tschuss, machts gut!