Monthly Archives: March 2007

first barbecue of spring

mmmm. it’s almost warm enough to eat dinner on the porch and definitely warm enough to barbecue. the boy and I stopped by wegman’s after work and picked up some charcoal, meat, and beer. it probably cost as much as eating out but we have lunch food, fresh milk and 15 leftover beers in the fridge.

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while we waited for the charcoal to get warm we enjoyed some saranac spring beer:
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(look for the bubbles in the pint glass)

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And then dinner was ready. I’m so excited it’s finally spring. We spend all summer grilling and rarely turn the stove or oven on. Then every fall, I have to learn to cook inside all over again.
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Print o the Waves ‘swatch’

So after making branching out (which I didn’t finish 4 days ago, I really finished a month ago) as practice, I decided to get started on Print o the Waves by Eunny Jang. Part of the reason I chose this pattern is that it’s pretty, it’s free, the rectangle shape didn’t look as hard as triangles, and the downloadable pdf was quite well written. For me, a well-written pattern means that I can understand what the directions mean the first or second time I read it versus re-reading pattern notes 16 times before they start to make any sense.

I was scared of starting straight off with the full-scale pattern. I like not having mistakes, but I hate ripping and ripping and ripping to get there. A gauge swatch was the answer.
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I decided to make a ‘mini’ shawl with 1 repeat of chart A, the center graft and full edging. Ironically, I started all this just as the Addi lace needles were announced. That might be why I instantly convinced myself that normal Addi’s weren’t sharp enough. I was out of town and started calling yarn shops but no one had the needles (or had even heard of them – yay for internet!). I finally gave up and decided to just use the needles I had because lots of other people have made it work. I hated all the k3tog though because I couldn’t grab the loops properly. I ended up making the entire body on my size 3 normal addi’s, I used a 16″ crystal palace for the edging along with a dpn when necessary. The crystal palace bamboo 16″ needles had a sharp tip but their join is metal and snags all the time.
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Eventually, I ordered the addi lace needles from littleknits and got them halfway through the border. They are so much better! I love the sharp tips, I love the join (stitches slide without me forcing them), and the cord. I would love this cord on all my addi’s. Sadly, I have a lot of addi’s with the old stiffer cord. But the new pink cord rocks. I just tried to take a picture of all the needles I used lined up against eachother but it’s dark and I just couldn’t get a picture that actually shows the new addis are sharper besides the fact that somehow the camera and my computer no longer get along even though I downloaded the rest of the pictures 20 minutes ago.

Now for the details:

pattern: Eunny Jang’s print o the waves stole. There is a mistake in the edging on Chart B. I thought it was just me forever but when I noticed I had the wrong number of stitches in the same rows repeat after repeat I finally started searching for errata (rows 9, 11, 13, 15 need a k2tog as the penultimate stitch)

yarn: knitpicks alpaca cloud in iris heather (~< 1/2 hank but I don’t have a scale)

needles: a variety of 3.25mm (US3) see above

size: smaller than a piece of paper before blocking, bigger than a piece of paper after blocking

I used the invisible figure 8 cast-on described here to get the 32 stitches necessary for a single repeat of Chart A and did 3 vertical repeats. Then I wanted to make the matching half but I didn’t have scrap yarn with me so I used the lace cast on (scroll down from the figure 8 ) ; it was stiffer and more obvious from the beginning but after blocking I can barely tell which end had which cast-on.

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I grafted the pieces together and found out that yanking the yarn tight is BAD! Very bad because I couldn’t adjust the tension after the fact easily and I have small ridges in sections. I just picked up stitches as they came for the edging which is why my waves don’t line up to the corners. Oh well, this was just practice.

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I can’t wait to start the real shawl. My ‘swatch’ is big enough for a placemat (but I can’t bear the thought of food contaminating my lace) or maybe a pillow. I just have to get brave enough to cut the loose threads and sew the lace to a fabric backing.

Branching Out

I did it! My first lace! I followed the branching out pattern from knitty.

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Pattern: Branching Out by Susan

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease worsted weight in wheat

Needles: 8″ bamboo dpn’s size 10 (I used them as straights)

Finished Dimensions: 6.25 inches wide, 68 inches long after blocking

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As it turns out, Wool Ease was not the best choice of yarn for this project but I have a lot of it and I like using it for gifts because it survives the washing machine. I can’t see as much of the lace detail as sample pictures in the pattern – my yarn overs seem to be getting lost and not stretching out properly. As this was my first lace, I don’t know if the yarn overs are getting lost because 1) it’s worsted weight, 2) I needed even larger needles, or 3)wool ease has a lot of acrylic and just doesn’t stretch much in blocking. The detail I see seems to be mostly from the lines of decreases:
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It’s still pretty and I know a couple people who would like it as a gift. I’m working on another lace project with actual laceweight (Knitpicks Alpaca Cloud). I should have extra when I finish so maybe I’ll try another branching out and see if the pattern shows up better. Maybe it’s just me and I need to make a looser yarn over 😉 And because I couldn’t find a picture showing the reverse of branching out before I made it:
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Cashmere Odessa

I made my first Odessa hat out of a merino cashmere blend.

I loved how Grumperina wrote the pattern so the decreases invisibly blended into the swirls. After making up crown decreases for most of the hats I knit, I finally realized how perfectly invisibly the shaping can take place. I just never imagined that a ‘slip one, k2tog, psso’ would look just like a ‘slip, slip, knit’.

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pattern: Grumperina’s Odessa

yarn: Lion Brand Cashmere Blend in worsted weight, about 1.5 balls. The ballband recommends size 8 needles, but I went smaller and like the tightness and softness of the fabric – maybe the wind won’t get into my ears next winter.

needles: brand new Addi Turbo 16″ size 6 and bamboo dpn’s for the crown

gauge: 1 pattern repeat (10 stitches) was 2 inches. In plain stockinette, 10 stitches was only ~1.5 inches.

modifications: I cast on a couple times with the ribbing at the bottom but after ripping it all out to get the right number of stitches, I couldn’t face any more ribbing and decided to go with the rolled edge. I like how all the stitches flow into the swirl pattern and how I don’t have ribs that just end.

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I’m definitely going to try this with beads next time but I didn’t have any that would have threaded onto the yarn and I couldn’t wait to try the pattern. I’m still learning how to take good pictures of objects I’m wearing – check out the awesome shadow right across the hat – I couldn’t pose this if I tried!

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RIT indoor triathlon

The RIT tri is probably the most motivational race I can do in late winter/early spring. It’s so easy to convince myself I can swim, bike, and run for 15 minutes each. After my pathetic attempt at swimming last year (25 laps), I decided to actually learn how to swim this year and started going to the pool with Jess in January. Somewhere in there, I stopped being scared of the water and actually started enjoying it! However at 27 laps this year I really haven’t gotten faster, just happier.

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The bike went well (it claimed I was averaging about 19 mph) even though I had the maladjusted stationary bike and my seat kept re-tilting itself when I changed position – the bikes must have been set up different than last year because I rode much less yet did better.

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Then, the run. Although I remembered having sore legs after the swim and bike last year, I still ran pretty fast for me. But then again, while I never bothered to train in the pool last year, I did a lot of indoor track workouts. Not so much this year. In fact, I think that since I ran the Philly Marathon in November, I have barely managed to run even once a week. But, even in my slackerness, I ran almost 2 miles. 2 miles in 15 minutes is a lot for me, 7:30min/mile. If I could run 3 miles in 15 + 7:30 = 22:30 I’d be estatic.

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Up next is the local giro de primavera.

getting started

I think I’ll make first a theme with this entry. My first bike, my first sweater, my first blog entry.

I first learned to knit when I was 6. This was after a serious yarn fetish that I recall as early as my fourth or fifth birthday. I mostly made braids in those days or finger knitted useless ropes in bright colors. I mostly crocheted through elementary school (when I dropped my needles or my sister yanked on my yarn, I only lost one, or two stitches and it was easy enough to pick them up. I just couldn’t bear the thought of having all my stitches exposed at once on knitting needles). I picked up knitting again in high school when I found some crazy awesome yarn (lost ball band) my mom had used to make my 7-year-old self half a sweater. Many people remember me knitting in high school but I never finished even the back of that 20 inch wide sweater (it would have been gigantic!) In college, there was a serious knitting revival in my dorm, I decided to make a cable knit scarf, got bored, turned it into a purse instead, and planted the seed for my first sweater. The yarn, pattern, and needles were a graduation gift which compelled me to actually start and finish the sweater.

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pattern: from the Jaeger Trinity pamphlet

yarn: Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino Color P118 (9 50g skeins and I have very little left)

needles: Addi Turbo 24″ circulars in size 3 and 6.

I was very naive when I started the sweater, it took me a year of knitting here and there and ripping out mismatched sleeves to finish it but I love it to death. I’m scared to wear the sweater too often because I don’t want it to wear out. I had some gauge issues…I made a gauge swatch, decided my gauge was off since I was substituting yarn and sized up so I wouldn’t have to redo math or buy new needles. It was a good thought but my cardigan doesn’t meet in the middle without puckering. it works if I don’t button it or if I only close one or two buttons. Live and learn, live and learn. I also just realized that since I was purling wrong the entire year I made it, my stitches look funny, every other row isn’t twisted. It bothers me now that I can make even stitches but I totally thought it was fine forever.

This is getting long, but here is a picture of my first cyclocross bike when I took it from Rochester to Buffalo, NY on the Erie canal. Below that is a picture of my first racing bike which I haven’t actually had the pleasure to race yet. I will race soon, when the snow melts.

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Racing Bike:Giant TCR C3