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The best laid plans . . . .

I shouldn’t be writing this right now.  I was supposed to be knitting a gansey sleeve at the moment.  So how come I’m writing?  Well,  last weekend, I cut the steeks on the gansey!  Yay!!  All went very smoothly.  Check it out.

Yep, I was ‘too lazy to get off the sofa and get out the sewing machine.’  Actually, I don’t know why anyone would use a sewing machine to steek if crocheting it was an option.  And this is spoken by someone who feels as awkward holding a crochet hook as he does holding a gun (trust me . . . that would be awkward!).  It cut nicely!

And it left a lovely, clean edge.

Sadly, it’s been the week from hell.  I did get a start on the shoulder/neck treatment.  I have to say this shoulder/neck treatment is freaking amazing!  It’s clever, it’s easy and I love the way it looks.

I had meetings all day on Friday (I would MUCH rather just go to school and teach my kids . . . I can’t stand these meetings), then I had to run home, change clothes, grab my cello, run to SLU, work with one of my string quartets, then go play an outdoor wedding in the rain.  No problem.  Home by 8, so I could FINALLY finish the second shoulder and knit up the stitches for the first sleeve which I would knit on until I passed out from exhaustion.  I finished the shoulder (love, love, love . . . I will employ this shoulder in a non-gansey sweater at some point) and was set to knit up the sleeve stitches.  Now . . . where did my 16″ #2 needle go?  I looked everywhere and can’t find it.  I know I had one, as that was what I used for my swatch.  Mr. “my needles are soooo organized” can’t find what he needs.  Of course it was 9:30 p.m. and nothing is open.  I have dpns, but only 6″ and I just can’t see getting the 120 stitches of worsted weight wool on a set of 6″ dpns.  :-(

If this was the week from hell, the weekend is even worse.  I’m playing a wedding today for the daughter of the pastor of a local mega-church.  There’s a rehearsal with the band and choir, a sound check for our mics and Lord only knows what else.  There are over 1,000 invited guests!  And after the wedding we’re playing the “milk and cookie reception.”  Oh yeah . . . these people know how to party!  Tonight is a 4 hour gig playing for a dinner at the Ritz for the Neurology Department of the Washington University Med School.  Tomorrow is the first day back for my church choir, so we have a rehearsal and service in the morning, ending at noon, and at noon, I’m supposed to be in West County for a school picnic (that’s a good 30 minute drive . . . and my teleporter is on the fritz).  Most of my weekend knitting was going to happen this morning.  So much for that plan.  Of course, this bump in the road is not really a big deal.  It’s frustrating. because I was hoping to get my momentum back after a week of hardly touching needles.  It’s irritating, because I know I own the needles I need.  But no one died.  And more importantly, nothing had to be tinked.  :-)  Now . . . to track down a 16″, #2 needle locally.  Wish me luck!

 

 

I’m a dumb@$$

I was going to title this post:  “You know you have too much stuff when you don’t know what stuff you have!”  But “I’m a dumb@$$” seems more to the point.  Of course, the people who know me will probably read this title and think, ‘thank heavens he’s figured it out!’  Naturally, I figured this out years ago . . . I just like to pretend I’m not as big of a dumb@$$ as I really am.  ;-)  Some background . . . .  Whenever I was cold at camp this year, I would put on Meg’s Bavarian Twisted-Stitch Saddle Shoulder Cardigan.  Cold at camp in July, you ask?  They keep the room really cold and with scores of sweaters that were knitted by Meg and EZ, what else can you do but wear them?  I love twisted stitch patterns.  I love saddle shoulders.  So what’s not to love about this sweater?  Well . . . there is one thing I don’t love about this sweater.  It’s made from Quebecoise.  That, for me, is a yarn for which I have not yet acquired a taste.  It’s scratchy.  The thing that is great about the yarn is that it’s plied tightly, so when you do twisted stitches, there’s great definition.  Another yarn choice would be Guernsey.  It’s less scratchy, but the color choices are limited.  In fact, your choices are red, white and blue . . . or blue.  I’m not thrilled with any of the four.  I whined about this at camp, and some yelled “Frangipani” (who was it . . . Kim?  Jessica?  It was someone from that corner).  I did some investigation.  Frangipani is a 5 ply sport weight like Guernsey, but comes in many lovely color choices.  Excluding the shipping from England, it’s quite reasonably priced, too.  I saw they offered a free color card, so I wrote and requested one (I also offered to pay postage, as I figured the “free” color card was mostly to people in the UK, but Jan, the proprietress, insisted free meant free).  I requested the color card on a Monday and it was in my mailbox on Thursday!!  The colors were as lovely in person as they appeared online.  Of course, that means making a choice is more difficult.  And, of course, it doesn’t mean I can’t knit other sweaters (like another gansey) out of additional colors.  Ok . . . so the yarn problem is solved (except for choosing a color), so what’s to stop me from making the sweater, right?  I go on Rav to find out the pattern source.  It was in the Fall 1999 Interweave Knits!  I check my Knits CD-roms.  They only go back to 2000.  Dang!  I go on Ebay and find an issue being sold.  The auction was closing in three days and no one had bid.  The minimum bid was $0.99.  I placed a bid.  I checked back from time to time and no one else wanted this issue.  After three days, I purchased the Fall 1999 Knits for $0.99 plus $2.00 shipping.  $2.99 for a Meg pattern . . . what a steal!  After a few days, I began mentally cussing the seller . . . where the heck was my magazine!  I desperately needed it.  Ok . . . I don’t have yarn . . . I’m deeply involved in another sweater at the moment and have no intention of starting my twisted Bavarian, but I want that pattern.  It finally arrived yesterday . . . almost two weeks after I purchased it.  In the seller’s defense, it is postmarked the day after the auction closed and the cost of the postage was $2.41 . . . leaving her a whopping profit of $0.58!  I rip into the envelope, so excited to see what secrets it might contain.  I start thumbing through the magazine until I find the pattern.  Under the title it says, “Preview pattern from Meg Swansen’s Knitting.”  Wait a minute . . . .  Meg Swansen’s Knitting . . . ?  Isn’t that . . . ?  I go to my shelves of knitting books (re-organized before I left for camp), and sure enough . . . there was Meg Swansen’s Knitting.  Yep, I had the pattern the whole time.  Yep, I’m a dumb@$$.  Oh well, it’s been fun looking at some of the ugly crap that got knitted in 1999.  LOL

A Guernsey Report:  Doesn’t that sound like I should be talking about what farmers are doing with cows?  It’s actually about the guernsey/gansey/knit frock.  This morning, I finally got past the snoozing part and started the pattern stitches and gusset.  I had thought about incorporating this into the border pattern.  I thought it was appropriate, as I am using the “Musician” pattern on the upper part of the yoke.  I decided against it, though.  It’s just a bit too . . . I’m not sure what.  Perhaps I can incorporate it into the sleeves where it would be less in-your-face.  Instead, I did this pattern.  I like it, but I like it better on paper than in reality.  Meg warns that row gauge will change quite a bit in the decorative purl sections.  As a result, the diamonds look a bit squished.  Like something heavy sat on them.  It’s fine, though.  I think the more of it I finish, the better it will look.  All in all, I’m really pleased with how the sweater looks.  I should finish the body gussets tonight and cast-on the steek stitches for the armholes.  Exciting!!

I just finished reading “Sweater Quest” by Adrienne Martini.  I like sweaters . . . I like martinis.  I thought this would be a slam-dunk.  Sadly, this is not a book I would recommend.  The premise is great–she’s knitting a complicated Alice Starmore sweater.  I enjoyed the gossip about Starmore (she sounds like quite a character), but in general I was greatly put off by the author’s insistence that all knitters are women (even though she quoted Franklin Habit and makes references to Kaffe Fassett).  She even went so far as to use “she” and “her” in reference to data accumulated by MRI (Mediamart Research, Inc.), though when I looked up their data online, they only refer to “knitters” with no gender assignment.  It takes a lot to offend me, but at one point in the book, she tries to draw some correlation between men who knit and men who lactate!  What the heck?  Yeah . . . I thought that was kind of offensive.  As a result, I really didn’t care if she reached her quest or not.  She wasn’t bothered by the fact that the finished sweater didn’t fit.  She says it was all about the process.  I enjoy the process of knitting as much as the next person, but I also want the sweater that I’ve invested blood, sweat and tears (not to mention money) in to actually be wearable.  Silly me.

Here’s a video of my students from a couple of years ago performing some Tschaikowsky.

 

Last week I was at Meg Swansen’s Knitting Camp and someone brought to my attention that I had not blogged since November.  Wow, that’s quite a while.  It isn’t that I haven’t been knitting.  Since then, I’ve completed 2 sweaters, a vest, 3 lace shawls and several pair of socks.  I just haven’t been writing about it.  Recently, I’ve been trying to do more with photographing my f.o.’s, so it makes sense that I should be using this blog to show some of that work.

First things first, though . . . I mentioned going to camp.  Here’s a photo of my camp buds.

Six of us have been constant companions (well . . . via the internet) since Camp 1 last year.  We picked up a couple more friends this year.  I hope we’ll be keeping up with them, as well.  Camp was great fun.  I learned new (to me) tricks, received a LOT of inspiration, and had a blast with my friends.  I don’t think you could ask for more than that!

Our sextet all met up in Angie’s hood with oh-my-gosh amazing hamburgers at the Serena Cafe.  We took off, a caravan of two vehicle–Angie driving one, and Olga the other.  After a bit of road time, we stopped at The Fold, a yarn shop in . . . well, frankly, I have no idea where we were.  They had lots of nice yarn, but I didn’t buy any.  I did get this very cool pair of old fashioned sock blockers.

The sock is a pattern I wrote out for my 5 buddies.  It’s called “Road to Camp.”  It features a weaving right and left twist pattern.  When I named the pattern, I had no idea it would be so prophetic.  We left The Fold, written directions in hand and Angie in the lead.  The first turn indicated by the directions was onto a closed road!  Angie literally threw the directions out the window and headed down the next road . . . a twisting, turning gravel road.  We also had no cell phone reception out there in the woods, so we didn’t get any of the complaints (or curse words) from vehicle #2.

One of the great aspects of Knitting Camp is having breakfast at The Kitchen Table–the restaurant owned by Lloie Schwartz, sister of Meg Swansen.  Lloie comes in every morning well before dawn and bakes the bread that will be served that day.  Everything there is wonderful, but I’m especially fond of the pancakes!  It’s the sort of place that’s usually inhabited by local folk.  These are the ROMEOs:

ROMEO stands for Raunchy Old Men Eating Out.  There’s a group of local ladies that come in after them for breakfast.  They’re all very fun!

I had decided that, for my project to work on at camp, I would start EZ’s Gaffer’s Gansey.  And I decided I would do it in the beautiful grey Canadian Regal I purchased at camp the year before.  I thought I would cast-on in advance, but no.  The loose instructions in the back of The Knitting Workshop  tell you to cast-on 225 stitches.  Yes, 225 stitches, at a gauge of 5 stitches per inch is indeed 45″, the desired size.  The problem is you are then instructed to do a 2×2 rib.  Hmmm . . . 2×2 rib with an odd number of stitches.  Perhaps that’s a technique I haven’t yet learned.  No . . . I’m pretty sure there is no technique that allows you to make a 2×2 rib out of an odd number of stitches.  Easy enough to fix . . . just cast-on 224 stitches.  But my fear is that if there is this error, what else might be in store for me? My revised plan was to make a thorough gauge swatch and wait to cast-on until I got to camp, where I could get the “good” pattern for the sweater.  I was glad I waited.  The new pattern was converted to EPS, so instead of casting-on 225, or 224, you cast-on 204 for your 2×2 rib.  Great!  204 is an even number!  I’ve got this covered.  I cast-on 204 and did my 30 rounds of 2×2 (30 rounds is a lot of ribbing!).  The next step is to mark off 6 stitches on each side–p2, k2, p2 for the side seams.  Ok . . . here’s another problem.  If I mark the last 2 stitches of the round (p2) and the first 4 of the start of the round (k2, p2) and then count out 96 stitches (204-12[the side seams], you’re left with 198 stitches, so that’s 96 stitches for the front and 96 for the back), you arrive at a k2 . . . not a p2.  Really no way to rectify that.  I showed it to Amy Detjen.  Sure enough, it’s an error in the pattern.  By this point, I’m fairly frustrated.  In the meanwhile, Meg, out of the blue, started talking about ganseys!  Low and behold, she said side seams on ganseys were commonly just a single purl stitch.  Perfect.  I can cast on 206 (close enough to 204), *k2, p2, repeat from * for 98 stitches, ending with k2, then p1, *k2, p2, repeat from *ending with k2, p1, end of round!  Perfect!  I frogged my 30 rounds of 2×2, cast-on 206 stitches and I was off and running.  Well . . . I was off . . . but not running.  Funny, for that math to work, you have to actually be able to count to 206.  At this point, I excused myself, went to my room, and cast-on again.  In the silence of my hotel room, I was able to count to 206, and establish the pattern.  Important lesson learned:  if you’re going to *k2, p2, gossip, repeat from *, you have to really have the right number of stitches to do it.  Once I got the pattern established, I was able to *k2, p2, gossip, repeat from * myself into a stupor.  Here’s a photo of what I’ve to so far, and some of the resources I’m using:

And speaking of * . . . Meg told a story, one day at camp, about someone she knew who was irritated when people mispronounced the word asterisk, so she made up this rhyme:

Mary had an aeroplane in which she liked to frisk.  Wasn’t she a silly girl, her little asterisk?

Don’t get it?  Say it out loud and in rhythm.  It will come to you.  :-)

I actually have quite a bit to share today.  My last post was a laundry list of unfinished projects and a sincere hope to get something finished.  I’ve finished several things on the list . . . plus some additions.

I finished the Simple Skyp Socks.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo to share, but I really like them.  The pattern was brainless.  I used Dragonfly Fiber’s Djinni in the Baltimore Oriole colorway.  The yarn is really soft, but I’m not convinced how well it will wear.  But they’re lovely and I’m enjoying them.

Hypoteneuse finished quickly and blocked nicely!  I posted photos of it on Rav yesterday, and I swear it wasn’t up 5 minutes and I had a message from Anne Hanson.  That woman is on top of things!  She seems to be as amazing as her wonderful designs.  Hypoteneuse was knit in Briar Rose Fiber’s Fourth of July.  Here’s a view:

And another:

On the subject of Anne Hanson . . . I finished Cradle Me with time to spare.  The recipient, Nicholas, is due at the end of December.

And a better pic of the stitch pattern . . .

Here’s a project that wasn’t on the list.  Shur’tugal!  A shur’tugal is a dragon rider.  This is the first Alice Yu pattern I’ve knitted.  I LOVE IT!!  It was fun, easy to memorize, knitted fast and made, I think, a great looking sock!  I hope this is a sign of her patterns for Bloodlines!  I used Dream In Color’s Everlasting in the Storm colorway.  Sadly, the 420 yd skein was just not quite enough.  I ended up buying another skein and have about 400 yds left.  That’s ok . . . I already have plans for the remaining.  :-)

I did not do her heel.  She designed a beautiful heel, but it was a bit fussier than I wanted.  I would have done her fancy toe, but I didn’t read ahead.  I knitted on as I normally would and by the time I looked at the pattern, it was too late to do her toe.  I wasn’t about to rip it out . . . I think it came out just fine with my usual toe.  Here’s a better shot of the stitch pattern:

My grandmother always used to accuse me of getting the cart  before the horse.  That was definitely the case in the next project.  When Ellen, Angie and I were at The Loopy Ewe a few weeks ago, we saw Spud and Chloe Sweater yarn.  It’s beautiful . . . wool and cotton and incredibly soft.  I loved Grape Jelly . . . a deep purple.  I wanted the yarn.  I had thought about knitting Humphrey, a sweater vest on Knitty.  I decided this would be a good yarn for it.  Well, this yarn wasn’t quite the right gauge.  No problem . . . I can re-figure the math to the appropriate gauge.  I don’t like the ribbing on Humphrey–there’s not enough of it to look balanced.  No problem I can add ribbing.  I don’t like how the pattern gradually increases over the body.  For this vest, I would prefer the increase all at once after the ribbing.  No problem . . . thanks to the handy little math trick I learned at camp this summer, I can easily space my increases evenly.  I didn’t like having three garter ridges above the ribbing, so I just made one (I wanted one to hide the increases).  I don’t really care for having the stitch pattern (garter rib) going all the way around.  I like how men’s suit vests have the suit fabric on the front and the lining on the back.  Ok . . . I’m not going to change yarns for the back, but I can do the stitch pattern in the front and a plain stockinette in the back as an homage to the suit vest.  Guess what . . . I don’t think this is Humphrey any more.  That’s ok.  We can call it Humphrey-inspired.  Here’s the start of it:

Talk about hot off the press . . . I just finished blocking Les Abeilles less than an hour ago.  I’m really glad to have it finished.  It’ a Christmas present, but I may actually give it early.  It occurred to me that the recipient might actually be able to wear for a holiday party or something.  Here are some blocking photos:

 

Now I’m going shopping at The Shawl Pin Store (who knew?!) to find the perfect pin to give with it.  On the subject of fasteners . . . I ordered new buttons for the Aran.  Yes, I have absolutely delightful buttons, but I really think I like these better.  Has everyone seen Squid’s amazing Inishmore (which she cleverly turned into a cardigan!)?  So beautiful!  And topped off with great buttons!  Black Water Abbey, Gail’s source for the buttons has a great selection (especially for arans!).  But I loved those dragons.  Silver wouldn’t work with the gold/brown toned yarn of my Aran, but guess what . . . antique copper!

Hmmm. . . Dragon buttons . . . Dragon rider socks . . . I’m sensing a theme developing here.  Gail’s gorgeous sweater and great taste in buttons inspired me to start thinking about that aran again.  Today while I was doing the final decreases on Les Abeilles, I watched lots of Elizabeth and Meg hoping to get the knowledge and courage to finish this sweater.  Now I HAVE to finish . . . I have these great buttons!

You know how sometimes you go along, blithely living your day-in-day-out routine when suddenly you’re slapped in the face with a sobering reality?  That happened to me not long ago.  While my knitting time has been severely limited by the start-up of two schools, a church choir and the preparation of a number of challenging concerts, I really have been knitting.  My realization was recognizing the fact that I have not finished a knitting project since July, when I finished Emily’s Port Ludlow socks.  I have gone against my self-imposed rule of no more than three projects going at once, but no bind offs!  So, I started to make an inventory UFO’s and here’s what I came up with:

1. Cradle Me–a baby blanket for the yet-to-be-born son of a colleague.  I started this blanket when I found out Erin was pregnant.  I thought I had learned my lesson of knitting a big blanket in sport-weight for a baby.  Booties and a hat could have been completed in a weekend, and probably appreciated just as much.

2.  Saddle-shoulder Aran–Oy, did I have plans for this!?  This was the sweater that I was going to have finished up to the point of cutting the steek.  I had this vision that when Meg discussed steeks, I would offer up my humble cardigan to be used as the demonstration piece.  Little did I know that I would be so paralyzed by the fear of not having the body or sleeves at the right length when I joined them, that the sweater would live for months in an unjoined state.

3.  Simple Skyp Socks–These were started to be the keep-in-my-bag socks that I would work on when I have a few minutes here or there.  I never have a “few minutes.” I either make time to knit, in which I work on a larger project, or I’m not knitting.  As a result, these have sat on the needles for quite a while.  The heels have been turned, the gussets are finished . . . they don’t really have that far to go.

4.  Longjohn Socks–I got about halfway through the legs of both socks and realized that they’re just too big.  I like the look of the fabric, so instead of going down a needle size (they’re already on 0’s!), I need to frog them and cast-on fewer stitches.

5.  Les Abeilles–I’m not sure what possessed me to cast on for this in the first place, other than it was a really easy lace project and seemed appealing at the time.  I also don’t know what possessed me to make it in the largest size with a cast-on of 400 stitches.  I’m down to a couple of hundred stitches, with nothing but garter stitching and decreases left.  But with only decreasing 4 stitches every other row . . . there’s still a lot of knitting to be done.  I do believe I have determined a recipient, though, so that’s a plus.

6.  Hypoteneuse–This was started out of two needs . . . one was because I feel like I need new scarves for the winter, and the other because I wanted an easy fast knit to feel like I was accomplishing something.  It’s over halfway there and I really like the results.

7.  New Zealand Sweater–I began this sweater at camp because I needed easy stocking stitch in the round to keep my hands busy while I was listening to Meg.  I finished the body up to the armpit, dropped stitches for the phony seam only to realize that I had done the increases in the gusset incorrectly, causing a mess when the seam stitches were dropped.  Not a big deal really, I only needed to frog back about 2 inches and re-do the gussets correctly so the seam stitches would work.  Unfortunately, when I took the sweater off the needles to frog it, I discovered my gauge had been off, and the sweater was about 6 inches larger around than I wanted it to be.  So I frogged the whole thing, treated the first time around like a really big gauge swatch, re-figured the math and cast-on the correct number of stitches for the size I need (I think).  I knitted two or three rounds and it has sat untouched since.

8.  Maplewing Shawl–Hmm . . . what can I say . . . this has sat half finished for over a year now.  I like the pattern, I like the yarn, I just haven’t found the inspiration to finish.  But I’m not willing give up on it.

Ok . . . there it is . . . a complete inventory of my UFO’s.  You’ll notice that 5 of the 8 are Anne Hanson patterns, and 2 of the 8 are EZ concepts (I can’t really call them patterns).  With the exception of the two EZ projects, everything has been stalled due to lack of time or inspiration.  The two EZ projects are stalled due to fear–fear of screwing up (or screwing up AGAIN in the case of New Zealand).  You know, I am a cellist . . . I am not a composer.  I like taking the works of composers and applying my own interpretation of their ideas.  I’m wondering if there’s a correlation there . . . perhaps when it comes to knitting, I’m more of a performer (using other people’s patterns) than a composer (using EZ’s concepts to create my own works).  I have no desire to compose music, but I would really like to be a composer when it comes to knitting.

The Plan . . .

I decided to practice what my friend Ellen refers to as “project monogamy.”  Part of the problem with having so many thing going at once is that if you knit a little on this and a little on that . . . it takes forever to get a finished product.  Here’s how the priority list goes:

1.  Cradle Me–I just want it off the needles!  I’ve been monogamous with it all week, and should finish it tomorrow.  Then all I will have to do is block, wrap and give!

2.  Simple Skyp Socks–They’re fairly close and I need to free up that set of Blackthorn needles.

3.  Hypoteneuse–Again . . . it shouldn’t take that long if I focus on it.

4.  Les Abeilles–I want to give it as a Christmas gift, so I’m not going to put it off.

That’s as far as I’m planning.  I will frog the Longjohns.  I may or may not cast on for them right away.  I have other sock plans (read on).  I don’t know what will become of Maplewing.  I have a firm feeling that if I started knitting on it again, I would finish it.  It’s just difficult to pick up something that has sat for over a year.  The aran . . . I think when I have finished some things, I will want to put the focus into getting it finished.  I’ve invested way too much work in it already to abandon it for a reason as stupid as fear.  I have no idea of New Zealand’s destiny.  I know it would be a very wearable/useful sweater.  I just don’t know if I will find the inspiration to pick it up again.

Bloodlines

As I have mentioned on many occasions, my pal Angie and I are obsessed with True Blood.  We’re also big fans of Twilight.  We’re also sock knitters.  What could be more perfect than a sock club devoted to True Blood and Twilight (well, at least the November and January offerings)?  We have mortgaged our homes and purchased the first installment of Bloodlines!  The third and final offering is dedicated to Supernatural, a show that neither of us have watched.  We added to our Netflix list (great idea, Ang!) and have started watching.  The first shipment is the last week of November . . . a reason I want socks finished.  I’m sure there’ll be posts devoted to that first installment, so stay tuned.

No photos . . . not until I have something finished.  But there’s always music . . . .  Two of my FAVORITE string players–violinist Maxim Vengerov and violist Lawrence Power performing Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante.

No, I’m not talking about Mary Poppins.  And I’m certainly not talking about myself!  But I am talking about my day.  It’s wedding season, and I’ve been playing 3 every weekend for quite a while now.  Couple that with a Sunday morning choir rehearsal and church service and you no longer have anything that even remotely resembles a weekend.  Tomorrow I am playing a big concert so I intentionally didn’t accept any weddings for this weekend.  I had an 8 a.m. rehearsal this morning and not a single commitment after that!  I came home and did laundry and practiced a bit more, but mostly, I lazed in bed and read.  I’m reading book 4 in the Sookie Stackhouse series (my buddy Angie is way ahead of me, but never spoils the storyline for me . . . the mark of a true friend).  I thought, ‘is this how normal people spend their Saturdays?’  I could definitely get used to this.  I also took the day off from school yesterday.  It was very productive.  I got my piano tuned, picked up the dry cleaning, had a burnt-out headlight fixed, taught a cello lesson, went to the SLU Art Museum to check out a space for my students to perform, went to College Church and rehearsed with Diana and took my cello to Robert to have it adjusted (when my cello doesn’t sound good, I always assume it is operator error, but in this particular case, it was in real need of an adjustment).  All that, AND I kept the evening free for knitting!

When I got up this morning, the temperature was in the 50’s!  I’m so ready for cooler weather.  I’m sure I’ll regret that statement in February, but for now, I’m craving cold.  I decided it was the perfect day to inaugurate my Meg Swansen Knitting Camp hoodie.  Putting it on reminded me how much I miss my camp buddies.  I’m hoping for a reunion before next July.

As usual for this time of year, my knitting time has been limited, but I’ve made a little progress with several things.  For some reason I have decided that I need new scarves.  To that end, I recently started Anne Hanson’s Hypoteneuse.  Why I thought I needed to start a new project rather than finish something in progress, I’m not sure, but I’m enjoying it!  It’s easy, mindless and creates a cool looking fabric.  Of course, the dreamy Briar Rose Fourth of July that I’m using doesn’t hurt!  Here’s look at it:

The photo looks kind of gray-ish, which isn’t the case at all.  It’s more camo . . . greens and browns.  Fourth of July is a bit heavier than what the pattern calls for, but I like scarves to be big, so the heavier yarn is fine by me.

Erin has named her baby-to-be Nicholas, so I figure if he has a name, I’d better get on with making the blanket.  Another fun, easy Anne Hanson pattern.

I’m almost embarrassed to show you the progress on the next one.  Not because it’s bad, mind you, but simply because it’s . . . dare I say it . . . another Anne Hanson pattern (please, please, please don’t tell her I’m doing three of her patterns at once.  that violates the restraining order she has against me.).  Les Abeilles.  Why on earth did I think I needed to make the largest version of this?  Casting on the 400 stitches was a bit daunting, but like all of her patterns, it’s so well written it’s a pleasure to knit.  Of course, I’m done with the lace part of it and I’m down to nothing but garter stitch and the occasional decrease.

I’m using Nyoni for this.  It’s nice.  I’m completely in love with the color!  So in love with the color, in fact that I just bought some Casbah in the same colorway.  It’s not quite as saturated with color, but it’s lovely.

I originally thought it might become Anne Hanson’s Obstacles, but the wonderful Evelyn at The Knitty Noddy suggested this, instead.

That’s Handmaiden’s Swiss Mountain Sea Sock.  Photos can’t possibly do it justice!  I think that will become Obstacles.  Now . . . what to do with the Casbah?  Suggestions?

So . . . yeah . . . when I decided I wanted to maintain a knitting blog, it never occurred to me that I would actually have to knit.  Sadly, my knitting time has been very limited, and the time to blog about it has been nil.  To be honest, it hasn’t just been an issue of time.  I’ve been suffering from knitting ennui.  It’s possible that camp, and the excitement that surrounded it, somewhat burned me out.  It’s also possible that I’m either not that excited about, or afraid of what I’m knitting.  I was quite certain the Aran would be finished by now.  It is languishing.  I’m almost to the point where I would need to join the sleeves to the body, and frankly, I’m just kind of afraid to try.  The New Zealand sweater has been completely frogged.  I did not follow directions and did my increases in underarm gusset incorrectly, so that when I tried to do my phony seam the gusset fell apart.  While it was “fixable,” I didn’t like the way it looked and decided to frog back to the start of the gusset–just a couple of inches . . . no big deal, right?  Well, it was a HUGE deal.  Literally!  When I took it off the needles to frog, I realized that the sweater was just too large.  This is not an uncommon problem for me . . . I usually make things larger than they actually need to be . . . yes, it is definitely a reflection of my self-image.  In any case, I was shooting for a 43″ sweater, and this measured 48″!  Yikes!  So I treated it like a gauge swatch, remeasured the gauge of what I had and frogged it completely, casting on some 20 fewer stitches.  I knitted a couple of rows, but I think my disappointment from the set-back has made me disinterested in the sweater as a whole.  So what have I been working on with the tiny amount of time I’ve spent knitting?  Well, this:

This is Anne Hanson’s “Les Abeilles.”  I thought it was a lovely, simple design.  Simple appeals to me when I’m frozen by the complexity of what I should actually be knitting.  It calls for a “silky” yarn, and I chose Nyoni.  I found this yarn online and it was called “True Blood” which of course is one of my obsessions.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough to do one of the larger sizes.  I turned to my friend Evelyn at The Knitty Noddy.  Well, come to find out, it isn’t really called “True Blood” at all.  That was just the name that retailer had given it.  No matter what it is called, it is a beautiful color.  Trust me, these photos don’t do the color justice.

While the pattern is quite simple, when you cast-on 400 stitches (ok . . . you caught me . . . I’ve exaggerated.  There are only 394 stitches in the cast-on) it means you don’t get through too many rows in a sitting.  But I’m enjoying it.  Nice yarn, easy, beautiful pattern . . . what’s not to like.

So, if I haven’t been knitting, what have I been doing?  Well, school started at Marquette, and then school started at Saint Louis University and now church choir has started.  Oy!  I’ve been working!  It’s also high wedding season, there have been gigs galore.  Add to that the fact that I’m preparing a recital which will be performed at St. Francis Xavier College Church at the end of the month, and I’ve been a busy, busy boy.

I have a new toy that has been occupying my time, as well.  I bought a Kindle.

The new, lower priced, smaller model was just too appealing to pass up.  And I got this great cover for it, with a built-in light.

Ok . . . back to work.

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