Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mystery Shawl 3 -- Clue 2

After getting back from London, I've been busily working on the Mystery Shawl 3 -- among other knitting projects. Here's a picture of my progress -- to the end of Clue 2. It's lying atop of an afghan made by my MIL many years ago. I hope to finish Clue 3 in the next day or two, but I doubt whether I'll be able to finish Clue 4 before Friday. -- And, I don't even have the excuse of reading the newest Harry Potter book.

Two of my grown children have read the book, and we all went to see the latest movie. I was thinking about reading the HP books, starting with the first book on the trip back to the US. However, my DD said she wanted to reread the books, and so I gave my DS1's collection of HP books to her. I can always check them out from the local library. I read the latest edition of Analog, a science fiction magazine, on the plane. I was going to read a Dresden Files novel instead but brought along the wrong book in the series.

Yesterday, I knit the mid-July KAL dishcloth in its entirety. It took me less than 3 hours. (I left out the edging because a moss stitch dishcloth doesn't really need any edging.) The dishcloth looks good from both the WS and the RS. It's in navy, which showed up lighter in the photo.

Unfortunately, the reason that I had so long to knit at one stretch was that I was waited for our car (a Pontiac) to get its regularly scheduled oil change and tire rotation at the dealership (in Union, NJ). My DH's name was on the work order -- even though I was the one to bring the car in -- and so they never thought to tell me that the car was ready. I gave them my name after about 3 hours, but nothing happened. So, I ended up waiting for 5 hours before I got worried because I was the only one in the waiting room. I guess that in this part of the country, one has to bug people about when something is going to get done. Though, I'm not sure it would have helped. I was the one who finally found the car in the parking lot. They told me that it was probably out on a road test. I spent the rest of the time reading Analog. (They hadn't left a message on my cell phone, my DH's cell phone, or our home phone either.) That will probably be the last time we go back to that dealership. They were nice enough, however, to refund the price of the service. I'm not good at voicing my displeasure at lack of service, but my DH is.

From reading this post, I guess I should have titled it "Nothing is going quite right for me". But, the knitting, at least, is turning out well. I've almost finished Clue 3 of the Mystery Stole; I've almost finished the sock I was test-knitting, I've almost finished Tomato (after having to frog most of it); and I'm up to date on dishcloths for the dishcloth KAL (and really like how they've turned out).

I "got rid" of some of my dishcloths by giving several of them to my dear sister. This a picture of her, standing in front of our house. She came out here from Oregon to stay with our mom while my DH and I were in England. She's a lot better looking than I am. -- Our house is in the background.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

London

We spent last week in London to attend our DD's graduation last Wednesday. Here she is after the ceremony looking at pictures on her camera while I took a picture of her with mine.
It was a nice ceremony. The university staggered ceremonies through the week. The afternoon of my DD's graduation, there were only 2 departments graduating students.
That evening we went out to an Italian restaurant in GX and also met her boyfriend for the first time.
We're not sure whether he's from East Anglia or Essex. Though, if he were from Essex, he would be unlikely to admit it. People from Essex have the probably undeserved rep of not being too smart.
I guess it's sort of like just after we moved to NJ. I told people that we lived near Newark -- even though we live 20-30 miles from Newark. I later found out from New Jersey-ans that I should say Northern NJ. People from elsewhere in the country are ok with the Newark description.

I bought along socks to knit. In fact, I finished the pair of socks for my DH. A picture of the socks is posted to SAM3.

I also started on test-knitting a sock for Chrissy. She designs such nice cabled socks. I forgot to bring a cable needle along and so had fun cabling without a cable needle. It isn't as hard as I thought. I used the method in which one leaves all the stitches on the RHN until done with the cable. (For a left-leaning cable, one first needs to slip knitwise each st onto the RHN and then slip them back purlwise before knitting the sts through the back loop.) Chrissy, of course, assumed that whoever was making the sock had a cable needle and/or would take the time to buy one. (And, yes, there are cable needles in London. But, I didn't see the need to buy one. I had a perfectly good one at home, and it was interesting looking at techniques for cabling without a cable needle.) I left my other projects on hold.

Shortly after getting back, I resumed my other knitting. Here is a picture of the July KAL dishcloth. I have yet to start the mid-July KAL. I also started working on the MS3 again and the Tomato. But, at least, I have a pair of socks finished -- just in time before the end of July.

While in London, we also went to the British Museum -- one of my favorite places. The area for the Mausoleum had been redone -- more befitting one of the Wonders of the Ancient World. We also saw the London Zoo for the first time.

To get to London and back, we tried out Zoom Airlines, a Canadian discount airline. It was a decent airline -- with a few caveats. The price in the ad is only part of what one pays. The amount we finally paid was about twice the advertised price since that price didn't include taxes, fees, and a fuel surcharge. It took a long time to leave JFK. We sat on the tarmac for a couple of hours before the air traffic controllers finally noticed us waiting to take off. Then, when we left from Gatwick, we found out the UK/EU regulations had changed and one was allowed only one carry on, including a purse or computer case. So, I dumped the contents of my purse into my carry on. However, the airline had a 5 kg limit on carry ons, and so I had to dump things like books from the carry on into one of our checked bags. At least, the lady at the counter was nice about it and did allow us to rearrange bag contents. She even suggested it so that we wouldn't incur an excess baggage fee. -- But, if one thinks about it, a 5 kg (11 lb) limit isn't much for something like a laptop and computer bag.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mystery Shawl 3

I'm a little late in joining the MS3 KAL. I joined just before the deadline (after reading about it on one of the knitting boards). I ordered my yarn last Thursday and got it Tuesday. Then I needed to wind it into balls (I got 2 skeins.) and swatch. Here are the first 49 rows.

Unlike most people in the KAL who posted needle size used for KP lace-weight bare, I decided to use size 5 needles. (I also got my first KP needles -- which are nice.) The beads are size 8/0.

Putting beads on the yarn isn't nearly as hard as I had imagined. And knitting with such thin yarn is nearly as hard as I had imagined, either. Though, I was expecting the yarn to be even thinner than it is.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Frogging a Tomato

I don't think my navy KP Swish Superwash yarn wants to be made into a sweater. I knit it into a v-neck last October on size 5 needles. Then this spring, I decided that size 5 needles made a fabric that was too thick. So, I frogged it and decided to use size 7 needles on whatever I decided to knit with it next (probably another v-neck).

Then Knitting Daily came out with its Tomato. I loved the U-neck. Plus the colorwork looked interesting. I'd never done colorwork before. So, after a couple of false starts, I got the neckline done. The raglan increasing went well. And the colorwork went surprisingly well. Though, I have a new respect for English/American style knitters. I don't understand how they are able to let go of the needle each and every stitch. I did the colorwork by holding the main yarn in my left hand and the contrasting one in my right hand. Well, I finished the garment bottom k1p1 ribbing and finished it off with a p2tog k2togtbl bindoff. Then I started on the sleeves and discovered that one sleeve was a few sts wider around than the other. So, after taking the picture here, I frogged the sweater to the armholes. I'll restart it when the yarn dries. (I've become good at rinsing frogged yarn, drying it (The air conditioning vents are nice for that.), and then winding it into balls. Generally, I wouldn't post a picture of a sweater about to be frogged, but I'm proud of how the colorwork turned out. The contrasting color is KP Capri Swish Superwash, which I had to make another still undermined sweater. I bought one more skein of that than of the navy since I was thinking of doing a sweater with 3/4 length sleeves.

Before starting on the Tomato, I did one of my own patterns, the Summer Square in KP wave Shine Worsted. This is my Sweater # 6 for the year. So, I'm still on schedule to finish 12 sweaters in a year for the sweater KAL.

I can't follow my own pattern any better than I can someone else's pattern. This one has a slightly different neckline. I like this sweater a lot. The cotton blend has a nice feel to it.

I've finished sock number 1 of the Number 1 Husband socks. In my last post, I said they were ecru. They're actually in fawn. I should have made them into toe-up socks. But, it turned out ok. I was worried that I wouldn't have enough yarn to finish. But, I had a 1" round ball of yarn left over after finishing the toe. They look nice if I do say so myself. I'll publish a picture when they're done.

I've also joined the Mystery Shawl bandwagon. I've never made a lace shawl before, but I have made lace socks and lace dishcloths. I ordered lace-weight yarn from KP last Thursday, which I hope will arrive shortly. (At last look, it was in a sorting center in Edison, NJ.) Then I get to knit the test swatch to find out what needles to make. Or, maybe I'll just start with size 4 needles -- since a lot of people knitting the stole with this yarn are using that size needle. I may just knit a swatch to see how lace on lace-weight yarn looks. I think I'll blame my joining the group on a lady at the knitting group I attend. She makes lovely lace shawls.

My DD is back in London now. It was really nice having her visit us for a couple of weeks. She is missed already -- especially by the cats who both adore her. We adore her and miss her as well.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Perfect Crime

This past weekend we went into NYC to watch a matinée play. We were debating which play to watch when a couple of the people there said why not go to the play "Perfect Crime." Another person chimed in that she thought it was one of the best plays she'd ever seen. So, not seeing anything that struck our fancy on the half-price board, we took a flier and went to the box office to get the cheap tickets to the play. As we walked there, we tried to decide whether or not the third person was a plant.

Since we had time to spare, we went looking for a place to eat. There was a place right next to the theater which looked a lot like an English pub. It was actually in the process of becoming an Irish pub. The newer parts of the decor were basically Irish, the older parts cowboy/Western. The food was good. Plus, there probably aren't many places around here where one can get bangers and mash. We should have had beer with our lunch (It probably would have made the play more intelligible.) but decided on something nonalcoholic. As we left, we each got a free pen advertising the restaurant (on West 50th St near the Snapple Theater). That's the first time we got a pen for dining at a restaurant.

The play was something else. We still haven't figured out the why -- including why it's supposedly the longest running mystery play on Broadway.

To change the subject to knitting:
At the right is the mid-June KAL dishcloth from the Yahoo! dishcloth group. I think it turned out nicely -- if I do say so myself.

For my next sweater, I'm working on Tomato from Knitting Daily. I love the U-shaped neckline. My choice of colors isn't quite tomato-y, and my choice of yarn doesn't exactly fit the hot summer season when tomatoes grow best. I chose navy in KP Swish Superwash on size 7 needles. I had made a different sweater with the yarn on size 5 needles, didn't like how it turned out, and so frogged the whole thing (after wearing it a couple of times). This sweater seems to be turning out well. Luckily I had some Swish in a light blue that I was planning on making another sweater with. So, I used that for the contrasting color. (I'd purchased an extra skein of the second color just in case I wanted to do something different.)

I don't see how people knit English/American style. I decided to do the colorwork on Tomato by holding one color in each hand. I knit the main color Continental and the contrasting color English. ---
One has to let go of the right-hand needle to throw yarn English style!!!

For my July socks for SAM3, I've started on Number 1 Husband Socks in KP Essential ecru. My DH had been wearing the first and only pair of socks I knit for him around the house recently. So, I took that for a sign that he might like another pair.