Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All's well that ends well, eh?

Not so fast sister.....

As we continue our saga (I had to take a time out for proposal evaluations and re-evaluation, and re-evaluations....etc. work re-entry is a bitch)you may remember that hubby and I decided to extend our vaca one extra day because we rolled craps on the weather. It was supposed to be a hiking vacation, and we had not done one step of actual trail hiking in in 6 full days. Fortunately, we usually schedule an extra day of vacation after our planned trip, and we used that to stay over.

We did finally get to walk in the woods. was lovely.

This is Jones Mill Run. As I said in a previous post, PA woods are lousy with these little runs.

Here's a little artsey fartsey shot of the run. Because of the six days of unrelenting rain, there was no shortage of water.

The difference with this particular run is that this is what you see at the head. Yup, it's that pretty.

Here's Dan'l Boone on the rocks next to the dam.

Anyway, the next day we headed back to reality. What's the one thing you don't want to hear when you walk in the door? Let me tell's hubby going into the half bath off the kitchen and saying "Uh oh!". Trust me, you don't want to hear "Uh oh" about anything after you've been gone over a week. (Last year the "uh oh" was because his car battery was dead and parked closest to the back door, and we had to unload the car from many more yards away.)

In this case, the "uh oh" referred to the fact that he was standing in stockinged feet on a wet bathmat. When I looked in the door he was staring up at the ceiling, which was marked with brown water marks and water droplets. Good gravy, what now!???

Apparently, something was leaking in our upstairs bath, though we couldn't find it, and had run down, into the walls, and out the exhaust vent (for the most part). Turns out, a washer blew, on the water line under the upstairs sink, and we had a pretty good drip going on. The good news was that it had probably just happened in the prior day or so. The bad news is that we still have to repaint the downstairs that it has had a week to dry. The fun just never ends.

I leave you with a photo of Ishbel (I wish I knew the origin of that name.) I finally finished it...still with the tinking. I do love it though, and am considering wearing it in Denver, where I'll have to travel (under duress) next week. Only I would get sent to Denver where they are currently getting FEET of snow. Why couldn't the damn conference be in Tampa? Or New Orleans? Or Charlotte? Sheesh!!

Ishbel (blocking).
1 skein Handmaiden Cashbah (some left over)no colorway on ball band - Loopy Ewe Sock Club skein.

#6 circular needles (48 inches)

Wingspan 48", depth 19"

There is also a shawl size. I'm going to wear this like a scarf. (Doesn't point to my worst ass(et) that way.

I would definite knit this again, and am thinking about taking version #2 as my plane knitting.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

So how the heck have I been .....

... some of you may have noticed that we here in Central PA had a "bit" of snow last week. If you watched the Weather Channel, you were led to believe that the most pressing problem was that PSU banned tailgating around the stadium and it was homecoming weekend. (The grassy areas were muddy, and there aren't enough paved areas to allow the huge RV's to set up their tailgates.) Never mind that there were folks who were without electricity from Thursday evening until Saturday evening (in some cases). My boss told me he came to work on Friday just so he could have electricity. I mention TWC because that's how we found out how nasty it really got. You see we were supposed to be hiking in the Laurel Highlands. I say supposed to be, because we really didn't get to hike.

I'm no shrinking violet. I've hiked in rain, I've hiked in cold, but on Wednesday afternoon, when I went outside to decide whether to wear a down vest, and realized that it was not just cold, but raining and sleeting, I gave up.

Cold AND rainy, means I'm not going anywhere. Add heavy duty fog to the mix, and well, you get the drift.

We heard about the snow in Centre County when I got a PSU text message on Friday morning informing me that classes were running on time, but that the snow was continuing to fall. Huh? Snow?

A look out the deck doors showed me unrelenting rain and fog, but snow? PSU began an emergency text messaging program not long after the VA Tech tragedy. They text message emergency announcements from water line breaks to panels blowing off the scoreboards and closing roads, to class delays.

An odd manifestation of the system is that my phone interprets the P in PSU as

Poetic, no?

So after getting the message I turned on TWC and by golly, one of the weather weenies was in a parka standing in a driving snow storm in front of the stadium. He was telling us that the University had prohibited parking in the grassy lots, and what were the homecoming tailgaters to do? It was surreal. Especially since here I was at a ski resort in the "mountains" and THERE WAS NO SNOW! (Not that I wanted any, mind you.)

So here's what I did instead....

Meet Ishbel and Ishbel meet Handmaiden Cashbah, no idea what colorway. It was the first yarn in the 2009 Loopy Ewe Sock club. It is so lovely...the color is no where near as lovely as it is in person, that I couldn't bare to put it on my stinky feet. Ishbel is a lovely pattern. Lovely, if you're smart enough to pay attention. I, apparently, am not nearly smart enough and have spent about 20% of my time tinking. First in the stockinette portion of the program I somehow added an extra stitch on one side and pulled it out 3 or 4 times, until I figured it out. Then, I can't seem to "read" the lace pattern, and make silly errors, on a regular basis, that I can only fix by tinking. The one thing I can tell you, is that if you have the time to put into it, it is a fast knit. I really should have been concentrating on my Christmas knitting, however, I have been itching to start this forever! I blew through the first three charts and stockinette in no time, and since I've been home, have knit two (count'em 2) rows. This job just really cuts into my knitting time.

So we missed the catastrophic snow storm. Here's what I saw on Sunday morning.

Sad part is that on the way down, there were still a lot of green trees. With all the "weather", it seems that many trees dropped their leaves without ever getting a chance to turn. The pelting rain, and heavy snow, just pulled leaves right off the trees (and in the case of Centre County knocked large branches down all over the place). We ended up extending our stay by one day, because, wouldn't you know....Monday, the day we originally planned to leave dawned bright and sunny -- cool, but dry and bright. The past two days it has been in the 60's.

Timing is everything.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The change of seasons.........

A treat for the senses...... OK, just kidding, it's been a long week already.

First the FOs.

#1 Girasole

Soaked, blocked, and with a "real" photo shoot. These photos were taken at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Home of the PSU Nittany Lion baseball team, and the State College Spikes (short season, low "A", of the Pittsburgh Pirates, though it's hard to tell the difference from the big Pirates at this point-Sigh). "Fear the Deer" - I wish I were kidding. You can see Mt. Nittany in the background. We held a conference, which should get a post all its own, at the ball park (they rent out their facilities out of season), and I got the opportunity to take a few photos.

Updated Stats:
Pattern: Girasole
Yarn: Dream in Color Starry, Lipstick Lava
3 FULL skeins, fingering weight
Needle: #6, Options, 60 inch (though shorter would have been OK too), switched to Denise, when the join pulled out of my Options (which Knit Picks replaced pronto)

Unblocked I got 46 inches, blocked I got 58 inches. I am so very glad I did the extra repeat on chart G. But the stress was awful!

The lace also opened up like magic. I'm delighted with this piece, and wore it a bit in the morning yesterday, over my leather blazer, because we had "breakfast" on the open concourse in 50 degree weather. Gotta be a hearty soul to work for PSU. This was an EASY knit....really. I only had one misstep and it was right at the beginning. If you want to try your hand at lace, this is a nice, deceptively difficult looking, but easy-to-knit piece. As a process knitter, this is right up my alley. I am definitely planning another (or two) in worsted weight for my mother-in-law and mother.

#2 Wrap Me Up

This came about, not because I loved the pattern so much, but because it offered me the opportunity to knit with a local group. The local knitting guild meets Thursdays and that is generally not a great night for me. (OK, I'll fess up, DH and I, spend Thursday nights, shoveling out the hovel so we do not have to do much on the weekends. I really like this system.) This knitting "class" met Tuesdays, and that suits me fine. So I thought what the heck...the first class Cynthia (LYS owner extraordinaire)told us she planned for us to have this piece finished by the last Tuesday in November. By sheer dumb luck, it turns out that we'll be finished by the last Tuesday in October, when we'll get together for an ice cream celebration and FO shoot. Because of the Steelers, and the Super Bowl (during the game I couldn't stop knitting I was so excited), I got way ahead, and finished last week.

So here in a remarkably boring photo is Wrap Me Up, a la Cindy:

Notice the rapidly fading patio planters in the background. Those 40 degree nights are not making them happy.

So the details:

Pattern: Wrap Me Up
Yarn: Noro Kuyreon, 229 & 40, # skeins unknown.....I think I bought one or two more than was recommended and ended up with one left over (I bought three more and will eventually knit one of the Jared Flood's Noro striped scarves.) Lambs Pride worsted, Lotus Pink for trim (1+ skein - I had extra from other projects). The last thing you have to worry about in this pattern are dye lots.
Needle: #7, Options circ, various lengths.
MODS: Lots more beads. When I caught on to what the designer was doing, I put beads in most of the trim color areas. Unfortunately, I didn't catch on until one end of the wrap was more or less finished, so the beading is a little lopsided, but only I would think that. I also strung the beads first and used a bead knitting technique that "popped" the beads to the front of the piece. I didn't apply I-cord in all the areas recommended and DID NOT apply the little "piggy tails" (little unattached lengths of I-cord). Here is my largest mod:

Rather than fussing around with the two-toned "dragon tooth" edging, I bound off with I-cord. This is a five stitch I-cord using a #9 needle (two sizes larger). I'm lots happier with how this looks. I tried it several ways, but I ended up picking up the bajillion stitches along the edge, and then using the I-cord bind off. It made for a neater edge than applying I-cord directly.

The dimensions are "similar" to the pattern, but that isn't any more important than dye lot, it is plenty long. I soaked it in hair conditioner, and spun it for about 5 minutes, in a net bag in my washer. It didn't take very long to dry with much of the water out. Then I applied the I-cord and the edging.

This is one of my favorite blocks...I don't know why....

This is the basketweave block, and I had no idea how this would look until it was finished. I liked the surprise.

That is one of the fun things about this. You don't know, exactly, what you're getting until you're done. This is another process piece.

Because I was out of the office for the first two days this week, I need to get caught up. I expect that there will be radio silence for awhile, but I'll be back, with new projects....Christmas is coming and I've already started some fingerless first. Yes, I was a fingerless mitt virgin.