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Archive for September, 2009

Footastic

Pretty much anyone who knows me knows that I’m a big Foo Fighters fan.  Huge.  Last year I was lucky enough to get to see them in concert twice; once here  in February for a late birthday present (clearly amongst my fave presents EVER!) and again in July in Kansas City.  The second show I got J to agree to go to by calling it a birthday present for my brother.  Pretty clever, no?  At any rate, both concerts were phenomenal.  The July show was partly so special to me because we did take my brother, and we totally rawked out.  We’re both big music aficionados, and both count the Foo Fighters as one of our favorite bands (they are hands down my favorite, but I can’t speak for my brother…).  It was the first concert him and I went to together as “grown ups”.  We carried on the tradition this past summer by going to Coldplay together (Another great band.  I didn’t appreciate them until I saw them live, but that’s a whole ‘nother post).

So that’s a really long-winded way to get to the point: the Foo Fighters new single Wheels dropped today.  It’s one of two new tracks that will be included on their greatest hits album scheduled to come out in November.  I think it’s amazing.  One of the things I love about this band is how easily they can transition from balls-to-the-wall rock-yer-face-off (2007’s The Pretender, anyone?) and then come out with something…softer makes it sound lame, but that’s the descriptor I keep coming back to.   Some people may criticize them for that, but I enjoy seeing (hearing?) how my favorite bands evolve and how that impacts their sound.  I’ve been waiting for this song for a while now, and the wait was well worth it for me.

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…is that they take so damn long.  I started Hesperia’s last weekend, and I’m still not quite a third of the way done with the first side.  Granted, it’s one of the long sides but still.  Not exactly instant gratification.  I feel like I’m going to be knitting this border for months.

So I cast on a baby sweater.

I cast this sucker on Friday night, and I’m more than halfway done with the body.  Now that’s what I’m talking about!  I’m using leftover skeins of Cascade 220 from J’s Cobblestone Pullover and my Garter Yoke Cardigan.  I originally thought of my cousin’s baby girl for this, but I’m having doubts.  I personally like it (a lot), but since I’m not a mother myself I’m not sure how one would feel about dressing their sweet baby girl in such a dark sweater (it’s darker than in the picture).  Maybe it’s ok?  I’d put mine it, but maybe I’m different?

Then I thought about using it as the start of a package to send to the Dulaan Project, something I’ve been meaning to contribute to for a long time.  But then I re-second guessed myself, asking if it’s really appropriate to donate to charity a garment I feel awkward gifting to someone.  “But I really like it.  I’m just not sure how my cousin would like it for her baby,” I argued back (to myself).

At this point, I stopped.  I remembered J’s assertion, that I’ve always hotly denied, that I over think things.  I admitted to myself that he’s right, and told myself to stop worrying about it.  So I did.

But I still don’t know what I’m going to do with this thing when it’s done.

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Sweet Coraline

Good times never seem so good!  Yes, this sweater makes me want to break out into song.   Unfortunately J, never an enthusiastic photographer on his best day, was “in a mood”, so I counted myself lucky to get even this slightly blurry pic.

If I wanted to press my luck, I would have asked for a retake when I saw the wrinkles at the bottom.  Suffice it to say, I didn’t want to.  Moving on to a closeup of the smocking!

Because it’s been rainy and cloudy in this part of Nebraska pretty much all day, that’s the end of the nice, natural sunlight pictures.  Cut me some slack on this last one, self-photography is hard!

Pattern: Coraline by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: Berroco Comfort DK in 2753 Agean Sea

Needles: US 4/3.5mm and US 5/3.75mm

I’m absolutely thrilled with how this came out!  It was looking rather large when I was blocking it, and it fits a little looser than my store-bought sweaters usually do, but ultimately I’m happy with the relaxed fit.  I think I will get a ton of use out of it.  The yarn, already soft when knitting up, is even softer and drapey-er after blocking.  My only concern is how much it’s going to “fuzz up”, since I already had a slight issue with that when knitting with it.

To adjust for my differing row gauge (9 rows per inch instead of the called for 7), I did the raglan decreases every 4th row instead of every other.  I also inserted an extra 2 pattern rows in between the smocking rows.  Speaking of smocking, after that second set, I got considerably faster.  They were still painful, just quicker.  When I got to the decreases within the smocking, I learned that I visited part of this pain on myself.  That’s the point I re-read the instructions and discovered, due to skimming instead of reading to comprehend, that I had been wrapping the 2 knit stitches twice.  The instructions only call for one wrap.  I won’t call this a mistake, since it made no visible difference I can discern.  But I audibly groaned when I thought of the fiddly-ness (can I make up any more words this post?  Drapey-er, fiddly-ness…) I visited upon myself.  One wrap was fiddly enough, but two?!

The only other modification I made was to mattress stitch the edges of the hem.  I didn’t like the gaping hole created from folding it up, so I decided to seam it.  Probably doesn’t make a huge difference to the finished piece, but I feel it makes it more, well, finished.

I think my favorite part of this sweater might be the sleeves.  Which is kind of funny, because when I started that was the part I was unsure of.  But I think they have just enough “blouse” to them, without being too roomy.

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Weekend Update

Coraline is done and is blocking as I speak.  Er, type.  It’s been laid out for almost 4 hours now and it’s still pretty damp.  I’ve got a fan on, trying to encourage the drying.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to wear it to work tomorrow, but I’m not holding my breath.  Details to come, but for now, here’s a (blurry) picture of the yoke:

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Holy crap, smocking takes awhile!

My first “smock”.  It took the better part of two hours!  I’m getting ready to start the second smocking row.  I hope watching my latest guilty pleasure, Glee, will ease the pain.  It probably won’t go any faster, but at least I’ll be highly entertained while I toil away.

On to the stash enhancement!  This was my last big yarn buy of the year.  I don’t have a huge stash by any means, but I’ve decided to try to curb my yarn buying until 2010.  So of course  I had to go crazy in anticipation of going without for the next three months.

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From top left: 9 skeins of Araucania Nature Wool – 34 Berry;  2 skeins of Noro Silk Garden –  274; Malabrigo Sock – 800 Tiziano Red; Araucania Ranco Solid – 116 Fuschia; Araucania Ranco Solid – 109 Lilac; Araucania Ranco Solid – 126 Cactus

All from Webs!  The Nature Wool is intended for a sweater for me (hopefully a test knit!) and a small shawl or a cowl as a potential Christmas present.  The Silk Garden will eventually become a Noro Striped Scarf, whenever I get an additional two balls in another colorway.  The gorgeous Malabrigo Sock is slated for a Damson.  The three skeins of Ranco Solid will become various socks.

I had a spectacularly bad day yesterday, so receiving this package of woolly goodness was just what I needed to brighten my day.  How can things not look up when I have all this new yarn to play with?

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The Status of Coraline

Here’s where things stand as of about an hour-and-a-half ago:

The happy news is that this is the second sleeve! That kind of make it sounds like there’s unhappy news.  And unless the 123 remaining rows of stockinette counts (which funnily enough isn’t fazing me right now; I hope that lasts…), I have none.  The rest of the sweater looks like this right now:

Hooray! Im starting to look like a real live sweater!

Hooray! I'm starting to look like a real live sweater!

And my favorite bits so far, the hem and sleeve detailing:

I’m ridiculously proud of the finishing.  Easy as can be but I think it’s rather sharp looking, if I do say so myself.  The color is most accurate in this picture too.

I just realized that since I’ve started this project, I’ve knit on nothing else.  I’ve always considered myself a process knitter and I’ve had to stop myself from sucking the joy out of this knit  by trying to rush through to get to the next part.  I also have pretty high hopes for the finished object, so that’s contributing to my ‘hurryupandfinishalready’ mentality.  I forced myself to take yesterday off from knitting (!), and now I think I’m back to the frame of mind I’m used to.  I’ve definitely taken a lot of the pressure off myself.

And just for fun, a shot of two of the dogs in repose.  Roscoe and Oto keeping me company while I poke around on the computer.  I’d like to get better about taking pictures of the dogs, especially the elusive and getting-older Charlie.  Maybe this will help jump start my motivation in that area.

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The Zoo

Clever title, am I right?  But it is to-the-point, so I’m going to leave it.  I will warn you now, however, that this will be a picture-heavy post and nary a one featuring knitting!  That will come later, because how could there not be knitting on a long weekend?

Our trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo was great!  Living here in Omaha, it’s so easy for us to forget about it and take it for granted.  Since we don’t have kids, it tends to be something we only do with people visiting from out-of-town.  It’s starting to become a tradition that my brother and his family stay with us Labor Day weekend and we go to the zoo.  So this was our 2nd Annual Zoo Trip.

Naturally the parking situation was horrendous, it being a holiday weekend and all, but we didn’t let that deter us.  First stop: the Desert Dome!

Last year we skipped this part, so it was first on my brother’s list of “must sees”.  When we got out, we were just in time to watch the first of the Wild West Showdown performances.  The simulated gunfire scared my niece, but J and I stayed until the end.  Guess what?  The good guys won!

The next highlight was the monkeys.  There were a couple chimpanzees hanging from the fencing and doing acrobatics.  My niece, buddy young photography she is (Yes, at just under four!  She’s a prodigy, I tell you!) got some great shots.  Me?  Mine are just “meh”.

Shortly after this, some yahoo kept throwing cheese balls at it, thinking he was so hilarious.  I guess the “please don’t feed the animals, it’s not good for them” doesn’t apply to some people.  Fortunately, this monkey has excellent taste.  He caught the cheese ball, put it in his mouth but would not eat it.  Clearly he’s above processed cheese.  (Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not raging against the evils of junk food. I love a good Cheeto myself.  I’m raging against the people who think that kind of thing is funny, when in all actuality it’s harmful to the animals.  I saw quite a few instances of this that day, and it makes me mad. //end rant)

We wrapped up our visit with a ride on the new Skyfari.  Because J will totally call me out on it if I don’t ‘fess up myself, I’ll just say it: I was petrified.  I’m not sure it was so much the height as it was my overactive imagination.  I could just so easily picture myself toppling over the lap bar, or sliding under it, and landing in the rhino pen.  When it was over, I’m frankly surprised J could walk, what with my fingernail indentations in his thigh.  He was a very good sport about it, and kept talking me down when I’d get too freaked out all the while snapping pictures.  My little niece?  Yeah, she loved it.

You cant really tell the height from this picture.  Just wait.

You can't really tell the height from this picture. Just wait.

See?  Its high!

See? It's high!

It was kind of pretty, though, when I was able to turn my head and actually look.

It was kind of pretty, though, when I was able to turn my head and actually look.

He didnt cut it off on purpose, but I like it.  You cant tell that my teeth are clenched in fear.

He didn't cut it off on purpose, but I like it. You can't tell that my teeth are clenched in fear.

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