Thursday, October 15, 2009

How About It . . .

Here is another pair of socks that I finished last week and just got to photo now. :-) They are gift socks, made from the basic sock pattern that I like to use. The yarn is my "old faithful," Opal. I love that stuff :-D this is Opal - Hundertwasser, in the Autobus Fenster colorway (that means bus window ;-D). I cast these on at Stitches and really fell in love with how the colorway was knitting up - which was pretty different than in the skein.

They are, as KniftyRed likes to say, matchy-matchy - until you get to the TOE. Go figure. I have no idea how that happened :-D

And for good measure this morning, here's that Wollmeise 100% superwash in the Granatapfel colorway. I'm sure you can tell why I'd been wanted to get some of it. :-) I have enough for something other than socks now because I have the two skeins - I have no idea what I'll make, but the yardage is 575/skein and it's sock yarn/fingering weight.

Any ideas?

I'm still on the stash busting wagon but I have been sorely tempted. Carol, at My Sister's Knits, which is the LYS that I really like, lost her beloved dog, Cody, awhile ago. If you've ever been in the store, you know that both Cody and Goldie were always there to greet you. Cody always wanted me to toss the tennis ball for him, which, of course, I loved :-) Anyway, Beth at Lorna's Laces made Carol a special colorway called Cody's Love, and I would really like to get some of it for sentimental reasons. I'm holding out, however, and hoping that there will still be some in January.

I cast on some socks with the Lonesome Stone sock yarn that I got on my trip to Colorado in May. It's quite thick for sock yarn, and so I've been experimenting with it - fewer stitches, and I don't know what possessed me, but I'm knitting the Waterloose Socks (Rav link) with it - that feather and fan is not showing up well, and yet, I decided it was what I wanted . . .

I also cast on the Scottish Garden yarn from JWrayco. Plain stockinette socks to let the yarn take center stage. This was not a colorway that I would normally go for, but as I've mentioned before, however Leslie and Janet do it, they completely side step the danger of "clown barf." It's really beautiful and I'm enjoying working with it. It does, however have a tendency to be splitty, and because I swatched first and then reused the yarn, it was definitely splitty in the beginning. I'm calling the socks made with this my Water Lily socks - it's knitting up like a Monet painting . . .

I needed to swatch for it because it's a bit thinner than Opal, but ended up going with 1 1/2's anyway. I would have gone down to 1's, but the circs I have in that size are some other European brand and they were horrid to work with. 0's were just too teeny for the yarn (at least I thought so).

Well, it's another cold, rainy day in Chicagoland, and I have broken out the winter coat for real. Most evenings in my sunroom now require my very first Clapotis - which I don't think is in my Ravelry projects . . . Remind me to tell you the story of Linda the Chicken Lady and my first, fuzzy Clapotis ;-)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's Autumn . . .

Oh yes. It really is. More and more chilly - I hear the furnaces cut on and off pretty regularly now, and it's not even two weeks into October. The longest I can ever remember going without a winter coat was October 14th. I think that was 1994 or 1995.

There are leaves on the ground (lots of wind here lately) - and the trees are turning. With all the rain we've had this year, they are already bordering on spectacular. Golds, browns, yellow, still some green, and that amazing red that the Sumac (don't touch!) and Maples turn. I love Chicago in the autumn. Oh let's face it - I love Chicago any old time :-)

I had to break out my winter coat one day this week - it was 43 degrees out - just too cold to walk to the train in my raincoat. Of course it was 60 by the time I left the office for home, so I was carrying it over my arm. I heard that there might be snow mixed with rain at some point this weekend. :-S Yikes! That's early.

I have a new coat this winter. Actually, it's an old coat and I'm reasonably sure it was my mom's. I found it in the front hall closet about a month ago. I'm trying to imagine her wearing it - but I have no memory of her in it. It's quite long, which makes me think that she might not have worn it much, but it's perfect for me.

I have a theory about winter coats. I think you should get a new dress coat every 10 years. In other words, spend a substantial amount of money and get a really good coat in a classic style that's going to hold up to 10 years of wear and fashion fads (classic style, people, classic style). I have one in the closet that's at least 20 years old. It's what used to be called a cigarette coat - long, broad shoulders tapering to a straight cut, black tweed, double breasted, and a deep V with a sheared lamb collar. Popular in the 80's but deeply classic. Really warm, too. I'm waiting for it to fit me again ;-D Maybe next winter . . .

My last coat was purchased in 2003. I had just come back from Southern California and my old winter coat was in tatters and it was too small (crap). So I got a new coat at Carson's. I've worn it every year since. It made it 6 years, and if it was not so seriously too big, I would continue to wear it for another 4. However, the wind just whips in under it and that's not functional for life in the Windy City (OK - I know, that's a political moniker, not a weather descriptor, but it just seemed to fit there :-) ). When a substantial portion of your commute is hoofing it across the Loop, it's all about the warm.

Being warm is key. Critical. Essential. Pick your adjective of choice. They are predicting another brutally cold winter here . . . I imagine the Industrial Strength Hat and Scarf will be getting a lot of wear this winter. So, anyway, this coat I found in the closet that I think was my mom's appears to be really warm and I like the cut of it - more of a swing coat with a standup collar. It flares out nicely from the shoulders and it's quite long. It could probably use one more button with my height, but it will do as it is. It's my new 10 year coat. We'll see how it does - I don't know how many years it already has on it from my mom. But I like it and if it's as warm and it appears it will be, I think I have a winner.

Another yarn trade made - the Granatapfel that I traded for the Wollmeise lace arrived yesterday. OMG it's perfect and I wish I had enough of it to make a sweater. So beautiful. Speaking of sweaters . . . I'm wearing the pink one that no one but me likes. It lives now in my office and it's too big. But man, is it warm . . . ;-D

Sunday, October 4, 2009

One Thing or Another . . .

Another chilly, wet day here - I should go to Ace and get some grass seed and fill in some holes in the yard. Hmmmm, prolly that's not going to happen. Apparently this is a good time of the year to put some down. But today I have a newsletter to write and edit, and my mission to straighten up the house continues. Right now, there is a messy little half circle on the sunroom floor of "stuff" that needs to be sorted and PUT AWAY. :-)

Here are some socks. These are just plain stockinette with an eye of partridge heel (I like those heels). The yarn is Mountain Colors' Bearfoot in the Gray Wolf colorway. My new camera seems to over expose a bit . . . so I fiddled with this in Photoshop a bit. It's pretty true now. This is a sturdy yarn. There is some mohair in it, which makes for a bit of fuzziness - not always my favorite thing - but it works well with this yarn and I think these socks will be very long-wearing. I mentioned this before, but the dye on these came off on my hands continually throughout the knitting process. I've not had that happen before. Still, the blues, greens and purples are very beautiful.

I continue to knit from the stash (waving to Knitterary). I finished my latest train socks - just need to kitchener the toe and weave in the ends - and I've put MORE up on my Ravelry Trade/Sell page as I continue to destash. One new yarn came into my house this week - in trade for one that left (Knitterary: No money spent ;-)). This is Wollmeise 80/20 in the Single Malt colorway. It's browner than I thought it would be, yet I like it very much. (Clearly I haven't quite got the hang of my new camera yet :-S) Wasabi went to a new home in trade.

I also traded my skein of Wollmeise Lace in the Raku-Regenbogen colorway. I'd had the skein since the fall of 2007 - I think it was from the first batch that The Loopy Ewe ever had. It was so lovely, but I realized that I was never going to make a shawl with it. I've learned that I don't care so much for knitting with variegated yarns when there is a lot of lace or stitch patterning involved. It just doesn't show up. I've really been wanting the colorway Granatapfel, and apparently Raku-Regenbogen lace is highly sought after. It was less than 20 minutes before I had a trade, and two skeins of Granatapfel are on their way to me! Yay!

My car's check engine light came on last Saturday, probably in sympathy with Linda the Chicken Lady's car. I was very low on gas, but since I always use really good gas (no Speedway for me, I'm afraid - it does make the check engine light come on), so I didn't think that was what it was. I made an appointment for Thursday to take it in, and on the way over, I stopped and gassed up. Engine light: Gone! Wheeee!!! Called from the gas station and cancelled my appointment, and drove back home. Yesterday, I took the car for its emissions check, and it passed with flying colors. Very happy about that, since it's 8 years old. I take good care of it and will be for quite some time because my thoughts of trading it in for a Saturn Sky are now out the window with GM's announcement earlier this week. Oh well - I get great mileage, and it's quite handy to have a station wagon for carpool trips to The Fold and to haul crap around.

And speaking of announcements . . . I admit I was sort of ambivalent about Chicago getting the Olympics. I was very excited about it on the one hand, but worried about the money aspects and how the city might get left holding the bag on the other. But cut out in the first round?! Geez. Oh well. Everything happens for a reason, and I guess we're not meant to be in the world eye in 2016 (at least not for the Olympics).

Time for me to get downstairs and ride the bike for awhile - But first, I'm going to attempt one mile on the treadmill in my new hiking boots. I'm going to stretch and go slow - I can't go to Scotland with hiking boots that are fresh out of the box. It's been a month of stretching and Advil and it's time to test the waters anyway. If I pay for it tomorrow, I'll know to back off.

It's October . . .

Friday, October 2, 2009

Seasons Change . . .

It was 58 degrees in the house yesterday morning. I went downstairs and washed the main furnace filter, but I didn't turn the heat on. But then, this morning it was again 58 degrees in the house . . . Yes, I have succumbed to turning the furnaces on and it's only October 2nd. Oh well. I'm thinking of President Jimmy Carter in the last energy crisis: "Put on a sweater." I will. I do. I keep the house pretty cool anyway in the winter, so sweats and sweaters are what I live in at home from now until spring :-) But I slept all night under two German bed quilts (I think here they call them duvets), and when I got up, it was just too cold.

Fall is here - and already it's so beautiful. Clearly there is a snap in the air, and the trees are trying to turn. That only seems to take a few cold nights. Plenty of leaves already falling. I actually saw my first red tree on Labor Day weekend. It was a shock! A lone maple near the Swap-o-Rama - red as fire. I think it probably forgot to set its clock properly. Soon we'll "fall back" and get that extra hour - always good for mornings.

Not too much exciting to report around here - I have finished couple pairs of socks, but haven't had the chance to photo them. I'm washing one pair of them now - they are gift knitting, and are made from Bear Foot. This yarn left a lot of color on my fingers when I was knitting them, so I washed them to be sure the recipient doesn't get blue feet the first time she wears them. I have to say that the mohair in this yarn put me off a bit (I'm not one for fuzzy stuff), but they washed beautifully, and the Gray Wolf colorway is really lovely - photo just as soon as they dry!

I put some yarn on my trade/sell page on Ravelry, and already sold one thing! Yay! Oh - I got a new camera. My handy little Kodak Z612's light meter went wonky and although I'm still contemplating getting it repaired, I purchased a new Kodak Z1015 IS. It's just enough bigger than the other to not fit in the little camera bag I have :-S So I got a new one.

Last night I went to Carson's and closed the store. New underwear. That's right. I needed new underwear, and let me tell you - it's a pain getting fitted properly. I tried on every possible fit in the store for both top and bottom. Only ONE real choice on the top, but I'm happy with it so I got two. The bottoms, even harder to figure and fit. But it's done now, and since I had my 15% shopping-all-over-the-store coupon, I continued to shop.

And there was NO ONE in the store last night. Their Goodwill sale was over and it was "a dark and stormy night." In fact, the lights were knocked out in the Mall, and flickered in the store! Wow!

I got a nice selection of turtlenecks, and other tops and a new pair of jeans. And I also treated myself to a new bag. How cute is this? I'm pretty much a one-bag woman (an old Coach style that they no longer make - I search for them now on eBay), but this was SO cute, and I have Scotland on the brain, so there it is. There seems to be a way to lengthen the strap, but I think I'm going to have to take it to the shoe maker for some help because I wasn't able to adjust it myself. Probably a good thing, and maybe I should just leave it alone . . .

I finally have had some time around the house to get thing in order - I really overbooked myself this summer. Last weekend was great for making a start on getting things put away. I started with the yarn and fiber that seems to be all over the house now. Thus the trade/sell stuff. There is a shopping bag of yarn that needs a new home, so check it out on Ravelry (a Ravelry link)if you're interested. There will be more - and some fiber, too, in the coming weeks.

It felt pretty good to get stuff taken care of - and a little disconcerting to realize that I hadn't even photo'd some of the stuff I wanted to put up for sale. And the yarn armoire is full. I'm not kidding full. JesusMaryandJoseph full. So is the door chest in my guest room . . .

When we were at Stitches, Knitterary and I shook hands to get on the stash busting wagon until the end of the year (I have a dispensation for yarn bought overseas :-) ), but really, I'm thinking that it's now critical that I KNIT and SPIN what I have rather than acquire more. Let's see how well I do with that . . . My latest train socks are done, and I'm thinking of taking the sleeve for my Empire Pullover for train knitting. Only problem is that it's knit on long straights, and they can be a little challenging on the train, and I'm using two balls of yarn to alleviate striping. I may have to re-think that - those two factors might make it a disaster-in-waiting for train knitting . . . Oh! I've got a sweater vest on a circular needle that could work out for train knitting. In fact, I think I'm going to get that together!! Yay!

But not today. Today I'm driving downtown. I don't do this very often, but I'm going tonight to hear Wayne Dyer speak. I've had the tickets for months and I'm taking a good friend of mine. I think we both need to hear his message, which is: "Excuses Begone!"

That's the news from The Third Coast this chilly, wet morning :-)