Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tag! Tag? Tag!

Dee tagged me in the comments of my last post, and my reactions were as follows:
1) Yay! I finally got tagged! Now I get to....
2) Yikes, what am I supposed to do when I get tagged?

Sadly enough I had to look at someone else's blog in order to figure out number 2 there. But I learned that my task is to share 7 random facts about me. So here we go.

1) I love parakeets and have had at least 1 or 2 at all times since I was 4, when I got my first one for my 4th birthday. My current flock is 6, the largest it has ever been is 7.
2) I can't garden at all. Like, At. All. Last summer people suggested I try growing mint. They said to be careful or it would take over my whole yard. They also said bugs would not eat it. Well, I had a chance to make 1 pot of mint tea, and then bugs ate it. It died about a week later. I killed mint inside of 2 weeks. It's okay. I'd rather knit than garden.
3) I taught myself to crochet when I was 7, using a book. I knew how to make all the stitches but didn't know the names of them so I couldn't follow a pattern.
4) One thing I'm very proud of myself for is my final senior project in college. I stood up in a dark auditorium in front of an audience and performed a scene from a play, in four different voices, all by myself. And I did well and was SO proud of myself for being able to do that.
5) I love onion rings, but I hate onions. I break open the rings, remove the onions, and eat just the "ring" part.
6) I don't enjoy most contemporary video games; I get too confused. I prefer old school games like Super Mario Brothers, where I know exactly what I am supposed to do and where I am supposed to go.
7) I always eat peanut butter on saltines with Campbell's chicken noodle soup. Something about those combined tastes is just perfect.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Finished at Last!

Here, at long last, are the pics of my gorgeous shawl. I also included a close up so you can see the lovely knitted-on edging.

I love this shawl for several reasons.
1) The shape is very flattering, and the curved top helps it stay on my shoulders much better than a standard triangle shawl.
2) It was easy and pleasant to work. There was not one part of it that really required my full, undivided attention. I carried this shawl around in a little crocheted sack while it was in progress, and could pull it out and work on it in a few quiet moments. I worked on it at my folks' house on Easter, at knit group, and also by the pond while watching geese. There was no "screw up on one stitch and blow the whole pattern" factor.
3) I love the yarn! It's so soft and pretty, and I love the way the colors dance on the fabric. I just feel good wearing it. The yarn was nice to work with as well.

And thus I must share with you a link to the lovely ladies that make this yarn: www.rovings.com Excellent yarn and excellent customer service as well. I would not hesitate to give these ladies my business in the future!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Miss 13! Please Read!

I seem to have forgotten your email address! Read my post "less technologically impaired" and give me a holler!

Good News/Bad News

Good news is, I received the extra yarn that the Rovings yarn company was kind enough to send me to complete my shawl. Regular readers may remember that I was working on a great shawl from this lovely yarn, and ended up running out with about 4 inches of edging to go. The yarn is sold in immense quantities so I was reluctant to buy a whole new ball, and then have a ton left over. I phoned the company seeking to purchase a smaller amount and the lady agreed to send me 75 yards and she wouldn't accept any payment for it. Talk about customer service! I highly recommend both the company AND the yarn.

And so, the good news is I will be completing the edging on my shawl tonight and wearing it home :-)

And for the bad news. Just yesterday I commented that I was 10 rows into my green Lacey Lamb shawl and was having trouble keeping the right stitch count, but was adding in extra stitches in the plain side panels.

Apparently this plan did not work out as well as I expected. On each row, I was a few stitches off; between 1 and 4. On the next row, though, I'd be a completely unrelated number off. I'm not sure if I'm just THAT bad at counting or if I actually ended up misreading the chart somehow or what. I eventually got to a row where I was something like 7 stitches off, which is way too many. I tried to fudge it but just ended up dropping stitches, making a mess, and eventually just undoing the whole thing.

Theory & Philosophy:

I guess my knitting personality just does not mesh well with lace. It requires extreme precision and I am just not a very precise person. I view knitting as a time to relax, enjoy TV or conversation with my husband. I like knitting I can do while sitting at the park watching geese. I enjoy the process of lace knitting, but it just seems that it requires more concentration and precision than I am willing to give.

I am not viewing this is a moral failing or a lack of patience that needs to be acquired somehow. I am viewing this is a reflection of personal limitations and an opportunity for growth. Rather than force myself into something I'm not enjoying, I'm going to work on patterns I do enjoy, that mesh with my life and my personality. If it requires monastery-like silence and keen concentration, I just don't enjoy working on it.

I really did enjoy working on the easy lace shawl I made from the Rovings wool. The beautiful handdyed variegation made it an ideal yarn for a simple pattern. Best of all, that pattern doesn't require absolute precision. Every 10 rows or so, you do an eyelet row. That row requires you have approximately the right number of stitches and in an either even or odd number, rather than an absolutely precise number. This is my kind of pattern :-)

I have also made another discovery. Many shawl knitters have told me they prefer working shawls from the top down; casting on a million tiny stitches and working progressively smaller rows. They say it is encouraging to have increasingly smaller numbers of stitches, rather than increasingly longer rows. I disagree! Casting on all of those stitches was a major pain in my butt, and working into those wonky little cast on stitches made the first row unpleasant to work as well. Also, I've found that when you only have a small number of stitches on the needles while you are getting your bearings on a chart, it is a simple thing to tink out a row that didn't go well, or, in the worst case scenario, it's less painful to rip out a little 1 inch triangle than a 6 foot long strip. (trust me on this one).

And so I think I will continue to work my shawls from the point up, and I will continue to seek out simpler patterns that I can enjoy knitting, and make use of all of those lovely hand dyed yarns out there!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Good news first! The shawl is going well so far. I am 10 rows into the lace edging and even though I had a minor freakout when I was 1 stitch off on the cast on, I seem to be on target now.

I have found that being PRECISELY on the stitch count at all times is a tall order for me. So what I've been doing is "reading" the knitting below to make sure all of the increases and decreases are in the in the right spots, and making up the extra stitches or lack thereof in the side panels, where it's less visible.

Maybe it won't be perfect, but it won't be a total mess. I also figured out, statistically speaking, that doing just ONE row with only a 1% margin of error would add up to having 3 stitches off. That's a lot; enough to throw off a pattern. And who expects to have 99% accuracy on all things?

Now for the bad, the slippers were too small! After cramping up my hands doing that silly round-the-sole 3-needle bind off and felting for 2 hours and drying for a week, I put them on last night to find they were too short. They were also too short for my mom, whose feet are smaller than mine.

Fortunately, they found a new home with one of the ladies in Mom's workshop, who is completely impressed and wore them all afternoon during the workshop.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Project Updates

Important notice***read the post below this too!***

Green Felted Ballet Slippers: done. I made them to replace the red pair I have enjoyed for several years, which tragically developed a hole in the bottom. The red ones were dyed with Tropical Punch Kool Aid, and the green ones with Lemon Lime. I did the green ones with a double sole like the pattern originally intended, which was a) a pain in the butt and b) rendered them WAY slow in drying :-)

Piggy/Boobie Blanket: done. At long last. The pattern wasn't terrible to do, but it was indeed a lot of little futzy ends and bits and pieces and ends to be woven in. Not my favorite type of pattern, but worth it as it is very cute.

Immense Dishrag: done. It is a crocheted pattern that's very cute; something fun & mindless to work on in front of the TV. I just needed something that didn't require much of my brain that evening. I chained the number of stitches called for, and ended up with a dishrag that's almost a hand towel.

Currently I'm working on a pair of scrappy socks from ends of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock left from other projects. It's just too good to waste. This is my "carrying around" project.

And then just last night I started Ene's Shawl from Scarf Style to use my bright green Lacey Lamb. I think it's going pretty good. I've never done a shawl where you cast on for the long side first, and it is really tedious casting on 375 stitches. I just did the first actual row this morning, and I came up with one stitch extra. I'm REALLY hoping that it was just a miscount on my cast on row. I always seem to have this happen with lace; I'm close, but just one or two stitches off. Sigh. Wish me luck. It took me two sittings to do the stupid cast on, so I am totally not down with ripping this crap out.

(less) Technologically Impaired

UPDATE : I now have a gmail account. It is:

leopard mama 169 at gmail dot com

Just omit spaces and insert the standard email-style symbols.

If you are reading this and know you used to be on my contact list, would like to be, or know someone who should be, please give me a holler and pass it on to friends. Ask them to email me back so I can add them as a contact as well. Thanks!


If anyone has tried to email me in the past week, I have been suddenly locked out of my Hotmail account. So, I am not ignoring you. I just can't get in to my *&%$ account. And as a result, I have lost all of my contact info.

Update later :-)