Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I wanted to buy a ball winder. I'm finally moving beyond Red Heart and similarly mass-produced acrylic yarns that come in pull skeins, and I'm going to need to wind yarn. (And there are all those collapsed, partially used pull-skeins of Red Heart that could benefit from rewinding.) There was a ball winder on Jo-Ann's two days ago, and today a 20%-off coupon from Jo-Ann's arrived in my e-mail. So I went to order and...yeah, Jo-Ann's is out of ball winders.

So I checked out Herrschners, which has more expensive ball winders. And bigger shipping charges. Winder-plus-shipping was going to be close to $50. So I went to KnitPicks. Ball winder for $39.95, and free shipping for orders over $45. So I ordered a 440-yard ball of laceweight Shimmer (alpaca/silk) yarn for $5.99. (I got the Turquoise Splendor.) I'll get ball winder and yarn for $45.98.

But the ball winder is an imperative. The ballband for the yarn I'm using on Jacey's sweater has torn off. Without that restraint, that pull-skein of boucle yarn has blown up to something the size of a basketball. It's now impossible to take this project with me when I go out. I'm hoping the ball winder arrives soon, before this plum-colored tumbleweed rolls around my living room and scoops up both dogs. Frankly, I'm a little afraid to finish this sweater and tackle Sam's, for fear that ballband will break and I'll have warring tumbleweeds...

I spent a small fortune today on "necessaries": A new tire, oil change, emission inspection (which my 14-year-old car passed with flying colors), and tag-fee/ad-valorem tax for my car. The inspection costs more than the ad-valorem tax. And one tire cost more than both of them. And I shopped at Costco to stock up on Diet Coke and get a few Christmas presents for those people you don't know how to shop for. (Chocolate-covered Belgium cookies for the brother-in-law's brother. Stuff like that.)

While I was sitting in the Pep Boys' waiting room--since I couldn't take Jacey's sweater-plus-tumbleweed with me--I worked on the socks I started knitting back in October, then put aside. After the frustrations of working with boucle yarn that hides all your stitches, it actually was satisfying to work on the socks, where I can see what I'm doing. I'm hating those socks a lot less, now. I'll probably use them as my take-to-work project for a while. I'm on the cuffs--they're a top-down pattern--and I can work on them at lunchtime as long as the pattern stays easy.

In other news: I've reread Harry Potter 1-4, and now I've finished #5. (The fifth movie comes out here on DVD in less than two weeks.) I also watched Macbeth--the Sean Pertwee version--from Netflix. And I've watched Elizabeth I with Helen Mirren; I have to look away from the execution scenes.

I'm going to sit up tonight and work on Jacey's sweater while watching DVDs--maybe Monsters Inc., Shrek, Howl's Moving Castle. Non-bloody, non-nightmare movies. Between Elizabeth I and that babycake video I just posted, I've got a brainful of gore and icky images.
I just ordered some hand-dyed yarn from Lisa Souza. It's a lot of yarn for about $30...a fingering-weight wool to be used for a scarf, and other things. It's nearly 1800 yards (8 ounces) in a color called Pumpkin (center of the third row), a sort of milky orange. The scarf only requires about 350 yards, so there'll be enough yarn left for socks...and other things. I'm also going to order an inexpensive ball winder. The idea of winding that much yarn without a winder is daunting, and I have all kinds of partial skeins--collapsed Red Heart pull skeins--that could benefit from being wound into sensible, compact little balls/cakes.

I've been working on Jacey's sweater. The yarn is frustrating--lovely color and texture, but boucle yarns are hard to knit on. There's no stitch definition: you can accidentally knit a purl row (or vice versa) and not even be able to tell. (When you're knitting in stockinette stitch and can't tell the difference between the front and the back: that's "no stitch definition.") I need to do about 6 more inches on the "tail" of the sweater, then the border band and the arm bands. (The bands were supposed to be ribbing, but there's no point in ribbing when you can't see the stitches.) Then it's on to Sam's sweater. I'm going to experiment with doing his sweater on larger needles. (I dropped two needle sizes from the pattern recommendation to get gauge on Jacey's sweater.) Sam's sweater--knit at the same gauge at Jacey's--would require another 33 stitches in the chest area (153 stitches on his vs 120 stitches on hers), and since he's so much longer, too, I'd be knitting forever. If I use larger needles, I can work fewer stitches per inch, and get his sweater done in about as many stitches as her sweater. I hope. Since I have to invent a pattern for Sam's sweater (the pattern book doesn't have a size large enough for a dog with a 31.5" chest), I might as well invent one with fewer stitches.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Craft-y Stuff

I finished the red booties for Havefaith1's godson's baby. (The red is less orange than what you see in the photo.) The baby will be a Christmas baby, so there are two sets of ribbons in the booties. After the holidays, the parents can pull out the green ribbons and have red booties with white ribbons.

Red Booties

I finished the doily for Caro (my sister's mother-in-law). I've got to remember that certain doilies are not recommended for the spatially challenged--10-point doilies, just for starters. The doily is in cream-colored thread and measures just over 12 inches.

Spring Petals

I've bought a bit of yarn lately. First, there's the yarn I bought for dog sweaters. Here are the dogs--with their sweaters-to-be.

Sam and Yarn Jacey and Yarn

Here's the Misti International "Pretty in Pink" and the Kraemer Silk and Sterling.

Misti Pretty in Pink Sterling Black 2

And I got some garnet DMC Cebelia for a fancy doily for my sister and her husband's next anniversary (their 30th in June). The pattern specified two balls of white, 400 yards per ball. I doubt the doily will use all that; it'll just need something more than 400 yards. But since the Cebelia balls are 282 yards each, I ordered three balls. (The color is off in these photographs.) The pattern is a really unsual design, and I'm looking forward to that one.

Garnet Cebelia 10 3

And I bought some yarn for my Secret Santa on Ravelry, and made a doily for her, too. The yarn is Malabrigo Merino Kettle-Dyed Worsted Weight in the Verde colorway. The doily pattern is "Audrey." The doily measures nearly 20 inches.

Malabrigo Audrey

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wake up, mom!

Nothing like a nice jolt of adrenaline right before bedtime...

I was sitting on the sofa, watching TV, Sam next to me, Jacey on a bed behind the sofa. Jacey suddenly woke up screaming, and got up limping...not putting weight on her front right leg. Talk about shades of Oreo...

But apparently it was just a cramp. After a few steps, she was willing to put her weight on the leg, and a couple of steps further and she stopped limping. Sam came over to give her a sympathy sniff. (He's done the screaming-cramp thing once or twice--one time at 2 am.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

From the Ravelry (knitters and crocheters) database...

From the designer who brought us knitable Daleks comes Hobbit baby booties.

For my Secret Santa...

Yarn or crochet thread of any kind, any color. Surprise me! Challenge me! (I'll find a pattern to make.) My favorite colors are khakis, greenish-greys, mossy greens, etc. Or tomato reds. But I can always make something in a non-favorite color as a present for someone else. (But, you gotta know: socks aren't likely to happen soon.)

Books! My Amazon Wish List is up-to-date. My sister and family shop from the list for my birthday and for Christmas, and my sister probably already has raided the list to shop for the whole family's gifts to me. (My birthday is at the end of November). If you get me something from there, please mark it as purchased. I promise not to peek at the list.

Oh, and chocolate is always good. ;)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I've been busy...

On my days off, I've been spending time on Ravelry's Help! Chat room or on the Ravelry site itself. I'm editing patterns, talking new users through signing in, and answering questions on forums. Another Raveler with more craft books than she knew what to do with has sent me a huge box of pattern books, mostly crochet--lots of afghans and baby stuff. I've been trying to put together an inventory of the books I have now. Oh, and there's a group of BookCrossers on Ravelry, too. (BCJennyO is there, GreedyReader, Inkognitoh, Tzurriz, Elhamisabel, and a bunch of others.)

And I'm doing craft stuff. I finished a doily last night (I'll block it Monday night and post pictures, Tuesday, I hope). I found a lovely scarf pattern that I want to make after Christmas, and I need to shop for yarn to make it. (Want to express an opinion on colors? I'm looking at this yarn. I sort of like the Melange Moss Grey, which looks much better in the close-up. Or the Tomato on the second page. But I'm planning to shop at a local yarn store, so I can see the colors for real, rather than on-line.) I have a couple of other projects due by Christmas, including that perpetual needlepoint stocking.

The dogs are fine. The increased dosage of thyroid meds is finally helping Jacey. She's dropped some weight--the way she's supposed to on the meds--so I can increase her food quantity back to what it used to be. And her hair is growing back nicely. Sam is--Sam. Still sweet, still goofy, still destructive if you give him half a chance. Now that the weather is a bit colder, both dogs are snuggling with me in my bed all night. They're going in to work with me on Thursday; they need baths.