Thursday, August 31, 2006

Washing Up

In this business, you can never wash the dinner dishes and say they are done.
You have to keep doing them constantly.
-Mary Wells Lawrence

Just like the dishes keep piling up (incredible, that!), so do the dish rags. Here's the latest stashbuster. (Which would be why the white white white is so very tonally unrelated to the rest. Stashbusting.)

Ballband the Second
Mason-Dixon Knitting Ballband Dishcloth
Yarn: odd oddballs of Kitchen Cotton and Sugar and Cream
Needles: US 7 Susan Bates aluminum
Notes: I rarely use my aluminum straight needles, but when I'm making dishcloths it just seems right. I think it's a retro thing.
Best Thing About This Project: Feeling virtuous on so many levels: knitting from the stash (and the oddball stash at that!), using the knitting, and - amazingly enough - doing dishes!

So I know these are a dime-a-dozen around blogland these days, but why are we all still using standard unmercernized cotton? When are people going to start branching out into the novelty yarns? Think of all the scrubbing power of nylon.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Birthday Bliss

God's in his Heaven - All's right with the world.
-"Pippa Passes," Robert Browning

Sometimes the stars just align. Perfectly. And my birthday weekend was just that good. But let's back up a little bit and take a look at the package that kicked it all off.

While some people have been incredibly patient about waiting until their birthday to open their August Birthday Swap packages, well . . . I'm not one of them. My package came a day early, and I waited about 30 seconds before ripping into it. And what a package!

Carrie K
really outdid herself, with - I might add - exactly no help from myself. No questionairre questions, no guidance of any sort, and not even all that much blog posting recently. No matter. She came up with her own themes - blue and beach. Works for me.

What you can kind of see on the right (Photobucket is NOT doing well this am) is a lovely selection of blue and beach themed fabric, some wonderful blue yarn, and three adorable tape measures. The best part? A BLUE garter stitch entrelac dishcloth. Handknit. Not by me. Awesome. Awesome.

Note the Alpaca silk. Note the Artyarns Supermerino. Note the King Tut Egyptian cotton. These are good yarns for a gal in San Diego, let me tell you. (OK, they are good yarns in general. But especially for a gal in San Diego.) And do you see the road trip tape measure? With the red car handle? And how 'bout that bumblebee one up top?

With a start like that, is it any wonder my birthday weekend was fabulous? Thanks, Carrie!

Friday, August 25, 2006

All Over Again

You make the beds, you do the dishes, and six months later you have to start all over again.
-Joan Rivers

Month 3 of my 13 month internship is here, and it is looking to be a very very good month. For one, it's my birthday tomorrow. For two, it has the word "clinic" in the title. Do you know what that means? Clinics have hours. Regular. Scheduled. Hours. No call. No weekends. No nights. . . . for the last time until April, so I'm enjoying it while I can. Is it any wonder I'm getting a little caught up on the knitting plan?

On your left is the finished Dale baby hat. Isn't it just about the cutest thing ever? The pattern calls for a pom-pom on top, and I'm inclined to agree, but that'll wait until I see how much of which colors I have after finishing (and starting) the matching sweater. (Don't hold your breath.) Close up of the adorable ladybugs on your right. Blocking is an amazing, amazing thing for stranded colorwork. There are reasons you're not really seeing a lot of "before" shots.

Ladybug Baby Hat
Pattern: cover hat (matching sweater to follow) from Baby Knits from Dale of Norway (now tragically out of print) in colorway #2
Yarn: Dale Baby Ull. soft. machine washable. inexpensive. great colors. Yum!
Needles: US 0 16" Addis for band, US 2 16" Addis for top
Notes: The only real modification to this project was that I picked up the cast-on row and knit the hem together with the body when I reached that length on the body. The pattern called for just folding up the hem, but it looked like it was way more inclined to roll than that, so I took a proactive approach.
Best Thing About This Project: knitting on call

And now that that's finished, look what's in store for Month 3: Twenty skeins arrived in the mail yesterday. Time to dye my needles blue!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

G'Day, Mates!

Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.
It's already tomorrow in Australia.
-Charles M. Shultz

If I had ever required proof that the world is a small world indeed, Meg would provide it. To make a long story of many emails short, she used to shop at the same historic arcade that I did. And now she lives in Australia. We never would have 'met.' But now she writes a knitting blog. On which she does many fun things, including documenting the wild beast known as the novelty scarf in its natural habitat (go searching for the whole series - very worthwhile) and having fun contests. Which I just won. International post being what it is, I had nearly (but not quite) forgotten that I was expecting this. I was so delightfully surprised to come home to this gorgeous handpainted Montage Collection Mohair from New Zealand in stunning colors. They call it Aubergine. I think it has all the jewel tones of a peacock (or, my birds of paradise, for that matter). It is fabulous. Dramatic. Stunning, even. It says night out on the town. It says that I am way classier than I really am, but who here has ever won an argument with their yarn?

Any pattern suggestions? I have 200g, about 400m. And I'm all ears. The yarn is talking, why don't you?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Useful and Beautiful

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful,
or believe to be beautiful.
-William Morris

Let's review the plan, shall we? My year of indentured servitude internship is divided into 13 "months." I knit. I want to continue to knit. Oh, and by the way, I just moved a huge number of boxes of knitting books and yarn cross-country. Maybe I should use them. Especially the books. Books are heavier than yarn. So each "month" I intend to start (yes, there is no mention of finishing here) a project from a here-to-fore under-utilized book.

While Month 1 is still sitting around here somewhere in a state of uncompletion, Month 2 is actually done. Amazing. Incredible. To what complicated involved project did I devote so much time and attention? A Mason-Dixon ballband dishcloth!

OK, you have definitely not seen it here first. You have definitely not seen it here last. But you have now seen it here. Useful. Beautiful. The colors are not that fun, but it was oddballs. And simple enough to knit while reading about osteopenia. I'm a convert. I may have even started a second one. You know, so that I'll have another unfinished project lying around. Never can have too many of those.

Month 3 starts on Tuesday. It is entirely possible that I have just ordered some yarn. All that yarn I just moved cross-country? That would be wool.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


this is a poem about loving
the world and everything in it:
the self, the perpetual muscle,
the passage in and out, the bristling
swing of the sea.
-Mary Oliver

Thanks for all your lovely comments on my NewCaliforniaLifestyleTank - isn't it exciting to have a new FO around here? (And even more exciting that I still have readers. Thanks for bearing with the crazy schedule.) Speaking of knitting summer tanks - San Diego still has the legendarily perfect weather. Nevertheless, there's a part of my soul that knows autumn is coming. And that part of me still wants to pull out my scarves and thick socks and go on a hayride drinking apple cider. That same part of me wants to start knitting all 'my' winter sweaters and other wooly goodness. In the absence of an actual physical need to knit heavy wool sweaters, I'm going to think about it instead.

Enter the Fall Interweave Knits. Just in the nick of time. I've seen a lot of folks commenting that this was not their favorite issue, or that they didn't think they would make anything out of it. My first impression was quite positive, that there's a lot of good stuff here. Granted, none of it falls into the "Drop Everything and Knit It NOW" category, but, really, new patterns rarely jump ahead in the queue for me. (A notable exception: Winter Folly here. That sweater just threw itself into my hands and said "Knit Me.") So, with the realization that, no matter how much I like a particular pattern in this issue, I'm probably not making it anytime soon , I sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed my romp through creative, interesting, and (mostly) wearable patterns. (This skirt is a notable exception to the "wearable" concept.)

The Gatsby Girl pullover in Rowan Cashsoft (up left) - classic, stylish, incredibly flattering. And, with it's elbow-length sleeves, it may just be the one sweater I'd consider adding to my San Diego knitting list. There are reasons women used to wear corsets. I'm not advocating we go back to that (or to the WWII days when the Army issued regulation girdles to female servicemembers), but this is one lovely sweater. Then there's Kristin Nicholas' Little Majolica on the right. Aside from the obvious problems with handwashable fabrics for kids and the fact that my color sensibilities differ a great deal from hers, fun to knit, fun to wear. How much fun can you possibly have in a sweater? A lot, by the looks of it. Other winners include this lovely men's sweater that I could actually picture real, live men wearing (a rarity, to be sure), and Kate Gilbert's Silken Spencer. I'm too short for this, but it is tres chic.

Now for the hard part. I just don't know what to make of this Northern Lights Jacket. My first impression was that it is absolutely striking. There's something I find really gorgeous about it. But it's also quite a bold pattern for a little, form-fitting jacket. And does anyone else find it vaguely remniscent of a butterfly? Thoughts? Comments? It is striking, but maybe there's something about it that's just a little bit off? The scale, perhaps?

And then I would be remiss if I didn't point out at least one of the less-than-inspiring patterns in the issue. This Glasgow Lace sweater (yes, another moment of sympathy for this poor model who has been noted by others to always get the worse modeling assignments). Lovely lace, lovely yarn, lovely girl. But that is just not the place in the middle she (or any of us, for that matter) should be cut off with a swinging top. Unfortunate all the way around.

I don't subscribe to knitting magazines for the patterns, in the same way that I don't read knitting blogs to find cool yarns/patterns/things to knit. Bonus when I do, but in general I do it to stay involved with the knitting community at large. This particular Interweave makes me happy to be a knitter. Actual knitting optional.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Inventing the Universe

To make an apple pie from scratch,
you must first invent the universe.
-Carl Sagan

Once again, I am utterly and completely dumbfounded. Struck by the absolute coolness that I started with a bunch of yarn and ended up with this:

Lacy Aran Tank
Pattern: Lacy Aran Tee and Tank (tank), Reynolds Saucy #82302
Yarn: Reynolds Saucy 3 1/2 skeins
Needles: Addi Turbos US 5, 16"
Notes: I followed this pattern exactly as written - I think I even made it in the same color as the example - with one exception: I made the cables mirror images, because that kind of thing drives me crazy. This was a quick knit with minimal finishing. The fact that it took me 11 months is secondary to a winter in RI and a busy first couple months in California, not to any actual difficulty with the pattern. But now that it's done? I'll wear it all the time.
Best Thing About This Project: Finally being able to wear something I've knit in California.

(It's been so long since we've seen a finished object around here that I had to look through my archives and figure out how to blog it!)

Perfect for MyNewCaliforniaLifestyle in every respect, cotton, lacey, the blue of the sky, the blue of my eyes, this is my first warm-weather knit. And I like it. A lot.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Time Flies

Time flies when you're having fun!

It felt like I just posted to the blog, but I guess not. Here's my day on call:
It is an absolutely, positively, beyond-compare gorgeous day in San Diego. Perfect* for sitting in the hospital courtyard and catching up on my reading (and knitting) in between phone calls from the floor. In fact, I've since knit 3 more inches on this baby hat . . . not to mention the learning opportunities! See the sundappled-ness? Looks like my new cell phone (old cell phone met an untimely demise at the hands of a violent latte) takes decent photos.

The other great thing about sitting in the hospital courtyard is all the attention from passers-by, several of whom wanted on the spot knitting lessons. Good times.

*Also, I will admit, a perfect beach day. However, I'm making the best of a Saturday call day here, so bear with me.

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Banner Day

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass
and loses itself in the sunset.


Yesterday was a banner day (except, of course, that I missed Knit Salon. Again.). Screen on the Green - Some Like It Hot outside in the park called instead. Did you know you can buy juice boxes of wine for those times you're not allowed to have glass? (You can.) But even before that I was in a great mood. Want to know why?

My mail service has resumed after my move. While I'll hold off on the paean to the US Postal Service (or would an ode be more appropriate?), my local mail carrier brought me two wonderful things:

1. My fall Interweave Knits did. (More thoughts on the issue later, but I think I liked it more than many of you in blogland).

2. This:Silk. Wool. Singles. Hand-dyed. Gorgeous. Stunning. My favorite colors. I need to knit it now; I may never knit it, I may just carry it around with me all day every day. And why are visions of mini capelettes dancing through my head? Never worn a capelette in my life, but I think I may be about to start. Because this yarn is definitely whispering in my ear.

P.S. I really DO think that's a tiger in yesterday's photo. I think I was at Tiger River taking these. But maybe it was really Monkey Trails? Either way, it's a wild beast.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Swimmer

When you fall into a river,
you're no longer a fisherman;
you're a swimmer.
-Gene Hill

I've seen it, you've seen it, we've all seen it all over blogland - the apologies from bloggers on vacation, bloggers with new jobs, bloggers whose real lives have taken precedence over their blogs (and even - gasp! - their knitting!). Well, no apologies here. You know I've been busy. If you need a reminder, in the past 8 weeks I have driven cross-country, moved (twice now), and started my internship. I'm trying desperately not to abandon Rachel, who is probably rueing the day she ever agreed to co-host a knitalong with me, and attempting to actually knit. Remember the grand plan for knitting through internship? Yeah, me neither. Oh,and did I mention that my family came to visit last week? Or that I need to buy my camoflague uniforms for this in 4 short weeks and the uniform shop is out of my size? It's a busy NewCaliforniaLifestyle, that's for sure.

Fun with the family meant another trip to The World Famous San Diego Zoo. See the tiger up top? See the ladybugs to the right? Any guesses who would win if you put them together in close quarters?

Right. So I stayed a safe distance away and knit away on this adorable baby hat. I'm now at the knit plain st st portion on US 2s instead of knit 3 colors in a row on US 0s. Needless to say, it's coming along much zippier now. It's too too cute. Too bad my first month (and then some) of internship is over and that's all I've accomplished from July's reading list.

Nevertheless, my first month of medicine wards is finished and I'm quickly learning the finer points of ortho/sports medicine. A nice change of pace calls for a new project, don't you think? August's "assignment" coming your way soon. Me thinks it might be a little smaller than a fairisle baby set on US 2s . . .