Sunday, September 23, 2007

Magical Moebius Knitting

I've been enthralled with Cat Bordhi's Treasury of Magical Knitting books for quite a while now. I checked them out from the library several times each, and finally bought them from with a gift certificate I earned through MyPoints*.

The cast-on is ridiculously fast. She calls it MCO - Moebius cast-on - and it is essentially a provisional cast-on. I MCO'ed 269ish stitches in about three minutes...yeah, long-tail cast-on is fast, but I don't think it's that fast. I say 269ish because despite counting several times, at the end of my first round, I had 11 extra stitches. It worked out great, though, because the lace pattern I'm using is an 11 stitch repeat.

Anyway. The first half-round is the hardest part. Every other stitch is mounted backwards and you have to knit it through the back loop. The stitches are also spaced oddly at first. But once you past the first half-round, it's easy peasy. Suddenly everything is where it should be and all is right with the world.

I'm making a lace shoulder wrap from the first book. I substituted Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Lapis for the recommended yarn, and adjusted the number of cast-on stitches to accommodate the slightly different gauge. (Half a stitch per inch is a lot when you're talking 48-50 inches.)

So I'm nearly through with round 7, after starting it Thursday (?) night. (The cast-on number is deceptive. You actually end up with twice as many stitches as you cast on, because you're knitting both the top and bottom rows at the same time. Therefore, in my case, each round is 550 stitches. The upside is that I only have to knit 40 rounds.)

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(Click for a close-up that traces the edge(s) of the wrap. It'll blow your mind...)

It's slow going, but I'm hoping to have it finished in time to wear it to the fair, assuming there's a chill in the air when we go. One never knows with this time of year in Oklahoma. Our fair is always the last weekend in September and the first weekend in October, and I can think of times when it was freezing, when it was raining, and when shorts and a t-shirt felt like too much clothing.

Other projects currently on the needles:

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Dream Swatch, currently just shy of 28" long

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Very basic 3x2 ribbed hat in the merino/alpaca/silk blend previously scored at Tuesday Morning. (I also got several more balls of it at the other Tuesday Morning store near my house, so I now have plenty to make a hat, scarf, and probably fingerless gloves...and will probably even have some leftover after that.)

* If you're interested in signing up with MyPoints, let me know and I'll send you a referral email.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Me & Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Mr. Nekkid and I drove to Wichita Saturday evening, in order to go see the Yarn Harlot yesterday. This is actually the second time I've seen her live...she was in Oklahoma City last year to promote Knitting Rules! Anyway, yesterday morning we were killing time between checking out of the motel and going to the event. We were hanging out at Barnes & Noble, and I was feverishly working on my charity hat, intended to be donated at the event. I'd seated myself in one of four cushy chairs arranged in a square, deliberately next to the chair that seemed to be saved with a coat. (I'll always choose to sit side-by-side, rather than facing, a stranger. Somehow it seems easier to ignore someone if you don't have to look at them.)

A little while later, the occupant of the chair reclaimed her seat. She asked what I was working on, and I told her, and she started telling me how she learned to knit as a little girl. We chatted for a while, and I told her why I was in town. Eventually, she expressed an interested in attending the event. Tickets were required, but I'd gotten one for Mr. Nekkid...and he'd already told me he'd rather hang out at Borders instead. So I offered her his ticket, and warned her to get there early.

I took my own advice, and got there at 1:00 (it started at 3:00). Only one other car was there, so we both just stayed in our cars. It was warm, but there was a good breeze so we just sat there with our windows rolled down, knitting and waiting. Finally a third car showed up, and those ladies explored the building looking for an open door. It was still locked down, so they finally returned to the designated entrance and set up camp. My neighbors decided to do the same, so as to secure their place as first in line (they had earned it, after all). I opted to stay in my shaded, if overheated, car so I would not get sunburned due to the lack of shade near the entrance. If I'd wanted to sit on the ground, I could have sat under a small tree...but being third in line just wasn't THAT important to me. :)

A few more people arrived, but I stayed in my car, figuring I'd get out either when a crowd started to gather, or they opened the doors, whichever came first. Luckily, the latter happened just before the former. (This also happened to be almost the exact moment that I was snipping the woven-in ends off the hat...I'm glad I knit those couple of rows while waiting for a train to pass.) We were allowed in to the hallway at 2:00, and within minutes the line stretched out the door. Sadly, what was a nice, cool, dark hallway was quickly overheated due to numerous bodies + door propped open to 90 degree weather. At 2:30 we were allowed in to the auditorium, our tickets stamped as we walked in.

She was hilarious, as expected. At one point she actually gave us a demonstration of how she knits (she's freaking FAST) - right needle tucked under her arm, moving only the left needle. Of course, the only knitting she had with her was the sock, so this demonstration was done on the garter-stitch scarf of the lady sitting on the front row (my neighbor from before, line member #1). Stephanie demonstrated both knitting and purling, and then started to tink it so as not to upset the lovely garter stitch Violet had going on. Violet refused, and I'm sure she will display those purls with pride at her next SnB. I know I would.

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She ended up speaking for more than an hour, and then signed books at the end. She announced that she would allow "pre-boarding" for anyone who needed to dash - the elderly woman with the walker, for instance, or the yarn store owner who was rushing back to open up for all the knitters who wanted to migrate there afterwards. After those people, we were called up in the order of the stamp on the back of our tickets. I was number 17 - wooo! (This was much better than my original ticket number - #242.) I'd been feeling bad about bringing three books - my own, Harriet's, and the one I'll be giving my coworker tomorrow. But I saw someone in front of me with five, and then I didn't feel so bad. Time passed and it was my turn, and she was gracious and funny and even took a picture of me with my first sock. Then I handed my camera to the lady behind me in line, and we took a holding the traveling sock, and her holding my sock.

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Sadly, I will have to frog it as it's turning out way too big. I know I have cankles, but it's 9.5" in diameter, unstretched. I'd gotten quite a bit done on it, too - about 3.5" from the cast-on edge. Oh well. I'll start over and at least it'll still be the same yarn...maybe I'll even try something more than a stockinette sock while I'm at it.

I never did find the woman from the bookstore again. I left shortly after getting my books signed, and went back to Borders to pick up my husband. We got a bite to eat and headed home, arriving around 9:30 last night. It was a fun trip, but I'm glad to be back home!

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tuesday Morning yarn score

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How did I never know that Tuesday Morning carried yarn? At least, sporadically. Anyway, what we have here is one ball of Berger du Nord Charmant, a DK weight (I think) 50% silk, 50% wool in a nice medium blue. Then there are five balls (sadly, two dyelots) of Peru Chunky Luxury, a bulky weight 70% merino, 20% alpaca, 10% silk in a pretty burgundy color. This should make a nice pair of fingerless gloves, and maybe a skinny scarf or a hat.

I have also just discovered that there is not one, but two additional Tuesday Morning stores in the area. I actually drove right past one to get to the one I went to today, but I never knew it was there. Guess where I'll be at noon tomorrow?

I also bought two of these boxes to store some yarn in. I figure, if it must be up in a closet in a box, it might as well be a pretty box.

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More fun with Kool-Aid

My grandmother gave me some Norwegian superwash DK weight wool a few years ago, shortly after I started knitting. There were four skeins in a natural white color that I never really did anything with. Naturally, they fell victim to my new dyeing addiction.

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Two packets grape. This was an unexpected result, given that the last time I tried grape I got greyish-lavender. Still, I'm quite pleased with it.

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Another attempt at striping. This is three flavors - pink lemonade, watermelon cherry, and black cherry. Of course, since I'm so pleased with the shade delivered by watermelon cherry, it is nowhere to be found anymore.

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Two packets tropical punch (not to be confused with Hawaiian Punch, although I think that would probably provide a similar result). I LOVE LOVE LOVE this red, and I hope I can duplicate it.

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Two packets lemon-lime. It has a slightly mottled effect - I like it. I'm thinking about doubling this up with the variegated pink above for a baby hat.

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And finally, the end result from my previous post (black cherry and grape). This is Lamb's Pride Bulky, of course.

Next up: six skeins of Paton's Classic Merino in Natural White. I have over 100 packets of koolaid in the house...who knows what I'll come up with? :)