Monday, October 29, 2007

Nah Nah Nah Nah, Nah Nah Nah Nah...

Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye.

Here's what I was so excited about last week.
N's Hat

Casting away previous excuses ("too tired..wah wah wah"), I followed a chart! And I was so excited.

Now, not so much. I tried it on my son, and the fit is terrible. You see, this pattern, the "Norwegian Star Cap" from "Hat's On" by Charlene Schurch, has you do a knitted cast-on, knit a hem, then knit a picot edge (my first!), and then motor on up the chart to the top of the hat. I switched it to a provisional cast-on because I thought it wouldn't show as much from the front when it was tacked down because there would be less bulk. I think I had the right instincts, but trying to cast on exactly 112 stitches provisionally is difficult, and I think I hit about 118. So I decreased a few and it was no big deal, or so I thought.

I tried the hat on my son and it flares out at the brim. Not the desired look in a cap. So I think I will knit it again, this time like Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Very Warm Hat" by using long-tail cast-on, starting immediately on the chart, and then later picking up the cast-on and knitting the inside facing under it. Maybe I'll line the whole thing. Or maybe, once again, I'm insane. All my posts are ending that way lately, aren't they? So much verbage for such a little hat.

Here is the top-down jacket:
Beaverslide top-down jacket

I have about 3 inches of the other sleeve done, too, so hopefully this will be a finished object before the snow flies.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cleaning House

As previously mentioned, we are in the first stages of thinking about our upcoming move in the spring/summer next year. We have visited the place we think we might want to live, although we're waffling back and forth on that.

Now, it's time to visit our house. The one we will need to put on the market in possibly a mere four months.

An objective eye is always the sellers' best friend when it comes to selling a house. You know what I mean. It's important to detach oneself from sentimental decorating choices and get real.

That leads me to this.

Hideous or Kitschy?

Don't laugh. This is in our garage. It is not our fault. It was there when we bought the house. And, well, it's in the garage. The spooky thing is that sometimes when you turn on the light in the garage, the fan turns. Sometimes it doesn't.

So, I am inclined to leave it. It's in the garage, after all, and neither my husband nor I really want to deal with tearing it out and covering up the resulting hole. Good idea...or not? Maybe it's worth a kajillion dollars and I could list it on craigslist. Or maybe I'm just insane.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Notes on Beaverslide

I first encountered Beaverslide yarn when Leanne used to sell it on eBay. She packaged it in auctions of four or five skeins, sometimes of different colors as a sampler. I bought some 90% wool/10% mohair in Bluebird to make a sweater for my younger sister for Christmas. It would match her eyes. It was among my first sweaters, and it was an ambitious Christmas--I had three sweaters on the needles for my sisters and my mom, and then...well, I got pregnant. I didn't finish a single thing on time. I was so nauseated and tired, it took all my energy to get to and from work. It turned out I didn't have enough Beaverslide yarn to finish my sister's sweater, and that's when I first encountered Leanne's excellent customer service. Of course she had more of the same dyelot--she holds a few back for this very reason. They all got their sweaters in the next few months...

Next, I bought some more 90/10 in Glacier Heather directly from Leanne to make my first Wonderful Wallaby for our infant son. I was pleased--it matched his eyes.
Beaverslide Wallaby

However, sensitive that others might not want baby things in wool, I didn't use it again for awhile. I didn't have much time to knit, either. By the time I got back to it, Beaverslide had been reviewed in Knitter's Review and had become very popular--or, at least popular enough that the auctions disappeared from eBay.

Not too long ago, I bought my first McTaggert Tweed. I was intrigued with the colors and when I received it, the texture was amazing. Almost like a boucle, very soft and, for lack of a more technical term, squishy. (The doesn't match my eyes. Thank God.)

I've been knitting with it now for the past two or three weeks, working on a top-down jacket, and have only found it more interesting. My swatch with size 9 needles gave me 3.5 stitches to the inch before washing, and it was a struggle to get 4 sts to the inch with size 8 needles. That was not fun knitting. This yarn wants to be knit at a chunky weight, in my opinion. Besides that, when I did get 4 sts to the inch, after a solid wet block, the yarn relaxed back to 3.5 stitches to the inch. The row gauge changed ever-so-slightly as well--it actually shrunk a little bit.
Another endearing thing about Beaverslide McTaggert Tweed.... I had to completely change how I knit. Well, that might be overstating things. But previously, to get even tension, I would always wind the yarn around my pinky finger.
I got so much drag knitting this way with the McTaggert Tweed. I don't know if it's that I have dry hands, but the yarn was catching on my skin and it was very difficult to knit this way. Not fast. Not at all. So, as I wanted to finish this sweater in 2007, I decided to play around with things a little...
So here's how I do it now. Remarkably faster with this yarn and the tension might be a little off, but I keep telling myself what Meg Swansen said about blocking wool; that it's just magic.

The other thing to keep in mind about this yarn, in my experience, is that it breaks much more easily than other 100% wool yarns I've encountered. I haven't used it for cabling, but it doesn't take much tension to snap it.

Well, I love most yarn. But there's something special about Beaverslide McTaggert Tweed, and no one paid me to say that nor gave me any yarn to say that either. (but I'd be open to free yarn! Oh Leanne? Just kidding!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Hi there. Since I put that "Blogging without Obligation" button on my blog, it seems I've turned into a blog slacker. Anyway, with good reason.

See, we're moving to Boston. We currently live in Wisconsin, and have lived here for seven years. It is home for me. But, for reasons that will go unexplained right now on the blog, it's better for us financially to move to Boston. We are planning to do that next spring/summer. Which is coming up faster than one might think.

So this past weekend, my husband, our daughter and I went to Boston to check out neighborhoods and preschools. (Our son had a *great* weekend with grandma and grandpa.) Preschools, as some people know, start enrolling almost a year before, so I knew we needed to get that in line pretty quickly.

I will spare you the gory details, but our trip was mostly crap. I got lost a million times, despite having a GPS in the rental car. M came down with a fever, and our plane was delayed for 3+ hours at Logan on the way back. Previously, my worst flying experience had been an unexpected overnight stay in O'Hare way back in 1996 or 97. That was before children. This was worse--having a dehydrated, feverish, angry toddler in an airport for most of an afternoon was something I hope never to repeat again.

We were fortunate to meet Devon for lunch on Friday, while M was still perky and feeling well, and that was the highlight of the trip for us! Devon is such a sweetheart--she brought a coloring book and crayons for M. It was so nice to meet her in person and determine that she really is as genuine and goodhearted as one thinks she is.

Thankfully, I had some time to knit on the plane. I worked on the Top-Down Jacket:
Elderberry Top-Down Jacket

I still plan to post an indepth review of the Beaverslide McTaggert Tweed, because this is the most interesting yarn I've worked with yet. It has some different properties, in my opinion. I think it's working up nicely and I'm excited about the project still, which is a feat after all of this stockinette.

There's also my niece's sweater:
Abbie's Top-Down Roll neck sweater
Which will be done for her 12/28 birthday. This is the yarn I dyed with Kool-aid.

I also thought I'd post about an upcoming project. After finishing the Donegal Vest for Christmas for my mom, I'd like to tackle this for myself:
Snowshoe Aran Pullover Sweater
It's a Top-Down Aran Sweater! The construction is mesmerizing and I'm really excited to 'graduate' to this sweater after knitting a few top-down things lately. Seaming just intimidates me and I'm thrilled about the idea of making a more complicated sweater. Of course, that is, if everyone stays fairly well in our house. (knock on wood)