Wednesday, May 24, 2006

If cleanliness is next to godliness

Then I'm on a fast road to hell...

Actually, my place is much cleaner than it was a few days ago, and Mike's flight arrives in a few hours... hopefully I'll have a connection and I'll be able to post from the road while I'm away for the next week+. Tons of amusement parks and touristy stuff... lots of long car rides that should hopefully include some knitting time. I think we'll be in 7 states in 11 days. Bring on the craziness... but first I need to finish the laundry and make the bed and make another run to the dumpster...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Introducing the Team

My little brother is getting married. Ever since they announced their engagement, I've been telling him that he's finally giving me something my parents didn't. I'm getting a sister. Amber is a girly girl, and the wedding is going to be in pink. She's even somehow convinced my brother into wearing a pink tie with his tux. So, as a bridesmaid, I too will be in pink. The bridesmaid dresses are simple and pretty, a white strapless top and a tea-length pink chiffon skirt with a simple pink ribbon tied at the waist.

By what can only be described as the hands of fate working together to converge on several coincidences all at once, earlier this year I finally learned how to knit. I fell for this new hobby hard, and I've been knitting up a storm for months now with no end in sight. With my crochet background, I never really got into aquiring the amazing stash yarns or really even into making anything wearable. I stuck with the household things until everyone in my family had their very own acrylic afghan and my mom was overrun with potholders and crochet-topped dish towels... we won't discuss the doily phase or that cotton lace tablecloth that I spent months and months of my life finishing. Then this new love fell in my lap when I least expect it. I made a couple scarves, a couple hats, started to play with shapes and felt and ventured into the lands of luxury yarns and UFOs. I've even found myself falling hard for the handknit sock. So, naturally, I need to venture into the knit side of the world of lace too.

The stars aligned and convergences happened. On a stash-building day I stumbled on this beautiful yarn on eBay and bought some. I actually picked up 6 skeins of it with no real plan for it. Hundreds of yards of white mohair combined with a pink cotton thread and a silver nylon thread. The photos were pretty, but once I had the yarn in my hands and could see the subtleties and the shimmer in person, it was love at first sight. When I got my bridesmaid dress from alterations and it met the yarn, I knew exactly what needed to be done.

I am always cold. I would be spending a day in a strapless top in air conditioned buildings. The yarn and the dress match perfectly. The plans came together for a bridesmaid stole/wrap/shawl. I found my LYS, found a book on lace (later found out that it's a highly sought after book on lace that goes for a TON more money then I paid for it) and started selecting patterns to play with.

These are the circumstances that have brought my teammate and I together. The yarn and I have some issues to work out, this is going to be a challenging race. We've already tried a much too fussy pattern that didn't work. Other attempts with a different lace pattern that moved around too much caused us to fight over numbers and one of us got all torn up about it. After the last attempt at reconcilliation with a far simpler and more elegant lace pattern in place, we discovered that pattern complexity and counting weren't actually the cause of the problem, the needles seem to be the cause of the problem. So, we will be searching for a new set to join our adventure this week and help our relationship run more smoothly.

We've gotten off to a rocky start, but I'm confident that our team spirit will endure and get us through to the finish line in time for me to have warm shoulders at a wedding reception in July. I'm sure other teammates will join the forray later in the challenge, but at least for the first half of the summer we plan to work together and rise to the challenges as we face them. Bring on the competition, bring on the lace!

Progress Report... Now with pictures!

This poor neglected blog has been lacking on photographs for a while, and with the Amazing Lace picking up, I figured I was due for a big ol' progress report with photos. Especially since I spent a ton of time this weekend knitting.

First up: Sock City, baybee! I zipped through half a sock on Saturday and went from turning the heel yesterday morning to finishing the toe before bed last night. I even cast on the mate this morning, so no second sock syndrome here.

I also cast on another sock with that merino I bought from KimiK in Muskegon a couple months ago. So far, colors aren't pooling any, but I'm just planning to do a simple stockinette sock with that yarn. Just that little bit of ribbing is making me love this yarn. It's like knitting with butter. I'll have a while to decide if I want to try a different heel and toe with this one, the heel flap was interesting, and the pointy toe was easy to knit, but I think I'll like something more rounded in the long run.

Second Stop: Tank Top Land

On the right is the stagnant progress on the Ribbon not-x-back, I'm so close to splitting for the top and just finishing it and I just haven't dedicated the time and energy to it to get it done. Instead, I finished a sock. And on the left is the bottom part of what will become another tank top made from brown Lang Viva cotton purchased on EBay. I'm just kinda winging this one on my own, I know I want it lace on the bottom half with the diagonal lace pattern almost creating a spiral effect, sort of an empire waist with solid stockinette over my boobs, worked on circs to make a tube top and then some sort of a wrap-over wide tank sleeve to produce a square neckline in front and maybe a higher V in the back. I know I can handle the tube top part, and hopefully once I finish the ribbon tank, I'll have a better idea of what I'll need to do at the top to make it work.

Oh, and my amazing lace teammate? She's back to looking like several wound up skeins of yarn. I finally decided on a lace pattern for the stole/shawl thing that I'm planning to wear for my brother's wedding reception, but I'm giving up on the bamboo needles and need to get a few pair in other materials to find something pointy enough that will work well with the yarn I have. I only have 6 weeks til the wedding, no sweat, right?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Let the craziness begin

Monday morning, of a brand new week. I've been working my new job for a couple weeks now, I've still got a little bit of paperwork for the old job to finish up that I just keep putting off. I've got a ton of work work to do and 2 1/2 weeks to take my apartment from disturbing to spotless.

This last weekend, we went to Dayton for another bridal shower. It was fun and her maid of honor did a good job considering this was the first shower she's ever had to plan. Mentally though, I was wishing I was off at Holiday World with my friends riding the new coaster. After the shower, I called and got passed down the line so they could all gush about it... they even handed me off to some random member of the Roller Coaster Club of Great Brittan. Later in the day, I got a call from another friend who had opened the new coaster in Kentucky instead. It sounds like they all had a great fun day and I was just a tinge green.

However, several hours of driving with my parents, and sleeping in a hotel room made for lots of knitting time. I forgot my sock book, so I was able to finish the heel flap but didn't have the instructions to go further. I got through another ball of ribbon yarn on the Ribbon X-back and I only need to add another inch of length before I split it for the top part. this thing is looking like it'll only end up taking 4-balls of yarn... not bad, but I still have 5 more to figure out what to do with. I also ripped out and started the lace yet again... I'm thinking I'm going to once again rip it back and start with a different pattern. This will be the last rip back that this yarn will hold up to though.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

More trip planning fun

Mike has been grumpy lately, I think two months apart is beyond both of our thresholds at this point. So, I'm throwing more energy into getting this trip together for when he's here next so I don't have to do much last minute and we can just enjoy being on a trip together again.

I booked the first leg's hotels today, and I'll probably do a few more tomorrow. I'm realizing how frighteningly messy my place is, so I'm starting to devise a plan to rememdy that and I've got a bridesmaid dress to pick up tomorrow after work, and I've got to get my car in for service, and I have to renew my license in person this year, etc.

Work is slow right now, so I have that much more time to dwell on what isn't getting done elsewhere, but I know that's going to start reachine epic levels of insanity soon again too. So I'm scheming and making grand plans and trying to get as much situated now so when the wall of craziness hits I might be slightly prepared for it.

Oh, and I just joined my first knitalong. Since I have to get that lace bridesmaid stole finished for the wedding, a lace-along seemed like the right thing to do for added motivation.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Yay! Chicago!

This weekend was another fun jaunt into the start of the travel season. I'm not conditioned yet for this though, and I'm feeling excruciatingly sluggish today. Too much to do and no motivation to do anything.

The road trip was fun, we had a group of 11 of us at the park on Saturday for opening day. Six Flags Great America is still my favorite park in the chain and I love having it relatively nearby, moreso with such a great group of coaster friends local to the park. We really didn't spend all that much time at the park because of the rain. Cameron and I bowed out about 3, and warmed up with hot chocolate and the Muppets before heading down to Indiana to see Frank's band play. Lazy rainy afternoons and car-rides with someone else driving progressed the knitting some though.

I've been pokey this week, but I added the third skein of ribbon to the tank top and that's starting to look like a tube top and should be ready for the split and straps fairly soon. I am procrastinating progress on the sock, I'm almost done with the heel flap and I'm getting ready to turn it soon. And I haven't regrouped, frogged and restarted the lace stole yet. Soon. Maybe. No coaster trips until the big one in a few weeks, and I still have to get hotels booked for that and clean my apartment, and...