Kirsti Knits

Time - such a precious Gift is it; To work, to read, and Yes, to knit. - Minnie Gertz

Monday, August 29, 2005

One down...

... and one to go.

The first Broadripple Sock started on Friday morning is now finished. I've given up on the cotton one, and frogged it. So 3 skeins of Pattons Grace are up for swaps if anyone's interested and likes knitting in cotton.

Here's pics (please excuse the somewhat awkward proportion and the unshaved leg!):

Very fun pattern to knit, a lot easier thanit looks, and I love the lace effect. Plus, unlike the previous blue sock (which had a too-short heel flap and a too-short foot), this one fits me really nicely. I'm hoping the stretchy yarn will mean that it fits Terry as well.

Now on to knit its partner...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday updates

I'll try and make this a short post.. we'll see. There's not really much to report, except that I've updated my Finished Objects blog to include all the Top Secret Projects. Here, for example, is the Sparkly Pink Scarf that was TSP 3, as modelled by my sister, and in close-up.

And here is her Booga Bag (TSP 4)

The socks will be joining them as soon as the ends are woven in, and I can get a good picture of them on Terry's feet. She loves them, though they are a little thick to be anything but bedsocks really.

I cast on the Patons Grace cotton yarn from the previous post to start more socks, but I've almost decided to rip out the 3 inches I've got done. Being cotton, there's no stretch to the yarn, so I have to knit it fairly tightly, which is hard on the hands, especially on size 2 needles. Plus I have this suspicion that they'll bag and fall down around my ankles as soon as I put them on . Now while I may have been used to this at school, it's not what I want from socks now. So if anyone has any suggestions on how to use the yarn, let me know. Otherwise I'll take at least the 2 unused skeins back to Michaels.

So I did cast on with the Cascade Fixation sock yarn I bought at Threadbear last month, and am having great fun with the Broadripple socks from Knitty. Funnily enough, the pattern was designed by one of Threadbear's owners, which makes it all the more appropriate. I'm liking this one a lot. Here are the Socks So Far:

Cotton Sock in basketweave pattern
(Rows 1&2: k2p2, Rows 3&4: k)
Cascade Fixation sock in ripple pattern held up by my lovely wife

The other knitting news is slightly less fun: I finally got through to British Airways at Metro Detroit airport, and nobody had found my notions case. So I've lost all my crochet hooks (including one that was from my mum), my stitch markers, cable needles, tapestry needles, tape measure, yarn scraps etc etc. Serves me right for not paying closer attention to my stuff I guess. Oh well.

We've got dinner guests tonight, so I'll be cooking stuffed pancakes (though I was somewhat tempted to try out Michelle's Honey Mustard Chicken recipe) which means some shopping, and a lot of house tidying have to happen between now and 7pm. Have a great weekend! (And so much for a short post! Hah! I couldn't be concise if an abstract depended upon it...)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Photos and Finished Objects

So, to follow on from a couple of posts ago... here are the promised photos.

This is my grandmother's knitting basket, now stacked up with all my newest yarn purchases. The stuff I couldn't remember from yesterday was Rowan's Wool Cotton - that's the yummy balls of the muted blue and the gold at the front. I've got three skeins of each, and may try and do stripey socks or something. If anyone's got any suggestions, let me know.
Here is the basket from another angle, showing more of the yummy yarns, plus the needles that my mother had collected from antique shops etc.
And here are the needles, a little bit closer up (sorry - I've not got photo editing software onto my new laptop yet, so I can't crop and resize and colour adjust like I want to yet). Note the built in crochet hook on the very bottom pair of needles. I think the top pair might be rosewood - they certainly have that warm grain about them. They're also all incredibly long, and I'm still not quite sure what to use them for. Sizes range from 8s to 11s.
This was my most recent yarn splurge. I was in Michaels yesterday shopping for goodies for my Secret Pal, and couldn't resist the colours in this yarn. It's 100% cotton, so I'll have to knit it fairly tight on small needles, because it'll want to stretch and relax. Yet again I prove to be a sucker for purple and teals.

And why the reason for all this fine yarn and talk of socks? Well ... after being inspired by a bunch of my fellow knit bloggers, I decided that socks would be the perfect thing to knit on an 8 hour airplane flight to England - small, less chance of elbowing my neighbour, and definitely a conversation starter. So the Friday before I flew out, I went to the wonderful City Knits and the pusher^H^H^H^H kind and helpful staff there sold me a multi-size pattern (5 sizes of sock from baby to mens, in worsted, sport and fingering weight yarns) and some size 6 needles, and the "cheap and dirty" wool I asked for, so that if I did mess up my very first pair of socks, it wasn't on the expensive, hand painted merino yarn.

So I cast on during the flight to London, knitted when I had a spare moment or two, and, with a final burst at Stitch'n'Bitch this past Monday, I hereby present ... my very first pair of socks!

Turquoise blue socks for TerryThe socks checking out our rather impressive crop of beefsteak tomatoes this morning

The yarn is Heritage Easy Care 8 - an 8 ply superwash wool. I didn't like it much: it's fairly heavy (somewhere between sport and worsted weight), and most annoyingly, kept untwisting as I wrapped it for each stitch, so I always had stitches that were splitting into 4 separate strands. Plus it's not as soft as I'd like socks to be. I'll see what happens after they're washed - and anyway, like I said, this was basically a practice pair. Still, I'm really pleased with how they came out, and now wish that I had used some more fun yarn that would make stripes or patterns or something.

Anyway I'm now hooked. A definite "darksider", as the GLB-knit list would have it. Expect more socks soon. They meet all my criteria for knitting: impressive looking, as easy or complex as you want them to be, and fast to finish.

The only downside to the trip is I think I left my notions bag on the plane. This was a really nice pencil case with a bunch of crochet hooks, stitch markers including hand made ones from Roxy and Julie, a tape measure, yarn needles and all the other little things that you need to hand while knitting. I've emailed British Airways, but I'm not holding out much hope. *sigh*. In the meantime, I've bought a new crochet hook and tapestry needle as the bare minimum to start with, and at least I can now weave in the ends on the socks.

I guess that's it. Long posts recently - but it makes up for the time I was away. I never know how to end these things either. Thanks for reading - and now I'm back to work.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Three Things Meme

Sal tagged me a while back.. finally getting round to it. Here goes.

Three names I go by:
1. Kirsti
2. K or KJ
3. Kirstiana (Terry's pet name for me. Aww)

Three screen names I’ve had:
1. Kirsti (gosh, I'm creative and original aren't I?)
2. Inanna
3. Erish (short for Erishkegal, sister of Inanna. Generally used when someone else has beaten me to 2.)

Three physical things I like about myself:
1. My red hair
2. My eyes
3. My freckles. I even have one on the sole of each foot.

Three physical things I don’t like about myself:
1. My feet - large, wide and flat. With a bunion that returned despite surgery age 15 to correct it.
2. My breasts - way out of proportion to the rest of me.
3. My poor eyesight which means I have to wear glasses

Three parts of my heritage:
1. English
2. Polish
3. Jewish

Three things I am wearing right now:
1. My glasses
2. New work trousers in a size smaller - I'm shrinking, which is a Good Thing.
3. A bra (never without one *sigh*)

Three favorite bands/musical artists:
1. Terry Gonda (c'mon, did you expect anything else?)
2. Dar Williams
3. Indigo Girls

Three favorite songs: (today at least)
1. You Rise and Meet the Day - Dar Williams, from her forthcoming album My Better Self
2. Galileo - Indigo Girls
3. Gandhi/Budda (and the answering song, see here for lyrics) - Cheryl Wheeler

Three things I want in a relationship:
1. Acceptance
2. Honesty
3. Trust

Two truths and a lie
1. I've played flute onstage at the Royal Festival Hall, London
2. I'm allergic to chocolate
3. I have a russian birth certificate

Three physical things about the preferred sex that appeal to you:
1. Smile
2. Eyes
3. The connection when we dance together ... the fit, and the steps

Three favorite hobbies:
1. Knitting (newest obsession)
2. Reading (longest obsession)
3. Origami (previous obsession, but the nearest origami group is a 45 minute drive away and only meets once a month)

Three things I want to do badly right now:
1. Greet my wife walking through the door, but she's still at work *sigh*
2. Cuddle my nephew
3. Open the pack of Viennese biscuits from Marks & Spencer that I brought back from England

Three things that scare me:
1. Losing Terry or a member of my family
2. Not getting a green card and having to leave America in 4 years
3. The amount of yarn I want to buy, and the stash that's accumulating in the office

Three of my everyday essentials:
1. Internet access, especially blogger and the knitty board
2. Coffee
3. Cheek kisses from my wife

Three Careers you have considered or are considering :
1. Professor - that's what I need to get the green card to stay in the country
2. Musician - but my mother told me I didn't have the drive to succeed as a classical flautist
3. Educational Psychologist - except I didn't want to teach

Three places you want to go on vacation:
1. Anywhere that Oscar and my sister are
2. Australia
3. Touring around the States visiting friends and knitting folk

Three kids’ names you like:
1. Oscar - though that may just be the kid :)
2. Sebastian
3. Viola

Three things you want to do before you die:
1. Get legally married to Terry, ideally in America
2. Meet all the people I only know online, particularly Bernadette and Ricky in Australia
3. Make a difference in someone's life, to leave a legacy behind me

Three ways I am stereotypically a boy:
1. I never wear makeup - well, occasionally for music performances or for a special evening out
2. I have hairy legs - why bother shaving when they only get hairy again?
3. I don't particularly bother with my appearance before I go out. Terry has to remind me to brush my hair, or at least look in the mirror...

Three ways I am stereotypically a girl:
1. You can't have a silhouette like mine and not be a girl somehow...
2. I wanted - and got - a traditional white wedding
3. I love getting flowers. It's the easiest way to make me feel loved and special.

Three celeb crushes:
1. Amy Ray from the Indigo Girls
2. Uma Thurman
3. Orlando Bloom, especially as a blonde elf

Three people I am tagging:
1. Dixie
2. Michelle
3. Dawn

Safely Back!

Well, I made it back home, safe and sound. The British Airways flight was slightly delayed, and had no hot food, no alcohol and no ice for drinks (and warm tomato juice just isn't the same as a nice chilled bloody mary mix...), but at least it got me back to Detroit. Sadly, the sore throat that had started on Friday morning didn't go away, and by Saturday it hurt to swallow, and my temperature was up at around 101. So I spent the weekend resting, sleeping and taking lots of paracetamol, and it seems to have worked: I'm feeling much better today, and back at work.

I had the most wonderful visit with my sister. She's just an amazing person, and I'm incredibly lucky to be related to her. She's doing a great job as a mum too, and Oscar is simply the most adorable, talented, brilliant child out there. (OK, I think my auntly bias may be showing a bit!). Sal, thank you for a wonderful visit. I'm glad to be your friend as well as your sister.

Knitting news ... I stocked up on some yummy Rowan yarn, but sadly, failed to find Addi Turbos over there. I was hoping that they'd be cheaper in Europe, but neither John Lewis or Liberty carried them, and I didn't have time to hunt around any more than that. No photos, so I'm borrowing from the Rowan website:

This is All-Seasons cotton in Glad and Grape. I got three skeins of each colour. It's 60% cotton, 40% acrylic, and although the website says "aran weight", I'm going to attempt to make it into socks - I've got a pattern from City Knits that does socks in all sizes from all weights of yarn. We'll see how that goes. I also got some other rowan yarn, single colour stuff, but I can't remember which it was (d'oh!) and the yarn's at home, so I'll have to update that later.
The other wonderful thing about this trip was that my mother gave me the wicker basket that my grandmother - her mother - used to keep her yarn in. It's lovely - shallow, and broad, so that the yarn stacks up really nicely in there. She also had some old knitting needles that she'd found in a junk store, and passed those on to me as well. Plus, when we were out browsing through a market, I found a couple of knitting pattern booklets from the 1940s/1950s, which are just hilarious. I may scan a couple of the patterns in. There is one hat that Terry thinks might just be on the edge of "hip and trendy" again now, so I may try knitting one up and see how it goes.

So apologies for the lack of pictures - I'll take a photo of the yarn basket with all my new goodies once I have more time back home. In the meantime, go and enjoy some of the pictures of Oscar that I took during my trip.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Brief update, and TSPs 1 and 2

Quick post from England to say that all is going well, my sister and Oscar are both wonderful, and check out her blog for more updates.

And this also means that the Top Secret Projects that I've been blogging about have finally been given as gifts and so can be revealed to the world.

Here is the cabled hat I made for my nephew Oscar's first birthday as TSP 1, and here is the matching sweater that formed TSP 2.

The pattern was from "Top Down for Toddlers" by Deb and Lynda Gemell. Both pieces were knit in the round, so no sewing of seams, and the pattern was really well written and easy to follow.

The yarn was a 4 ply superwash wool from Shepherd yarns, in "oscar the grouch green", and was lovely to work with, very soft, unknit without splitting (thankfully) and blocked beautifully.

Oscar loved the hat - as you can see from the rest of the album, he kept it on for ages, and didn't pull it off like he usually does with hats.

So a success all round. Of course, now all my sister's friends are wanting duplicates for their babies .... what's the going price for a handknit baby sweater these days? ;)

I want to get a pic of my sister with TSPs 3 and 4 (and yes, 3 made it back from its stowaway inside Deb's Booga Bag to home, and then my wonderful wife sent it global priority to arrive here yesterday so I gave it to Sal this morning as the final part of her birthday present). Not sure if I'll have any time to update with those before I return on Friday, and I've certainly not had time to keep up with anyone else's blogs.

Sal, I see you tagged me with a three things meme - that'll also have to wait. The nephew takes absolute priority (and I'm only writing this coz he's sleeping right now.) The only remaining question is whether British Airways will have any food for my flight home in 2 days...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Off and Away

So tonight I leave for 11 days in England, to see my sister and adorable nephew Oscar. The TSPs have all been finished, although TSP3 has, I think, been absent mindedly packaged up inside Suz's Booga Bag and mailed off to her. So it'll get to do a little travelling before arriving at my sister's house. For those keeping track, TSPs 1 and 2 are for Oscar's birthday, and 3 and 4 are belated birthday gifts for my sister. And I will finally be able to post pictures and show them off to the world.

I'm probably not going to have much time for online stuff while I'm away, but check back after the 22nd. And possibly keep an eye on the photosite link above, as I'll try and get Sally to add pictures of me with Oscar as we go. Plus I want to show off my new short haircut!

I've got knitting packed for the plane - the aggressive beginners scarf, and, if I'm feeling really ambitious, the pattern, yarn and needles for my first pair of socks. I'm starting off easy - it's a fairly heavyweight yarn, and number 6 needles, so no toothpicks just yet. Those I'm saving for the trip back home.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Catching up

So I finally think I'm caught up with all the blog entries, knittyboard posts and everything else I missed while in Colorado. And here's a bit more updating from me.

Firstly, the amazing Roxy, who was responsible for my first ever RAK, had a mini contest on her blog, and I happened to be one of the lucky winners. So in yesterday's mail was this:

The yarn is actually a lot brighter pink/fuscia colour and catches your eye a mile off. And ... *drool*.. it is indeed Rowan Kid Silk Haze. I can absolutely understand why certain folk refer to it as "Crack Silk Haze". It's just yummy. Also enclosed were some gorgeous stitch markers, which I can always find a use for. So thank you hugely, Roxy. I'll have to consider a contest of sorts here and share the joy. Hmmm..

Next piece of news: progress reports. Most of my knitting time recently has been spent on two scarf projects:

On the left is the aggressive beginners scarf, now well into the second skein of baby alpaca, and also now one of my "mindless" knits - it's what I took with me today while I was invigilating the 3 hour final exam for the class I've just finished teaching. The second is the Lorna's Laces Angel angora yarn that I bought at Threadbear. At first I wasn't sure about the diamond patterning the yarn is doing, but now I think I rather like it. My next concern is that it'll be too short: what you see there, the 11 inches, is one skein. I bought four, as that's what the sample in the shop had. After a frantic email exchange with Rob, he managed to find one more skein in the same colour (701, Purple Club) and dyelot (9106), which should help a little, though I was hoping to get two more. I like my scarves long, and I think this one I may just keep for myself.

Then, tonight, I stopped by Gifted to buy another set of 10 1/2 double pointed needles to finish Top Secret Project 4 (the only one remaining) as I somehow have lost all but one of the set I used to possess. And of course, I couldn't just walk out with only needles, oh no. Here's the loot:

Oops. The Interweave Knit magazines are back issues and were 75% off, so that's allowed, right? It was a bargain. The problem came when I spotted this on the counter:

It's hand dyed sock yarn from Fleece Artist. The colours are slightly more muted than this photo shows, but it's a gorgeous blend of greens and purples and blues. And then the sock pattern in the top left hand corner caught my eye. It's from Cabin Feber and I've had good experiences with their patterns recently, and it has cables, which is my current obsession, and it's a sock. But of course, I didn't want to use my lovely Fleece Artist yarn on a first attempt,so I had to get some other sock yarn to practice on. Which is lilac and stretchy and fun. And of course, needles in a teeny tiny size (2s actually). They didn't have any wooden needles in that size, which is a shame, coz I much prefer working with bamboo, but at least the plastic is cheap.

And finally ... I was tagged to do this meme by both Suz and Michelle, so here goes:

n. pl. id· i·o·syn·cra·sies
-A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.

Write down five of your own personal idiosyncracies.

  1. I'm a real grammar pedant. Things like "its" vs 'it's", and "fewer" vs "less" really annoy me. Eats Shoots and Leaves was written for me, I'm sure of it.
  2. I can't stand eggs, unless they're really well "disguised". Scrambled or an omelette with lots of other stuff is about the only way I'll tolerate them. Soft, hardboiled, fried or poached? No thanks.
  3. I equally dislike the taste of milk. I think it comes from too much being forced to drink those little bottles of warm-because-it-had-been-sitting-out-all-morning milk at school break time.
  4. I want more than anything else to be able to raise one eyebrow, but I can't. It doesn't stop me spending lots of time in front of the mirror practicing though.
  5. I have one birthmark on my forehead and one on the sole of each foot.

I'll pass this one on to my sister and Dixie.