Sunday, April 15, 2007

Good Works and Hard Work

The good works is farther down and is done by someone else. Hard work though, is me. Photographic evidence of the non-knitting time-wasting hard work mentioned in the previous post and continuing this week:

The chair about half way ripped or un-upholstered or whatever they call it:
It's down to just wood, the seat springs, and bottom webbing now. I get to learn how to tie springs next week. I am actually excited about that. Time to worry?

The tree part way done (at least this one started bare and is working forward from the get go):
I am not an artist (probably not in any medium but definitely not in paint or drawing or etc.) That would have been my brother. But he's no longer with us, so if a gal wants a faux tree - she's gotta do it herself. The blue lines are painter's tape so they'll be gone before DD moves into this room. But there's more colors to go on the bark and also a bunch of leaves and stuff to go on before she can move in.

And this relates to knitting because this room was my fiber-and-other-arts "studio" and when DD moves into it I get to rip out and redo her old room to become my "studio". I keep telling myself that insulation in the walls is worth it, but my inner whiney child keeps saying, "What do you need insulation for when you have all that wool fiber and yarn? So what if the kid was cold in the winter." The chair is also sort of knitting related, in that when finished, it will be my knitting chair. Eventually, in my fiber studio. With luck the two will be finished at roughly the same time. And before I have died of old age.

I also lost some knitting time to a good cause this past week. Gretchen is having a contest to drum up support for the American Heart Association. Read about it on her blog. I offered some goodies towards the prize packages she is offering since heart defect issues run in my paternal family line and when I was pregnant with DD we had to have an ultrasound done of her heart to make sure she was ok. (She was, thank goodness.) But I feel a bit like I could do more to at least get the word out, if not inspire folks to consider contributing. On the other hand I don't really like to push folks to donate to a particular charity or cause.

So if you're reading this and haven't seen Gretchen's posts about Nova, go visit her blog. Mention in the comments here or in an e-mail to me that you've visited her blog or the American Heart Association or your favorite health charity and regardless of whether or not you decided to make a donation at this particular time or to this particular cause, I'll enter your name in a spreadsheet from which a random number generator will pick someone to win a little basket of knitting goodies from me as a reward for spending some time thinking of others. Knitters and other fiber enthusiasts seem to do that a lot, but it doesn't seem quite as prevalent in the general population, and I think folks who do spend that time thinking of others deserve a reward for it now and again.

In actual knitting content: I've finished the first chart of the Spring Things Shawl. Now I just have to decide which beads to use. So I knitted up a sample of the second chart with the three possible choices I have in house. I can't decide for sure which I like best.
If you have an opinion, please share it. The cubes in the middle are, I think, closest to what is on the wedding dress but I'm not sure what I think about them in this shawl. I think the clear with silver on the right is out but I'm not sure between the pearlized rounds on the left and the crystal cubes in the middle. The cubes have an opalescence which didn't come out in this photo (and this was the only clear photo I got) so they look prettier in real life I think. But I'm not sure about the shape. I need to get me a t-shirt that says "Indecisive much?" I think. Or you know, maybe not...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Readin', Writin' and 'Rithmatic

Oooh a question! And one I can answer! Since it might possibly be of benefit to someone someday who stumbles upon this I'm answering here rather than in the comments.
Maia asked...

Are the needles the same brand? Sometimes there are minor differences between brands, especially if one is a metric equivalent of a US size (or vice versa). Then again, sometimes yarn just does that.

All good points. I know I get different gauges with different material needles despite them being the same size (nominally, if not exactly) so that might be the answer, except that both socks were knit with the exact same physical set of needles. The socks are only on different needles now so that I could use the ones I had been using to knit the first sock's foot to knit the second sock's foot for a bit. (Did that make sense? Both sock feet were knit with the longer needles showing on the striping sock on the right below.) And, the needles that are holding the first sock are the same brand and type, just shorter in length. So it's all me somehow. I actually measured properly and it looks like the striping sock is the ever so slightly tighter gauge one. Since that one is the second one I knit, that means I must be more tense (or better at knitting to a tight gauge) now than I was in the beginning. I wasn't feeling more tense so far as I can remember, but I might I suppose have been better at remembering to knit tightly.

Speaking of Maia, she sent me the prettiest skein of yarn as a prize for guessing (wildly inaccurately apparently) the number of yarns in her Way Back sweater. It's a beautiful sweater. I'd kill to knit that well (well, not literally - probably - so I am safe out in public even around good knitters) so go look if you haven't yet. As soon as I saw the yarn I asked it what it wanted to be, but it was shy. I had to agree to wind the skein into a cake before it would speak up. Of course only after winding did I realize I should have photographed the skein before I wound the cake. I've never been good at delayed gratification (or documentation for that matter) so all I've got to show you is the yarn cake. Doesn't it look pretty though? It says it wants to be the collar and cuffs of a sweater. I'm willing to go along, but I don't know if I have an appropriate yarn for the main part of the sweater. So I'm queueing it up but not holding my breath.

As I said before, the socks were laid aside for the Spring Things Shawl shortly after that photo was taken. I think it is safe jinx-wise to talk about that shawl here now, though I am still not positive I'll make my deadline. I've got this so far:

It looks very little like the pretty shawl pics that others have. It'll look much better (and bigger) when it is blocked (I hope/expect/plea). I am loving knitting this shawl even though the time constraint makes it a tiny bit stressful. I have two more repeats of the first chart to do and then I go into the chart with the beading (in my case, or nupps for some of the other folks). Being a slightly compulsive engineer type, after the first couple of repeats of the first chart (I'm amazed I could make myself wait that long) I made a quick spreadsheet to chart/predict progress and thus far I am about 3 and a half days (or about 6 1/2 hours of uninterrupted knitting) behind. I think I can still make my deadline since I padded it a bit. But only if I keep on schedule from now on. Or better still, make up some lost time. When I finish this one I'm totally starting a second one for me. I might make the minimal version for my daughter too since she thinks it is beautiful and thus wants one of her own. Or better yet, make her make it for herself. I can help or even do the actual lacy chart bit but I think she could probably manage, with help, the mainly stockinette portion for sure. She'll probably turn out to be much better at lace than I am. She's very good at seeing patterns so charts will probably be easy for her to memorize.

External influences are making my goal to finish the first shawl on time somewhat difficult. Well, not so much external, since it's all my own fault. Knitting time this week was lost to my own inability to limit my interests. And/or manage my time. Firstly I lost more than an entire day to the first day of an upholstery class I am taking (redoing a chair for my "studio" - chair and studio might be done about the same time some 3 months from now if I'm lucky) and the following day of hands too sore to knit. Secondly I am losing time to attempting a trompe l'oeil effect (a tree in one corner where we have a pipe running through the room) in my DD's new bedroom. I am not an artist. Probably not at all, but definitely not with paint. Still, we're hoping for the best, and lucky for me she is not a critical judge. Luckily for my ego she's still in the "whatever Mommy does is beautiful" stage. Though this tree may mark the end of that. We'll see.