Doilies?

I’ve come into a bunch of vintage crochet books recently, and looking through them has made me really interested in working with crochet thread.  I’ve done quite a bit of crochet with fingering weight yarn and loved it (finer crochet is easier IMHO) so today (while I was avoiding the Derby… I live way too near downtown) I went to the craft store and bought some thread and the tiniest hook you’ve ever seen.

I’m going to make the pattern pictured above first, and if I like it I’ll think about tackling some of the vintage terminology.  I’m really interested in some of the lovely table runners from the 40s as well.  I like the idea of making items that my grandmother made.  In fact, I think that’s one of the things which attracted me to knitting in the first place!

Last night I started another round of mad swatching.  Here are my swatches and reviews of a few yarns (and yes, I make my swatches 4″ wide but not quite that tall… I always get tired.)

Elann Sonata

Sonata knits up really nicely.  It’s a cabled yarn, so it’s impossible to split, and it feels nice in the hands.  I knit rather loosely with cottons, so while this is on the recommended size 6 needles, I’m getting 5st/in instead of 5.5.   This is a mercerized cotton, so it’s not a soft yarn, but it wasn’t straining my hands at all.  Perhaps the secret is to not try and get your stitches as firm as you might with wool?  I had a few people ask me about this yarn, and my recommendation is to go for it.  The color selection is fabulous, and you really can’t beat the price!

Berroco Nostalgia

Knits up at 4.5 st/in on size 8 needles for me.  Recommended gauge is 5 st on 7s, but I can’t see how that would work.  This is a thick feeling yarn, and I would not want to knit it on smaller needles.  The fabric made from this yarn is really pretty – I love the shiny bits from the nylon thread wrapped around the yarn.  The nylon thread is really easy to snag, so that’s something to watch for.  It’s not my favorite cotton yarn ever, but I think the effect of the nylon makes the difficulty worth it.  I’m going to use it as a sub for the Skacel Evita called for in the A-line tank (Knit simple, summer 07)
Classic Elite Classic Silk

I have been desperate to make “Daylight” from the Rowan Kasbah Collection.  Unfortunately, it’s knit in Summer Tweed, which I’ve recently decided I cannot deal with.  I started thinking of subs and thought of Classic Silk.  I made my Ms. Marigold from this yarn, and it has a similar silk/cotton nubby effect.  It has also worn really well, becoming softer with every wash.  The gauge is a bit different, but I thought I could compensate by knitting a larger size.  Imagine my surprise when I swatched and found that I was able to get correct gauge using size 6 needles!  So I will be making this very soon, and hopefully it will be cute!  So anyone looking for a substitute for Summer tweed, this is one to consider.  I think in plain stockinette it might require some math, but in this pattern it measures the same!

Today was a good day to visit thrift and craft stores on the far end of the city.  We were invited to a Derby party, but as a native (and an inhabitant of a fairly touristy area) I prefer to hide.  Besides, we had friends over for dinner last night, and I don’t like to socialize two nights in a row (I’m a quiet person, so it takes a lot of energy for me, and I like time to recharge.)  I bought a few nice tops at a thrift, and got the crochet things above, but my favorite thing was actually an ebay purchase that arrived this afternoon.

Oh yeah.  You know you’re jealous of my Star Trek cookbook!  Some sample recipes:

Plomeek Soup a la Neelix

James Doohan’s “Scotty’s Lemon Chicken” (Scotty is my favorite Trek character… I was so sad when James Doohan passed away)

McCoy’s Mint Julep

El Bouche: Klingon Throat Stew

There’s also a section on food props, and one on the drinks from Quark’s bar.  So fun!  Combining two of my favorite things at once!  Now if it only had a chapter like “Deanna Troi’s needlepoint tips” I would be in heaven.

And yes, I’m a dork.

Knitting ennui

Yes… I think I am suffering from the knitting ennui.  I’ve been laying off my hands since I finished Rusted Root, working occasionally on Marc’s scarf, but nothing too stressful.  I was feeling better tonight after my rehearsal, so I decided to cast on for the Something Red cardigan, in Knitpicks shine worsted in Wave.  I was going to use the green apple, but let’s face it, the last thing I need is yet another green sweater.  I finished the first eight raglan rows, and it looks to be a pretty simple knit.  I like the shine worsted, and the color is beautiful, but I don’t know… it just doesn’t thrill me.

It could be that I’m upset about the sad state of my Clapotis.  I thought about trying it on larger needles, to see if I can get a better drape, but I’m terrified of injuring myself again.  I love the colors so much – and if I adapted to Silk Garden, why can’t I use the Kureyon?

*sigh* I suppose I can always sell it and buy myself some silk garden in consolation.  I know I could make another Clapotis out of that, and I really want one.  I’ve been wearing the heck out of mine, and I long for one in pretty jewel tones.  In the meantime I’ll plug away at the new sweater.  Maybe watch some Star Trek to cheer myself up.  Shine worsted is easy on my hands, which I think is just what I need right now.  And nothing puts me in a better mood than the unholy love between man and vulcan.

I’ve created a database of all my yarn, plus the projects I want to make with necessary yardages.  In this way I’ve determined that I shouldn’t buy anymore worsted weight yarn (excepting the silk garden of course.)  I lack decent amounts of DK yarns, and I have absolutely no fingering weight.  OK, I have one skein of Knitpicks gloss, but that’s it… and I have about 8 projects I like that use fingering, so I’m on the lookout.  I have some useless yarn too, which makes me kind of sad.  Most of it will get used up, but I have these 14 skeins of knitpicks evergreen Wool of the andes.  I don’t want them, but it hardly seems worth it to sell them.  And then there’s my naturewool.

I love the color blue.  I love royal blue.  But I don’t love this particular shade, and here’s why.  (This is going to sound crazy. ) I live in Kentucky.  More specifically I live in Louisville, home of the University of Louisville.  UofL is, of course, the natural rival of the University of Kentucky.  UK has a very specific shade of blue.  This shade.  No kidding – if I made this into the shawl I intended everyone would ask me about my “wildcat blue” shawl.  I’ve been asked before about other garments.  I don’t care about sports.  I didn’t go to either of the universities in question.  Marc is a UofL employee, but he certainly is no nut either… and yet it bothers me.  I do not want a wildcat blue shawl.  So I’m thinking about overdying the yarn with some green, in the hopes of toning down the brightness.  Is this totally crazy of me?  I like the yarn, and I want it to be my shawl, just not in this color.  Yes, I have lost my mind.

Marc’s scarf is around 1/3 finished, and the tedium is about to kill me.  Never again will I agree to knit something really long in K2P1 rib.  It’s pretty and all, but I find it maddening.  I can’t ignore it like stockinette, and it isn’t interesting like lace.   Fortunately it isn’t likely to be scarf weather here for another two months, so I have plenty of time to plod along.  I want to finish it so I can make another scarf for me… I am so selfish.  Hey, this is why I don’t do gift knitting – only for Marc, and only on request.

Stupid scarf!

Tonight we went to Rich O’s, which is a pub/pizza place with an amazing beer list.  Well, I don’t really like beer, but Marc was happy.  Unfortunately, it’s in Indiana, and I have a severe allergy to Indiana after living there for 4 years.  We were saying goodbye to a friend moving to San Francisco, so that was sad – but Marc shared a mushroom, olive, and anchovy pizza with me (my favorite!) so that was good.  Why yes, I do love anchovies.  It’s the salt.  I’m a salt fiend.

I came back and couldn’t sleep, so I watched “The Search for Spock,” which remains in my mind a pretty bad Trek movie, but hey, it’s still Trek.  While I was watching (it’s a long movie – lots of extended views of ships to slow movies, but nothing as bad as the first movie)  I worked on my multidirectional scarf

I’m about 3/4 of the way through the first ball of yarn, and it’s going much more quickly this time.  It’s about 4″ wide because I don’t like wide scarves, and because I want it to be long (it will be – I have 2 more balls of Silk Garden #82.)  I do wish that the colors popped more -it’s kind of subdued, which I liked at first but now I’m not sure.  It’s definitely going to need blocking, so hopefully I’ll like it better.  I can always gift it if I decide it’s not me.

I really want to finish so that I can start on Marc’s scarf.  I want to do “Interlocking Balloons” from Scarf Style.

He picked it out, and I picked out yarn in his requested color, red.  It’s araucania Nature Wool

The picture is obviously not mine.  I hope the pattern will look nice in the slightly variegated yarn, and I’m going to make a matching hat as well.

Either Leon or Dionne stole my yarn needle (actually my entire needle case) so I still haven’t weaved in the ends of Rusted root.  Soon, I promise.  I want to get started on another big project, possibly another Clapotis in Noro Kureyon 52

That is my picture, and aren’t the colors gorgeous?  I have eight skeins.  I know I’m crazy to do another Clapotis so soon, but I’ve been wearing the first one constantly and getting so many compliments, and I’d like one that matches more of my clothes.  I don’t find Kureyon to be too scratchy – well, it is scratchy, but I don’t mind.  I’m pretty tough.

I’m trying out having one big project and one small project going at a time.  That allows me to carry the small one and work on the big one at home.

I’m off all day tomorrow, because it’s church choir night.  I appreciate my church job, both because I like the people there, and because it allows me to make a living teaching.  Otherwise I would have to get some sort of soulless job which I would no doubt hate, and which I would quickly get fired from (there’s a history there.)

I *heart* Goodwill

Obviously I must have some way to finance my yarn hobby. I achieve this by shopping for almost everything else at my local Goodwills and thrifts. I shop at Goodwill so often that the employees know Marc and I by name. I have managed to procure a very nice (and really huge) wardrobe for myself by rifling through the racks like a hawk and giving the evil eye to anyone who approaches my cart. I would save more money, however, if I could manage to avoid the temptation to buy the absurd. For instance:

Why yes, that book is titled “Psychic Discoveries behind the iron curtain”. And it’s every bit as awful as that title would suggest, being filled with overly long physical descriptions of “strapping, vodka loving Commie psychics” and how our government is foolishly unconcerned about the “Psychic Gap.” God I adore this sort of thing.

And…

I must confess to being a big giagantic Star Trek fan. It’s entirely possible that I currently have “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” in the DVD player. It’s even possible that I may, at one time, have attended a convention. I’m not saying.
But even if you aren’t a fan, how awesome is this book? It’s teenage Worf, complete with a pretty unrealistic narrative voice and a little wispy moustache in the picture on the cover. And this one, unlike the psychic book, I actually finished. It wasn’t bad – a little rough in the characterization, and in randomly throwing in a meeting with Geordi that changes Worf’s life, but whatever. If I had had this book at 12 I would have been awfully happy.

When I haven’t been thrifting in awhile I start to actively worry about all the cool things I’m missing out on. What if there were a cookbook called “Making the most of meat” (no, I already have that one…) What if I could have added to my collection of souveneir piggy banks from unlikely places?  Someone else has my pig from the Leaning tower of Pisa, darnit!
I haven’t been this week. Hopefully this weekend will afford some opportunities.  Tomorrow we go to Cincy.  Perhaps thrifts there?  Or at least the giant store at the Gap company distribution center. I have more than once bought brand new Banana Republic leather coats there for 20 dollars.