... or at least a nice pat on the back.
Remember my swatching? Well, for once I've followed through. With a bit of swagger I threw all the finished swatches in the washer with my Noro Silk Garden entrelac and Rachel's hat and sweater. Now that I've taken before and after gauge, I got one word for you all: SWATCH! Just a few held gauge while some relaxed and others tightened. A bunch had significant row gauge shrinkage too - enough to affect sleeve length, etc. Many bloomed or the drape changed. Generally, I liked them all better after the wash. I feel so informed.
For all my handknitting except lace I use a front loader on the "hand-wash" setting with either Eucalan or Kookobura wool wash (think I prefer the Eucalan). Everything dries flat except for the 100% cottons which get a low machine dry. Yeah, I know it would be better to dry those flat too, but I have to be honest and give my swatches real-life treatment.
Not just looking for make-work (got enough of that thanks very much). When I browse books and mags I'm always trying to match my stash to projects, but seem to forget what I have, I'm not be sure about the gauge, or mark it, then loose the marker. I've tried putting the book with the yarn, but was then finding my library spread all over the house. The half-assed system was not cutting it. Now I can note potential projects on the list as I find them and reshelve the book. I've found several maybes already. Rogue is calling to me again, particularly after seeing Teresa and Paula's perfectly gorgeous blue ones in the making.
Order is good. Like organic apples in November. Aren't the little ones so cute? The girls love those in their lunches. And that's my new poddish devise on that plate on the left. I've been listening to The Adventure of English read by Melvyn Bragg, a Brit with an amazing ability to make the language come alive. Highly recommended.
Here's a look at our November Santa Ana sky. At least my swatches dried in about 20 minutes. OK, a little bit of an exaggeration, but with humidity less than 30% things dry pretty darned fast! If you're not familiar with these winds, here's an apt description:
Santa Anas are "those hot dry [winds] that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen." Raymond Chandler - Red Wind
Personally, I hate this weather. Well, I do like the blue skies - I'm not a total Scrooge. But the dryness makes my contacts hurt, face pull, hair look like crap and at its worst, my nose bleeds. No part of this Scots Irish rain-loving body should be subjected to this. I'm sure to keep the carving knives safely in the drawer. Luckily, this is a mild one.
So, I'm sure many of you recognize the Weekend Knits side-to-side handwarmers. Jaime's fun orange pair reminded me that I'd been wanting to make them. (btw, I know you tagged me for that meme) That's the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran I'd bought for Gloria last year. Bagged that effort, but found myself left with 7 balls of the DB. Not enough for a garment, and with this weather do I really need another scarf or hat?
What I do need is a cozy set of bed-gloves and bed-socks. I've got near-corpse blood pressure (90-100/70 when I'm anxious and running late) and it really falls when I lie down. I always worry the nurses at the surgi-center when I get my back injections because it falls to 50's/40's without narcotics. My hands and feet turn to ice cubes when I first go to bed, especially when my hands are out of the covers holding a book. You can imagine how much this thrills my DH. I must be a witch because I can make him levitate with just a touch. Also, we don't heat the house, so it gets in the mid-60's to high 50's in here at night during the winter months. These should be perfect. Luxuriously soft and cozy.
Since I tried the sleeve gauge method for this I had an annoying alternating yarn pattern to rip. Couldn't just hook it up to the winder, so the piles got a little scary. Didn't help that the DB ball had fallen apart before I even started.
Reminds me of when I was 9 or 10 and the teenager across the street would allow me to unknot her wildly tangled pile of fine gold chains (it was the late 70's) while she got ready for a date. That was my payment to get a juicy peek into the teen years and I felt so privileged, thought I'm sure I was tolerated like a pet. Learned a lot since she took FOR-EVER to get ready - hours - literally. We'd put on classic 70's rock (though it wasn't called "classic" then) and she'd get in the mood. Lots of Steve Miller and Aerosmith for her. I was more partial to Zep. Still am.
Take a deep breath. Look, then look away before you cry. This is novice knitting at it's scariest - when you think you know more than you do. This is Rowan Summer Tweed gone wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. I am proud of my young knitter self for figuring out how to do the pattern (this was 3-4 years ago), but context is everything. I was going to look like a lavender Charlie Brown and ... well ... don't even ask me what I was thinking with the steeks. In rough silk/cotton? Almost embarrassed to even show this, but at least I've pulled it out of the back of my closet, exposed it to the light and righted my really wrong. All is well and the yarn stored in neat little balls now. Move on folks, it's over. Nothing more to stare at.
Hopefully, you can stare at this soon. Blackberry. In cranberry Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Chunky. Thanks Moni for moving it from the abstract to the needles. Isn't is interesting how seeing it on someones blog can take you from browsing Knitty and thinking - hey, that looks cute ... nah [click] - to actually casting on? You bloggers really do inspire me all the time. Thanks.