Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Knitting, knitting, knitting

I've been sneaking in bits of knitting all through the week. When I'm up due to jetlag, when I'm waiting 10 mins to meet someone downstairs, when I'm staying awake late at night having teleconferences with the US, etc. but not on planes so far. That might change on the return flight which is a daytime one. Small bits of knitting time add up. I am reminded of a hymn I learned in elementary school:
Little drops of water, little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean and the beauteous land,
And the little moments, humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages of eternity.

Little bits of time, picked up here and there,
Add up into hours without too much care,
And the little stitches, one by one by one,
Result in completion of my knitted wear

Yeah, I know, I'm not much of a poet.

It is odd how the internet behaves differently in different countries. Google finds you local pages, you get the locally customized sites for many companies which are different from the ones you are used to. Even Blogger's sign in is different.

I am almost done with one of the fronts on the Vogue cardigan. I have to take out a repeat in the back as it is too wide. I hope to finish the other front and the back and start doing the lace part on the yoke on the flight home. Pictures to come when the camera comes back home this weekend.

Last time I traveled here, I was listening and reviewing knitting podcasts. I've completely given up on those for now. On this trip I've listened to NPR exclusively so far: On Health, Kitchen Window, This American Life, and so on. I've also downloaded a Spanish language teaching podcast just for kicks. Let's see how I like it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

No pictures

For the next couple of weeks, there will be no pictures as the camera is traveling with my husband. I could use the one on my cell phone but it doesn't take very nice pictures.

I am almost through the back of the cardigan on the cover of the Summer 2008 Vogue Knitting. It is looking good. I decided to lengthen it a bit as my midriff is not something I care to show off. Otherwise, I am just knitting the middle size. It is a pretty boring knit as the pattern on the bottom is very easy and mindless. But not mindless enough to zone out completely. I have taken to reading while knitting it if there is no TV to watch.

Since it is a pretty lacy, see-through kind of cardigan, and I'm knitting it in a fairly light cotton, I went looking for something to wear underneath it. Serendipitously, I was looking through a Good Housekeeping while waiting (and knitting on the lower back) and found an article on shapers. Both Spanx and Assets have camisoles that will work. In the process of looking these up, I realized that Sarah Blakely designs both these. Just a piece of trivia with no value whatsoever.

I have been busy washing, chopping, cooking and freezing greens from my CSA farm. I did spinach, chard, mixed greens, turnip greens and radish greens yesterday. Today is reserved for kale and bok choy. Both those will be cooked and eaten. Only the spinach and chard made it to the freezer. I love fresh greens but the washing and chopping is tiring. Lots of grit. I soak them in a sink full of cold water and slosh them around. Then I rinse them vigorously before I stack them in piles on the chopping board and chiffonade them . After that, I run the knife through them in a direction perpendicular to the strips to cut the strips into smaller pieces. As the summer wears on, I will move to my quick and dirty chopping method. Wash the greens as before and drain. Put them in a dish and microwave them for a few minutes so they wilt. Dump them (with the collected liquid) into the food processor and pulse to chop. Then add to the dish and finish the cooking. But for now, I am making lovely little pieces.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Why I knit socks

I am almost past the heel on the second Shibui sock. This is why I love knitting socks. Instant gratification. I started last week and I am about half way done in a week. Of course, I had some knitting time this week. I took the train down to New York City on Wednesday for a workshop. So I knit on the way there and back. An ipod, a sock and I'm in travel heaven.

The train got me to New York an hour before I needed to be there. At first I planned to just go to the workshop location and knit. But somehow, I wasn't paying attention to the geography of Manhattan and ended up on Avenue of the Americas instead of Park. I am now convinced that it was fate because I was only two or three blocks from Kinokuniya's New York store. I had stored the address in my PDA on a previous trip. So I went there and spent an enjoyable hour browsing Japanese knitting books. I bought one. Some of the photos below are a little out of focus because I was photographing a book. If it is too difficult to view the details, I'll get better pictures. Just leave me a comment and I'll update them.

It is an older book because it says 2005 on the cover. It is full of work-friendly yet interesting knits. This is the cover. The sweater caught my eye because the houndstooth background is a variegated yarn. Very delicately variegated.It is part of a suit, as are many of the garments in the book. Knitted skirts are not my thing. Actually skirts are not my thing but the suit jackets and tops are things I would wear. You can see the suit here. This jacket has a very interesting cable on it. It is a combination of cables and openwork.This is an allover traveling st but there are interesting little details in some of the areas where the sts come together.A suit with a vest on top. The vest is also an interesting cabled design. The book also has some fair-isle designs, both by themselves and combined with texture.This is one of the loveliest lace designs in the book.There are men and women's sweaters. Some are just OK but I found many of them interesting and all of them are classic shapes with set-in sleeves and shaped waists.

All in all, this was a good week. I just also made my first whole wheat sourdough bread and it looks pretty good. I haven't tasted it yet but the dough smelled really good as it was baking.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


I made a fair bit of progress this week on the knitting front. I wasn't home a lot but I put the time that I spent at home to good use. First of all, I finished the work for the Interweave book. Here's the leftover yarn - to whet your appetite. Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Red Rover on the left and Violet on the right. I had to photograph it in a fairly dim area to get the colors close to being correct. I am checking the pattern this morning and will be mailing it off this week. After that it will be a year or so before the book comes out. It really isn't very satisfying at this point. It is much more fun when the book is finally published. I swatched for the VK Sideways Sweater that I showed you in an earlier post. Here is the first swatch. The right hand repeat is on a US size 5 (3.75 mm) needle. The left repeat is on a US size 6 (4 mm). Not much difference so I am going with the larger needle.
Here is the swatch seen at an angle. You can see the texture a bit better at this angle. It is a pretty straightforward pattern. Zig one way using a lifted increase and a ssk, then zag the other way using a k2tog and another lifted increase. There is a small lace panel in the middle which is just there to highlight the gentle zig-zag. I can see myself getting bored but it should go fast. While the swatch was drying, I started the other sock in the Shibui sock yarn. This represents a few hours of knitting. Now the sock is in a position where I can take it places and knit mindlessly.
Now I'm off to weed. The garden photography project is progressing. More photos on my flickr photostream. I am enjoying seeing the photos because the flowers themselves last only for a week or so. The lovely tree peonies that MaggieB commented on last week are just a memory. The other one is flowering now but will be gone in a few days. I am using the photos as a screensaver, which is fun.