Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A More Cheerful Post

Thank you to everyone for your sympathy on yesterday. It was a rough day. The a/c guy did show up and we have cool air! That's the good news. The bad part is that he had to add four pounds of freon, so he's coming back Monday to find the leak, and if it's in a non-fixable place, we have to buy a new unit. I'm trying not to think about that. It turned out that we were NOT involved in the boil order. The county listed a bunch of zip codes affected, which made it seem we probably were (and with a little one, it didn't seem worth the risk to not boil), but our City Administrator found out that, since water mains aren't laid out by zip code, the list was pretty much worthless, and our city was fine. And while there wasn't ice cream (it was too far for Cranky Lilah to be walked), there WAS chocolate. So things are looking up-ish.

I also had a fantastic vacation. We had a week at the beach, then Matt had to come back for work. We had a week with my parents, then drove up to Sacramento to see my brother. I can't believe how awesome Lilah was on the long flights, the Sacramento drive (4.5 hours EACH way), the drive to the airport--she's a really good traveler.

And...I washed this:

Pattern: Alpaca Baby Shawl
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Cherry Moon (every bit of four skeins)
Needles: Size 6 - dpns, 16" circ, "36" circ
Mods: I was concerned about curling, so I added another garter ridge before binding off. I actually intended to do a couple more garter ridges, but last few rows really suck up the yarn. I was obviously going to run out before my intended border, so I called it a day after one additional ridge (one knit and one purl row).
Notes: I love this pattern. It's so easy that after the first lace repeat, I didn't have to look at the pattern anymore. I love the way it turned out. I bound off too tightly, which is pretty usual for me. It makes for a not-quite-square blanket. I really like the yarn, but the cotton makes for a heavier blanket than the alpaca would. I washed it on gentle in cold water and hung it to dry. I didn't pin out the points the way the pattern asked--I could be wrong, but I felt the cotton was too heavy to really hold that kind of blocking. The blanket is nice and soft, and the color is lovely. It calmed down a bit after washing (when they warn you that the dye may bleed a bit, they are NOT kidding). I used almost every yard of the four skeins of yarn I had. The blanket starts at the center and gets bigger and bigger, so the last skein really only contributed about 2 inches in diameter. Around and around with not much progress. It's a quick pattern because of the alternating increase rows and lace inserts. Interesting, yet simple.

Okay, knitters are going to think this is sacrilege, but I'm not the kind of person who seeks out yarn stores wherever I go. However, I finished the baby blanket in Cotton Fleece, then found out we had 9 hours of driving coming up (we drove up to Sacramento to see my brother). So I hit the LYS in my hometown, which is quite nice. I found Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo in an orchid kind of color to make a Placket-Neck Pullover from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and some Rowan Cashsoft Aran in cream to make a Miss Dashwood. The Baby Bamboo is lovely and soft, with a gorgeous sheen, and it's machine washable. It remains to be seen how it holds up, but it has a nice drape, but also a bit of elasticity. Anyway, funny story--I had it in my head that I had the needles I needed because the baby blanket used dpns, a 16" circ, and a 36" circ. When I got back from the yarn store, I discovered that I'd taken the dpns and smaller circ out of my luggage, not wanting to bring anything unnecessary (the blanket was already on the 36"). And we were driving to my grandmother's that evening. And leaving early in the morning. So I had to get to a yarn store in Sacramento. There was one walking distance from our hotel, and I quickly found my needles. While i was waiting to check out, a display of Kureyon Sock called to me. I've been wanting some for a long time, so I snagged a skein. I have no idea when I'll get around to knitting all the sock yarn I've accumulated. I'll make a list if I get the chance, but it's sort of ridiculous.

Matt was listening to NPR and they did a piece on the knitting boom and bust (many yarn stores are folding). He mentioned that one person interviewed owned a yarn store in Reno that does 80% of their business online. "Oh my gosh, was it Jimmy Bean's Wool? Haha, it was. I just thought that was funny. It's one of my usual yarn-ordering spots.

Reading: I've done a LOT of reading since my last post here, so I'm going to send you to On My Bookshelf, where I posted all my reviews. I'm up to date on the Sisters Grimm books (I LOVE this series--I know I say it all the time). I'm currently finishing up Kate Kingsbury's Manor House mysteries, waiting for my two ARC review copies of books to show up. While I was gone, Matt moved all my piles of books into a corner, so the organizational system is shot. It's a good thing, probably, as I now have to re-organize them.

Gwyneth, I tried the first Alexander McCall Smith book, years ago, and couldn't get into it. I'm not sure why. But you're not the only one to recommend them--I may have to try them again.

Writing: Ugh.

Cooking: I was on vacation, so not much. I'm making muffins for a thing Saturday, though.


Holly said...

Oh my gosh! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the baby blanket! The pattern, the color, everything! I may have to try that pattern some day. I've been sitting to hats and booties for baby gifts nowadays because they are so much quicker for me to finish. I'd love to knit all the babies I know blankets but unfortunately I just am not patient enough for a long project like that. Although, I'm into socks lately, so I guess that kinds of blows that excuse out of the water, huh? Anyhoo, glad you water is okay and your A/C is fixed for the time being!

mle said...

Cute, cute blankie!! I love the heaviness that cotton gives to a blanket.

YarnThrower said...

I'm so glad to hear that things are looking up a little bit today..... We've owned two houses, and have replaced the air conditioners in both of them. If yours is old, it might be a good thing, since efficiencies are so much higher these days? (silver lining? still, expensive!)

Your blanket looks so great! Very cheery, and interesting!

I'm sacrilege, too. Especially if traveling with my family -- they have no interest in yarn stores, and I have plenty of yarn with me (usually -- have run out of yarn on a trip once or twice and shuddered that I'd made a "rookie" mistake by not bringing more), so if I ever travel alone sometime...I might check out the local knitting scene, but generally, not so much...

Glad your water is good! That would be a pain in the neck (only two feet lower)... Muffins...hmmm...maybe I'll make some, too :-)

Amy said...

Enjoyed your updates (even the not-so-cheery one)! You remind me of me when it comes to *thinking* you've anticipated all your knitting needs prior to traveling - the right needles and amount of yarn - but later getting a rude awakening. My specialty is feeling sure I've got it all, and in my last-minute check before the airport, discovering I'm missing something small, like, oh, the right needle. I'm usually a big baby about it.

Great blanket - love the color. Cozy pattern makes me want to feel that fiber!

cici said...

AC YaY!!Beach YaY!!! Love the cotton and the color is sooooo pinky and cute.. well done!!!

String Bean said...

Where to start? The baby shawl looks great. Ask Lilah if I can borrow it, will ya? ;)
You're growing peppers? Awesome! You should see my tomatoes. Remind me to post pics. Let me know how those peppers taste.
Boil all? Gross. Glad it's not affecting you guys.
Ha! We don't even have AC. Just some fans and windows.
I took the quiz below. I'm vanilla. :(

Stefaneener said...

I'm so glad you're gardening. The blanket is lovely; the yarn shopping seems reasonable.

So glad you're looking up a bit. Hang in there.