Thursday, January 28, 2010

Itching for Spring

I'm clearly ready for Spring. Working on Hjalte is really taking a backseat to my purse knitting projects. Partly because my purse knitting is one cute spring top after another (mostly in discount Rowan Calmer, yay!) and partly because I found an absolutely idiotic error that means, far from being finished with the back, I shall soon have to rip back several rows and re-do them. Delightful. Motivation is low for this project.

On the needles at the moment:

Not the most exciting picture, but that's nearly one ball (of a projected 6) of Rowan Calmer in Calmer (a nice pale blue) that will become Tomato. A blue tomato, whatever. I'm also not sure if this project is totally doomed. From past knitting with Calmer, I knew how stretchy it was, but I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out the gauge. I can easily stretch the fabric on size 7 needles to 4.5 stitches per inch, but will it be TOO form-fitting? I'm also nowhere near row gauge, which could be a huge problem on a top-down raglan. There's not really a way to easily add rows, I don't think. Unless I just knit even for a couple inches? I ripped back and started with the large size instead of medium to try to counter the gauge weirdness, but I'm not sure how to address the row gauge. Cotton tends to grow lengthwise, but will Calmer with how stretchy it is? Whatever, it's nice purse knitting, and I love knitting with Calmer. I was really excited to find discontinued colors nearly half-off at WEBS, and armed with Christmas money, I bought a few sweaters' worth. Usually I get to sales once all the good colors are gone, but I got several that I quite like.

I finished the Two-Fisted Tank from Pints and Purls. Here it is, pre-blocking:

Not that exciting, but it's sort of cute on. I'll get my husband to take a picture this weekend. The straps do fall down, but it's designed that way. It's a very simple knit, great for the purse.

Pattern: Two-Fisted Tank from Pints and Purls
Yarn: Knitpicks Comfy Worsted in Honeydew, just over 4 skeins
Needles: Size 7 circ

Notes: This is a fun, easy pattern. The top is not the most finished-looking summer top, but it's cute and the easy construction makes it good purse knitting. I was surprised at how much I liked Comfy, which is nice and soft.

Reading: I received a review copy of The Brutal Telling, the fifth Inspector Gamache novel, from LibraryThing, and loved it. I immediately ordered the first four in the series. Penny has a fantastic setting in Three Pines, a village hidden south of Montreal, and her characters practically jump off the page. I'm only disappointed that there weren't more than four more for me to read. These are some of the best mysteries I've ever read. From Inspector Gamache and his team of misfits to the crazy, lonely, or helpful inhabitants of Three Pines, every character is infused with warmth and life. The first in the series is Still Life.

Writing: Still noodling. Having some trouble getting going again.

Cooking: Very little. I did make a baked potato soup from Cooking Light, one of my favorite cold weather meals. It's a bit warmer now, but I have the ingredients for a cheesy spinach soup from a culinary mystery (Dying For Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson).

Lilah and I have been talking gardening. We had a great time watching our Swallowtail caterpillars grow fat on our fennel plant, so Lilah asked if we could plant more. I also want to add more creeping thyme. Without ground cover, weeds here are insane, but most ground cover is so pointless. Like that annoying vine thing (not kudzu - something someone planted on purpose) that covers much of our yard. Mint and thyme spread nicely and are actually useful, so I'm thinking of adding more. The squash didn't go that well last summer (squash bugs, ugh), but tomatoes did well. We just don't have much yard, and even less with decent sun exposure (darn east-facing house). And the clay here seems to need a lot of help, nutrient-wise. We may just go tomatoes and herbs and butterflies this year.


YarnThrower said...

I love the color of your tomato! Are you going to do the color work in it, too?

Whenever I've knit clothing using cotton, it has gotten wider and shorter with time and wear, though I've never used the Calmer. If you know your row gauge, you can re-calculate the rate of your increases -- you know how many stitches you are starting with, you know how many you'll need to get around your torso, and you know how many rows of knitting it is going to be from the starting point to the beginning of the torso, so you'll be able to figure out how often you'll need an increase row...

We have mint sprouting up all over the place over here.... Well, not right now, because it's winter and all, but in spring, I know it will be back and in all the wrong places :-) Smells really nice, though :-)

Have a great weekend!

mle said...

Love the color of your "Blue Tomato"! I hope it comes out good. Just get to the part where you join the body and then you can try it on to see if the sleeves will fit.