27 February 2008

A Fifth of What?

Yes, our house has been visited by Fifth Disease. Isobel had a fever Sunday; Nick received a call Monday that his son had the tell-tale "slap" rash on his cheeks; and then Monday night Nick started to feel ill. In the usual progression of things, I should have started to feel crummy yesterday but seem to be resistant (or am going to be beaten with a pile driver tonight - who can say).

It's a funny virus. By the time you get the rash, you're no longer contagious, and the fever is low-grade and other symptoms seem like the symptom for almost anything. The only thing is that it's usually a kids thing - the fifth of the classic five diseases that the little guys (usually ages 5-10) used to get (measles, scarlet fever, rubella, the brilliantly named fourth disease, and fifth disease) - and when adults get it, they say it's worse, which is the case chez Purly this week.

So, I haven't gotten much knitting accomplished in the last few days, but I do have a snap of the Swallowtail Shawl:

I'm a little further along now, but it's more of the same. I love this yarn, and the body pattern is pretty easy (though I still consult my chart now and then). My only problem with the yarn is my own problem - my right index finger is a little rough, probably from cooking, cleaning, etc., and it snags the yarn a little sometimes. Not enough to really be a problem, but I need to exfoliate!

Speaking of cooking (and baking), I've been doing a lot of it lately: shortbread from Cook's Illustrated for Valentine's Day, chocolate loaf cake from How to be a Domestic Goddess (along with a recipe for fudge that was not to my taste), mussels from the Sunday Farmer's Market a la Aquitaine, apple crisp with Farmer's Market creme fraiche, white chocolate brioche bread pudding (my own adaptation of a Joy of Cooking recipe), couscous salad with butternut squash (also from the Farmer's Market), lemon-thyme-garlic roast chicken (bird from the Farmer's Market - sensing a theme yet?), stock from the chicken carcass, and pan-fried squid (from the FM) with lazy aïoli (mix minced garlic into good mayo) from Nigella Express. Sadly the kids won't eat any of it, aside from the chocolate cake, but Isobel likes to "help" me in the kitchen and has an adorable apron to wear.

We'll probably have squid again tonight or leftover chicken, depending on the health of the patient.

24 February 2008

Look, storage!

A belated Valentine's Day post, as my love got me an Expedit bookcase from Ikea to store the stash. What do you think? He's a keeper, isn't he.

Of course, this means I have to organize it a little. My darling non-knitter thought I might do it by color. I had to gently tell him that by yarn weight is usually a better way to sort things. This means I have to get the rest of the stash from Gloucester, too.

Still going back and forth on the house. It will be very bittersweet to sell it but for the best. At least I still have a little antique cottage in Bath, mere blocks from Halcyon Yarns!

Progress continues on Michael's sweater. I'm about two-thirds of the way up sleeve two (yay!) and will soon be joining that one to the rest of the gang. And I'm slowly working on the Swallowtail Shawl whenever I know I'll be able to concentrate a little more (or whenever I can't take any more stockinette!).

22 February 2008

FO: Slouchy Cardi

This one has been finished for so long that it is a wardrobe staple now. I think I've decided not to do the hood, though I have enough yarn for it. I really like the points on the front, which you can see in the second pic. Whaddaya think of my armscyes? I'm very proud of my seams!

Pattern: Slouchy Cardigan from Greetings from Knit Cafe
Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk DK from the good folks at Halcyon Yarns in #6 Steel Grey
Needles: US6
Mods: Even with checking the errata, I ended up with too-deep armscyes and had to rip back, but all turned out well in the end

Scenes from the life of Mommy
Mommy: (Exasperated at the end of a long day and trying to get some dinner ready for someone small) Isobel, this is the last time I'm going to ask. Do you want your pizza hot or cold?
Isobel: Warm.
Mommy: Nnngggh.

A few days later at bath time...
Mommy: Come on, sweetie, your bath is almost ready. Let's get you undressed.
Isobel wriggles and attempts to get away in her room. The usual.
Mommy: I have to check the bath. Get your shirt off, please. (Turning to leave notices the patch of blue crayon colored on the wall by the door) How did this happen? Why did you color on the wall? You know we only color on paper.
Isobel: (Collapses in tears and stays that way, dramatically, for many minutes) ... Sorry.
Mommy: Thank you for apologizing. Please don't do it again. You know better. Let's get you in the bath.
A few minutes later during the bath...
Mommy: Sweetie, why did you color on the wall? I don't understand.
Isobel: Mommy, we already talked about this.
Mommy: Nnngggh.

The coloring was the result of Mommy not paying enough attention to Isobel due to spending too much time on the phone with all the people who own the house with me, as well as my family, due to our getting an offer (!!). We're in the midst of negotiations, so I don't want to say much more. If you're in the habit of praying or sending up positive thoughts or any such, send them up Gloucester way. I'll let you know what happens.

21 February 2008

Semi-FO: Cable Ribwarmer

So, Tanya nudged me out of my petulance, and I ripped and re-sewed seams yesterday. I still have to pick up and knit around the whole shrug edge, as well as the armscyes, but the little thing can be worn. I have to finish my brother's sweater before I can free up the US7 24" needle called for. It does need to be reblocked though - those pin pulls are not terribly attractive.

Pattern: Ribwarmer #28, Vogue Knitting
Yarn: Queensland Collection Llama Seta (88 yds.), 3 skeins
Needles: US6 Bryspun, US7 mystery aluminum 24"
Mods: none

This is a cool pattern, though it would be interesting to see something similar that doesn't rely on the sewing up for its shape. And I like the yarn, though it's not a construction I'm used to working with. The Llama Seta is a ten-ply yarn made up of five double plies. I thought it would be more splitty than it was, though ends and sewing up bits untwisted quite a bit.

Next up, Slouchy Cardi pics!

19 February 2008


We're down for the count chez Purly. Nick and I both seem to have come down with some odd ailment, while Isobel is healthy as a horse. It's not the flu. The best way to describe it is that we don't feel like ourselves, we're tired (I took a three-hour nap on Sunday, and I do not nap), and we have low-grade fevers at the end of the day.

So, yesterday I needed a break from the yummy but endless stockinette that is my brother's Malabrigo EZ EPS Raglan and decided to do some of the finishing work on the Cable Ribwarmer from VK. It was such an easy knit, but there are a lot of seams to put this strip together. It's cool. But apparently I have created some sort of useless mobius somehow:

See that? Not right. Well, not left. It shouldn't twist like that in the upper left corner of the photo. I discovered the problem when I decided to slip it on yesterday out of curiosity now that it was in it's final shape. And discovered this twist. So, now I'm going to have to rip out my lovely seams.

That center rib in the back is seamed together. Could you tell? You probably could, but I'm still proud of how far my finishing has come along thanks to Maggie Righetti's Knitting in Plain English.

Anyway, in my malaise I threw the offending object across the room and am thinking of casting on that Drops jacket everyone is making. It is very cute, and I have decided to frog that top-down raglan sweater I made last spring. It really needs some short-row shoulder shaping to be wearable. I was thinking of doing another Hourglass, since I've seen some lovely Hourglass sweaters in Malabrigo (100purewool is very similar) on Ravelry. But I have two Hourglass sweaters already; I've been wearing the heck out of my two cardis this winter; and the Drops jacket seems to be a fast knit, which is always good.

But I do have to finish my brother's sweater first. I'm about two-thirds up the torso and have one sleeve done to the join. My Ravelry estimate is that I'm about 60% of the way there, and I've only used three skeins of yarn so far. I think this will use less than six, so I'll have two leftover to play with.

E.T.A. photos! It looks like the problem may have been user error (impatience). Oops.
P.S. Blogger is not playing nice, so I can't seem to add photos. Will do so ASAP.

14 February 2008


So, I got smug the other day that the weather in NYC has been so much more amenable than in the Midwest and New England, as if Mother Nature were confirming the wisdom of our move. And then we got a snow storm on Tuesday, which changed to rain as I was walking back from my new knitting group at Yarntopia. It's nice to have found a new group, though I miss the ladies at Yarns in the Farms. It made me realize that I need some woolly mittens (Anemoi or something bulkier?) and some sock yarn gloves with all the gorgeous sock yarn I've amassed in the last year even though I don't like knitting socks. Heresy, I know.

But rather than cast on something to keep an extremity warm (I could also use some other scarves to go with various winter gear and maybe a hat or two), I cast on a Swallowtail Shawl with that Intenso Malabrigo lace I bought at Close Knit in the fall. I will take pictures tomorrow. I will. I will. I will. Seriously.

And I'm working on my brother's EPS Raglan Sweater (his Christmas present - he got a bag of yarn) in more Malabrigo. Yum. It's in the Paris Night colorway, which is the same one I used to make my mom's laceweight Clapotis way back when. The color is amazing - grey, purple, navy, black - just gorgeous. I've got one sleeve done (my usual knit-in-the-round gauge swatch) and am slogging my way up the body, having knit up about four inches.

So, the lace work takes the edge off all that stockinette.

But the big excitement is that Nick bought me an Expedit bookcase to house the stash. I need more boxes/baskets to corral everything, but it is very exciting to have all the yarn and books and mags and tools and whatnot in one spot.