Thursday, July 27, 2006

Reading, Writing and 'Rithmetic...

Last week our family watched an episode of "That'll Teach'em", A group of modern-day GCSE(highschool) pupils are put through the rigours of O levels and life in a 1950s state grammar boarding school. Amongst other things, the show suggests that one of the many glaring deficiencies in modern-day education is a failure to master basic arithmetic calculations.

While I can argue that the ability to perform long-division calculations quickly and accurately is far less relevant now than it was in the years before calculators and spreadsheets, I don't disagree that students today seem less able to perform "number manipulations" than students 30 years ago. (I'm basing this statement on my undoubtedly unbiased recollections of my skills back when I was the "glasses held together with BOTH tape and a safety pin", flash-card geek, relative to those of my DDs and their classmates.)

Yup, kids today can't add, subtract or multiply...let's not even get started on long-division.

Where is this going??

Despite the fact that I was schooled with plenty of drill-work and rote memorization of times tables and the like, I missed the basic math/knitting priciple...

If you double the strand, you halve the yardage.


Oh, well it was good practice for the "real tank top", which I will restart using

Fortunately, the new yarn looks equally fetching in my citrus tote.

Monday, July 24, 2006

An Early Sunset for Soleil

After knitting about 7 inches of my Soleil-alike, I decided to cut my losses and head for the frog pond. I just can't see a way around the curling edge issue. I did test press part of the edge and it really doesn't provide a satisfactory solution.

I'm probably still tainted from the "Theresa" issue last September. (Theresa is a wrap-cardigan from Debbie Bliss' Junior Knits) I knit the first 6 inches of the back of Theresa using mercerized cotton and a variety of needle sizes and stitch treatments THREE times without conquering the curling edge problem. I love mercerized cotton, but not what it does to my wrists, so I'd rather avoid a lot of re-knitting!

Instead, I'm going to recycle the Paton's Grace (tangelo) into this tank from Vogue Knitting, Summer 2006. I think that the bottom ribbing and textured stitch should prevent curling issues. Besides the appealing stitch pattern, this project is tempting because I calculate that my chances are no better than 50/50 that I can complete it with the six skeins of Grace in my stash. Hey, who doesn't love a photo-finish!

And of course I have the perfect tote for my citrus-coloured tank WIP...the citrus-coloured mini-toggle tote! It's all about the details!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Back from a Week of Cottaging!

Lots of hanging by the water's edge, playing lifeguard. Surprisingly, quite a bit of knitting due to the nasty long drive out of and back into the city.

I worked on the Silkroad Cardigan using some Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed that I have in my stash and have completed the front and back as well as part of the first sleeve. The whole thing is knit in rib, so it is pretty slow going.

I haven't figured out exactly what I'm going to use for the contrast colour around the collar. I have some wool/acrylic boucle in flat black that will do in a pinch, but I just might find something better. The main colour is a bright olive tweed with burnt orange, turquoise and black flecks. Picking either bright contrast colour might be a little visually jarring, so I am leaning towards black. Also, the collar/ties band needs to be a bit softer than the Aran Tweed, since it will rub against my neck, so the acrylic blend may just work.

No WIP photos...but I do have a couple of the kids with Haley at the cottage.

Haley BTW was brilliant at the cottage. She adores swimming and fetches sticks from the water like a champ. She is very protective of the girls when they are swimming. Haley was concerned when Gillian was "floating face down" in the lake (a very annoying pastime of Gillian's that is made tolerable only because she was wearing a life jacket and floating two feet away from me in 16 inches of water) Haley didn't see it that way and insisted on dragging Gillian to shore by the scruff of her lifejacket. Very sweet of Haley. Unfortunately, Gillian was face down at the time of the dragging and less appreciative of "Puppy's" efforts.

Here they are in happier times!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Clare's Bolero

Finished at last. Ignore the grimy child, she received her yellow belt after an intensive week of martial arts study and celebrated with pizza! As you can see, I made the sweater one size larger than Clare would normally wear. Ellery's was made to fit and she will get barely one season's wear out of it. While that isn't a problem when you knit for the oldest/biggest kid, it's a tragedy when knitting for Clare, the teeniest one!

So, now I'm down to picking away at one of Alexandra Virgiel's variations on Soleil I'm a bit concerned. I'm using the same sort of yarn and I'm already having a terrible curling problem around the lower edge. Not too sure this will block out...sources on-line suggest that this is a problem with the pattern and mercerized cotton.

Preparing to be disappointed with the camisole, (and cognizant of the fact that knitting all this cotton is taking a toll on my tendons) I'm contemplating fall projects. Here are a couple contenders...please let me know your thoughts...

The Pinwheel Sweater is a free pattern from Elann.

Of course, mine wouldn't look anything like this. I've got a ton of earth-toned boucle on hand that comes pretty close to gauge when knit double stranded. I figure with a bit of judicious (ok, haphazard) over-dying of one or two of the colours and using the AA - AB - BB - BC method of changing colours when knitting with a double strand, I could some up with a reasonable colour combination. Being boucle, it knits to a fairly firm fabric and the detail of the pinwheel is lost, but it just might work anyway.

The Silkroad Aran Cardigan is from Interweave Knits. I have some Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed in the discontinued bright green to use as the main colour, but no ideas about what would work for the collar. Fortunately, the collar is knit after the fact and only requires a small quantity of yarn, so I could wait until I have a near finished back before hitting the yarnstores in search of dk weight coordinating yarns!

So...what do you think? Any preferences?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Guess What This Is?

It's all that's left over after knitting Clare's Bolero (Molly from Debbie Bliss' Junior Knits)

Yup, I have a few long ends for sewing the side seams and that's it. I'm so happy, usually I'm equally close but in the other direction.

And what is this?

It's all that's left of the horrid wallpaper in my front hall. That was our weekend activity, so not much knitting to report.

Hopefully, tonight I'll get a chance to stitch and block Molly. Pictures in a day or so!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Shame On You!

You know who you are...

Thanks to the magic of site counters, I'm able to track the source of the hits to my blog. Surprise, surprise...most of you aren't knitters!

The most common route to my blog is the google search for "nipple" or "braless". (These terms were included in my blog as part of a discussion of my modifications to a Rowan Cotton Tape tank top to EXCLUDE those features from my finished product.)

Sorry to disappoint you googlites.

I'm comforted only by the knowledge that most of you are conducting these searches outside work hours and after the little ones have gone to bed.