spring in the desert

i thought i had killed everything but amazingly i didn't!!! i have a black thumb. i can kill a cactus - in the desert - where it's supposed to live - without help from humans... sometimes i'm dumbfounded by how happy and healthy my pets are - see:

well, i don't know how happy the cat is, but henry the doggie is having a grand time...

anyway, last fall i re-landscaped my front yard with an automated drip irrigation system and native, drought-resistant plants and all sorts of green goodness. and then the winter came round and things froze. i thought all my new plants weren't strong enough or big enough to make it, but they survived - all of them!!

mexican honeysuckle...

and a potted succulent... [and chihuahuan sages and baja fairy dusters and birds of paradise and red yuccas and thornless desert spoons and purple hopbushes and, well, now i'm just showing off that i know the names of all those plants!]

next post i'll hopefully have finished pics of my drops lace cardigan - it fits!



it's all gonna be okay

i got something in the mail that makes everything all right. all the working and the exhausting schedule and the grumpiness? gone. my box from WEBS arrived!!! happy happy happy day! henry has to inspect the minute it's opened:

everything passed the sniff test - that's great. then i shooed him away cuz i wanted to enjoy the yarn for 2 seconds before it became covered in cat and dog hair. damn animals.

the purple yarn on top is tahki cotton classic destined to become a fad classic. i'm hoping it will turn out like this one. the color is similar, i think... and i am loving the color - so saturated and rich and warm. the minute i opened the box, i pulled out a skein, wound it up and started swatching, but my swatch is coming out way too small - think i'm gonna have to switch needles and play around with this a bit.

(by the way, the tahki cotton is sitting on top of an opera scarf made with debbie bliss pure silk - i just dont have to gumption to work on it).

if you peek beneath the purple yarn, you'll find this:

several balls of rowan wool cotton in a mocha color and some dive autumno - my new favorite hat yarn - it will later become a hat with ear flaps and maybe a pom-pom or 2... the wool cotton - what is it for, you ask?? what else but the basalt tank from knitting nature! i was never attracted to this pattern until i saw it here. i am such a copy-cat. i saw MLE's fad classic and had to make it, then i saw kelp!'s basalt tank and had to make that. seeing kelp!'s tank really made me wonder why i hadn't thought to make half hexagons on the sides too! i never liked the way the hexagons draped down on the sides but i liked everything else about the pattern. as you can see from the ball bands in the box, i've already started this project, too. so far i've made the front hex and am working on side hex numero2. pictures to come on that. i've sent an email about joing the knitting nature KAL so i'm hoping to stay motivated to finish it up soon!

well, i do unfortunately have to work this weekend but i hope the rest of you out there are having a grand time!

~ r


help! in need of a vacation...

... or maybe just a lobotomy so i wouldn't know how much it sucks to be sitting in a basement lab at 9.30 running a machine and silently mourning the fact that i'll be here for hours more. my work life has been insane lately - i won't bore you with the details. suffice to say getting a phd in the sciences (or any field no doubt) is a LOT of work and what i'm doing requires field work (the fun part) followed by endless amounts of lab work (in part what i'm doing now -ick) and writing (ick ick ick ick ick i hate writing science papers). at least i have my knitting. not that i've been able to do any knitting lately. i hate you grad school. but before i got all hatey and grumpy i did manage to finish something that had been lingering on the needles for an eternity... the melody's shawl from morehouse merino!

it took a long time because it's made of like 40000000 yds of laceweight merino knit around and around in stockinette (it's cut open in the end to make the fringe - so cool) - but it was the best thing for those nights when i wanted to knit but i didn't want to think about what i was knitting. i could just sit there and go around and around and around. the only frustrating thing was that i had to knit a ton to actually see any progress being made (i.e. shawl getting larger / gigantic ball of laceweight getting smaller). i absolutely love the finished product, though, so it's all been worth it! it's a little on the long side, but so light and springy and spongy and warm i don't mind wrapping it a couple of times around the neck. the kit isn't that expensive - $30? $35? and worth every penny in my opinion. ETA: the kit is $38.

well, better get back to my work... yay.


p.s. lobotomy's are creepy and really scare the sh out of me. or maybe it's just the whole old-fashioned medical science - so much superstition and hocus-pocus...


stripes go round

so last weekend i was really really - like manically - busy and somehow the busy-ness only pushed me to productively fill up every last second of my day with... something good. when i was not outside sweating to death and hauling construction debris from the side of my house up and into a dumpster, i was inside slurping ice water and finishing old knitted projects. admittedly, i worked a lot of wood splinters and dry wall dust into those projects - but i needed to knit them! there was no time for washing my hands and turning on some calming music, etc... it was work work work now sit down and knit knit knit now back to work work work. and it was great. i finished 3 big projects - 3!! i haven't had a chance to get a good photo of this one on me yet, but allow me to present the stripes go round sweater from interweave knits summer '04:

i know you can't see it all, but at least you can see the stripes and the yoke and the neckline and the cute little sleeves... actually, the rest of the sweater is pretty boring in comparison. just imagine the stripes going down (no waist shaping) and just kind of draping right below my waist. i increased the length a bit before adding the sleeves so the bottom of the sweater hits an inch or so below the top of my jeans - it's a good length.

all these stripes though meant a sweater with some pretty ugly guts:

lots of ends to weave in. i started by joining the new color each time i got to a color change round but in the end opted to just carry the yarn up the side, as you see here. MUCH better...

i tried my hardest but the armpit seams also came out a little ugly:

should i have grafted those stitches with green instead of the gold-colored yarn? maybe... at least i can say there aren't any holes where the grafted parts meet the rest of the sweater. i've had that problem in the past (child's placket neck sweater) and i thought it was super ugg.

anyway, i recommend this sweater. simple construction, easy to wear, nice and cool, pretty cute, too. i love the open, scooped neckline a lot. here are the details:

yarn: elsebeth lavold hempathy (hemp / cotton / modal); 6 balls (3 green; 2 gold; 1 pink)
needles: size 3 inox circs and long bamboo circ for sleeves done w/ magic loop
pattern: IK knits summer '04
mods: none - except lengthening the body by about an inch...

well, back to work... oh, and check out the results of the home-work i was talking about!


and after:


p.s. that pile re-grew itself since i took that last shot because the demolition continues!


my first sock

i always swore that i would never knit a sock, mainly because i don't wear socks very often (my feet get claustrophic), but also because 1) tiny needles, tiny yarn; 2) you have to make 2; 3) they just didn't seem like fun... but they are fun!! i had a great time making this sock - i don't even remember how / when the urge hit me to start it, but it was a fast knit on size 3s and i found the construction intriguing. for you sockies out there, it was knit on dpns from the top down with a short row heel.

pattern: debbie bliss simple living
yarn: RY cashsoft dk in a pale blue
needles: size 3 plymouth bamboo dpns

the good: they fit! no big problems, yarn is super soft - in fact, i can't wait to make a hat out of some greens and greys that i have. i love that they're more or less plain but have the cable up the side. and they're machine washable - yay!!

the bad: the holes in the heel. the pattern instructions just tell you to turn (and not wrap and turn) when working the short row heel. i guess i could have foreseen that / figured it out soon if i had really thought it through... oh well, it really doesn't bother me all that much since the socks are kinda thick and are good for scuffling around the house and not as much to be worn with shoes.

the last words: i will make more socks! and i have to admit that i've always been a little obsessed with sock yarn (i even bought some koigu the other day because i couldn't resist it) so i'm glad to have something to do with it! next time, though, i'm knitting them from the toe up on 2 circs.

i'm off to start the second sock!

~ r