Back Online (with fingers crossed)

K-Man LoungingSo, I've been having these weirdly predictable problems with my Internet connection for a while now. Every afternoon, sometime between 1:30 and 2:30 I would simply lose my connection -- then it would return anywhere from 5:30 to 7:00. Strange. ISP had no problems on their end, so finally on Friday a very nice tech came and, finding nothing wrong with the lines, etc here at the house, suggested just swapping out our old modem (which we own) for a leased one and seeing if that fixes the problem. If it does, I can go buy a new modem and return the leased one.

Well, I can say the Internet did not cut out Friday afternoon. The real test will be this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon. Fingers crossed that it works because I kinda rely on my Internet connection to make a living.

In the meantime, Enchanted Daybreak is done! And I love it. The interplay of the colors is just great; it's just the right size to keep a chill off; and the shape means it stays on my shoulders without a pin. It's just great.

Enchanted Daybreak Shawl
Pattern: Daybreak Shawl by Stephen West -- I made the largest size
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Fingering "Orange You Glad" and Noro Kureyon Sock #185, 1 ball each
Needle: Addi 32" #4
Mods: Well, to avoid running out of yarn halfway through the bindoff, I actually bound this off on the last wrong side knit row.

As I mentioned, when I saw Stefanie's blog post about her Daybreak Shawl, I wandered over to Rav to see what others had done, and knew immediately that I had to make this shawl and that I had to make it with this Kureyon Sock.

The knitting of the shawl was pretty straightforward, and I needed to refer to the pattern for only the first couple of rows of each section. And I only used a row counter for the first (solid) section. After that it was simply a matter of counting stripes and/or "purl" rows to keep track of where I was. By then end, each row was taking 12-15 minutes to knit and the needle was pretty full of stitches (I have deliberately not done the math to figure out just how many stitches were on the needles by the end -- it was a lot).

We had company coming for the weekend, so instead of wet-blocking or pinning out and steam blocking (both of which require the guest room to be free of guests for at least a day and a half), I simply gave the shawl a good ironing. I like the results very much.

And just because I love this shawl so, more pix (of course, clicking will take you to full size image at Flickr):
Enchanted Daybreak Shawl
Enchanted Daybreak Shawl
Enchanted Daybreak Shawl
Enchanted Daybreak Shawl (pre-block)

Color is probably most accurate in the pictures of it resting on the bird of paradise.

And remember the two skeins of Indigo Moon I needed to do something with? Well, what do you think?

Crabapple Sunshine

This is #1 of a pair of Cookie A's Sunshine Socks from Sock Innovation. Loving the color; loving the yarn; and loving how the yarn shows off the texture of the stitch pattern. Now on to sock #2.

Random Thursday (Because the Internet Went out Wednesday)

1. As Levi Leipheimer said when Tweeting it, "Check out these mad biking skills."

2. Ever wondered what your favorite journalists, foodies, techies and fashion gurus read online every day? Now you can check it out with Google Readers' Featured Readers.

3. I saw this great story about the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck a couple weeks ago. You can follow his exploits on his blog.

4. Don't ask because I haven't a clue what it's about, but this car was parked on the street in downtown Grand Rapids, MI, while we were there for Synod.
Deer on a Car?
I'm sure it had nothing to do with Synod, and (as you can tell if you click on the picture to see the original at Flickr) the deer aren't real. It certainly had us all quite amused for a couple of days.

5. This one is just for the word/grammar geeks out there: The UC San Diego Semiotic Zoo. "The UC San Diego Semiotic Zoo (UCSZ) is proud to present a special exhibition of exotic specimens and fabulous mutations, captured live in the jungles of academic discourse, and assembled here with great care for your entertainment and edification." Hours of fun for the whole family! Really.

6. Two things about this next picture:
It's a Good Thing I Love Him
  • It's a good thing I love him because, while that's not a favorite shoe, it is one I wore frequently; and
  • Look closely at his face. What if I tell you this picture was taken a couple of months AFTER we had his left eye removed? Spooky, huh?
7. And finally, I got a new cell phone last week, a Samsung Eternity. I wanted something that was capable of web browsing and stuff, had a full keyboard for texting, and that I could afford. Sure, I could get a refurbished iPhone for fairly cheap, but AT&T requires that you add the full iPhone data plan to your service, and I didn't say I wanted to USE the data service, just have a phone that could. Anyway, this phone comes with this "game":

Which is at the same time ridiculously pointless and rather addictive. I suppose if you're stuck somewhere and fell like playing craps.... [If you know HOW to play craps, that is.]

Yummy Yarns, A Cuddly Wrap, and an Enchanted Shawl

"Kitten Litter"Before we get to the fiber arts, I just have to gush a little bit about this recent acquisition (purchased at a yarn store, however, so it fits). Isn't it just wonderful? It was made by Janey Katz of Lizard Breath Ranch. M and I went to Silver City, NM a couple of weeks ago on a (working, for her) mini-break. While there, we were directed by friends to Yadda Yadda Yarn because, well, we needed souvenir yarn, right?

We also knew we wanted a "Critter" and that we could get one at the yarn store. The friends who put us up for the night have one of her larger pieces (made from an entire truck door), and we were captivated. So our first stop (after checking in with friends at The Curious Kumquat) was to fondle (and acquire) yarn and admire (and acquire) art.

Faux Russian StolePattern: Faux Russian Stole from A Gathering of Lace by Meg Swanson
Yarn: A two-ply wool jumperweight I can't otherwise identify because the tag is all in some Scandinavian language. Photos cannot do this yarn justice. It reads mostly as brown, but it's got a lot of green to it as well -- and then there are bits of orange and blue and red and other colors -- in the sun it just glows with light and color.

I loved the pattern, and the knitting was fairly straightforward (if anything with a 95 row chart can be straightforward). I found that it was easier to keep my place and make sure I didn't miss any YOs (I don't tend to miss the decreases, just the YOs) if, in addition to the markers between the edge stitches and the body stitches, I placed markers 28 stitches in from each side of the body. This way I could keep track of the stitches in each of the three sections of the body chart. As long as I had 28-25-28 stitches in these sections each row I was good to go.

Before blocking, the shawl was 22x54" -- after blocking it is now 30x72". Yep, it's BIG, and it'll be perfect for snuggling into on cool winter evenings here in the desert. Nothing worse when you're chilly than a shawl that's too small.

Enchanted Daybreak StripesWhen Stefanie started her Daybreak Shawl I was intrigued (maybe it was the Manilow reference), so I went to the Rav page and looked at the other projects there, then wandered over to Stephen's blog and decided that I had to make myself a Daybreak. I had purchased some Kureyon Sock (#185) at Yadda Yadda Yarn during the aforementioned visit with another shawl project in mind, but Daybreak captured my attention, so on a visit to Tucson Yarn I picked up a ball of Nature Spun Fingering in "Orange You Glad" and as soon as the Faux Russian was off the needles I cast on for what I'm calling Enchanted Daybreak ("Enchanted" for the motto of New Mexico, "Land of Enchantment").

I am making the largest size which calls for 325 yards of the solid color; Nature Spun Fingering comes in 310 yard balls. I finished section 2 with just a few yards of the 310 remaining. Phew! I am now a couple repeats into section 3 and the rows are each taking 12 or so minutes to knit (yes, I timed the last one because I needed to get dinner started and it was a race to see if I would finish the row in time).

Stefanie has some tips on her blog post (link above) for working the solid section. I will just add this: I put a locking stitch marker at the center of each of the side sections. As long as you remember to move the markers two stitches toward the outside before each increase row, you can then just do the increase on the outside of the marker and not worry about counting stitches.

Now if only that package would arrive from Knit Picks so I can do something with this:
Indigo Moons Yummies
That's two skeins of Indigo Moon Yarns Merino Fingering in Salad and Crabapple (I'm guessing you can tell which is which). They're to become socks. The Salad will likely become Feuilles de Vert, a pattern designed by Debbie O'Neill for Indigo Moon; the Crabapple may become Nancy Bush's Fancy Silk Sock or perhaps something from Sock Innovation. We'll see if Trish has other ideas since these are ultimately samples for her, but she's given me a lot of leeway with choosing the design.

I think that may be just about caught up. Of course, there are other socks on the needles (the reason I need the KP package before I can start the socks for Indigo Moon), and I've made some decisions about the Log Cabin Blankie whose squares are right now resting in the corner of my office, done but not assembled, and I there's a pink blankie for the hospital, and I know there's other stuff. Oh, and I just heard from Susan that she's sending me a new test knit. Ah, the fibery goodness!

In The Meantime...
Catching up in pictures

Pupper has made the complete transition from Cone-Puppy to Padiddle-Dog.
Padiddle Dog!
He's doing great, and aside from occasionally bumping into things on his left side, he really doesn't seem to notice. And his depth perception appears to be just fine if his ability to snag thrown popcorn from mid-air is any indication.

M and I went to the UCC's General Synod in Grand Rapids, MI. It was a fabulous chance to see friends, experience inspiring worship, and (of course) kibbutz the parliamentary procedure (which this year was largely free of major snafus). While there, I managed to knit a couple pairs of socks:

Fruity Jaywalkers
Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina
Yarn: OnLine Supersocke Holiday Color #999
I call these Fruity Jaywalkers because the colors of this yarn just scream things like LIME! CHERRY! ORANGE! LEMON!. I made the original size, and they're a little tight for my chunky calves, so they'll be M's socks or I'll find them a different home.

Total Immersion Socks
Pattern: Tidal Wave Socks by Deby Lake
Yarn: SWTC TOFUtsies #790
The theme for this year's General Synod was "Immerse Yourself" -- and few things immerse more than a tidal wave, so these socks were dubbed "Total Immersion". I cannot express how much I love this yarn or this pattern. This the third pair of Tidal Wave socks I've made from TOFUtsies, and I can't promise I won't make more. For Tucson winters, wool socks can be a little toasty on the feet, so a nice wool/soy/cotton blend is just what the weatherman ordered.

Synod Junkie Monkeys
Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A
Yarn: Regia Mini Ringel Color #5219
Though these socks were not begun until after our return from Synod, I still call them "Synod Junkie Monkeys" since the yarn made the trip to Grand Rapids as backup to the Jaywalkers and Tidal Wave socks. As with the other Monkeys I have made, these have no purl stitches.

There was fiber crafting FOR Synod in addition to the knitting AT Synod:

A Shawl for Synod
Pattern: Very Easy Ripple Shawl by Lion Brand (aka just a whole lot of feather and fan)
Yarn: Lion Brand Microspun in turquoise
Knowing that it would be chilly in the halls and rooms at Synod, M and I each knit one of these shawls, mine in turquoise, hers in orange.

Backup Shawl for Synod
And the backup shawl, just in case I didn't finish the knitted one. This is one is woven from mostly 5/2 Valley Cotton. Main color is 8176 (natural), and both warp and weft have random threads of other colors left over from other projects. At least most of the color is random: once in each the warp and weft there is a pink thread right next to an orange one. Coffee drinkers raised in the Northeast may recognize the significance of that (one thing I desperately miss from back home).

There's more knitting and stuff, but I'll stop here for now.

Oh, just a few more things: