I’m baaack! Actually, I wasn’t really gone (well, not for long anyway), but Bloglines declared me persona non gratis and was not updating my feeds. I sent in a help ticket and after a couple of days they corrected the problem. Semi-reasonable for a free service, I guess. A lot of people complain about Bloglines, but it’s hard to carp too much about something that’s free and allows me to keep up on my favorite blogs without checking them every day.

In the knitting realm, it seems I’ve been frogging as much as knitting. I started a new pair of plain socks that I’m doing for a barter (more about that when the barter’s complete). I got past the heel and realized they are WAY too big. I’m not used to knitting for people with size 10 feet, but this was ridiculous. So they were frogged. And, I’m sad to say, Green Gables has been frogged as well. I had armhole issues and ripped back once and I just wasn’t feeling the love. I’m beginning to fear for this Shine yarn. I absolutely love it, but how many times can it be frogged before it falls apart.

I found a new pattern in an Elsebeth Lavold book – cute tank, should be quick and simple. But gauge has reared its ugly head and I’m just plain frustrated. So, when one is frustrated, what does one do? Cast on for a cute little baby outfit:


One of our former dental assistants is expecting a baby, so I now have an excuse. Little baby things are so cute, so quick and so adorable. And this one has the advantage of little sewing – it’s done with yoke and the little sleeves are circular. The only downside is that the first few rows of the yoke are miserable because of the curve of the tiny little sleeves, but I’m beyond that now and on to the fun part.

I have been busy with other, secret Christmas sewing and knitting which I cannot show, but all will be revealed in time. And – joy, oh joy! I wasn’t expecting my Knit Picks needles for a couple of weeks, but I checked the website and they should be here by the end of the week! So, I should have a few spare minutes to play with them before I leave on vacation.

And I leave you with this beautiful Thursday sky. You can’t really see the sunset from our house because of the trees, but it must have been gorgeous because even the air seemed pink. This is looking southeast from our deck:


Knitters are such a special group – but then you knew that already didn’t you? I spent a wonderful weekend up in Bellingham with Li and friends. I met non-blogging Marsha, who really needs to get a blog to show off her beautiful rose shawl and the Berroco Suede she got (on sale!) to make another one. And then there was Karen, non-knitter, who followed us around and tolerated our obsession and didn’t make fun of us once (at least not in front of us!). And Grace, who was sweet as could be, except when she had hold of her bone and played a ferocious game of tug-o’-war. Li was a gracious hostess and between eating her delicious food, drinking wine and yarn crawling, some knitting was actually accomplished:


I found the yarn for my next project, Fiddlesticks’ Garden Shawl. The yarn – Zephyr silk & wool. Here it is lounging on Li’s deck:


I’m going to try and practice a little self discipline (Ha! You’ve heard that before) and finish up some other projects before starting. Plus, after seeing Li’s new set of Knit Picks needles, I have ordered a set for myself. I love the sharp tips which will be perfect for lace knitting, the joins were smooth and the cables non-kinky. But, because of high demand, they are on backorder and it may be up to a month before they get here. Perfect chance to practice aforesaid self discipline, huh?

And, as requested, here is a model shot of Peacock Feathers:


I missed the deadline by four days, but I shall post my latest Amazing Lace Challenge. This challenge was to depict what your lace could be used for if you stopped knitting at this very moment. Hmmm – if I stopped knitting at this very moment, my Peacock Feathers could be used for . . . wait, this is hard. Hmmm – A SHAWL!!! That’s because it is finished, done, stick a fork in it, end of the road.


Man, I love blocking lace. Magic, magic, magic.


There are a couple of minor errors in this, none of which I am going to point out to you. This one will stay home with me unless my mother wants to exchange the one I gave her for Christmas. I’ll let her decide which one more suits her vision of purple. The other one looks blue to me and this looks wine. I was hoping to have this done by the end of July and I’m pleased that I made it with almost two weeks to spare.

Now I need to get cracking and finish some socks. I have no less than three pairs on the needles. Two for the sock program for my guild in October and one I’m doing for a barter. And, I’m dying to start these socks from Marguerite. Aren’t they the most elegant things you’ve ever seen? I have some Regia Silk that will look awesome in her pattern. This yarn was purchased with the excuse of using it for Christmas presents, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to bear to give them away.

The hot weather has finally hit our little corner of the U.S. I felt a little guilty (just a little) looking at the weather maps last week. All over the U.S. were yellows, oranges and reds – all except one little green corner up in the northwest – our corner. A couple of days ago our high was 68. Today it’s more like 80 and the possibility of 90 tomorrow. However, that’s Seattle and here on the island it stays a little cooler. But without air conditioning, you can be sure we’ll be whining with the best. This weekend I’m going up to Bellingham for a knit blogger’s slumber party. Li and I are getting together for some post-wedding rest, relaxation and yarn crawling.

And, Lynne, this one’s for you. Two Subway sandwiches, a shared coke and an impromptu picnic in the park – Priceless!


I have a disease. Don’t worry – it’s not terminal, just chronic, and one I’m sure most knitters can identify with. It’s startitis. Does The Knitting Doctor know of a cure? Actually, I feel a little justified on this one. For some reason, all of my projects are either at the miles and miles of boring stockinette (Izzy’s Christmas sweater, sock, Green Gables) or at a point that requires great concentration (Peacock Feathers, FLAK, St. Brigid, Kongsberg). I needed something that was interesting, but that was also repetitive. Years ago I made an afghan for my sister. I love that afghan and every time I go to her house and cuddle up under it I contemplate stealing it. That would be wrong, so I started my own. This is the center panel:


This pattern has about a bazillion bobbles, but after nupps, they’re a piece of cake. And don’t you think it makes a cozy decor, reclining on my bedroom chair, just waiting for the stolen minute or two to pick it up?


Partially in penance, I am committed to finishing a project in the next two weeks. Our annual knitting picnic is coming up – it’s a gathering together of groups from adjoining islands. You would have to look long and hard to find a more talented group of knitters. Bringing a few pathetic socks for show and tell just won’t cut it! Everything impressive that I’ve done this year has been given away, so I have determined to finish Peacock Feathers in time. I think it’s doable – if I do 4 rows a day, that still gives me a few days to block. Here she is – although it’s hard to determine I’ve made progress since the last photo. But I can’t get her more spread out without risking the stitches jumping off the needle, and I’m NOT taking that chance:


Today’s mission, when not knitting, is to try and find some shorts to wear for Orlando. Normally, I do not do shorts. The only pair I have are the ratty ones I wear when exercising on my bike. I’m terribly self-concious about my legs – they’re skinny and white. I know the skinny part is probably the envy of some, but I was teased about it when I was younger. And I’m coming to terms with the white part. Being embarassed by my skin color makes about as much sense as telling an African-American they should be embarassed by theirs. This is the color God made me and I won’t risk skin cancer to change it. But I still don’t like wearing shorts!

I haven’t exactly been keeping up with the ABC Along. I kind of got stuck on J and couldn’t seem to get beyond that. I couldn’t think of anything for L either and the K was just too obvious. So, we will just jump ahead to M.

M is for a Mountain of Books:


These are my textbooks for fall semester. And yes, you are reading correctly! I get to train a dog for college credit!!! I am taking Psychology 311 – Principles of Learning. As part of the section on operant conditioning, we get to train a dog and write a paper on it – hence dog training books are included in my curriculum. How cool is that? I have to admit that both of our dogs are pretty well obedience trained, so I may need to borrow a dog. I have several friends who have volunteered their pooches!

You will also notice books on statistics. I have geared up my courage and decided I need to take this class. But you gotta love a book called “Statistics for the Terrified”. It is peppered with Gary Larson cartoons, but also with things like this:


So I guess it’s a wash.

On the knitting front, I have finished the first garment to Izzy’s Christmas ensemble (another hint!). Here are some pretty posies all in a row:


Because of the mountain of books, I need to get as much done as possible before school starts. I have also made progress on Green Gables:


I was able to try it on when I finished the armhole increases and decided I needed to add at least another inch for the armhole depth. I haven’t tried it on since, so I hope the inch was enough. Now I’m down to miles and miles of stockinette, so I hope I don’t get bogged down.

It’s a nice night for knitting – raining and my hubby is at work, so I’m off to settle down with Law and Order!

Happy 4th of July to all Americans out there! Ours started off as a typical Pacific Northwest 4th – it was raining! I hardly remember a 4th of July here when it didn’t rain at least part of the day. We have spent many a night huddled on the beach in winter gear watching the fireworks!! However, today the rain burned off and it turned into a picture perfect day. Spurred on by Kris‘ pictures of Mt. Baker, I went out into our backyard and took this:


Unfortunately, the air was a little hazy and the mountain isn’t quite as clear as it can be. This is the view from the back corner of our property. We’re probably lucky you can’t see it from the house, because then we couldn’t have afforded the house! When we first moved here, 20 years ago, we were on a one acre plot in the middle of the woods. The town has crept out toward us and now we are on a one acre wooded plot surrounded by housing developments. It’s not all bad – my husband cut a path through the woods and now I can traipse down the path, through the gate and walk the dogs on nice sidewalks with killer views of the sea and mountains. And, we have “country” living, complete with quail and deer within walking distance of town. There’s a big fireworks show tonight, but being the old stick-in-the-muds we have become, I’m not sure we will be able to stay awake that late!

I have a FO to report – the baby set is finished ahead of the baby:


Cute, isn’t it? The hat called for earflaps, but I didn’t like them, so decided on the cute little pom-pom instead. It will go off in the mail this week. I sure hope it’s a boy. The last time the doctors predicted a girl until the last minute and then changed their mind. Little Matthew is now two years old. So, we’re hoping the doctors are right this time.

You may have noticed that I haven’t talked about the Thistle tank recently. I finished the front and had started the back, but I just wasn’t feeling the love. Then, I saw Green Gables, modeled by Lynne. Smashing! Both Lynne and the sweater. Do you think if I knit it I will look as gorgeous as she does? I’m going to give it a valiant try. So, Thistle is frogged (or in the process) and Green Gables has been cast on. I tried to get a picture, but it was impossible, so you’ll have to wait until I’m further along.

And, Izzy’s Christmas gift is now into miles and miles of plain stockinette. I thought I would be bored to tears, but it’s gone fairly quickly and I’m actually almost done. There is a little shaping involved to give a thimbleful of interest, but the real interest will come in the companion piece.

Back to work tomorrow – I’ve been spoiled with 5 days in a row off. On the bright side, I only work two days and them I’m off three. Really spoiled, huh?

I thought that with no school over the summer I would be posting more often. That obviously has not turned out to be the case, so come fall I may become a stranger! On the other hand, I have been accomplishing a lot of knitting – and when given the choice to knit or blog, I will usually choose knitting. On the other hand (to quote Tevya), when I knit, I actually have something to blog about (the rest of my life not necessarily being blog-worthy). So, grab an iced tea or a long cold lemonade and settle in for a marathon post.

The sadly neglected Peacock Feathers has been rescued from the doldrums. I’m to the point at which a novice lace knitter might be fooled into thinking the end is near. I’m on chart 7 of 8 charts. However, experience with this particular pattern has taught me that it is all an illusion. We have entered the Black Hole of Knitting, in which each row gets longer and you knit and knit and never make any progress. This was especially true the other night when I knitted for an hour and spent the next two hours tinking back everything I had just put in. Tempting fate, I was not using markers between the repeats. In the early part of the shawl they’re just annoying, because you just keep having to move them. But, sadly, I had forgotten that by chart 7, they are a necessity. The pattern becomes asymmetrical and difficult to “read” intuitively. You just have to follow the chart on blind faith. A Dear Reader had requested a picture and here goes, although it’s difficult to actually see anything:


I still resolutely refuse to use a lifeline and yes, it has come back to bite me in the butt on more than one occasion.

The little CIC gansey has also seen progress:


The body is done and one sleeve started. I’m not thrilled with the neckline. It seems too large. However, knowing that little kids’ heads are ginormous compared to their bodies, I’m going to leave it alone. It’s much better for it to be too wide than not wide enough. This has been a wonderful choice. It’s such fun to knit! There will be more – right now I have enough for at least five more. And with Wool of the Andes from Knit Picks, the cost to knit one is only about $10.50.

And, because I know that you are just sitting on the edge of your chair – a discussion of weaving versus floating. Those of you non-knitters might want to step out for a little snack. I don’t profess to be an expert on two color knitting. I’ve finished two child-size and one adult-size Norwegian sweaters and have two adult-size in progress. The very talented Wendy, the indisputable Queen of Knitting, recommends floating, even over distances as long as 10 stitches. That’s been my stand so far, but I’ve had some problems with it. There’s been no problem with appearances, but I’ve had some reservations about wearibility. When we put Izzy’s Easter sweater on her for the first time, I followed Chery’s recommendation about making her little hand into a fist when putting it in the sleeve to avoid catching on the floats. The only problem was that within minutes she had pulled her hand up inside the sleeve and caught her fingers on a float, making a bit of a mess.

I checked out the Philosopher’s Wool book on fair isle knitting from the library and they recommend a technique of weaving every other stitch. The technique is easy to do and I had no problem at all with the stitches puckering. And, the wrong side of the garment is very neat and tidy:


The problem came when carrying a dark colored strand against a light colored background. There was very definite show-through. After a lot of consideration, I decided to rip back and float the strands, especially since this was not a sleeve, but the bottom edge of the garment (and because I decided that the size I was making was too large). I think when I reach the sleeve, I will just make sure that I catch any floats longer than 3 stitches and trust that as she gets older, she will not wiggle in and out of sleeves so much! Here’s the back side now:


Any more guesses? Jessica guessed Dale’s Lady Bug Sweater. Good guess, but wrong. However, Theresa has cast on for that and I will be watching her progress. Jessica, was close, though. It’s definitely a Baby Dale.

Whew, give yourself a prize if you’ve made it this far. Happy 4th to all (or Canada Day to our northern friends).