Gifts to Myself

I now like birthdays a lot, because I just take a “me” day and do what I want to. If I want to work, I work, and if I want to goof off, I goof off. Today I did quite a bit of each (and am not yet finished).

The highlight of the day, so far, is that I finished the table runner I was making for Lee, which I can now declare his birthday present. Once that yarn finally showed up, I went to town on it. To me, it seems more like a small table cloth than a runner, but it looks cool on my ancient coffee table, even before blocking.

That’s lots of colors, but at least you can see the pattern, too.

As I probably mentioned before, it’s a pattern called Montague, which I made with a wild Noro yarn (Kureyopatora) rather than a sensible tan. Until I wash it and block it (dry it pinned to the correct shape) it will be a little bit lumpy. I have to find a flat surface with no dog access to do the blocking!

Oh look, another angle.

The lace pattern was just complicated enough to be interesting, but not so hard that I couldn’t converse or watch television (on most of the rows, anyway). It would look really good in a solid color, but you know me, I’m a peacock or something.

A better idea of the pattern. The black obscures it.

My big treat to myself was a little shopping (with mask; I was the only one) and a DQ Blizzard all by myself, with no begging dogs. Ahh. So, now I have to suddenly run off and feed the horses, but I did want to show you the nice plant I got delivered! I feel so loved.

Knitting on Hold Due to Online Shopping Fail

Darn me. I thought I had ordered more yarn for the table runner I’m making for Lee, then wondered why it had not arrived. Sigh. The website I used had such a long and convoluted ordering process that I missed one last “finalize order” button on the bottom of a screen, because the text was so long that the button required scrolling to see. Let me just say, “Grr.”

It’s looking pretty, though, other than my ugly decreases (for which I blame the yarn texture, not my sterling technique.

So, I now have a 28-inch long piece of knitted fabric and no more yarn. The purchase HAS hit my credit card, so now I’ll just wait until next week for the rest to show up. The good news is that Lee wants the runner to be 50 inches, so the two more skeins I ordered should be enough, but not too much. That makes me happy!

Half of a table runner.

I made a mistake in the last light brown section, but it’s not bad enough to rip out. With all that crazy color and texture, who’s gonna look that hard at it, once it’s on the stereo cabinet? It just shows I’m human!

Once again, I am really glad to have a backup project! The blue shawl will get longer today, though I must admit categorizing all my Bioblitz photos takes away from my knitting time.

Still Blitzing

No one I know actually logs ALL the hours they spend on iNaturalist. For me, the time just melts away as I try to figure out what kind of plant or animal I’ve seen. Yesterday I even got a couple of bird photos, nasty, blurry ones, but yay! I actually love this one, which really doesn’t show the bird species, but looks artsy.

Mystery bird.

And I got these beautiful closeups of henbit, the omnipresent wildflower of February.

And here, I just had to take a photo of the entrance to the driveway that leads to the cabin and barns. It’s pretty to me.

Very Texas-y.

How’s your weekend going? I hope better than this dead hunk of fish I found. Yep, a good place to stop blogging.

I don’t think there’s enough of this to identify on iNaturalist, but the fish does have cool teeth. At the top is a fin.

Knitting Progress and a Memory

Someone surprised me by asking how my knitting project was coming along. Sure, I’ll share.

Knitting plus ever-present lap dog.

I’m close to getting through two repeats of the lace pattern. I’m also awfully close to finishing the first skein of yarn, which means this will be more of a mat than a table runner. So, I’m going to see if there happens to be any of that yarn out there in the world. Who knows?

Pattern up close.

The black part of the yarn makes the lace pattern not show up as well, but that’s a risk I took by not doing this in a solid color. I’m not a perfect decreaser but I’ll smooth some of them out later.

Dark Lace

Just because a yarn is dark doesn’t mean you can’t make a lace project out of it. One of my favorite shawls is this beautiful one made from natural black sheepswool from American Shetland sheep. The shawl was made in 2010 and still looks new. No evil moths have attacked it.

Hey, that hunk of quartz makes a nice shawl display.

The style is Faroese, a traditional British Isles style. The way the center pattern and border intersect is so elegant.

Fun lace. Simple beauty.

The wool is spun a little scratchy, but that makes it stay on your shoulders and drape beautifully. I had Lee take a few pictures of me wearing it, since Ravelry only had pictures of the shawl alone.

It’s very light, but warm. I’m so glad the dogs are old enough that I can wear shawls again. Anyway, dark lace can be lovely.

Those of you wanting to make one can go to my Ravelry page for the project, which lists the source, yarn, and other details. Gosh, I still remember the day I bought the yarn and how helpful the shop owner was. We both kept patting the beautiful wool.

All the details!

Memories. I do have something percolating in my head to write more seriously about, so I’ll be back later. Now I must go on an adventure!

Check Your Gauge, the Knitting Mantra

Pretty much any knitting pattern that is not an amorphous blob is supposed to come out a certain size. To do that, you have to knit a certain number of stitches per inch or four centimeters. You frequently see this (with the capital letters):

TAKE TIME TO CHECK YOUR GAUGE!

That means, don’t knit an entire sweater, only to discover it’s a baby sweater, not one for you, or vice versa. Knitting a little square in the pattern used in the item and measuring your stitches will help you make something come out like you wanted it to.

But, do people do that? Well, professionals usually do. Regular people just say, “What the heck,” and use the size of needles called for in the pattern and some yarn they figure is close to the one called for in the pattern (which is, quite often, no longer available).

What do I do? I immediately go two sizes of needles smaller than what’s called for, knowing that I knit loosely, and I try to use a yarn of the same weight as the one called for in the pattern. That often works. And it’s fine for a shawl, afghan, or other item that doesn’t need to be an exact size.

My latest project uses a simple lace pattern called Montague, by Berroco, which calls for a Linen blend worsted weight yarn (the original yarn is no longer available!). I’m using a 100% wool worsted weight yarn with a thick-and-thin texture, Noro Kureopatora (New). It’s for a table runner in Lee’s office. I started off using the size needle in the smaller range for the yarn, a 6. I knitted an inch or so, and Lee asked, “Doesn’t that seem a bit big?”

It does sorta look like a snake

Argh. Well, I hadn’t gotten too far, and it did show how nicely the seed stitch border will look. I frogged it (ripped it out), and re-started on two sizes smaller needles, size 4, which I should have done in the first place.

It came out significantly less wide, and most important, will fit on the piece of furniture it’s destined to rest on.

It’s still not 22 inches, as the instructions call for, but that’s okay. I just needed it to be more narrow than the stereo cabinet it will decorate. Now I can happily knit away.

Lesson? I should have checked my gauge!

It looks like delicious ice cream flavors.

The above picture is the entire border. Next is the lace pattern, which will require a bit of concentration. I got the first row established on my lunch hour, though, so I can work on it this evening after work.

Speaking of work, it is very hard to concentrate on it, because there is a pair of phoebes outside flitting around, catching bugs, and chasing each other. They are such beautiful birds. And with two of them, they are just like their call, “Phoebe! Phoebe!”

The screen makes it hard to see, but there’s a second bird farther along the fence.

That’s from yesterday. Today it’s raining again. Great news!

Have a good Tuesday. Those of you who pray, let’s pray for an uneventful day tomorrow. That’s where what spare energy I have is going!