Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The past few weeks have been a time of transition. The desert is slowly unfolding from the dark coziness of winter. Days are righter earlier (although still not at my bus stop, the morning chill has less of a bite, and the flowers are still in full force (pictured above, my beloved Desert Bells). Blazing, unremitting sun and soul-crushing heat will come soon, but for now everything is so pretty and fresh we can pretend that leaving behind winter is a good thing.

At the same time, I have transitioned from my old job & volunteering at the University for a new internship, which means a new schedule, new bus, and new work. It promises to be quite an interesting time.

If only the same could be said for my knitting. I am down to the last...few...rows..of my Icarus, and it simply will not end. There was rawther an ugly scenario involving a third knot that, in a fit of pique, I snapped right out of the skein. It involved a lot of yarn, too. As we were untangling the first knot, Querido asked how one reattaches yarn. In a desperate attempt to make my knitting seem remotely interesting, I will present it here.

* Like casting on, binding off, and holding one's yarn, this is one of those things that everybody does differently. For lace in particular, where the fabric is delicate and you don't want any nasty lumpy areas, there are enough different techniques for rejoining yarn to fill an encyclopœdia. This shawl is for me, however, and I am entirely out of patience with it, so I rejoined the yarn the way I always rejoin yarn, which a statistically significant portion of the knitting population will undoubtedly feel is wrong on so many levels. All of them can go read Knitting without Tears and see what EZ has to say about "right ways" of knitting.

Ahem. Rejoining yarn:

Start with the ends (ends, not end, because I'm working with two strands of yarn at the same time) in a place away from lots of holes so you don't have to worry about the ends working loose, coming to a hole, and unraveling. I have one strand attached to the skein and one not, so I need to reattach just one of them. I place the new strand next to the old ones (one unbroken, one broken), smush them all together so they're like a single strand, and knit for an inch (or until I'm in danger of running into another section of holes).

Then, I drop the endy bit of the broken strand, and I'm left with just two strands again, which is how it should be. In this picture, you can see (right to left) the tail of yarn where I started the new strand, the tail of yarn where I dropped the broken strand, and the two strands, both connected with the skein of yarn, which I will continue working with.

Now push those tails out of the way, pick up the two strands attached to the skein, and keep working as if nothing happened. Which it did, and you will be reminded of as you knit past the place where you rejoined the yarn, at which points you will think uncharitable thoughts about Merino laceweight. You can also think uncharitable thoughts about Merino laceweight as you weave in these ends later, but that step belongs to a tutorial on weaving in ends.

And that, Querido, is how to rejoin yarn.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What else...

Little news on the knitting front here; after finally untangling the Gorgonian Knot and skipping through Chart 3 of the Icarus' border, my skein decided to disintegrate & form another tangle. I hate the idea of breaking the yarn again to get this one out, so I'm trying to limp it along. It's slow going, to be sure.

In other news:

The aloes in our backyard are blooming, and this year we have not one but *two* mutant flower spikes. Ooh!

We've had some deliciously cool weather, allowing me to hide what has gone from an uneven sunburn to an uneven tan. My weather widget assures me these temperatures will last through the weekend; I may need to take this opportunity to even my tan out a bit so as to look less ridiculous.

I am caught up in the middle of a rawther deliciously dark novel called Johannes Cabal, Necromancer. I never recommend books until I've finished them, but this one looks, at page 125, to be perfect for anyone who enjoys Neil Gaiman's superbly British style of black humor.

Friday, March 11, 2011


1. The Plague is upon us (again). Above are orange buds, and among the natives I have counted cassia, brittlebush, creosote, fairy duster, and desert marigold in bloom, not to mention the California poppies & assorted other wildflowers. Sniffle, sniffle. Lovely.

2. For the first time ever, I got a sunburn *in* the Valley. Monday was a delicious 76 degrees, but quite sunny. Seeing the Cubbies do all us Chicagoans proud was worth it, but now I have to figure out how to get my unburned side to contrast less with the wicked pink of my burned side. Which will involve going outside. And now highs are in the 80s & climbing.

3. I have spent 4, going on 5 days untangling a knot in my knitting. I have seen some messy knots in my time, but this was a knot of truly Gorgonian proportions. The yarn, I believe, is largely to blame. It is Merino laceweight, and I was working with both ends held together. Working from both the center and outside of a ball of yarn often results in tangling, laceweight tangles like no other, and Merino sends up all these little fuzzies when agitated. Add the three together, and voila! you have a nice mess. I cannot claim total innocence--me chucking my knitting straight in my tote bag was a bad decision--but honestly. I worked on untangling this knot. Querido worked on untangling this knot (entirely of his own volition). El Jefe even worked on untangling this knot. And it is *still* not completely untangled.

4. Yes, I could have just cut the knot out. I'm too cheap to waste good yarn & too stubborn to let a knot get the better of me.

5. This week has been a doozy. I could have done with some actual knitting.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Finished object!!!

Quick specs:

Pattern: Haruni, by Emily Ross.
Yarn: Alpaca with a Twist Fino
Needles: Size 4 Takumi Clover circular
Full details on Ravelry

This project combined most of the things I love about lace: a basic, organic motif for the body, a bit of fancy for the edge, and *blocking*. I am enamored with blocking. You begin with something that looks like a crumpled flower petal…

… soak it until it looks like something washed up on the beach…

… and then stretch it out as far as it goes & pin it down with half a gazillion pins (Note to self--get some more t-pins soon. Sewing pins appropriated from Mum's supplies were too short.)...

And voila! It looks amazing. From the look of the chart, I expected the second lace motif to be a bit difficult, but once I got past the first few rows and the leaf shapes were established (and less easily confused with lattice sections), it was quite intuitive & surprisingly simple. The i-cord loops were a trifle on the fiddly side to knit, especially as I kept losing track of how many rows I had done since the last join. They were definitely on the fiddly side to block, but the daintiness of the result was oh so worth it. This is definitely a pattern I would knit again, and very well may, as both Mum & Hermanita were rather taken with it.