O is for Oblique.

Yes, fine, I’m cheating. I can’t come up with a good O post and this.. well.. works.. in a way..

I’m not what you’d call a “chocolate lover”. Most chocolate desserts are too rich and gooey and.. chocolaty. Fessing up to this tends to get me looks akin what to I’d expect if I said something like “After I cut off his feet…”. Don’t get me wrong – good plain chocolate (as in chocolate bars or candy pieces) I’m fine with. It’s those “death by chocolate” type desserts that are just too much.

However, mix the chocolate in one of those gooey desserts with something like caramel or mint, and I’m all good. Which would explain why the huge brownie with half an inch of mint frostening, consumed in bites between crises today, made things.. bearable.

In other news, I promised pictures.

First up – recent fleece acquisitions. The front left is the peacock merino (2 pounds!) and the front left is the khaki merino (1 pound) roving from Mary Kay. It’s very soft and very lovely and I imagine it will be rather dreamy to spin. The back is the 4 ounces of camel down I picked up at the state fair a couple weeks ago. I was warned that this has a short staple and likely to be slippery, but I think after the merino superwash, it will be okay.

Speaking of which, I rinsed and hung the skein I plied and wound it into a skein. I was pleased to see it didn’t seem to unply much in the process, though it did bloom a bit and is gorgeously soft stuff.

And here’s Rogue, all seamed up, but unblocked. The sleeve picture is pr’bly the most color accurate. The seam in the hood is a little wonky and I’m pretty sure I screwed something up in the decreases for the top of the hood because it’s not really flat, but I rather like how the hems turned out, even if the bottom hem left a visible line where it caught in the back.

And here it is blocking. I’m relieved that it relaxed and stretched out quite a bit once I soaked it, so here’s hoping it will be quite comfy when it’s dry. You can see in the picture on the left what I mean about the hood being sort of wonky. Not sure why some of these pictures look all washed out.. the one on the right is more color accurate.

And last, at least for the pictures for now, is the red Rowan River Tape I got from Saun. This is slated for a holiday project, so it’s likely the last you’ll see of it until January.

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Would it be cheating..

.. to send the lamb fleeces to Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill for cleaning and carding into roving? Even if I don’t have a means to card the wool? I hope not. *smile*

I think I’ll pr’bly still wash it at home, though I might just box it all up as is and send it off to them. I think I have about 3-4 lbs, but I’ll have to figure out how to weigh it (if I dump it all in the mesh sack and weigh myself with the sack and then just weigh myself and subtract, that should be pretty close). I just need to figure out whether I’m willing to pay them $8.25 a pound to get it back in usable form… Considering how inexpensive the fleeces were, I’m tempted. For $33 plus shipping, though.. hrm.

In other news, I think I’m going to bring Rogue with me to the cabin this weekend and seam it up. It’s getting chillier here in the evenings and that means it’ll soon be sweater-wearing season! I’m also going to bring up the Blackberry Ridge Blue Willow cardigan sweater kit (with blackberry trim) my sister got me for Christmas last year and try to get it started. This one scares me a little because it’s really gorgeous and I don’t want to screw it up, but I also really want to wear it, and that won’t happen until I finish it! I’ll have to look tonight to see what needles I need for it – I think last I checked, I didn’t have all the needles I’d need, but that might have changed.

I am Knitter; Hear me ROAR!

Heh. Or something. I managed the crochet provisional cast on the Very First Time(tm). Once I started crocheting the chain it became immediately clear which side was the bottom and what part I was supposed to knit into to create the first row.

The reason for the provisional cast on was to allow for a picot hem, which I’d also never done before. I must admit, it’s a neat little trick and I rather like how it turned out.

And after the hem, there’s a little bit of lace detail, worked in purl stitches with a row of yo, p2tog in the middle before the main body of the piece progresses:

All in all, I am pleased with how this one’s starting, especially at the fact that I learned two new techniques in the progress.

I also got the sleeves for Rogue blocked, but I sort of cheated to do it. I just steam ironed them (except for the bias hem). I’m contemplating doing that for the body as well, but haven’t decided yet.

It’s much, much cooler here today and the humidity seems to have dropped substantially as well, so it’s likely that I’ll try to block the Candle Flame Shawl later this afternoon. I’m a little concerned that I don’t have anything long enough to block it on – unblocked it’s about 5 feet long and I expect it will stretch out another 2 to 2.5 feet during blocking. Even diagonal on the queen-sized futon I don’t think I’ll be able to block it all in one piece. Might have to sequester the dog upstairs and use the carpet on the living room floor.

M is for ..

Motivation.

There’s nothing quite so motivating as receiving a large box of new yarn and patterns for two new projects. No, I can’t tell you what the Cotton Fleece is for; this represents the start of my holiday knitting, so pictures will be a bit obscure.

This is Rogue sleeve number 2 as of sometime yesterday evening, a little blurry:

And here are both sleeves, finished but unblocked:

Yup. Motivation. On the hottest weekend of the year, with heat indices over 110, I was struck with the indescribable urge to pick up 100% wool and pound out sleeves. *shrug* Blocking will likely wait for a bit though – the humidity is so high I think it would take days for it to dry – and it’s not like I have any inclination to try it on at the moment, so for now, it’s enough that the pieces are all complete.

In the meantime, though, I have a decision to make.. cotton, or alpaca & wool?

Signs of the apocalypse?

1. Last night, I gave in and we bought an air conditioner. I’m not fond of air conditioners – there’s just something that doesn’t sit right in my mind about spending so much money to modify one’s environment for personal comfort. Part of it is a sort of half-hearted we-did-this-to-ourselves response for having so polluted our environment that for several weeks or months of the year in what used to be perfectly tolerable climates we can’t seem to survive. Part of it is disgust at the idea of using even more energy, which will add to the pollution, to ameliorate the effects of said pollution. Part of it is much more selfish – it’s damned expensive to run an air conditioner.

But as much as I appear to be more heat and humidity tolerant than Jack, it became abundantly clear that I am not more tolerant of a consistently mopey and cranky husband. So I capitulated and we bought a 10,000 BTU air conditioner for the upstairs rooms, a second fan to help circulate the air around the three rooms upstairs, and a spring-tension shower rod and heavy duty plastic shower curtain to try to partition the stairs off so all the cool air wouldn’t just rush downstairs (where it tends to stay naturally much cooler to begin with). So now, Jack sleeps better and promises that he’ll be less cranky, but I wake up every hour from the fan noise and vague concerns about a skyrocketing electric bill. *sigh*

2. I managed to complete the cable on the first Rogue sleeve successfully.

3. Many people I know, myself included, had significant issues with technology this week. From relatively simple but inexplicable (and painful) lost documents or queries to entire systems crashing for no apparent reason to flooding server rooms to possibly weather-related, possibly technology-related cancellation of several flights out of O’Hare, it has not been a good week for technology. Nope. Not at all.

4. We have absolutely no plans for this weekend. None. Not even a vague plan to come into town for the Art Fair, or to wander up to Hoedown Days. Nothing.

"I don’t know what I’ve been drinking, but I hope to Christ there’s more"

I think Rogue is expressing its displeasure at being ignored for the last several months. I’ve knit one sleeve through the end of the cable chart, only to discover that I missed an essential instruction in the increase rows. I ripped it back to the turning row, started again, got about 12 rows before realizing that I’d missed a two decreases several rows back. Ripped it back again and decided enough was enough for one night.

In other news, I just got notification from Barnes & Noble that the books I ordered.. a couple months ago? are shipping. Yes, I knew they wouldn’t ship until now when I placed the order, but I had a $25 gift card from MyPoints and knew that I wanted to get the next Harry Potter book in paperback, the last Gunslinger book in paperback, and the second of Jacqueline Carey’s Godslayer series in paperback, and one or the other of them didn’t print in paperback until this month (the Godslayer book, I think). Rather than pay extra shipping for books I wouldn’t miss until now, I just had them hold the whole order until they were all available. Yea! Christmas in July! Now to plough through the rest of A People’s History of the Supreme Court.. (Not going so well.. feels like I read this one already (which I have, just not in this format – I had an unofficial emphasis in American Constitutional History in college))

In yet other news, I’ve been contacted and asked to do Artisans Row at Boar’s Head this year, which is nifty. I’m not sure yet whether we’re actually planning to go to the event, but the fact that they sought me out to ask if I’d coordinate it again – especially with a solid four-plus months advance warning – is hopeful. I’m willing to shepherd this idea along for a little longer in hopes others will start to pick up the idea at other events I may or may not be able to attend. At least until something else catches my fancy. *shrug*

Right then.. off to try to get through the rest of Dred Scott..

Has anyone seen my "J" post..?

*sigh* I wrote my “J” post in March, way ahead of schedule, and saved it as a draft. I *swear* that the week before last, I published it. It’s no longer in my drafts folder, but neither is it showing up in my blog. *grumble* I can re-write it, it’s just frustrating that I was so ahead of the game and was foiled.

In the meantime, I will distract you with knitting pictures. First a couple of finished objects: the Fixation socks and the Lily ribbed tank.

I’m not sure how I like the socks. Fixation is just not.. really my thing, I think. I haven’t worn them yet (in fact they’re still sitting on the table like that and I think I took this picture this past weekend), so I might change my mind, but I don’t think I’ll make more socks out of Fixation, at least not for me. I have most of a skein of this color left plus most of a skein of a variegated colorwary, so I might make a pair for someone else using those.

The tank I like quite a bit. It could be a little longer and I probably could have made it narrower, but if I wear another tank under it (it’s a little too see-thru to just wear on its own), it works just fine. I wore it Sunday to my niece’s birthday party and this picture was taken after that, so it’s a bit stretched out. The silk doesn’t spring back as well as wool or acrylic would, but I don’t really mind that.

This, of course, is Rogue. Or at least most of the hood for Rogue. I actually finished the hood this week, but don’t have a more recent picture. I’m not sure if I’m going to start working on the sleeves right away or not since it’s unlikely that I’ll have much opportunity to wear it until fall, so it might wait until later in the summer. We’ll see.

I’ve also continued plugging away on the Candle Flame wrap and am about four or five repeats into it, which is still only about 2/3rds of the first skein. It’s sort of putzy, but I’m getting used to the chart (it’s 36 rows) so it’s been going better. I’m starting to wonder though if the variegated yarn is too busy for the pattern.

This is it so far, pseudo-blocked on my bulletin board at work. I think it’s the striping that is bugging me – I like the light/dark pools, but the striping is a little too stark. It looks better stretched out, so I’m hoping once it’s all finished and blocked properly that it will be fine.

This weekend we’re escaping to my parents’ cabin and I’m hoping to work on some tablet weaving, so there may not be much knitting progress to show come Tuesday, but I do have about 12 hours in the car the next four days, so there’s likely to be some either on Candle Flame or on a new project.