Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easeter goodness and gauge revelation

We were down in Calgary for Easter, and Mom and I had a very successful shopping trip to North Hill Mall for Mike's birthday presents (one stop! No need to go anywhere else! Yay!). While we were waiting in line at Safeway, suddenly a woman pushed her cart to the end of the till. She addressed the cashier with quick, clipped words, her eastern European accent quite thick with distress. The cashier was confused, but the lady who was just finishing her transaction said, "I think she forgot to pay for something."

Indeed. The woman pulled a deli rotisserie chicken from her cart, and a $10 bill from her wallet. "I forgot this," she said. "I got out to my car and saw it in my cart, and I had to come back."

She was so flustered, and single-minded in her need to pay for said chicken, that Mom and I let her go ahead. Honestly, how could we say no? She forgot to pay for something, made it out of the store before realizing it, and came back. It made us smile. Happy Easter.

Mom also taught me how to purl this weekend, as the way I was doing it twisted my stitches. I've been faithfully doing a little purling every day to keep in practice. First, I was working on a gauge swatch for the basic sock pattern I picked up on my last Calgary visit, since I think I might want to try to knit a sock here soon. I've also been working on the first-knitting-project blanket, and with the new purl, it's just flying along! But something occurred to me yesterday, something that should have occurred to me earlier. You see, as I was knitting the gauge swatch for the socks, I was thinking to myself that it's going to be too big. I haven't measured it out yet, but I think it will be. So as I was knitting on the blanket yesterday afternoon, and watching the one ball of yarn dwindle significantly, it occurred to me that I never checked gauge on this blanket. I mean, I was still establishing my gauge when I started it, but really, I never checked it. And it also occurred to me that I ran out of the green yarn much, much earlier than the material count for the pattern said I should.

Now, at the time I chalked it up to having to throw away a good portion of one ball of yarn due to excessive fibre breakage (it was really, really, REALLY fuzzy), but the ball count on the purple I'm working on now is also 2, and that seemed... low. So last night, I took out my measuring tape and the pattern.

I don't have gauge.

In fact, I'm so far out of gauge, it's not even funny. 18 stitches and 24 rows does not equal 4 inches. It equals 5 inches. This probably doesn't mean a lot to those who don't knit, so I'll rephrase. Basically, I'm using probably an inch and a half more yarn for every 18 stitches than I should be. This is why I'm running out of yarn. And it's only going to get worse as the blanket gets bigger.

At this point, there are pretty much three options. First, I can just keep knitting, and buy extra balls of yarn in each of the remaining four colours (including this one) as needed, hoping the dye lots match. Second, I could frog the entire thing, and experiment with different needle sizes until I get gauge, necessitating some needle buying, and also the heartache of lots and lots and lots of hours of work down the drain, plus the stress on the yarn itself, and the frustration of reknitting everything I've done to this point. Third, I could switch needles now, which would probably make the blanket look a little funny and may not solve the problem anyway, meaning I still might have to buy the extra balls of yarn.

I think I will go with option one, for the simple reason that I don't want to be buying lots and lots of needles for gauge experiments right now, and I can't bear to take up five and a third of the nine colours of the blanket. So the blanket will not be the size it is supposed to be, but much bigger. Big blankets are okay, right?

What have I learned from this? Check gauge unless you don't care. :) See? This is why I gauged the socks!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Priest's busy weekend

Saturday, Priest's first meet and greet!

So many greyhound friends!

Hanging out being a good boy

Smoothie and Priest. I love this picture! Priest has such a goofy grin...

And Sunday, the St. Patrick's Day Greyhound Walk!

Heading out!
Group shot! Look at all the happy greyhounds!
Of course, he felt silly in his snood, but I had to try it out. There are some adjustments to be made for the next one! But isn't he handsome?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Knitting pictures

Finished baby blanket in "Ice Mint"/"Natural" colours of Bernat Baby Coordinates. Pattern is Rock-A-Bye from Quick Knit Baby Afghans. Bear is there for scale.

Snood for Priest, day 2. Knit in Pingouin Le Knit 3 in "Fog."

Oooo... Ahhhh... I'm planning to get a lot done (hopefully...) at the M&G on Saturday.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thank you, I have my own bag

This weekend, we went to pick up the yarn I needed to finish the baby blanket, and as has become my custom, I slung my Dumbledore's Army messenger bag over my shoulder. I've been doing this lately when headed out to get things-other-than-groceries (for which I have other reusable bags), in my ongoing effort to reduce the number of plastic bags we collect. So off we went in the car, to Michael's, and picked up two skeins of yarn (one of which was the wrong colour and soon became too much of a temptation for Priest, but that's another story). We headed straight to the till (do not pass go, do not collect et cetera and so on). The cashier rang them through and started to put them in the ubiquitous plastic bag. "No thank you," I said, "I brought my own bag." At which point she said the weirdest thing...

"Oh! And the idea is to fill it up?"

I stared at her. "No," I said, "the idea is to not have plastic bags in the house."


And there was an awkward silence.

I've thought about this for some time. Did she think I was attempting to curb my spending by limiting myself to the size of the bag (which is pointless, because how much space does an MP3 player or a diamond ring take up?)? Did she think that my sole purpose that day was to purchase enough stuff to fill the bag, and my day would be complete? I'm sorry, but I've got enough stuff in my life without adding more. I needed the yarn to finish the blanket this week (and I did get it done, and it's washed). It's not like I came to the register with half of the store in my hands. I came with two skeins of yarn, and I said that I had my own bag.

It's truly mystifying. We apparently have entirely different starting points for thought, this woman and myself. She probably thought I was a complete weirdo as well, if she thought of me at all.

Anyway, more yarn news; I went to a LYS just a five minute drive from work yesterday to pick up yarn for a snood (traditional definition and what I'm actually knitting) for Priest. Mike nixed my idea of red or some other gorgeous bright amazing counterpoint colour, saying that when we get another greyhound (note the "when"), I can pick the colour scheme for that one's accessories, but he's picking Priest's, and that means shades of black and grey. *sigh* Anyway, I picked up a lovely rich dark brown skein, and two skeins of a grey tweed, both of which will look nice and be fairly sedate. When I came home and after we had our little afternoon ritual of getting out of the Xpen, running to the front door, being let outside to stare over the fence from the deck, and sullenly putting up with having his paws wiped, I showed them both to Priest. I know, probably not the best idea given his yarn fetish. But he sniffed the brown, then the grey, then the brown, and then tried to take the grey away from me. So it was the grey I cast on (four times, don't ask) last night, and I'm 5 rows in to K4P4 ribbing. I still suck at purling, but I have a plan to learn Mom's way over Easter so I can stop unraveling the yarn when I do so. And please send me good thoughts when I get to the cable part. I've never cabled before.

This weekend it's a Chinook Winds Meet and Greet (our first!) on Saturday, and a St. Patty's Day Greyhound Walk on Sunday. Priest is going to sleep for a week. Heck, so will I. But hopefully this time, we don't forget the camera in the car.

Friday, March 07, 2008

In which I keep convincing myself it isn't spring

It's not. It's not it's not it's not it's not. But it's warm, and the snow is melting, and after all the equinox is coming up... No! It's not spring, I tell you!

But spring may account for some things. Spring may account for me not needing sweaters at work, or the real desire I have to just sit and look out the window. Spring may account for my frantic knitting before it gets too warm to really do much, and my desperate desire to get a snood knitted for Priest now that I have the pattern. Spring may account for Mike's restlessness and perusing of MLS listings. Spring may account for Priest cockroaching in our company (lying on his back with legs going in all directions. It's honestly the cutest thing ever), but that may just be because he's getting comfortable with us. It may account also for his newfound desire to actually get out of bed at 5:45 in the morning to go for a walk; he's actually following me downstairs now, not making me go back up to coerce him into coming down. Spring may also account for me being kind of itchy in my own skin.

Except it's not spring. This is Alberta. Spring and March do not go together in the same sentence. There is still a bite to the air, and not the friendly nibbles of spring. Except it's definitely a lot more muted than it was last week...

ARGH! It's NOT SPRING!!!!!!!

Yeah. I need a vacation. Again.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

All I can say is, thank heaven for centre-pull skeins...

At least he had fun, and it's not ruined (just slobbery, but I have to wash the blanket before giving it anyway). It was probably my fault, as not only did I close his Xpen so he couldn't get at his toys, but I also piqued his interest in yarn again by having the two elephant skeins on the stairs briefly to bring back up. I need more secure storage for my knitting, apparently!

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