Monthly Archives: April 2007

Nothing Nada Zip

I’ve been scrambling for the last few days with deadline looming. For some reason, I’m really far behind this month. It’s prolly all the energy focused on Rob’s race, etc. but identifying the cause doesn’t make me write any faster!

So I have nothing to say and no time to say it. In the meantime, hop on over to Crazy Aunt Purl and check out her exciting news! I’m officially part of the Amazon ranking – yippee!

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And They’re Off!

I’ve been slammed with deadline, the boat show and Hubbo’s race and am just now able to find a minute to post the finished, modeled pic of his toque.

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I love how it turned out, love the color, love the cables. LOVELOVELOVE it!

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And I love how it looks on his handsome head! The true color is much more accurate in the photo below.

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And I do believe he was wearing it on the way out the Golden Gate this morning!

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GOOD LUCK, HUBBO!

My fantabulous Secret Pal, Nosy1, sent me more goodies. This package was postmarked from Virginia, while the last ones (postcards and packages) were sent from Minnesota. What the heck? This chick is trying to confuse me (not hard to do, by the way). Plus she’s all up on her America’s Cup news (or lack of news, as the case may be). Just look at this loot:

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The STR colorway is called ‘Lucy‘ which, Nosy1 notes, is named after the famous cat at Wendy Knits. I’ve never been to Wendy Knits before so I had no clue what Lucy looked like. But all night, my eyes were drawn back to this skein over and over again.

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What is it about that colorway? As I crawled into bed and I looked at a pic of my first cat Ripley, it dawned on me. That skein of yarn IS a Siamese cat!

Sure ‘nuf, I surfed on over to Wendy Knits this morning and there’s Lucy in all her Himalayan glory! The weirdest coincidence in this whole thing is that my sister has a Himalayan named . . . Lucy! She’s a skosh greyer than the other but still. How weird is that?

Anyway, I love the yarn, I love the whole ‘I Love Lucy’ connotation (Fred? Lucy? Where the heck is Ethel?), and I love that I get all misty thinking of my beautiful Ripley whenever I look at it.

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KnitPicks Options

I ordered my KnitPicks Options on April 9. I chose to go with the standard (free) shipping because I already had Hubbo’s watch cap on the dpns and didn’t think I needed them fast. They arrived on April 16 — a perfectly reasonable shipping time, in my mind — and I immediately sat down to check them out.

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As suggested by others, I screwed every needle onto all the cables to make sure they all threaded correctly. No problem there and I was happily surprised by the smooth join. They’re not quite as smooth as the Addi join but it’s hardly noticeable, especially considering the price difference.

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The tips of the KPs, also as mentioned by others, are also much sharper than Addis but, as a non-finger-poker, I like their pointy nature.

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Addi Turbo is on top.

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Susan Bates, Addi Turbo, Clover Bamboo & KP Options.

What I found interesting was how much memory the cable on the Addi had compared to the KPs.

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Let’s not even talk about Susan Bates or Clover needles!

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This is how they all laid out when pulled directly from their packages.

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I also went over every cable, as suggested, to see if there were any issues. I did find two cables — one 40″ and one 32″ — that had a ridge near the join. This is obviously an issue with a mold and KP cheerily offered replacements at no charge. I’ll save the cables as ‘spares’ but can’t imagine ever using/needing them.

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After I checked everything out, I put the kit together. With no label maker for the pockets, I went the ‘old skool’ route and used a Sharpie to mark which size needle is in each pocket (KnitPicks really needs to figure out a way to mark the needles themselves). Let me say for the record that I’m not a big fan of the case. I don’t care for the bulky ‘dayplanner’ and the storage pocket zippers take up so much room that it gets full quickly. All the built in pockets in the planner itself are pretty much useless with the exception of the sole zippered one. I suppose the others could store patterns but they’re all open, flap-type pockets so anything in them will fall right out. It’s just a cheap dayplanner, pen holder and all, so don’t expect a lot.

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I was actually considering buying a fishing lure binder instead of the KP kit but decided against it — it would have been more expensive and I had no idea what the quality was like by buying it online. Until I hold one in my hands, I can’t say I would have done it differently.

After checking everything, I hugged my new KP kit, set it aside and picked up Hubbo’s hat.

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The next morning I woke with a thunderbolt — why the heck didn’t I switch from dpns to magic loop?! I did so last night and what an amazing difference!

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If you don’t know about magic loop knitting, here are some great instructions. The hat fairly flew on the KPs, compared to my homemade dpns (from Home Depot doweling). Just a few more decreases and it’s done. Just in time for Hubbo’s long, cold and forecast-to-be-wet race on Saturday!

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Best Laid Plans

Hubbo’s racing in a singlehanded race next weekend that goes from San Fran to the Farallon Islands and back – it’s only about 30 miles offshore but it can get pretty bumpy and cold out thereout there. Luckily, he never ever gets seasick. Creep.

I wanted to knit up the — ah hem — emerald Malabrigo into a cabled toque for the race but I also wanted it to be a surprise. I was knitting on the sly every minute I could but after 3 days only had an inch of ribbing done. There was no way I’d finish before the race. Finally, I decided I would go for it in front of him and see how long it took for him to notice. THREE DAYS, people! I’m slinging this lurvely yarn around like spaghetti (no, I don’t really sling spaghetti around) and he’s paying no attention.

I do have to cut him some slack though. This race is weighing heavily on his mind and he’s working 24/7 on Tess, getting her ready (or as ready as possible). Last night, after kicking serious arse on Tess, we hobbled back home to watch The Sopranos. Just before it started, I picked up the hat and began my second row of cables (I’ll tell you about that in a sec). He looked down and the following discourse took place:

“What’s that?”
“A hat.”
“What’s it for?”
“Most people use them to keep their heads warm.”
“I mean, who’s it for?”
A sly look up to meet his eyes. “You.”

All together now: Aaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

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So what I want to know is, why was I so scared of cabling? What’s the big frigging deal? This hat was supposed to be some big Everest: My first cabled item! I, totally by coincidence, got to the first cable row the night before our Uknitty meeting. Great! My knitty pals will totally guide and mentor me through the trauma that cabling must be. Heck, I hardly needed them at all. They told me it was no biggie but I couldn’t believe them. Cables are so lovely and complicated looking that the process must be tough. Nope. Easy peasy!

NEWS FLASH!

Look what just arrived!

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My KnitPicks Options set (I added the little flower)!! I’m at work so I’ll have to wait till tonight to put it all together but I promise a full review when I can. In the meantime, Carmen wrote up a review on her blog that ya’ll might find interesting.

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Nosy1 Parker

I’ve been totally remiss in not acknowledging that I have a totally cool Secret Pal. Nosy1 lives somewhere in the middle — where there’s no ‘real’ water (aka: the salty kind) — but somehow she knows about sailing. Hmmm…. She totally ‘gets’ that living on a boat means not having a lot of room to store stuff. So she’s been sending postcards and other small treats to make me feel special. Just look at the booty so far!

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There’s a multitude of cards, some chocolate easter sheep (I think I’m definitely the black one), some padlock style stitch markers (that she gently suggested I use on the inside of my poor neglected Jaywalkers so others wouldn’t see that I dropped a stitch way down the line) and some North Sail decals. How excited was I when I got those stickers?!

What is it about postcards? I just get all tickled pink when I get one. Thanks Nosy1!

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Three Things

ONE

Just looks at this:

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I hate to bring this up, but we live in C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A. The long wet walk up to the showers this morning was reminiscent of life in the Pacific Northwest. Um, we moved for a reason. Hellooooo . . .

TWO

Miss Thang is D-O-N-E:

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I don’t have all the ‘luxuries’ of life on land — like a steam iron — so normal blocking is out for me. Our wardrobe consists of jeans, lots of T-shirts and a couple ‘iron-y’ items. A page taken out of the pioneer women’s playbook gave me guidance on how to iron without an iron.

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A little water and a hot kettle of water. I misted down Miss Thang but good, laid placed her on a towel, covered her with said towel and set a couple of full and boiling kettles of water on the areas that need serious ‘pressing’. Worked like a charm!

Except for Miss Thang herself:

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She looks tons better than she did — I think, in no small measure, because I did some tugging and gentle yanking adjusting before I blocked her. The foot’s still a little wonky but not bad enough to worry about (that’s growth for ya, people!).

BTW, if you’ll recall I had started Miss Thang on straights and was coerced by my friend Miri into working in the round. I frogged the 5″ I’d knit up and recast on. I’m thrilled THRILLED with how the sides look. No lumpy ugly seam, just lovely little decreases. I read too late that when switching from straights to circulars you should eliminate the one extra stitch on each side. So there are two stitches right up each side but I don’t think it’s even noticable.

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And FYI, if you’re thinking of making the XS size of Miss Thang, the pattern calls for three balls of yarn. This is what was left of ball two:

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Anyone in need of one full ball of 80% pima cotton/20% merino (Cascade Sierra) in Coal?

THREE

Time for the Malabrigo vs. Faux-Malabrigo fight for the Worsted Weight Championship. Here are our two competitors — Malabrigo is dressed in Emerald and Faux is in Pearl Ten. And there’s the bell!

I finally got a chance to run to the not-so-LYS to pick up a skein of Malabrigo. I’d hoped to get one in the Pearl Ten colorway to match the Faux but I was skunked. Instead, I bought this lovely sea-green color (that in no way resembles emeralds) to make a hat for Hubbo. He has the most beautiful sea-green eyes and this color will match them perfectly (sigh) . . .

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The two fierce yarns step into the middle of the ring, nose to nose. They circle each other before Malabrigo throws the first punch. It’s clear the champ is soft but he’s up to the challenge.

First of all, you can immediately tell the difference between the yarn just by picking them up. Faux is soft, but definitely not as soft as Malabrigo. Malabrigo is like petting cotton balls — ahhhh . . . Faux is like stroking, well, nice soft yarn. You can even see the difference in the photo. It looks like the green yarn is slightly out of focus, doesn’t it? Nope. That’s the Malabrigo being all soft and hazy.

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Faux can’t take the onslaught and hugs the champ, who shakes off the stall. He’s confident he’ll win the battle. The fight rages on, each gaining the upper hand and then losing it. Soon, they’re both at the end of their ropes.

The Faux has more definition and, surprisingly, more sheen glow luster. It’s hard to take a photo of the Faux that’s accurate because it reflects a lot of light. It’s also just a skosh heavier, though I’d be surprised if that affected gauge significantly. You can clearly see that both yarns are spun in a single ply.

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The bout is so close, the judges have to call the fight. And the winner is:

MALABRIGO by a hair!

The Malabrigo is the hands-down, without-a-doubt, slap-me-and-call-me-Sally winner in the ‘Soft’ category. And at $11 (from my not-so-LYS) for a 215-yd hank, quite a good value.

But the difference in softness isn’t tremendous, just noticeable. Someone compared Faux to Manos crossed with Noro. I’m not a fan of Noro, so I’m not sure about that but I will say, Faux is definitely softer than Manos. I’d say that Faux falls somewhere in between Malabrigo and Manos on the softness scale.

Faux’s hanks are 155 each and you buy them in lots of three for about $17, totaling roughly 465 yards. That’s significantly cheaper than Malabrigo (by over 25%) and for that kind of savings, I won’t hesitate to buy it again for larger projects. But for hats and scarves, I think I’d have to go for the real thing.

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A Geranio-colored hat for me!

Ed. Note: Someone asked about Serendipity’s merino wool compared to Malabrigo. Maybe I missed it but it appears they only sell merino in bulky weight. I did buy a skein of it too and, while it’s softer than the Faux, it’s still not quite as plush as Malabrigo. Maybe it has something to do with the fact it’s multi-ply and Malabrigo is single ply (again, note how the Malabrigo looks slightly out of focus next to the sharply focused bulky merino). I dunno, just my completely unscientific, slightly twisted observation.

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Decisions, decisions

Someone on a knitting bulletin board posted a link to Drops, a Norwegian company that sells yarns and goodies AND has a buttload of free knitting patterns. Holy cow! I was pretty settled on knitting up my Malabrigo-esque wool

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into Knitty’s Banff

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when I found this

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Unfortunately, the pattern is translated from Norwegian and is difficult to figure out in a couple spots. Plus, I’d like to knit the sweater all at once (as opposed to knitting it up in pieces) and am totally freaked by the knitty-math. I’ll muster all the old math skilz I can — sad, to be sure — and see if I can work this baby out.

BTW, check out this hot model:

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That’s dear ol’ Mom proudly sporting her Cat Bordhi Mobius Cowl. Niiiiiice!

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