Saturday, January 16, 2010

Starting up

I think I mentioned last time that I have been working to remedy my (formerly) projectless state. I'm being a bit more circumspect about it than I would have expected of myself (I mean, talk about an excuse for a serious bout of startitis!) and have so far only cast on for two projects. I think a third may be in the works, though, as you will see. In the meantime, I've been puttering and reading quite a bit (as well as prepping for classes, which start on Wednesday), and as I read, I've been thinking about whether this might be the year to invest in either a Kindle or a Nook (my birthday's coming up, after all). Imagine: I wouldn't have to worry about making my books stay open while I knit if I had one! But I also wouldn't be able to give my books to Rick or Older Daughter to read when I'm done, as we usually do (no, buying a second e-reader is not an option), and I just can't figure out whether I'd miss the feel of paper in my hands to distraction or not. Opinions? Experiences?

So, in the meantime, I've been working on the first sleeve of Older Daughter's sweater. The plan is to knit a bottom-up raglan, so I'll get the sleeves done and then start the body. It's to be fairly plain, although I'll probably put cabling up the raglan lines, and add an applied i-cord to the edges of the sleeves and the bottom of the sweater. I haven't decided whether I want to put a cable along the v-neck edges or do another applied i-cord there, too. I'm nowhere near that point, so I can dither a while longer.
You'd think I'd knit this up faster, as I'm using heavier yarn on bigger needles than I usually do, but somehow bigger-gauge knitting and I don't get along as well as smaller gauge knitting. What keeps me going is how much I love both the yarn and Older Daughter. She's going to be so happy with this (she's been wanting a sweater), and it's going to look great on her, and the colors of this yarn still make me tremendously happy, even after knitting the Urban Aran out of it for myself. Yes, this is the rest of the Urban Aran yarn, Briar Rose Charity, in one of Chris' gorgeous colorways. I don't know how she does it, I'm just delighted that she does.

I'm also knitting a shawl/scarf for me. This is the Silk Alpaca Bubushka (Rav link), and I'm knitting it out of Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere laceweight yarn. The single most common comment about this pattern on Ravelry is "oy, the seed stitch!", and I can see why, as almost the entire body is knitted in seed stitch, but that's OK. I can put myself on automatic for that, and knit this in meetings or while reading, so it's not a problem.
This is going to knit up into a very light and very warm little shawl that I think I'll wear a lot; it's a perfect layering piece, or one to throw into a bag in case the day or an office gets chilly.

I also made two purchases this week. I know that I thought I was sure I'd decided to spin myself the Tibetan Clouds Beaded Stole, but then I saw this:
Just sitting there, coyly, at Sundara Yarns when I went to look (it's the one on that page called Indian Blanket). It's the exact color I've been imagining for this stole, and it was clearly waiting there for me to find it. So I snapped it up (I'm not stupid), and when it came, it was even better than the pictures make it look; it's like molten chocolate. It's perfect. As you can see in that picture, I've put a few of the beads that I've bought for the stole on it, and am trying to decide which ones I like best.
I have more of the ones on the left (which is the bead that shows best in the picture above, and is the most central bead in the picture above that), but I should be able to get more of the ones on the right. Those are varied, and all three of the other beads on the skein come from that bag. I just can't decide, so I'll probably knit my gauge swatch with a few beads on it, just to see how they look in the knitting itself. Since my other two projects are fairly mindless knitting, this is about to become my concentration project.

I admit that there was a part of me that was wondering what the heck I am going to do now with the alpaca top I'd bought for the stole, but then, serendipitously, I wandered by Stella's blog, where I was reminded of EZ's Green Sweater, which I wanted to knit the minute I read about it on the Twist Collective. In fact, when I went to Schoolhouse Press to buy the pattern, there was a sample, all knit up in alpaca and looking lovely, so now I know exactly what I'm spinning that yarn for. I'll spin it up slowly as a four-ply cabled yarn, and then knit the sweater; with luck, it'll be done by next year at this time (please, don't remember that I said that next year at this time!).

I also bought myself a little present last week. I've been waiting and waiting for more of these to be available, so I snapped one up when they appeared.
That is a Kuchulu, from Jenkins Woodworking. It's 9 grams of spinning loveliness, made out of black and white ebony. Isn't it absolutely gorgeous? And of course, Wanda sent it out right away, wrapped in that gorgeous silk, which is the first thing that I will spin on it. I'm in love, and I keep picking it up to play with. My bigger Turkish spindle, also made by Ed, is a favorite of mine, and I can tell that this one will join its ranks. I think that this is going to spin stunning laceweight, and it will be fabulous for travelling, as it takes up no space to speak of.

However, this post has taken up lots of space, so I will stop here. I hope you are all enjoying a three-day weekend, full of much fun and fiber.


Lori said...

I had to stop reading to respond to the Kindle question right away - then I'll go back and read the rest (yarn, can't wait to see it). Kindle all the way. I bought the first generation version and it completely transformed my reading. As in, I read even more. And I work in publishing, so I always feel a bit like a traitor. Everyone I know who has a Kindle says the same thing, that they don't know why but they read so much more. For me, it makes reading on the subway much easier. For traveling? Wonderful, all the books you might possibly read, taking up no room.

When the 2nd generation Kindle came out, I bought it and gave my other one to my oldest daughter (who told me that she doesn't know why, but she's reading so much more now).

Rachel said...

I am an old fashion woman, all those reading alternatives don't look kosher to me at all and audio books go to the same no no category too.
I like to hold the book, go back, smell it and so on,,,

I love your new yarn can't help with the beads, I don't think I see enough in the photos.

twinsetellen said...

On Kindle - it is perfect for knitting. And knitting is exactly why Wilson bought me one. I use it for travel occassionally, but as you can't have it on during take off or landing, it isn't as perfect for that as one would think. But for knitting - ideal! The adjustable font is really great when my eyes are tired, too.

I still love real books and buy plenty, but the Kindle is swell. I don't have any data to compare to other e-readers, but suspect the convenience is good there, too.

And yes, cables along the raglan lines will be just the touch.

Geri said...

Love my Kindle! I need to get knidle versions of all my favorites. Can't wait for my 1st vacation with it - no more trying to decide which books to bring. And its great for knitting & reading. No more wondering how you are going to hold the book open and the needles. The time I used my chin to keep the book open and looked really foolish - no more!

Love the yarn. Really like the darker beads with it.

Wanderingcatstudio said...

I personally can not give up my physical books for a Kindle - but Im not opposed to them - anythign that gets people reading is good by me.

I too am fiding that my sweaters are on larger needles are taking longer - but maybe that's because I'm doing it in one piece - I need a lot of stitches to get around me :)

I am so coveting your cashmere/silk

And I would go with the darker beads....

Willow said...

I'm enamored of the EZ Green Sweater. But. Way too many UFOs on needles right now. I do love it already though.

Kindles--my grad student has one. I'm not a current fan only because I love the feel and smell of the paper books. The one advantage to a Kindle that I can see is that I would not need to hold the book open.

Mary Lou said...

I was pondering the EZ sweater for me as well, I have several sweaters worth of sport wt in the stash. The word babushka makes me laugh. When I was a dorky adolescent my bff and I would say "When I wear my babushka, I will die with his name on my lips." And fall over laughing. Ah, youth. All that seed st might kill one.

Lynne said...

Somehow I knew you wouldn't be project-less for long! LOL

Jane said...

Love the look of your new toy, looks as if it would feel lovely in your hand.

Cathy said...

Don't forget Sony's The Reader. A friend got 1 for her daughter for Christmas & has received at least 3 emails thanking her for this great gaget.

I'm feeling like a traitor because as much as I love books...holding them, turning pages, etc. I have to admit I'm looking at reading devices.

Rachael said...

That color is gorgeous! As far as I can tell from the picture I like the beads on the left.

I can't wait to get mine & go search for beads next weekend! :-)

So far I am loving the Kindle for reading while knitting (and regular reading), I find that once you start reading the experience is more about the book (the words, the story) and less about how you get to the book than one might imagine.

How many skeins of the laceweight are you using for that little shawl? I have two skeins of that in different colors that I bought b/c it was gorgeous, but I have yet to make anything with it.

Enjoy the rest of the long weekend!

EGunn said...

Oooh...fiber! Those projects look wonderful! I love the color of the new Tibetan Clouds yarn, and I could really go either way on the beads, too. Maybe a sprinkling of both? The Jade Sapphire is also beautiful.

And a new spindle! Lucky, lucky. I just bought Abby Franquemont's "Respect the Spindle" on Friday night, and I highly recommend it. The only danger is that you might be even more tempted to enhance your spindle collection. =)

As for the book vs. e-reader thing, I would say that they're just different (much like spindle vs wheel spinning). Both have great features and some limitations. I love my e-reader, and have been using it almost exclusively since we went to Germany, since I couldn't carry "real" books with me. Then again, there are some ebooks that I've read and will consider buying in hardcopy, even if it means buying them twice. Having just lugged my entire library across the country, I'm ready to start being more selective about what I have in print, but I'm also not ready to go 100% electronic. I have an iRex Iliad, and we usually download from Amazon to Branden's iPod Touch to get books, and then convert. The nice thing about this is that he has a copy on his iPod also, so we can both read (he doesn't mind reading on the Touch's screen).

Nana Sadie said...

A. I won't buy from Amazon. (long story)
B. I love the idea of the Nook, b/c it has the 5 sizes of type. That is a huge thing for me...and is the main reason the Nook is on my wishlist.
C. I love your Turkish spindle! How adorable (and lovely).
D. Beads on the left...

Bea said...

Glad to hear you've gotten things started. I prefer the books mostly. For one thing I hate that with the readers you are really the only one that gets to read the books you order unless you want to give your reader away for a few days. For another you can't really do the swap books things. When I'm done with something I'd really like to send it to someone else in exchange for a different book. It makes all the books cost less. Plus I just really find the turning of pages and the smell of paper very satisfying. I've found a book weight helps a lot with keeping a book readable while knitting. Just make sure you have a table like surface in front of you or have good balance on the arm of your chair. (Ok I'll conceed though that it does make traveling and reading easier. Since I don't use public transportation this is really only true for use on vacation... Also I was just reading Lori's comment and I giggled at the reading so much more. I don't think I can do that. I'm already reading 5 to 7 novels a week. Though I suppose I could sneakily have it on my desk at work and just read it while working. Might not be so good for my job though.)

Love the color of the sweater for your daughter. I have trouble with the big needles too. They can sometimes feel so wrong in the hand because I'm used to such small ones. Then again if I get much smaller then US1.5s then I feel like I could just snap them and that feels weird too.

The scarf looks gorgeous. Love the texture pattern in that yarn.

I think I'd vote for the beads on the left. I think those look great with the yarn, then again its hard to know if thats just because they photgraph better.

Your desire to spin a sweater worth of yarn over a year as well as knit the sweater is duly noted and now forgotten.

Lovely lovely spindle. Just beautiful. I think that's the kind of spindle I'd want. I hestitate to buy one though just because I'd rather spin on the wheel. Speaking of, I think its been months. Ooops.

(So long comment...)

AlisonH said...

Waiting for Apple's big announcement coming up before I buy anything, e-reader-wise. Meantime, have fun spinning and knitting! (And if I get back to work, I'll finish a shawl project tonight.)

Gayle said...

I bought a Kindle and love it. I thought it might be difficult because I love books -- the pages, the weight, the feel. I learned from the Kindle that when I get to the bottom of a page in a "real" book I start to turn the page and finish the last sentence as I turn. How did I learn this -- because I'd hit the next page button as I reached the bottom of the page but the turn was too fast and I had to go back to finish. The point is that after a chapter, you forget you're not reading a book.

I could go on with the benefits of the Kindle over other ereaders but the basic one is Amazon's Kindle has the most reasonable DRM (Digital Rights Management). That's the key to any ereader. For example, any Kindle bought by my account up to 5 (I think) has access to all the books I bought. This makes it great for my husband and I to share books -- if only we buy a second Kindle.

Janet said...

Views on the Kindle - not for me yet even though I travel a lot and read and knit at the same time, or try to r and k at the same time. I just plain like paper and the feel of a book and the design of the cover etc. And somehow or other I manage to keep the pages open as I read.

Janet in Seattle/Dublin

Gwen said...

You've started hardly anything! Sundara Yarn looks perfect for what you were thinking.

Seed stitch ain't so bad! I'm working up a vest for the kiddo in fingering wt yarn and a lot of seed stitch. I love the texture.

I'm interested in e-readers, but not going to get one, and not asking for one as a gift. Reading is always good, however it happens! My parents love theirs, but they travel a lot. I don't. I don't even have a commute to speak of, and certainly not on public transportation. But, oh, how much fun it would be to have a new reading toy!

RobinH said...

I occasionally download e-books and read on the laptop or on my ancient Handspring Visor (really old PDA)- usually when traveling- but as a rule, I prefer paper. Also, my husband and I often both like to read the same things, and then loan them to our friends, so we haven't seriously considered ebooks. I ought to take a closer look at what's available at my library, though (they loan a lot of e-books).

For trips I usually grab a stack of paperbacks on the To Be Read shelves (which have, um, several hundred books on them at the moment).

The yarns in your last couple of posts are positively luscious! I am wildly impressed by all the beautiful spinning.

Lindsay said...

I envy your silk-spinning ability. I made a spindle and attempted to spin... I'm not finding myself too successful at the moment.

Love the way the left beads look against the yarn.