I <3 Annie Modesitt, and apparently she loves me too! At least enough to send a free knitting with wire kit when I ordered Confessions of a Knitting Heretic directly from her. (I'm sure the big ol' mash note on how much I like her website and how I was looking forward to the knitting with wire section of the book helped. It's a good thing I don't have Elsebeth Lavold's email!).
I was preparing for the stash flash, so not much knitting last night. I'm set to flash automatically at one minute past midnight, for all you night owls out there. I do have some updated pictures and will be updating as time allows.
2) figured out the cast-on and first 10 rows for the chevron shadow shawl, which is my self-imposed limit for asking for help, since apparently the instructions are clear until that point.
3) on the charity scarf, figured out how to incorporate a different color into the cables, and how to increase the cables in that special Elsebeth Lavold Viking way.
But as you can see by the photograph (and the lack of "learning experience" catagorization), instead I had a lazy day and worked a good deal of the first repeat on the DNA scarf. I can see the cabling obsession starting anew.
 I did try to figure out if the knitted cast-on was the same as the cabled cast-on before falling asleep, and woke up to the vision of different topologic means of wrapping string around sticks, and visualizing whether they were equivalent -- a bad sign, no?
The first thing I ever knit, a small square for a cat toy. Stalled due to having no stuffing, and no desire to buy some. Finally hit upon the idea of using yarn ends for stuffing (after the horrendous experience of knitting in the ends on the Fibonacci Scarf). My first cabling swatch is included for good luck.
Actually, two other things contributed: starting this blog, so that I have to actually finish things to move them to the FO category; and wanting to make Cobie a cat toy to match his cat bed.
I also picked up catnip at the reptile(!) store today while purchasing crickets... Mmmm, kitty drugs:
Since the working needle sets the gauge, and right now one of the things that is slowing me down is moving stitches off of the stationary needle, why not use a smaller gauge needle on that side? Just go down a size or two. I've been getting better about not knitting too tightly (otherwise known as figuring out how to make the Addi Turbos go fast), so this is becoming less of a problem, but it would still be fun to experiment with. This would mean purchasing a set of Denise needles or equivalent.
It should also be possible to develop an inexpensive swift substitute. I believe that the adjustibility of the swift is primarily to go in the opposite direction, to turn balls into skeins. I think it would be an interesting engineering challenge to come up with a swift made out of off-the-shelf parts, that could be made for $20. Since the manual ball winders are sometimes available on sale for under $30, an entire setup could be made for under $50. This will especially benefit people that don't live near yarn stores, and need to mail-order yarn. One initial design is a cone on a lazy susan, where the skein of yarn just falls to the correct circumference. Depending on the variability of size in skeins (which will set the height of the cone), there might need to be some weights inside to adjust the inertial moment of spin. If people want to go from balls to skeins (say for dyeing), that might still be possible by putting a "collar" around the cone at the desired circumference.