Thursday, December 21, 2006

Joyful, joyful, we adore thee

I have the happy task of deciding what I'm going to take on vacation in terms of knitting projects, wool, needles, and patterns. Yippee! I am already having fun. There are too many candidates, though.

UFOs (that I intend to finish)

The anniversary socks (top-down; halfway down the foot! size 1s are so slow though)
oh, crud--I'll need to either bring the book or xerox the finishing instructions. Yoiks!
The "Sublime" v-neck sweater I hope I don't hate the bell sleeves. Of course, they are bottom-up, so if I rip them, I rip them entirely. At least this very fuzzy yarn does, indeed, rip.
Son's scarf hoping to finish this by Christmas. Not sure if he realizes it's a gift. Maybe that's a good thing. (my own pattern; this will be the fifth one, I think!)

Knitting Dreams

Kiri Instead of Birch. I keep hearing its praises--why not? In Cracksilk Haze, Smoke.
Icarus Probably from the blue Misti baby alpaca I got from Little Knits a long while ago. I have the pattern from the Interweave Knits issue. (Color of the yarn is spot on.)
Shetland Triangle Out of what yarn? No idea.
Odessa For the gf; she chose the beads and prestrung them for me.
Anemoi mittens Finally, a stranded (Fair Isle) pattern that really makes my heart go pit-a-pat!
Tiffany Well, ditto the above. :) (but I'd choose different colors)
Ethereal Fichu Bought the pattern; still looking for the perfect yarn. Fell in love when I saw it on JoVE's blog.
Backyard Leaves I've always wanted to make this and was thrilled to find it included in Interweave Knits' Holiday Gifts issue. I think I already have yarn from which to make this.
Cozy Isn't that the perfect name for a Christmastime knitting project? Already have the yarn for this one, too, from Elann. Two different dye lots, but the oatmeal color probably won't matter.
Sleeveless top (to which I will add sleeves) from Lang Yarns Viva. In the green. (big needles--that's a draw right there.)

See my dilemma? Votes and opinions welcome.

Later: Oops, forgot one: another 3-way scarf like the one for my son, but for me, out of chocolate fuzzy stuff from my late, lamented yarn shop. OK, I think I'm done now.

Monday, December 18, 2006

And then sanity set in.

You may recall that I was working on a k3p1 ribbed scarf for G's teacher. I had also started a knit hat with a very fine mohair blend yarn (read: taking forever) for one of his aftercare teachers who always seems to be cold.

Since the last day of school has passed, there is no chance of getting a scarf to G's teacher for Christmas (if she celebrates it; I asked him to ask her but he forgot, or thinks he forgot). So...

how 'bout a little less stress? Current scarf goes to the aftercare teacher (just needs binding off and fringe), and I'll whip something up while on vacation for his regular teacher.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Much progress

I am almost 4" done on the foot of the Anniversary socks. They really look good but damn, I swear those needles are getting smaller every time I knit with them!

While on jury duty (see my other blog), I buzzed along on the charcoal Knit One Purl Too Sublime Easy Fitted V-Neck. Man, does knitting go fast when your needles are 9s instead of 1s! I'm a little worried about the scratchiness of the mohair, but the color is great and it's even froggable, to my astonishment. I whipped out the front, back, one sleeve, and started another on the BART commute and while we waited (and waited and waited).

I also started and finished another Magic/3-Way Scarf for my son's young friend in a pink (#8; it is less blue than the photo) so bright it almost hurts the eyes. She'll love it. It is a Christmas present; nice to be able to mark that one off. While I was working on it on BART, a women asked if I'd made the one on my neck, too (my black one). I said yes and pointed out the 3 ways to wear it (long scarf, short cowl, hood) and she pointed out two more! You can pull the cowl up to cover your ears like a headband, and if you let the top scrunch enough, you can make it into a hat. Very cool!

After that, I started one of those scarves for my son in a Fluff Print (#26) he'd chosen a while ago. I'm betting on him having forgotten, as it will be one of his Christmas presents. When I'm done with that, I'm going to make myself another one with some soft brown yarn I bought when my beloved local yarn store closed. I don't know how well it will work, as the NY Yarns Fluff yarn has worked beautifully, and this stuff is a little heavier and the yardage is less (although I always end up with about 1/3 ball left of the Fluff).

I only have two more Christmas projects to finish (since I have chosen very few to begin with, for once!): a scarf for G's teacher and a hat for one of his Y-Kids teachers. The hat pattern came up in my 2006 Knitting Pattern A Day calendar. It's a simple mohair hat and I just found a ball of black mohair in my stash. Don't know where it came from. The teacher's scarf may come out of a ball of L!on Brand cashmere-blend yarn I got with my 40% off coupon at Beverly's and some gorgeous jewel-toned chenille I'm sure I got from Dharma. Neither is enough for a full scarf, but I'm going to attempt one of those "Cast on a million stitches and knit 2 rows with each yarn" scarves and see how the yarns hold out--and look together.

I'm hoping to just do fun knitting while away at Christmas--maybe a lacy scarf from an insert in a recent Interweave Knits, maybe some Fair Isle (OMG are these gorgeous?!?) with the yarn I got at Yarn! and the Palette sampler I got from the Destash blog from YaiAnn. I have spotted a Fair Isle sweater I want to knit (interesting note: there are very few I find attractive) and I need to know if I hate it, first.

And someday? I'll restart Birch. Because I must prevail, dammit.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Update on UFOs

childHood: side seams done, I need to do 1" on the hood and do a 3-needle bindoff. It'll need buttons (for show, with snaps behind), but I doubt the child will wait for that!

Super Secret Project #1: is done! Needs blocking and weaving in of 3 tiny ends.

Anniversary socks: well, I started turning the heel (with reinforcement thread, bought in Windsor weekend-before-last) at the Borg/Smith talk at First Congregational of Berkeley. Listening to religious discussion while starting a heel I'd not done before... well, too much for this bear of very little brain. I read the wrong number of stitches from the Knitter's Handy book and started a too-narrow heel flap. I also did the wrong thing for the purl row: the knit row is slip 1, knit 1; the purl row is slip 1, purl to end. I did slip 1, purl 1 for the whole row. (It was hard!) Undid my erroneous purl row, restarted the heel flap, and did all 34 rows (still wondering why I had to exclude 7 lonely stitches). Oops, I was supposed to do the heel flap over 34 stitches on this size/gauge sock. Riiip.

So now I've finished the heel flap and the first part of turning the heel. The next part is knit over the instep with the heel stitches, so I've discontinued the reinforcement thread (as thread through the instep seems quite uncomfortable). I moved all the stitches around so the middle of the heel is the start of the round and started the heel flap (with reinforcement thread) on the other stock. The heel flaps look really great in this yarn!

Not much else going on in my knitting world...!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Finally, a photo!

Now, with photos!

Here are the anniversary socks to date:

Envision Here are some beautiful k2p2 ribbing on size 2s and then size 1 needles. Envision They are socks at 6.5" that only need 2 more inches before foot shaping. Unfortunate that they were not finished by the 3 mo anniversary date (last Sunday). They are lovely, though.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I DO finish things!

...except for the camera search. I swear, I came across the camera bag when I was frantically searching for something else, but of course, can't recall that now.

But I started AND FINISHED a hat on Saturday! It's for Rabbitch's hat drive for homeless folks in Vancouver, BC. It's, um, huge. I made it from yarn given to me by a friend-of-a-friend, who knit some hats for Xmas presents and didn't want to knit any more. I had thought it was Lamb's Pride Bulky, but it turns out it's LP Polarweight. Calls for size THIRTEEN needles.

I had 15 and 10.5. I chose the 15s and a dark grey and cast on 60 (me, swatch???). Loosely following the directions in the Knitter's Handy Book (I love this book!), I knit ribbing, then stockinette, then switched to a lovely blue for 3 rounds, then finished the hat.

It is HUGE. I'm not sure whether to send it in as is (some homeless person with a huge head will be so happy!) or full or felt it a bit to reduce it to human proportions.

Oh, well. I knit some more on gf socks and cast on for another hat in a lighter grey on the 10.5 needles. I'm already up to the st st on it and will put in a stripe of green in this one, then send them off to Rabbitch.

K says she knows an SF Tenderloin minister who would be happy to receive handknits for the folks she ministers to. I may be able to get a list of what she wants and hold my own hat drive for local folks! With prizes! God knows I have more sock yarn than, well, God.

P.S. I also sewed the sleeves onto G's childHood correctly and completely seamed one side. It really does look great. About 1 more inch on the hood, seam it and the other side, add buttons, and we're done!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Socktoberfest Q&A

For no known reason except that there are very few expectations, I joined Socktoberfest today:

  • When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
Hm, maybe a yearor two ago. I taught myself from an article in Interweave Knits about "Priscilla's Dream Socks" by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. Unfortunately, she uses a k3tog in her sock heels and I just hated the thought of that little lump in the side of the heel and abandoned it. Then I got the Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns and made a yellow sock for my son. It was too long but he loved it (and is still waiting for the second, damn that Second Sock Syndrome!).
  • What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
My first complete pair was River Rapids in Claudia's handpainted. They are too big but I still love them. They are pilling a little. The yarn is so, so soft. I like to wear them with my clogs.

  • What would you have done differently?
Really checked my gauge and gone down a needle size.
  • What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I'm knitting 2 different pairs of socks now with KnitPicks' Memories sock yarn. It really is nice--soft and the variegation is gentle enough not to pool. The colourways are Redwood Forest and Cape Cod and I liked them when I bought them, and like them more and more as I knit with them. Great yarn. (I hope they don't get felted ever!)
  • Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
2 socks on 2 circs. Rules! SSS haunts me. DPNs are too pokey and hard to transport. Magic Loop, although I haven't tried it, just seems like it would strain the yarn at the loop.
  • Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
I've only done flap and short-row and I really prefer the flap. I think they both look neat, though.
  • How many pairs have you made?
2--the River Rapids and Mom's socks that would not die. I hope to finish the Cape Cod socks soon and pick up and finish the Child's First Socks soon thereafter.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Moving right along

I have about 3" done on the gf's socks and they really are gorgeous (photo as soon as I find my blasted camera, I promise!). Even though I decided on k2p2 ribbing, it really is going quite quickly.

It went really quickly last Saturday during my son's incredibly exciting soccer game. Well, that and the half cup of regular coffee really had my needles flying!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Danger, Will Robinson

My thoughts have turned to the afghan again, and I'm on the DiscountYarnSale site. I have a bag of the green (of which I need at least 10 skeins) and one of the ruby red (of which I only need 2, but the color is hard to find, and it's all on massive sale)... and they have bags of Cleckheaton's Country 8ply, which is a supersoft washable 100% wool yarn. Maybe a nice purple for me?

Somebody stop me!

Another 2-socks-on-2-circs hint

The ones I'm doing for my gf are currently on size 2s, which I only have in regular Susan Bates (not QuickSilver). I thought hard enough to buy this pair in differing colors--and that is making a huge difference. As long as I'm paying attention, I can remember to knit only with pink together or only green. If I find myself knitting pink with green, I'll know I've made a mistake.

Does that make sense? Each circular has needles on each end of the same color, and they differ.

It rocks. Seriously. :)

Coming along

I ripped out the stitching of the sleeves on childHood on Tuesday night, while my sweet gf was holding my arthritic, painful ankle and trying to do something to ease the pain (my strong anti-inflammatory and sucking down an entire beer finally helped, well, conk me out at least). So that's ready to move forward. I think the part I messed up in stitching is called the armscye--the straight-across part at the armpit. I had stitched the sleeves up to, but not onto, the armscye. Fortunately, ripping out was pretty easy. I did un-cast-off a stitch on one sleeve, but was able to restore it even in my drunken stupor.

And last night, I got 1" done on gf's socks! I'm doing the K2P2 ribbing and it really looks great in this yarn. My son and I watched Sinbad (the new animated one) while eating comfort food--ice cream and then grilled-cheese sandwich for him, potluck noodle salad and then quesadilla with salsa for me. Then I sent him off to get ready for bed and watched half of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. K called partway through and realized I was knitting madly while holding the phone squished to my shoulder. I love productive knitting!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

When in doubt, start a new project

K had expressed interest in the KnitPicks Redwood Forest socks I'm making in the Child's First Sock pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. They are lovely but a little dainty for her, I think. And too slow!

She gave me a lovely pearl and amethyst necklace for our 2-month anniversary (last Friday). I told her I would knit her socks (despite Yarn Harlot's admonishment, as it was similar to the Boyfriend Sweater and, in her opinion, just not worth it). I brought up 4 possibilities from my sock yarn stash (mmm, I just love typing that!) and she gave me the choice. I chose the other set of skeins from KnitPicks, the Cape Code colorway.

I cast on last weekend, using the basic directions from Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns (a requested Christmas gift, yeah!). My only complaint is that they are top-down. I really like toe-up, but am unable to translate the pattern into toe-up (OK, that is another complaint). I think they will go quickly. I did choose to do K2P2 ribbing and will continue it onto the instep. Otherwise, very basic sock. With lovely Cape Coddish colors (as if I would know--but beautiful dark and lighter and greener sea blues and beige sand colors).

The pessimist in me says, well, we damn well have to stay together till I finish these freaking socks.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Will I ever finish anything???

I feel like I have 6 projects and will never finish any of them. sigh

The most likely candidate is G's childHood, which has the sleeves sewn in and just needs the underarm/side seams done. When that is done, I can really try it on him and estimate how the hood is coming along. Maybe 1-2" left of that, I think. Then I can put buttons & snaps on and BE DONE.

But nothing else is as close to being done. The blue cotton Tahki is slow going and I have my doubts about the way I did the decreases on the bustline (directions are vague for every row after the first--"do the same decrease" but the first decrease row gives stitch counts and there are fewer stitches after that!). And it's getting heavy. I should calc to see how many more rows I have till the shoulders. I already decided not to start the v-neck as low as they recommend, as I'm hoping to wear this in other places than the Ren Faire.

I'm completely befuddled on Branching Out. I had too few stitches on a row, so started to tink back, only to realize that I don't konw which row I put the lifeline through (10 or 1?). Ugh. It is lovely so far, though...

Birch continues to taunt me. I may put her away in the basement and start the Swallowtail shawl instead. I already have the laceweight alpaca it calls for. Ha!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

How do you knit? How do you want to?

Kirsten asked the question of whether folks prefer to knit in groups, or alone.

Interesting question. I tend to knit alone (and be asked all the time, I swear by the same people as last time, "What are you knitting?" Two tubes. What could it be but socks?), but love to knit in a group, unless my pattern is complex, in which case I'll doubtless screw up.

I also love to knit with one other person, often Dharma or, lately, my new sweetie (who crochets, of course). There's something beautifully intimate about doing this together, like reading books on either end of the couch, a blanket over the two of you, feet intermingled. Mmm.

How about you? Do you tend to knit alone? What do you do to knit in a group, if you can?

Did I just do that?

I just told my gf that I 'd actually crochet to help her use up some donated yarn that her crafting group was going to make into lap robes. Me? Crochet? I must need coffee.

(Seriously, when I had to knit crochet--see that?--a border onto a square, it went quickly and I rather enjoyed it. Much to my surprise! I don't usually like the look of crochet, but doing it is fun. And only having to keep track of one loop--what a treat!)

She said it was somewhat upscale donated yarn. I can't wait. The Red Heart I keep seeing in her bag, well, it makes me cringe a tad.

I priced superwash wool for her to use on lap robes, and if I got the yardage correct (1200 yards seems extreme), it would cost a minimum of $30 per lap robe. sigh. She argues that Red Heart is so much more economical. I argue that it is better to give one higher quality lap robe than several rough ones... and the debate continues. :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tour of Sweaters: #1

The first sweater I ever made was for my mom. I knit it in time for Christmas. Which of course means I finished it within 2 days of Christmas.

It was a heathery off-white yarn, thick on #10 needles. The pattern was all rectangles: one each for the front & back, two for the sleeves, and one for the cowl neck. I think it was stockinette with garter-stitch cuffs and waistband. The yarn was likely a cotton and acrylic blend. I was not the yarn nazi I am today.

My memory of this sweater is of Mom storming into my room with me throwing the needles w/rectangle attached into the closet and slamming the door, and Mom demanding to know why my room still was not clean. She was quite contrite when she found out that was what was keeping me from tidying (as if I ever need an excuse).

I suspect it was somewhat shapeless, but Mom did wear it for many years. She's a sport. And I was quite proud of myself that I made it.

I'll have to see if I can find a photo of it somewhere.

Voila, Sweater #1. Slubby, cottony, cream-colored basic sweater. Circa 1976.

Update: Mom still had the sweater! It's not cottony at all. It's slubby, all right, but 100% acrylic. I told her to throw it away. Its big holes make it not actually warm, yecch!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Good progress on Branching Out

Lots of counting has made all the difference for Branching Out with the Misti Alpaca sportweight. I've finished 3 repeats of the pattern, and it looks really nice! I'm using my kacha kacha to count rows. It's been a while. I love that thing.

Tried childHood on the child, and yep, the hood needs to be larger. I'll put a few more inches on it and try him again. I don't want it to be another jacketlike thing whose hood he outgrows first.

Maybe I can finish it for him to wear to school on Tuesday!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Birch 1, Me 0

Birch has won this round. I got to the end of row 4 and instead of 6 stitches left, I had 1. I give up. I'll frog that and re-cast-on with stitch markers every 10 stitches, since the pattern is over 10 stitches. (and am eyeing Kiri as an alternative...)

I've also decided to frog my other KSH project, Branching Out. I just kept making mistakes and getting paranoid, so I'll use that beige color in something else, maybe stranded along with another yarn. I've restarted Branching Out in my Misti Alpaca sportweight in a beautiful aubergine. (No printed gauge on the label! Little Knits says it's 6 sts/in, so it should be fine for this pattern.)

Am slogging away on the blue Tahki cotton sweater, checking rows off on my clipboard. I think I need to frog down to one decrease, though, as I did it in reverse (the k3tog first rather than last; what was I thinking?). I'll get to the V-neck shaping soon!

Am also slogging away at the Redwood Forest socks. I'm on row 18 of the 20 rows of k2p1 ribbing. I hope the 10-row pattern can be clearly charted so this can continue to be a very portable project (unlike the blue sweater).

And finally--am nearing the end with childHood! Finished the 10" of the hood last night. Just need to try it on the Child With The Significant Cranium to make sure it will fit him before I do the 3-needle bindoff. I've heard the hood is absurdly large so we might be just fine. Then I'll have to sew the sleeves on and seam them and the sides, sew on the buttons and snaps, and be DONE.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Shoots and Ladders afghan

I'm now leaning toward making this afghan out of Plymouth Encore. I'm feeling a need to jot down the particulars:

Shoots and Ladders out of Plymouth Encore

Fitted cardigan pattern

How cute is this cardi? And how hot would I look in it?

A: Very cute, and very hot.

Not a lot of news

Once I get my home computer back to where it was, I'll post some photos of updates. Until then, I'll just have to describe things.

Birch: still scaring me, I guess. Still on row 2. (or maybe 3.)

childHood: still about 1/2 way up the hood. The end is in sight! I may decrease a few stitches in the middle so that it doesn't have a silly point when I 3-needle-bind-off the top.

blue Tahki cotton sweater: looks good. I'm about up to the v-neck shaping, which occurs front and back. I have to keep track of my rows on a sheet of binder paper, checking off rows as I do them. I still like the look of it.

And, of course, I have to start a new project, oy! A friend really likes penguins, and I have some Red Heart handy, so I started Pasha. It's going to be kind of big! Not sure I'm up to miniaturizing it, though, so I'll probably just go for the 8" size. Fun to be working on something small, though. I hope she likes it! (it's s surprise)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Finally, someone who went before me

I have barely mentioned the cone of thousands of yards of cashmere laceweight yarnthread I bought off eBay.

Well, someone knit an absolutely lovely stole with the green shade of it!

Ooh, I want. See how quickly she knit it, too? wow

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Rules for two socks on two circulars

As I've knit this second pair of two socks on two circulars, I've come up with some rules to keep me sane.

Rule #1. Don't panic. If you think you're making a mistake (like knitting 3 of the 4 sides onto one circular), you probably aren't. Take a breath, look at it carefully, or look away for a minute. It's probably just fine.

Rule #2. As I said before, you change needles or yarn, but not both. So when you get to the point where both circulars are straight (instead of one curled into a C), you're just changing needles but continuing with the same yarn. If one needle is curled into a C, you're changing yarn but continuing with the same set of needles.

Rule #3. Give a tug. When you change needles, tug on the needle with the stitches you're about to knit. If you don't feel a pull on the needle in your other hand, you have probably picked up the wrong needle. Follow the cable around and pick up the right one.

Rule #4. If you have to count rows (e.g. 20 rounds of K2P1 ribbing), you'll probably want to use an unattached stitch counter (e.g. kacha kacha) or put one in the middle of one sock. If you put one between the two socks, you'll probably drop it off the needles. (voice of experience)

Rule #5. Bask in the knowledge that when you're done, you're done. Begone, second sock syndrome!

This is a good thing.

Just realized that all of my active projects are in states where they're fun to work on. Which is really very cool. The socks are coming along nicely and I'm not messing up the 2-socks-on-two-needles thing quite yet. Birch is looking really lovely even though I'm only on row 3. The blue cotton sweater is still lovely to look at and I think I've figured out all of the decreases I'm supposed to be doing (all charted out on paper finally so I can keep track). I haven't worked on childHood in a while, but am halfway up the hood and it's at a fast and easy place.

How lucky is that?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Want to note this down

You never see the moebius cast-on written down. I'd like to make something like this some day.,2025,DIY_14142_4894528,00.html

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Birch is...

a b!tch. After ripping out the long-tail cast on, I redid it with the knitted cast-on (a.k.a. lace cast-on). Which is really pretty cool; no wondering if you're going to waste several feet or be short, as is the case with the long-tail cast-on. And it goes pretty quickly, even though it's 299 stitches.

So I knit all of row 1 and part of row 2... and then wondered, Why the heck are these needles so small? Looked at the pattern again. It says

5 mm (no 6) (US 8) needles

which was why I was using size 6 needles. See my error? WTF is up with that "no 6" size? I'm guessing it's a UK size. ARGH!

So, I ripped out till my seam ripper, which I was using the back of to rip out the snags of KSH, somehow cut the yarn. sigh.

Then I started yet again with the knitted cast-on, on my Clover size 8 circulars. New problem: they are too blunt. They don't stab the yarn well. And they're a little short (maybe 24"?). So now I'm thinking I want to buy another set of circulars to knit Birch with. She is becoming a spendy project, beyond the 4 balls I already bought of KSH. I think I'll still want bamboo, as they hold the stitches well. What other choices do I have? Crystal Palace, whose circulars are so splitty that my LYS doesn't stock them? Addi Natura? I dunno.

But I'm getting very good at the knitted cast-on.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Back on the horse

Sat down with Birch, my quad-ruled little notebook, and Marianne Kinzel's lace knitting book last night. Charted all 8 rows of Birch and--ta da!--finished the first row. I'm sure I made mistakes (ended up with one extra stitch), but am hopeful that I'll spot them as I purl back.

I'd seriously forgotten how lovely it is to knit with Cracksilk Haze. It is fabulous and I still/again love this color (smoke).

I also found someone else who did the wrong cast-on, like I did!

reading further... Oh crud, she frogged and redid the cast-on! Well, live and learn.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Getting something done.

I don't know why, but I am experiencing a heck of a lot of aversion to some of my knitting projects lately. I continue to feel nervous about Birch and haven't done a lick of work on her. I put down the Hempathy stole for my friend. I am doing some work on childHood (halfway up the hood), but not a lot.

I did, though, finish swatching for the socks, and have cast on, and am knitting. This included a trip to the LYS for new needles, though. The Boye circulars I was using are just awful. One of the two ends is really very sharp, in each one, and they are just unpleasant to work with. I may try to sell them on eBay.

I replaced them with Susan Bates Quicksilver circulars. They do have a long needle, making the cord on the short side, but the stitches slide really nicely on them. (I did end up with size 1s. I wish the size 3s had worked out. Too bad.)

I got the socks cast on and appropriately on the needles. Found a trick there: since I cast on tightly (and these socks are toe-down), I cast on on my size 3 circulars and that made it very easy to transfer the stitches to the size 1 circulars appropriately. Much easier than casting on on the actual needles you're going to use. And I continued to use my mantra of 2 socks on 2 circulars: "You either switch needles or yarn. Never both."

We'll see how stripey the yarn works out to be--or how tight the cast-on is in the end, on my significant calves. I'm glad to have a pair of socks in the works, though.

Oh, and I tried the blue Tahki cotton top on--and it fits! Well!

Maybe someday, I'll pick up Birch again.

But for now, the LYS trip yielded two Fair Isle books and 4 balls of FI yarn...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Finally did it.

I ordered the Herrschner's afghan catalog that I've been thinking of ordering ever since Grumperina noticed one of the afghans as being not awful. I really like that one, and the green/white winter one as well.

And while I was there, got some sale yarn and some cardmaking stuff I need.

Oy, my poor credit card!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Scary knitting.

Updates on all projects:
Ribbed blue Tahki cotton sweater. This is the one whose V@gue Knitting pattern I'm modifying immensely. Instead of knitting parts, I'm knitting it in the round. Instead of a long, ugly, holey peplum, I'm starting it at the waist. Instead of long, ugly, holey sleeves, I'm putting in short sleeves, whose length, I suspect, will be limited by the amount of yarn left over when I'm done with the body.

OK, so chopping off the peplum was a no-brainer. I took the # of stitches that you should end up with as you start the body ribbing and started with that. I added a smidge to the length (oh God, did I? I think I did). I stole all my stitch markers from it for Birch, then added a couple back so I could have two differentiated sections of Front and Back. I cast off 8 stitches for arm holes and started the different decreases for front darts and a narrower back.

Let me tell you, this is hard. This is not for wimps. I have read and written and read and written and I still made the mistake of starting the V-neck shaping even with the armholes, rather than 3.5" above it (easy to correct, but heart attack material).

So, lately? I've been ignoring this one.

OK, just about the same as last time. OK, exactly the same.

I am knitting a circular swatch. The size 3 needles produced way too big a stitch size, the size 2's, too big, so I'm now swatching with size 1s. I just realized that one of the size 1's has an incredibly sharp point on one side. I'm going to try to exchange it. And, big surprise, I hate the Boye needles. Hate, hate, hate them. I'm using the Susan Bates Quicksilver needles on the Tahki sweater and may go to the LYS and buy some size 1's there. Um, I wonder if she has them in size 1.

Anyway, the yarn is producing an interesting striping effect--one stripe in shades of reddish brown and one in deep forest greens. It's not jarring but really quite lovely. And the yarn is fab. I think I'll like these socks. If I ever get to START them, that is!

Did some more work on the hood of this sweater last night. I'd put it down when we had our really hot weather. It's coming along great! I have maybe 5" of the 10.5" done already. Nice to have an easy knit.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Knitting as therapy

I took my circular swatch for the Child's First Socks in KnitPick's Redwood Forest with me to the hospital. My son was having minor surgery and I needed something to do besides bite my fingernails (which doesn't happen to be among my bad habits).

It worked relatively well. I also struck up a conversation with the gardener, who was trimming and watering the plants around me. Turns out she lives in the same town as I and was wanting to start knitting--"a hat would be ideal." I explained what I was doing (no, this isn't a sock, but yes, these are two circular needles) and we talked about the various ways to knit circularly. (Sure, one can knit a hat flat and then seam it, but that brings up the worst of my anti-finishing ire, for whatever reason.)

I told her about my favorite LYS's and gave opinions on the two others in the area. Then went back to my swatch, as I waited and waited for the call that meant my kid was done.

The knitting didn't entirely distract me from the situation at hand, but it sure helped.

(But, rats, the size 3 Addi Turbos are just too big for gauge. I'm back to my Susan Bates size 1's and they are so tiny and sharp and not smooth enough. Yuck.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Trellis is done

I knit one last row while boiling in the 103°F/39°C heat, and then took the time to count my stitches while my son rode on yet another little-kid ride at a southerly amusement park.

124 stitches. I was supposed to stop at 115 or something. Oh, well. I looked at the ball and it seemed to have enough to bind off but not a lot more. So I decided it was time.

Back at home and in more reasonable temps, I picked up my size 35 needle (as I always seem to bind off too tightly, I went up a needle size, which for me was from 19 to 35) and bound the sucker off. Ended up with 10 yards of remaining ladder yarn, which I guiltlessly threw away. Why save it when you know you won't use it?

During this whole project, I wondered and worried whether I'd like the end product. I knew I loved the colors but knitting on size 19 needles made me feel... well, cheap.

Ha! I love this thing. I'm wearing a brown dress and it looks WONDERFUL with it. It feels great and drapes terrifically. It ended up being a very shallow triangle. The directions said the point of the triangle would be 13" deep. It's longer (reaches my butt, which is what I wanted) and also wider (71" became... reaching my feet practically on both sides). The colors look great, the stitch looks complex (love garter stitch in ladder yarn!), it stays on... wonderful. I am so pleased.

And it doesn't hurt to be able to mark something finished.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I knew there was one I was forgetting.

I started a sample of a pattern for a stole for a minister-friend. It's out of Elsebeth Lavold "Hempathy" in a green that I had hoped would be sage but is more minty. I do like the pattern, although it is quite different from the one in the book! The holes are not in the book photo. I had to find a yarn that was not warm, as my friend has, as she puts it, personal summer. Hemp, cotton, and linen were what I came up with.

Elann or KnitPicks just sent me a catalog with a 100% hemp yarn in a nice sage called "grass" that I may try next if my friend doesn't like this green. (Then I'll be selling it on eBay because it doesn't look like a great green for me, either.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Just an update

ETA: Now with photos!

No more FOs to report. Some updates:

Rainbow childHood
I'm partway up the hood on G's childHood. I had started it at the cabin and only had dpn's with me, so I've now converted to a circular needle; way easier. Got a few rows done but it's, well, a little dull.

Blue ribbed cotton sweater
Speaking of dull, I'm still plugging away on the blue Tahki cotton sweater. I thought it would be mind-numbing, but the k2p2 ribbing keeps me interested enough, thank God. I'll start the shaping at about 8.5". I have misplaced the magazine. Wish me luck, eh?

Trellis shawl
Nearly finished with the first ball of Li*n Brand Trellis on my shawl. Dharma figured out that the third ball is really only used for the fringe so I'll probably eBay it. It'll be nice to be done with this one; it's mind-numbing enough and not nearly fast enough, even on size 19 needles!

While at the cabin, I cast on for Birch. Something about this one fills me with trepidation. That I won't get it finished within 6 mos and won't be able to return the extra $15 ball of Cracksilk Haze? That it calls for a lace cast-on and I, not knowing what that was, went ahead with a regular cast-on? That I'll get lost and have to rip back Cracksilk Haze, which is reputed to be a b!tch to rip back? I've done part of one row. sigh

Child's first socks
Something about having no socks on the needles was driving me crazy, so last night, I balled and started swatching for Child's First Socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. I chose the RedwoodForest sock yarn from KnitPicks. It might work on size 3 needles, so I'm starting out with my Addi Turbos that I used for my Knitting Olympics socks. ETA: I'll be doing two at once on two circulars. No more one-sock-at-a-time for me!

Gosh, could that be it? Hard to believe. It feels like I started another project besides these. I'm certainly feeling like I have startitis.

Oh! I did forget to mention what Mummy brought back from Convergence in Grand Rapids, MI: my very own swift! She is too good to me.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Final chapter on the Shrapnel Socks

I left the socks on my mom's bed in the cabin we occupied last weekend, for her birthday weekend (one of the decades...!). She didn't say anything when she arrived, so I brought them up. She said she thought the tops were unfinished. I had bound off using much larger needles because I was worried that the tops would be tight, so they ended up looking picot-ish.

After I assured her that they were done, she tried them on. She was really pleased. She proceeded to wear them the rest of the weekend, at least in the morning and night, until it got too hot in the daytime to wear wool socks. And she ranted to anyone who would listen about how incredibly well they fit her feet, better than any other socks she'd ever worn!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

C'est fini.

The Shrapnel Socks are finished, a mere 2 days before we leave to visit my mom at a cabin in the woods. I won't be wrapping them, as they aren't her birthday present; they are for (last) Christmas!

Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief. And then I'll start another pair of socks!

What is so intriguing

about taking this

and making it into this

that I must stay up till 2:30AM on a Sunday morning? And yet, it is. (80% silk 20% cotton ugly as hell sweater to become sweet short-sleeved top.)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I'm ribbing

I am up to the beginning of the 1.5" ribbing of the Shrapnel Sock. Of course, true to form, instead of the K2P1 ribbing specified in the pattern and already done for the first sock, I did a few rows of the lesser-known and strangely not stretchy at all K1P2 ribbing, merely because I am a complete idiot.

Think I'll be happy when these socks are done? Do ya?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Nothing finished, many updates

Finally took some photos of my current WIPs. Well, active WIPs. I keep coming across the Branching Out scarf I started and averting my eyes. I'll pick it up again some day.

First, the Tahki cotton "I am so making this up" sweater. It's looking great! I'm in the middle of the 2nd ball and finally feeling like it's getting somewhere. Maybe 3.5"? The K2P2 rib is slow going and periodically I mess up and K a P or P a K, which astounds me--can't one get a rhythm going with K2P2? The color is a true French blue (the photo looks more like a medium blue to me).

Next, the L!on Brands "Copper Penny" trellis yarn shawl. I thought this would go like lightning! I am not even making clear damage to the first ball of 3. I still love the colors and still wonder if I would wear this (it is not soft and I am all about the softness). The colors are very coppery/autumn. I don't think I captured that.

And then comes the childHood sweater, on which I'd love to get started on the hood... but I messed up the right-hand button band. I counted repeats on the left and tried to match it on the right... but I miscounted--AND cut the yarn! I'll have to rip it all out and start over. I hope I have enough yarn. I hope, I hope. The right-hand band seems just fine.

Finally, the Shrapnel Socks. It's actually going well (pausing to knock on wood) and I have maybe 1.5" left before ribbing. For such tiny needles and yarn, it does go pretty quickly, especially if your dental hygienist is running behind!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Good start on blue sweater

I took the Tahki blue cotton sweater to SF Pride yesterday and knit on BART and while we were waiting to march, and after. I have 2.5" done and finished the first ball! It is very slow to knit (k2p2 rib for 8") but I still love this yarn and the drape seems quite nice. (photo to come soon)

I did one of the front bands on Graham's childHood sweater and slip-stitched it on. Did the other one, thought I'd matched the first, but... cwap. It is shorter and I snipped the yarn already. Ugh. I'll have to rip it completely out and start over. I did have to do the yarns differently for the right-hand lapel band, as the direction of the garter stitch means I have to swap yarns at its outside edge, rather than the inside edge that the left-hand one had. I decided to follow this method:

At each new row, twist the new color with the previous color and knit the first stitch. *Then* wrap the new yarn around the other 4 yarns behind the work and continue to knit the row and its following row with the new yarn.

This way, the bundle of carried-up yarns is behind the edge rather than at the edge. I didn't wrap the just-previous yarn because it is right below the current row and, I think, doesn't require it.

I can't wait to be done with the bands (and not just because I hate slip-stitching!) and start on the hood. I just hope with all this ripping that I'll have enough for the (multi-striped) hood. My calculations said I'd have plenty. Well, nervousness helped the Leaf Lace Shawl!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blocking again

I blocked Graham's childHood sweater last night. I'd forgotten how hard blocking can be. Blocking the Leaf Lace Shawl was hard, just because it was hard to line up things straight (and with right angles, as for that center stripe) and stretch it out evenly.

But blocking something to measurements? Shew, even harder. Some pieces were slightly too small. No problem; stretch 'em a bit. Several dimensions were too big. Huh? Too big? I measured while knitting! But they must have gotten stretched while I washed and squoze them. Argh. So I crept my hands across them to bring in the width to reasonable size. I gave up on the sleeves and hope they're not too long on him. On the rest, I persevered.

Thankfully, we're having good blocking weather. It's supposed to be almost 90F/32C today.

Got some more rows done on the huge needle/crap-yarn-source shawl. I still love it but feel... dirty when I knit on it. Ha, I'm such a snob!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Yep, another new project

I'm 1cm up the leg of the second Shrapnel Sock (so named because these socks have been through the war) and quite pleased. I think they'll (knock wood!) turn out.

And... started a new project. I nearly picked up Birch, but since the Leaf Lace Shawl is fresh off the blocking couch, I couldn't ponder casting on 299 stitches just yet. I put it back in the yarn-stash box and pulled out my 3 balls of Lion Br*nd ladder yarn in Copper Penny. Still love this colorway. It comes with a shawl pattern on the back of the label (CO 3 sts, K across, then Kf&b, K to last st, Kf&b; repeat last row till you're done). I had bought the size 19 circulars at Websters in Ashland (INOX brand; not bad!).

I was afraid I would hate this yarn once I started knitting with it; not so! I still adore it. I knit some rows this morning. The only odd thing is that the yarn pulls from the outside of the ball. I'm used to center-pull balls. I know better than to wind it on the ball winder; non-stretchy yarn just slumps and makes a huge mess. I'll keep yanking it as I knit. Eee!

I'll be blocking childHood tonight or tomorrow night.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Knitters CAN knit bone!

Very cool news from the knitting world. All those of us who knit and sent our knitterly vibes to Mr. Etherknitter have done it.

He is producing bone at the three appropriate places. Woo hoo!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Half-turned heel

I took the sock with my on my noonday walk-for-exercise. Knitting while walking rocks. I loved getting fresh air, sunshine, and exercise, and getting the heel half-turned.

That's right, my friends: I half-turned the heel already. Woo hoo!

May I have a word?

From Rabbitch's blog, so of course it belongs in my knitting blog.

She writes, "Almost afraid to do this one, here. " I'm definitely afraid.

Please leave a one-word comment that you think best describes me — it can only be one word long. Then copy and paste this into your blog so that I may leave a word about you.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Going great guns

Got the Leaf Lace Shawl blocked. It is beautiful... but kind of itchy. I'm going to try freezing it, as one person suggested, and then (ugh) I'll wet it and put instant hair conditioner on it and see if that does the trick. Freaking mohair. Who knew it was itchy? I didn't. (Photo was taken blind by holding the camera up high)

Anyway, so since I blocked it but am too wimpy to go ahead and weave the ends in, I moved on to other projects. Today, I finished the right front of childHood. Now I need to block the pieces before doing the 3-needle bindoff on the shoulders and picking up stitches for the hood.

Also ripped back my mom's 2nd sock to before the heel shaping. I got more knit of the foot and I think I'm ready to redo the heel (and I'm remembering that the heel only took me one day, or rather, one visit to the zoo, so I'm hoping it'll be as quick). Then an inch or so of st st and some ribbing, and Bob's your uncle. (well, he is mine; isn't he yours, as well?)

And I haven't started Birch yet. Quite proud of myself for holding back. Ha!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I'm finally getting it

I have a $121 pending order at I keep thinking, "but this is madness! I don't even have plans for some of that yarn!" But they are gorgeous yarns and good prices and I do think I'll use every scrap.

And I'm starting to get, really get, why folks have good-sized stashes. Because once you start accumulating good yarn, man!, it must be fantastic just to look over your cache of really nice yarn and think of the possibilities and really feel... lucky.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Like I need another complex project

But this Wee Fair Isle project sounds compelling (as a hat), and Knit Picks' FI yarn is sooo inexpensive...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Two FOs

Here is the finished scarf for the teacher. I figured it can be wrapped around one's neck as many times as the weather dictates.

Here is a close-up of the pattern. I'm very pleased.

And... ta-dah! The Leaf Lace Shawl is ready to be blocked. Remember
this? Well, check out the end trailing around the side of the LL Shawl. That's all that is left. Talk about exciting...!

A close-up on that gorgeous pattern. Can't wait to have it blocked!

Nearly done with Leaf Lace Shawl

I'm on row 14 of 16 of the edging--the 16th row is actually the bind-off row. I am loving this pattern! Easy to follow, well written... I can't wait to see it blocked.

I blocked Graham's teacher's angora scarf last weekend. Graham picked it up and put it around his neck, pulling slightly on the ends... and it all curled up again. *steam pouring out my ears* So frustrating. I'll flatten it with my hands and wrap it and present it. It does look nice and airy.

I told my friend that I wanted to make a ministry stole for her. We talked about it and decided on chasuble instead, out of a sage green non-insulating yarn (linen or cotton or bamboo or hemp). I knew if I just made her something and presented it that it would not be what she wanted. Now, to find a pattern!

No new work on the sock. Am considering pulling out the heel, no matter how much it pains me. sigh.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Oh, rats!

I was going to post about the great progress I've made lately (OK, I will below), but I just read the blog for my LYS and she's considering selling the shop! It's the best shop in town. Agh! I'm really sad. Bother.


OK, so I'm nearly done with sock #2 for my mom. And... I'm afraid it's not right. My first clue was that the stripes, which were off from the other sock by a smidge in the foot, line up perfectly for the calf. I put it on last night and it felt... snug. On my feet. Which are smaller (but wider) than Mom's. I can't take it any more. Maybe I can block them the same. Oy!

I still have 1 repeat to go on the Leaf Lace Shawl, then the border, then the blocking (still thinking of using my hide-a-bed for that).

I need to locate my camera so I can take photos of the nearly FOs above and the red scarf for the teacher. I want to get it blocked this week so I'm not hurrying (or anxiously waiting for it to dry) next week.

Finally, true to form, I started another project. I've been feeling quite upset about another yarn shop selling me the Waikiki yarn to use for the Leaf Lace Shawl, which would most likely have been an absolutely horrible choice--lots of work for very little lace showing. I poked around in Yarndex, which, bless them, has a keyword "slubby," and found that Waikiki is nearly identical to Cherry Tree Hill Yarn's Ariel. And Googled, and found that there is an Ariel project in Lavish Lace--which I own! So I started it. We'll see how it goes. It looks like kind of a boring shawl but maybe with the gorgeous Waikiki, all will be well. I kinda wish I had more options! All of the patterns I like on the Crystal Palace Yarns website use two yarns together. I don't want to lessen the beautiful colors in the Waikiki at all. And, despite all my other feelings, I still adore this yarn. It is odd to have wound it into a ball and then to have it slump. It has none of the clinginess nor springiness of wool. I'm thinking most cotton yarn would be the same. I rewound a ribbon yarn and had the same problem--if you don't keep a constant tension, it just slumps off the ball!

Tip: I've been using old onion net bags for balls of yarn. They keep the ball from slumping, the yarn from catching on other things, and seem to keep it cleaner, too. And as you near the end of a ball, it doesn't go flying as much. I love this trick and wonder where I got it from.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Phew, an FO

I sat at my computer, watching an episode of Lost that I'd missed, and finished the teacher's scarf. It's about 2" wide and 2 yards long (5 x 183 cm for you sensible metric folks). I expect it to widen and shorten when I block it. I finally got into the rhythm of the pattern by making a piece of paper that says "K1 K3" on one side and "K2 yo" on the other, and flipping it after I did that part of the design. Dharma said she memorized it easily, but somehow, my brain forgets what I just did quite quickly with this one.

I'm going to do a bit on mom's 2nd sock now... two FOs in quick succession would be nice!

Update: I've turned the heel! Yeah!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Um, more WIPs

So I've done a teeny bit more on mom's 2nd sock, a little more on Graham's sweater, and am on the last repeat (I think) of the Leaf Lace Shawl, which leaves the edging to be done (and then blocking), and...

I started something else. Graham's teacher really likes red, and I made her a shrug (the One Skein Wonder) last Xmas, but it was too small for her. I had some wonderful 100% angora in a bright red from Dharma's inherited stash and decided I wanted to make a small scarf from it. There were about 48 ounces of it. I started with using the angora for 2 rows and a red mohair I had for 2 rows, etc., but it just wasn't soft! I asked the KnitList and they recommended stranding it with a red merino wool for strength. I went to Websters while I was in Ashland, and instead of selling me wool, she pulled hard on the yarn (ack!) and told me it was plenty strong by itself and just to knit an open pattern with it. I tried the Airy Scarf pattern stitch from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, but it just didn't work for a worsted-weight yarn.

So I went back to our beloved Knotted Openwork Scarf pattern from the CKDA and used the pattern over 9 stitches, and it really looks very nice. (Thanks again, Dharma, for finding this great pattern!)

Now to finish by June 15...!

(do I have to admit that I found an unfinished scarf for my niece in my stash, if she said she doesn't want it any more?)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I haven't managed to get a new pic of the Leaf Lace Shawl, but I am working on the 8th repeat of 10 (or 11, depending on how much yarn I have left). It is going great. I failed to move my lifeline on the last repeat (it's too short now, anyway) but am doing really well. I am able to find mistakes pretty quickly and then I tink back only 4-7 stitches to fix them. Love this pattern. (it still looks like cat barf and likely will until it's blocked)

I did a little on Mom's 2nd sock and a few rounds on the Tahki blue cotton sweater.

And... am realizing that while my stash is still spiraling out of control a bit, there is always someone with a way huger stash and someone with more projects on the needles. Although I would like to finish several of mine and move on...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What I also did yesterday

I got a great start on the Leaf Lace Shawl I've been threatening to make. I got all 29 setup rows and the first 10-row repeat done. And I remembered to put in the lifeline (light purple in this pic). It's challenging but also fun!

What I did yesterday

Not bad for a few hours' work, eh? I bought this sweater at Goodwill for $2.99. Incredibly soft Italian merino wool. I have drawn the line at luxury fibers in general (silk, cashmere), but this was so nice that I got it. It was marked $3.99 but had obvious mothholes, so I asked to pay $2, but the most she would give me was $1 off.

What you see is the back and two sleeves, with a fair amount thrown away (threads that were too short to be worthwhile making into a ball). The front had three or four large, well-spaced moth holes.

It was kind of fun! 147 grams should be more than enough for one pair of socks.

Small F.O.

I did mention this, but wanted to jot down all the details.

The 3-way scarf: the idea was to make a scarf like you can find many places already. A friend at work has one.

If you stretch it lengthwise, it's a regular neck scarf and can be wrapped around your neck at least once, if not twice. If you stick your hands inside the tube, and stretch it widthwise, you can wear it as a neck cowl (and not worry about the ends flying). If you pull part of it over your head, it's a cowl/head covering and neck warmer. (I thought it would look dorky this way, but my coworker thought it would be elegant with the right coat.)

Simple details:
Clover 16" size 15 circulars
N.Y. Yarns "Fluff" in black (couldn't find what I wanted in my LYS, so had to go to Beverly's! It was painful.)
Cast on 25 stitches VERY loosely. Join in the round, being careful not to twist. Knit for a bazillion years, till you're just tired of it and the stretched length is acceptable. Cast off VERY loosely (I used my size 50 Speed Stix). Tie off ends (it sure as heck won't show!).

I am unreasonably pleased with it. No photos as I'm sure it won't photograph well at all, being black.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Calming realization

I realized I wanted to do Branching Out to have a small scarf for Asilomar, as it apparently is chilly when the wind comes in off the sea.

And then I was looking over my UFOs on this blog and realized I was not far from finishing my black 3-way scarf! I finished it last night, but the bind-off (even though I used my humongous size 25 needle) is too tight. I'm having to rip it out (holding it close to the Ott Lite--black fuzzy yarn, ugh!) and will re-bind-off with one of my size 50s from Sue and Sarah. (Glad I have them! They are thick red poles. So odd.)

And that frees me up to start the Leaf Lace Shawl, guilt free. I'm bringing Mom's sock, the Tahki blue cotton sweater (I am SO making up the pattern), and the Leaf Lace Shawl with me. I plan to knit through every meeting, only stopping to eat and pray. Yeah!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Getting off the pot

Two chemo caps going out in the mail today (or tomorrow, if I missed today's pickup). Phew. Nice to finally get that done.

Mystery project that will be revealed anon is in the final few rows. Why are the final few rows so painful, sometimes?

I cannot WAIT to start the Leaf Lace Shawl. I wound one skein into balls yesterday/last night. I was worried it would be such a big ball, but for naught: there were two, count 'em, two, knots in the skein. So one large ball (whose start is eluding me, for now) and two smaller balls from this skein. I'm a tad annoyed that one 300-yd skein has 2 knots, but I think it's OK in the end.

But I really should knit up Branching Out so I have something for Asilomar, weekend-after-next.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Oh, too bad.

I had really been looking forward to making the Leaf Lace Shawl with the Waikiki yarn I got at Skein Lane. Did a swatch in it--and emailed Crystal Palace yarns. Would the lace pattern show up? I asked. They responded quite quickly, but not positively. They said folks had contacted them, complaining that lacework didn't show up well in that yarn. Rats.

Why did Skein Lane let me buy this yarn? They knew it was for that shawl.

I remained hopeful for about an hour, then chucked the idea. I'll make a simple garter-stitch shawl or a very simple knotted shawl like the one I just got from

And now I have an idea for the red skeins I got at Stitches West. At 600 yds total, it's exactly enough for a small LLS. And I still adore it. I just better not freaking run out of yarn!

Dang, it is really hard to switch gears. But the Waikiki yarn has slubs and no bounce at all. I have no idea what it'll be like to knit with. So different from wool.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

FO! Shedir is done, and--frogging candidate?

I finished Shedir! She's freakin gorgeous. I think I'll block her, because the top is a little pointy. She's really big on my head, so that should mean it fits my friend well, as my head is curiously small.

The top is just wonderful:

And here's what I have so far on Branching Out. I think I hate it in this yarn. I think I'll restart it on CrackSilk Haze, since I've mastered the pattern having the correct stitch counts and the use of a lifeline. Votes? I like the yarn and will probably save it for baby booties or something.

Friday, May 05, 2006


I'm on row 58 of 83 of Shedir, and... I'm running out of yarn! It honestly never even occurred to me to buy two balls. The pattern says one ball, it's a complex hat but not thick or anything (but it is deep, as it is a chemo cap)... oy!

Bless Yarn!, as they have another ball in the same dye lot. I'll pick it up tomorrow.

Still loving the pattern, but I did come across a row that was not dead easy. That threw me for a bit, as the others have been completely simple to memorize and do! It is fascinating, though, as the cables are coming together for that fantastic twining that happens at the top.

Must finish soon! My friend is losing her hair already!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ordered the yarn for Birch

Made it to the yarn store today, and got to ogle all the colors of Cracksilk Haze in person. I'm so glad. This is a great reason to patronize your LYS--so many yarns are just plain different in person than they are online. One was very brown in person, and had looked quite purple online!

I ended up agreeing with Janis that the dark colors would really not work for Birch. She didn't have Smoke in stock but she had (yeah!) a color card for them. Smoke is freakin' gorgeous. It's a medium grey, but the silk gives it an absolutely lovely glint. She's going to order 4 balls for it (since some are running out after 3) and it'll be in in 3-4 weeks. I can wait.

I think.

Oh, and she was very sweetly appreciative of Shedir. It really is a pretty hat. And I'm still loving the red-coral color.

Unfortunately, with this Branching Out obsession, it still looks like it did below.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

UFO Update photos

As promised, I retrieved my camera from the car and took a few photos.

First, childHood (details in sidebar). One back, one front, one sleeve, one partial sleeve. I pinned out the front because otherwise, it curls like a mofo and looks about 4 stitches wide.

Next, Shedir, where I'm on the 6th repeat of 6 of the main twining cable patterns. After this, I get to start decreases!

And close up. It's not actually as shiny/plasticky looking as this in real life. And it is SO SOFT.

Finally, Branching Out in the leftover Claudia's Handpainted, full view that's blurry (ugh) and close-up that's not, but whose colors are a lot less true (too purple). Note the lifeline (oh, yes).

Important omission: Yes, still working on mom's sock. It looks like the last update (about 4" from the toe) but narrower--the same width as the other sock, this time.

Branching Out will not defeat me

I'm on the 6th repeat of the main twisted-vine pattern in Shedir and was feeling a little bored. (Photos to come, as Shedir and my camera are never in the same place at the same time.) So last night, I put down Shedir and picked up the Branching Out pattern. (Let's recall how thoroughly my CrackSilk Haze spanked me when I last attempted this pattern.) Went to my yarn basket (I adore having a yarn basket) and found the leftovers from my Knitting Olympics socks. Exactly what I was looking for--a nice fingering yarn that isn't lacy/mohairy.

I don't think it'll be lovely in Branching Out, but it will work well for me in conquering this pattern so I can pick up my Cracksilk Haze again.

And... after several false starts (including going straight into pattern stitch without doing the 5 rows of garter st AND starting the pattern with 1 too many stitches, only catching it on row 3), I have completed (ta da!) one full pattern repeat. And it looks right. And yes, yes, yes, I have done a lifeline. (But I need to buy unwaxed floss, as Glide's "lightly waxed" is already leaving a bit of wax on my yarn.)

Very proud of myself. Thanks for suggesting I use my KachaKacha on this one, Dharma.

Woo hoo! I've got progress bars!

I found some % bars in another knitter's blog, and she was kind enough to include a link for them. Sadly, the link didn't work, but I searched on "percent bars" and finally got some hits (wonder what I searched on before).

So yay, I've got progress bars! Do you want some?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Score at Goodwill

So what did I do when foiled by Yarn! for buying yarn? I toodled on over to Goodwill, around the corner, and checked out their sweaters for unraveling.

Shoo, what a score. I got one all-cashmere sweater for $4.99 (in an unfortunately vibrant blue which I hope to overdye with a red to make a lovely purple), one very soft all-silk sweater for $4.99 in a lovely French-bluish color, and a soft merino wool sweater I couldn't put down in a gorgeous heathered brown. This last had a rip in the collar (who cares?) and two mothholes (I care), so I managed to get it for $2.99. It'll be interesting to unravel it. I hope to make a few pair of socks out of it.

I know, I know, Dharma. I'm insane.

Bzzt, try again... again

Today, I went home, left the car, picked up Shedir-so-far, and biked down to the yarn shop. Was so excited to show my progress on Shedir to the shop owner, as I bought the yarn and had seen the hat for the first time there. (I was also hoping to see some of the colors of Kidsilk Haze aka Cracksilk Haze that I'm interested in for Birch.)

Imagine my shock, and then laughter, as I saw the Closed sign. She is always closed on Mondays. When will I learn?

(update photos on Shedir and childHood to be posted soon.)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Knitted lace--only when you're mad?

Well, I was home, and steamed at my neighbor for causing my basement to flood, so of course I decided to try some knitted lace ("Branching Out" from Knitty with CrackSilk Haze).

I actually did really well for a full repeat of the 10-row pattern. Then about row 5 of the next set, it happened: I was short a stitch. I counted for a while and finally just adjusted. Turned my work and found I was short by yet another stitch. Time to tink back.

I tinked back an entire row, and found the stitch count was still off (and some of my stitches were so twisted that I couldn't even move them on the needle.

What's that you say? Lifeline? Yeah, I remembered that just at this point. Oh, well, I think I did rather well, given that I was watching a movie that required watching rather than just listening ("Rush Hour 2" with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. In one outtake, a guy has a horrible multi-story fall, and one of them jokes, "Well, he won't be in 'Rush Hour 3'!"). I don't see the pattern--in fact, it looks kind of backwards, but I hope I can recover the lost switch and continue on.

I decided to conquer Branching Out before I start my Leaf Lace Shawl, which, I believe, is lace knitting, the kind where something happens on the return rows as well as the forward ones. Yoiks.

An FO I left out

I started another watchcap just before we went up to my mom's, one weekend in March. I was able to finish it just as we arrived. I'm really pleased. The color variations in the yarn are really beautiful. And, once again, Cleckheaton's 8 ply, what can I say? Easy care, soft, 100% wool. This one is from the Tapestry line, color(way) 13.

You can see where I changed balls: the second ball has some lighter colors. I still like it; I think the variation is interesting but not jarring. And I love this pattern (a free Plymouth pattern; email me about it!).

Now I have a watchcap to replace the one my son commandeered. Ha, and his is just Red Heart TLC!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Secred project, revealed.

Sharp readers will have noticed very few updates on this blog lately. That's because I was working on a Secret Project and didn't want the recipients to see it before it was ready.

Well, now it has been delivered, for the Most Heralded Baby Ever, and you all can see the final project.

Voila. Baby Sweater for Murrita.


Yarn: 2 balls Cleckheaton's Country 8-ply Natural, in a heather purple color that seems to have been discontinued. This is a superwash wool; easy care for the new moms.

Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Practically Seamless Baby Sweater," from Knitter's Almanac. Modifications: my gauge is larger than hers. Also, instead of doing the Gull Stitch, I chose a 2x2 cable interspersed with 3 purl stitches. Finally, I knit the sleeves in the round (only doing cables on the fronts and plain purl stitches on the undersides, as cables all around made them all shrunk up and funky looking), and ended with 1" of ribbing.

Fasteners: large black snaps, over which I sewed these cute green flower buttons found at my LYS (interestingly enough, cheaper than at Beverly's!).

Preparation: I washed the sweater using a small amount of Orvus from my mom and blocked it on two towels on the couch. There was quite a bit of wrinkliness where the cables began. Perhaps next time, I'll decrease some stitches before I start the cables...?

Overall, I'm pleased with the result. I hear the moms are, too.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Good start on childHood

I'm nearly done with the first sleeve of a rainbow-striped childHood in Elann's Peruvian Highland Wool, which is so soft. (No, the sweater won't be entirely rainbow-striped. Just the striped parts of the original sweater. The body of this one will be yellow.)

I had to modify parts of the pattern because the gauge I'm getting is too fine. Fortunately, as someone on my glb-knit list pointed out, it's mostly rectangles, so it's pretty easy.

I think it's darling so far, and I'm loving this idea of doing a sleeve first as a gauge swatch. I had to rip it out three times, but I do like that the knitting I'm doing has the potential not to be ripped out.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Spoke too soon

I was looking through older posts, trying to find info on my projects (updated at the right), and came across this post about mom's socks. "shouldn't have to do major rips this time..." Ah, I was so young and naive back then.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Multiple WIPs? OK!

I am becoming more and more comfortable with the idea of having several projects going at once. I really like Wyvern for my next pair of socks. I want to start ChildHood for Graham soon. I need to get his bear from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts started; I hope it's as quick as the bunny was (what was that, 4 days?). And I want to get started on my Noro Kochoran-yoked cardigan with a charcoal-grey body from the yarn from Elann. Eee!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The endless sock journey.

These socks (for Mom) are just doomed. I was showing them to Dharma last night, and I put the new one together with the first one and was noticing a slight color difference--when Dharma noticed that the new one is WIDER.

Significantly wider.

So this morning, I counted... and the new sock has 36 stitches where the old one has 32. That's on one side. So 8 stitches more. For about 4 inches now.

Ugh, how many times will I have knit these blasted socks in the end?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


One of the aftereffects of the Knitting Olympics was a yearning for fast projects. I started a watch cap just before our trip to Portland, and finished it the first day we were there. It looks great. I used some Cleckheaton superwash wool in a beautiful navy-maroon-teal variegation. Mom had bought the wool a while ago, I think for a cap for Graham. So this one was ostensibly for Graham, although since he stole mine a while ago, I think it'll end up being mine. It used about 1 1/3 balls of the wool so I have lots left over. Hm, what to do with it? It is so soft and you can't beat machine wash & dry wool!

I got about 4" done on my mom's 2nd sock while I was there; she tried on the finished 1st sock and was quite pleased. Interestingly, the color patterns of the wool are parallel; had I known, I might have pulled out a few yards of the first ball to make them completely match. So interesting.

Bought so much yarn at Mom's LYS; wow. Very reasonable prices for a shop that is about the only shop for an hour's drive around. They had lots of sock yarn and fun fur-type yarn that I passed on (except for some super-soft milk-chocolate-brown fur I want to make a scarf/cowl from), and lots of basic yarns too. I got to feel Cascade 220 (GREAT yarn) and found out each skein contains 220 yards (oh, duh!). Also chose a skein of brown yarn for Graham's teddy bear I'll be making from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts.

And I just got a box from eeee!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

In the end

I started my mom's other sock. It's kind of fun so far. I had to figure some things out with the pattern (one row had "Sl 1, k1 across," which turned out to mean "(sl 1, k1); repeat across"), but it's already looking neat.

And I'm thinking that since I shouldn't have to do major rips this time (knocking on wood), it will be easier and faster.

And then I can start my next pair of socks.

Monday, March 06, 2006

At a loss

Finished the bunny Saturday night, while watching Lethal Weapon 4 (not great) and with Graham "helping" by shredding stuffing before we stuffed it. It's pretty challenging to hold stuffing in and do a good stitching job at the same time, but he looks pretty cute, if a bit melancholy.

Then I thrashed around for a while, looking for what to start next. I measured the swatch from my French blue Tahki cotton yarn and found size 6 needles to be exactly right (I knit in the round on Crystal Palace dps and rediscovered how fantastic those needles are--so smooth and easy to use). I swatched with the brownish-grey handspun my mom gave me years ago (stranded with one strand of a grey Lopi yarn) and the first swatch, on size 11 needles, was so stiff, it was like a brick wall. Re-swatched on size 15; ditto. Finally broke out the size 50 Speed Stix Sue & Sarah gave me as a (joke?) present. With those, it finally has a drape. I'm going to search out some size 35 needles and see what comes of that. If it doesn't work, I'm looking into a bulky-weight vest pattern. (The problem is that there are only 250 yards of the handspun. I'd really like to use it in a sweater.)

Then I cast on for the blue cotton sweater. The join in the round is AWFUL. There is at least 1" of yarn between the ends. And I can't see how the 128 stitches can possibly go around my waist (I'm making the L/XL size). I'm about to break out my "try-on tubing" from Machine Knitting to Dye For to see if it can possibly go around me.

I feel like I'm flailing and need a new project to pop up and scream, "knit me!"

Friday, March 03, 2006

Up to shoulder shaping.

Finished row 24 of the body today at noon. Next is a row of shoulder shaping, then 4 rows till head shaping.

I'd say "HOO-ah!" if it tied in better with knitting an angora bunny toy.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bunny update

Two arms, two legs, and almost 1/2 of a body done. This is going quite fast, and I'm pleased. The legs are knit flat but then joined to the body, which continues upward seamlessly.

The yarn is so soft--70% merino wool, 30% angora. I'm starting to understand what folks say about angora going up your nose. I don't know how it works, but I'm constantly rubbing my nose because of tiny tickly fibers.

Can't wait to start the head. The ears get pink angora in them--sweet!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Two more FOs, and future knitting

I finally wove in the ends on the hat for Dharma's mom. (Gee, would have been good to send it with her while she was gone. Darn it.) Tried to iron down the crease of the band and failed; it's just ornery, I think.

Bound off Mom's black/shiny "knotted" scarf. I'll mail it to her this week.

Started the bunny from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, on behalf of my mom, for my godmother's grandchild-to-be. I have decided that I hate, hate, hate my size 8 circulars. The cable is actually metal and I have to fight with it all the time. So I went to the yarn shop (in and out in 15 minutes; a record for me!) and bought 2 new bamboo circulars. I hadn't realized that the pattern calls for 2 circulars anyway. I asked her whether she carried the Crystal Palace circulars (their swiveling cables are very cool) and she said absolutely not. I said, cringing, "Is it because they snag the yarn?" because that's what happened with my size 7s from Skein Lane. She said yes, that's why. Dang it. I had hoped it was an isolated incident. Their dpns are terrific. She agreed, and said she stocks the dpns but not the circs.

After the bunny, I'll start the corn bunting; am hoping it's a fast knit! I still need to swatch for it and see what changes I'll need to make.

Finally, I'll be swatching for the blue cotton sweater from an old Vogue Knitting. Someone on the glb-knit list asked today whether side seams added stability to a garment. Oof, I didn't even think of that. But I really hate seams, so I'm going ahead with my knit-it-in-the-round idea. It'll be interesting to see how it turns out, since I'm making so many changes to it (removing the lower part entirely; knitting in the round; making the sleeves either shorter or all k2p2 ribbing instead of the awful eyelet section). Oh, and whether I'll have enough yarn in the end. That's why I hate swatching, too--don't want to run out of yarn.