Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hat Trick

After feeling like I never finish anything, I finished 3 projects last Sunday.

1. Pumpkin Hat (rav link) done in the Turn a Square pattern that I love. I have knit three of these so far and just adore them. Both the kids have one (Little Dude has 2) and I'm knitting another for my mom (shhh... don't tell). The photo at right shows my sone wearing it, doing his best brooklyn tweed impersonation.

2. My Hourglass sweater. It's still blocking, and I don't have pictures, and I'm not 100% satisfied that the neckline is actually done, but I'm counting it!

3. Seven Lucky Snowflakes. During our fabulous October cold snap, I had a thought process that went something like this: I need a hat! Wait, even though I don't have an MLS, I constantly wear my hair in a bun, so I never wear hats. I need an earband. Where's my stash? Right, I have a box full of Palette, that'll work. Oooh, stitch dictionary! Snowflakes are soooo pretty, I could put them on an earband. Oh, if I make it reversible, it would be doubly warm, and could have a green side and a blue side.

Two weeks later, the snow is way gone and I've finally got an earband. Blocking and soaking wet, but an earband. Hopefully it snows again soon!

And, after having a hockey reference in the title, I can't pass this up... While I still love Canada, after last night, I no longer feel compelled to move there at the first opportunity! Go voters! And thank you, Mr. Obama, for giving us a country we feel like we might soon be able to be proud of again.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Christmas Lace Today

I have finished my first project from Victorian Lace today, almost before my copy of the book got here and the library demanded theirs back! This is the Large Rectangle in leaf and trellis pattern, though it's slightly less large than the directions. For the body, I cast on about half the number of stitches, to make more of a scarf and less of a stole. I plan on doing that for most of the VLT projects.

More details here.

She is now safely stowed away in my Christmas box. No, not in with all the ornaments, but the little box on the top shelf of my closet where I stash goodies year round, then delve in every December to start assembling Christmas presents.

Now, I need to take a little break from Christmas knitting because it's getting cold and my kids have already lost the hats I made for them last month!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My New Obsession

When I do something, I do it fully. Whole heart, whole mind, whole attention. I may not do it for very long, but I do it totally. My current obsession -

For those of you not keeping track, that's the heavenly book, Victorian Lace Today and a whole pile of lace weight yarn. Wool, wool/silk and alpaca. I'm already most of the way through my first project, and at least 3 more planned for the immediate future. And I blame this:

Print o' the Wave stole by Eunny Jang, with a few modifications. Yarn is Knit Picks shadow in Juniper Heather. I loved knitting it.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Little Statelets

After a shockingly short drive, we have passed through 4 states to arrive in our first vacation spot; Connecticut! Though mostly conducted in the dark, the drive was quite nice. I don't think I'll ever forget my first sight of NYC; all the lights of the million windows were glittering brightly, the Empire State Building all lit up, just like you see in the movies. We, however, were on one of those wild concrete freeway bridges above several other freeway bridges, putting us up about 13 stories in the air and I was frogging a sweater beginning for the 3rd time (joining without twisting in the dark is apparently beyond me).

This is our 2nd day in CT and we're enjoying it so far. There has been some good knitting and playing in the hotel with the kids while DH works. We got a great pizza last night and even some good coffee and are apparently far enough from Philly that not *everyone* who works in the food service industry is surlier than a dock worker at 4 am.

Tomorrow our vacation starts in earnest!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Little things that make me unreasonably happy

1. Tiny Jayne Hats. They're addictive. I know the first 3 before I finished my first mug of coffee on Saturday. The fourth one took a little longer, as I was helping Sweet Pea wend her way through the cell stage of Spore (she's already completed her own cell stage, so I suppose that's item 1b). These hats also ridiculously pad out my FO count.

2. I'm going on vacation this week. I have no idea how October snuck up so fast, but we're heading out. I feel totally unprepared for my first actual vacation as a parent and almost as scared as I am excited. We'll see how it goes.

3. My cold is dying down. I was not looking forward to said vacation while sick.

4. My new sweats. They fit like yoga pants, but are unbearably soft and delightfully fleecy.

5. My kids' new pajamas. They're damned cute.

6. In the long list of 'to do before we leave', I have already nearly completed the most important; what knitting to pack. I have wound most of it and kitted it into ziploc bags with the appropriate needles. I have: 2 sweaters, 1 pair of socks (2 total), 1 pair of mitts (2 total) and 1 lace shawl. I say nearly, because I am debating as to whether or not I should add a 2nd lace shawl. It seems like overkill, but all my other projects have buddies! I may pack a second one...

7. Subway has discovered that you can put all the ingredients of a sandwich onto a salad. I love this.

More knitting details to come!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Block Party

This may be the quietest block party within the mile radius of a college, but it was all contained on a single drying rack. I don't know why the picture is sideways - it's not that way on my computer, but I can't seem to fix it. I'm inept.

Yes, I know there are usually one hat and two mitts, but I'm wacky. Well, in all honesty, the second mitt isn't done yet. They're actually swatches for a sweater that I'm designing. The hats are from Ann Budd's fabulous book of handy patterns (seen here), and the great raspberry yarn is alpaca from here. The purple and green are Andean Treasure from knitpicks and, all in all, they are some seriously soft hats. The purple is a Christmas present and the green is for my daughter. What three year old wouldn't want to have a hat that matched Grammie's?

More later... I'm developing a lace addiction that has in no way been helped by the library kindly loaning me a Gathering of Lace and Victorian Lace Today. Dudes. I am in lurve.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Sainted Brigit

When I first saw this pattern on Ravelry, I knew I had to have it. Had to. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Many stars aligned to bring it into being; it is heavily, heavily modifed (details, and more pictures, here) and I learned a ton doing so. The planning was fun, but the knitting was even better. It only took me about six weeks to finish it, because I simply couldn't put it down. Nothing else got knit while the Brigit was in the room. She's just that kind of sweater.

I love it. And, now that it's off the needles, I'm finding a hard time finding anything this fun or this engrossing to replace it. And I'm waiting for weather cool enough to wear it!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Brand New Bag

Things I love about my new knitting bag:

1. I made it.
2. I didn't use a pattern, just designed it myself.
3. A major stashbuster
a. The lining is all fat quarters leftover from when I used to quilt
b. The notions were all in my drawer, except for the interfacing (which was the only thing I bought)
c. The outer bag is from an old pair of pants that I loved, but were never going to fit again because they were 10 sizes too big.
4. It's much lighter weight (and not as hot to carry in the summer) than my previous one (a felted Booga Bag).
5. It's my first completed project on my new(ish) sewing machine that was last year's Christmas present.
6. It has pocketses - two compartments (one for instructions and one for yarn and needles), plus a zipper pocket for notions and my wallet.
7. It's big enough to carry a complete sweater!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Frogging Friday

Projects I have Frogged today

1. A raglan sweater for my son that turned out to be more purple than blue

2. A half-completed Muir

3. My Wii Tank

4. Two socks, not paired, from my Sock Sampler project. I'm making a set of winter socks for my 3 year old. This is a fun way to try out Cat Bordhi's new sock-itectures from the New Pathways for Sock Knitters book without committing to full sized, adult socks. With a 3:1 frogged:successful ratio, this is a good thing.

Next up...

Stash with Panache.

Why, you may ask? Other than the usual boredom, misjdugements, etc, I have lost Weight. Lots. I won't go into the details just now, but both sweaters just won't fit. The last is in a discontinued yarn that I lurve, but it just hangs off of my shoulders. I want to wear that yarn all winter, but won't get a chance if I leave it knitted into an unwearable sweater. Today, I bit the bullet and frogged like crazy.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Cheapest Skein Winder

I am cheap. This is not to say that I don't occasionally splurge, or understand the value of quality things. There are those things which it is sometimes necessary to spend more if you want to get more, like bras, running shoes or coffee. But, if I can figure out a way to do something for a bargain, I am thrilled.

Lately, I've been wanting a skein winder. I have a swift, but it's set up in the basement and hard to use without someone else to watch the kids. And, I've really been wanting two skein winders, to help split up the sock blank yarn from last week. If you don't remember, I wrapped the yarn around two plastic toy bin lids to create skeins. However, these small skeins wouldn't turn on my swift when I tried to wind them into a center pull ball. Plus, I considered over dying some of these skeins in different sections, and these skeins were too short for that, too.

My solution:
Ikea toy bin

That's the toy bin that the lid came from. But, when wrapping the yarn around the outside, it makes a much bigger skein (almost exactly 4' in circumference). The bins are on wheels, so it was easy to just sit there and spin the bin around, letting the yarn wind. It's not as fancy as an electric one, but this one runs about $5 at ikea. The best news is, if you don't have toys in yours (like I do) you can always use it to store yarn.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Blankity Blank Blank Blank

Count 'em. Four blanks. That's how many sock blanks I had in my stash last week (they were a gift from my craft-enabling mom). I threw one in a pot of water to soak on Wednesday
morning, figuring I would give it a shot when the kids took their nap. The baby's nap didn't occur until that afternoon, so Sweet Pea and I were ready for some fun when he finally did fall asleep. I pulled the blank out of the water and we got to dying...

All four blanks found some dye that afternoon and, better yet, we had serious fun for several hours. She is quite the artist!

I knew I didn't want to knit socks straight from the blanks, because I wasn't totally sold on how they looked. So, I skeined them to see how they compared to yarn I had dyed in a hank...

(plastic toy bin lids courtesy of Ikea). As you can see, the dye didn't seem to penetrate through as well as on the hanks. Even the red one, a colorway I've called Cracked Clay, which soaked the longest is still fairly spotty. (More pictures can be seen here, under the sock blanks).

I'm reserving judgment until I see how they look knitted up (which I've already started). But, even if I have to overdye them all black (which I doubt), it'll be totally worth it to have had so much fun painting yarn with my girl.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pattern: Faux Flap Heel

Faux Flap

I like the flexibility of knitting from the toe-up. I like to be able to use all of my yarn, and not worry about running out before the toe. I like to try on my socks as I go. But, I don't care for short row heels and I don't like picking up sts. And I like the traditional looking heel flap and gusset, especially for doing contrasting color heels and toes. I often do them two at a time, so when one ball of yarn runs out, that's the end!

So... this is the sock pattern that let's me have my toe up and an easy heel! If you have any comments, suggestions, or even try it, please let me know what you think! This pattern is still in beta - I have used it many times, but would like to know what others think.

Note: The last place in the pattern is for those who have already found a comfortable number of stitches that fit their foot and would like to use that number for this pattern.

40 (52, 64, X)
Fingering weight yarn
2 circular needles, US 3 (2, 1)

Toe: Cast on 4 sts on each needles using the figure 8 method. (Many good online tutorials - here's one).
Row 1 (both needles): Knit around
Row 2 (both needles): Kfb of the first sts, knit to the last 2 sts, kfb of the 2nd to last st, k the last st
Repeat row 2 until there are 10 (13, 16, X/4) sts per needle.
Switch to alternating rows 1 & 2 until there are 20 (26, 32, X/2) sts on each needle.

Foot: Work in the round until ~2" before the end of the heel.

Shape Gusset:
Needle 1: kfb (place marker between these two sts), knit to two sts before the end, kfb of the 2nd to last st, pm, k the last st
Needle 2: knit across

Repeat the above row until the sts are arranged thus on Needle 1: 10 (13, 16, X/4) sts, marker, 20 (26, 32, X/2), marker, 10 (13, 16, X/4) sts
Notes: After the first row, all the increased sts stay on the outside of the markers, so there should always be 20 (26, 32, X/2) sts between the markers.

Shape Heel (short rows):
Note: If you want to add in a contrasting heel, join contrasting color at this step. You can leave the main color attached.
Short row 1: K to 1st marker, sl marker, k to 2 sts before marker. Wrap and turn.
Short row 2: P to 2 sts before marker. Wrap and turn.
Short row 3: K to the st just before the last wrapped st. Wrap and turn.
Short row 4: P to the st just before the last wrapped st. Wrap and turn.
Repeat short rows 3 and 4 until only four sts remain unwrapped in the middle.

Faux Flap:
Work all wraps as you come to them.
Flap row 1: Knit to one st before marker, move marker to this position (This st becomes the first gusset consuming st). Ssk. Turn.
Flap row 2: Sl st p wise, sl marker. Purl to one st before next marker and move marker to this position (this st is the other gusset consuming st). P2tog. Turn.
Flap row 3: Sl st p wise, sl marker, [k1, sl wyb] to 2nd marker, sl marker, ssk. Turn.
Flap row 4: Sl st p wise. sl marker, purl to 2nd marker, sk marker, p2tog. Turn.

Repeat flap rows 3 and 4 until only one st remains on the outside of the marker. Each needle should now have 20 (26, 32) sts once again.
Note: The heel is done. If you had a contrasting color, you can stop now and pick your main color back up.
At this point, you can add in a number of options:
Option 1: Continue on in stockinette until the sock is as long as you want, toss 2"/5 cm of k2, p2 rib on the top and call it good.
Option 2: k2, p2 until you are done.
Option 3: Broken Rib. My personal favorite for handpainted yarns, because the little purls make the color look like jewels.
Row 1: [k3, p1]
Row 2: [k2, p1, k1]
Repeat rows 1 & 2 until you are done.
Option 4+: Anything you want, really. I toss in patterns from Knitty, IK, Knitting on the road, any stitch dictionary, etc.

Casting off:
This is important. I always bind off too tightly, until I started using EZ's sewn bind off, which I learned here. It requires a darning needle, instead of just the knitting needles. The nice thing about that is that, when you're done, the end of your yarn is already on a needle and weaving in the end is just a few sts away!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

No more yarn for me!

I love planning. I love making lists. I love making lists of what I plan to do. Here it goes...

I may buy no more yarn until I finish the following:
1. Winter gloves for me. I love knitting stuff like this in the summer. It reminds me that it will get cool again.

2&3. Winter hats for both kids. Maybe another December Lights tam for Sweet Pea, because she loved the one I made for her grammie.

4. Winter earband for me, preferably to match my Latvian Mitts. I don't really wear hats, due to all my hair, so this will have to do.

5. Plain vanilla mittens for the kids.

6. Warm mittens for me, when fingering weight gloves just won't cut it. I'm dying to try some full Latvian Mittens, as per Lizbeth Upitis, but no buying definitely means no buying books. So... those will have to wait, too.

7. My graduation sweater. This one is tricky, as I'm trying to reinvent a way to turn cables with short rows. But, it should still be easier than my dissertation.

Until then, what am I working on? Hand dyed socks! My first attempt at using acid dyes came out wonderfully. I call it waterlillies and it's knitting up into some wonderfully cushy, comfy socks with a broken rib top.

For the bottom, I've used my own toe-up pattern. I've made several pairs with the pattern, and I love it. The heel is gusseted, with a faux heel flap and doesn't involve picking up any sts. I'm thinking about publishing it for free on ravelry. but I'm not sure if anyone would actually use it.

More details here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Stalking St. Brigid

As soon as I saw this pattern, I knew I had to knit it. Not just knit it, but knit it and wear it over and over and over again. What does that mean? Say it with me... Modifications!

After looking endlessly at every Brigid entered into ravelry, reading through the forums and going through my own closet, here are a few of my planned modifications.

1. Cardigan. This is a big one, and I'm still considering how best to arrange the cables.

1b. Closure for cardigan. Zipper? Hook and eye? Button band?

2. Set in sleeves

3. Waist shaping

4. No fringe

5. Something with the collar. Keep the torque?

6. DK/sport weight merino

Sunday, June 15, 2008

For the Boys

Reasons why Will is sleeping in while I play Little People with our son at 8 on Sunday morning:

1. It's Father's day, a holiday that I finally get the chance to celebrate with someone.

2. He has never said 'you know, you could just buy a bag of socks at Target for less than half the price of that Koigu.'

3. He has never once actually said anything about the fact that I occasionally miss a navigational direction in the car due to a tricky lace pattern.

4. He takes the kids to the toy store, by himself, every Thursday so that I can go 'knit some friends' (which is what my daughter calls our weekly knit night).

5. He actually wears his hand knit sweater.

6. He took a new job halfway across the country so that I could stay home with our kids while they're babies.

7. He gets indignant at badly made Jane Austen movies.

8. He is currently suffering from poison ivy from trimming the hedges in our yard.

8a. His suggested solution to the poison problem was, when we move, to buy cashmere goats. (To eat the ivy and produce fiber). I kid you not. His idea, unprompted.

Monday, June 9, 2008

This weekend, we packed our kids, more than sufficient snacks and toys into our bitty car and headed for Lancaster, PA. We had maps and plans and priorities and then had fun on our mostly improvised adventure. We did succeed in seeing our two top priorities - the central Market and a yarn store.

First, the central market. A market has been in place in downtown Lancaster since about 1730, and we had a blast looking through it. It was much, much bigger than our local farmers market and had all sort of great looking veggies and food. The heat, however, was nearly unbearable. We managed to see the whole thing, but left after buying a few Christmas presents and getting some lunch. Downtown Lancaster was also quite cute, reminding me of downtown Boulder and the Pearl Street mall, in places.

Next was the yarn store, Labadie Looms. As I'm not a weaver, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but they were great. The people were super friendly, they had knitting, spinning and weaving things. They had some nice, local hand painted yarns that tempted me, but I managed to get out with... More roving! More on that in a moment. Brenna also had a great time looking at spinning wheels, and decided that we need to get one. I agree whole heartedly.

Today, we broke out the spindles. I didn't immediately jump into the new Labadie Looms roving, but used the empty spindle on some beautiful purple, blue and black roving from Sitka. It's beautiful. Gorgeous. Pictures to come. And you know what? I can spin! It looks vaguely like yarn, not lumpy twine.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Less Stress

The first time I remember hearing someone tell me that I needed to decrease the stress in my life was my therapist when I was 10. When I was in high school, my dentist put caps on my teeth because I was grinding them in my sleep (again, stress). After nearly every finals week that I can remember, I would come down with some nasty bug or another, due to stress supressing my immune system. When my doctor took my blood pressure during the term that I was working on my dissertation, she would just shake her head as she wrote it down. I quit worrying about decreasing stress, it just was part of me.

A nice, predictable consequence of this was gauge. Yes, gauge. I am a tight, tight knitter. I could take whatever needle size recommended by a pattern, go up one and be fairly sure to get gauge. Sometimes I'd have to go up two. It's part of my plan whenever I start planning the modifications I'm going to do for a pattern. This week I cast on two sweaters, worked several inches and have had a realization...

But, first, a digression. Casting on two sweaters in a week sounds a little indulgent, but it's an easy rationalization. I finished two sweaters! Well, one is totally finished, blogged, ravelrized and sent off to my mom who is loving it. The second is a Ski Jacket (lovely pattern by Veronik Avery) with every knit stitch finished. Ends, blocking and a fastener remain, but I can't bring myself to touch the several pounds of snuggly sweater while it's almost 90F out. So, I have cast on two more to take there place.

Digression over! Time for the realization... Graduation has decreased stress in my life. Even though my kids drive me insane sometimes, they're a million times better for me than school. Or, if not entirely decreased stress, my gauge knitting has totally changed. I cast both of these on with a size larger needles and, you know what? They're too big. Way too big. I went down to the right needle size and, lo and behold, sizing is right on.

Now, a sample size of two doesn't really tell you much. So, I dug out my in-progress Muir (which is sitting in time out for being boring) and took a good measure. I didn't do a gauge swatch or anything (since it's a stole), so I never really measured it, but I did go up a needle size. It's a significant size bigger than the pattern states.

More on the two new sweaters later. I'm not stressing about getting their pictures taken :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Painful Break-up

Dear Cinnabar Pullover,

I don't know how to say this, but I think we should see other people. You have been nothing put finicky the entire time we have been together. You have been both too clingy and too boring. All that stockinette... Couldn't we at least go out for a little cabling once in awhile? And you disappeared for an entire month; you're not reliable at all. I need a sweater that will always be there for me, not promise me the moon and then leave me crying about Sir Frogs A Lot. Doubtless you've heard that's what my friends and I call you, I'm just sorry you heard it from someone else first. You're not even green and you know that's my favorite color!

It's been a long, arduous road together and I think it's time we part ways. I finally decided to cast you off, and you surprised me by being... stunning. You are snuggly and flattering; all the things that I knew you could be, but never were. I'll be sending you her way tomorrow, and I hope you two are very happy together.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Things that keep me awake

I have never considered myself a problem sleeper (I can already hear my mom laughing). These days, however, I hardly seem to be getting the REM I need. Let's see why, shall we?

1. Nursing babies. Top of the List.

2. Sweater designs. I lay in bed and think about cable patterns and yos and sleeve shapes. Right now I'm thinking something a little Tilted Duster, but with cables and a different collar, or the $1.50 cardigan, but symmetrical. I can't wear assymmetrical things. Drives me batty faster than a bowl full of fruit. (Fruit bat, get it?)

3. My cat. Though she is actually my husband's cat, she has decided that she needs to sleep on my legs. Just there. Right where it's uncomfortable.

4. My book. I stay up planning strange things like what they usually do for Thanksgiving to how much they like skiing. I comfort myself with the thought that it helps it be a better book, but I think I may be rationalizing.

5. The giant effing wildebeast that has somehow snuck (sneaked?) into our attic to rearrange furniture in the middle of the night. Yeah. I'm so calling the landlord about that one.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Things on my night stand

1. My iPod and iPod dock. I listen to music all night, every night. Otherwise the wheels in my brain keep spinning and I have strange, weird and wacky dreams.

2. World of Darkness: Chicago sourcebook. I'm running a solo campaign in werewolf and this is our Next Big Thing. Strangely enough, this doesn't seem to contribute to any of the weird dreams.

3. Cat Bordhi's new pathways for sock knitters. Wow. Neat. I've gotten less than halfway through, but it's so interesting. It may actually contribute more to the weird dreams than the gaming book.

4. A small glass cabinet with several different statues of the Buddha. It calms me and makes me smile, when I can see it. Which isn't very often because of...

5. An Ikea lamp that is aesthetically too large for the space, but I love. So there.

P.S. If you read these and feel like commenting with your own list, please feel free!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

What the Princess wants as she turns 3

1. Scrub. When we moved into our new place, the screened in back porch was filthy. Now that the weather is warmer, I've finally gotten around to cleaning it. She's taken an unholy joy in scrubbing
the walls and wanted to do it all. day. long.

2. Blowing out candles. We blew them out at least half a dozen times.

3. Watching the new My Little Pony movie, which is actually the old pony cartoon I used to watch as a kid.

4. Racing Lightening McQueen and Mr. The King matchbox cars.

5. Having the good people at TGI Fridays sing to her.

6. Wearing her tiara. Because she is, after all, the Princess.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The List Revamp

This is a knitting blog and I love knitting. But I don't blog as much as I like, or feel I should. Why? Because there's lots more that I do and lots more that I want to write about. So... Time for a revamp!

The new theme is lists. I love lists. Here we go!

Reasons I love Lists:
1. No pesky segues
2. I can write about anything, and not worry about how it relates to knitting
3. I can still write about knitting.
4. I don't have to worry about coherent paragraph structure while being interrupted 50 times by the kids.
5. They're organized and tidy. I love that.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008

Save the Rainforest, Adult and Toddler

This yarn was originally destined to be a Christmas present. It's Lorna's Laces Sheperd Sock Multi in a limited edition colorway called Rainforest done for Jimmy Beans Wool. It has way more purple that I usually like. Yet, it sat in my yarn drawer over the holidays and managed to hide out from the casting-on monster. Then, whoops, somehow it snuck out last month and managed to find itself into a pair of socks just my size!

I felt a little badly about this, so I immediately cast on another pair, in my daughter's size. She loves having matching socks.

As you can see from the above picture, I made mine into anklets. I managed to get all four socks out of one skein, plus a few rows of a second. So, I have nearly a full skein sitting around, waiting to be a gift. Or maybe the toe and heel of a gift, because no one seems to like anklets as much as I do!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Jersey Socks

Several weeks ago, we went to New Jersey for the first time. Instead of getting any knick knacks (or whacked by Tony Soprano, as my husband was predicting) I got... souvenir yarn! We went to a cute little LYS and I let my daughter pick out a color way (thus, a toddler size version is also on the way).

Pattern: My own
Yarn: Plymouth Happy Feet (ravelry link)

I would have to rate this a mediocre yarn. It wasn't terribly soft, but the finished sock is quite cozy. It also seems a little thicker than the other fingering weights that I've been using lately. That said, the color changes are frequent, which I like, because I had almost no pooling. I had only 3 or 4 stitches per color, and that made these a fun, fast knit. Though you can't tell from the pictures, these are much taller than my normal socks. We were listening to the end of Robert Jordan's Shadow Rising, and I totally got carried away in stockinette. I was so into it, I'm surprised my gauge didn't change!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ski Jacket

Now that the moving sweater is off the needles, I really wanted to do something different for my next big project. Something different, in which I learn something new using stash yarn.

One out of three ain't bad. May I present the yoke of yet another seamless yoke sweater. It's different in that it's a cardigan. Which isn't all that different, I know.

The pattern is the ski jacket by the amazing Veronik Avery. I've made several modifications, mostly because I have limited yarn and am not confident that I'll make it through as written. I'll post the details when I post the FO pictures.

Tonight the yoke is blocking. Tomorrow, toddler willing, it goes back on the needles and I start the body.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Phoebe: 1999-2008

Last weekend we lost a member of our family. Phoebe took suddenly ill and, on Saturday, she left us.

Phoebe started life in Haines but, after a brief stay at the human society (where we met) she has been with me. She lived in Oregon while I was in college, moved out to Chicago with me, then to Colorado for graduate school and finally out here to Pennsylvania. She even took a vacation with us to New Mexico. She traveled plane, moving truck, Civic and even on the ferry between Juneau and Bellingham. Despite this, traveling was not her favorite thing. Her favorite things were snuggling with me while I read, laying on my head while I slept and chewing yarn. And food. She was crazy for food. Cat food, cat treats, tuna, milk and, though I know cats don't have sweet taste receptors, jam and tomato sauce. She would eat the peanut butter and jelly right out of your sandwich if you left it unattended. Just a few weeks ago she and Brenna shared a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

She may have resented the kids, as their arrival meant less time for her and me. So, at the end, it was just her and me and the vet. We said our good byes and then her pain was gone. I can't tell you how much I miss her, so I won't try. Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Moving Sweater

It's finished. It's been finished for almost two weeks, but I'm finally getting around to blogging it. This is my moving sweater.

I knit it seamlessly from the top down, so the colorwork yoke was the first part to be finished. From that point on, it was stockinette all the way, baby. I knit it between packing boxes, while running all kinds of moving errands and in between all the other busy-ness of moving. It was completely and totally soothing.

The yarn is elegance, from knit picks and was really nice to work with. While alpaca come sometimes make me itch, the silk makes it very soft and it has a nice drape.

The pattern is Elizabeth Zimmerman's Fair Isle Yoke Sweater, from the Opinionated Knitter. I prefer wider necks, so I omitted the first round of color work and really like the way it turned out. I had initially thought I would make a cardigan, but didn't have time to plan in steeking stitches. I may still give it a shot, but haven't decided yet.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Four Ways I Know I'm Not in Colorado Anymore

I love lists. Love them, love them, love them. So here's a short post for today.

1. I don't know where my sunglasses are. And I don't care.

2. It was above freezing (by at least two degrees) and I was the only person walking with my kids. Or really walking at all.

3. Washed dishes don't automatically dry when they're set on the shelf. You have to actually (gasp) dry them with a towel.

4. The house down the street was built in the 70s. The 1770s.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Time Machine Tuesday: The Afghan

Alli found a neat idea, and I'm totally going to copy it. In the knitting tenses, present and future get the most attention on blogs. But the past can tell us how our projects hold up over time. Part of why I love knitting is that I'm creating something useful, something to wear or keep warm.

This was my first major project. It's an afghan that I crocheted while studying abroad in Europe in the spring of 1998. I bought the yarn (Lion Brand Wool Ease) at Juneau's Fred Meyer (it was the only place in town to buy yarn at the time) before I left and started it on the flight to London. I crocheted on planes, trains, taxis, in hotel rooms, hostels, buses, subways and even the Chunnel. The squares (25 of them) were super portable, and I sewed them together once I got back to Juneau.

It's not the prettiest or the fanciest thing that I've ever made, but it's probably the most used. It has made it through every move, been on every couch or futon I've ever had and been snuggled by all my cats and both of my kids. It's warm and washable (see cats and kids, above). It's hard to get a good picture of it, because in February, someone's usually snuggled up in it.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Super Secret Project, part I

This is a 2007 Christmas project that didn't even get cast on in 2007. In fact, not until February of 2008. But, it's a great idea for a good friend, so I wanted to devote enough time to it.

Now that I've finished up my moving therapy sweater, I wanted to start another big project. I still have sleeves and socks, but nothing big. So, it's time for the Super Secret Project. I found the yarn, but the pattern is another question.

This brings the question: how do I organize my patterns? I have two kinds; those that come in books or magazines and those that come loose. The books and magazines go on a shelf (now in a box) and the loose leaf ones go in a drawer. For the sake of this project, I got very excited when, in the unpacking, I found the drawer (it also doubles as a night stand, so that was a bonus). Only, in a fit of moving, I took the handles off of the drawer.

So, once I find the handle, I can start knitting again. Sigh.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Tiger's Hiding in the Shu Mai

My husband and I often marvel at the strange sentences that we say, now that we're parents. Sure, there are the predictable, you're turning into your parents sentences. Yesterday, as we were getting ready to leave the Ikea cafe, my husband told our daughter: "Now, I don't want to hear you say 'I'm hungry" as soon as we leave." Those make us cringe a little, but aren't as surprising as the others.

Today, the sentence was "The tiger's hiding in the shu mai." My husband said it, then looked at me in that puzzled way. He was right. My daughter's small, plastic tiger was frolicking amongst her small, plastic food.

But it was still a weird sentence.

In other news...

I found our camera cable! Soon, I'll be able to post knitting pictures again. Whee!

Friday, February 1, 2008


I love the rain. I love grey, dreary, drizzly days where going outside is walking into a cloud bank.

When I woke up this morning at O-dark-thirty, the first thing that I realized was that it was raining. Little thumps on the roof that sounded like home. I loved it. And, when I got up, it was indeed one of those days. One of those curl up with a good book, a home made afghan and a kitty days.

So, Pennsylvania has one thing in its favor. Good rain. Colorado rains, but it was more short term abuse with water droplets.

Um... more knitting. Later.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

2007 in Review

It's just like me... A whole post about what's coming up, and not a word of what's gone before. Without further ado, here's what I did in 2007:

1. Had Liam. It's a biggie. And he's a total sweetheart, if a bit squidge-tastic at this point. And, maybe, our last baby.

2. Got my PhD. Another biggie. I think Will would like me to promise to not take any more classes in 2008, but we'll see.

3. Knit a lot of firsts. First gloves, first socks, first adult sweater. Had a lot of fun doing it.

Coming up: Facorite 2007 knit, Time Machine Tuesday (idea courtesy of Alli), and where has my camera cable gone?!?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


While most of you probably started taking stock of 2007 and making plans for 2008, I wasn't planning much beyond which box to pack next. So, here's a list of my 2008 goals:

1. Write (and send) a query letter for my manuscript. I know I started in December, but I totally chickened out.

2. Knit enough socks to keep my family sock self-sufficient. Four of us, with 10 pairs... that's almost enough to complete the 52 pair plunge. And, before you ask, I'm already behind.

3. Keep better track of the cute things that the kids are doing. I can hardly believe Brenna's already almost 3 and there's so many cute things that they both do.

4. Knit from stash yarn. For those of you non-knitting types, this means that I have boxes of yarn taking up valuable square footage and yet still feel the need to buy more. Part of me thinks that this is silly and I should use up at least a box worth before I buy any more. Another part of my cries when I think that.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Philly, part deux

It looks like we might be a little light on knitting content for a few days (weeks?). Knitting is going forward, but other things are taking center stage.

As my last (rather brief) post said, we've arrived in Philly. We're in temporary housing which is both fun and frustrating. It's a little like camping, but with all your stuff in the basement. And a roof. And a bed. Okay, so it's very little like camping, except for the dirt and the heat that goes in and out.

Much of the stuff is staying packed in the basement until we find a permanent place, which is leaving odd holes in our lives. For instance, our camera is unpacked, but none of its accessories. The power cord and transfer cable are MIA, rendering the camera mostly useless. But Brenna's got her ponies and her crayons, so life is mostly acceptable.

More to come in the next few posts: searching for a place, settling in, and my moving sweater.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Here in Philly

Just wanted to let everyone know that we've all arrived safely in Philly. The plane ride with a baby and a toddler was... interesting and now we're working on unpacking everything. The knitting is, of course mostly unpacked and more updates will come.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Boxing Day Hat

I knit this hat in one day - boxing day, while playing with the kids and hanging out with relatives. For the record shortest knit, it's also getting some of the most wear, because Little Dude wears it every time we leave the house.

The pattern is improvised. It includes spiral 6x increases, fair isle band and short-row ear flaps. Seed stitch band, but no tassels, because I didn't want him choking on them.

Baby Bastille

And now for an FO...

I finished this in December, but things were too crazy to post the details. It's Leigh Radford's Cafe Bastille Cable sweater, modified to fit a 6 month old. I loved this sweater, but my husband deemed it 'too intricate' for him. But, the little dude hasn't had time to get picky about his clothes (yet).

I switched the cable to a one stitch cable in all places, did a one stitch twisted cable on either side and filled in the rest with seed stitch. I bound off the front and back, then knit on a shoulder strap. The sleeves are a little shorter than normal, because he gets frustrated (read: screams) when he can't use his new found hands.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Little did I know, when I first moved to the Front Range, that it was home to some fabulous fiber resources. Then, I was on knitting-hiatus, thanks to lack of funds and two wool-crazed kitties. That, of course has changed. Now that we're moving, I'm totaling up the things that I'm going to miss about the area. As far as knitting goes, it's this place, where (most) of the people are completely friendly, their pattern selection is *enormous*, their spinning fiber is beautiful and soft, and my daughter learned how to appropriately 'pet' yarn instead of pull and squeeze (she's 2, and it was a big step). There, Maggie Casey taught me how to use a drop spindle on a busy saturday afternoon and I can find the perfect buttons for just about anything. In fact, every saturday that I'm in there, it's crazy-busy and most of the people have a smile and ready laugh. It's just that kind of place. The reason that we're only in there on Saturdays, is that it's an hour drive from my house. But it's worth it.

We made the trek again this weekend. All this packing is making me reassess the true extent of my stash, so I didn't come away with any yarn. What I did come away with was this (I couldn't find a better, non-ravelry link). How did I not have this before? I read it in the car on the way out, and my husband couldn't restrain his laughter after the fourth time I said "I've been wanting to knit a sweater exactly like this! I didn't know this pattern existed!". So, my queue is longer and my library is much enhanced. And, I will miss Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins.

Until we come back to visit, that is :)