Friday, December 29, 2006

I'm so behind

in blogging. But what's new?

Had a splendiferous Christmas. All the holiday knitting was done and wrapped BEFORE Christmas Eve Eve! But no pics. Crappy broken camera. But the looks on their faces is seared in my memory. Happy day. Who got what? Let a list suffice:

Dear Sister, Holly, got the Lotus Blossom Tank (pics are floating around here somewhere, when I finished it earlier this summer)

Mom got the second pair of socks, first pair of jaywalkers, and first pair using Schaeffer Yarns. No pics. Not a fan of jaywalkers (but a huge fan of Grumerpina)

which reminds me . . .

Granddad got the sharkif from Grumperina's site, knit in the lovely burnt orange merino wool that made up so many of the first posts on the blog. It only went through five different garments and rips before becoming that scarf, but Granddad seemed to love it.

DH got a funky wool hat. He won my heart today when he said, "I love that hat. Did I tell you I saw one almost exactly like it in Banana Republic?" The design came from my head. Really. Seriously. No friggin hyperbole here. It really did. I'm glowing.

MawMaw got a beautiful scarf made from cashermino in lavendar (DD's choice). It was a short scarf using a lacy design so as to prevent MawMaw from overheating. She loves it and had it prominently displayed on her lounge chair when I showed up unannounced. More glowing to rival Rudolph.

I've had some more FOs but not Christmas gifts: a fun wool hat for DD with a HUMONGOUS pompom on top (my first, also made up from my head).

I've CO for some socks for DH, but using the 2 mm Addis, 16" circs (2) is killing my hands. The Addis are stunning as always, but 2 mm? And I have 1 mm in the stash that I haven't used. I can barely spot them when they're laying on the table in plain view they're so small, much less knit with them.

I got two books: Nancy Bush's knitting vintage socks book (I'm too lazy to get up and get the actual title - it's the one in which she translates patterns from We.... the magazine from the turn of the century. That one. You know.) So far I like it, though she turned a lot of the children's socks into adult socks, and I like them as children's socks. Oh well. I'll knit them for me (You know, I've yet to knit a pair of socks for me.)

The second book is One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant (it's sitting right under my nose, so I can stay lazy but still get the title right). It's good, but it's put me in a funk.

A funk. I hate knitting funks.

Yarn, yarn, and more yarn. Needles in multiple sizes, multiple needles in the same size. Books galore. You'd think a girl would be happy. But am I happy? Do I have a good project on the needles? WEllll.....

I got the one skein book to help empty my stash of, well, one skeins. Leftovers from other projects. I usually buy one extra skein to help me fix all the fuck-ups, but it does leave a lot of yarn leftover. And I can't bring myself to throw it away.

But now I can't seem to match the yarn I have with a pattern I want to knit and that calls for the yarn that I have. Those are three things that are hard to match:

1. My interest in a pattern
2. The yarn I have on hand
3. The pattern that will match the yarn I have

Somehow, in most cases I have two out of three but not all three. And two out of three a project doesn't make. Take the baby sweater I started to knit: with the yarn I had on hand, I swear it looked to fit a refrigerator, so I stopped. I kept flipping through the book, mentally conjuring the yarn in my stash, and just plopping the book down in frustration.

I'm not sure I'm a sock knitter, either. I love socks. I look at them adoringly. Longingly. But I'm not sure I have the mental and physical fortitude to knit them. We shall see if I make it through DH's socks. I've promised him some for months, so I must, I must, I must increase my b... Well, yes, I do need to increase that. But I must finish those socks for DH.

Well, at this point I'm spending more time correcting the mistakes in this blog than I am typing. But I couldn't let the year pass - my first year blogging - without one last post.

Cheers for a New Year! Happy Knitting.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A bit messed up

This is going to sound a bit messed up, but thanks to DD being home sick today*, I now have an FO! I finished her achingly simple knit hat in about 24 hours (about 4-5 hours of knitting - I'm a slow knitter).

Gory (boring) details:
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash in dark purple (DD's favorite color)
Needles: 2 circ 4.0 mm
Gauge: 6 st/in
Pattern: my own - a simple 2x2 rib for 2" and then rounds of St st, to the crown, using YH's decreases to create a very pretty spiral top.

It remains to be seen whether DD will actually wear it. She doesn't wear much of what I knit her (admittedly it's not too much). She's worn her poncho about a dozen times total (took me 2-ish weeks of daily train knitting to finish it), a hat (shrunk when I stupidly washed it), a scarf (she wore it last year; we probably just need to dig it out), and a pinafore (she's worn it twice).

Here's a question for you, speaking of the pinafore -

I used Cascade 220 Superwash because, well, it's washable. There's no way I intend to handwash knits for a toddler. The yarn seems to hold up reasonably well (it's a little fuzzy but it hasn't shrunk), but every time I wash it, buttons fall off, the ends of my yarn pop out, etc. I even washed it in a garment bag to prevent too much pulling of it, but it still didn't hold up well. I thought I knew how to weave in the ends (I even have a book of knitting finishing techniques that I follow), but they pop out. Darn it. What gives? Do I have to suck it up and hand wash the thing? Ack!

* OK, actually she really wasn't that sick. She definitely had something, and I don't mind her being home. But she's headed to daycare tomorrow. She complained of a stomach ache, but no fever, no vomiting, no diarrhea. In fact, by the time DH got home, she was bouncing off the walls happy to have a playmate other than knitting momma.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A relief to be back!

Ah, it's a relief to be back in the blogosphere, and to normal life in general. We spent a truly enjoyable 9 days with the ILs over TG, and then we sprinted to Fl for my grandfather's funeral. These things are never expected, never welcome, and never fun, but it was good to see friends and family that I haven't seen in close to 5 years or so.

I didn't get any knitting done during the Fl trip, but I did finish the modified Sharkif over TG. I CO for the second jaywalker (a companion to the first, and a gift for my mom). The jaywalker is slow going as we're settling back in at home, getting back into work, and resuming normalcy. It all takes time to get the big machine of the daily grind up and running.

We're also in our first real cold snap of the season, and DD has NO HAT! I'm So frustrated that I can't find a simple hat pattern for a 2 year old. I tried to design a hat for her - a simple knit hat in the round with stockinette. Not rocket science, I'm telling you. No fancy stitches, no patterning. Just a simple, every day, WARM knit hat.

My gauge is 6 st/in on 4mm using Cascade 220 superwash, and DD's head measures about 18". Simple math, right? That works out to about 108 st. So, I did a simple picot CO to 108 st and started knitting in St st in the round. I didn't like the CO, and when I took the first 3 rows or so off the needles, the thing was HUGE! I don't know if it's because a) my gauge is off, b) the hat didn't have enough rows to make it draw in, or c) I'm an idiot. (PS - or maybe the picot CO makes the hat less stretchy and bigger.) I'm thinking about trying it again with a regular CO, simple rib for the brim, and then straight St st for the head and crown. Using YH's hat decrease method (from a post months ago that I traced back recently), I'll finish it.

The girl needs those ears covered and head warm, so I gotta jump on this one fast. I hope to have it finished by Friday, just in time for weekend fun. We shall see!

In the meantime, if anyone has suggestions, bring 'em on! I could use all the help I can get.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Thanks Amy!

I know this is a non-knitty issue, but it's directly related to my knitting time and energy, so I'm posting about it.

Amy is right: I need to change my definition of exercise and health. So so so right. I eschewed advice from others, but I took her words to heart. All I need are some comfortable clothes (which I have), decent shoes (which I have), and somewhere to walk (which I have). Doesn't take much more than that.

We're leaving to visit the ILs, and I packed my exercise clothes. And DD's stroller. Out we go! It's time to enjoy the crisp South Carolina air. Since this is a quasi-vacation (part work, mostly vacation), and I'll be surrounded by helpers with DD, I'll have the time and mental space to exercise. It will be nice. I'm really looking forward to it.

As for knitty issues:
My version of Grumperina's Sharkif isn't that much different than hers. As it turns out, moving the middle cable four rows down from the end cables isn't that noticable. In fact, I know I'm doing it and can't really tell. What it does do, however, is avoid super long stretches (9 rows - OK, it's not that long but long enough) of plain-er stitches. Cabling is fun, so doing the middle cable on rows 3 and 7 just mix it up a bit more and keep it interesting.

FIL's scarf is going well. I think I have about 6" (of 60"). My goal is to give it to him before we leave from our visit with them.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My first planned modification

NOTE: All credit goes to Grumperina for this pattern! I am using her Sharkif pattern and modifying it to suit my interests, but she deserves all the credit for this stunning pattern.

Here is my first graphed and planned modification. I like the Sharkif, but I wanted to see what it would look like with the middle cable twist staggered with the border cables. I haven't swatched this yet, so I might abandon it, but I wanted to give it a go.

Here's my first ever knitting graph. I used excel to create this - very easy!

First: I think the needles are too big, so I'm going to go down to 5.0 mm. The fabric is very loose and I don't think it will hold up well for a scarf or for a man's scarf.

Second: I dislike the k1, p1 (it's an effective and attractive pattern; I just hate knitting it), so I did the pattern for 5 st instead of 7.

Third: It's really not good to start a cable immediately following a CO row, so I moved the first cable row from R1 to R3 and moved the cables on R5 to R7.

We'll see how this works.

An FO!

An FO!

It only took me two weeks to make Grumperina's Sharkif (and only 4 weeks to learn how to pronounce it, and I still mess it up sometimes). I LOVE this scarf - I finished one for my grandfather and am starting another for my FIL. I think this pattern is so well suited for a large man (big and tall, not fat in these men's cases).

I finished the first one using Zara burnt orange merino on size 4.0 mm. The fabric came out a little stiffer than I like, so for this next one I'm using Zara chocolate brown merino on size 5.5 mm. I think I'll like the drape a lot better on the larger needles.

Finally the orange merino found a good home. Here is the list of things it tried to be:
* cardigan from YGG
* sweater for DD
* Tempting II from knitty
* (another sweater for me from knitty that I can't remember)

I thought the yarn was cursed even though it was the squishiest, softest yarn I've knitted with in a long time. It held its spring really well despite all the ripping and reknitting, and after a long soak overnight, it's now drying peacefully and looking just gorgeous.

All of the ends are woven in, and I just need to add fringe.

Two weeks, you might ask. TWO WEEKS? THAT LONG!?!

Well, keep in mind I work 50+ hours a week in a very full and consuming career (as opposed to a job that I leave behind at the end of the day), commute over 2 hours a day, have a child and a husband, and manage to knit. So, in all I'm pretty happy with how fast it went. I was able to memorize the repeats after about 2 of them, and I just used a row counter to keep track of what row pattern I was on.

On another note, I have given up exercising all together. This depresses me. Exercise helps me manage the natural depression I have (since before kindergarten, so there's no "curing" it). It helps me feel invigorated and fit. It helps me feel mentally and emotionally clear. I love sweating.

My friends and colleagues tell me to "just do it." As a one-time gym rat (for years), I know it. But the only options I have are to get up before 5 AM. I know that the advice people give is well-intentioned, but I have talked with DH on end about this, and schedule-wise it's just impossible. I used to get up before 5 to hit the gym, but since having DD, it's been harder and harder, and when I do make it to the gym, all i can think about is stopping so I can feel better. My WOs suck at 5 AM.

Another part of me is OK with this change. It doesn't feel long-term to me. I lost about 40 lbs around 5 years ago now, and I've stuck with healthy eating and exercising for a long time. Right now life is pinched, and something has to give. As important as it is, sleep is more important to me. I can function without exercise. I cannot function without sleep. I've known some rare breeds of people who can EXCEL - not just function but EXCEL! - on less than 5 hrs sleep every day. I'm not one of those. I need a full 8 hours if I can get it, 7 at least.

So, after DD is potty trained and starts to be a little more self-supportive, I have a strong sense I'll have some space to start up again. For now, it just feels overwhelming.

But I still miss it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A meme

I'm not so up on the memes. I like reading them but don't post them all that often. But I like this one. I'm a no-bones-about-it kinda person, though I can be long winded. (As I explained to my boss in my 3-mo review yesterday, if you knew the unfiltered thoughts in my head, you'd fire me. Or disown me. Or hate me. Or generally avoid me at all costs. So, I'm long-winded in an attempt to stall long enough to find diplomatic words to express the rather nasty thoughts in my head without actually sounding so nasty.) But really, I'm actually quite short and snippy.

That was long. Longer than it needed to be.

Anyhoo, thanks to Rabbitch for this one.

Use only one word to answer each item:

1. Yourself: bitchy
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse): academic
3. Your hair: blah
4. Your mother: eager
5. Your Father: distant
6. Your Favorite Item: yarn
7. Your dream last night: zilch
8. Your Favorite drink: alcoholic
9. Your Dream Car: indifferent
10. The room you are in: multipurpose
11. Your Ex: forgotten
12. Your fear: inadequacy
13. What you want to be in 10 years? impervious
14. Who you hung out with last night? hubby
15. What You're Not? comfortable
16. Muffins: banana
17. One of Your Wish List Items: relaxation
18. Time: elusive
19. The Last Thing You Did: read
20. What You Are Wearing: jeans
21. Your Favorite Weather: crisp
22. Your Favorite Book: sudoku
23. The Last Thing You Ate: yogurt
24. Your Life: intolerable
25. Your Mood: sullen
26. Your best friend: missing
27. What are you thinking about right now? work
28. Your car: aging
29. What are you doing at the moment? working
30. Your summer: fleeting
31. Your relationship status: comfortable
32. What is on your TV? nothing
33. What is the weather like? damp
34. When is the last time you laughed? dunno

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Calling for HELP!

I'm in search of good sock pattern books. Any suggestions? I'm hitting the knitting blogs I love to read for ideas, but I've only found a few.

I really like Potomus (SP?) but am also really dying to do more cables (has anyone ever said that??) now that I learned Grumperina's trick. I have Knitting Soars on Two Circular Needles, and I like the few patterns she has in there, but I'd love something with a nice pattern. I keep admiring Grumperina's socks - I just need to take the time to dig through her blog posts and find the sources of her patterns (knowing, of course, that she often changes the patterns to get them to her liking, and I won't have those notes).

So, please let me know of your suggestions!!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Dear Escalator Man

To the dick on the escalator this morning who - when I asked him to move so I could walk up the escalator - responded, "Use the stairs" and refused to let me by ...

Since when did getting on an escalator paralyze you? Are you a cripple?

That's OK, dear cripple. I understand taking your aggressive frustrations out on strangers. It's better than keeping that anger pent up and taking it out on your wife or your kid. And please don't kick the dog, either.


So did I say this to Cripple Escalator Man? No - I would have, but what stopped me was my employer. Yup, the job. Every potential person out there is a client or coworker or funder or on the board. So I'm just as passive aggressive in posting this message here instead of letting these words leave my lips and enter his ears.

This incident really makes me so perplexed. In DC - our lovely (and I'm sincere in using that word) capitol - people stand on the right and walk on the left. It's lovely. It's systematic. It's expected. It works!

In NYC, a place with a ba-zillion people, there are no escalator rules. Why? Of any place, NYC needs it the most! How many people are on escalators at any one time? A LOT! Some simple rules, some simple etiquette, would make the whole thing work so well. And not only that, but you'd be able to pick out the tourists from the natives. OK, it's pretty easy to do that already, but there are some cases. In DC, I could always tell the tourists because they didn't know the rules of living and functioning in an urban place.

OK, now I have to work. Good thing I didn't have my knitting needles with me, or I might have stabbed him (that's a joke, internet police).

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'm tired . . .

I'm tired. Really tired.

Not sick and tired. It's not a rant. I'm just tired.

Been working to help the rug-rats that Amy writes about (sorry, I'm too tired for links tonight - look in the right hand list and you'll find her last but not least), though in a completely different part of the country (and no, I'm not a teacher, but I help teach the teachers).

Anyhoo, here's some knitty updates -

- is it sacrilege to say I don't like the jaywalker pattern? I LOVE Grumperina's site (again, too tired to link to it), and I'm even knitting Sharkif, but I don't think I'm a big fan of the jaywalker.

- which brings me to another point - I AM a big fan of CABLES thanks to Grumperina. I LOVE her no-CN method for doing cables, and I'm a convert. Gimme more!

- Sharkif is going well, but I'm using a yarn that I've frogged about 5 times. First it was a cardigan that I ripped because the pattern was wrong and when I wrote the authors they were so goddamned pissy about it I said fuck it and ripped the thing out (and also refuse to go back to their yarn store). Second it was ... ah cripes, I don't care what it was. Point is, it is no longer, so why do I want to remember what it isn't? It's TIRED yarn, too. It's merino and lusciously springy, but I'm just not happy with the fabric on the size 4.00 mm needles I'm using. It's stiff. But, the days to Christmas are fast approaching, and there's no turning back. Granddad is getting that scarf with THAT YARN!

- DD's beautiful intarsia sweater is sitting waiting for the sleeves to be knit. I think I dislike intarsia - I'm not a German knitter like Julie at Samurai (yeah, in the list), and I am slow. Plodding. Putz-ing around knitter. So, it sits.

And I'm working. Like not the hours the day-traders work or the wall-street types who live a block from me in the big fancy houses and buy their children silver teething rings from Tiffany's (it's true - go look on their gawd-awfully designed website) but long hours for me. Long hours for a non-profit. I get paid well, I think, especially for a non-profit. But LOOOOOONNNGGGGGG hours.

And I'm working from home a lot more now, too, which means work gets even longer hours from me (no commute and no getting-ready time to eat into my work day) and I have no knitting time (no more 2 hour train commute). And when I do take the train into the office? I work. ;(

At least I *like* my work. And I like the people I work with. That's a blessing.

But I'm still tired. So good night. ;)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Words of encouragement

I got the socks when I got home last night and I LOVE THEM!! You did a phenomenal job!! The pattern is great. They fit perfectly--snug, but not tight. I love the pattern. It was neat how the lighter colors formed stripes. I can see how it must have been fun to knit them, watching as the color striations emerge!

Thank you for making me your guinea pig!!

This is why I knit for other people. What a nice email note from my dear friend for whom I knit socks. The first pair I ever knit. I hope my mom and family like the socks I make them.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Long Overdue Introduction

to the first knit adult garment that I like. I present the Lotus Blossom Tank. I started this tank this summer using Debbie Bliss Cathay. It's from Interweave Knits mag, summer 2006 edition. I really enjoyed this knit, though I didn't particularly enjoy the finishing (does anyone?). I wouldn't use the yarn again - I don't think I'm a huge fan of cotton for wearing (it doesn't have any stretch except to stretch OUT), and the yarn is splitty! It was difficult to weave in the ends, and I had to split the yarn into three different strands, thread onto a sewing needle, and get that sucker bound in the middle of other strands of yarn to hold it all in place.

In any case, I'm happy with the results, and I hope my sister likes it. She has much more of a figure than I do, so I think it will look much better on her. I just hope it's not too short as a result of her larger bust. It hits me at about the belly button now, and I have the great plains of the midwest for boobs. Any boobage at all will make that sucker rise up, so I hope it's OK.

In any case, here it is. I'd love to learn how to incorporate the lace pattern into a flat piece - it's knit in the round and probably just takes a little studying to translate it. I like it overall. My first knit adult garment that I actually like!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

First Jaywalker Update

Work is screaming busy. I made some progress on my first pair of jaywalkers this weekend, but I've had to put them down for a few days.

I'm through the gussett, but I'm going to rip and reknit, as it took me awhile to figure out how to keep the pattern where the top and bottom meet (I can't remember the technical terms at the moment, and my boss is supposed to call me in about 30 seconds for a conference call).

Anyway, I just got the Lotus Blossom tank back from the cleaners, so pics of it to come before wrapping it for my sister.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

48 Useless Things

48 Things You Could Care Less About


2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Rae is my middle name, named for my beloved MawMaw (Marcella Rae), the very one who taught me to knit (backwards purling, I might add, which took me over 20 years to discover)

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Hm, I can't remember. I cried last weekend while watching a movie. Horrible, gut-wrenching, awful ending. Not a "wow that's so dreamy" weepy but a "holy shit how can we live life when things like this happen" sobb.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Used to. It's really horrible now. I type much cleaner and faster than a write. The doctor's signature that's a single line? Mine. No, I'm not a doctor, but that's my signature.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Bacon. Not a lunchmeat, you say? In my book it is.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Maybe. I'm grouchy and generally surly. I don't know how my husband and child stand me.

7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Used to have a wretched teenage journal in those days. Then I switched to a more fun daily log using a calendar book. Now it's the blog.



10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Barabara's ... um, what's the name? It's like UNfrosted mini shredded wheat but better.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Nope. And I rarely untie them to put them on.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Not anymore. I used to be, but now I'm a mom and have no muscle mass. Just fat mass.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Ice cream is only a so-so dessert for me. Maybe butter pecan since it's usually not light or lite or diet and now I always go for the diet stuff. Usually. Sometimes. Well, OK, rarely.

14. SHOE SIZE? A friggin 7.5, which means unless I get there first, my size is almost always GONE and only the really ugly shoes go on sale because they're all that's left.

5. RED OR PINK? Neither. Neither rock my boat.


17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Hm. My dear friend Tom who keeps disappearing. The last time he disappeared I tracked him down through the driver's license bureau. He was glad I found him (I'm not a stalker), but he was pissed they gave his info and has since had it blocked. Fucker. Now he's disappeared again so I have to call his ex wife to find him, and I'm pissed he disappeared and htinking of not trying to find him at all. But he's one of my dearest and oldest childhood friends, someone I trust implicitly.


19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? I'm pantless. Brown skirt (we're having a bit of warm weather now), white T, sandals.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? A really yummy turkey sandwich on whole wheat with vegan mayonaise (it's really good on bread; can't tell it's different from the real stuff), lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Delicious.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? "It's a Gas" by The Wedding Present from Watusi (it's old 80s/early 90s stuff)

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? army green. I don't like fatigues per se, but I like army green

23. FAVORITE SMELL? bread dough



26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? Yup. Even met her in person!

27. FAVORITE DRINK? That's a hard one. Water when I'm thirsty. Diet Coke when I'm craving sweets. Coffee first thing in the morning. Any myriad of alcoholic drinks at 5:30 PM.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? Hm, dunno. I like tennis. I like baseball. But I don't follow anything to speak of.

29. EYE COLOR? Hazel

30. HAT SIZE? Normal? Is there a normal? I make hats for myself and just guess at the size, and most of the time they come out. Smallish to normal, I guess.

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Yup. For 13 years now.

32. FAVORITE FOOD? That's hard. I love food. Cheese, maybe. Can't live without yogurt everyday. Eggs. LUV eggs. Bacon. Sausage (the pattie kind).

33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Scary. I hate happy ending movies. hate hate hate them and only withstand them during the holidays when I'm stuck with the 'rents and have to find something to entertain and please the crowd. But overall, happy ending movies just don't do it for me.

35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer. I grew up in central Florida without airconditioning for awhile. Love summer. Love it love it love it.

36. HUGS OR KISSES? Love hugs. Kisses, yes, for certain folks. But hugs definitely.

37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Dark chocolate, usually.

38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Probably very few, if any.


40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? How to knit a sock on two circular needles. Seriously.

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? Don't use a mouse pad.

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Didn't watch TV last night. I'm way out of it right now. Can't seem to find anything I like, and the HGTV, Food Network, and TLC shows mostly seem like National Enquirer quality TV and I'm over it.

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? Silence. I absolutely love pure silence.

44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES? Oh my god, fucking neither.


46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? Being a grumpus. Just ask DH. I'm really really good at that.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Isn't that a security question now a-days? Florida

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Ripped from Cara

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Official First Sock FO

It's official. Here they are.

FO Date: October 2006
Pattern: Simple Socks from Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles by Cat Bordhi
Modifications: None
Yarn: (I think it's in German) Fortissima in Disco, 71% superwash, 26% polyamide, 3% polyester (My friend picked the yarn for color. I'm not a super fan of its feel - I can't wait to try a softer yarn. Maybe after washing this yarn will soften.)
Comments: For a first sock, this was a great pattern. I'm not a fan of ribbing, and there's obviously a lot of it (and I recognize its importance in socks). The pattern was easy to follow, except I'm a little unhappy that I had to consult other books in order to learn how to finish the toe. It was simple enough to do once I found it, I don't know why the author couldn't include it in the book.
Modifications I'd make if I knit it again: None really. I don't think I'll make this sock again. I'm interested in trying more challenging patterns.


I'm making slow progress on my mom's jacket. You know, the one Kate Gilbert designed in Interweave Knits mag. I had to use a substitute yarn because my LYS didn't carry the designated yarn and - at the time - I hadn't ordered from the web and was leary (leery?) of it.

Well, I've knit maybe 5" of the back and I'm just not liking the yarn. It's Ritratto S. Charles: 28% Mohair, 53% Viscose (Rayon?), 10% Polyamid, and 9% Polyester (in fact the picture is the exact color I'm using). I really dislike it. I really dislike Mohair, but this is for my mom, right, not me. So I thought this yarn would work. It's generally the color mom wants, and it's the weight the pattern calls for.

But I'm not liking the stitches, fabric, and general shape and feel of the knitted yarn. It's fuzzy, uneven, and doesn't hold shape well. When I look at the picture of the jacket, it looks like a very nice fabric - not stiff but certainly holding its shape and laying nicely.

So last night I looked up the yarn on the web to see if I could order it. Come to find out, it's 100% silk - Fiesta La Luz. I couldn't find the exact color i wanted, but I started to get close. Until I looked at the price.

$28.00/skein. 5-6 skeins needed. That's roughly $150-$180 for the jacket.

I love my mom. The cost has nothing to do with her. But, I'm not that good of a knitter.

Repeat: I'm just not that good of a knitter to shell out that kind of money for yarn that *I* will turn into a mediocre garment.

So, I think I'll make mom some nice socks using STR! I've been on a big sock kick. Mom wears a lot of socks during the winter. I can buy a nice jacket for her and still have money for the socks.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

No groove, but making progress

With working at home, the new job, etc, I'm still working to find a groove. I'm not there yet, but I'm getting closer.

Workouts are spotty, but I'm getting them in slowly. Yesterday was a 30' jog. Today was 75' step. Nice.

Knitting is going well, too. I completely finished my sister's Christmas present (finished the second armhole of the Lotus Blossom tank) and it's off to the cleaners for a good wash and press. Finished the front and back of DD's baby sweater, and now I have the arms. I'm worried I won't have enough yarn, but it's a sweater for a 2 YO, so hopefully I will have enough (esp if I mix in some other colors, which I'm thinking about doing).

I finished my first pair of socks, too! Pics to come (I say that every time - I'm a liar). Actually, I will take pics since these are my first socks. I CO for *my* socks (jaywalkers), but I'm thinking of CO for my grandfather's Christmas pair.

OH! And I finally started my mom's sweater. It's the bolero-type jacket designed by Kate Gilbert in one of my fall knitting mags (Interweave Knits). My mom picked it out, and I like Kate's designs and blog, so I was happy with it. I'm not super happy with the yarn, but I think my mom will like it, so that's what matters.

OK, onward. Gotta get pics someday, but now to return to work.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Well whadd'ya know

I finally worked out.

Holy moly, it's a miracle.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Am I really **cking up?

I finished MawMaw's scarf tonight, and it looks lovely! It's a little short for a scarf, but she doesn't want to wrap it around her neck but rather drape it over her shoulders, so I wanted to make it a little shorter.

As a reward, I am knitting my swatch for MY jaywalkers. I'll get done the other gifts (sure, I'm sure, I promise). BUT, am I totally messing up -

The ONLY way I've chosen yarn is by the color. I ask for "sock yarn" and then make a pick.

Is this bad? Will I get totally horrible socks? Here's my current pick, which I really like:

Schaefer Yarn Anne
(shamelessly ripped from - check it out)
60% Merino Wool superwash, 25% mohair, 15% nylon
4oz/560 yds
Gauge: 7-8 St/In (on what size needles????????)

Anyone know??

Somehow I think that I'm not totally messing up, but I clearly know jack about anything. I just pick and go - pattern, yarn. No matching.

Samurai Knitter asked if a group wanted to do a KAL from start to finish. I should join because I need to learn this stuff, but I really don't wanna. She did convince me in her recent Knitty article to swatch, so that's an accomplishment for her. But I'm not sure how much I really want to labor over a pattern. I may just enjoy knitting scarves if other garments require a lot of calculations (I'm good at math, I'm just impatient).

I suspect I'm in the same boat as about 80% of the other knitters out there.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

... and

I need to start friggin exercising.


Need Advice

I'm sure to be overwhelmed by the response to this post (I've not seen anyone beat the number of comments YH gets), but I have to ask -

To knit for the family, or to knit for myself?

Somehow I suspect a lot of folks will say to knit for myself. With the holidays coming, though, I have a long list of in-queue items to knit up for people. Then again, I always have a longer list of in-queue items than in-progress or FOs. Lately I've knit a whole bunch of stuff for others (non-relatives included), and I'm itching to knit myself some jaywalkers with some drop-dead gorgeous hand-dyed yarn that I picked up on sale.

Here's my Christmas list, just so you can see, in relative priority order -

finish Mawmaw's scarf (another week or so)
finish my dear friend's sock (the companion to the first one I knit)
finish my sister's Lotus Blossom Tank (one sleeve edge to go)
finish DD's pinafore (sew the buttons on, knit the tabs and sew on)
finish DD's intarsia sweater (finish front, knit both sleeves, piece together)

socks for Granddad
socks for mom's husband (who I love dearly)
socks for DH (??)
socks for FIL (??)
socks for MYSELF????

Even though it's October 3, I don't think I can get all of that done before Christmas.

On top of that, I'm starting to covet my grandmother's scarf that I'm knitting for her. The Debbie Bliss Cashmerino is so soft, so lovely, so plush and squisy compared with last year's mohair scarf (I think I really hate mohair) that I want it for myself. But she requested this scarf, and DD picked out the color yarn, and it's for her after all, so I'll have to knit myself one.

And DH would love another winter hat.
And I'd love to knit ...


Mom asked for a jacket in one of the knitting mags I have.
Double friggin cripes.
If I worked on that alone it'd take me to Christmas.
And I really do want to knit it for her - I'd love to give it to her!!

Why do I have to love folks so much???

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

One Sock Down, Nine More To Go

I'm such a slacker picture poster. I did avow myself of feeling guilty for non-picture posts in the desire to simply post more regularly, to not allow a pic-less post stop me from posting about progress. It's P-R-O-G-R-E-S-S after all, something I'm regularly short of.

ONE SOCK DOWN! I figured out how to graft the toe, and I HATE it. I hate how it looks. I even did the switch-the-end-stitches-to-avoid-donkey-ears move, and I still hate how square (triangular) the toe line looks. DH noticed it.

On my foot, though, it looks fine. I think.

I also don't quite know how to weave in the ends. On other knitting I have no problem, but for some reason I wasn't sure how to do it along the top of the sock. It's wool yarn, so hopefully the end will snuggle its way into the other stitches. I did the best I could and that's that.

So in the meantime of finishing this sock, I invested in 4 more pairs of addi turbo circs (two each of size 1 and size 0 in varying lengths). I also splurged on FOUR more skeins of yarn. I swatched some beautiful hand-dyed yarn tonight for the jaywalkers, and I'll have to wait for my 1 or 0 size needles to be delivered before CO.

As for the trip, I made it through security with no problem. They were more interested in my chapstick than my knitting. I finished the sock on the drive to the airport, so I didn't have to worry about taking multiple projects through security (or metal needles). I carried my MawMaw's scarf with me and packed DD's intarsia sweater in the checked luggage.

The trip was great, but I was BEAT afterwards. I knit about 3 rows before falling asleep on the trip back. So, no progress on DD's sweater, and minimal progress on MawMaw's scarf. But the sock is done.

Yay me.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Sock Success

This is an admittedly crappy picture of my first sock, but the cell phone was all I had at the time. Here's my first-ever sock in all its glory. I can't believe how quickly it knits up - I'm actually much further along this morning than I was yesterday morning when I snapped this pic.

I placed an order at Blue Moon Fiber Arts for two more addi turbo circs (US size 1 in 16" and 20") and two skeins of luuvvvly sock yarn. I can't wait. I like this yarn I'm currently using, but it's pretty scratchy and the color isn't me (the recipient picked it out). I want to knit something in a softer color with softer yarn next time around, so we'll see how the Blue Moon Fiber works out.

We're travelling from Philly to Detroit to Evansville, IN on Friday, and I'm really curious about taking my knitting with me. It's such a long flight plan (6 hours) and I can rock on some knitting in that time. But I'm not sure which project to take with me for a number of reasons -
* will TSA allow metal needles?
* will one project last me? All of my projects are pretty far along, and it'll kill me to sit idle because I finished a project early and didn't have another
* that said, will TSA let me bring multiple projects using multiple needles, some metal, some bamboo? The sock alone uses two circs, and my other projects use one circ. If I took all of hte projects with me, I'd be armed with 4 circs, or 8 needles. That's enough to maim the people in my row, no doubt, so TSA might not look so kindly on it.

Then again, the only time a knitter really gets angry enough to maim a person is if the person gets in the way of knitting. Then again, I am 84% evil, so there might just be other circumstances. BWAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA

Monday, September 25, 2006


Thanks to Yarn Harlot and Rabbitch for this.

You Are 84% Evil

You're the most evil person you know.

The devil is even a little scared of you!

Wow. Am I somehow even more evil for finding that oddly complimentary?? I am wussy most of the time, except in my head.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Giddy Girl

I feel like a silly giddy girl. I had a glorious 3 days and 2 nights away from the fam on a business/fun trip, and made tremendous knitting progress and new discoveries!

MawMaw's scarf
Lavender Debbie Bliss cashmirino using a norwegian fir lace st
I'm halfway finished with the scarf after contemplating ripping and restarting. There's something about the scarf that doesn't match my expectations. I don't know what it is, but here are some clues: the lavender looks more smokey gray against certain colors. The scarf itself is a little more narrow than I wanted. The stitch is now boring, with only 3 rows that have much interest to them (and not that much interest, after all). No matter, I promised this scarf to MawMaw, am halfway finished, and want to get going on it. Finish line, here I come.

DD's Strawberry Intarsia Sweater
Purple, pink, and green Superwash 220
Zoe Mellor's Adorable Knits for Tots
"Strawberries and Cream" sweater
I like this sweater a lot, but I think I'm not a big fan of intarsia. I was on a big kick several months ago and assembled a whole stack of patterns to follow, but I never started any. This seemed relatively easy and quick on a larger-pattern scale (larger than the flower pocket on Anouk). As quick as it is, it's just not grabbing me. I'm through the back and front intarsia parts, and it was grueling to get through the front. I have the two sleeves, and then I'm done. I'm excited about having a sweater for DD (in purple, her favorite color), but I probably won't do intarsia again for awhile.

Those are the two projects I have going and took with me on the train, but the real giddy part - the part that makes me feel like I'm in third grade - is that I took the sock plunge! As a thank you to a dear friend for putting me up during my visit, I offered to make her a pair of socks - my first pair. This is also the gal who got my first quilt with triangles, which had the tips cut off because I measured wrong. So, with due warning, she gracefully accepted, chose her yarn (and suffered through my browsing at the Bethesda LYS), and is waiting patiently for her package.

I've avoided socks for a long time because they struck me as really boring. And you have to do a second one, and I couldn't imagine tedious knitting, interminable stitches, microscopic needles. Slowly, as I've gotten into lace knitting and different yarns, I've started to like the smaller needles. I've looked for lace patterns and sought different lace-weight yarns. Socks seem a natural next step, so I went for it.

So, enter
Simple Sock
Fortissima in disco-blu
Cat Bordhi Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles
Knit on 2 circ Addi Turbos size 2 in 16" and 24"
I picked up my first pair of Addi Turbos, and ONG, they're butta. Stunning. I can't imagine using anything else. I'll probably still use my skatel bamboo (addi) needles - I love the bamboo. But I adore the addi turbos.

I also love the sock knitting! I chose a simple first sock to knit. I've knit hats and other small things in the round on two circs before, and I really like two circs over clunky and awkward dpns. So knitting socks on 2 circs is natural and easy, and I esp like them when it comes to the heel (it's so easy to leave some of the st on one needle and work the other).

So that's one reason I feel like a giddy girl - silly, really. I'm finally a sock knitter, and I can't wait to try more yarns and more patterns.

The second reason I'm a giddy girl is because I met a fellow knitter and blogger - Cara from JanuaryOne!

The Saturday midday train from Washington, DC to New York was pretty empty, and I have to admit my grimmaced when she first sat down next to me. "Um, hello, there are lots of empty seats around here," I thought. Luckily my bitchiness stayed in my head because in a few seconds out comes her knitting and it clicked for me. Ah! Chatting politely, we quickly stumbled on our blog similarities and chatted the whole way back from Philly to NJ. What a fun, serendipitous occasion, especially moreso since I missed my first train and had to take the one I was on.

So, all is well on the knitting side. I'm still crazy busy with work, and it's still hard to juggle, but I'm enjoying all of it the same and moving on. Sadly (or not so sadly) my list of projects is now triple with the start of socks. Me, DH, DD, Mom, Mom's Husband, Sister, SIL, BIL, Uncle, Grandfather, Grandmother, MIL, FIL, on and on and on. ;)

The next pair of socks are jaywalkers for me. Cara's jaywalkers were so lovely, and the yarn so delicious, I have to have a pair for myself. Selfish. I'm allowed.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Losing my mind

Yesterday I completely forgot to post about another project I started -

A purple baby sweater for DD using a pattern from a baby knits book (name escapes me at the moment). I added a ruffle border (using the most simple pattern imaginable) and changed the colors from white/red/black to purple/pink/green. It has an instarsia strawberry pattern along the bottom border of the front, back, and sleeves, and it's my second try at intarsia and first larger-scale try at it (the first being the intarsia flowers on the pockets of the baby pinafore). Not sure I like it so much (I think my color changes are too tight because some of the st look stretched and the strawberry kind of bows out in the front as if it's a balloon).

Details to come later. I know this is a very vague post and I'm a bad knitting blogger by not giving specs. I get lost in the details!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tales of a Career Gal's Life

How do career-minded women do all the things they do?

I find that to be both a boring, tiresome question and an intriguing, perpetual question. I'm a white-collar, gainfully employed, passionate-about-my-career mom, wife, daughter, knitter. How in the world do the knitters out there find time to manage it all?

Believe it or not, I am still knitting, albeit at a much slower pace. With the new addition of a Blackberry, laptop, mega-powerful cell phone, and work-travel schedule, I knit far less on the train than I used to. I guess I should also add the ever-important I-like-my-new-job factor, and I-have-new-job-energy-syndrome factor. And, my-new-job-rates-at-the-top-of-the-scale-for-stress factor. Most of my coworkers work 10-14 hour days. And weekends. And they're not doctors.

So, I plan to keep my blog. I like to track my exercise on it - the public aspect of noting my workouts inspires me to keep doing them. I also like to read other knitting blogs. And I like to post about my knitting tales (and other tales). But I'll probably slow the posting pace (out of necessity - I don't have much of a choice), and I'll probably have far fewer pictures.

Such is life.

Here's a quick update:

Lotus Blossom Tank: after waffling back and forth about ripping it because I feel like I can't knit adult clothes for myself, I decided to finish the tank and give it to my sister. The knitting actually turned out quite well (even gauge, stitches, etc. Even the neckline is pretty!). It's just too big for my 34" AAA bust (aka flat chest, or the wide-open plains, as I joke with DH). I think my lovely 2-year old DD is now competing with me for a bigger cup size. I jest.

Back to the point - the lotus blossom tank is ALMOST FINISHED. I've even woven in the tails. BUT, I have one darned last job: pick up 96 st around each armhole, knit two rows, BO, finish. I have enough yarn for about 1 armhole, and I'm not sure the LYS has another skein from this dye lot (I bought the yarn last spring). So, I'm thinking maybe I'll pick up 96 st and BO immediately, but I don't know how that will look. I'll have to play with it.

DD's pinafore: 95% done. Ends woven in. I just have to make tabs, sew them on, and I'm done. Since it's a winter outfit, I have some time. Happy to report - she loves it, too.

MawMaw's Scarf: my MawMaw (who taught me to knit) has a lacy scarf I whipped together for her last year. Confession: I used yarn from my stash cleaning which I was sick of having around but couldn't bring myself to throw away. I really didn't like the way it knit up, but I plowed through using big needles and the thinnish yarn to make a light scarf for MM. She liked it, but the wide loops catch on everything and it's now an utter rag, but MM uses it in the evening to keep the chill off. She likes the lightweight yarn and not-shawl-wide size of the scarf to use as a simple drape.

So, I'm making her another one with Debbie Bliss cashmere in lavendar (DD's pick) using a Norweigan Fir lace stitch on size 3.75 needles. This is my train stitch, as I need quiet to keep count of the rows and stitches (even though it's a simple lace pattern). In any case, the yarn is lovely, the stitch varied enough to keep me interested but not too complicated to confuse me, and the pace somewhat slow but good. Since it's a train knit, it's really slow going. I usually only get 1-2 days of knitting in; the rest is work.

OK, off to work.

Friday, September 01, 2006


FO Date: October 2006
Pattern: Scarf of my design using lace pattern from one of my books
Modifications: None
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino
Comments: This was a relatively quick knit of a short scarf for my MawMaw. I really like the softness of the yarn, and despite all the recent turmoil about the yarn, I'd use it again. It's soft and springy and very nice.
Modifications I'd make if I knit it again: None really. it was a straight-forward lace knit, so I don't know if I'd do it again. I'd like to try something different.

The complete list:
  • Baby hat for friends
  • Hat for DH
  • Sharkif from Grumperina for Granddad
  • Modified Sharkif from Grumperina for me
  • Jaywalkers for mom
  • Lotus Blossom Tank from Interweave Knits summer 2006 magazine
  • Baby shoes to match the pinafore from Zoe Mellor's Adorable Knits for Tots
  • Scarf of my design using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino
  • Simple Socks by Cat Bordhi
  • TWO of each: Anouk (Pinafore) and Miss Dashwood baby hat
  • Linen Lace Handtowel for MIL (2 of 2) from Mason-Dixon
  • Baby Kimono (2) from Mason Dixon Knitting and baby hat from Yarn Harlot
  • Honeymoon Cami Companion
  • Honeymoon Cami from
  • Cap-sleeved pullover from Yarn Girl's Guide
  • Baby's hat
  • DD's poncho and matching medusa hat
  • DD's matching scarf
  • DH's striped hat

FO Date: October 2006
Pattern: Lotus Blossom Tank from Interweave Knits, Summer 2006
Modifications: None
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cathay
Comments: This was a fun knit. I really liked the lace pattern, but I hated the finishing. I had some trouble with the shortcuts in the instructions, but maybe a more experienced knitter wouldn't have any trouble. I didn't like the yarn and wouldn't use it again, but then I'm not a fan of cotton. This yarn was really splitty and hard to weave in the ends.
Modifications I'd make if I knit it again: None really.
FO Date: October 2006
Pattern: Simple Socks from Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles by Cat Bordhi
Modifications: None
Yarn: (I think it's in German) Fortissima in Disco, 71% superwash, 26% polyamide, 3% polyester (My friend picked the yarn for color. I'm not a super fan of its feel - I can't wait to try a softer yarn. Maybe after washing this yarn will soften.)
Comments: For a first sock, this was a great pattern. I'm not a fan of ribbing, and there's obviously a lot of it (and I recognize its importance in socks). The pattern was easy to follow, except I'm a little unhappy that I had to consult other books in order to learn how to finish the toe. It was simple enough to do once I found it, I don't know why the author couldn't include it in the book.
Modifications I'd make if I knit it again: None really. I don't think I'll make this sock again. I'm interested in trying more challenging patterns.
FO Date: October 2006
Pattern:Anouk Pinafore from Kate Gilbert
Modifications: I added a picot border along the bottom to match the picot border on the matching Miss Dashwood hat. I also changed the colors.
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Wool (I'm not handwashing anything for my two-year-old)
Comments: I love this pattern. Even the second time around it was fun.
Modifications I'd make if I knit it again: Picot border, but none other than that.
FO Date: August 2006
Pattern:A Hearthbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono in Mason-Dixon Knitting
Modifications: I extended the front flap to the side seam. It looked prettier to me than ending the flap mid-way on the side. I also added the YO border along the bottom, and I added a YO border along the neckline in the back.
Comments: I like this pattern, but the second time around just didn't do it for me. I got a little sloppy towards the end and didn't follow the directions all that well. As a result, the front flap extends way long. No matter, it's cute. I also love the cute elephant buttons! Adorable.
Modifications I'd make if I knit it again: Not sure. I'd keep the yarn over or find another border to do, as I think the plain St st and garter st are boring.
FO Date: August 2006
Pattern:Anouk and Miss Dashwood Baby Hat, both from
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Wool
Modfications: None
Comments: I love these patterns. I've already knit a hat for DD and am planning a pinafore for her as well. Both knit up so quickly - it was amazing. I had fun knitting both sides of the pinafore at the same time using circular needles and multiple balls of yarn. This was my first attempt at pockets, and after several starts, I'm really pleased with how they turned out, both in terms of the intarsia pattern but also how they are attached to the dress. I also love the buttons, which match the dress perfectly! I found them after I made the dress, so it was serendipity in pulling it all together. Perfect.
Modifications I'd make next time: On the pinafore I'd add a beautiful picot border along the CO edge. I want it to match the hat, but I also think it's a beautiful edge. It's inspired me to learn different edgings and COs.
FO Date:May 2006
Pattern:A Hearthbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono in Mason-Dixon Knitting
Modifications: I extended the front flap to the side seam. It looked prettier to me than ending the flap mid-way on the side. I also added the YO border along the bottom, and I added a YO border along the neckline in the back.
Comments:This is an amazingly simple knit and easy to modify. I'm knitting a second for cousin=in-law.
FO Date:April 2006
Pattern:Honeymoon Cami by Julia at Mind of Winter
Modifications: none
Yarn: 100% cotton
Comments:First, the pattern. I modified the Honeymoon Companion to shorten the waist and to add the seed stitch border along the neck/arms. It was a simple knit, esp after knitting the Honeymoon Cami. As with the HC, this pattern reverses the directions for decreases (the instructions for the left decrease actually make a right; it was a simple mistake as noted on Julia's blog). That was easy to fix. Overall, though, I'm only so-so satisfied with the fit and haven't worn the tank after taking the pic. Which brings me to the Second point, the yarn. I don't like this yarn. I don't have the specs (sorry), but it's 100% cotton much like cheap (albeit darn wonderful) peaches and cream yarn. It has no stretch, so after a mere few minutes, the tank stretches out and loses shape. Add to that iI don't have a great bod for showing it off and it's just dumpy. The color bleeds (my sweater screen is stained purple-ish), and it's faded (on purpose, but I still don't like it). it looks old to me, and I've only worn it once. I do like that I can throw it in the washer, but I'm not sure how much I'll wear it.
Modifications I'd make next time: Um, not sure. Again, if I had a tighter bod, I might like it better. Maybe a yarn with some stretch would be better, but I feel dumpy in it (there, I said it).
FO Date:April 2006
Pattern:Honeymoon Cami by Julia at Mind of Winter
Modifications: none
Yarn: Portofino (gotta get the rest. I know it was some % of viscose and rayon)
Comments:Overall I like the cami a lot. However, this was a frustrating project until I figured out the directions (which assumed a little bit more knowledge than I had), particularly for the top portion. The yarn was very splitty, and every few stitches I'd inevitably snag it and get a "yarn flare." Further, the cami turned out way too large for me even though I made the smallest size. It's too long and too wide. I know I'm particularly small up top, and I'm short-waisted. At the time I started the cami I didn't know anything about modifying patterns.

Modifications I'd make next time:Yes, there will be a next time around. I'll pick a different yarn, but overall it's a great pattern (and now that I know where to change it and how to finish it, I expect it will be a lot easier to do). Next time I'll shorten it and cast on fewer stitches, possibly decrease in the waist a bit more.
FO Date:March 2006
Pattern:"A Table for Two" from The Yarn Girl's Guide to Beyond the Basics
Yarn: gotta look it up
Modifications: none
Comemnts: This sweater was my first adult sweater, and although knitting the front and back in St st seemed to last forever, it actually was a pretty quick knit. I had a terrible time with the neck shaping, which is only slightly evident in this pic. It's pretty bad, despite having done it several times. I chock that up to my own inexperience, and I think the next time around it would be much smoother and easier.
Modifications I'd make next time: I'd add waist decreases. This sweater is knit without any shaping, and it's nice but a bit boxy. I'd rather something with shape, as I have wide hips and a small top. I'd also like the sweater with a scoop neck (now I sound like I'm making a whole new sweater). I'd also do a couple of rows of ribbing or seed stitch to keep the sweater from rolling. I wasn't too crazy about the shrimp crochet stitch.
Date:February 2006
Pattern: "Mock Cable" Baby Hat
Yarn:Lamb's Pride White Wool
Modifications: None
Comments This was a great small project that kept me busy while in a knitting funk. I like the mock cable stitch because I didn't have to focus too hard on the project (thus distracting my TV watching). It used up leftover yarn I had and knit up in a matter of days (primarily because I dragged it out). Fun fun.
Modifications I'd make next time: None
Date:January 2006
Pattern: Baby Poncho and Medusa Hat
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Orange, (gotta get spec for trim yarn)
Modifications: None
Comments: These were really fun projects. The hat seemed to take forever what with making the little wormy things, but it was fun to learn something new and to see a funky design. The poncho was actually a lot of fun to knit. I enjoyed making up my own pattern pieced together from several other free patterns I found on the internet. I love the yarn, especially the accent yarn around the top and bottom. The bottom was particularly fun: I wrapped the yarn around the needle twice to create a loop. I wondered if it would snag on things, but so far so good. The decorative front and back seam are made by a simple YO. I've gotten amazing comments about the poncho from complete strangers, and I've had more than one request to custom make them and sell them. Since selling projects would take the fun out of it, it's reserved for dear friends only.
Modifications I'd make next time:I cast on roughly 40-50 stiches for the neck and I'd increase that next time. The poncho is obviously long and hopefully will last DD a long time provided her head doesn't grow: the opening is pretty small. Next time I'd also make it shorter.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Dashing . . .

I'm here and knitting, but I'm having trouble with the camera and am a bit pressed for free time.

I'm making progress on the Lotus Blossom Tank (which I've yet to show pics of). I finished the front and am halfway up the back.

Issue 1: I'm not sure about the instructions for how far to knit up: "knit 7.5" from the armhole shaping," but I'm not sure exactly what they mean by that. Do they mean the actual shaping, which is curved, or do they mean straight up from where the armhole shaping begins?

Which leads me to Issue 2: it's too big! I knit the smallest one, and while I do have very small shoulders and bust, I thought it would fit. I'm hoping that some blocking will help it out, but the under arm holes gape at this point. I like the pattern and wanted this tank for myself, but I don't feel like ripping, figuring out how to make it smaller, and then reknitting.

If I had more time and energy, I might try to study pattern revisions. Or at least learn how to incorporate decreases better. I know lots of knitters out there successfully (and seemingly easily) incorporate decreases for waist shaping (and increases for bust shaping), but I've never done it and I've only half-assed tried to figure it out.

I also started DD's Anouk Pinafore. She and I went to the "knitting store" this weekend to get the purple yarn. I found the cutest lavendar lady bug buttons which will look perfect with the lavendar trim I picked out. I started on the border, incorporating the picot CO that I learned from the Miss Dashwood hat. I love that detail!

I also received requests from family to knit them things! Two requests now: mom wants a 3/4 sleeve length evening jacket to wear with cocktail dresses and the like. And my Dear MawMaw (who taught me to knit) requested a scarf to wear around the house in the evening when it gets cool. She says a shawl will be too heavy, so I'm thinking a wide scarf with a medium-weight yarn, perhaps with a lighter lace stitch. She wants it warm but not smothering (this from a woman who reguarly keeps the house around 65F).

Those requests, along with my promise to my MIL to knit her friend a baby gift will keep me busy for awhile.

I promise pics to come.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Final Summer Inventory - Inventory III

It's the end of my third vacation this summer, and the dawn of my new job is fast approaching. I've had a terrific week, filled with blasted errands (blech) but a movie, lots of sitting and knitting, shopping, walking through NYC, eating in fabulously expensive restaurants and having experiences like never before, and enjoying the blissful weather while knitting outside. It's been a decadent and lovely vacation. While I wish I had another week to go, there's something about the end that makes it even more bittersweet and desireable.

I've reported on a lot of these, but I've made some progress since the last post. And, because this officially ends my summer knitting time, I figure it's good to assess where I am and see what's in store for the fall.

Linen Lace Handtowel: Both are DONE!

DD's Rug: stet. No progress.

Anouk Pinafore: Done and delivered to the expecting mama.

Baby Tart Hat to match Anouk: ripped and shelved.

Miss Dashwood Hat to match Anouk: 2 finished - one for Aimee's baby and one for DD.

Baby Kimono and Hat: Done and packaged to be delivered.

Tempting II: ripped and shelved.

Added projects:
Lotus Blossom Tank from Interweave Press: I'm done with all of the lace repeats (thanks to several hours of knitting in perfect weather today). I'm starting on the bodice now and hope to have it finished in a few weeks. It will fall into the Fall Knitting group.

In Queue:
Bolaro of sorts for Mom
Pinafore for DD
Baby Gift for MIL to give her DF who's expecting

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Why is it that I get so excited at the start of a new project only to hit a plateau half way through and then to drag out the finishing process for weeks, sometimes months? What happens to that initial excitement and energy - the kind of energy and excitement that keep you up way past your bedtime to work on a project??

Well, lo and behold some FOs that followed exactly the course I describe above. These FOs took little time to knit but the finishing process took months on end. Nonetheless, here they are in all their glory:

Pattern:A Hearthbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono in Mason-Dixon Knitting
Modifications: I extended the front flap to the side seam. It looked prettier to me than ending the flap mid-way on the side. I also added the YO border along the bottom, and I added a YO border along the neckline in the back.
Comments: I like this pattern, but the second time around just didn't do it for me. I got a little sloppy towards the end and didn't follow the directions all that well. As a result, the front flap extends way long. No matter, it's cute. I also love the cute elephant buttons! Adorable.
Modifications I'd make if I knit it again: Not sure. I'd keep the yarn over or find another border to do, as I think the plain St st and garter st are boring.

Pattern:Anouk and Miss Dashwood Baby Hat, both from
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Wool
Modfications: None
Comments: I love these patterns. I've already knit a hat for DD and am planning a pinafore for her as well. Both knit up so quickly - it was amazing. I had fun knitting both sides of the pinafore at the same time using circular needles and multiple balls of yarn. This was my first attempt at pockets, and after several starts, I'm really pleased with how they turned out, both in terms of the intarsia pattern but also how they are attached to the dress.

I also love the buttons, which match the dress perfectly! I found them after I made the dress, so it was serendipity in pulling it all together. Perfect.
Modifications I'd make next time: On the pinafore I'd add a beautiful picot border along the CO edge. I want it to match the hat, but I also think it's a beautiful edge. It's inspired me to learn different edgings and COs.

BTW, Aimee was happy to appear in the pics with the dress and hat. She loves the ear flaps especially and is getting more excited overall about the new addition, which is due to arrive September 14. Good luck, Aimee!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Last Summer Vacation

It's my last summer vacation - and one before the new job. I'll post this week. With pictures.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


LOL on the title. If my husband read that he would beg to differ about giving a knitting post the title of "Naughty," but this is my blog, not his.

I feel delightfully and deliciously bad. I'm supposed to be finishing my WIP before TNJ (which starts 8/14 for those who have asked), and I just CO a new project: Lotus Blossom from Interweave Press. My sister gave me a subscription for my birthday, and while I was thankful for the gift, I didn't really think I'd enjoy it that much. Well come to find out, I really like it! If she doesn't renew the subscription as a gift next year, I plan to renew it myself.

I'm knitting this in Debbie Bliss Cathay in a dusty cantaloupe melon color. I have about 2-3 extra skeins depending on how top turns out, so I can make something else with it (maybe a matching top for DD). I couldn't believe that the gauge, etc was exactly what the pattern called for. Lucky me. I had planned to make the Honeymoon Cami in this yarn, but after making two other tanks, I decided I just didn't like the way the tanks looked on me in the cotton yarn. I just don't have the bod for it, and I didn't like the overall look of the yarn in the knit.

Hopefully this knit will turn out. Not only am I taking on another project when I said I wouldn't, I'm taking on a project for myself, which I swore off awhile ago.

Fun fun. So far I really like the lace pattern, and it's not too difficult to follow. I'll show pics soon.

And on another front, I am so stupid! I finished both Anouk and Miss Dashwood and promptly wrapped the gifts before taking a picture of them! Duh. I'll have to take my camera when I give it to my DGF and snap some pictures of her holding it to showcase on the blog. Both turned out amazingly cute!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Tempting II isn't tempting

Here are two photos of DD taken a year apart. She doesn't look ver different in them given the poses, but she is so different now!

DD in July 2005

DD in July 2006

Tempting II isn't tempting me anymore. I've had 13 inches (up to the armpits) completed for well over a month. I trudged through casting on one sleeve a few days ago, but for some reason, the pattern and project just isn't giving me that oomph other projects do. I look at it and think, "Blah!"

Today I finished the hat for DD (a purple Miss Dashwood), and I just have the ear flaps to knit and sew on (easy, quick). I want to make DD the Anouk now, and I plan to add some embellishments that I learned from Miss Dashwood. I plan to CO using the picot edge, and I want to put some bobbles in there somewhere. I just have to figure out where.

I've stalled on her rug, which I really should finish since I want to see it in her room. It's HUMONGOUS (covers my legs when I knit it), and I have a TON more to do (maybe the reason I've stalled on it).

I also need to figure out something about the Tempting II project. I need to finish it (but finish it the right way so I'll wear it), or rip and knit it into something different. This poor yarn has only been ripped about 6 times, so I want to put it to good use (it's really good yarn), but I just don't know what.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Inventory II - Post 2nd Summer Vacation

I am truly a lucky gal, getting two wonderful vacations this year. First to the beach for a full week, and then 5 full days to the stunning mountains of PA with my family and ILs (who I love dearly; MIL is here with DD). DH and I had a wonderful time bike riding through the mountains (paved and gravel roads, no trails, but definitely remote mountain roads), we enjoyed fabulous food with DD and the ILs, and the company was lively and entertaining.

Interspersed between riding, eating, relaxing, and chatting were moments of knitting. Here's an update on my pre-vacation inventory list:

Linen Lace Handtowel: Both are DONE! Here you can see the second one blocking. At the moment they are both folded neatly together on the table awaiting a pretty packaging and wrapping, along with matching handsoap (handmade, maybe) for MIL's Christmas present.

DD's Rug: stet. No progress.

Anouk Pinafore: Blocked! I had a hard time getting it to fit on the sweater drying screen, but it worked. I haven't yet sewn the pockets on, and honestly the pockets look a little too big for it. With all pieces blocked, I figured it would be easier to sew it together. I'll have to find some daytime with good light to tackle that. Maybe this next weekend.

Baby Tart Hat to match Anouk: Actually, I decided to knit another pattern: Miss Dashwood. I almost skipped it because I thought the brim looked too big and floppy, but it turned out beautifully! All that is left is knitting on the earflaps and blocking (to make the brim lay flat). I knit this in the same washable wool from Cascade (Cascade 220 Superwash) as the pinafore. It's the "flower" on top of the stem and dress.

BTW, I adore this hat and started one in purple for DD. I learned a new CO technique that makes a gorgeous picot edge! I love it and can't wait to try it on something else.

Baby Kimono and Hat: stet. No change.

Tempting II: I knit about 2-3 rows total on vacation, and I'm to the point of starting the sleeves. So, I put it down and will revisit it when I have a chance to concentrate on what I'm doing.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Sorry, this is a picture-less post. I hate picture-less posts. They're long and boring and too laundry-list-ish. I have enough laundry lists in my life, and lo and behold, this post is a laundry-list. But it doesn't have to look like one. So, this is a non-knitty picture, but a picture all the same. This is a picture of DD's arm in a purple cast as she's finger painting. Luckily the cast is waterproof. She has her hand jammed in her purple bowl of paint. She loves purple, if you didn't know.

The following pictures are of us entertaining ourselves while on the plane going to the beach. Dad has a nifty new mac laptop with a built-in camera and this great photo program called PhotoBooth. You should check it out sometime. Very fun.

Because I am changing jobs, I've set a number of 30-day goals for myself, including wrapping up my WIPs. I know I'll be immersed in the new job (TNJ), responsibilities, people, culture, not to mention the actual work of TNJ, and I don't want those UFOs taunting me.

We're also going out of town the rest of this week and weekend, and I'll have valuable knitting time but not much finishing/blocking time.

Linen Lace Handtowel: I'm making 2 of these for MIL for Christmas, and I'm on the final border of the second handtowel. I hope to BO today, block tomorrow, and finish next week. 9:30 pm update: 2nd handtowel is blocking now. All ends are woven in, and all that remains is packaging and wrapping.

DD's Rug: This is an on-going WIP and won't be finished before TNJ.

Anouk Pinafore: I've finished all of the knitting (pockets, tabs, dress) and weaving in the ends. I need to figure out how to sew the pockets on, and then a good block. Actually, I think I'll block the pockets and dress first and then sew on the pockets. Hopefully that will make seaming easier. I doubt I'll have time to block this tomorrow before we leave, so it will have to wait until next week or weekend.

Baby Tart Hat to match Anouk: I haven't actually started this, but since this is a gift set, I need to start and finish it before TNJ. This will be a good knit over the vacation this week - small, easy to carry, and easy to knit. Hopefully I'll finish it this week, block next, finish the pinafore, and give to my dear friend the first week of August.

Baby Kimono and Hat: I finished the pink set and now need to finish the blue set. All are knit, but I need to seam the kimono, weave in the ends, and block. Maybe I'll take it with me on vacation to work on in some down time. Block next week or the week after, package, wrap, and ship to the expecting cousin.

Tempting II: I put this down in utter frustration over a month ago. I wasn't actually frustrated at the piece but rather with adult knitting all together. I'm still skeptical I have any ability to knit adult pieces that look good (I still haven't worn either my Honeymoon Cami or HC Companion), but I may actually try to finish this one. SKC Knit-along is inspiring me, though I'm really nervous about the neckline and sleeves. I've finished 12" of the 13" body, and next are the sleeves and neckline. It's so close, but so far. Maybe I'll work on this the first week in August, wrapping up the second before starting TNJ the third week.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

At long last

A post and some pics to show of recent work. It's not an FO yet, but it's close.

Here's the unblocked, recently finished pinafore in 90% glory. I love this pattern, and so does DD who insisted it was hers. Because it's first a dress and then a tunic to get the most mileage out of a lovingly made handknit garment, I made the terrible mistake of trying it on DD to see how it would fit on a 2-year-old (I knit the 3 mo size). A terrible mistake because of course DD didn't want to take off the "purple dress." I wrenched it from her (intact) by promising to knit her a purple hat, which she wanted immediately. ~sigh~ I have a lot to learn as a parent. But when you're two, out of sight is out of mind: she hasn't seen the pinafore since.

Anyhoo, the dress knit up quickly. I knit both front and back on the same needles at the same time (thanks to long circular needles!). The pattern was relatively easy to follow, though I did have to pay attention. I also had to stop and devote some attention to deciphering the instructions along the shoulders and neckline, but that's not unusual. Believe it or not, this pattern had very little ripping, if any (yay me).

As you can see, the dress joins at one shoulder and is open at the other (wonderful to accommodate infants' large heads and small bodies). I modified the shoulder strap at the open end to allow a little more overlap for a button & button hole. BUT, I also decided to use a snap closure with a decorative button on top (as a parent I HATED clothing with actual buttons).

The only thing I have left are the pockets and the side tabs. The pockets are giving me some trouble. They are lovely pockets with cute flowers that "grow out of" the bottom grass of the dress. However, I've never done intarsia successfully nor have I ever knit and sewn on a pocket. I'm only so-so happy with this first pocket, and my first attempt to sew it on was a bomb.

As you can see, the underside is a bit of a mess. I'm not sure if this is what intarsia is supposed to look like or not, but the yarn carries over wide swatches. Maybe I shouldn't carry the yarn but weave in the ends, but the pocket is so small with only a few stitches (4-5 max) of color in between colors that it seemed silly to not carry it. It's not a functional pocket, so it won't matter what the underside looks like.

I tell myself all this, of course, but really I care (or else I wouldn't have the conversation). I want the underside to look neat and tidy. I want to learn how to do this the right way. The pocket isn't functional, really, but it doesn't matter - I want the knitting to be right. But I also want to finish the darn thing and get on with it. I've looked at some good online resources (How to be an expert knitter was REALLY helpful), but reading and looking at others doing it is a lot different than doing it yourself.

I'm thinking about skipping the pockets all together, but that blows the pretty green grass and violet edging at the top.

So, I have more work to do, but it's close. I can't wait to see the FO.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Yay me!

A new month and no posts yet. I'm a bad blogger. I did have a fabulous vacation. I did knit. And I did get a new job! I'm afraid all the upset in the next several months may lead to spotty posts, but I'm still knitting.

Pics to come. I made GREAT progress on the baby pinafore. I'm done with the body and on to the pockets. I just need to figure out how to do intarsia (previous attempts resulted in holes). Since this is a gift, holes won't do.

DD is calling. It's bath time. Back soon.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Vacation Day 1

I decided to take an extra vacation day while the fam was at work and in nursery school so I could wrap up all those annoying errands that plague every vacation. It's 12:37 and today I have

* gone to the mall twice (once before it was open, not realizing it didn't open at 9)
* bought new running shoes for me and exchanged DD's shoes for ones that fit her
* gone to DH's office twice (once to drop him off, again to get the housekey since I gave mine to the cat sitter)
* CVS (which I have to go back to since their pharmacist was swamped)
* tailor (which I have to go back to since they didn't have my stuff done)
* dry cleaner (which I have to go back to tomorrow to pick up the stuff)
* yarn store

The last one is the savings grace - I hate doing things multiple times, and as you can see from the list above, I have several things to do over again. Grr.

I'm vacationing with my ILs, and I'm in the middle of knitting MIL's second lace handtowel. SO, I just had to get a different project, since I don't want MIL to see her Christmas present in June.

So I'm starting on Anouk by Kate Gilbert for a dear coworker. My friend's only criterion (when I asked her opinion) was no pastels, which I happily complied.

I'm knitting Anouk in Cascade 220 Superwash, as my LYS didn't have the Pima Tencel. It wasn't too bad - 4 skeins total (at $10/skein), and I'll have enough left over for a matching hat and little purse. I also picked up new bamboo addis - yum yum. I think that's the best part.

You can see here that the yarn is getting ready for baby knits.

Sadly in the store I decided to knit the body in green with purple border and pink flowers, and when I got home, I changed my mind and decided to knit the body in purple with green border and pink flowers. Which means I now have to go BACK to the LYS (about 15 min drive one way) to get the correct yardage of yarn. But that's a happy trip. I just have to make sure to exchange the yarn and not buy more. ;)

PS - Deirdre - I can't seem to email you, but I've been checking up on you and trying to leave posts. Hope the cyber world works for you soon!