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.