Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Fortune cookie from Bon BBQ Buffet in Columbus, IN:

"Every excess becomes a vice (in the yarn shop)."


Thursday, December 25, 2003

What a lovely Christmas celebration we had this year. I knitted for hours on a
Multidirectional Scarf
out of Noro Silk Garden #39, and then CH and I met Matt and Rob for a Traditional Jewish Christmas, i.e. Asian restaurant and a movie. We had half an hour to kill between the sushi and the movie, so we all got some knitting done except for CH, who still hasn't learned to bring along a contingency project on supposedly non-knitting excursions. Alas, poor Rob ran out of yarn halfway through the film, but he seems to have survived. We also met a college-age (and, incidentally, Jewish) crocheter in the theater who crochets scarves for profit and has been trying to teach herself to knit. Rob gave her a business card, so we'll see if she turns up at ThreadBear.

Oh, and I smirk: The pseudo-Starmore sweater I bought for $30 at T.J. Maxx fooled Rob, who asked me when I had knitted it. Bwa-ha-ha-ha.

Merry Whatever, everybody.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

I LOVE to shop. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me from buying more clothes than I can wear before changing sizes is to hold up the garment under consideration and ask myself, "Do I want to buy this more than I want to buy more yarn?" We all know the answer to THAT question, most of the time. I've placed two orders to elann.com in the last two days.

The Manos shop model goes well. The pattern is "Evergreen" from Design Source Collection 2: Serendipity. The body is completely knitted and joined at the shoulders, and I've got a sleeve started. I have quite a list of gripes about how this pattern is written, most of which are related to the sizing calculations, but my biggest complaint has got to be the sleeves. The cuffs are the same circumference (7.5", although the schematic says 8") for all sizes. That's probably okay for the smallest two sizes, but not for the finished 44" bust size I'm knitting. I really didn't want to make any significant changes to the pattern, since this will be a shop model, but I just had to add a pattern repeat to the sleeves in order for them to fit.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Alas, I had a sock-tastrophe yesterday. I discovered that the sock-in-progress I had been keeping in the back seat of CH's car was no longer attached to a ball of yarn. Apparently at some point, the ball rolled out the door. As an extra annoyance, the working needle was stuck in the ball. So if you happen to find half a ball of brown Trekking with an aqua #1 Pony Pearl dpn lying around anywhere in Indiana, it's mine. Meanwhile, the sock was only about 40% done, so now I haven't got enough yarn to finish the pair. I mourn.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

At long last, I have FINALLY managed to brew a drinkable pot of cofffee! Thanks for the early Christmas present, Mom.

Since I have only seven hundred and four projects-in-progress, I started a new one yesterday: the Aran Sandal Socks from the Knitter's Magazine sock contest book. In my defense, they are intended to be a holiday gift, and since sock-knitting time is rarely interchangeable with sweater-knitting time, they shouldn't interfere with getting the Manos model done. I keep making mistakes in the Mirror Cable (even after downloading the errata), which is aggravating, but it's still a very entertaining pattern. I particularly enjoy the cross-stitch cables, and look forward to each round #3.

In spite of the rain, I'm off to ThreadBear, with Hope's shopping list in hand. See ya after lunch, boys.

Monday, December 08, 2003

I didn't actually get the fringe put on until after breakfast this morning, but the Eros scarf is finished. Looks real good with my purple nightgown. :)

My MIL has recently rediscovered knitting thanks to a co-worker who gave her a ball of Eros to play with. She was cheerfully cranking out slinky scarves while I was at her house in Minnesota over Thanksgiving weekend. She took me on a jaunt to an area yarn shop to get more Eros along with my BIL's wife, Karen, who formerly did not knit. But, we fixed that. She got the hang of it immediately and knit two-thirds of a nice warm cuddly scarf (two strands of Plymouth Encore) in less than two days. She's probably finished it by now.

What I'm really itching to start right now-now-now is the Manos model I'm going to knit for ThreadBear. My favorite dealer says he has a kilo waiting for me. But I can't go get it for another day or two.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

I've been reading the latest Knitter's Magazine and I just have to say that I feel terribly sorry for Perri Klass. Apparently the opinions of strangers are more important to her than knitting. She wrote an entire tedious column about places she doesn't dare knit, almost all of which are places that I do knit. She "doesn't want to be anyone's eccentric." I guess that's her choice. I have had a lot of delightful conversations with people who found me interesting because I was knitting in some atypical situation, and I don't give a hooping funt if someone thinks I'm eccentric.
I used to have a blog. But then, I got distracted and neglected it for weeks and weeks. Funny, the same thing tends to happen to my knitting projects.

I did manage to knit myself an entire sweater from the Beatrice I bought at ThreadBear in October before losing focus. If you don't believe me (and there's no reason you should) you can see my pic wearing the finished item on Rob's blog, if you rummage around in the archives a bit for November's Third Thursday wrapup.

Today I am knitting a scarf from Plymouth Eros in (big whopping surprise) pinks and purples. I thought I wasn't interested in novelty yarn, but I decided I wanted an entertaining accessory to wear with the lush but plain black velvet outfit I bought for choir concerts. I need to finish it before I go to bed just in case I'm out of the notion when I wake up tomorrow.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Fueled by recent trips to ThreadBear Fiber Arts Studio, I have been knitting nearly every single stinkin' minute. CH and I packed up and drove over for Third Thursday, where I devoted twenty Flexpoints to Rob's desserts and a nice chunk of change to twenty skeins of Classic Elite Beatrice, freshly arrived. We stayed over in a nearby cheap-but-not-seedy hotel, which is a good thing because I forgot my credit card at TBFAS, so we had to go back the following morning. This turned out to be the nicest part of the trip because we got Matt and Rob practically all to ourselves for a visit. Plus, Matt makes really good coffee! (I was inspired to go home and buy a bean grinder myself.)

Monday, October 13, 2003

I finally couldn't stand it any more, so I got in my car on Wednesday and drove to Columbus to see m'boys at ThreadBear Fiber Arts Studio. Since this summer's consulting job paid me in TB store credit, I got to bring home some lovely things: Elsebeth Lavold's new book, Jamieson's Book 3, a set of Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needles, and a whole dye lot of Koigu Kersti in greens and purples.

Of course I immediately abandoned all current projects, spent a day swatching, and commenced on a boatneck raglan-sleeved pullover. It has the same style of neck as the ribbed raglan in The Purl Stitch, but all the shaping is different and mine is a seeded rib (K all RS rows, K1 P1 across all WS rows). I finished the first sleeve this morning.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I boxed up the Horstia Tweed and sent it back. Life is too short to knit with unfun yarn. While I was in town, I had time to kill between a Weight Watchers meeting and a haircut, so I swung by the Hobby Lobby and stumbled onto their big Lion Brand sale. I bought a couple of balls of Kool Wool to play with, some dpns, and some Cotton-Ease from clearance which happened to be the same dyelot as my remnants from Secret Baby Gift Knitting. Gotta love a little Cheapass Yarn Adventure.

Meanwhile, I have knit an entire garment since last I posted. I knit up an Asymmetrical Vest from The Knit Stitch out of the Colinette Prism I bought on clearance at Bonnie's in Pittsburgh this summer. It's a little more asymmetric than intended; the back neck is 7" but the fronts are supposed to be 5 1/2" each, which would give a 4" overlap. Instead, I knocked off on the left front after 3 1/2" (conveniently, just as I finished a skein), which still gives me a 2" overlap, but at the left side. I like this effect from a design perspective, but also I think it is more flattering on me this way anyway because the longer front now covers most of the tummy bulge. Now I just need to go on a quest for three swell asymmetrical buttons.

Oh, and about that haircut– I had it whacked. I took in pictures of McKenzie Westmore ("Sheridan" on Passions, who is, by the way, NOT DEAD, big surprise). Now it is cute and flippy and looks GREAT with hats, heh heh.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

I finally wove in the ends of the Mandalay Medallions sweater and wore it this weekend. I confess I haven't blocked it, so I hope nothing dreadful happens when it gets wet.

If you were thinking about ordering the Horstia Tweed "Try it, You'll Like It" special from Knitpicks, forget it! They had 31 skeins left and I bought them. Unfortunately, although the yarn looks and feels beautiful in the ball, it shed horribly when I swatched with it– so much that I'm actually thinking about sending back the other 30. I think it's particularly aggravated by being knitted continental; it's a loosely spun Z-twist single, and it nearly untwists as I knit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

I seem to have more or less recovered from last week's jolly adventures in endodontics. This is the first time I have ever looked forward to the novocaine shots! The root canal itself was practically blissful compared to the Four Days in Hell that preceded it. Afterwards I had only a mild bite tenderness for several days. And impressively, I did not have to rip out as a result of KUI (Knitting Under the Influence), in spite of large quantities of Percocet.

Meanwhile, I still cannot get motivated to weave in the rest of the ends on the Mandalay Medallion sweater. I'd better get at it, because by spring I expect to have to reknit the body. I've done the ends in the stockinette, but the 36 ends of the crochet section really annoy me. In particular, I get grouchy every time I think about the fact that if this pattern had been written a little better, the medallions could easily have been joined as they were made, so that there would only be 18 ends to weave in. Their very gratuitousness irks me.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Bleah. I got my Mandalay Medallions sweater finished (yeah, yeah, except for some of the ends) but I'm not going to get to go to the Women's Club Coffee tomorrow where I had planned to debut it. Instead I am doped up and awaiting emergency dental surgery Thursday. The Happy Fun Pill I took a while ago is starting to kick in, so I had better go lie down lest I throw up.

Monday, September 01, 2003

I have been knitting MADLY for four days and have just finished the body of the Mandalay Medallion sweater out of green Rowan Summer Tweed. (I went kind of psycho with new projects this summer). So of course I am wearing it around the house, with a sleeve and a half hanging on circs. I really like this business of knitting circularly from the top down. It has been grand fun to try this thing on as it grew. CH encouraged me to stop at the point where the bottom of the sweater ended just above my nipples, but I persevered to a length more appropriate to wear to the Women's Club Coffee next week.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

To all those who have said, "How the h--- come you never update your blog?": The problem is that my blog is underfunded. I have been spending my computer time working on an Actual Paying Gig. If you will just send me your donations, I promise to update my blog more regularly. Cash and yarn are fine. We are not set up to accept credit cards at this time, but you are welcome to purchase gift certificates to ThreadBear Fiber Arts.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

I am still reeling from yesterday's adventures in yarn acquisition. CH and I were in Indy for Borders Knit Night and the knitting group got a phone call. Turns out one of the local shopowners had SEVENTY-FIVE BOXES of yarn from a gourmet knitter's estate spread out on the back porch of her shop, and we were invited to come over and go through the boxes. We spent two hours pawing through stuff, and then dickered on prices for whatever we'd piled up. I got over 160 balls of Really Good Stuff for $70!!! I couldn't begin to list it all, but the twenty matching balls of Filatura di Crosa Missoni (aran weight wool/mohair, with multicolored plies) were worth more than that all by themselves.

In addition, I had been to a store earlier in the day that was having a buck-a-ball sale. I got enough Noro Implessions to make a jacket for myself, and thirty balls of other stuff as well. So now I must beg to disagree with Hope about who has the Best Stash in the World...

This trip beat the heck out of my last Indy Wednesday, on which a tree had the audacity to run out in the road in front of me. Well, okay, it didn't exactly run, but it fell there. And it didn't belong there. So my car got into an argument with it. The car lost. It is in the shop now, getting a new windshield and a new air conditioner condenser coil and probably much putty and paint.

Monday, July 07, 2003

I've been chugging right along on Scamp, with front and back finished and joined at the shoulders, and the neckband on. Since I'm dreadfully impatient, I had to go ahead and put the partial garment through the washer and dryer to see if it would shrink the specified amount. It retained its original size right up until the very last few minutes in the dryer, and then lo and behold! It shrank exactly as much as it was supposed to. So now I am knitting away without fear on a sleeve.

I took a little break last week and dragged out some UFOs. First I worked on a little girl's cardigan (from a Sirdar book, but I'm using LB Cotton-Ease). All the pieces are now knit except the interminable lower edging. If I ever get the urge again to knit something with a separate sewn-on sailor collar, somebody please take my needles away and jam them in my eye. I did eventually get the collar sewn onto the garment, and the collar edging half sewn onto the collar, before I stuffed it away again.

Monday, June 30, 2003

I joined Weight Watchers tonight. When I told the leader that I wanted to lose weight so that I could knit myself sweaters faster with less yarn, she looked at me like I had two heads.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

I've finally managed to drag myself out of the funk I was in after the ThreadBear Open House on Sunday. Now, mind you, I had a marvelous time, as usual. I bought eleven skeins of Koigu and some other sock yarns, and Matt even wheedled me into sitting down at the spinning wheel. But, they are moving forty minutes' drive farther east, so I won't be able to attend Third Thursdays on a regular basis. I'm very, very happy for m'boys, but I'm sorry I won't get to see them and their entourage as often.

When we got home, I started a new project to console myself: the Summer in Kansas Shawl by Two Old Bags, in elderberry Zephyr. I knit on that in front of the TV for a while, then CH and I each had a couple of drinks and did the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.

Anyway, I am okay now. I finished assembling Haiku last week, but it awaits buttons. It seems serendipitous, since I just got invited to a birthday party for a little girl the right size to wear it. After that, I started Scamp from the Rowan Pipsqueaks book (also the big Rowan Treasury) for my nephew. I had knit the whole back of that, and a few inches of the front, when I started the SIK Shawl.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

I didn't explain my Haiku "mistake" very well-- for sixteen rows, ALL the knit stitches should have been purled and vice versa. Since box stitch is reversible, I was making the right fabric texture, but at one shoulder seam, the box stitch sections met like this:


while the other shoulder met like this:


Today I discovered that I had joined in a new ball of yarn right after the offending box stitch section, so I picked out a row, unraveled and reknit only that section, and grafted the sweater back together. Tee hee. Now the little shoulders match. And I grafted on a sleeve, too, so it it meets the armhole invisibly.

BTW, did anybody else notice that if you follow the Haiku directions as written, your sweater ends up an inch narrower across the back than across the front? The overlapped garter panels on the front are 5" (6"), but the center back garter panel is only 4" (5").

Perhaps instead of actually knitting hats for Christopher Judge (which, as Hope pointed out, would likely end up somewhere else other than on his beautiful shiny head), maybe we should do a picture gallery where we use PhotoShop to take pictures of finished hats from people's blogs and paste them onto CJ photos?

Sunday, June 15, 2003

And by the way, what was Christopher Judge doing last night, wearing a knitted hat that said "ONeill" on the front? Does he not have a hat of his own? Perhaps I should knit him a hat. Perhaps we should ALL knit him hats. They shoot in Vancouver and the boy is BALD, surely he has use for more than one hat. I say, let the Christopher Judge Knit Hat Project commence.
I got up yesterday with a burning urge to get Matted and Robbed, so I bundled up my stuff and the Crocheting Husband and trucked on down to Bloomington. Spent a lovely afternoon cranking away on my Haiku sweater. CH finished his first baby blanket with a nice picot edge, wove in the ends, and looked very satisfied.

I'm working on a sleeve now in between thoughts. I finished the body earlier today, but I made a mistake that's really bugging me. I started the last box stitch section with K2 instead of P2, and as a result, the box stitches on front and back don't line up the same way on the right and left shoulders. It's minor, and any reasonable person would leave it alone and move on, but I'm not reasonable, so I may yet have to rip back the last five inches
I think I've unvented the cure for the Knitting Common Cold: the mismatchedness of k2tog and ssk/sl1k1psso. When symmetry is important, I change the way I execute k2tog, as follows: K the first st and transfer it back to the left hand needle. With the right hand needle, pass the second stitch over the first (the one just made). Now transfer the first stitch back to the right needle.

It takes longer, but this maneuver stretches out the left stitch (which lies on top of the k2tog) enough that it matches my ssk very well.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Ahhhh... It's good to be really knitting again. The weather got warm and sticky, so I'm out of the throes of gardening. I finished the blue Regia stretch socks and performed a toe transplant on one of Mom's old socks. Then I dragged out the SBGK. Anybody remember me b---ing about the baby sweater where I misread the gauge, ran out of yarn, and ended up having to reknit the whole thing a size smaller? I finished it today, complete with weaving in the ends. It just needs a button, which I've already bought, but I can't find it. Luckily the baby isn't due for a while yet.

The other night I paged through the new knitty and ended up printing out everything I liked from the archives (after running the printer through half a dozen cleaning cycles to remove the cat hair). After that, I started a Crusoe sock. I am, of course, making it toe-up. I'm using Cascade Fixation, so the heavily stranded slip-stitch pattern still has plenty of stretch.

Also, today after I finished the SBGK, I felt like knitting another kiddie sweater, so I started a Haiku sweater (also from knitty) for nobody in particular, because I had four balls of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in a nice dark dusty purple. I knit the left front and two-thirds of the back today, thanks to an evening of Stargate: SG-1. Which reminds me, has anybody else (Hope, this means you) that Teal'c's chain mail shirt is actually a garter stitch sleeveless sweater?

Thursday, May 29, 2003

All of my knitting lately is very boring to talk about. It's just been socks, socks, socks. And not even particularly innovative socks; just the same old classic toe-up socks I've been cranking out for years. But it's very much zen knitting, which is actually exactly what I want right now. My mental stimulation is being provided by gardening projects, so I need my knitting to be relaxing. I finished the Trekking socks and started a pair out of blue Regia stretch.

Meanwhile, I bought the million-dollar fancy-schmancy front-loading washing machine that's so gentle I should be able to machine wash my hand-wash-only woolies with great success. I washed a CASHMERE twin set in there the other day and it turned out fabulous. The only down side of this thing is that it's worthless for felting. But then, what kind of moron would try to felt in a thousand-dollar washing machine? Guess I will have to go to Matt and Rob's felting parties when I need to get felt. Er.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Still not a whole lotta knitting going on around here. The obsessive component of my personality is still wholly absorbed in gardening. I have almost finished my second Trekking sock, though; after all, sometimes it's dark, or raining!

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

I finished a sock today. Sadly, it was only the first of a pair: a purple/peach/taupe Trekking that I am knitting for myself. I needed no-brainer knitting all last week because I had SIXTEEN hours of choir practice last week, not including the concert itself or the four two-hour round trips. Argh. Actually I got a lot more done on my crossword puzzles, since I hooked the book into my music folder and worked on them surreptitiously whenever the conductor needed to work through a passage with orchestra alone.

Oh, right, I was talking about knitting... I also knit about three inches of the second sock today. I find it's very, very important to start the second sock immediately to keep the project from stalling out. I need to put it down and do some Sock Repairs on a pair of Mom's before she skips town again.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

I spent three days on a Florida beach without getting a sunburn. Then I go home and what happens? Bam, I've got a painful sunburn. I carefully wore a hat when I mowed my yarn (er, my yard) this morning but I forgot that the tee shirt I was wearing had a low back neckline.

I think I'm in a little bit of a knitting slump again. I bought a collection of NY Times Sunday crosswords to take on my trip, and I keep wanting to work on those instead. At least I seem to be getting better at it. One more thing to add to my collection of Skills that Don't Make Me Any Money.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

There's sand in my purse/knitting bag.

I did NO KNITTING in Florida at all, which means, oddly enough, that it was a successful trip. We had glorious, perfect beach weather: temperatures in the 80's, not too much humidity, and a light breeze. Gramma says as soon as we left, it started to rain and rained all weekend.

For the most part, we shopped in the mornings and beached in the afternoons. I perused the Yellow Pages and hunted down what turned out to be the Worst Yarn Shop Ever. It was cramped, dark, and totally unorganized, and ninety percent of the yarn was acrylic. Even worse, the staff was downright rude. One employee snapped at me when I crossed some imaginary line into what they considered an employees-only area (not designated or physically separated, and visually undistinguishable from the rest of the store except that it seemed to be even messier). Another asked me what I wanted, and when I said I was just browsing, she said, "Well, if you'll just tell me what you're looking for, I'll tell you where it is." Bleah. I was out of there in five minutes.

I did find another, better shop the next day, practically on my way to the airport. They had a fair bit of really, really old stuff, like Pingouin yarns and patterns from the 70's. But they had modern stuff too, like carry-along novelty yarns and Saucy Sport cotton and even a wonderful Sesia superwash merino that I've never seen before. I had virtually no suitcase room left, though, so I settled for four skeins of a variegated rayon/cotton blend in apricot with accents of lavender and green. Josh got a free pattern for a crocheted yarmulke that they had made up in the shop, so he was amused, too.

As a bonus, we were scheduled on an overbooked flight, and we got to be the lucky volunteers who took a later flight in exchange for free ticket vouchers to anywhere in the continental U.S. or Canada. As a result, I was getting too tired by the last flight leg to work on my crossword puzzle, so I knitted on the Landscape Shawl. I got far enough to determine that my six skeins of KPPPM aren't going to be enough, and I don't want to downsize the shawl 'cause I'm an upsized person. I haven't decided quite what to do about that yet.

Monday, April 21, 2003

I'm off to Florida for a few days. I'm only taking two projects, so hopefully I'll get a lot of beach time. I've got a housesitter, so don't be getting any wise ideas about stealing my stash while I'm gone.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

After the SBGK gauge disaster, I put that project aside and started my FiberTrends Landscape Shawl. I bought some gorgeous (after all, who buys ugly yarn?) speckled denim-y Koigu for this at Stitches Midwest last August. I worked on it for a day and what happened? Another close friend turned up preggers. So it's back to SBGK again. I frogged the gauge disaster and I've reknitted about half of it. Since I couldn't bear the possibility of running out of yarn after the reknitting, I'm making one size smaller, just to be sure.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

I finished the first item of Secret Baby Gift Knitting (SBGK), where by "finished" I mean that I wove in most of the ends and I haven't bought the buttons yet. In my defense, I tried to buy the buttons, but Jo-Ann Etc. was out of the ones I wanted. So, I started a second SBGK item, and was nearly finished with it too, but it looked like I was going to run out of yarn. I was very annoyed at the designer until I discovered that, although I had carefully made sure to obtain the gauge of 17 st = 4", I had MISREAD the gauge in the book and it was supposed to be 18. I might have caught this mistake when I measured the width of one completed piece, but amazingly, I accidentally read the measurement for the next size up, which matched my finished width. UGH UGH UGH.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I did a yarn crawl in the city last Wednesday, and I've been cranking away at Secret Baby Gift Knitting ever since. (Shh...) Then there was Big Fat Greek Thursday--Opa! (Did you notice that the exclamation point after "opa" looks like a lowercase "L"? Maybe the Greeks are all enthusiastic sock knitters.) Friday I had lunch with Hope and gave her her birthday present, the most recent Rebecca mag that she'd been coveting. (Aren't I a good cousin?)

Unfortunately, secret knitting doesn't make for very interesting blogging.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Well, UGH. I've been sick for over two weeks. (Couldn't you tell from my recent codeine-inspired posts?) I still haven't quite gotten rid of this revolting cough.

Sick or not, I had to go to a wedding in Minnesota last weekend. I actually felt just fine as long as I didn't move or breathe too much, either of which would provoke a coughing fit. I did have a lovely time, though, especially after I discovered there was a yarn shop two blocks from the restaurant where the family Saturday brunch was happening. It was The Yarnery at 840 Grand Street in St. Paul. Imagine my surprise when I realized that not only was this one of the shops featured in Knitter's Stash, but it was the shop that contributed the only pattern in the book I had actually started: one of the Eight Linen Washcloths! In general, The Yarnery is an excellent shop. They had practically the entire line of Rowan yarns, in all the colors. I wanted to pick out yarn for a Debbie Bliss baby sweater, but I was so overwhelmed by the available choices that I couldn't commit. I had also hoped to acquire Yet More Koigu, but nothing grabbed me. I ended up buying the spring IK and Knitter's, a Pony Pearl circular needle to try out, a set of #11 doublepoints of my Very Own for future Fuzzy Feet, and a ball of Rowan Linen Drape to swatch for a summer vest for me, me, me.

[By the way, Happy Belated Birthday Hopie Marie! I was too sick and pitiful to get you a card last week, but I was thinking of you, especially in the yarn store. I don't think you wanted any of their Koigu, either. We'll have to go raid ThreadBear after their next shipment.]

Thursday, March 13, 2003

I've always been pessimistic about the prospects for a good yarn shop in western Indiana. I just think that people around here are too cheap to buy good yarn. But suddenly the solution occurred to me (inspired by a King of the Hill episode): I should open a combination knitting and gun shop. This would take advantage of a basic natural Hoosier law: For every woman who won't spend five dollars on a ball of yarn, there is at least one man (her husband/boyfriend/father) who will spend five hundred dollars on a gun. I could call it Yarn & Arms. There could be departments like Noro & Ammo, Sweaters & Scopes, and Lace & Lead.

I think, however, that it might be necessary to store the ballwinders behind the counter, lest they make anyone nervous.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Am I the only one who gets the urge to handpaint her cat with Wilton dyes? Ever since I got this long-haired, fluffy white cat...

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

I had such a lovely time with Hope at Matt and Rob's felting party yesterday that I was inspired to start my own Fuzzy Feet. Hope loaned me her #13 needles, I bought two skeins of purple Lamb's Pride, and commenced on the spot. I finished the first one last night and the other one in front of the TV this evening (Stargate Monday). I wanted to try hand felting so I took one of them in the shower with me. It was going verrrrry slowly so I went back to the machine method. They are in the washer on what I think is their final rinse, yay!

This afternoon I had my five-year-old nephew over for several hours with NO PARENTS and everybody survived. In fact we had a grand time. He is fascinated by the swift that is more-or-less permanently installed on the arm of my couch, so we wound the rose Shepherd Sport that I brought home yesterday. I just know this boy is going to be a knitter. We also played with Fimo. He made marbles; I made Gromit, with purple knitting on the needles.

By the way, am I the only one who's noticed that Gromit holds his knitting needles overhand (er, overpaw)? I really expected him to use the British pencil hold (and in fact that's how I sculpted him) but I checked later and, whaddayaknow, his paws are on top of the needles.

Once the Fuzzy Feet went in the wash, I started a pair of Nancy Bush's Traveler's Stockings with the Shepherd Sport. I made a pair of these as my first pair of socks ever and boy, was that ambitious. It would have been fine except for (a) the typo in the IK instructions on how to turn the heel, and (b) the necessary adjustments for my ample calves. They came out okay, but I am a much more accomplished knittter now and I'm sure I can do better this time around.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

My Real Life has been interfering with my blogging. At least it hasn't been interfering too badly with my knitting. I had to drive into the city two days in a row this week to buy a car, but managed to include some knitting adventures in both trips. Wednesday, after picking out a car, wheeling and dealing, and signing the papers, I went to the Borders knitting group and got to catch up with a friend who went to Stitches West. Thursday Norma took me to pick up the new car, but first we went to two yarn shops (I was very good and only bought some Rowan All-Seasons Cotton that had been marked down to two bucks a ball) and had Indian buffet for lunch. On my way home I swung by a third shop to pick up the knitting needle I accidently left in the sofa last time I was there.

Meanwhile, I have finished the front of the entrelac sweater and the first of the Flaming Fat-Leg Socks. I enlarged the stitch repeat gradually, so it goes from being 54 stitches around at the ankle to 72 stitches at the top. The other sock is done as far as halfway up the cuff.

Hope and I are having a Grand Outing tomorrow and going to the felting party at Matt and Rob's, yay!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Mmmm... I have a nice warm feeling inside. I think it is the shrimp etouffee from Third Thursday at Matt and Rob's. If they ever open a restaurant to go with their yarn business, I might as well just have Josh's paycheck direct deposited to their account.

I'm up to the neck shaping on the entrelac sweater. I decided that the back was actually going to become the front because the color sequence was working out so that the group of purples would end up around my face. I'd be done with it by now, except for the Entrelac Gauge Anomaly: because of the bias nature of the beast, hanging measurements are dramatically different from laid-flat measurements. So I discovered I was going to end up with 13" armholes, and had to rip back and begin the neck shaping again.

I also finally started another pair of socks. They're in Embers LL sport weight superwash, for Mom. They're toe-up (of course) with anatomically correct toe shaping and a little texture pattern on the top of the instep. I did a short-row heel on 60% of the stitches and got the best-fitting results so far. Now, I KNOW that recently I was reading something online where someone was talking about a 60% short-row heel, and I wanted to look at it again, but of course I've forgotten who and where it was. Sigh.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

I really haven't knitted on anything else since I started the entrelac sweater, and I've been thinking: What the heck is that about? But I realized, I've been getting my variety by working on a lot of other crafts. I think this is related to the fact that I've been spending a ridiculous amount of time at home. Usually I'm running around all the time, and knitting is highly portable (the distinction between purse and knitting bag is pretty blurred in my world). But since I've had long strings of days camped out on my sofa, I've picked up some other things. In the last few weeks I've finished a crochet pansy doily (um, except for weaving in the ends), three beaded dragonly pins, three beaded Christmas ornaments (I still haven't put away the Christmas stuff properly, although I did at least shove it in a box and hide it under the harpsichord behind the sofa), and a small floral cross-stitch design. Oh, and quite possibly the cheesiest craft project I've worked on since Vacation Bible School: an all-white plastic canvas Christmas village. I didn't finish the whole village, but I did complete the Manor House and the Town Bandstand, plus cut out the pieces for all the other buildings and organize them in plastic zipper bags. I don't know what possessed me to make this thing, but I've been wanting to do it for years. The kit was on sale in an after-Christmas catalog, and I finally broke down and ordered it.

Monday, February 10, 2003

ARGH... My husband crashed the car on his way home from work today. Of course my first concern was whether he was all right. They kept me waiting quite a while at the ER before I could see him– I had knitting in my purse, but I was too worked up to knit. Once he was checked over and released, I could stop worrying about him and start worrying about the financial consequences. I had just reorganized our finances so that I could relax a little, and now this had to happen. It's as if I finally got my ducks in a row but then duck season opened. Now we will have to buy a car, and I am afraid that I will never get to buy yarn again. Even worse, I fear that I might have to get an uninteresting, low-paying, depressing job and never have any time to knit again.

On the other hand, for the moment I have no car to go anywhere, so I guess I will be sitting at home knitting for a little while at least. I knit three or four tiers of entrelac during Sci-Fi Stargate Monday tonight.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Well, it worked. I knit a couple more dishcloths, then picked up the entrelac sweater. I ripped it back to the beginning of the armhole shaping (only about a tier and a half), and tried again with a square set-in sleeve. I indented about 3", which (according to an old issue of Twists and Turns) was the most I could get away with without risking having the corner fall in an unsightly place. By the way, in the meantime I managed to lay my hands on five more balls of Silk Garden in my dye lot, thanks to the ample-knitters list and Pat at Yarn Barn.

I took my latest knitting convert Norma to a doctor's appointment in the city this week and got lots and lots of entrelacking done in the office while I waited for her. After that we went yarn shopping and bought supplies for her first project: one of the Manos del Uruguay block-of-the-month throws, but out of Plymouth Encore. Then we went to knitting group at Borders together.

Sadly, I did not end up going to Fuzzy Feet Workshop at ThreadBear today. Hope and I had discussed going together, but she got sick and I just couldn't face a car trip by myself. I haven't seen The Fellas since New Year's Day and I miss 'em awful. It better not snow on Third Thursday again this month.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

I did it! I knit a dishcloth today. Guess I'm back in the saddle again.

Friday, January 31, 2003

Now, this is just plain sad. It's been twelve days since I had anything to say about my knitting. Heck, it's been a week since I've done any knitting. I got stalled out on the entrelac sweater at the armholes-- I can't seem to commit to a shaping, since the diagonal edges of my original plan look just plain weird, and I'm afraid if I "indent" too far with a modified drop sleeve, the corner will land in an unflattering place. Sigh. And I just can't seem to pick up anything else to knit. It doesn't help that every time I have a knitting event to go to, it snows and I don't get to go. I might have to prime the pump with a no-brainer dishcloth or something.

On the brighter side, I taught my friend Norma to knit this week. I taught her to crochet a few months ago in spite of her protests that she hadn't been able to learn how in the past. But, she actually found crocheting quite easy, and produced a lovely (and large!) LB Homespun afghan in a couple of weeks. So now she was ready to try knitting. She was a great student and mastered how to knit, purl, cast off and cast on (in that order) in a couple of hours. She says I must just be a good teacher, which makes me feel great.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

I've got about 9" of the back of the entrelac sweater now (a little over two balls' worth). I'm starting to get paranoid about running out of yarn. Here's how I calculated my yarn requirements: the size XL given has a 54 3/4" finished girth, and I want 60", so I'm increasing the girth by about 10%. Likewise, I'm increasing the width of the sleeves by 10%. And I'm not increasing the length measurements at all (in fact I may need to shorten the sleeves). Ergo, the yarn requirements should increase by about 10%. Since the original specified 17 balls, I figured I'd need 19, and I bought 20 for good measure. So I really should have enough, but darn, I'm going to hate it if I'm wrong. Also, I'd like to have the freedom to match the color sequence when I start a new ball.
Spent the whole day yesterday swatching for my entrelac sweater. It took me a while to work out the details to set up finishing, such as how to add selvedge stitches. The particularly sticky bit was figuring out how to do the base triangles so that there would be a nice transition from the plain rolled stockinette bottom into the entrelac. Some methods left rather glaring holes at the turns, and I really wanted to wait and put the rolled bottom on at the end anyway. I finally settled on a variation that produces a nice single-stitch selvedge along the bottom edge, which will make it easy to pick up stitches. Today I actually started the back, and have eight tiers completed.

I really like knitting backwards. Looking at the right side of my work makes me think of the moon, with the same face always turned towards the earth.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

They're gloves! Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

One glove is done, except that the ends aren't woven in. It looks like there should be a marionette attached to it. The other has an index finger. I'm particularly pleased with the ribbed thumb gussets: a single purl stitch runs down either side where the gusset meets the hand. I've finally worked out a simple method for executing an increase that's the structurally perfect mirror image of the traditional "knit in front and back of next stitch" increase. Unfortunately, although it's easy to do, it's not easy to describe without pictures, but I'll try:

Reverse stitch mount of next stitch (so that you would have to knit into the back of it to produce an untwisted knit stitch). Knit in front and slip off the left needle. You have made a twisted knit stitch, but it is twisted the opposite direction from a standard twisted knit. Now insert the tip of the left needle from left to right under the right leg of the stitch you just slipped off, (the topmost leg of the cross) and knit into the back of it.

I also found time today to add a couple of links to my blog and catch up on reading other people's blogs.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Forward progress on the first of the Koigu gloves: after ripping back to six rounds above the cuff (I decided I wanted a couple more rounds before the gusset), I'm up almost to the pinky. I love trying on the glove with no thumb on it. Don't know why. When I wander around wearing a glove-in-progress, Josh calls me Lana Needlehands.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

I finished the Shape-It Scarf yesterday and immediately contracted a bad case of startitis. I swatched for a Baby Einstein bunting and determined that the LB Cotton-Ease I had in mind really doesn't want to be knitted at worsted gauge. Then I started a Kureyon Swirl Hat, but was suspicious of how large it was turning out to be, so I put that down too and started my Koigu gloves. I finished the ribbing on the first one today and am in the middle of the thumb gusset. I had to rip back once to the top of the ribbing and go down a needle size, but that's no big deal.

I also got to have lunch with my #1 knitbud yesterday, yay! Hope and I had sushi and I got to see her new gloves, mitts and scarf. She said the matching mitts were my idea but I had forgotten all about it. And the Dale Baby Ull she bought on our last Yarn Hunt sure did make nice soft gloves.

I got invited to a Scandinavian dinner thingy last night. While I was eating, I was thinking that if I had known about it sooner, I would have started a project out of Icelandic wool to knit on during cocktails.

Friday, January 10, 2003

Not much knitting today, since I ended up throwing an impromptu dinner party and spent the afternoon cooking Indian food for four. It was a lovely little evening though and I was pleased with how the food came out (all new recipes for me). I did get some knitting done this morning, though; I bought more Dune this week and am making another try at the Shape-It Scarf. Last time I was using the knitted cast-on, but this time I am using the e-wrap and I like it better. I did have to cast on quite tightly to get an acceptable finished tension, though. I'm also slipping the first stitch of every row, which minimizes the stairstep effect at the edge of the triangular part. I'm really almost done-- I'm halfway through the third ball of Dune.

When I bought the Dune, I also ended up buying some blue-pink superwash merino aran that I've been coveting for a long time. It was 40% off and they had thirty balls of the same dyelot and, well, I just don't have any self-control.

Last night the Yarn Boys from ThreadBear let me come over and open the just-arrived shipment of 198 skeins of Koigu. What glorious delight! But the two colorways I liked best (purples-and-rusts, and purples-and-olives) were ones I already had some of, so I didn't end up buying any. I'm really sorry I missed the purple-and-gold in their previous shipment. I think I'm going to start my Koigu gloves when I finish the Shape-It Scarf.

I do have a fear, though, that I might be allergic to mohair. I've been really congested since starting the Shape-It Scarf. On the other hand, it's January; maybe I'm just coming down with a cold.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Triumph: DH wore the Kureyon sweater for the first time. Of course he got a number of compliments. But the best one was when the guy next to him at choir practice said, "Oh, excuse me-- I thought you were Bill Cosby there for a minute." Tee hee hee hee...

Of course once I finished the Kureyon/Cosby sweater, I discovered that I had misplaced the Debbie Bliss Noro 2 book that I needed to start the Silk Garden sweater for me-me-me that was supposed to be my reward. By the time I finally found the book, I was too exhausted to start knitting.

Monday, January 06, 2003

IT"S DONE! I finished DH's Kureyon sweater today. And I mean really
Anyway, it's done, it fits, and he looks absolutely gorgeous in it. Woo-hoo!

Friday, January 03, 2003

I was calculating how the cost of my yarn fixation compares to other vices, and I announced to my husband that my yarn habit was in fact rather more expensive than two packs of cigarettes a day. "Um, honey..." he said, "You are NOT the knitting equivalent of a two-pack-a-day smoker." I said, "Er, I suppose I'm more like a chain smoker." He sort of snorted and said, "Yeah, a chain smoker who smokes mostly imported cigarettes." (A friend later suggested I was comparable to a smoker of fine cigars.)

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

What a lovely start to a new year. I went to a knitting party at some friends' house. One is a wonderful cook and made a traditional Southern-style New Year's menu. These friends also happen to operate a web-based yarn business, Threadbear. Remember that binge I've been feeling coming on? I had it. I bought 20 skeins of Cascade Quatro (like 220, but with each of the four plies a different color) in a grape mix, 10 skeins of Cascade 220 for various felting projects, 2 skeins of Koigu in purples and golds for gloves, and 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in the embers colorway for socks (I had a request for red socks for Christmas next year).

The rationalization for this spending spree was that Cascade is raising the prices of their wools about 20%. Threadbear isn't raising their price until the end of the month. So I had to buy it quick, right?
I never did go to the yarn sale. I could feel a binge coming on, and just couldn't trust myself. ("My name is Lana, and I'm a yarnaholic...") Plus, the weather was damp and dismal. So I stayed home Monday and finished knitting the Kureyon sweater. I need to rummage around in the stash and see if I can find anything suitable for seaming, as the Kureyon tears too easily.

Meanwhile, I started a new project that almost immediately came to a bad end: I had a ball of Dune in the stash and started a Shape It! scarf from Sally Melville's latest book. It was so delightfully sparkly that I took the project with me when I went out for New Year's Eve. When I got home, I discovered that apparently the ball had rolled out of the car while I was getting in, and the yarn had torn off where it was shut in the car door. I think someone is going to be very surprised to find half a ball of sparkly yarn in a parking lot. Now I am going to have to wait a week before I can get to the yarn shop for more Dune to try again.