Monday, December 27, 2004

I'm terribly cross with myself. I took a brand new project, the Reynolds Odyssey Wedge Pullover, on vacation to New Mexico, and apparently left the pattern in the Albuquerque airport. So now I've got a bagful of lovely green yarn and no pattern. At least I got far enough on the back of the sweater during the flights that I can keep going without the pattern until I get to the neck and shoulder shaping. Then I guess I have to put it on holders and start the front.

On the bright side, there is a yarn shop that I can see the roof of from the hotel window. It is across the street and two doors down. Unfortunately it was closed today and tomorrow so I have to wait until Tuesday to check it out. Oops, make that Wednesday; I think we're going to drive up to Taos for the day Tuesday, so I'll "only" get to go to La Lana Wools that day. Bwa-ha-ha.

Meanwhile, CH has a new knitted vest. It's the Cabled Rib Vest from Men in Knits, out of Cascade 220 in a medium gray with heavy red and green heathering. I sewed the buttons on it this morning. I knit it right in front of him and he didn't even notice (although he was a bit befuddled when I was insistent that he render an opinion on buttons).

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Today I experienced a knitter's true Moment of Glory. I wore my long hooded crocheted coat to the Fashion Mall and the very swishy sales clerk came up to me and said: "Can I help you with anything? Oh, you look SOOOO cute this evening-- that coat is DARLING! Where did you GET that?" I told him I made it and he said, "Oh, you did NOT-- I am SO impressed!" and fondled the bobbles.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I am kicking projects around like footballs this month. The Dashing Diamond Pullover is finished, sort of, but it turned out to be so much of a bust that I may rip the whole thing. First, I had to re-engineer the top of it because the armholes were way too deep. Then, even though I took my standard two inches off the sleeves, they ended up being outrageously long. I think this was deliberate on the part of the designer; however, in the photo, you can't see the model's hands, so who knows? Personally, I think over-long sleeves only look good on tall people, and besides, they interfere with my knitting. And as a last annoyance, the A-line is just too wide at the bottom. Even I don't need six inches of difference between bust and hip measurement anymore.

After that, I spent two weeks cranking out the Lush Shaped Cardigan from Classic Elite's Noble Fibers booklet. In stark contrast to the previous project, I'm terribly happy with the finished object. It's all warm and pink and fuzzy and it fits great. It's very low-cut, so I wear a camisole underneath it to work. My rock-star alter ego wears it out on the town sans camisole for the naughty librarian look.

Then I started Tilt. I've done the lower body sections and one of the back yokes. I fall maddeningly between sizes but I think I can adjust the width several inches during the blocking process. The yoke charts require quite a lot of concentration, though, and I've learned not to try to work on it while chatting or watching TV. I'm looking forward to the sleeves.

On a short break from Tilt, I spent two days knitting a K1,P1 rib scarf out of three balls of #40 Almond Tree Diakeito Diamusee. The browns, cream, and roses are gorgeous with my brown suede jacket.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Stash triumph!

I have been coveting the Dashing Diamond Pullover ever since the fall issue of Cast On came out. However, I was trying to prioritize sweaters which could be knit from stash, so I hadn't ordered the Softwist Bulky for it. But then I was digging in the Yarn Room one morning and I ran across the bags of Classic Elite Follies I had acquired some time ago from, and I got to thinking. The suggested gauge for Follies is 18 stitches/4", whereas Softwist Bulky is labeled at 16 stitches/4". However, Follies is a rayon/alpaca blend, and Softwist Bulky is a rayon/wool blend, hence they ought to have somewhat similar draping qualities; and they're both around 65-70 yards per 50 gram ball. So I looked at the Dashing Diamond instructions again, and lo and behold, it calls for knitting at 17 stitches/4". I gave it a go, and I got gauge. Now I have a front and a back and half a sleeve.

Because this design is by Norah Gaughan, who I worship and adore, I have not felt a need to make many changes. I used short rows to give it a slightly shirt-tailed hem, and I'm tremendously pleased with how that turned out. I changed the decrease technique at the V-neck to emphasize the knit stitches which are an extension of the cables, and because I have no fear of Wrong-Side Decreases, I decreased every three rows instead of alternating two and four as specified. Oh, and one last thing: I used a few short rows to make the neckband extensions turn a little more gracefully. I think maybe I should have lowered the center back neck with short rows also, but I don't think I'm going to reknit it.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

I was teaching my beginner crochet class at River Wools when who should appear but Christy Renshaw, the soon-to-be-famous designer, speed knitter and handknitter extraordinaire. Christy amazed me by telling me that she looked at my blog. (I have a blog?!?!?) She also pointed out that I don't have an email link on said blog. So, as a temporary measure until I can schedule a Hack-the-Template Day:

Email Me.

I'm coming to the end of the West Side Raglan. Er, at least it started out as a West Side Raglan. I'm working in a different gauge; I used rolled hems instead of the slip-stitch rib; I added A-line side shaping; I changed the decrease style; I altered the raglan shaping; I raised the back neck with short rows; and I'm going to put a funnel neck on it. So, basically, what it has in common with the WSR is that they are both raglans. Anyway, it's all slip-stitch-basted together and I just have to sew the raglan seams properly and add the funnel neck.

I can't decide which I want more desperately: Reynolds Cabaret to knit the Norah Gaughan raglan from the spring IK, or Reynolds Odyssey to knit a Hippy Chic pullover.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

I'm knitting madly back and forth in stockinette, of all things. I bought fifteen skeins of Berroco Uxbridge Tweed, #1171 Marionberry, thinking I was going to knit the heavily cabled-and-bobbled Maine. But when I swatched, I decided I didn't want a cabled sweater that hefty, and I'm making a West Side Raglan instead. I'm adding subtle A-line shaping and possibly a funnel neck.

The Uxbridge Tweed is a sad story of a lost opportunity to save money. It went up at right around the time I went to Stitches Midwest, so I didn't buy it. A couple of weeks later, I discovered that UT had been discontinued by Berroco (guess that's why had it–DUH). So I went on a mad internet hunt for it and had to pay $4.95 a ball for it, which is actually a little higher than full retail.

Meanwhile, I've completely finished the Debbie Bliss Hooded Aran Cardigan, and after a marathon week with a crochet hook, I am about a dozen ends away from having a fabulously bobbled crocheted off-white coat (Fall 2003 FCEK).

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I have been a Busy Kitty. Not only did I buckle down and get a Real Job, I finished a sweater! I knit Trish in eight days, start to finish. And that INCLUDES weaving in the ends. I accomplished this by following sage advice from Hope: I started a project where I really, desperately, wanted to have the finished object. And I have certainly enjoyed wearing it. Maddeningly, it is already starting to get a little large on me. But hey, I had enough yarn left over to knit it again, and I probably will next spring. I think I can duplicate the little changes in shaping that I added (it was a straight-sided tee, which never flatters me, so I "fixed" it).

Now I am cranking right along on the Debbie Bliss Hooded Aran Pullover. Luckily, I got the Real Job before the Cotton Denim Aran yarn went up at, plus I had a chunk of store credit from a return some months ago. I dawdled and didn't buy it until mid-afternoon the day it went for sale, and the medium blue shade I was going to get had sold out already, so I'm knitting it in the lightest blue; but actually, I think I'm happier with the light blue than I would have been with the medium. I've knit both sleeves and most of the back. Again, I really want to have the finished sweater by the time it gets cool.

Oh, and in case I wasn't busy enough, I joined a rock band. All together now, everybody: "You did WHAT?"

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I'm thinking of coming out of my latest Big Black Funk. It started when I discovered that ThreadBear is moving to MICHIGAN. Then a few days later, CH and I sat down and did a real honest-to-goodness budget and discovered that I cannot make any more major yarn purchases for the next twenty years. I would like to blame this on the fact that our car insurance just doubled, no doubt due to our Misadventures in Driving over the last couple of years. However, that is really only the last straw after years of poor spending habits and chronic inattention to the state of our finances. So, I am looking for a Real Job to pay down the credit cards and free up some yarn money.

Meanwhile, I have started teaching my crochet class at River Wools and it is Big Fun. This week I am writing a scarf pattern with a simple lacy diamond insertion to teach my students how to read a pattern. I will post it here when I'm finished. CH has agreed to test-stitch it, bless his fuzzy little heart.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Don't get me wrong–I love knitting, and I'm not going to stop. But I am having an affair. I am cheating on my knitting: with crochet.

I have finished the Summer Breeze cardigan except for a few ends, and over the weekend I crocheted a Fiber Trends Crochet Crusher Hat out of Provence as a shop model for River Wools. I ordered myself several new crochet books from Then I started a scarf out of Jamieson & Smith jumper-weight Shetland wool from the VKOG Crochet Scarves Book, and this morning I started the Sweet Treat cardigan from Family Circle Easy Crochet out of off-white Classic Elite Lush, which I found for $4 a ball at Susan's Summer Yard Sale of Yarn (a.k.a. Mass Avenue Knits). Not only can I not be faithful to my craft, I can't even be faithful to a specific project.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

More from KNN, your Knitting News Network...

The headlining crochet lace cardigan is from a free pattern I picked up at Hobby Lobby. Since Hobby Lobby only had the Spanish version (what's that about, here in Whitesville, IN?), I was afraid I was going to have to dig out my old Spanish-English dictionary, but as it happens, the Summer Breeze pattern was available in English online. I have the body finished, the shoulder seams sewn, the body edging added, and one sleeve done. I really, really need this finished so I can wear it over the spaghetti-strap Isaac Mizrahi jersey dress I bought at Target. (You can only get it online in black, but mine is hot orchid pink with blue-purple trim. It also goes nicely with my also-unfinished Charlotte's Web Shawl.)

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I am awash in knitting-related news items, so here are the headlines:

  • Hope and Lana have an Indianapolis Acquisition Expedition

  • Purple Cash Iroha obtained due to ThreadBear KFI clearance sale

  • Second sleeve added to Intricately Cabled V-Neck Pullover

  • Charlotte's Web shawl cast off and pre-blocked

  • River Wools opens in downtown Terre Haute

  • Crochet lace cardigan begun
  • Lana to teach beginning crochet class at River Wools!!!

Monday, May 17, 2004

I have successfully set in one sleeve of the NGICVNP in only two attempts, but now I have to make myself do the other one. I've lost interest again because I discovered that this sweater currently fits me just fine. Yes, I realize that is customarily the goal of knitting a sweater; however, since the weather is now getting too warm for long sleeve sweaters, and I intend to be a yet-smaller size by fall, I don't know if I will ever get to wear it. Probably it will be okay with a reblocking, or I may even put it through the dryer (after experimenting on a swatch). Good thing I'm largely a "process knitter."

By the way, can anybody explain why the row gauge of the front and back were altered by blocking, but not the row gauge of the sleeves? I had to re-knit the sleeve caps as a result. Also, note that the sleeve shaping given in the pattern is just plain WRONG: the specified gauge can't possibly yield the measurements from the schematic. I had to change the number of stitches at the armhole and recalculate the rate of increase.

Meanwhile, I have been cranking away madly on a Koigu Charlotte's Web shawl in sunset colors. I ran out of color #4 and had to start #5 early, so I'm hoping I don't run out of #5. But if worst comes to worst, I have another three skeins of #5 in the house in a different but similar dye lot which I could use for the edging and fringe. They were intended for socks, but I can rob a half-skein without causing problems.

Oh, and a bonus: I did some Actual Paying Work last week, so now I have a little yarn money to spend. :)

Sunday, April 25, 2004


I finally pulled out the Norah Gaughan Intricately Cabled V-Neck Pullover and finished the last few rows of the back. Now, this is not as simple as it sounds, because those last few rows included the shoulder and neck shaping, and since I am Certifiably Insane, I found it necessary to convert the shaping to short rows. I have done this many times for shoulders, but this is the first time I have simultaneously used short rows for back neck shaping. It was a Giant Pain but I am in fact quite pleased with the results, and having a smooth castoff edge around the back neck will make it much easier to tack into place the little extensions from the front that form the neckband.

I have got to get a cheapass digital camera so I can put up pictures, but I am right in the throes of one of those periods where I feel guilty for every nickel I spend on my own amusement.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Contrary to rumors, I was not eaten by an alligator on my way to the Orlando airport. I did in fact return home safely from Florida three weeks ago. And when I got here, I had a box from Woodland Woolworks with my Reynolds Morocco in Field. So in spite of the seven hundred projects I have in progress, I immediately started the Sunburst Pullover, a Norah Gaughan design from the cover of IK a couple of years ago. I knit the front and back medallions and the side gussets, which are the interesting part, so of course I then immediately lost interest.

After that, I knit a pair of socks. That's right, a WHOLE PAIR, with TWO WHOLE SOCKS. Now... who are they for? I'm not telling!

Sunday, March 21, 2004

On March 5, I not only abandoned my blog; I abandoned my entire Real Life. My Mom called me at 11:00 a.m. to tell me that my Dad was being whisked off in an ambulance for immediate emergency open-heart surgery, and by 2:00 p.m. I was on my way to the airport with my brother to catch a plane to Florida. Dad is recovering at home now, and doing well, after six-count'em-six coronary artery bypasses. Here's his Well-Wishes Web Page. I am still in Florida, struggling to teach my parents how to eat healthfully and yet deliciously.

I did manage to throw half a dozen balls of yarn and my Denise needle set into my carryon, but haven't done much knitting, even in the hospital. I was just too tired most of the time.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

When I'm behind on my blogging, you know there's a pretty good chance I've been knitting like the crazy knitting fool I am. And so I have. I just finished sewing up the Reverse Seam Pullover from Classic Elite's spring pattern collection "House Party." I finished the Manos model for ThreadBear twelve days ago, and of course I had to deliver it in person. I showed up shortly after the Classic Elite shipment, so I went home with twenty balls of "Vineyard" Isabella, the cotton-blend cousin of Beatrice, fresh from the box. And now I have a nice cushy pink spring sweater. Um, okay, I have a sweater with 31 ends hanging down inside. Mind you, that's AFTER weaving in 31 MORE ends. This yarn had an absolutely outrageous number of broken plies.

Meanwhile, I can now purl like a Norwegian (in spite of Figure 2 being just plain WRONG), although it fouls up my tension sufficiently that I doubt I'll use the technique. But I'm oh so happy that I know how.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Oh! Oh! I am so excited that I am beside myself. I bought the spring IK today and it has an article by Beth Brown-Reinsel which contains the number one piece of knitting knowledge that had so far escaped me: the Norwegian Purl. I haven't tried it yet, but I will probably have to do so before I can sleep.

How I acquired said magazine: the sun was shining, my hands were tired from knitting cotton, and I was in the mood to go Someplace New, so I packed up my knitting and drove up to Lafayette to River Knits, where I had never been before. It took me about an hour and a half to get there (once you subtract the time I drove around in circles in West Lafayette/Lafayette– apparently they have rerouted US 231 since my map was printed). I met shopowner Elizabeth, who I had encountered on the indianaknits mailing list (Hi Elizabeth!) and bought grey Peace Fleece with flecks of purple, teal, and gold, two balls of Fixation, two skeins of Jawoll Sport in a purple/green/blue jacquard, and IK.

Afterwards, I went clothes-shopping on the east side. I went first to the Tippecanoe Mall. I got very excited for a minute when I saw that it had a store called The Alpaca Shack, but sadly, they did not have any yarn. I also went to Super Target and got a vanilla latte at the in-store Starbucks on my way out, which is why I am still up.

That reminds me, I have to go purl like a Norwegian.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Am I the only one who is bothered by the fact that the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf begins with a triangle, but ends with a trapezoid? I found it particularly disturbing because it was very easy to adapt it so that the ends are symmetrical.

Last week was a Good Knitting Mail week: I got two new magazines on the same day! One was Cast On, which I have a subscription for; the other was an unsolicited free "try me" issue of Knit 'n Style. As usual, there was precious little in the KnS that interested me, but hey, free knitting magazine!

Meanwhile, I have started a spring sweater: Intricately Cabled V-Neck Pullover, from a 1998 Classic Elite leaflet that I got from It's one of Norah Gaughan's creations with amazing wandering cables. It was originally designed in Provence mercerized cotton, but I'm using a light lavender shade of Premiere cotton/tencel blend from stash. They only gave gauge "in pattern" (grrr...) so I started with a sleeve, checked that I was getting row gauge (essential for this design), and held my breath. I finished the front this morning and had no trouble blocking it to the specified width dimensions, hooray! It is a little longer to the underarm than I had expected, but I don't think that will be a problem. If it is, it wouldn't be hard to take a couple inches off the bottom below where the main cable chart kicks in.

I confess I am tickled to be knitting the middle size instead of the largest.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Oh! Oh! I almost forgot, I have actual Real News: my SIL is finally pregnant again! They have been trying to have a second child for, um, probably about six years now. Let another round of Baby Gift Knitting commence!
Good heavens, what a busy knitting week it's been. Since last Sunday, I've finished the Celtic Dreams sweater AND knitted a San Francisco Vest (from Nancie Wiseman's recent book Classic Knitted Vests) from start to finish, using Noro Silk Garden #34 which has been marinating for about a year. I wore the SF Vest over to ThreadBear yesterday for a Glorious Outing with CH, where it was so well received that Helen had to buy book and yarn.

I left the SF Vest with The Boys as collateral while I finish off the Manos shop model. I woke up early this morning and put the front bands on it, and miracle of miracles, they came out perfect on the FIRST TRY. Now I am chugging along on sleeves again.

Meanwhile, all of the other things I was supposed to do this week went straight out the window.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Phoenix was kind of a mixed bag. Yeah, sure the weather was great. But downtown Phoenix is pretty useless. There are a couple of museums and a half-empty outdoor mall, and otherwise it's all office buildings. There are hardly any pedestrians except for homeless people. Most of the restaurants only serve lunch because their clientele are the office workers. Oh, and the bus system is decidedly NOT tourist-friendly: there were no schedules posted at the stops, and the Desert Botanical Gardens was over a half hour walk from the nearest stop. It would have taken an hour and a half to get to the big yarn shop by bus. I wish we'd stayed in the suburbs and rented a car.

However, I did get to see several old friends, and the restaurants we ate at were all pretty good, and when we finally got there, the Desert Botanical Gardens was smashing. I especially liked the display of mutant succulents ("X-Cacti"). And I really enjoyed buying a souvenir T-shirt for myself in a regular rack size misses XL.

The other souvenir I brought home was a cold, which I probably caught on the plane. So I haven't done any tremendously interesting knitting since we got home. I did finish a pair of Opal socks for CH, and today I got a sleeve finished on the Celtic Dreams. Right after I put it on to check the length, the Schwan man showed up. He seemed a little disturbed that I only had one sleeve, but I waved my needles at him and assured him that I'm knitting as fast as I can.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Hey, guess whose hotel has free high-speed internet access. :)

I am in Arizona for a Giant Geekfest. There are six thousand mathematicians assembled in downtown Phoenix for this shindig. The part I came along for was the Knitting Circle, which CH and I just got back from. Grand fun. Would you believe there are actually other people who like to reframe knitting problems as mathematical questions? One of them is trying to organize a session of talks about mathematics of fiber arts and next year's conference, and I volunteered to talk about picking up stitches as Diophantine equations. Plus some of my old friends from math grad school were there and we got a chance to catch up a little.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I'm off to warm, sunny Arizona for a few days. I was a good girl and did not pack All the Knitting in the World, although I wanted to. I admit, so I did pack a sweater project instead of an appropriate-sized travel project. So I guess I wasn't all that good. But I couldn't put the Celtic Dreams sweater aside right now. I've finished the body and picked up for one sleeve. My sweater and I have been having many exciting adventures over the last few days, which I will have to recount later so I don't miss my flight.

I know you were thinking about sneaking into my house and pillaging my stash while I'm gone, so let me remind you that since this is Indiana, my neighbor will shoot you. Cheerfully. (Seriously, I made sure the neighbors knew the make and color of the housesitter's car.)

Saturday, January 03, 2004

I suppose I should have done something more profound for New Year's Day, but instead I cleaned up my kitchen. At least I was knitting when the ball dropped.

This week I've made two slinky scarves from Crystal Palace Splash and knit about 9" of torso (in the round) of the long-dormant Celtic Dreams sweater. Lest you think I have been delinquent by setting aside the Manos shop model, it is stalled out awaiting the arrival of more yarn, since two of the skeins from the original kilo turned out to be spun at a significantly different gauge than the rest. How annoying. Meanwhile, I blocked the sleeveless portion, and now that it is dry, I think I will go ahead and put the front and bottom bands on, and crochet around the armholes, so that it can be displayed as a vest.

By the way, Sylvester Stallone's attempt to pretend to knit in "Demolition Man" is PATHETIC. Somebody should have set that boy down and taught him to cast on.