Tuesday, December 30, 2008


My Christmas knitting deadline is tomorrow and I was determined to have the orchid mitts at least finished. They're small, they're relatively quick, that's totally doable, right?

No. Last night I got to the point where I was supposed to put the thumb stitches on the holder, only I had gone two rounds too far. Tonight, I picked back the two rounds and put the stitches on the holder, increased as directed and continued on...and found I was one stitch short. I backed up...still one stitch short. I put the thumb stitches back on the needles. Still one stitch short.

I am dead certain that I was counting those stitches at least every other round, if not more often. I cannot imagine where I lost that stitch. I can't find anywhere that a stitch was lost. I can't find any random extra decrease that I may have made. As far as I can tell the issue is not in the thumb stitches. I can't find it anywhere. I know that I could just increase an extra stitch and proceed, but frankly I'm afraid to do that without knowing where I went wrong. If there is a dropped stitch somewhere it will have to run eventually and that will be a problem. Still - I can't find one.

I put it down and decided to get out the other mitt and do the rest of the thumb. And...here's the really horrible part.

I can't find the almost-finished mitt. The SO and I have turned the house upside down (and discovered an extremely upsetting mouse nest in the process) without success. I called my mom to see if I maybe dropped it in their guest room. No luck. I'm terrified that I left it at the plane, and I'm certain that I had it here. Unfortunately, I have a very vivid imagination and I remember all sorts of things that never happened. I am sure I didn't take it out at the airport or on the plane, but again, "sure" for me is a relative term. And, even if I'm sure I didn't take it out on purpose, that does not rule out having dropped it out of the bag on accident.

I am extremely upset, not just because I don't have a present for my friend tomorrow, not even one completed mitt, but because this means that I will not be free of the Christmas knitting for even longer. The two things that I planned to knit for Christmas and I haven't finished either one of them and I am going to be knitting them FOREVER as punishment.

I know many people do not knit for Christmas do to this very feeling, but I really thought what I had on my list was doable (and it was, until work exploded, I got sick, and I added 3 other projects to my list).

I'm just so, so disappointed.

Monday, December 29, 2008

When the Christmas Knitting is over

I'm back at home, yay. More on that some other post. I need a moment of self-indulgence. I finished the mitts for my brother ("Just what I always wanted. A fabric tube"), the hat for my dad ("I thought you could wear it when you went hunting." "We usually try not to wear things the same color as the deer.") and the scarf for my mom was declared done somewhere around midnight or 1 a.m. Christmas Eve/morning, when it reached 3 feet and I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer ("Oh, it's cute!").

I still have to finish the Orchid Mitts and Whispering Pines. I worked on the second mitt on the plane and finished the cuff, so I'm working on the hand now. It's going fairly quickly and I am confident I will be able to finish it before Wednesday, which is my deadline.

I've finished the body of Whispering Pines and I'm all set now to work on the edging. However, it's kind of a lot to get done by Wednesday and I am working this week. Therefore...I may need an extension on that one. Dangit.

However, it is JUST BARELY possible that I might be able to finish it and I am going to knit like the wind until there is NO HOPE LEFT. But, the mitts are the priority because I see that recipient more often. Also, I am confident I can finish those. It's possible that if I worked on WP I might not manage to finish either and then I would really feel lousy. SO. A ways yet to go, but I am dreaming of new projects.

Therefore, I present to you, a list of what I plan to knit when the Christmas Knitting is done:

--Swirled Pentagon Pullover, a.k.a. My First Sweater (Valley Yarns Colrane)
--Hemlock Ring Blanket (Valley Yarns Northampton)
--Swan Lake (Jaggerspun Zephyr, ebony with hematite beads)
--Hamsa Scarf (Homestead yarn)

Things I'd like to get back to:
--Moonlight Sonata (Rowan KSH)
--MS4? Maybe? Eh. Not sure about this one...I've got a lot of stuff I would rather work on.

I have lost the coffee pot rock socks. I can't figure out what I did with them. I may have dropped them at church or something, or stuck them in a bag - as long as I didn't drop them in the road somewhere they should make their way back to me eventually. I'm well known to be the knitter. In the meantime I have started a pair of socks using the Blue Ridge Yarns that I got at Nature's Yarns a while back. So far, I have received no yarn for Christmas, so I may have a little sock yarn binge in January, because I'm definitely running low.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I'm leaving for the airport in an hour and a half!! I have been very occupied this weekend, cleaning and prepping and...


Packing. From the left: Scarf for my mom, Whispering Pines, Swish Superwash to make handwarmers for my bro, sock yarn (the coffee pot socks are MIA and I am very worried about what has become of them), the Homestead yarn (this has since been edited out of the 'stuff to pack' pile due to both space and time concerns), orchid mitts yarn

Will be postless for a week or so while I'm gone, but I'll let you all know how it turns out!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Well, darn

It's Monday and I have no progress to report. Zip. None. I was working fairly late most of last week, so I only got a row or two done at most each evening on the whispering pines shawl, but then on Thursday night I was completely leveled by the cold from hell. The timing was horrible since our Christmas musical was yesterday evening. In a choir as small as ours losing even one or two people is difficult. On top of that, I had a solo, and there was really no way for anyone else to learn it in time to take my place. I soldiered through it but it was definately not my best performance ever.

I stayed home Friday and I'm staying home today, but I haven't felt like kitting at all. All I want to do is sleep, and that hasn't really worked out for me thanks to my stuffy nose...woe. However, I do think I'm feeling better today, and my nose cleared up enough that I got an okay night's sleep last night so...here's hoping I'll be better tomorrow.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Just Keep Knitting

Friday was the ornament exchange for my church. I whipped together a container for my ornament as fast as I could, as pride would not allow me to just wrap the thing and be done with it. I'm pretty happy with the top:


But I thought the sides were kind of plain. I was out of ideas, short on materials, and like an idiot...I put the paper on first and came up with decorations later.


Which meant those Versamark snowflakes were stamped on a rounded surface. I am a moron. I used an angel punch and my little xyron to stick on the angels. All in all - not my best effort. I wish I had done the top first so I could have based the whole thing around that. The ornament stamp came from Angela's Happy Stamper. I used dark green opaque embossing powder and then cut it out. I adhered it carefully so that it covered up the smudge on the quote. That stamp also came from Angela's.

I put the same ribbon on my Tree ornament, added some tissue paper,


and off I went to the exchange. I got an adorable little snowman ornament, which I neglected to photograph.

This took knitting time away from Whispering Pines, but I'm still plugging along.


That photo shows the color pretty accurately I think. When viewed up close, like this:


It appears white, and you can see the bits of color running through it. But from a distance, as in the first photo, the impression it gives is of an ice blue. Very pretty. Anyway, I'm on the last tree, but every row is so long at this point that whenever I am called upon to describe my progress I use words like plugging, plodding, anything that gives the impression of doggedly toiling onward with your head down, making no effort to measure your progress because it will just discourage you anyway. Other knits are calling, I am trying to ignore them, even as my hands freeze off and the wind gets under my collar and my ears go all tingly (Okay, we have not quite reached tingly levels of cold yet, but the wind on bare hands is enough to make you think you are going to get frostbite just trying to get your groceries out to the car).

One of my friends sent me this for Christmas:


4 oz of hand-dyed fingering weight yarn from the Homestead Heritage craft fair. She got me some worsted last year that has been sitting in my stash waiting for me to get over the aversion to scarfs I had after beginning my knitting life with several. I actually washed one of the skeins last week to try and soften it up a bit, as it was a little rugged and a tad sheepy (If anyone has any solutions for the removal of VM I would love to know, as there is kind of a lot in those skeins).

The sock yarn is not rugged and has no VM and it is shiny and beautiful and the perfect color. It's hard to tell in the photo, but it has more of a semisolid effect to it. Very pretty. Too pretty for socks. I am thinking Hamsa.

I wore my Scheherazade to church on Sunday and two separate people told me they would pay me to make them one. My general reaction was uh, no...As appealing as extra money sounds, I don't think I want to cross that kind of line. I will make presents, I will keep mental notes about what people like, but I am not going to knit for money. Besides, I am pretty sure that is illegal under the pattern copyright.

I'm getting a bonus this year, and I plan to use it to buy a spinning wheel (probably an Ashford Kiwi). I did not make it very far in my resolution to drop spindle every day, so I may be setting myself up for disappointment or insanity by getting a wheel, but I am taking the plunge anyway. Used wheels generally keep a lot of their value.

I wonder if I could get the SO's mom to paint my wheel for me. She is a very good painter and I would so love for my wheel to be pretty. Maybe I can trade her some knitting for it! I don't know, though, would that affect the balance? Would it not spin as well?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How I Knit

I got the Yarn Harlot's new book, Free-Range Knitter, almost immediately when I came out. I found it to be more thoughtful and philosophical than funny - which I think is okay. I was particularly interested by her portraits of other knitters and how they go about their knitting. I found them a little difficult to follow. Knitting is difficult to picture when put into words, but I was still really interested. I've been looking at the way I knit a lot as a result, and I'm going to take a stab at trying to describe how I do it - even though I suspect it will be just as hard to follow.

I carry the yarn in my right hand, looped around my middle three fingers as many times as it takes to get a tension that I'm comfortable with, and then over my extended index finger to the needles.

I hold the needles palm down, with my thumbs facing me and my fingers loosely curled under. My left hand needle rests loosely pretty loosely with my fingers curled under them except for my index finger and thumb. On my left hand, these two fingers grip the needle near the tip to keep it from going anywhere. The first finger usually rests on the top stitch, keeping it from popping off the needle while I make my knit stitch in it. I think my left pinky finger is largely responsible for making sure I don't drop the needle, curled securely around the base of the needle and holding it against my hand. In my right hand, the pinky and ring finger are both pretty loose, with my ring finger barely touching the needle. Since my first finger is extended on the right hand, I hold the needle against my middle finger with my thumb.

When I make a stitch, my right hand puts the right needle into the stitch, and then, my left thumb comes forward to pinch the two needles together. Then, the fingers of my right hand let go of the right needle. The fingers of my right hand straighten and my right thumb moves inward to press against my middle finger, sometimes pinching on the yarn feeding from the loops around my fingers to my index finger, to keep it from sliding too far - sort of like I am making the number four, only with my thumb a little higher. The left hand takes the two needles together in a quick circle to catch the yarn, then my left thumb lets go, and my right fingers and thumb curl back around the right needle, and guide the needle back through the loop and knock the needle off the stitch. My left index finger moves the next stitch up on the needle.

Then I do it all over again. It's incredibly complicated and I'm sure I have done one or more fingers an injustice here and leaving one or more of their jobs out.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holy Crap It's December

The relativeness of time is probably one of the most bizarre experiences in human experience. The older I get, the faster time goes, and as I'm not yet even 30, it frightens me to think about what life will be like when I am my grandmother's age. When I think about any one portion of this year, it feels like it has whipped by, but when I think of last year, it seems like such a long time ago.

But you came here for the knitting, right, not my ramblings? Well...I have no pictures to show. I am lame. I'll try to take some tonight and post tomorrow. I did a lot of knitting this weekend but I'm not sure how much progress I really made. I worked on the coffee pot socks. I worked on the hat. I finished neither. I did both start and finish a pair of wristwarmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts because the SO's mom has expressed (several times) a desire for fingerless gloves, and we were going to the Christmas tree farm, and I thought, wouldn't it be nice to give her a pair when she shows up in the morning? I failed miserably, but I was able to hand the completed pair to her on the way home (despite several mishaps that probably would not have occured had I not walked and knitted at the same time). And it took care of one ball of KP Swish superwash in my stash that had been there for a while, because I kind of bought, like, one of every color of Swish, without much thought given to "what would I do with only one ball if it did not go with any of the others?" So, while most of that sampler expedition has since become hats and various other things that can be made with two coordinating balls, I found myself left with one ball of grey, one ball each of two different blues, and a ball of copper, and not a very good idea of what to do with any of it. I could put the grey together with one other and make a hat but what would I do with the remaining two? None of the colors that would have been left would really have gone together. So, now, the copper is gone, and I will make another pair out of one of the blues (maybe for my brother's stocking, as they really don't take too long) and then the remaining blue and the grey can become a hat. (Incidentally, most of the hats I make also come from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, in the Kim's Hats section. I am very fond of that book.)

I did get some catching up done on the shawl so November was not a total wash as far as shawl-knitting goes. I finished the chart I was on (chart G) and last night I stopped one row short of finishing the next chart (chart H). It hurt to stop so close, but it was 10 p.m. and each row is taking me over half an hour at this point, and knitting after 10 never seems to work out for me.

I have two more charts before the edging. Chart J is about 37 rows, so it is both longer in the number of rows and longer in the length of rows than the two charts I just finished. Then I have chart K, which is a relatively small chart heightwise but, again, the rows just keep getting longer and longer. Then I move on to the hem edgings.

Despite the fact that I still have hope in my heart, in my head I must acknowledge that there is no way I will be done in time. I can only hope that I can knit enough while I am off for Christmas itself, so that I can finish it in time for New Years, which will probably be the next time I see the recipient. If I can just get to the hem edging before I leave for TX I think I can make it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I forgot that I had choir practice last night, so I didn't get home until around 10. This was problematic, as my sheets were in the washing machine and needed to be dried before they could be put on my bed so I could sleep (we will not discuss the incident that led to the need to immediately wash the sheets, but you can rest assured that it involved five pounds of furry mess-making expertise).

I fed the dogs and cleaned myself up and got ready for bed, and sat down to wait for my sheets to dry. Obviously, I needed something to knit. Unfortunately, I left my nearly completed coffee pot sock in the car. My garage is detached from the house so getting to it actually involves going outside, down the yard, around the garage for the neighboring unit and into mine, and back again, all in 30 degree weather, in my pajamas. Also unfortunately, I had already been back out to the car once, because I forgot the steak in the backseat which was to go in the crock pot this morning. It was clearly too late to risk screwing up the Christmas knitting, so I decided than just sitting there idle or going out to the car again, I would just cast on a hat with stash yarn. One of the ladies in my church is collecting warm things to send to her husband in Iraq, and I thought I could make a nice hat out of some green and tan yarn and give it to her, or else give it to my dad for Christmas. This would be easy and would not involve going out to the car. Let's count how many times I ended up going up and down the stairs for this.

Trip 1: Go upstairs to stash, find yarn and binder of Options needle tips, come back downstairs. Realize that I forgot the book with the pattern in it.

Trip 2: Go upstairs, search craft room bookshelf. Decide that the book must be in downstairs bookshelf.

Trip 3: Determine that book is not in fact in downstairs bookshelf, and decide that I did not check the craft room book shelf closely enough. Go back upstairs to check the craft room bookshelf. Fail to find book, think to check bedroom knitting basket. Locate book, go back downstairs.

Trip 4: Discover, through use of newly relocated book, that project calls for size 9 needles. Discover as well that size 9 needles are not in Options binder, and neither are size 10. Spend several minutes debating whether size 8 or 10.5 would work. Find that plating seems to have chipped off of size 10.5. Look at size 8, waver, remember that I am a supertight knitter. Stew in indecision for a moment or 10. Check nearby project bag for possible size 9 needles. Come up with 8 and 7.

Trip 5: Remember chocolate waffle scarf. Go upstairs armed with needle guage, discover that this is in fact where my size 9 needles are. Bring bag with scarf downstairs, deprive of needles, cap cables. Decide not to take scarf back upstairs and put it away just yet.

Trip 6: Attempt to pull center from yarn ball. Fail utterly. Get frustrated. Go upstairs, rewind ball into yarn cake on ball winder. Forget to take waffle scarf with.

All of this so that I could avoid going out to the car, where my sock awaited lacking only about half an inch of plain knitting and a toe, both of which I probably could have completed in the time it took me to start that #%$@!! hat.

I got maybe an inch of ribbing done on my hat before my sheets were finally dry.

I find I am suffering from some serious...I started to say startitis, but it's really more like craftitis. The SO's mom was making drop spine boxes from a kit she got at Paper Source and I REALLY wanted to make them, and yesterday I was looking longingly at cross stitch patterns, and thinking of the ones I have at home that have been so neglected. This is not a good time of year for the commitment to waver! I must persevere! Even if the mits I am making would fit perfectly in one of those little boxes and even if the recipient would love some of the Japanese papers that Paper Source has and ARGH! I AM TOO BROKE TO BE THINKING THIS WAY!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekend Report

The coffee pot rock sock is flying.


I've got maybe a couple of inches left before the toe.


But, the Christmas knitting was not entirely neglected! I have almost finished one (1) orchid mitt:


It just needs a thumb.


I'm wondering, a little bit, if I did something wrong, missed an instruction somewhere. If you look at the picture of the back, it seems like the whole pattern would look much better if the triangle in the top lace pattern centered over the orchid pattern beneath it, so the whole thing comes up to a point, which right now, it does not do. Looking closely at the picture on the pattern (which is not easy, it is kind of small and the yarn is variagated), it looks like it IS centered over that orchid piece so...I'm not sure what I did. Maybe I missed an instruction? Ravelry is down for maintenance so I can't look at other projects to see. It's really bugging me, but the recipient probably won't notice...should I go back and rip it out and redo it, or let it go and do it the same on the next one?

I also worked on the scarf for my mom when we went to the football game last night, but I will not bore you with a picture since it looks exactly the same, only longer (about 10" now).

I have to decide what to do for Thanksgiving knitting. I guess I will probably take both the coffee pot socks and the scarf for mom and see which one I can handle working on. The scarf is not hard, per se, but I have found that it does in fact require some attention, even with the pattern memorized. I found myself wishing I had something from Wrapped in Comfort on the needles, becuase the stitch manipulations aren't very difficult on those and the bigfoot shawl I worked a while ago was perfect for take-around knitting. I do actually have several skeins of Jojoland in various purply shades sitting at home for just such a project, but alas, such a project would be for me and all my personal knitting is on hold until the Christmas knitting is finished (except for the socks).

I took Tretta to church on Sunday, but I was too late. The lady I was making it for, the sister of my friend, passed away this past week. I was surprised at how heart-wrenching I found the news. I've never met the lady, never spoken to her, but I felt a horrible loss, not only because I felt bad for my friend who had to lose her sister, because my knitting had connected us and I felt like I was really losing somebody personally. My friend told me that while going through her sister's things, she found the original Odessa hat I knit back in April, and she is going to give it to another friend that has cancer, so that it will go on. I took Tretta to one of the ladies in my church who collects things for the hospital that she works in, and she is going to have one of her friends that works in the cancer ward find it a good home with someone who maybe doesn't have a lot of money to spend on things like that. I felt so full that I was ready to go home and buy a whole stash of yarn and beads to make more with. Maybe I have finally found the charity knitting project for me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thinking Through...

...Is apparently against my personal philosophy.

I was in kind of a mood when I got home last night around 10 and I needed a fix, so I pulled out the yarn I bought to make the Orchid Lace Mitts that are to be a Christmas present for a friend and cast on. It...did not go well.

Issue #1: I disregarded the instructions on the tag that said that handwinding was recommended.


This was probably dumb, and I acknowledged that to myself at the time...but ignored it anyway. I spent a great deal of time last night untangling the yarn I pulled from my center pull ball, since it refused to come smoothly.

Issue #2: This yarn is not particularly elastic. I knew that the silk would not be very bouncy, but apparently I did not adequately research the properties of cashmere. I'm a little concerned, since I do not think that cutting off circulation at the wrist is particularly conducive to warming hands.

Issue #3: I am a freaking idiot at 10 p.m. I have a general rule that I stop knitting at 9 unless it is utterly stupid, mindless knitting. Inevitably when I break this rule, I screw up. Therefore, casting on a new project after 10 was just ASKING for trouble. Sure enough, I managed to, within three rows, turn my work inside out AND start working with the tail end of the yarn instead of the part of the yarn that was actually connected to the ball. I didn't notice until I came to the end of the tail, and...it was kind of a long tail. I had to undo two rounds, but it turned out not to really matter because when I finally got back to working with the right piece, the yarn got really hung up coming out of the ball, and while I was trying to get it loose, it broke. All attempts to splice it back together failed miserably, and in the end I pulled the whole thing off the needles, flung it from me, and re-cast on (over two needles held together, because I was concerned about issue 2), because I am both stupid and unable to admit defeat. Had I waited, it might have occured to me that maybe I should cast on with the tail on the outside of the yarn cake, but it didn't, so I'm sure I will end up in the same situation once I have three or four inches of the thing knit.

All of this, I could get over, but I really am concerned that maybe I made the wrong choice of yarn. I really wanted something decadent, but I'm just not sure this is going to work out. Do I keep going and have a little faith becuase really, you can't tell anything from the first couple of rows anyway? I could ditch it and use the other skein of Gloss lace that I bought for my mom's scarf (on which no progress has been made, and I wasn't ever really sure I would need a second skein anyway, and even if I did, these mitts aren't supposed to take that much). I probably even have enough Lane Borgo-whatever Cashwool left over from Scheherazade, I could use that. Not sure it would wear well enough, though. Decisions, decisions.

On the upside, the coffee pot rock socks are cooperating nicely now. I think, though, that if I were doing it over I might go for a slightly tighter guage. But, they're on the smallest needles I own now as it is, and with the holidays coming up, buying more needles is not really on my to-do list. The socks ARE going very quickly since they are not patterned, but...but...then I will be out of simple knitting. I do have more sock yarn in the stash, but nothing I'm really terribly excited about. Some Cherry Tree Hill that I harbor some ill will toward due to the torture that was knitting the potpouri sachets I made for my friend back when I first learned to knit. I expect that they would not be nearly so torturous now, but they did drive me kind of crazy back then, and I have not forgiven the yarn for its treachery (even though it had nothing to do with the yarn and everything to do with the fact that this was supposed to be a really fast project but it turns out that, having been knitting for only a couple of months, I was kind of slow ass at it).

I do have some Twisted Sister sock yarn that I got at Yarn Market a while ago, but I wasn't as happy with the color as I expected to be, and I think it's hand wash, and I do not hand wash socks.

Oh! I know! I bought some Blue Ridge Yarns sock yarn at Nature's Yarns! So that will be the next set of socks after I zip through the coffee pot rock socks (watch me still be knitting coffee pot rock three months from now, now that I've said that).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Victory and Defeat

I did in fact finish the second pair of socks Sunday night, and even got it kitchenered and the ends woven in, and now all the socks need is a washing before they go off to their permanent home. 3 FOs in one weekend, woohoo!

Last night, I decided to go ahead and cast on the Coffee Pot Rock socks, so that I would have them started to take around with me, and then I planned to get back to the Christmas knitting (my eyes are starting to slide right past the shawl so as to avoid the panic I feel over the short period I have left in which to finish it), but the socks did not cooperate. I wanted an easy pattern so I picked the bluebell rib from Sensational Knitted socks. I cast on and started a 3x3 rib at the cuff. I knitted and then I frowned, and then I knitted a little more, and then I panicked. The colors were not cooperating. I had a half and half sock. If I could have trusted it to stay that way I would have kept going, but I just didn't, so I pulled the whole thing back and went back to the pattern book, looking for something that would travel a little more and encourage the colors not to pool. I picked another pattern out of More Sensational Knitted Socks, and cast on again, but something wasn't working right and I went back to the chart of size vs. guage that tells you how many stitches to cast on, and it was different in MSKS than the one in SKS. Also, I had not paid adequate attention to a line in the directions so my stuff was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I pulled it out, cast on my usual 64 stitches, knit the cuff in 2x2 and went to plain stockinette after. The colors are now behaving as they should. -_- The stupid thing is that when I looked at how the colors all snugged pretty on the cast-on I thought to myself that maybe I should just do plain socks and enjoy the way the color melted together, rather than using a rib or something with texture that would break up that smoothness, and disregarded the impulse. Obviously, the yarn was trying to tell me something. Okay, okay, you win, plain stockinette it is.

Then I went to bed, and another day of Christmas knitting slipped by with no progress.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Two in one, one in two

Two finished objects in one weekend, and one of those knit in only two days. Woo hoo! The Tretta hat is finished:


Yeah...kinda uninspiring in that photo, isn't it? So I modelled it...but no one was home, so I had to shoot blind.


That was the best attempt. I tried to shoot a couple from higher up so that you could see more of the top, but failed miserably.

So, yeah, pretty much as advertised - quick to knit, although I have neglected housework entirely to get it done, which is really pretty illogical, because I won't see my friend until next Sunday. I worked so much yesterday in the hope that I could get it done in one day and take it to Sunday School this morning, but that really wasn't happening. Who needs clean clothes anyway? If I use enough febreeze, no one will know. Looks just like the picture. Very pretty, I feel good. I got a little worried towards the end though:


I included a ball of sock yarn for scale but that probably wasn't the best choice. Anyway, I made it with a bit to spare, so that promise holds true as well - only one ball. I used Rowan Cashsoft, though, because I had bought two balls when I made Odessa "just in case." Odessa took less than the one ball so I had the other one kicking around. I kind of hate that I used the same colors and the same beads, but that's what I had on hand. I hope she liked it the first time!

I was kind of tickled by the inside, which I thought was really cool:


I am going to try for a hat trick, and see if I can finish the socks for the SO's mom tonight. I need the needles for one of the Christmas project, and besides, I'm on a roll!

ETA: Oops! I committed a blog sin. The sock yarn shown in the last post (and this post) is Coffee Pot Rock sock yarn from Spritely Yarns, which I got at MD Sheep and Wool, and the burgundy is Little Knits Indie II cashmere/silk laceweight. (OMG! When I went to get that link I saw that they now have Indie hand dyed and I WANT IT. Especially the teals!)

ETA2: Okay, now, days later, I just realized...I never actually posted the burgandy yarn.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Victory is mine!


And it feels soooooo good. I may never knit with another sock yarn again.


Oh, that? Um...elves wound it.

Last night the women's ministry had another fellowship night, and this one was cookie decorating. Behold, the fruits of my labor:



Sandy of Sandyland Cookies taught it, and it was fun, although I think the SO would have gotten more out of it than I did. He's a baker and famous for his cookies.

I allocated today for knitting and rest. I was thwarted in the resting, unfortunately - I had bad dreams and finally just decided to get up rather than continue to flee tidal waves and killer whales (I don't know what my subconscious has against orcas. When I'm awake I think they're beautiful and powerful and generally awesome - but in my sleep they eat people. Go figure.)

That just left more time for knitting. A whole day of Christmas knitting progress! Right?

Yeah...not so much. Grumperina came out with a new hat pattern. I knit her Odessa pattern back in April for the sister of one of my church ladies who was undergoing chemo for some fairly serious cancer. She did very well in the treatment, and her cancer was in remission for several months. but this week she had to go to the hospital and it looks like she's going to have to go back into treatment, so...


It's a quick knit. It won't throw me too far off schedule, and even if it does - they'll understand.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Falling short

Yesterday, I left work...well, late, again. But I left work and didn't have to take any home with me. It rained yesterday (again, again, always always again, and can't we just build a giant shunt in the sky to take some of this to the western states or something, because really - VA is pretty thoroughly soaked) and I foolishly did not look outside before leaving, and when standing in the doorway and faced with the torential rain, did not go inside and switch my short, light coat for my long raincoat, because I am apparently stupid. Also, I am allowed one trip out the door in the morning without my pups wailing for me to come back. If I come back in and then out again they cry because I have now broken the routine, and therefore they believe me contractually obligated to stay with them. Or something.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter because the real issue I had was that I was wearing dress shoes as always, and because those dress shoes were flats my pants were too long, and so the short version is my shoes got soaked, the bottom of my pants got soaked, and I spent the entire day with wet feet thinking about those Casbah socks at home that were so close to being done, and determined that when I got home I would change pants and then finish the socks. Then I would sit with my warm feet and feel accomplished. I imagined photographing the socks on my feet and posting the triumphant story on this beloved blog the next day.

Unfortunately...I had farther to go than I realized, and even though the SO picked up a frozen pizza, cooked it, brought it to me on the couch, and then took my plate away and put it in the dishwasher for me (he is so awesome and accomodating of the knitterly obsessions that possess me), even with all of that extra knitting time...it hit 10 before I finished the toe, and I was forced to acknowledge that I did not have the brainpower left for kitchener stitch, and that I had better leave well enough alone before I really screwed something up.

So, alas, I put it down and went to bed, sulking a little that I did not get to wear my toasty socks, even though I had solved the cold feet issue in the meantime by sitting on the couch indian style so they would be tucked under me. Because somehow...putting on store-bought socks would have meant admitting defeat?


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Certified Content-free

I have no pictures of knitting progress, not because I have not had time or opportunity to take pictures...but because I have been working such long hours that I have had little to no time to knit. I have made some small progress on my sock but other than that...nothing. Very depressing. Also kind of alarming, because here we are nearly halfway through November and Whispering Pines is in the same state of not-yet-done that it was at the end of October. I am starting to be concerned. A month and a half is plenty of time, right? But if I don't get back on the knitting track soon I may find myself in a panic.

I did get a little time off from work, as I left at noon on Friday. This weekend was our annual church retreat at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, VA, and while we were broken up into groups for an activity my Pastor came over to me and told me there was a group of ladies "knitting or crocheting or something," at the end of the porch, and he made me come peek out of the meeting room door to see them. When we got a break he marched me over there (supposedly because he wanted to see what they were doing, but I think he knew I was too chicken to go without help), and lo and behold, I met wendyknits and a group of other knitters who were hanging out. As usual I was awkward and babbly but they were all very nice and Wendy let me touch her shawl. I have read about the wonder that is sea silk but I have never seen it in person, much less touched it, so I was really amazed at the softness. Mega drape, definitely not for structured garments, but really beautiful and I want some.

Another knitter whose name I completely flaked on was knitting a Clapotis, which was the first time I had seen this fabled item. I wish I could remember the name of the sock yarn she was using, it was really pretty. I showed them my Casbah sock, wishing I had better proof of my knitterly credentials, but I did win some points for being a two circ devotee.

Actually, it was the funniest thing, I said "I'm a knitter," and Wendy looked at me and said "Are you an internet knitter?" and I was like I AM AMONG MY PEOPLE (because, surely I'm not the only one who noticed...non-internet knitters can be a little odd). I hope I wasn't rude to anybody, I am just such a verbal klutz and I was nervous, but they were all very nice. And now I think I owe my paster a pair of socks.

I spent the rest of the afternoon wondering where they were going on the 'field trip' Wendy mentioned to me that they were going to take, because I was sure it involved yarn and I really wanted to know where it was, even though the retreat would last until 5 at least and there was no way I would be able to get to any even semi-local knitting place before it closed (why didn't I ask? I don't know, because I'm wierd). Fortunately, I am now able to go to Wendy's blog to find out where they went so I can plot for next year (there was a fiber festival in Virginia last month?? How did I miss this?? I have got to find more local knitting blogs, this is clearly educational).

It was a wonderful weekend all around, but the hands and heart were too occupied for knitting - I am the unofficial church photographer so I had other duties (I have no explanation for why I do not have a picture of knitters in the wild). I did knit some on my sock during the break we had on Saturday afternoon, and during the bonfire (it is cute how non-knitters are wierded out by someone knitting in the dark) we had on Saturday night, but since I drove myself, no car knitting for me (it must be difficult when you are going somewhere with knitters to figure out who is the poor soul that is going to sacrifice knitting time to drive).

I came back Saturday night and processed photos until my eyes were about to fall out for a slideshow in the service on Sunday morning, and then after church on Sunday I...went to work. I finished at about 6 and had to be back at 8:30. This week should be the last week of this OH KILL ME NOW marathon, so hopefully, knitting content will return in next week's post.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Sound of Silence

I have been working so hard, y'all, I can't even tell you! Whine whine...but pretty much the whole purpose of this post is to say that I have been flat out at work and have had no time to knit or craft in pretty much anyway, and I have therefore very little of substance to say on any subject of interest to this blog. Here, have a photo instead:


Some friends and I went to the National Arboretum this weekend to soak up some fall color and do some photography (I keep a separate account for my crafty stuff so they do not clutter up my nice pretty arty photos). That was really all I did that did not involve work. Here, have another.

Autumn Daydream

It turns out that a lot of the real beauty is kind of difficult to capture. It's tough to beat the human eye when you're looking at landscape. There's a part of its beauty that can't be put in a little four-by-six box. So, I went for closeups and wierd angles and thought about what I could do with the light I had and how I could make it work for me. I think I did pretty well all in all.

Capital Columns

So, not necessarily crafty, but creative.

Meanwhile I am having commitment issues. I remain enchanted by the sweater yarn that was gifted to me (Kathy read my blog! Hi Kathy! I love your podcast Kathy! Say hi to Steve!) but I am Concerned about the Twist and Shout pattern. I really like it on the model, but I worry about whether it will actually look good on me. Fortunately, I have plenty of time to debate this issue since I have a long, long way to go before the Christmas knitting is done.

I was incensed at the lack of lines at my polling place. I walked up to the lady and I said "I was promised lines!!" I stood in line longer at the darn Starbucks, where I expected to be in and out and so did not bring my sock knitting with me. So there went a perfect chance to get some knitting done, right out the window. I have soldiered on despite the lack of time, in the quiet moments I can manage, and I have turned the heel and begun the gusset decreases on my second Casbah Caledonian Mist sock.

This week at choir one of the ladies in my church whose husband is in Iraq was talking about putting together packages to send to him and the men he is with, and she turned to me and said, "Do you have any socks we could send?" and I admit I was a little flabbergasted. Did she think I just churned out a sock a minute and I had just piles laying around? She knows I do the SFS knitting (which I have sadly neglected, to be truthful) so I guess maybe she thought I had some pairs that I hadn't sent off yet. I do have one pair that is still sitting at home because they are uneven and I have to undo the toe and rip back a bit so that I can get them to an even foot length, becuase I am dumb and eyeballed rather than measuring and then didn't even RE-eyeball before I washed them and one of them is at least a quarter inch longer than the other. Now I am debating in the back of my head whether I can commit to knitting a pair for her package. If I did it just plain I suppose it could be doable.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Status dump, with photos

The women's ministry at my church sponsors many fellowship outings, and recently we went to Claytime Cafe, one of those paint-your-own pottery things. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to me. One of the events that we do every year is an ornament exchange. I have always brought a handmade ornament for the ornament exchange. Some have been more successful than others. I painted one (nothing fancy, just some swirls of clear varnish on a matte ornament), I did a papercraft one (I don't think that looked very good), and last year I beaded one. As soon as I got to Claytime I started scoping out the options for Christmas ornaments, and voila.

Before firing:



After firing:



The last few years, I've done an altered luncbox as the gift box. I may switch things up a bit - I think I saw some containers at Michaels that were made to be covered. Just so I can do something besides the lunchbox. Like a little hatbox type shape or something.

We went to a wedding yesterday that was a couple hours away. Car knitting time! I mostly worked on a pair of plain socks for the SO's mom and the scarf for my mother.



I knew I needed the sock because the battery was dead in the little earclip light I use to knit in the dark, so I needed something I could work on without seeing. I had just cast on the second sock of the pair, so on the way their I got through the cuff and then put it aside to work on during the drive home. Then I went to work on the scarf for my mom's stocking. I'm having more trouble memorizing the pattern than I would really prefer, but I don't think this is the pattern's fault. It is going quite quickly, though, especially considering that the pattern is written for sock weight yarn and I am using laceweight. I have somewhere between four and six inches done. By the time we got home, I'd finished the leg of the sock. Yarn is KnitPicks Gloss Lace for the scarf and KnitPicks Essential Riverbed Multi for the socks (I think it's discontinued).

Still working on the Caledonian Mist socks in Casbah Peacock.


Almost ready to start the heel - I think I have another four or five pattern repeats to go.

I haven't worked on Whispering Pines at all this week, but I am planning to get moving on it this evening.


The SO and I have been dating 9 years as of last Thursday so he bought me a present. The present is this, but right now it looks like this:


Valley Yarns Colrain in Grape Jelly. I'm excited! But I put it away until the Christmas knitting is done. Most of it. I'm keeping a skein out where I can see and pet it, just to keep me motivated.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Plugging along

It's like I can feel the rows getting longer and longer. I really think it's an illusion - it's just because the pattern repeats right now are so short. I'm in the area I think of as the "snow field" between the big snowflakes and the pine trees. The pattern repeat is 8 stitches. I have markers every 16, just to keep myself from going crazy. Also...because I don't have enough Hide & Sheep markers to keep up with even every 16 stitches, and I am starting to be biased against the rubber ring markers - the Hide and Sheep ones are prettier and thinner and just more pleasant to work with. I've bought 3 sets of the snowflake obsidian markers at this point. I've got the set with the one star marker, the set with the one black marker, and in the set I just bought, I asked for all snowflake obsidian since I really didn't need another row marker, and the folks at Hide & Sheep kindly accomodated me. even so, I have a couple of rubber ring markers still on my shawl. Woe. I'll have to add a couple more for the next chart. Incidentally, I use the star marker as the first marker on the needles when I work a right side row, and the black marker as the first marker on the needles when I work a wrong side row, because I am not always smart enough to remember which one I am working, and coming to that visual reminder stops me before I get too far working the wrong row. ANYWAY. I am on the last row of the second chart for the snowfield, and then I think there is one more chart of snowfield before I get to the pine trees.

When I hit the pine trees I will be, visually speaking, halfway done. However, since every row gets longer - it's definately not halfway done. Still, I am encouraged that I will have this done in plenty of time for Christmas. If I can finish it by the end of November, I will be ecstatic.

Some time ago I mentioned wanting to find a snowflake themed pin to give along with the shawl, but at the time I couldn't find anything. Since it was the middle of summer I resolved to wait until a little closer to the right season before I resorted to making a pin myself. Sure enough, I found one on Etsy and ordered it. It's in the style of a kilt pin and has little snowflake charms hanging from it. Now, looking at it, I know exactly how it was made and I know I could have done it myself. But, I reasoned, of all the crafts I have tried, jewelry-making has been the least interesting to me and it is the one in which I have the least experience. Also, it's really difficult to be cost effective if you are only making one item. So, I went ahead and bought it. I do have one concern, which is that it's a kilt pin style so there is a small circle at the base of the pin that could, conceivably, catch in the knitting...but I think it'll be okay. I'm going to look at it when I get it and see what I think. It may be that I will go back and search for some kind of stick type pin instead, but I'm not sure. I'm reasonably sure that quite a bit of care will be taken by the recipient, so unless it looks like it is just asking for trouble, I will go ahead with what I've got. I'll post pictures of progress when I get the pin so you can see both. I may have to move the shawl onto a longer cable, though, it really can't be spread out anymore on the 24 inch. This is fine because I need the 24 inch cable. I'm actually out! Somehow, all of my 24 inch cables are in use.

I had several cables pop their join on me last weekend. I'm not sure what's up with that - I guess I just got a bad batch. Most of the time I don't have a problem, but every once in a while I get a cable that pops within minutes. I admit, I'm rough on them, so I shouldn't be surprised, but it's kind of vexing. The most annoying part is - I had just receveived a KnitPicks order! I was casting on a scarf in Gloss lace that I had just gotten in the mail! If I had only checked, I could've ordered more cables and been fine! argh! I had the problems with the cables when I went to put it on the 32 inch - I think two 32 inch cables from the same package popped their joins before I pulled out my second set of 32 inch cables, which worked fine. I know I could probably go to knitpicks and have them replace the faulty cables, but I don't really feel the need.

Anyway, if I switch the cables, I can put the 24 cable on the needles I am using for the scarf, and put the shawl on the 32 so that I have more length. After all, it is only going to get bigger (hold me while I weep for a minute).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Decision Made

Yesterday I put away MS4 and picked up Whispering Pines (eventually - there was a slightly panicked search when I could not find the ziplock it was in, but the SO came to the rescue, finding it in the craft room before I had time to work up into a real fit about it).

I'm on Chart C on Whispering Pines and when I looked at the picture and mapped where I was to the picture of the finished shawls - I have kind of a lot of work to do. It was definitely the right decision to pick it up.

I have to say in the interests of full blog disclosure - the last couple charts of MS4 made it not so hard to put it down. There's nothing wrong with them, per se...I'm just not sure I want to knit them as is. The designer's theme, now revealed, is "Serendipity" and it seems that the stole does not represent anything in particular, so much as the element of surprise, which...seems to me to be kind of redundant in a mystery stole. I'm a little disappointed - I love to knit things with a story, which is one of the reason I like so many of Pink Lemon Twist's patterns, they are always well thought out and representative of the story she is trying to tell, and that appeals to my romantic English major self. (also, my pedantic nature wants to point out that 'serendipity' and 'surprise' do not mean the same thing, but that is petty and I will not give in to it)

However, I do really like the pattern up through chart 5 - to me it looks like campfires in the woods with mountains in the background, and I really love it. But, I'm thinking about changing the last couple of charts to fit with my idea. I think this would basically consist of taking out the diamonds. I think I can convince myself that the flower-type motif in the very center of the shawl is the sun (I need to look at a few more knitted pictures), but the diamonds just don't really work for me. I'm considering leaving the small ones on chart 5, but the big ones in the middle just don't quite do it for me.

I bought two skeins of KP Gloss lace in Sterling and the KnitSpot pattern Tudor Grace to make a scarf for my mom for Christmas. I want a pattern I can memorize and carry around (so that it won't compete for knitting time with Whispering Pines) and that one seems like it will fit the bill. The pattern is written for sock weight yarn, but I want it to be small and filmy, since I'm intending it more for an accent with clothing than for warmth or anything like that, so I bought laceweight yarn. My mom lives in Texas and doesn't generally have to wear a scarf for warmth anymore, but she likes them with clothes. I'm hoping the grey will go with some of her things. And if it's not done by December, it can be my airplane knitting!

Monday, October 13, 2008


I beg forgiveness for the long blog silence. I am, generally speaking, kind of embarassed to blog without photos, so I tend to not blog when I don't have any. But! Look what we have today!


Caledonian Mist in Handmaiden Casbah Peacock. This photo is actually a little old and out of date, as this sock is finished - but the second sock looks basically the same, so - pretend. Except the second sock is not nearly this long yet. So...I'm both behind, and ahead with this picture?

Regardless, just try to tell me that isn't stunning. It's all I can do not to go buy all the Casbah I can get my hands on.

Next up, MS4.


I am woefully behind. This is about halfway through Clue 3. I am a failure of a mystery stoler. Have a detail shot.


I admit I have been ignoring the community aspect of this project almost entirely. I haven't looked at any pictures or any discussion, so forgive me if I'm stating the obvious, but - the yarnover motifs look like campfires or burning incense to me. Interesting.

I have a condition, which may be universal or may be universal to new knitters, or it may be just me, but generally speaking, when I look at a chart full of yarnovers...that's all I see. I can't see the picture until I have actually done the knitting. Hmm, now that I look at it, the beads look like they could be pine trees. So, maybe I am right on the camping theme?

I personally hate camping, but that's okay, I think I can forgive the stole, since it is in fact really pretty. Not really sure where the mass of yarnovers that are clues 4 and 5 will go, though. But, that is the fun, isn't it?

Here's a closer look at the top:


I need to try to remember to crop my photos tighter.

The color in these photos isn't bad; I took it upstairs and photographed it without a flash by an open window, and then when I got it on the computer I adjusted it until the color of the cloth I was using for a background was close to correct. However, I am kind of thinking that if there really is a camping theme, I'd have liked to use a green yarn instead of this marine blue - but oh well, that's the Mystery, isn't it?

Anyway, I'm enjoying the project, except one problem - I've got two other lace projects of about the same level of complexity that are in process. This was a mistake. I don't really get anxiety over multiple projects if they are different types of projects, because different projects are appropriate for different kinds of knitting time. However, I do get nervous when I have multiple projects competing for the same type of knitting time. I have 3 lace projects going now that require about the same amount of attention - Moonlight Sonata, Whispering Pines, and MS4. I have worked on MS4 exclusively and I would, I think, be okay with that, except that Whispering Pines is a Christmas present and I fear that I won't finish it in time. I thought I would be okay because MS4 ends in October and then I would have all of November and most of December to do Whispering Pines, but I am starting to worry, especially since I am so far behind on MS4. I am considering two options:

1 - Work on MS4 until the knitalong is over, and then stop wherever I am on it and pick up Whispering Pines as I intended.

2 - Accept that I am not going to catch up anyway, and put down MS4 now until Whispering Pines is finished. Download and store all the clues until I am ready to pick it up again.

I'm leaning toward option 1 at this point.

I do have one other project for Christmas, a pair of fingerless mitts for a friend. I have the yarn, Little Knits Indie II in Burgandy, but I haven't started yet. In fact I don't think I have checked to see whether I have the right size needles either - note to self, do that.

I am not too worried about getting those done, but if the pattern is correct I should have enough yarn for 2 pair, and I would like to make the second for another friend.

I am resisting the urge to mentally commit to other presents, just in case. I'd like to make a pair of socks for my mom, and I'd like to make a hat for my dad, to go in their stockings (my mom stuffs the stockings so I especially like to stick a little something in for her when she is not looking), but I have not bought yarn so that I don't end up overcommitting (although I am really quite sure I could make a pair of plain socks for my mom, I mean really now, surely I can handle a pair of simple stockinette socks in two and a half months - although a lacy silky scarf would be kind of neat to put in her stocking as well and I do have a bunch of KP Gloss in the stash...).

I am totally doomed, aren't I?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Can you fall in love twice?

I am so giddy that I can't even wait for a good picture, so I'm posting a crappy cameraphone shot:


This is my newest sock, Caledonian Mist from Pink Lemon Knits in Handmaiden Casbah in Peacock. On Ravelry I am calling it my crown jewels socks because several inches ago, when it was just the cuff and a few rows of pattern beneath it, it really did look like a crown with little jewels stuck on it.

I really thought this colorway was going to be a disaster - I actually was trying to get Casbah in Topaz or Peridot, I can't remember which, and it turned out they were out so when they called me, I took a quick look at the site and named a colorway without much thought. It looks pretty enough in the skein but when I wound it I was terrified. I thought, this is going to be awful. I wound it with the full intention of casting it on that night, and then I didn't. It sat there forever and ever while I knit other socks and then finally, Tuesday night I needed a new sock project and this one was already ready, so I cast it on and there I went and what do you know? The pattern is magic. It turned this colorway into something spectacular. My biggest concern about it was the yellow - I was sure I was going to hate the yellow. Well, it NEEDS the yellow, otherwise it would look so muddy. The little yellow passed over stitches pop against the dark background, and it just looks fantastic. I'm so thrilled. And it's FAST! Apparently I can yarn over and pass a stitch over faster than I can switch from knit to purl and back again, or something. I don't know. All I know is that I am speeding through this and the yarn, OMG, the yarn is so wonderful. The sock feels like velvet. I may never knit with another yarn again.

But, of course, rain comes along with the rainbow, and I do have some Concerns. The first is the cuff, which is done in seed stitch bordered by two rows of garter. It is pretty and I like it, and it was a lot more fun than never-ending ribbing (although I really thought that, with the chocolate waffle scarf and all, I would rather slit my throat than ever do seed stitch ever again), but it doesn't pull in the way that ribbing does, so while it stretches outward just fine, it doesn't really pull in, so I am going to have to be sure to make this sock long enough to go up to an area of my calf wide enough to fill out and stretch that cuff. I have had issues in the past with sock length. My sock length is always determined by how far I can get the sock up my calf without cutting off my circulation or bursting the cast-on.

I am worried about the yarn itself being a little too thick, as well - I definately could not switch down a needle size and still have fabric that would, you know, bend and stuff, but I don't have as much negative ease (is that the right term?) as I would really like to be comfortable with. we'll see - if I make it through the heel turn and it is still properly snug, I'll be fine. I'm just afraid I am walking the line between guage being too tight and the sock being too loose and I love this yarn so much that I will DIE if I cannot get it to knit correctly.

I really thought I could not love anything as much as the merino/tencel blend in the last socks, but these will just be so comfortable and soft. I also suspect they will be like a furnace for one's feet, but I'm sure that will come in handy with winter coming on.

More to blog but I'm out of time and it will have to wait.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Feeling accomplished

We've been at the beach for the past 4 days so I don't have any pictures of the knitting, but I'm very pleased with the outcome of the weekend. The embossed stitch socks are complete (except for the kitchener on the toe of the last sock, I didn't have the instructions with me and didn't want to mess it up). On the way home, I used some of the leftover yarn and knitted a toe cover for the SO's mom, who has torn a tendon in her heel and is now in a cast. I had planned to make one when we got home, as soon as I heard she was in a cast, but she was asking for one while we were still out there, so I figured I might as well do it on the car ride home. I didn't quite finish before we made it to their house, but I did finish shortly afterward and we left her with crab cakes and happily covered toes. The cover was a little short, but I made a note and I will make her a longer one at a more leisurely pace (and likely with thicker yarn).

I started another pair of plain socks for her with some Knit Picks essential that I had in my stash that, frankly, I don't particularly care for. The colorway is Riverbed Multi and I just didn't care for it that much. It sounds awful that I am pawning off yarn I don't like, but since she is getting a pair of socks out of it, I am not feeling too guilty. I also have a skein of Cherry Tree Hill in Indian Summer that I will never wear but that I think she would like, so that's designated "socks for Karen" as well.

I feel like I should knit my own mother socks, but I am kind of ambivalent as to how they would be received. We'll see. If nothing else, my mother has very small feet, so it shouldn't be much work to make her some! I'll see if I can get some yummy cushy Casbah for her and make some Christmas socks out of it or something.

I did no lace knitting at all over the weekend, so I'm way behind on MS4. Oh well...I don't really mind too much. The only thing that is kind of nagging my brain is the idea of Christmas looming. Eee!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ribbit ribbit.

I was going to wait until I had pictures, but the way the week is going, things are not looking promising, so I'm posting anyway.

I frogged the mystery stole back to the first beaded row. I ran a lifeline through the 2nd setup row, which is beaded at ever other stitch, and then I pulled the whole thing out. I put the row back on my needles and picked it back, removing that last set of beads (that part was painful). I'd finally been to 7beads.com and ordered the Montana luster beads that I should have ordered when my instinct told me to way back when. This time instead of placing the beads on the stitch right after it was knit, I am placing the beads before I purl the stitch on the following wrong side row. I am, overall, a much happier knitter. I greatly prefer the look of the beads, the fabric is much more even and neat, and I am knitting along more speedily and peacefully than before. The stop and start process of putting the beads on was driving me crazy before, but somehow it is much more palatable to stop and do them on a wrong side row full of plain purling, than it was to try and do it on a lace row. I felt a little nagging guilt because the designer has said repeatedly that she feels the fabric looks better if you place the bead as you knit the stitch so that the stitch can stretch to accomodate that bead - but either this, or something about the process of stopping to put on the bead, just made the fabric around the bead look loosey goosey and awful. Just goes to show, I guess, that knitting is always subject to preference and personal style. Clue 2 has been released and I think it is lovely, so I'm looking forward to it. The difference in how I feel about the project really is amazing, and I have to say...

I'm glad I ripped it out. I'm glad I started over. I'm glad I did it my way.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's a mystery

MS4 is not going well for me. This is not the fault of the designer at all, it's totally a me thing. I'm not feeling happy with my choices, or my work.

I was kind of doubting myself already after a conversation with the SO's mom on Thursday, and then I looked at some pictures on Ravelry of people who had completed clue one (IN ONE DAY - I mean, it was only 30 rows, but still - all those freaking beads) and there was one in yellow with sort of topaz beads that was absolutely beautiful and I started to have a freakout over whether my bead choice was really a good idea. Most people seems to be doing tone on tone from the pictures I've seen. My yarn is blue and my beads are white (technically, 'old ivory,' but whatever, they're white), and I was just worried. I did swatch, but the beads were spread out across my swatch, not grouped together the way they are on the real thing, and I'm thinking that all that white so close to each other is a little overpowering.

I was maybe four or five rows into it - maybe six or eight if you count the cast on and setup rows. I thought about ripping back and using the gold-lined blue beads I had, but they just wouldn't show up hardly at all, and the SO resisted all my attempts to get him to go out in the rain with me to a bead store I found in Arlington (wuss - it was just a freaking tropical storm) to look at other bead options. He argued that we would be out that direction anyway on Sunday and I made him promise to take me if I was still unhappy with the beads on Sunday (yes, I know, I could've gone myself, but I had a feeling I would need somebody who would eventually get tired and go JUST PICK SOMETHING WOMAN or else I would be meebling around the store all day).

I also had problems with the yarn. I've had several problems with it tangling in the ball. I've had that happen before with yarn that I've wound, but I've never had an issue before with yarn wound at the store. It is really, really annoying me.

Then, I've had problems working with it on the needles. Normally with laceweight yarn (and silk yarn) I use wooden needles, but moving the stitches on the needle, especially the beaded stitches, was torture. I finally got a clue and switched to metal needles and the relief was immediate - stuff actually moves normally up and down. It's odd for silk to be this grippy, but maybe it is because Tussah silk?

Anyway, so that made it better, but the beading process also started getting to me a little. I started out using a very tiny crochet hook, but it's so tiny I can't catch both plies of the yarn with it, so I was snagging the heck out of my yarn. When we went out to dinner I bought some Oral B superfloss and tried the superfloss method. That is working better, but it's still a very tedius process. Worse, the stitches around the beaded area look AWFUL. It's so depressing. It's not the beaded stitches themselves that are the problem, but the column of stitches to the left of any beads is really wide and ladder-like. It's tempting to frog the whole thing and start over, but then I would have to rebead all that stuff, and I think I would go crazy.

Fortunately, the volume of beads on this chart suggests that the beading will taper off somewhat after the second clue. This makes sense as beading on the ends gives some weight to the piece to help it drape properly, while beading in the middle should be light so as not to make the piece droop where it isn't supposed to. So I'll grit my teeth and power through and hope the bad-looking stitches will tighten up in blocking. They should - I'm mostly annoyed because I can't figureout what I'm doing that's making them look so loosey goosey. I'm eyeing the beads with suspicion...maybe the way they strangle the stitches makes those stitches take up less yarn, so the slack ends up in the neighboring stitches? No telling.

After discussing it with the SO last night (he did his best to understand and be helpful, but his approaches are largely to conservative for my impulsive self), I have decided to finish the first clue. Then I am going to swatch again, but this time, I'm going to swatch one of the beaded diamonds, with different beads. I have, since the first, regretted not ordering a particular set of beads that my imagination has convinced me would have been perfect, so I finally sucked it up and ordered them and a couple of other possibilities. Hopefully, they will arrive by the time I finish this clue. If I like the swatch better, better enough to make it worth it, I will go ahead and knit clue one that way. If I still like it, I will frog the first attempt and reknit it.

I hope to finish the clue tonight. I have activities for the rest of the week, so I should be occupied until the new beads come.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Some and none

I made a fair bit of progress over the weekend but I haven't gotten much done since then. I haven't been sleeping well so my evenings have been spent staring zombie-like at nothing. Moving the needles is too much work - let alone following a chart or something like that.

I finished the tomato socks and packed them off to their recipient. I didn't wash them, I probably should have - but in the end I decided to let her try them on first. If they fit as they are, then she can wash them in cold water so they don't shrink too much. If they are a bit too big, she can wash them in hot water and shrink them up a bit. They really weren't that much work so I'm not really sure why I am so freaked about whether they fit or not. I haven't heard a word since I sent them home with the recipient's hubby to be gifted...kinda makes me nervous but we usually see them on Thursdays so here's hoping I will find out today. I just want to KNOW OMG.

I've worked some on Whispering Pines. Last night I started a new swatch for the mystery stole. I swatched previously on 4s and the fabric was more open than I prefered. This was actually a little odd for me - I'm a tight knitter so normally I end up starting with a needle size larger than the one recommended. I only got through one repeat, though, before I was just tired to do anymore. I think I like the 3 better, but we'll see when it's blocked. I did block the original swatch pretty severely, so it may be that I could just...not do that.

I am debating over knitting both sides of the stole at once. I'm not really keen on knitting them both at the same time (that is, doing one row of one and the same row of the other on one long needle), but I was thinking before, when I was using 4s, that I could work one side, cap the cable, and work the other side on a seperate cable. I would effectively be working each section twice in a row. Don't ask me why this is preferable to just doing the second side at the end, but somehow I'm sure it would be.

However, 4 is the smallest size of interchangeable needle put out by knitpicks. If I use the 3's, I'd have to buy another needle.

Decisions, decisions.

I'm also struggling with a last-minute bead substitution. One of the beads I ordered, the Montana matte, was the right blue but it didn't show up. I'm wondering if the Montana lustre ones would be the right blue but show up a little better. I thought I was happy with the old ivory beads but I kind of hate that I have not tried the blue ones. Again - decisions, decisions. If I order now they will not get here by tomorrow and tomorrow is when the first clue comes out so I would have to wait to cast on...I'm not sure if I can do that. Woe!

I'm also really, really tempted to buy one of Beadwrangler's beading kits. Not the bead crochet ones, but one of the actual beading kits, like maybe the floral thing or the vine wave kit. I'm trying really hard to be good, though, finances are really tight so I can't get too carried away.

The embossed stitch socks are going along nicely. One of the great things about this stitch pattern is that it's easy to count repeats, so I am doing a much better job at matching length on this sock than on previous socks. I counted 9 diamonds before the heel, and then I plan to count diamonds on the foot too so the socks will be even. I'm keeping an eye on my guage and it looks like my tension is the same on both socks. I had a mishap with the tomato socks, in that I ended up, again, with one longer than the other. I didn't realize it until I had kitchenered the toe and rather than try to pick it out - I just cut it off. The end of the toe, that is. It was kind of scary, but it worked. I picked out all the cut pieces until I got to the end of the yarn, frogged back to the beginning of the toe decreases, joined the skein back, added a few more plain rounds, and then re-kitchenered the toe.

I forgot to take a picture, either of the cut-and-frog or of the finished socks. I had stayed up kind of late by that time and I just didn't think of it.

Football season is picking up again so there will be much knitting while the SO watches sweaty men crash into each other. I'm at the heel of the embossed diamonds sock and I hope to get some progress made during the game tonight...if I can stay awake.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You might be a lace knitter if...

I think...I'm a lace knitter. I'm addicted. I ignore my other projects and make a beeline straight for the lace whenever I can. I knit on socks when I can't knit lace. I'm developing an aversion to needles larger than size 4. :oP

I'm thinking about getting some of the KnitPicks Harmony tips in the larger sizes. I've gotten used to using them for lace and I find when I go back to the metal ones that they kind of hurt now. This is both puzzling and annoying, since I have 2 sets of metal tips in just about every size and that's kind of a significant investment to just toss in a drawer and ignore. I'm hoping it's just that I'm trying to knit something in the round that is really two small for one circ. Maybe if I put it on two it won't be such a pain.

Anyway, I've finished Chart B and moved on to Chart C on the whispering pines shawl. I'm a little depressed because I am going to need more stitch markers, so I think I'm going to have to switch back to my rubber ring markers. This is depressing because I really love my soft look markers from Hide and Sheep. It pleases my poetic soul that the ones I'm using on this shawl are snowflake obsidian. I have two sets for a total of 12 markers, but I would kind of need a few dozen for the next sections where chart areas repeat like 16 times on each side. Sigh.

I really, really want to buy some for the mystery shawl because...I could get blue ones to match. I'm such a loser. I do have a blue row counting bracelet and I would love to have matching stitch markers for it, and the fact that said markers would also match the color of my yarn is really making the temptation great. Add to that the fact that the markers are really fairly inexpensive and it's hard to resist. But, resist I must - I don't get paid for another week. -_-

Monday, August 18, 2008

Scheherazade got its first outing on Sunday. I may have been a little proud of myself.


I also finished the embossed stitch socks in the C*EYE*BER Fyber Periwinkle. I am in love with these socks.


Look at the way it striped on the heel. LOOK AT IT. Love, I tell you.


Equal time for the toe.


I've already cast on number two, but once I got through the cast on I switched over to the tomato socks so I could watch yesterday's gymnastics (missed it because Scheherazade and I went to see the Lion King at the Kennedy Center).


Saturday they showed the marathon, which - I'm sorry, but until you get to the end, it's just not that interesting. :oP So I swatched for MS4.


I added one more repeat than the swatch instructions called for so I could try all my bead options.


The bottom beads are an opaque Montana blue (whatever that means) and while it shows up okay on the picture, it gets lost on the actual swatch. The clear aquamarine ones barely show at all, all you can see is the gold lining, and not much of that.


That takes it down to the two white ones, one matte (top) and one pearly (second from top), and I think I'm going to go with the matte. The pearly are okay but I prefer the matte ones. The impression of the blue with the matte white is casual and flirty, and I'm good with that.

That settled, I worked on Whispering Pines. I got through chart A and I'm now halfway through chart B.


Friday, August 15, 2008


So I've been thinking that I would like to give the SO's mom a shawl pin with the shawl I am knitting...but I'll be darned if I can find a snowflake shawl pin anywhere! I did find one, but at $50 it definitely exceeded my budget, and I didn't even really like it that much.

Maybe I just need to be patient and hope that one will be easier to find later in the year. But, just in case, I've been looking into making one. I found a pendant charm that I liked at Artbeads and kilt and brooch pins at Fire Mountain Gems. I THINK I can do it for somewhere in the realm of $25, depending, as always, on how carried away I get.

My paycheck for the month is already spent so I am definitely in a holding pattern for now, but I'm definitely keeping the option in mind.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Overdoing it

My in-progress projects have ballooned. So, here's what I'm working on at the moment:

Whispering Pines


Embossed Stitch Sock

It's actually considerably larger than that, now, I've turned the heel and everything, and I thought I had a newer picture, but apparently not. Anyway, that's enough to get the idea, although I wish I could show off the stripes on the heel.

I needed something plain for Olympic knitting, so I cast on a pair of plain socks for the SO's mom, who has been hinting rather strongly that she would like some.


The SO is highly amused because I keep calling it the Tomato Sock. That's KnitPicks Essential in Tuscany Multi, but come on - tell me it doesn't scream TOMATO at you. This sock is also considerably longer than it was when this picture was taken, because I took the picture right at the start of last night's primetime Olympics coverage, and knitted all the way through. (well, not all the way, I finally moved upstairs at 11:30. I was brushing my teeth when the men out-touched France in the medley relay and I nearly spit all over the TV in my excitement)

I did not neglect my spinning.


...But I didn't spin any of that this weekend. That's what I've been spinning up until now. I went to WYIF on Sunday and picked up a couple of little 2 oz bags of fiber for fun. I was duly cautioned that the fibers I had chosen were maybe not the best for beginners, but I chose not to care.


Because it was pretty. And because I am impatient, I bought a spindle so I could play with it right away.


I couldn't get the penny in there, it was wound too tight.

Still waiting for my MS4 yarn to arrive, so that I can decide which of my beads to use:


I also have another set of soldier socks on the needles but they were in the car when I did the photo shoot, so we will have to leave that to the imagination.