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.