Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue moon!

It's a blue moon tonight - go look!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Almost a month between posts. Sigh.

I decided on Tuesday that I wanted to make my mom a sweater for Christmas. She wanted the Leavened Raglan in white, in a silk/wool blend. I bought 20 balls of Plymouth Royal Silk Merino, now discontinued, to make it.

Well, I finished both sleeves and the front. I have 318 grams left to make the back of the sweater, and the front weighs 302 grams. I think it will work! I'm on pins and needles here, because I'll need to make the collar after I assemble the thing, and I'll need to seam it up. I'm going to use another yarn for the seaming, so I may have just enough to get this thing done. Eeek!

I haven't started my swap project yet; I really need to get through Christmas before I can do another big project. I did order something from Etsy for the package, and it came. I can't post about it until I mail it, but it's just lovely.

The wedding and the Hawaii trip were great, but the trip was too short. Got there Thursday evening, left Monday afternoon. Sigh. I'd love to go back - the weather is so nice, and there are no horrible bugs!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I got all fired up for the Red Scarf Project and got halfway through my scarf before I read the directions. Dang. Now I have to find some yarn that fits the rules or that I can dye red. I had been using unspun merino, but it turned out to be too bulky for the regulations.

I found out my dad would like mittens to go with the sweater I made him last year, so I'm trying to find a good mitten pattern that goes with the Louet worsted - I have two skeins left, so I think I won't run out. It might be a good project to bring on the plane to Hawaii because it won't take up too much space and I need to get it done :)

I'm pretty excited to go to HA, but I'm a bit nervous to go on the plane. Hopefully I won't run afoul of any ill-tempered security people.

I can't believe that December begins this week, and I'm just not ready for Christmas and the new year. Not that that means anything, because time won't be stopping just for me. But I just feel like I'm trying to climb up an avalanche - I need a couple more weeks.

I finished spinning up the yarn for my swap victim, and I think I have the pattern worked out. It may change once I start knitting, but I'm pretty happy with what I worked up. Once I actually start it in the real yarn, I'll put a pic or two up.

I migrated over to Windows 7; I like it. I much prefer it to Vista, but now I have to reinstall all my programs and I'm sure I'm forgetting one of them!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Swatching and Sweaterizing

D'you remember that sweater I was working on for the longest time, a version of Rowan's Juno? Well, I finally chucked the idea. I had finished the body and tried it on and realized I just didn't like a ribbed cardigan. I decided to throw caution to the winds and create my own top down raglan cardigan. I'm an inch past the waist and very happy with it. My hope is to be inspired by Juno and make cabled cuffs and maybe a cabled collar.

I'm also working on a project for a Lord of the Rings swap. It's made up of some of my handspun and some Rowan Tapestry...main issue is that I have to finish spinning the yarn up :) I'm half done, and I'm hoping to get some swatching in tonight. The handspun is a delightful blend from Foxfire Fibers of cormo, alpaca and silk. Swoon.

Besides all of my usual excuses, I haven't posted in the last two weeks because of the death of one of my friends last Tuesday. I worked with him for eleven years and saw him five days a week. He had a long life, and went fast, but I'm still kind of numb. He fought in the resistance in Poland in WWII, after escaping from the Lakhva ghetto. He made it into the Soviet army, and moved to the US after the war. I had my problems with him, but he was a good man.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

In time for Halloween

I finished my second discovery socks in time for Halloween!


I'm calling them the fruit and veggie socks because of the yarn colors. I used the cabling patter on the Lothlorien socks for one cuff (representing veggies) and a traveling vine with a couple berries and a leaf for the other cuff (representing fruit). I wore the socks to bed because I was so excited to finish them :) I also feel like they make good Halloween socks because of the witch-y colors.

The whole waste yarn instead of cutting worked out well, especially on the second sock, whose stitches I did not twist. No holes at the corners!


In other news, I finally took pics of some of the other socks I've finished lately:

Granity: the Caradhras yarn socks from the Lotr sock club:


Super comfy - I really enjoy the weight of them, and they still fit in my Doc Marten's, so I can wear them to work.

Nine Walkers: the Fellowship socks from the Lotr sock club:


I started these for me but ended up giving them to DP. (The fact that my husband will wear lace socks is pretty sweet, so I figured I'd encourage it.) I did these toe up with a flap heel, and I like the way the colors striped on the flap:


Groovy Autumn Socks: the Koigu socks that, again, I was making for me but gave to DP. In my defense, it was his birthday:

groovy autumn

and the nice tall leg:

groovy autumn closeup

These are silky soft and very warm. DP loves them - he wore them around the house for a whole week before he'd let me wash them. We tossed them in with the other laundry on cold and hung them to dry. The yarn is already pilling, and the color is washing out. The pic is after the first washing (I wasn't able to snap any earlier). Lovely yarn, but maybe I should only make things for the marital dyad with it. That way no one will complain about wash-ability.

In other news, we're going to Hawaii! DP's sister is getting married, and we're invited for the wedding, which just happens to be on an island in the Pacific. The fiancé is paying for a large chunk of our cost, so we couldn't pass it up. I'm pretty excited, since the last time I was at a real beach was 1995! I'm also scared of the flight - not the flying, but of the security. I don't do well with mean people.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Discovery sock - mark 2

I decided that I didn't like all the ends that I had to weave in with my discovery sock. It fit well, but I just don't like cut ends waiting to unravel, and with a contrasting heel and toe, I had 10 ends to weave in. I'm making another pair of discovery socks, and discovering what I can do to create less work for myself.

On the discovery sock, you run two lifelines one row apart and cut between them, unraveling all but the two stitches on either side of the row. For my sock, I knit to where I'd run my first lifeline, then knit a row of waste yarn so I wouldn't have to cut and unravel. However, rather than knit the waste yarn all the way to the end, I knit it two stitches in from both sides, so I have the two unraveled stitches on each side of the leg opening without worrying about cutting anything! It worked well, except I twisted one stitch and didn't notice it until about 30 rows later. Not worth going back for, but on the second sock I'll be more careful.

As they say, I love it when a plan comes together.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


This jacket is amazing! Colorwork is not really my thing, but I recognize good craftsmanship when I see it. The button bands are so intricate...

I redid the headband, this time with 8 strands and size 15 needles - my achin' wrists!

pam headband

I cast on 6 with JMCO, knit 3, then knit the other 3 stitches interspersed, so I had a tubular-looking cast on edge. I increased up to 14, knit for a while, then decreased back down. The edge stitches are kept in garter and the body is stockinette. My main problem is that I don't have a button big enough to go with it! Check out the huge-ness of the stitches:

pam headband closeup

Friday, October 16, 2009


I finished the headband for my sister in law, but I think I'm going to do it over. I increased too slowly, so it doesn't cover the ears. Argh.

Related, I used two skeins of Regia Silk/Wool in white and made an irritating discovery - they were both 4 grams short! That's 8 grams of yarn missing! I am quite peeved, and I think I'll avoid Regia in the future. It's too bad, because I cut my sock teeth on Regia yarns, but 4 grams per skein is too much.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What a day

At least the discovery socks are done :)

discovery socks

and a closeup of the no-hole join:

discovery sock join closeup

My next scheme is to make a knit headband for my sister in law. She sent me a pic, so now I just need her head measurements and the type and color of yarn. It looks pretty easy (famous last words), and I think I've seen it somewhere before, but I can't find the pattern. It should work up fast.

I may also make a pair of pants for my sister's daughter. She loves her pink stretch pants, but it's getting too cold to wear them. I have some stretch wool that's not scratchy, so we might use that. They need to be thin, but warm, and that's the best thing I can think of.

I got the latest shipment from Foxfire, a soft blend of cormo, alpaca and silk. I haven't spun up any of the fiber yet, but I'm thinking of joining next year's club. Is that crazy?

I guess I'd better start swatching for that headband. I just hope she doesn't want it made out of cotton...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sigh. Holidays.

Argh. Where have I been? I've been so busy, I hardly had time to think. This high holiday season was both mellow and completely insane, and I can't believe that it's finally over. This past weekend was Simchat Torah, and it went out with a bang (involving a last minute dash by me mere hours before services, a malfunctioning PA system, a broken door, and the lesson that those jeans from my sister really require a belt if I'm going to wear them in public).

I have been knitting, but guess what - I can't find the cord to the camera, so I can't transfer any of its pictures! I made a pair of socks for DP's birthday, and I'm almost done with another pair for my sister. I made my niece another winter hat - she outgrew the one from last year - and found out that my sister in law (the one with a 6 month old) is pregnant with another offspring! This, of course, will require more knitting, since there will now be 3 children small enough to be forced to wear the gifts I give them ;)

I just today bought Janel Laidman's new book, The Enchanted Sole, something I meant to pre-order but lost track of time. Some of the patterns look - let's face it - enchanting :) The Traveler and Tintagel patterns look especially compelling, though who knows if I'll actually make them or just use them for imagination fodder.

I also found a great essay from 1971, Why I Want A Wife. If you're a woman with a husband, read this. If your husband is great, then you'll feel better, and if he's a dope, then you'll feel validated.

I also have been hankering for some knitting buddies...there are no groups near me, and with the bus situation the way it is and not driving, I don't think that I'll ever be a part of one. But I kind of wish I was. Sigh.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gettin' Steeky

My sister gave me a blue hoodie that didn't fit her correctly, so I decided I'm going to steek it! Handily, it's ribbed with alternating cables, but there are no cables down the front center, where the steek will be. My sister is very keen to know how it goes, because she has another of these sweaters that she'd like cardiganized, if mine works.

Did you see the new Twist Collective? The green sweater story was so compelling. I want that pattern!

I noticed that several of the things in this issue used stitch patterns that I've been trying to write up patterns using. Argh. I need to work faster, or all of my ideas will be used up! In that vein, I'm trying to get some patterns worked up so I can try to sell them. My dream is to have a pattern published by someone, and this is my first little step in that direction.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Word of warning

If you decide to froth milk in a martini shaker because you don't have a milk frother and want a cappuccino for breakfast - don't.

Addendum: if you go ahead with your plan, note that cleaning frothed milk off vertical blinds is not easy.

I got what I wished for: hot weather! Unfortunately, it's so hot I don't want to be outside :)

I decided to try this recipe: lemon brioche rolls. I think I'm going to substitute a piece of chocolate for the lemon curd, since I have no lemon curd in the house. Every time I've tried to make brioche dough, I've had a problem, so I'm a bit scared. I only made a half batch, because the thought of using that much butter for something that ends up being gross hurts my heart. Also, I only had 2 eggs in the house ;) The dough tastes right, but we'll see how it matures in the fridge.

I got 4 rows of my shawl done yesterday! I just keep telling myself that each row is going faster than the last, though that might not actually be true. I have a way of psyching myself out on these things, evidence the not finishing this shawl during the month of July when I told myself I'd work on it. Sigh.

I got the latest Lord of the Rings sock club installment - a cream with bronze and silver highlights, meant to represent Caradhras. Unfortunately, the people making the pattern misspelled it. I feel so bad for them, but also a bit annoyed. This is the second big mistake of this sort in the club, and this is the fourth kit. 50% is only good in baseball.

I'm not sure I'm going to make the pattern that came with the yarn, but that's just the crotchety person I am. The yarn feels great; it's the same line as the first installment of the club. I didn't actually use that yarn for anything because the cabling on that pattern hurt my arm.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Where have I been?

Even I don't know! I'll try not to neglect my poor blog, even though the holiday season is coming up.

Actually, we did go to Missouri to visit the in-laws and hang out with my newest niece. She's 5 months old and has the most moxie of any baby I've ever met. She's constantly looking around at things, and she loves to laugh! DP was dancing around with her, and she was belly laughing - it was so cute!

I also took a break from the shawl to work on socks - mini-socks, to be precise. I've been wanting to brush up my flap and gusset skills and get better with dpns. I still prefer magic loop, but I wanted to make sure that if I was ever trapped with only dpns I could still survive. These little projects are great bus knitting, and they'll make good present toppers for Christmas.

I know I should be happy that it's not crazy hot outside, but I wish that it was just a bit warmer. I'd like to sit out on the deck with a cup of coffee and my knitting and just relax.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


It's 80 degrees outside - what else to do but bake cookies! I'm making these russian tea cakes with hazelnuts. Delicious!

In other news, I survived a birthday party last night and one this afternoon, but my arms have been munched by mosquitoes.

I ripped out the LotR sock because I just can't cable. I don't know what it is, by my arms hurt too much. I'm freestyling a pattern: just a traveling eyelet. I don't know why k2tog or ssk is no problem but c2b is. Argh.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I have a scratchy throat

And I have to go out to the bar tonight for a relative's birthday party. Sore throat + smoke = yargh.

I broke down and bought some yarn - breaking my streak of not buying yarn until the Sheep and Wool Festival - but it's for my bff's birthday, so I figure that makes it okay :) It's DIC Smooshy in Pansy Golightly. My friend is a purple fanatic - she even had her pool table recovered in purple felt - so I figured this would be the perfect yarn for her. I'm going to try to teach her to knit long distance...we'll see how that works out!

Back to my knit hat :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I hate mosquitoes

I really do. They're so thick outside that I can't mow the lawn or pick any of the veggies in my garden! Sadly, I'm hoping for a quick rise in temps (95 or so!) to kill them so I can actually go out in my yard . Argh.

My shawl is coming along, though slower than I'd hoped. For some reason, I've only been able to get a few rows in on it this week. I'm further on it than I've ever gotten, so I'm going to keep bulldogging ahead, but it seems such a slog. I think that it's totally psychological, since I was buzzing along on it quite well until this week.

For bus knitting, I'm working on a top down mini sock on dpns with a flap and gusset heel. Crazy! I figured that I might as well teach myself how to do a flap and gusset on the fly so that I can have it in my arsenal. I've just picked up the stitches and am on the gusset decreases. Oh yeah - I also made a picot first! This little sockie has been such a learning experience so far, and it's not even done yet :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Attack of the cucumbers

When I planted my garden this spring, I just planted what DP would like to eat and what I thought might grow. I didn't know much about anything, frankly. Now, I've discovered the horrible truth - cucumbers are the mafia of my garden. They've been elbowing everyone else, and now they're twisting their tentacles around my other plants! The flax has already fallen prey, and the asparagus is next. Only the sunflowers and the green beans seem strong enough to survive the onslaught.

The green beans, by the way, are doing wonderfully! I picked a bowlful of them for dinner yesterday, and cooked them in a couple tablespoons of salted water. I would have picked more, but I was being eaten alive by the mosquitoes. When they started biting my face, I knew I had to flee.

Now that it's July, I need to dig into my silk shawl. I still don't have pictures for you, but they're coming soon. DP just notified me that he'll need to work through the night for the rest of the week, so I should actually be able to get some rows done! Even with all my swatching, I still haven't settled on the pattern for the lace band. I guess I have a while to go before I work the band, but I'd like to be settled on the pattern by the time I get to it. I need a pattern that gives the impression of leaves or trees, is 9, 18 or 36 stitches wide and preferably has plain purl or knit rows every other row. The leaf pattern I planned to use looked wrong with the feather and fan, so I've been reworking it and playing around with some openwork cable-y things. Oh, what a world.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Today is just one of those days. I feel totally out of balance and uninspired. Yargh. Yesterday was much better. How, you ask?

My arm was too sore to knit, so I made a pizza instead. Since it's so hot, I didn't want to turn on the oven and work against the AC, so I decided to make a pizza on the stovetop and melt the cheese under the broiler. I made my usual dough and let it rest for about 30 minutes. While it was resting, I chopped up some onion, minced some garlic and browned it in a little olive oil and a sprinkle of crushed black pepper. I heated up my cast iron griddle and rolled the dough into a round a little smaller than the griddle and about 1/4" thick. I put the dough on the griddle (no oil), browned it on one side, then flipped it. While it was browning on the second side, I got out my shredded cheese and opened the tomato paste. One more flip of the dough, a quick swipe with tomato paste, a sprinkle of sauteed onion and cheese and then under the broiler for 3 minutes to melt the cheese. Heavenly! A couple of glasses of wine and it was a mini-feast.

Tonight I think I'm just going to have cheese and crackers :)

Hopefully I get in a bit of knitting arm is still sore, but I really want to knit.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Delicious frangipane

I love frangipane. Last night I decided to whip up a batch of it and add a couple extra tablespoons of flour - that way I could bake it in a pie pan without having to make a crust! I sprinkled a few blackberries on the top, baked it at 350 for about 35 minutes and proceeded to munch away :) Even DP liked it, and he's very particular.

Work is progressing on the silk shawl. I'm through one repeat of the center lace pattern (24 rows), and I'm working on the horizontal lace band design. I graphed out a leaf motif last night so I'll be able to swatch it tonight. My initial plan was to use bleeding hearts as the inset, but I don't it will give me what I'm looking for. I left out my swatching yarn and needles so that I can jump into it tonight.

The socks are on the back burner, mostly because of the cabling. I think I'll do a couple more cables and leave well enough alone. My arm hurts just thinking about it! I don't know if cabling with a cable needle would make it less painful, but I can't stand the slowness of using a CN.

My current traveling project is the spoils of war tie shawl. I'm onto the wool/mohair section, and rows are getting longer. I love the shape of the shawl, and I'd like to incorporate that shaping into something else...what, I don't know yet.

Onward and upward!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Am I horrible?

I just bought a copy of this pattern, even though I could have easily reverse engineered it, to get entered into a drawing for a bunch of yarn. My father in law has MS, and I support the research, but I also love fiber.

I also found out that the MS color is orange - DP's favorite. When he wakes up, I have to find out what he thinks about that.

In less horrible news, I'm working away on my silk shawl - I have about 13 rows done. I'm finally getting to the decreases, so that should occupy me for a while. My main problem seems to be that the cable on the Addi lace needle I'm using is too kinky. The fabric of the shawl is so light that the stiff cable twists it up. Yargh. At least the rows are only taking 30 minutes.

The going on this installment of the LotR socks is slow - cabling now really screws with my right arm, so I have to only do a bit of it at a go. I'm to the second color in the gradience kit, and I like how the colors go together. I'm just not sure the game is worth the candle - what with all the ends to weave in and all the skein switching.

DP's friend and the friend's family came over last Sunday, and their 4 year old was totally enamored with spinning. He decided that he'd treadle while I spun, so we spun up the bolly roving I'd dyed for the spindler's challenge. I can dye up something else, and it was the only dyed roving I had in easy access. We skeined it off on the umbrella swift, and I asked him what he though I should make out of it. He decided on a hat, so I'm making a simple top down knit cap for him. We'll be seeing them in a few weeks, so I hope to have the hat done by then. I hope he likes it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Interesting article

I just read this - not that I agree with everything in it, but it would make a good conversation piece.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I may have gone totally mad

I'm currently making these. I don't know why, but ever since seeing the recipe, I can't get it out of my head. In the tradition of "the only way around it is through it," I decided to give them a go. I'll report back!

On the knitting front, I finished another row on my shawl :) The rows take me about 45 minutes, and I keep getting interrupted. Like I said, once I get to the decreasing, I'm hoping things will go smoother.

Eeep - back to my stove!

Later: if only I would have known that you're not supposed to stir praline when it's boiling - it makes the final product grainy. Flavor = good; texture = leaves something to be desired.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Arrrgh! I have tons of yarn and fiber, but I keep finding myself trolling online shops for more. So far, I've resisted buying anything for one month. I'm trying to refrain from too much stash enhancement until the WI Sheep and Wool festival in September, so I won't feel guilty if I go a bit crazy. Basically, I have too many ideas and not enough time. I just knit too slowly. I could crochet more, but that uses up more see my predicament.

I decided to start in on the LoTR socks and set them aside if DP finds a yarn that he likes. I'm enjoying the sushi sock yarn - I think it's a merino/bamboo blend. It's knitting up well (no splitting) and the gauge is a bit bigger. I know, I'm wimping out on gauge, but I don't think I can face any more 10st/inch projects.

My tie shawl is moving along nice and slow, as it should. I've finished knitting my fake mooi and I'm working on a spindle full of bamboo singles. Once they're done, I'll be able to start on the Foxfire mohair/wool. Once I see how that knits up, I'll decide if I want to spin up the rest of it or start in on the Icelandic.

I still have to seam up those panties so I can free up the needles for the beaded silk shawl. I started it using US3, but I'm going down to US2 for the body. I'm hoping this makes the edge stretchy enough.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thin skinned?

Sometimes I wonder if I'm too sensitive, but other times I'm blown away by the sheer gall of some people. Grrrrr.

In other news, I cast on for the silk shawl and knit three rows. Since each row is 456 stitches long, and it's splitty, inelastic silk, the going has been slow. I'll be happy once I start the decreases :)

I've finished the silk panties, all except for the sewing up. Don't worry; I won't be modeling them! I decided to go with all garter stitch, since I was afraid of rolling if I used stockinette. I guess the proof for these will be in the wearing, and I'll finally have a matching lingerie set.

I think I may cast on the next LOTR sock, but I also feel as though I should make a pair of socks for DP. My last two pairs were for myself, and I don't want him to feel left out. The only real issue would be finding a yarn in my stash that's bright enough for him! Many of my skeins are pretty somber colors.

The robins built a nest right next to our hose, and they've been attacking DP whenever he goes outside. Hopefully the chicks will decide to grow up fast, and we'll be able to water our garden soon :)

Saturday, June 6, 2009


It's the anniversary of the landings on Normandy beach (June 6, 1944), and Google's picture today is of the anniversary of Tetris.


Pictures, finally!

I finally got off my duff and uploaded some pics! Below is the only good picture I could get of my boteh scarf:

boteh closeup

I love how sproingy it is, and it's the perfect length - twice as long as I am tall. Since I wear a lot of black, it dresses up my outfits without being too loud.

Here are a couple nice pics of the Spincerely Yours yarn:

spincerely lemon twist

spincerely lemon twist closeup

Working with this fiber was a pleasure that I'd love to experience again :) It drafted easily, the colors were saturated, and there was absolutely no felting.

And now, the socks:

pink lemonade socks

You can tell that the sock on the right, the one I did first, has totally different color progressions than the sock on the left. Like I mentioned before, my methods for the two were different, and it shows. I love the more obvious stripes in the right sock, but I love the drape and mellowness of the left one.

The Spindlers group on Ravelry does a monthly theme, and June's is Bollywood! I couldn't resist dyeing up some cormo in my favorite color combo - blue and pink:

bolly roving

Unfortunately, the pink is pretty subdued...but I'm excited to be spinning with a specific purpose in mind. I'm going for a 3 ply - two of the pink and blue and one of a dark purple silk.

Yesterday was a perfect day for sitting out on the deck and scheming up fibery things...the wind was blowing just enough to keep the bugs at bay, and it was nice and warm. DP bought some tables for the deck so we'd have somewhere to put drinks or grilling utensils, and I found that they were just the right size for a spinning workstation:

Friday afternoon

With time at a premium, what am I going to do this weekend - cast on for my silk shawl, or spin up more of my bolly roving? Or, will I get distracted by something else? Only time will tell...

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I think subtexts are know, when you say one thing, mean another and know that the other person knows what you say is not what you mean? Like:

Do you want to go out with us tonight?
We don't want you to come, so we asked you at the last minute. Please say you don't want to go.

Sorry, I'm all booked up - maybe next time.
I know you don't want me to come with you, so I'm saying what you want to hear.

I just had an experience like that a few hours ago. Not a social one, but about something else. Conversations like that can seem paranoid to the people you explain them to, but usually when you have them, you just know.

My tie shawl is coming along well. I'm almost to the point where I start with the wool/mohair blend. I'm thinking of setting it to the side while I finish a pair of silk panties (wink!) and get a good start on my other shawl. I got the beads and finished stringing them on the yarn - what a pain! I had them on a bag in my lap (easier than in the bag) and thought to myself, I hope I don't spill these! About 10 seconds after thinking that - long enough that I was off my guard - something in the bag shifted and it started sliding off my lap onto the floor! I rescued most of my beads, but still.

I'm reading Tale of Two Cities as my bus ride book. It's so much nicer when you can skim the overly wordy parts.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I just made a batch of black bottomed cheesecake cupcakes - they are delectable and extremely easy to make. DP gave the recipe a thumbs-up, so it gets onto the he actually wants me to make again :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

C-Ks Unite

While waiting at the bus stop and working on my sock yesterday, a woman came up and started a conversation. It turned out that she was a crocheter turned knitter also! We both stood at the stop for about 30 minutes, knitting socks (hers was fair isle) and wondering what all the people driving past were thinking :) Another lady came, right before the bus drove up, and it turned out that she was a crocheter too! We all sat together on the bus and talked was such a nice change from waiting at the bus stop with rowdy teens and sitting on the bus alone, afraid of getting assaulted. A perfect end to the day.

I finished the pink lemonade socks last night! They're super comfy, and you can really tell the difference between the two socks, skein-wise. The first skein I spun was not done very mindfully, so it was thicker. I also split the roving for that skein, rather than predrafting it, so the color changes are much more differentiated. They're both navajo plied, but the second skein is plied tighter, so it had more of a sock yarn feel - bouncy. The second skein was 18 wpi, and my guess is that the first skein was about 14 wpi. This was a great self study project, and I learned that I need to spin mindfully if I want to get reproducible results. Not that such a thing should surprise me, but a change from my standard willy-nilly way. I'm not going to stop spinning just for fun, but it's good also to know that I can make something to specs if I concentrate.

Quick note: the toes on these socks are what I call "potholder toes" - I cast on one stitch, increase up to half the circumference stitches of the sock, then decrease down back to one stitch, working knit on both sides. I pick up all around the square and start knitting the foot. I much prefer this to the other garter stitch square toe where you cast on one side of the square. I won't say I invented this toe, but I've not seen it in any of my books. Try it - anything that cuts down on steps is worth trying once!

My next project is a Danish tie shawl - I saw it in Spin-Off and have been waiting for the perfect yarn to present itself to me. I decided that I'd make it of handspun, using the Foxfire mohair/wool spun as a singles, supported long draw. I skeined and washed it, fulling it a little to make it bloom and try to stop the shedding. Then I realized that there is no way in the world that I want THAT fiber on my neck - it's just way too hairy.

On that note, I decided that I'd use handspun all right...just various different versions of it :) I spindled up some caramel colored alpaca from Alpacas d'Auxvasse - if you've not tried alpaca (or frankly, even if you have) I suggest you buy some of her fiber. It is the most amazing fiber I've ever spun, and I've spun silk, cashmere, bison and angora :) I have about a pound of washed fleece, still in lock form, that I bought a few years ago. It's so clean and orderly that I finger tease it and spin directly from the locks. It's navajo plied, because my singles was too thin and my andean plying bracelet came undone (never try to Andean ply while watching your favorite MST3K episode). I also navajo plied the end of a silk/cashmere blend and dug up the ends of the Smooshy yarn in Orchard and my attempt at Loet Mooi. All these fellows will be the ones hanging around my neck, and we'll be well past my delicate decolletage before I start in on the mohair.

Once I run out of the Foxfire, I'm going to jump into that Icelandic. I figure this will be a true viking shawl, inasmuch as it will have bits and bobs from as far away as Byzantium on the one hand and the New World on the other. Onwards!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I'm almost done with the pink lemonade socks! I just have the cuff on the second sock to finish - the difference between the two is interesting...I really tried to keep the second skein to fingering weight, and so the second sock is smaller than the first, though it's over the same number of stitches and on the same needles. The proof will be in the wearing.

Next up...I'm thinking a shawl. I have this silk yarn from the 2008 year of lace club that I never got around to knitting, and I think it might make a nice faroese style shawl. I'd like to get some gold seed beads, but with all the road construction I'm not sure when I'll get to the fabric store.

I painted my craft room over the weekend! I used "golden glow", a sort of buttery gold color, and the room feels so much more inviting. The curtains are a dark chocolate brown for the curtain pocket and a lime green for the actual curtain. When the sun shines through, the whole room is suffused in a green glow. I LOVE it!! I kept wandering into my room, just to look at the light shining through the drapes :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pink Lemonade

The pink lemonade socks are going well...I finished spinning up the rest of the fiber and navajo-plied it. My navajo plying is improving, but I still have sections that are less spun, making them much poofier than the rest. Overall I'm pretty happy with it though, and it means I can immediately cast on the second sock once I'm done with this one.

Knitting socks one at a time has its advantages, but I think I'm going to go back to two at a time. It may seem to take longer, but then I have a pair at the end, and I don't have to try to reverse engineer anything that I tweaked on the first sock. Since I hadn't spun up all of the fiber when I wanted to start these socks, I had to just make one - there was no way one skein would make two socks, and I hate weaving in ends on socks. Ah well.

So, I have to figure out how I'm going to spin that Icelandic. I keep going back and forth between a single and a two ply, so I guess I should just sample the stuff and quit my waffling. I'd like to get a shawl out of it, and maybe incorporate some of the Foxfire wool/mohair. Of course, ask me tomorrow and I may have a different idea.

My little garden is growing! I have beans, cucumbers, sage, asparagus and flax! I don't know if the flax seeds I had will give me anything that is worth spinning, but I figured it was worth a try. The blackberry and raspberry canes haven't died yet, despite the accursed peonies horning in on their territory.

Off to make myself a buttermilk cake!

Friday, May 15, 2009


I think I'm going to get a spinner's control card - I'd love to figure out the wpi without having to actually do the wrapping. (Lazy, yes, but still...) I found out that the yarn I spun for the pink lemonade socks is mostly sock weight, but there are stretches of thicker yarn that I think might have been avoided had I been paying attention to what I was spinning. Maybe hanging the control card off my wheel would help keep me on task.

I just had a guy give me an estimate on replacing the windows in the living room. The seals are gone on two of them, and one of them doesn't open. He thought that replacing them with one large picture window with roller windows on each side would be a nice option, and I agreed...especially because that was the least expensive of all the options :) I don't know if I'm actually going to do it, since we need a new car more than we need new windows, but I'm glad I got the estimate.

I really, really want to weave a baby blanket. I'm not sure what to use for weft though, because I don't want to buy yarn specifically for weaving and open up a whole new realm of insanity. I'm going with the white silk/wool for the warp (since that's what I already warped up), so just about anything would match. I have a lot of sock yarn, but I'm not sure which skeins I want to part with. Argh! I've also misplaced my stick shuttles, so I'll have to make some new ones.

We'll soon be off to my sister's house for dinner and to watch the baseball game. It's a lot of fun to hang out with her and my niece, but at the end of the evening I'll be dying because of their cat. No amount of drugs can tame my cat allergy :)

Monday, May 11, 2009


I decided to go ahead and start a sock with the spindlicity sock yarn. The toe is Mountain Colors Bearfoot in a hot pink color, and the handspun is yellow/chartreuse, so I'm calling these pink lemonade socks. Creative, eh?

I spun up a mini skein of the foxfiber mohair/wool, and I think it will work perfectly for sock heels. It's a bit itchy (it is part mohair, after all) but it seems like it will be hard wearing. I'm pretty sure it's a batt, not roving, so I decided to spin it long draw, pretty thin, and navajo-ply it. I just have to decide if I'm going to dye it or leave it white. Hmmm...

I found some amazing tutorials: one for a quilt pattern and one for house shoes. I wish I could have a month off to work these up!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Gettting closer

I'm finally working on the sleeves of my Juno-esque cardigan. My hope is to get it done by October so I can wear it in the fall. Once I finish the sleeves, I'll need to decide what I'm doing about the collar - am I going to attach it as I go along or make the whole thing and sew it to the neck? I'm leaning toward the first option because I think it will look neater and be more flexible, but I'm not sure.

I also need to get a pair of socks on the needles, pronto. This being without a little project for traveling is quite troublesome.

Of course, my problem now is should I work on my sleeves or start up a sock - I don't like to fiddle around with starting up a project on the bus, but I'd like to get some sleeve time in. Argh. I guess I should be knitting now instead of musing on what to do about it :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I just realized today that, while I love reading other people's patterns, I don't actually like working from them. This is not because I'm a super designer genius, but because I have a little rebellious streak :) I need to have a sense of control, so I tweak patterns. It definitely makes for interesting knitting!

I think that I need to write up some of my patterns, if only so I can show myself what I do. I have two pretty good ideas in the wings, but I need a good stretch of knitting time to work them out. I wish I was like certain knitters who can hammer out a sweater every few weeks...

On the progress front, I'm almost done with the boteh scarf - I only work on it on the bus, and I've been doing a lot of bus reading, so it didn't get tons of attention. I think I'm actually going to finish it tonight so I can bring something new along tomorrow.

It's starting to thunder, but no rain has fallen yet. I'd better hop into the shower so I can bathe without fear of electrocution!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sheepy smell

Even though I'm allergic to it, I enjoy the sheepy smell of minimally processed wool.'s like the farm, only without the dirt and chores :)

I just got my sheep shares shipment from Foxfire Fibers. This installment is a border leicester and mohair blend. It's very soft and springy. I'm thinking of spinning it into a 2 or 3 ply to make mittens with, since I have some brown border leicester I can use for contrast. Decisions, decisions.

On the crochet front, I'm working on the boteh scarf from Interweave Knits Spring 2007. It's fast crocheting, and I'm using a yarn that I've had in my stash forever, so I feel virtuous. It's a skein of cherry tree hill yarn in the northern lights colorway. What's funny is that when it's crocheted up, it just looks like the standard variegated that I used to crochet with all the time.

I still haven't decided on the socks for the fiance-in-law yet. I need to find someone with large feet who's willing to have half-made socks put on them. That really narrows the pool down.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back in the saddle

Houseguests really take a lot out of you :) My husband's sister, her fiance and their baby were here from Sunday through Thursday - they're awesome people, but I'm just not used to so many humans around. The baby is very sweet and didn't cause trouble at all. Of course, it's pretty depressing to have a sweet new baby in the house when I can't seem to have one of my own, but those are the breaks.

I finally got pictures of some of the stuff I finished two weeks ago :) The carrot and rabbit hanging on the couch:

carrotyatid and coney

and in their potting soil:

potted carrotyatid and coney

I loved making these and I'd make them again. They were a hit.

And now, the piece de resistance (small so you can see the whole thing):

wood elf sock mark 2

This is my tweaked version of the prince of the wood elves socks. These went comparatively fast, and would have been faster but for my arm injury.

I used the spade pattern from Barbara Walker's 2nd treasury (pg 292 in my book). I need to find somewhere else to use it because I love how it looks. I started the lace panel 3 stitches from the right side of the sock and moved it over one stitch every 6th round. Because the top of the cuff is the same all the way around, I just spun the sock when it was time to do the heel so that I could keep moving the lace to the left as I continued down the foot. It gives the impression that I started the lace panel further to the right.

I can't explain why I'm so happy about how this turned out, but I could truly sit for an hour and admire my handiwork on this. I realize now that it would have been better to use a smaller lace pattern so that it's movement around the sock would have been more obvious, but I wanted to stick with a similar stitch count and row height. I could also have moved it to the left quicker (one to the left every 3rd row or something) but moving it on the 6th row made it easier for me to remember to do it!

Eep - I forgot to tell you - I'm calling these "birchies", since the color was inspired by birch trees. DP initially thought the color was not lotr-ish but amended his opinion once he saw them finished.

Now I just have to figure out what my next pair will be. I should probably make a pair for my sil's fiance since I already have the yarn for it. I surreptitiously measured his shoes while he was in the shower, 12 inches, so I'm thinking an 11 1/2 or 11 1/4" foot length. The yarn is paca peds HT (I think I wrote about it when I got it from the Sheep in the City gathering) and I'm hoping I'll have enough yardage. I'll be going toe up, and I might even work one foot through the heel, then the other through the heel and do both legs together to make sure they're even. I don't have any other skeins of that yarn, but I'm sure I have something of the same weight running around somewhere. I guess the real question is how many stitches around? 72?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Strange non-symmetry

I've worked the second prince of the wood elves exactly the same as the first re stitch counts and rows, and now it's feeling too tight at the cuff. I'm not sure if I'm more or less stressed out than when I made the first sock, but something's off. My plan is to make the whole sock with the cuff the way it is, then snip off the cuff if I decide it's too tight. I like the symmetry of 6 tulip bud repeats, so I may just pick up more stitches. I'm using a lace pattern that looks like arrowheads (I can't remember the name, but it's not arrowhead lace) and moving it around the cuff. So, these two guys are going to be siblings or cousins, not twins.

I called Diggers' Hotline today to get the gas/water/phone mains marked so we can redo the fence. I'm not good with directions (N, S, E, W) but they have our address, so hopefully they'll make it here okay.

I have today and tomorrow off, and I hope I'll make some good headway on that sock. Tight or no, I want to see what it looks like when it's done. That's the benefit of tweaking the pattern as you go along - surprises galore :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

A sprinkle a day

Of snow, that is. When I got out of work this evening, I could not believe my eyes. I didn't mention the snow to DP, hoping I'd imagined it. Unfortunately, when we got home he informed me that he'd had to put bags over the newly transplanted blackberry canes because of the snow. Sigh.

Easter dinner at my house went off relatively well. The main problem was my so called ovenproof serving platter. After 5 minutes in the oven, it exploded. Yeah. Not fun, but not a catastrophe either :)

We also celebrated my niece's birthday, and my sister made cupcakes. The cutest thing was that after my sister took the wrapper off the cupcake and gave it to my niece, she kissed the cupcake rather than eating it. It was, I believe, the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life.

I made a carrot and bunny from the ninjabun as a birthday present for my niece, and the carrot has been a big hit so far. The ears are great for chomping :)

I'm on the cusp of a brand new venture. I can't say anything (don't want to jinx it), but I'd appreciate any positive thoughts you can throw my way. New things scare the daylights out of me, but life doesn't stand still.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I'm at work. It's erev Pesach. I can't go home until the furniture store delivers the table to DP, because the bus doesn't run at non-peak times.

And I don't have my knitting with me.


I did find a crochet hook in my pencil jar, and I have the latest Interweave Crochet in my purse, so I may go into the arts & crafts cupboard, get some twine, and have at it.

But still.

In non-fiber related news, I washed my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar and it actually worked this time! I'd tried it before, but with a paste of baking soda. It was hard to work through my hair and it didn't really feel clean. This time I took a tupperware container that I use for cookies (holds about 2 doz) and dumped about a quarter cup of baking soda in the bottom. I filled it with hot water and mixed it up. I got in the shower, got my hair thoroughly wet, then poured about a half cup on my hair. I poured it on, sectioning my hair to make sure I got even coverage. Then I massaged my scalp and put my hair up in a clip while I finished the rest of my shower. I rinsed with hot water, then poured the acv over my hair, massaged it in, then rinsed in cold water. It took much less time to do than it seems from typing all of this out :) It got rid of the buildup from the water softener, and best of all made my hair feel clean.

Off to the cupboard...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


One wood elf sock down, one to go!

wood elf sock

I love the feel of this sock - the cedar sockitechture seems to fit well, and it's relatively painless to execute (if you don't keep miscounting!). Here's a pic of the yarn before I had my way with it:

prince of the wood elves closeup

The yarn felt great, very smooth, but it was as splitty as the dickens. Very irritating when doing k3tog.

Now I just have to figure out how I want to make the second sock - identical twin, sibling or cousin?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Socks - LotS

I got the shipment of the Lord of the Strings sock club on Friday and dove right in. It's a top down sock, and I actually decided to go top down for it :) I couldn't resist tweaking the pattern somewhat though. My sock is top down, but it uses only one of the lace motifs in the pattern, and I used Cat Bordhi's Cedar sockitechture so that I wouldn't have a short row OR a flap and gusset heel. It's turning out well, but the proof will be in the finishing. The riverbed and Coriolis sockitechtures felt okay, but turned out too big. I scaled the increases down for this one, and I'm hopeful that it's snug enough.

I did end up doing the heel 3 times. First, I got all the way past the heel turning and then found out I'd missed a k2tog somewhere. Rip 1. Next, I got to the heel turning, then found out I'd somehow gotten the heel off center. Rip 2. Third time was the charm.

I may make the second sock using the other lace motif. The one I'm using for this sock is the falling leaves pattern. There's also a "bow and arrow" pattern, so I may have two sibling socks, rather than twin socks. Might make the second sock go quicker...

I finished spinning up my Mooi knockoff, then plied it with a strand of silk/cashmere, then dyed the whole thing in a saucepan with a packet of black cherry koolaid. The bamboo didn't take up much of the dye, so there's a silvery strand through the whole skein. I'm not sure what I'm going to make of it. There's not very much, so maybe a pair of lacy handwarmers.

I'm being very strong and resisting the siren song of the Crown Mountain Farms roving. DP loved the "light my fire" colorway - he was very impressed that what I got in the mail looked just like the picture. I'm enamored by the "tobacco road". If I had a ton of money, I'd buy 3 more 8oz packets of it so I could make myself a sweater.

If I get myself in gear, I'll get some pictures up of the sock, the yarn and the roving. I've also got to show you my craft room - I've gussied it up so that DP's sister and her boyfriend, along with their baby, have a place to stay. They could have stayed in the room even without the gussying, but they would have had to sleep on my rubbermaid yarn totes.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I hate being afraid. I especially hate being afraid of someone who I shouldn't have to even worry about. Whatever.

In other news, I brought a spindle along to work today, in case my wait for the afternoon bus was as long as yesterday's (an hour). Thankfully, I only had to wait about 15 minutes. When I got home, I thought DP was asleep, so I whipped up a pizza crust before I got in the shower. Next thing I know, he came walking upstairs :) So, I had a pizza for dinner and he made himself tacos...that way, we both got what we were craving.

I really need to decide what socks I want to knit for my next pair. I like to keep some on the needles, just in case.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A bit of this and that

I decided yesterday to crochet some fingerless mitts for DP. I was knitting him some out of the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Mineshaft, and no matter what gauge I used, he didn't like the fabric. I used this pattern, which I can't recommend enough. The only change I made was to use foundation sc for the foundation chain stitches. I love how they turned out, and I may use this as the go-to mitts pattern:

crochet mitts 2

I whipped up a batch of soft pretzels for supper yesterday - so delicious.

We're going to have Easter at our house this year. My niece's birthday is April 15 and my sister doesn't want to have two different celebrations, so we're going to have a birthday cake for Easter dessert and everyone over to our house. I called my mom to tell her it was on, and she said, "What should I bring?" I asked her what she wanted to have - turkey or ham - and she said ham. So I said, "then bring a ham." :) She thought it was hilarious, AND she'll bring the ham. Sweet.

I finally got Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn - I bought it and two other books with an AMEX gift card and have been waiting for them to come since December 31. I've been looking forward to this book because of the multitude of handpainted yarns in my stash; I'd like to use their colors to an advantage. I was a bit surprised that there were no entrelac socks in the book because entrelac is a sure-fire way to avoid pooling. The patterns are divided into nearly solids, muted multis and wild multis, with patterns geared towards each type. Some are extremely crazy and labor intensive, like Spread Spectrum (ravelry link), a sideways intarsia. Some use standard techniques in a different way, like the Chevvy socks (ravelry link), which used short rows at the beginning of the sock to set up a deep chevron. I'm planning to make my next pair of socks a pattern from this book, and right now Color Collision is at the front of the running. I want to start out in the shallow end of the pool.

Overall, I'm glad I got the book, but I'm also glad that I basically got it for free, thanks to the gift card.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


My office flooded last much for the nice rain :) I pretty much spent all of today extracting water from the carpet.

To combat the extreme bummer of a day, I'm making a homemade pizza and drinking a bottle of wine. DP and I are trying to perfect our crusts. For a while I was using a lot of whole wheat and flax, with a bit of oats to give fragility. We found by accident that the best crusts have a good helping of semolina flour. For this crust, I'm using Greek olive oil; it has a different taste than the whole foods organic olive oil...more olive-y. I'm currently waiting for the crust to rise, browning the sausage and drinking a glass of zinfandel. A good antidote to the day.

I'm spinning the Spincerely pretty thin so that I can get a good sock-weight 3-ply. My 3-plies usually end up a bit heavier than true fingering weight. It's beautiful spinning.

I'm not sure what the spinning kick is all about, but I've been thinking about spinning all the time. I used to bring a spindle everywhere, but it's been so cold that I've just been bringing my knitting. I might have to stash a small spindle to combat this itch.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


It is raining crazily! I love just sitting in the living room, listening to the rain fall.

I think I'm going to start spinning the spincerely merino/tencel...frankly, it's practically screaming "spin me!", and I don't know how much longer I'd be able to hold out. I really want to do a 3 ply for socks, but we'll see if my spinning is up to the challenge.

I also ordered some angora from Fluffington Farms on Etsy, because the staple length was 3 to 4 inches. The staple length of the stuff I have is about 1 inch, plus it's matted together, and I'd really like to spin some angora without having to fight it the whole way. I hope to spin this new stuff as a fine singles, then ply it with something else and dye the whole works. My combo batts experiment from a few weeks ago was so fun that I'm psyched to try combining fibers in other ways too.

Monday, March 23, 2009


My BFF came to town yesterday, and we went out to lunch (with her husband, baby boy, step-daughter and step-daughter's friend in tow). Why does this make me ache? Because their car was full and DP didn't want to go, so I ran to the restaurant to meet them there - about a mile away. I don't run - asthma, allergies and hating running being the reasons. legs are so sore today!

I may be going in a different direction with the sock monkey. I have a scheme that I will try to implement this evening, and I'll let you know how it turns out.

My spinning scheme did not turn out. The sample I plied together (2 green and one yellow) looked gimmicky and lame. So, my plan is to make the green a two ply and do something with the yellow. Maybe baby socks, maybe that hat.

If only I could be knitting...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Busy, busy

It's been a bit crazy around here - work has been so ridiculous that I didn't have time to post, and yesterday was taken up with basketball :) The end of that Gonzaga/Texas game was ridiculous. Today I'll be able to watch more basketball while I fold the laundry and spin. That's the life!

I got the merino tencel in the mail - so pretty and soft!

spincerely merino tencel

spincerely merino tencel closeup

I can't wait to get it on the wheel. She also sent along a little sample of BFL:

spincerely blue faced leicester

Extremely spinnable. I went back to her shop, but there was none of it in stock.

Here's a monkey pic:

monkey head

He's going pretty slowly, but he's further along than this.

I finished spinning up the falkland from the fairy tale swap:

tea and wool

I'm thinking of a three ply - two falkland and one of the big yellow taxi from Crown Mountain Farms. I'll sample first, and pass it by DP's discerning eye.

I finally got around to uploading the pretzel picture:

pretzel closeup

It's the recipe from Smitten Kitchen, one of the best food blogs ever. The pretzels were made and promptly consumed - no leftovers!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cocktails, anyone?

I just tried this cocktail; verdict - fabulous! My version is below:

Adapted from Puck Fair
1 ounce Jameson Irish whiskey
1/2 ounce pomegranate liqueur
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 whole egg.

Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake very vigorously, for at least 10 seconds, to emulsify the egg. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

On the knitting front, I decided to work more on the Holi socks, because I can actually see the progress (as opposed to the monkey, which I can knit on all night and seem to go nowhere at all). I need to knock down at least one project!

My mother in law has asked for some Spokane Owls socks (Spokane, MO, that is). Their colors are maroon and gold, but the gold is really more of a yellow. Well, I just realized that the Spincerely merino tencel I bought is the perfect yellow, and the mohair/wool that I spun up is the perfect maroon. So...I might just have to use both for some socks for her. She has pretty small feet, so I should still have enough left to make some kind of socks for myself, even if they're only anklets.

I need to figure out what I'm having for supper - I'm really hungry, but I don't really want to make something and have to wash the dishes. I've got to figure out a one-pot meal that's filling. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I have become the very thing I most abhorred

I'm in the process of setting up an iMac computer lab.

Right now I'm just doing the updates (bandwidth hogs) and setting up the student accounts. I have to figure out how to configure the parental controls to keep the kids from looking at naughty sites, and it's not going well. I bought these because Leopard is supposed to have good parental controls, but they did not pass the naughty word lookup test. Fie.

I spent a lot of last night working on the sock monkey, and I feel like I got nowhere. My elbow hurts like a ----; bad enough that I trouble putting together a mailing today at work. The solution? Ibuprofen, it seems :)

Did anyone try to get the phat fiber box this weekend? I was actually able to see the boxes, so that was an improvement. I ended up buying some merino/tencel roving as a consolation. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What can I say?

I'm a follower. I just saw the Cisco hat on Brooklyn Tweed's blog, and I queued it up. So what if I haven't finished any of my projects, I can't knit without copious amounts of ibuprofen, and I have no time to do anything new - I have to make that hat for my niece. Maybe for both of my nieces, and possibly for my bff's son. It's just so dang cute.

I'm stuck on the horns of a dilemma - there's a fancy event at work on Sunday that I really ought to go to. I do NOT want to go. There are various reasons why, but one main one is that DP would have to drive me there and pick me up, because he's not going. That would mean that I'd be gone from 5 to 10 on Sunday night. Blech. I just don't want anyone to think I'm making a political statement by not going...I just don't want to have to go out on Sunday night.

Let's get back to more enjoyable things: wips. Currently I have the Hobbiton socks, DP's Holi socks, the sock monkey and my Juno cardigan in progress. I'm thinking of ripping the Hobbiton socks because they screwed up my arms with their accursed cabling, and they don't deserve to live. They'll likely be reincarnated as socks that look cabled, because I like the trails from the hobbit holes in the pattern, but I'll never make a second sock, so the first should probably be destroyed. The yarn is nice, but very splitty, and it doesn't feel like a sportweight to me. Maybe I've just been lying to myself all these years, and sport is actually another name for fingering!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Moving right along

My monkey is coming along nicely. The next thing to think about will be exactly how to make his legs, and if I should give him feet. I think I will - it'll look better than just two long tubes.

I plied some of the Icelandic with the silk cashmere, but I didn't really like the feel of it. I'm not sure where to go to with it - laceweight? I may try to card the bamboo, bison and cashmere together today, depending on how static-y it is.

We'll be going over to my sister's in a couple of hours to help her paint her bedroom. My brother in law is on a trip with his brothers, so our plan is to give the bedroom a makeover so that he's surprised when he gets back :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Plodding along

I decided to work on the monkey last night; I finished his head and started down the neck. Of course, I then realized that his muzzle was too big, so I had to rip everything out and do it over. I'm now again finished with the muzzle, and starting on the neck. I'm really enjoying the colors I picked, and DP has given them his seal of approval.

Strangely, my arms don't feel any worse than they did before last night's marathon, so I guess bulldogging it worked! If I can just finish his body this weekend, I'll be happy.

I need to decide how I'm going to spin the Icelandic. It's a combo of the tog and thel, so it can be a bit rough. Though I'd love to make my own bohus-esque yarn, I don't really want to card it with my angora. I'd just mess up the nice preparation, and who knows what I'd end up with! I may do one ply of the icelandic and one of the silk/cashmere blend and see how it washes and works up. I spindle spun some of the icelandic and I have a partial bobbin of the silk/cashmere singles leftover from a weaving project, so I could theoretically just ply them when I get home today. Hmmm...maybe I'll do just that.

In other news, I'm a horrible friend. I forgot a co-worker's birthday yesterday; she's just a couple of years older than me, and the first "young" person I ever worked with. She said she didn't mind, but I feel like a complete loser. Argh.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bulldog it

My mom, who works for a software company, gets a lot of junk from other software companies. This junk (hats, shirts, pens) usually has the donor's logo on it. One such company was Bulldog IT - which my husband and sister decided should be their new phrase to shout at sporting events :) It's now entered the family lexicon, and we use it for situations that call for slogging through something. Too tired to finish coding that program? Too bad - bulldog it! Don't feel like mowing the lawn? Bulldog it!

I've decided that's how I feel about my knitting. Arms too sore to knit? Who cares! Figure out how to knit without pain and just bulldog it. I really want to finish my cardigan, DP's socks and sil's sock monkey so that I can start a spring shawl. I absolutely will not start the shawl until at least one of those projects is done. They all use different sized needles, so I just need to see which kind my arms can take and go with it. I want to finish something. I guess I got spoiled by my Christmas knitting/crafting, when I was finishing projects left and right.

I realize that some people might think this is unhealthy, and that I shouldn't knit if knitting causes injuries. However, I have to go to work, carry my purse, move furniture, cook and wash dishes, so I might as well do something I want to do also.

Finishing the sock monkey is now even more important to me, since I found out that my sil was having some severe ppd last week. I can't go to her, since she's in MO, but I can show her I'm thinking about her. If only I could leave work early, go home and knit...hmmm.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Our phone is dead

But our internet is alive. What the heck?! I'm hoping that it's something the phone company will be able to fix, and that they'll fix it when DP is home :)

I tried to swatch for the leavened raglan yesterday, but my left shoulder started to ache. I had this problem last year...or the year's due to stress. I guess I carry stress in my shoulders, and when things get too crazy, they hurt terribly. Yesterday I got really upset right before going home. Would you ever go to a restaurant, order a meal, eat it, and then when the bill came say that the meal - while delicious and just what you wanted - shouldn't have cost that much and you wouldn't pay for it? That's pretty much what happened yesterday at 5:45. I don't care if you don't think that you should be charged for ordered it and ate it!

I did manage to get a little bit of the sock monkey for my niece done. I'm working top down, and I got to about his eyes. I'm using cascade 220 in vashon, pumpkin spice and natural. I figure that I'll make him up and stuff him with old socks - clean, of course :) Then he'll be doubly a sock monkey. The eyes I'll embroider on, because I'm pretty sure anything else would get pulled off. I'm not sure about his tail (color-wise) or his hands and feet. I'll have to look at some other monkeys to compare. This fellow (along with Mr. Foster) has been my inspiration through the whole thing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Sorry for the radio silence, but I've been fighting some stomach bug and haven't had the will to post.

I've been spinning - I spun up the mohair/wool into a 3-ply heavy fingering weight for some socks.

mohair wool singles 3 ply

(That's the singles on the left and the plied on the right.)

I haven't done much arm is still bothering me, and I can only do a few rows at a time.

I've decided to go with the Leavened Raglan for my mom's sweater. It will involve some finessing with gauge, but it seems to be what she wants. If only I could swatch! It's so frustrating not to be able to finish the projects on my needles or start anything new.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Some pics

I took some pictures of my stuff from Sheep in the City...they're not the best, but I wanted to get the pictures so I could start working with the fiber!

The mohair/wool (amazingly silky):

mohair wool

The icelandic (much less silky...not sure exactly what to make of it):


The bamboo (I'm not generally a pastels person, but this is loverly):


The sock yarn (hoping I have enough for a man with LARGE feet):

paca peds

I haven't done any knitting in days. Every time I try, my arm starts hurting bad (in fact, as soon as I typed that sentence, it started hurting again). I'm going to have to do something tonight, or go stir crazy. Maybe some spinning, or carding.

I was also pretty sick last night and this morning...some kind of stomach bug. People at work told me to go home, but there was so much to do that I had to stay. I just didn't eat or drink at work, so I was mostly okay after about 9. Blech.

Well, off to my drumcarder :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hot Sheep in the City

The Sheep in the City meetup was fun! There was a sheep to scarf competition, with the Madison spinners guild dressed in knitted chain mail and the Oak Creek guild dressed as Vikings (they even combed the wool rather than carding it). Once I get home, I can take some pictures of what I bought. I had a budget of $100 and ended up with $30 left over.

Fiberwise: I bought some amazing wine-colored mohair/wool roving, ostensibly to spin yarn for socks. I also bought some Icelandic roving, since I've never spun it before - shocking, I know :) I also got 4oz of bamboo, dyed in pearly sort of pinks and blues, to combine with the bison and cashmere that I already have. Yes, I read about Louet's Mooi and wanted to make my own version. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I ended up with a spindle (I'm not sure how many ounces) and a fun hairstick with dangling beads. I almost bought a sweet spider pendant, but I realized that spending $120 on a piece of jewelry would not look good in my budget.

My uncle's birthday party was fine - I don't like groups of people, so it's always tiring to go to parties, but my brother came along with, so it wasn't too bad. My uncle is pretty much the sweetest guy you'd ever want to meet.

The opera was...interesting. I told my mom at the first intermission that I wanted to stay, not because I liked it, but because I wanted to see what they would do next with the staging. Even though the name of the opera was Semele, the real star of the show was Juno. And, she was really the only one who could sing!

We got back home on Sunday afternoon to find that DP's sister had had the baby! 6lbs, 5oz, a full head of dark hair. My sil only was in labor for 3 hours, with 45 minutes of pushing. I'm happy for her - after 13 years of trying to get pregnant, she deserved a break. The only problem is that now I have to start that sock monkey tonight instead of spinning!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Choppin', yes indeed

When I got to work this morning, I found that the ice storm last night had put a huge sheet of ice on the sidewalk that runs from the parking lot to the entrance. I tried chopping it sans salt, but all that did was hurt my arms. So, I spread about 5 lbs of ice melt, waited 2 hours, and was able to chop it all away! Of course, it hurts like a ---; every strike runs up my arms and almost numbs them from the shoulders down. Oh ice.

I'm going to my parents' house tonight for a delicious meal of homemade pizza. Nummy. My mom makes sicilian style pizza, which is not DP's favorite, but I was raised on it, so I'm pretty excited. It'll be nice to be at my parents' house and just relax. At any rate, I'll need to rest up tonight for all the adventures tomorrow.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I really want to make something for my sister, but I'm not sure what. Ever since she had the baby, she's had a problem with getting clothes that fit (surprise, surprise). And now, her feet are a size bigger and seem to be staying that way! We both have size 10 or 10 1/2 feet (depending on the time of day) but she's up to 11, so none of her shoes fit anymore. A nice pair of custom made socks will take care of that. But what about a sweater/cardigan?

I was thinking about the February Lady Sweater, because it looks like everyone and their third cousin twice removed is making it, but would it make someone with a post-pregnancy tummy look pregnant again? I haven't seen my sister since I came up with this idea, which is why I'm throwing this question out. I'd like to show her some pictures of things and see what strikes her. Maybe something in cotton for spring?

I also need to make a sock monkey for my sister in law. The latest Knit Picks catalog had a sock monkey pattern on the back, quaintly named Mr. Foster. I ripped the page out and have it posted by the phone to freak out DP. However, yesterday he told me that Mr. Foster is growing on him, and that I should make one for his sister, along with a couple outfits. He'd write a book to go with it. (He writes children's books but doesn't ever try to publish them.) The baby shower is Saturday, but since it's in Missouri, I won't be going, which means I have ample time to concoct a monkey ;) I read somewhere that a sock monkey for a baby is good luck, and my sil loves monkeys, so it's a match made in heaven.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Completely forgot

I can't believe I forgot to post pics of the batts, the undyed yarn and the dyed yarn from this weekend. Grrr.

Here are the little batts:


The top two are the wool/angora, and the bottom two are the wool/silk.

Here's the spun and plied yarn before its koolaid bath:

angora silk bfl blend 2

The detail:

angora silk bfl blend

And after dyeing:

orange sherbet

orange sherbet detail

I spun this all supported long draw, which I've hardly ever done. I can see how production spinners would love this method, and I think with some practice (and no neps or noils in my fiber) I could get an awesome singles out of it.

Also, here's the first half of the second batch of Big Yellow Taxi from Crown Mountain:

big yellow taxi

Again, supported long draw, about 6 oz.

I love spinning!


I hate it. Nuff said.

I got nary a stitch of knitting done yesterday; I went out to dinner with a friend and didn't get back til 9, so I figured I'd just pack it in instead of aggravating my arm.

We did have fun walking back to the car, because my friend said (in a loud voice) - "oh yeah, I still have your pot in my basement!" In a college town, that's not something you should shout :) It's a nice unchipped enameled stockpot, perfect for dyeing yarn and fiber. Since I had been dyeing at her house, I had left it there...for about 9 months! That's one of the reasons I've been dyeing with koolaid lately. DP was surprised to see the pot, but he did remember it, so I didn't have to fend off questions of "where did you get that?"

I can't wait to get home to my cardigan! It's a little further along than this:


(pardon the crummy picture) I still haven't decided about the sleeves yet - whether to finish them before the body or after. Eeep.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I'm developing it. Argh.

I hardly knit a stitch over the weekend, thinking that it would make my arm feel better. What I didn't think of was that spinning 400 yards of yarn after spending two hours carding it is not really all that easy on the arm either! I can be a dummy sometimes.

After work yesterday, I decided to knit on my Juno until DP woke up. That gave me about 2 hours of knitting time, with some breaks for pattern reading (I really enjoy reading Big Girl Knits for some reason) and cheese & cracker eating. I have about 6 more inches to go on the body of the cardigan, and I'm almost to a decision point: do I go ahead and make the sleeves once the ball of yarn I'm using for the body runs out? It would be easier to not have to spin the body of the sweater around during the sleeve caps, but for such a short amount left on the body, should I even care?

I'm also trying to finish DP's green and purple socks so I can make him another pair in Cascade 220. He really wants thick socks, and they go so quickly, I can't resist.

This weekend I'm going to Sheep in the City with my mom. Never been to it, but it sounds fun. Saturday will be crazy: Sheep in the City in the morning, my uncle's b-day party in the afternoon and the opera that night. I'm going to be wiped out on Sunday :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The thrill of spinning, the agony of skeining

A propos of my angora craving, I spent yesterday afternoon carding up two batts of bfl/angora and bfl/silk, making singles of each and plying them together. I ended up with a little less than 2oz of sport/worsted weight. I'm trying to decide if I should dye it and then make something out of it, or just leave it as is. It's so soft...I really want to make gloves out of it, but I don't know if I have enough.

The agony part of the procedure was winding the plied yarn onto my swift. I guess I wound a bit too swiftly, because I didn't notice that a loop had wrapped itself around the upright part of the swift - which is coated in beeswax so that it's less squeaky. Argh! I had to take the skein of the swift, then unclamp the swift to get the yarn off it. Of course, the skein fell off my arm and tangled itself up immediately. I spent an hour yesterday untangling it, and left the rest for this morning. It's finally wound up, but argh!

I think that today I'll finish up my sister's curtains. I'd pinned and ironed everything out, but for some reason just didn't hem them. My craft room is not that big, so having the curtains across the futon really clutters it up. Of course, the huge bag of quilt scraps in the middle of the room probably doesn't help either!

I still haven't been to the hardware store to buy paint for the craft room...DP doesn't want to live in this house long term (just a few years) so I don't know if I want to spend time and money to make the room into something I like if I'll be leaving it for someone else. Still, even if I don't paint the walls, I will be making new curtains. When I was spinning in there yesterday, the curtains were really bothering me. The ice blue really sucks the energy out of the room.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Perfect buttons

I found these buttons for my Juno...I'm so excited! We have a silver maple in the backyard, and I think it's bark goes well with the yarn.

Here's a pic of the finished sock from Wednesday:

holi sock 2

The second sock is still just a toe, because I didn't get home until 8:30 last night, and I was too tired to knit :)

I'm trying to find some good fiber to spin...Squoosh on etsy has great stuff, but I'd like to try something new. I'd really love to spin something with angora in it; my angora socks are getting threadbare.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Socks soar on size 1.5s

I finished the first green/purple sock for DP last night. Since it's on size 1.5s and only 64 st around, it almost finished itself! He tried it on and loved it, even the garter square toe, which I was afraid he might find too bulky. I'm doing these one at a time, so I'm crossing my fingers that the second sock matches the first :)

His only minor complaint was that the sock felt thick...I think it's because his favorites are made out of Schaefer Anne and are as thin as dress socks. I have another skein of the Anne for his next pair of socks, but I think I'll wait on those til the summer.

I started the toe of the second sock on the bus this morning, and I'm about 45% done with the square. (My bus ride is 30 minutes, but I don't like to knit for the second half of the ride because the bus fills up.) The toe yarn, Claudia Handpainted, is amazingly nice. I'm surprised because the last pair of socks I made out of Claudia were so horrible on my hands...they were black, so maybe the dye process made the yarn harsher. The limeade yarn is like silk, and it's only 2 ply! I think that I'm going to end up with another skein or two, to see if it's generally pleasant or unpleasant to work with.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ugh - bugs

A propos of my infested handspun, I decided to go through all of my fiber. I have most of it in plastic bags and the bags in a rubbermaid tote, but I was afraid of what I might find.

Sadly, the creatures had attacked. I had to throw out two fleeces - one down breed (can't remember which) and one shetland. The shetland wasn't actually a good fleece to begin with, so I'm kind of happy that I had a good reason to chuck it out. My angora and the silk and cashmere were okay, but one bag of linen had to go. The bison fluff was also unscathed...I don't know what I would have done if it was corrupted!

What this makes me realize is that I've been hoarding fiber - buying a beautiful fleece or some roving and being too scared to actually spin it. I decided to start spinning more and using my handspun. If I don't, the only winners will be the bugs that are munching it up.

I also decided to pull out my drumcarder and combine some of the more interesting fibers in my stash. I have a Louet Jr. drumcarder, so I really can only make .5 or 1oz batts, but for this sampling, it was fine. I combined silk, cashmere and Finn, mohair and silk, Finn and Cormo, Cormo and cashmere, and I think a few more...maybe some BFL? I make .5oz batts, spun them up all on one bobbin and navajo plied it. I made a garter stitch triangle out of the yarn, and I decided that the Finn/silk/cashmere blend was the best. Before I put the carder away, I cleaned it up the best I could and sprinkled pennyroyal oil on it. I know that it's poisonous, but my drumcarder was bug free, even though it still had fiber tufts on it, when the rest of my stash was infested. I may make up some wormwood sachets as well, just to be on the safe side.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I finished my sil's socks:

guilt socks 3

I'm pretty happy to be finished with them.

I also finished a pair of slipper socks for DP's best friend:

shire slippers2

For some reason, I could not get a non-fuzzy pic of them. They're made with Blue Sky Alpacas organic bulky cotton, and they're super soft.

I started working on the LotR sock club installment, Hobbiton. Unfortunately, the amount of cabling has injured my right arm, so I'm taking a break from them. I started a plain stockinette pair for DP:

holi sock 1

I'm pretty happy about the toe. I used Cat Bordhi's garter stitch square toe, but instead of casting on one side of the square, I cast on one stitch, increased up, then decreased down. It made for an extremely sproingy square with no hard edges.

Hooray for socks!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I was past the waist on a cardigan for me, when I discovered that instead of knitting with two US8 needles, I'm knitting with a US8 and a US9. Unfortunately, my gauge was gotten on US8. Argh. I'm not sure how far back up I should rip...I do have wide shoulders, so I might not rip everything out. Doggone.

I haven't finished my SiL's socks yet. I hope to get them done during the Super Bowl. My sister and brother in law will be coming over, because my mom is coming up to watch their baby. My sister's very excited about being able to do grownup things for a few hours.

In other news, I got the birth announcement for my best friend's baby, Caleb. She had the baby with zero problems, but I haven't called her because I figured that she'd be busy learning how to take care of a baby at home (he's 3 weeks old). I'd forgotten who my BFF is! She called me yesterday on her way to Kmart and Babies R Us: she had to buy some ink and a crib mattress for her mom's house. She'd also been to the airport to drop off a friend who'd been visiting. That woman has the most energy of anyone I know, and can multitask more than two octopi. I love her!