Monday, December 31, 2007

The Year in Review

Today being the last day of 2007, it makes sense to look over what I've been up to this year. My handy sidebar tells me this includes:
  • 30 pairs of socks
  • 39 stash projects
  • 2 spinning/knitting projects
  • 9 mittens
  • 9 hats
  • 8 shawls/wraps
  • 2 frogged, unresurrected projects
Those are nice totals. I *did* knit from my stash, and I even spun from my stash.

The year is ending as next year will begin ... doctor's appointment today, doctor's appointment on January 2nd. Whee. It does get me into town, and provides a nice excuse for grocery shopping. And yarn shopping. No, not for me. For Filia. The hat she made for mom simply JUMPED off mom's head some time in town, and is missing. So, time for a replacement.

And, since I've two blogs to update, and dishes to wash, and a shopping trip to make ... this review shall be declared at an end.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Why I don't do UFOs

My current project is a cardigan. It's got oodles of ribbing, and cables to boot. My left thumb hurts just thinking about knitting on it some more. I could start another project ....

and I will. Because I will eventually need a traveling project. At this point, however, the cardi will serve nicely in that role. It won't fit in a sock bag, true, but I don't have any socks to stash in there either. 2008 is my personal Year of the Mitten, so mittens will be tucked into the sock bag. Two color and/or twisted mittens, to boot. Unless they don't work well for traveling, in which case I may do stash reduction for traveling.

Reading. I really need to set some time aside each day to read to myself. I read to the children (currently working on the Scarlet Pimpernel. Jellyband reminds me of Butterbur. Filia has no idea who Butterbur is. A gap in her education which will be rectified.) There's a proofreading handbook on my desk, as well as Heretics/Orthodoxy, Livy's Early History of Rome, The Search for Delicious, the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and the original Pinocchio. I have such a difficult time prioritizing between two good things.

Harp. I'm not taking lessons any more, but I *will* keep on practicing. Call me on it if I don't mention it. (Hmm, the idea of a Monthly Report is sounding like a good accountability plot. Anyone want to join me? Come up with things to do on a regular basis, and report in a post once a month on what you've been actually doing? Say, perhaps, not buying sock yarn? Or donating it all to good causes?)

But the cardigan. It's not going to become a UFO, because I will work on it daily. It will be my home project (although I do reserve the right to work on another project at home if I do more than one skein of cardigan yarn in a given day.) And if this cardigan pulls the same stunt my last one did, and turns into yarn balls? I will let out a sigh of exasperation, and give myself one week of playing with mittens before starting the hunt for another suitable pattern. Or maybe I'll just delegate the cardigan to Filia. Sure, that's it. She can knit her own cardigan, and I can have her gift certificate!

Why do I think that won't go over well?

Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt. Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves.
~ Robert Anton Wilson

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Milk is easier to get off dark skeins

subtitle: Why I should have been more careful setting my Hot Vanilla down this evening.

(Hot Vanilla: 1 cup hot milk, 1 t vanilla, 1 t (or T) sugar. Mmmm. Sticky.)

I set my mug down in its usual resting spot in the top of my workbox. Except the top of my workbox wasn't squarely settled in the box, and it tipped. 11 ounces (I saved one) of hot milky beverage all over
  • The balled yarns from Fililus's frogged pullover
  • The Leisure Arts raglan sweater booklet which has been in my family for two generations
  • The yarns for the Endpaper Mitts
  • The yarns for my buttonhole article
  • Filia's gauge swatches for her cardigan
  • Several needles and a needle gauge
  • The floor
  • The rug under my chair
  • My dog
  • A ruler
I will have some sticky yarns to work with for a while, I think. It did miss my 'pretty basket of yarns' and the bag I'd taken with me to Knit Night, so I have some breathing space before facing yarns that go crackle in the night. And really, most things got off with just a dollop or so of milk around the edges. The raglan book got the worst of it, and it's clothespinned to the stove hood.

Elmer's glue really is water-soluble. I have another glue drying this very moment, hopefully securing the lip of the box tray to the actual tray. The Elmers washed off quite nicely with the hot beverage.

Filia's swatch tags, written in beautiful fountain pen, are illegible. This is a perfect reason to finish my Pendemonium order off with some bullet-proof inks. I really do need them! Britannia's Blue Waves, or one of the Russian inks, or Iraqi Indigo, or ???

The Refined Aran Cardigan is no more. It, too, requires a sport weight yarn. I have a DK yarn, and this morning Filia and I picked out a Drops design which will work. The gauge swatch was PERFECT until I tossed it in the dryer, at which point it grew width-wise and shrunk lengthwise. And it looks ratty. So, this Swish DK cardi will be machine wash, air dry. It's going to get started (because Filia has finished the Baby Surprise Jacket, thus freeing up my long cable) as soon as I finish NHM #8. I've got the thumb and a bit left, so tomorrow should see the start.

Then, whatever shall I have for a travelling project?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Knitting Resolutions

The year is drawing to a close, and I - being the personal global planner that I am - like to think about the next year, and what I will do with it.

I like keeping track of my projects in the sidebar. It's a handy place to see what I'm up to, what I've accomplished, and what's lurking in the future. Ravelry can do the same sort of thing, but not so as everyone can see it quite yet ... so I'll keep that part of my blog.

I'm in a very mitteny mood. I've got to do Filia's cardigan next, but after that's done I see many mittens on my needles. Latvian, Selbuvotter, Twisted ... you name it, I think they will be there. In fact, I think 2008 will be A Mitten (pair) A Month. More suited to acronymization is the Year of the Monthly Mittens.

Also, I want to knit a lace stole suitable for the State Fair. Once the initial mitten frenzy dies down, I will cast on for the Sampler Stole - I think from A Gathering of Lace - and get that going. If it develops separation anxiety during blocking ... I'll cross that bridge if I come to it.

And of course, I'd like to keep working my stash down. Mittens should be good for that. 2008 shall also be the Year of the Monthly Stash Project (YOMSP), which may be the same as the Monthly Mitten Project.
Sockies ... another pair is done. The little tail you see on one sock is all that was left of the skein. The other sock had about a yard extra. It was close. Three yards to cast off 96 stitches? It was very close.

If you have used cusenaire rods, you may recognize the colors and sizes of these rods. But perhaps you never thought of building an inverted pyramid? Architecturally minded boys would.

Or how about balancing a new gyroscope on Mimring? Nope. I never would have thought of that either.

Filia is knitting madly on a Baby Surprise Jacket. The book (The Opinionated Knitter) is AWOL, but the working copy I made for myself from the book was found next to the slipper pattern (which was used to replace the inadvertent casualties of the Severe Cleaning she subjected her room to), and the jacket will be done shortly. I think she's 3 ridges from the end. (Two slippers and a BSJ since the 21st ... not bad!)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Nutella Drinks and other Comfort Foods

Nutella Hot Chocolate is a recipe from Hot Chocolate. The recipe is pretty simple .. take one serving of Nutella, add to one serving hot milk, and mix. I highly recommend NOT using an immersion blender in a full mug. There was a sad and drastic loss of Nutella that day.

Nutella is a favorite spread in this family. I wish I could get it in larger jars than what is sold in the supermarket. If it's more popular than peanut butter worldwide, one would think it came in containers larger than 8 servings. Filius took this photo of his favorite snack.

While we were up at the hospital, Filia met some of the wives of the Minnesota Twins players, and the mascot TC. TC was quite impressed with her cookie, and presented her with an autograph. She was more interested in cookie decorating with the Twins' wives than The Yarnery.

And in keeping with the food theme, allow me to show you what was in the oven with the loaf of bread pictured above.

Yes, mittens were drying in the oven. Mittens baked in the oven. Did you know Trekking changes color at 350 degrees? My camera was staging a focusing strike, so you can't see the cripsiness of the mitten, but believe you me ... it was crispy. I was able to salvage the mittens by cutting off the offended top and knitting a new one. That Trekking yarn is getting quite a workout! From padded footlets (frogged) to mittens (toast), to reknitting toasted mittens, and now the rest of the ball is being used by my mom to make some half-mitts.

Filia was bit by a serious cleaning bug earlier this week, much to the detriment of her schoolwork. I thought it a worthy tradeoff, since my plan was to get schoolwork done and then encourage a hearty room cleaning. She spent the better part of two days sorting, tossing, tossing, donating, and putting away things. Her room is lovely ... and Filius was the recipient of some beanies.

The time, it flieth

It's time for a few posts, and I think I'm caught up enough that I can actually write some.

My needles have been busy. My sewing machine has been busy. My crochet hook has, sadly, been employed. At least it was to good purpose.

Icarus is finished. I used two skeins of Misti Alpaca Laceweight, and had a smidge left over. The pattern was knit as writ, although if I make it again I'll just do 3 yos instead of 4 in that particular pattern round. It's sitting near the radiator, snug under a desk, waiting to meet its new owner on Sunday.
The Legwarmers are finished. I think I've taken the off a few times ... but I do like them, and they are a definite plus in our cool house. The pattern came from Melville's The Knit Stitch, and used 3 skeins of Shamrock.

Filius's cardigan is finished. Really finished. A few days into working on it, I realized that he never wears anything but sweatshirt or oversized shirts in the winter, and who wears cardigans over things like that? Anything that goes over something of that size is called a coat. I had a small sinking feeling, but decided to finish. There are more boys than one in the word, after all.

The next day, I finished a sleeve ... the stitch count was off at the bottom a bit, but that wasn't too problematic. I was getting gauge, and the sleeve looked quite proper, and so I picked up stitches for the next sleeve and got ready to start down.

Then I decided to count my sleeve stitches. And there weren't enough. So I backtracked. What could have gone wrong? True, I didn't count to make sure there were 309 stitches on the needle when I set the sleeve stitches aside, but who would do that? There were directions to take care of the stitch number, and I'd followed them, hadn't I?

Well, yes. But not quite all of them. One line told me to increase X times, another told me to work increases at the front edges (V-neck, you know) Y times every Q rows, then Z times every R rows, then N times every S rows. I'd done fine with my YZN, but had missed the X part. Wouldn't X = Q+R+S? No, it did not. It was off by 8. Which means 4 increase rows. Which makes for 32 stitches. Which, at 5 stitches per inch, makes for 6" shrinkage in the sweater yoke above the sleeve division. It was suddenly seeming less likely that the finished project would be wearable.

So I cast on some socks. (Sorry, no photos. They're wrapped, too.) And thought, pondered, and otherwise contemplated my options. The next day, I brought a ball winder to craft day, stuck it on the table, and about 10 minutes later ... pfssst ... I have a row of lovely balls of yarn, occupation unknown.

After the socks, the Balaclava was cast on. The pattern (um, springboard?) comes from Homespun, Handknit. I made a few tweaks, took lots of photos of the making of the eye opening, and finished it off today. It's in the Basket of Things To Be Wrapped, and will not be a surprise to the recipient, but wrapping it is still fun. Especially if one's mom does the wrapping.

Now, for the End of Year Contemplation. To be fair, I've been thinking about posting this since early December, but I got otherwise occupied and the idea has been on the back burner. Towards the end of 2006, I had thoughts about working my stash down. There was the Stash of Whole Skeins, and the stash of miscellaneous acquired objects. I'd like to report that, based on my sidebar, I worked 39 projects from stashed yarns.
  • The Tesselated Socks used 2 skeins I had bought 'for some pair of socks'
  • The Latvian mittens used two colors of Palette from my Palette sampler
  • The Anatolian MIttens used two colors of Merino Style from ... where else? ... my Merino Style Sampler
  • The Quilt was finished
  • The Rambling Rose afghan has been taken over by my daughter, who will probably finish it in 2008.

Admittedly, nothing was done with the Shadow sampler. I have noticed that the Swallowtail shawl takes only one skein, so I may be making one of those this coming year. After my doodle with Angel laceweight, perhaps?

And lastly, it's amazing what a boy can do with K'Nex.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The time, it goes quickly.

The time, it goes quickly.

But for dogs, it doesn't seem to be quite as hectic. "If blanket, then dog" seems to be the motto. Filius has been bringing his sleeping bag downstairs lately, in the hopes of curling up in front of the space heater with a book in the wee hours before school time. The dog, however, has designs on the sleeping blanket. One morning, Filius stopped in front of the bookshelf to pick a book, and found his bag occupied.

Filia and I have finished our hats and mittens for a holiday present. She did the purple, I did the pink, and they're ready to be mailed off. Diligent knitter that she is, she reworked one of the mitten tops when it was discoverd that it was a full inch shorter than the other mitten. I'd give her a hard time about that, but within a day or so I killed one of Filius's mittens by neglecting to remove it from the oven -- it had been put in a warmish oven, along with some rising bread -- when I turned the oven on. I've got a top of my own to reknit!

Icarus is next on the agenda for finishing. I've 15 rows or so to go.

A free toy came my way today courtesy of ClassEd. has free software to turn your computer into a recorder. I can record myself playing the harp, and send it to people as mp3 files! Well, actually once I find MORE free software to do the conversion. But I can convert to .wav files already. I can also record my childrenwhotalkquickly, and they can listen to themselves. Oddly enough, Filius wanted to listen to Filia read quickly, but he couldn't stand listening to himself. Hmmm.

Tomorrow is St. Nicholas Day, and the day that we take a break from school and delight in the Christmas season. Which, being translated, is that I will sit back and watch the children put up the tree, occasionally putting on some different holiday music which they will also unearth. I think I like the idea of putting up a tree on Christmas Day, and leaving it up for 2-3 weeks. Too often it seems the pre-celebration wears out the actual celebration of Christmas, so that on December 26th, one is glad it's all over. Or one is shopping. I've got a pretty good idea what will be going on here on the 26th, and it doesn't involve shopping. Or computers.

After the holidays, I hope to get back to more reading and commonplacing. At the moment, I'm keeping my head above the water and wondering if I'm out of touch with reality to consider having a standard school week next week, with 8 doctor's appointments and 2 haircuts. Or, if that's out of touch with reality, could we start Christmas break this early? That doesn't seem right either.

For now, I shall do the Next Thing. Which, being a peaceful Wednesday evening, is knit. With some hot Nutella drink. Mmmmmm.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another try with Flickr

The knitting progresses.

Last night, I fiinished the socks for Filia.

And Icarus is growing.

Last night, I also added buttons to my Spinnery Jacket. I finished knitting it in April and have been wearing it ever since (barring the summer). It's nice to have buttons on.

And the Latvian mittens are so nice, I think I'll post a photo of two of them. Hanging from a thumbtack on a rafter. There's lots more space to display mittens there.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Checking in

Ravelry is just too much fun.

I've been good, however, and actually gotten some knitting done. The Latvian mittens are finished, and when I travel, I work on Filia's socks.

And, I've entered around 70 projects, all the books on my shelves that Ravelry knows about, thought about entering my needles, and have decided it would be a waste of time to enter stash. Unless I want to sell it, I suppose, which I don't. I like my odds and ends. And that's another reason not to enter it. Stashes aren't normally odds and ends.

Ravelry helped me find a project for my Misti Alpaca Laceweight yarn -- and nicely enough, that pattern was already flagged for making on my shelf. Ravelry also gave me a clue how much Shamrock I'd need for legwarmers, and for a pair of socks. Plus, with the advent of cool weather, both Filii are bemoaning our lack of a fireplace, so I've added cardigans to the menu of things to knit.

And now, I need to get off the computer and knit.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

One down, one to go

Or is that two down, two to go?

My recent mitten misfires drove me to build a tidy pile of mittens laying around the house, a ruler, my knitting notebook, and mitten patterns. Armed with those things, I settled down at the computer to build a mitten database. I wanted to see - in so many words - what worked, what didn't, and how I got there, for mittens.

Armed with that information I decided that I needed to have about 85 stitches for the circumference of any mitten I made with fingering-weight yarn (especially Palette). And so I betook myself to Latvian Mittens, picked out a pattern that didn't have three colors in a row too much, calculated some pattern repeats, revised the cuff pattern (a 24 stitch repeat doesn't go with 85 very well, does it?) and cast on. With size 1 (2.25 mm) needles, for an inner cuff. After 2 inches, I switched to size 0 (2.00 mm), then did another 20 rows or so, turned a lovely picot hem, and brought out the size 1 (2.50 mm) needles.

It fits. Its got good body. The pattern didn't drive me batty. I used enough stitches for the thumb. My tension behaved itself. And I have enough yarn left for a second mitten.

And, there are only 232 people left between me and being a Ravelry Beta Tester!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In which I am reminded why I prefer wool

This is the beginning of NHM #5. I do like those NHM mittens. But the yarn they call for is not in my stash, and I am diligently working from my stash, at least for a while. (Practicing what I preach - I told Filia not to get yarn for a big project until after Christmas, and I shall do likewise. Fortunately, I've got those 3 skeins of Misti Alpaca Lace, and am getting closer and closer to casting on for something.)

(A serious aside: Yesterday's NHM mitten called for Jamieson & Smith jumperweight 2-ply. I thought that sounded pretty close to fingering weight, so I cast on, knit a mitten, and did no more than notice that the drape was a bit looser than I prefer for mittens. But, not everyone likes their mittens to be windproof. The mitten came out lovely. BUT, though the pattern called for 25 grams of 'dark' and I had 30 grams, I only had 12 grams left after the first mitten.

Not good.

Also, I learned this morning, while the mitten was blocking, that the yarn called for was actually more DK weight. Oops. )

NHM #5 mittens, toddler sized, call for Dalegarn Baby Ull, size 2 needles, and 8 sts/". I figured I would use some acrylic stash and make some pretty mittens for a local women's shelter. After all, Folk Mittens uses worsted weight wool at 7 sts per inch all the time, and the mittens come out nicely. And if the mitten fit a youth instead of a toddler, that would be fine as well. I picked my skeins, selected some size 3 US needles (instead of the US 2 called for), and settled down to knit. Why swatch? The mitten is only 36 stitches around.

After two inches of stockinette, the mitten was demoted from 'Women's Shelter' to 'Sample for Future Class'. It feels like steel wool. I wouldn't be surprised if it stops bullets. No, it didn't squeak on the needles, but I think that's a reflection on Harmony needles, and not on the yarn. This mitten could hurt someone. So, after finishing off the star, and working some short rows so the top of the star wasn't right at the cast off edge (which I thought would roll terribly, and it does, but you can put the mitten on an anvil and hammer out the curl), I cast off using 3 different methods. If it's a sample, I can do that.

The moral of the story: Red Heart at tight gauges is scary. Wool at tight gauges is cozy.

Next on the agenda: Simple acrylic mittens with BIGGER needles.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NHM #8

I decided to cast on for the mitten.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


This is what my desk looked like a few minutes ago. It’s looked like this for the past four hours. I think that perseverance is paying off, and a buttonhole article is starting to take shape. In fact, it’s about halfway shaped, and I entertain fond delusions that the hardest part is over.

The writing process has not been aided by various thuds and slams echoing throughout the house, nor do the hollow sounds of a harp being nudged by a football inspire concentration. But I have been a good girl, have knit eight buttonholes, have written 483 words, and I will cast on for a mitten from Selbuvotter tonight. Unless I decide to work on the pink sock with my new Harmony needles. Unless by the time I finish reading Penrod I decide it’s bedtime.

The Anatolian Mittens are finished. They are a lovely fit after blocking, and their distinct lack of ends was a delightful change from the Fair Isle Mittens. Now, to find a home for them. Anyone need a pair of mittens as a Christmas gift? Perfect for a medium lady's hand, Packer fan, or collector of John Deere memorabilia.

The Wandering Lace socks look much better en foote than they do en deske, so here’s a photo to show off their lace. They’re made with KnitPicks Risata yarn, and I like it. Of course, I like Essential too. Risata will probably be my summer sock yarn of choice. I’m glad they came out with it, since my socks in Dancing are starting to wear seriously.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Most Serene Highness Lady Carolyn the Abrupt of Yockenthwait Walden
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

And lastly, a photo of our sunrise this morning. Filius' window looks to the sunrise, and he was outisde before 7 AM (barefoot on concrete at 37 degrees) taking photos. This is our view to the south.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hat and one Anatolian Mitten

I have some large projects swimming around in my head. There are two flavors of laceweight yarn next to my knitting chair, and a book of sweaters has been seen wandering around the house.

Still, it can be dangerous to start a large project right before Christmas. Filia wants to knit a cardigan, but I've told her to wait until after December 25th. To keep her busy in the meantime, she's unearthed a leftover lap robe I started doodling with several years ago, called Rambling Rows, and is industriously knitting away on it. It is, in fact the background for the last photo (and she's the model).

For myself, I'm working on small projects. At least, I think I am.

I finished Mom's Telemark Stash Hat. It used one skein of each color. There were a few yards left over. The hat could have used an extra row for symmetry, but it looks pretty bad to knit a hat from one's stash, using two skeins, and then have to order two skeins so you have those last 20 inches to be able to finish binding off. The pattern is my own, of the 'it just happened' variety. A stream of consciousness hat.

I've been doing good on using up yarn. Here are the leftovers from my last three projects .. sock, hat, hat. Not much extra!

And, thanks to Becca's blog, I was inspired to tackle the Anatolian Mittens from Folk Mittens. It's got errors in the graph too :( I raided my MerinoStyle, and picked Moss and Honey. Filia informs me those are Green Bay Packer Colors. I think they're John Deere colors. Either way, they've knit up into a nice warm mitten that's just a smidge snug on my medium-sized hand. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I started the project. I tend to need to upsize needles to get gauge, so why, when this project calls for worsted yarn and size 3 ndls, did I use DK weight and size 3 needles and expect good results?

It's not traveling knitting, so I need to get going on something else for the ride to church tomorrow. I'm not sure if it will be socks, or a hat, or plain mittens, or something else.

The guys were off to Drake today, watching Dayton win a football game. They should be back soon, but it's been a lovely day of sitting around with Filia, sipping hot tea and knitting. It's good to have those days every once in a while.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I buckled down, worked on those mittens, and completed them. This makes me, to the best of my searching abilities, the first person to report completion (or even the attempted start) of these mittens by the web community of knitters. No, I'm not on Ravelry yet ...

  • You signed up on October 29, 2007
  • You are #50461 on the list.
  • 8028 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 3914 people are behind you in line.
but a friend checked, and there are no mittens by this name there either. The chart has some color errors, when compared to the knit mittens (and the chart puts the thumbs somewhere other than where the knitter of the model did ... and I, though planning to follow the chart, neglected to notice the difference between 'right' and 'left' and produced mittens to match the book's photo.) No one had notified the publisher of errors in the 10 year old pattern, either. So, either these mittens are being knit far, far away from the web, by knitters who don't mention errors to publishers (likely) or no one else has made them (unlikely.)

My advice for the ends is twofold:
1. When knitting the straight part of the hand, weave in (from the outside, so you can control tension optimally), using duplicate stitch, a batch of ends when you're four or five rows past them.
2. When knitting the thumb or top decreases, leave the ends on the outside (yup, outside) and weave them in when the mitten is finito. I'd have a picture, but Blogger isn't cooperating.

Denise's yarn needle got a workout on Sunday. Not only did I finish weaving in innumerable ends (and, by the way, those ends are now a golf-ball sized ball of felted yarn), but Filia finished her Twisty Turns wrap and seamed it. Silly me has no picture of her wearing the finished wrap, but I will confess it looks lovely.

My current stash project is an inch or so from completion, but I'll show you a Finished Object or two instead.

Yarn: Fleece Artist 6/2 Merino
Needle: US Size 8
Pattern: Plain tube, using the Scroll Pattern from Barbara Walker's Knitting Treasuries.
Gauge: Looks about right
Length: About yea long.
Stitches: I forget ... 130 or so?

This would never pass a pattern board. Fortunately, I kept better notes on my previous hat, so I was able to just pick up the stash yarn and knit ... no calculations or guesswork necessary. I just had to figure out my shorthand, and that only took two tries.

My other FO is the Waving Lace Socks. The pattern is somewhat from Favorite Socks, and somewhat not. I reworked the pattern to be toe-up, ignored the given heel and cuff, and used different yarn and needles. Other than that, I followed the pattern exactly. All small chart of it. But these socks need a different name. They should be the Wandering Lace Socks. Twice, they were MIA. Once to a restaurant, once to my mom's house. Twice, they tried to escape by vehicle without me, but were rescued by my son who noticed them cowering in the front seat. These socks have wandered more than any project I've ever had. At least they were unsuccessful. Many years ago, a cross-stitch project successfully ran away. As near as I can figure, it jumped out of a magazine on a rainy day while being carried across a parking lot at 4:55 AM near Ft. Meade. It's never been heard from.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mitten update

I think this Fair Isle mitten is the closest thing to a UFO I have ever made. It is calling for a UFO pile. If I would have had my socks yesterday (they went MIA again, for the third time in 2 weeks), I would not have worked on the mitten. Had I my complete set of needles, I would have started mom's Stash Hat. (Knitting from the stash is a virtue, isn't it?) But, saved by my own forgetfulness and generosity, the only feasible project I had was a mitten.

I really and truly thought about casting on and working corrugated rib for Mitten #2. But, since the going was tough, I decided I might as well do the thumb for Mitten #1. May as well do the Right Thing, as opposed to put the Right Thing off for even longer. And have two non-thumbs staring at me. (Mom has assured me she needs a thumb on each mitten.) So, Mitten #1 is done, except for 40 or so ends to weave in. Mitten #2 is about 1.5" from the cast on row.

And since I'm home tonight, and it's time to knit ... I go looking for other people who have made this mitten on the web. No dice. So I join Ravelry in case I can find someone there. Of course, there's a waiting list ... but I can still put off knitting by first joining, and then checking on my status.
  • You signed up on Today
  • You are #50461 on the list.
  • 13144 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 1 people are behind you in line.
  • 69% of the list has been invited so far
There are 53 people ahead of me for each end of yarn that must be woven in for my mittens. I'm glad it's not the other way around.

In my reading life, I've finished Ideas Have Consequences, and want to get my own copy. I've listened to Vandiver's lectures on The Iliad of Homer, and am starting in on the Odyssey lectures. And, if by any means possible (25 pages/day), I will *finish* reading the Iliad aloud. Maybe even if no one listens. Then we can read something a little lighter. Water Babies, perhaps?

Back to hunting for photos of the Fair Isle Mittens from Folk Mittens.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lost Hairs and Mittens

I've been a busy little bee lately, and spending too much time watching websites on the SoCal fires. We've got friends evacuated, friends whose homes are in the burn areas, and all sorts of other ties back there. Does that count as an excuse?

Our Medical Month is about to wrap up. Now we get to settle down to a baseline of 6 appointments a month, and go from there. Ten appointments, if you count PT and ST as separate appointments. Many blessings to the scheduler who managed to get them one after the other!

After almost 20 years of long hair, I decided to get it chopped. My husband has always wanted me to have short hair, so I did it for his birthday present. I'm no longer identifiable as the woman with her hair in a bun, knitting.

Knitting is proceeding apace. My MIA project has been found, but I'm having too much fun on the smoke ring. That has been bumped to the home AND travel project. One of these days I'll get back to the mittens. They have lots of ends. Eighty-eight per mitten hand, 36 per thumb. That means 248 ends to tuck in. Thanks to Denise, I have a pretty yarn needle to work them in with. Still, I don't think I'll be making multiple sets of these mittens. I like Fair Isle, but there is a point of ridiculousness-in-weaving-in-ends, and these mittens are over the edge.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This could be catching

My 'to knit' sidebar is shrinking nicely. I like that. It means I can start haunting yarn shops again with intent to buy yarn.

Twisted knitting is a fun thing. The book Two-End Knitting has many great ideas, and patterns ... except the patterns are not great. Consider a hat pattern which reads: "Yarn: 100 gms; Needles: 40 cms/16 inch circular and double pointed needles. This cap measured 21 inches when newly knitted and unwashed.... it now measures 23 inches. ... Cast on 192 stitches... work a pattern" and so forth. Gauge? Nope. Yarn weight? Nope. Needle size? Nope.

So, I started my hat from the top down. I ended up with 28 sts/4", using KnitPicks Telemark yarn. (Oh, and I used a size 3 US needle) Now, Telemark is supposed to be a sportweight, but in a solid color it makes NatureSpun sportweight look like laceweight. The heathered colors are more delicate and reminiscent of a sportweight. I knit until I could get a nice gauge, got one, calculated how many stitches I'd need for a nice head size, knit some more, and started patterning when I stopped increasing.

Twisted knitting has body. I could easily see making a felted bowl out of this. But, it was supposed to be a hat, so I kept on knitting. Every so often I'd knit half the stitches on to a 24" circular and call a child over to check out the length. Proper hats must be warm enough to keep the earsies warm in a nice Minnesota winter breeze.

One and a half rows from the end, I finished the charcoal skein. The hat uses one skein of each color, plus a few yards. My mom wants one... but first, I need to get going on her Fair Isle mittens.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Wrapped In Tradition:

Yarn used: Elann's SuperKydd - 2+ skeins.
Needle size: 7 US (because I always use a size larger than the pattern calls for)

This poncho begins with 400 rows of back-and-forth lace for the bottom edge. Stitches are then picked up along the straight edge and the poncho is worked to the neckline. Short rows are used to shape the neck (and I cannot find them whatsoever now, plus I think there may have been an error in the directions) and then it is finished with a picot crochet edging.


Yarn: Elann's SuperKydd, about 3 skeins in Pomegranate, just like the last two shawl's I've made with this yarn. But no - I'm not picking the color. Three separate people picked the self-same color. Without consultation.
Needles: 7, 10, 10.5 (US) and quite a few crochet hooks. A joinery bindoff on 616 stitches with metal needles is a Pain. It took quite a bit of experimenting before I admitted Way One was the best.

This poncho has no crochet in it. And. in fact, it's not a poncho. It just looks like one in all the photos. It's worked flat, with oodles of boring stockinette. First, the boring part is worked neck-down, with increases and decreases for shaping. Then the bottom lacy portion is worked bottom up. Then the two parts are joined. The pattern was not difficult, but I am not sure which side of the ruffle is the right side. The fabric has a bias, and I may have attached it wrong side out. But if I'm not sure, it's doubtful anyone except for the designer is sure, and even she may be hard-pressed to identify it as 'wrong' while it's being worn.

I laid the wrap out flat so you could see what it looks like. And my blanket-magnet appeared. Still, you can get the idea.

Borrowing from Wendy, I took a picture of my latest sock in progress. Next to it is the Fleece Artist that is going to turn into a smoke ring.

And lastly, a picture of the blanket-loving dog, curled up on a yoga mat underneath Filia, doing her exercises (anything is better than having titanium rods implanted in your back, right?). The exercise she is doing is entitled, much too appropriately, "Dog".