Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hey -- I've been "tagged". Color me "embarrassed".

I got tagged. It would kind of be exciting, since this is my first time being tagged, except for the subject of the tag:

Open the book you're currently reading to page 161 and copy the fifth sentence on the page, then tag 5 bloggers.

Dammit, Kristina, you're exposing my intellectual deficiencies. *blush* The only books I am reading right now are knitting books. So, I decided to take a page count of the books currently in rotation:
159 pages...damn! So close.

I finally found one book that I have read within the last three days that reaches page 161--
"Note: One-liter plastic soda bottles can be used to shape the bag."

Book: Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick, which I highly recommend if you don't already have it-- it's one of those books where you want to knit every project in it. Great collection of designers...including my idol Annie Modesitt...and btw, I finally got Romantic Hand Knits this weekend. Incredible. That woman is so friggin' inventive. She is the Stravinsky of knitting.

Ok, so now I have to tag five more people. Don't get mad at me if I tag you. Just start reading an actual book, quick.

Oh- and while logging onto Blogger tonight, I found what may well become my favorite blog of all time:

The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks

Not only is this a HUGE pet peeve of mine (being one of those unreasonable, demanding people that expect high school graduates to possess mastery over the basics of English grammar, spelling and punctuation) it's also funny because I used to have a landlord that did this in all the notices he'd post for the tenants -- "Make sure to 'pick up' after your 'guests' this 'holiday season' and to observe the 'noise rules'. Tenants causing a disturbance 'after hours' will be pestered with more 'superfluous and unwarranted' use of quotation marks. And don't forget the exclamation points!!" (This guy also overused exclamation points, often in multiples.)

His notes had absolutely no effect on my compliance with the terms of the lease, but they amused me no end. I left my cigarette "butts" on the patio anyway!!!

The exclamation points thing (and the general topic of sensitivity to punctuation use) reminds me of two of my favorite Seinfeld episodes: 1) the one where Elaine breaks up with her boyfriend for not using an exclamation point in a phone message he took down for her and 2) the one where Elaine goes into business with her old boss in the muffin top store: "Top of the Muffin TO YOU!"

For the record-- I took the boyfriend's side in that exclamation point dispute and Elaine's side in the muffin top store dispute. Not that I don't understand the importance of appropriate punctuation; if I was in a relationship and discovered that the partner in question was a serial "superfluous quotation mark user" it could possibly be a deal-breaker.

OK, It is officially time for me to get some "sleep" now. Off to bed!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I got my Ravelry invite!!!!

Not to sound like a cheesy 80's Valley Girl, but I am, like, totally so psyched. I guess I'll have to wait until the work day is over before I start building my notebook, though.

At least I already have my entire stash in Excel format, though! That ought to cut down a bit on the import time if I can cut-and-paste.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

In my time of dyeing

I did my first dye job today! Well, on yarn, anyway. This was my September project for the Do Something New knitalong (clickable button is in the right-hand sidebar).
Originally, I picked this project for the following very practical reasons: 1) I already had the stuff because I planned to do this three years ago and didn't, and 2) I knew it was going to be a really hectic month and I might not have time to finish a knitted item. As it turned out, I wouldn't have. Pretty much all the time I have found for knitting has gone into the Professional Project, and in the meantime I've been working and going on job interviews, which is just draining.
However, it ended up being really fun and I know I'm going to do it again soon. I may or may not have gotten the bug; we'll see.
I dyed some white baby alpaca yarn that I had frogged from my first attempt at a hat not too long after I taught myself to knit. I didn't do a gauge swatch, so the hat ended up big enough for two people to wear at once. Anyway, it was my first good yarn that I bought at a yarn store (as opposed to a craft store or a fabric store) so I hung onto it. I also wanted to dye a bit of this Morehouse Merino lace--

I got this as a shawl kit in one of the hand-dyed colorways, and boy was it ever a disappointment. In the picture of this colorway that is used both on the website and on the pattern, the colors are much, much brighter and there is a lot more pink in relation to the other colors. This looks really washed out and dull, like it was soaked in dirty water and then shoved in a dusty attic for a dozen years. It doesn't look any better knit up. I thought that it might be usable if I overdyed it a dark color, as the merino wool itself is very good (and I don't want to just throw out a $50 hank of yarn).
Here's the alpaca and the bit of merino lace on the scale...

The Kool Aid guy looks really happy knowing that he is going into a hot tub with a bunch of Alpaca, doesn't he?

...and here it is presoaking. I wouldn't normally use a $30 Mason Cash mixing bowl, which I guard with my life, to soak yarn but it was the only bowl I had that was big enough. Doesn't it look pretty?

Here's the yarn cooking on the stove, next to my curly fries (blush) and Quorn nuggets. (Do you think that eating the fake meat might offset the fried potatoes?) I wouldn't have believed it when I started, but that sucked up the dye like crazy, and quick, and the water really did end up clear! It was cool.

This is what the water looked like after only about 10 minutes on the stove-- almost all the dye is gone.

Purple spaghetti! The water was totally clear by this time--the yarn caught every little bit of the dye. The merino came out quite a bit darker than the alpaca, but that was to be expected; it was already dyed. Also, I was pleased how much of the dye the alpaca trapped given that I started with white (which was not necessarily natural white-- but I didn't keep the labels so I don't know.)

And here they are-- the finished hanks. Pretty maids all in a row.
I have a feeling that this yarn will become gloves, but I'm not sure.
The lace still shows different colors through the overdye, but it might look OK-- I'm going to reserve judgment until I have a chance to swatch it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Out of commission

No, I haven't taken a retail job-- I've just felt like something off a bus station bathroom floor for the last week or so. I'm saving my energy for work, since I can't afford to miss a day and -- mainly -- because the place where I'm working is an awesome nonprofit and I don't want to miss a day.
Anyway, this probably isn't the best way to treat a chronic headache/impending sinus infection/mild stomach bug or whatever it is that I've got, but I discovered a very refreshing drink tonight that I want to share with you. Trust me, this stuff is awesome.

About 1.5-2 oz. Absolut Pears
Most of a bottle of Dry Lemongrass soda
fresh lime wedge

Pour the vodka and soda over the rocks in a tall glass, twist the fresh lime juice into the whole shebang, and YUM you got yourself one refreshing, delicious drink.
Seriously, this might be a dangerous one because I could drink this down like iced tea. It's not quite as dangerous as the Blue Asian Pear Martinis that I like at this place downtown (which are mostly alcohol but I swear they go down like juice). Those are so innocuous-tasting that you can knock three of them back before the food reaches the table, which is a really bad idea. I only did it once. The broccoli prawns didn't go down quite as smoothly as the drinks did.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hanami Progress

I'm too tired to write but I have sneaked (snuck?) in a little bit of time for one of my personal projects -- Hanami-- over the last couple of weeks, although the vast majority of knitting time has been on the Professional Project (I think of it as a proper noun.)

I'm a bit behind the KAL but I expected that-- I'll catch up later. Well, I'll at least finish later if I don't actually catch up. Anyway, I switched to the Addi Lace Turbos tonight and they rock. What a relief to get off the teeny dpns and onto good needles. The lace ones are noticably lighter than the regular turbos-- and the bamboo dpns, believe it or not-- so my project really feels lightweight now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Random Sharing (a.k.a. Tuesday Show and Tell)

Item #1:

I came home today to two really killer boxes of yarn. It was the Best Christmas Ever.

I'm not going into too much detail except to say that:
1) most of this was the result of a swap. The swap actually went horribly awry (due to theivery/knavery/depravity somewhere on the trip over the Canadian/American border) but the friend with whom I swapped-- who is the sweetest person ever but probably wouldn't admit it-- got me a gift cert to Colorsong Yarn, since much of what went missing in the package was some really swank Kid Aran. The rest is for an afghan, and it is inexpensive yarn, although it is an inexpensive yarn that I am sure I am going to really like: Berroco Comfort. I can already vouch for the fact that it is unbelievably soft for a completely synthetic (and half-acrylic) yarn.
Anyway, the Hand Maiden and Fleece Artist selections are just the sexiest yarns ever. I would marry them if I could, but they know perfectly well that they don't have to marry me because I will put out anyway.
Hey-- doesn't "thievery/knavery/depravity" sound like the sequel to "Love! Valour! Compassion!"?

Item #2:

You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.
Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.
You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

I saw this on Kristina's blog (same friend of the yarn swap mentioned above), and I wasn't too surprised that I also ended up as a Midnight. The description seemed to fit.
Maybe I should start insisting that people call me Midnight...Nah. Too Goth.

Item #3:
After submitting the "Time of Day" questionnaire, I couldn't resist the opportunity offered in the Blogthings sidebar to see who my 80's hunk would be. I was hoping for Judd Nelson ca. The Breakfast Club or (sigh) River Phoenix, so imagine my surprise when I got this result:
Your 80s Hunk Is

Bill Gates

After the initial sexual letdown, it dawned on me: hey! I just got an unlimited yarn stash and free lifetime tech support-- although if I had hooked up with Bill Gates I don't think I'd be stuck using the piece of shit I am typing on right now (a.k.a. the $2,000 paperweight).

Anyway-- as far as the stashbust goes, I am keeping myself honest...I posted about the acquisition on here, I am adding the yardage to the total, and I am going into the red on my Finishing are you satisfied? Huh?!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Squirrel In Tree, Snail In Garden

...Just as it should be.

By the way, I really am knitting on a daily basis; I am just working on the professional project right now and don't have time for my own stuff. The butterfly top is currently pinned (ha ha!) in my WIP basket and I haven't touched it for a week. Oh, and I am so close...
Oooh, "professional"! Hoi ti toi! Can I say that now, if I am getting money in exchange for knitting? Because it sounds really cool.
The "yarn art" project is from the Fall 1970 issue of McCall Needlepoint; suitable for disappointing any niece or nephew on Christmas Morning.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Found in a bag of yarn headed to the Goodwill...

Uhhh.....anyone else find this yarn label a little disturbing?

Take another look:

(Shudder.) Creepy, isn't it? What's especially creepy is that none of these words require a "K" at the beginning. Country, Cabled, Cotton. Hmmmm.
This is the yarn of choice if you want to knit yourself a Kozy little hood(ie) before the barn dance and cross burning, I guess.
I hope that the Lily Company eventually yanked this (before it got discontinued, I mean)...or at least decided to check future products for hidden references to violent, racist secret societies.
Well, I'll be getting this out of my apartment ASAP...

Well, enough of that. Here's something just too, too adorable with which to cleanse your palate:

Let's say it together: "ahhhhhhhhh....."
I made soap with a hedgehog today. Really! Well, it was really with some friends, but one of the friends has a little wee hedgehog. If you have never seen one before, they are a lot smaller than you think they will be. This is no baby; in fact, she's already had a hysterectomy (long story). Isn't she cute?

(Short return to the "inappropriate products" theme: I like that Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! lunchbox in the background. I assume that was not originally manufactured for schoolchildren in the '70s. Wouldn't it be interesting to send your kid to school with that, though?)

Progress on WIPs has been good, considering that I'm currently working on a knit-for-pay project (my first one! yippeee!) so I have to divert time away from my personal stuff. But, I did manage to meet Friday's goal on the Hanami shawl. I've been knitting it on two 6" size 2 dpns, but that has to stop since I have 127 or so stitches on the needle and it is becoming a very fiddly process. I'm going to spend some of my budgeted Finishing Funds for a 24" size 2 circular, and I am definitely going to get the Addi Turbo Lace. I tried a size 6 on a different project, and they are awesome.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Ribbed For Her Displeasure

Here we have Lenny and George modeling the latest and most hideous of acrylic handknit menswear ca. fall 1970.
The text notes that Lenny's pullover is knit in Quaker Stitch. Perhaps this is because the Quakers do not believe in sex before marriage, and this sweater resembles a sort of prophylactic suit-of-armor. Knit for chastity!
George, on the other hand, looks like he is a firm believer in sex before marriage.
With you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Labors over Labor Day Weekend

I made some progress over the weekend on a few projects, and had the gratification of moving some of the tickers forward a little. So far, this ticker thing is working pretty well; it really is motivating me to work on only the projects I currently have up there. Of course, this means that I am spending less time swatching and daydreaming, but then again I spend a lot of time daydreaming, and I'll go back to more swatching after I get some of these projects done.
Butterfly Top:

This is the "Butterfly" pattern by Katie Himmelberg from the Spring '07 issue of Knitscene. I am making it in Berroco Bonsai, so mine is going to have quite a different feel from the one in the magazine just by virtue of using a different bamboo yarn (my working title for it is "Glam Rock"). Normally, I don't go for shiny gold but this was the only color of Bonsai that the LYS had enough of-- and then it really ended up growing on me. Now I like my golden top, and hopefully I'll still like it once I try it on.

As you can see, this yarn photographs a LOT better when I don't have to use the flash.
I'm knitting both of the top pieces at once-- the strand of red yarn is marking the last decrease row (I love using this method to mark "last rows" -- very handy.)

Babette is getting bigger:

I finished strip no. 8 and added it to the blanket, so now I have only two more strips of squares before I can block and edge. The strips are all getting exponentially larger because this is assembled in log cabin fashion, so the addition of the three most recent strips has made quite a difference in size, as you can see compared with my previous post on this project.


The beaded cast-on did take a while, but I enjoyed it and the effect was worth it. I got Czech fired-glass beads for this stole, which are more expensive than the clear glass seed beads called for in the pattern, but I already had some of these in my stash and, fortunately, one of the bead stores in my neighborhood had some more that matched almost exactly. I bought some more because I was a few short of what I needed for the beaded cast-on, and I am also going to add some to the body of the stole.

And, one of the really old UFOs is done:

This is a crocheted blanket that I completed over a year ago, but before I added the edging it got relegated to the UFO pile. This was a sale-yarn special (the type of thing you make when you get a really great deal on yarn, get it home, and then wonder what the hell you are going to do with it.) I didn't count this in my yarn stash inventory because it was one of two blankets for which I couldn't estimate the yardage with sufficient accuracy. The other one is a throw for my Mom, who got the unfinished throw for Christmas, and who has been reminding me ever since that I owe her the finished item. So, I anticipate that this other stash-exception item will be done as soon as I can bear weaving in the hundred-plus yarn ends (I hated that project!!)

I've also taken one of the WIP tickers off the sidebar because I've decided that I'm not going to do that project with any of my stash yarns; I still want to make it but I need to give more consideration to my yarn choice (SWTC Bamboo is the top contender so far, but because I would have to buy all new yarn for it, this has become a potential reward project.) The yarn I bought for the Ingrid-- Silky Wool-- is currently under consideration for one of two knit cardigans, but I want to get the tickers down to a reasonable number before I start swatching.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Getting closer to Ravelry...

15146 people are ahead of you in line.
3894 people are behind you in line.
36% of the list has been invited so far.

Wow-- exactly 1,000 people got invites since the last time I checked.

The Great Stashbust Challenge of '07 Begins

This is it-- the launch of the Stashbust Challenge! It’s also more or less the launch of my blog, because I haven’t done too much with it yet, but I am sure that this project will give me plenty of material. Literally.

A little background:
Like so many other knitters, I have a little problem with impulse control when it comes to buying yarn. Actually, that is kind of like saying that the Pacific Ocean has a little bit of water in it. I really love yarn. I love the textures and the colors and the smell-- everything. It's just lustworthy stuff. I don't even think it needs to be knit up to be interesting.
However, having a big stash causes problems for a lot of other reasons. Although I don't tend to blow lots of money on things like clothes and shoes, I more than make up for it by buying yarn. I know that I have spent more than one thousand dollars on yarn this year alone. Well, plenty more than one thousand-- in fact, I am too scared to look at the receipts. (You see? This is a big sign that I need to kick the habit).
I also am running out of room to store the stuff. For about the first year or so, I could easily keep all my yarn in a small chest in my closet. I outgrew that pretty rapidly once I started building up a stash, and the better I got at knitting and the more room it took up in my mind, my apartment started to mirror my brain. It was kind of like The Blob’s wooly cousin—or The Blob wearing a sweater, if it makes you happier to think of it that way. It sure makes me happier.
Finally, at the beginning of this year I got tired of looking at all the full bags of yarn (not to mention the chest full of yarn--no longer the small chest, but a bigger one I got just for the purpose of holding my expanding yarn stash) so I purchased a big wall unit for my apartment. Ostensibly for books and entertainment, it also served the purpose of hiding much of my stash. However, that strategy backfired. Once I got the yarn out of sight, I just ended up buying more. A few months later, I was right back where I started, except that now I had the big wall unit, the big chest AND bags of yarn all over the floor. My apartment looks like a yarn store that got hit by a tornado (without, of course, the human suffering that accompanies natural disasters, unless you count how much it irritates me to have a messy apartment all the time).

This month, both due to an unexpected lull in employment (ahem) and to joining a KAL to “Do Something New” every month for the next six months, I decided that my something new this month would be to inventory the stash and officially launch my challenge. This is it!

About My Stash:
A few months ago, I decided to take a picture of my stash, hoping that the experience would have an inherent deterrent effect on my yarn purchasing. I got out all of my yarn and laid it out on my king-size mattress (ridiculous for a studio apartment, I know, but I got it for free.) When I began, I was trying to lay it out in a quasi-artistic fashion, but as the coverage grew more dense I finally just started throwing the skeins on the pile. I took the picture below and then put all the yarn away again. This entire process took seven hours.

There’s also a box of yarn that didn’t fit in the frame, and as I was putting away the yarn I found some more in random places around the apartment.
This picture was taken at the end of June, and I regret to say that the deterrent effect was minimal. My stash has grown even more since that time. I finally figured out just how much when I did my inventory last week: I had 51 miles of yarn in my apartment! I got rid of about 11,000 yards of this in a swap (meaning, I have some replacement yardage on the way!) and gave some away to Value Village, but as of right now I currently own 83,413.5 yards of yarn. My swap hasn’t arrived yet, either, so the final figure will be higher.
So, the stashbusting challenge officially begins right now. I have a feeling that it will take me through the end of next year, at least!

The Ground Rules:
1. The goal is to reduce my total yarn stash to approximately 10,000 yards. When I hit 10,000 yards I am allowed to buy yarn for new projects that don’t contain stash yarn, but I have to keep the total at or below 10,000 yards at all times. I am going to maintain my stash spreadsheet even after the challenge is officially over.
2. Yardage for WIPs is not taken off the total until the project is completed (including all finishing). If there are partial balls left over from a project, I don’t have to keep those in the total, but all full balls will of course be counted.
3. I will allow the following amounts – and ONLY these amounts—for purchase of supplies to finish a stash project. After some thought, I’ve decided that the allowances may be banked (because otherwise it may create an incentive to choose stash projects that require additional supplies). The “finishing allowances” are by type of project, and can only be used on a project that consists of at least 50% stash yarn—even if allowance is banked:
a. Scarf, gloves, hat, socks or similar small accessory: $15
b. Small-to-medium household items (like pillows, etc.): $15
c. Handbag or similar large accessory: $20
d. Pullover sweater or skirt: $30
e. Cardigan or jacket: $50
f. Blanket/afghan: $60
4. UFOs must have a ticker up on the sidebar at all times until the project is totally finished. My goal is to get myself down to 4-5 WIPs maximum before starting any new projects.
5. After finishing projects, I will post an accounting of the number of yards of stash yarn used and an itemized list of extra supplies purchased to complete the project, if applicable.
6. I am starting out with 15 UFOs on the sidebar (Good Lord!) and, because these projects are already in progress, I am allowing myself a total of $10 per project for finishing supplies for all of these items, which is bankable.
7. I am not setting a limit on purchase of books, but I am only allowed one new knitting/crochet book a month without penalty. If I want to buy more than one book in a month, I have to use banked finishing allowance—but I can use it 2 for 1 (i.e., $10 of banked finishing allowance can count as $20 book allowance).

Reward schedule:
I’m also setting up a schedule of rewards that I will allow myself to buy when I have used up specific amounts of stash yardage. Of course, since the idea is to not have yarn take up as much physical space as it does now, the rewards must not exceed 25% of the yardage I used up to get to the reward point. Also, the yardage is entered into my stash worksheet and fully counted as part of my yarn stash. All other rules will also be in full effect (i.e., if I already have five UFOs when I get the reward, I can’t start it until I finish at least one of the projects in progress).
Anyway, here are some pre-selected rewards and reward levels:
8,000 yards: Blanket Kit from Fleece Artist
7,000 yards: Sahara Blouse pattern from Stitch Diva and yarn to complete (possible materials: Yin and Yang yarn from SWTC)
7,000 yards: RYC Cashcotton DK to make Katherine Hepburn cardigan from Lace Style
6,000 yards: Lady of the Forest shawl kit from Fleece Artist
Naturally, I am deliberately making these first few rewards more stringent than the “25% of yardage used” guideline, both because I am treating the 25% rule as a maximum guideline and because, since this is the beginning of the challenge, I want to make sure I have to finish several projects before I allow myself to buy a new project’s worth of materials.
OK! I am ready to go. I have a complete inventory of all of my yarn and needles, all of my yarn actually has a place in my apartment now, and I have rules set down in black and white—not to mention the accountability factor; everyone knows that I am doing this, including yarn store employees. Speaking of which, I sincerely hope that none of my favorite LYSes go out of business due to this challenge but hey, I have to look out for number one for a change.
The challenge officially starts NOW!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Woo Hoo! I'm almost there!

My check-in on Ravelry today yielded this info:

You are #26311 on the list.
16146 people are ahead of you in line.
1876 people are behind you in line.
35% of the list has been invited so far.

Hmmmm. Does that mean that the 35% that have been invited are included in the 16,146 people ahead of me?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Sweet Merciful Crap!!!

Starting on 8:30 pm Sunday, I got to work cataloguing my yarn stash.
11-1/2 hours later, at 7:00 am on Monday, I was done. I think I took a total of about 1/2 hours in breaks, so the cataloguing job took 11 hours total. I located every single skein of yarn in my apartment, entered the stats in an Excel spreadsheet and added up the total yardage. Then I almost had a heart attack, because:
This made me laugh at first, and then I thought about how most skeins/balls of yarn contain between 100-200 yards.
11,000+ yards are going out the door today (some in a swap, some to Value Village) but I'll still have 79,700 yards of yarn in the house, plus yarn coming to me in a swap.
Granted, my total contains some yarn that has already been knitted up in UFOs, but not that much. I am going to deduct each project's yarn only after I have finished the project.
I also did not count a few specific items: two almost-finished blankets (only need a single crochet edging in both cases), a small shawl that is currently blocking, a pillow cover that needs minimal finishing and the yarn for a project I am fixing for someone else. Since the latter is not my yarn or my project, I felt justified in not counting that. As for the blankets and pillow cover, I knit them so long ago I can't remember how many yards of yarn they contain. However, that just means that they don't factor into the count at all-- they aren't in today's total, but they also don't come off the total once the finishing is done.
Details of the Great Stashbust of 2007 (which may run through 2009, I'm guessing) will be posted shortly. VERY shortly, because I think I am faced with an emergency situation here....

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Technique List

I saw this over on a blog called Knitstant Gratification (worth a visit: and it immediately caught my fancy.

Mark with bold the things you have ever knit, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest.
(My note: I'm going to assume that I plan to do everything, so I'm not going to use italics for that purpose...)

• Afghan
• I-cord
• Garter stitch
• Knitting with metal wire
• Shawl
• Stockinette stitch
• Socks: top-down
• Socks: toe-up
• Knitting with camel yarn
• Mittens: Cuff-up
• Mittens: Tip-down
• Hat
• Knitting with silk
• Moebius band knitting
• Participating in a KAL
• Sweater
• Drop stitch patterns
• Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
• Slip stitch patterns
• Knitting with banana fiber yarn
• Domino knitting (huh?)
• Twisted stitch patterns
• Knitting with bamboo yarn
• Two end knitting (not yet, but want to try.)
• Charity knitting
• Knitting with soy yarn (can I count several large swatches?)
• Cardigan
• Toy/doll clothing
• Knitting with circular needles
• Baby items (I'm counting a toddler.)
• Knitting with your own handspun
• Slippers
• Graffiti knitting
• Continental knitting
• Designing knitted garments (In progress....)
• Cable stitch patterns
• Lace patterns
• Publishing a knitting book (This is the dream! But not yet.)
• Scarf
• Teaching a child to knit
• American/English knitting
• Knitting to make money (That would be really nice, but not yet!)
• Buttonholes
• Knitting with alpaca
• Fair Isle knitting (So far, I've not done real Fair Isle, only stranded color knitting-- which, I think, was more difficult since I had to manipulate three colors on the same row.)
• Norwegian knitting
• Dying with plant colors
• Knitting items for a wedding (No, but I'm willing. Email me.)
• Household items
• Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)on two circulars
• Olympic knitting (guess I'll have to wait until next year...)
• Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn (coming up...)
• Knitting with dpns
• Holiday-related knitting
• Teaching a male how to knit (not quite, but I have talked with one about how to fix his mistakes...)
• Bobbles
• Knitting for a living (Sigh. No.)
• Knitting with cotton
• Knitting smocking
• Dying yarn
• Steeks (not yet but coming up soon!)
• Knitting art
• Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously (I wish! But this scares me. Besides, if I can ever master double knitting well enough to do two at once I want to do it on one circular.)
• Fulling/felting
• Knitting with wool
• Textured knitting
• Kitchener BO
• Purses/bags
• Knitting with beads
• Swatching (boy, have I ever!)
• Long Tail CO
• Entrelac
• Knitting and purling backwards (not yet but I really want to learn this before an entrelac project I have coming up soon!)
• Machine knitting
• Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegating yarn
• Stuffed toys
• Knitting with cashmere
• Darning
• Jewelry
• Knitting with synthetic yarn
• Writing a pattern (uh oh-- I think my inability to finish what I start is going to really hurt me...)
• Gloves
• Intarsia
• Knitting with linen (I'm counting the cotton/linen blend I am using for the Cables and Os!)
• Knitting for preemies
• Tubular CO
• Freeform knitting
• Short rows
• Cuffs/fingerless mitts/armwarmers

• Pillows
• Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine (unfortunately both of the patterns I have tried from online mags haven't been so well written, so I frogged them-- I don't think that counts.)
• Rug
• Knitting on a loom
• Thrummed knitting
• Knitting a gift
• Knitting for pets
• Shrug/bolero/poncho
• Knitting with dog/cat hair (Ok, this is the one item on this list that I do not EVER want to do.)
• Hair accessories (does it count if I didn't finish it? Probably not.)
• Knitting in public

Of course my first reaction to lists like these is to want to hit every single technique listed, and maybe I will-- why not? I actually want to try all this stuff.

Progress on my Babette Blanket

Pattern: Babette Blanket
Designer: Kathy Merrick
Source: Interweave Crochet, Spring 2006

I started this blanket in March as a sort of ADD-friendly crochet project. Since there's about 130 squares in the blanket, I put the code for each square on a little slip of paper. That way, I figured that I could just take up the hook whenever the mood struck me, crochet a square or two or three, and add the square to the finished pile.
To assemble the blanket, you first join the squares into ten strips (which fit together log-cabin style) and then assemble the strips to each other. So far, I've crocheted about 100 of the squares.
This week, I realized that I was getting really close to having all the squares done for the first five strips, so I stopped the random-draw process, finished the few remaining squares for those strips and joined the five strips together. Here it is so far:

I reversed my usual procedure and tried to stick fairly close to the color choices that the designer used, although that ended up being a lot easier said than done. This blanket was designed using Koigu PPM which, as everyone knows who is familiar with Koigu, is created in small lots and each color is different. It's not like you can walk into a yarn store and find the full range of colors. (At least, you can't in the best store in Seattle that carries this line!) Also, there are 18 colors in this project and there were just not enough semi-solid Koigu colors that worked together in stock. I considered using some of the KPPPM (variegateds) but I didn't want to go that way. So, I bought some colors in Koigu and the rest in Shibui Sock, which is a very similar yarn.
Since I had to improvise, I just chose colors that I thought were close enough to the colors she listed, then completely substituted different colors in a few cases. For example, I couldn't find a "citron" I liked, so I went with carrot orange instead.
I wanted to go with the designer's color list because 1) I generally do not choose bright colors, and 2) I am not confident enough with my color sense to buy all that yarn on my own color choices. In all of my knitting (and crochet) I gravitate a lot more toward texture work over color. Plus, I wanted this blanket to retain the cheerful look. Might as well have at least one touch of cheerfulness untinged by sarcasm in my daily life!

The big question mark for me was what method to use to join the squares. I don't have much crochet experience, although I can do the basics, and had never made a crocheted item with more than one piece before. To make things more confusing, the only direction re joining the squares was this:
"Sew squares together using a tapestry needle and color A, matching edges, and working stitch to stitch."
OK, very well, but sew together how?
After thinking about it, I decided to use good old mattress stitch. I like mattress stitch and I wanted at least one side of the blanket to not show any seaming. So, there are small seams on the wrong side of the blanket, but they are fairly innocuous, and I get the nice flush side-to-side look on the right side.
A final issue that I will probably have to deal with as I finish this is that the Shibui, while similar to the Koigu, crocheted at a very slightly larger gauge. This is causing a little bit of rippling, but it seems to be evening out as I join the strips. As anal as I am, I wasn't concerned enough about it to block all the little squares before joining them. This is supposed to be my Happy Project!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Poochie the Rockin' Dog

Upon closer inspection, the family dog appears to be doing a fairly decent Gene Simmons impersonation.

Maybe the dog is employing the machismo to compensate for having to wear the little red bow on his head. If mom would only stick to the dog sweater he wouldn't mind so much, but accessories like the hair bow make it awfully hard for him to land a bitch.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Look at Dad's Eyes!

Dad really likes cold weather. And thin sweaters. He's been a lot happier since Mom started knitting, and especially since they started making bras out of that flexible Lycra spandex stuff. Except for the fact that he has become walleyed from staring at Mom's, uh, handiwork so much, and that he is so mesmerized by her "lady lumps" he ignores it when the dog pees on Sister's lap, things have been pretty nice around here lately.

Then again, I am one of those sons that actually enjoys wearing a sweater "like Dad's". I told that to the people at the American Thread Company, makers of Star Brand Yarns; I guess they are coming out with a new book of patterns pretty soon.

Shout Out to my Peeps!

Hmmm. When language like that comes out of me it's about as cool as your parents rapping at your birthday party.
I have to hand it to all the commenters on the previous post who commented that the Bisexual Sweater needed to stay in the closet. In retrospect, I cannot believe I missed that pun. Good for you, folks! You outpunned me.
I actually am a little disappointed in myself when I miss a pun that is set up so nicely. One example: when I was an undergrad, I emailed a math-major friend about something I had figured out in my college algebra class after a lot of studying, and I wrote that, now that I had taken the time to learn the concept, it was "easy as pie." He promptly wrote back: " I can't believe you didn't write, "Easy as pi."
You see, that was like seven or eight years ago and I still remember missing that pun! I guess that says something about me but I'm not too sure what it is.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The "Star Family Sweater Book", 1947

I received this pattern book from my "No Sheep Swap" pal in June. This swap took place through the KAL blog for the book No Sheep For You (Amy Singer, Interweave Press, 2007).

Evidently I must have mentioned that I like vintage patterns in my questionnaire, or my Secret Pal is exceptionally telepathic. Anyway, my first surprise package contained the "Star Family Sweater Book":

From the cover, you can tell right away that the Star Family does not contain Brangelina. Which is a big relief, if you ask me.

Of course, "Star" actually refers to the brand of yarn that they want you to use in the patterns. The grim black-and-white pictures of what look like really crappy yarns don't do much to sell themselves, hence the alleged need for this pattern booklet.

Do the patterns help either? Let's take a look.

Right off the bat, they assume the reader possesses a certain amount of initiative. The amount, however, is minimal. To wit:

Start knitting, Ace!

Considering that the copy writer is urging the reader to "Give play to your imagination," it's a shame that the professional that wrote this pattern couldn't imagine any variations more exciting than the ones shown here. Forget about adding colorwork, lowering the neckline a millimeter or two, using stitch patterns other than stockinette or rib, or any of that fancy-schmancy stuff. Instead, try:

1) tacking a "necklace" of itchy wool flowers all around the neckline -- presumably this is to remind you that, while you are freezing your butt off in the middle of winter with an itchy neck, that bitch down the block with the doctor husband got to go to Hawaii;

2) making the exact same sweater with long sleeves-- that is, if you're the kind of wild woman that can bear knitting past where the instructions tell you to stop;

3) embroidering your initials over one boob (it's all the rage in Newport this season!); or

4) sewing swatches as close as possible to your lady parts. Put a button on them and call them "pockets"! All the better to grope you with, my dear. Plus, we all know how flattering it is to create extra bulk just below the waistline.

Seriously, though-- they just don't make bras like this anymore. Look at how far apart her girls are: practically under her armpits. That was back in the day when lingerie designers came from the ranks of future NASA engineers. Remember that scene in "Vertigo" when Barbara Bel Geddes is designing a bra based on the engineering principles used in a suspension bridge? I rest my case.

In case you never learned how to write, Miss Vanek will be more than happy to write out the alphabet for you. Better get someone lined up to read it to you when it arrives in the mail!

And how exactly does one push up one's sleeves "college fashion"? I never learned a particular method of sleeve-pushing while I was in college. I mainly learned things like exactly how much time spent cramming yields a B+ grade on the final (about 9 hours) and What Activities Not to Attempt While Under the Influence (cooking; manicures; studying for the LSAT).

Good thing they stopped making floss out of wool. It always broke off when you tried flossing between the back molars. Besides, it made your entire mouth smell like Wet Dog.

I like the way Miss Vanek tries to sell knitting as a hobby-- it's a cure for the jitters and shakes! I got news for you, Miss V.-- the type of people who possess this much nervous energy are never going to be able to sit still long enough to learn how to knit. Especially with "wool floss" (and size 00 needles, I'm guessing.) Besides, yarn is expensive and every spare cent goes to diet pills and the three pounds of coffee a week.

Note how she reassures these Nervous Nellies that the added decorative touches can be taken off "at will"-- as opposed to the decorative touches that just hop off your sweater whenever they feel like it.

What son wouldn't want to wear a sweater "like Dad's", you ask? Pretty much every single kid I've ever met in my life. How embarrassing.

More expert advice from Miss Vanek-- two whole ways to cast on! And that's all, apparently. I guess since Miss V. was picturing an audience of jittery, paranoid speed addicts, she kept the technical section short and sweet.

And the coup de grace-- my favorite project in the booklet (not that the competition was exactly fierce):

It's The Bisexual Sweater!

However, I really don't think that it's fair to imply that it's somehow "wrong" for the sweater to be "gay by day". A sweater's choice of coordinating separates is its own business and nobody else's, and if it wants to hang out with the other girly sweaters during the day but dress up in a skirt and follow the fleet at night, who are we to judge?

Frankly, I don't think this sweater is right at any time of the day or night, but maybe that's just me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

You Are an Afternoon Person

You can find energy any time of the day ... or night!
You prefer to be out and about when most other people are.
Very early mornings or very late nights aren't really your thing.
You're practically solar powered, and the afternoon is when do best.

At first, I was thinking, "WRONG!" because I have always been a night person, but after thinking it over I guess my time-center has moved forward a bit. I still wouldn't say that I am not an evening person, but I do get tired earlier than I used to (as in, around 11 pm-12 am instead of 2 am).
The part about being able to find energy any time of the day or night is total crap, though.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Deboring the blog

Ha, ha. Did anyone notice that I had predicted that the internet/digital camera situation would be in hand by the end of the week of June 3rd?
I'm such a bullshitter sometimes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I am the thumb. Goo goo goo joob.

You Are the Thumb

You're unique and flexible. And you defy any category.
Mentally strong and agile, you do things your own way. And you do them well.
You are a natural leader... but also truly a loner. You inspire many but connect with few.

You get along well with: The Middle Finger

Stay away from: The Pinky

Glad to see that I get along well with the finger that says, "fuck you."
I'll bet the profile with that graphic is fun!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Deboring the blog (hopefully)

Finally-- finally-- I am going to be getting a digital camera this weekend and getting the home connection switched to a new provider by the end of next week. So, very soon, I should be getting some damn content on here.
Not that I really expect anyone to be reading this at this point, but at least I'll be a bit more engaged, and that's what counts, after all....

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Apology to whoever sees it, for blog being so crappy

Without a working home internet connection, spare time and a digital camera, keeping this blog up is quite difficult.
Developments will come.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Got the handspun today!!!! After a really long day that included a root canal to start things off and a nonstop barrage of really time-sensitive work, this was just what I needed to see. Especially since my patterns are taking so fricking long to get here from New Hampshire.
It's sooooooo soft. It is true Dreamsicle colors and the variation is texture is really beautiful. I still don't know what I am going to use this for but I want to plan carefully. I have a little under 150 yards total of bulky-weight handspun and I want to use it wisely. I was thinking about using it in a bag, but this is way too soft to waste on that-- it needs to be used in something that I will wear. I think this absolutely would make a beautful hat but I don't look very good in hats and I want to show this off...

Sunday, April 8, 2007

You Should Get An Asian Inspired Tattoo

Mysterious and expressive

You like to show off, but you also like to keep some allure

Not a bad guess-- I am planning on getting the "Zoso" symbol from Led Zeppelin IV when I eventually get a tattoo. So, really more of a Nordic/Celtic inspired tattoo. But at least they didn't suggest a naked chick or Anime character or "Born to Kill" or something else totally off the mark.

Your 80s Theme Song Is:

Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard

This is funny because I was in middle school when this song came out, and I loved Def Leppard back then, so in a way this really IS an 80's theme song for me. Although I would have picked "Welcome to the Jungle" over this song.
Strangely, the hardest part was identifying my favorite current/modern day song to take this quiz. I don't think I really have one. All of my favorite songs predate 1997, pretty much.
Oh, GOD. I'm getting old. That was 10 years ago.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Advance squee from Etsy

I just bought my very first handspun yarn. It is from JenniferJoyCreative on etsy, and it is a three-skein set called "DrEamCiclE". Hopefully, since I am linking to her seller's page on here, she won't mind if I post the pictures of the yarn I bought from her, so you can see how gorgeous it is. Her handspun creations are for sale at the site linked below:
If she happens to Google herself and see this, I also must mention the way I found her etsy store: I am a contributor to the No-Sheep KAL (although, obviously, I do knit with wool) and one of the other bloggers on the KAL posted a link to the Fake Sheep blog about vegan knitting, and when I visited that, there was a post about Jennifer's fiery red bamboo handspun. So, I went and visted her store, and this is the yarn I ultimately fell in love with.
I don't have a specific project in mind, but this yarn is so beautiful that I couldn't pass it up. Besides, I have recently hit the point in my relationship with knitting that I need to start pushing the envelope, and that includes forcing myself to stop depending too much on patterns. I modify almost every pattern I use, but I am still pretty nervous about straying too far from the basic blueprints.
Frankly, I have been wanting to start designing for about a year now, but I have been too timid to start the process. However, I'm tired of waiting for myself to get past the fear, and I have decided that I am going to start pushing past it anyway. This will be a great opportunity to design something where I am initially inspired by the yarn and only the yarn-- no patterns.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Possible solution for a problem spot in the stash!

Last fall, I bought about 1400 yards of Lily Chin Manhattan, which is a cotton/bamboo yarn with a nubby texture. It was one of the Yarn of the Month featured yarns, so I had a chance to test-swatch it, and I decided that I really liked it. I even went so far as to take the swatch for a road test-- I carried it around in my handbag for a little over a week (where it promptly gravitated to the bottom and got knocked around a lot) and, unlike most cotton yarns, the stitches actually stayed in place, which I attribute to the bamboo.
Anyway, after ordering all the yarn, I realized that I had no idea what to do with it. I am more of a stitch-pattern-oriented knitter than a colorwork-oriented knitter, and I soon realized that 1400 yards of a single color of nubby-textured yarn meant that I was going to be fairly constrained-- interesting stitch patterns, cables, etc. are pretty much lost on a yarn that already has its own thing going on with texture.
So, the big bag of Manhattan has been sitting in a cedar chest for about seven months now, and I haven't had a clue what to do with it. Finally, while browsing my favorite LYS after work yesterday (I am trying to make myself ONLY browse for a while, with the exception of a few books and tools, because I have to start making a dent in my enormous stash of yarns and UFOs) I noticed that one of the sample garments in the store might be just the thing. It's a shrug, basically a long rectangle which is doubled over and stitched into armholes at the top edges, after which you go around the perimeter and pick up a ribbed border, but the great thing about it is that I can tell it will be easy to modify the construction to fit my size and to lengthen the overall garment into kind of a cutaway, circular cardigan/jacket (I, like pretty much all plus-size, busty gals, look ridiculous in shrugs.)
Anyway, I am very excited about this project now. I finally found a project for the Manhattan that is casual enough to work with the character of the yarn, but won't be boring to make. Once I (finally) get a digital camera, which probably won't take too long to save for if I save up what I normally spend on yarn for a couple of months, I think I may have to make this project one that I document in this blog. It'll be my first official project where I use the pattern only as a suggestion and make the garment my own.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What have I gotten myself into?

Mmmkay...even after a half hour of trying to get my page looking halfway decent I am beginning to see the original wisdom of putting this project off...which is the hell to people know how to format these blogs??!! I was looking at just a few of the blogs that I actually read and realizing that they had, you know, icons and lists and stuff...this is way over my head. I don't have time to learn all this stuff at this point...I'm going to have to keep this low-tech for a while (I don't even know if I got the No Wool icon on my blog right-- was I supposed to add it as a picture? Oh well.

First post...will this end up like the pile of unfinished blank journals in the closet?

Well, well, well, I finally got around to starting my knitting blog.
I have been telling myself for damn near a year that I was going to hold off until I was done with school (I go to law school evenings and work during the day) but I cracked-- I wanted to join the No-Wool swap and I was too lazy to wait for the KAL sign-up email to get to me. Funny how my laziness cured my procrastination in this instance.
I wanted to wait because I wanted this to be a GOOD knitting blog, not a half-assed one. We'll see if I can use my whole ass this time. Fortunately, even half of it should be ample at this point in time.
My two biggest immediate challenges? No digital camera and no home internet connection. Insurmountable? We'll see.