Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September Sockdown socks!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Before the weekend: New pups and new projects

This weekend we are headed up north to hang out with the Clan, my husband's mom's family. I would never call my family a clan - we are more of a loose tribe at best - but the Clan like to gather and do stuff together. I'm not sure who will be at the cabin this weekend, but it will probably three or four times the relatives that I could muster from my side of the family! I will be packing knitting projects shortly.

I started the Equinox lace t-shirt earlier this week. It is proceeding well and although the yarn is splitty as heck, drapes nicely and feels good to knit. I've decided I need to pack a more portable, basic knit, too. I have a couple balls of pink Maizy that could be something. Footies or socks? The corn fiber is combined with 18% elastic, so socks could work, but I would have to swatch tonight. I'd be better off with a scarf or simple shawl. Another Dandy Neckerchief? I do lurve that pattern! I have a couple skeins of a lilac sage cotton/wool that would look could be a Springtime Bandit or maybe a Friday scarflet... OK, I will have to swatch tonight!

While we are out of town, J&J will be house and dog and puppy sitting. Yep, they agreed to sleep over and watch Harley and Machi, and since I agreed to foster without really thinking about our calendar, they also get to hang with Drew and Simon, a combined 6lbs of terrier-chihuahua pup. Yes, they are kinda ugly. I am hoping they are just a little worse for wear from the shelter, and that some generous helpings of love and kibble will help that fill out. Drew (below right) is a sweetheart, spunky and cuddly.

Simon, who outweighs his brother by almost a pound, has obviously been the watchful older brother. He's a little anxious and needs to mellow out. He's learning his name, and learning to jump around less, and relaxes more quickly on my lap after just a few days. I'm sure he'll be fine!

I hope J&J also be fine with a household of pups - they currently own one cat. I have written two full pages of doggy instructions, though, so hopefully all will go well. Pinch sitter Shamrock will be bringing former fosters Cal and Finn to hang out Saturday afternoon, as J&J have an all-day commitment. That will a full house: only 60 lbs of dog, but 24 legs! I wonder if Cal and Finn will remember their puppy days here, when they weighed only 1.5 lbs each and lived in my bathtub with their sister Erie? I'm sure Harley will remember them. Harley loves his puppies.

So, what have I been knitting? I knit two more bibs for my cousin's twin boys, but couldn't get them in the mail in time for her shower last weekend. I will knit a few more bibs and send out a half dozen.

I finished a Sweet Lily shawl with my leftover Harmony. This is a great shawl, knit in wedges. IK gives directions to design your own wedge shawl; I plan to experiment with some of my favorite lace patterns and do another shawl. I'm on a lace jag, what can I say!?

I completely frogged my huge Fiddlesticks "Peacock Feathers" shawl, that I knit to about row 250 of the edging chart before determining that no, I didn't have enough yarn. I was knitting on US4s, I'll drop to US2s and restart, because it's a lovely pattern and I really want to finish it. It's not vacation knitting, however. I have another Fiddlesticks kit that might do the trick.

So many options, so little time to plan! Hopefully I will find a good project and be able to post it next week. Happy Fourth of July weekend!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Not knitting baby things

I should be knitting baby things. There are babies due all over the place, and I enjoy knitting baby things, generally, but I am not knitting baby things.

Instead I have been knitting lace. First I decided to knit two divinely blue balls of mystery yarn, which is probably cotton of some sort but since the labels are no where to be found, I can't be sure. It's very soft and splitty, and wanted to be a simple but interesting narrow scarf for summer wear.

I browsed through my scarf patterns, and found Meandering Vines, which is very pretty and surprisingly simple. I edited it, removing some stitches and adding a 3-stitch i-cord edging from the leafy scarf in Scarf Style. I also used an i-cord for the edging, and ended up doing a wacky purled i-cord for the cast off to match. I was afraid I wouldn't have enough yarn, but I ended up using only 1.5 balls of my mystery yarn.

When this was done, I looked through my baby patterns, and tried to get excited about doing a baby-sized Lackadaisical cap, but I couldn't work up any enthusiasm. I went to my stash and pulled out a huge ball of red laceweight, and decided to knit Annis, the Knitty bonus pattern that came out last week.

The thought of casting on 363 stitches was daunting, because I didn't think a long-tail would work, nor would a backward-loop cast on. A knitted-on cast on seemed the way to go. I did a couple swatches to confirm, because I really hate the knitted-on cast on. The swatches confirmed my gauge and that my other cast-on options weren't stretchy enough. Drats.

After the beastly cast on, however, the pattern was quite slick. The nupps weren't too painful, and even an error in row 13 only slowed me down a little (I used the photos and stitch count to figure out that  the YO symbols on either side of the s2kp decrease were missing).

I'm down to the last 3 rows of the chart, then the short rows start. It's very pretty!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Who is the patron saint of yarn stashing!?

I want to thank the proper saint for my miraculous yarn find on Saturday.

I have had Percy all but finished - 10 rows left - and had been planning on going back to Depth of Field to look for a similar ball of Harmony. I bought the first ball last fall or summer, but wasn't too worried about a perfect match - I figured I only had an inch to go, and with the wide gradations of color, a close relation was all I needed.

Saturday I tossed my almost-finished shawl, along with the color and dye lot info, into the back seat of my car Knatasha, thinking I might have time to swing by Borealis Yarns.

I didn't, really. I pulled up to Borealis at 5:10pm, could see the lights were on, and saw someone go in. I hopped out and crossed the street to read the "Hours" sign. Closed at 5. I stood for a moment, uncertain, and unwilling to be one of those customers who ignores a closed sign. A woman came out, and said "They said I could go in if I knew exactly what I needed." Aha! I knew exactly what I needed. I went in.

"I heard I could come in if I knew exactly what I needed," I announced as I came in. A nice young woman asked, "What do you need?" I told her, and she walked over to the cube of Harmony and plucked a ball of the top. "That looks like it..." I murmured, because again, I did not really expect to find a matching ball a year later and city away from where I bought the first.  I read off my color and dye lot, and patron-saint-of-stashing be praised, the ball was indeed Color 1, Dye lot AC01!

How crazy is that?!

I finished Percy on Sunday afternoon. I knit to the end of the first ball, which ended in a cool green, and started the new ball, which started with a warm green - although I can't really see the difference in the shawl.

I started blocking, and was very happy with how it looks and how big it will be, but had to stop and watch Lost. I will block it tonight if time allows!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Puppyless again

Jack-the-bear went to his new family today, and he may be the most loved puppy in the world. His new owners are a great, especially his new best girl, Sophie. I don't often feel like fostering shelter pups can change the world, but tonight I know saw a little girl's dreams come true.

Now to put away the pee pads, clean up all the chewed up toilet paper and unstuffed toy fluff in the bathroom, put away the puppy toys, clean and stow the kennel, and pay attention to my human family, because I couldn't foster without their tolerance and assistance.

Extra love to Harley, too, best foster dog brother ever. He's so good with puppies - maybe because he was a rescue himself, maybe because he's still a puppy himself. I know he will be giving me sad looks for the next week. Someday he will get a puppy of his own.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Festival of Yarn

I truly appreciate the local wool festival organizers in my county. A wool festival on Mothers' Day Weekend is an absolute guarantee that I will get my favorite gift, yarn, for Mothers' Day. Thank you, clever wool festival organizers!

My first stop was Enchanted Meadows. I love their alpaca. Love it. I bought a skein of blueberry alpaca from them last year, and knit a hat. And gloves. And a neckerchief. It was the endless ball of blueberry softness, but it was also a mystery ball: I lost the tag shortly after winding it into a yummy yarn cake. Luckily, I recognized Mr. Enchanted Meadows and his humongous skeins of yarn in the first building I entered at the festival, so getting another endless skein was first order of the day. I left it to my boys to pick a color for me as a gift. There were lovely reds, purples, blues, greens, even orange skeins. My colorblind son and his conservative father picked out... brown. I will be knitting hats for the boys, I guess.

They also picked up a smooshy skein of angora, about 80 yards worth, from HoneyGold Acres. It's lovely, really - incredibly soft, undyed... and makes me break out in a minor rash.

So far, the yarn purchasing was not going well. Time to take things into my own hands! I stopped at one stall and fell in love with naturally dyed corriedale. It was a lavender purple blend that I was pretty sure would match the lavender alpaca gloves I knit from last year's festival yarn purchase. I took a card, in case I stumbled upon the same vendor that sold me my lavender alpaca.

I walked through a lot of yarn, touching and crooning along the way, and ended up at a stall called Corny Goodness. The colors of their yarn were fantastic - true color wheel yellows, oranges, blues, greens, and purples. I don't even like orange, and their orange yarn was drool-worthy. It was 100% corn, too. I chatted with the vendors ,a husband and wife just starting out in the yarn business. Paul told me that corn yarn won't stain, won't fade, and won't shrink. It feels like a stiff cotton. I bought two shades - Blue Eyes Dark and Spruce Medium - that I will use to knit baby hats and booties for my cousin's twins, due in September.

I passed by the stalls with commercial yarn, and looked for the indie spinners and dyers. I had to pass up lots of wonderful stuff! I usually don't look at needles or knitting accessories, but a young woman knitting a sock on short black dpns caught my eye. The needles were carbon and a pleasure to use - warm to the touch, with a light weight that felt nice in my hands. I knit a couple round on 0s, then tried to bend the free needle. It didn't give a bit!

Since I am a loose knitter, I am always downsizing two or more needle sizes to get gauge. That means a sock knit on 2s or 3s has to be knit on 0s or 1s for me - or smaller. I special ordered five 5" 00s; I should get them next week.

I finally wrapped up my festival buying with the lavender-purple corriedale I had found early in my browsing. I had $16 in my pocket, and although the first two skeins were $19, the next was... $16! Perfection This yarn is slightly thick-thin, with a soft halo. It should make a lovely hat.

My latest project is designing a cap using an entrelac base. I like the geometry of it until I get to the top - I'm having trouble ending my cap! I've done two prototypes, now for some research and experiments with different decreases to make the stitches move where I want them to!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Harvest Wool Festival

I spent a few hours this morning at the count sheep and wool festival. This was my second festival, and my second go at photo contest coordinator. I am not usually a solo volunteer - I will chaperon, I do my Boy Scout stuff, but it was a stretch for me to volunteer for the photo contest last year. As I recall, I volunteered to make sure I would remember to go to the festival - I had forgot about it the year before.

Last year I was pretty anonymous, didn't know what I was doing, wasn't prepared - but had fun anyway. I loved the photos, loved the people. When wonderful Winnie, she-who-coordinates, asked me to do it again, I said I would.

This year, I am Photography Contest Coordinator, according to the website and in the printed festival guide. Woohoo! I was better prepared, with markers, construction paper, scissors, pens, and tape, plus voting instructions and posters inviting people to view and vote. I was even able to answer questions from lost people who wandered by.

There were sixteen photos throughout five divisions, and they were all great. The photographers were charming and lovely people, and they totally made me want to move to a farm and get a a pack o' sheep or alpacas.

It's a people's choice photo contest, so after I posted the photos, I had to convince people to vote. I tried several tactics, but found this to be most effective:

"Would you like vote for a photo in our photo contest? It's people's choice, so if you don't vote, no one wins."

I don't know why this worked, but it did. Being merely polite didn't suffice, but making a vaguely dire prediction got a chuckle and usually a few minutes of viewing and voting.

Note to self: next year, bring posters for each division. And more tape. And clamps. And coffee.

I can't report on the awesomeness of the yarn yet - I had no time to browse, as today was Meet & Greet from noon to 2. Boomer and Bear were stars (a sure sign I am becoming immune to puppy cuteness: I had no idea they would be so popular). Several families fell in love with the foster pups. It's hard to pick one family over another, but when I stopped worrying and just thought about it, the choices were obvious. Bear will go to a sincere family with a sweet nine-year-old girl who has begged for a dog for about four years. Boomer will go to a starry-eyed young couple who want a dog to go hiking and boating and fishing, although I think his sweet kisses were a deciding factor, also.

Tomorrow, Mothers' Day, my wonderful boys will take me back to the festival so I can buy me some alpaca (mmm, alpaca) and tally votes for the photo contest, hang the ribbons, etc. I will try not to spend more than 3 hours there... but I'm making no promises.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The new mother of invention... Guilt

Guilt is a funny thing. I was supposed to turn in my chemo caps last Wednesday. I had knit 8 of them, and on Tuesday had them bagged up and ready to turn in, along with 3 or 4 unused balls of yarn.

Wednesday, I was in bed until 6:30pm with a migraine. I fired off an e-mail to the hat collector, and she said this was OK, she would get the hats Thursday or Friday. On Thursday, she e-mailed me that she would pick them up Monday.

I felt awful, that I had thrown off her donation schedule... so I knit 5 more hats. I didn't intend to, but I had lots of knitting time thanks to Sandman's practice track meet on Thursday and final track meet on Saturday. I had yarn and needles, but wasn't in the mood for a pattern, so I improvised with seed stitch, and crown patterning, and diamonds, and finally seed stitch plus ribbing plus a mushroomy-top.

I have a couple cute one-offs that need more tinkering, but my final hat design is quite nice, even in acrylic. I did two prototypes before working out my math and techniques in the blue cap pictured here. I tried the hats on me, on Sandman's pre-teen head, and on Khi's melon head, and the result was quite charming on everyone. I have designed a cap!

Instead of having just eight hats and several balls of yarn, I have 13 hats and one ball of yarn that was just too unbearably ugly to knit. You can see its less ugly sibling in the photo to the left - the Sage Butter Ombre was knit-able, but Autumn Print was just too hideously rust and brown and gold. I grew up in the seventies; I refuse to relive them in bad yarn.

Percy survives more puppies

Boomer and Bear have lots of energy. Lots. They tumble and play all the time. I realize that tumble and play room is a bit short in the bathroom where they are stabled, so I give them closely supervised playtime in other areas until they have earned my trust.

They did play time in the kitchen, and did very well. They had play time outside, which was also a success. I decided to go for play time in the living room, and after a couple short sessions, we all seemed able to maintain a satisfactory level of sanity, as long as all pens/paper/socks were put out of puppy reach.

Of course, I had put away all my knitting. Puppies love knitting - they love running with balls of yarn bigger than their heads gripped tightly between their tiny teeth. They love pulling needles out of projects. They love chewing on wooden DPNs, and the cords of circular needles with metal tips that discourage chewing. Puppy + knitting = badness. I know this, so I had put all my projects in a tote bag. No yarn dangled, no needles stuck out. Everything was tucked carefully out of puppy view.

I don't know which little puppy nose stuck itself into the knitting tote, but when I glanced down after stepping 8 feet away to close the hall closet doors... Boomer and Bear were playing tug of war with Percy.

After this discovery, I'm not sure what happened (besides a shriek). I know sharp puppy teeth were removed from lace. I know puppies were returned to the bathroom with No Chance of Parole for Some Time. I know they had somehow neither pulled Percy off the needle nor broken the size 0 bamboo circular. I checked only that much, then stuck Percy back into the tote and moved the bag off the floor. I could not check Percy for wear and tear, not yet at least.

After lalala ignoring Percy for almost a week, I have just inspected the shawl this evening. It appears unscathed. I found one loose loop near the working edge, but no obvious tears or snags anywhere else.

Poor Percy. Lucky puppies.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New pups: Bear and Boomer

Jack and Daniel joined the household April 18. They are sweet little Kentucky Brown dogs, fluffy and tumbly, scratchy and bitey, and smart to boot!

Of course I'm not calling them Jack and Daniel. Daniel just wasn't a Dan, or a Danny. He is Boomer, and has been since day one. I did call Jack by his given name for a couple days, but the only way I could tell the two pups apart was that Jack looked like a little bear. In my head, he was Jack the Bear. After a couple days, he was just Bear.

Boomer and Bear know their names, or they at least know when I pitch my voice just so they should come scampering over. They eat like crazed hamsters, throwing the food all over and always trying to eat out of the same bowl.

They are the quietest pups I have ever had. They never cry - not at night, not when they hear me get up in the morning, not when they are bored. They bark occasionally if startled.

All in all, they are excellent pups.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Percy progress

I've been working on my Percy shawl on and off, and put some good hours into it in the past week. A third repeat of Chart B took just another 5 grams - but the ball of yarn is (finally) noticeably smaller.

I'm on row 4 of my fourth Chart B repeat. Can I do another full repeat, plus 0-27, plus Chart C? I think so. I may do some Ravelry research to see where others started the edging chart...

Monday, April 12, 2010

A little this, a little that

I've been knitting this and that. Several washcloths, some mitered, one lacy. I knit a wonderful licorice ombre cloth with a skull design for the Sandman, who asked for something for the downstairs bathroom. I used Pisgah Peaches & Cream for the first time, and really liked it. At $1.47/ball at W-Mart, it's much softer than the stuff I get at Michael's or JoAnne's.

I used a stashed ball of Knit Picks Main Line for a wonderful teal blue bib for a baby shower at the office. I started a hat, but didn't think it would be that
useful for a boy born in May. Quacking Up! is super cute, and the pattern designer, Elaine Fitzpatrick, has a bunch of fun bib/cloth designs. There is a great monkey that I will have to do next. I may have worked through my beige (monkey-colored) cotton, but I think I have a ball of orange! Orange monkey would be good. Maybe yellow?

A couple more chemo caps are off the needles. Robin's Egg was simple but very pretty, even in acrylic. I tired a new hat pattern for my third ball of Fixation - Wavy Cable Lace. It's very pretty, and a very comfy hat. I have one more ball of white Fixation, which I'm planning to use for a Mobius cap.
If I can get it knit this week, I will dye all four Fixation hats this weekend. I know where my old fabric dyes are - I just hope they are still good after fifteen years!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Piece o' Pi

I finished the first of 4 Pi Topper caps that I will knit with Fixation and then dye, because the nubby texture just cries for color.

I used size 3 needles, but I will try 4s for the next cap, as this one is very dense - not a bad thing, but a smidge more drape and size will be a better thing.

I'll probably do one cap in seed stitch, and perhaps use another 6-row pattern for the third and fourth. Using a 6-row pattern makes this hat super easy, as the increases occur after 3, 6, 12, and 24 rounds.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Percy progresses again

I'm back to the Percy shawl, and so happy. I was a little rusty after the relatively large gauge chemo hats, but now the lace knitting is moving along smoothly. I refer to the chart less, find counting less annoying, and can see the lace pattern as I begin the third repeat of chart B.

This picture makes ol' Percy look huge, but it's not. Contorting the shawl along my arm, it looks like it's still quite a bit smaller than my wingspan. I'm 5'11", so I have quite a wingspan, but I think even blocked this would still be a smallish shawl.

Cobweb weight yarn: not for an impatient knitter.

According to my scale, I had knit through exactly half the ball after repeat 3; the second repeat of chart B took almost exactly 5 grams. It should take slightly more to knit repeat 3, as the shawl is ever expanding. I hope to finish repeat 3, do a final pattern repeat through row 27, then begin the 35 row chart C edging.

I will definitely measure at row 27 of repeat 3, though, just in case!

I was in Rochester over the weekend for a Sandman event, and visited a couple local yarn stores. Kristen's Knits was great. Tons of Noro, lots of skeins in most colorways, but I fell in love with a single: soft greys and greens and blues, like a misty spring day near a lake - not the usual electric purples, pinks, blues and reds I usually go for. I bought it to knit Dianna, a leafy entrelac shawl I found on Ravelry. The Noro ball is slightly less than the 500 m required, but the other Noros just didn't call to me the way Color No. S150 Lot A did.

I also found four balls of white Fixation on sale. Hurray! Hand-dyed cotton chemo caps! I also bought a bandless ball of lovely red bamboo. This makes it two weekends in a row that I have broken my yarn diet, but the Fixation was a great find - I would have bought it anywhere. Being on vacation makes the other two alright - no dieting on a road trip!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Long time no blog

Was it the post-Olympics let down? Maybe... or maybe just nothin' fun enough to blog about!

I did finish the Merino Lace socks. They are nice and long and lacy, and I love the color.

I've knit two chemo caps, with very acrylic yarn. I'm not a yarn snob for general wear, but I'm not really happy with these hats. They are cute, but I just don't think they will be comfy caps for bald heads. It's tempting to stow the acrylic - for scarves perhaps - and just buy a ha' dozen balls of Esprit and knit Pi caps for the cancer patients, so I know the hats will be 100% wearable.

While I consider breaking my yarn diet for a good cause, I will knit up the extra ball of deep purple cotton left over from my first chemo cap, for my former boss. I didn't snap a picture of that hat, which is fine because it was huge. He wore it anyway, almost every day during his chemo - he just turned up the ribbing and a good inch or two of hat. Thank goodness it was a reversible pattern! He looked very Jacques Cousteau, actually.

Sandman is modeling my new hats, as I am hoping his hairy preteen head equals one bald adult head. I told him I wouldn't show his face, but I couldn't resist including his baby blues.

Because I missed it, I have picked up my Percy shawl again and added a couple rows tonight. It's so very lovely. I truly have no idea how big it will be. The cobweb lace looks like nothing, but I know it's going to block into something spectacular.

Finally, I dropped off Abigail at her forever home tonight. A nice couple met her at the Meet & Greet last Saturday and fell in love. I think she will keep her name, because she totally looks like an Abigail and the new family liked it because it wasn't a typical dog name. She will have roommates to play with and there were already toys and new kennel waiting for her. Good luck, goofy girl!

We have entered into a nopuppy zone - new pups arrive Friday, but I will not be bringing any home for a while. My boys need some lovin', although Harley looks plenty happy.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Clyde goes home, Abigail arrives

We had double foster pups for a few hours, as we added sweet Abigail to the family last night, and Clyde went to his forever home this afternoon.

We took Clyde to the Meet & Greet for another round of shots, and ran into his Momma, Lindy, and brothers Moose and George. It was amazing to see the clan back together, and the variations between the pups. Clyde was the only pup with upright ears. He was also the only one who had figured out potty training. Yay, Clyde!

Abigail is a pretty girl, but pretty sick with an upper respitory thing. I've never wiped a pup's nose before! She's on antibiotics, but has been coughing and snorking and just sick. Dr. Melissa prescribed Robitussin DM, which I was able to borrow from my neighbor. After just one dose, Abbie is sleeping peacefully on my lap. Poor girl - hopefully now she can rest better!

In Knitting Olympic news, I am almost done with Merino Lace sock 1 - just the toe to go. I will be able to cast on sock 2, but I will not get two pairs of socks knit during the Olympics. I did knit four socks, yes, but unraveling and reknitting Sleepy Hollow sock 1 means only 3 to show off!

Since my beloved alpaca hat and gloves have lost themselves, I will be casting on Aussie wool gloves as soon as Merino Lace 2 is done - so no taking it easy just because the Olympics are done!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Merino Lace from Favorite Socks

I have been knitting along on my Olympics project #2, the Merino Lace socks from Favorite Socks. The pattern has been quick to memorize. I appreciate the way the this-way-that-way leaning 3-st lace columns help me keep track of the 5-st lace repeats, and after a knit through the 12 st center panel, I can see what's going on there and don't have to keep checking the charts. It's also lovely to get a rest every other round. It's just such a clever pattern!

Since I have only 444 yards of Gloss yarn, not the recommended 525, I am shortening the leg by 2 repeats. I meant to weigh my Sleepy Hollow socks before the heel flap started, but I forgot. I'm thinking I should have more than half my yarn left, but I'm not sure if I should have two-thirds.

I am going to do the heel as directed, as the lace continues down the heel flap, and the st st gussets look nice.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sweet Sleepy Hollows

My Sleepy Hollow socks are done! The third sock was easy peasy - I'll have to keep that in mind for future sock knitting, I guess.

I am wearing the socks now, because I had to take a photo and they are so sweet on my feet, I don't want to take them off. They will definitely debut tomorrow for a full day's wear.

Since I finished darning in my ends at 7:30pm, I had time to finish a good circular swatch for my next Olympic sock. Yes, I am only committing to finishing one Merino Lace sock! After all, I've knit 3 socks already, thanks to SH sock 1's reincarnation as sock 3. Maybe I can tear through both socks, but I'm not sure if I want to do a SH heel or the heel as directed - I haven't read through the pattern past the leg.

In Clyde news, he has come through surgery well. A little stoned, but as a result more cuddly than usual. He and Harley still managed to raise a ruckus tearing up their favorite stuffed bunny. Harley loves Clyde, of course, because he is a total softy about puppies. Sometimes I feel like a baaaaad master, always bringing home new doggy siblings and then getting rid of them. When a puppy disappears to its new home, Harley gives me the stink eye and acts suspicious for a couple days. I am certain he figures his days are numbered, too.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Knitting Monday

Monday means knitting lunch, and today I brought my Sleepy Hollow sock instead of my usual Mohair Monster.

The mohair monster has been my project forever, because I have to knit eight short rows for every one row in length. I love the spirally effect, but it's not speedy.

Today, though, was all about Sleepy Hollow. Sock 2 is done, and pretty spiffy. When I started knitting at noon, I'd almost finished joining the turned heel back to the gusset, so I showed the sexy heel off to my knitting buddies.

Pamdear and TrinKnitty also took a turn with the 9" sock needle, and TrinKnitty took photos. Yes, there is a needle between my fingers! I have large hands and the needle tips are less than 2" long, but it's comfortable for me. It felt claustrophobic for T., and P. had to adjust her knitting style. I am just happy with having only one needle to worry about, even though I can not use my usual picking style . Instead, I throw my knit stitches left handed (the way I always purl). There just isn't enough needle tip to hang on to to make the picking comfortable.

I should be able to finish Sock 3 tomorrow, and then I will start my second pair of socks (without really hoping to finish them before the Olympics end). While I'm longing to use my Signature needles for the Merino Lace socks, I have only size 2.25mm and 2.5mm, and I should really use 2mm to get the gauge correct. I've got a circular swatch going on the 2.25mm Signatures; I'm going to knit another inch and measure it. While I expect it will be off by a half stitch at minimum, it may work fine for my large feet! The Signatures are so sleek and pointy - it would be a joy to knit a pair of socks on them!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Trisockalon news with unrelated but very cute puppy photo

I've been knitting like a fiend on Sleepy Hollow sock #2, since sock #1 will become sock #3 and I'm feeling some pressure. I've swatched for a second pair of socks, but I don't think I will get two pair done - although I may have knit 4 socks by the end of the Olympics!

The yarn for pair 2 is also from Knitpicks, lovely Gloss Sock with wool and silk. It's squooshy and lovely to knit!

Clyde has been a wonderful foster pup. He's a funny doggy dog, with lots of energy and an ability to be michievous without being too naughty. Last night, I woke from a deep sleep because of a strange ringing thump in the bathroom where Clyde was supposed to be sleeping. I went to check on him, and he had somehow managed to knock a metal trash can off the bathroom counter into his kennel. I had taken the top of the kennel, because he was using it to climb on the counter to look for new toys.

Clyde pretended he knew nothing about the trash can. As it would seemly nearly impossible for a 6lb pup to reach an 18" pop-top trashcan on a 36" counter, I couldn't scold him. He would have given me that "Are you crazy, nice lady?" look, and I would have had to agree it seemed highly improbable. He was completely ready to play, which was a problem because we'd been up until 1am and it was only 5:33am. We went to the toy basket and found some new toys, and I put him back in the bathroom, hoping he would amuse himself.

Clyde, soon to be Scoutmaster Clyde Hale, has his surgery Tuesday and goes to his new home Wednesday. My whole family will miss him. He's a keeper. I'm glad we know the Hales and can get Scout updates - I expect there will be many good stories!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I did it

I had to.

I unraveled Sleepy Hollow sock #1. I finished leg #2, and it fit so nice, and the ribbing was so pretty... sock #1 was embarrassed. It wanted to be unraveled, rewound, and reknit. Really.

Who am I to argue with a sock?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I may be crazy, but at least I'm only armed with pointy sticks

Now that I've put it out there, unraveling sock #1 to redo the cast on doesn't sound that bad. I want a pair of socks that fit, after all. As a Knitting Olympic challenge, I would have time to reknit. It just seems crazy.

After all, I am no longer a perfectionist. When I was about 12, I was working on a project and couldn't get some little thing right. I was near tears, when my mom came in and laughed at me. Laughed long and hard, as I recall. I was shocked, but its was a kind of revelation. Why was I getting all knotted up about such a little thing?

My mom gave me my foundations in crafting, and her mantra was "no one will ever notice." As a reformed perfectionist, I ask the important corollary: "Will I notice?" It's very freeing to be able to make a choice - without compulsion.

I may choose to reknit sock #1, but I have two balls of lovely blue wool, and an assortment of wonderful sock patterns to choose from - so will I notice one sloppy ribbing, or not?

As for the photo above, Mom was obviously a newlywed in this photo. I don't remember her totin' guns after Bro and I were around. The most dangerous thing I ever saw her brandish was a sewing needle.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

#2 begun, photo of sexy sole

I cast on Sleepy Hollow #2 during the women's snow cross tonight. I was not 100% happy with the stretchy long-tail cast on I used on sock #1, and actually considered using a different cast on. Instead, I cast on to a 0 dpn, and then slid the stitches on to my 9" circular 0.

Note to self: Do not cast on to your 9" circular! The needle tips are just too short to get an consistent row of stitches.

Now that I've figured that out, all I have to do is unravel sock #1 and fix the cast on... heh, no I'm not that crazy. I will just have show off my socks from mid ankle, and make sure my pants cover the mismatched cast-ons. Or wave my sexy heels and soles at everyone... "pay no attention to the sloppy cast on!"

I am going to flip through my sock pattern stash (yes, I have a pattern stash) and find a pattern for socks #2. It may take a while, because I have a few years of magazines plus my binderful of Knitty and other free downloads to browse through.

I visited the Vogue Knitting site the other day, because Khi gave me a VK subscription for Xmas. They have a 3D viewer for the last year or so's patterns, and it's very cool! Sometimes photos just don't do the knitted item justice - sometimes the photos are just too Vogue. I will have to go back to find the sock pattern that completely wowed me on the website - I know I barely glanced at in the magazine, so it might be hard to spot.

Back to Men's Short Program!

Monday, February 15, 2010

1 down, 1 to go plus bonus photo!

Sleepy Hollow sock #1 is done! Kitchnered the toe while watching the pair skating. I kitchnered it twice, actually, after getting distracted by the awesome skating and ending up with three stitches on my back needle and only one on the front. Oops. I should have found my fave Kitcher instructions, but I just went with what I had handy.

I am very happy with the fit. The leaf pattern opens up for just a little laciness, but it's still very cozy. The heel is very comfy and just looks cool.

Now I have just realized that it's very, very difficult to take pictures of your own feet - at least in an attractive way that shows of the sole of your new sock. The boys are in bed; I will have one of them photograph my single sock tomorrow. I'm not sure what's on the Olympics for tomorrow, but I will probably be casting on sock #2.

If I can finish this sock in a timely manner, I will cast on another pair of socks -- it's not like I lack yarn, patterns, or skinny needles!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sleepy Hollow heel with inadequate photo of completely awesome knit-in gusset

I just finished the Sleepy Hollow heel, and it was every bit as exciting as I hoped. It's a beautiful thing, not difficult but requiring some attention. Most of all, it's neat and tidy. I love this heel!

I have not tried the sock on; I want to work a instep pattern or two so I can really see how it fits.

At this pace, I will easily finish my socks before the end of the Olympics. I may have to do do two pair!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Opening Ceremony: Knitting Olympics

I decided to knit socks for the Yarn Olympics, as finishing socks is usually difficult for me. I'm using Knit Picks kettle dyed Essential, and actually bought a sock pattern, Sleepy Hollow, because Yarn Harlot lured me into it. A heel with no stitches to pick up? I am all over that. I love the leaf patterned leg, too. I get to use my circular sock needle for the first time, a HiyaHiya bamboo beauty, size 2mm. It's a trifecta of fun with stash usage, tool usage, and pattern! Yeeha!

I made it through the ribbing and one pattern repeat on sock one while watching the opening ceremonies.

I might have knit faster if Khi and I hadn't decided to play a drinking game. We took a drink every time Bob Costas said something smarmy, stupid, or obvious. I had finished a bottle before the athletes' entrance was 1/3 over... I was taking small sips; Khi was on his second drink. I think I finished 3 drinks before Bob starting pausing to watch the drama. It was a good opening ceremony!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chemo hats, ahoy!

Last year, I heard about group looking for hand knit items for breast cancer patient care baskets. I ended up knitting at least half a dozen hats for them.

Today I received an e-mail from a PharmD student who is coordinating breast cancer care baskets this year. She wrote to ask if I would knit more hats, and included the recommendation from last year's coordinator: "...there's a COP staff person who knitted most of the hats last year...she just pounded them out!!"

Heheh. OK, so after submitting a couple hats, I agreed to take their bag of leftover balls and knit a bunch of hats in about a week. I really enjoyed it!

I used the super easy, super flexible Pi Topper chemo cap by Corey Laflamme (http://www.elann.com/ShowFreePattern.asp?Id=182024). It's a great pattern, using just one ball of nubby cotton Elann Esprit. I knit the cap as written, then in seed and other stitch variations, and rounded out my litter by knitting a black cap with stripes from the leftover yards from the other caps.

I offered to do a half-dozen caps this year - quick, satisfying breaks from Percy and my flock of shawls. I think I did a WW prayer shawl last year, but the caps are quicker and I think maybe more useful to more people - and there's no way I'm giving Percy up to anyone.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dog vs. Percy (with cute puppy photo)

The Percy shawl is my primary project right now. I have tried casting on a sock, or something easy, but Percy calls to me.

Today, however, Percy called to me from a heap in the middle of my living room. I found my ball of Harmony first. "Hmmm... I didn't leave that ball of yarn there OH-MY-GOD-WHERE'S-PERCY!?"

Percy was, thankfully, still attached to the ball, and mostly still on the needles. Mostly.

There was no question as to who snatched Percy from my knitting basket. I currently have three dogs in my house, but only new foster puppy Clyde has not heard the shriek that comes from seeing a ball of cashmere in a slobbery puppy mouth (that of O'Malley or Calloway, I think it was).

Clyde is one of four "toolbox pups" from Harlan County. He was found stuffed in a plastic toolbox with three siblings and his mother in front of the shelter. One pup didn't survive, but Clyde, George, Moose and their momma made it to Minnesota. Momma is a spaniel of some sort, red & white with a sprinkling of spots, but much too thin. Moose was the runt, with her coloring and a wide white blaze down his nose with a red spot in the middle - too cute! Clyde and George have the build and markings of Bernese Mountain dogs, according to Khi. I suppose they could be beagles, but we've seen big furries from Harlan before, so there is some large fluffy daddy making it with the ladies.

We brought Clyde home Friday night. He is a sturdy pup, with lovely grey-green eyes. He is sweet, lusciously soft, and awfully endearing (except for his sleep habits - he doesn't like to sleep alone at night and isn't afraid to say so).

After two days with us, he has decided he is at home. Comfortable enough to tease Harley (who has 25 pounds on him but is too soft-hearted to snap), to chew crayons, books, and the doggy bed basket (typical toddler), and to eat the big dog food and completely ignore his special puppy food. He may already know his name, or just the baby voice we all use when we talk to him.

He will learn the rules - like leaving my yarn alone. I will learn to put my projects in a safe place. In the meantime, I was able to tink less than half a row of Percy and get my stitches back in order, and added a dozen more rows. All is well!

Friday, February 5, 2010


Percy is a bit of a brat. Just when I think I have him figured out, he pulls the wool over my eyes. Last night, despite preparedness, focus, and confidence, I could not for the life of me make row 0 follow row 31.

I puzzled and puzzed 'til my puzzler was sore, and finally ended up pulling my life line out (eek!), tinking back to row 27, and trying to start row 0 from there. Nope. I reread the pattern. No help. I counted squares and symbols. Nothin'.

After much knitting, tinking, gnashing of teeth and so on, I took a pen and drew the row 0 symbols above row 31. Even this took a few attempts - I had apparently lost my ability to count in the struggle - but finally, I had scribbled, inky proof that row 0 would flow from row 31...

At 11:45pm. Doubledagnabit.

I had to reknit the 4 rows I tinked, and knit row 0. Had to. It would have been wrong to drop beautiful (if tinky) Percy in the middle of a row, with yards of rewound cobweb on my lovely ball of Harmony yarn. I wanted, needed a fresh start when I came back today.

Shortly before 1am, row 0 had been knit onto row 31. I believe somewhere an angel got her wings, or at least kicked some imp's ass for me. Maybe I should take her lead, and dump Percy in the basket of unknittables 'til he improves his attitude.

Or maybe just keep knitting. Aha! That'll show 'im.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I finished the first repeat of Chart B last night. After a day of no shawl knitting. I made a couple mistakes right away, and found I'd knit less than two rows forward when I had to tink two rows back to found a mislaid stitch. I found it, and two missed (or slippery) YOs.


After getting past that point, though, the rows flew by. I rethreaded my lifeline on row 31. Tonight I start rows 0-27, which I will probably need to repeat at least 3 times. The inches accumulate slowly when knitting with cobweb yarn on 0s!

I'm less needy for yarn, with many yards of Harmony left to knit, but I may cast on an easy project - perhaps a pair of gloves, since my cabled sangria Knit Picks Andean Silk gloves are starting to show some wear. I keep finding silky bats in the ends of the fingertips. Much nicer than wooly pills, I guess, but after a while I find myself getting too fidgety and I have to pull them out. Maybe if I kept all a' them, I could spin them into something new! Heheh. :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pictures: Silk on Wires and more Percy

I finally took photos tonight.
My recycled silk Dandy neckerchief is on my Fleet Farm blocking wires. I don't have a spray bottle, so I haven't really blocked it, but it is being stretched. The garter edge is not wired, only the sides, and I haven't figured out how to hold my blocking wires down. Maybe on my old cutting board? The wires, 4 feet of 1/8" stainless steel, are a bit thick but seem to be working well.

The Percy shawl is a really rewarding knit.
It's so light and lovely. The Harmony yarn color changes are subtle and slow - it's like knitting a sunrise, the color change is so gradual. Didn't make much progress tonight, but look forward to getting through the first repeat (of several, no doubt) of chart B.

Mercy, Percy!

I have been knitting like a fiend on the Percy shawl. Made it through chart A eight times, threaded a lifeline through the last row of purls, took a deep breath, and started chart B...

And had to tink row 2. I forgot the even rows were patterned, not just purled, and had made it happily 3/4 through row 2 before I realized what I was doing. Then I read the chart backwards on row 2, because on chart A it didn't really matter. After thinking about what I was trying to do, I figured it out and made a cheat sheet for the k2tog/ssk and p2tog/ssp, depending on if I'm on the right or left center of the shawl. I highlighted every 2dec either orange or yellow to make the chart even easier to read.

I've had a few scares, when I ran out of stitches or had too many and couldn't see why. I had to tink a couple rows more than once because I lost a stitch among the k2tog, YO bit, and wasn't far along enough to see the pattern. It's gotten a bit easier/quicker, but I still refer to my cheat sheet and make sure I'm thinking and watching what's happening.

I'm on row 24 of Chart B; with the fine, fine yarn and teeny, tiny needles I'm using, I will get to do several repeats!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shawl #4: Percy

I have been redirecting my yarn lust by searching for patterns on Ravelry. Ravelry is amazing. Not only can I see 35 versions of the hat I liked in the latest Vogue Knitting, I can find 35 free shawl patterns to knit (or at least ten). Then, instead of sticking a scrap of post-it into my latest VK, so I will have some chance of finding the pattern, I can just add the Ravelry shawl pattern to my queue. Bonus: I can add the Vogue hat! I love you, Ravelry.

Last night I cast on Percy by Sanne K., http://abitofknit.blogspot.com/, and for the first time, that crazy provisional-cast-on/garter-ridge-pick-up set up worked. I have been trying to get it right for the past week, but usually it ends up looking stooopid. The knitting gods smiled on me last night, though (out of admiration for my dogged persistence, not doubt), and made it work beautifully. I see now the point of the cast on: it gives a nice strong garter strip start that completely blends with the garter edging of the shawl. Now that I get it, maybe it will work better for me. Here's hopin'!

Why did I cast on a fourth shawl in less than a week? The silk shawl, knit on 9s in the lovely Dandy pattern, flew off my needles. The cream shawl was naughty and had to be frogged quite a bit so I could find a lost stitch. It broke my stride, darnit, and so needs to languish a bit longer. The Echo shawl is not really working for me. My yarn is variegated, so the lace pattern is disappearing. I should frog this one and start over. I have more lace yarn (and then some more), so I could just start it up in a solid color, or maybe go up a needle size with the Galaxy yarn.

Back to Percy: I'm using my ittybitty 0 bamboo circular for this. The Jojoland Harmony yarn actually calls for 0s, but the pattern calls for 3s. No gauge is listed, so I'm just going for it. I expect I will have to knit more pattern repeats, but since I have 880 yards of Harmony and the pattern calls for less than 440, that shouldn't be a problem. Even though I'm on 0s, my natural loose knitting is producing a really nice drapey fabric.

After reviewing manymany Percy shawls on Ravelry, I'm going to do some extra repeats of the A chart before moving to B. A is very repeatable, with only 4 pattern rows, but B is lace knitting, with YOs and K2tog in every row. At least the recalcitrant cream shawl taught me to be careful with that. Also, I rather like how a bigger A area looks. I'll use a life line in my last row of chart A, and probably halfway through B, just to be safesafe.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Yarn addiction... the ugly truth

I want some new yarn. I've looked at my old yarn, and I want some new yarn. Wantwantwant.

I know my local dollar store has $1 yarn. I could try that, but I don't think it would get me high enough, man. I need the good stuff.

The Knitpicks anklet kit looks incredibly fun; and I could easily spend another $25.01 on more yarn to get to the $50 free shipping point... yeah, that would be sweet. Then I could wait for the package to arrive... just knowing new yarn was on the way would be good.

I could also go an LYS, and squish and stroke lots of different kinds of yarn. Touching yarn is good. Getting less than $50 yarn would be fine, because it's not about the quantity, it's about the instant gratification.

Mmmm... new yaaaaarrrrrn.

Nope. Darn you, yarn diet. It's only been a month. I'm not caving yet!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

An especially good cast off...

I bound off the silk shawl tonight, using EZ's sewn cast off because:

1. it was in the first reference-type book (Knitter's Almanac) that I picked up;
2. it read "Especially good for garter-stitch";
3. there was only one other cast off listed; and
4. there were two drawings, a and b, showing exactly how to stick the needle through the stitches.

That's fate, baby. No need to browse through my here and there library, no need to wonder if it was the right cast off for a garter-edged shawl.

As fate would have it, it was perfect, and not at all difficult: cut yarn long, working from right to left take need from right to left through 2 st, then left to right through 1 st and slip st off needle; repeat until all the stitches are gone. Especially good looking cast off!

There's just enough stretch that I am not worried about blocking. The only drawback was the recycled silk yarn, which did not enjoy being pulled back and forth through 131 stitches. It shred and clumped in a couple places, but again, I just twisted it back together and all was well.

Blocking this weekend, since I have not yet perused my local hardware store for lace blocking wires.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Recycled Silk Shawl

I have been knitting steadily on my second Dandy Neckerchief, this time out of recycled silk yarn that I scored off e-bay a while back.

Love the Dandy pattern (free off Ravelry, did first in blueberry alpaca) I didn't like the original Dandy cast on - it was too loose - so I changed it:

CO 3 using long tail cast on
Row 1 (ws) K1, K-P-K in second stitch, K1
Row 2 (rs) start following pattern on 5 stitches as written.

I brought the silk scarf in today for Pamdear's opinion: bind off or knit through one more skein? We took a walk through the tunnels of Moos, and draped it over the black baby grand piano in the hospital lobby. The scarf needs another skein (duuuuh). It's amazing how asking for a second opinion makes things so OBVIOUS. It was all but screaming for another skein. Luckily, I have two.

I should be able to finish it tonight; maybe Khi and I can hit the hardware store for blocking wires while Sandman swims. I will have to block then spritz, according to my silk yarn blocking research.

The yarn diet is getting harder. I am jonesing for some new stash. Better cast on something sumptious (Artfibers yarn?) or ridiculous (another dog sweater from my recently returned booklet?) before I give in!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A first post

Because I have yet to consistently write in any of the lovely knitting journals* I have accumulated, the plan is to write stuff down here. Maybe in complete sentences, maybe not.

I don't know what the writing will lead to, but I hope it will inspire me to expand my creative thinking...

That's not too grandiose, is it?

(Harley thinks small)

*I truly love my journals - perhaps too much! I want to use them for bits of beautiful yarn, or pretty clippings, anything other than my chicken scratchings.