Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nice try, but my head was built with paradox-absorbing crumple zones

Thank you for all the kind words. I am feeling a little better. I am getting ready to order the yarn for my Fair Isle yoke cardigan. I found this chart, and used it to help guess how much I will need. FairIsleYokeCardiganColorsI have decided to use Iris Heather for my main color, and Blush, Hyacinth, Cream, and Blue Note Heather for the colorwork. I have also considered seeing how Garnet Heather, Marine Heather, Clematis Heather, Rainforest Heather, Calypso Heather, Lilac, or Purple might work in the mix. I think I will be all right with my guess of ten balls of my main color. It is my guess that at 231 yards in each 50g ball, I should not need more than one each of the colors used in the Fair Isle yoke portion. There will be quite a lot of plain stockinette in the round before I get to that part.

MeidaMistakeMittenCuffI have begun a pair of mittens for myself. They are Meida's Mittens from Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush. I have chosen Navy, Ivy, Red, and Cream for these. I am past the colorwork on the first mitten. The next thing is adding the waste yarn for the thumb, and then it is mindless stockinette until the decreases for the top of the mitten.

I finally plied the bobbin of superwash singles that have been sitting on the bobbin for so long. The finished yarn is drying now. I got to try out one of my new bobbins and my precision lazy kate that I got for Christmas. My husband expected something more from the lazy kate, but I am pleased with it. I was able to use the downtime for sanding, finishing, and assembling.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cast On As If Until

MittenMainPatternCloseUpI have not been doing so well lately. Oftentimes, I have even been unable to knit. It is just one of those things that happens with me. I managed some garter stitch. I knew LeftThumbCloseUpthat I could not begin my husband's right mitten and hope to manage the chart and stranding with accuracy and skill. I sat around. I decided on the yarn and colors (mostly) for my Fair Isle Yoke cardigan. I did not manage to determine the amount of yarn needed for it. I flipped through books. I wandered about Ravelry. I tried to do the things I ought. Still, I was losing ground. So, I decided to cast on for my Tangled Yoke Cardigan. Did I ever get gauge? Nope. I realize now that I made an error when I did not read carefully about the Rowan Felted Tweed. I saw on Yarndex where it was called DK. I then substituted Knit Picks Merino style, also called DK. I just am not going to get the pattern's listed gauge with this yarn. Instead, I am trying the knitty math, and maybe this cardigan will fit me.

Let me tell you, those decrease instructions are tough to follow with my brain the way it is. The piece is littered with mismatched stitch markers. I am counting on my fingers, on my Mini LeftMittenKacha-Kacha, making little marks on paper, and knitting along. The garter rib is growing. It is not photo-worthy.

Instead, I share some pictures of my husband's left mitten. I wove in the ends and washed it. It fits, and looks good.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Soon, Please

Here's hoping the fortune cookie is right, and happens soon. It's not looking too good around here, kids.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lots of Love

I sponsored the October/November over at Caps for a Cure. It has been a special experience. Other rounds I have only seen what I have done, and a few pictures that others have shared. This time, however, I have been able to see what everyone has knit and crocheted. Each package brought me joy, and I hope these hats bring comfort to their future recipients. Thank you to all who donated such wonderful hats. We have a wonderful offering of sixty-four caps, each lovingly, and beautifully made.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Happy Birthday, Potassium Hydroxide*!

My niece is only three, but she has brought so much to our lives. She is adventurous and a force of nature, and we are always interested to hear her latest story. Gaze upon the innocent babe while I share one with you now.They looked for Kaitlyn in her bed, but she was not there. She was asleep on her older sister, Autumn's, bedroom floor. Autumn had stayed up late working on a project for school. Autumn knows that the scissors belong on top of the refrigerator, but she was tired. Upon reaching this point of the story, I just felt for Autumn, knowing that her schoolwork was destroyed. I was wrong. Kaitlyn awoke, and announced, "Mommy, look at my new haircut!" Her mother cried. Kaitlyn's hair had nearly recovered from last year's hair removal adventures (you do not want to know). I hear that it is not that bad, but I think I will start on some hats for her anyway.

*Yes, I love that my niece has the initials, KOH!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Frogging Frogs

FrogsOnFestiveSo much for a good picture of my Festive. I have frogged the frogs and re-attached them. I tried every which way to take a picture of it while wearing it, but the lighting sucks too much right now. Thus, you are stuck with this shot of it laid across crap in the living room. It turned out much better than I can show you tonight. It may be a bit too fancy for me to wear.

I have come to discover that Knit Picks Merino Style is less DK than other DK yarns. Thus, achieving those six spi is not coming along as easily as I would like. I think that my gauge and a smaller size math out to be something that will fit me. At this point, I am not even sure if this yarn is supposed to be the TYC, or if now is the time to knit it.

GardenPartyFrontPerhaps I am supposed to do Christmas knitting. I have mostly been unable to knit for the last week.
GardenPartyInside When I was finally able, I knit a garter stitch scarf. Still, November ended well enough. I fixed my mitered mittens and have even worn them more than once. I finished all but the thumb of my husband's left mitten. I also knit a little purse. It will be a gift one day, but I do not think any of the little girls in my life are ready for it. I am thinking that maybe I will do more garter stitch scarves when I feel up to knitting. Or not.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Two Steps Back

I had a lot that I needed to do last week. Therefore, I began a pair of mittens for myself. I doubtedNotQuiteRight there would be enough yarn to make them, and since this was my handspun Kool-Aid dyed yarn, there is no more of it in the entire world. I thought I was done with the first mitten and I tried it on, but it was a bit tight at the top. I ripped back and made it longer. Still, the thumb looked a bit big and wonky, but it fit well enough. This was the left mitten. I weighed it. I weighed the remaining yarn. The yarn left weighed more than the already completed mitten, so I cast on for the right one. I made my way to the top of the mitten and began the thumb. It looked a little better, but the yarn was nearly all gone. I tried it on. The thumb was too short. I ripped back some of the left thumb and used its yarn to fix the right one. Still, they were not quite right, and I had used every bit of yarn. I tried washing them to see if this would change the situation. People told me they looked fine, but that right thumb was wrong. I knew that I would not wear them, and I really wanted to wear these mittens. I decided that the ill-fittin' mittens were my punishment for not having done what I ought to have. The Skanks decided that I must have lived a good life if a tight right thumb is how I am punished. Anyway, I ripped back to below the thumbs and am trying again. I hope it works out right this time. If not, I know what to do.

RippedBackMittensAfter setting the mittens aside, I grabbed my Merino Style and some US 4 needles and began to swatch for my Tangled Yoke Cardigan. I knit on and on, and then got out the tape measure. No gauge for me! I had brought my entire Options set, but of course, I needed to go down in needle size and the set only goes down to a four. Oh well, I needed that pair of needles back to re-do the mittens. So now, I am swatching with US 3 needles, and I may not have gauge yet. I guess I am quite a loose knitter. Also, does it make sense that using the same needles, I would get 24 sts and 36 rows/rnds per four inches in both stockinette and garter rib? Let's just see if I can find a needle where I can match gauge in stockinette, eh? Also, I need to make sure that I choose to knit the correct size. I sometimes have a bit of trouble with that. I think I am between sizes. I want to knit something that I will wear. I cannot wear one that is too small, but I am not trying to knit a baggy sweater, either. I just do not know. Add to this a bit of unhealthy body image, and it is just as well that I am still swatching. Anyway, I did some math, and may be able to use the US 4 needles and knit a smaller size, but my gauge difference would make something between the two sizes I am considering. In that case, the sweater would need to wait until I finish the mittens. With all of this trouble starting my Tangled YokeBruce'sMittenInProgress Cardigan, does it mean I am supposed to be doing holiday knitting?

Then there is another adjustment to gauge to show you. I was going to
knit myself a pair of mittens from Folk Knitting in Estonia. I grabbed some Palette and began. My loose knitting means that I am knitting this pair of mittens for my husband. It does not get as much work as I would like because I am afraid of breaking my Harmony needle and so it usually does not get any away from home knitting time.

I am too tired to make any decisions tonight, and it is not even eight o'clock. Maybe next time I will show you a different frog encounter.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Good Times

The recent enjoyable holiday week made maintaining a thankful mindset the other 364 days of the year easier. Much has happened. My grandparents have been in town. Grandma quilts, knits, crochets, and mostly due to my influence, has begun spinning. There has been so much to show and discuss.

Grandma has a drop spindle. I tried to teach her the thigh roll. She said that watching me demonstrate the technique helped, but she did not quite master it. She bought Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. Perhaps Priscilla's writings will help fill in the gaps.

Grandma tried out my wheel. I wish that I were
a better teacher. We tried so many different things. If only I had a staff photographer, you could see me treadling while Grandma handled the wool. You could also see where she treadled, and I tried to hold my hands over hers to help with the drafting. That probably would have been a good picture. Instead, you get to see Grandma going solo at the wheel.

We had such a great time that it did not really matter that we were the only attendees at Friday's NAKG meeting.

We had a fabulous trip out to The Knitting Zone. We visited with Mary and saw the animals. Mary burned off her holiday calories chasing her runaway pig. Mary nearly gave us her pig. Again, I do not have photos, but this time I have only myself to blame. Wait, I can blame it on wool fumes, right? I picked up a little laceweight, some bargain bin yarn, a little sale yarn, and Knitting Lace Triangles by Evelyn A. Clark. I feel like I may be closer to triangular lace shawl design just from holding the book. Grandma (from Illinois) could not pass up some corn sock yarn and a little bit of fiber so that she can spin more. Satisfied with a trip to a wonderful yarn store filled with fabulous yarn and staffed by wonderful people, we got in the car without even trying to make any of the goats faint.

I printed out some patterns from Knitty for Grandma and slid them into protective sheet covers. She
was interested in my Fetching mitts. She plans to make some of her own. I may knit her a pair and send them up for a surprise. Her birthday is in a couple of weeks.

Grandma and Grandpa will leave later on today. We hope they make it back down to visit again, soon. For now, it is time to rest up for upcoming holiday festivities. With the success of Thanksgiving under our belts, and this beginning for Christmas, I have hope.

Next time, see me remain positive when things do not work out as planned.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


From nearly the first day I had my spinning wheel, I wondered whether I could do it. I thought it could be a recipe for disaster. If I had tried it then, it probably would have been. Still, the idea kept creeping back, and I had to try it. Plying can be a little easier than spinning the singles, so it seemed like an ideal opportunity to try. I tested it by just treadling, and when that succeeded, I set myself up to ply. It worked. It took a long time to do all the plying. Maybe next time I sit down to spin, I will be seated upon my stability ball.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Someone stole a week from me. At least that's the story I am sticking with. I could have avoided this trouble by looking at a calendar or doing math. Instead, I just kept with the idea in my head that we had the Veteran's Day week, one empty week, and the Thanksgiving week. In my defense, there has been a lot happening lately. Since Halloween we have had two trips to the hospital (ambulance rides for each), a minor motor vehicle mash-up (ah, teenagers), a fungal infestation (please do not let it spread or pass to anyone else), four doctor's appointments (varying levels of competency), probable future surgery, the announcement of incoming out-of-town relatives (good news, but stressful, nonetheless), extended childcare duties, a radioactive new year, and more that I cannot think of right now. I am thankful to say that we are all doing fine and making our way through it. It looks much worse written down together like that. It is a good explanation for my delusion of one more week left before the next big wave arrives.

Still, it has not all been bad. I have my birthday yarn. There's nothing like a huge box of new yarn
Robuddy'sPirateHatarriving to make you cast on with yarn already in the stash. Especially if you anxiously awaited the delivery of the new yarn and complained about the time it took. However, I did use my new fixed circular Harmony needle to knit it. I like my new needle, although I worry about breaking it. I ordered the US 0. I need to be more careful with it than I am with my metal needles. Still, I think I might like to add more of the Harmony needles to my collection.

My new Harmony needle
PirateFloats from Knit Picks was a great choice for knitting this hat for my nephew. I knit it using Dale of Norway Baby Ull, and made a few minor mods. I am excited to give it to him. He saw it in progress and likes it. I have wanted to knit this hat for a while, but this was the right time for it. Now that it is off the needles, I have cast on for another stranded project. It is not picture-worthy right now, but I hope to have something to show soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Little Bits

So much and nothing has been happening here. I am trying to figure out a better way of organizing my blog reading. I may need to read fewer, but I do not like that idea. I also do not like being so behind. I will find the right solution. I have many areas of life that need organizational assistance. I guess it is more of the process of life, eh?

I got another package this week. I am hostess of the Caps for a Cure October/November round. I am excited to be able to show them all off before I deliver them. We have over twenty-five already. I have a Koolhaas currently stalled on the needles in need of time to find my error. Otherwise, I am nearly done with the hat.

I read about this back in September, and meant to post about it before now. So far, my contribution consists of some hats and mittens, but I hope to knit more. It just takes a little time, a little yarn, and a little love. If you are so inclined to knit for the preemies, check out the link to Sarah's post. These things are so quick to knit. If that is not enough for you, there is a contest, too!

Speaking of little ones, there is no need for the preemie stuff for the newest addition to the Skanky Knitters Family! We just received word that we increased in size by 8 pounds, 15 ounces in the form of a new baby boy! Welcome to the world, Nathaniel Ryan!

I have much prep work to take care of today. The world-famous Kaitlyn is spending Monday with us. She is an adventurous girl, and I need to secure the environment in order to maximize safety and fun while minimizing the need to tell her, "No, don't touch," all the time. Spinning wheels and fabulous fiber are too tempting to not explore. While she learns to hear that not everything is available to her and that there are limits, I would like to do my best to not present too great of a challenge. I have a thought to take her to The Knitting Zone, my absolute favorite lys. For those of you who know Kaitlyn, fear not, I have a plan. We will see what happens. I guess I had better check first to see if they are open tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sorry, Grandma

When I first purchased the lone, luscious skein of Cherry Tree Hill's Possum Lace, I thought that I would make something for my mom. It sat in the stash and waited patiently for the right pattern. Finally, the time and lace were right for the (sob) discontinued yarn to become. I settled on the Swallowtail Shawl from the Fall 2006 IK. I thought that this would be perfect for my tiny grandmother. I fell in love with the lace as I knit. I worried about the way the lace could be obscured by the variegations. I wondered if I could make the shawl bigger by adding repeats (no way, not enough yarn). When it came off the needles, I was pleasantly surprised at the size. It was about 52" across the top and around 30" from top to tip. After blocking, it measured approximately 60" X 32". That is a nice little shawl. Anyway, I tried it on and loved it, and was unsure whose this was to be. I consulted my husband with a list of three finalists: Grandma, Me, His Sister, Cassie, in Alaska. So, my precious possum, (the shawl, not the stray cat I feed), you are headed north. I hope you can warm Cassie and remind her that we are thinking of her far away, as she convalesces from gall bladder surgery.

I feel like I achieved a nice result on this shawl. Yes, the different colors do hide the lace a bit, but I
kind of like the effect on the nupps. I think the play between the colors and the lace is a nice match. I also think the size is nice and functional. It stays on and out of the way if you want to do something besides sit and be pretty.FinishedPossumSwallowtail

BlockingSwallowtailI will put the shawl out in the mail in the next day or so. I wanted to take nicer pictures, but every time I go outside the wind picks up. Therefore, I present you with a blocking photo, and one outside in the yard.

Now, the details:
Cherry Tree Hill Possum Lace in Gypsy Rose
Knit Picks Options US 4
60" x 32"
Verdict: Nuppalicious!

p.s. My Knit Picks order arrived today, and another package I was not expecting that I will detail another day.

Friday, November 02, 2007


It hardly seems like it has only been a week has gone by since I took my wonderful day trip to Tennessee. We have had a little adventure here at home, but everything has turned out well enough, and we will leave it at that. Anyway, I meant to tell you that Saturday was not all about the fiber festival. There was an excursion to Dunkin' Donuts (we do not have any locally), and my first ever trip to Joann (also none locally). There was a moonlight madness sale, and I scored Victorian Lace Today, a green Chibi, and some of Clover's Locking Stitch Markers. I also managed to help my fellow knitters.

Knit Picks should send me a prize for the sales pitch I gave in Tennessee. I was able to introduce two new knitters to Knit Picks and Knitty (I have a Monkey on the needles). They needed a serious introduction to knitting in the round and circular needles as they discussed the frustration of fitting all of the stitches required for a hat on a straight needle. They professed a fear of knitting in the round. I gently encouraged, and wrote down a couple of websites to help them. Another knitter, this one quite experienced, walked in on the mini knitting clinic to get a better look at my circular needles. I said that I got them from Knit Picks. She said that she was already a customer and purchase yarn from them. Then she speculated that the cords on their circulars would be "cheesy." Still, a knitting problem plaguing her prompted her to reach out and touch the needles with a focus on the join. She confessed that her current circs snag slightly, causing extreme frustration and annoyance as she works to knit a sweater on US1 needles. She admired the nice, pointy tips, and I think she probably ordered up some needles when she got home.

No, I do not really expect Knit Picks to send me a prize. I just want my yarn to get here ahead of the projected arrival date. I mean, come on, it is sitting four hours away, and they predict it will take five more days to get to me.

Coming soon: the magic of blocking. It is small now, but blocking will increase its size. However, I cannot expect it to reach anything near these dimensions. Still, I already like this, and am reconsidering the gifting of it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fiber Fest Recap

Saturday was a wonderful day. My mom and I enjoyed a beautiful drive and wonderful weather. I wore my Arwen. It kept the chill off when I needed it to, and provoked the sun to shine so I did not need it for long.

These guys were some of my first critterly greeters. Later on, they had a bag of food, and the guy on the left did his best to butt the others out of what he clearly thought was meant only for him.

I began my purchases with a bargain score. I picked up a gently used copy of Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush for seven dollars. I rounded out the transaction with four magazines priced at fifty cents each. I grabbed the Spring 2000 IK, the Fall 1996 Spin Off, and Fall 1996 and 1999 Knitters. I saw that the Spin Off has an article with thirteen exercises to teach color stuff. I need the help.

While many Skanky Knitters (including one I had not seen for a while) attended the event, we did not spend too much time together. We were Free-Range Skanks, crossing paths to show off purchases and point out great vendors. I agreed to give my best efforts at teaching Beth how to spin on a drop spindle. I talked her out of an overpriced cd-drop spindle kit containing a small, questionable fiber blob. Instead, she chose some nice wool (BFL, I think) in colors she loves. I am already thinking of how I might help her to learn. I should lend her my copy of Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. I found it to be full of great information. Still, I think the best advice I can offer is to put in a bit of spinning time each day.

I wandered about and enjoyed watching people spin. I need to spend more time watching people spin. I might need to spend some time spinning around other spinners, too. There is always so
much to learn. Speaking of learning, I saw a different short-row heel construction that I want to try.

My fiber stash did not have a huge increase, but I added a new fiber. I have never spun silk. I saw
some gorgeous100% silk calling out to me with its brilliant colors, but I left them there. Instead, I picked up some beautiful 50/50 merino/silk, and some gorgeous 80/20 alpaca/silk. The lady who prepared and sold the alpaca/silk blend called it Purple Haze. My picture does not capture the color. The purple is just barely there, and I love it.

I encountered more than one Raveler. Pat promised to send a prize to anyone who stopped by her tent and mentioned Ravelry. It was too bad that I had already depleted my budget for the event when I found her and figured out who she was. She had some gorgeous fiber in brilliant colors that caught my eye. Maybe a road trip will be in order to visit her store.

I meant to pick up a small lavender plant. They were only two dollars, and my attempts at growing lavender from seeds have not been successful. I planned to make it my last purchase so that I would not have to carry them around, but I forgot. I guess it was not meant to be, and those little plants can heave a collective sigh knowing that they have a chance to live.

I hope to make it back next year. It is a wonderful way to spend the day.

p.s. Thanks for the birthday greetings! I had a fabulous day!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Can't Blog, Busy Partying

It's my birthday! This year I am going to celebrate instead of ignoring it. I will share my fiber festival adventures later. Now I am off to enjoy my day.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


It could be the full moon, but I am not sleeping. I have a big day ahead. I am going to the Harvest Days and Fiber Festival in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. It is a nice, little event. Many of the Skanky Knitters will attend. My mom is going with me, too. I think it will be a fun day. I do not know whether I will buy a little or a lot, or nothing at all.

If I do not find anything that calls to me at the fiber festival, I will have a somewhat larger Knit Picks order. I have been filling my online cart and emptying it as I make decisions. I think I will get yarn for the Tangled Yoke Cardigan, some mittens (colorwork), some socks, and the Halloween vest from my out-of-print Seasonal Fair Isle Vests, more Palette yarn for various colorwork adventures, and maybe one of the Harmony needles (Who said, "Budget"?). I may change my mind again. I am having fun shopping. That cart will hold more than my finances allow.

For someone who flips through EZ books and is not so impressed (blasphemy, I know; I like her stuff, but am underwhelmed by her books), I sure am interested in knitting some of her designs. The BSJ is in time-out due to user error. I have been thinking about knitting her Fair Isle Yoke Sweater, but adding a steek to make it a cardigan. I do not own the book containing the pattern, so I will probably put this off for a while. Still, it speaks to me. I have even considered putting back the yarn for the Tangled Yoke and buying the yarn for this sweater now, and getting the pattern later. Maybe the library has the book. I will go check. Nope. Decisions, eh? Maybe I will find such wonderful stuff at the fiber festival that there will be no room in the budget to order yarn.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Nuppin' to Show

I thought that I would make it through at least one nupp-filled chart over the weekend, but I spent more time spinning than knitting. I spun up more superwash, navajo-plyed my Kool-Aid singles, and spun some warm wine Corriedale. I like the way my Kool-Aid yarn turned out after washing. It still has plenty of imperfections and irregularities, but it is the softest yarn I have spun. I did not tell you about running the singles back through to remove some twist. I think that made a huge difference. Anyway, I think I have about 150 yards. I do not know what I am going to knit from it, but I want to knit it soon. Maybe it will be enough to knit the Koolhaas Hat from the IK Holiday 2007 issue.

My nupp-knitting was painfully slow on Monday.
After a couple of rows, I stuffed it back in its bag in favor of some socks. The jury is still out on the socks. I will give them about twenty more rounds before I make a decision. They look like they will not work out without making some changes, but in the end, that may make them work out better than ever. I really need to keep notes in case this works out so that I can knit a matching second sock. Optimism abounds.

I feel like I could be overcome with startitis at any moment. I also feel like I could have the beginnings of an ear infection. The two may be connected. In the meantime, I am struggling to catch up on all of my blog reading. It would seem that many people attended some sheepy shindig over the weekend. I am enjoying all of the accounts. I hope to attend a much smaller one this weekend. I should probably head to bed. A possible early day calls.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Feeding Frenzy

Thursday was not such a good day. Not that anything bad happened, but the threat of nasty weather lingered about disrupting things, and I think making me feel a wee bit sick. Now that the weather has passed (I am thankful it was not bad), I do not feel sick. Go figure, eh? This meant that I put off much of my computer stuff off until the middle of the night.

I have been having a spinning adventure. I spent some extra time oiling the wheel. That was nice. I like taking care of my wheel. I have also spent time with some superwash wool. It is a different experience. More time spent at the wheel with this fiber has greatly increased my enjoyment. Maybe I will have some knit-worthy yarn at the end of this. Of course, I am thinking socks. I plan to Navajo-ply the singles. Speaking of Navajo-plying, I think my Kool-Aid bobbin of singles is ready. I also have another possible spinning project planned.

The Swallowtail Shawl is coming along nicely. With one repeat of the Budding Lace 2 Chart left to
LaceOnCatsknit, I decided it was time to get out the scale and work some calculations. I put my math skills to the test. I knit the fourteenth repeat. I weighed and mathed some more (wishful thinking). I will not be knitting extra repeats. That is okay; I really knew this from the beginning. To further heal my disappointment at not being able to make this shawl larger using this yarn, I have taken a picture of the lace in process on the stray cats I feed. I am brave. I think I might this to my grandma, and she is a tiny lady. I am already thinking of my next lace project, but first I have nupps.

Speaking of my next lace project, I have nominated some lace patterns for The Best of Interweave Knits: The Reader's Choice Awards Collection. In fact, I think I only nominated lace shawl patterns. C'mon, you know you want the Orenburg Lace Triangle, Irish Diamonds Shawl, Paisley Lace Shawl, Flower Basket Shawl, and the Cherry Blossom Shawl. We will vote on the ten finalists in January and be rewarded with a free e-book of the top five patterns come Spring 2008.

Speaking of IK, I picked up the Holiday Gifts 2007 issue. I think there are some patterns in there that I would like to knit. A big surprise to me is that I think that I might want to knit the Sugarplum Shrug for myself. Usually I see a shrug, and shrug, because I just do not get them, nor do they usually appeal to me. However, this one just might. I know that I am crazy and that my judgment is often way off. Therefore, I need help. Do you think this one might be right for me? I even think I have the right yarn (not the one called for) in my stash. I have only looked at the pictures and the yarn requirements. I guess I should check out the pattern itself. No charts, but I can chart it myself. I think I would also see if I could change how she has you knit the edging separately and sew it on. I guess I have more to think over.

Have a nupp-tastic weekend!

Monday, October 15, 2007


I followed the advice, and it is good. She may need socks to make it through a lace project, but I just plain need lace. I thought that perhaps lace socks could qualify, and while I need to cast on for another pair of socks, this was not what I needed to do tonight. I purchased this lone skein of discontinued yarn long ago, and it has sat in the stash ever since. I have thought of it often and sometimes taken it out to pet and sniff. Then as I mentally (be nice) prepared for Monday Night Knitting, I knew that the BSJ was not what I wanted to knit. My mind returned to my nearly lace-free needles. My MS3 almost made it out of the drawer, but the time is not right. The large charts and beads make it less than ideal for knitting with everyone else. Then it hit me. SwallowtailBeginningSwallowtail Shawl + Cherry Tree Hill Possum Laceweight. I grabbed my pattern, yarn, and magnetic board and shoved them in the knitting bag. I sat down to knit tonight, and knew I had a match. Freda kept saying that you cannot knit that kind of lace and from charts when you are with all of your friends. However, at the end of the night, I had made it through four repeats of the Budding Lace 2 chart and had a wonderful time talking with everyone. No, it is not huge progress, but it was right for the night.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Gift of Angels

I am sure you remember me writing about accepting a request to knit a particular baby blanket. It is not what I would have chosen, but I knit it well, and some people have really liked it. That has helped me to feel better about the project. My friends who know that it is not quite my style have nodded, smiled, and said, "It sure is pink." Well, it certainly is pink, and it is finished. The fact that I have completed it has improved my attitude towards it. The large, warm, mass of yarn is much nicer off my lap and spread out where I can see all of my work. Finishing it yesterday was great. It was another day in the nineties, and those last bits of finishing seemed to take forever because of the heat. There are bonus details that add to my joy. I agreed to complete the blanket by November. The baby shower is Friday. I beat both deadlines!
Pattern: Gift of Angels Blanket by Pauline Bilodeau
Yarn: Mary Maxim Starlette, 7 Balls
Needles: Denise Interchangeables US9 (5.5mm)
Finished Size: Approximately 42"X42"

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I am glad that I grabbed up more yarn before we left on Tuesday. What was supposed to be a day surgery kept us overnight at the hospital. Knitting the mate to a pair of socks only took me through his surgery. Several people were interested in what I was doing. One lady reached out and touched not the socks I was knitting, but instead, the ones I was wearing. Because I was knitting socks and wearing handknit socks, more than one person felt compelled to ask if socks were all that I knit. Because I was more than a little sleep-deprived and stressed, I am sure they did not ask it in the way it came across to my frazzled mind.

Tired as I was, and with the thought that I had the long drive home to prepare for, I made my way to the ground floor for some coffee. There is a little coffee counter where they serve up a bit of Starbucks. On the menu board, it states that the drinks are also available iced. Apparently, this is not something conveyed to the employees. The cashier was bewildered on how to ring up the sale, but the drink preparation specialist recovered well enough to prepare a regular caramel macchiato, and dump a scoop of ice in it. Although it was not what I was trying to order, it was still pretty good.

After venturing out and exploring the exciting Chinese cuisine within walking distance of the hospital (greatly resembles that which you might encounter at the mall, by the way), I returned to the seemingly endless wait between the five o'clock visit, and last of the day, nine o'clock visit. The socks completed, I reached for some wool and the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern. While I have not finished the blanket, it is not good for waiting room knitting, and I was in need of a treat. I cast on and knit away. My husband was out of it when I looked in on him at nine, so I returned to the hot, stuffy waiting room. My progress was slow, and my mind even slower. By the time we turned off the lights and locked the door, I did not have much to show for all of my work. My mind kept puzzling through the numbers. I could not knit another stitch, and I was so tired. I drifted off into a restless sleep, where I would wake to the numbers in the pattern, roll over, and sleep more. Finally, I awoke and the numbers made sense. It is really just simple math, and not complicated at all. I was sure that I must have gotten a good chunk of sleep despite the way I felt. I looked at my watch, and it was just 11:30. I wanted to cry, or curse. Also, the Old Navy commercials inspire me to blurt out bad words when they announce their offering of fair isle starting at twenty-four fifty. But that is a rant for another day. Anyway, we are glad to be home.

Earlier today, I joked that I had reduced my husband's post-surgical care routine to knitting pattern format. I had written it out to read: *soup or mashed potatoes, sugar-free popsicle, pain meds, repeat from * every six hours. Of course, this is life, so it is a bit more complicated. I needed to include those words so often missed, at the same time. There are so many things that must be done, both related to his recuperation, and the life and world that goes on outside. I was rewarded for making my way out into that world with a fabulous offering of samples at Costco today. The Ghirardelli brownies, turtle cheesecake, and Cinnabon were my favorites.

Now, it is time for sinus medicine for me. They have been spraying the cotton fields with defoliants. It stinks so many ways. I like that they do not spray the field next to my mom's house. Anyway, I also must set up the vcr to tape, because if I do not, the phone will ring endlessly, and I will be needlessly annoyed. Yes, I am old with my vcr and no cell phone. I need to knit and spin.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Celebrating the Week

I have spent as much time as possible at the wheel for Spinning and Weaving Week. I have missed time with my Kiwi over the past couple of weeks as I have worked to complete other projects. While I still have several things I would like to finish knitting, it has been so great to sit down and spin. I am pleased to report some improvements. First, I had a much more successful Navajo Plying session yesterday. I had spun the singles on Monday and let them rest. I had some older singles that I used to practice, and was much more comfortable when I sat down with my peachy singles. I think it is about fifty yards of worsted weight yarn, but I have not done wpi or anything else besides feel and look. There are still plenty of imperfections and problems with it, but it is a vast improvement over previous attempts. My other progress is increased production, I suppose. I am not spinning faster, but I am getting more spun in less time. I think what this means is that I am improving on my over spinning issue. I spun up the rest of my purple and green Polypay and all of my apricot/peachy Shetland (or is it Shetland and Angora, I cannot remember). After the singles have had time to rest, I am going to Navajo ply. I hope I will match what I have created with the peachy stuff earlier, and that I can get some good results to keep the colors separated with the Polypay. I am back to having three of my four bobbins full, so I have to ply before I can spin any more. I have ample knitting projects to complete while the singles rest. So, did you do anything extra to commemorate this week? My other happy moment of the week was to enable the purchase of a Kromski loom by passing on information of a used one for sale. My friend had hoped to buy another loom at holiday time, but he was able to get this one now, and with many extras at a price that works for him. I love seeing what he creates, and hearing of his experiences and impressions of different yarns and fibers through weaving. It is sometimes quite different from what I encounter with the same yarns when I use them for knitting. Learning is good.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tick, Tock

An invitation for a baby shower arrived today. I am glad that I have finished all nine squares of this baby's blanket. I need only assemble and border it. It would be great to have this finished in time for the shower, but I will not rush myself. When I accepted this assignment, I asked when she needed it to be finished. She said she wanted it by the beginning of November, so I will not be falling down on the job if I do not have it completed in time for the baby shower. I already have a sweater knit for this baby, but I would like to include a hat and booties with it, too. I am probably being overly ambitious to want to include a Baby Surprise Jacket in the package, but I am so excited to knit it that I may be able to make it happen.

The test knitting is progressing wonderfully. I will be finishing these soon and sending them on their way. I love this pattern. They look like a good candidate for a spin and knit project. I also need to package up the hats I have knit and get them mailed. I need to get them out to Becky by the beginning of October. She will then mail all of the hats we have knit so that they arrive by the October 14 deadline. I am feeling good about getting the deadline knitting done on time, but the clock is ticking louder.

Friday, September 21, 2007

So Tired

It has been another long day with an early beginning in preparation for another longer day beginning even earlier. Of course, you know this means I did not sleep. I am pleased, however, to write that I put the insomnia and waiting time to good use. I have made my way through the seventh square and begun the eighth. That blanket will be done soon. I also knit two more Foliage. GoldenFoliageSmallerNeedlesIChunkyFoliage did one more in the same golden, worsted weight yarn, and the second using green, chunky yarn. I did go down on my needle size from US 7 and 5 to US 5 and 3 for the gold hat. This pattern is such a quick knit. I estimate my knitting time at five to six hours for the worsted version, and three to four hours for the chunky version. There were times today while knitting the chunky hat when I could only knit two rounds and then had to set the needles and yarn aside because I was so exhausted. It felt like this (second picture) kind of work. Seriously. When I came across the link in my inbox from one of the Skanks, it was as though someone had been peeking into my mind. Anyway, I think I have enough of these yarns to knit another gold and another green if I feel like it. If not, I am still pleased to have these three hats to send off next week.

It is not going to be all Foliage, all the time around here. I still have the last two blocks to complete on the blanket. Then it will be the fabulous assembling and border. I have already nixed the ruffled border. The directions did not look good, and I think the blanket will be more useful with a border that lays flat. Besides that, I have some fabulous test knitting to do. I was delighted to find the yarn in the mailbox today. I just need to get some sleep so that I can get started.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Road Trip Denied

Some things just are not meant to be. I was hoping to make it to Atlanta to attend the Yarn Harlot event. I thought that I might get the chance to meet some people and have a fun time. Besides, my husband was going to drive, and that would have been a lot of knitting time. None of the Skanks are able to make it, either. Between travel, motherhood, employment obligations, and life, we figure we will have to try again on the next tour (unless, perhaps, she has an event closer to us?).

Speaking of the fabulous Skanky Knitters, I received a gift from one on Monday. Laura is out-of-town right now, but she asked Margaret to give it to me. It is the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern. I have been talking about the pattern and quite interested in knitting it for a while. Laura brought me her Opinionated Knitter book for me to look through last week. It looks like a good book, but now is not the time for me to get more books. I was so thrilled and surprised to receive this very thoughtful gift. I can hardly wait to knit it. I have been mentally going through the stash for prospective yarn choices. I have so many ideas.

I am plugging along on the baby blanket that I promised to knit. So far, I have knit five of the nine squares. I figure that puts me at about 40% of the way through. I knit the more complicated squares first. I only have the four plain lace squares left to knit before assembly and the border. I am pleased that this is moving along at a nice pace. I want to finish it quickly so that I can move on to knit things I enjoy more. Therefore, I am using the wonderful new BSJ pattern as a reward. I have not decided exactly how to work it, but maybe I can knit it after I finish this, or maybe after I finish all the squares. Whatever I decide, it is a great motivator, and one more reason to thank Laura.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Autumn for a Day

Saturday was lovely. We got to experience Autumn. We may be back to a warming trend for the weather, but it has not stopped the new Knitty. I checked it out, and I like a few patterns. My needles and life are pretty full right now, so it might be awhile before I get to some of them. Still, I was ready to knit a hat, so I knit Foliage. I have not knit many hats from the top down. It was a bit fiddly at first, but after a few rounds it was easy. I knit Version 2. It calls for worsted weight yarn, while Version 1 calls for Chunky weight yarn. I may have some chunky yarn in the stash. I am not a fan of the chunky yarn, nor do I have much use for it, but I bought a bit when I wanted to knit something for someone and it called for it. That project probably ought to be frogged and might be turned into more of these hats. Anyway, I liked the pattern. It was a quick, easy knit. I got a light lace and chart fix, and hat is always good. I did a modified Emily Ocker cast on (found in Simple Socks Plain and Fancy by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts) instead of beginning as directed. The hat turned out bigger than I had expected, (it fits me) but it is not a problem. I will change needle size and perhaps work one-half fewer repeats of the Leaf Lace Chart the next time I knit this pattern.

This hat will be mailed off by October 1st along with any others I can finish in time. Over at Caps for a Cure, we are taking the month of September to knit hats for Knitting for Noggins. They are looking for all sizes of hats. I will try to make all of my hats larger sized because I figure most people will be knitting smaller ones.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Love for Mom

Mom's Print O' the Wave Stole

The Print O' the Waves Stole has made its way to my mom. I blocked it after I took the previous picture, and it was ready when my stepdad called to say he was coming over. This was going to work out just great. I could bake up the cookies and give them to him, and he could take the shawl to Mom. It is good when things work out well. I wanted Mom to have the stole for some waiting room time she has coming up soon. I think of shawls as knitted hugs. I hope this keeps her warm and feeling loved.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Before the Magic

I have met my self-imposed deadline. Only blocking, waiting, and gifting remain. I will dish details soon. The real trick is going to be baking the cookies and keeping them safe until it is time to deliver them with the stole.

Friday, September 07, 2007

First Socks?

Of course I have knit many other pairs of socks, but this is the first pair I have knit from yarn I have spun.

Yarn: My first big batch of handspun from the wheel (I continue to learn through experience), 2-ply
Fiber: Ebay purchase of Merino/Mohair Blend (it is okay)
Needles: Knit Picks Fixed Circular 2.0mm/US 0, 32"
Knit toe-up, Judy's Magic Cast On (a must have in your knitting skills tool chest), Short-row Heel (Priscilla Gibson-Roberts), Garter Rib (Sensational Knitted Socks)
Interesting Tidbit: These socks fit either me or my husband. It is some sort of magic trick that I cannot replicate.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

From All of Us

Months ago, most of the Skanky Knitters received an email with the subject, "Super Secret Knitters No Christinas Allowed." It was a plan hatched by Laura to knit a baby blanket for the baby Christina is having in November. Between a flurry of emails and hurried conversations while keeping a lookout for the expectant mama, we decided on squares knit from Knit Picks Shine Sport. Laura would assemble the blanket. The colors were assigned, and the yarn was ordered and distributed near and far. Yes, even the re-located Skank, Brittany, contributed lovely squares. Finally, we gave the love that is group knitting to Christina. I got out my camera and tried to take a few pictures without getting in the way too much. You see a bit of the blanket, and yes, that is the wee one growing away under that grey t-shirt. I am so pleased with the way the blanket turned out, and I think Christina really likes it. It seems like we really surprised her. I hope that the love we put into this blanket follows her son through his life.

After all the talk of babies and the pressure of this secret project, I had to let out a potential surprise. I told Christina and Laura that I am thinking of knitting Chicken Viking Hats for their babies. I also plan to knit the adult sized version for my son. Now I just have to find the right yarn for the project. I was forewarned that the right shade for the main color is elusive. If anyone has a hint, I would love to hear it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I confess myself unashamed of my love of badges. When I read about these the other day, I just had to scoop up the ones that I had earned. I will also admit that I have never listened to a podcast. It is nothing against them, but I just never have, and may never do so. Still, you never know where life will take you. I hope to earn more badges, but for now, this is a good start.

First off, I have the "Proselytize Knitting" badge for spreading Knit. I am most likely to be heard lauding Knit in waiting situations of all sorts. I do enjoy when the opportunity presents itself for the Skanky Knitters to share Knit with someone who wanders too close to our sphere, and is sucked in for a short presentation. Each Skank pipes up with another positive quality of knitting, and the potential new knitter is completely caught off guard and bewildered.

This brings me to the "I Can Be an Asshole When it Comes to Knitting" badge. This may have happened when spreading Knit to someone who did not care, or someone who called my knitting crochet. There is also the infamous "Pomatomus Pronunciation Incident." I also suppose that I have knit at inappropriate times or places.

Qualifying for the "I Will Impress You With My Math Prowess" badge was easy. I often disagree with yarn choices, and even more often cannot afford the suggested yarn in patterns. I substitute the yarns all the time. I can handle the basics of knitty math. I have detected and compensated for errors in patterns and patterns that could use a bit of help.

Becoming a recipient of the "I Will Crush You With My Math Prowess" badge is not pretty. I can apply the more complicated maths to knitting. It is just a bit painful to watch for those more gifted at math. Still, I can do it, and I claim my badge.

I have earned my "MacGyver" badge (Level I) from activities such as changing bamboo skewers into knitting needles, transforming toothpicks into cable needles, and using coffee stirrer straws as stitch holders.

My "MacGyver" badge (Level II) was earned when we used yarn to tie the remote oil filter to the car when it had been knocked loose by a person and then a poorly designed speed bump. It was able to get us home.

The "Knitting Has Forced Me to Seek Medical Attention" (Level I) badge came about as a result of the Knitting Olympics. I developed a case of psychosomatic carpal tunnel syndrome. I cannot explain it much more plainly than this. If I think about knitting induced repetitive motion injuries, the pain comes on, and will not abate until I can distract myself with some other stupid obsession. The medical attention I sought was all courtesy of Google and knitting magazines.

Here we have the "I've Knit Items With No Practical Application" badge. Each time I knit something for certain people, I earn this badge. You know the type of people of which I speak.

I know that this badge could be revoked, because I am ashamed to admit that in my knitting past I earned the "Inordinately Fond of Novelty Yarn" badge. It was a phase. I put the yarn to good use. I do not know if I will experience a relapse.

Speaking of inordinate fondness and badges, I have joined a number of groups over on Ravelry (I am sarahkc) just to have the badges. I have not participated much in the groups, but I wanted the badges. Ravelry is nice. I think others get more use of it than I do, and perhaps I will get more use of it in the future. I will tell you that it gave me a nice feeling when I logged in the day after I accepted my invitation and saw that people had claimed me as a friend. It was the kind of encouragement that I needed that day, and I draw upon the memory when I feel like a loser. I suppose this makes me a bit of a dork and a loser, but I proclaim it a good thing.