30 December 2006

My boyfriend is the best ever, and other subjects

This birthday (number 27, even though none of you asked, which was very polite of you) was, quite simply, the best birthday I've ever had in my entire life. :) Work was at 6am (which was lousy, but meant that I would be out by 3pm, not so lousy), and when I got to work, it was snowing. Birthday present #1; thanks Mom-nature. All the kids (and I can say that, since most of them are still on the other side of their twenties) I work with sang me happy birthday over the overhead pager before the store was open. That was embarrassing in that way that is fantastic. Everyone wished me a happy birthday, and no-one gave me a hard time all day. Love it.

Got home, and the Robb-man, who hadn't had time to shop before this, wasn't home. He'd mentioned that he was going to go out and do some errands, so I thought maybe he'd come home, presents in hand, but I was trying not to get too worked up over it. What good does that do, right?

He calls me, on his cell phone, from just outside the apartment. "I'm outside," he says, "And the presents aren't wrapped, so you have to close your eyes."

I did as commanded. Presents were on the line. Would you have argued? I think not.

First thing I got:

Are those not the comfiest looking slippers in the entire world? They're purpler in real life, but they have an inch or so of some kind of gel material in the sole which makes them soooo squishy to walk on, and they're purple, and they look like gigantic sneakers. I am totally in love with them. They might cause me to actually create a Halloween costume this year at work. It could happen.

Then, he gives me the "us" gifts. These were very well marketed gifts, I must say. They consisted of two DVDs and a soundtrack (Superman the animated series, Lewis Black, and Serenity, respectively) that we both like and wanted, but the way he presented them was cute: "I got me some DVDs, and you some cuddling time." I wouldn't have been upset about receiving either of the DVDs on their own, but that was a cool presentation.

And then, he pulled out this.
Isn't it completely gorgeous? Amethyst. He picked it out all on his own. He even got the right kind and length of chain, which is impressive, since he didn't know that pendants don't come with chains until he bought this one.

Yep, on top of being wonderful, caring, and loving, he has good taste in jewelry when pressed. He's officially a keeper.

Now, in other news! A week or two ago, I mentioned getting a package from a friend of mine, but didn't have time to tell you about the contents. Most of the package was made up of books that Artemis had borrowed from me so long ago that I didn't actually remember that she had them, but the real treasure...this lady took up spinning, what four months ago? And look what she sent me.

As usual, my camera is ganking the colors, imagine everything three shades darker and deeper and you'll be there. But this is merino silk yarn, and it is smooth, and constant, and gorgeous, and as far as I know, it's spindlespun, which makes my jaw just about hit my knees. Amazing, truly amazing work, and she sent it to me to see what I'd turn it into. !!!

I'm waiting for it to speak to me, but I have a few ideas. We'll see what the yarn decides to do.

And then, kitchener'd the toe of Rolling Thunder #1 tonight:

The only change is that, unless I'm *very* mistaken, the instructions should read that you put on 144 beads for an adult sock. I ended up four short, and I double checked my math, and then just figured out a way to stick them on, so that my beads wouldn't be all willy-nilly. I'll double-check when I make sock #2.

We're also going with the usual sizing theory, which is that the sock is a little too small for my monstrous feet, so it should fit someone with normal feet just fine.

My sock got a little bit...weird in the toe, because I'm being stubborn and refusing to knit this one on two circs -- there aren't any cables or any other funny business, so I couldn't justify it to myself -- and somehow, although I had the right number of stitches, they were distributed strangely, so I had to kind of wing the decreases, but it was all right in the end.

And how can I complain, when the cuff looks like this?

I was going to be good and cast on for #2 right away, but I'm a little bit overwhelmed by the pink tonight, so i think I'm going to crash on the couch with some Justice League and some Scheherazade.

Soon, I'll pin this out, and you can see how my pretty wine-red-pink mohair is fairing.

Until then, happy New Year.

28 December 2006


Happy Birthday To ME!

Happy Birthday to ME!

Happy Birthday to Meeeeee-eee!

Happy Birthday to Me!


Thank you. I now return you to whatever it was you were doing before.

27 December 2006


All limbs are, in fact, intact. Survived work today, and the ravening hordes of returning, giftcard spending, irrationally irritable, shoppers. Spend as much of the day as possible off the floor, staying away from the grouchies. It's sometimes better that way.

Madge asked what I was knitting in the New Year. Answer: Finish everything I didn't finish last year.

That's not entirely true. But it's funnier when I say it that way.

First, a story.

My Aunt Diane has not had an easy life. She's had a lot to drink, a lot to smoke, a lot of work, and a lot of stress, and she hasn't stopped for a minute. In 2002, she found a lump in her breast. A cancerous lump. They operated, removed the lump and several lymph nodes. No chemo, no radiation, all was well for awhile.

This spring, she was more and more tired, and she couldn't get back under herself. Her son finally panicked and bodily hauled her to the emergency room, where they discovered her unbelievably low red cell count; if Kevin had let her sleep in bed one more night, she would have probably passed in the evening.

The diagnosis was a form of pre-leukemia. Enter a course of mild chemo, shots to make her bone marrow do a better job of making mature red blood cells, and a lot of prayer. And she got better. Stronger, healthier. And she got so better, I think we all forgot the part of the diagnosis where the doctors flat out said that this disease only gets worse, not better.

About three months ago, Aunt Diane was feeling worse again, and this time the diagnosis was full blown leukemia. Into the hospital, strong chemo and radiation. This time, all her hair fell out, she got infected practically everywhere she could get infected, but still, the cancer was beaten back. But it was a near thing.

Back to the doctor for another bone marrow draw just before Christmas. And the news they had for us was...less good. Essentially, their recommendation is that she try and get into a particular study where she would take a low dose chemo pill for 21 days, and then be off it for 7 days (like one of my friends said, like Birth Control! but different). If she doesn't get into the study, they'll continue to monitor her, but they're recommending that if she falls out of remission again (and they mean when) she skip the chemo. She let them make her comfortable. And she's more or less agreeing with them.

I've been expecting this news. I talked to my sister, who is in med school, for a long time when we first got the preleukemia diagnosis. I made her help me sort through all the medical jargon, and essentially, I knew this was coming. But it always feels too soon. It could be days, it could be months, it could be years. There's no way to know.

I just know she has to be around long enough for me to finish these.

The colorway is, appropriately, Miss Violet's Pink Ribbon, by Lisa Souza, the pattern is Rolling Thunder by Sivia Harding, out of the most recent Knitty.

The beads are gilt lined opal (I think that was the name) from Earth Faire.

Here's an up-close of the edging (and it's proof I adore Sivia, because I did a hemmed edge for her!) and the gorgeous opally beads.

Sivia's design is reminiscent of the Thunderbird totem symbol, which is especially good, because in particular stories, Thunderbird has the power over life and death. Neil Gaiman picked that up in one of his more recent books -- it was either American Gods or Anansi Boys, I forget. But anyway. Thunder and Free will...good things to give to a woman facing a life-or-death decision. And yarn that Lisa made absolutely glow with positive energy and love and adoration.

When I can't handle the symbolism, I fall back on Cat Bordhi's Flow Motion socks; I haven't knit another stitch since the last time I posted about these, but I took a new picture, just because I haven't in a long time.

These are two strands of Trekking XXL and soooo warm, so good for comfort when I am a sad-K.
I hope everyone's Christmas was better than the sucky parts, and as good as the wonderful parts, of mine.

What are you knitting for the New Year?

25 December 2006

Officially survived.

I think. Tomorrow, I'll have to count appendages.

Did you know that it can take felted wool 4 days to dry? I had no idea. Oh well.

The slippers were well received. I need a week off before I start the pair that my aunt requested while visiting. At least.

My hands are soooo tired from all the knitting.

And I completely forgot to take any pictures of anything before I wrapped it all up. Oh well. There were felted slippers and two little coats out of Oh My! (a yarn that I will never use again, thank you VERY much). Starting tomorrow, barring extreme circumstances beyond my control, there will once again be socks on this blog. And pictures of the wonderful handspun my friend Ashley sent me. And pictures of ... I don't know, probably something else too. :)

And I have a $50 gift card to spend at the local Ben Franklin's. I'm dizzy with delight. But I bet they don't have swifts, which is the one thing I really really want. Maybe I'll luck out, who knows?

for now, I'm just glad that I don't have to knit any more slippers for a little while.

Take care, you all.

And Merry Christmas.

22 December 2006

A quick note

from the world of the irrationally sleepy.

Four pairs of slippers are felted. Side note: Lamb's Pride bulky felted in hot water in Mom's top loader in 15 minutes. Seriously impressed with this.

One and a half more pairs of slippers are done. These can get felted on Christmas eve. Can I put them in the dryer to get them a little dry, or will it shrink them further -- anyone know?

Baby sweaters -- just don't ask.

I hate being sick. I'm tired of working six days a week (this is the last week of that, although they did try to call me in today, on my day off -- they were graceful, though, when I said I just couldn't.)

My car is deceased. I don't feel like going into it -- it's probably safe to drive, really, but the damage to the undercarriage is bad enough that the mechanic didn't charge me for the oil change and brake inspection and new light for the passenger blinker. He didn't feel that it was fair.

I was so depressed when I left Midas that I didn't even go to Joann's for sock needles like I meant to. I mean, Wow.

On the other hand, I did get to buy some Manos, which I've never bought before, to make some felted slippers for my aunt who's visiting from Arizona. This should be very, very fun.

I'm going to try to knit one more slipper before I just collapse into a little pile of exhausted K.

Oh, and I placed my order with Ellen at Earth Faire.
After Christmas, when I have time to breathe, I have so many pretty things to show you. Ashley, I got my box -- that is BEAUTIFUL. I can't wait to prattle about it, and I promise I'll do my best to do it justice.

21 December 2006

Saved by the non-matching beads

Somehow, somehow, the Socks that Rock yarn snuck out of its protective plastic wrapper. No, I have no idea how that happened. Stop looking at me like that.

And I have no idea how my meager bead stash crawled out of its box and started arranging itself artfully on a skein of yarn. The bead tubes grew legs, its all I can figure.

Do you have any idea how relieved I am that none of the beads I have would look even halfway decent on this gorgeous red yarn? I am completely over the moon thrilled. First, because this means that I get to play on Earthfaire and pick out four or five new colors of beads that I think *might* match the yarn, order them, and see which one works best (darn), AND because it means that I will leave the yarn in the skein until the beads are ordered and have arrived -- the better to compare them to, my dear.

However, I do have another present in mind for someone, involving the second, more wildly colored skein of yarn. If I can decide to part with it. Or I might decide to order JUST ONE skein from the website.

We'll see what happens.

But for now, I am remaining strong.

We'll keep our fingers crossed for the future.

I don't even dare post pictures.

I heard Cookie A had a new pattern.

Someone keep me safe!

20 December 2006

A pile of slippers

Vermont is experiencing this thing. I don't remember the name for it. S... s... ...n? sol? Sern? Sooon? Something. I don't remember.

It meant I could take pictures this morning (!!!) and show you things that were actually kind of accurate in terms of color (!!!!!).

So, here, we have a gigantic pile of unfelted slippers.

We have one and a quarter Superman Socks.

I don't know why this picture came out so blue-scale, but I couldn't fix it, just made it worse, so I decided to let it be. The photobackground was white, and the red actually stood out, when I originally took the picture. I think I will be upgrading from my free camera to a nice camera, if this whole FancyJob thing holds out.

And last, but never least, my socks-that-rock yarn.

I was going to take it out of the package to photograph it for you, but thought better of it at the last minute. I am not that strong. :)

19 December 2006

No time for pictures

must keep knitting.

Four and 3/4ths pairs of slippers done. Deadline: Friday, so that I can felt.

Two baby sweaters, each half done. The third just needs buttons sewn on. No worries here.

Socks for Robb? Probably going to get done.

Socks for Mom? Not unless I can shut off the world for a day or two. Ain't gonna happen.

My BMFA Socks that Rock kit arrived yesterday, with two skeins -- one in Mustang Sally, with a Sivia Harding pattern (bestill my beating heart, this will be my first post-Christmas knitting, before I get down to the serious work of knitting through some stash), and one called "Rare Gems" that are the so-called mistakes of the BMFA dyers.

I would show you pictures, but I don't dare to take the yarn out of its protective plastic bubble for fear I'll fall into a trance and then find that it's the day after Christmas, and that I spent all week knitting socks instead of working. While it would be fun, it would be bad for my checking account.

A very detailed update on December 26th. I promise!

16 December 2006

A brief rant

On why all patterns need skematics and measurements and things to help me not be crazy.

I would have sworn that my stepbrother's baby was due in February, so I wasn't worry about knitting anything for them for Christmas. Apparently, December. Oops.

So, at the LYS the other day, as I was picking out buttons for the two Oh My sweaters, I spyed a Plymouth pattern for a Matinee coat. Pretty adorable, knit on biggish needles, no problem, I thought. I bought the recommended yarn (Plymouth Dreambaby DK) in a lovely antique rose.

This pattern drove me crazy the entire time I knit it for all sorts of reasons -- to save space, presumably so the back of the pattern could be a full page ad for two patterns that are not included in this pamphlet, short lines (i.e. k5, purl to last 5 stitches, k5) of knitting code are included on the same line as the end of the last line, or the beginning of the next row. I missed rows a couple of times and had to frog back.

But what really got me -- gauge was given for the pattern in stockinette. no part of this sweater is knit in stockinette. No skematic was given for the pattern, no sense of what the various pieces should measure. Now, after a full day of knitting, instead of a sweater that is about 18" in diameter and about 9" long, I have a sweater that is about 14" in diameter, and about 7" long. So, instead of a sweater that would fit a newborn, and probably be useful until summertime, I have a sweater that would fit a large preemie.

I am very, very irritated. I'm not frogging the entire thing, I'll lay it by and know it's there when someone -- as someone always does -- delivers a little girl a little too early. And I have two more skiens of yarn, so I have enough to knit another sweater. But I am seriously annoyed. Should I send Plymouth a letter, or is this all my fault?

Opinions gratefully received.

14 December 2006

Oh, crap.

I think I sneezed or something when I was deciding what size to make for the girly slippers.

Instead of the ones for size 8 feet (about 9 1/2 inches, by all the charts I can find) I made slippers for about size 5 feet (about 7 inches. )

Dear God, why me? Wasn't it enough when I managed to knock over SEVEN tills this morning? Picking up about $60 in change off the floor and sorting it back into appropriate drawers wasn't enough? The lady who spazzed about the Gossip Girl novels and informed me that I was collaborating with the male patriarchy, that wasn't enough giggles?

Four slippers to frog down to the sole. It's a darn good thing I have another three and a half discs of Buffy to watch tomorrow, God, or we would be having a little conversation.

(I hope my grouchy blaspheming has not offended anyone. I don't mean it. I really do have the highest respect for the deities that about in the universe. But seriously. I think I'm having my very own person Friday the 13th.)

On Thursday.

The 14th.

Oh, nevermind.

I think it's time for Ks to go to bed. Yes, that sounds like a VERY good idea.

Warm up the knitting needles...

...I am off work tomorrow!

I may end up at my mother's for a little bit, we'll see -- I have to figure out how to knit another baby sweater in all of this, or maybe little baby Molly gets a Valentine's Day present. We'll see what I can take by then.

But I figure...lots of day, four more discs of Buffy Season 5 to watch...I'm a-gonna knit me some slippers.

13 December 2006

Starting to feel a little...


I'm working on several different things -- Josh's hat, slippers galore, Robb's stealth-socks, Sammy's sweater -- so there's little noticeable progress on anything. This is incredibly worrying to me. I can't make my brain think about having four things half done, it just sees the pile of completed things and sees that it hasn't grown. But I really do need to spend all knitting-time-sans-boyfriend cruising on SupermanSocks, so the other things get put aside when he goes to work...

but it's stressful. That's all I'm saying.

I'll try to have something worth photographing by tonight. That's my goal.

11 December 2006

Nothing to report, boss

Or at least, very little, and nothing really worth taking pictures of.

Started another slipper, in purple this time.

Working on the hat -- almost done the straight part of the sides, finally have the stitches loose enough on the 24" needle that I can be over my looping phase -- only a disappointment because I was going to get CameramanRobb to stand over my shoulder and take some pictures. Maybe once I pull out that Cashsoft and work on his hat again. Nearly to the brim, which will require a trip to Joann's (darn) where I will be forced against my will to purchase plastic canvas and more of those incredibly awesome Susan Bates sock needles.

Superman sock continues apace. I'm done the gussets, and I accidentally decreased more than I meant to, but it's still matching up to the measurements of the sock that was pronounced to have fit "really well" so I think I'm okay.

I'm considering buying myself a domain name. $15 bucks and I can stop being at blogspot, but I want to play around with Wordpress a little more first. The blogs I see on that site I like, but what I'll probably do is play around and see if I can design a blog I like, and go from there.

I think I need to learn CSS. /cry

And that's all the news that's fit to print.

09 December 2006

Watch out, Christmas, I'm gaining on you!

When I tell people, knitters and non-knitters alike, what I have to knit before Christmas, they get this kind of glazed look in their eyes. "Really?" they say. "Just eight pairs of slippers, three pairs of socks, one hat, and one baby sweater? No partridge in a pear tree?"

It's easy, I try to tell them. The slippers are easy, they're on size 13 needles with bulky yarn, the hardest part is being patient while they felt. Two of the three pairs of socks don't have to be done until after Christmas, as Mom's shawl was possibly also a Christmas present, and I won't see my sister until March or April. And the other pair of socks is worsted. The baby sweater is with easy yarn on gigantic needles as well, almost done there. So really, it's just the boredom factor while I knit slipper after slipper after slipper.


Two pair done. Big green ones for Dad and little turquoise one for his wife. They are easy-peasy, requiring approximately two and a half episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer per slipper. Six pairs to go, three gigantic for boys, three dainty for girls. Cinch.

But the boredom. And the handcramping from the gigantic needle. Remember me, the girl who thinks size 6 creates stitches too big to be worn in public most of the time? I'm in agony with that thing. The gauge is also a little on the small side, but they're felted. What's half a stitch every two inches between fulled friends, right? Don't tell me if I'm wrong about that, I can't take it.

But, after two pair of slippers -- one yesterday and one today -- I needed a little break. So I cast on Topi regardless of my brother's lack of interest in the circumference of his head. We all have abnormally monstrous noggins in my family. If I make it big enough to be loose on me, it'll fit him.

So I cast on (Blue Sky Cotton, brown) with my dpns and that nifty crotchet cast-on dohicky that let me make no hole in the center of my hat. Good times. Got almost all the way out to the sides of the hat, too, but I'm going to do one extra row, because it was specified that the hat should be "kinda wider" on top.

I started out with DPNs, but can you see what happened? Those are not 16" circs, people. Those are 32" circs.

Do you know what this means?

I'm magiclooping.


I know there are people out there who magic loop everything, who love it more than life itself. I always respected people who made that decision, but said it wasn't for me.

And then I was stuck between needles -- too many dpns made my head spin, but the 16" circ cramped my hands. Not enough stitches for a 24". So I was brave.

And I don't totally hate it.

I'm kind of afraid.

08 December 2006

It's not a yarn accident

if you spend $200+ on purpose.


The good news is that all the yarn I need for all the Christmas presents I want to make is purchased.

This is the exciting stuff:

Also known as Blue Sky Organic Cotton for my brother Josh's hat (only he wants the hat longer and the brim shorter, and my requests for the size of his big head are going unanswered, so I'm kind of winging it, which combined with my gauge-resistance to cotton could make this the "interesting" present of the season). You also see Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Jeans for worsted socks for my brother Chris, and Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in Spanish Moss for Lacey Socks of Undetermined Origin for my sister.

Here's the boring stuff:

Eight different colors of Lambs Pride Bulky for turning into Fiber Trends felted slippers. That's right, sister(s and brothers) read em and weep. I have three weeks to knit eight pairs of felted slippers. It's plenty of time, but my eyes might be bubbling from boredom at the end of it.

And yes, you do see a skein of Fiesta Rayon Boucle tucked away back there. It's a long story...it goes something like this. When VK did that issue that had all the slightly-naughty items in it -- I want to say Spring or Summer of this year -- they had a lovely little corset-kinda-number that was knit out of Fiesta La Luz and Rayon Boucle. I fell totally in love with it, but the yarn is damned pricey, and I've heard lots of things about La Luz fuzzing up if you sneeze at it, so I've put it off sort of indefinitely. but when I was browsing the site, I fell totally in love with this color, called Aster. It's...so pretty. Today, I decided to have it. I'm not sure what it will be yet -- I'm thinking a Clapotis type scarf, much narrower, and possibly on bigger needles?

Also, missing the photo shoot, was some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock for Lacey Socks of Undetermined Origin for my mom; this is the second last priority I have, not because I don't adore my mommy, but because I did finish the Shetland Garden shawl in time, and I warned her that it was likely to be her Christmas present as well. But if I can get her some socks done, she'd be over-the-moon thrilled. The color is Lakeview, and it's all deep blues, her favorite.

So, sixteen felted slippers. One down already; let's see about those other 15.

And of course, two pair are for guys with gigantic basketball feet.

Dear goddess, why am I always related to giants?

How's everyone else doing on their Christmas knitting?

07 December 2006

Christmas comes early

Which makes me very happy. First, when I woke up today, the world was still kind of brown and frost-green, which is depressing in Vermont in early December.

By the time I got home from work at 3pm, the world looked like this.

Bad blogger for taking the picture through the window, but I was cold and exhausted. Please forgive.

After I snapped this shot, I tucked my headcold-ridden self into bed and slept until Robb called me about an hour after I fell asleep. I have the vaguest recollection of our conversation, and then I slept for another two hours. Woke up feeling even sicker, but completely incapable of any more sleeping. So I adjurned to the couch for Buffy and knitting.

The stealth socks continue -- we're almost done gusset#1, and the Superman mojo gets stronger with every round.

The baby sweaters are doing great; the little girl's sweater just needs to get sewn up (it did not crumble into dust in the washer, so I'm hoping that whatever it was that I snipped was not crucial), and I'm done the back and one front on Sammy's sweater. Depending on my priorities tomorrow, I might get them both done.

I'm also going to take my customer appreciation card over to the yarn store and buy the yarn for four pairs of FiberTrends felted clogs for Christmas presents. I should be able to get those done in the next week, if I spring for nicer needles in that size (I hate using bigger than size 8s, so I bought the cheapest 15s they had, and they *squeaked* with every stitch). At that point, I can decide if I make more slippers for the ladies in the family, or continue on with my fingerless glove plan. Or buy them all pretty jewelry and nice soap. We'll see how things are by then.

But the best part of today? The part that made going to work sick and staying at work sicker and putting up with Robb's mid-evening cell phone tantrum all worth it? He came home resolved to stop working these insane hours, to talk to his boss and point out that Dave always makes comments about how Robb should propose to me, and not let me get away, and blah blah blah -- and Robb's basic point is "Then why don't you let me see her?" Not in so many words, exactly...but growing up with a workaholic dad I hardly ever saw, and then seeing how immersed Robb was becoming in his job...

...this is the best Christmas present I ever could have gotten.

He's totally getting that sweater next year, whether he gets me a ring or not.

Who's happy dancing with me?

Spreading the word

If you're a Lime N Violet fan, you've probably read this by now. My heart goes out to Miss V, and I send her all the love and healthy wishes I have to offer.

And, because I always want more sock yarn, I'm going to do that too. Violet's Pink Ribbon...whoever knew I'd willingly buy something pink. Go figure.

Anyway, I have to get ready for work -- I just thought...well, that I'd widen the distribution of all of this one tiny little bit.

Be well. All of you.

06 December 2006

Super socks

Stealth knitting is harder when the subject of the knitting is actually around. While I seriously dislike Robb's current schedule of 4pm-12pm shifts, I have to admit that they're convenient for knitting for him.

So I've gotten no farther on the socks, but I've managed to get a pic I don't totally hate.

The color is decent, but in real life, the blue is bluer, and the light blue and red are more apparent.

Other than a headcold that is making me tak lik dis, nothing much else to report.

05 December 2006

Just like Martha would have made...

...if Clark hadn't been impervious to cold. But maybe he liked handknit wool socks anyway.


I can't show you the socks right now. See, I tried to photograph them last night, but the light is so crappy in my non-sunlit apartment that they looked like a big blue blur. I would photograph them now, when the sun is out, but Robb is awake.


I know. Awake before noon, who knew it was possible? Certainly not me.

But we went out for breakfast (this was very very good), and now I work at 11am. No big. But he's sitting here with me, so I can't exactly whip out his Christmas socks and either start knitting or start snapping pics.

So you'll just have to imagine that pretty yarn in a sock. Let's see -- the cuff is a k2p1 rib, and it's maybe two inches long. Then straight into the heal -- I did the eye of the (peacock?Pheasant?Bird?Ineverremember) -- flap. The red did this pretty zig thing through the heel, and made a lovely sort of slipstitch pattern. Dutch heel, for something different. And as I got off the bus last night, I had just picked up the stitches for the gussets. But today, I am taking the car to work, so probably not much more knitting today, unless I am still awake when Robb goes to work at 11pm tonight.

If I can manage to get a decent picture, you all will be the first to know. Until then, :)

02 December 2006

Lisa Souza is my new best friend.

So, today was all about what I love in retail. I was busy, my nine hour day flew by in about twenty-seven minutes, and I didn't have time to stop and worry -- am I doing a good job? Am I working enough hours? Am I doing what I need to be doing? Am I doing it well enough? -- all I could do was help customers and put books in their hands and enjoy the day.

But by the time I got on the bus for home, I was beat. Completely and totally wiped.

I thought nothing could make me stop on my way in the door, on the way to the bed.

I was wrong.

There was a package in the mailbox. A pretty white envelope that had travelled all the way from Lafayette, California. Do you know what I'm getting at?

It came!!

Three skeins of Sock! Merino; one in Gingerpeach, one in Graphite, and one in a by-request colorway that Lisa named Superman.


It's the Gendarme colorway, basically. I'd shown Robb that yarn and asked what he thought (he's a man's man in terms of colors, green is ever-so-slightly suspect unless it's nearly indistinguishable from black) and he grinned and said "Those are Superman colors." But I'd seen a couple of Gendarme socks knitted up, and the gold came through the strongest, with the red and blue as highlights. So I asked Lisa if it would be possible to make the blue the main color, and the red and gold the highlights.

And lookee lookee lookee!!

Superman Bear thinks it's perfect.

I may even fight through the fog to ball it up so that when I wake up from my nap I can start knitting. We'll see.

Oh, and what am I doing with the Gingerpeach and the Graphite? Stash? What are you talking about? No, I do not have too much sock yarn -- how dare you say such a thing. :)

I'm totally psyched. Baby sweaters can wait until tomorrow. :)

I feel like an UberKnitter

But I can't show you why, as Blogger has currently lost the ability to post pictures. BFS, right? Oh well, I'll edit tomorrow (I hope) and add in the pics.

The reason that I feel like an UberKnitter is that I'm knitting a baby sweater in an almostworsted yarn, on size 10 needles. Both fronts, the back, and the sleeves were done in slightly more than 24 hours; started the hat, and it should be done momentarily.

The pattern is from Plymouth and uses their Oh My! yarn (which I think is a new line, but I wouldn't want to be held to that.

I'm not entirely sure what I think of this yarn as yet. It's very very very soft, and makes me want to pet it and cuddle it, and call it George. The colors are pretty, and in slightly less pastel shades than normal.


My knitting is usually insanely regular. The stitches are even, there aren't big gaps between things...lalala. Except for in this yarn. It's not consistent -- but there are entire columns of stitches that look loose. Weird.

Also, at least in terms of the unknit yarn, it snags sooo easily, and if you are silly (like me) and try to trim the snag, the yarn will literally fall apart in your hands.

Tomorrow (i.e. when I have patience) I'm going to stitch this baby up and do the finishing; I will take it to Mom's when I do laundry and drop it in the machine, see how it washes and dries (it's meant to be machine washable and dryable). If all goes well, one baby sized Christmas present is done. If not...well, we'll go have a chat with the yarn store.

I hope that it holds up well. I want to like this yarn...but I'm somehow suspicious.

Updates as news warrants. :)

29 November 2006

A girl's best friend...

...is always her mother.

I love my mom. You would have to guess that, I think, if you looked at the shawl I made for her.

Today, I took her out for her birthday (which was Monday) and I couldn't help but give her the shawl. I can make her something else for Christmas. She was so pleased with it; she got all choked up and weepy. Fantastic. I'm so so glad.

Also got to go play at the yarnstore. We're back to making Scheherazade, as I found a really cute top to go with the skirt (for $40!!). If I'm feeling brave in the next few days, I'll post a picture of the outfit so you can all imagine the shawl and tell me if I'm nuts.

Here's my yarn store haul:

The Kid Seta is a more burgundy color, and that is for the shawl; if I lightened the color up to the actual color in Picassa, the green and the blue became...ugly. And completely not right. So I figured you could imagine the burgundy and love the green and blue.

The green and blue are this Plymouth yarn called Oh My! and I adore it. It's soft and cuddly and pretty and fuzzy and machinewashable and dryable. Everything little babies need, right? I surely hope so. The pattern is a Plymouth hooded sweater designed for the yarn.

Bet you know what I'm about to go cast on.

27 November 2006

Score: Christmas (1billion) Kristine (5)

You may remember that at the beginning of the month I went a leetle crazy. Here's the list of Christmas presents I thought I had to make at the time.

Baby sweater for Scot & Mel's kid (step-nephew)
Baby sweater for Sean and Megan's kid (step-niece)
Socks for Chris (middle-younger brother)
Socks for Luke (oldest-younger brother)
Hat for Josh (youngest-younger brother)
something for Chris' girlfriend Eliza
Finish Mom's mothers day present in time for next mother's day at the latest!

Of course, I've since added a few items to the list (sigh) but they can get dropped off again if necessary.

I had previously planned on doing fingerless mitts for the female step-sibs-and-inlaws, and felted slippers for the male step-sibs-and-inlaws. Those are the ones I can lose if I need to.

I'm now debating. Have you seen the Bead Soup kits from Earthfaire? If not, go check them out. I'm thinking that I could get three of them, they should knit up really quickly, and then Amy, Megan, and Melanie are all taken care of. I could do one for the step-mother as well, I suppose. (bleh). But Amy would probably like it because they're funky, and I was thinking that the two moms Megan and Melanie might like something pretty that would be a little...fanciful, as it seems like lately, all their kids get the attention. Opinions? Otherwise, what I'll be doing will be fingerless mitts, the kind with no thumb, and no fingershaping, just straight knitting up the hand to the first knuckle or so, then cast off, with cables or lace squares on the back.

Opinions are good. :)

26 November 2006

It's blocking!

6 rows of garter stitch...defeated!

Lookee at what I did.

(The knitting isn't blurry, just the picture. Sorry 'bout that. If it were ever bright enough in VT that I didn't need flash, I think it would all go better. But anyway)

I'm not a humble knitter. I don't brag, I don't run around saying "Look what I did!" (or at least, I don't once the newness wears off my latest FO), or when other people say "I couldn't do that," I don't look down my nose and think "Well, she's probably right." But when people compliment me, I also don't shucks my head down and mutter "tweren't nothin." I think I'm pretty damn good at this sticks-and-string thing, and but I also figure that just about anyone who is willing to sit down and give it a go, make some mistakes, and keep trying, can do anything that Elizabeth Zimmerman or Alice Starmore can do.

But I'm completely in awe of myself. Beaded socks, sure, but this? I can knit this? I had no idea!

This is my favorite part:

I love the way the pineconey shapes grow into the diamondy shapes, which then turn into the rose trellis lace that hated me so much. I just think it's so elegant. I adore it, completely.

For those playing catch up at home, this is Mom's Christmas present. This will actually mark the first time I've ever finished any knitted present for my mommy, ever. I've been a bad daughter. but the way she went crazy over this pattern, I think I'll be forgiven.

The pattern is Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl by Sivia Harding and the yarn was from...A Twist of Wool? One of the vendors at the Vermont Sheep and Wool festival a couple of months ago. I adore the yarn as much as I adore the pattern, actually. It's a two-ply yarn, just the heavy side of fingering, I'd say. My camera keeps making the pictures purple, but the yarn is actually this deep blue, and if you look closely, it has rainbow flecks all though it. It's perfect for my mom, who seems such a simple woman on the surface, but as she pushes closer to 60, is discovering more and more what a complex, complicated, and wonderful woman she is allowed to be.

She picked the pattern, although she doesn't know it; she saw it in one of my binders, and actually cried out. "Look," she said, "it looks like butterflies!" And she immediately backpedaled -- "At least, it does to me," she said, and she almost looked ashamed for thinking of it. For imagining a pattern in the knitting.

So I had to make her the shawl. Because she looked at a picture of knotted string, and saw butterflies.

At last, something went right today.


Rose Trellis lace (thanks, Alison!) complete. And yes, the rows where you get something to the effect of yo, ssk, you, k3tog, yo are beyond counterintuitive and into the realm of dear-god-can-I-stop please?

Six rows of garter stitch (keeping in mind that's 2400 stitches), one stretch bindoff, and we are in the blocking business!

Pictures tonight.


24 November 2006

I survived Thanksgiving...

...and I think I should get a medal. But we shall leave that alone for the time being. Shall we simply say that next year we are going to spend Thanksgiving with my family, who are crazy but in an entertaining way, instead of Robb's family, who are crazy in a mean way?

I have twenty-eight rows of the Shetland Garden shawl left to do.

Due to a completely awesome sale at work, I have Seasons 3, 4, and 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I have a house to myself until just after midnight.

I think we're going to have some fun. If I can stay up that long.

If I'm really lucky, maybe I can post tomorrow that I just have the edging left to do (which is like six rows of garter stitch or something, so I'm not too worried.

But I did a bad thing yesterday. I counted the stitches.

There are more than 400.

I had to put it down and have a quiet cry.

But I still like top down shawls better than rectangular shawls. At least I keep having new charts to work on.

Keep the faith! Or something equally inspiring!!

23 November 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Not much knitting going on here as I adjust to 10 hour days at work. Six days a week starting next week. Ugh. Yesterday I got home from work at 9, collapsed at 10, was wide awake at 3:30am, and played online until 6am, when I went back to bed. Clearly, I need to figure out a new sleeping schedule.

I'll take some kind of knitting with me to Robb's family's to keep me going through the ...ahem...slow moments. Probably one of the plain rib socks, to try and finish off a pair. I think they will tolerate the appearance of knitting, but the appearance of charts might put them right off.

I own the skirt from AnnTaylor. I'm going to make this to go with it, out of cream Cashsoft 4ply. Yes I know the yarn is technically too small for the pattern, but when I tried to knit it out of the recommended yarn, my gauge was absurdly off, so I will try going down a yarn size, and see what that gets me.

In January.

Thirty more rows to go on the Shetland Garden shawl. They're something like 400 stitches each. This will take a while.

Until then...there's still plenty to do.

Have a happy turkey day, and enjoy your family.

21 November 2006

I was going to post these last night...

...but in the process of throwing a complete and total hissyfit about a really strange subject, I totally forgot.


Here is the beginning of Scheherezade. Skacel's Merino laceweight in a plum color, teensy yarn on US 3s. I love love love how it looks, the airyness of it. I dryblocked it to make sure I liked the balance between stitches and yarn overs, and also to show off. :)

Here's a close up of the center motif.

I think this will be beautiful.

But, after all that, I don't think I'm going to wear it to the wedding. Because that would be too easy. Le sigh. I found a skirt I'm in love with at Ann Taylor that is in the allowed price range for the whole outfit, which means I will be making my own top -- I'm thinking of the vine lace top from Hemp For Knitting in Cashsoft 4ply in a cream...we'll see. I have until March.

But right now, I have a headache. Ow.

Off to sooth said aching head.

20 November 2006


Tonight I will cast on Scheherezade.

Oh, don't look at me like that! No, I haven't finished the Shetland Garden, and no I haven't finished the socks, and no I haven't finished mom's scarf. By my very own rules, I am not allowed to cast on another project.

But I'm going to do it anyway. Because the yarn is taunting me, the pattern is smiling at me in an oh-so-comely fashion, and because I'm hoping, tomorrow, to go shopping for the skirt and shirt I want to wear to the very same wedding that the shawl will be for, and I need a color sample.

So you can just stop making me feel guilty. You know you want me to knit something I consider interesting enough to take pictures of it. Yeah, that's right. You see where I'm coming from now. I thought we understood each other.

If you're good, I'll take a picture later. :)

19 November 2006

Not much to report.

Worked a few more rows on the Shetland Garden shawl, but nothing to write home about. Exercised EXTREME mental discipline and did not cast on for Scheherazade. I think someone should send me a cookie for that, really. It took...more than I thought it would, wow.

As a quick sidenote -- I love when I buy patterns online and they're PDF downloads. I have always enjoyed Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's line about how instant gratification is too slow, and when it comes to patterns, that's so me. I want to peer at them, see where I'm going to run into trouble, see what's going to be easy-peasy...the waiting makes me crazy. I can wait for yarn; I enjoy the anticipation, the sense of getting a present when it arrives. But when it comes to patterns...now is better.

And and and! I heard about a new yarn shop that opened up about an hour south of me. Of course I'm going to have to make a pilgrimage there. I'll probably hold out until my little brother's girlfriend (and she may not be his girlfriend by that time, due to his own idiocy, but whatever) gets back from college for Thanksgiving break and haul her along with me. She needs some cheering up, I need more yarn (like I need a hole in the head) it sounds like a good plan all around. :)

Other than that...nothing much to report.

18 November 2006

Almost FO

Okay, totally excited over here. Why, you ask? Because the Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl is almost done. Yipped skippie!
I started the last chart this evening. I have about 40 more charted rows to do (20 of which are purl-backs) and then the few rows of garter stitch that form the bottom border. Then casting off. Then the magic of blocking. Then the most difficult Christmas present left on my list will have a big red check mark next to it! Hooray!

Then there's just, you know, everything else. o.O.

But with the Shetland Garden almost complete, I allowed myself to make a purchase I'd been putting off. Take a look; I'll wait. Scheherazade. You'll need to scroll down a bit and look for the pretty Siamese kitty.

Robb's sister is getting married in March, and I will be using that shawl to dress up my plain black cocktail dress to meet Robb's mother's specifications. She wants formal wear. I was fine with that until I realized she meant "prom dress." I'm 26. I no longer need to wear prom dresses. In fact, I didn't wear prom dresses to my proms. But anyway. Black velvet cocktail dress and pretty plum-purple shawl. Yarn is:

Skacel's Merino Lace. 100% wool, very very fine. I've used thicker embroidery floss. I'm trying not to be too intimidated. It'll be gorgeous. I know it will.

I will cast on tomorrow, when I go to Mom's to do laundry. The Shetland Garden is for her, after all, and although she kind of picked the pattern, it is meant to be a surprise, so I don't want to have it with me when I go.

Winding up the 1375 yards in this skein, however, brought home a simple fact to me. If I'm going to keep going with this whole lace thing, I need a swift. Currently, my swift has been conveniently made up of my knees. They're attached to me, fairly difficult to forget, and moderately obvious when I sit down, even to me. And I thought they were working fine.

Until today. Oy. The first thousand yards or so was fine. The weight of the skein held the remaining yarn in place around my knees, and I could just gently feed the yarn up into my ball winder. Of course, as always, it got trickier as the yarn got lighter. Which was a problem because that happened with 300 yards or so left around my knees, instead of 20 yards or so, with the sock yarns I've been using. As I said, oy. The crick in my shoulders still hasn't quite faded.

So. Maybe that will be my treat to myself when I receive my substantial raise next paycheck. Suggestions on brands, etc? I'd like something that can fold up small and be stored, and has a goodly range, as it will get used for both sock yarns and lace yarns. I'm more interested in function than form at this point. Suggestions appreciated.

For now: a little bit of relax-time, and then bed-time.

16 November 2006

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!

So, day off today. Much needed, as life is getting busier by the moment, and I'm a little sick -- I think my body is pre-infecting itself so I won't get sick during the holidays or something.

Anyway, I'm at home, crashed in the office watching The Librarian which a friend loaned me. I'm not in the living room because Robb's having trouble sleeping during the days lately, and I don't want to keep him up. I'm knitting on my Shetland Garden Faroese shawl. I'm all peaceful.

A knock at the door. This usually means solicitors. I roll my eyes, drag my sorry self to the door. And see my mailman (who is actually a man, so I will call him my mailman, and not my mailperson). Who had an insured package for me.

Mystified much?

But look! Look look look! Look what he brought me! (as photographed by CameramanRobb, since the taking a picture in the bathroom over my shoulder thing SO did not work for me today) Do you see this? This beautiful, wonderful thing that was made by AlisonH! Do you see how purple it is? Do you conceive of how much I adore the purple?

I have just enough brain left from the part that is shouting "I own this and no one else does, I'm the coolest person in the entire universe!" to tell you that according to the note included, this amazingly beautiful shawl was knit out of one strand of Lisa Souza's alpaca in the Shade Garden colorway and one strand of Misti baby alpaca that Alison dyed purple.

Alison, this could not have come on a better day. It's dingy and dirty here, and I felt awful before, but now I have a big Alison hug to keep me smiling. Thank you thank you thank you!!

My best friend Melissa and I went out for coffee today, and I wore my brand new Alison hug, with a hairstick as an improvised shawl pin. I love it love it love it. Oh my goodness! I got compliments and complimentary stares and wows and I am a happy happy girl.

In other news, I have discovered that a.) 32" circular needles are far too short for Faroese shawls. FAR too short. I wish I had a 60" one, but I think even a 40" one would do.

Is there a store in the greater Burlington area that sells such things? Of course not.

le sigh.

Yes, I know I can get them online, but my stitches are getting crowded NOW and I really don't want to pay for expedited shipping, especially when things probably STILL wouldn't get here before the weekend.

le sigh x2.

In happy news, though, I am one section through Chart E (each chart has about three repeats within it), Chart F is very very short, and then there's just chart G. I can't imagine how many stitches I have on the needles right now; I'd rather not know, actually. It would depress me.

For now, I'm going to see what came for Netflix today, and I'm going to make some more shawl before Robb gets home. I was promised cuddling tonight, so there may not be so much knitting to show tomorrow.

That's all I'm gonna say about that.

Scout asked:

Scout’s Meme:
1. How and when did you learn how to knit/crochet? Who taught you?
2. How has this craft impacted your life? (besides financially!)
3. Pick at least one person to talk about who you have met through the knit-world and why you are thankful to have met them. Feel free to get all mushy.

I don't honestly remember learning to knit. I assume my mother taught me, as she knows how, but she's not very good at it. My father's grandmother knew how as well, was pretty good, but she'd spent her whole life in a sewing factory in Montreal, and didn't want to teach me to do anything. She was kind of grouchy.

I remember being so little that my mom's long metal needles doubled as Peter Pan swords when I wasn't knitting with them. I remember that I didn't like purling as much as knitting, but that by the time I started knitting again in high school (when I finally learned to cast on), I could do them both pretty easily. It was college by the time I was knitting feverishly, and in a lot of ways, I'm self-taught, as my mother regularly calls me home to fix her knitting.

How has this craft affected my life? It's made me more Buddhist. I can let go of the quest for perfection more easily now. I can calm myself down by picturing the twist of a long cable, imagine the ins-and-outs of Norwegian colorwork. I can take a few breaths and tackle a problem that looked too big to imagine the same way I do complicated lace pattern. One stitch at a time. It's made me more loving. With a tangible way to show someone "Look -- I love you!" I am more likely to reach out, even when I don't have socks in hand.

Someone I've met through knitting? Well, that would simply have to be AlisonH. I've tried before to put into words the wonderfulness that is Alison, from the first time she sent me a box of yarn when I was too poor to eat anything but mac&cheese to the back and forth emails the day I was reduced nearly to tears because my grandfather had died before I even got to meet him, before he even knew I was alive. When I've had no one else to cry to, know one else who could understand, Alison has been there for me. And she's amongst the first people I tell when something good happens, because no one jumps for joy like Alison. She knows the highs, and she knows the lows, and she's not afraid of either place.

Knitting? Tomorrow. Smiles to all.

15 November 2006

This is going to seriously cut into my knitting time.

Brief Personal Story to explain why I've not been posting here as often lately.

So, here's the short version of the story.

I work in retail. I'm a supervisor. My store manager gave his notice last week. For Thanksgiving. If you know anything about retail, you might understand that this has some of us -- uh -- a little stressed out.

Our District Manager came and visited yesterday. Our sales manager will be taking the position as Interim Store Manager. He's asked for me as Interim Sales Manager. I've accepted.

What this means: A seriously big hike in pay. Seriously. Large. Gigantic, even. A potentially very temporary hike, however, as if he decides not to stay on as interim, when he steps down, I step down as well, back into the position (and pay rate) that I have now. So rather than going nuts and buying a new car (i.e. what I want to do) I will be using this pay hike to try and get at least one of the credit cards paid off (i.e. the responsible thing). And, ya know, MAYBE a little bit of yarn. Here or there. Maybe. Who knows what will happen, right?

What this also means: About 10-15 hours more of work a week, possibly more around the holiday itself. No one is being hired to fill the position I have currently until all of this is settled out, so I will be doing the work for this position, as well as the work for my new position.

I think I will continue to knit compulsively, just to stay sane. But yeah. I think you see where I am with all this. /aaaaah!

In Other (but Related) News:

I once again encountered the Bus Driver Knitting Nazi! This time, she yelled at me for crossing in front of the bus to catch it. I stared at her. "You were stopped. At a stop sign. And I was at a crosswalk." She yelled that that wasn't the point, but she didn't kick me off the bus. I hid behind the wheelchair lifter and knit where she couldn't see me. There were two kids who were probably expecting to do a drug deal or crawl into each other's laps or something who were irritated with me, but I knit on Mom's scarf the whole way home. I felt very rebellious.

I don't know why she's such a grump. If I'd known it was her bus, I'd've waited the twenty minutes for another one. If she goes nutsy again, I may very well call and complain. Sheesh.

Knitting? You come here to hear about knitting?

I don't have a heck of a lot to tell you. More shawl, more socks. If Vermont ever experiences the phenomenon called "sun" again, I will take pictures, but all the ones I've tried for come out blurry and craptastic and the colors are soooo far off I can't stand anyone thinking I would intentionally knit things that look like that. So for now, you will need to be content in the knowledge that I am being so so so good, despite my having purchased the new Interweave Knits and almost needing to put it in a plastic cover to protect it from the drool. Just so we're clear.

More tomorrow. Perhaps with pictures!

12 November 2006

Short post

Because it's late, and I'm tired, and overwhelmed from work and life and the sheer amount of STUFF that needs to get done. Most of it is not knitting stuff, although I am daunted by the amount of money I'm looking to spend to make Christmas presents for people that I don't actually care for...I keep trying to remind myself that it's still cheaper (even if I figure in the time, don't give me that) then getting them the kind of presents that I would otherwise need to do...but I'm overtired, and I'm barely seeing the Robb-guy around here, and I'm just...well, lonely. Blah.

Trying to be positive.

I am almost all the way through Chart D on the Shetland shawl; this is good. I was fussing this evening about the thus far appearance of said shawl (lace looks like Yarn Vomit until blocked), and Robb looked over and said, very calmly, "Lace always looks like that until it's blocked." I trained him to say this when I was working on his mother's shawl over the summer. I was astonished that he remembered, and I said so. And the look of relief on his face -- "So that was the right word? I wasn't sure..."

This was almost as good as the other week when we were being cuddly and I was starting the Flow Motion sock, and he stared at what I was doing for awhile, and then said "Is that the toe? Are you starting at the toe? Are you ALLOWED to start at the toe?" He was hysterical. I adore this man.

And, for one final my-boyfriend-is-fantastic story before I go to bed -- tonight, he called me his wife. Ahem. :) Now, he and I are definitely living in sin, have been for about a year and a half now, I'm not worked up over it. I'm 26, I have a little time left before I'm an old maid, haha. But there was something about the way he said it -- I don't know if it was meant to be him trying it on, or making a joke, or just giving me the little mental hug he knows it gives me when he acknowledges the depth and seriousness of this relationship of ours. But it was really nice.

Tomorrow, knitting. Promise!

10 November 2006

Approved project list.

So, here's the plan. I am structuring things. I know, I know, don't laugh. It's going to work. It has to work. So, here's what we're going to do. These are my three approved projects.

First: The scarf that was supposed to be a mother's day present for my mom, but has become a birthday present due to non-finished-ness. Oops. I can't tell you an awful lot about the yarn for this project. It was a gift from AlisonH when I was feeling (haha) blue. I know the yarn is a silk/mohair blend, and that she dyed it that gorgeous shade of blue herself (isn't she amazing?). The dye felted the mohair some, which is why I was the lucky recipient of the beautifulness. Which was extra lucky, because it's a shade of blue that's just perfect for my mother. The pattern is a really simple ripple pattern that reminds me of the ocean, and the scarf is very wide so she can wrap herself up in it, or fold it in half and use it like a regular scarf, if she wants. This pattern has been obnoxious since the beginning, though, partially because the mohair hides your stitches so well. I've reversed the pattern a couple of times. It is not frogable. Benefit -- no one but me can tell it wasn't supposed to happen. Muh-wah-ha-ha!

This is the project that goes on the bus with me, since it goes best if I work on it in bits and chunks.

Approved project the second: Socks for brothers. I'm not saying which one (they don't read the blog, but just in case) but suffice it to say that this Lorna's Laces in Baltic Sea reminds me of the intended brother's moody days.

Side note: This is totally why I love knitting socks, especially worsted weight ones. I spent maybe an hour and a half on this yesterday, and look! I'm past the heel on the first sock. I love socks!!

I'm a little concerned about the yarn; it's much...softer than the other yarns I've made worsted weight socks out of, at least in the skein, and I'm worried that it won't have enough durability. My brothers will wear the heck out of these socks, though, so we'll see how quickly they're presented to me for repairs, and go from there.

And, approved project the third: Sivia Harding's Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl. It doesn't look like much all piled up on my needles like that, but I'm actually impressed with myself over this. I'm at pattern D of H (that makes me laugh, sorry) which means, if you look at the picture, I'm right at the point where that gorgeous diamond pattern starts to V off like wings.

Mom picked this shawl for her Christmas present herself, although she doesn't know it yet. She saw it in my pattern library and actually cried out over it. "Look at it," she said, "It's like a butterfly." I had to make it.

The yarn is something I got at the Sheep & Wool fest for this area a couple of months ago. I'll try and dig out a yarn label for you tomorrow if you want. I could tell you that the color is navy blue, but that would totally ignore the highlights and threads of pink, yellow, green and lighter blues running through this yarn that the camera just can't capture.

This is my paying attention project, as it is easily the most complicated thing I'm working on right now, if I drop a stitch, I cry, and about half the rows are patterned on both sides. Thank goodness I did that Angel Pearls scarf first, huh, or who knows what would have happened to me?? Other than, you know, mental breakdown. But whatever.

So here's the plan. These are our three projects, for three assigned areas. They will be worked on each time I am in the appropriate area (waiting for something on the computer, waiting for the bus, or actually able to pay attention to the knitting). When one project is complete, another, similar attention level Christmas present project will be cast on. In this way, all Christmas knitting will be done by the end of the month (hahaha). When I am done Mom's shawl, I have my own permission to start the Scheherezade Stole which I aim to take to Vegas with me in March.

Please don't laugh so loud. You'll hurt my feelings.

09 November 2006


So, as part of the continuing plan to transform my apartment from the place that is dirty, but I live and sleep in it anyway to an actual home that I'm happy to come down to, I'm attempting to organize my knitting stuff.


I knew that my number of WIPs (and they are all WIPs, very few official UFOs in my stash, mostly because I ripped them all out over the summer in a fit of pique) was getting a little out of control. I knew that I was casting on socks in times of stress like other people eat chocolate. I knew that maybe I needed some help.

When I need help, I make lists.

I am sharing the list of my works in progress with you in order to shame myself into fixing this problem, and also to make myself see in in black and white, so that it is engraven into my memory.

1.) Aran Mittens from Folk Mittens in Alpaca & Silk, purple.
2.) Setesdal Mittens from Folk Mittens in Alpaca & Silk, black and grey.
3.) Socks for Robb in Jawoll Superwash (black)
4.) Hat for Robb in Cashsoft DK (also black)
5.) Shrug from Royal Bamboo. I'm not entirely sure I still have the pattern for this one, but I keep thinking that although the shrug isn't me, I might finish it and find it's tacky enough that my brother's girlfriend will like it, saving me from knitting her a different Christmas present.
6.) Sivia Harding's Waterlily Socks, Lisa Souza Pacific (I think).
7.) Jaywalkers in Koigu
8.) Austerman Step sock (plain ribbing pattern)
9.) Broken Rib sock in Koigu -- I got the pattern from somewhere. Where? Dunno. Maybe Sensational Knitting socks? If not, it'll be an easy one to unvent. It's a broken rib. There's only so many ways to do it.
10.) VK Asian Sweater (I forget the number...23? Probably) from the Winter VK, Cashsoft in Burgundy, Grey, and Black
11.) Traveler Socks (going to meet Grammy socks) in Lorna's Laces Jeans
12.) Friday Harbor socks (Cascade Fixation in Purple)
13.) Flow Motion Socks (Trekking XXL)
14.) Angel Pearls Scarf (Douceur et Soir, white)
15.) More socks for Robb, this time in Cherry Tree Hill Potluck Greens
16.) Bicolored Cables sweater from a few IKs ago, the one by Annie Modesitt.
17.) Christmas shawl for Mom
18.) Mother's day scarf for Mom (oops)

Now, I need you to notice how little overlap there is with the following list of things that need to be completed before December 25th.

1.) Mother's Day scarf for Mom (oops) now birthday scarf for Mom
2.) Christmas shawl for Mom
3.) Babies & Bears sweater for Sean and Megan's baby
4.) WW for Scot and Melanie's 2yr old (yeah, I'm real close to my step-sibs)
5.) Socks for Brother 1. (Luke)
6.) Socks for Brother 2 (Chris)
7.) Hat for Brother 3 (Josh)
8.) Something for Eliza (girlfriend of brother 2)

The only thing saving me from complete and total mental breakdown right now is that I won't see my sister until summer, so I can figure out what the hell to knit for her after Christmas.

A lot of this stuff is cake to knit -- for example, socks for brothers are going to be worsted weight, which means they shouldn't take more than a day or two to make each pair. But it's the fact that, sometime towards the end of September, I realized that I was almost done with Christmas knitting, and I totally slacked off, and now I have got to pick up the pace! I need a drill sergeant -- who wants to volunteer? In fact, what am I doing, sitting here typing this -- I need to get knitting!!

07 November 2006

Do I have some kind of disorder?

I think there's something wrong with me.

See that sock on the left? That's the new Socks That Rock sock (Marble Arches) in the Pink Granite colorway. One's done. I did cast on the second yesterday, worked on it while waiting for the bus.

See that sock on the right (I know it's dim, my house is always dim)? That's Cascade Fixation in purple. The pattern is Friday Harbor from Nancy Bushes Knitting On the Road (more on this later).

What is wrong with me? Why do I have two finished socks that don't match? Why is it impossible for me to complete one project at a time? Intellectually, I know that it's because I get bored easily, and when I tried to finish one thing before I started another, I never finished the first thing, I got so disgusted with it, and I started something else anyway. This way, I rapidly switch back and forth between projects, and am much happier.

Of course, also next to my desk is this:

This is Cat Bordhi's Flow Motion sock from last month's VK. This is Take 2; the first time, I don't know if I misread or misunderstood the pattern, but the instructions read "knit until piece is 5.5" long, or desired length to heel." Well, I have giant feet, so I knit until I was ready to do the heel shaping. Apparently, there were then 26 more rows UNTIL the heel shaping. I wish the pattern had said what it usually says for the toe shaping -- knit until 2" from the end of foot or whatever. So I had to rip back and reknit, but I got to practice the happy technique of picking up stitches BEFORE I actually did my ripping. Got them all on backwards this time, but no biggie.

I love Trekking XXL. This is going to become one of my standard yarns, I can tell. It's so soft and comfy. Totally in love.

What's really scary about all of this is that I didn't even take pictures of all the OTHER knitting that graces my desk. Robb's Cherry Tree Hill socks (one done, the other on the heel flap) that I haven't touched in weeks. The Traveler sock, in Lorna's Laces Jeans that I haven't picked up (also at the heel flap -- what can I say, they bore me, but not enough to make me do short row heels, which I don't really like). The Angel Pearls scarf -- that white beaded confection that I just don't have the attention span for right now.

It's all about the socks apparently.

Now, I have something to say about the Friday Harbor pattern in Knitting on the Road. I am a huge fan of Nancy Bush. I own Folks Socks and Knitting on the Road and Knitting Vintage Socks. I just ordered Folk Knitting in Estonia at work, having found out that it is actually out of print (no! Who decides these things??). I find her patterns to be clear, concise, and mostly right.

Except for this one. God, what a headache. There are two charts that go along with the pattern, and it's never really made clear when you're supposed to switch from one to the other. That made me crazy. Then, on the foot shaping, you're supposed to knit "7 repeats of the 20-row lace pattern" (again, which frelling chart would that be, my friends?), and then 2 more small diamond patterns. I eventually figured out from staring at the picture that I should keep working on chart 1, and that chart two was only to isolate the small diamond pattern for me.

But after 3 repeats, it occurred to me that the sock was getting longish. So I tried it on. And it was up to the ball of my foot. Oops! Time for toe shaping. I fudged the pattern, worked the last diamond into the toe shaping (it's a star toe, so not all that hard) and I think it looks pretty good. But it irritates me when a pattern that already has published errata (and this edition has been modified to meet that errata, so that's not my problem) STILL has mistakes. I mean, come on. Let's get ourselves together now, huh? I'm glad I know enough to try the stupid sock on; I can imagine being a beginner and knitting the seven repeats, the two repeats, and then trying to figure out how to negatively knit stockinette stitch so that the pattern will actually fit my foot. I imagine hurling of yarn and weeping. Perhaps my imaginary knitter is over dramatic, but still.

At least the modifications were easy. Grumble, grumble. :)

And at least my feet are warm, even if matching is in short supply.

05 November 2006

New socks, new hat, no hair

So, yesterday, my mother and I went over to my Aunt Diane's house. I had finished her Spey Valley socks (no picture, because Mom's camera batteries were dead, and I'd forgotten to bring mine). This was especially fun because the day after we'd last visited, Aunt Diane called my mom and admired the handknit socks I'd been wearing again, and asked my mother if she thought I'd make my aunt a pair of socks, if my aunt bought the yarn.

Of course I'd already bought my Lorna's Laces in Desert Flower (the only time Aunt Diane ever got to travel was to Arizona, and she loved the colors of everything she'd never seen before) and cast on for socks. So bringing them over yesterday was a special treat.

What was hard was that when we called ahead and asked if she'd be home, she asked my mom to bring her clippers and shave her head. The chemo is making her hair fall out all in patches, and she thought it would have to be better if her scalp were just bare.

It was hard. It was hard seeing her with her hair all patchy, and it was hard seeing her afterwards, looking like an extra in a Holocaust film, with her sunken eyes and her tired hands, and her bare scalp. But Mom had made her a pretty hat to wear, and she loved that, and she loved the socks. She had been cold all week, put on her socks, and smiled. "They're so soft," she said, "And so warm."

As a knitter and a niece, that was one of the finer moments I've had lately. So I wanted to share, even if I didn't have any pictures.

03 November 2006

Welcome to my new home!

So, after a lot of consideration, I've decided to move the blog from Livejournal to Blogger. There are a lot of reasons for this, and most of them are pretty minor. I adore LJ, and my personal blog will stay there (it's been there for three years, moving it would be so much of a hassle). The biggest thing, honestly, is that Blogger has a way for non-Blogger users to leave behind an email address, so I know who said hello. LJ doesn't. You're anon or you're an LJ user, and that annoys me. Rather, it's great for my personal blog, when I know pretty much who's reading it -- not so good for a blog where I'm hoping that people I don't know will stumble across it.

So here we are.

I'm going to leave the old entries up at LilacKnitting, unless I figure out a way in Blogger to post-date entries.

And, a quick note. Did I keep my promise, and not cast on new socks, considering my desk has three pair of half-finished socks on it? (Robb's Cherry Tree Hill socks, my aunt's Spey Valley socks, and my Traveler's Socks). Yeah, not so likely.

I mean, really. If you thought I could do that, all night, you're reading the wrong blog. Statue of self-control, I am not.

I was actually doing okay until I noticed that the Flow Motion socks used 2 circs instead of dpns. Virtually every set of dpns under size 4 are in use, somewhere in my house, so I thought I was safe. Alas, no.

I'm also worried that I will eventually find out that this sock is my too big for my long-but-skinny feet, and I will have to rip out the entire thing. I know all you toe-up fiends love toe-up socks because you can try them on as you go, but every single time I get to the heel on a toe-up sock, I think This is going to be way too big, and then I rip them back, and then when they're finished, they're way too small. So this time, we're going to just go with it. Wish me luck, please!

And hope you like the new living room.