Wednesday, January 31, 2007


It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a UFO!

Poor Mr. Square. Begun when? last winter? Dunno, but he's lived in my yarn closet for a good long while. And all because of my aversion to dpns. I whipped up his body, stalled on his arms and legs (eek! the dpns!), and then, fickle Jezebel that I am, moved my affections elsewhere.

But he's haunted me. Every time I open the yarn closet door, I hear his voice saying, Hey, Ms. Love 'Em and Leave 'Em, remember me? Why should I have to suffer because of your avoidance issues? When are you gonna suck it up and commit? Usually I just act like the cool kid in high school and ignore him, because I really am all thumbs when it comes to dpns. I never know how to hold them, and they're always falling out and rolling under the couch. And then there's that whole laddering issue, which makes me death grip half the stitches. Using them is like when I flunked football in eighth grade gym class; it's probably hilarious to watch, but absolutely mortifying when you're the gal who has no idea what a tight end does.

A couple of weeks ago I was rooting around in the stash for the yarn I'm using for my Flower Basket shawl. And, sure enough, once again Mr. Square started in with the psychobabble. But this time I surprised both of us when I conceded he has a point. He's this close to being finished. And he's cute - in a bad boy kinda way - with those black and white stripes. Maybe it was time to move our relationship to the next level.

So, I bought these nifty wee 5" needles (each appendage is only 14 stitches around), and pulled Mr. Square out of the closet. Cue the Barry White, because tonight's the night we're dpn-ing. Will love triumph over my fears and wayward ways? Or will there be tears and recriminations and drunken singing along with Patsy Cline? Stay tuned to find out....

Friday, January 26, 2007

Three Fs

1. Fuzzy

Thanks, everyone, for the get well wishes. You're so kind. I've spent most of the week dazed and achy, but am mending. Finishing sentences was a challenge for a few days, but I think nouns, verbs and adjectives are once again my friends. Maybe even adverbs, too. We'll see how this post goes, though, because I've already said "achy." Which brings to mind the horror of Billy Rae Cyrus. So, see, I've still got some Jack Kerouac stream of consciousness rambling going on, but I'll try to keep it under control.

2. Frankensocks

Like Shelley's doomed monster, my first pair of socks is a failed experiment. After six months of working on the darn things, I finally cast them off on Tuesday. And I must have missed a vital step after I turned the heels, because the leg parts are so tight they don't even fit over my feet. I admit to giving a Gallic shrug (isn't it hilarious that you can find this on the web?) upon discovering this. The painkillers definitely had something to do with it, but really, it's time to move on. To my second pair. And this time, I will own my knitting. I will do my homework, watch my Lucy Neatby DVD and read my Sensational Knitted Socks. I will make a basic sock using dpns so I can figure out how they're constructed, and then reattempt what Mary so patiently tried to teach me - the toe up short row heel two socks on two circs. I will triumph.

Because, well, I have a lot of sock yarn hitting my doorstep in the coming months. I've signed up for Mama E's Project Spectrum Sock Club. I've forked over the dough for the Blue Moon's Rockin' Sock Club. And yesterday I signed up for the Loopy Ewe's Seasonal Sock Club. So, yep, time to get serious with the sock making.

3. Flower Basket

Blissed out heaven is what this knit is. I finished the fifth repeat last night, and am loving every stitch.

And now, my couch awaits. Time for a nap. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Time Out

I didn't even want to mention it here, but I had surgery on Monday. It went well, and I'm fine, just recuperating slower than I'd hoped. Sleeping lots from the meds, yadda yadda. I hope to be back up to full knitting and blogging speed soon.

In the meantime, you might find it funny to know that as I was coming out of the general anaesthesia I was dreaming that I was in the biggest, best yarn store in the universe. There was lots of cashmere. It was great.

Happy knitting, everyone. Talk to you soon.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Pants on Fire

One of the great things about this blog is that it keeps me motivated on a project. If I'm working on something I like, writing about it here provides impetus, focus and joy. And a kind of Zen kick in the pants sometimes.

Like the kind that happened over the past 48 hours. Check it out. The finished Superchunk.

It's really a revelation that I can finish a sweater - even a super bulky kid's sweater - in two days. Honestly, given my track record - oh, a mere nine months to finish the last sweater I knit - it wasn't looking good for my niece receiving this garment anytime soon. (Oh, I had high hopes of finishing it in time for Christmas...and we seen what happened to those pie in the sky dreams, don't we?) But then I wrote my last post. And guess what? Those ends? Woven in. That collar? Done.

Those button bands? Done.

These cute buttons? Sewn on. In two days. People, I need to write a poem, this is so epic. Or maybe a koan is more appropriate in this instance?

Pattern: Cardigan on page 74 of The Yarn Girls' Guide to Knits for Older Kids (size 6-7)
Yarn: Tahki Baby - 5 balls color 48 (hot pink), 2 balls color 20 (red)
Needle: Knit Picks Options US 13 and 15
Mods: None
Rating: Right up there

I'm really pleased with how this one turned out. Good written directions, gauge that was spot on (yes!), fun colored yarn, and buttons that match well - all around a good knittin' experience.

I have other knitting news, too, but it will have to wait for now. Don't want to lose my momentum, so I'm off to give this pink delight its Eucalan bath.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Solidarity Amongst Knitting Friends*

I seamed my niece's sweater today.

I don't know why it takes me ten times as long to finish a sweater as it does for me to knit it, but it does. Does this happen to everyone? You knit it up. Then you have to wash and block it. Then you have to sew it together. Then you have to add button bands, collars, and whatever other doohickies your pattern needs. Then you rewash and reblock it again before you wear it or pass it along to the intended recipient.

Or, if you're me, you knit it up. You sew in the ends. You wash and block it. Then you realize you didn't pin out the sleeves to any sort of measurement at all, and have to reblock them. Then you start to sew it together, but you're using some woolen tapestry thread (a great tip I learned from Patty for making less bulky seams), and you realize that with this uber chunky yarn the thread just pops out between the stitches and looks horrible. So you rip it out and resew the seams with the superchunk. Then you realize that what you really want to be doing is working on the Flower Basket shawl you started last night, and the button bands and collar can wait until tomorrow. And those ends? Next week, probably.

* Mary, I'm right there with you.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Pretty Shell Blanket

Pattern: Pretty Shell taken from a 1987 booklet titled Precious Baby Blankets to Knit and Crochet
Yarn: Katia Mississippi 3 Print in colorway 200
Hook: Addi metal hook 3.5 mm
Mods: Made it smaller - final dimensions roughly 32" x 36"
Rating: A favorite mainstay (I've made five of these over the last few years for friends and family)

The blanket, it is done! A marathon crochet session occurred on Saturday, and by that evening the scalloped edging was on and the ends were sewn in. Now it just needs a wash/dry, and then it'll be off to keep my friend's new baby cozy and warm.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A Wandering Eye

There's been no knitting this week. Instead, I've been furiously crocheting a baby blanket for a little one who was born a few weeks early. I began the blanket back in October, but procrastinated, and now, as the Yarn Harlot says, I'm monogamous for a few more days. To miles and miles of double crochet.

So no knitting. But there has been stash enhancement. And a new tote bag that has released my inner psychobilly.

First up is a skein of Sereknity's superwash sport merino in Mike and Ike. I actually bought this in mid-December, and have been hankering after a skein of her Sweet Tarts colorway ever since. Her etsy shop has lots of fun stuff, including yarn, roving, stitch markers, needles and sock kits that would make a great gift. (The sock kits are sold out right now, but you can see them where the "items sold" are listed.)

Next up is a skein of Yarn Pirate's superwash fingering merino in a one-off color she dyed called Copper. I just love the subtle color shifts - there's even a little pink in there - and hope to use it for a lace scarf.

Part of my Christmas haul was a couple of gift certificates to the Loopy Ewe. Shortly after the first of the year I discovered there was a new shipment of Sweet Georgia in, and I immediately snapped up some of her Superwash Sock in Firefly. I really like this colorway. It's a lot more vivid in person, which is a most excellent surprise. It also completes my Joss Whedon-themed Sweet Georgia sock yarn collection.

Also couldn't pass up this Claudia's Hand Painted in Tropicana.

Once the blanket is finished, and I've begun a new project using some of this great yarn, I'll be carrying it around in my tote from Novelty Creations.

Isn't the fabric rockin'? This etsy seller uses really hip fabrics and transfers - check out the Russ Meyer's Faster Pussycat one - and offers two sizes for the totes, medium (13"x13") and large (15"x15"). I bought the medium size, and it is perfect for small to medium sized projects. The bag is really well made, with a nice lining and sturdy handles.

So lots of goodies waiting for me. But now, it's back to the neverending blanket....

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Project Spectrum

Blogger has been acting weird for days, but it finally allowed me to rollover to the new version today. Whew. Now I just have to figure out how to upload button images to the sidebar, and everything will be copacetic.

See, a few days ago I signed up for Project Spectrum.

I want to commemorate the event. But while I know the difference between a double and a treble crochet, I'm remedial with computer code stuff. The process is eluding me. Anyone have any pointers? If anyone can tell me how to do it, I'd be grateful indeed. (Hint: I'd send yarn.)

Back to Project Spectrum. I missed out last year - found out about it too late - and am very glad Lolly is hosting round two. And, in some weird synchronous way, I even have the perfect project for the February/March round of colors (blue, white, grey). Weird because I never knit with blue and white. Thinking about it, I realized the only time I've ever knit with these colors has been when I'm using variegated yarns; usually this means I'm knitting a baby gift. Synchronous because right after Christmas I bought a Bea Ellis headband kit in those exact colors. I want to learn how to Fair Isle, and this is the project I'm using to do just that. (Thanks, Sknitty, for the recommendation.)

Pretty darn perfect, eh? I'm taking it as a sign of good things to come with this knit/art-along. Also good is that my buddies Mary, Annette and Laura have joined, too. It'll be fun coloring with them. (Laura is sadly blogless, but may make guest appearances at Knitdevil. She's a righteous artist.) And to sweeten things even more, Mama E has a Project Spectrum Sock Club. Which I joined yesterday. Because, well, what isn't better with yarn?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Cables a la Kermit

I'd been hankering to try Berroco's Ultra Alpaca ever since it came out last year. To that end, last summer I bought two skeins of it in this fab green (color 6275 pea soup mix), which I threw into the stash until I figured out a test run project for it. Inspiration finally struck in late December. I pulled the skeins out, and whipped up two simple cabled scarves. I've yet to wash and block them, but so far this alpaca/wool blend gets a thumbs up.

Double Cable Scarf from One Skein

Karaoke Cable Scarf from kpixie

Ultra Alpaca is a breeze to knit (I used bamboo US 8s and flew along), and its yardage (215 yds per skein) and color selection (50 shades) are user-friendly. The alpaca does bring some fuzziness without obscuring the stitches, which is nifty, but even so this isn't a cushy merino. In the stable of yarns, Ultra Alpaca is definitely a workhorse, and I can totally see hitching my saddle to it for future projects.

P. S. Apologies for the dreadful photos; it was beginning to rain, and I just threw the scarves on the trellis and clicked away. The truest color of the yarn is seen in the third photo.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


1. No doubt about it, the French Revolution had it going on. Starving peasants, dead guys in bathtubs, royal dimwits, cute red hats, plus a whole lot of economic and political stuff that's kinda boring - what more could you ask for? And don't forget those bloodthirsty madamoiselles knitting at the guillotine.

2. Dada. Let's hear it for those wacky guys at Cabaret Voltaire. The movement was small in number, but it sure influenced modern art in a big way.

3. Punk rock. Enough with the disco. Let's have a riot of our own.

Happy 2007.