Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Has it really been over a week since I last posted? Holy crap. I think the alien abductions have started back up, because I've lost several days here. Well, in this (missing) time I've...

1) Been attacked by another yucky germ. Of the stomach variety. Ugh. Better now, but the weekend was rough.

2) Started knitting again on Gothic Leaf. I'm on the fourth and last skein of Euroflax, and it's finally beginning to look stole-ish. Hopefully it'll be finished in the next week.

3) Gone from this -

to this -

Yep, that's Cobblestone. 10 inches of the body worth. Way too small. My guesstimation? Off by 4 inches. I figured it would be frakked up somehow...hey, this is me we're talking about here. The knitting goddess has decreed that I must sweat blood over every sweater I make, and I'm her obliging neophyte as always. I'm ruminating on my next course of action. I think I'll go up one pattern size, though Tom did say yesterday he'd prefer it to fit loosely "like a sweatshirt." That's my guy: t-shirt, jeans, tennis shoes, and a sweatshirt. So I might go up two sizes. I just want it to fit, so I'm amazingly calm and accepting about whatever I have to do to achieve that. Huh. Maybe aliens have been tampering with me.

4) Watched a pretty good heist movie. Face, with Robert Carlyle and Ray Winstone. Tom and I love heist movies, and this one stayed taut and had some twists at the end that made it enjoyable. To keep the heist theme going, I picked up Lemons Never Lie by Richard Stark. Hard Case Crime reissued this gem last summer, and I'm enjoying rereading it...how can you go wrong with a sociopath actor who just wants to put on summer stock and needs some cash to do so?

5) Staved off serious cast-on cravings for several projects while I finish Gothic Leaf and work on a stealth project. My resolve was good, but then Mary cast on her Lenores. I'm hunting for my dpns today.

* * *

Fiend is 99% healed. He still has a little scab on his jaw, but is otherwise back to his bouncy, freaky self. He's once again mostly outdoors, and happy as a clam in his bed on our front porch. Thanks again for all your well wishes for the little guy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

An Embarrassment of Riches

Call me a lucky gal, because I've received some great knitterly gifts from my friends lately.

For Christmas, Barbara gave me a hat and mitt set. Such a thoughtful gift; they're my fave color, and the hat is a Knitty pattern that carries my name. She designed the mitts to match, mirroring the lace pattern from the hat. Very warm and snuggly!

For Christmas, Mary and I bought each other two skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Leticia. We're making Unoriginal Hats...I know, pretty original of us, eh? On the left is Hard Rock, and on the right is Ravenscroft. You can't really tell from the photo, but the Hard Rock ball is larger than the Ravenscroft; it looks like a different base yarn. Very plump and even, while the Ravenscroft is thick and thin like Manos. As soon as I get some more pressing projects out of the way, I'll jump on this helpless yarn like a starving woman on a (insert favorite meal here)...or on that Stargate: Atlantis Ronon. He's cute.

Mary also gifted me a skein of Mirasol Hacho last week. When she gave it to me, I immediately said "bees" and she said "camo," so it's affectionately known now as my bee camo yarn.

For Christmas, in addition to the skully stitch markers you've seen before, Patty gave me total cuteness in the form of this little felted kitty. She patterned it after my white cat Maggie, so we call it...Mini Maggie. Isn't this face adorable? The little pink nose. The droopy ear. The glistening eyes. Gah. I've just melted into a puddle.

Somehow, Wendy just knew I'd love these stitch markers. She was correct. I love them like I love the Rev. Very rockabilly, they're made from glass (!). And the groovy coin purse she wrapped them in is now home to all my stitch markers. Now, why do I feel the hankering for a bluebird tattoo?!

Thanks, amigos!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Itty Bitty Cables

Pattern: Shedir from Fall 2004 Knitty
Yarn: Rowan Calmer in 481 Coffee Bean - 1 skein exactly (my fave Calmer color)
Needle: US 3 16" Addi Turbo circs
Mods: None
Rating: Tingly all over
Began: 12/31/07 Finished: 1/13/08

My first FO of 2008! As mentioned before, Shedir was chosen by my knitting group to be our first KAL of the year. Barbara, Melise, and I are the first wave of finishers, and here are our hats:

Poppa Shedir is Melise's red one; Momma Shedir is Barbara's blue one; Baby Shedir is my brown one

I must confess that the chart intimidated me when I first looked at it. But, once I dove in, the pattern was easy! Just two-stitch cable crosses. The first repeat was tough: the yarn/small needles/cabling combo hurt my left hand if I worked on it for more than three rows at a time. But, once I changed how I held the needles, furious cabling ensued.

This was the first time I've knit with Calmer, and I now know why people gush about this yarn. It's oh so soft, and warm and springy like wool. Yum. I'm glad to have more of it in stash to use again.

Now, those that know me know I'm a little OCD when it comes to mistakes in my work. They make me squirmy, and usually when I try to make them not bug me, they bug me. A lot. So, it's kinda interesting that on Shedir I made two whopping! huge! mistakes...and I didn't rip out and fix them. Both are places where I lost my cable for a few rows, and somehow purled when I should have knit. Both are on the back at the bottom, and I'm perfectly happy with them being where they are. I just love my hat!

P.S. Sorry for the crappy pictures. Tom and I both tried to get better ones, but Shedir was elusive and didn't want to be photographed. The color is most accurate in the second and fourth photos.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What a Week

I'll try to cool it with the alliteration, but whew. This week has been busy. I haven't had a chance to knit...or to nab Tom to take photos of Shedir so I can post about it. Sorry. Hopefully I'll grab him tonight and photographs will ensue. No, get your minds out of the gutter. Not those kind of photos, but nice, tasteful, knitted FO photos. Sheesh.

Fiend Update

The Fiend is well. Our regular vet saw him yesterday, and removed both the drain and the staple since he's healing so quickly. And, unless he scratches too much, the Cone of Humiliation is off for good, too. He's much happier about that. And sassier. He's growled at me once and bitten me twice today, so I'd say he's well on his way to his former psycho self.

He remains inside for another week until he's fully healed. Some of you have asked about him becoming an inside cat after this, and while we would love that, I have to say there's no chance in hell of it happening. Well, unless we kept him cooped up in our back room, and that would drive all of us mad; his meowing to go outside is already beginning to get on my last nerve.

He's the latest in a long line of strays we've adopted over the years, and I hope that the next one is a sweet furball who just curls up in my lap and purrs and never wants to go outside again. But Fiend? He's a free spirit, and prefers the wild outdoors to a warm, cushy, inside existence. Silly boy. I guess sometimes having the brain the size of a walnut is a detriment.

Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed

There were a couple of comments in Tuesday's post about the yarn I'm using for Tom's Cobblestone.

Katie K
said: Don't you find a lot of nasty vegetal matter in that yarn? Personally I've found it very annoying to be constantly picking it out. Also the yarn has a shaggy raggy uneven quality. Maybe only in the purple that I've been using to knit a durrow sweater.

Yes, Katie, I have been finding a lot of little pieces of vegetable matter in my yarn. But, for some reason, it hasn't bothered me. Which is kinda amazing, considering how snarky I can be about yarn. (Don't even mention Black Water Abbey 2-ply worsted in my hearing, or my head will spin around, green vomit will splatter, and I'll bore you to death with how it hurt my wittle fingers knitting with it.) I just put it down to the rustic quality of the yarn and keep on knitting. Its softness probably has a lot to do with me forgiving its shortcomings. Also, the cheap ass price I nabbed it for on Webs discount.

As to the shaggy, raggy, uneven quality: Yes, I do see this in sections of the yarn, too. Some are thinner, some are thicker, some have tweedy lumps...but the knitted fabric is pleasing to the eye and the touch, so I'm satisfied. And did I mention it was soft? I'm so easy when the yarn is soft.

Jodi said: I knit a hat out of the Kathmandu Aran Tweed, and it wasn't my favorite knitting experience. Boring pattern + too tight a gauge for the yarn = yawn. Glad to hear it's working well for Cobblestone!

Well, see, now that you mention gauge I have to 'fess up. When I swatched, I swatched with three different needle sizes (US 5, 6, 7 - hey, that's almost a band!) and the gauge was the same for each one. WTF?! Has that ever happened to you? Before washing, after washing, they were all the same. And it wasn't the pattern's recommended gauge. So. After seriously conferring with Mary, we decided the best thing to do was to fiddle. I went down a needle and a pattern size, and am saying prayers daily to the knitting goddess that our calculations were correct and shall produce the perfectly sized garment for my husband. Crazy, I know, but here's hopin'. Yeah, the yarn isn't the only thing that's soft (in the head).

The Veils

My latest musical crush.


Knitting content. I swear.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Fiend Curtailed

Several of you have asked about Fiend, which is kind and sweet of you. I haven't mentioned him in a while, because there hasn't been much to say. The following picture sums up our relationship over the past six months:

We feed him, he eats. Refusing to come inside for more than a few minutes at a time since we introduced him to our cat Maggie, he hangs out on our front stoop and roams the neighborhood. (Maggie was nonplussed, but Fiend wigged out.) We bought a bed for him, and he uses it when it gets cold. Sometimes. We still don't know where he sleeps at night, and sometimes he'll disappear for a day or two, and then return hungry. He's very protective of his food bowl, and will still hiss, lunge and swipe at us if we take it away to fill it. But if we bring food out and fill it on the stoop, he purrs and is our best friend. Tom has taken to calling him Norman for this behavior.

Then, this past Saturday, we were leaving the house to go to the library to pick up a book, and he appeared underfoot. The right side of his face was a bloody mess, so off to the emergency vet we went instead. Surgery ensued, and it was discovered that he had an abscess, under which was scar tissue, under which was another deep, deep abscess. He now has a drain and a huge staple in his jaw, several more visits to the vet in store over the next two weeks...AND the Cone of Humiliation.

We're keeping him inside while he heals, which is going much better than expected. He's doing well - eating, taking his antibiotic and hurray! using his cat box. (Hey, he's been outside for 12 years, and I worry about these things.)

He's also dreaming of freedom. Soon, little guy, soon.

In between feedings, hot compresses and cat box cleanings, I'm knitting away on Tom's Cobblestone.

I've mentioned it briefly before, but, like Fiend, there hasn't been much to say about it. I've knit 6" of the body, and am already thrilled that the finishing will be minimal. I'm really enjoying the Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed; it's very soft and the perfect color for Tom. A few nights ago Tom came up as I was working on it and said, "That's a nice blue." Did I feel smug? You betcha.

Here's a close-up of of the other stitch markers Patty gave me for Christmas. Another skull - this one's all business - and matching red and black seed beaded markers complete the set. So cool.

In other news, Shedir is done! I'll post about it later this week. Now it's time to administer the afternoon hot compress and knit a little more with that lovely blue yarn.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Whole New Meaning to the Term "Fun Fur"

Ever since my sister and I saw the Plushies and Furries episode of CSI we've giggled our way through emailing each other articles about this strange little fetish. And today...well, today she's outdone herself by sending me the following gem. So much so that I just have to share. (Sorry.)

WTF? Of course the video is only part of it; I spent way too many minutes I'll never get back reading the (for the most part) horribly unintelligible comments, too. It's like a train wreck, people.

And then...then I'm surfing around knitting sites, and what do I find? This. Which sends me into paroxysms of laughter. 'Coz I'm twisted. And I also enjoy a good circus freak; Lobster Boy being right up there.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Stash Love-In

I love my stash. I really do. It provides a great deal of pleasure: visual, tactile, even olfactory - the lanolin smell of the Harris tweed! the vinegar smell of hand-dyed sock yarn! But, in an attempt to save some money this year, I'm reining myself in on adding to it, and instead will be knitting the majority of 2008 projects from it.

This kinda freaks me out.

So, to help me stay, uh, balanced and on track, I've joined a couple of destash groups. The first I mentioned a while back: Stash Knit Down 2008. It's a Ravelry group, and they're a little intense. They're discussing storage options. They're figuring out the mileage of their stashes in Excel. They're offering challenges for people to join in on: January's is to knit a mile. A mile. For a slow process knitter like me, that's crazy talk. One of the helpful things they have done, though, is offer a thread for you to list your monthly goals. Now this I can do. So, each month I'll be thrilling you with my little list, copied here for motivation/accountability.

I rocked December...

December goals:

  1. Finish my holiday knitting.
  2. Finish my second Campfire sock.
  3. Cast on Cobblestone.
  4. Spend any holiday gift certificates with abandon and...
  5. ...mentally prepare for cutting back in 2008.

January goals:

  1. Buy no yarn.
  2. Don't whine about buying no yarn.
  3. Cast on Lenore socks.
  4. Finish knitting Cobblestone.
  5. Stealth crochet project.
...and already January is iffy. Finish Cobblestone? Haha, good one. (If past history is anything to go by, it'll be done in June.) Well, insert a cliche here about hope springing, and let's move on the second group, shall we?

Mission: Possible 2008

This post is running long, so if you're interested in learning more, details are here and here. My goals:
  1. Gift spinning wheel, spinning books, and fiber to Patty. DONE
  2. Felt one pair and Plasti Dip soles of 3 pairs of felted slippers.
  3. Finish Gothic Leaf Stole. (4 skeins of Euroflax Sportweight in Eggplant)
  4. Finish Cobblestone. (?? balls of Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed)
  5. Finish Shedir. (1-2 balls of Rowan Calmer in Coffee Bean)
  6. Crochet baby blanket out of Rowan All Seasons Cotton. (11 balls in Citron, Giddy, Lime Leaf and Remote)
  7. Crochet stealth project.
  8. Knit Unoriginal Hat out of STR Leticia in Ravenscroft.
  9. Knit Unoriginal Hat out of STR Leticia in Hard Rock.
  10. Knit Lenore socks out of STR Lightweight in Lenore.
  11. Knit a pair of fingerless gloves (either ggh Cashmere or Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran).
  12. Knit another pair of socks.
One of its caveats - and the most important to fickle, free spirited me - is that you must donate any unfinished listed projects/yarns at the end of the year. This kinda freaks me out. So, I played it conservative. Like I said, I love my stash.

So, what stash knitting are you doing?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

In the Shower

...is where I do some of my best thinking. Take today's brilliance:

Dear Sick Germs,
Please get out of my body. Now.

Thank you,


Today I was supposed to be knitting with friends. Instead, I'm home, feeling like warmed over three day-old pizza. Fluctuating between feverish/cranky/pathetic, I think cranky is winning: Tom has banned me from the couch, from which a short while ago I was screaming obscenities at two football teams I know/care nothing about. Honestly, don't you think he should be serving me hot tea and lemon - with cream puffs on the side - and fluffing my pillows? Well, for that I probably need to work the pathos a little harder, eh?

I've been knitting a little this weekend, mostly on Gothic Leaf. My third skein of Euroflax is almost finished, and I need to do Phase 2 of Operation Yarn Sausage pronto so that I'll have a fourth and final skein to finish.

I've also cast on and am turtling (is so a word) along on Shedir. Every once in a while OOPs (my knitting group) does a KAL, and this pattern is our latest. We began on January 1st. I've discovered that the small needles/cables/cotton yarn combo hurts my left hand if I do more than three rounds at a time. So, it's going slowly. I'm on row 21. On the plus side, I'm loving the chocolate brown Calmer I'm using. Soft! Squishy!

And check out the stitch marker. Handmade by Patty, is it not the coolest? Its brothers and sisters are keeping place in another knit, which I will show you soon. Now, it's back to the couch. Tom has left to buy groceries, and the coast is clear. Hope he brings me cream puffs.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Lala and Eggplant Blob

Lala Shawl

Pattern: Lala Scarf by Kat Coyle from Greetings from Knit Cafe
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet Bilberry (1 skein), Velvet Plum (half a skein), and Velvet Leaf (a smidgen)
Needle: US 4 29" Bryspun circs
Mods: See belowFinished dimensions: 50" by 25" (lightly blocked)
Rating: Good enough to eat

Lala simmered on the back burner of my to-do-queue for a year and a half. Kat's original version is a candy floss confection of lace weight mohair/silk, but somehow I never got around to making it with any of the (copious amounts of) Kid Silk Haze in stash. Instead, last fall I did a swap with Anita, who sent me two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug. As soon as the skeins were in my hot little hands, I knew I wanted to use them with this pattern. Use a larger gauge yarn, a smaller needle, and the pattern would turn into a delectable, if rustic, shawl, thought I.

So, I cast on, and knit, knit, knit. Easy pattern, lovely yarn, Byronesque colors...quickly I used up the skein of Velvet Bilberry, added a little bit of Velvet Fern (already in stash) and tackled the Velvet Plum ruffled edge. If I were to knit this pattern again, I'd probably crochet the picots, as the effect is similar, and it's one heck of a lot quicker and easier. But I'd never knit a picot edge before, so I had to give it a go. It was fun, though very time consuming. I also omitted the final row of single crochet called for to finish the pattern, as I think the edge looks just dandy as is.

Once done, I gave it a Eucalan bath and blocked it very lightly. It was my first time using Jitterbug, but it won't be my last. The colors remained steadfast in the bath (kinda surprising, considering how deeply jewel toned the colorways are), and the yarn springy and soft once dry. In the skeins the yarn was over spun and kinky in many places, but the kinks disappeared once knitted/washed, and yielded a lovely feeling fabric. Gifted to my Mom, the colors are oh so her, with a little bit of me (the line of green) thrown in, too.

* * *

Eggplant Blob

Through some fluke, I ended 2007 with most of my projects finished. Casting around for something to knit in mid-December, I dragged out my Gothic Leaf Stole. We got reacquainted, and are now spending lots of time together. I'm consumed with finishing it by the end of January, and have given myself an ultimatum: Knit a minimum of two rows a day on it. Or else. Most days I'm surpassing that minimum, and I'm now nearly 3/4 finished. Love how the linen is knitting up in this simple lace pattern, and I'm looking forward to showing you blocked photos in a few weeks.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Fired Up

Happy New Year! Hope everyone celebrated (or not, depending on your preference) to their satisfaction over the last few weeks. Lots of catching up to do now that life is settling back into its regular routine, but first, some very important knitblog business:

1. Carolyn over at Jolly Ewe is in the running for being January's Knit Girl! Please go vote for her here. She has a bitchin' knitterly tattoo, dyes a mean skein o' yarn, and has an artichoke plant intent on world domination. Or, in other words, totally deserves to win. Voting ends on 1/6.

2. Don't know what they were smokin', but Jen and Laura picked humble l'il ole me as one of the Fresh Blood winners (#12 on the list) in their Fourth Annual JenLa Blog Awards for 2007. Wow, I guess that santeria priest did know what he was doing when I asked him to make me famous. Thanks, grrls, for the shout out. I'll try to live up to the infamy in a style worthy of you both. Smoochies.

Now, onto the catching up. The holiday knits have all been delivered, so I can finally post some FOs.

Pattern: Campfire Socks by Cider Moon
Yarn: Artyarns Ultramerino 8 in color 127 - 2 skeins
Needle: US 4 Bryspun dpns
Mods: None. I knit the top down version.
Rating: Third time's a charm.

As I mentioned here, this is the first pair of socks I've knit entirely on my own. (They're really my third pair of socks.) I know, I'm like the first person ever who knit a pair...yeah, yeah...but I can't help being proud of them. Yarn, gauge, pattern, needles, the planets, everything came together and created a pair of socks that fit. They were gifted to my Mom as part of her Xmas present; her house is cold in the winter, and I wanted to make these as a pair of house/bed socks for her. She reports back that they're comfy and even match her pyjamas. Right on.

The pattern is perfect for the beginning sock knitter. The larger gauge yarn allows for a quick knit, the simple pattern holds your interest while teaching you how to read a patterned (vs. straight stockinette) sock pattern, and the instructions are clear and thorough. I, for one, loved the spoon feeding on working the heel and gusset, and felt pretty darn good when I grafted my toes. This pair certainly isn't perfect: there are those loose gusset stitches on the left hand sides of each sock, and one of the toes looks more like a nipple than a toe, but them's small potatoes compared to the enormity of me knitting socks. Oh, and that matching striping? I totally meant to do that.

Now, for the yarn chosen. The Ultramerino 8 makes lovely bed socks, but is very splitty and probably won't hold up for long; by the time I finished knitting, the cuffs already were blurred (can yarn be blurry? well, you know what I mean) and fuzzy. I knew these things going in, however, and chose the yarn more for the soft feel and the cheery colorway. Plus, it came from Mary, who sweated through my first pair of socks with me. (Thanks again to her and Barbara for all their help.)

Next up? More frakkin' lace. See ya later, taters.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008!

Artwork © 2006 by Laura Hackney. All rights reserved.