Thursday, December 28, 2006

Cutest Little Yarn Store in WA

Hi Flan,

I got to visit the cutest little yarn shop in the town where The 93yo Grandma lives. She built or converted a room of her house into a yarn store (what a dream) and can open the door into her living room and police her young and adorable children (who were very hungry when we were there). She had a surprisingly diverse collection of really beautiful yarn. That's where I found the LL blackberry swirl and was so close to buying it for you (but then restrained by the memory that The Hubby is currently unemployed). I found some fantastic Cascade Sierra on sale and am thinking about doing a warshrag blanket in blue and green.

I went to a second yarn store today. Originally, she was in one location. When I visited in April she had moved to a second location. When I returned today she was back in the first location. Confusion made worse by scads of tourists, but all was well in the end. I found some lace weight Misti Alpaca but resisted it's siren song. I did, however, succumb to some Debbie Bliss cashmerino. The SIL needs a second hat and in something a little more luxurious than 220 to go w/ her alpaca scarf. I am also jumping on the bandwagon of the fingerless cable glove thingies from knitty. I think The Hubby's cousin on his father's side might like a pair. Did you enjoy the Broad Street gloves? I was thinking of a second cousin who might like a pair.

While in an overpriced but independent bookstore I ran across this book. It has a trendy title but surprisingly good patterns. Had I not just purchased some yarn (second time in two days) I would have snatched it up right away.

My mittens are going quite well. I am surprised the progress that can be made on 1s. I might even have one done by the time we get home. Tomorrow is a day in Seattle. Lots of seafood and we get to go to THIS bookstore, but probably no yarn stores (good for the bank account, sort of sad for me).

Safe travels for your trek home.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas...

... and would the judges please allow me an extension?

Hi Flan,
I hope you had a lovely Christmas. We spent ours smushed into the back seat of a very small car w/ luggage every place you could think of (and a couple that you probably wouldn't). It turns out that five adults plus 12 suitcases were not what an economy sized car was designed to haul. Thankfully, the passes were clear, so we were able to get over them in good time. There is snow in WA so The Hubby is happy. We are celebrating Christmas today and in true fashion, I have woken up at the ungodly hour of 6am. I used to wake up at 4am on Christmas, so this is actually an improvement.

So with the knitting... I discovered why none of the patterns for mittens have them done top down. Top down mittens look stupid. At least the one I started four times did. I then got out my travel size floss, cut the yarn, and started at the cuff. Knitting saved me yesterday as I happily worked away whilst squished in the middle seat. I love mohair. It might be too early to say that without the knitting gods laughing maniacally, but so far I love it.

The Brother tried on The Sweater. There is good news and bad news. The good news is that the sleeve length looks good. Now I just have to finish the second sleeve. The bad news is that there are a couple of places that don't look good where I picked up for the collar. Hopefully my knitting skills have improved in the past three years and when I do it this time it will work better. Fingers crossed but am not holding my breath (which The Sister and The SIL did on the express way bridges, kind of exciting considering The Sister was also The Driver).

The Baby Blanket... So, I thought I might want to make it bigger. I know baby blankets don't need to be big, but I have lots of extra yarn. However, bigger means more time.

The thought of time brings me to my next little hiccup. What kind of nutty am I that I thought this could all be done in a week? The projects are as follows:
1. The sweater will probably get finished, no problem.
2. The fact that I forgot one of the colors for The Hubby's socks and was thus not able to bring them with us is a problem. I'm halfway down the top, still have the rest of that, plus heel, gusset, foot and toe. In my holiday mania I thought it would be absolutely no problem to finish this on the 31 before we go to a fondue party at The Little Girl's house.
3. The Baby Blanket might require an extension on the deadline. Prognosis does not look good.
4. The Mittens are plane knitting and should be exempt.

I just found out that The SIL lost the hat that I made the scarf to complement and now need to do a replacement. That should also be exempt.

More later.

Merry Christmas and Happy 36 Anniversary to The Parents!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

You Rock!

Yesterday was a really good mail day! And you totally rock!

I have always wanted a ball winder, so when I opened the package last night, it took all my restraint not to immediately set it up and wind every hank of yarn in sight! I managed to put it back in its box, and put it on the shelf. I'm continuing to ignore the siren song of the ballwinder, for the shawl is still not done.

(Mike also loves his shirt, and it makes me laugh)

I've given up on the idea of being able to block the shawl here. So knitting will be happening on the plane to AZ on Saturday. Incidentally, my plane leaves at the ungodly hour of 7am. I don't even want to think about what time that means I need to leave for the airport. However, an early morning flight guarantees that I will be drinking lots of caffeine, so I ought to be able to knit, right?!

I'm more than halfway through the border (hooray!), and then of course there's the edging. I still have hope though.

Tonight I'll be continuing to studiously ignore the ballwinder, as I pack (must decided what other knitting projects to take!), do dishes, and get my apartment into a reasonable shape such that I can leave for more than a week.

Next post: the other thing that made yesterday a great mail day!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

6 Weird things about me

Found at the Keyboard Biologist.

Here are THE RULES:Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

I find it hard to come up with things that you may not know. But I tried. Also, I'm not tagging anyone.
  • When I lived at Grand Canyon, I could be woken from a sound sleep, and be up, dressed, out the door, and driving safely in 60 seconds. It was one of those emergency responder talents which I think I've lost.
  • I love thunderstorms. I grew up watching them from my front porch, and when there's a good storm going on, I turn off the lights, open the blinds, and just watch.
  • I hate making phone calls. I don't mind receiving them, but there are very few people who I pick up the phone and dial without having a very specific reason and planned out conversation.
  • I read 5 newspapers a day online. Sometimes more.
  • There are some books I can read an unlimited number of times. The Harry Potter series, Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons (set right here in Minneapolis), The Lord of the Rings series, etc. I traditionally read all three Lord of the Rings books over Christmas break.
  • I am addicted to Minnesota Public Radio. I listen to it most of the time when I'm home, in the car, and I often stream it at work.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I'm so glad you liked your Christmas package! The socks are amazingly pinkl

This weekend I knit a lot on this:

Blurry shot of the edging courtesy of the flash on my camera. Still not done. Slowly separating from reality about finishing. I've concluded that I can knit the edging (as opposed to the border I'm currently knitting) completely on the the plane to AZ. Delusions may have come into play here. Either way, I think my mother will be ok if she gets it on the needles. Knitters understand.

We went to a party dressed like this: Mike is always a big hit in his kilt. Oh yeah, he's growing a beard again.

Last night we went to the pub quiz, and Mike's team won 4 tickets to the Nutcracker at the State Theater tonight. There were only 3 people on the team, so I got the extra ticket. Fun times! Unfortunately, this means no shawl knitting tonight. I'm taking a just started sock, but I've never tried to knit during the Nutcracker before. I may be too absorbed.

Speaking of socks, have I told you how much I love these?

Pony Pearl needles are my absolute favorite double points. They're quiet (plastic over metal) the metal core gives them strength, but they're soft feeling, and they don't snap (how many wooden and bamboo needles did I have to snap before I gave up? Kind of ridiculous). I just bought size 1 for the first time, and I'm not loving them, but I love all the other sizes so much that I'm willing to forgive them for that.

Also, I bought clasps for Eris, but I haven't sewn them on. Honestly, I think the clasps cost more than the yarn for this sweater!

Punch Drunk Tired

Hi Flan,
a.k.a. The MOST fabulous knitter friend any one could ever have!

Never have I ever had anyone make me anything quite so delightful as these socks. AND they're pink. I cannot even tell you (although my rambly voicemail attempted) to express how utterly delightful they are. I'm so in love. The Hubby says he understands (and didn't even mention that I haven't made any progress whatsoever on his new pair of socks- Xmas gifts? Ha).

It turns out you really can knit and felt a Christmas socking in 36 hours. Yarn was purchased on the way out of town, knitting commenced, did dinner for The Inlaws, then knitted, stayed up late, knitting, slept a little (sadly no knitting progress), knitted on way home, arriving half way through heel flap. Got Hubby off to work, made chocolate peppermint bark, started load of laundry, contemplated knitting, slept a little more in preparation for all nighter, up, forgot to eat dinner (had also forgotten about lunch), went to work, knitted and knitted and knitted and knitted. It turns out 9p-12a is very productive for knitting, 12a-3a not so much. Got to the toe and sort of forgot how it all worked. Did the I-cord, still igorning the toe, got clients up, showered, made, served and fed breakfast, did their laundry whilst thinking about my laundry, home for a shower, took The Hubby some food, home for a few hours of sleep, got to go to a cookie exchange and stitch marker making party w/ The Ladies, finished the toe, threw the thing in the washer and had some happy felting. Now only have to get some charms and embroider the tree, then pray to the postal service gods that it might have a prayer of arriving on time. The maniacal laughter is mocking me on that point. Naturally, in this sleep deprived state, I dreamt up two more stockings that I think would be really fun to do (Naturally, the fact that there is no human way to accomplish this in one week has nothing to do w/ the fact that it could be done "before Christmas". "Christmas" and "one week from today" have no connection).

Stephanie certainly puts things in perspective.

Hope you have a Happy Monday.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Delusions

Christmas timing delusions are a well documented disease for knitters. I'm just saying that it seems you and I are both operating under them.

I actually made my stitches goal last night, but discovered a small mistake, which I was then too tired to fix. That gets first priority tonight, then more stitching! It does look really good though. I'm becoming resigned to the idea that this might be an "on the needles" gift...but I'm still pulling for being able to finish it on the plane. I've knit this whole thing without lifelines (living dangerously, I am), and it worked with this specific yarn and pattern, but I think any more complicated lace will get lifelines from now on with me!

I also have a small "one more project" thing going on, but its deadline is my arrival back from AZ (January 1, conveniently enough), so I'm feeling good about it. I'm reprising the Knitty Manly Mitts for our friend J, who admired Mike's when they were on the needles, and very sweetly requested them. (And then dropped hints all over the place about when they'd get done!) I've completed one cuff, mostly while waiting in lines and in cars, so they're progressing. Luckily, they're a simple enough knit that I can work on them in almost any situation, so they make a good socializing project.

Stephanie is back! And she has an amazing post up about Doctors Without Borders. I gave the last time she did this, and I'm eying my end of year budget to give a little bit again this year. Such a great organization, and I like Stephanie's idea. This is what tugged at my heartstrings, even though I was already convinced:
It won't be easy, it might even pinch a little, but it can't hurt as much as doing nothing, or it can't hurt as much as being one of the people in the world who needs help for a loved one and is watching them die because they have the bad luck to live in a country where you can't call 911.
I've been the person who answers 911. I've called 911. I take it for granted. And everyone should have that. And just a safety net. And the things we don't notice. Like, as Stephanie said, "4 million people have quietly died" without the world noticing. Really, Stephanie says it best.

just One more thing...

Hi Flan,
Remember that felted Christmas stocking I made last year? It was scarlet and very plain. I spent 6 months trying to figure out how to embellish and then did a cute little embroidered tree w/ charms as ornaments. It was requested as an auction item by The Mommy. However, her auction got postponed so she gave it to one of The Aunties who was having an auction. That Auntie ended up purchasing it for her partner, The Other Auntie, in a bidding war against one of her lifelong friends ($60 for Campfire). The Friend now wants one. I'm thrilled, flattered, and have lost all grip on reality and how long it takes to do. I figure if I pick up the yarn on the way out of town that it's definitely doable to finish it this weekend (there's that whole staying up today and tomorrow nights), felt it Sunday night, get charms Monday and send it off so it has time to arrive before Christmas.

Tell the nice men w/ the white jackets I'm now ready.

The other projects are feeling neglected, but I don't care. I'm infatuated and was looking for a new project to start.

Woops, time for a staff meeting. Sadly, they won't let me knit.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Princess Indeed

And a very happy birthday to your hubby (and the innumerable other people we know whose birthdays were yesterday). The mental image of the pink tinsel headband has made me smile all morning.

I didn't make my goal of 1200 stitches yesterday, but I remain hopeful that this is an achievable goal. The only reason I didn't make it last night is that I was working row 1 of the lace pattern, and figuring it out and making all possible mistakes to that I can understand them all before I delve in at full speed. Even with that delay and my late start due to a goodbye party of a former coworker, I knit about 600 stitches last night. Maybe I can even make up the difference tonight.

We're enjoying unseasonably warm weather here, so I'm wearing my Eris again today, without even a jacket when I ran across the street to pick stuff up at Lund's. As this is Minnesota, I'm sure this will change without notice, but currently I'm enjoying the sun and the predicted high of 51 today! This is a nice contrast from cold weather last week, and rainy weather much of this week. On Tuesday though, I saw one of the coolest weather things I can remember here. I was driving across the Mississippi on my way to work, and there was so much fog coming off the river that there were 10 foot walls on it on either side of the bridge, and the gorge was full of it. Spectacular (though dangerous if you were on the water!)

Good luck on cooking and such. I would recommend Season 1 of Grey's Anatomy if you didn't start watching it when it premiered... otherwise, my favorite tv show to watch remains Seasons 1-4 of the West Wing. It never gets old, no matter how many times I've seen it!

Happy Birthday Princess

Hi Flan,
Yesterday it was The Hubby's birthday. Having worked 14 hrs the day before you might have said that I had not really prepared anything in particular. Thankfully, he worked until 6:30, giving The Best Man and me ample time to grocery shop for dinner, shop at the party supply store and decorate his car...

... With a Pink Disney Princess Balloon and color coordinating crepe paper.

We also went into BB and made him wear a pink tinsel headband with "Happy Birthday" on it. Nothing says Happy 25th Bday for a Man like a Pink Princess balloon and a tinsel headband.

I gave him the @)(#*&% ribbed scarf and hat. It turns out that the hat is a bit too long, but if you flip the edge up it works pretty well (and disguises the fact that his ears kind of stick out). He (and The Best Man) really like the scarf. I told The Best Man not to steal it because I would have to kill him and I told The Hubby not to lose it because there will never ever be another one made by me.

Stephanie's blog explanation was the most coherant computer related thing I've ever heard. We need to hire that man to translate "computer to closet" things for the rest of us.

There has been pitiful progress on the knitting front. I am cooking tonight in preparation for The Birthday/ Bon Voyage Dinner tomorrow. The menu is as streamlined as I could make it but these in-laws are nuttier about food than my family is (three groups, raw vegans, gluten free, and people who actually enjoy food). I signed up to work an awake overnight Saturday night, so am going to try and stay up late Friday. Hopefully some knitting will get done. Maybe I should find some TV series and do a marathon watching session. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Shawl, we may have a problem

Your comment yesterday led me to do some reckoning last night. According to my oh-so-scientific calculations, I must complete 1200 stitches a day in order to finish the shawl before flying to AZ. If I factor in my ability to knit on the plane, I would need to do about 1,100 stitches a day (this would mean blocking in AZ, not necessarily a problem, but inconvenient). Then again, Mom is a knitter, she would understand.

Now I realize that is really isn't that many stitches. In fact, this is plausible if I just buckle down and work on it. But it may be a struggle to complete. My knitting speed is improving this project, so I remain hopeful. My hope is to get ahead this weekend so that I have a little more flexibility next week, which is packed to the gills! 1200 stitches today, 1200 stitches Thursday, 1200 stitches Friday (that could be a challenge, as we have a party), dare I hope for 4800 on Saturday and 2000 on Sunday? That would make this totally possible.

No new pictures, because more than ever this looks like a tangle of scraggly brightly colored yarn. I'm putting a lot of faith in the magic of blocking!

By the way, I bought some yarn from Jenna (the designer of Eris) last night as she was destashing (oops!). What I bought is no longer up, but it is six balls of Kidsilk Haze in a lovely shade of green for a remarkable price. In the process of buying it, Jenna visited our humble blog, and wrote me a nice note about my Eris. I'm so excited!

BTW, have you seen Stephanie's amazing explanation of why her blog is down? Red Alert

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Slow and Steady

Slow and steady once again. The sum total of last nights knitting was picking up the hundreds of stitches for the border of my mothers shawl, and knitting the setup row. Happily, I have the right number of stitches at this point, so I think I can start cruising on the edging after work. I have a netflix movie, so it should be a lovely evening.

Before I sit down to knit tonight, my plan is to figure out how many rows I have left so that I can plot out how many rows I need to accomplish a day to finish the shawl in time for Christmas. Then I'll do the same thing for the First Year Shawl for after Christmas.

Other than that, I'm contemplating things I can throw out when we move, and whether I'm going to go crazy since my office moves on Jan 15th, and Mike and I are moving around Jan 31. Ack! Packing is going to rule my life once I come back from AZ.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Center Triangle Cast Off

Three tries later, I have successfully cast off the center triangle of my mother's shawl. I couldn't get it loose enough with the needles I knit with, so I went up two sizes and cast off loosely, and I'm now happy with how it looks.

And a second picture for a marginally more accurate color:

Next on the agenda: picking up stitches for the (very wide) border. Hopefully tonight.

This weekend I managed to pick up the stitches for the border of the First Year Shawl, and knit the setup row. Now I'm once again stuck contemplating border options. I'm thinking of using the edging from Stephanie's Snowdrop shawl (PDF). No pictures yet, cause currently it's boring.

Monday Again?

Hi Flan,
The shawl looks fabulous. Though I will admit I'm so exhausted that I focused more on the fact that the comforter in the picture looked really soft and warm (the shawl looks warm too, but the needles look cold).

I don't remember last week and am trying to suppress the PTSD flashes that sneak up and jog the memory. This weekend was quite productive if not actually restful. We finished the Christmas shopping! Granted, it was all of one item from Dillards and a delightful afternoon in TJMaxx, but still, the damnable is now done. Also, washer and dryer are hooked up! I think I've washed every piece of clothing we own. They were all dirty, but still.

The knitting however.... Such a sad story. I think I have it down to three projects; The Hubby's socks, The Baby Blanket and The Sweater. Oh the sweater... One of my PTSD flasbacks reminded me that I had a panic whilst knitting the first sleeve. I was convinced that it was going to be too long, so even though I was decreasing more often than recommended, I decided to make the decreases even closer together. All this was decided after approximately 4 inches of sleeve, leaving the whole remaining sleeve extremely short. Now, I could have just undone the ribbing, knit one more inch, then redone the ribbing. But no, that was not to be. I decided to rip out the entire section of extra decreases. Yup, it's gone. Was skeined, rinsed and is now dry and ready to be reknit. This exercise was not done by a healthy mind, but, for my first regular sized sweater I wanted everything to be symmetrical if nothing else (ok, I realize at this point that someone could say that no one other than myself would ever know- but that would be just mean).

I also ripped out a half completed hat. Naturally, it had beads and whilst looking at it drying after the dunking I realized I hadn't actually removed all the beads. Nice. It's Rowan Calmer and I'm hoping to use it as the lining when I do the brooklyn tweed hat. I don't think The Hubby would appreciate the beads.

Break time's over, back on your heads.

Friday, December 08, 2006

(Lace) Surgery Completed

I have survived my first major lace surgery. Last night I sat down with strong light, West Wing Season 4 on DVD, and lots of knitting needles. I completed the surgery, and kept right on knitting. I have now finished knitting the center triangle of the shawl. The next step is to cast off the top and pick up stitches for the edging lace pattern.

I'm feeling a great sense of relief. As always, you can't see the pattern at all yet:

But I stretched it over my hand so you can see it a bit:

Tonight I'm baking Pumpkin-Ginger Cheesecake and we're decorating the Christmas Tree, so I'm not sure any progress will be made. I hope to get some done over the weekend though, I need to keep moving or it isn't going to make its deadline! I think I'd like to finish and block this while I'm still here, but that may not be possible, as the deadline looms. Luckily, my Mom is also a knitter, so I think she'll forgive me if I have to block it in AZ.

We have a pretty packed weekend, so I'm not optomistic about getting much lace knitting done. I do have some time tomorrow where I won't have the concentration for lace, but should be able to knit, so I think I'm going to work on the First Year Shawl, which has been languishing.

Have a good weekend, and good luck emerging from under your work stuff!

P.S.: New Knitty!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Link Post

Just a quick second post to note:
Brooklyn Tweed posted that fantastic hat pattern.
Eunny Jang posted a fabulous mitten pattern.
And Anne at KnitSpot posted two pattern, one for cabled wristers, and the other for a beautiful lace.

Now all I need to complete the patterny goodness this month is a new Knitty....should be any day now!

Pride Goeth Before the Fall

Remember how I said that I seemed to have finally stopped screwing up the lace pattern? Right. Bad idea. So I'm knitting along on my first row last night when I glance down and realize that 6 rows down, I'd made a stupid and yet immediately obvious mistake. In a lace motif that includes only two pattern rows (with different numbers of plain stitches at the beginning to create a repeat), I had switched which pattern I was knitting three-fourths through a row.

ACK! I immediately sprang into action. Having no desire to rip 6 full rows, I decided to only drop the stitches for the affected section. I was inspired by the memory of this post at Stephanie's. Moments into it, I was instead reminded of this post from a few days later.

Sadly, between the red yarn, less than ideal light, and aging digital pictures are pretty bad. Note the many strands of red yarn coming out of the top of this shot:

This shows how many stitches were affected:

And this is halfway through the repair.

By the way, I particularly identify with the second post I linked to, because Mike called, the phone startled me, and I was very unhappy, even though I didn't actually drop a stitch. In fact, I was rude because I was so stressed at that point.

The damage is not fully repaired yet, though I think I only have one row to reknit at this point. My entire evening was heart stopping as a result, and I think I'll be taking a break from this project tonight to allow for recovery.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Inching (Not itching)

That's how I'm beginning to feel about my mother's shawl. I worked on it diligently last night, and made progress, but I still feel like I'm just barely inching along. I have 4 rows left of the last repeat section in the middle (which, knock on wood, I seem to have finally stopped screwing up), and then I think an additional six rows before the bind off row and the beginning of the edging.

Luckily, in my world Tuesday's are for knitting, much as they are for spinning for Stephanie. This is because Mike plays basketball Tuesday nights, so I generally park myself on the couch with a Netflix movie (recently Grey's Anatomy), and knit all night. Tonight will be a bit abbreviated because I need to run out to Roseville before I head home, but then I will knit. I'm hoping to complete the repeat, and at least part of those additional 6 rows tonight. Also I'm going to Kitchener the second Broad Street Mitten, though probably not get to weaving in the ends.

This will be my first real experience with the magic of lace, detailed beautifully by Stephanie here, and I'm looking forward to it. I'm a bit nervous about making the cast off row too tight, so I'm thinking very hard about what size needles to use, or whether to place the top stitches on waste yarn and cast off after blocking.... any thoughts? My plan is to block it on the futon couch that was once yours. I think I'll take the current cover off to protect it from the pins, so you'll probably be treated to garishly clashing pictures of the red and purple shawl blocking on the green futon!

I too love both Techniques with Theresa and Brooklyn Tweed. In fact, Theresa is who I turn to for a reminder on how to Kitchener just about every time.

I assume its warmer there than here! The high on Thursday is supposed to be 14 above, and I have to wear a skirt suit to work!

"I didn't notice I was distracted."

A direct quotation from The Hubby (who happened to not have taken his ADD medication yesterday). It was a particularly interesting night, especially after he ate an entire bag of peanut butter MMs...

By the way, the dress is beautiful. Kudos for braving The Mall of Doom on a Saturday in December. Although I do love the Nordy Rack, so I can understand the pull.

A few more FOs: The Alpaca Octopus is finished!! Thank goodness for Techniques w/ Theresa. She kindly (and slowly w/ lots of pictures) explains rudimentary things that some of us never got the first time around but everyone else seems to know. I have a deep urge to now print every article she's written for knitty and laminate them, creating a "knitting for people who are intelligent (ergo, not a knitting for dummies) but were never taught in the first place" book. Also, decided that the ribbing on The Mommy's socks was actually fine, so cast off the remaining sock and a half. They're pretty comfortable, so I hope she likes them.

BTW: check out the absolutely gorgeous hat over at brooklyn tweed. This man has great photos, as well as an accomplished color sense and knack for creating men's knits that are cool and young and don't look like they were designed by your great Aunt Mildred w/ glaucoma. I love the stuff he does so much I immediately want to go out and knit it for The Hubby. When I show select pieces to The Hubby he also wants me to go out immediately and create him one. One of those "happy but will make you poor but warm because you're wearing gorgeous handknits" situations.

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Progress Progress Progress

That sounds like quite the productive weekend and quite lovely as well!

I managed to complete my goal for the weekend, I completed the knitting on the Broad Street Mittens.

Displayed on my sofa pillow, though at first glance it closely resembles my mother's shawl. You'll note that I said I finished the knitting. There is still the weaving in of ends and the Kitchenering of mitten #2.

Glove style:

Mitten style:
Sorry for the blinding whiteness of my forearm, and the generally bad lighting. THese pictures were taken at about 10pm last night, which necessitated both a bright light and the flash on teh camera.

I also am making "slow and steady" progress on my mother's shawl, and am only about 12 rows from finishing the body. The rows are taking a long time though, and then there is the edging.
Goal: Finish by December 20th, so as to block before leaving for AZ. On the other hand, it sure would dry faster in the lovely AZ dryness. Hmm. More thought on that.

I haven't touched the First Year Shawl, though I have come up with a solution for the edging, so at least I know what I'm doing now!

In other weekend news, on Saturday we braved the Mall of America (seriously, one of my least favorite places) in order to buy Mike new black dress shoes at Nordstrom Rack. This had to be done on Saturday because we had a formal cocktail party to attend Saturday night, to which Mike was wearing his kilt, and the brown shoes simply did not go.

So we arrived at 10am and left at 11:10 am. Not too bad. Also accomplished in that time: I exchanged a dress for a different size, and I bought this dress for the party:

(Giselle from Ann Taylor, currently on sale here.) For anyone who reads this and doesn't know me, that photo is a model, not me!

I love it! The cocktail party was lots of fun. Mike got lots of attention with the kilt, we chatted with people we knew and didn't know, we stayed out late (for us), and it was in general a great party. Sadly, we neglected to get any pictures of us dressed up. On the other hand, we have a cocktail party to attend in a few weeks with a completely different group of friends, and we'll be wearing the same outfits, so there is hope!

We also had a lovely brunch out on Sunday before returning to the mundaneness of grocery shopping, etc. All in all, a lovely weekend with lots of quiet knitting time and a good amount of social time. It's amazing how nice that kind of weekend can be, isn't it?

Woohoo Weekend

Hi Flan,
I had the most fabulous weekend & hope you did too. There were enough places for all the ladies to sit when they came over Saturday. The Little Girl was a perfect angel. Yesterday The Hubby and I spent the day reading in almost total silence. (and I knit). All in all completely perfect.

PLUS... There are now some fabulous FOs! Bamboo Doom was finished and all ends are woven in! The (@*&# Ribbed scarf is also finished!!

There are, however, a few projects now in the "one st forward, two tinked back" category:
1. The Alpaca Octopus. Somehow the Kitchner and I are not on the same page and some serious scary is resulting. All the beautiful diagrams look simple and I think they are leaving out the bit where you have to sacrifice goats and pray to the dark forces.
2. The Mommy's socks. I got to the ribbing! I finished the ribbing! I think I should have gone down a needle size to do the ribbing. Granted, I had this thought after I was two rows in. The fact that I continued to knit on the same needle size for another inch and a quarter, then cast off half a sock does not bode well.
3. The Brother's sweater! Somehow, inspiration siezed me and I knit like a little devil. In one evening and a morning I had the entire second sleeve knit to the point of the ribbing... Wait a minute... The second sleeve (ready for ribbing) is now as long as the first (completed w/ ribbing) sleeve... There is something off about that. So am now waiting for The Brother to respond to the email asking exactly how long his arms happen to be, can then adjust accordingly.

The un-knit upon but still think about:
1. The Hubby's socks.
2. The Baby blanket.

All in all, not too bad. I have even started dreaming up new projects, which is a sure sign that the fear of not finishing has mostly passed. Ah the miracles resulting from an afternoon of friends followed by a day in almost total silence with my hubby, knitting all the while.

Friday, December 01, 2006

O Lawd

Hi Flan,
And Happy December. Wait, December, oh no. Fortunately, there are 31 days to this month. Unfortunately, I seem to be making absolutely no progress on anything. Granted, this week was especially bad with time-sucking events, but in every area of my life it seems like there has been a whole lot of effort and really very little progress.

Last year I had some freaky ultra productivity going on. I made 4 Christmas stockings and multiple scarves, plus a few snowmen, all in a weekend it seemed. This year I don't understand what's going on. Here are the current projects (granted, it would have helped had I not spent time making The Aunty's socks- then having to solve all the problems w/ the socks- and hadn't knit 216 inches of The SIL's scarf)

In order of closeness to completion:
1. Bamboo Doom. 8 rows to go. Thankfully, they are short rows with the longest being 11 sts.
2. Alpaca Octopus. 2 rows + Kitchner end, then have to tack together where the braiding crosses.
3. Ribbed Scarf (Who says men have fewer ribs?). 11 rows, but involves alternating colors. Coordinating hat is finished!
4. The Mommy's socks. Have to finish the ankles and do some @*&# ribbing. Am really not loving Cascade's Fixation (I know, I'm the only one).
5. The Hubby's socks. Have to finish decreases on one of the toes... Then knit the entire second sock. Involves two colors.
6. The Bro's sweater. Ribbing on one sleeve... Then knit the entire second sleeve.
7. Baby Blanket. Am knitting faux entrelac corner to corner and have just hit the half-way point, so it should theoretically get smaller from here.

Am seriously going to have to focus on one project at a time, sort of a divide and conquer mentality. Together they will take me to my knees, divided they should only make me short of breath.

Oh right, and The MIL has now officially moved out of her apt, so all of the stuff she didn't want, plus all of the stuff that The Hubby boxed up is strewn from one end of the house to the other and the Knit Night Ladies are coming over tomorrow. When dropping off the last box of stuff yesterday the MIL looked at me and asked where I expected them to sit...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Yarn Arrival

My Webs order arrived yesterday, but a long work meeting meant I didn't get to open the box until last night, and I have no photos. I'll try and do better tomorrow.

I very studiously applied myself to my mom's shawl last night after the meeting, but made a mistake and ended up tinking back to where I started the night, so no progress there. This weekend I think I'll take progress pictures, because it is actually larger than the last time I photographed it.

I've also been knitting along on the Broad Street Mittens as my take along project, and I'm about to start the decreases for the top, so that project should be done pretty soon.

I'm resisting swatching for any of my projects that are currently lined up. No swatching for Elizabeth I. No swatching for Rogue. No swatching for Arwen. So far so good.

Naked Needles Progress:

I'm still working on my mother's shawl. Progress has been good but not great, I'm almost finished with the body, but then come the long edging rows.

The First Year Shawl is awaiting a lacy border. I have yet to come up with said lacy border, and I'm soliciting interesting border ideas for a shawl.

Broad Street Mittens should be done next week or so.

Goal: Finish Broad Street by Monday, then concentrate on Mom's shawl so it is done before I fly home for Christmas. Finish the First Year Shawl over Christmas, which would bring me to completing Naked Needles (I think). Potentially swatch for Rogue, Arwen, or Elizabeth on the plane ride home.

It seems plausible, but who knows?

I'll be contemplating which project to start next...I'm currently leaning towards Arwen since there's momentum in the blogosphere, but the others are so tempting. I suppose it depends on whether I can get gauge!

Last Minute Addition: I saw this meme about a graduate student who needs us to post his link and ping him so he can present a paper about blogs at a big conference. Since I'm all for helping a grad student out, and I think we knit-bloggers need to claim our space, I'm posting his link, and pinging him. Anyone who reads this blog and hasn't done so already should do the same. (Found via about 12 knitblogs I read, but most recently at Knitorious and Moth Heaven.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Very Thankful (but not for Scarves)

Hi Flan,
The Eris looks fabulous! Such a great color and it looks so nice. Makes me even more chagrined to admit I've never really completed an adult sweater, much less one that fits and you wouldn't be embarrassed to wear outside.

Thanksgiving (all 9 parties) were very fun. It turns out that if you start drinking at one of the inlaw's houses it makes all the inlaws at that house more fun to deal with. Our Thanksgiving, on Friday, went well even though I kind of burned the veggies and the stuffing. The premise was good, the execution a bit lacking. The gingerbread with pumpkin ice cream was fun and the company lovely.

The scarves won't end. There is literally no end in sight. I rounded them all up and it almost brought me to my knees:
1. Endless ribbing for The Hubby. I'm loudly commenting on how horrible it is so he won't think it will be done for his bday in two weeks. This ribbing might actually kill me. Fortunately, the hat of endless ribbing is ready for decreases. I'm so happy I could cry. Granted, the decreases include ribbing.
2. The Alpaca Octopus for the SIL. When I compare the lengths of the tubes I should be almost done. However, after knitting for what seems like hours there is no discernible progress. In the meantime the tubes not being knit have reached out and latched on to tables, dirt on the floor, lamps, and are a general aggravation. What's more is that I'm not sure that this project is headed down the right track. Am trying to have faith and am taking deep breaths. Knitting chunky yarn on 10 1/2s should not be this stressful.
3. Bamboo Doom. The twirly scarf for The Sister. I am good with the pattern. It's very fun to knit. There are only 11 sts per side, do a couple short rows and then switch colors. The damn yarn is possessed. There are too many twists. It keeps turning itself into mini tornadoes. I have each color in a ziploc. When the excessive twists get to be too much I close the bag, then hold the yarn so bag unwinds and eliminates the twists above the closure. Repeat with other color. 10 seconds later do it again. Curse loudly at the fact that I have a whole other scarf worth of this yarn that I have broken the ball bands on so is not returnable.

The kicker is that every single one of these is (theoretically) almost done. I can almost see the light but it's just far enough away as to taunt mercilessly. Heavy sigh.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Ends They Are A Weavin'

Friday night I cast off and grafted the last sleeve cuff of Eris.

This is what it looked like at that point, lots of ends to weave in:

The pile of ends after being woven in and cut:

And the final product on me:

"But Flan" you're saying, "What have you done about the zipper? Or buttons?"

I've actually made a decision. I'm going to use pewter clasps like these. I'm waiting for Borealis to get more in so that I can make sure I have enough matching ones. They're already on order, and I'm not completely sure how many I need, though I'm thinking the answer is six. My plan is to take the sweater there, lay it out on the table with various numbers of clasps, and decide from there. But I'm currently wearing Eris without any fasteners, and I love it! Hopefully a quick photo shoot will take place when my photographer gets back from Milwaukee.

I'm in an odd position: I don't think I've ever before NOT had a sweater in progress. Of course my order from Webs has not yet arrived. But I think I've found the perfect project for my Silky Wool, and I'm resisting swatching as hard as I can!

As a reminder, here's the beautiful soft Silky Wool:

And here is a picture of the sweater I want to knit with it, Elizabeth I from Alice Starmore's Tudor Roses. The book is incredibly expensive on Ebay and out of print, but I managed to get my hands on a copy via interlibrary loan, and I've established that I should have enough yarn....

No swatching though! I'm holding out for the arrival of my Webs order (scheduled for Tuesday) so that I can see that yarn and decide from there what project will be next. Of course, until I finish more of my many works in progress, I'll be trying to hold out in my attempt at Naked Needles.

So here is my Naked Needles question. If I actually finish all my WIPs before January 1, can I cast on for a new project that will still be on the needles, and still have been a success? (This is a highly rhetorical question at this point.)

To that end, I tinked about 10 very long rows of the shawl for my mom when I discovered a mistake, and reknit 4 rows so far. I just stopped for the evening, afraid I'd make another mistake due to being tired. I'm actually doing pretty well with Naked Needles. Mom's shawl is getting worked on, I'm close to figuring out how to finish the First Year Shawl, and the Broad Street Mittens have become my traveling knitting, temporarily replacing my sock in progress. At this rate, I might have a chance. Maybe.

PS: Two posts in one day got us to Post # 150! Go us!


I'm in love with my spinning.

I think you knew that I was a little obsessed with the spinning. But this takes the cake.

You remember this from the Spinning/Roving Swap? Merino and Silk?

Last week that became this:

And that became this:


It's so soft I want to wear it like this. Knowing that would be impractical, I think I'm going to knit it into Branching Out from Knitty. Right now I pick it up and fondle it, and then put it back though. I'm committed to Naked Needles, so a scarf will have to wait.

Tomorrow: A finished object! I'm off to weave in some ends.

Hope your many Thanksgivings were successful.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Storm Before the Calm

Hi Flan (and to Flan's Mom),
First the good news: I found the two missing audio tapes to the books on tape I had already returned to the library and had confessed to the librarian that I had lost the tapes and had no idea where they were and I was so sorry. The missing tapes were inside a pamphlet in my trunk. Stupid paper.

What on earth has happened to Law & Order: Criminal Intent? I hadn't seen it in awhile (given the lack of tv) but we were at The Best Man's last night, and I was able to watch the whole thing. It sucked. The spinoff started so well, way back when. It was a nice chance for all of us to watch an odd detective catch odd criminals. I found it fascinating and a nice little break from my life of social services. Then they started going to the twilight zone. Slowly at first, but nevertheless, there it was. Yesterday's was awful. They have a new chief who looks like an extra from a C level 70s show, the female detective looks like Pippi Longstockings with a bad haircut and why oh why is Chris Noth in this show? He was part of the first L&O (back when there was only one). It was all wrong. There was no plot. There was no suspense. There was no mystery. Everything was spoonfed to us and I turned it off wondering what it was exactly I had just watched.

It doesn't look good for The SIL's scarf. The basic idea is that you cast on like for a sock toe, knit along w/o increases, then divide into tubes, knit the tubes, braid/ weave, then rejoin at the other end. I have two of the tubes knit, but this third one is driving me batty. I am doing a basic braid to complement the Coronet from knitty. The two completed tubes are long (somewhere between 60 and 90 inches, I haven't measured) and act like octopus arms, reaching out, grabbing things, falling on the (unswept) floor. It's one big ol' mess. It seems like I knit and knit and knit and knit and get nowhere. Part of me thinks I should take it and only it for the ride over to The Inlaws for Thanksgiving. Focussed and concentrated effort. The other part of me is actually thinking about working on the sleeves for the sweater I started oh those years ago (of course, the needles I need just happen to be in the @*(*#&$ ribbed hat for The Hubby. Again with the knitting for hours and getting nowhere. Stupid big heads).

Agenda for today: take advantage that many people took this day off work so there are fewer interruptions and something might get done. Go grocery shopping to supplement yesterday's grocery shopping. Make an apple almond tart and two pumpkin pies. Clean the house.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Credit Card Slippage

I managed to visit Borealis and ONLY buy the new Interweave Knits. Not so bad. And I filled up my punch card, so the next time I purchase something, I can get $20 off! Mom got to buy lots of yarn though, so she made up for it!

I went all around the store fondling yarn trying to find a substitute for the recommended yarn for A Cardigan for Arwen. I settled on one, and had decided to go back after Thanksgiving to buy it. Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL, a nice soft alpaca wool blend in the perfect weight and a beautiful color (#12). I also considered color #4, but decided to go with 12.

Then I was browsing Webs this morning, looking for a yarn to sub for Rogue (I've decided to use the Silky Tweed I already bought for some yet to be determined project), and discovered that Webs has Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL on closeout for about 2/3 the normal price. Even with my discount card, this was a significantly better deal.

I kept browsing, then found Classic Elite Skye Tweed at Webs for the same price in the color Grampian Purple...and in a shocking gesture, I bought them both! I'm hoping one works for Arwen and one for Rogue (a girl can never have too many cabled sweaters, right?). If I decide either of them won't work for one, I'm making a pledge to send one back(I also might send one back for a different that I look!

But along with that pledge, I'm committing that my next sweater or big project worth of yarn (I'm considering an afghan or the nightgown from Mason-Dixon Knitting) will come from Borealis... cause they're a great store, and I want to support them!

I've also been spinning, but no pictures yet. I finished the oh so soft silk/merino blend from my pal, and it's currently drying. I think it is destined to become Branching Out from Knitty.

Mom is here all week, and tonight we're having dinner with Mike's folks, and tomorrow going to the Guthrie, so that should be fun! Tomorrow she's also doing the grocery shopping for Thanksgiving, so I'm formulating my list...

PS: I got your lovely and timely package on Saturday. I love the stitch markers, and the pictures are AMAZING..... I'll drop that envelope back to you in tomorrow's mail!

Friday, November 17, 2006


I think I need to defend the Honeycrisp apple (it is, after all, the Minnesota state fruit!). Apparently my earlier catching of the breath was overambitious. You see, I forgot that I had a board retreat this week, and that would swallow my time. (That was actually where I was when you called Friday)

Combine that with the imminent arrival of my mother for a week long visit, and instead of knitting time, I had extra work and lots of cleaning! Mom arrives late tonight, so there's still a whirlwind of cleaning at my place.

On the subject of housekeeping: I was asked on my last post by Spinning Dervish

The sweater is gorgeous, what pattern did you use?

The answer is Eris, from the incomparable Jenna from Girl from Auntie. I also own the pattern for Rogue, which is on my to do list. Her patterns are amazingly detailed and clear, and I've enjoyed the knitting a great deal. My current plan for modifications to Eris involved replacing the zipper with several pewter clasps. I'm not set on the idea, and won't decide till I finish the sweater (hopefully while my mother is here!)

I've recently received knitterly inspiration from the preview of Interweave Knits. I LOVE A Cardigan for Arwen (I think this may be my next sweater, actually. I'm torn between it and Rogue). I'm also sorely tempted by the Equestrian Blazer and the Arctic Diamonds Stole. If I felt up to tackling serious Fair Isle, I would definitely knit the Venezia Pullover as well. This seems to be a truly excellent issue, one that I think I'll buy during Mom's visit, because I think that given time, there are 3 sweaters and a shawl I will knit.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Apple Intelligence?

Hi Flan,
It's only Wednesday (I think) and already a laundress, personal assistant, personal trainer and chef are needed at my house. The Hubby and I purchased some end tables for the living room and that's one happy thing. The other happy things are that he does not have lyme disease (the tick bite looked worse and I called in the medical professionals) and I did not fracture my toes by dropping a large pair of pinking shears on them. What a relief.

On the knitting front, there was ripping. I had started The SIL's scarf, then thought it was going to turn out too short and stubby (as opposed to the first version which was too long and skinny- and involved ribbing). I weighed the beginning then weighed the remaining and, sure 'nuff it was doomed. I took a deep breath and started pulling. So far the third start looks like it will be the charm.

As for the title... The Hubby and I were lucky enough to have lunch together yesterday. We were leaving and I over heard this lady talking to her friends. She said, "You know, he's not the smartest apple on the tree..."

I had no idea we were administering intelligence quotients to apples now. I wonder if Galas are smarter than Goldens who are smarter than Honeycrisps. Are apples smarter than other fruits? We are definitely going to have produce hierarchy going on. (Then again, I might not be the brightest crayon in the box, nor the sharpest knife in the drawer, but at least I knew those were distinctions that could be made. Maybe I'm really a Honeycrisp)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Freak out Monday

Hi Flan,
First of all, sorry about the dog bite. The Hubby came back from his field trip with two gigantic open blisters and a tick head in his torso (disgusting). The photos are fabulous! Both of the fantastic candidates and of the knitting.

I am totally freaking out. It wouldn't be so bad if one area of my life was under control, but all of them are nuts at the same time. At work there are some unreasonable deadlines and far too many meetings, which naturally result in overwhelming paperwork. The holiday season also officially starts on Thursday with open houses at all of the residences. Naturally, I get to go, but there's an entire day gone.
I love love love Thanksgiving and am having a few people over for day after Thanksgiving Thanksgiving (the official day being spent with in-laws; both sets, oh boy). So I'm trying to get the living room put together. This has taken 3 trips to Lowe's and will take another. What I wouldn't pay for a personal shopper. This also means sewing. Ick. Also, am going to have to solidify the menu. I'm already starting to scale back. By the time it comes around we'll be having instant oatmeal.
The MIL is moving so I have to get The Hubby to remember to clear out his old stuff. This also means that we have absolutely no room to move in our shoebox of a house from all the stuff we've already moved out of her house.

The knitting... Wouldn't you know, I started a new project. I'm working on The SIL's Xmas Scarf. I haven't decided if I like the proportions or not, so it's on hold. The Naked Needles challenge is contributing to the freak out.

Please excuse the ranting. I need to get past the freak out to focus and haven't gotten there yet. Deep breaths.

By the way, I got to go see Gracie's little girl. Damn. She's adorable and wonderful with that great baby smell. I got to hold her and she slept and is pretty perfect. When/if the time comes I'm definitely putting in an order to have one just like her.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Catching my Breath

It's Sunday, 5 days after the election, and I'm just feeling like my feet are back under me!

The Good
First, election night pictures:

Me with Lori Swanson, Attorney-General-Elect (the first woman AG in MN History). Note my "I voted" sticker.

Me with Rebbecca Otto, State Auditor-elect.

In answer to the comment question, I didn't run for office, but my profession is politics (I work for a PAC), so I was pretty focused on the elections. It was a great year for our candidates, and for MN and the nation as a whole I think.

Not only did Democrats win the US House and Senate, but DFLers won back the MN House, increased their margin in the Senate, and Amy Kloubuchar becomes the first woman elected to the US Senate from MN! A solid round of accomplishments!

The Bad
So Friday afternoon I'm sitting at work writing the newsletter, and my cell rings, and it's Mike. "We have a problem. The dog had an accident, bit me, and escaped!" To backtrack. we were dogsitting for a friend this weekend. This is a small cute rat terrier, who apparently doesn't know Mike very well.

Mike had the day off, and was supposed to let the dog out. She made a break for the door, he grabbed her, she bit him and had an accident (the dog), and ran. This is a VERY fast little dog. The bite was pretty small, though annoyingly on Mike's knuckle, so bled quite a bit.

So I come racing towards home, calling Mike every 5 minutes. The dog continues to run from him. About 6 blocks from the dog's home, I see her, standing bewildered in the middle of the street. I park, jump out, call her, and she comes straight to me. I truly don't understand dogs.

So I took her back home, looked at Mike's thumb (minor), we called the vet, the rabies shot is up to date (thank goodness), and washed out his wound and bandaged. Then I washed out the dogs paws, which she absolutely blistered in her brief run for freedom. And then I went back to work.

Then yesterday I took her to the vet to get bandaged up, so she now has a bright red bandage twice the size of her foot. And antibiotics. All in all, way too exciting.

The Knitting
Not really much progress here, though three pictures from Eris. I did rip out cuff #1, knitted cuff #2 with smaller needles, and am much happier with the result. I realized that sleeve #1 needed to be a tad longer before the cuff, so now I'm working on that. Finishing is so close I can taste it!

A blurry mirror shot to show the shape of the sweater.

Front cabling.

Back cabling. (Yes, those are double pointed knitting needles holding up my hair).

Recent spinning. Soft, lovely, Mike keeps saying he likes how it looks. Very warm, I'm contemplating a bulky hat for when it's really cold here.

P.S. Baby pictures are so adorable!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sunshine and a Deep Breath

Hi Flan,
I hope all your G&Ts were as happy last night as I was this morning when the DEMS TOOK BACK THE HOUSE and possibly the Senate. I'm happy to report that at least The Hubby got off his cute backside and voted. I don't know yet about The Best Man. I brought out my worn line about, "Don't Vote = Can't Complain". They like to complain.

The Aunty's socks are done! I took a deep breath, re-cast off, blocked and now they're drying. There is one odd thing. I tried them on me and I think my foot is oddly shaped (I'm too freaked out by previous events to suggest that the sock is the one with the problem). My foot made the sock stretch funny in the arch area. If I ever knit for myself I'm going to have to read the bit about high arches. Other than my freaky feet the socks looked pretty good. One more Finished Object!

Gracie emerged from her crazy new mom haze long enough to send me a photo. I am having problems with the formatting, but there she is! I might get to visit this weekend.

Congrats on the wins.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Oh what fools these knitters be...

Sorry Shakespeare, and sorry to all knitters other than myself. It turns out I need a remedial course. Just a more solid grounding in the basics would be good.

Last night, while desperately trying to get to the end of The Aunty's socks I knitted along, decided it was long enough, and started the ribbing. I was thinking of other fun sock projects (there's some Lorna's Laces wanting attention) and about what needle size it might be good to have. Then I started thinking about the needles that I was working on and how they seemed really big for 2s.

Not one to be swayed by the alarms going off in my head, I finished the ribbing and cast off one and a half. I took the completed one and it turns out that my cast of was crazy crazy crazy tight. Feeling defeated, I decided that I didn't have the energy to do it again last night and they would have to wait for today, which means they wouldn't be blocked and dried until tomorrow, the day before her birthday, which means there's no way the postal system will get it there in time (I'm not paying overnight mail prices, it would be a dangerous line to cross).

I was going to grab one of the shorter sets of 2s (purchased in a fit of infatuation w/ the Cat Bordhi system- it quickly passed) when it hit me- The 2s were smaller than the needles I was using. In one fail swoop I figured out why they had been so big when I did the toes and why I had swatched at 8 sts per inch but was knitting at 7 sts per inch and why the cable part had funny gauge. I KNIT THE ENTIRE PAIR OF SOCKS ON A NEEDLE ONE SIZE TOO BIG.

I almost cried. In reality, my Aunty might never wear them, or if she does, might only wear them a couple of times, not enough to actually wear through the weak spots now ensured by my not realizing what size needle I was holding. I purchased a needle especially for this project, so I probably misread the label on the package and was too much of a dumbell to pull out the cute little needle sizer and check the darn things. Also, it took a week and a half of working with them to realize that they seemed just a tad big larger than they should.

I get no points. I need remedial knitting and will have to flog myself with a copy of "Knitting for Dummies". So sad. Also, only 55 days until January One. With recent developments the outlook seems bleak. Arg.

Monday, November 06, 2006

She's HERE (and still a her)

Hi Flan,
I completely understand about the pre-election ostrich-ing. Yesterday I watched The West Wing's season 4 election episodes in solidarity. You have my silent support.

As my crazy voicemail said, The Little Girl is here! And still a girl! I'm pretty excited about that second part. Almost 7 lbs and 19inches. Both Gracie and Daughter are said to be doing well. I don't know any more than that, but am dying to go visit.

Sending good karma to you, the elections, the voting machies (which apparently were made on the cheap), new moms and new babies.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Blogging Break

As you may have noticed, I'm on a bit of a break from the blogging. Honestly, I have no concentration between now and when the polls close on election day. I'm not answering e-mails or my phone, and I'm pretty much hiding from the world. I was excited about the exciting news though! (No mentioning names since I don't see anything on her blog yet)

So I'll be back Wednesday, but right now I'm going to go make chocolate brownies. Cause chocolate solves almost anything.....

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Hi Flan,
I really enjoy your pumpkin theft deterrents, but guess I was wrong with my elephant trunk cozy guess.

When I opened my email this morning there was a lovely invite to register for the Blue Moon Sock Club featuring their divine Socks That Rock yarn. Intrigued, I clicked on all the little links. There are 6 sock kits and patterns and oodles of goodies that come to your house 6 times per year. I would enjoy sock potential being delivered to my house and their yarn is incredibly beautiful. I saw some in person when I visited The Sister in April and was planning a trip to that yarn store next June when we go to the graduation. The problem? It costs $210. Granted, that's $35 for each sock kit, not counting the oodles of goodies and you pay in January (stratigically placed after Christmas). Their stuff is beautiful, but oy.

Now, the question: I love the potential and the Naked Needles will be over by then, leaving me free to load up on sock yarn (they come in light and midweight, my faves and socks are something you can do in the South) BUT, what to knit at Knit Night? It's best to knit yarn from LYS when there at S&B, but the price of STR would eat up most of my yarn budget for the year. I was planning on doing the knitting masters next year, so I would be buying yarn for my swatches, which I guess I could knit on Tuesdays. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

On the subject of Pumpkins

I think I have a solution to any future compulsions to make pumpkin baked goods: Knit them instead!

That's what I did...the aforementioned secret project is Pumpkins from Knitty.

I completed the felting this weekend, and stuffed them and sewed the tops on last night. Due to an inability to get to Michaels to buy fiberfill, I ended up stuffing with shredded newspaper, which I think actually worked pretty well, though I will go back with fiberfill after Halloween.

I'm also thinking I'll use these as part of a centerpiece for Thanksgiving. The greed yarn you can see coming out the tops is tied to my doorknob so that they stay put. Not much of a security measure, but what I could do.

Looking at the pictures, I'm actually considering one more run through the washing machine for additional felting before Thanksgiving. The pattern was easy and fun, and the Cascade 220 was lovely to knit with!

This is the first bobbin of the thank you superwash I mentioned in yesterday's entry. I know it's a bit blurry, but with artificial light it is awfully hard to get a clear shot of the singles. The darker color is shades of natural brown mixing with the cream.

My plans tonight do not involve trick or treaters, so I think I'll do a bit of cleaning and spin another bobbin of this stuff!

Sorry I missed your call last night. We were on a truly long and complicated mission to rescue the package containing Mike's new laptop from a Fedex facility, and it was not a good moment to talk. We were finally successful, and he's very happy with the new computer.

Happy Halloween!

Petit Four Junction

Hi Flan,
Making Petit Fours is now added to the list of things I'm on probation from. The Hubby's Geology department is having a bake sale. I was going to make the cupcakes I usually do, tried and true and very yummy. Unfortunately, I then decided it would be super fun to try something new. Apparently, I thought my resume included "professional cake decorator". It does not.

My entire kitchen was covered in orange icing. I made two cakes. The first one was made Sunday and overbaked, even though I set the timer for 10 minutes less than recommended. It was dry, so I made another (far better results). I iced the first set- total ugly. A smaller cutter was used on the second set- much better. I iced the second set and had 30 small orange cylinders. Everything was going ok- until I tried to put the pumpkins' stems on with the same icing I had used for the orange- very very runny. Not good at all. Naturally, it took me doing 6 or so to decide that it was a total failure. So, I took sprinkles and put sprinkles on them, making them look like sea anemones. Not good. So, it being 10:30 and I like to go to bed around 9:30 the situation was getting worse by the minute. The solution? Turn them over. The former bottom side became the top side, unblemished by the sprinkles. I made some buttercream frosting, dyed the appropriate green, and piped those suckers some stems. Finally. Granted, now they look like orange candles with green flames, not like pumpkins. The conclusion? If you ever get the completely looney idea to make petit fours for a halloween bake sale- make ghosts, NOT pumpkins.

As for the knitting; I am going to try and finally do some heels today, though it might just keep me company while I have a little meltdown.

Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 30, 2006


I think a continuing break from the sewing project (and Martha's magazine) is in order! I also must stay away from the magazine most of the time, which is ok with me.

I had a hectic weekend with lots of errands and cleaning and such, but I did find the time for some spinning, though precious little knitting. I tore out 6 rows on my mother's shawl (the lace goddess biting me for not using lifelines), and haven't been able to face reknitting the section yet. That was the point where I decided to spin, and spin I did.

I took the smallest ball of roving from the swap (Babydoll Wool), and spun it all this weekend. It became an incredibly bouncy cushy yarn. This is the first yarn I've spun that literally has a bounce to it, almost like it has elastic. It has about the same amount of stretch and spring as Calmer does, although it's nothing like Calmer in feel.

This is what it looked like on the bobbins.

Then I Navajo plied it into three ply to keep the color runs long, and I got this:

(Ignore the orange bits, those are the ties keeping the skein in order)

I think the next batch of this fiber I do will be the shetland, and I'll do a traditional three ply so it will barber pole, and I can compare the way the colors look.

Remember how when I ordered my wheel, I originally got the wrong one? Due to my crazy schedule, it stayed in its box in my closet until this weekend, when I met Detta on her way to a meeting and gave it back to her so that she can sell it. As a completely unexpected thank you present for getting the wheel to her, she gave me a big bag of superwash wool, which I naturally forgot to take a picture of! Given the time change, I now really need to do my picture taking in the morning when I can get natural light, and sometimes I'm not all the way awake to remember what I need to take pictures of.

I spun a bobbin of this yesterday afternoon, it's a beautiful cream color with a strip of brown running through the roving, so sections of the singles are pure cream, sections are light brown, some are a barber pole of brown and cream, and some are solid dark brown. I think it's going to make beautiful finished yarn.

On TimeOut

Hi Flan,
I hope you had a nice weekend. The Roman Shades and I are on Time Out from each other. We tried and tried to get along, but anything that keeps me up to 1:45am with no discernible progress needs some time to reconsider their actions. Also, Martha's magazine and I should only be able to spend time together when I am on an airplane and thus thousands of miles away from any crafting opportunities. She makes it seem like her level of household nirvana is obtainable for those of us who lack our own personal craft/ home improvement store. This is just wrong. Also, it is very inconsiderate of our (storebought) pocketbooks. If I had spent the amount of money I poured into making these stupid things on anything else in the whole world I would have been shocked and horrified. However, it was a sewing project, so spend I did. For example, 6 dowels are needed for each shade, 6 total shades, 36 dowels, $.48 a piece= are you freaking kidding me?? After not sleeping and not eating I quietly folded the shades and put them into the closet, picked up my knitting, and immediately started feeling more relaxed and like there was some hope left in the world.
Two delightfully short hours later, I have a purse. It's beautiful and I love it. I did line it with teal polka dotted fabric which I love as well (even though there was sewing involved) I'm going to take lots of pictures. It's lovely.
Nose returning to the grindstone to try and finish the socks by the end of the week. They need to be mailed of in time for the birthday next week. Thankfully, it's almost time for some short rows on the heel.
Happy Monday.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I've Been Spoiled!

My Spinning/Roving Swap package arrived yesterday, as well as a package for my mom, so it was a great mail day! My pal was Jacki, who (with a partner) runs her own yarn and fiber company called CiderMoon!

I am totally spoiled! Here is the complete package:

There are three balls dyed in the same colorway of various wools:

The biggest ball is Australian Wool, and the two others are Shetland and Babydoll wool. They're all just beautiful, and she hand dyed them for me! My photography skills (and the lack of natural light) really don't do the colors justice. There's shades of purple and blue and green, and I'm imagining this as beautiful yarn when I get to spinning it. I'm also really interested to see how the different wools spin up, they each feel very individual!

Then she enclosed a beautiful ball of merino/silk blend in various shades of green. It's so soft that I honestly just want to wear the unspun fiber around my neck.

Beautiful stitch markers that Jacki and her husband made. (Lot's of variety, perfect for knitting lace!)

Candy! No separate picture of that, cause most of it is gone. (oops). It was a bag of Jelly Bellys and a bag of dark chocolate with mint, my favorite combination.

A neat hat and matching mittens pattern that looks super warm and ideal for Minnesota winter.

A huge thanks to Jacki, I've been soundly spoiled!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

If I Were a Rich Man

We watched the first half of the classic movie version of Fiddler on the Roof last night, which of course led to this song embedding itself in my brain for the day. It turns out that the movie is three hours long, so we had to break it into chunks.

Did I tell you we've signed up for Netflix? We have the "Unlimited, Two at a Time" plan, so we can have two movies out at a time. It turns out to work well to have both "mutual movies" that we both want to watch, and then movies that only one of us is interested in (so I got to watch Mad Hot Ballroom last weekend, it was great!)

Little knitting progress to report though, I got ready to pick up stitches for the mittens, but decided I needed better light. I found the proper downsized needles for the cuff of Eris, but couldn't concentrate on the pattern and decided to put it down. My only knitting that seems to just be trucking along is my sock in progress, so I think my idea of switching in the mittens for my traveling project will improve their chances of getting finished!

Resolve Remains

Hi Flan,
Last night the hostage yarn wanted to be swatched. "Just on little gauge check never hurt anyone" it said. I took a deep breath, picked up the socks in progress, and moved to a room father away from the siren yarn call. So far it's working.

Did you knowKnitPicks has books?? I had no idea. I'm so excited. $282.40 it will cost me to buy the 15 knitting books I now have on my list. Fingers crossed for Christmas. It's probably best to buy them a few at a time or else book overload might result. The prices average 30% off regular.

That's all for now. Hope your Thursday is going well.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fiber Progress Good. Cleaning Progress Bad

The title pretty much sums up my evening last night. I started to clean in a whirlwind... and then needed to eat dinner. After dinner I ended up on the phone for 90 minutes, and couldn't clean at the same time. Not one to waste time (or sit still), I ripped another project for the finishing marathon.

That's how much yarn was in the cover camisole from the Vintage Knits book. I made this before I truly understood guage, and the guage was way too firm. On top of that, I ran out of yarn with about 1 inch to go, and the yarn has since been discontinued. It's been ripped and washed, and as a lovely cotton/silk blend, I'm sure I'll find another use. (Color is inaccurate in this picture, it is more of a muted blue than a grey.)

While on the phone I also managed to take pictures of the hat of which I am so proud.

This first picture is accurate for color.

And a closeup of the adapted top shaping from shedir. I love how cleverly it comes together. This is actually made from the same cotton/silk blend as the tank was, and I find it to be lovely and warm due to the silk. Since I have so much trouble wearing wool on my head, this fits the bill perfectly except when it's really cold and I go back to wearing fleece!

So the cleaning still needs work. My one big accomplishment last night was lots of laundry, so one chore is out of the way. My mother is visiting for Thanksgiving, so a top to bottom cleaning is in order! I haven't finished my Thanksgiving menu, I should get on that!


Hey Flan,
Yup, Stephanie's right. People (mostly women people) often demure and dismiss their extraordinary efforts. Mere mortals do not attempt to conquer such feats, so why do we make it seem less than miracles? Knitting/ Life- one in the same. It would be unsettling, to say the least, if your neurosurgeon said, "oh it's nothing really". It should be equally as unsettling when knitters do it.

I'm making progress on The Aunty's socks. I'm much happier now that everything is just trotting along. I was going to make completely vanilla socks. But now I'm thinking about possibly putting one tiny cable up each side of the leg. Any thoughts?

The Hubby saw a customer wearing a hat at work. He liked this hat and has decided it might be fun to have one. He has made a sketch of the hat. The man's insane. It will also have to wait whilst I try and slog through a few more miles of ribbing.

In the spirit of full disclosure.... I might have possibly purchased yarn last night. In the fabulous One Skein book there's an adorable little clutch. I had been thinking that it would be nice to have a small winter purse. In my moving mode I think I got rid of my last one. And it only takes one skein! That yarn is now being held hostage and I can have it when I actually manage to finish something.

Proposed Menu:
  • Spiced Apple Cider
  • Spinach Salad with Granny Smith Apple, Cheddar Cheese, Toasted Walnuts with a Maple Dressing
  • Portobello Mushroom Soup with Sherry and Thyme
  • Seared Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Chutney
  • Balsamic Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables
  • Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crust
  • Gingerbread with Cardamom Whipped Cream

Can you tell Thanksgiving is coming? I think this year we should have a week-long feast extravaganza. We have the obligatory familial dinner on Thursday (to which I asked to bring dessert and the Matriarch said I was planning too many) but I think Friday might be a good day to have a second Thanksgiving. You & your cutie are welcome.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Knitting Inspiration

Did you see the beautiful pictures on Stephanie's blog of her wedding shawl? I'm honestly in awe. It's amazingly beautiful, and I like what she wrote about discounting our skills too. I was in Borealis Yarn yesterday (how I love that store!!) to pick up some yarn for my mother, and I was wearing the hat I made that combined elements of Coronet and Shedir from Knitty. Now I love this hat, I've actually made it twice, once for me and once for my mother, with the same pattern modifications. When complimented by the saleslady, I said "oh, it was easy, I just melded two patterns together." It really wasn't easy. There was lots of math, and ripping out, and experimenting, and learning lots about knitting from charts. But I did it, and I'm proud! I don't think my hat holds a candle to the wedding shawl of course, but it makes me ever so happy.

Now if I had only thought to take a picture of the hat so that you could see what I'm proud of!

Naked Needles Progress:
I'm taking a dual approach to Naked Needles. I'm trying to finish small projects as my take along knitting (note the wristwarmers and socks), and then concentrate on one big project at a time at home. So far so good. Tomorrow I think I'll start working on the Broad Street Mittens as my take along project....once I get the stitches picked up for the flap, it should be mindless traveling knitting.

For my big project, last night I worked on Eris, which I love more every day. I'm finally at the point to start the second sleeve cuff, so I'm pretty close. Then just to rip and reknit the other cuff and weave in lots of ends. I'm contemplating having a seamstress install the zipper. I feel no great confidence in my ability to do so without messing up all that work! First I need to find a suitable zipper though, something that I think may require online ordering. Also, I adore this designer (Jenna from Girl from Auntie). She designed the Shedir cap from the Knitty Breast Cancer Awareness issue, Eris, and Rogue, which I also have in my pattern library. Rogue is the intended pattern for the Silky Tweed I bought back in August.

Tonight my agenda is to clean my apartment. If I get everything picked up and put away, my reward is spinning. If not, there's no fiber for me tonight!

If there are any Ikea curtains (can't beat for cheap and fun patterns!) that you're interested in, I would be willing to brave Ikea this weekend to get them, just let me know.