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.

Tackling Tuesday

Hi Flan,
So far I think the Naked Needles Challenge just includes us. Mainly because I don't know anyone (and because I haven't told the ladies at Knit Night- the owner might not be thrilled with anything that might slow the buying). I thought it might be fun to have prizes and have been dreaming up possibilities. If you know people who would like to join in the mania that'd be fun too. The more the merrier & prizes for everyone!

Today the "real life" Las Vegas CSI is speaking at The University. I think I will have 30 minutes at Knit Night before I have to go. Hopefully, it will be long enough to discover where to buy fabric for curtains. (Some of the KN ladies sew as well) Curtains = sewing. I know, but buying curtains costs a crazy crazy amount. I was perusing Martha Stewart (always dangerous) and she had some nice curtain- "Shade"- ideas; and our living room is currently so pitiful that I have to do something.

I am conveniently ignoring the miles and miles of ribbing left to go in favor of working on The Aunty's socks. Yesterday I ripped back and started from the proper number. I think it looks much better. Originally, I started with half of the total number (32), increasing every other row until the total (64). It turns out the damnable gauge is really 7 sts to the inch, not 8. I ripped back to 56 sts- looks good, but also means that the toe started slightly larger than it would have. I love it.

As for the rest of my finishing... I'm taking the backwards approach of finishing all the small projects first. Probably not good in the long run. I mostly don't want to face the sleeves on the sweater I started so very long ago (Yarnery Spring Sale, '03). I'm going to have to finish the ribbed hat first because it has the needles I need. Hate sleeves, but the hubby doesn't want a vest. The amount of knitting I might have to take on the plane at Christmas might end up equalling the amount of clothes I have to take. Oh well.

I can't wait to see Eris once it's done. I kind of want one...

Monday, October 23, 2006

No Progress

So is someone hosting this Naked Needles along? Are there other crazy knitters besides us trying to dispense with current projects? I googled a tiny bit, and found one for last year, but nothing for this year, but I didn’t delve too deeply. After my finishing party on Saturday, I barely knit a stitch yesterday. I did spin for a little bit, but didn’t have any real measurable progress on that either.

I’m trying to decide what my next top priority is for the Naked Needles. My current thought is that for my at home project that I’ll next tackle Eris. I only need to finish the second sleeve, re-knit the first cuff, and sew in a ton of ends before it’s done. OK, so I’m neglecting to mention to zipper that needs to be installed as well. Baby steps, I tell you.

I did hand wash my sockapaloooza socks, the wrist-warmers, and my Olympic knitting project, as well as the reskeined yarn from the First Year Shawl yesterday, so my apartment currently smells of wet wool and there are woolen items hanging from the drying rack in my living room. Right after I moved back to Minnesota I bought a higher quality drying rack than I’d had before for drying the many clothes of mine that don’t go in the dryer. It came with removable mesh shelves, which are fabulous for drying sweaters, or in this case, my hand knits!

That’s all the excitement here. Tonight is the weekly Studio 60 extravaganza, so perhaps I’ll make actual progress on Eris, and be on my way to another completed knit.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am considering, (but have not decided to), casting on one more project..I need knitting that won't be impacted be tension and late night knitting for knitting on election night....

I love that sweater you're considering, and I've considered making it. I would go with the second or third from the top option in terms of color, and enjoy the sensation of buying yarn in pounds (I now buy fiber for spinning in pounds, it kind of freaks me out....)


Hey Flan,
Major points on all the weekend knitting! Your photos are like a trip down memory lane. I remember when you started the mittens with flaps. I was in total astonishment of your knitting prowess. About that time I think I might have possibly been learning to purl.

It's now officially "cold". The temperature was a chilly 45 this morning. Of course last night the other person that lives in my house turned on the air conditioning AND took the warm blankets off the bed. Was he the one that woke up cold? Boys.

This weekend we trotted across the state line to visit relations and so The Hubby could go fishing. I went to my first karate competition this weekend. Thankfully, I was not competing. Thank goodness there are very few sports that involve dirty sweaty feet- not good for the spectators. I did, however, make progress on the miles and miles and miles and miles of ribbing on the (@*&#$(*$ scarf. I have informed The Hubby that he can request as many knitted items as he wants, but there will be NO more excessive ribbing. It turns out the matching hat would be ready for decreases- if I were it's intended recipient. Unfortunately, for The Hubby, it needs inches more to go.

The Aunty's socks were started. I got through the toe increases and was happily knitting along until I looked at them and realized how very large they look. I am now ripping back so that there is a total of 56, not 64, stitches. Arg.

BIG question: I need help on color. I'm thinking about making this for my first ever EZ project. I'm thinking about using this yarn and need color advise. It's for The Hubby. Any suggestions?

P.S. Just for fun I am throwing in prizes for the Naked Needles competition. They're undetermined but will probably wonderful drill bits or something similar.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Two Finished Objects!

I buckled down to get working on the Naked Needles challenge yesterday.

First, I finally grafted the toes of my blue socks, which didn't get their own picture on Friday cause they were almost too close to done to count. I've been putting off grafting them for the better part of a month.

Here they are, just comfortable cotton ankle socks. These are, as per usual BroadRipple Socks from Knitty in Cascade Fixation.

Second Finished Object are my wristwarmers loosely based on Voodoo. Even with the timer, it's hard to take a picture of both hands!

They're perfect for wearing with a jacket or under gloves on the crisp days, and I can still knit with them on!

I made more progress on the Naked Needles by ripping back the edging on my first year shawl. The edging yarn has been reskeined and washed, and I'm trying to figure out what edging pattern to use instead.

The last picture isn't knitting, its food. This is the pasta salad I made for a potluck last night: it's easily the 4th time I've made this for parties this year. It's super easy, very tasty, and doesn't require refrigeration, so it's great for picnics or events where refrigeration is at a premium! I use this recipe, which always gets rave reviews. I play with it a bit, but the most consistent change I make is to substitute raspberry Blush vinegar for the white wine vinegar called for. It's very vinegary and tart, which I like, but if people don't like that, you could cut back pretty easily.

Hope fishing was fun! I'm off to run errands and then dinner with Mike's folks....

Friday, October 20, 2006

Naked Needles Overview

I did a bit of research to contemplate the Naked Needles idea. I came up with something reassuring: I actually have fewer projects on the needles than I expected.

So here's the pile:

The things to be ripped from that pile:

Exhibit A: Beautiful recycled Sari Silk yarn, knit into the beginnings of Unbiased from Knitty. Nice pattern, pretty yarn, but just not for me. I ripped it last night.

Exhibit B: Beginnings of a lace cardigan from Vintage Knits. After reflection, not suited to my body type. Not yet ripped, but in the to be ripped and washed pile. I'm contemplating making that long pullover that you sent me the pattern to when I lived in Arizona. But that's Spring knitting, so to the frog pond and back into storage it goes.

Not pictured: The 1/2 sock I ripped back in a fit of hatred upon seeing it (ugly marriage of yarn and pattern). The yarn has already been skeined and washed, I'm not sure what will happen to it.

In the longest on the needles category, we have what I refer to as my first year shawl. I started it the winter of my first year of college for mindless class knitting...and was then abandoned. The center triangle is done, and I hate the current edging. I think I'm going to rip out all the current edging and come up with a yet to be determined alternative. Maybe time to get a Barbara Walker stitch treasury from the library.

For the "Why isn't this finished yet?" category, we have Broad Street Mittens from Knitty. As you can see, the glove parts are done but I never finished the mitten flaps. These are going into my tv/going out knitting pile, since once I get the mitten stitches picked up, they'll be totally mindless. I'll confess I was tempted by just using them as not fully fingered gloves, but considering the Minnesota climate, I think I'll be patient and keep knitting.

Here we have more mindless knitting. Wristwarmers based loosely on the Voodoo pattern from Knitty (sensing a trend?). I started these as mindless graveyarn shift knitting last year, and then lost interest. I only have about 2 inches of ribbing to go, so these are becoming my traveling knitting project in lieu of the sock in progress.

This is the always lovely sheepy blanket. It is done, except for interminable ends to be woven in and a backing to be put on. The baby I originally made it for does not need such a warm blanket, so I'm putting it aside once I finish for a baby, since I know there will eventually be another baby I need to knit for.

The shawl: In progress. Hoping to finish for Christmas. Still loving it, still slow. Knitting lace is not very tv friendly, it required too much concentration.

Eris. Still stalled, but now that its cold, I'm reinspired. Hoping to finish quickly after the election.

Secret project of doom. Done soon. Hopefully next week sometime.

No pictures of the vest, I think that will be my December project. I spun a lot last night, but no pictures yet. My wheel is officially empty of fiber for the first time since I started spinning. Hopefully I'll have more to report tomorrow.

Have a good weekend!

Two steps forward...

Hey Flan,
It would be delightful if you joined in my finishing mania. It was a two steps forward, one project back last night. I finished two projects! Granted, it meant adding fringe on a scarf for The Sister and weaving in a total of one end on a hat for one of the Santa Fe Aunties. Then I remembered the pesky order of the calendar and that November (Bday month for the other SF Auntie) comes before December (The Hubby's Bday and Xmas). So I set aside the scarf with miles and miles of endless ribbing and CAST ON a project. I am so nuts.
Ok, I thought I had photos to share, but there seems to be a problem. I will take a deep breath and try again this weekend.
Today we're taking some of the clients to Jackson, AL for a mini conference. I'm excited about the 1 1/2 drive there and back. Major knitting time. We're also going fishing this weekend. Ok, minor correction- The Hubby & Best Man are going fishing, I'm going along to drive because neither of them have slept recently. Hope you have a good Friday.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Naked Needles? Maybe

That's quite a commitment! When I go home tonight I'll be digging out my many works in progress to see if I can manage a similar feat!

The show last night was great, and it was lovely to see the new Guthrie full of people. We had a tour before it was officially open, so it was mostly empty then, and it's always fun to see people experiencing a new building! We saw Lost in Yonkers, with an amazing cast and a really cool set. As we took our seats, out came my sock in progress, and the woman next to me said "Knitting, that's brilliant!" I happily knitted away through the show, and have completed the heel flap on the sock.

I think tonight will be a spinning night once I've finished sorting my WIPs (after all, Grey's Anatomy is on). I'm in the midst of plying very fine dusky purple yarn, and once I'm done plying and washing to set twist, my wheel will be free for me to try something new.

I'm happy to report that my sockapaloooza socks held up beautifully, and my feet were happy throughout what turned out to be a long day.

Off to hope that the sun will come out today. We've officially entered that unfortunate period of Minnesota weather where grey skies reign for days and days at a time.

Naked Needles by 07

Hi Flan,
I hope the Guthrie was fun. Itzahk Perlman is coming to our little town for one night only. Sadly, tickets to go see him are three times regular price. I was lucky enough to see him in the Cities. The Hubby and I decided to spend a fraction of the ticket price on a lovely dinner and listen to a recording instead. One thing about this part of the South- the theatre and orchestra performances are not quite the same as the Cities.
Yesterday I was reading a blog and clicked on one of the links to another blog. That person (who I can't remember) mentioned that their New Year's resolution for 06 had been to finish all the projects. I started thinking that this might be a really great idea. As of today there are 73 days left before the new year. I went home and made four piles (photos to follow): the bags w/ the dregs of former projects and old ball bands, the projects fated to be ripped, the projects with potential and need finishing, and the happy piles of yarn full of potential.
The ripping was quick and relatively painless. Everything in that pile is now ready to be soaked, dried, and wound at which point it will go to the "potential" pile. The finishing is the harder pile. I think I counted 8 projects that need to be completed. They have enough potential that I can't just rip, but getting re-excited about projects is hard. According to my own rules, I can start as many projects as I want, they just have to be done by the end of the year. So far I'm excited and if I get them done before Christmas then I won't have to buy any gifties.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Long Overdue Sockapaloooza Post

This is an incredibly overdue post about the socks I got for sockapaloooza in May. You may remember the timing. I was super stressed from our big event, I had family in town, you had just moved to Alabama(!!), and I was way behind on my socks for my pal.

And what should appear on my doorstep but a package with socks! At the time I had no camera and it was hot here, and wool socks were the last thing on my mind, so I carefully filed them away in my drawer for when winter came. Living in Minnesota, I knew it was only a matter of time.

This morning as I was getting dressed, my feet were freezing and I thought about needing nice warm socks. I opened my drawer, and out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the beautiful hand knit pair sent by Dene! On my feet they went, and I'm in heaven! They're warm and soft, and every time I stand up, I'm reminded of how happy my feet are. Also, I think she chose the most perfect possible color for me, don't you?

Please forgive the blinding whiteness of my legs, I have "sensitive alabaster skin", and I live in Minnesota! Also, I was doing the photos with a flash this morning since it was still dark(!!) when I was getting dressed.

Here's how they look with my trusty Dansko clogs, which is how I'm wearing them right now. (OK, with jeans too, but then you couldn't see the sock very well!)

So a huge and very belated thank you to Dene! I love my socks!

No new progress pictures of my own knitting, sadly. I spun for two hours yesterday, but there are no new pictures of that either. I'm trying to free up some bobbins so that when my package from the Spinning Roving Swap arrives, I'll be able to take full advantage.

We got free theater tickets for tonight, and I'm taking my current sock in progress, so hopefully I'll have knitting of my own to show for it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Hey Flan,
Goodness the fish are adorable! I think we might have some tropical ones for this Xmas.

The amount of water pouring from the sky is amazing. It started yesterday with the extremely chipper radio people constantly announcing the 100% chance of thunderstorms. It rained, but it didn't constantly pour. Today, however, is another story. I was woken up during the night by rain, there was thunder and lightning at breakfast and my car wanted to hydroplane the entire trip to work. I have never seen so much rain. It seems like the world got tipped over and the oceans are all falling on our heads. The other weird thing is that it's warm. Really warm (80). Yesterday it seemed like tornado weather. Today it's like we're in a tsunami. Too bad Work didn't call a "practice hurricane" day...

Did you hear about the Debbie Bliss recall?! Shocking. Apparently, DB and some Noro (and something from KFI) have been recalled because some analysis says that there isn't the advertised amount of cashmere. Hm! The thing is I don't know if I care. Truth in labeling? Yes. But is DB cashmerino a scrumptiously delightful yarn? Totally. Do I get giddy near the baby cashmerino and look for young children to dress in it? Yes. Am I going to get all huffy over it? Maybe but not yet. (As with many things the company is disputing the independent analyst's findings. Should they 'fess up if they've done something wrong? Yes. Own up, apologize and move on- maybe even offer some free to those of us stilly loyal???)

The knitting... I was seduced by the Calmer. It's going pretty well, but I think I'm going to run out of yarn. There would be two options; have The Sister return the original hat I made for her that she says is too short, rip it and add to current hat. Option two: just buy a new ball. The trouble? Hats only take one ball, so it seems stupid to have to add more yarn mid hat. We're on time out. The bamboo scarf is going well, now that I realize I was a dingbat and creating problems that weren't really there. I started a pink mohair scarf. Teeny Tiny mohair and big clunky needles. Weirdest knitting I've ever done. It's sort of like trying to knit fairy wings with concrete. I also found out I really have to pay attention- so far I'm only two rows in and already have an extra stitch. It's going to wait until later. I decided that after slogging through The Wedding Throw I get to have as much knitting ADD as I want.

Ken's onboard w/ your idea. I decided it might be fun to spend more than a weekend in DC, so I'm trying to calculate how many vacation days I'm going to have by May.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Project ADD.

Still swamped, still mildly crazy. Knitting and life ADD continues. I finished a pair of socks this weekend, and promptly cast on for another pair in the exact same pattern. Gotta have some on the go knitting.

Oh! The pal that I was sending to in the Spinning Roving Swap received her package last week! Here is her initial post from when she received it, and a post about the fish she made from the pattern I sent! I'm so excited she liked it. I haven't yet received my package, but there's still almost two weeks left in the swap, so no worries!

Speaking of spinning, I've gotten virtually none done recently. Too stressed and crazy, and spinning tends to require a bit more of a time commitment for me than the knitting does. I'm still working on the very very fine purple wool, hoping to get another bobbin spun up so that I can ply it and see how it turns out.

We recently signed up for Netflix, deciding it was better than cable. Yesterday I put in Bride and Prejudice while I was cleaning my living room, which I really enjoyed. An amazing Indian version of Pride and Prejudice, complete with huge dance numbers! Last night we watched March of the Penguins, which I'm very sad I missed on the big screen, it was amazing. I got a bit of knitting done on my mom's shawl during March of the Penguins, but I think I made a mistake, so I need to look at it again in the light of day.

That's how my knitting has been recently. A row here, a row there, pick up a different project, and repeat. I started the vest, but have a total of 5 rows done, though I have done the basic math, so at least I know how to proceed now. I have lots left on the shawl, still at the same stalled place on my sweater, etc. The only thing getting significant progress is my sock in progress, since it goes everywhere with me, and therefore gets knitted on in those little scraps of time.

Tonight is our weekly dinner and Studio 60 (the new Aaron Sorkin show) date, so hopefully I'll get something done! If the weather would stop drizzling, I'd think about taking my spinning wheel over to Mike's to spin, but as is I think I'll probably just knit.

I suppose I should be thankful that its not snowing so far this week.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Sorry for my complete lack of posting this week, I'm absolutely swamped!

All I have to say is that its been snowing here for 2 days, (not sticking, just flurrying), I'm getting no progress on the knitting, and I won't be able to really post till the weekend. I too am suffering from knitting (and life) ADD. There is simply too much going on.

Talk to you later

One step forward...

... Two steps backward.

Isn't it sad when you think you've discovered something only to realize that you were the dingbat in the first place? I was happily knitting along on the second half of the spiral scarf. It was the second beginning. I had originally started it on the plane to PA. For some reason one of the balls was extremely tightly wound. I had to rewind it, untwisting the whole time. So, Project Runway was going along, my knitting was going along, until I realized that it was trying to spiral upwards instead of downwards. So I merrily spun it the other way, making it spin downwards... And then it hit me- I just had to spin in the other way to reverse directions. I did not, in fact, have to knit two halves and graft them together! I just had to spin the knitting in the opposite direction. That's all. Now I feel like a complete and utter dingbat. Thankfully I'm used to feeling this way and know that with enough chocolate and time it will pass (until, of course, the next time). This also means have the delightful possibility of ripping out, yet again, and just continuing on with what I have.

Also, project ADD has hit. I stared at the Fixation socks for The Mommy. Listless sigh. I stared at the almost completed sock for the hubby. Another listless sigh. I looked at the beautiful yarn destined for socks for one of the Aunties and just couldn't get excited about socks. More sighing. THEN, some Calmer caught my eye. It's a ball that got tossed into the box that used to be stored way up at the top of the closet. Calmer's fun to knit with... Hats are fun to knit... I have enough Calmer for a hat.... Also, I found a pretty pattern for a mohair shawl and found some affordable yarn in a pretty pink. This is a weird urge. I don't really like mohair, I don't really like triangle shawls, and I don't own anything in pastel pink. This project may be destined for someone else... So hard to stay focused.

Funny bit of election news: One of the former contestants from The Apprentice (Raj- in case you were watching that season) is a Republican running for office. Sadly, I can't remember what he's running for or in which state. I do remember there was something about an elephant and being in favor of building the mega fence along the border w/ Mexico.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Wedding Photos!

Hey Flan-
The wedding was delightful and utterly lovely. We got the camera to work so there are photos to share!

They got married! The Sister and I still think it's odd that someone actually would want our older (icky) brother to give them a smootch, but go figure. This was taken by the oak tree on the 12th hole of a golf course. Yes, there were golfers playing around them. The Sister and I got our own golf cart to take to the 12th hole. The photographer was on the back of our cart where the bags are supposed to go. The Sister did manage to drive him through a tree....
Traveling in style.
We three siblings looking like we might like each other. I know it's dark, but the auto enhance feature made us all look funny.
My cutie hubby. Looking fabulous in his new suit, shirt and tie.
The Mommy & The girls. The Sister got ahold of The Mommy's hair stylist. There was unbelievable hair. The Aunties thought it was a piece.

More of the oak tree on the 12th hole. There was wine and dancing and cute boys and gorgeous ladies. Everything was lovely. One funny part- The Brother encouraged his bride to keep her maiden name (the married name not being such a great one and all) but her mother would have none of it and insisted she change. I'm happy to say we now have a new Dull Woman.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Swatching Advice?

I need some advice. I swatched away for the vest, and took some pictures. I'm considering using the reverse stockinette side of the knitting as the "right side" because I like the way the colors blend on the back. Of course, the colors might pool totally differently on the wider piece, but its a thought...

So stockinette:

Reverse Stockinette:

What do you think?

I'm also considering submitting the completed design to MagKnits, assuming I can finish it in time...

The Twins are playing, so I think all of Minnesota is secretly watching the score. In my office, not so secret, as we're both keeping an eye on it. Currently 0-0. They lost the first game of the series, so here's hoping for a win!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Hey Flan,
Oh for the day's I don't read Stephanie's comments! Married?! Goodness. I finally had the chance to move into my very own cubicle. I had been sharing an office w/ two others. I am currently sharing with the same two others plus a new person, but at least now I can't see them. We have "new fangled" desks and things, including an under the desk pull out keyeboard/ mouse thing. It is adjustable, but very spring loaded, so it's hard to figure out where to push down, where to pull up and how to hold it with one hand while the other hand tightens as quickly as possible.
I'm going to guess at the secret project: it looks like a snout cozy for a tiny elephant. I'm pretty sure that's what you were going for, so congrats, it looks great.
I would like to point out that you're very funny- you always say that your life will get easier and less hectic after the election. BTW: I think you invent some elections. Somehow you always know when the school board's assistant's dog catcher is going to be elected. I swear these are not open to the general public.
The Daddy flew from Seattle to D.C. yesterday. He was supposed to go via Chicago. Somehow his plane got re-routed to Indianapolis. He was going to have to go to Chicago and on to D.C. My father, being my father, manged to get the pilot to agree to let him continue on the plane from Indianapolis, bypassing Chicago entirely. He made it, his luggage did not. It was kind of fun playing "which state is my father in vs. which state did we think my father was going to be in."
Only a couple more days until we get to leave! The forecasted highs equal our night lows. I think I'm going to take a sweater.


Not a whole lot of progress to report on the knitting so far, though I have been swatching for the vest, and doing quite a bit of the dreaded math trying to make it work. I think I'm on the right track, but hard to know till I actually cast on!

The Twins game Friday was boring and sad for 7 innings, really exciting for one, and then very disappointing at the end. It was very very loud for that last inning though, I swear the Dome was shaking.

On the other hand, I've taken lots of pictures of pretty fall leaves. I spent much of Sunday outside. First we went to watch the Twin Cities Marathon, of which I have no pictures except this shot from the bridge:

Then I spent the afternoon watching Mike's Ultimate Frisbee game, but most of my pictures look like this:

The only ones that came out clearly look like this:

In the midst of the game, I had to call around to find out whether the Twins had won and the Tigers had lost (the only way that the Twins could have won the division), and sure enough, they did it! So literally in the middle of the ultimate game we started shouting the news...quite a bit of cheering ensued.

There's also been a lot done on my secret project, of which I can show you a sneak peek:

There was also some spinning, but I'm trying to spin plies for sock yarn, which are quite fine, so it takes a long time to fill a bobbin, so I have no progress to show....

It's Week 1 of 2 of a couple of really busy weeks at work, so I'm not sure how much progress I'll be making on anything this week! Then again, I can't imagine life is ever going to calm down much until after the elections.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Miss Marples do it this way...

Hey Flan,
My obsession with Miss Marple continues. We got this great movie of a black and white Miss Marple from the library (something appropriate for The MIL). At one point while she keeps watch Miss Marple takes out her knitting. It's a sock, but the important part is that she's knitting non-continental! And it's not just that Miss Marple, the most recent Miss Marple knits that way too! A big endorsement from all the "throwers" in defiance of all the "pickers". Ha ha- the lovely little British detective does it our way! And solves murders while she's at it.

I've fallen in love. Not just any love, it's yarn love. Plymouth makes Royal Bamboo. Sigh. It's the best suited for the southern climate I have evah found. It's smooth and silky and in truly vibrant colors. I'm making a ruffle scarf from "Scarf Style". There is, however, one design flaw. (Btw: there are now photos! We bought an adorable little camera and it works. How to get the photos from the camera into the computer has not yet been achieved, so be patient) Imagine the scarf like a spiral staircase, but the outer edge of the stairs hangs toward the floor. It's totally cool. Plus, instead of a single spiral staircase, there are actually two spiral staircases wound around each other. When the scarf hangs as it does when it is knitted it looks great. BUT- scarves loop around the neck, and thus half of it will hang upside down. Upside down staircasey things look weird, especially when compared to the pretty hanging of the first side. So, I've decided to knit two halves of the scarf and then graft them together in the middle. This should result in two halves each hanging in the correct direction. Yes, it's easier to see w/ the photos, but use your imagination.

Off to conquer Monday.