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?