Monday, February 26, 2007

Sweaters Sweaters Everywhere...

... And Not a Stitch to Knit.

Hey Flan,
I hope at least your weekend was nice. At least the part before finding out about neurosurgery, part 2.

It is sweater central down here. Granted, it would make much more sense if I were still in MN and knitting sweaters. Sidenote: in the Mobile Sunday Paper there was a picture of MN weather. The Hubby and I recognized the part of freeway in the photo and had a brief moment of nostalgia- then quickly remembered that it's in the 70s here and sunny.

Sweater Rundown:
1. The Hubby's.
My first real venture into Zimmermania. The Seamless Hybrid in Classic Elite Skye Tweed. Am totally loving the hem lining as demonstrated over at brooklyntweed. Also, why did no one tell me about the delights of washing the yarn? I washed the swatch and it became so much softer. It makes me love it so much more.

2. The Father's.
Have decided that the "pattern interpretation" is fine and do not have to rip out everything that I have. Now on the body and it's pure knitting until the cows come home. Am conveniently forgetting about having to do the sleeves.

3. The Sister's.
I have a bunch of Cascade Sierra. Unfortunately each color is not quite enough to do a whole sweater and don't go as well together as first imagined. The store from which I purchased the initial amount doesn't have any more of the green and the blue is too vibrant to do an entire sweater out of. Am currently debating.

4. MINE.
That's right. I'm taking the plunge and knitting an actual sweater for me. It makes me a little light headed, but deep breathing is working at the moment. I managed to acquire a bag of the unbelievable Karabella Aurora 8. That stuff is what (yarn) dreams are made of. I'm thinking The Ribbi Cardi. It has enough structure for me and I think it will turn out well. Of course, during Start-itis, the needles I need are tied up in The Father's and The Hubby's Sweaters, so progress will be made on theirs simply so that I can free up the needles.

Oh, I made a cute little needle case for circulars yesterday. Sort of like pencil holders that clip into binders, but better. There was sewing and I didn't scream once. Granted, I got to use a hammer at one point, so everything's good. Hopefully photos and details to follow.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Knit Night Stall

I love Knit Night. I love it so much I went to two of them this week. (The one at Borealis that I've attended before, and one for a knitting group starting in our apartment complex).

In the past, Knit Night hasn't caused me problems in my knitting, but this week was a different story. I sat down, pulled out my Arwen, got lots of admiring comments, and settled in to knit. I looked down an hour later, and somewhere I must have skipped a cable row. So after Knit Night was over, I ripped back to the beginning of the cabling, and started over last night.

I have pictures though! Progress picture of the left front-done to the underarm:

I still haven't decided whether to knit as written or add in raglans, so I'm going to continue with the right front up to the armholes, and decide then.

Mike and I were planning to drive up to Alexandra (MN) on Friday evening to watch his cousins hockey game, but we're watching the weather forecast closely, as they're predicting a pretty solid winter storm to hit either Friday or Saturday. We've had a respite from winter this week with a high of 50 yesterday, so payback has hit with a vengeance! So we may be canceling those plans and spending a quiet night at home, which wouldn't be all bad.

I'm wearing Eris today, still sans clasps, but its super comfy. Also subsisting on Advil Cold and Sinus, Halls cough drops, and orange juice.


Hey Flan,
Again, hope you're feeling better. Advil Cold & Sinus is keeping me going. Yesterday the runny nose hit. Other than that, everything else is not too bad except that sneezing is incredibly painful.

Spring is here (not that winter really ever was) and, in the true spirit of Spring, "Start-itis" has roared in. Not only are there still 6 WIPs, TWO more were started yesterday. I was so excited about the math (It must be the sickness talking) from EZ's pattern that I finished my swatch for The Hubby's sweater. Soaked it and everything. I'm in love. I was not in love, however, when I realized I had made painstaking notes with calculations- and then discovered I had done all that work for the Saddle Shoulder Sweater NOT the Hybrid. Several swear words were thrown about, then quickly taken back because this is during Lent and swearing during Lent has got to be worse than swearing at other times. I decided that the 7s (4.5sts/in) were better than the 8s (4sts/in). This, of course, means that all the calculations are off, but I refigured a sleeve and cast on. Still feeling the love. I remembered all the birthdays coming up and quickly stuffed the whole thing in a drawer.

I also fell in love with Karabella's "Aurora 8". I got a single ball on sale at LYS and started some fingerless gloves. I had done a pair in Calmer and they turned out pretty well. They were part of The Sister's care package which she received yesterday and wore all night while writing a final paper. Inspired by her story, I cast on. So much love. There has never been a yarn such as this. It's amazing. The sheep from which it comes surely lead priviledged lives.

Start-itis was not done with me yet. I scoured the internet for possible yarns for The Sister's Pulli Hoodie. What would she wear and what can I afford? Two sad and troubling questions. While checking out Bonne Marie's blog I clicked on the recent photo from someone (I think redbird knits). She had done an Ariann in Cascade 220 and it looked fantastic. I adore 220 for felting, but had never really considered it for wearables. Then it struck me- I had snatched up a bunch of Cascade Sierra while in WA. Would there be enough for a Hoodie? I will probably have to make the sleeves, hood and front pocket out of one color and the body out of another (unless I call to see if they have more). Question: Sierra is only 20% wool, what impact do you think that will have on the finished garment?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Mardi Gras!

Hey Flan,
I'm sorry to hear that you're sick. We had a big ol' Mardi Gras party at Gracie's this weekend. Lots and lots of food (stuffed shrimp, gumbo by yours truly, jambalaya, and desserts; King Cake, Mississippi Mud pie and Beignets) and lots of drink. All delicious.

Sickness, unrelated to the party, hit the following day. General Crud, coughing, fevers, aching, etc. All symptoms made even better by the fact that The Hubby was sick as well. What a pair we made. Thankfully, things are looking better today than they did for the past few days. Few days? Why yes. We are currently living in one of two cities in the US where there are days off work and school for Mardi Gras. I tried explaining the concept to The Sister who remains confused. I have had a four day weekend. Sunday is Joe Cain day (granted, this is a holiday celebrated only in the fair city of Mobile, but celebrated with gusto and gumbo), so Monday is spent recovering from Sunday and getting ready for Fat Tuesday/ Mardi Gras. Apparently the drink of choice is Vodka in Gatorade, the theory being that you replace electrolytes and hydrate while still consuming alcohol. I don't know about its efficacy, but I suppose it might work. I was sick in bed and did not get to attend any of the parades. Sad. There's always next year.

Last night at SNB I was allowed to OCD the display of Encore. The colors weren't all lined up and they said that I could fix it. Now each color has a column starting with light colors and going to dark and I feel much better. Yes, lots of knitters laughed and pointed at the crazy lady rearranging the yarn, but they all said it looked nice when I was done.

Hope you feel better soon.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Although Mike had a four day weekend (his normal every other Friday off combined with Presidents Day), I only had a two day weekend. Despite that, it was incredibly productive. There was socializing, lots of unpacking, a good Ikea trip, etc.

What the weekend lacked with knitting. I think I knit one round on the Manly Mitts all weekend. So last night I settled in with Arwen to do some serious knitting. I'm still in the midst of a debate with myself about raglan sleeves versus knitting the pattern as written, so I put the back and left front on stitch holders, and worked away at the right front. I'm up to the underarms on the back and left front, but only a couple inches in on the right front.

The good news is that I still love the sweater (both the knitting and the prospect of wearing it). The bad news is that there are still no pictures. In the unpacking frenzy I very carefully put the camera in a safe place that I now can't remember.

Meanwhile, I've been baking (No-Knead Bread, which was delicious on the first try, and couldn't be easier), and lusting over yarn. "But you have three sweater projects lined up" you say. And I say "yeah, I know, but just look at this beautiful sweater!"

This is helped by the fact that my father wants me to tell him what I want for my birthday, and I keep thinking "sweater kit!"

I got the package from you on Saturday....lots of chocolate (that mint chocolate is amazing) and beautiful beautiful yarn (also can't wait to knit with that!) Thanks to breaks for chocolate, unpacking was much more manageable! Thank you!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Hey Flan,
As you have no doubt realized by the 27 different emails I have sent you today, I'm just a wee bit unable to focus. I think it was all that sleep I got yesterday. It has completely thrown me off. The nap from 6:17p- 7:39p was nice, but I think the one from 7:40p- 8:24p was a bit excessive. I then slept from 9:40p-5:50a. I think it was all too much. Too much sleep apparently manifests much like ADD. Either that or being married to The Hubby who has ADD has finally rubbed off and I've gotten it too. I'm flitting in 5 minute increments- 5 minutes on this, 5 minutes on that. Forgetting that I already used my 5 minutes up and should really start working on this other thing for 5 minutes... Exhausting. I thought I might need some caffine, so have had two cups of hot sugared tea this morning and am now trying cold Diet Dr. Pepper. I don't think it's working. Maybe a few minutes on the treadmill would help. Or herbal tea and yoga.

I've thought about knitting. I've thought about making the Broad Street Mittens for The Hubby who requested some fingerless glovies to go rock hunting with. I've thought about making the bag from the new IK knits out of some yarn I didn't know what to do with and have enough to make 2 fabulous bags. I've thought about the 6 projects that are on the needles and how, inexplicably, I've decided to spend the most time working on the ones that are due in December and have spent no time working on the ones meant for gifts in March and April. Lots of very scattered thinking.

Have also made my grocery list. It involves a lot of ingredients that have never before seen the inside of my shopping cart. Perhaps I should take someone with me to monitor the situation and intervene if/when necessary.

Ok, I'm going to take a deep breath and see if I can't maybe get something done. Outlook unlikely.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Long Overdue Updates

Happy Valentine's Day! For our romantic Valentines Day, we're going to finish cleaning Mike's old apartment. Can't you feel the romance? We've never been much of a Valentine's couple, so this is sort of par for the course.

I'm home from Montana. For our (4 or 5) blog readers, who might now know what happened, here's the scoop: I was woken up by a family emergency at 4:30 last Tuesday morning, and ended up in Montana for much of the week helping my Dad recover from brain surgery. It was quite a week.

Dad's recovering well, and I think we all have a whole new appreciation for how fragile the body can be.

On Monday morning I was booked on a 6am flight. I got up at 4:30, checked out of my hotel, turned to walk out the door, and discovered blizzard conditions. For those not familiar with Billings Montana, let me tell you that downtown (and my hotel) are located in a valley, and the airport is located on a butte. High above (although very close to) town. This necessitated climbing a very large very slick hill with zero visibility in my poor little rental car. Having survived that experience due mostly to luck, we sat through multiple de-icings of the plane before we could take off, and my experience was capped by sprinting through the Denver airport to catch my connecting flight.

However, the one good thing about the hospital time is that there was plenty of time for knitting! Arwen is trucking along. The back is almost finished (currently on stitch holders awaiting Jody’s Raglan advice), the left front is done to the armholes as well, and the right front is just up to the turning row. I’m loving the cabled goodness, which is gorgeous without overwhelming the sweater.

No pictures cause the camera needs batteries though. Hopefully more tomorrow.

P.S. We made it to post 201 with this one!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Curiouser and Curiouser

Hey Flan,
I hope your plane was hearty enough to stand up to all the sub-freezing temperatures and got you home ok.

I took your wonderful suggestion to knit a swatch out of the yarn for The Dad's sweater and then wash the swatch. I'm going on record as saying that I just don't understand. I soaked that yarn for hours, in hot water, in room temp water, in water in between room temp and warm and it would not release all the spinning oil. However, when I knit the swatch and soaked it everything came out fine. I'm befuddled- why, when it is the exact same yarn, does it behave differently when in a skein than when in a swatch? As stated in Alice in Wonderland, "Curiouser and Curiouser".

On the up side, once I washed the swatch it became softer but remained the same gauge. This made me happy because I actually had the gauge I wanted. Bolstered by the previous events, I fearlessly cast on, then foolishly only read the first three rows of the pattern and figured they were all pretty much the same from then on out. However, neglected to read crucial row 4. Once directions for row 4 were discovered, had to rip and restart. Am now back to where I was, plus one row ahead. I'm currently loving the autumnal tweed colors and so far it looks pretty good. Also, the needles I'm using have much sharper points than Addi's I have been using and I am completely infatuated with their pointy-ness.

The EZ Baby Blanket is progressing well (one ball knit, 11 to go), except that I think I started with too many stitches, so will have to rip and start over from the beginning. Also, I didn't have a locking marker and the darn thing has slipped out twice whilst in the car. While great amusement is provided for the driver, trying to find the marker in the dark by fumbling around in the car seat is not all that much fun for me.

Friday, February 09, 2007

"Grab a Jacket...

... the high is supposed to be only 58* today"- actual quotation from this morning's public radio weather forecast.

Hi Flan,

I hope your father's recovery continues to go well.

The yarn arrived yesterday! "UPS tracking" was almost classified as an official sport after the amount of time I spent clicking the "track now" button. The (long suffering) Hubby had to endure 2 hours of me asking "where's my yarn" in 5 minute increments. It has arrived and is beautiful and all is well. I was a bit surprised when I pulled out the gi-normous cone of yarn and was a bit befuddled as to what to do next. Aafter realizing that the entire two pound cone would not fit on the ball winder and would thus have to be cut into smaller pieces, I skeined, tied, washed in Dawn and then in Eucalan and took over the bathroom as the yarn drying area. I wanted to make all the skeins about the same size, so the winding and then counting each one took awhile. I'm not completely done, but 3 1/2 hours of sitting on the floor pulling yarn off a cone took it's toll and my back hurts. It's almost dry but I think it needs one more washing just for fun.

Yesterday while awaiting the arrival of my yarn I experienced a fit of start-itis. The Mommy's socks are going well, but I had started them the day before so needed something new. I had read part of EZ's Knitter's Workshop during lunch and was completely entranced by her pattern for a baby blanket. It's utterly brilliant. While in WA visiting last April I picked up an obscene amount of pink baby yarn. It's from Austrailia and called "Heirloom". Machine washable and wonderful in many ways. The only place I have ever seen it is the Wool Station (sadly website-less). I had purchased enough for a baby blanket in garter stitch. I don't know exactly why I felt that I would realistically knit a 30" square blanket on size 3s, but I purchased the yarn nonetheless. Casting aside all fears, I cast on and after a grand total of 3 rows I'm loving it. I have decided to keep it in the car for some entertainment. The pattern is completely stress free and there is no time limit. Pretty much the perfect mindless knitting.

The Hubby is going camping as part of one of his class requirements this weekend. I'm planning on a fantastic weekend of watching DVDs and knitting. Hope your weekend goes well.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Sock and A Prayer

Hey Flan,

I hope everything is going well with your dad. The prayers of everyone here are with you and him. Fingers and everything else imaginable are crossed.

On a lighter, and hopefully distracting, note, I am having issues with socks- again. Why is it that every knitter on the planet flocks to socks and I am left out in the cold? How did the sock gene miss me so profoundly? It's not only that I lack the desire to knit the little buggers, but also that when I knit anything other than plain vanilla socks they come out looking exceedingly funny?

Case in point: The Socks for The Sister. I was all prepared to put aside my differences and give socks their due. The provisional cast on and I got along well (except for the purls, which are usually quite delightful but in this instance just look funny) and the short row toes came out pretty well. Everything looked up, until I started the pattern. They appear as if their maker was, well, more than a little bit "challenged". Everyone else who was knitting socks at SNB had absolutely gorgeous socks. There are socks with lace, socks with cables, socks that I can barely describe and one with an "Eye of Partridge" heel which is about as pretty as a heel can be. Mine, however, look like a hairball dissected with chopsticks. Not pretty. After three consecutive evenings of knitting I took a deep breath and resolved myself to the fact that these socks were not meant for my sister and this yarn was definitely not meant for this pattern. Not wanting to give up on socks altogether, I pulled the needles and grabbed some Soccatta The Mommy chose while down here last September. Fingers crossed this goes better than the last pair.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Warning: Credit Cards May Be Slippery When Yarn Present

Hey Flan,
Thanks for all your help to get me converted to the new format.

The LYS was having a "Superball" sale yesterday (yes, someone actually came in to tell them the sign was mis-spelled). It was the first Sunday they were open, so very exciting for those of us not really obsessed with The Game. There was a discount structure, so from 8-10 there was a 40% discount. As the day progressed the discounts became less (from 10-12 30% off). I was in FL celebrating The Grandfather's 80th birthday so gave my list to one of the lovely knitters. By proxy I procured EZ's Knitter's Workshop, along with One Skein, such a fabulous little book. I've checked it out from the library for two extended periods and it's just delightful. Now I have my own.

I also got a 40" needle for socks. I know, I know, I don't knit socks, but people can change. I had previously purchased some beautiful yarn for The Sister's upcoming birthday. Trying to expand my knitting repertoire, I learned the provisional cast on (it only took 2 hours) and am doing the short row toe. Well, I did it once and managed to flunk short rows on the purl side, so had to do the whole thing over again. I'm not sure I'm picking them up properly while purling, but it's just going to have to be ok. So far I'm a big fan of this type of toe, though the provisional cast on still has me scratching my head while consulting multiple books (the winner in the end was EZ's Kw/oT).

Until this weekend I was doing well with knitting from the stash. Everything was going swimmingly, until there was a mighty slippery spot in front of some Jitterbug yarn and woops, the credit card slipped, and the yarn ended up in my bag. I wasn't even going to buy yarn (very well intended), but had picked up a skein to show Gracie. It was really to teach The Little Ladybug about good kinds of yarn, and then... well... I had a little moment of weakness and slipped. It's just so pretty. I have it out to observe and admire. Allegedly it's sock yarn but the inside of my shoes seem an awfully poor audience, so we'll see what it turns out to be.

The slippery extended across cyberspace and I ordered yarn off the internet! I'd never done it before and would just like to thank the lovely people at Webs for making it so easy. There is no login name or password and really, everyone should make it so convenient. On the other hand, it was so hassel free that I'm almost sorry I know. Now I have nothing between me and my credit card from slipping. Better lock it up.

Moving, Part 2 of 2

We did it! On Saturday, with temperature hovering around -15, and wind chill closer to -30, we moved all of our stuff into the new house! We had 13 people show up (the advantage of having the minivan for so long, everyone owed us moving!)

So I took half the group and we went to J's, and loaded my stuff up, and then the other half took dollies and literally wheeled Mike's stuff down the street. Since it was only 1.5 blocks for him, this worked well (though seeing the coffee table and desk come down the street on dollies was surreal, At the end, we broke for hot chocolate (some people spiked theirs with Baileys), and then we were done. Literally 2 hours, start to finish, and no frostbite!

We're still working on setting up and finding things (cooking anything in the kitchen would still be a challenge). Yesterday we decided that we deserved to go to a Superbowl party after the week we'd had, and I finally got to knit! I have to say that the Superbowl is a really good knitting opportunity. I just sat there and knit on the back of Arwen for hours, a stretch interrupted only to stand up to find more food, and to play with one of the babies who was there. I can't find a tape measure yet, but I think I'm at about 10 inches or so.

Pictures when I unearth the camera as well!

This morning it was -20 before windchill, and my poor car thought long and hard before it started. I'm on cup #2 of hot cocoa, and just beginning to warm up!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Moving, Part 1 of 2

Tuesday evening there was a great influx of people to my apartment. Armed with warm clothes and large cars, we moved the entire contents of my apartment to our friend J's house. In the midst of this complicated moving thing, there was this great trickle down. Our friend H is taking over my apartment. She had to be out of her old place by noon on the 31st. So I had to be out by the morning of the 31st so they could check the apartment. Unfortunately, the people living in our new place were moving out at the same time, and the apartment complex needed time to repaint. Therefore, my stuff is living at J's this week, and I'm living at Mike's. Several hours of moving later, I came back and cleaned my place, so I finally finished early Wednesday morning (12:30ish?)

So moving, part 1 of 2 is complete. Moving, part 2 of 2 will happen tomorrow.

However, the title is actually a play on words. Today I moved the blog to new blogger, so you'll need to sign in with gmail. (FYI, I've made a g-mail account for just the blog, so that my personal account doesn't end up all over the place).

Last night during Grey's Anatomy I finally got to knit for the first time this week, but there's no measurable progress to report. I'm off to prepare for moving, part 2 of 2!