Thursday, May 31, 2007

Blocking, Ripping, and Knitting Again

I'm slow at posting, which is a combination of new work responsibilities and the beautiful weather making it hard to concentrate.

I therefore present the short version of my knitting life since my last post:
  • I finished the shrug and blocked. I then ripped out the edging to continue knitting. Still working (big black blob!)
  • I ripped my sockapalooza socks for time #4. I'm now happy with the fabric I'm getting, and just starting the pattern, so I hope it'll work this time. The good news is that the Bearfoot seems to be amazingly resilient to the ripping
  • I knit a pair of baby booties for H & E. Just seaming is left. They're really cute!
  • I spun quite a bit last weekend, but have nothing to show for it. That's the problem with spinning laceweight yarn.
  • Jess brought birthday cake to Knit Night, and it was amazing and delicious.
Other than that, my life is consisting of work and car shopping. It's true. I'm looking at replacing my approaching vintage 1991 Toyota Camry Station Wagon with a brand spanking new Toyota Matrix.

A Little Bit of Sunshine

Hey Flan,
I am happy to report that after two thoroughly miserable, overly emotional days it seems that the phase is over. Thank goodness. Right now I'm exhausted but doing better.

The Hubby's Sweater and I are again on speaking terms. I think it will turn out well but my fingers are still crossed. For a control freak such as myself, EZ's decidedly freeform guidelines are pushing the boundaries of my comfort level. She gives two different ways to do the decreases in Kw/oT and then a third way in Knitter's Almanac. The problem is that I really like whatever Mr. Jared did and I really don't like one in the picture of Kw/oT and I can't figure out which is which. There should really be a Kw/oT for dummies, but I suppose it would sort of negate the whole spirit of Unventing...

Anyway, The Hubby comes home tomorrow (!) and I have a meeting with an extra important person today, so I should probably focus on the latter and not the former.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pity Party

Hey Flan,
You're probably still very busy with your new job and everything. I can't remember if you posted about this or not, but the head of the organization for whom Flan works resigned to go work for another org. What to do whilst the search for a new head honcho went on?? Have Flan run the org! While this is fabulous and totally beats the crap out of anything I could put on my resume, it seems to have the unfortunate effect of stealing absolutely all of her time, leaving none for emailing, telephoning, sleeping, etc.

The Hubby comes home Friday!! I'm so excited I could scream and it's making me even more distracted than before. It's also making me acutely aware that he's been gone for almost a month and that two weeks ago I told him that I feel that he's learned enough and why doesn't he come home NOW?? It didn't work.
By the way, he's decided that not only should you and M get married, but that y'all should get married at the Grand Canyon and time it for during a meteor shower. You probably didn't know that my husband had so many opinions about your completely theoretical wedding, but there they are.

Bottom line: he's been gone a really freakin' long time and I miss him and I'm tired of missing him and the whole world sucks.

The knitting has also been proving more difficult than it should. Gracie and I started our mini Knit-a-long last week. We had been making about equal process up until the weekend or so. Then I decided I should focus on The Hubby's sweater so that it could get done before he comes home (stop laughing, it's theoretically possible). While I was knitting the second sleeve Gracie was trucking along, staying focused. This morning I opened my email to find that she is COMPLETELY DONE with the WHOLE THING. I am happy for her, but not only does she have a 6 month old infant, she also has a husband and a dog to care for and she still found time to get hers finished. My husband is thousands of miles away and whilst he's been gone I've been on sabbatical from cooking, so there are very few demands of my time and I'm still inches from getting anywhere close to being done.

To top it all off, there have been issues with The Hubby's sweater. None of them stem from the "unventor", all of them are solely my fault. I was trying to debate whether or not to do the Seamless Saddle Shoulder Sweater or the Seamless Hybrid. I mistakenly thought that both had the same percentage on the underarm threads and that both were joined and knit for an inch before shoulder shaping started. Nope, not so much. Last night, after a deep breath and a group consensus that the Hybrid really is better than the SSSS, I ripped. There was only about an inch of ripping or so, but they were really, really long rounds.

Pretty gloomy in my world, and the clouds and rain outside aren't helping. O Woe is me... But not for long because The Hubby comes home SOON and chocolate, if nothing else, will help me get to then.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Hi Flan,
I have a knittery question for you and whomever else might be reading this. Gracie and I are doing a mini KAL with a tank. It's got a nice big V at the neck and the usual ribbing around the bottom. For the past couple of days I've been pondering needle size and ribbing and have come out very flummoxed.

Ok, here are the two parts that form my befuddlement.
1. Ribbing makes the knitted fabric tighter. If you're just knitting along and then, using the same needles, start ribbing it will get tighter - hence the whole point of ribbing (besides having a life goal of driving me crazy).

2. Going down needle sizes bumps up gauge, creating a denser, tighter product. Messing with needle size, and therefore gauge, is usually intentional- bigger needles= bigger knitting & vice versa.

So... if ribbing makes something tighter AND smaller needles make something tighter WHY on EARTH are you supposed to use BOTH methods when doing the hem areas?? Ribbing alone seems sufficient, why do the seeming redundancy of downsizing needles as well??

The combination of the two seems to make the hems oddly out of proportion to the rest of the garment. If you do an entire sweater on size 8s, then do 2 inches of ribbing on size 6s doesn't it result in really tight hems, clinging to the stomach region - a region not particularly known for being flattered by close fitting garments?? I'm very confused by the combo of these two techniques and am considering heedlessly flouting them.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Of course, Hunters can mate with Knitters."

Hi Flan,
The above is a direct quote from a story in today's Seattle Times. The story is about relationships. The implications about relationships are not all that complimentary, but neither are they all that rosy for knitters.

Here is the entire paragraph (again, this is from the Seattle Times, the link is above- we strive to be a plagarism free zone- italics added by me), "Of course, hunters can mate with knitters, Republicans with Democrats, Jews with Christians and the filthy rich with working stiffs, but if more than two stark differences are there, the relationship is in trouble, Dobransky says."

Apparently, knitting reflects beliefs as significant as those of FAITH (see Jews and Christians comments). As much as I enjoy knitting, at the end of the day it is a hobby and a creative outlet, not a religion. I have opinions regarding knitting, but none of them are held as fervently as my beliefs regarding politics or religion.

Apparently knitting is on an end diametrically opposed to hunting. Hunters like animals and don't usually hunt the ones whose fleeces knitters enjoy and knitters don't usually knit from those that hunters enjoy. It would probably shock Ms. Dobransky to know that some knitters hunt and some hunters knit. Why wouldn't she have used "hunters can mate with vegans"??

My little rant has very little to do with the actual point of the article. I guess it's just a crabby Thursday. But the rant is not over and I have just one more thing to say. I was at a 3 day training earlier this week. Before we began yesterday I had pulled out my knitting and was sitting quietly, thinking about the day, with my knitting near my lap, partially under the table. I was not knitting something brightly colored. I was not talking to people about my knitting. I was reading through the presentation materials and sitting in a chair. If you didn't look closely you wouldn't have known I was knitting. One of my coworkers said, " I could never do that, I am the type of person who just likes to blend in."

Not only are knitters all Bambi-loving granola crunchies, we also don't blend in while sitting quietly.

Rant over.

Happy 250th Post!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gauge is a Fickle Beast

This entry brought to you by Gauge is a Fickle Beast. Now showing wherever I'm knitting, for the foreseeable future.

So in my search for the perfect shrug pattern, I looked at lots of patterns and lots of yarn. I chose the lovely Royal Bamboo for its silkiness and fair price. After a false start involving the bolero from Vintage Knits, I decided on the One Skein Wonder pattern that has made its way around the blogs. Let me say up front that I love this pattern, and the problem is not with the pattern.

I made a gauge swatch. My gauge was terribly compressed. I did math. Lots of math. I triple checked. My swatch and the math told me that I could knit the largest size, and it should fit me. So I cast on. After knitting a few inches, I measured again. Right on track. So I kept knitting.

Which brings me to last night. I sat down to watch TV in the evening (two episodes of West Wing on DVD), and knit happily along. I knew I was approaching the end of the knitting of the main part of the piece, and then would need to knit the border. After two episodes, I counted stitches. I was done with the main knitting! Then I draped it around myself. Not happening. Several inches too small.

I measured, and lo and behold, the gauge was off. Way off. After a small fit of frustration, I decided to set it aside for the evening (measuring and knitting to resume tonight at Knit Night).

Then I started watching the end of the Minnesota Legislative Session. I know, I know. What an exciting life I have. Watching the legislature isn't generally too exciting, but with a midnight deadline and chaos threatening, it was actually pretty entertaining. As the evening wound down, I found myself ripping out and re-casting on for my sockapalooza socks for the second time. Apparently I really can't be trusted to count.

Tonight my Knit Night agenda involves reconsidering the pattern for my sockapalooza socks and deciding how to proceed on my one skein wonder. Wish me luck in my continuing battle with the fickle beast of gauge.....

PS: Hi Kathleen's brother.....

This One's for You...

.. my brother.

Hey Flan,
Last night a few of us were headed up to Gracie's for a fabulous dinner. The Brother called and mentioned that he had read our little blog. So this post is for you. Also, here's a big cyber Congrats on your Masters!

Oh my the planning. Waaaay back when, your mother was visiting and I don't think you had graduated yet and all three of us went shopping. After an expensively successful trip to the Rack we were at the Yarnery. I succumbed to y'alls peer pressure to purchase some Artful Yarns Fable (color: the three little pigs- how cute is that?!). It was on sale and I had been lusting after it for months. Later I found more at Borealis. Also on sale. I ended up with 5 skeins of one dyelot and 3 of another.

Gracie and I found a very cute little tank pattern over at zephyrstyle. She's using the 3 of one dyelot for hers and I'm using some Cascade Sierra. Oh, if you end up doing the "Ms Marigold" the needle recommendations seem not to be based in my knitting reality. They recommend size 5s for 5 sts/ in. I had been trying to use DK weight and it was not going well. I'm now going to use size 7s and worsted wt and everything is looking up.

THEN I realized that the 5 skeins are EXACTLY enough to make the world's most adorable shrug/ sweater thing (pattern courtesy of the fabulous, but blogless, Jacquie). Absolutely perfect. Just goes to show that the perfect pattern will come along as long as you have patience.

The day long trainings continue. Yesterday was a review of the 3 day long training we underwent in February. They even used some of the same photos. I spend a lot of time wondering if I promised them that I remembered if I could be excused. Hopefully today will be less painful.

I'm so jealous about the Jon Stewart! Have fun housesitting and give Sally a nice pat from me. You sound less stressed, so I hope things are going well.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Reading Weekend

Mike and I are house and dogsitting this week, which presents an opportunity for a slower speed of life.

Have I mentioned that our friend C, who just graduated from college found himself without a place to live between graduation and his new lease beginning on June 1? So he's staying at our house, and we're at Mike's folks.

The weekend started with a bang, as on Thursday one of my office neighbors came over and asked if I'd like tickets to see Jon Stewart on Friday night! Of course! So I procured four tickets, and Mike and I took C and his girlfriend out to dinner at the Loring Pasta Bar, and then off to see the show for free! Jon Stewart was fabulously funny, and since he was doing two shows, we were out early, and went out for drinks afterward.

I of course knit through the entire show, much to the bemusement of some of our neighbors. My current no-thinking, knit in the dark knitting is those socks that you started and then left with me. Mike sadly rejected the colors, so now I'm making them for me, and I'm loving the way the yarn feels. Any memory of what it is? It feels cottony and cool, but doesn't hurt my hands like cotton sometimes does.

After that start to our weekend, we deliberately planned to slow down for the rest of the time. Saturday I spent most of the day reading on the couch, and Sunday I alternated between reading and watching the Twins play on TV. The only knitting that got done was some work on my bamboo shrug, which is fast advancing. The body of it is almost done, and then I need to knit the edging, and I'll be all set. A good thing too, since the event the shrug is intended for is just a couple of weeks away.

It should be a good week for knitting though. I'm planning on finishing the shrug, working on my sockapalooza socks, and doing some spinning for a change!

Hope your Monday is going well!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Two Woohoos and an Arg

Hey Flan,
I've heard good things about Shepherd's Harvest and it sounds like it was good. Not so much sheep down here in lower AL.

Woohoo #0: It's FRIDAY!! Always a good thing.

Woohoo #1: SOCKS ARE FINISHED!!!!!!!!!!! I cast off last night. I was a little surprised that the second one went so quickly. I did the toe Tuesday night, the foot and heel Wed. and the ankle Thursday! They are drying in the back of my car, I'm hoping it's very warm in the car and that the next 6 hours will produce happy, dry socks. It's kind of hard to believe that they didn't even exist a week ago.

Woohoo #2: The number on the scale sayed down for TWO days!! I have been at the exact same weight for so many days it's not funny. Once, a couple of weeks ago it went down a pound and a half. I was excited. The next day that pound and a half was back! THIS time, the scale went down yesterday and I was cautiously optimistic and today it was STILL GONE. I guess slow and steady is good.

The Arg: Yesterday I tried to embellish things in LeBlog. Specifically, I was trying to figure out where the sidebar thingies were so that I could add some "on the needles" and some blog linkies. No such luck. Apparently LeBlog and I need to have a sit down and work out our issues.

This weekend is house renovation! Custom made curtains will be hung, chairs will be sanded, primed and painted, then topped with custom made cushions, pictures will artfully grace the walls and, hopefully, it will stop looking like the reject pile from the Goodwill and start to have some homey cohesiveness.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Catching Up

Here I am, it's wedensday and I feel like I'm just catching up from the weekend.

Last week at Knit Night, we were talking about Shepard's Harvest, and suddenly we had plans to carpool! So Saturday afternoon off went a carload of happy knitters to Shepard's Harvest. A lot of shopping, sitting on the grass eating lamb gyros (yes, we understand the irony) and drinking lemonade, and petting the lambs in the sheep barn ensued.

There may even have been a wee bit of stash enhancement. Which brings me to my next point. I think I'm officially off the wagon for the Knit From Your Stashathon. I did well on it right up until THE Event, so I'm not feeling too much guilt. I also don't anticipate feeling the need to buy yarn this summer, so that helps. Stash enhancement pictures to follow at a later date (the camera is having a fit at the computers).

The other yarn I've bought recently is Royal Bamboo in black. I'm making the famous One Skein Wonder shrug for Mike's family anniversary party in June. I'm going to wear that lovely black and white Ann Taylor dress, and now I'll have a little coverup available if it gets chilly on the riverboat!

Other than that and a little sockapalooza knitting (which will be more detailed in a later post), there's not been a whole lot of knitting going on recently. I blame it on a packed schedule and enjoying our recently warm and lovely weather by gardening and such.

Hope your sock knitting is going well and that the third time remains the charm!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Third Time's The Charm

Hi Flan,
I hope you had a nice weekend. Happy Belated Mother's Day to all of you out there who are, will be, or just think about being mothers. Mothers are angels and heroes all rolled into one and we are lucky to be your children.

This week begins week two of The Field Camp experience. I'm doing slightly less well than I was for week one. The reality of bills to pay and heavy things to carry is a hard one to confront on a daily basis. However, there has been knitting. Friday I went to the fabulous public library and got some of Geraldine McEwan's "Miss Marples". One of my most favorite characters no matter the actress, but I have to say I especially enjoy Ms. McEwan's interpretation.

The oddest Start-itis hit Friday night. I wanted to knit socks. I know! ME knitting SOCKS?! But there it was, regardless of the fact that I had just purchased needles for a completely unrelated project. I pulled out my dpns- not circs- and some beautiful cream Regia Silk happily swatched. These are intended for one of the SF Aunties. Short row toes and heels with a single cable up each side of the ankle. While watching Miss Marple I finished the toe. Saturday I went over to The Grandmother's in anticipation for Mother's Day. I made 2 layer Key Lime Pie (so good), we ate dinner and then watched TV. Enough TV to complete the entire foot part of the sock. I never knew watching home improvement shows could be so productive for knitting.

Yesterday I came home early, rearranged parts of the storage unit and knit the short row heel. Then I decided I didn't like the short row heel and it went on Time Out while I knit on The Broad Street Mittens for awhile. Still not liking the heel I finished the first sleeve for The Hubby's Sweater and cast on for the second sleeve. I finally ripped out the heel. Watching even more Miss Marple I did the heel again. It came out worse than the first time. Thoroughly upset with the entire heel process, I decided to go to bed. This morning I got up early, cleaned a bit of the house, then ripped again. I think the problem was that the yarn wasn't tight enough on the knit half, making it loose and holey. I am proud to say that, before getting to work, I managed to re-knit the stupid heel a third time and it looks much better and we can all move on with our lives.

The only thing I have to say now is that I am so happy she has small feet.

Happy Monday.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Slogging Along

Hey Flan,
Thank goodness you're alive, doing well and survivied The Event! It sounds like you had a fantastic trip with your mom and had some amazing yarn finds. I'm so jealous.

Monday I finished The Hubby's socks. It was a happy day. All ends are woven in and the pair is safely ensconced in the bottom drawer of the yarn storage area, hidden until his birthday. I cast on for the Broad Street Mittens. I was going to do two on one long circular, got 2 rows in and absolutely hated it. I'm headed out to find some dpns and hope that they will make everything better.

The Hubby's sweater is also coming along. I finished the body!! 48inches around x 15 inches long = a whole lot of knitting. Oh yeah, I now have an excuse for not having any photos- The Hubby has the camera so for the next little bit there will be no photos. I worked on the first sleeve, faithfully increasing until EZ had said to stop. However, that only got me to half of the total length. The calculations seem correct according to the recipe, but I got out the sweater upon which I'm basing the calculations and decided to increase some more.

Artyarn supermerino is the best damn yarn there has ever been. Period. Inspite of my undying love of alpaca even it cannot beat this yarn. Best Ever. I'm working on EZ's February Sweater for E&H's baby (as I've decided they're having a girl or a boy that will have to wear purple). I did have to rip out a couple of rows- apparently I can't count to 7 repeatedly- but this yarn makes me smile. It's just that fabulous.

I did it. I actually told someone in the knitting community that I didn't like something. In the world of knitting I try to keep everything positive. People might make something that makes me cringe, but I try to remember that not everyone's asthetic is the same as mine and that at least they are contributing to the Knitting World. There's usually always something nice that can be said about the knitting (the knitters however are sometimes a different story). But the new IK layout is something I just don't like. I tried to keep an open mind with the first edition of the new layout, but the second edition came in the mail last week and I just don't like it. I actually emailed them about it. I know that I welcome change the same way mothers-in-law welcome daughters-in-law, but I rarely tell the people about the stuff I dislike. Something made me email them and they emailed one sentence back, thanking me for my feedback.

I'm off to prep for a meeting. Tomorrow is Friday and I'm trying to keep that in focus.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Alive and Relieved!

I'm alive! And very relieved that my event is over for another year!

My lack of posting can be blamed on the event that ate my life, and on my mom being in town for a aforementioned event. Having survived the event and the inevitable next day cleanup, Mom and I took off for Duluth for the weekend, which was a welcome respite.

As you can imagine, I don't have too much knitting progress to report. I did spend a good deal of time this weekend knitting on the socks that you had started and gifted to me during your visit. I'm enjoying the fabric they're making, and I need to get Mike to try them on this evening to see if they'll be for him or for me.

I also knit quite a bit on the lovely lace shawl I've been working on, but progress beyond those two things has been slim.

Not nearly as exciting as your discovery, but pretty amazing none the less, I did happen to buy some yarn while up north.

Mom and I visited a lovely Duluth yarn store on Saturday (a great shop with excellent selection), and then decided to take a scenic drive up to Two Harbors. I had browsed the Knitty and Knitters Review yarn store threads before we left, and saw mention of another store in northern Minnesota, this one with an official highway sign marking its location. Not knowing the area all that well, I noted with interest, and kept going. But as we drove north, I started seeing signs for Knife River, which I remembered to be the town in question. Sure enough, just around the next bend, there was an official highway sign that said "Yarn Store." Naturally, we had to stop! So we discovered Playing with Yarn, right on the shores of the lake! After much browsing and pattern gazing, Mom and I both left with sock yarn: she bought Tofutsies in a bright pink variegated colorway, and I bought some Panda wool in a (big surprise) teal shade.

Then on the way home, we stopped at what was advertised as an antique shop, but was so much more. TONS of books, glassware, cds, etc. I ventured upstairs, strolling past bin after bin of knitknacks, and spotted something that looked suspiciously like a bag of yarn. Further investigation revealed sever bags of navy blue wool, totalling something approximating 5,000 yards, and feeling like a light fingering weight. Each bag was marked .75, so I bought the whole lot for $5.25. I've been eyeing Ann's Starlight Evening Wrap, and now I have (WAY more than enough) vintage wool to complete it!

Since I don't always want to be knitting with navy, I'm also contemplating overdyeing at least some of it, and whether that would involve bleaching first....

So I'm back! Pictures tomorrow, assuming that camera talks to the computer tonight!

(Hope the husband is safely embarked on field camp!)

Friday, May 04, 2007


Hi Flan,
So- are you done?? I haven't heard anything this week and I'm starting to get nervous. How was the event? Oh, I just realized that your mom's probably still visiting, so you're probably very busy running around with her, making victorious "I'm so happy the event is done" purchases.

Sidenote: while I was writing this I looked over at the 4 cup coffee maker I use to heat the water for morning tea. It was overflowing. I just got to clean up a hot, soggy mess. Happy Friday to me.

Clapotis is finished! I was madly decreasing last night and made it to the end! I completely loved this project from cast on to cast off. The yarn instantly relaxed upon hitting the water and laid down perfectly, making blocking a breeze. It's on the floor of the second bedroom drying and I can't wait to show it off.

The Hubby leaves for Field Camp Sunday. The vans pull out at 6 AM and he wants to be there no later than 5:30AM. In all honesty he would like to be there earlier, but I refused. Also, the knitterly brunch is Sunday. I'm so excited. The menu is still shifting as I decided there wasn't enough food. I never think there will be enough food. Oh well. Have a fantastic time with your mom and I hope you have a great relaxing weekend.