Wednesday, December 30, 2009

So long, 2009 . . .

I’m heading out tomorrow morning to celebrate the New Year in completely disconnected fashion, far away from technology, so here’s my quick “knitting year in review” post:

2009 FOs: 16

Adult sweaters: 2
Baby sweaters: 1
Baby blankets: 1
Toys: 1
Mittens/Gloves: 5
Cowls: 3
Scarves: 2
Socks: 1 stinkin’ pair

Sixteen wouldn’t be too bad, but 1 sweater, 2 scarves and 1 pair of gloves were really leftovers from 2008 that I finished up in early 2009. Hmph. And what remains on my needles? One baby blanket, a half-finished vest, a sock, and a hat. Although my hope is to finish the hat on my trip this weekend, so it may squeeze in just at the buzzer.

Did I meet any of my 2009 knitting goals? Just the one about learning to knit socks on two circs. I certainly didn't knit 4 sweaters, or learn fair isle. Ah well, there's always next year.

Welcome 2010!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Feliz Navidad . . . a few days late

So, how was everyone's Christmas? Good? On my end I ate far too much food, drank too much wine, and generally had a lovely time. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. Which means I'm really bummed now that it's over. I'm trying to remember that I have some lovely things to look forward to during the next few months: a few trips (including Punta Cana if my plans work out!), some parties, and most importantly, plenty of knitting time for ME.

Not that I did much holiday knitting this year. I only planned 3 projects, and actually only finished 1. Yep, ONE. Bad knitter. The one I did finish turned out well, so once I get a photo, I'll share it with you. One I didn't finish just because I started far too late, so it will be a slightly delayed gift.

And one, well, one was a disaster.

It was the Morgan hat, from Knitty Fall 2008. And it was frankly a pain in the arse. I started knitting on the plane to Mexico, and while the first part wasn't difficult, there's absolutely no rhyme or reason to the crown increases, so it was very tedious. Then I came to a section where I had to knit into the back loop of the stitch 3 rows below--and stuck on a plane, I had no way to look up what this meant, and had to wing it. And it turns out I did it wrong, though not wrong enough to rip out.
I think 99.9% of the pattern is short rows, so lots of fiddly counting and picking up wraps.
But I finally finished all the knitting and had just to seam things up--so, I tried to fit it around my head.
Way, way too small. If it doesn't fit me, it certainly isn't going to fit Dad. Sigh.
So now, what to do? Not sure where exactly to rip back to to fix the fit, but there's absolutely no way I'm going to start over.

In other news, I wore my Wheat Ear Cable Yoke for Christmas day festivities. It was slightly itchy, but very warm (didn't even wear a coat!). My only complaint is having to frequently pull it back down around my shoulders because it kept sneaking upward. But overall, a success, I think.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

down Mexico way

Thanks for all the lovely comments on my sweater. Unfortunately I won't be able to wear her where I'm heading--off to Mexico City for a meeting and some sightseeing. Not exactly sweater weather there, I'm told.

This message is particularly for anyone sending me a swap-related package--if you send it and I don't respond with squeals of delight, it's because I don't actually have it in my greedy little hands just yet.

Back stateside on the 15th. Hasta luego!

Monday, December 7, 2009

the best laid plans . . .

So, the plan this weekend was to meet up with my sister for some shopping, and have her take pictures of me sporting my latest FO. Then, 3 inches of snow fell from the heavens, and in true Baltimore style, we both curled up on our respective couches, and refused to get behind the wheel of a car.

But I don't want to keep you in suspense, so I'm bravely moving forward with the promised blog post, which unfortunately will be full of pictures taken by me, using my camera's timer, propping it up on various pieces of furniture and/or trying to capture some kind of decent lighting. (Really, must get a gorillapod).

So, without further ado:

(Yes, I am wearing Christmas-themed pajama pants. I just didn't feel the need to get dressed up for you guys, apologies.)

Pattern: Wheat-Ear Cable Yoke, by Pam Allen, Interweave Knits Summer 2007

Yarn: Beaverslide Dry Goods Merino/Mohair worsted weight in Wild Iris

Needles: Sizes 6, 7 and 8

Comments and general musings:

First, I think this second picture might be a bit clearer.

Believe it or not, I'm modeling this sweater for you unblocked. This is exactly how it fit when it came off the needles (or rather, when I finished seaming it all up and weaving in a million ends). You can see the hem is curling up, but otherwise, this is one well-behaved sweater.

It took about 3 months to complete, which is quite an accomplishment for me. I considered trying to adapt it to be knit in the round, but ultimately I was just too lazy to figure it all out.

The pattern is very straight-forward, and the cable is quite simple as well, easy to master without a cable needle. I'm not entirely happy with the bits where the sleeves join the body; the stitches seem a bit loose, but it's certainly not worth undoing.

I must say I wasn't entirely thrilled with the yarn. I found quite a few knots, and as I was seaming up several of the strands I was sewing with broke. The texture of the yarn is rather rustic, so I expected it would be fairly sturdy as well. I will say it's quite a bit softer than I expected, it's very warm, and it's a good value too--the regular price is $11 or $12 for a 250yd skein, but I got this on sale for $9, so $36 for a whole sweater's worth of yarn. And I love the color.

So, there you have it, what will probably be my only sweater for 2009. Maybe 2010 can be the year of the sweater?

Friday, December 4, 2009

two FOs in one!

Hey, look what I have two of now:

Yes, it's true, my Chevalier Mittens are finally done, having been started in March. What can I say, I'm just a really devoted knitter. I start a project and I GET IT DONE. Eventually.

Pattern: Chevalier Mittens
Yarn: Mmmmmmalabrigo in . . . some shade of blue, I forget. Azul Profundo maybe?
Needles: Size 4 DPNs (ouchie)

Thoughts: Knitting with worsted weight on size 4 needles makes for thick, warm mittens, but it's ouchie to do, especially the cabling (which I now always do without a cable needle--best idea ever. Here's Grumperina's super-useful tutorial.) The chart for this pattern is a little overwhelming, too--I realize I'm not getting any younger, but even so, I think 29 is a little young for eyestrain, so that should give you an idea of the difficulty in reading it. I'm sure I could've tried breaking it down into separate sections and blowing them up, but, well, I didn't. Live and learn.
The finished result, though, is worth risking blindness. I just love these cuties, they're snug, they're interesting to knit and to look at, and with a long enough cuff to tuck under the sleeves and keep wrists toasty.
Were I to do them again, I think I would close up the tops differently. I think kitchener stitch would work, give them a top more like a sock toe, instead of the top of a hat (decrease to a small circle, pull the yarn through), which doesn't match the fingers well.

And guess what? Another FO! Hmm, you seem to have passed out. Now where did I leave those smelling salts . . . ?

Well, when you come-to, here it is:

Pattern: Spiral Cowl
Yarn: Malabrigo merino/silk
Needles: erm, size 6 maybe? 16" circs

Thoughts: I love the ease of creating a picot edge from the cast on (fold over, knit edge stitch together with live stitch) and detest creating one after the bind off (requires SEWING. yeugh.). So I kept dreading finishing this project up, knowing what was coming. But it turned out well enough. I had a couple false starts with this one, as the directions say:

"As you work the spiral lace pattern and the design starts to emerge the spiralling will cause your stitch marker to “move.” Make sure to pick up your stitch marker and move it backwards 1 stitch at the end of each 7 row repeat."

The author and I apparently have different interpretations about what the word "backward" means. But no matter, it's quite apparent early on with this pattern when something's not working right, so I spotted the mistake, tinked back and started again, easy peasy. And once I got that bit figured out, this pattern couldn't have been easier--as long as you remember to move that marker, the pattern creates itself.

Now, you're not going to believe this, but I actually have a third FO to show you! Yes, it's true. But I need to wait until the weekend to get pictures, because I'm really excited about this one, and I want the photos to be good, not overlit, washed out photos taken indoors.

I've really been zipping through projects, and I have to tell you the silly reason why. Last"term" I signed up for the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup. You're assigned to a house (I am a proud Hufflepuff), and each month 6 homework assignments are posted. You complete projects to earn points for your house. And something about working toward a goal really helps me overcome startitis and focus on completing projects. So there you have it, Harry Potter = good for knitting. Who knew?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

can i get workman's comp for this?

Oh, wait, knitting's not my actual job. Drat. Foiled again.

Malabrigo worsted + size 4 DPNs + cabling sans cable needle = ouchie hands.

But, I'm rapidly working my way through the second snuggly Chevalier mitt, not to mention the first WECY (that's wheat ear cable yoke) sleeve, and a swap project.

I just need a new pair of hands.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rapid fire update

I've been slacking in the blogging department as of late (what else is new?), but I actually haven't been slacking in the knitting department. So without further ado, here's an update on my latest WIPs and FOs.

I finally got my Wheat-Ear Cable Yoke on the needles! The goal is to finish it this month. So far I've got the front and back done, and the 1st sleeve on my needles.

Then I'll need a second sleeve (unless one of my arms falls off, I guess--not having to knit a second sleeve probably wouldn't be worth the hardship of learning to knit with my feet, though) before I can put all the pieces together and do the yoke.

Not sure this is really the best yarn to show off the cables, but it's a bit late in the game for second guessing, so I'll have to make do.

I also managed to knit the first sock of this year's Socktober Mystery Sock KAL from Through the Loops (and a sorta matchy mini sock for my Christmas tree):

This is a lovely Koigu I bought form someone's destash last year. If I finish the second sock before the end of this month I can enter her contest, but it's looking unlikely.

And here's a complete project, albeit a small one:

Pattern: Guy Next Door cowl
Yarn: Malabrigo (mmmmmm) in Stone Blue
Needles: Size 6 16" circ

Thoughts: This turned out WAY too small, I can barely cram it over my head--even after blocking. It's meant to be a Christmas gift, and I'd hate to see Dad struggling to stuff his head through it Christmas morning, so I'll either rip it out entirely, or use the other half ball of Malabrigo to try again. So I guess it's not really an FO, unless I find a small-headed person to gift it to. Love the stitch pattern, though.

And I've actually got one more FO to show you, but it's for a swap recipient, so no pics 'til I ship it off to her. I've also got another cowl on the needles and started the second mitten for my On the March pair. The weather hasn't really cooled down here too much yet, but I hope when it does, I'll be ready!

So, there you have it, lots of knitting. I've also got big plans to finish up some straggling WIPs before the end of the year (Wicked Eyelet Rib Vest, Pomatomus socks)--except for my doomed Foliage. I'm ripping it out. We're simply incompatible, and I have to accept that.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Guess what this is?

That's right, it's my subscription from Sundara!!! I am just giddy about these yarns. This collection is called Santa Fe, quite quite appropriate for these gorgeous colorways (and I must add the disclaimer that my amateur photography is not doing them justice).

We have, from left to right beaded turquoise, adobe, cactus flower and juniper over sage.
Oh, I'm just in love. It's taking super human strength not to sign right up for the next batch of lovelies, which are inspired by Napa Valley.
Joy doesn't come cheap though; and to make room for these high maintenance beauties, I think I should clear out a bit of stash. Please PM me if you like anything you see here!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Knitter out of context . . .

I have quite a list of blogs I follow in Google reader, including one called Overheard Everywhere, where people submit random quotes they've overheard, that generally make the speakers sound like lobotomy patients. Check this one out:

That's No Euphemism, Dear Reader
Girl on cell: I would've loved to have gone to that socks summit. It sounds amazing!
Overheard by: Me, too?
via Overheard Everywhere, Oct 23, 2009

A summit about socks? Who would go to such a thing? Why would such a thing even exist? What exactly would you discuss?
Taken out of context, us knitters are a crazy-sounding bunch.

Much knitting going on, but sadly not much finishing. I will have a few projects to show off this weekend.
Also, a few months ago I signed up for a 3 month Sundara subscription and my yarns should be arriving THIS WEEK! I cannot wait to see them, and of course to share them with all of you.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bi-weekly Blog Question #3

“What is your favorite cool weather recipe?”
Sorry, I missed this question a while back, but I'm blogging on it now! This is tough, as I love cool weather foods, especially baked goods. But I'm going to go with Curry Pumpkin Soup. Easy to make, hearty, and delicious. (In fact, I was going to make some yesterday, but didn't have any soy sauce. Boo.)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Introducing . . .


Here he is, perched atop my monitor at the office while I "work."

Pattern: Elefante, by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Daffodil (1 skein ) and some shade of green (1/4 of a skein, if that, I used some leftovers I had lying around).
Mods: Knit the ears instead of crochet. Did not take notes, as evidenced by the fact that the ears are not actually the same size. Probably could've fixed that with blocking, but forgot about it by the time I sat down to knit him up last night. Ah well.

Thoughts: OMG!!!1!eleventy He's sooooooo cute!!! I can't even believe I have to give him away. If I hadn't told Mommy Maureen that I was making a knit elephant for baby Carver, I would probably keep him. I luuuuuuuurv him.

Useful thoughts: This was my first knit toy, and it really wasn't hard at all. The worst part was sewing all the pieces together. I have zero sewing skills, so I basically just wound the yarn around in various directions until the bits seemed secure. Sadly, in addition to the mismatched ears, several of his appendages are sewn on a bit crooked. As a result, he can't "sit up" for photos, which is a bummer.
The first time I tried to sew the head and body together, I discovered the head was too top heavy, leading Ellington to topple over about as gracefully as an elephant can manage. So this time I sewed the head in place with the base of the nose equal with the legs. It's not as cute, but he can stand up. Office lighting is bad for photos, I'm going to try to take a few more outside during lunch.
The reason Ellington is here supervising me today is that I finished sewing in all his ends on the subway this morning. A bonus to stuffed toys is that really weaving the ends in isn't as necesary. I did a few maneuvers, and then pulled the ends through to the inside of the body, where the poly fill should keep them relatively secure.
His eyes are just bits of yarn because he's a baby gift. Were I keeping him for myself I would probably use buttons or beads.

I also finished Carver's blanket. Will save that for another post, hopefully I can snap a photo or two of him with the blankie tonight!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

double the fun!

In the last week I've received two fantastic swap packages that I must share with you!

First came my final package from Secret Pal 14. Thanks Amy, you were a really fantastic secret pal!
I got two great Norah Gaughan pattern books, two absolutely gorgeous skeins of sock yarn, a Rav mug that's already right at home on my desk in the office, and some other little goodies as well! (Including lip balm--I can never have enough!)
And shortly thereafter, my first package from my Recession Special Swap spoiler arrived!
Just look at that gorgeous hat! It's so soft too, I can't wait to wear it! Plus some yarn, of course, some lovely scented candles, and the cutest little armadillo key chain! Oh, there were originally 2 boxes of M&Ms, one of them mysteriously disappeared prior to the photo shoot . . .
And my spoiler was extra thoughtful and sent me a birthday card!
I've done some knitting, but I'm trying desperately to finish the Moderne Baby Blanket so I can pass it on to the baby in question. Once it's done, I'll have time to blog about a few projects!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Recession Special Swap Blog Q #2

Are you attending any Fiber Festivals this autumn? If so, which ones and why?
Alas, I am not. I would've attended Stitches had it been held in Baltimore as it was in the past, but they moved it to Connecticut (I think). And I briefly entertained the idea of going to Rhinebeck, but opted for a trip to Napa Valley for my birthday instead. ;) Maybe next year!

Friday, September 18, 2009


I gotta tell ya, my little Christmas elves, the swap stats aren't looking good. Tomorrow is supposed to be the last day of sign ups, and unless quite a few knitters sign up between now and then, well . . .

OK, spirits up, let's give it one last push. I'll try to spread the word a bit more and see what happens.

But just FYI.

Don't forget, if you're reading this (or this), want to sign up and haven't yet, DO IT NOW!

Send this info to merryknitmas at gmail dot com:

Full name:
Mailing address:
Rav ID:
Blog address:
Willing to ship outside your country (US to Canada or vice versa)?
Would you be a swap angel, or be willing to donate $ or items to angel packages?
Do you prefer a $ swap or a $$$$ swap?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hey, I knit something!

No, really!! Look!!!!

And check out the adorable buttons:

Pattern: Presto Chango; visit my Rav project page here.

Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton worsted, 1.33 skeins-ish

Size: 6 months

Mods: I replaced the front panel design with two owl cables. I decided to do it and then checked out Ravelry to see who else might've had the idea already so I could steal their pattern. I based my mods on katafi's notes, but switched it up a bit to fit two owls on there. In retrospect, I sort of which I'd put them on there catty-corner (or kitty-corner, depending on what part of the U.S. you reside in). I'm debating putting button eyes on them or not.

Loved this yarn, very soft, not splitty at all. Pattern was easy too, no problems, but seaming the arms is tricky. Most people who tackled this sweater, myself included, went with fake grafting, which looks ok but creates quite a bulky seam. If you put more advance thought into it, you might be able to do a provisional cast on for the sleeve stitches and then graft them for real.

The buttons are absolutely ADORABLE. I got them from seller cutecumber on etsy.

I used only one skein for the body of the sweater, so the second skein is available for making multiple front panels. I do plan to make some additional panels . . . eventually. Fortunately the baby's not due for a few months.

In other news, we've had a few sign ups for the Christmas swap, but I'd really like to get a few more, so keep spreading the word!

And just in case this works as an incentive for some knitters, I'm going to do a contest! Christmas Swap 2009 is a rather blah name, so as soon as I've got some time I'm going to get my act together and announce a contest for naming our swap. You'll win some yarn from my overflowing stash.

Also, if you're reading this in Google reader, you can't see that I've created a little swap graphic and put it on the right sidebar of my blog. Feel free to use it! Right now it links to the blog post with the swap details, but once I get the group blog up and running, it will link there.

And, though I hate to end on a down note, I do have some sad news to share: my grandfather passed away over the weekend. :( He was 89 and had been ill, so it wasn't a total surprise, fortunately, but obviously sad nonetheless. My Pop Pop lived with my family on a couple different occasions when I was in high school and college, and had been living with my parents for the last few years until he had to move to assisted living earlier this year. He led an interesting life. He grew up in an orphan home, but don't shed any tears for him, because from his stories, it sounds like he had the time of his life. He was stationed in the Phillipines during WWII, and to hear him tell it, that was one big party too. Then he became a letter carrier--he always loved to ask my friends where they lived and then tell them about delivering mail in their neighborhood.

Bye, Pop Pop, you will be missed.

Friday, September 11, 2009

SP14 - spoiled again

Check out the fantastic, amazing, totally awesome package I received from my Secret Pal!!

It's chock full of goodies, many from my etsy wishlist, which is awesome because I'm always putting things on my wishlist, but never actually buying them.

Some highlights: square knitting needles (heard so much about them, can't wait to try!), adorable stationary-type items decorated with Shawn the Sheep, a new matryoshka doll for my collection, Sheeppoopaper air freshner (!!!), and a Post Secret book--I love reading Post Secret, people's lives are fascinating!

Wonderful package, thanks so much Secret Pal!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

RSS swap blog question #1

If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

Well, just how much money are we talking, here? Assuming this means I've won the megamillions or something, I'd start by paying off my remaining school loans and my parents' mortgage, buy myself my dream home, give money to some of my favorite charities, travel the world, and if I've got really big bucks, maybe even quit my job and open a yarn shop. With a cafe! And used books!

(Sign ups for the Christmas swap are off to a slow start, knitters . . . just sayin')

Sunday, September 6, 2009

It's the most wonderful swap of the yeaaaaaaaaar

Well, that’s the goal, anyway. So, if you think Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year (no Scrooges here!) , join us to swap 3 Christmas-y packages between now and the Big Dance.


Sign ups: September 6 – 19
Partners assigned: on or about September 21
Length of swap: 3 months, September 21 – December 19
Packages: 3, to be RECEIVED by October 31, November 30 and December 19
Swappers: Knitters and crocheters in the U.S. and Canada, unless you’re overseas and desperate to join, and I’ll see what I can do
Cost: $45 - $70 over 3 months, not including postage
(you’ll have the opportunity to tell me whether you prefer to be on the high or low end of that range so I can assign partners accordingly)

The Knitty Gritty (see what I did there?):

October package: Send your spoilee a handmade ornament, plus any extra goodies, $10 - $15.

November package: Send your spoilee a pattern for a winter-y accessory (hat, scarf, mittens, cowl, etc.) and the yarn to make it, plus any other goodies, $15 - $25.

December package: Send your spoilee a Christmas stocking, which does NOT have to be handmade, stuffed with goodies, including (at least) one skein of yarn, and one knitting (or crocheting) notion/gadget, $20 - $30.

The October package is the only one that requires a handmade item, but you’re encouraged to send handmade goodies in any or all of your packages. That might be something knit, but could also include stitch markers, tote bags, Christmas cookies—anything. We’re all crafters, right? And isn’t it nice to send your handmade goods to someone who really appreciates them?

This is a NON-Ravelry swap—that is, you don’t have to be a Ravelry member to sign up, and we won’t be doing a Rav group. Instead, over the next couple days I’ll set up a swap blog, and ultimately all participants will be invited to post to the blog.

You will, however, be asked to provide your Rav ID if you have one, to give your spoiler another place to stalk you.

You also need to have your own personal blog (with some knitting content!), and post WEEKLY so your partner knows you haven’t been crushed to death by a towering pile of holiday gifts or something equally terrifying. As usual, once the swap gets going, I’ll supply a nosy questionnaire for you to post to your blog to help your spoiler get to know you.

And let’s go with a secret swap—so get yourself a secret email address.

One of the things that will be posted to the swap blog is a biweekly (Wait, does that mean twice a week, or every two weeks? Well, I mean every 2 weeks.) “egift” you need to send to your spoilee: an ecard, a recipe, a free knitting pattern, etc. This will encourage communication, and help prevent partners from getting caught up in a cycle of “so, how’s the weather?” emails (I hope).

So, those are the basics. I'm sure I've forgotten something, so feel free to ask question.

Want to sign up? Send the following info to merryknitmas @ gmail . com.

Full name:
Mailing address:
Rav ID:
Blog address:
Willing to ship outside your country (US to Canada or vice versa)?
Would you be a swap angel, or be willing to donate $ or items to angel packages?
Do you prefer a $ swap or a $$$$ swap?

Now, every swap runs the risk of not getting enough participants. If I don’t get a decent number here, I will, sadly, shut the swap down. So, please spread the word about the swap to the Christmas lovers you know!

Friday, September 4, 2009

La gente unida jamas sera vencida!

Guess what this is??

Here's a hint: that pile of bricks in the background is my office building.

Yes, we are being protested! This must be what it feels like to work at the World Bank.

I'm all for free speech, protests, power to the people, etc., but I feel it's my duty to let you protesters know that the Permanent Council, made up of representatives from each of the 34 member states, is the body that makes all the major decisions on policies that the OAS pursues.

And the Permanent Council:
a) isn't meeting today
b) doesn't meet in this building anyway.

So maybe next time, a bit of research. Because as of right now, you're out there making a big fuss to a bunch of people like me whose opinions mean next to nothing.

Also, may I recommend that you be a bit more on point? I saw a lot of signs about Honduras, but you were chanting "No mas FARC" and "Fuera Chavez," so you're kind of all over the place, aren't you? I realize they're all interrelated in the grand scheme of things, but you'll probably get fewer quizzical glances if people don't have to spend so much time figuring out exactly who or what you're rooting for. I mean, we're generally only allowed to take in fresh air during our lunch hour, so we're in a bit of a hurry . . .

Si se puede!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Onward and upward

Thanks for the comments regarding the possible Christmas swap. Obviously this swap will be for very enthusiastic swappers--enthusiastic about swapping and about Christmas!

Two things I didn't mention:
1. I think we'll do U.S. and Canada, unless some intrepid overseas knitter is desperate to join in.
2. This swap will NOT be Ravelry based! I know of at least one very awesome knitter who's not on Rav, and I'm sure there are others, and we want them to join us. I'll set up a blog and invite everyone to contribute to it instead.

I'm going to give myself a couple extra days to think this over, but I think I'm going to move ahead with this swap. I'll really need you guys to spread the word, though! And any experienced swap leaders who have advice about the logistics of the swap (how to keep things organized, how to deal with problems, etc.) please feel free to comment or send me some words of wisdom via email (kristen dot jancuk at

I've had a couple knitters volunteer to help with the swap, and I want to warn you, I just may take you up on that!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Christmas swapping

So, I’ve been doing some brainstorming, and may just go ahead with this Christmas-y swap project.

Here are my ideas. Comments welcome!

I’d like to make it a longer swap, to get people in the Christmas spirit early, and just to spread out the fun. Sign ups would run September 6 - September 19, partners would be assigned on September 21. The swap would run for about three months, with 3 packages to be received by October 31, November 30, and December 19.

October would be a “light” month. Send your spoilee a handmade ornament, plus any extras, $10 - $15 on the package contents. Since the swap officially starts September 21, you have a good month to make an ornament.

November is a bigger package, but less “work” as you’re not required to make anything (unless you want to!). You’ll send your spoilee a pattern for a winter-y accessory (hat, scarf, mittens, cowl, etc.) and the yarn to complete it, plus any other goods, $15 - $25 on the package contents. I’ll be reminding everyone to please keep in mind their spoilee’s location—a heavy wool scarf is probably overkill if your partner lives in Texas, so maybe a light, airy cowl instead.

And December is the big show, final package. You’ll send your spoilee a Christmas stocking, which does NOT have to be handmade, stuffed with goodies, including (at least) one skein of yarn, and one knitting notion/gadget, $20 - $30 on the contents.

And to encourage communication between partners, I think it would be nice, if I can think of enough ideas, to have spoilers send weekly “egifts”. This might be a funny ecard, a yummy recipe, a free knitting pattern that caught your eye, a particularly appropriate LOLcat, etc.

So, what do you think? Too much? Too expensive? Too complicated? Too something?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On the definition of exercise

Today, I gave blood. If you've skimmed through my 100/1,001 thing (which I'm doing terribly with, by the way), you might note that I indicated I wanted to give blood more often. And I should, because I'm O+, universal donor. So, there was a blood drive at work and I signed up.

I've never had any problems giving blood--other than the fact that my blood tends to be uncooperative and takes its good old time spilling out of my arm and into that plastic bag. But I've always felt fine afterward, munching on my cookies, sipping my juice, and reading over that list of things you're not supposed to do after giving blood.

Such as exercise. Never really thought about that much, since, well, the amount of exercise I do voluntarily is almost nil (please note that unaccomplished task on the list--running after work). It never occurred to me that walking to the Metro, like I do every day after work, might constitute exercise. Oops.

So I moseyed up there and took my place on the platform, still feeling ok. Then the train came. Packed as usual, no seat. Alright, fine. I slip into the aisle and grab hold of pole to hang on for dear life for the next, oh 30 minutes or so.

Hmmmmm, something's not right. Feeling a little wobbly here. A little sweaty. Exhausted. Maybe I should move out of the aisle and closer to the doors, it's less crowded. Nope, still no good. Sweaty, shaky, and hmm, those are some interesting black fuzzies creeping into my vision. If I just close my eyes and breath deeply I'm sure I'll . . . um, wait, is this what passing out feels like?

Apparently, it is. I managed to hang onto consciousness a bit longer, but must've looked green or wobbly enough to scare some other passengers, as I was suddenly surrounded by people asking me if I felt ok and offering me seats. After I sat down, I managed to survive the rest of the trip, and then walk very, very slowly back to my building.


Now I'm plopped on the couch, not accomplishing any of the myriad tasks I had planned. A glass of wine would be so good right now. But drinking alcohol is on that list of things not to do after giving blood. And I think we've had enough adventures in that area for one day.

Anyway, big, big thanks to Leann for her help with my spinning inquiry!!

And up next, some additional thoughts on my hypothetical Christmas swap.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Question for Spinners

I'm doing Secret Pal 14, and my spoilee is a beginning wheel spinner. I want to get her something to spin, but I don't have a blind clue what that would be--batt? top? roving? This is a language I just don't speak.

Someone, help me please!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

State of the Knitting Address

I've been complaining an awful lot about my failure to make any meaningful progress on my knitting, but I thought maybe you guys would like to see some actual photos of what little I've accomplished. So here goes.

The Moderne Baby Blanket




And the various bits of Elefante


Now, if you'll recall, I mentioned something about Elefante being a bit top heavy. How do I know this? Well, here's what happened the first time I tried to sew him together:


As you can see, he's toppled trunk forward onto the bed, back legs flailing in the air (well, they would be flailing if they weren't so stubby; but that's part of his charm.). I'd really like him to stand upright, so I've got to try again. Perhaps a different head angle will help the situation.

And now a new segment, which I've entitled "Say what?!?," in which I will ponder some things I just don't understand, and basically be snarky about them.

1. Knitting podcasts that talk about anything and everything but knitting. I'm not saying you have to talk exclusively about knitting for the entire show, but why on earth do you think people looking for knitting content want to waste 45 minutes of their valuable lives listening to you wax poetic about your "adorable" child scribbling on a freshly painted wall with crayons?? Some focus, please.

2. "Desperate" Ravelry destashers. From the content of your post, it sounds like you're on the verge of being evicted if you don't pay your bills. Yet interestingly enough, you've got 427 skeins of yarn in your entire stash, but just 10 skeins of fun fur and 40-year-old balls of acrylic on your trade page. Listen, if you want people to give you money, you need to offer them something of actual value! If you're really in dire straits, you've got to part with the Wollmeise, folks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Recession Special Swap questionnaire

I've signed up for a new swap (yes, another! i can't help it!), check it out if you're interested in a swap that's not too much of a burden on your wallet.

Do you knit or crochet, or both? How long have you been at the craft?
i knit, and have been doing so for about 2.5 years; i'd like to learn some basic crochet, to add trims to things, but so far, i haven't had much success teaching myself--although to be honest, i haven't put much effort into it either.

Do you spin?
no, i barely have time for knitting

What yarns/fibers are your favorites?
just about anything natural, i love alpaca/wool blends and wool/silk blends; i love tweeds and heathers

What yarns/fibers do you not like?
i don't really use synthetics, and while i do love variegateds for socks, i definitely don't use them for sweaters, hats, scarves or anything else

What yarns/fibers would you like to try but haven’t?
i'd love to try a blend with llama!

What are your favorite colors? Colors that you don’t like?
i like most colors, but stay away from neon brights--i prefer shades that occur in nature. i really don't like orange.

What are your favorite types of projects to knit/crochet?
just about anything--sweaters, scarves, socks, hats; i haven't finished any shawls yet, but i hope to someday!

What are you currently working on?
let's see. a baby blanket, Delphine, Pomatomus socks; i'm dying to cast on for a fall sweater

What is your favorite FO? (Please post a picture if you have one.)
Lotus Blossom Tank or Tangled Yoke Cardigan

Are there any techniques that you want to learn?
steeking, magic loop, fair isle

Do you have a yarn winder and/or swift?
yes to both

How do you store your needles/hooks?
i have a great DPN organizer, and i use the regular Knit Picks binder for my interchangeables, but i haven't come up with anything for organizing my fixed circs

Do you collect anything?
matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls), Beatles LPs, and apparently armadillos

Do you like sweets?
mmmm, yes

What are your favorite scents?
depends on the time of year; as we get closer to fall i love baked goods, pumpkin, cozy stuff like that

Are you having a birthday during this swap?
October 15!

Do you have any online wish lists? (Amazon, Loopy Ewe, etc.)
of course
Loopy Ewe

What is your living situation?
I live with 2 spoiled cats

Are you allergic to anything?

i'm knitting as fast as i can!

So, new Twist Collective is up, with 2 or 3 great new sweaters, and I picked up the new Interweave Knits as well and queued about 5 patterns. It's all making me so ready for fall and snuggly sweaters.

Yet I'm still plugging away at this easy-but-boring and seemingly never-ending baby blanket. Will it ever be done?!? Not to mention my abysmal progress on Delphine, which is dragging on (and on, and on) because I hate knitting with this yarn. I'm ready for sweaters, why can't my knitting catch up??

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


So little Carver Crow(?) May was born last week, and, you guessed it, the Moderne Baby Blanket is not done. Sigh. It's maybe half done. Oops. Ok, probably mama won't be ready for visitors for a couple weeks. I hope. At least Elefante is basically done, he just needs to be sewn together. And some solution found for his top-heaviness.

Wait. I prepared a blog about Elefante's unfortunate oversized head and/or overly heavy head, and apparently didn't post it. Where is it?? It had photos. Grrrr. Apparently I'll have to investigate this once I get home . . .

Here's a question for ya: do you prefer to bunch your project up on a circ that's too short, or stretch it out on one that's too long? (Duh, the obvious answer would be to buy the right size needle; but Lord knows I'm not doing that!)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Yesterday I came home to find not one, not two, but THREE yarn-y packages waiting for me! After a rough couple weeks of traveling, moving, trying to replace my cell phone and other dramas, I really needed this pick-me-up. Check out the fantastic package I got from my Secret Pal 14 spoiler:

I don't know where to start, there are so many great things here! I got 4 skeins of Berroco yarn, 2 Peruvia and 2 Memoirs, both in lovely reddish purple colorways. A copy of Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines, which I've been dying to get. This ADORABLE organizer for DPNs--Beatles fabric!! A knitspot pattern that I adore. And some cute little things included as well: hand cream, scented candle, notepad, travel tissues and tape measure.

The awesomeness of this package cannot be overstated. A big, big thank you to my spoiler, I only hope I can live up to her standards when I send my own swap package!

(I also got my HSKS Summer Camp kit, which you can read all about here.)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A (Knitting) Tragedy in One Act

This is a tale of love and loss.

As my dear readers might know, I spent last week in Belize—half work trip, half vacation. And I truly had a wonderful time. (Photos) Mostly. While Belize City is, um, a bit rustic (read: underdeveloped, boring, and swampy), the rest of the country is beautiful, and there's so much to see and do. I visited only 2 of the country's dozens of Mayan ruins, I trekked through some rainforest, and I visited just one of the many cayes (teeny islands along the coast). I drank lots of Belikin beer. I visited the "rum museum" for a rum tasting, as one of our Belize contacts is actually part of the family that owns Travellers Rums. Overall, it was a lovely trip.

In preparing for the trip, I of course, selected a number of knitting projects to tote with me. For the plane ride, I decided to only take wooden needles—less chance of them being noticed and/or confiscated. So I dug up my neglected Foliage hat, the yarn for the second Chevalier mitten, and then selected a new sock pattern to try, since someone gave me a lovely set of Knit Picks Harmony DPNs in size 2.

I didn't have time to wind yarn, so I picked up the Knit Picks Felici I'd purchased specifically to make the Jaywalker socks, and off we went. On the flight from Houston to Belize, I cast on. After the ever annoying ribbing, the pattern was FANTASTIC. Easy to memorize, and the sock was knitting up quickly on 2s. I had a good 3 inches done by the time I got off the plane, I don't think I've ever knit a sock that fast, it was like magic. It's really too bad I will never see that half-knit sock or 4 of my DPNs again . . .

Because someone stole my handbag. Not just swiped it, stuck a probably-fake-but-let's-not-test-it-and-find-out pistol in my face and demanded my bag. In broad daylight. As I sat on the low wall that separates the beach from the road just 2 blocks from my hotel. Let me tell you what he got for his troubles:

a half-knit sock

half a granola bar

a hershey kiss

a hair brush

a Metro Smarttrip card

a bag full of makeup

a spare pair of contact lenses

a cell phone

Yes, thankfully the most valuable thing in there was my cell. If you don't count the Jaywalker. So now I've got a single ball of Felici, and two size 2 DPNs. What on earth am I going to do with those? Sigh.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Christmas in July?

I've got this crazy idea stuck in my head that I want to do a Christmas swap. Well, what I really want to do is participate in a Christmas swap, but as the sign ups for the 2009 Christmas Swap on Rav are currently "on hold," whatever that means, it looks like I might need to take the reins and host a swap myself (unless you can suggest another one??), an idea I find both exciting and terrifying.

So, I've been mulling it over. But what I haven't come up with is something to make this theoretical swap a little different than your run of the mill "ship knitting stuff to a stranger" swap. I also don't think I have wide enough readership to draw in an appropriate number of swappers, which is also a concern, although smaller swaps do allow for more personalized interaction. In theory.

But I just wanted to let you guys know I'm thinking about it. In case you want to
a. volunteer to host a Christmas swap so I don't have to;
b. express your desire to sign up for this completely undeveloped, as-yet fictional swap immediately; or
c. talk me out of hosting a swap, as it's a variety of torture no one in his or her right mind would ever voluntarily submit to.

One week 'til I leave for Belize. The good news is, I have a hotel room and won't have to sleep on the beach. The bad news is, due to incompetence, obliviousness, vacation time, and staff turnover, nearly everything else related to our workshop is up in the air. At least my presentations are done. I just need to talk someone else into giving them for me. Ugh, public speaking . . .

Thursday, July 9, 2009

good old fashioned fun

One of these days I'm going to go back and count how many of these blog entries I start with an apology. On second thought, maybe not, that sounds depressing. Anyway, yes, it's true, I'm apologizing for lack of blogging yet again. I've just been super busy at work preparing for a workshop (I leave for Belize on the 21st!), as well as taking care of personal stuff (securing a place to live not inhabited by my mother) and primarily knitting on the Modern Baby Blanket, which, while I expect it will eventually be pretty, is boring--all garter stitch, all the time.

I do have a few knitting updates. First, I've finished and stuffed Elefante's body, but without legs or a head, it just looks like an over-large hacky sack:

I'm nervous about attaching the legs, I want him to look all snuggly and adorable, not lopsided or stricken with gout.

I've also cast on for Delphine. It's not knitting up as fast as I'd hoped because even though it's knit in the round, it's got plenty of purl stitches. I don't have much to show for my efforts yet:

I will admit up front, I did not do a gauge swatch for this project. Why? Well, gauge swatching for knitting in the round is a pain in the arse. Also, I decided the model in the photos looked about my size (hardy har har). And finally, I'm knitting in cotton, so if it's too big, I can shrink it. If it's too small . . . well, it's lace, it should stretch. Yes, I'm well aware that this is a bad plan. But I'm embracing it nonetheless. Remind me I said this when I'm giving this to one of my pregnant friends for her child, or shipping it to Nepal for the Abominable Snowman.

The Frog Tree Pima Silk . . . I don't love it, I have to say. I've used Cascade Pima Silk in the past and it was lovely and soft. This is not lovely and soft. It's also very splitty. I guess we'll see what happens after it's washed. Hopefully it will be more comfortable to wear than to knit with.

And now, some randomness. I spent Independence Day weekend in Colonial Williamsburg, which was quite lovely (minus the FIVE hour drive back to DC, a trip that should top out at 2.5 hours).

Here I am pouting after I found out that the peanut soup I've been dying to try since my last trip to Williamsburg when the Kings Arms Tavern was closed is made with chicken stock, and therefore not vegetarian friendly:

I did keep an eye out for any knitting-related fun to share with you all--afterall this was colonial times, knitting was all the rage.

There was a spinning, weaving and dyeing shop:

where i learned about how colonial Americans used stale pee to set the dye. Lovely thought, huh? Apparently they don't stick with that particular technique in the reproduction, I can't imagine why.

I also saw some adorable sheep, but I must've forgotten my camera that day. Well, you all know what sheep look like, I assume.

There were drop spindle, scarf, and hat kits in the shops--all ugly and overpriced--as well as scratchy, plain handknit hats selling for $30, and bizarrely made in New Zealand--how authentic. And I saw one of the character actors knitting a sock on the front stoop of a house, though I decided against harassing her for a picture.

And finally, but disappointingly, I found this:

The sign says "Leicester long wool yarn $22." The colors were quite nice, but there was no mention of yarn weight or put up. Was this $22 for a pair of socks' worth of fingering weight, or $22 for a few yards of some indeterminate, useless weight? No clue. And it was scratchy, so I held off.

The worst part of the trip was that I brought no actual knitting with me to DO. So yes, I was forced to waste those miserable 5 hours in the car staring out the window. Never again.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Secret Pal 14 questionnaire!!!

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely not like?
I love most natural yarns, though pure cotton is a little rough on the hands. For summer knitting, I love cotton/bamboo blends and for winter, any soft wool or blends with wool, alpaca, silk, etc. Generally avoid synthetics. Love malabrigo, manos del Uruguay, Knit Picks merino style, and love to try new sock yarns.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
Good question. My interchangeable circs from Knit Picks are in their cozy binder, but my DPNs and other circs are a real mess all over the place.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I’ve been knitting for about 2 and 1/2 years; I taught myself with some books and online videos. I guess I would be intermediate.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Loopy Ewe

5. What’s your favorite scent?
Hmmmm, it really depends on the time of year. When it’s warm I love lilac and beachy smells; when it’s cool, baked goods.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I certainly do! I especially like milk chocolate, caramels, and other rich candies. But I hate everything flavored orange.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Nope, no spinning. I occasionally draw and paint, rarely scrapbook. One of these days I’ll learn to crochet.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like all kinds of music, everything from Miles Davis to Bing Crosby to the Beatles to Nirvana to the Killers to Amy Winehouse to Shakira. Just about everything but country. I’m definitely MP3 compatible.

9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand?
I love blues and greens and dark reds and purples. I’m not a fan of neon brights, and no orange, unless it’s Orioles-related ;-)

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have three very spoiled cats, no kids.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
All except ponchos

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Oh, anything, when the mood strikes. but generally wearables, I’m not big on dishcloths or random tchotchkes that sit around collecting dust

13. What are you knitting right now?
Let’s see . . . a pair of socks, a baby blanket, a baby stuffed animal, a summer top and I’ve got a vest sort of on hold on the needles as well.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Of course!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I rarely use straights anymore, definitely circs, aluminum or bamboo

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes, both

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
Sheesh, I don’t even want to think about it. Probably a Foliage hat I started and got lost on and need to rip out and start over. It’s from last October

18. What is your favorite holiday? What winter holiday do you observe?
I LOVE Christmas, though I’m also quite fond of Halloween

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls), Beatles LPs and paper/silk fans, when I can find them. And yarn. ;)

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I’d love to get some of the Norah Gaughan volumes, the 2nd Mason Dixon knitting book, and any Brooklyn Tweed or KnitSpot patterns. I subscribe to Interweave; I had a Yarn Forward electronic subscription, but it *POOF* disappeared shortly after I signed up and since I’m between houses right now, I haven’t looked into the hard copy subscription.

21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn?
I’d like to learn fair isle the right way—I’ve muddled my way through a few easy projects. Also steeking. and magic loop.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I am a (very slow but well-intentioned) sock knitter. I don’t know about the measurements, and since I’m at work and don’t need people thinking I’m weirder than they already do (as I whip out a ruler and start measuring my feet at my desk . . . ) I’ll just say I wear a size 7.5 shoe.

23. When is your birthday?
October 15

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what’s your ID?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yarn: 1, Kristen: 0

So I am, I must say, zipping along fairly quickly with the second Pomatomus sock--well, quickly by my standards, anyway. Perhaps using two circs does make a difference. I've got exactly half the total number of stitches on each side, so no awkward pattern repeats breaking over needles--that's a plus. I've finished 1 repeat of the chart already; I think it's about 3 for the leg.


The other absolutely essential thing I'm doing this time is using stitch markers. Somewhere along the way I came to view stitch marker use as a sign of weakness, when in fact it's a sign of intelligence. It's certainly much easier to identify exactly where you've lost (or gained) a stitch, rather than get all the way to the end of the round and come up short.

And . . . I bought more yarn. I know, I know . . . shame on me. The thing is, Shivaya Naturals is having a ginormous sale--50% ALL yarn! So I picked up some CASHMERE and silk laceweight, a skein of sock yarn, and a huge skein (or hank? I don't know the difference )of DK weight Prime Alpaca, all for $50, instead of the usual $100. I know I don't need any of it, but it's just so lovely and cheap. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

in which i've actually knit SOMETHING

You'll never believe what I did--I actually knit something! A complete something, as in, an FO. I know, I can hardly believe it myself, but here it is, the second Tidepool sock:


I started knitting these socks in, I think, February--pair 1 from my 2009 Personal Sock Club. Yeah, that's going really well--it's now June and I've finished exactly one pair.


Well, better than nothing, I guess. This was my first pair of socks knit on 2 circs and . . . well, the jury's still out on that technique. I thought it would help me knit a lot faster than I do on DPNs, but I'm not so sure. It's hard to tell, since I think I just got bored with these socks and therefore dragged the project out way beyond all reason. So bored, in fact, that as I was finishing up the 2nd sock, measuring it against the first to get the right foot length, I realized that I made the 1st sock very small--too small for me in fact, I was in such a hurry to finish. So I guess these socks are going to my mom for her birthday--she has tiny kid feet.

The 2 circ method does reduce your joins around the leg from 3 to 2, so you have fewer areas with potential ladders, but despite yanking on the yarn with all my might at both joins, I still have laddering. I also found my dangling needles getting tangled in the yarn far too often for my liking. On the plus side, this method makes it impossible to lose a needle--no more rifling through my bag try to find that sneaky 4th DPN.

Before starting any new sock projects, I'm going to knit the second Pomatomous (I know I spelled that wrong, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now) sock--fortunately it's one of the 2 half finished projects I included in my Personal Sock Club, so I still get "credit" for it. I recall having a bit of trouble with this pattern for the 1st sock--super slow going, took major concentration--so we'll see if the new 2 circ method helps this one move along more quickly. I zipped through the cuff super quickly, so now it's time to the start the leg.

Speaking of socks, it's really a good idea to wear them when riding a bike. And speaking of bikes, check out Claudia's Knitters against MS fundraiser. Donate $ to a good cause, be entered to win yarn-y prizes.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Swapping knits

Sign ups for HSKS 8 start today--join us for summer camp! Also, Secret Pal 14 sign ups are going on as we speak (er, type? read?). I ALWAYS miss SP sign ups, I'm so psyched to finally join!!

(I think it would be fun to cohost a swap one of these days; anyone want to join me? You'll need to come up with a brilliant theme idea, though, cuz I've got nothing . . . )

Saturday, June 6, 2009

talk me out of it

I don't need to join the Loopy Ewe Girasole KAL. I don't need to. I DON'T NEED TO.
I'll never finish by October 1. I have so many other projects to finish. It's too big for portable commute knitting. It wouldn't look just lovely in Cascade 220 Olive Heather. The 20% discount on the yarn isn't tempting.

Help me out here folks . . .

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned

Sometimes an interesting discussion on one of the Big Six over on Ravelry will catch my eye, and the other day I found myself scrolling through a topic entitled “Knitting Blasphemies.” Though the thread quickly devolved into a “heated discussion,” (the segue from knitting blasphemies to the abortion debate is just too easy, folks) it did start me thinking about my own knitting blasphemies:

I don’t get dishcloths. To put all that effort into something that’s going to be encrusted with food and other muck and sit collecting bacteria in your kitchen sink? Definitely a “it’s cheaper to buy it” argument winner for me.

Variegated yarns on sweaters. Just . . . ugh. It almost never looks right to me. That much swirly goodness needs to be administered in small doses. Sweater-sized, I think it looks like someone ate a box of crayons and vomited it up on you.

Baby Surprise Jacket—bleh. And Elizabeth Zimmerman in general, while she’s come up with some cute stuff (I do love the February Baby Sweater), is just too darn “pithy” for me. How about some actual sizes? Or, for that matter, instructions? If it weren’t for help from the message boards, my FBS probably would’ve come out with 3 arms—and I know hardly any three-armed babies.

Neither Clapotis nor Calorimetry interests me. At all.

Bobbles, tassles, fringe—just why?

Beads on knitting—love the way it looks, but can’t imagine struggling through the tedious process of actually doing the beading. I’ve got enough trouble finishing projects as it is.

Most of the stuff in Vogue Knitting scares me and leads me to believe aliens are now dictating our fashion choices.

What are your knitting blasphemies?

p.s. Don't forget to check out my destash, and help me clear out my unloved yarns--still got some Malabrigo lace, a skein of Noro, some Artyarns Ultramerino 4, Alpaca with a Twist Fino, a few sock yarns and some other odds and ends.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

do i have my knitter's license yet?

I know you're here to read about the blogiversary contest winners, but first I'm going to ponder my knitting life over the last two years, so you'll just have to bear with me. Or scroll toward the end of this post.

I think I've reached an age, or perhaps just a disposition, where milestones, rather than prompting me to recognize my accomplishments, serve to remind me of everything that I haven't achieved. Sigh. For example, I can't help but be disappointed that I've yet to take a knitting class, try fair isle, learn to steek, or make any "real life" knitting friends. It feels like I've spent the last couple years accumulating yarn I'll probably never use and books I couldn't possibly ever knit all the patterns in.

The truth is, though I can recognize some progress over the last couple years (I'm quite proud of my Lotus Blossom Tank and Tangled Yoke Cardigan), I'm still hesitant to challenge myself because failure is not something I deal with well in any area of my life. And if you don't try, you can't fail, now can you?

But, it's only knitting, I have to remind myself--if I screw up, it's hardly a harbinger of the apocalypse. So, I've come up with 5 knitting goals that I hope to accomplish by my next blogiversary, although how exactly I will go about doing so remains to be seen (and yes, I'm aware that I also set New Year's knitting goals that I'm not exactly keeping up with; time to recommit):

1. Take a knitting class, or possibly an intro crochet class so as to add lovely trims to knitted items

2. Steek something--even if it's just a practice swatch because I'm not quite courageous enough to cut up actual knitting

3. Knit the Endpaper Mitts and Selbu Modern--two stranded knitting projects to get started with

4. Knit socks toe up--I've got Wendy's book, may as well put it to use

5. Design something--possibly the boatneck sweater I've got floating around in my head, but even just a scarf is ok

Ok, enough empty promises.

Without further ado, let's get to that moment you've all been waiting for. The blogiversary contest winners are (drumroll please) .....................

Adrienne and Jags!!!


And here's what they've won:

The Alpaca Yarn Company Paca Peds HT in Summer Berries

Storm Moon Knits Tornado sock yarn in I Kissed a Girl

Congrats, ladies!! These are lovely yarns that are hard to part with, but I know you'll put them to good use.
I'll be messaging the winners in some way, shape or form to get their addresses and ship these out by the end of the week (I don't know who'll get which, it'll be a surprise). Thanks for playing, everyone, I loved reading about your worst knitted items. For the record, mine was the first scarf I ever knit, made with some acrylic yarn with "silver" plastic threads woven into it that wouldn't lie flat and that I eventually mashed into a pancake with the iron.

As a side note, I mentioned a few posts ago, my stashed yarn is really getting out of control, so I've got a bit of a destash going. Some of this is really great yarn that unfortunately just isn't my color and probably won't get used, so I think it would be happier in a home where it won't be overlooked . There are also just a few odds and ends leftover from projects. Please take a look. I've done some pricing, but I'm quite flexible, and I might be open to trades if the right yarn comes along.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Last day!

Last day to enter the blogiversary contest, folks. Leave a comment on this post about your ugliest knitted (or crocheted) item by midnight (EST) tonight, June 1, to be entered to win some sock yarn. Winners will be announced tomorrow, June 2!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Win things! Plus, virtual camp

In just over a week we will be celebrating a most solemn and auspicious occasion--my two year blogiversary. That's right, I've been at this for two years. It been quite a bumpy ride, but I'll do more reminiscing in my June 2 post (which, given my blogging performance lately, will probably be late).

So in honor of the big day, I'm hosting a little contest. All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment on this post telling me the ugliest thing you've ever knit. Whatever the reason--bad yarn, didn't follow the pattern, knitting gnomes, etc.--everyone has at least one atrocious project they'd like to forget about. If you can link to it on your blog or rav projects, all the better. (And don't forget to make sure I know who you are--don't comment anonymously!)

And what can you win for sharing your embarrassing knitting atrocity? Yarn, of course! I've accumulated a ridiculous amount of sock yarn, considering I haven't managed to finish a single pair of socks yet in 2009, so I'll be giving away a skein to TWO lucky winners. I'm not sure which yet, but you can see (most of) my stash here--it may be one of these, or may be a skein I haven't managed to log yet (don't worry, it'll be something good). I'll draw random numbers and announce the winner and the yarns on my June 2nd blogiversary post!

Please, spread the news about the contest, I'd love to have new readers, even though I rarely post anything worth reading.

A few unrelated notes:

First, for my dear Leann who was unceremoniously and most unfairly booted from Ravelry, here are the non-Rav links to the patterns I mentioned in my last post:


Moderne Baby Blanket

Trellis and Keyhole Tank

Also, if anyone is looking for a fun summer swap, check out HSKS 8: Summer Camp. HSKS 7 was loads of fun, so I definitely plan to sign up again. It's a fun group of swappers, and there's a lot going on other than just shipping yarn off to an anonymous stranger, so check it out!

Friday, May 22, 2009


Yards of yarn in my stash, that is. I have GOT to start knitting faster!!

(Please note that this does not include my most recent Knit Picks order with the yarn for the Moderne Baby Blanket and Elefante, plus two random skeins of their new City Tweed DK, nor does it include the yarn I just ordered to make the Trellis and Keyhole Tank (5 skeins of Hempathy) or Owls sweater (5 skeins Berroco Cuzco).)

The silver lining? I have projects selected for almost all of it, except the lace I keep buying with no purpose.

Happy Friday and happy long weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

half baked

That about describes my knitting lately--as in, not so much done. I've got so many half-finished projects I've lost count. So what do I do? Start new projects. Obviously.

My dear friend Mo is due to have a baby in a few months--appropriately dubbed Mojito by yours truly, until they bestow a real name upon it at birth. So certainly she must have baby gifts. I cast on two this weekend--an Elefante, and the Moderne Baby Blanket. Elefante (Elijah? Elliot? Ernesto? I'm not sure yet), knit in yellow with dark green feet, will hopefully be done in time for her shower on June 7, but the blanket won't be finished until much closer to her due date. No pics yet, progress is minimal.

I have dedicated myself to finishing the Tidepool Socks, and won't allow myself to cast on any summer-y tops until they're done. But I'm planning to tackle the Trellis and Keyhole Tank (in Hempathy) and Delphine (Frog Tree Pima Silk).

And then I'd better do some more socks, because I now have so much sock yarn it may actually constitute a federal offense. In fact, I think I'm going to give some away to celebrate my blogiversary, which is June 2. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the difficult post

This is, ostensibly, a knitting blog, though you might not know it from the lack of actual knitted items featured here recently. However, I also feel that I've made some cyber "friends" through this site, and so I want to keep my friends up-to-date about important goings on in my non-knitting life as well. So here goes.

I mentioned in my last post that I was currently separated from my stash. This is because, sadly, I am also currently separated from my husband. I have been living with my parents for the last six weeks or so (which is an entirely different trauma best left for another post), and with all that is going on, knitting has fallen by the wayside.

My husband would say that separating was my idea, although he's the one that brought it up. The reason for this is nothing so ugly or dramatic--no domestic violence, no clandestine drug use, secret second wife, mafia connections, or anything of the sort. Rather I had finally come to terms, after months or years of denying my feelings, with what I believe is the reality of our relationship--we are not in love. We were at some point, I remember, but it seems long ago. We do love each other, but our relationship had slowly become more and more platonic. We began to connect less, talk less, spend less time together. When we did spend time together, it seemed we would argue more often then not. Passion, romance, excitement, all disappeared, and though I tried to rediscover them, I failed. We had companionship, which I believe might be acceptable when you're, say, in your 70s, but at our age, it seems like settling.

In retrospect, we should've addressed these issues sooner, but I was afraid of hurting his feelings, which is of course what ultimately happened anyway. We have never been very good at communicating, which is just another in the laundry list of problems in the relationship. And though I thought perhaps I could be content with our friendship, because he has been a good husband, I finally realized that staying in this relationship was denying us the opportunity to find the kind of love I think we both deserve.

Of course, he is upset and hurt and angry. He feels we haven't tried hard enough, though I've tried to explain that I've spent more than a year trying to change the way I feel and failing miserably. He wants to know when and why my feelings changed, and I don't have answers for him. I simply don't know. What I do know is that this isn't what I want for the rest of my life. I look at his parents, who barely speak to each other but stay together, and refuse to end up the same way.

So, perhaps I am making a mistake. Or maybe I am a horrible person. Certainly I wake up most days feeling like one. But I guess it's my life to live and possibly screw up, or enjoy to the fullest. We'll see which one it turns out to be.

On a much, much lighter note, just to cheer you all up a bit, I am drooling over the shop update at Sunshine Yarns. Has anyone tried the Luxury Sport? It looks delicious. And the new colorways in the soft sock yarn are fantastic. How much sock yarn can one supremely slow sock knitter have?

Monday, May 4, 2009

i've got a lovely bunch of coconuts, er, i mean, knitting blogs . . .

So, the fabulous Leann, clearly having forgotten that my blog posting has suffered tremendously of late due to me sucking, bestowed this prestigious award upon me:

And now that I've clapped my hands and squealed girlishly and otherwise overracted and basked in the glory of my (completely undeserved) award, it's time for me to pass it along to some other fantastic bloggers:

Confessions of a Clumsy Knitter: She does scary stuff I'm afraid of, like steeking. I hope if I keep reading I'll absorb some of her knitting bravery through osmosis. Also, I don't think she's ever had a mail order yarn purchase not go awry--which probably sucks for her, but is amusing to me. ;)

Never Not Knitting: Love her stuff (it always turns out gorgeous), and her podcast--especially those special yarn buying coupon codes!

Exercise before Knitting: After I caught this post, I was sucked in--I can't imagine creating anything this perfect out of scrap yarn. Plus original patterns and helpful maths.

A Little Loopy: Some cutie cute baby stuff here--all of my friends are starting to pop out babies, so this one is inspiring.

The Yarniad: The knitting is gorgeous, as are her own patterns. Plus she's a little quirky (see recent post featuring Star Trek costumes).

Of course, these are just a few standouts from the lengthy list of knitting blogs I read, all of which are inspiring and deserve kudos.

So knitting. Um, I've done some, but not much, honestly. My stash and I are currently separated. Which is a long overdue story for another, hopefully prompt, post.

And despite all of the good thoughts coming my way, I did not finish my friend's shawl before her wedding, which is too bad, because it was pretty shawl-ish weather. Sigh. I guess it will go to the next person I know who gets married?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

May 2010

Well, it's official, I've missed Sheep and Wool. My car is STILL at the mechanic's; apparently when they called at 10:30 and said 2-3 hours, they actually meant never. Also, the leaky tire I took the car in for in the first place could be repaired, but my front two tires need to be replaced because the "tread has separated from the wheel." Whatever that means. So I guess it's a good thing I missed MDS&W, since I'm now spending $200+ on this stupid car repair. But still. GRRRRRRR!!!!


I have a flat tire!!!!! My car is in the shop and God knows when I'll get it back. I might not make it to Sheep and Wool!!!!! I cannot believe this luck. Grrrrrrrrrr.

Friday, May 1, 2009

the slow demise of society

I just walked into the 8th floor bathroom and discovered someone talking on her cell phone while USING the toilet. What on earth?!? Come on now, people, I can imagine few things so important that they can't wait until you've finished your business--and whoever this was wasn't talking about anything even approaching life-threatening. If you want to chit chat while you pee in your own home--or even perhaps a single-stall public bathroom--that's your deal, but it's just not appropriate at the office. Ever. Ugh.

Now, for some good news (although not knitting related)--next week I'm cat-sitting for my friend while she's on her honeymoon, staying in her condo. All week I'll have just a 30 MINUTE commute!!! I simply cannot wait, I'll have so much extra time in my day. Hopefully some of it will be devoted to knitting, especially since I'm biting the bullet and heading to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this year--I'll buy way, way too much yarn, no doubt.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Surprise, surprise

Is anyone surprised to hear that my friend is getting married in less than 3 weeks and I'm not even halfway done her Print O' the Wave stole? No? No one? Sigh.

I've tried to get a good picture of my progress, but since I'm doing it in white, it's tough. I'll try to figure something out! Unfortunately all other projects have fallen by the wayside as I feverishly knit away. Fortunately--KNOCK ON WOOD--I haven't made any mistakes so far! 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

the wait is over . . .

As of midnight, I can buy yarn again! Woo hoo! In 2 hours' time, I'll have made it all through Lent, I'm so proud. OK, in the grand scheme of things, this isn't much of an accomplishment, but I'll take what I can get. Hopefully renewed yarn buying will give my knitting mojo a boost too. Still not getting much done. :(

Saturday, March 21, 2009

absence of blogging

Sorry, folks, just not feeling up to the blogging these days, I'm going through some personal drama right now and knitting has fallen by the wayside a bit. Hopefully things will settle down soon. Happy knitting!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I haz a mitten

Just one at this point, but better than none, I guess:

After giving up on the Knotty Gloves for this year, I thought I might make some quicker mittens to keep my hands warm until spring arrives (and of course, it was 70 degrees today--no faster way to change the weather than to knit something appropriate for it). I'm making these Chevalier Mittens with some lovely soft Malabrigo. mmmmm.

I also got another fantastic package from my Warm Ewe Up spoiler:


How gorgeous is that sock yarn?? A wonderful package, she really outdid herself this time!