06 December 2012

Banal Post

Seems like it's time for a purse-sock update.  One sock done, one sock still in process--I turned the heel the other night while I was sitting in a master class given by a Tony-winning Broadway performer.  Husband's school offers us some pretty interesting opportunities, like heel-turning while watching an expert change the lives of a bunch of undergrads who think they might want to, like, I dunno, sing or something.

I'm not loving these socks.  The best part is the cast-on.  The rest is just... meh.  I haven't had a ton of opportunity to work on them lately.  Then again, I also haven't made those opportunities.  I've been too busy finishing projects I actually like making.

Sigh.  Back to not liking socks?  Time will tell.

03 December 2012

Is There Such a Thing as Finishitis?

We all know about Startitis.  It’s the desire to start new knitting projects, often several new projects at once.  We all know I’ve suffered from (and succumbed to) Startitis many times in the past.

I think I’ve been going through a bout of Finishitis, and it feels very strange.  It sort of started with the Fireside (or maybe with Husband’s sweater?), and then the Fiddlehead Mittens, but it hit a whole new level last week:

I took the final step for finishing Henry.

Longtime readers will recall that I ran out of yarn for Henry and had to frog the swatch I’d made so I could learn the funky stitch pattern before casting on the four-hundred-some stitches needed to knit the actual scarf.  I frogged the swatch but had to soak the yarn to un-kink it, and that’s where I’d gotten stuck.  “Oh, I’ll get around to it someday” is something of a motto of mine for many things, and I’ve been “meaning to” soak that bit of yarn for what, three years now?

I finally did it.  Soaked, hung to dry, reballed… I’m ready to go.  I think this might actually happen, folks.  Henry will finally be a wearable scarf, instead of tethered to his size-three circulars.  That will be awesome.

I really hope this is the right amount of yarn, because this is all I have.

30 November 2012

Fiddlehead Mittens Are Done!

Sooooo pretty.  And warm!  Seriously, these are the warmest mittens ever.  If you want warm hands, you want these mittens.  They’re essentially three layers of yarn.  And they’re alpaca.  And they’re matting together quite nicely and becoming basically windproof.  My hands have never been this warm.

Plus, I enjoyed knitting these so much, I immediately cast on for another pair.  And I want to make a matching hat, too.

It’s love, I tell you.  True love.

27 November 2012

Finished Fireside

So here it is, the Fireside Cardigan.  Done!  I’m thrilled with the end result.  It did grow a bit when I blocked it – the arms needed some coaxing not to be eleventy-zillion feet long when I put it on after it had dried – but the fit is still quite good in spite of the growth.  I’ve also lost some weight since I started the knitting back in January.  If I’d known I was going to do that, I’d maybe have knit the small instead of the medium.  But still.  I’m quite pleased with it.  I looooove the color, and I swear this one is even better than the original model that Cameron Diaz wore in The Holiday.  (Many thanks to Portcat for finding a still I could use!)

I wasn’t sure I would like the double-breasted look on me, but it turns out I love the cozy wrappy-ness of this sweater (would it be crazy to knit a cable-y belt??).  My one regret is that I only made five buttonholes.  I should have done seven so I could close it higher up the neck.  Maybe I’ll add a few loops instead.

It must be said that I modified the pattern quite heavily.

  • First, I knit the body in one piece instead of in three.
  • Then, I added cables on the sides where the side-seams would have been.  I just wasn’t interested in looking at that much reverse stockinette.
  • In the interest of avoiding giant panels of reverse stockinette, I also added cables in the center back, at both the bottom and the top.  So much prettier.
  • I knit a sort of fake i-cord thingy on the front edges – a slip-stitch selvedge, three stitches wide.  I think.
  • The above changes mean that I didn’t use the original stitch count the pattern wanted.  But I think I ended up with the required number of stitches after I split for the arm holes.
  • I may or may not have followed the pattern’s waist shaping instructions.  But, y’know, I made it to fit my body, not the author’s.
  • Same sleeve modification that everyone else did, so I didn’t get a too-short sleeve cap.
  • I kitchenered the shoulder seams and neck, rather than do the 3-needle bind-off.  Less bulky, more elegant.  (Pic to the right, above)
  • There was something else with the sleeves – I don’t remember what the pattern said to do, but I held twelve underarm stitches on the sleeves (and twelve on the body) and kitchenered them together.  Turns out, I kind of like kitchenering.  And I’m pretty good at it now!
  • I did five buttonholes, including one at the bottom.  Seriously, what is up with making sweaters that don’t close at the bottom?  I don’t always button the bottom button on my sweaters, but I want the option.  Anyway, my sweater has a button at the bottom – and like I said, I wish I’d added a couple more buttonholes higher up the chest so I could have seven buttons instead of five.
  • Oh, the rope cables that are supposed to stop cabling at the sleeves?  I kept cabling them, and left a selvedge stitch for seaming.  Also I kept the front rope cables (the ones that are supposed to disappear) going longer than the pattern says.  Why decrease on the cable itself when you can decrease around the cable instead?
I…think that’s it for mods.

I’m going to go be cozy in my new sweater now.  I think that might involve hot chocolate.

(This photo was taken pre-blocking, and held closed with yarn ties through the buttonholes.  This is the basement of Husband's school.  The outside of the building does not look institutional or basementy at all.  But...yeah, the basement sure does.)

13 November 2012

From the Archives, sort of

About a year ago, I made a lovely yellow Aran sweater for my friend Meowkat's imminently-arriving baby.  She did send me pictures of the sweater in action (better than that -- she brought him over to my house wearing the sweater once!) but I never got around to posting them.  Consider that an oversight, and consider it corrected.

The sleeves are crazy-long and she has them rolled up so they're more manageable.  But the body of the sweater fit him!

These pictures are actually from April or May.  He probably doesn't fit the sweater anymore.  Well, maybe the sleeves, but not the rest of it.

10 November 2012

Ohhhhh Fiddleheads!

I needed to take a break from sweater-knitting.  Sometimes it's just not practical to haul around an entire nearly-finished sweater on the off-chance you might have a couple of minutes to knit a row, you know?  And although I've got a purse-sock going, sometimes I just need a little variety.  That sock is not really doing it for me, I must admit.  But I had a hankering to knit something small and quick, on relatively small needles...

The Fiddlehead Mittens have actually been in my queue for a long time.  I've got two pairs in mind, even, with the yarn all laid out in special kit bags in my stash and everything.  When Hurricane Sandy was slated to hit the east coast on a Monday and there was nothing I wanted to do more than hole up and watch the Weather Channel, I decided it was time to start the blue pair.

Bam!  Outer shell of mitten #1 finished in a day!

Let me just say, I looooooove the i-cord cast-on.  I may cast everything on as an i-cord from now on.  That's a neat little trick to have in my bag... of tricks.

As of this writing, I have one full mitten complete (shell and lining), and the outer shell of the second one complete, and I've got about an inch of the second lining done.  By the time you read this, I'll probably be done and have some way-warm hands. Which would be good, because I still haven't turned the heat on in my house.

Yarn info:
Main color (cobalt blue): Frog Tree Alpaca sportweight.  About 2/3 of a skein for both mittens
Contrast Color #1 (dark green): Blue Sky Alpacas sportweight (about 1/3 of a skein)
CCs 2-5: Anonymous handspun llama yarn that I bought at Vermont Sheep and Wool about 3 years ago.  I bought them in little mini-skeins that said "about 30 yards" and had plenty left over when both mittens were done. So either the pattern's claim that I'd need "about 40 yards" of each contrast color was a gross overestimate, or the spinner's label on the mini-skeins was a gross underestimate.  I've got plenty left.
Lining (not shown, but it's green): Cascade Tweed Lana d'Oro.  This is a 100% superfine alpaca yarn.  Given that it's Cascade and a not-halo-y alpaca (confusing!), I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying knitting with it.  So far I'm on lining #2 and am still on the first skein.

Will post finished product when they're done, of course.

08 November 2012

Fireside Chat

The Fireside Cardigan is really close to done.  Like, really close.  Body all knitted, shoulders seamed and everything.  See?  It's obviously not blocked or anything, but every day it's becoming a more and more wearable item of clothing.  Not the most flattering photograph, but it pretty much never looks flattering to close a double-breasted item of clothing with a single safety pin over three layers of pajamas and take a picture of yourself in the bathroom mirror.  At least I got smart and cleaned the mirror.  Eventually.

The sleeves are done up to the armpits.  Now I have to knit the sleeve caps and sew them to the body, and sew the collar piece down after grafting it together (I'm going to graft it, not seam it--I did this with the shoulders, too, and I think it looks so much better.  Who says you can't Kitchener cables?  Then add the buttons, and it's done!

When it's done, I'll get someone to take a decent picture of me wearing it.  It's going to be flattering, I swear.

Also when it's done, I'll type up my mods for all to see.  I did modify the pattern pretty heavily, I must say.  But I'm pleased with the results so far.  The other day I caught that scene in The Holiday that inspired this sweater, and I do think mine looks better than the Cameron Diaz version.  I just waded through about 50 pages of Google images looking for "Cameron Diaz sweater" "Cameron Diaz Holiday still" etc., and can't find a picture of it.  That is one elusive movie still, so you're just going to have to take my word for it.  My sweater looks better than hers.

05 November 2012

Olympic catch-up

So I did finish Husband's sweater for the Ravellenic Games.  The knitting part -- I still haven't done the zipper.  I have a sewing machine but have never even plugged it in, because that involves moving a giant bookshelf full of books... it's a process.  And I'm decidedly a process knitter, but maybe not so much a process zipper-sewer.

Anyway, I finished the sweater.  Even without a zipper, it looks pretty rad.  The sleeves are the right length and everything--which is good, because I reknit them about four times.

Without the zipper, the front pieces of the cardigan roll under themselves.  It actually does close properly, I promise.

I finished it and even managed to take the picture by all the proper deadlines for the Ravellenics.  I just didn't post them in the proper forum (fora--what's up with having to post in, like, three million places in order to get credit??) so it didn't actually help my team.  Sorry team.  But I did finish the sweater!  Hooray!  That's really all I was hoping for in this experience, anyway.

The collar lining is a bit of Manos, I think.  The main yarn is Cascade Rustic.  I did enjoy knitting with it.  But given all that was involved in knitting this particular sweater, I may not ever use Rustic again.  Or maybe I need to knit something else to redeem it.  Sigh.  As it is, I don't have this one hanging over my head anymore.

And given that Husband has now decided he doesn't really want it after all, I may or may not ever get around to moving the bookshelf so I can plug in the sewing machine so I can make sure it works and practice on non-knitwear stuff before I attempt sewing in the zipper.  We'll have to see.

30 July 2012

Boldly Going Where I Have Not Gone Before

We are past the "Raglan Shaping" portion of Husband's sweater.  I've knit that part two times.  Maybe two and a half?  Anyway, I'm done with it.  I had to turn the page in the book.  Page 131 has been my constant friend since... I don't know.  I first attached the sleeves to the body in January, and the heading "Join Sleeves to Body" is in the middle of the page.  Those sleeves have gotten attached at least twice, after four attempts at knitting them at all.  I've probably been staring at page 131 for a year.

Tonight, I turn to page 132.  It feels like a huge milestone.  The heading at the top of page 132 reads "Neck Shaping."  People, I am shaping the neck here.  This is a big deal.  There is a neck and a collar (with lining) to go, and then I am done with this dang thing.

Oh, have I mentioned the best part?  Husband isn't really sure he wants this sweater anymore.  Which is actually fine with me, because I kind of don't ever want to look at it ever again.

Hopefully I only have to knit the neck once.  And the collar.  And the collar lining.  Once.  We're talking new frontiers, folks.

Jury is out on whether or not I will bother to put the zipper in, which is the never-done-before skill I was hoping to learn.  That's why I was excited about making this sweater in the first place.  But I'm counting the sweater as "done" for Ravellenics purposes when the actual knitting is finished, so whatever.

Page 132!  Home stretch!*  Woooo!

*This is more knitting/sport-related punning. You're welcome.

29 July 2012

Solving Problems, One Underarm at a Time

This was the (most recent) problem with Husband's sweater.  Fortunately, it was just a matter of reserving underarm stitches on one sleeve -- on the left sleeve, I'd only held six stitches, but on the right sleeve, I'd held twelve.  Twelve was the correct number, so the left-side raglan was all wrong.  I frogged back to the place where I joined the sleeves to the body, put six more stitches on reserve for the left underarm, and then started knitting again.

It's going swimmingly.  Like Ryan Lochte.
Get what I did there?  It was an Olympics joke!  'Cause I'm knitting while watching the Olympics!  The Ravellenic Games will provide all sorts of opportunities for knitting/sports puns, I'm sure.  Stay tuned.

Seriously, I'm halfway through the raglan part again.  And I had to stop knitting in there to write a sermon.  I'm going to have no trouble finishing this sweater pretty quickly now.  And then I can move on to other things.  Awesome.

27 July 2012

Let the Games Begin!

Okay, friends.  The Olympics have started.  The Queen says they're open and everything.  I've picked up Husband's sweater and started frogging -- and I've discovered the problem.  Will post pictures tomorrow, but suffice it to say that if one wants to have the same number of sleeve stitches when joining identical sleeves to the body of a garment, it helps to set aside the same number of underarm stitches.

Yeah.  I'm that awesome.  Sigh.  A smidge more frogging to get all the way back to the sleeve-join, then all shall be well again.  Dare I say, now that I've figured out the problem, I think I'm actually going to enjoy knitting this sweater again?

Well, I don't want to jinx myself.

14 July 2012

Ravellenic Round-Up

I'm participating in the Ravellenic Games this year.  (For those of you, Mom, who don't know what that is: basically, you knit while watching the Olympics, and you set some goal to achieve by the time the Olympics is over.  Stuff you knit while not watching the Olympics doesn't count, I think.)  I've never done it before, but I figure it's a good way to motivate myself to tackle some WIPs that have been languishing for a while.  My plan is to tackle several of the sweaters that I've almost-finished and then found some excuse to abandon.

First-up will be Husband's sweater, which has given me no end of trouble and at this point I kind of just want to be done with it dangit!  I've got to frog the yoke, reattach the sleeves (counting correctly this time--this might involve math? or at least finding my calculation notes, which may or may not be in the actual project bag), reknit the yoke correctly, and knit the collar.  Getting the knitting done is all I'm worried about for the moment.  I will not pressure myself into sewing on a zipper during the actual event, as I've never done it before and will probably need to make several attempts before I get it right.

Then I will finish the Minimalist Cardigan, which I apparently started three years ago and stopped working on at least two years ago, due to the need for one more skein of yarn.  I acquired the necessary skein during or before February 2011, so I have no excuse, and should probably get on this one.  If this fall is anything like the last two falls, I will find myself walking from the car in to my church thinking "I really wish I were wearing that Minimalist Cardigan right now.  I should finish it so I can wear it."  Except this time I want to be thinking "I'm really glad I finished this Minimalist Cardigan.  It's perfect for today and makes my whole outfit (and life, really) feel complete."  Or something like that.

At some point in there, I'd also like to work on Henry, who has been patiently waiting for me to finish casting him off since about mid-2009.  Yes, I said finish casting off.  I started the cast-off (which is this complicated hand-sewn dance, not a regular two-knitting-needle cast-off) and ran out of yarn.  So I took apart the swatch I'd made to salvage the yarn from that, but it's badly in need of straightening out because it's so kinky -- even though I frogged the swatch probably 3 years ago.  I've just never gotten it wet and let it hang to dry.  So there sits Henry, hanging out of my "current knitting projects" basket next to the couch, and I feel a mild pang of guilt (very mild--I'm pretty inured to it now) every time I see him, which is about 10 times a day.  There is no excuse for this nonsense.  He's a very very nice cashmere scarf.  Someone I love would really like to wear him.

I've got a couple of other things I might work on as Ravellenic projects, but I don't want to be overly ambitious.  I'll also be traveling for a good chunk of the time that the Olympics are happening, so while there will be some significant airplane time (I'm flying from Boston to SFO and back, but knitting-while-on-a-plane-not-watching-the-Olympics might not count anyhow), I will be relatively limited in the space-and-weight-while-flying factor, as well as the doing-stuff-while-I'm-in-California factor.  There's a wedding in there, and I don't think I will earn any friendship points if I dash out early to go watch TV and knit.

Still, if I accomplish much on the two sweaters and get Henry done, I will then tackle the Labyrinth Rug and see if I can't finish that off, too, as it's tremendously close to the end and Husband was just commenting the other day on how he'd really like it, you know, not tangled-up in an awkward spot in the living room anymore.  My first post on it is from way back in 2008, and even then I felt like I'd been working on it for a long time.  Enough is enough.

12 July 2012

More Socks. Can You Believe It?

I'm knitting another pair of socks.

It's the Riot of Color (Rav link) pattern from Around the World...  and I guess it's okay... I'm not loving it as much as I liked the Herringbone Socks or the By the Fjords I made for StrungUp at Christmas.  But it's good mindless television-watching knitting while the weather's too warm to work on Fireside.

This photo doesn't do justice to the beautiful colors of this sock yarn.  The blue/purple one (it's more blue than purple in real life, I think) is Happy Feet.  The blue-green one is a gorgeous hand-dyed creation from Fleur de Fiber, a yarn that is only available at Windy Knitty in Chicago.  My college-alumni-group Secret Santa sent it to me, and it is goooooorgeous.  I would definitely buy this yarn for myself (although I wish it had some nylon in it for strength; I fear a hole in the heel because the Fleur de Fiber is 100% wool).  Part of the point of this pattern is to use two very-saturated yarns that are pretty close together hue-wise, and I'm quite happy with the result.  Like I said, the photo doesn't really capture the great colorplay happening here.

This is a sock with both a gusset and a short-row heel, weirdly enough.  I guess it works in concept, but... meh.  The coolest part about this pattern is, regrettably, the cast-on edge, with this cool twisty-trick happening at the top of the sock.

Anyway, I'm a little more than halfway through the first sock.  It's moving along far more slowly than the Herringbone Socks, which I completed in a whopping five days.  The chart-following, I suppose, takes longer than just memorizing an 8-stitch pattern.

These might be a gift.  They might be for me.  I haven't decided.  I'll probably make them to fit me, but since I've got a pretty average-sized foot, I can give them to someone else if the mood strikes me.  I do have a few folks in mind.

09 July 2012

Conversion? Or Experimentation?

Soooooo I made another pair of socks.

I wasn't really planning to do it -- I was feeling inspired to knit, and really wanted to work on my Fireside sweater, but we were having a heatwave.  And I actually tried to knit it for a while while it was 90-something (32+ for you Celsius-dwellers) in my living room, but I just couldn't handle the weight and the wool on my lap.  It just wasn't working for me.  I needed to make something lighter.  Something smaller.  Something... more sock-like.
Out came my Knitted Socks from Around the World, the only patterns that have ever succeeded in getting me interested in making socks.  I picked the Herringbone Sock pattern.  A classic.  The next morning (when the light was good) I picked yarn from the stash.  The green is Happy Feet, the blue is Malabrigo Sock.  I dug out my size 2 needles, only to discover that one was broken and one was missing -- sooo I had to make an emergency dash to Kaleidoscope that afternoon.  But then I was ready.  Ball wound, stitches cast-on... and the pair took me a whole five days to knit.  I was like a machine.  A sock-knitting machine.
They're really warm and comfy.  Maybe the weather will get cold again and I can wear them someday.

Seriously, y'all, I used to hate making socks.  I think it's the colorwork that's changed my mind.  Something's changed, anyway.  I might have to start using phrases like "it was so fun to make these!" or "I might like knitting socks after all!"

We'll see.  It might just be a temporary thing.  But it might be the real deal.

06 July 2012

Intro to Fireside

A couple of friends and I decided this spring to do a cabled sweater as a knit-along.  Not a big deal, nothing formal, just a "hey, let's each knit the same sweater pattern and see how the finished products come out different" experiment.  I'm not quite sure how we settled on the Fireside Sweater (Rav link), because I came late to this game, but I appreciated not having to participate in a lengthy deliberation process.  All I had to do was grab some Lamb's Pride Worsted from my stash and get to work.

Fireside is a gorgeous cabled concoction with a sumptuous collar.  Turns out, though, that the pattern's a bit of a mess.  It's just not very well-written (it's clearly-written, but not well-thought-out in a few places) and I'm very glad that I spent a good bit of time on Ravelry reading about the ways other knitters had modified the pattern.  For one thing, this is the designer's first pattern.  Or first sweater pattern, maybe.  Anyway, there's a hint of not-knowing-what-she's-doing to it.

This not-knowing-what-she's-doing is most clear in the way she has written the upsizing: the designer happens to fit a size XS, and she made the sweater for herself... but her solution to upsizing was to add extra inches of reverse-stockinette between cables and cable-panels.  So for those of us who are not size XS, the extra "empty" space simply makes the cabling look sparse -- so the bigger you are, the farther-apart the panels are... that is, the wider you are, the wider you look.  (And seriously?  I'm knitting a size medium.  I can't imagine how an XL sweater would look, but it seems like there'd be more reverse-stockinette than cables.)  This is particularly an issue for the back of the sweater, which has a giant swath of rev-st that's just supposed to get wider the wider you are.  Not flattering!  It looks like everyone who's bigger than an XS has modified the sweater somehow to deal with this issue.  Most of the good mods I've seen are either additions of cables in the places that called for wide swaths of reverse-stockinette, or an increase in the size of the original cable panels.  I'm doing the former, adding cables in the center back and on the sides.

I added this cable in the center back at the bottom.
There will be a complimentary one at the top, too, when I get that far.

I also decided to knit the sweater in one piece rather than in two front panels and a back.  I'm more likely to finish it that way.  We all know that.  So I added cables on the sides under the arms where a seam would have gone, partly to fill up the reverse-stockinette space, and partly to add some of the structure a seam would have provided.  I've got a little i-cord edging happening on the front panels, too.  It looks a little funny right now, but once I block the whole thing I think it'll work out.

So far I've got a body and two sleeves -- up to the point where I'd join them to knit a yoke and do it all in one piece, but I think I am going to sew the sleeves on as written.  I've got to knit in inch or so more of the body before attaching the sleeves and attempting to, but I wanted to get the sleeves done first so I could figure it all out, and I'm glad I did because it turns out I had to modify the sleeves even more than the body (thanks to the poorly-thought-out upsizing, if I'd knitted the sleeves as written they would have been suuuuuper wide)... and, well, I think these decisions are good fodder for a future post.  Stay tuned to find out what I decide.

03 July 2012

Banished to the WIP Pile

Husband's sweater has given me no end of trouble.  A quick reference guide for those not keeping track: I made husband pick a pattern and yarn.  It was a pattern made for somebody's tall skinny bike-messenger husband.  I had to make tons of mods in order to get gauge, and prepared my average-height average-build hasn't-ridden-a-bike-in-25-years Husband for potential fit concerns with this pattern.  I had no problems with knitting the body (well, no problems other than boredom), but had to knit the dang sleeves four times.

Finally, I was able to connect the sleeves to the body while I was at a continuing education thing in January.  I got about 10 inches into the yoke and ...well, that's when it happened.  It was about time to switch to the collar stitches so I was making sure things were squared away, and I made an important and unfortunate discovery.  I'd miscounted the stitches when I first attached the sleeves to the body, and one sleeve had 10 stitches more than the other.
I learned how to draw on pictures just so I could show you this 10-stitch discrepancy.
Y'all, this is so disheartening.  I really do want to make a sweater for Husband, I swear.  And I want it to be good when it's done.  I want him to want to wear it.  Every day.  I want it to be the best sweater he has, and I want him to beg me to make more for him.

I also want the Knitting Fairy to frog the yoke and re attach the sleeves with the right counting, because I just cannot do this on my own.  Husband's Sweater is officially on hold again.

02 July 2012

Back from the (Inadvertent) Hiatus

I didn't mean to take a hiatus from blogging.  No, seriously.  It's just that... well, my laptop died.  Or not exactly died, but was in a coma for a few months.  The hard drive decided it was incompatible with the wireless internet device (or maybe it was the other way around) and my Resident Computer Repairman (a.k.a. Husband) was living two states away and attending grad school.  He swapped out my hard drive and set me up with some funky Linux system on the new drive, but... well, all my photos were on my old drive.  And I couldn't put any photos on the new drive.  So I was basically stuck with a laptop that allowed me to go online and to write my sermon once a week, but since it was a temporary solution I couldn't do anything long-term.  Like put pictures on it.  Or upload them to my blog.  Sigh.

Husband finally realized how this barely-functional "temporary" solution was cramping my style (for, um, months) and spent a night fixing my old drive and saving all the data and getting me Windows and enabling me to use my computer again.  And so here I am!  Able to blog again!  Photos are not lost!  Some stuff on that drive was lost (some important stuff.  Really important.  Dangit.) but not the photos.  And I also have a place to put the photos I've taken in the computerless interim.  And now I can blog about them.

So here's what you have to look forward to over the next couple of weeks or so ('cause I'm gonna drag out this posting thing for as long as I can get away with it):

  • An update on Husband's sweater
  • An update on another sweater that I'm doing as a knit-along, but I might be the only person in the group who's still working on it, because the pattern is not well-written.
  • SOCKS.  Yes.  Me.  Knitting socks.
  • And MORE SOCKS.  That's right, you heard me.
  • My thoughts for my participation in the Ravelympics newly-named Ravellenic Games, even though I may have missed the deadline to sign up officially.  Honestly, I don't care about it enough to bother signing up formally and, like, paying attention to rules.  Also I think I'm traveling during the Olympics.
  • Hopefully by the time those five get posted, I'll have come up with something else to show for myself, too.
Now you have something to look forward to reading on here!  'Cause I know you've been on the edge of your seats for, like, months.  Me too.

10 February 2012


It's done, I tell you!

Well, okay, I need to weave in the ends.  Sometime.  I don't really care about that so much.  The knitting is finished, the seaming is finished, the border is finished.  Who really cares about the finishing?  Even working at a very casual pace, I spent a good eleven months working on the Lizard Ridge.  Weaving in the ends is hardly a concern.

It's sooooo warm on my lap.  I'm so happy I knit it.

And since I scored a goodly amount of Kureyon in that giant stash score, I may make another one sometime.  Not for a little while, but y'know.  Sometime.

What do you think of the light gray border?  It was a controversial choice, I know...

07 February 2012

The Most Awesomiest Swap Day EVAR

Sometimes things just work out.

Mango, my friend who hosts a monthly Knitting at the Farm, couldn't host on the usual Saturday in January, so rescheduled for the last Saturday instead.  (This worked out well for me, because I was in Florida for the usual weekend and would have missed it.)  It had been a while since we'd done a swap, too, so we decided to throw that in there and make it a day.

A few days before the swap, I was looking on Ravelry (the Vermont forum) and came across a post from a woman who wanted to destash completely.  She's moving to a smaller place, doesn't even want to deal with sorting and packing, who wants it?  $200 takes the lot.  Best part?  She lives really near Mango.  I'd be there anyway, with a bunch of friends.  I sent an email to the group asking if anyone would like to split the stash with me.  Three people responded immediately that they would, so I emailed the woman who'd posted the offer and snapped it up!

Photo courtesy of Jess
Seriously, what a massive score.  I wish I'd thought to take pictures when it was all in my car: three full garbage bags, two big bins, and a couple of smaller bags... it completely filled the back of my station wagon.  We are talking a HAUL here, people.  It was a lot of yarn.  A LOT OF YARN.

Photo courtesy of Jess
The four of us sorted the yarn by size (thank goodness one of them was a librarian!) in Mango's front room.  Even once it was sorted, we are still talking about an overwhelming amount of yarn.  Jess kindly snapped a few pictures, and then we got down to the business of staking claim.  We'd put a pile of, say, fingering weight yarn in the middle of the floor, and then we'd go around in a circle and each take something until we got down to the yarn that none of us wanted.  Then we'd put aside that yarn and move on to the next pile.  We went all the way through to the chunky yarns in complete peace.  Rarely did two people feel equally passionate about how much they wanted the same skein of yarn.  There was never a disagreement or an argument.  There was a great deal of potential for fisticuffs (after all, we are talking about a room filled with yarn, free for the taking), but we all restrained ourselves.

Photo courtesy of Jess
It took about two hours to sort and divide up all that yarn.  Maybe longer.  Honestly, we were having so much fun that I didn't really pay attention to the time.  We each came away with about a garbage bag full of yarn we wanted to keep, and there was still a huge amount of yarn that none of us wanted left over.  We opened the pile to our friends who were patiently waiting (and swapping, and eating, and knitting) in the other room.  Everybody took a look and chose something to take with them.

Me taking an "I need the big picture" break while Erin sorts yarn. Photo courtesy of Jess
There was still a ton of yarn left over, so I brought it home with me and will figure out some place to donate it.  Maybe I'll go through it again and sort out things I think would be appropriate for the nearby elementary school.  Maybe I'll just take it to Goodwill.  We'll see.

After all that sorting and dividing was over, we rejoined the regular swap taking place in Mango's kitchen.  I did trade a few things, but mostly the swapping was done by the time we got in there.  I'm okay with that.

Just for comparison's sake, here's a picture of everything I brought to the swap (pre-giant-haul):

And here's a picture of what came home with me:

Imagine three *more* garbage bags full of yarn, and that'll give you an idea of how much we scored in the first place.  Seriously, we each spent $50, and we each came home with $500+ worth of yarn.  Every time I think about what was in that stash, I cannot believe the amazing deal we got.

So here's the thing: that stash was up for grabs because the woman selling it was getting a divorce.  She was moving out of the house she'd shared with her husband, and needed to make some big lifestyle changes, including shedding a lot of her possessions.  It wasn't a sad thing that they were getting a divorce: "my husband and I are actually much better friends now that we're not married to each other," she told me, standing in the driveway.  She just wanted to start over and move on, and part of that was starting over with her stash.  We found a few half-finished sweaters in the pile, and I'm guessing there could have been some painful memories wrapped up in some of that yarn.  But for the most part, she was getting a new life, and so was the yarn.  Because of her divorce, my friends and I had a wonderful afternoon of fun and reconnection and building new memories.  And she was getting a new kind of freedom in releasing the baggage (in this case, literally the garbage bags!) of that former life.  We will always have the blessing of that connection, those few minutes spent chatting outside her old house, with her dogs bounding around us, that final handshake and smile.  New life abounds, even in the midst of change and loss.  Maybe especially in the midst of change and loss.

That, my friends, is a kind of Resurrection.  Thanks be to God.

04 February 2012

Sock It to Me!

I forgot to tell you: I had to get a Kindle because of that continuing education thing I went to in Florida last month.  One of the books was out of print but available as an e-book, so the people running the program offered to reimburse us if we needed to buy a Kindle.

What do you do when you get a Kindle?  Well, you should probably get some kind of case for it, because it's an expensive-but-breakable item that's a pain in the neck to replace.

Or, if you're me, you knit it a sock.

Kindle Sock Pattern:
Yarn -- leftover Fuzzy Bunny worsted weight two-ply (leftover from this gorgeous shawl)
Needles -- size 6, as that's all I had with me at the time.
CO 40 sts -- I did not join in the round, but only because I didn't have the right needle with me.
Row 1: k1fb, k to last st, k1fb
Row 2 and following: knit in stockinette.  It's that simple!
Cast off when you've knit about an inch longer than the Kindle itself.  Fold in half and seam together side and bottom (I did mattress stitch for the side, and just a whip stitch on the bottom).
Put your Kindle in there and don't worry about it getting scratched or smooshed in your purse!  Kindle Sock won't protect your expensive-but-breakable item from getting damaged if you step on it, though, so ... well, just don't do that.  Refrain from putting your Kindle on the floor or whatever.

25 January 2012

Husband Sweater Update

I have made some pretty good progress on Husband's sweater lately.  Conference knitting.  Windowless room in a Tampa hotel for a week.  Attached sleeves to body.
Husband tried on the sweater when I was visiting him last weekend.  It's tight, but it does fit properly.  And he says to keep going.  At this point, I figure I'll just wear the darn thing if he decides it's no good on him when it's done.  And now he can never say I haven't made him a sweater.  Whether he wears it or not is up to him. 

Sheepie is for scale.  Also for the fun of it.

22 January 2012


Christmas and the first few weeks of January have taken a lot out of me.  I've already had two trips down to Connecticut and one to Florida -- and a good bit of travel knitting to show for it.  But that's for another post.

First I want to give you all a bit of gratification: I know you've been on the edge of your seats to find out what the sneak peek project was.  It's SOCKS!  Specifically, it's By the Fjords (Rav link), from Stephanie Van Der Linden's Around the World in Knitted Socks.
StrungUp and I were in Nido about a month before Christmas, and she picked up the book (she's a sucker for sock patterns; you know how *I* feel about knitting socks -- or, used to feel) and started leafing through it.  I looked over her shoulder and... well, we both oohed and ahhed for a good half-hour.  Almost every pattern in the book is something one or both of us want to knit.  We especially remarked about By the Fjords, and I came back a couple of days later and bought two copies of the book: one for StrungUp, one for me.  And then I bought the yarn.

The brown is Claudia Handpaints.  Knowing that StrungUp's frustration with Claudia is that it's 100% wool (no nylon, no longevity!  Who makes a sock yarn that's going to make holey sock? Claudia, apparently).  I held double with a 100% Rayon thread for the heel.

The red and the green stripe are both Happy Feet.  I needed two skeins of the brown, and one skein of the red (and one of the green, technically, but it's such a negligible amount that I barely think it's worth counting).

I really liked knitting with both of these, and have already bought more brown Claudia and more Happy Feet so I can do more patterns from this amazing book.  You hear that?  I WANT TO KNIT MORE SOCKS.  I think it had something to do with the stranded knitting.

Seriously, isn't this so cool?  So gorgeous?  It was a tricky pattern.  I had to think.  I may have had to fudge things.  I may have had to get creative to make the awesome swirly toe work.  And I loved every minute of it.
I'm totally knitting these for myself sometime, too.  LOVE.  I cannot wait to knit about 2/3 of the patterns in this book.

Merry Christmas, StrungUp!  And everyone else!