Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The last week has been Seattle weather combined with seriously strange San Francisco type fog. I can't get decent pictures for the stash sale until I get some sun, so it's postponed for a few days (hopefully).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A bad case of stripes

On the left, a Jaywalker in Madelinetosh sock yarn in Peony. On the right, a plain 64 stitch stockinette sock in STR in Hard Rock. I have no idea why I suddenly had to find a sock for both of these yarns, but I had to and I had to yesterday. (Seriously, I was up until midnight because the Hard Rock was going to behave if I had to stay up all night.)

It took me ages to find a pattern and needle size to get both of these yarns to behave reasonably well. My first attempts resulted in socks that were pink on one side and brown (or gray) on the other. Not exactly what a knitter wants to see.

The Hard Rock was especially worrisome after trying and failing with a Jaywalker. Eventually, I ended up with 64 stitches on size 1 needles as the magic bullet. I'm knitting the Madelinetosh on size 1s as well. I'm a bit worried about that, because that yarn is thinner than the STR. However, the Jaywalker pattern produces an extremely firm fabric, so I'm hoping it will be fine. I'll probably go down to 0s on the foot and hope for flashing rather than pooling.

So much for finishing a few items before casting on for more. At least they are socks and not sweaters. And, I did say I'd knit 10 pairs of socks this year...

Monday, January 21, 2008


My mother has a friend who is knitting caps for Army members in Iraq. Mom knitted a little bit quite a while ago, but never really picked it up so I'm teaching her.

It's been interesting. She's really eager to learn and a good student, but she's terrified of messing things up. Right now, I have her knitting a swatch. I told her that once she could knit more than five rows without me needing to see her work, I'd get her started on the hat ;>

I gave her the pair of In Vino Veritas Monkey socks. The more I saw the color develop, I sort of knew that those socks would be for her. They ended up the tiniest bit long for me, so they fit her perfectly. She was delighted and could barely bring herself to take them from me - although once she put them on she changed her mind!

I don't do well at knitting for others on a deadline, but I have no problem giving away a finished item. I start out knitting almost everything for me, but at some point, I'll start to feel a slight distance from the project. It's not a "crap, this is not going well and it's pissing me off" distance, it's just that I think my subconscious realizes that the finished item belongs with someone else.

I've been sorting through my stash and am planning a stash sale for next Monday. Rowan Kid Classic, Rowan Cork, Cotton Ease in the original bright colors, Alchemy Lone Star, Seacoast Handpainted sock yarn, Trekking XXL, Koigu, and lots of Socks That Rock including some 2006 Sock Club kits - yarn and pattern. There are probably a few things I'm forgetting, as well. Buy my stuff!!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Getting it done

At long last, I finished the collar on Bookworm.

The collar instructions didn't make any sense to me, so I changed them up so the cable cross on the collar was a bit higher up. The collar is a bit short, so for next year I'll take out the bind-off and do one more repeat of the cable cross for some additional length. I'll probably have to lengthen the sleeves for her as well, so it'll all work out.

I knit the 2-3 year width and then knit about two inches longer than the 4-5 year length. It's a bit long this year, but it looks cute. I've found that many Rowan children's patterns are extremely wide, so I always size down in width. What I love about the Miss Bea's patterns is that they are very easily adapted for a larger child. I can see getting another 2 or 3 years of use out of my Miss Bea's pattern books. And, since many of the patterns use Rowan All Seasons Cotton, my stash of Lion Brand Cotton-Ease comes in very handy! For this one, I had a large stash of All Seasons Cotton (17 skeins for $40 on Ebay a few years ago).

I started a new sock, as well.

Embossed Leaves from Interweave. The yarn is Handmaiden Casbah in Seafoam. This yarn is indescribably luscious. The color variegations are light enough that they don't obscure the pattern. Normally, I loathe mint green with a passion, but it works here.

So, that's one more sweater off the WIP List and the second pair of socks started out of my 10 pair that I will knit this year. (I am trying to knit 10 pairs of socks, rather than a bunch of sad singletons as is my usual wont.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mission Possible

My goals:

  1. Finish Something Red. All I have to do is knit the neck and fronts, but there it sits.
  2. Reknit the top half of Soleil into something that fits.
  3. Finish CeCe
  4. Knit Anne Hanson’s Twinings Stole for my mother.
  5. Figure out where I went wrong on Bless and reknit that part and finish it.
  6. Finish the Lace Wings scarf.
  7. Finish Vintage Velvet scarf.
  8. Finish the Log Cabin socks.
  9. Knit 10 pair of socks
  10. Knit Simurgh
  11. Have stash sale
  12. Knit fair isle vest from Rowan (can’t remember pattern name)
This is a fairly modest set of goal, since many of the projects are at the halfway mark or beyond. However, the 10 pairs of socks and the stash sale are musts. I have some lovely yarns that are too heavy for Texas (Rowan Kid Classic and the like), the wrong color for me, or things that I am just not going to knit. As for the socks, I have lots of sock yarn relative to the number of socks I have completed.

However, to that end I present Drunk Monkeys!

It's a lousy day, so I had trouble getting a bright shot, but in this one, at least the color is accurate.

The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy and the colorway is In Vino Veritas. I was a bit iffy on the colorway at first, but now I love it. I have plenty of socks in bright colors, so this is a bit of an antidote.

I love knitting this pattern because it goes quickly and the pattern is quite fun in a wide variety of yarns.

Monday, January 14, 2008

And the Oscar goes to...

Last week, Bean came home from school very, very tired and had the subsequent meltdown. During which she hit me on the arm. I told her that, if she did it again, she'd be going to her room. Predictably, she did it again and was sent to her room amidst much wailing and gnashing of teeth and door slamming.

After listening to piteous sobbing for a few minutes, I took her the kitchen timer so she'd know when she could come out.

I open the door and she's got a framed photo of the family in her hands and she's touching my picture. She turns to me and, between sobs, says, "I'm just trying to remember what you look like when you smile."

To my eternal credit, I did not laugh.

Until after she went to bed. At which point I laughed so hard I scared the dog.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A is for Anticipation

And Alchemy!

Alchemy Synchronicity
Rich Berry

What will it be?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Dizzy Lizzy

While I'm working up to face the Bless debacle, I decided I needed to cast on for a quick bit of gratification.

I've loved the Lizzy sweater in Naturally Noro since the book came out.

It has all of the characteristics I like most in a sweater. It's mostly stockinette with one key detail, in this case the ruffles, providing a bit of a punch. It has 3/4 sleeves!

I was very interested to read Stephanie's post about good quality yet inexpensive wool. It got me thinking about how I choose my own sweaters.

I'm short and I don't like bulk in my sweaters. No worsted cables for me. It isn't very cold here so, as much as I love wool, I have to be really careful about the design of the wool sweaters I knit. I've been knitting for 17 years or so and I have yet to knit a pullover sweater in wool. I need to be able to let the front hang open or I'll bake. Several years back, I bought enough Noro (color 124) to knit Butterfly. Then, I started hearing about how warm and toasty the sweater was. And this was from people who live in actual cold weather! Made me think twice. Ergo, Lizzy. It only uses 7-8 skeins of Kureyon.

Here she is!

I have the fronts and the sleeves completed. The fronts mostly match. I tried to pick two skeins of yarn that started pretty identical and got lucky with the rest. The color sequence changes at the top where I had to add a skein, but it's similar enough to not bug me at all.

This is pretty much instant gratification as far as the main part of the sweater. It's been soothing to have something quick. Even the ruffles look pretty simple. Only 5 rows! And it's SO much fun to watch the stripes emerge.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ignorance is Bless

A few months ago, I dug Bless out of her hiding spot and seamed her up. Then, she went back into hibernation, awaiting only a collar and her ends.

I knew the sweater wasn't fitting quite right, but I told myself all it needed was a good blocking. I tried it on yesterday. Blocking isn't going to fix one arm being two inches shorter than the other. Rats!

See where the right side looks a bit shorter at the collar and the armhole doesn't look as deep?

The hopeful person thinks, "Ah, it's just laying funny."

The hopeful person deludes themselves into thinking, "All I need to do is put a collar on this sucker and weave in the ends and Bingo!, new sweater."

I'm facing the reality that I'm going to have to diligently count every row on the good sleeve and then figure out if the problem with the bad sleeve (Bad sleeve! No biscuit!) is in only in the raglan (I know at least part of the problem is there) or in the sleeve as well (Next on News8! When sleeves go bad!).


Monday, January 07, 2008

Hat head

Carole and I seem to be on the same wavelength today.

I am not a knitter of hats. I never quite get them right.

Nevertheless, I knit Dr. Pig a hat.

I used the Monsoon colorway of Socks That Rock that I received in last year's Rockin' Sock Club.

I wound the skein double, which gave me a nice hat yarn.

I also knit a Calorimetry. Everyone and her dog has knit this pattern and I can see why!

What with the lovely 50% off sales at The Woolie Ewe and The Shabby Sheep, I decided to buy quite alot of "scarf yarn". I always see interesting scarves and they are a wonderful way to try out new stitchwork without the bulk of a sweater. I never seem to have anything in stash that is suitable. Or, rather, I do have it in stash except that it's part of a sweater quantity and I'm not touching it until the sweater is finished and I know how much I have left over!

I received Knitting New Scarves for Christmas, so that's also some inspiration. The Calorimetry is knit in Manos. I am going to knit a matching My So-Called Scarf, but I'm going to do the neckwarmer version with the buttons. That will leave me just enough yarn to knit a pair of Fetching mitts! All my coats are black, so this really doesn't go, but I don't care - it's a gorgeous colorway. Far more beautiful than I've been able to get on camera.

I forsee more Calorimetries in my future. It's a great way to use up a small amount of yarn leftover from a scarf. This one could have easily been 2/3 the size and still been quite warm, so the pattern is pretty flexible. Mmm, tasty!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Fabulous recipe!

I love recipes that can be used as a base for whatever I happen to have on hand. I am a regular reader of the blog Cook & Eat, and a few weeks ago, she posted a recipe for rugelach* dough, suggesting that it was the perfect base for savory as well as sweet fillings.

We had our New Year's Day party and I was still in the mood to cook and I thought I'd play. I made two batches of dough - one with barely any sugar for a savory filling, and one with a bit of sugar for a sweet filling. NOTE: the dough was very shaggy but, much like pie crust, after a night in the fridge it was really gorgeous.

The sweet filling was semi-traditional. I took half a cup of apricot preserves and stirred them up with a fork and added 1/4 teaspoon of powdered ginger. I whizzed up half a cup of slivered almonds in the Cuisinart and then whizzed up enough dried apricots to also get a half a cup. To the almonds, I added about 1/3 cup of brown sugar and a heaping soup spoon full of white sugar and mixed all that up.

I rolled out the dough into my rectangle and then cut it in half with a pizza wheel. I spread the apricot preserves, then spread on the almond/sugar mixture, and then added the minced dried apricots.

I had too much filling, but it kind of oozed out on the bottom (line your baking sheets with parchment as she recommends!) and caramelized and I am all for anything caramelized, so I was in heaven.

The second filling necessitated the use of the term "pinwheel" rather than rugelach. My Jewish friends were endlessly amused that I made ham rugelach!

For the ham and gruyere pinwheels, I whizzed up some leftover ham from Christmas in the Cuisi until it was minced and then shredded some gruyere. About half a cup of each. I spread each strip of dough with some cranberry mustard, sprinkled on a bit of gruyere, added the ham, a sprinkle of grated parmesean, and a bit more gruyere. Sinfully good!

I don't have any pictures because none of it lasted very long.

The only thing I would change is perhaps basting the tops with a bit of egg wash so they get all golden brown. I didn't feel like it and they turned out fine, but that might be a bit more fancy.

The delightful thing was that all of the filling ingredients were things I had in my fridge or pantry. I'm thinking about my next version already. I have some asiago cheese in my fridge. That and some pureed sun-dried tomatoes and a bit of parmesean might be very nice indeed.

*Blogger suggests that, perhaps, I meant to say lachrymose, archangel, or Delacruz. Ahem.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Or maybe not.

I love reading everyone else's knitting goals but I only have one goal and it's for the first quarter of this year. I want to either complete or frog every single project I have on the needles. Even the ones stuffed into that bag in the back of my closet. I will allow myself to cast on for new projects during this time, but only if I'm really finishing knits.

This week's goal: the neck on a sweater for Bean and finish my first Hedgerow sock. I can work on my Twinings stole only if I make significant progress on the other two.

Next week: knit the second Drunk Monkey and finish the collar for Bless.

After that, we'll take it as it goes.