Saturday, December 29, 2012

Perspective Shmerspective

I know in the grand scheme of things, this is no big deal.

My needle came apart.


This is part of an interchangeable needle set, and I would blame myself if the needle came unscrewed from the cable. If that had happened, I'd say I didn't tighten it properly.

It didn't. The cable popped out of its metal end.

While I was doing a 400 stitch row.

In lace.

I am having a difficult time reminding myself that this is no big deal.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Steam Age

Andrew and I have a tradition of shopping together for our stockings. We used to go to Target, split up, buy for the other person, and voila! surprises on Christmas morning. Then one year we got lazy, stayed together at Target and picked out what we liked for ourselves. We still fill one another's stockings, but there are no surprises.

I am fine with this.

This year, we also made a trip to the Village Yarn Shop. Andrew bought me this:

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Steam Age

Mmmm, pretty. I looked through my Ravelry favorites for something that used fingering weight yarn but wasn't a pair of socks. I found Henslowe. Mmmm, also pretty.

Then we had a blizzard warning. You can get a lot of garter stitch knitted during a snowstorm.

I've finished the main garter stitch section and have moved on to the border. I'm having problems on a couple of the border rows. I'm blaming it on the needle. My stitches keep getting caught on the join, and when that happens the yarnovers want to move around inappropriately.

Even with that, I'm really enjoying this. I think a lot of it is the yarn color. It's... pearly, for lack of a better word. There are blues and pinks and grays and purples in there, and they're beautiful.

As I was laying this out to photograph it, I saw a mistake. See it?

It's a knit where there should be a purl (or vice versa). I'm not sure how I did this since the whole thing was knit knit knit knit, but I did. It's not in a spot where it can be fixed. I've already bound off that section. I'm trying to accept it. I don't see any other viable options.

We have a lot of family celebrations this weekend, and this project is no longer a no-brainer. I may have to start something else, but I hate to leave this project. I want it finished and wrapped around my neck!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I meant to start a pair of socks that I could do without thinking.

Instead, I started Riff.

Riff socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks' Felici Sport in Stream Bed colorway

They're toe-up, which isn't my favorite, but I'm really enjoying them regardless. The gusset is very, very long, and I think I'm going to do the foot and leg with the directions for the medium size and the gusset/heel as if a small. We'll see if that works.

My love for Felici yarn knows no bounds. It's my very favorite yarn. Since I've only been knitting since 2006, I'm a little worried that this soft yarn is going to wear out quickly and I'll learn to hate it. It took me awhile to start socks and probably longer to discover Knitpicks, so many of my Felici socks haven't gotten a lot of wear.

That concern aside, I am endlessly amused by self-striping yarns, and Knitpicks has spoken to a deep hoarding instinct by making the colorways limited runs. Right now, I'm looking at the Felici sport page and wondering how many balls of Monochrome I need. I think the answer is more than the two I already own.

The only thing that is keeping me from placing an order with a gift certificate very kindly given to me by a friend is that I need another skein of Cobblestone Heather Biggo to finish the Clara Cowl. That yarn is backordered, so I'm waiting for it to become available before ordering anything.

Still, a pair of socks for $4.60? I'm having a hard time resisting.

I am pretty deeply enmeshed in the fiber world online, but I very, very frequently read about people's yarn experiences and learn about a yarn I've never heard of. If you knit, crochet, or are otherwise someone who thinks about yarn rather more than the general population understands, would you be so kind as to leave a comment letting me know what your favorite yarn is? Thanks!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Family Functions and a Barter Economy

Our weekend was filled with family. Friday night we went to see the Indianapolis Symphony's Yuletide Celebration. Saturday we had Andrew's mom's side's Christmas. (This is the Christmas of the jar gifts.) Sunday we had Christmas with Andrew's dad's side.

Andrew and I are very lucky that we like our families. There is some usual holiday/family tension, but it's very minor compared to what could be. Still, we are both introverts, and we always drive home from a family function feeling like we need desperately to sit quietly on the couch for a couple of hours.

Do you know what makes family functions in general and holiday family functions in particular better?


Cozy Thermal Mitts (mine ravelled here),
knit in Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in Kelly Green

It's so nice to be able to keep part of my attention on the yarn in my hands and the rest of my attention on what is happening around me. This is especially helpful after one has eaten a carb-filled meal that makes one sleepy. I have no idea how people manage without being able to do something. Now that I think about it, my sister-in-law fell asleep in her chair. If only the whole world knit...

These fingerless gloves are for a friend of a friend. She makes beautiful jewelry, and I asked her if she would consider making me something like this:

I found this on Pinterest, and there's a tutorial for it here. That website is where the photo came from as well. I read through the tutorial, and by the second step my eyes had glazed over. I asked the jewelry maker if she needed any knitwear, and that's why I had green fingerless gloves to knit at family functions this weekend.

Now all I need to do is find someone with a deep desire for handknits who likes to cook and clean...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Early Christmas

I recently decided that I can give people knitted gifts whenever I want. This is very liberating.

This week, I gave a friend these:
Quilted Lattice Mitts (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks' Felici Sport, Groovy colorway

I really like this pattern. It reminds me a lot of Leyburn socks, and I've knit that pattern a couple of times. You do have to pay a bit of attention to the pattern in the thumb gussett because it does some clever things to get the pattern to work with the increases, but overall it's very simple and quick.

Rachel and I were working on Christmasing her house the day I gave the fingerless gloves to her.* I found the dove ornament I had knitted her last year, and it was on the side of the tree near the window. This, as you probably know, is the "back" of a tree. That is where you put the ornaments that you can stand not seeing very often, like the cross-stitch of a snowman falling down on the ice made by my godmother whom I felt never approved of me. When pressed, Rachel admitted that the dove was a little "deflated."

What had happened is that I had finished the dove and then realized that I had forgotten to stuff it. You know how sometimes you finish something, notice a mistake, and then convince yourself that a) the mistake isn't noticeable, and/or b) you actually prefer it that way?

I was incorrect, of course. The poor thing looked like it had been flying for months without rest while it promoted peace on earth. We prefer a more optimistic view of the dove's activities.

It took me a total of five minutes (with Andrew's help to find the end) to unpick a few stitches on the tail, stuff it, and resew it.

*Yes, Christmas can be used as a verb, as can dechristmas. The C can be lower or uppercase as you prefer. How do I know? 'Cause I say so, that's why.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Important news first:

Dexter is much better. He had to wear the dreaded cone Tuesday overnight and Wednesday during the day so he wouldn't tear at the bandage on his paw. It was heartbreaking. He's obviously still uncomfortable, but he jumped up on our bed yesterday, so he can't be in too much pain. The vet said that it would be a month or so before we knew if his nail was going to grow back, but I don't think it matters much. He'll be able to walk perfectly well without it, and he lives a pampered life. I'm so glad he's better.

I redid Andrew's hat, and I had enough yarn that I didn't need to use the felted stuff that I used for the first attempt. He was thrilled with the fit.

Now I'm afraid to wash it. What if it grows?

I would hate to disappoint someone so adorable.

knit in Blue Moon Fiber Arts' Gaea, Jabberwocky colorway
The tree immediately behind Andrew is the one that fell over. Yes, we have more than one Christmas tree. Our holiday cheer cannot be contained in one tree.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Quick Things

I'm taking the next couple of days off, and I thought I'd give you an update:

  • The tree is back up. The stand arrived Friday, and we redecorated it that night. I think I'm happier with the lights now than I was on our first try. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.
  • Albert Pujols was fixed with superglue and Andrew's mad skills. There were a few ornaments that weren't fixable, but most were. 
  • Nocturne loves hanging out on tree skirts. This is a problem when it is time to go to bed and she won't come out. My response has been to wrap packages and strategically stack them so she has to lie within reach. Clearly, I am a genius smarter than a cat.
  • Last night Dexter tore a nail. We took him to the vet this morning. He is going to be fine, but it makes me very, very sad to see him bandaged up looking pathetic. I love that dog so, so much. Please send good energy his way.

    I would take his pain in a heartbeat. I can rationalize an injury. It may hurt, but I know that it will heal and it won't hurt forever. I haven't figured out how to communicate this with a dog. I'm not sure how parents survive.
  • I should not be allowed to buy holiday wrapping paper for years. Really. The amount of gift wrap, boxes, bows, and tissue paper I own is embarrassing.
  • Yet I can never find a bow the color I want. How is this possible? Where are all the plain red bows?
  • I made Andrew a hat. He wanted it a smidge tighter. I handwashed it in hot, and it grew. We tried to felt it slightly in the washer, and it came out wider and shorter. I was able to frog the yarn, and I will reknit with needles two sizes smaller. Andrew feels very badly about this, but I keep reminding him that it's just knitting. I like knitting. It's fine.
  • I finished a pair of socks for him.

Zittron Trekking Hand Art in Trinidad 511 colorway (ravelled here)

They look like this, but... more finished. Andrew likes them. They're in broken rib--k2, p2 on one round and knit all stitches on the next. I did that mostly because the thought of knitting another ribbed sock made me want to poke my eyeballs out with my supersharp knitting needles. If Andrew still likes them once they're washed, I will have successfully figured out how to do fingering and sport weight socks for him. This is a relief to me.

  • Year of the Heifer is off to a good start. I earned $10 last week and have worked out 2 days this week.
  • I appreciate no one pointing out that my Year of the Heifer is actually about 13 months. That would be annoying, so thank you for not doing it.

That's it for me! I hope everyone is having a nice Hanukah and/or nice prep. for Christmas/Solstice/Insert Celebration of Your Choice!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Year of the Heifer

I was in the car yesterday afternoon, and I heard a brief interview with a woman who has been an activist most of her life.

I'm pretty sure this is one of those situations where I heard what I needed to hear and not necessarily what she said, but I'm also pretty sure that's how God talks to us sometimes.

What I heard was, "Make a longterm goal and work toward it."

What my heart said was, "Your life is really, really fantastic. You don't want it to change. Because you don't want it to change, you're living in fear that something will happen. You need to put your energy into doing something positive rather than being afraid of some vague, nonexistent negative."


I like to make goals. I really like to make goals that I know I can reach. I'm the sort of person who makes lists and includes things that are already finished so I can have the pleasure of marking them off.

This goal, however, needs to be bigger. It needs to be something that I'm not sure I can reach. It needs to be a stretch.

(Warning: This may sound like a small goal to you. If so, please don't tell me.)

I'm going to try to earn enough money through exercise by December 31, 2013 that I can give the Heifer Project $500. 

Photo from Heifer's website here

My usual pay-as-I-exercise guidelines apply:

  • For every time I exercise, I earn $1.50.
  • If I exercise 4 times in one week, I earn $10 instead of $6.
  • If, by some miracle, I work out more than 4 times in a week, I earn $2.50 for each of those additional workouts.
I started doing this because I wanted a reason to get my bum on the treadmill. Having $10/week to spend however I like without worrying about the overall household budget is a good motivation for me.

However, earning enough money that I can buy the equivalent of a cow for someone who does not have such a delightful life that she has to make up goals in order to be fulfilled is much, much better.

I'm starting this week, so I'll have 56 weeks to do this instead of 52. That means that I have to meet my goal of working out four times a week for all but six weeks over the next thirteen months. That's ambitious for someone who loves knitting on the couch as much as I do.

I'm calling it the Year of the Heifer.

Monday, December 3, 2012

If I Were Superstitious...

Yesterday I thought that Andrew and I were running ahead of schedule on the Christmas preparation front.

This morning, I come downstairs to walk the dog, and Andrew is standing in the living room in the midst of Christmas carnage. The Christmas tree was completely bare and on the floor, and the stand was in pieces.

This is what our dining room table looked like:

The stand of the tree broke, sending the entire tree backward into the couch. Andrew had already de-decorated it because he is awesome.

There were some casualties. The most painful one is this:

Poor Albert Pujols lost a head and an arm. Knowing him, this will not impact his performance in baseball games. Andrew had separated out the broken ornaments, and we'll decide if they can be repaired or if they need to be thrown away. I know we lost a few glass balls, but I'm not sure what else can be superglued.

As I was eating breakfast, I was thinking about the jars I finished for Andrew's mom's side. I was assaulted by one of those thoughts that comes with a slight tightening in your chest.

At least one of those recipes had to be halved to fit into a pint jar. Did I change the instructions to reflect that the ingredients to be added to the jar were half of the original recipe?

No. No, I did not.

Sometime this week we'll hopefully get a new tree and I'll redo the instructions for the jars.

Touche, first Monday in December.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pint Jar Gifts

At Andrew's mom's side's Christmas (did you follow all those possessives?), we all put something in Christmas stockings for one another.

There are 29 of us.

This has always been difficult for me. What can you get for 29 people that a) won't make you take out a second mortgage and b) won't get thrown away the moment one gets home?

Seriously, if you have ideas, I want to hear them.

The past few years, I've tried to make things. Last year (or the year before?) I knit washcloths and made hard candy for the adults and stalked the dollar section at Michael's and Target for the kids. This year, I decided the "jar gifts" that have the ingredients for a recipe inside the glass jar and instructions for how to bake attached would be a great idea.

Most of those recipes are for quart jars, fyi. I wanted to do pint jars, and because I love you I am going to include the three recipes I used in this post. If you ever want to make pint jar gifts, I am here for you.

'Cause the Internet really is not. The Internet thinks you should make quart jar gifts. The Internet cares not for your holiday budget and large families. Stupid Internet.

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies

  • Mix 3/4 c. flour, 3/4 t. baking powder, 1/4 t. salt, and 1/2 t. cinnamon together and put in bottom of clean pint jar. Add the following layers:
  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter chips
  • 1/4 light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 granulated sugar
Tightly lid jar and attach instruction card with a ribbon to the jar. 

"Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour the contents of the jar into a large mixing bowl and mix with 1/3 c. melted butter, 1 egg, and 1/2 t. vanilla extract. Roll cookie dough into 1” balls, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 12-15 minutes."

Chocolate-Chip Cookies
  • a smidgen over 3/4 c. flour (The recipe was for a quart and called for 1 2/3 c. Don't freak out about it. Just estimate. It's flour, not liquid nitrogen.)
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/4 brown sugar, packed
Tightly lid jar and attach instruction card with a ribbon to the jar. 
"Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Empty contents in a large bowl. In separate bowl, combine 1/3 c. butter, 1 egg, and 1/2 t. vanilla extract. Beat until creamy. Add to dry mixture. Drop by tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes."

Peppermint Hot Chocolate
  • 1/2 c. powdered milk
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 c. miniature chocolate chips
  • 2 candy canes, broken into pieces
Tightly lid jar and attach instruction card with a ribbon to the jar. 
"Mix contents in a large bowl. For each serving, place 1/3 c. cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 c. boiling water. Store remaining mix in airtight container."
There are a couple diabetics in the crowd, and I made them the peppermint hot chocolate mix with Splenda instead of sugar. They're still getting sugar from the chocolate and candy canes, but at least they're getting less sugar. Andrew also has a cousin with Celiac, and the Spanger brand candy canes and Trader Joe's chocolate chips are gluten-free, as are the other hot chocolate ingredients.
I really anticipated these being nice, inexpensive gifts. They are nice. I feel that some real thought and effort went into them, and I hope people enjoy them. Inexpensive? Not so much. I bought the pint jars off eBay, which is where I found the best price, and all the ingredients were basic grocery staples. Still, they were not cheap. I think making anything for more than twenty people is going to be expensive, so I'm going to claim this as a victory.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ornament Swap

You remember how I made a list of the things I would knit before Christmas, and how I said that was the Entire List?

Well, I lied. Not only have I been knitting more things, but I also signed up for an ornament swap with Katie. I received the ornament she made me this weekend, and LOOK!

It's the crochet ornament from attic24 that I love! I can't crochet, but this is the ornament that made me want to learn. I did take a beginner crochet class, but it felt hard and knitting felt easy and that's how it stands right now.

I love this ornament. I put it front and center on our tree so I can admire it. I have convinced myself that this isn't necessarily an ornament, and therefore I can put it in the yarn guest room once we pack up the holiday decorations.

But, wait! There's more! We also decided to send one another some small food item from our state. I sent her some apple butter and a bottle of dressing that had Hoosier in the name. Look what Katie sent me!

She sent three truffles--two of them are habanero and one is chai. Andrew and I are going to devour these tonight.

I'd seen this knitting in a bottle ornament and decided to try to make it to send to Katie. I'm really happy with the way they turned out. The needles are made from toothpicks and wooden beads, and the clear balls are plastic ones I bought from Ikea and then took the innards out.

mine ravelled here 

This is a nice way to use scrap yarn, but they're pretty fussy.

This is the first time I've done a swap, and it was a lot of fun! Thanks, Katie!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I have a post-it on my desk at work that reads, "Every situation is simply a mirror of ourselves. Everything we think or do in a situation tells us exactly what we need to know about ourselves." It's by Geri Larkin, one of my favorite writers.

I decided to start the Clara Cowl last night. It should be a fast knit, and there's only one cowl to be knit (as opposed to socks and mittens and fingerless gloves). I put the skein on the swift and started to wind. I noticed that it seemed that a couple loops doubled back on one another, but I reasoned that it would probably just switch directions when it got to that point and that would be fine.

It became tangled--so tangled that I had to disentangle from both ends as well as the middle. 

Lesson 1: When you think something matters, it does.... even if you don't want it to be so.

It uses a provisional cast-on, which I do not enjoy, but I figured it out after a few tries and some careful viewing of a youtube video. I've used that cast on multiple times, but I can never remember how to do it.

Lesson 2: It's okay to have to work hard at something, and it doesn't matter if you think it's something you should already know. What matters is that you continue to try.

This pattern uses big cables--24 stitches--which means that you have one-third of your stitches being cabled over another one-third. It gets messy. I wasn't sure the first cable was correct, but I figured I'd be better able to tell once I was farther along in the pattern. At the end of the evening, I had this:

Somehow the first cable had knit into a tube. I think it's because I had the yarn in front when it should have been in back or vice versa.

Lesson 3: If you think something's wrong, it probably is... even if you don't want it to be so. See Lesson 1.

I ripped it all out and trotted upstairs to wind it back up.

It became so entangled on the ball winder that I had to cut it out and then spit splice it back together again.

Lesson 4: Sometimes you should just read a book.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I broke down and bought space from Google, so I can bring you photos.

Toe socks are finished!

The other project I was working on when I mentioned I was thinking about other projects were these fingerless gloves.

Rosa rubiginosa Mitts (mine ravelled here and here),

These are from The Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet. They're quite pretty, and the ribbing on the palm makes them fit better than many fingerless gloves.

I did three repeats before starting the increases for the thumb.

At least, I did three repeats on the first mitt. On the second one, I did four.

I didn't realize that until I was completely finished with the second mitt.

I now had two options: Rip out one mitt completely and reknit or knit two more mitts to have two matching pairs.

I went with option two.

Rosa rubiginosa and Rosa rubiginosa, Jr.

This is not a bad thing. I have two friends for whom I wanted to make fingerless gloves. I just didn't anticipate them being the same. By the time I finished the fourth, I was ready to be done with this pattern and the yarn for awhile. Don't get me wrong: Both are lovely. I was just ready for something else.

I'm ready to knit something that doesn't come in pairs.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

One Last Shot

I stayed up late last night to finish up the toe socks and went to bed knowing they couldn't screw with me anymore.

This morning, I went to upload a photo to a celebratory blog post.

I'm out of space on blogger.

Game, set, match. Toe socks win.

If you'd like to see photos, they're on Ravelry here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Yesterday I needed to be able to do something and know it would turn out the way I expected it to. Knitting is obviously not the answer to this, as it can be a devious bitch.

When I was little, Mom taught me to make bread. I have no idea why she did this. I believe I'm the only one (out of three of us) who baked bread. The upshot of this is that bread is one of the few things I can bake with confidence. Yesterday after work, I baked whole wheat bread.

It's the same recipe Mom used with the exception of substituting about half the flour for whole wheat. It makes two loaves, and I think I will give the second to my in-laws. They're good peeps.

I have no idea where the recipe came from, so I can't give proper credit. I can tell you what I do though.

2 packages dry yeast
2 cups water (pretty hot)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 T. salt
6-8 c. flour, half bread flour and half whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in water. Add sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and salt. Mix well. Add 3 cups bread flour. Mix well. Add remaining flour gradually while mixing with a dough hook on your mixer.

If you don't have a dough hook, add cups 4-6 of flour gradually, mixing well. Turn out on to a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, adding flour as needed when the dough gets too sticky.

The dough should stay together and be elastic when it's finished. I've found with the dough hook I actually use more flour than when I hand knead. This makes no sense to me, but there it is.

Put the dough in a bowl with a bit of vegetable oil in the bottom. Put in a warm place to rise for an hour. Mom taught me to put a casserole pan (9" x 13") of hot water on the bottom rack of the oven and then put the bread in the cold oven on the rack above the pan. The hot water and enclosed space means the bread has a warm, humid place to do its thing. If your oven is in use, stick the bread bowl on a wire rack above a casserole dish filled with hot water and cover the bowl with a tea towel.

Once it's doubled in size (about an hour), give the bread a KAPOW! punch. I have no idea why you do this, but you do. Perhaps it's to get air bubbles out, but I find it just as likely that it's a stress reliever. Use a table knife to cut the dough in two roughly equal pieces. Knead them on a slightly oiled counter a few times, then squish it into a rough rectangle. Roll it from the small end. Press the ends tight to seal them and fold them under. Press the bottom seam of the roll into the loaf. (Just make something roughly the size of a bread pan, and squish it until you're happy with it.)

Put each half into a loaf pan that's been oiled. (Vegetable oil is a theme here.) Put back in oven for another hour to rise. I typically replace the water in the casserole dish with new, hot water.

Once the bread has doubled in size, take it out and preheat the oven to 375. Bake both loaves together for 30-35 minutes. Rub tops with butter, run a table knife around the edges to encourage it to leave the pans quietly and with a minimum of fuss, and turn out onto a rack. Attempt to wait patiently for them to cool a bit, then slice and eat with butter. Or jam. Or both. My in-laws swear by making grilled cheese with this bread, but I like it warm and with plain old butter. (Well, not butter, but some light version that only slightly resembles butter. Use whatever floats your boat.)

I know baking bread isn't going to appeal to everyone. It only appeals to me because I have nice memories of doing it growing up and I feel confident that it's going to behave as expected. If the idea of bread doesn't appeal to you, I encourage you to find something--a recipe, a walk, a movie, a book--that is predictable.

Then when the world goes sideways, you can know that there is something that can be trusted.

Note: In rereading this post, I realize I sound overly dramatic, as if there's some great chaos reigning in my life. There isn't. I'm happy. Andrew's happy. Everything's good. But there is no sun and my anxiety level is higher than I'd like it to be. So, I bake bread. It's better than a crack habit.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Time Out

I successfully finished one of the toe socks.

There are five toes, and they all seem to be appropriately sized. The little toe looks big in this picture, but I think it's an optical illusion caused by the way the others are folded.

I was feeling good about this and promptly cast on for the second sock. Twisted rib cuff, done! Stockinette body--done!

I reached the point to start the heel flap. Tra la la.

Let's see. 64 stitches, so 32 for the heel flap. I want to start it at a k3 so the top of the foot will have 8 repeats of k3, p1 rib--


K3, p1 r--

Oh, crap.

I knit the second sock in stockinette and the first sock in ribbing.

I'll rip out the leg and start again, but right now the sock is in time out. I cannot allow this sort of deviousness to go unpunished.

I think after this I'm going to knit something that doesn't come in pairs.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mmmm, a List

I've reached the point in a couple of projects where I'm bored and ready to think about something new! shiny! pretty! I'll plug on because That's Who I Am, but here are the things I'm really thinking about.

Thermal Pullover by Allyson Dykhuizen

This is from the latest issue of knit.wear, which is a magazine I love and wish they'd just let me subscribe to instead of paying a million dollars (or $15, but still) every time it comes out. Those of you who know me know that knitting a pullover is a big step. I'm fearful of them. Still, I think this sweater is beautiful, and I'm going to try it. There's no rational reason to be afraid of pullovers. There's no rational reason to be afraid of pullovers. There's no rational reason to be afraid of pullovers.

I'm going to knit it in this yarn.

Quilted Lattice Mitts

I'm going to knit these for Rachel. I've had a major breakthrough about knitting for Rachel. She loves my knitting more than anyone else in the world, and I've decided that I don't have to wait until Christmas or her birthday to give her stuff. If I want to knit something for her, I will. So there.

I'm going to knit these in this yarn.

Herringbone Rib Aviator Hat

Andrew picked out this earflap hat he wants. He takes being cold as a personal offense, and I am always happy to knit him whatever he wants. He's my favorite.

I'm not going to lie: It helps that he likes color and doesn't want me to knit him beige clothing. He picked this yarn for the hat. He has very good taste.

I've also been thinking about mittens. I don't need another pair of mittens (my love for the Swirly Ones remains pure), but there are some cute ones out there that won't stop calling to me.

There are so many beautiful things to make. It's really a shame that I'm expected to do other things like work and pay bills.

I didn't take any of these photos. They're all from the sites that I've linked.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In Which I Am Thwarted Once Again By Reading

Oh, we've got trouble right here in River City.

I had four toes finished on the right sock and was picking up the stitches for the big toes when I realized I only had 16 stitches.

I should have had 20.

I went back to the instructions.

I looked through projects in Ravelry, trying to figure out how so many people could knit these toe socks without mentioning that the instructions were wrong.

I sent the pattern link to a friend and asked him to see if he could find out where the problem was.

In about 30 seconds, he found it. The pattern is not wrong.


The pattern reads, "Replace held sts on needle and reattach yarn. Pick up and K 4 sts along the CO edge of little toe. 54 sts. PM for beg of round and work in st st for 4 rounds." I had skipped that paragraph entirely, which meant I was off by four stitches and all but the smallest toe needed to be frogged.

By chance, I was near the teenager's house after work last night, so I stopped and made him try on the sock to see if the length of the toes were correct. He was very excited about them, and his excitement made me feel much better about fixing the problem and making sure his toe socks were done properly and fit well.*

On the way home, I had an epiphany. Since each toe is done with its own piece of yarn, couldn't I just unpick the first row and leave the toe intact? Then I could kitchner it back onto the foot once I'd done the additional rows! It wouldn't work for the fourth toe (the one that needed me to pick up 4 stitches), but it would work for the other two. I was a genius!

Except, of course, it didn't work. In theory, it should work, but in practice it left me with dropped stitches and cursing. I finally just ripped them out and started again.

Before I went to bed, I had redone three toes and saw that I have the correct number of stitches for the fifth toe. Onward and upward.

It has not escaped my notice that the teenager needs two socks.

*I will admit to harboring a tiny hope that he had an abnormally slender big toe--a toe that needed four less stitches than normal big toes. You will not be surprised to hear that this did not happen.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Christmas Progress

The trickiest Christmas knitting is going to be the striped toe socks. For one thing, the teenager who requested them is growing like a bamboo shoot. For another thing, and I'm confident you know this, FEET ARE WEIRD. They're oddly shaped. The toes are funky lengths, and nobody's are the same.

With that in mind, I forced the teenager to take off his socks and shoes to try on the in-progress socks while I traced his toes.

You do what you have to do.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Truth Telling

Remember the Gray Girl Friday? I said, "The collar isn't as pronounced as I think it should be, so if I were to knit it again I'd knit the collar quite a bit wider. Even though I'd make some modifications if I were to knit this sweater again, I love it."

I was lying.

I didn't love it. I wanted to love it. Wanting to love something is clearly not the same as actually loving that thing, but it took me a month or so to accept that.

Last week I ripped out the ribbing.

I picked up a bajillion more stitches along the front edges (about double), and I knit a lot more short rows around the collar. The combination gave me ribbing that wasn't stretched to the breaking point, and a collar that actually looked like a shawl collar.


It took a few days of mindless k1, p1-ing, but it was worth it.

Now I love this sweater.

*Yes, I'm also wearing my button necklace. You'll have to take my word for it, but I have my Blackrose socks on as well. Basically, I'm a pioneer woman.**

**If by "pioneer woman," you understand that I mean, "woman who knits in front of the TV."

Friday, November 2, 2012


I do not understand football. To me, it's the thing that encroaches on the end of baseball season.

From what I've heard, though, some people like it.

I finished the Chicago Bears socks for a friend to give his sister:

Groovy Socks (mine ravelled here)
knit in Ladybug Fiber Company's 400 Sock 80/20 Self Striping, Chicago Bear colorway

I had yarn left over. I tried to think of what I knew about football fans. It wasn't much. Then I thought of something, confirmed it with my friend, and plunged ahead.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Da Bears Are Groovy

The yarn came yesterday!

Groovy Socks (mine ravelled here)
Chicago Bear colorway

She custom dyes yarn in whatever self-striping colors you need. I think this skein looks great, and, as always, I love this pattern with self-striping yarn.

The temperature has dropped over 30 degrees from yesterday to today. It's gray and rainy and cool, and I have a strong desire to curl up on the couch with some peppermint schnappes-spiked cocoa and this sock. I'm definitely going to spend some time doing just that this weekend. Have a great weekend, everyone!