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.