Friday, May 31, 2013

WIP: "My Favorite Things" Infinity Scarf

I've been doing some gift knitting that I won't post about until way later this year, but I've made some progress on the scarf as well.
Yesterday I finished a motif roughly based on a chart from Spindleknitter's Stockings and then did a skyline based on this hat.

The scarf is getting pretty long. It's around 45" or so right now, and the designer said hers was 62" and was the correct length to wrap twice around her neck. I don't think it will grow much when it's blocked, so I have room for a few more charts. This is great because once I started looking, I found a lot of charts I loved!

The next motif to go in is Scribble. I liked this pattern so much when I saw it that I tried to convince people they wanted me to knit them that vest. That didn't work, so I'm very excited to use it on the scarf.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


My Inlays are finished!

Inlay Socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Blue Moon Fiber Arts'
H.R.H. Crown Princess of Purple, Violetta colorway*

These are not for the faint of heart. They are heavily cabled--or at least heavily twisted. Every other round has a series of right twists, left twists, or both. I never was able to see the pattern, so I had to follow the chart the entire time. I am not particularly visual, so I never know if this is because I can't see the pattern or because the pattern can't be seen.

I found it helpful to label the twists on the chart. I just marked the left twists LT and the right RT. It sounds silly, but it helped me a lot. I also learned that highlighter tape is fantastic for marking the row of the chart. I use a chart keeper, but the magnets aren't strong enough. Often when I open it, I find that the magnet marking my row has moved and is mocking me from its new location. I don't understand how the highlighter tape is sticky enough not to move inappropriately but nonsticky enough to be able to be pulled up and moved a jillion times without ripping the page or pulling up the ink. The only possible answer is that highlighter tape is magic.

And, wow, these socks are pretty.

There's a line running down each side of the leg and foot that may find its way onto plain socks as well. It's easy to do, and it adds a lot of visual interest. (Over 8 stitches, p1, k1, right cross, left cross, k1, p1.)

A word of warning: Use a very round yarn. You want great stitch definition. Even in a round yarn, it will look like crap until it's actually on your foot. Then POW! Hello, pattern.

These are a pattern designed by Hunter Hammersen. I'm a fan of hers. I preordered Hunter's new book, and I like nearly every pattern in it. But for now, I'm going to knit something very, very simple.

*That colorway is from a Socks that Rock Club shipment, so it may not be available for sale yet.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fast vs. Sloooooow

The Inlay Socks are slow. Pretty, but slow. I'll love them once they're done, but slow.

The "My Favorite Things" Infinity Scarf is slow. Fun, but slow. Using up scrap yarn, but slow.

I've been uninterested in knitting for the last several days. I decided it was because I couldn't see the end of either of those projects coupled with the fact that I won't need to wear either of them until fall.

You know how I get when I have more than one project going. I can handle two... except when I can't. Any more than two and I begin to twitch.

However, there was a project that had been hibernating so long that I didn't even count it as a work in progress anymore.

I don't remember the details, but Knitpicks gave away a skein of Biggo sometime in the fall when you made an order. I ordered the Cobblestone Heather colorway, naturally,* and I found the Clara Cowl when I was surfing Ravelry looking for possible projects.

A skein of Biggo has 110 yards.

The Clara Cowl needed 110 yards.

I'm a whore for cables.


If by "done," you understand that I buggered it up completely, fixed that, and then ran out of yarn six rows from the end.

And the yarn was backordered.

For months and months.

I became tired of my ravelry projects' page judging me every time I looked at it and saw the Clara Cowl with its never-changing progress percent. I put it in hibernation and hid it at the bottom of my page.

The yarn is back in stock, and I recently received my second skein. I decided that knitting the Clara Cowl in the length specified in the pattern would make the cowl too tight. I would feel a bit like I was being strangled, and being strangled by soft, fluffy yarn is still being strangled. I knit until I nearly finished the second skein and then did the fiddly kitchner join that made this a cowl instead of a scarf.

When November comes, I'll be ready.

Until then, maybe I'm ready to go back to fingering weight yarn for awhile.

*Stop judging me. Gray is beautiful.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cabled Wrap - Can I Get an Amen?

Tonight was the work event that necessitated me borrowing a dress, putting on heels, a squisher, a hairdo with more bobbypins that I can count, and....
knit in Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud, Smoke Heather colorway
the cabled wrap.
This wrap had a long and painful journey*, and I'm really glad to get some wear out of it before it truly turns hot. I think I'll wear it a lot--I hope I'll wear it a lot. I'd better wear it a lot.
I knit it narrower than the pattern called for. I used 120 stitches and also omitted the garter stitch edge. After blocking, it measures 14.5" x 72".
Once I was safely finished casting off, I calculated how many stitches are in this little wrap.
Not including the cast on or bind off, there are 47,400 stitches.

I'm grateful to be in my pajamas, grateful to have washed my hair twice to rid it of the stench and stiffness of hairspray, grateful that the most strenuous thing I'm doing tomorrow is meeting a friend for lunch (while wearing jeans and a t-shirt), and grateful to be going to bed.

Have a wonderful rest of the weekend!

*If you want to read more of this sad tale, you can here and here.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Gardening Meditation

I've never been very good at sitting-on-the-cushion meditation. I have a hard time getting my mind to be still.

A goal of mine is to try to do whatever task I'm doing with mindfulness. When I'm working on payroll, I'm only working on payroll. I'm not simultaneously trying to plan my weekend. When I'm knitting, I'm just knitting, not thinking about the other things that need to get done. 

I'm not particularly good at this, but it's a goal to keep working toward.

I find that doing something physical sometimes is enough to keep the mind focused on the task at hand.  I felt it yesterday when I was doing some gardening. When I was planting tomatoes, I was just planting tomatoes. When I was arranging the planter, I was just arranging the planter.

It felt like grace.

Because I'll want to know later:
Perilla frutescens (Magellanica Perilla)
Solenostemon scutellarioides (Coleus Vino)
2 Petunia hybrid (Supertunia Raspberry blast) 
Euphorbia graminea (Diamond Frost)
Ipomoea batatas ('Sweet Caroline Sweetheart Light Green' Sweet Potato Vine)

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Quick Trip

This weekend we drove two hours to Cincinnati for a quick overnight trip. We saw the Reds game on Friday night and another one Saturday. They won both. Naturally, their victory was because we were there. You're welcome, Cincinnati.

Friday was rainy, and both days were chilly. We wore waterproof (well, water resistant) coats Friday and snuggled underneath one of those sad plastic ponchos to keep our legs warm. It rained for the first few innings and then dried out. It wasn't bad at all.

I made friends with Mr. Redlegs and Rosie Red.

We try to go to Cincinnati a couple times each baseball season, often in May and late September. I am a delicate flower who has no desire to sit in the sun in 95 degree weather surrounded by beer drinkers for three hours at a baseball game.

I love baseball. I always have. I think it's because I played softball as a little girl and understand the rules. Many, many, many people think baseball games move too slowly.

That's why you knit.

Friday, May 10, 2013


I checked with a couple plant people at my work, and one of them knew what the mystery plant was.


I screamed, "There's been an emergency! I have to go!", raced out the door, drove like a madman home and dug up the honeysuckle.

At least, that's what I did in my head. In reality, I waited until yesterday evening to dig the plant up. It's a sad truth that not everyone understands that the presence of honeysuckle in one's yard is indeed an emergency.

You may be wondering what the big deal is. Well, in my neck of the woods, honeysuckle is invasive. It probably arrived in my front flower bed through the ill-placed poo of a passing bird. You can click here to see why it's a problem. Invasive species of honeysuckle can be bushlike (like the one in my yard) or vinelike. Both are bent on world domination.

It wasn't terribly difficult to dig up because the ground is pretty wet, but I'm still not sure I was able to get all the roots. I'll be on the lookout for reemergence. I will fight it like it's Audrey, Jr.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Happenings in the 'Hood*

Let's start with a game! Can anyone identify this plant?

It showed up last fall. It lost all its leaves during the winter, and it's growing like crazy now. I have no idea what it is. I don't think I planted it. It looks too healthy for me to dig up, so I've just been watching it out of the corner of my eye and hoping someday it will do something so I know what it is.

Here's what I meant about the phlox. It's so tricky. It looks beautiful now, but soon--- .

In Seattle, I fell in love with azaleas. Azaleas aren't really suited to Indiana's alkaline soil, but last year I planted one anyway and sprinkled some sulfur around it. It's still quite small, but it has started blooming.

Quite a few years ago, my mom and I helped clean out a bed and took home lots of irises. Since then, I've moved a couple bunches to the backyard and given some away to at least five people. Irises are a bit like the creeping phlox to me: They both will spread and spread if they can. They're both beautiful for a short period of time, and then they really aren't. Yet I can't bring myself to get rid of them.

As an added bonus, I'm also allergic to irises. If I touch them, my skin starts screaming at me and trying to fling itself onto a passing human who would take better care of it.** I wear long sleeves and gloves when I mess with it... except for the times when I forget or believe that I won't really be touching it and so the protective layers are unnecessary.

The peony is full of buds ready to break.

The alium is glorious.

The vinca I planted under the birdbath a couple years ago has flowered for the first time. I have read that this plant can be pretty aggressive, but my thought was that I could always run over it with the lawn mower if I thought it was contemplating world domination. So far, it's not even working toward birdbath domination, so I feel pretty safe.

Last year I planted a new perennial bed. Then we had a drought and record heat. I lost a lot of plants.

Okay, I'm going to tell you the truth, and not just in a footnote. I also suspect that I lost some of those plants because that bed gets a lot less sun than I had hoped. There are houses, you see, and houses create shade. This is a part-sun bed, and I wanted it badly to be a full sun.

Anyway, I'm still waiting to see what plants will make an appearance this year, but one of them has decided to put on a show before all the other flowers arrive.

Amazing, yes? I've never had a colombine before, and I love it.

Random: Does anyone else spend a lot of time considering what their superpower would be if she were a superhero? For me, I'd help plants to grow. I'd be Poison Ivy from Batman, but on the side of good. I wouldn't really be the type of superhero to stop bank robbers by causing ivy to wrap around their legs. I'm thinking I'd be more of a Plant Whisperer. Your geranium is mopey? Let me come take a look at it and see what the problem is.

Oh, wait. Maybe by "superhero," I actually mean "horticulturalist."

Spring is a time of Hope. A time of Believing Things Will Be Different, that I will Faithfully Water and Fertilize.

I am hopeful.

*If by "'hood" you understand that I mean "yard."

**If by this you understand that I mean I get a red, itchy rash.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Socks with Phlox

I took some photos of the Rampant socks this morning before heading to work. I love the way these socks turned out.

Rampant socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock,
Berry Tart colorway

I preordered Hunter Hammersen's new book, Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet, Vol. II, and Hunter gave away two patterns with the preorder. I chose Rampant and Xanthophyll.

Andrew bought me this yarn. It has enough variegation to be interesting but not so much that the pattern gets lost.

These socks are sitting on a bed of Phlox subulata. For most of the year, this is a boring, prickly plant that spreads like mad. For a couple of weeks though, it's a sea of beautiful pink flowers. Every year I think about ripping it out, remembering what a pain it is to weed, how it gets brown and ugly during the heat of summer, how it tries to elbow out all the other plants in the beds. Then, as if it knows what I'm thinking, it blooms like this. The mass of pink blooms in our front flower beds can be seen from space. It's gorgeous.

Survival of the fittest.

Friday, May 3, 2013


I love stranded knitting. It makes it tricky to fast forward through commercials, but other than that it is delightful. I'm having a great time on the scarf.

This was my progress at the end of my lunch hour yesterday.

(mine ravelled here)

Last night I started work on the third section.

When I really started looking, I realized I have a ton of stranded motifs that I love. The argyle pattern is from these mittens, which have been marked as a favorite for a long time. The third motif is from these Knitty mittens.

I found a ton of great charts on Ravelry, and I checked out Mary Jane Mucklestone's book 200 Fair Isle Motifs from the library. I know that it's very, very early in the process and that I will undoubtedly become impatient toward the end, but right now the future seems covered in glorious strips of heart and argyle and birdies. I can't stop myself from thinking about what I would do if I were to make it for other people. (There would be robots and peace signs, depending on the person.)

I love that I'm using scrap sock yarn for this. The background (hopefully) will be done in yarns that I already owned, and all the color (hopefully) will be from scrap yarn.

*Huh. These pictures are rotated on my computer, but when they upload, they are sideways. I've decided I don't care enough to try to figure out why.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"It's Not a Problem. It's a Challenge."*

I've become obsessed with ideas for the scarf. After work, I couldn't come up with a good enough excuse to skip yoga class**, but I found that my mind kept travelling to knitting instead of focusing on the stretch.


Let go


When I did park myself on the couch to knit last night, I was marveling at how delightful it was to knit little hearts on a gray background. So pretty! What a fun project! The hard cast on was behind me, and glorious stranded knitting stretched out in front of me like a gorgeous field of wildflowers. This project was so great that I thought of it in terms of similes.

As I spread it out to admire my progress on the third row of hearts, I noticed something.

A weird bunching.

A weird bunching that didn't go away as I tried to smooth it out.

I had twisted the stitches when I joined to knit in the round. I had knit the thing into a mobius strip. 

I spent a few minutes trying to think of a way to fix it without doing what I knew I needed to do to fix it. Then I took a deep breath, pulled out the needles and started frogging.

In good news, I did much better with the provisional cast on this time. GLASS HALF FULL.

*That's a line from The Last 5 Years by Jason Robert Brown. The character is talking about staying faithful to his wife, but he could be singing about knitting. The sentiment is the same.

**I certainly tried.

  • It's too pretty to go to yoga. (yoga is 75 minutes, not 75 days)
  • I need to go home and walk the dog. (Andrew did that)
  • I need to knit. (It is a fact that I need to work out more than I need to knit)
  • There's a plant in the car and it might get stressed with heat. (It's 60 degrees and the plant is a Japanese anemone. It'll be alive even after the war comes: Japanese anemone, chives, and termites will freely roam the scorched earth. Yes, in my head the plants are able to walk. Just go with it.)