Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Now I Understand

It's been a rough few weeks at work. Everything seems to be breaking, and I don't know how to fix most of it. I keep reminding myself that the "only way out is through"* and that my background is in theology instead of IT and therefore I shouldn't expect to be able to fix IT problems.

Still, there's only so far that reasonable attitude can take me. Last night I stopped at the grocery to pick up the necessities: milk, bananas, and Ben & Jerry's Phish Food frozen yogurt.

Milk. Check.

Bananas. Check.

The frozen yogurt is on the top rack in the freezer. The flavors to the left and right are there. I can see the Phish Food, but it's too far back on the rack and I can't reach it. I spent a couple of futile attempts trying to reach it with other things. I briefly consider asking a tall stranger to help, but reject that idea since my attitude is lousy enough I don't trust myself to appear cheery rather than crazy. No need to scare strangers in the freezer section.

Is it more likely that I a) have pissed off the Universe in some way, b) the Universe is saving me from myself by not allowing me to medicate through chocolate, or c) there's been a run on this particular flavor and the Universe has nothing to do with it?

Okay, I know the answer is C. I really do. But still.

*Thanks, Alanis.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Erasmia pulchella Socks

The January/February KAL for The Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet, Vol. II is the Erasmia pulchella socks.

Erasmia pulchella socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Araucania Ranco Multy color 321

Photos can look fine on the screen, but they are turned in interesting directions once they're uploaded either to the blog or to Ravelry. I'm guessing that the camera and computers are conspiring against me. I have decided not to worry about it and just accept whatever they want to dish out. Please pretend these are oriented the correct way.

I found these socks to be really fast. I think it's that the stitch pattern is only two rows long, so it was easy to memorize and easy to see where I should be in the pattern.

I always worry about variegated yarn showing the stitch pattern, but I think these work well. This is another great pattern from this book!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Quirky Quilt

My quilt is finished in its splendid squareness.

I took Home Ec. and some sewing in Mini 4-H (yes, it's a thing), but that's about the limit of my sewing experience. I read reviews to find a good, inexpensive sewing machine, bought it, and read the manual. The Rube Goldberg way they're threaded felt very familiar.

Some of the squares are from fabric I won a few years ago from Uberstitch. Some of the fabric I purchased, buying whatever fabric made me happy (and one that was a lesson from the Universe).

I used a basic tutorial from the Penelope Waits blog. Perhaps that tutorial has been taken down; I can't find it again on her site. She advocated knitting the squares together in clumps of nine (making a "nine patch"), but I decided it was easier to sew the squares together in long strips, then sew the strips together.

It took me a long time to get started, and I read too much about quilts instead of just doing it. Once I convinced myself to actually start cutting (in June 2012), things went fairly smoothly.

I then immediately got freaked out again by the size of the project. My mom came over and helped me make a little baby quilt.

That made me feel better, and I worked on the big quilt sporadically, and not always successfully.

The center of the quilt is alternating strips of white and patterned 3" blocks (2.5" after sewing them). Then there's a border of white, a border of all patterned squares, and another border of white.

When I finished piecing the top, I embroidered a square.

I paid someone to machine quilt it, and although this is not the stitch pattern she wanted me to pick, it is perfect and I love it. The back is five large blocks of lime green and bright pink fabric. (Actually, I think that fabric choice tripped the machine quilter out a little, too. She apparently is used to more traditional quilts.)

I made the binding out of strips of white fabric, using this excellent tutorial. It took two in-depth conversations with a friend who is more visual than I to understand how this was done. Then I set the laptop with the tutorial up in the same room with the sewing machine and ran back and forth between the two. It all worked very well with the exception of the corners. They would win no ribbons at the fair, those corners. I plan to spend the rest of my life ignoring them.

I thought about the various ways to characterize how big this project was (at least, for me)--the fabric used? the hours? This seems as good an indicator as any:

While handsewing the binding down on the back of the quilt (somewhere in the neighborhood if 12-15 hours, by the way), I ran out of thread and had to go buy more. That spool of white Aurifil Mako cotton thread had 1422 yards in it.

Click on the picture to see the fabric more closely.

I love the quilt, and while I know it's all 90 degree angles and a very simple design as quilts go, I'm extremely proud of my persistence. I've purchased the fabric for another (smaller) quilt for the single bed in the guest room.* Right now, though, I think I'll go knit a pair of socks.

*It's based on this photo if you want to see.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Little Suns

I've had the Little Suns scarf in my queue for a long time.

Little Suns (mine ravelled here),
knit in Malabrigo Lace in Fucsia 093 and Knit Picks Gloss Lace in 24849 Black

I'd like to give a shout out to the designer, Emma Vining. I was having trouble with the first pink pattern row. It's all short rows, and I didn't end up with the correct number of stitches at the end of the row. This is knit length-wise, so there are 289 stitches in each row. I sent her a message on Ravelry asking clarification about the instructions, and she very promptly responded, set me right, and said nice, encouraging things. I started again, counted my stitches more carefully, and things went fine the second time. It's amazing to me that we have such a wonderful knitting community. I love that I was able to contact the designer directly and get help when I needed it.

This isn't a hard pattern, but it's not easy either. The short rows require close attention, and I wouldn't dream of stopping partway through the row. Since the rows are long, that required a bit of planning. It was easy to get in a rhythm though, and of the 12 row repeat, only 2 of them are short-row rows. The rest of the rows are very simple.

This didn't take the entire skein of either color. It's a good use of a couple odd skeins of laceweight you might have lying around. This pattern was originally published in The Knitter Issue 47, but it wasn't up on Ravelry for a long time. I wonder if that's why there are only 7 projects listed. Don't let the few projects discourage you; this is a great pattern!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pillowcase of My Heart

Back in October, a friend gave me a present, the Crafty Characters embroidery pattern from Kitschy Digitals. On Friday, I embroidered myself a pillowcase.

I am besotted with it. It makes me happy every time I see it.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Creature of Habit

I dislike having too many projects on the needles at once. It makes me twitchy. There are times, though, when you have to have something mindless as well as something interesting. Holiday knitting, for me, needs to be easy. I need to be able to do it when my stomach is full of mashed potatoes.

Socks for Andrew are the answer.

Blue-Green Zauberballs (mine ravelled here),

Gradients for Andrew (mine ravelled here),

The gradient socks have four mini-skeins. Knit the first skein until about halfway down the leg, then knit 2 rounds of the color 2, 4 rounds of the color 1, 4 rounds of the color 2, and then 2 more rounds of the color 1, then back to color 2 until the heel flap.

Alternate color 2 and color 3 on the heel flap, then do the same striping on the gusset with colors 2 and 3 that you did with 1 and 2. About halfway down the foot, switch to color 4 and do the same striping with colors 3 and 4. Finish up the foot with color 4.

Andrew was up for swapping the order on the second sock, so I did.

After the gradient socks, I started a shawl/scarf/wrappy thing for me. I had a question about the pattern, so while I was waiting to hear back from the designer about that, I started another pair of socks.

Poem for Andrew (mine ravelled here),

At some point, we won't need more socks. However, my world looks like this right now:

So I think I'm safe to knit as many warm layers as I'd like.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


It's been a great holiday. I took a few days off between Christmas and New Year's, and we spent lots of time with family and friends. Our house looks like Christmas exploded in it, and I'm hoping fairies come and take down all our Christmas decorations and vacuum while I'm at work.
A girl can dream.
Tiny sock ornament (mine raveled here),

I hope everyone had a great holiday!