Friday, January 30, 2009

Let's Be Up Beat

Hey I made it out of the driveway with out any problems today. Yipee! I'm already off to a better start than I was yesterday.
Although I am a bit sleepy today.
But that is beside the point! Let's focus on the yarn, which is supposed to be the point of this blog.

Mom's Mitts
The left hand mitt is at the point where I start the thumb. Moving along nicely. I don't work at the store either day this weekend, so I should have some quality time to work on it.

BSG Socks
The second sock is 21 rows in. Also moving along nicely. I'm doing some proofreading at the moment so I'm knitting at my desk. (Well, I'm not proofreading at this moment. At this moment I'm eating lunch and updating the blog.)

Heart Harf
I'm working on the prototype. Well the hood part of the prototype. As the scarf section, which is straight forward, will take up most of the knitting time I've skipped ahead to the hood since it is the tricky bit with the shaping and such.
I'm also attempting to insert bobbles as the women at the store suggested.
Three cheers for the first Barbara Walker book, by the way. The first bobble I found in there looked icky as it was worked in one stitch so it was totally off center since there are two stitches between the hearts where the girls women said to put a bobble.
However, along with that first bobble, Walker says "see other bobbles on x, x, and x stitches." So I skimmed them all and found one worked over two stitches. It looks a little different than a one stitch bobble, but it's centered which is points in its favor.
Bobbles, you should know, are not my favorite stitch. I'm not very fond of popcorns in crochet either. I don't know, I just think they look like little mutant growths or something.
I yanked out the single stitch bobble and replaced it with the double stitch version. It has potential, but it is too close the end of the first heard and the beginning of the second.
I soldiered forth, since this is just a massive swatch really and the point is to test these things, and have stuck one in between two panels. heart swatchs bobble point?
Yes, I'm cheating and using an old picture. It is hard to take pictures when you've raided the camera batteries. I have to remember to stop and get another set of rechargables. (At the moment we have 6—3 pairs—one pair is in the TV remote, and the other two are in the keyboard. I just need one pair for the camera, but all I saw in the grocercy store over the weekend were either 4 packs or 2 packs with a port. sigh.)
As you can see in this picture, the cable panel is self contained with a beginning and an end. That is, the panels don't flow into each other. When I kept working on this green swatch I ended one repeat and went straight into a second, which didn't look good at all. Knowing I'd have to put some plain rows between panel repeats, I could already hear the other women saying that area needed a bobble as well. So I worked one in line with the one between the hearts. It is growing one me. (like a little mutant growth.)
Hopefully I can get the battery situation sorted out and take some pictures this weekend.
I've also reached out to the designer of the cable via Ravelry to make sure it is ok to use it.
I was plotting to write the pattern up to sell it. But now I'm considering being brave and submitting it to the Knitting Challenge contest AslanTrends is having. Either way I figure I need her ok.
The contest deadline is in August (pleanty of time to knit, ha!) but it kind of hinges on whether we still have any of that yarn in the store or if I can get my hands on some.

Ok, wow, well I thought this would be a short post, but I'm not sure short posts are within my abilities. :-)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Don't Get Me Started

I know there are worse days a girl can have, and I've probably had one of those.
But today is still ranking pretty high on the frustration meter.

Adding Insult
Yesterday it snowed during the morning, which turned to rain by the afternoon, which turned to ice overnight.
Hubby took the SUV to school since he drives on back roads. I had the sedan and couldn't for the life of me get out of the stupid driveway!
Our driveway has a considerable slope, so you have to go uphill to get out. It is also a little blind, so you have to stop at the top before you pull out into traffic.
After several attempts, during a few of which I was sure I was going to slide backwards and hit the porch damaging the car, the house, and my marriage, I finally crested the driveway.
But since I had to stop, I then got stuck in the mouth of the driveway because I couldn't get enough traction to pull myself out.
So I had to back down into the driveway again and start over. On one of those attempts I was sure I was going to loose control on the ice and shoot into the deep ravine next to the driveway.
After cresting again, and again being unable to pull onto the road, I gave up.
Called Boss Man, threw a hissy fit, and decided I'd just work from home.

Hissy Fit
The hissy fit was born out of my frustration over being unable to get out of my own driveway. But also because the company has a policy that if the office is closed because of bad weather it is a free day off, however if it is open but you stay home because of the bad weather you loose a personal day. I suppose this might sound reasonable, expect for the fact that I can do my job from home. And I have on several occasions (the most recent of which being yesterday, when the office was closed because of the snow, but I have to get stuff done. And am I going to get credit for that? I don't think so.). And many, many people in the office have arrangements that allow them to work from home on set days every week, so obviously the company acknowledges the validity of telecommuting. But the policy is what it is and I'm on the loosing end of it. (But I am also grateful for having a job to whine about.)
Still, I was going to work on my article despite the injustice of it all since I have to get the damn thing written already.

To Injury
So, cross-eyed with annoyance, I come upstairs to get to work—and the wireless keyboard is dead. Won't talk to the computer at all.
I figure the batteries are dead. Two are regular, two are rechargeable. So I raid the camera's rechargeable batteries and stick them all in the charger.
While I'm waiting, I attempt to surf the internet, which is really hard to do when you can't type anything. (At least the Ravelry login screen has my id/password stored so I could get on there!)
I also wrote out notes to Hubby and Boss Man, scanned them, then sent them over e-mail to update them on my status. It is amazing how much you can accomplish with just a mouse.

Boss Man's response: Sucks to be you.
Hubby's response: so did you fax those documents we discussed?
Yeah, I know, men. sheesh. (Still, you have to appreciate my boss's evil sense of humor.)

The charger light went off, I popped the batteries in—and the keyboard still didn't work.
So I said a few choice words, and stomped downstairs to knit and watch Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Icing on the Day
Audrey sweaterBy now you are asking yourself how I'm am managing to write all this with a dead keyboard.
Well about 2 pm, I had a brainwave. I put the battery pairs into the camera, and sure enough one set wasn't charged.
So I looked at the charger port and saw the last bay is messed up. So I charged the dead set in the first two bays and I was back in business.
In the mean time, however, because such a nasty day can't correct its course so quickly...
In the mean time, I had opened the blinds on one of the living room windows, which allowed the sun to hit the big couch. When I was wandering around waiting for the batteries to charge I discovered Samson curled up on the couch sleeping in the sun (puppies nap fast).
He looked so warm and inviting I had to pounce on him for snuggles.
Well, Baru got jealous, jumped up on the couch behind me, then crawled over me in an attempt to get into the middle of the action.
I was wearing my Audrey sweater which I made back in 2004.
One of his little Freddy Kruger claws hooked a strand of yarn on the elbow and puuuullled it.
At least the yarn didn't break.
So maybe the day is on the upswing after all.

Oh, woe

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mitts and Doilies

Finished the first of mom's mitts last night. Knit the rest of the thumb and wove in the little ends.
It seems a bit snugger than the pairs I made myself. This could be because the Debbie Bliss yarn is, I think, technically thinner than the other yarns I used. But the ball band says it works to the gauge I call for in the pattern. But, of course, I didn't do a gauge swatch.
On the other hand, the closer fit could just be because it is brand new and hasn't stretched out from use yet. I seem to remember mine were snug at first and now they aren't.
Well, we'll see what happens.
Didn't get to cast on for the second one last night because Hubby came home. The pups and I devoted the rest of the evening to following him around, getting under his feet, and gazing at him adoringly (with adoration?). Surprisingly, none of this got on his nerves. Either because he missed us too, or because I was willing to run around fetching things for him.
And, no, I don't believe he did comment on how nice the house looked. Wait, actually, he asked why I didn't clean his shower and I said he could do it himself, I didn't have time.
So things rapidly returned to normal.

doily after Had an e-mail from my MIL that her friend Aunt L is thrilled with the doily I made.
Except that is it 7 inches and she wanted 12 inches.
Which is a fine critique as I thought it was a bit small, but couldn't remember the size she wanted.
I said that if she can use it she should hold onto it, otherswise she could send it back and I'd make it bigger. I also don't remember how many she wanted, four maybe?
So I'll probably start in on those after I finish mom's mitts. Which may or may not delay progress on my BSG socks. The doilies aren't challenging, but they do take more concentration than a plain stockinette stitch pair of socks do, so I won't be able to work on them when I want to pay attention to something else.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Semi-Back on Topic

I have calmed down a little since this morning. Well, actually, I redirected my rage toward alternating between yelling at the idiots I had to share the highway with and then breathing deeply to calm down.
I made it to the office in one piece, so I guess it worked.

I'm almost done the first of mom's mitts. I have a few rows to go on the thumb. It was hard working on the thumb last night—dark yarn/darkish room, not a good combination. I was sitting on the big couch and the lighting isn't as good.
However, the mitts are not good office knitting because of the lace pattern, so I left them at home. Just have my Mardi Gras (a.k.a Battlestar Galactica socks) with me, not that I've had a chance to touch them.
But soon I will be starting the writing process and might need to bust them out to help me focus.

More House Keeping
Because I know you were just riveted by my efforts to fight the good fight against puppy fluff over the weekend, I thought I'd let you know what I accomplished on Sunday.
At the very least you can live vicariously through my cleaning efforts. Although I should point out I've tried that and it doesn't help the state of my own house much.
On Sunday I folded and put away all the clean laundry from last weekend, cleaned the kitchen again (why can't the kitchen ever stay clean?), and cleaned the bathrooms.
Well, I just did his toilet and sink, which is half the battle really. He can do his own shower. And he has in the past. Shoot, he actually did MY shower once because he wanted to take a bath and it was getting grungy.
If you're wondering at this sudden fever which gripped me enough to distract me from knitting—hubby was out of town chaperoning a ski trip. :-( So I literally had nothing better to do than clean house because my playmate was missing. sigh. (His absence is also why I was sitting on the big couch.)
When I told him about my activities on Saturday he said, "Boy, I should go out of town more often."

Timing Is Everything
The worst part about all this house keeping is, it didn't take as long as you might expect. It all took all day because I spread it out and took plenty of knitting breaks.
Have you ever timed your chores? I have. I made an attempt to follow the FlyLady system last year. It's pretty interesting, you should check her website out. In a nut shell, her whole idea is to do quick maintenance cleanings inbetween your big cleanings so things don't get out of control. If you do a quick little thing for five minutes you make progress but don't get overwhelmed.
It's a good idea, and it actually works. Sadly, I've got one of those personalities that once the house starts looking kind of nice I figure I can take a break and quickly degenrate to square one.
So the point is, because of this, I know it takes a hour to vacuum the whole house. And I know it takes half an hour to sweep and mop entrance foyer/kitchen. And folding all that laundry only took around 15 minutes.
But cleaning the kitchen is a never ending task.
Of course knowing all this puts me in the bad position of feeling doubly bad if I don't mop more often because it's only going to take 30 minutes. (But it's a hard 30 minutes.)
On the other hand, if you wait a really long time between vacuumings, and you have two big fluffy dogs, there is a dramatic difference when you DO vacuum, which makes you feel better about making the effort.
Oh, and with all the cleaning yesterday I also make chocolate chip banana bread, did the grocery shopping (which took, no lie, three hours with travel), and make some potato leek soup.
Yeah, I slept pretty well last night.
Happily, Hubby will be home tonight! Yipee! I think I'll dust when I get home from work. That will top off my efforts nicely. Maybe I'll try to maintain it as well.
hahaha! Don't hold me to that.

Who are these "experts"?

Anti-TV talking head rant coming up.
I'm sorry, but I have to ask, "Did I miss something?"
I'm getting ready for work, and I have on CNN (which might be my first mistake), and they have a woman on talking about the new proposed stimulus package.
Now, I admit, I haven't read up on this package, all this economy talk is so much depressing blah, blah, blah in the back ground these days.
But this woman is saying we have to "unfreeze the credit markets" and I could swear she was advocating more money to the banks.
This is where I asked, "Did I miss something?" Because I seem to remember we gave billions to the banks and it did squat to help the economy!
There was a little while there where some people were saying, very sensible, that the solution to the current recession was to get people jobs and to get people better wages and then they would be able to go out and spend money.
What happened to those people? Because they were making sense to me.
Now I'm no economist, but from every thing I've been hearing on the news and seeing in the papers, the banks aren't going to lend money to people who can't afford it (because that is what got them into trouble in the first place). And tons of surveys seem to be indicating that people have finally woken up and aren't spending money they don't have (i.e. buying things on credit).
So, hellloooo, maybe giving the banks more money isn't the answer? Can we get those people back?
(However, I feel obliged to mention the next thing the woman said about having one auto emissions standard for the entire county, rather than state by state, makes sense. Maybe it's just cause I was so mobile when I was younger. But I'm aware of the hazards of buying a car in one state and worrying about registering it in another. Because it's the consumer who would get penalized in the end.)
And, in case you're wondering, I switched over to Mike & Mike on ESPN before I came upstairs.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Beginning and Middle

Fingerless mitt for mom start I had quite the productive day today, despite not getting out of bed until after 8 am.
But I got out of bed like a cannon because Baru was acting funny and I didn't want him pissing on the floor again. So we ran straight to the back door. Then I started the day.

House Keeping
It's not something that happens ofter around here. I have the best of intentions, but not very good follow through. I was talking really big over the Winter Break, informed Hubby he was going to help me, and laid out a schedule.
Then I lost three days of break to migraines. It was really weird to get so many all at once.
I was unhindered today. Over the course of the day I vacuumed the whole house (well, not the den/upper basement, but we don't really use that room. I might hit it tomorrow). Including the bedroom drapes! If I don't vacuum very often, I dust the drapes even less frequently. I think they are a different color now. eeewwww.
I also cleaned the kitchen.

Goofing Off
But don't get me wrong, it was totally not all work today.
The opening shot is the beginning of the fingerless mitts for my mom. At press time, I am already three rows into the thumb shaping on the right mitt. Not too shabby. They are small soMardi Gras Jitterbug sock they should work up fairly quickly.
Mailing them, on the other hand....
I also finished my first Mardi Gras Jitterbug sock. Closed the toe this morning (couldn't get to my scissors without bothering a puppy last night).
This yarn is working up much redder than I was expecting. Not that it's a problem. I had it in my head it was a yellow base. I guess the yellow it in caught my eye the most. Actually, color-wise, they aren't very coherent at all.
But they are flashy! and what more could a girl ask for?

Well Trained
Me. Not Baru.
Here is a better picture of his pink little nose. I think you can really tell here because you can see the contrast between the front of his nose and the side. In that other picture I took all you could see was the front.
Baru noseAnyway.
You know how I'm always saying he's the dumb one? Well, he's also very cunning, which makes me wonder if he isn't really as dumb as we think. He catches on very quickly when he is properly motivated.
For instance. I've mentioned in the past that he doesn't like to be outside. Well, he really doesn't like it in this really cold weather we've been having recently.
So what has he done?
He has started scratching at the back door when he is ready to come back in. (Samson gives one big bark when he thinks I'm slacking.)
We did not train Baru to scratch. He discovered this all on his own. One day they were out and I wasn't glancing out the window frequently to check on them. I heard a little noise, when to check, and there was Baru in the window.
So, like I said, I'm well trained.
Mind you, this is a dog who never learned to ring the bell to be let out. No motivation I guess. But I'll have to work on that one.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Too Much Pressure

My younger cousin is pregnant. (My brother and I are the oldest cousins, so all my cousins are younger.) She's due in like six months.
Normally you would say, "Oh, that's wonderful news!"
Unless you were like me (and most of my readers), in which case you say, "Oh, I should make her a baby blanket."
Then you think of all the other projects you have going on, and wonder if you should really start another one.
Then you remember that you never made a blanket for her older brother, and his son is at least a year old now.
So you think maybe you should lay low on the whole handmade baby blanket thing.
Then you remember you recently "friended" the pregnant one, her younger sister, and their dad (my Uncle the Priest) on Facebook. (If their brother is on there, I haven't seen him. But they have posted pictures of his son, who is adorable and deserves a handmade blanket.)
But, of course, your Facebook stuff, like the rest of your online life, revolves around your knitting, especially since your Flickr and Blog feed over, making it a little hard to "lay low."
And you mutter to yourself, "I knew that Facebook nonsense would cause trouble one day."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Various Things

I'm not sure what I've been doing in the evenings, but it seems like it hasn't been knitting. I feel like I've made no progress on any of my projects. Maybe it is just that I have too many in the design phase.

Jitterbug Sock
I did manage to get the heel turned on the first sock last night. I reached that point the other day and whatever else was going on, I didn't want to take the few minutes needed to pay attention while I turned it and picked up along the heel flap. But it's over now. On to the gusset and foot!

Celtic Project
I lied. It's not going to be either a hat or a scarf, and I knew that all along.
What I actually have in mind is one of those scarfs with the built in hood. I'm calling it a "harf", for hat+scarf, because it cracks me up. But it's not really a hat, because it isn't as fitted.
Any clue what I'm babbling about?
I haven't seen many patterns for them. If someone comes into the store asking for on, the usual suggestion is to make a widish scarf, fold it in half, and sew a seam as deep as you want it. This makes a rather pointy hood.
Actually, that's how I made one for my sister-in-law back when I was living in New Hampshire (only I crochted it rather than knit it). I wonder whether she still has it?
I had to stop at the yarn store last night. Since I knew Cynthia was going to be there, I took my swatches and tried to explain my concept. At first she looked at me like I was insane, then she, D, and Giggles realized what I was describing and were all like, "Yeah, ok, I've seen those." And we all remembered seeing a pattern in the store, but we couldn't find it.
It probably would have been helpful I had managed to get the hood piece knit before I showed it to her. All I had was the swatches I showed you the other day.

Bobbles? Really?
heart swatchs bobble point?They liked the Hearts cable better than the XO cable. But then they all decided something was missing between the heart points and I should put a bobble there. (Where the arrow is pointing.)
Uh, I'm not sure that will work. I looked at the chart last night, and there are two rows there, but I don't know if it will interfere with the decreases/increases to shape the hearts. What it comes down to is I'll have to swatch that section to see. All this swatching is cutting into my knitting time.
Since I showed it to you, I worked another repeat, and I'm going to have to add some more rows between motifs as they bump together in an unattracive way if you just dive into the next one. Might have to consider bobbles there to to be harmonius.
It's not easy, this design business, and I'd like to get this wrapped up while the weather is still cold!

Fingerless Mitts
I was at the store because since my mom has taken to reading the blog on a regular basis, she has decided she wants a pair of my top-down fingerless mitts.
After some back and forth on e-mail during the day yesterday, she declared she wants a dark, solid color.
Which, happily, excludes any of my precious sock yarn stash since it is all varigated.
I had also offered to make a striped pair with leftover yarn from my Arrgyles, but she said no, which is for the best as it would have interfered with the pattern.
So I got a balll of Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply in a marron color (#22011 to be precise). The guage should be good, but the content is 100% merino, which miss the whole "luxury yarn" point, but we didn't seem to have any fancy fibers in the right color and gauge. The yarn is, however, quite soft and squishy, so I think she'll be fine.
I'm not positive, but I think this is going to be the first time I use any Debbie Bliss yarn. (Aside from helping people fix problems in the store.)

my first knit sweater This is the first sweater I ever knit. The yarn is Lion Brand Wool Ease in white with little colored speckles. The pattern was off the ball band.
I think I mentioned this sweater before.
Not bad for someone who had just learned to knit. The yarn choice was a bit unfortunate, it makes me itch a little, but that was right around the time I was becoming a yarn snob.
I bring this up because I wore it yesterday and as I looked at it in the full-length mirror in the bathroom at work I said, "Holy Smokes! This is the shape I want for Inspiration." So all that stuff they say about measuring a sweater you like is true.
It comes just to the top of my hips, so I can copy the length.
I'll have to measure the body as I might want a wee bit less ease.
But the only major change (well aside from the collar, I'm going to attempt a shawl collar) is that the arms are a bit on the big side on the upper arms, so I'll deffinelty have to cut down the ease on the arms.
But, basically, the fit is good, so I totally have a model now.
Of course, I have to swatch some more first.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thoughts on Upsizing My Fingerless Mitts

taj mahal mitt right w/thumb Disclaimer: These ideas are theoretical, I haven't tried them, and they might result in you needing more than one skein of your selected yarn.
As soon as I designed my Top-Down Alpaca Mitts (formerly known as: Top Down Fingerless Mitts, Taj Mahal Mitts, and Ambrosia Mitts, phew!), before I even submitted them for 101 Luxury One-Skein Wonders, I received a question about making them in a larger size.
No rest for the wicked?
I was showing them off at the yarn store and one of the other staff members tried them on, observed they fit her, but said a little bigger would be better. So I've been thinking about these ideas for a while, but in a very lazy manner.

Making Them Longer
There was a method to my madness when I started the mitts at the finger end rather than the cuff. I thought they might be easier to resize. And, based on the principle that the leg of a toe-up sock can be knit until you run out of yarn, I thought the cuff could easily be made longer from this direction, i.e., you can try them on as you go and get a better idea of where the cuff is hitting because the thumb hole provides an anchor.
So to add length on the fingers, I would suggest working another pattern repeat of the lace. When I made the gloves for myself, I was aiming for the cast-on edge to sit at my first set of finger joints. They might end up shorter on you if your hands are bigger or your fingers are longer.
When you try them on, position the cast-on where you want it to land, work until the needles sit in the crook of your thumb, then make your thumb hole.
Adding length to the wrist end is easier: either work another lace repeat, switch to ribbing, or keep going with the smocking.
And, hey, you don't have to work the ruffle if you don't want, I won't mind. :-) Not that anyone has complained.

To Make Them Wider
Now, I'm a small person, so I have small hands (which is a good thing, I like being proportional), but as the mitts have a lot of ribbing they have a good amount of stretch to them.
Still, if you want to make them wider, I think the easiest thing to do would be to add more ribbing to the side or palm.
You'll have to be a brave kniter to do this, the pattern would serve as more of a guide in this situation.
Keep in mind the purl columns on either side of the lace and cable pattern on the back of the hand are part of the pattern and you shouldn't mess with them. And remember to keep purls on either side of the palm cable so it stands out.
If you do add knit and purl stitches to the sides, you might want to change the rib frequency to maintain a balanced look.
To aim the thumb hole in this situation, try the mitt on and keep the lace pattern centered on the back of your hand, then take a look at your anatomy, I think you'll figure it out.
(I would think you could still follow the thumb gusset decreases in the pattern. You would only have to change that if you make the thumb hole larger.)
Another thing to keep in mind is the smocking is on a multiple of 8, or is it 5?, oh, I can't remember. See, I told you my ideas were theoretical! Anyway, look at the pattern in the book, I have you decrease some stitches at the wrist to make the smocking work. If you add a bunch of stitches to the hand you'll want to decrease or increase as needed to make sure the smocking will fall out correctly.
I bet I haven't told you anything you hadn't thought of already. :-)

Monday, January 19, 2009


silky wool swatchesAfter all that babbling about the swatches for my Inspiration sweater the other day, I thought maybe I should actually show you some.
Now I just have to decide which order to put them in.
Ok, first up are the stockinette stitch swatches which started it all.
For you non-knitters out there, a "swatch" is just a little square of knitting, usually around 4 x 4 inches that you make just so you can get the feel of how the yarn will work up.
If you are following a pattern, it will tell you what your gauge should be to make your project come out like their project. Gauge being the number of stitches and rows per inch.
If you are designing a project, like I am, swatching is even more important because all your project numbers are based off your gauge, i.e., how many stitches to cast on so the sweater will fit around your body, how many rows to work before you start the armhole shaping, etc.
So in the first picture, from top to bottom, I worked the same number of stitches and rows using Us5, 6, and 7 needles.
This was an interesting experiment, which I've read about but never sat down and done. Usually when I swatch I knit a bit, measure it, judge it, then yank it out and start over. I've never saved the little buggers before. So although we hear and see all the time about how gauge will change the size of your project, it was eye opening to see it on my own yarn.
Of course, there was the time when Charlene Schurch was at the store. She had a long strip of knitting were she went from either US 0 or 1 needles all the way up to like size 15. That really allowed us to see gauge in action.
I ended up deciding the US5 was fine but a little dense, and the US7 was too floppy, but the US6 was just right.

inspiration swatches The odd thing is that I then seem to have turned around and worked the swatch for my center cable on the US7.
The center cable is the one on the right. I took these pictures outside this morning on the snow, it seemed sunny a the time, but the flash still went off.
I wasn't very happy with the cable. It was kind of floppy, complicated to work, and didn't have a lot of impact.
Of course, on of the things Beth BR told us was to work at least two pattern repeats so you can get a real feel for the cable and see if anything funky goes on in the middle. Well, I did this swatch before class, so I only did one repeat. It is out of Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitting.
The cable on the left is from a sweater in Rebecca Magazine 32, which is the same issue my little cropped poncho is in.
I don't know if you can tell, but I started the cable on US7, realized it was icky, then dropped all the way down to US5. Which is why the cable looks softer and slightly more flared at the bottom. I think it has much more pop and body and the US5 and will probably stick with that needle size for my sweater.

Other Options
In the mean time, I found this blog and the neat cables she has designed. Using the principles in Lavold's book, she is translating images from a book of celtic knots into knitting patterns. She has one called "Intertwined hearts and happiness signs" which is quite intriguing.
I think it also echoes/compliments my side cables (the ones out of Rebecca) much better than the cable I selected originally. So I printed out her chart, but haven't swatched it yet.

Mystery Project
heart swatchs As for the other project I was babbling about the other day, I haven't decided if it should be a hat or a scarf, but I've swatched a bit.
I'm using some Cascade 220 that I have in stash just to get the basic idea down.
Here you see a standard XO cable on the right. And a "small hearts connected by rib" cable on the left from Ivanovaknit's Celtic Knit Project.
I am quite pleased with the way the hearts came out and think I will go with that one.
Of course, she has the pattern copyright, but she invites people to contact her if they want to use any of the cables in a pattern which will be sold. I think I will show the idea to Cynthia before I take that step (if Cynthia doesn't like it, I might still make one for myself and that is cool under the Creative Commons copyright she selected, so it won't be a wasted effort).

baru snow 11909 Ok, time to go fold some laundry. I leave you with an off-center picture of Baru playing in the snow.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pretty Progress

sundae sewing
Originally uploaded by TravelingAnn

It was so cold here this morning that for a brief instant after we played fetch, my leather glove froze to the metal door handle because of the puppy spit.
I am sure readers farther north are not impressed by my 2 degrees F this morning. :-)

In Sundae News
I don't know what came over me last night, but I fished out Sundae and spent about an hour working on attaching the trim. The whole bottom edge is done. Now I just have to do the front opening edge and the last strap. It is possible I will have to knit some more trim to reach all the way around, but that's why I left the needles in it.

In Sock News
jitterbug mardi gras Last night I also cast on for my new socks using the Mardi Gras color Jitterbug yarn.
And casting on is about as far as I got, but it's a necessary first step.
However, driving in this morning I had a sudden urge to fish out my Berroco Suede yarn and work on the little Sueet bag from Knitty, which I seem to remember was a pretty harmless and straight forward pattern. (I just peaked, looks like the actual knitting is mostly stockinette stitch, it's the finishing—lining—that looks complicated. But that is what moms are for.)
And that is about all I've got for today.
Have a good weekend. Stay warm!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Done! New Year's Socks

madelintosh heel close Yipee! I finished them last night. Knitting frantically before bed time because I was so very close to being done.

Project Recap
These are out of Madelintosh Glazed Sock yarn. Oh my goodness, this yarn is so lovely. It is 100 wool but feels very silky soft, as opposed to some sock yarns that are a little, oh, stiff or something until you wash them the first time.
Needles US2
I did a cable cross every 9th row in honor of 2009 and to represent the curves life can throw at you, but I also did a princess sole for a little comfort in dealing with those curves.
For my itty, bitty feet, the socks used 60 grams of yarn and I have 55 grams left over. Which makes me think I could get another pair of vanilla socks out of this if I go toe-up and keep in mind they might be a twinge shorter than I usually make! (The ball band has yardage listed but not weight.)

Speaking of the Sole
It's called a "princess sole" as, I believe, a reference to the story of "The Princess and The Pea." The sole of the foot is basically worked inside out (ie purled). The idea being the purl bumps are too rough on our tender little feet so we work it so the smooth knit stitches are facing in.
I should have taken a picture of the socks off my foot because sole makes the socks curl up and look like little mutant things. It's amusing.
It was tricky remembering to purl those stitches when I came to them, I'm so used to just mindlessly knitting around. Actually, it was worse after I came to the end of the round, paused to advance my row counter, and started up again. So mid-sole I'd switch back.
madelintosh ladders I also got really bad "ladders" between the sole needles. That is the name for the loose column of stitches that sometimes develop between double pointed needles. If you look closely at the picture to the right, I'm talking about that line of wonky looking stitches in the middle of the picture. (This is the inside of the sole of the foot, you can see it from the public side as well, but it isn't as obvious in purl stitches.)
They aren't usually a problem for me, and I've noticed they usually relax away after washing. I didn't really get ladders on the instep (top of foot), so I think maybe the purling business had more to do with it than the softness of the yarn. In this case, at the moment, I can feel them under my foot and it's kind of creepy.
But other than the ladders, these socks are very comfy and springy, and the fit is lovely.

Speaking of Fit
My mom called last night and said she got the bed socks and they will suit her purpose nicely. She is amused they are two different sizes, but says it didn't matter when she put them on. Despite that, they fit fine. yeah!

Next Project
In the litany of WIPs yesterday, I forgot to mention the Peacock Socks. I pulled them out last night and the cuffs still need to be beaten into submission. I'm all about the mindless knitting at the moment, though, so I put them away again.
I showed Hubby the yarn for his mancho and he went all shy on me. He has decided he doesn't need a poncho after all. We discussed the idea of a dicky, a cuff for his neck with a flat scarf bit to cover his chest, but then he decided he didn't need that either.
I told him to think on it.
But this frees me for other projects! Like more socks!
In the Yarn Harlot's Jan 12 post she discussed how she is making socks in anticipation of the return of Battle Star Galactica on Friday. (yipee!) She invited people to join her.
Of course, she has fancy sock yarn in the "Eye of Jupiter" colorway (which is a reference to something in the show) and she followed a fancy free pattern.
Since I don't have that yarn, I'm going too use my Jitterbug in the Mardi Gras colorway.jitterbug mardi gras It is awfully similar and has been languishing in my stash for far too long. I had it out the other day to fiddle with just a little part of a pattern and I thought "Oh, this is such a lovely color, why haven't I used it yet."
And, since I'm all about the mindless knitting right now, I'm just going to follow my standard Jitterbug Sock recipe, which doesn't exist anywhere you can get to it.

Psst, there are some gratuitous pictures of Samson and Baru in my Flickr photostream lounging around on our unmade bed this morning. Just in case you were worried that they aren't still spoiled.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Not Much

Not Much going on here.
Deadlines are going to be the death of me, but it's the industry I chose. And I'm happy to have deadlines to worry about.

New Year's Sock
Is moving along. It is taking me a shockingly long time to finish these. According to my Ravelry project page, I started these on Dec. 30. So it's been over two week. However, I can't remember if that was the date I cast on for attempt number one. Keep in mind I knit practically a whole sock then pulled it all out and started from scratch. That will extend a project's time line!
I have to work about 20 more rounds, basically the toe shaping, then I'm done.
Still, this long incubation makes me wonder if I've been getting less knitting time in the evening than I thought. It's not like these are complicated socks that they should take a long time to knit.

Next Up
Oooh, I can't decide.
I should go back to Nell for a bit. That sweater is sooo close now that I've decided to just sew it shut. It's a matter of getting some quite time to work on it. We've been catching up on our TV shows and I want to pay attention them, so auto-pilot knitting rules the day. Hmm, I guess that means I'm excited for baseball season to start up again.
Of course, Sundae has been neglected as well. But, come on, it's a lace camisole. Not practical for this time of year; it was 18 degrees F when I got to the office this morning. (If I heard someone say that I'd tell them summer comes every year. I can't be expected to listen to my own advice, can I?) Yeah, yeah, finishing it will not only get it off my plate, but put me in a position for the first rays of summer sun. Yawn.
I think, though, that while the weather is still cold, and despite the fact that winter comes every year, I should jump ahead and start working on Hubby's mancho. I haven't even shown him the yarn, which really could be a big hurdle. I'm not sure how long it will take me, but it will never get done if I don't start it.

Hatching Plans
But then again, I had an interesting idea for a project on the drive to work this morning. I kind of want to swatch that. There is one tricky part to it. I would work the tricky part and worry about the easy parts later. It's a simple thing, but with some kick to it, so I want to show the idea to Cynthia to see if she would want it for the store. Which will influence what yarn I use, which would influence stitch count, gauge, etc. Which is why I would just work up the tricky part first to get the general idea to show her.

Tartan Sock notes
I wore the Arrgyle Socks to class Saturday.
Now I've worn them both before and after washing. The fit still seems good, with little signs of slouching. However, I spent most of the day sitting crosslegged on a couch, so it wasn't a legitimate test.
Despite this, I think I still want to increase the stitch count of the leg with the hopes of improving the chart.

Ok, time to get back to work. I'm still eating lunch, but I'm eating slowly today. I'm actually really considering shutting down my computer so I'll be forced to concentrate on work and not play online!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Beth BR at KC But, really, when have you known me to be fully cocked? (oh, does that sound bad?)
The problem with taking pictures of visiting teachers is they are usually talking, so it's hard to get a flattering shot.
Would you like to hear all about the Beth Brown-Reinsel class at Knitting Central over the weekend? The trick will be telling you enough to be interesting, but not so much you won't want to take the workshop if it is in your area.
Well, that and I left all my notes at home in the dining room credenza.
First off, I totally didn't do enough swatching before class. Oh, and it was a two day class, but I only went to the first day (Saturday) because I had to work at the store Sunday. There was time to swatch during class Saturday, but it still wasn't enough to position me properly for the stuff Sunday, so I was disappointed, but not heartbroken that I couldn't go.
Of course, I think the stuff Sunday was the stuff I would have really needed because it was the charting and figuring out the armholes bit, but the handouts look really good, so I should be able to muddle through.
She talked about the Aran tradition (we didn't get into the symblos having meaning for each family business). And she showed us a bunch of her sweaters and discussed what did and didn't work and why, so we could get an idea of what stitch patterns to use for our own.
It kind of made me rethink what I want my sweater to look like. The one in the movie was great and the ones I've seen on Ravelry are very cool, but now I wonder if mine will be bland after seeing these other examples. But, if I'm following the same principle as the other imitators, I should be ok.
Here are two facts that seem easily researchable, so I won't be giving away secrets if I share.
Beth said Aran sweaters have boxy shapes because people first started making clothes from woven cloth and they didn't want to shape garments out of woven cloth because that was wasteful. Even though Aran sweaters were handknit people were shaping them according to what they were accustomed to.
So I'll be rebelling since I want a close fitting sweater. And I'm not going to do drop shoulders, but I'll probably do square set in shoulders so they are a little easier to figure out.
The other fact was a rule of thumb for yardage requirments. She said to refer to those standard yardage requirment charts for your size and add between 30 and 50 percent.
That made my blood run cold.
silky wool yarn I'm using the Silky Wool yarn from Elsebeth Lavold I bought in 2004 at Patternworks with the intention of making Trud from her Book One: The Viking Knits Collection. But I've subsequently asked myself, "Do I really need all that material around my hips?"
So I've got these eight hanks of yarn and no project. Then I thought, all her patterns have cables, so the yarn works for cables, so I can use it for Inspiraton.
However eight hanks it about 1,520 yards. eek.
But that yarn chart says for my size (which was for like a 10 year old or something ridiculous based on the chest measurment) you need like 1,100 odd. So I would, hopefully, have just enough. Of course that also means I can't get too heavily patterned.
Which, I suppose, puts me back at square one.
When looking at the Trud pattern, the chest measurment is several inches more than I would need/want (which factored into my decision not to make it), it a little longer than I intend to make mine, and it has all that extra material used by the pleats.
I'm hoping that all bodes well for my ability to squeeze a whole sweater with more patterning out of this yarn.
Because, as you might have realized, it is very unlikely that I could get more of this yarn in this color and dyelot this far removed from my original purchase!

I haven't had time to take pictures of my swatches yet. I kept wanting to have more done to show you and I need to do it during the day because I don't think the yarn will photograph well.
I did three stockinette stitch watches on US 5, 6, and 7 needles. I like the US6 one best. But I appear to have done my center cable on the US7, which doesn't make sense. But then I decided it was floppy, so I did my side center cable on US5, which was much nicer.
However, the whole point of the Sunday class was charting your sweater based on your motifs and figuruing out stitch count based on your swatches—which are wrong in my case.
I'm also kind of rethinking my center cable, but I might like it better on the US5 and I have to do another repeat before I decide.
On Saturday night I did swatch one of the taffy twists that will bracket my side center cable, but I didn't like how it came out. The pattern I followed was for an 8 stitch cable (Cable 4). It just didn't look good and I had a narrower one in mind anyway, so I have to redo it with just 4 sts (Cable 2).
So, again, I didn't even have all the motif stats I needed for Sunday.
Of course, I'm sure the Sunday stuff would have been useful for all the theory I would have learned, but...
Also on Saturday, after Beth discussed ideas for coordinating motifs, we had a chance to flip through pattern books and swatch some. While we were working on that she prowled the room and held consultations with people to discuss their ideas and offer guidance. Of course flipping through all those books totally made me waffel about my cable choices. A trip to the library might be necessary.
She also measured us, disucssed fit/ease, and figured up some initial numbers for us to aim for. The handout has diagrams for, uh, three different constructions, so we scribbled numbers on that based on the guidelines. That will be very helpful later.
baru pink noseWow, looks like lunch time is over. We're still trying to wrap up the Feburary issue and I really have to get to work on my article, but I've been procrastinating very efficently.
Did I tell you anything useful or informative about the class?
Probably not. Sorry, I am trying to design my first sweater here. If I can't think out loud on my own blog, where can I do it?
Honestly, Baru will only listen to knitting talk if I bribe him.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Delayed Reaction

blue scarf Oh my. Things have just fallen to pieces lately, so I haven't had time to blog. Real life activities should level out a bit next week, though, and get back to normal. (Oh, wait, I have that article due.)

, since I'm just working on the second New Year's sock which looks strikingly similar to the first sock (thank goodness), I thought I'd catch you up on some other fiber fun from over the holidays.

First up is the cute blue scarf P made me. The picture doesn't do it justice. She said the pattern is from Luxury One-Skein, but I haven't had a chance to look it up. The yarn is Tatamy Tweed from Kraemer Yarns. It's a Cotton/Acrylic blend, which is good since some wools make me itchy. And she remembered that I like blue! (hmm, maybe I shouldn't wear my pjs when taking pictures for the blog.)

What I didn't tell you about that Saki yarn I bought in mid-December was that I ended up giving it to P for a Secret Santa exchange. Well, I couldn't tell you until after the exchange because I didn't want her to know, obviously, because it's "secret."
We do one every year at the store. I pulled her name, had an idea which fell through, and was wracking my brain for a new one. When I bought the yarn she said I saved her from having to buy it, so I was like "score!" Still she was surprised when she opened it. hehe.

Another Gift
crochet bellNext up is this adorable little crochet bell D gave me. I should ask her for the pattern. She also made a mix CD of happy music, but I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet.

Aren't these people terribly generous?

For my actual Secret Santa I got yummy Godiva hot coco. Girl can never have too much hot coco mix. And Cynthia gave me a gift set of fancy popcorn, which goes well with the fancy popcorn maker she gave me two years ago. Hmm, I should make some this weekend, we have lots of movies and TV to watch.

Koigu 905And I got new yarn as well!
Hubby and I decided that instead of buying each other presents for Christmas he would get wine and I would get some yarn. After all, those are the things we really want, had to give up in favor of a new roof and central air unit, and the other person doesn't feel comfortable buying.
smooshy yarn
We are, after all, a wine and yarn snob and we only know enough about each others hobby to be intimidated. (Of course we each benefit from the others knowledge. He gets nice scarves and socks and I get yummy wine to drink!).

So I bought myself this lovely Koigu PPPM you see on the left in a blue and white colorway I've been coveting for years but never got around to buying.

And I bought this delicious Smooshy Sock yarn from Dream in Colors you see on the right. We haven't had this in the store before. I couldn't get an accurate picture of the color at all. It actually goes from light blue to purple. The dark patches are actually purple.

Yeah, more blue yarn, what a surprise. When I was buying this we had some nice green colorways in the Smooshy, and I almost bought one. Then I thought, "Why force myself to buy a different color just for variety?" and I went with the one that was really calling to me.

Of course, I have tons of other projects I have to get through before I get to these. sigh.

All Wrapped Up
Well, you know me, I could go on for ages, but it is crunch week at work so I should get back to it. I just wanted to take a moment to point out that today I'm wearing Coronet, my Poncho, a sweater that predates the blog, my blue Jitterbug socks, and my Hooray For Me Gloves. Which is 5 handmade items.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Merry Christmas! (again)

Madelintosh doneToday is Dec 25 on the Julian calendar, which is the one the Orthodox Church follows.
The calendar you are used to, which most of the secular world follows, is the Gregorian calendar. It was created by Pope Gregory. The Orthodox Church doesn't follow the pope.
Which makes today Christmas!

One Sock Done
Let's have another cheer for the first of my New Year's Socks.
I finished it last night while we were watching Heroes (remember, we have the first half of the season saved on the DVR).
Believe me when I say it is much cuter in person. Apparently I'll need lots of good sunlight to get a flattering picture of the cable in this yarn.
I've cast on for the second one, but haven't gotten very far.

Speaking of Casting On
cast onRemember the other day when I was babbling on about tight cast ons and the space between stitches?
Well, here is my attempt to document it.
(I like the little arrows you can add to Flickr photos using Picnic, but I also tried to circle the area.)
I used a traditional long-tail cast on.
As you can see, and perhaps know, the little loops on the needle are the stitches.
The areas I've highlighted are the slack between the stitches that I was babbling about.
Usually when people are learning to knit and complain about a tight cast on they will be told to cast on with a bigger needle size than the one they intend to use, or to cast on holding to needles together.
Both of these tricks will make the loop of the stitches bigger, but don't directly address the space between the stitches. I suppose it is that lack of space that makes the cast on feel tight.
So Lucy's point was making the loop bigger doesn't get you anywhere. You have to increase the slack/space between, which can be accomplished by paying attention as you cast on and consciously spacing the stitches further apart.
Now, I have never studied the construction of a cast on closely enough to determine whether or not the extra size in the loop of a bigger stitch constructed through one of those other methods eventually works its way into the slack between stitches.
I also have never used one of those methods. If my cast on is tight I usually yank it all out and cast on again—leaving more space between the stitches. Or charge ahead pretending the problem doesn't exist. :-)
Of course, there are other cast ons besides the long tail you can use and they vary in stretchiness, but other venues have discussed them more eloquently than I would so why rehash it here?

Back to Work
Ok, gotta go. I'm working from home today. There was an ice storm where I live overnight. Despite this school and work were still open.
Hubby took the SUV since he takes small, local roads to school.
I was left with the sedan. First I barely got out of the driveway. Next my preferred highway was closed because of accidents and downed trees. Then the traffic was all backed up to get onto the other highway, which I usually avoid like the plague.
I was sitting in traffic and freezing rain fuming and wondering how much worse the weather would get and when I would finally make it to the office. So I called Boss Man and said I was going home and promised to be productive.
So far I've done an interview for a story due next week that was totally off topic. I sent out interview requests for two other items I'm working on. And I'm still managing to send myself lots of spam. (I hope the IT guy gets that last one sorted out soon.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bad Puppies

dish damage 1 Remember those cinnamon rolls I made?
Yeah, you already know where this story is going. Mostly.
Monday was the first day back to work and school after about two weeks.
I, of course, left the cinnamon rolls on the kitchen island in this nice personalized, lidded, Nordic Ware baking dish my friend AB gave me for Christmas a few years ago.
Samson took it off the island.
Transported it to the green room (which was only a few feet away at that point).
And waged an all out assault on the tin in a (fortunately) failed attempt to get the cinnamon rolls out.
He also, fortunately, didn't seem to hurt himself in the process.
Is it wrong that when Hubby called me with this report I was worried he was going to say they got the Silky Wool I've been swatching with for the Beth Brown-Reinsel class this weekend which I left on top of the dining room credenza?
dish damage 3
Strong Puppy
Let us pause for a moment and contemplate the strength of Samson's jaws to do that kind of damage to a metal lid.
Especially considering he stood there so placidly when I grabbed his head and pulled his lips back in an attempt to check his teeth. (Well, he was fairly placid. He wasn't too happy about Baru snuffling his face while I had him sort of immobilized.)
It is unclear if the lid can be saved. It doesn't open quite right now. We might be able to use pliers to bend the lip back down, but that might look stupid. Well, the dish part seems unharmed at least.
You have to admire his determination. I was like "If he had gone at it from this angle he might have succeeded." Hubby said I sounded disappointed he failed. Well, if he had succeeded he might not have done so much damage to my tin! But all that sugar would have been bad for him, so it is just as well.

Inappropriate Pissing
While we're discussing puppy transgressions, let's not let Baru off the hook.
On the way home from Christmas, Samson had an, um, accident in the car. He seemed distressed by the situation and would probably die of embarrassment if he knew I told you, so don't mention it or call him a poopy puppy or anything if you see him. (His bad belly lasted for about two days, we don't know what caused it, but he's fine now.)
Anyway, I washed the blanket in warm water with bleach for colors, but apparently didn't get all the odor out. I folded it and put it on the floor in the basement.
When I was doing laundry over the weekend Baru came down, sniffed the blanket intently for a few minutes, then walked over and started peeing on a pile of dirty sheets!
I shrieked and swatted him with a pair of Hubby's boxers (hey, it's what I had in my hand) and sent him scurrying for cover.
Cheeky little fur ball.
Oh, and that's not only time. Just before Christmas, I guess I wasn't letting them out enough one evening, because I got up to put the kettle on and heard running water in the green room.
Need I remind you there is not faucet in the green room?
So I when shrieking in there to see what was going on. But instead of stopping, Baru took a few steps toward the door—peeing on my favorite leather shoes in the process!
The one bright spot is he was on this big black mat we keep in front of the door to catch any debris they track in.
I had to yell for Hubby to help me (he was on the phone with his dad) because the mat is too big for me to lift without spilling the stuff. The sad part is, it was kind of beading up and if I had grabbed some paper towels I might have been able to soak it up, but my main concern was for my shoes and that it not soak through to the good carpet.
So the mat is out on the back porch now, covered in snow.

Monday, January 5, 2009


sock tails I caught up on all the laundry over the weekend. I managed to collect a load of just handknits so I could use the machine on them. I have a Kenmore with a "handwash" cycle that works just fine.
This allowed me to wash the Arrgyles and the Tiptoe socks. I usually wear my socks right away without washing them first, but I though the Tiptoes could use it.
As I feared, ends worked their way out!
One of out of a skull eye and another near the gusset (not shown) on an Arrgyle, and one on the sole of a Tiptoe.
It was a simple matter to work them back in. Still, considering all the ends these socks have, I got off easy. At least neither of them unralved!
The Arrgyles are very soft and lovely now, quite different from how the yarn felt pre-washing. The Tiptoes don't seem very different.

15 Pairs
madelintosh progress This is what happens when I try to get artsy. :-P
Doing all the laundry allowed me to see that I have 15 pairs of handknit socks
That means I can wear just handmade socks for two weeks matching them to my outfits with varying degrees of sucess.
It is also well along in my goal to have all handmade socks.
Thirty pairs would technically do it (one for each day of the month), but obviously I'll make more.
In case you are wondering, I've made four pairs of socks for Hubby. I do not have the ambition of replacing all his socks with handmade socks. He considers the socks I make him to be casual socks and so tends to wear them mainly on weekends and non-school days.
The first New Year's Sock is closing in on the toe. It's all very exciting.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Brilliance is Stunning

nell progress
Originally uploaded by TravelingAnn

I've sewed Nell shut.
It is possible this will be a case of me being too clever for my own good. It's possible there is some rule of knitwear construction that would advise against this, but I'm charging forward.
Now I know you can't just take a cardigan pattern and work it as a pull over. You have to account for the stitches/width contributed by the button band. Which I've essentially done.
Come on, this is a brilliant move.
Why has Nell been languishing for, what, two years? Because I can't get the stupid button band to look right.
Ok, actually, I can't get the stupid button band worked.
I finally got the left-hand band (holding the buttons) sorted out, but the right-hand band (with the holes) continues to get the better of me.
Then it occurred to me today, as I was waiting in line for gas, that the sweater is just going to be shut whenever I wear it anyway and I'm probably small enough to pull it on over my head.
It's not close fitting, but it also isn't a cardigan in the sense you would wear it over something.
And so, I've sewed it shut.
Be honest, how does it look?
I'm going to go up to the bottom of that last seed stitch band with the last button. Then I'll work the other half of the collar up from there. So it will be more of a shawl collar that what the pattern called for.
Of course, the collar has been about as cooperative as the button bands.
And when I put it on it seemed really big and way laying strangely because of the difference between the st st and the seed st bands. Which all made my heart sink.
However, it's been laying around for so long at this point that I should wash it before I wear it the first time. Hopefully that will even things out.
Ok, time to get ready for bed.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Oh, did I say that last night?
Well, saying it multiple times can't hurt. Goodness knows, 2008 went so far south, 2009 sure can use all the help it can get!

Speaking of Going South
madelintosh cableForget everything I told you about the Madelintosh socks, ahem, last year (snicker). I just wasn't cottoning to them.
Oh, they were ok, but the cast on was a little tight, the stitches were spreading, and the colors weren't doing anything exciting (I like it when they swirl).
So I frogged it!
But I put them on and took a good look at them to asses the fit and such before I did so.
When Lucy Neatby was at the store, oh two years ago now I guess, she said it wasn't pulling the stitches tight that makes your cast on tight, it was more a matter of not leaving enough space between the stitches. She said it was that little bit of slack that strings that stitches together that gives you stretch.
So I cast on again and tried to remember to space the stitches out on the needle better as I formed them.
(No, I didn't take pictures! You know how sucky my photography skills are, do you really think I could have captured that? Go cast on and take a hard look at your work, you'll see what I mean.)
I kept the same number of stitches, as the ribbing seemed to fit fine, it was just the cast on row that was inciting my wrath.
But after my 15 rows of ribbing, I increased two stitches to give the fabric a little more breathing room.
Of course, while all this was going on, I also threw in a pair of four-stitch cables, just for a little excitement. Every ninth row. Because it's 2009. I'm calling these my New Year's Socks.
It all looks better in person than that picture would indicate.
I haven't tried them on again, but they seem to be progressing nicely.

Ah, But the Sole
Oh, forgot to mention.
On attempt number one I had decided to work a "princess sole," which is where you have the smooth knit stitches on the inside, rather than the purl side.
Of course, I decided to do that after the heel turn and six rows into the gusset.
Ok, stick with me.
Because I'm exceedingly clever, and I wasn't going to pull out all those rows, I used my fifth needle to pick up the stitches on the sole six rows back at the top of the heel turn.
Then I removed the needles from those 16 sts and laddered that section back.
Then I reknit just those 16 sts in reverse stockinette stitch.
Then I was able to resume working in the round like normal.
Did you catch all that?
Yeah, that probably could do with pictures. Maybe next time.
Wait, next time I'll remember it's coming and work it the way I want it the first time. I also have to remember to turn the heel in rev st st so it matches the rest of the sole.
Anyway, I'm going to keep some of the elements, like the heel and sole, from attempt number one in place.

More Baking
cinnamon rolls In other news, I finally made those cinnamon rolls.
With cream cheese frosting.
And they came out considerably better than that wheat bread I made the other month.
We've managed to restrain ourselves and have only eaten one each so far.
I use a cinnamon roll recipe that was on the Food Network back in 1999! It calls for a standard milk and powdered sugar frosting, but I prefer the frosting recipe (also from 1999) from a carrot cake recipe.
At the moment we're working on Shepard's pie for dinner. Hubby makes the mashed potatoes and I do the meat. We're a good team.
Actually, I should probably go get started. He put the potatoes on when I wandered up here.

Handsome Puppy!
Samson 1109 Samson would be happy with either cinnamon rolls or Shepard's pie. But his sneaky hypnosis won't work on us this time!