Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cute and Practical

poncho done My Solo Cropped Poncho, that is.
Although I like to think that is an accurate description of me as well.
I suppose talking about a project I completed back in December might make me look desperate for content...but then, maybe I am.
What I have been is lethargic and vaguely uninspired, which is why I haven't been around much.
Still, about my poncho.
Dudes, I've been using the heck out of this thing lately.
Now, I used it a lot when I first finished it because it was shiny and new. I would wear it under my winter coat instead of a scarf. And since it was a pretty wicked winter here, the extra layer was justified.
Then it fell out of favor for a while.
But now that early spring is here, with its changeable weather, the poncho is coming in so handy!
It's good for those cool days when I don't want a coat. And it has been good for days that start cool and get warm since it's much easier to carry around than one of my leather jackets (I haven't brought the jeans jackets down from the attic yet).
I suppose this would make it a good transition piece.

Isn't it nice when a project works out so well?
I mean, I wear my socks and fingerless mitts all the time, to the point where I hardly think about it. But for some reason it struck me the other day that my poncho is useful.
Which is a damn good thing, considering what a rough start I had with it.
What projects have you made that you use on a regular basis?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Pattern: Eyelet & Feather Socks

finished cats pajamasPresenting, for your sock knitting enjoyment, my Eyelet and Feather Socks.
(Formerly known as my Cat's Pajama's Socks!)

This sock features an easily memorized lace pattern which would be suitable for advanced beginners, while the unique construction will keep the attention of experienced sock knitters.

The gusset decreases are moved to the bottom of the foot to allow the lace pattern to continue uninterrupted down the instep and side of the foot. The pattern indicates where to place stitch markers to better track the decrease points.

Both text and charts of the pattern stitch are included.

Stitch counts for two sizes, S (M) [To fit foot circumference 8” (9”) with 1” negative ease], arecats pajama side close included. With recommended needle sizes of 2.5 mm or 2.25 mm (or size needed to obtain gauge!)

My sock is shown in Lucy Neatby's Cat's Pajamas Yarn in the Fiery Fuschia colorway, a lovely cashmere/merino/nylon blend, but any fingering weight yarn with a stockinette stitch gauge of 7.5 sts per inch should do the trick.

All this can be yours for $5 US!

This button will take you to my Ravelry store (even if you don't belong to Ravelry).
A link will also be available in the side bar.
Thank you for your support! And let me know if you have any questions.

Monday, April 27, 2009

More About My Birthday!

Bday dinnerWe ended up bailing on the lamb Thursday night because I got home late due to an acupuncture appointment.
Instead, we went to Kobi Steakhouse, a yummy hibachi place in town.
On the way home I speculated whether Stockbridges, a local bakery that does homemade cheesecake and other delicacies might still be open. Hubby said "No" without hesitation. Which seemed fishy to me.
And my suspicions were justified when we got home and he produced Twix bars and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. He put candles in my Phish Food and sang me happy birthday. The pups jumped on me the whole time because it was all very exciting and they didn't know what was going on.
The rack of lamb was finally cooked Sunday night, along with sauted Brussels sprouts, and garlic mashed potatoes, which are hidden under the lamb since it's all about the presentation.

argyle stuff Last weekend we went out to the outlet stores to get some new shirts for Hubby for school.
Of course this always makes me jealous, because I'm a baby.
I found this shirt in the women's section and it's obnoxious preppyness was too good to pass up. Hubby agreed that is was quite "me." When I explained how well it would go with my Aaargyle socks, despite not having any purple it in, he agreed that I had to have it, especially since my birthday was coming up.
When I did get home Thursday, there was a gift wrapped box roughly the size and shape of a bottle of wine on the kitchen island.
Which didn't make sense, since wine is a gift for him.
When I opened it I found a perfume sampler pack from Victoria's Secret.
He got me one of these for Christmas a few years ago and it's tons of fun having so many scents from which to chooseperfume o in the morning.
Of course, since they are mostly new to me, the dogs are spending a considerable amount of time snuffling me while I'm getting dressed for work since they aren't accustomed to them. sigh.
On Sunday morning I put on twice shots of "Wish" and a few minutes later Hubby called up from the living room that something smelled good.
A testament to his superior nasal power, I suppose. Or the odor just stood out since it is out of the ordinary.
Mom also got me one of those Knit Kits, which was waiting for me at the store Saturday. I'm having grand fun with it, but haven't had a chance to get a picture.
And I think that should be all the birthday chatter, at least until next year.

So You Don't Believe Me?
Oh, wait, one more story.
On Friday I mentioned to The Guy in the Art Department (aka Talking To Walls in the comments) that I was 30-odd years old.
And he said, "nuh-uh"
And I said, "Yuh-huh."
And he said, "No, you're X" which was about five years younger than I actually am.
In the end I had to show him my driver's license to prove my age!
This is about par for the course though.
Once, about a year after I graduated college, my Uncle The Priest won $5 off someone who thought I was still a teenager!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Look, I'm #6!!!
For one brief, glorious moment, I'm in the Top Ten Resistance Fighters!
I don't expect this to last.
I expect to fall hopelessly behind over the weekend.
Ok, I have to leave for work now.

(huh, why is the picture not right? Stupid Grab.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

30-something? Really?

Green step Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday, dear self...
Happy birthday to me!
Why, yes, I am shamelessly fishing for compliments, why do you ask?

I was going to tell you how old I actually am, but then I realized you could do the math and figure out my year, and that seems to be an identity theft issue, so let's just say I'm over 20 and under 40.
Which is an awfully grown up age.
And I don't feel that grown up.
It probably doesn't help that I still look 20-something.
Which allows me to get away with things, and has the added benefit of pissing people off.

In addition to the landscape socks patterns mom bought me the other week, when she was up this past weekend she brought me a DVD of The Princess Bride, which is an awesome movie and you should go watch it if you haven't seen it. I have it on VHS, which was getting inconvenient.
She also gave me that lovely sock yarn you see above.
Apparently she went into a yarn store near her and said "My daughter likes to knit socks."
I've used this brand before. I made Hubby a pair of blue socks with it. Bear's blue step socks
And I have a skein of red that I was going to use to make me socks. But then Hubby liked the color, so the poor skein has languished in my stash as I can't decide who should get it.
Now I can go ahead and use the red for Hubby (after all I have, uh, three pairs of red socks already now) and this new greenish color for me!

Today is also the Deadline Setter's birthday. How crazy is that? But she's two years younger than me.
So we had a team lunch in celebration. It was nice to get to relax and just have fun together. But we're a fun group anyway.

The Waiting is Hard
No presents from Hubby, yet.
Actually, I told him he didn't have to get me anything, since I bought all that yarn recently and we should be conserving money for our trip to France.
(See, I told you I'd stop talking about it now that he's back in school.)
But you never know.
See, while my family always gives birthday presents first thing in the morning, Hubby's does presents after dinner with dessert.
It's a bit of a conflict with the expectations set by my childhood and makes me climb the walls with anticipation, but I'm getting accustomed to it.
But here's the thing...if you ask Hubby if he wants his present in the morning he'll say no, but if you show him the present in the morning he'll tear into it. Like any normal person would.

He did not-so-subtly take a rack of lamb out of the freezer this morning, so looks like I'll be having grilled lamb tonight!
Boss Man questioned the fairness of us going to that fancy restaurant for Hubby's b-day but staying home for mine. I said not only is it a school night, but I enjoy eating Hubby's cooking laying on the couch in my PJ's watching our TV shows.
The trick is whether I'll have to do the dishes after.
Because, really, it's my birthday and I shouldn't have to do chores.
As it is, I have to stop and pick up potatoes on my way home.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Am a Flaming Idiot

A cautionary tail about social media.
So I was on Facebook at 7 am today, instead of getting ready for work, which was probably my first mistake.
And I saw a post from my mother-in-law about a niece being pregnant and due in December.
So I went over to Twitter and typed something along of the lines of "niece is pregnant, another baby blanket to avoid making."
Because as you know, avoiding making baby gifts is my current favorite sport.
Totally forgetting that my Twitter feeds into my Facebook.
Most of my Facebook "friends" are family members.
Including all the pregnant ones for whom I haven't started blankets.
Really need a filter between my fingers and the keyboard.

But It Doesn't Stop ThereBeads 2
Oh, my idiocy knows no bounds.
I was working on the Cotton Rib Socks over the weekend.
Remember those? I'm still plugging away at them.
I'm on the heel flap. I worked it for 20 rows, as would be my normal formula, which is work it over half the total sock stitches for the same number of rows.
In this case I had decreased the sock down to 40 sts (from 48) so my flap was across 20 sts.
I'm doing the heel stitch with a garter stitch edge, in case your wondering. Yes, I'm still fixated on it.
Well, I decide to try it on to make sure the heel flap is long enough, because those numbers seem awfully small.

Usually I can try a sock-in-progress on without a problem.
But usually I have a larger stitch count, using wool yarn, and the entire thing has more give.
The sock wasn't fitting over my heel.
I could feel it wasn't fitting.
And yet I continued to push until—snap! one of my US1 needles broke.
Now, it is a tragedy whenever a needle is broken, but it could have been worse. (Two could have broken.)
I have actually broken one of these in the past. But, as you may or may not know, Brittany has a really good guarantee and I simply e-mailed them and told them I'd broken one.
They sent me three new ones!
Which was more than I needed, but worked out really well because I had five for working socks and two are in poor, neglected Sundae for the trim.
So, really, all I have to do is fish one out of Sundae and I'm back on track.

It's Never That Simple
Since it wasn't a dire emergency, and just for grins, I got out the first broken one (pack rat? who me?) and the wood glue and glued them back together.
I let them dry a couple days, then went over the joins with clear nail polish in an attempt to smooth out any rough spots.
They seem to have lost some flexibility, which is only to be expected.
I haven't knit with them yet, the nail polish was only dry this morning.
I figure I'll give them a whirl and see what happens. If the repair didn't work, no big deal.

Oh, Sock
After the needle broke, I pulled out the other instep needle and tried it on again.
This time it went on fine and fit.
But I'm considering if I should pull it back and not decrease as much.
But then my 2x2 ribbing won't be correct.

As you can see in the picture, I also lined up the beads last night, but haven't strung any.
I have stitch markers coming out my ears now!
The worst part is I have left over little green flowers and a couple leaves, so obviously I need more beads...I hear there is a bead store in town...
It's a never ending cycle.
I tried to mix it up when I was creating them, but that is against my nature, so I made them all matchy-matchy. Much more harmonious.
Hopefully I'll have time tonight to string a couple

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beads? Really?

Beads Oh, boy, ya'll, I got into so much trouble last night.
And by "trouble" I don't mean to imply that Hubby was yelling and throwing stuff, he totally isn't that type. It was more a matter of spousal disapproval brought on by the fact that I was supposed to be picking up the Chinese take-out for dinner, but didn't get home until 8 p.m.

It's his own fault, really.
We bailed on going grocery shopping Sunday like we should have, which resulted in me going alone on Monday.
I thought to myself, "Since I'm all the way down there anyway, I might as well swing wide and go to Micheal's and get the thread for the Damn Doily."
Of course, since I hardly ever go there, I had to scope out their yarn section. Even though I'm a yarn snob, it's good to know what is available.
Then I thought, "I wonder what is in the bead section." Which I never do.

Depending on your definition
I don't consider myself a "craft" person. I suppose some people would say knitting and crochet are crafts, but when I hear the word "crafts" I think scrapbooking, stenciling, and decoupage.
Although I guess decoupage is really more of an artform...
I think crafts are any of those activities that involve glue and paint and glitter, so I'm usually pretty immune to the stuff that store stocks.

Needs Must
There was a method to my madness on this occasion.
When mom, Aunt K, and I were out in California, uh, two years ago for my younger cousin's wedding we went to Fisherman's Warf.
(The wedding was in October so Hubby couldn't come because of school. This is my younger cousin who is now pregnant for whom I still haven't started a blanket or other type of baby gift.)
I wandered into a store with imported goods from Africa and bought some beads with the grand scheme of turning into stitch markers. (Those are the loose ones in the picture.)
They came with a length of leather cord, which would be handy if I was making a necklace, but no help at all for stitch markers.
So the beads have floated around in my notions box all this time because I was stymied, because I don't do crafts.

But I took myself in hand and braved the bead isle.
And was immediately fascinated by all the shiny stuff.
I was just after some wire, but then thought I should get some beads as well since I'll have tons of leftover wire and nothing to do with it.
Then, of course, it was a matter of deciding what colors to get.
And there were these little boxes full of assorted beads—"Enough for 8 bracelets!"—but that seemed like to much of a commitment.
And a bunch of stuff was on sale. "Look, it's only $1.50!"
So I $1.50ed myself into a $10 purchase (including the crochet thread).
I got a baggy of red beads shaped like flowers, green beads shaped like leaves, silver spool spacers beads, and silver crimp tubes.

Enough to be Dangerous
Yeah, no, I just read those off the bags, I have no idea what they mean.
I based my purchases on the elements that are in the stitch markers I made in Lake Placid.
I was rather pleased with myself for thinking to get the crimp tubes because I think those are what they used to clamp the wire shut at the bottom of my markers.
I figure I'll be able to combine these all into a variety of mutant markers. Since they will be my unique creations, I will think they are adorable while other think they are hideous.
But everyone will be too polite to say anything.

Will Power in Action
The other side of the isle was hung with strings of stone for making jewelry. Some of it was on sale as well.
I spent quite a bit of time dithering over getting some, but none of it really jumped out at me.
I realized I was just getting caught up in the excitement of it all and managed not to buy any.
I hightailed it out of there, but it was already after 7 p.m. If I stuck with just the grocery shopping I probably would have been home by 7.
When I called Hubby at 7:30 to see if he had called in the food order, he was stunned at my lack of progress. (I had called him for the grocery list when I was heading into Micheal's, so he thought he had a handle on my timeline.)
So when I finally got home, he was scandalized—and hungry.
But at least he had fed the dogs.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Full Harf Ahead

HH backAs opposed to "full steam ahead."
Although there is a full harf in my future, once I get the scarf bits knit.
Having returned to the Harf with fresh eyes Sunday evening, after having not touched it since the initial grafting was completed on Saturday, I decided that it is just fine as is.
I think the hiccups in the switch from rev st st to st st at the ribbing aren't terribly noticeable, especially without close inspection or from a distance.
So I contented myself with easing the tight spots and then getting the ends positioned to start knitting again.

Back to the Cast On
Those yellow bits you can see over my shoulder here, and the blue ones in the front shot if you trooped out to Flickr, are my sock shaped point protectors.
Remember, I used Judy's Magic Cast On for a provisional start to this project. I ended up putting the open ends on US7 double points and slapping on the point protectors to keep everything in place.
Sunday night was spent happily knitting the scarves. I'm only on row 7 of the first panel heading down.
This doesn't sound like much, but I'm working both ends at the same time.
I don't have a picture, at the moment, but trust me that it's an awful mess.
Since working both ends simultaneously isn't hard enough, I'm doing it from both ends of one ball of yarn.
Yeah, if I can't make my own life difficult why bother?
I still have yarn left over from the two balls I used for the hood section. In theory those balls are equal, since the hood halves are equal, but for some reason I didn't want to start with those.
Partly because the third and final ball is already attached to the first hood half from when I was testing out the cast on theory at the very beginning.
I figure using both ends of it will distribute it evenly to both scarves, then I can move on to the left overs from the other two balls.

Fear Not
Of course when the final pattern is released people who make it won't have to suffer like this.
I'll write the pattern so you just cast on and go, because I'll have all the numbers/stats from this crazy exercise I'm putting myself through.
How relaxing that will be for people, to knit a project like a normal person.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

This Is Not Knitting

DSC05832This is, however, maddening.
The Heart Harf, my dears, has come to a screeching halt.
It has come to such a halt that I've been willingly working on the Third Damn Doily the past few evenings in an effort to avoid the Harf.
I imagine that on some plane of existence my brilliant plan to work both halves of the Harf hood up to the center and graft them together stayed brilliant.
In my current reality, it kind of sucks.
I shall do my best to be clear and informative here, because I know that at some point in the future some poor soul is going to end up on my blog because she or he did an internet search for "grafting or kitchener stitch on reverse stockinette stitch."
Of course, being clear will not circumvent my normal habit of being long winded.

Return of the Prototype
DSC05829 Actually, working kitchener stitch on reverse stockinette is much easier than you might expect. Or at least as easy as working it on stockinette.
A fact I quickly realized when I started in on the prototype Harf.
You remember the prototype, yes? The orange and yellow Cascade 220 version.
I had considered frogging it, but was too lazy, and then I was glad.
I picked it apart at the color change, worked a few rows in yellow to get the ribbing/cable panel to line up correctly and had at it.
I used purple yarn for the sewing so we could see what is going on.

Here are the Steps
Usually, I use kitchener stitch to close up sock toes, but I understand it can be used for shoulder seems and other areas where you want smooth fabric.
I don't have a sock toe to demonstrate on, so you will have to use your imagination.
Ok, I hold the needles parallel with the working yarn coming from the back needle.
My path is:
  1. 1st Front—go in Knitwise, take the stitch off the needle
  2. 2nd Front—go in Purlwise, leave the stitch on the needle
  3. 1st Back—Purlwise, Off
  4. 2nd Back—Knitwise, On

And you repeat that down the row until all your stitches are used up.
Except! on the first stitches on the front and back you work the second half once, then start in.harf panel closed
So, really, it goes:
  • 1st Front—Purlwise, on
  • 1st Back—Knitwise, on
  1. 1st Front—go in Knitwise, take the stitch off the needle
  2. 2nd Front—go in Purlwise, leave the stitch on the needle
  3. 1st Back—Purlwise, Off
  4. 2nd Back—Knitwise, On
Which was all well and good for the first four stitches, which are the cable and are in stockinette stitch.
On the body of the hood, which is reverse St St, I found that I simply had to reverse the steps.
So it was:
  1. 1st Front—Purlwise, off
  2. 2nd Front—Knitwise, on
  3. 1st Back—Knitwise, off
  4. 2nd Back—Purlwise, on
That was Then, This is Saturday
Harf hood outExcept it was all out the door when it came to the ribbing, as you can see in the first photo.
Yeah, the ribbing kicked my butt. At the ribbing, I had to switch back to working kitchener stitch the normal way.
I found that I had to start the switch on the stitch before the one that was knit on the public side on the, uh, back needle. But I had to continue as for rev st st on the front needles until I reached that knit stitch.
Yeah, I don't understand it myself, and I'm the one who was just downstairs working it!
As you can see, I didn't really get the switching worked out until the very end.
I'm debating whether I should pick the portion through the cable panel out and rework it.
Of course, I should do that straight away, while it's all still sort of fresh in my mind.
I mean, I am going to enter this in a contest, so I should make it look as nice as possible, right?
I also need to go through it and work some slack in, or out as the case may be. Some parts of the graft seam are tight.
Additionally, in that first photo you can see there is a bit of a flat spot in the cable. So when I reached the leading edge I went ahead and put in another cable twist. I think that it is a little less obvious.
(There are more pictures of me trying on the hood bit over in my Flickr stream. But I look like a goof in them, so I'm not putting them on the blog! Clicking on any of the pictures will take you there.)

Damn Doily Indeed

The Third Damn Doily is up to row 34, or so, which is about half way through the center spiral.
I had to open a new spool of thread for this one, and the whole time I've been knitting I've been thinking that this spool feels much slicker and more flexible than the stuff I used for the first two doilies.
So last night I finally fished the label out of the center of the cone.
I'm using Knit-Cro-sheen.
I did not use Knit-Cro-Sheen for the first two doilies. I'm not sure what it was, but it wasn't this.
The thread for the first two doilies was firm and had a matte finish. This thread is soft and has a shiny finish.
It's probably the difference between mercerized and unmercerized cotton. But I'm pretty sure you can tell to the naked eye.
After Hubby wakes up I'll have to go up to the attic to look for another spool of normal crochet cotton for this last doily. Otherwise a trip to Michael's is in my future.

Monday, April 13, 2009


chocolate aliens We were invaded by aliens Friday night!
But fear not!
Hubby knew how to deal with this chocolate menace from Mars...he bit off the leader's head!
Then mom, my niece,
and I joined the resistance fight.
We quickly beat back the invaders.dead chocolate aliens
On Saturday, Hubby and I began the task of dismantling their spaceship.
We have not found a homing device or other emergency distress signal.
Which is a shame, because they were rather tasty.

Mean Aunt
Yep, mom and my niece came up Friday afternoon to reclaim my brother's Wii.
We were debating getting one, so he let us borrow his first. That did the trick—not what we were expecting. We were buying into the advertising about it making exercise fun, but it didn't work out that way for us. Although, to be fair, we never set up the Wii Fit or the Outdoor Adventure kit. Which shows you how quickly we lost interest.
We will continue to invest our money in wine and yarn instead. :-)
Anyway, I was cranky on Friday because that crazy weather last week was playing havoc with my head.
I got home and passed out for two hours, then after dinner I pulled out the second Damn Doily to finish the edging.
My niece says, "Teach me to knit."
I say, "No. I tried once and it was a disaster."
She says, "Pleeeease."
I say, "No. You're not old enough."
She pointed out she is almost 11. At that point, mom intervened and told her to leave me alone. So she got her book and sat quietly reading on the couch.
Then I started to feel guilty.
After all, I'm the only one on this side of the family who knits or crochets. If I don't teach her, who will? Really, I have an obligation.
Still, in my defense, it really was a disaster last time.
The attempt was a year or two ago with her and her younger brother.
They grabbed the needles at the far end, like baseball bats. For the life of me I couldn't get them to choke up on the needles and hold them near the points like pens.
As you can imagine, they made absolutely no progress at all. It was rather frustrating for all involved.

I'm Not All Bad
With guilt in hand, I trooped up the attic and dragged out some lavender acrylic, probably Red Heart, and some coral Wintuk.
Then I went to my notions drawer in the living room endtable and dug out sets of US6 and US9 aluminum needles I bought at a yard sale when I first learned to knit.
I was very bad and cast on for her—I didn't think I could handle the stress of trying to teach her the long-tail cast on.
This is "bad", in my opinion, because I believe you can't knit if you can't cast on.
Really, always having to have someone else start your projects? And you call yourself a knitter?
I think people who teach other people to knit but don't teach them to cast on aren't doing the learner any favors.
Which just shows you how cranky I was to skip this important step.
Then I demonstrated a knit stitch and handed her the lavender yarn and the US9.
She actually picked it up fairly quickly.
Oh sure, things were slipping and dropping, but she persevered.
I ended up switching her to the US6 and coral yarn and that worked out better for her. I think the US9 was too big for the weight of yarn.
The slippery aluminum needles probably weren't helping, either.
Mom has some thicker yarn and US15 bamboos at her house. We think that will make it a little easier for the niece, since the bamboo needles will have more traction.
So I may have unleashed a new knitter on the world.
We'll see what happens. I don't think she has anyone to help her out or encourage her. But you never know.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the Harf...

Harf detailWhen last we saw the Heart Harf, both sides had been worked through three heart cable panel repeats.
Theoretically making them even/match.
"Theoretically" being the operative word.
I pulled it out last night to give it some attention. I needed a break from the thin cotton thread for the doily.
And what should I discover?
The edge cables are not crossing on the same rows.
I was afraid this would happen.

Ok, stick with me.
They are crossing with the same regularity, i.e., every fourth row, but not on the same fourth row.
Fourth row, is that right?
Let's see...I cross them on a right-side row, then I work three rows even, then on the next right-side row—which is the fourth row—I cross them again. Ok, fourth row.

The Discovery is Made
Well, when I pulled it out last night the first thing I did was transfer the first half of the scrap yarn onto a needle. Now both halves are strung on a long cable side by side so I can work them simultaneously. No, consecutively.
I've been using movable stitch markers to keep track of my cable rows.
I cross the cable, then I clip the marker to one of the stitches. This way I can easily count up three rows and know it is time to cross again. In this manner I do not have to strain my brain when I come back to the project later.
Although both halves where worked through row 34 of the cable panel, ready to work row 35, which is a right-side row, the marker for the first half was three rows down and the marker for the second half was two rows down.
Or was it one row down?
Regardless, the first half was ready to cross on row 35 and the second half wasn't.

Not Sticking to the Plan
Originally, when I first cast on, I had debated casting on for both halves and working them up together from the get go.
But then I got distracted by trying to ensure my provisional cast on would work out.
I cast on the first half, worked a few rows, then flipped the piece over and worked a few rows down to make sure it would look ok.
By doing that, and apparently not taking notes as accurately as I thought I had, when I went to work the second half, I started out with my first cable cross on an incorrect row.
I pulled on the cast on tail and counted rows and tried to match it up to the cable panel, I really did, but obviously I didn't get it right. Which I didn't realize until it was too late.

Cascade Effect

Deep breath.
This might work out ok.
The cables are crossing with the same regularity, so they should be harmonious. And I've been worried they might both want to cross on the same row when they reach the center top of the hood and I wasn't sure how that would work out.
Hopefully, they fall out nicely now and I don't have to worry about extra flat rows or crosses too close together at the center point.
But the real issue is that the increase rows are tied to the cable crosses. The increases happen on the wrong side row immediately following the cable cross.
So the first half is an increase short.
(I have not counted to see whether both halves have the same number of crosses. I suppose they must not.)
I must have counted stitches three times on each side to confirm I was two stitches short.
Hopefully it will work out. Hopefully I'll be able to through in an extra increase on the first half without messing stuff up.
I guess I won't know until I get there.

Confusing Enough?
This is all causing a bit of a hiccup in my grand plan of working both sides at the same time now.
With the cabling and increasing happening on different rows, I'm worried I'll forget and work them incorrectly on one half or the other.
I'm wondering whether I'll be better off breaking them apart again.
At the same time, it's only 16 rows, I should be able to manage that.

On a happier note...I made a break through in the potential Seashell socks.
When I've been saying Feather and Fan Stitch, what I was thinking was the Scallop Stitch from October 15 in the perpetual calendar.
(I am only aware of one perpetual calendar stitch dictionary thingy, so I'm assuming yours is the same.)
Which explains my surprise when I found those patterns online and they weren't what I had in mind.
After checking it, I think you can understand why I had the stitches confused.
As you can see, this pattern probably won't look good cuff down. So I'd have to go toe up. But I think a picot hem will look rather nice with it.
Of course, I haven't swatched it. Haven't even rolled the skein into a ball. But at least I've got some direction now.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hookin' It

The current Damn Doily is flying along.
Last night I finished the knitting portion and started on the crocheted part of the edging.
You may remember from the first Damn Doily, which took so very many attempts to make, that the crochet portion is really murderous.
Combine that itty-bitty hook, with that skinny-skinny thread, then throw in four knitting needles flopping around and getting in your way for good measure...and you have a nightmare waiting to happen.
I was able to get through the first needle's worth of stitches before bedtime.
Hopefully I'll get through the other three tonight, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
Once the stitches are transferred off the knitting needle it won't be so bad. Some single crochet and chain five combination and I'm done.
Then I really need to take myself in hand and start the third one so I can be free.

I Forgot to Mention
As though I haven't talked about Lucy enough in last three or four posts....
Maybe I really am a fan girl.
I had a chance to point out that I was the writer who contacted her back in December for an article for the January issue of Yarn Market News (that business magazine for the fiber industry for which I've been writing freelance articles).
The light bulb totally went on. She said they liked my article and we had a nice chat about her DVDs and technology.
So, see, she doesn't think I'm a totally whack job.

Seashell Socks
As though I don't have enough other projects on the go, and plenty of yarn and projects in queue, I'm obsessing over my new Seashell Celestial Merino.
I thought, before I strain myself designing a pair of feather and fan socks, I should check Ravelry to see what is out there.
Sure enough, lots of patterns.
And you know what?
Not really what I had in mind.
I should probably swatch with my yarn, to be sure, but yeah, they weren't working for me.
Maybe I was thinking of the wrong stitch pattern.

Library to the Rescue!
On the way home, I stopped by the library and picked up a copy of Sensational Knitted Socks. I'm thinking the next time I have some found money I might have to finally invest in copies of Sensational Knitted Socks and More SKS. Mainly for the stitch dictionaries.
I mean, here Charlene has so nicely figured out the stitch count and how to work them in the round, why should I duplicate her effort?
I also got the Vogue Dictionary of Knitting Stitches from 1984.
Oh my gosh, it's so funny. The big 80s hair and the makeup. snicker.
Of course, the stitches are the same ones we use today and people have been using for years.
I found a feather and fan in there, and one called seashells, which could be interesting.
But, almost as important, I found a lace/eyelet stitch called Snowflake lace or something like that. And snowflakes is what I wanted to do with that blue and white Koigu I have.
So that might totally work.
But those are worries for another day, after the damn doilies are done.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kick in the Pants

CEFscarf done First up, the Cashmere Sock version of my Eyelet and Feather Scarf is done and blocked!
After going through all the trouble of brushing my hair, this is the best picture I got. (Hubby is deep in school work and correcting papers for the end of term and is not to be disturbed.)
So, it's my own Eyelet and Feather pattern (available there in the side bar and in my Ravelry store).
The pattern was written using Alchemy Monarch. To accommodate this different yarn I went up to a US7 needle.
Now I have to take some new measurements, tweak the pattern for this yarn, and fill out the submission form, then it will be winging its way off to the publisher.

Cotton and More Cotton rib sock cuff
The completion of that scarf has caused me, in a round about way, to start working on the Damn Doily again.
But by now you've noticed I tend to do things in a round about way.

But First, a Detour
After I finished the blue scarf, I spent an evening with the Heart Harf. Now both sides are three heart panels long.
As I approach the point where I'll have to graft the center shut, I'm growing nervous.
P asked Lucy about grafting Knit 2, Purl 2 rib on Saturday.
Lucy replied, "Top to top or top to bottom?" And launched into a discussion that included waste yarn making your life easier.
It was interesting, but I could only half listen as I was counting the cash register drawer at the time.
But then driving home I thought, "Blast! That might have been useful for the Harf!" I will have to consult with P, or see if this technique is covered on Lucy's DVDs.
Of course, I weathered grafting the cable band on Coronet shut and even managed to figure out how to keep the reverse stockinette stitch correct.
Still, I might need to make a swatch in less delicate yarn for practice.

cotton sock swatchBack to Cotton
But I've also been working on the Ribbed Cotton Socks out of Sockina Cotton.
I decided to go with the US1. The gauge was a little smaller, maybe a quarter of a stitch. But the interior felt nicer on my fingers, which will feel nicer on my feet.
After doing some math, I determined I should cast on 44 sts. This seemed ridiculous even for me, but I rolled with it.
The test bit did indeed stretch out unattractively, so I frogged it, cast on 48, then decreased down to 44 sts after my standard 15 rows of cuff ribbing.
You can see the decreases happening in the top picture.

Princess Time
In the mean time, I've also decided these socks are a good candidate for a Princess Sole.
It's not that the yarn isn't soft, but it doesn't have the squish that wool sock yarn does. Based on my experience with my other cotton socks, I think the smooth interior will be more pleasant.
However, based on my experience with the ladder that formed on the sole of my New Year's Socks, I thought it might be best to work the sole of the Ribbed socks all on one needle.
That is, usually I knit socks with the stitches distributed on four needles and a fifth for working.
I want these socks on three needles with a fourth for working.
This will be easier to accomplish on my 6" Clovers rather than my 5" Brittanies.

Now We Get to the Doily
But, of course, my long US1 needles are in the Damn Doily, which has been back in the dining room credenza since we took that trip to my in-laws' the other month.
So in a desperate attempt to free my needles so I can knit my socks, I've been devoting all my knitting time to the doily!
As of last night, I'm on row 55. The goal is 60 rows for the center, then two rows each of knitting and crocheting for the border.
It occurs to me I should be strong and jump straight into the third and final doily as soon as I finish this one.
Will power being my strong point, an all.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Resistance is Futile

Me & LucySqueeee!
That's her! That's Lucy Neatby!
I don't know who the brunette in the glasses could be. But I must say that blue scarf she's wearing is adorable, even if it does need to be blocked.
As I said before, I wasn't able to attend any of her classes when she was at Knitting Central. There was some discussion of me going to the Saturday afternoon class on Double Knitting, which is probably a good technique to have someone show you, but I said I had mentally prepared myself not to attend the classes and hadn't brought supplies anyway, so I stayed in the store.
This had the unexpected consequence of making P happy, since she is the one who would have swapped out with me. She said she'd share her notes with me. I don't think she was working at the store the last time Lucy was with us.

Fan Girl? Me?
Although I didn't attend the class, I did get to visit a bit because everyone came to the store to each lunch.
Cynthia introduced me as, I believe her phrase was, "a bit of a Lucy fan."
But I managed not to embarrass myself.
At least not until after I grabbed my sandwich, sat down with everyone, and my plan to abscond with the box of yarn was brought up.
Lucy looked me over again and said she'd heard someone was holding it hostage.
But everyone at the table agreed I was taking the only sensible action in that situation. They also agreed I never would have gotten away with it.
Then Lucy explained a new hat she is working on knit from the top down. She demonstrated removing the waste yarn, finished the hat, then turned around a cast on for a new one for the trip home. Explaining everything as she went along.
It's a nice hat. The fold-up brim has those hickey-holes that are in her "Almost Saintly Socks." It reminds me of Jug Head's hat from the Archie comics. It also looked adorable on me, if I do say so myself, so I might have to make one when the pattern is available.
The gauge is quite bulky and she demonstrated this mind-bogglingly cool method for using one skein of yarn tripled, which will come in really handy if I ever get around to making that crocheted butterfly shawl from Knit.1. (and I can remember the trick when the time comes!)
Of course, time was also spent determining which bulky weight yarns in the store could be used instead of this thin yarn tripled method.

She Buys Seashell At the Yarn StoreCelestial Merino Seashell
You will not be surprised to hear that I did indeed buy a skein of Celestial Merino yarn before the day ended.
Really, I should have just bought the thing Thursday when I bought the Cat's Pajamas yarn, but it nice to pretend I have will power.
I went with this nice pastel one.
I debated getting Honey Pot again, then I'd have a matching shawl and socks, but then that seemed too cute.
And I almost got Fiesta again, because the dyelot has changed and is much more vibrate than my skein from two years ago. But that seemed silly.
I briefly considered, uh, Aquarius, but it was too similar to the Fiesta. And the Fiery Fuchsia was nice, but that is the color of my current Cat's Pajamas, and I'm trying not to duplicate.
So I went with Seashell.
I'm thinking something girly and lacy. With a picot hem and probably a Cuban Heel.
I considering my Joy of Charlene socks, but the gauge is different and might require thought on my part. I'm also thinking of the Little Bit O'Lace socks from this year's KC Sock Club, since they won't require thought.
I was thinking a feather and fan pattern, but then I'd have to work from the toe up. Which might actually work fine with a picot hem....
As I was considering all this, it occurred to me I might have enough yarn for a matching pair of fingerless mitts. Which would be adorable. Then I wondered whether I have enough left over Cat's Pajamas from my original skein to make a pair of mitts to match those socks.
Which would be cool looking mitts.
I have 40 grams left. Don't know if that will be enough. I've got it divided into two 20 gram balls. But I think I'll need my US1 needles, and they are all tied up.

This post was, apparently, brought to you by the word "adorable."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mine, Mine, Mine

Cat's Pajamas yarn in Honey Pot.
Isn't it beautiful?
Well, maybe not so much in the harsh florescent lights of the office.
You'll have to trust me on this.
And it's so soft and lovely....
I stopped by the store on my way home last night to drop off my Cat's Pajamas Socks.
I figured Lucy would have her own samples, but thought it would be nice for people to see how the new yarn wore, and so Lucy could see what I'd done with her yarn.
Well, wasn't I pleasantly surprised to see the front table had already been changed over for her visit, featuring her books, patterns, and yarn.finished cats pajamas
I had been expecting to get my hands on the stuff on Saturday, but when I saw it out already I thought I might as well pick it up.
After all, there is a class today and I didn't know how many skeins would get snapped up during the lunch break and the course of the day.

Decisions Decisions
I had, of course, already decided to get a skein in the Honey Pot colorway.
But when I was confronted with those two big bowls...well I started to doubt myself.
The first one I grabbed turned out to be the Celestial Merino in Honey Pot, which is the straight merino wool yarn. (Cat's Pajamas is a merino/cashmere/nylon blend.)
Now, I don't know anything about dying yarn, beyond the fact that different fibers take the dye differently.
The Celestial Honey Pot was so charming and bright that I stood there debating whether I should get it and get the Cat's Pajamas in a different color.
But that course would have led me back to Fiesta, which I don't think would be practical for a shawl. I want a subtle shawl I can wear with different outfits. I think the Fiesta would have been a bit flashy for general use.
Then I debated if I should go ahead and get a skein of Celestial in another color. I used that yarn for my Rainbow Swirl Socks and they sure are nice. And I did get a pair and a half out of that first skein, so obviously it's a good investment for me.
But I resisted.
Let's see if my resolve survives to end of day Saturday (hint, I'm already regretting my decision).

catspjHPpoolYet More Temptations
I also resisted buying one of those adorable Knit Kits. You know, those new clam shell gadgets that have a crochet hook, tape measure, row counter, scissors, stitch markers, cutter, and point protectors all in one container?
It's pretty well priced for all the stuff you get.
But I said to myself, "Technically you have all those things so you don't need it."
But, boy, it must be convenient to be able to reach into your knitting bag once and pull out all that stuff, rather than the three to four attempts it currently takes me.
Still, I suspect the Knit Kits will be easier to resist, as they'll be in stock regularly now, whereas Lucy's glorious yarn is only around when she is.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Socks ::sigh::

sokina cottonYou might remember that I finished the socks I was knitting for Hubby last Thursday.
You might also remember that I said I wasn't comfortable with not having a pair of socks on the go, and despite all my deadline projects I didn't know how long I could hold out.
Well, I held out until Sunday night.
Now, all I did Sunday night was cast on and knit one row of K2, P2 ribbing, but it was enough to calm me down.

Temptation Abounds
I think part of the reason I caved so quickly is because I worked at the store both days this past weekend.
Sometimes I can go for a month without being tempted by any of the yarn. I see it is pretty, but I don't need to take it home with me.
Sometimes I see a yarn and start thinking of things to make with it, but it is just a passing fancy inspired by a new yarn and new patterns.
This is most likely to happen at this time of year, when the season is changing, and we start getting in tons of new yarns. Like right now all these pretty new cottons keep appearing.
Sometimes I see a yarn and I'm helpless before it and have to take it home right then regardless of all my WIPs and stash. This is what happened when I bought the beautiful Mohair Splash the other week.
And sometimes a yarn catches my eye in a new light and I decide I really want it, but I know I don't need it, and I have to fight the urge.

Oooh Red
That happened pretty early on Saturday.
I spotted a skein of Claudia Handpaints sock yarn in the Freesia colorway.
It was bright red, fading to pink and white with some blue thrown in for good measure.
Just totally my kind of colorway.
I was like, "Where did this come from? And why have I not seen it before?" Another staff member informed me the previous dyelot had been much more pastel.
Of course, I was especially susceptible to the lure of sock yarn since I didn't have a sock on the go and I was scoping out possibilities for my Landscape sock pattern.
But I fought the urge. During a lull in the action, I fired up my Ravelry account and reviewed my stash in order to stay strong.
And I made it out of Saturday unscathed.

More Temptation
It might have also helped that I spotted a fair size box in the back room marked "Lucy Neatby's Yarn." Which had obviously been sent ahead for her visit tomorrow and Saturday.
(No, I won't be attending either class. It's very sad. With the trip this summer, I can't sacrifice the vacation day to go Friday and I'm working at the store Saturday. Can't have it all.)
Well, it was just a box full of that glorious Cat's Pajamas yarn!
I pawed through it checking out all the lovely colors.
Of course, the first one I pulled out was the Fiesta colorway, which made sense since it is the colorway I bought in Celestial Merino for my Rainbow Swirl Socks. I think this time I'll get the Honey Pot colorway; it is browns and golds and quite lovely. Not really my normal, but I like it ever time I see it.
I think I'll make a shawl with it.
Let me specify, I'll make someone else's shawl pattern with it, so I don't have to think.
Anyway, the potential of buying some of that this weekend shored up my reserve.
(I e-mailed Cynthia Saturday night threatening to swipe the box and disappear forever, but she called my bluff and laughed at me.)

Defensive Measures
When I got home Saturday, I realized that I would have to get a sock project going if I was going to avoid buying that Freesia yarn.
So I dug through my stash and ended up taking out the blue & white Koigu and the Smooshy yarn I bought at Christmas time. I took them to the store with me Sunday and used the swift and ball winder to wind them up.
In this way I was able to go into the backroom and visit with them if I felt my resolve weakening.
Still, when it came to it Sunday night, I ended up settling on that ball of Sockina Cotton you saw at the beginning of this very long post (but you are used to me being long winded).
I cast on 52 sts using the fancy 2.5 mm metal needles Hubby bought me in Poland, and was going to run with it, but then I got suspicious.

The Evil of Cotton Socks
This yarn is 55 percent cotton, 25 percent nylon, and 20 percent acrylic.
I bet it doesn't have a lot of memory to it.
I have two pairs of cotton socks. The Regia Cotton ones are pretty good. But the Lana Grossa Cotton Fun ones are baggy. I suspect my gauge might have been a little off, but they've grown and not sprung back after washing.
I actually have a desire to frog them and rework them, I just haven't gotten around to it.
So I was thinking I'll do these Sockina ones in a 2x2 rib all the way down, rather than just the cuff, to give them a little more spring.
But then it occurred to me I'd have to cast on fewer than normal stitches to account for the stretch of the ribbing as well as the stretch of the cotton.
And that's as far as I've gone.
In stead of just casting on and plunging into my 15 rows of ribbing, I switched to stockinette stitch after two rows so I could get a true gauge.
I've also decided these needles aren't going to work. They are a bit too slippery, and I think a bit too big. I fished out my US1 Brittanys, but haven't switched over yet.
All of my attention has remained focused on the blue scarf. I'm starting to worry about it being a decent length when it's done. I'm sure it will be fine.
My ability to return happily to the deadline scarf proves that my cunning plan worked!
I don't need to be actively working on the sock, I just have to have a sock to work on.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More Scarf Stuff

CEFscarfR I dragged the camera to work with me because this taking pictures at home thing obviously wasn't working out. So my poor picture taking skills are hampered by the poor conditions, but you should be able to get the gist of things.
This first image is of the right hand side of the scarf, which is the side with the floats.
I am working from both ends of the ball, alternating working two rows with each, in an attempt to level out any color variation in the yarn.
You can sort of see that in the picture as well I guess.
This trick is more effective with two entirely different balls
of yarn. That way to you are really diluting the differences.
It is usually a method suggested when you use hand-dyed yarn to help break up any potential color pooling.
An example of which can be seen in my Purple Jitterbug Socks.
I don't usually bother to do this two strands thing since I usually use hand-dyed yarn for socks and a little pooling there doesn't bother me.
If the floaties in the top photo are eluding you, it might help to compare the edge to the one you see in the bottom photo.
This is of the left hand side, which is sans floats.
As you can see, it has little bumps going up the edge, rather than loops.
If I wasn't floating the yarn, the right hand edge would be bumpy like that as well.
I don't think the difference is terribly noticeable, at least not from a distance which would red watchrespect your personal space.
I suppose I could have made them more similar by slipping the first stitch on the return row of the left hand side. Well, I think that would do it, I'd have to test the theory.
But as the scarf is 22 inches long at this point, I've gone to far to turn back now.

By the way, I got a flashy new watch band. :-)