Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I've got nothing.

The Talking to Socks is continuing to grow.

However, as it's just plain stockinette stitch, there is nothing to report there.
The recipient is out of town, so I can't get him to try it on. I was considering getting Hubby to try it on, for a ballpark fit, but then Hubby might try to claim it and that would be bad.

I've decided to just roll with it and knit it anyway. If the foot is to small, what the heck, it's just a sock, I can rip back and re-do it.

The alternatives would be
  • Stopping the first sock and starting the second sock. But my other size ones are tied up in a stealth project.
  • Casting on for another project. But I'm kind of liking the project monogamy at the moment.
So I leave you with...nothing. Of course, I could have also not blogged today, and saved us all the time, but I was worried you'd miss me.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I Stand Corrected

TTS size Did I mention my Eyelet and Feather Socks pattern was accepted for the new 101 One Skein Wonders book?

Yeah, I thought so.

I have since found out that a shawl P designed and fingerless mitts "Giggles" designed were also accepted. (Giggles doesn't have a blog.)

This means Knitting Centrall totally owns that book with three out of the 101 patterns being from our staff. We are so fraking tallented, we should make a book that is just our patterns. But we're all too busy.

Not So Big After All
After going on and on about how big the sock I'm making for The Guy in the Art Department is, I decided to give some perspective.

So I got one of my little, bitty socks and one of Hubby's socks and I held them all up together.

And I noticed the sock for TGitAD was the same size as one of Hubby's socks.


In response to my question, Hubby says he wears a size 10 or 10.5 shoe. Which is only a wee bit smaller than the size 11 TGitAD wears.


Turns out this sock isn't so much bigger than socks I've knit in the past. Turns out I need to calm down a little. Probably shows how long it's been since I made Hubby socks that I've got the size all squewed in my head.

Summer of Socks 09
A little bird also told me that because of the "no stress" theme for this years Summer of Socks, WIPs do count toward your total. So these socks totally count.

Last year only socks knit between June 21 and uh, sometime in September, counted because there were contests and stuff.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Done: Brainless Bamboo Shawl

BBS back I finished the shawl last night!

I used one skein of Southwest Trading Company Bamboo yarn and size US11 needles.
I just increased at the beginning of each row until I ran out of yarn, then I cast off.

Simple. One might even say brainless.

I was concerned a regular bind off would be too tight, so I did that one were you knit two together, pass the one stitch back, k2tog, etc. Well, it still ended up a bit tight. I'm thinking about redoing the bind off, but I've also realized it makes the top curve nicely, so I might leave it.

It ended up about 33 inches across cast off edge and 25 inches long. I was hoping/expecting it to be bigger, but this actually seems a good size for my 5'1" self.

The wing span is a wee bit small to be able to tie it in th front, which was disappointing. Then IBBS front remembered that I own all these nice pins that I never wear since I don't like impaling my clothing (I'm afraid it will make a hole). So I pinned it shut and that seemed to work out well.

Actually, the poor shawl was one of those projects that I finished then thought, "Bleh. Why did I make this?" But I'm starting to come around.

I wore it to work today and got compliments, which always helps. And it fits nicely and is warmer than you would expect, which is good for wearing over sun dresses in air conditioned offices.

Yeah, that's about all I can think of to say about this really simple shawl.

Speaking of socks
Baru attackNot that we were...My Cat's Pajamas Socks, I mean Eyelet and Feather Socks, were accepted for the new One Skien Wonders Sock Yarn book!
I think it's going to be published next year. The e-mail said I'd hear from them again in February.

We will not discuss the fact that the Eyelet and Feather Scarf wasn't accepted.
But it is interesting that I was like, "Oh, I'll just throw the socks in for the heck of it, since the pattern is all written up."
Now I'm really glad I did.

That's Baru attacking me in the picture. Always got to be in the camera frame.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Still Talking to Socks

TTS toe Can I just start by saying I love Hubby's size 9 feet?

Boy, howdy, knitting socks was not top of mind when I was husband shopping (actually, I didn't know how to knit at the time), but it really worked out well!

Anyway, the socks for The Guy in the Art Department are starting to show progress (not that I have an updated picture for you).

I wasn't able to work on them during my trip. For the flight I had them on my long US1 needles and there was turbulence in both directions. I was concerned about impaling myself so I went with the Brainless Bamboo Shawl instead. Then at the conference I was to busy to knit anything.

I was able to work on them over the weekend when we were at the in-law's.

As I mentioned, I'm going toe-up so I can use every scrap of yarn (we only had the two skeins in this color, so when I run out I'll have to stop), but I'm using a free pattern from, um, Skacel as guide. The pattern is for cuff-down and says for a size 11 shoe to work the foot for 23 cm from the picked up stitches. The entire foot length will be 29 cm.

Well, in my wisdom, I held up my tape measure and scoffed because how could a foot be that big?

Anyone who has knit for size 11 feet before it probably pissing themselves laughing by now.

Because of this, over the weekend I stopped when the sock was, oh, 6 or 7 inches long, around 19 cm, since I didn't want to knit too much.

Then on Tuesday I saw TGitAD and showed him my progress. He pet the sock, which is an instinct you have to appreciate in a non-knitter. (For the record, Hubby will both pet and nuzzle yarn for his projects.) Then TGitAD plunked his foot up on the little red chair outside my cube and I measured it.

30 cm. gulp.

Now, that was the shoe and not the foot inside, but obviusly the pattern was not lying to me. (Unlike my coworkers all week with their alligators, missing innertubes, and public speaking assignments. sniff!)

I got back to work. The sock is now 23 cm, which is about 9 inches. I had him make a fist and wrapped the sock around it, and I think I can safely work the heel. I'm going short row to make it easy on myself. I informed him that after I work the heel a little of the leg he'll have to try it on to make sure it fits properly.

I'm also going to throw in a lifeline at this point so if it is too small I'll be able to rip back easily.

Of course, I'm making careful notes about row count, etc., so the second sock will just fly along.

Alchemy Juniper
In case you're wondering...this is the first time I'm using this new yarn. I would agree with all the positve chatter you've been hearing online.
However, I have found it a bit splitty. Especially when I first started, but I wonder whether I'm working against the ply and the motion of casting on opened the twist up a bit. It's been fine since then. I've felt or saw the one or two I have split and been able to fix them, so it's no big deal.

Summer of Socks 09
And, for anyone keeping count, these won't count for Sos09 since I started them before June 21.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dateline: Orlando

Ritz bed I would not be surprised if I have a previous blog post with this same title.

After all, this was not my first trip to Florida.

It was my first trip to the Ritz Carlton, which I think only opened in 2008. Sadly, unless we hit the lottery, it might be my last. Still, it was a lovely stay, especially on the company's penny!

A Room...
I had two "executive size" beds, which were around the size of a full. I'm one of those bad hotel guests who sleeps in a different bed each night if I'm there for multiple nights.

Hey, I figure I got them, might as well use them.

There were the nice touches you would expect, like turn down service with chocolates. The first night it was two dark chocolates, which I don't really eat. But the second night was one dark one milk. The third night I was in the room when the lady came. She asked if I needed anything and I said, "Milk chocolate?" and she gave me a little stack. Sweet!

Also, I liked that coffee/tea maker was in a little chest, so it was all attractive and subtle until you needed it. Of course, I might be easily impressed.

Speaking of impressed, hello, what a lovely bathroom! (There are pictures in my Flickr stream.) It was all marble. There was a tub on one side, a separate stand up shower on the other, and the toilet was behind another door for privacy. (Not that it mattered since I was alone.)

And a robe and slippers to use during your stay. Since it was a business trip, I didn't get to spend much time in my lovely room.

With a View of Crittersritz view
Still, I was very excited to see I had a balcony with this lovely view of the courtyard, lake, and golf course beyond.

In my time at the hotel I saw a bunny; two little lizards; a froggy; a small, long legged white bird with a long, curved orange beak; and a fat, long-necked, black bird that might have been a wild turkey.

A co-worker told me an alligator lives in the lake on the golf course, but I didn't see it. Considering everyone seemed to be spending the week yanking my chain, the alligator story was probably a lie. (insert sinister music here.)

Every morning I swiped breakfast off the show floor and ran back to my room to eat on my balcony.

The first morning I heard, "I guess the balconies aren't private," from above. Turned out the Deadline Setter's room was a floor above and one room over from mine. Despite the fact that we had both gone back to our rooms for a quite start to a busy day, we ended up calling back and forth to each other.

No one complained, so I guess we were ok. Makes me wonder whether the company had to pay extra for them to let me in. hehehe

And a River
As it was a business trip, there wasn't really time for fun (or knitting!) but we did our best.

The first night the Other Associate Editor, the Guy in the Art Department, his helper, and I went down to the Lazy River on the grounds of the Marriott next door. But there was a massive thunder and lightening storm, so we couldn't swim.

Actually, when the storm let up, around 10 p.m., we dove in anyway. But a hotel worker/lifeguard lady appeared out of nowhere and kicked us out.

lazy river The second night we succeeded in a few laps before we had to go in for a staff meeting.

That inner tube? $7! For as much as it cost to stay there, they couldn't lend us an inner tube?

Well, we got our money's worth because the Deadline Setter actually bought it, then handed it over to me when she left. So, ha!

The Guy in the Art Department brought it home in the truck with all our equipment. It's on her desk now, but she hasn't been in the office to find it. hehehe.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Samson flower The problem with blogging during my lunch hour at work is that when I get really busy, I don't feel like I should be goofing off blogging.

Good grief, I did a better job of blogging last week when I was on my business trip and didn't even have internet acess!

Yeah, if all those posts seemed a little short for me it's because I pre-loaded them on Saturday. hehehe. Apparenlty Boss Man was like "WTH?!" when he saw the one on Tuesday because he knows I don't have a laptop and I was supposed to be working (which I was).

So after traveling for the week, then being up at the in-law's for the weekend for Father's Day, I've just fallen behind.
Baru tired
I will try to muster something up tonight. Otherwise, maybe you will never hear about Florida.

In the mean time, admire my adorable, tired puppies. My in-law's have a BIG yard, very convenient for running high energy puppies into the ground. :-)

That is Samson, above, stopping to smell the flowers. Baru, right, is up to no good, probably getting ready to pounce on Samson.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Brainless Bamboo Shawl

bamboo shawl start Because having just one project on the go is beyond my capabilities, I also cast on for this shawl on Friday.

This is my other project for the trip. I'm not sure how far I'll be able to get on the Talking To Socks. I suppose I could use general sock sizing guidelines, but it would be nice if I could get him to try them on so we can be sure they'll fit. However, I doubt there will be time for sock fittings during the conference.

I brought this shawl as a back-up project. It's just garter stitch with an increase at the start of every row. Simple, nothing to write down or track.

The yarn is Bamboo from Southwest Trading Company and I'm using a US11. I bought the yarn at Stitches East the last time it was in Atlantic City.

I went with mom and Aunt K. We just went to the market place. They seemed to be having a contest to see which of them could slip me the most $5 bills. It was pretty cool. I saw this and had just enough money for it.

I think I was thinking "hat" when I bought it. Which obviously didn't happen. Then it languished in my stash with me thinking, "Why on earth did you only buy one?" I finally decided a triangular shawl would be the way to go. Just use it all up and any size it winds up should be fine.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Talking to Socks

Alchemy Jasper This is not stash

This is a bribe payment.

Actually, it's the new Juniper yarn from Alchemy in the Dream colorway. The picture looks kind of blue, but it's actually a rather vivid and obnoxious purple, which is perfect for my purposes.

I'm making these socks for The Guy in the Art Department, aka Talking to Walls from the comments and he of the Purple Blog.

You might remember that I've been running to him for crash course lessons in Photoshop and InDesign. He designed the template I've been using for the patterns I sell. He also took it upon himself to create my swooshy green "Traveling Ann Designs" logo, complete with shamrock.

I've never priced out what these services would cost from a professional graphic designer (which he is) but I figured a pair of handmade socks must balance the scales.

TTS toe I cast on for these on Friday and they are my knitting for my trip.

I don't know how far I'll be able to get since I made him measure the circumference of his foot, but not the heel to toe.

He wears a size 11 shoe (!) and I'm getting 8 sts to the inch, which are going to make these the biggest socks I've made to date.

I decided to go toe up so I wouldn't have to worry about running out of yarn.

So far the Juniper is quite lovely, although I found it a bit splitty when I first got started. But I wonder if I'm working against the ply and the twisting of casting on opened it up a bit. Still, I might have to get some for myself.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Done: Cotton Ribbed Socks

cotton rib done baruI actually finished the Cotton Rib Socks on Thursday.

(That would be Baru's muzzle getting in my way.)

Having finished Nell on Wednesday, this meant that I was all caught up on all my WIPS.

I had nothing on the needles.

It was making me feel pretty twitchy.

I was in that state for about 24 hours, since I couldn't cast on for a new project until after work Friday.

To Recap
cotton rib sole These are made of Schoeller+Stahl Sockina Cotton. Took about 1/2 a skein for my little feet, but I haven't weighed it to be sure.

(You can actually see parts of both dog's faces, in case you think he looks strange. It's Baru's eye and Samson's nose.)

I used a US1 needle.

I worked the leg and instep/top of foot entirely in 2x2 rib in an attempt to combat the tendency of cotton socks to sag.

I worked a princess sole and kept all those stitches on one needle to avoid creating a ladder on the bottom of the foot, as happened on my New Year's Socks.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Look at My Cute Shoes!

Black earth maryjanes These are Earth shoes in the Solar body style.

I've been needing new black shoes for a while now. Well, I have dressy flats for wearing with skirts, and I have clunky platforms for wearing with jeans, what I needed was something in between for wearing with slacks.

I wanted a a pair of Doc Marten's shoes, so I dragged myself all the way down to the mall.

Of course, after parking at one end and walking all the way to the other end, the two stores I thought might have them didn't.
I looked in the windows as I passed other stores and they all seemed to carry either sneakers or scary high heels.

National Economy
I was feeling pretty pissy about wasting all that time, energy, and gas for nothing (especially since I don't like clothes shopping to being with), so I had to stop into Bath & Body Works to get some new lotions (on sale for $3 each!) and Victoria's Secret to get some new undies (5 for $25!).

I hadn't bought either for a long time, so I was feeling pretty justified.

But then I stopped at one of those free standing kiosks to get the battery replaced in the watch with the flashy red band and it cost $18! Holy smokes! Usually I get this done at a jeweler in town and I swear it only costs $5 maybe $10.

Local Economy
Red earth flatsThen I went to Hawley Lane Shoes back in town, which is where I should have gone to begin with.

They carry a wide variety of shoes in different styles by different makers. And they have the kind of staff that pounces on you (in a nice way) and actually helps you out.

What I didn't know was they were having sale and also a buy one get one half off sale. This made things a little more difficult since I had to scour the racks for a size and style I liked.

Of course, the little black, tailored lace-ups I wanted aren't in style right now.

I've tried on clogs (slides? the backless ones) in the past and have never found a pair I like, despite how good they are at showing off handmade socks.

I ended up with these two pairs of Earth shoes. These are the ones with the "negative heel" so you feel like you are falling back when you first put them on. They are supposed to be better for your back because they promote a more a more natural posture.

I looked at them once a few years ago, but the styles seemed really granola then. This time they weren't so bad.

The red ones might have been a bit of an impulse buy, because of the sale (the shoes were on sale and then the second pair was half off, so I got $200 worth of shoes for $93!!), but they are terribly cute. I won't take them on my business trip though, one pair of new shoes is crazy enough.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I Told You So

nell front I finished Nell Wednesday night!
This sweater ended up taking me around two years, which is a crying shame, because it's not a hard sweater.

Well, it's not a hard sweater if you are able to work button bands and actually have them come out even.

Otherwise, it will take you a long time.

Of course most of that time will be spent ignoring it because you can't work a button band.

Let's Start Over
(In case you are wondering, I'm on the phone with Hubby in these two pictures.)
I started it in December 2006. The body and sleeves worked up very quickly in a matter ofnell back months.
But my idea of "slightly stretched" was not the same as the pattern's idea. And so things ground to a halt as I struggled with the button band.

I set the goal of finishing it for a business trip in June 2008, which didn't work out. Then I set it as my project for the Ravelympics during the Summer Olympics in 2008. That didn't work out either, but at least I got most of the seaming done.

Eventually, I gave up and had the brain wave in January to just sew it shut.

Then other projects distracted me and it continued to languish waiting for me to finish the collar.

nell done samsonBut now it's done! I shall wear it on Tuesday at my conference. Everyone I meet will walk away thinking I'm really charming and talented without quite knowing why, when in fact it is the subliminal influence of my beautiful handmade sweater.

(I'm pretty sure the fuzzy face you see is Samson. Under his chin you can see the top of Baru's head. Taking pictures using the camera timer while being swarmed by puppies is not easy.)

To Recap
The pattern is Nell from the Kim Hargreaves Wool Cotton Concertina, which I've heard it now out of print. There are three other patterns that are also very cute which I also wouldn't mind making.
I used the Rowan Wool Cotton called for in the pattern in the "flower" color, which might also be discontinued.

(Hey, I bought all this during my glorious month at Patternworks back in 2004, what do you expect?)

The pattern called for eight balls, but I only seem to have used seven.
Needles US2 and US5. I generally have to go down a needle size on Rowan patterns.

I made the extra small.

And the only modification I made, which is—granted—a major one, was to sew the front shut rather than leaving it a cardigan.

Like I Said
The other day, this finishing stuff business is fun.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Manufactured Urgency

On Monday I leave for a business trip to Florida.
(Whoop-di-do. This will be my fourth trip to the Orlando Convention Center since I joined my magazine in 2006. At least I know my way around. And, hey, we're staying at the Ritz(!) this year, so that should be nice.)
Nell is so very close to being done, it occurred to be that if I focus a bit I might finish it in time to take on my trip.
I seem to remember setting trip to Florida as a deadline for Nell in the past, and, well, we know how well that worked out.

No, really, it's realistic.
All I have to do is finish knitting and attach the collar, seam one arm, and weave in the ends.
And I have six days to do it.
Shoot, I can knit a sock in that time and this is less work than a sock. Right?
Although some of it might be more tedious.
I wish this had occurred to me sooner. I might have spent more time on Nell and less time on my Cotton Ribbed Socks and making cute flower rings.
However, I worked on the sweater last night and the collar is almost done.

Does that count as short rows?
When I worked the first half of the collar, I was puzzled by the directions because they have you work even until it reached the center back of the neck, then bind off in steps over five rows. For the second side you reverse the shaping so the steps are on the other end and the two pieces can lock together like a jigsaw puzzle.
At the time, this did not make sense to me, as it seemed to give you a bunch of extra fabric. I thought, "Why not just reach the center and seam the damn thing?"
Now that the second half is almost done, and I can see it in action, I realize this must be some strange version of short rows, but worked in two separate pieces. I think the extra fabric tab thingys are going to provide slack so the collar can fold over and lay properly.
I was folding it back as-is last night, and the top edge was definitely flaring away from the other half of the collar. Obviously it would never work in it's current incarnation.
Well, I shall be tackling that situation tonight.
I really think it's going to happen this time.

Damn Doily Update
My mother-in-law reports that her friend loves, loves, loves the doilies. She apparently was showing them off to anyone who would stand still long enough.
MIL says everyone admired how beautiful they are and were impressed by the fine gauge and you just don't see work like that anymore.
It would seem that if anyone noticed one is slightly off from the other two they were too polite to mention it.
I think I also heard my MIL say something about getting me to make HER some, but I'm just going to block that out. :-)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Book Review: Beautiful Hand-Stitched Jewelry


I mean, wow. There are some creative people in the world and the things they come up with just boggle my little mind sometimes.

Take the stuff in Beautiful Hand-Stitched Jewelry: Crocheted, Embroidered, Beaded by Emi Iwakiri (128 pages, 200 color illustrations, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-906525-36-1) for instance.

I was all prepared to mock the first half of this book to cover up my own feelings of inadequacy since I can barely sew on a button.

But after spending some quality time together, I realized the poor book doesn't deserve my sarcasm. No, it wants to be my friend and invite me into its textile world.

There are 35 projects in the book, some of which are variations on a main project—such as a bracelet based on the principles introduced to make a necklace.

The first half of the book features items constructed out of beads that are either sewn out of fabric or created from strips cut from old cashmere (!) sweaters. Which is a really environmentally sound method, when you think about it, and should be good for people who like to pick up old sweaters at thrift shops.

The directions seem clear and easy to follow, without going into excruciating detail, and include both illustrations and explanatory text. As many of the projects have only five or so little steps, they appear rather achievable, even for someone such as myself who can't sew her way out of a paper bag.

Well, at least until I got to the line that says, "Make 78 balls." And I realized my attention span isn't up to the challenge.

flower ringsFlower Power!
Oh, but the back of the book is where all the action is.

The back of the book is all crochet patterns!

The patterns again cover necklaces and bracelets with fibers ranging from raffia and lame to silk and cotton.

And so cute that I just had to make these adorable rings right away. The patterns called for silk yarn and No. 8 pearl cotton, but I used some Luster-sheen that has been in my stash since, oh, 2002 or something.

I made the blue flower first on Thursday. This is why I needed the C crochet hook, and the yellow bead is the other bead I bought that day. So the blue ring cost me all of 50 cents for the bead.

Then on Friday I made the yellow ring with some of my beloved hematite beads in the center. I fancy this one looks like a sunflower. Then I made the white one, which is actually a different pattern from the first two. I was going to use a variety of colors in the center, but it turned out they didn't harmonize, so I just went with the red.

So the yellow and white ones basically cost me nothing because it was all from my stash!flower rings side

I have pink and lavender Luster-sheen as well, but I had to draw the line somewhere. (Although I might break down because I'm wearing a purple shirt today and the first thing I thought was, "Drat, none of my new rings match.")

They each took about an hour, with the most fiddly part being sewing the little bitty beads in place and then attaching the flower to the ring. But Hubby was at a graduation party on Friday, so there was no one to stop me. hehehe.

Well, that is, the blue one would have taken a hour if I had remembered to work each petal in a different foundation stitch and didn't have to rip back. And if I had refreshed myself on how to work a double treble, rather than working three normal trebles and thinking "Hey, that doesn't look right" and having to rip back, again. But, really, once I got over being me they just zipped along.

Another project that intrigues me is a chain made out of lame yarn which reminds me of a smaller, crocheted version of those big, knit chain scarves that were in Loop d'Loop.
I wonder, if I made a really long one, would Hubby let me use it as a Christmas tree garland? Considering the way he balked at the Wee Hats, probably not.

And a Techniques Section
The waaay back of the book covers equipment and techniques you will need to make the projects. There are illustrations of the embroidery and crochet stitches used and instructions for making pompoms and tassels.

I haven't seen this book or any of the patterns on Ravelry yet, but it only just came out in March, so people might not have caught up with it yet.

If you are into sewing and textile crafts, I think you'll really dig this book. Crocheters will find a lot of inspiring stuff as well. And knitters, well, it's about time you got with the program and learned more about the other craft. Then you can have cute flower rings, too.

PS—My profile picture is me, in pigtails with the blue and yellow rings. snicker. The loops are two small for a full ponytail. But now I'm plotting...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Again With the Beads?

Honeypot tigerseye Holy Smokes!
Me believing that the bead aisle at Micheal's was a dangerous place should indicate how unprepared I was for the reality that is Bead Works.

Although you think I would have been, from my two little visits to Just Bead It! up in Lake Placid.

Anyway, I went to Bead Works' Norwalk location during my lunch hour yesterday.

Yeah, it counts as one of those places you can't just "pop in" during your lunch hour. Especially since I hadn't been here before, because that meant I had to do a full circuit looking at all the pretty, shiny stuff before I could make any selections.

However, having a limited amount of time also allowed me to escape fairly quickly with only a $12 purchase.

The main goal was the beads you see above.

This looked much better when the yarn was still in a hank, but I lost my head and rolled it yesterday, so you'll just have to use your imagination.

Here, Kitty Kitty
The yarn is my Honey Pot Cat's Pajamas yarn from Lucy Neatby. The beads are a string of Tiger's Eye chips and a string of shell chips.

My original idea was the Tiger's Eye, but then I thought the shell looked really good. So I asked the opinion of the young lady at the counter. She said the shell really popped and looked the best.

Then, like a good sales rep., she suggested I get both and mix them.

As that thought had already crossed my mind, I didn't need much urging.

I asked whether she thought the holes would be big enough for the yarn.
She admitted they probably didn't have anything the correct size, aside from seed beads. But seed beads aren't as fun, so I decided to take my chances.

There were also a number of strings of green beads, which went with it surprisingly well. But they also gave the yarn a decidedly green cast, that was kind of weird and the wrong direction, so I skipped them too.

Oooh, what are you making?heart st marker
I'm plotting a shawl with the beads along the edge, but that might be the last you hear and see of it for a while. I'm feeling ambitious and full of myself and I'm thinking I might try to submit it to a few of the magazines. But most of them don't want the design to have appeared anywhere else first!

I also bought two loose beads.

One I've already put into action, although not very expertly. You will see more about that one on Monday.

The other is this little black heart with an attractive iridescent pattern that you see here. I've paired it with two of my hematite beads and am going to make a stitch marker with them.
I didn't have time to bend the wire on the headpin this morning. In case you are wondering, it did fit on my red wire, it just didn't look as good.

I also looked for beads that I might use on the Seashell socks I'm eventually going to design. But I decided the yellow beads I have left over from Sundae will work. I'd been thinking pink, but none of the pink beads worked and blue might have been the wrong direction.

Frothy Yellow Thing update
baru handsomThere is a gratuitous picture of Baru looking handsome for you to admire.
Don't let him fool you, two seconds before I took this he was eating the grass. sigh.

Anyway. My mom called yesterday all excited because she had just received the Frothy Yellow Thing in the mail.

As I expected, she loved it precisely because it IS a frothy thing. She actually asked if there was any yarn left because she wanted a BIGGER one.
This request elicited a little groan of pain from me and she dropped it.

Talk To Me
commentscreenSo I've received some good feed back on my first book review which I wrote on Wednesday.

Good because everyone has liked it! LOL.

I stopped at the yarn store on the way home yesterday because, for some bizarre reason, I don't seem to own a size C crochet hook.
This lack is incomprehensible to me and I suspect that now that I've bought one any previous ones I've owned will suddenly materialize.
I also can't find my D hook, but I know for a fact I own one of them and refuse to buy a new one.

Cynthia told me she had to jump through a million hoops and create and ID in order to leave me a comment on the review.

This surprised me since I thought I had my comments pretty wide open.

So I checked my settings, then went to the effort of downloading a new, alternate web browser that doesn't know me or my cookies or my IDs and I left myself a comment.

And I am wide open. (hmm, that doesn't sound good.)

When you click on the "comment" link at the bottom of a post, the screen changes and the right hand part of it should resemble the screen shot you see above.

If you have a Google ID you can enter it, and the system might even capture it.

If you have an Open ID, you can click that radio button and will get the log-in fields there.

If you don't have either of those ID, and don't want to create one, you can click one of the other two buttons.

"Name/URL" will open two field where you can, uh, enter your name and your website address. This will allow people to click on your name in your comment and go straight to your blog or whatever. Baring one of the two official IDs, this would be preferable since it allows me (and my other readers) to find out a little about you.

"Anonymous" should be self explanatory, but I've come this far. You don't have to enter any identifying info, you just type your comment.

In all cases you do still have to do the "word identification" challenge, which helps weed out spam by making you prove you are a human.

Sooo, if you haven't left me a comment in the past because you didn't have/want a Google ID, don't be shy!
Of course, I reserve the right to delete any comments that I deem obnoxious, offensive, or otherwise unacceptable at my sole discretion and measured by my capricious standards!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Book Review: Love to Knit

The books I'm going to review arrived in the mail yesterday! It was very exciting.

I have five titles to play with, and thought I'd start with Love to Knit: 25 Quick and Easy Projects You Will Love to Knit by Bronwyn Lowenthal (128 pages, 200 color illustrations, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-906094-03-4).

This book was actually first released in 2007, prompting me to ask both, "How did I miss it?" and "Why didn't you tell me about it?"

Lowenthal's profile says she is inspired by vintage clothing, so I figured it would be right up my alley.

To be honest, when I first opened the book I thought, "Uh-oh, what have I gotten myself into?" because the first pattern isn't very much my style.

Actually, it's those fingerless gloves you see on the cover, and I'm of the thin yarn/fitted gloves school when it comes to fingerless mitt. But nine people have made them on Ravelry, and they all look lovely, so what do I know?

Happily, things improved rapidly from there and I can truthfully say there are several patterns I'd like to make.

From Head to Toe
I know it's a cliche, but the book really does cover that much territory, with some home accessories thrown in for good measure.

And can I just veer off again and say I always know when I'm looking at a British pattern book because of the egg cozies?
Seriously, do you guys really use them? Because I don't remember seeing a single egg cozy when I was on my Junior Year Abroad in England (although I did eat several soft boiled eggs).

However, these cozies have cute faces and embellishments, which make them stand out. Since they are reminiscent of those adorable Wee Hats I was obsessed with back in December, I quickly turned the page.
In contrast to the Wee Hats, the cozies are knit flat and seamed, making them good for a beginner.

Good Gauge! You are quick!
As you might suspect with the "quick" in the title, the patterns do tend toward accessories.
But, really, you don't get a "quick" sweater, unless it is those Twinkle ones at 2 sts/inch that were popular the other year.

The yarn gauges called for range from around 5.5 sts/inch to 3 sts/inch, with many of them in the 4.5 range. Even the patterns that call for Kid Silk Haze have you hold it doubled.

I think all these 4 to 4.5 gauge patterns are very nice because, despite this being a common yarn gauge, I always seem to have trouble finding nice patterns at this gauge when someone comes into the store. It's also nice because they should work up quickly with out all being super bulky.

The patterns also seem to be a nice mix of appropriate for a beginner (the egg cozies and some of the arm warmers) to interesting for an experienced knitter (the lovely shawl on the cover, among others).

My Choices
There is an adorable pair of "Two-button Small Socks," (pg 28) which I've already added to my Ravelry queue for Summer of Socks 09. I think I'll try to use my stashed Panda Cotton. But be warned, these socks have a sort of argyle construction, with the instep and sole worked separately flat and then seamed. I think it must have something to do with the lace pattern.

Based on the two sock patterns in the book, I'd like to track down Lowenthal's Love to Knit Socks book to see what other designs she's come up with.

I'm wondering whether I can combine the "Cute Bow" (pg 38) with the "Ribbed Belt" (pg 40) and make a new set for my Ultra-Femme sweater. Currently I'm using a black satin ribbon that I cobbled together from my meager ribbon stash. It's already starting to look beat up, so a replacement is needed.

I also think the "Lacy Shawl" (pg 46) shown on the cover is lovely. It calls for eight balls of Rowan Kid Silk Haze. I don't know if I'm feeling ambitious enough to make a project of this size ( it's 63 x 25 inches!) at the moment, but I think it would be nice in denim blue, or maybe green because of the leaf motif.

Some of the hats and tops are nice as well, but these are the three that I'll be adding to my Ravelry queue for more immediate consideration.

Other Stuff
In addition to the expected section on technique, which covers casting on, working the stitches, seaming, etc., there is a fun section on embellishing your knitting with directions for sewing on sequins and Swiss darning.

Oh, and there is a good, clear discussion on the importance of gauge and how to do the math to figure out how much yarn to buy if you substitute.

In the end, Love to Knit is a nice addition to the library. I suggest you at least check it out.
Fifteen of the 25 patterns are in the Ravelry database, so you can get a look at some of the patterns from the comfort of you home.
You can buy it from Amazon, or check with your local yarn store or book shop.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dateline: Books, Books, Books

Book Expo floor On Friday, Boss Man and I headed into NYC to attend Book Expo America.
(That is a picture of the main floor from a balcony on the floor above. There is another floor just for childrens books.)
This is a conference for the publishing industry. There are educational sessions, and a show floor where publishing houses show off their titles and their authors. Review copies are often available, the authors do signings, and people can "network."
All of that ink and paper in one place makes my little heart beat as quickly as a new yarn store, or the Market Place at Stitches.
Ostensibly, we were there to find management and leadership books we can review in the magazine, but really we each had our own agendas.

Review Books? For me?
First order of business was to stop by CICO Books, which is an imprint of Ryland Peters & Small. This is the company that contacted me the other week about reviewing their knitting titles on my blog.
She showed me an number of lovely titles that I can't wait to get my greedy little hands on. I think you'll really enjoy them, too.
I told her I crochet as well, so there will be a mix of knitting and crochet ranging from garments and afghans to toys and accessories.
In fact, I e-mail her yesterday and she said I should have them today or tomorrow! So you can expect to start seeing my reviews soon.

Why should you listen to me?NYC building
Because I'm a blogger!
And bloggers type with authority!
Everyone knows blogs are the future.
(Actually, don't believe that at all. As a professional journalist the idea of citizen journalists makes me feel lightheaded and break out in a cold sweat. I believe in the authority of the neutral observers. Fortunately, reviews can express an opinion, so this should be fun.)
As with any critic/reviewer, I suggest you figure out how my views/tastes line up with yours.
Wander my blog and look at my project. If you belong to Ravelry, take a run through my profile.
If you don't want to work that hard, I can tell you my tastes seem to run to traditional/classic/timeless. So if you like trendy/cutting edge/high fashion you might want to do the opposite of what I say. :-)
I also stopped by the Storey Publishing booth and told the nice lady there my Top Down Alpaca Mitts pattern is in Luxury One Skein Wonders. She was amused and said she'd pass my greetings on to the editors.

No, You Can't
I ended up bringing home a half dozen books.
On the bus ride back to Grand Central, Boss Man and I compared our loot.
(That picture above right is out the bus window. It's actually a reflection of the building across the street. Well, I thought it looked cool.)
One book I had snagged is about making your own all natural cleaning products.
Boss Man said something along the lines of, "Since, by your own admission, you never clean house, can I have that for my wife?"
I was like, "Nooo" in a snotty tone of voice, of course, and snatched it back. I would like to point out my self-restraint in then not whacking him with said book. But he is my boss and I think that would fall under the "violence in the workplace" poster in the break room.
NYC police The bus stopped cold a block from GCT. Eventually someone convinced the driver to let us off.
There were police cars lining both sides of the street and blocking traffic.
We heard people saying Prince Harry was in town, but we didn't see him. Of course, this information was backed up by news reports later that evening about his visit.
All in all, it was a pretty exciting day.

In Current News
I worked on Nell a little last night.
Today I mailed the Heart Harf away for the contest, the Damn Doilies away to my MIL's friend, and the Frothy Yellow Thing away to my mom (whether she wants it or not).
The guy at the post office asked the standard question about fragile, liquid, or hazardous items. I wanted to say the Frothy Yellow Thing is kind of blinding and obnoxious, but it didn't seem appropriate.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Doilies! Nell! Sock! Wheeee!

Damn Doilies done The Damn Doilies are Done!
I actually finished them, like, last Wednesday. See, I miss a couple days of blogging and all hell breaks loose.
So I shall go chronologically and hope nothing interesting happens until I have you up-to-date.
Most importantly, I finished the doilies.
I did my fake blocking routine of wetting them and smoothing them out with my hands.
I wanted to get a nice picture of them all together, which is why I didn't tell you this exciting news earlier.
Now, I just have to complete the equally challenging task of getting to the post office. Ha!

Doily Recap
These are basically the Spiralen by Marie Niedner & Gussi von Reden (that link will take you to the Ravelry page), which I expanded to be 12".
I used a US1 needle.
The yarn was some mystery crochet cotton out of my stash, and some fresh crochet cotton I bought.
They aren't actually hard, and they don't actually take a long time. Unless you are trying to make them bigger and you run out of thread.

I Worked on Nell!Nell collar 1
When I finished the doilies, I thought to myself, "Boy, this finishing projects business is fun! I can see why people focus on it."
Having destroyed the poor Cotton Ribbed Sock at this point, I was inspired to get out my Nell sweater and have another whack at it.
You might remember I've been struggling with Nell for about two years now.
Knitting the body was a breeze, but I am apparently totally incapable of knitting a button band properly.
Because of this, when last we saw Nell back in January, I had sewn the front opening shut. Sure it's a cardigan, but it's not a wear over other clothes cardigan.
(Of course, I've also sworn off cardigan knitting, but I reserve the write to change my mind.)
I didn't sew the front completely shut, so it would still have that top-button-open look.
To work the second half of the collar, I picked up the seven stitches on the back of the button band just below the button and started knitting up.
However, as you might be able to see in this picture, I don't think it's working quite right.
The button is on the outside, and I think it looks goofy.
I've decided I have to rip it out, pick up on the outside/public side of the band, work the one button hole, and then continue on.
I will, of course, be sewing this little button band portion to the front of the sweater where it belongs. It won't be flapping loose in the breeze.
This new, planned arrangement should give me a more accurate illusion of a button down sweater with the top button open.

Cotton Rib Sock, Reborn
No picture for this one.
Thanks to a train trip into The City on Friday, and some project monogamy over the weekend, I've finished the first of the Cotton Rib Socks.
One down, one to go.
I stuck with the 48 stitches all the way down and the fit on the foot seems fine. The leg is showing potential for bagging, but I think that is just the nature of cotton socks.
I'm just going to have to ignore it and carry on!