Monday, December 29, 2008

Well, That's Over

I did not give any hand knitted gifts for the holidays this year. I didn't even get the eyes sewed on the Caterpillar Scarf. I had hoped to finish at least the first Gator Mitt while I was out of town, but I discovered that I was short a spare DPN, which made it rather impossible to finish the claws on the mitts. So I worked on my One-Row Handspun Scarf. I did manage to get it finished while I was away.

And then I felt really odd because I had no projects with me upon which I could work. It feels strange to be without a WIP after years and years and years of always having some project with me.

Anyway, here's my scarf. The yarn is Mountain Colors Mountain Goat in the color Ruby River. It's a mohair blend. Personally, I would rather it was a bit softer, but it's not uncomfortable to wear against my neck. I will use the other two skeins of this yarn (in completely different colors) to make two more of these scarves to give away as gifts or donations.

Weeding Out the Stash
I have bundled up a selection of spinning fibers to send to my stepmom. Right now that selection includes some domestic wool roving, cotton roving (short staple and long staple), undyed silk and two pounds of a teal/multi wool roving. The dyed wool roving was one I purchased at a fiber festival over five years ago. At the time, I thought it was very pretty. Now it doesn't appeal to me as much, but I think the colors would suit my stepmom very well, were she to spin the yarn for herself. In any event, I'm sure all the fiber I send will be put to good use.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Half a Gator Mitt Done

I have discovered that the pattern is full of errors though. The numbers don't work out and the thumb stitches are put on a holder in such a way that the working yarn divides the thumb hole into two smaller holes. I'm glad I noticed that one before I got more than a couple rounds past the thumb hole. Now that I've looked for it at the Morehouse Merino site, I see that there is an errata sheet for the Gator Mitts. I'm a little disappointed that the errata wasn't included with the pattern, but at least this confirms that the problem is their math, not mine.

I might get a mitt finished today. I could get another one finished by Tuesday. Definitely going to be short at least one scarf and one hat this year. Niece will have her mitts and scarf. Nephew will have mitts and a hat. The rest will get shipped later.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Think I'm Giving Up

I knit half of a child's mitten cuff last night. I didn't even pick up the needles tonight. I just don't have the energy. Today I realized I am definitely coming down with a cold. I was in denial about it last night, but it's unavoidable today. Between my newfound cold, stress from work and a general lack of exercise, I don't have much energy at the end of the day. I really needed to get the mittens finished by this evening so I could get two hats finished this weekend and a scarf done next week. I don't know when I might have the brain and energy to knit in the evenings. Right now I'm more interested in poking myself in the eye with a pointy stick and/or sleeping.

Now the question is, if I give up knitting these things to be done by Christmas, do I still try to finish them and send them later (like in early to mid-January)? I suppose I should, since I bought the patterns and the yarn.

On that note, I'm taking my mug of hot tea and going to bed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

8 Days Left

And I've only got a pair of mittens, one scarf, two hats and a Boy Sock to knit. I'm even behinder than the Harlot!! My goal is to finish the 2nd Puppy Paw this evening. I'll cast on the Gator Mitts as soon as the Paw is finished.

Fortunately, Boy understands that his socks will be late. I saw Boy this past weekend, but didn't have a chance to get his toe re-done for him to try on. I debated sending the first sock when it's done but that would be silly if it fit, so I'll wait and send them both together. I suspect these socks will be my airplane knitting when I go on my trip in January.

My spinning wheel is not tempting me nearly as much as it tempted me last week. This is good. I'd never finish my holiday knitting otherwise.

And now back to watching Shadow of a Doubt. Joseph Cotton is one of my favorite actors.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

No, Really. Must Start Soon.

I have 1.3 Puppy Paws finished. I suspect the new, improved Puppy Paws will now be waaaaay too big. I have started to rip out the toe of Boy's Sock. I'll see Boy on Saturday, so it would be nice if I actually got the toe re-knit by then so we can have a fitting. I also need to actually pack and get organized to head out tomorrow.

So, since I'm supposed to be knitting, I've been spinning a little bit each day instead. That makes all kinds of sense, right? This is the sort of logic that works best for me. Avoid what you have to get done and do other stuff with no deadline at all that you've not even been interested in for months. Maybe I just like the whirring of the wheel.

Regarding the spinning, I had intended to spin a 3-ply sock yarn, but I had also toyed with the idea of a 2-ply laceweight. Now I'm leaning more toward the laceweight and considering making a shawl or stole out of it. The downside to this is that the yarn will be variegated with a lot of difference between the colors. I don't like lots of variation in color in shawls. Maybe it will be socks afterall.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Must Get Cracking....

I haven't been knitting very much. Well, I added an inch or so to my new winter scarf, but that was mostly done while resting my eyes/brain on Saturday when I had a headache. I still have Boy Socks to finish (and I see Boy in one week), the Puppy Paws, the Pony Tail Hat, and all the Gator Gear for the niece and nephew. I won't mention Boy's Scarf. Given that I have other things I need to get done this week, I don't think I'll be knitting every night this week. I'll aim for getting the first Boy Sock re-knit so that it fits better and then have the fitting on Saturday when I see Boy. After that, I'll have to really get cracking on the Critters. The Gator Scarf might take me a while, especially if I'm having to adjust the pattern for the gauge I'll get with the yarn I've chosen. Boy will understand if his socks are delayed until late December or early January. The niece and nephew may not.

Cleaning House
I've been making good progress on some long-delayed de-cluttering in my house. I am probably going to weed out my stash as well. Some of it I'll just donate either to a charity that solicits yarn donations or I'll take it to GoodWill. I may try to sell some of the better stuff that I just don't think I'll ever get around to knitting. Having a large stash is great, as long as it doesn't loom over you and make you think you aren't doing enough with it. I have, at least, managed to catalog it in an Access database.

Thursday, December 04, 2008


So, the Caterpillar is finished (except for having its eyes and antennae attached). Everybody who has seen it says it's really cute. As always, I added a few modifications. The pattern, as written, has two sizes for the body segments. I actually stepped down the size on the segments from the middle to the tail. I also had to adjust for having a tighter gauge than the pattern specified.

This is my soon-to-be winter scarf. I'm using the Yarn Harlot's One Row Handspun Scarf and Mountain Colors Mountain Goat yarn in Ruby River. The other two skeins are Juniper and Wild Raspberry. I'll turn them into One Row Scarves too and then give them away. I'm thinking I may turn a lot of my miscellaneous wool yarn stash into these scarves and then donate them. Either that or I'll make them into felted berets or other hats.

Yes, now that we're coming down to the wire for getting holiday knitting done, I'm feeling the urge to do a lot of charity knitting. This happens every year. I blame the cold weather. I love cold weather and snow, but I dislike being cold. I have the luxury of lots of warm clothes and a warm house, but not everybody is that lucky. So when it gets cold, I feel the urge to make lots of warm stuff for people who may not have any warm stuff of their own. It just seems like the thing to do.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Caterpillar Done!

But now the puppy paws need to be ripped out. I'm not sure which size I knit (the book and mittens are at home, but I'm not), but they're too short. I had my niece and nephew try them on over the weekend and they didn't fit either one of them. That's easy enough to fix. I'll undo the seam and rip back just to the thumb area, then add an inch of length. I'll make sure the gator mitts are nearly as long.

Ripping Ripping Ripping....
I discovered last week that I don't actually have a winter scarf any more. I apparently gave away all the fabric ones. I did knit a lace one over a year ago, but didn't like it as much as I'd hoped so I gave it away too. So I got out a ball of Mountain Colors Mountain Goat in the Ruby River colorway and set to work knitting myself the Yarn Harlot's One Row Handspun Scarf. I initially cast on 42 stitches. I knit several inches and then couldn't decide if it was wide enough. Finally I decided to rip it out and cast on 50 stitches. That was definitely wide enough.

You might guess what happened next.

Yep, not long enough. So I ripped a completed, but too short scarf out on Saturday night and started over. With the original 42 stitches.

Fortunately this is luscious yarn and a quick-knitting pattern. I should have myself a yummy warm scarf by the end of the week, which is good.

Because Boy has indicated that he might like to try wearing a winter scarf if I could find some soft, non-scratchy warm yarn. (I have two balls of Takhi Sable, which is 70% merino, 30% angora in jet black.) I really need to get the Boy Socks finished too.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

She's Come Undone!

Last night, I frogged the Caterpillar Scarf back to the first body segment's increases. I decided that four inches was just far too narrow for even a five year old's scarf. I got a text message from my sister today telling me that she thought four inches was too narrow as well. Of course, I had already re-knit the first body segment by that point. I suppose it would be even better if the scarf was six inches wide, but I'm not sure I want to re-knit it again. Maybe I should let it sit for a while and work on one of Nephew's Critters instead, like the Gator Mittens.

Shawl Cravings
The desire to knit shawls is growing in me again. This may well be growing out of the chilliness in my house in the evenings. Snuggling under a shawl while reading or writing or knitting would be just enough extra warmth to keep me from having to bump the thermostat up a few more degrees. I should really finish the Errold's Grove Wedding Shawl before I start a new shawl project. The shawl after that, however, will be a heavier weight one. I could use a bit more warmth than is afforded by a cobweb weight or lace weight creation. I have some cones of heavy fingering weight wool that should work nicely. I'll troll my queue on Ravelry and see what I've already had in mind as a future project or I could just dive right in to MMario's Spanish Armada. I'd jump into the Queen Anne's Lace Shawl, but that's going to be another cobweb weight yarn and I really do want a heavier pattern than that.

Oooooh! I know! I'll finish up my holiday knitting and then start on Spanish Armada as my reward, regardless of the status of Errold's Grove. I'll just have to make darned sure I don't start to collect shawl/stole works in progress that stall out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Working Out vs. Knitting Time

I have recently started setting my alarm clock for 4:30am in hopes of getting out of bed shortly after 5am and leaving for the gym around 5:30. I've only been trying this for two days. So far I've gotten out of bed at 5:15am and left for the gym around 6am. The end result is that I am setting my alarm clock 45 minutes earlier and getting ot the gym only 15 minutes earlier.

What's this got to do with knitting? No, I do not knit while running on the treadmill or lifting weights. But I am now going to bed shortly after 9pm instead of 10pm, which is cutting out an hour of possible knitting time. Dang it!

Caterpillar Progress....
I have finished the 4 large body segments. I am about to start the first of three small body segments. Now I'm worried that the scarf is not wide enough. I am, of course, not quite achieving gauge so my scarf is only 4 1/4 inches wide instead of 5 inches wide. I am now seriously considering ripping the caterpillar back to its head and adding 2-4 stitches to the longest rows and a couple extra rows to allow for the extra increases. I keep trying to tell myself that a 5 year old's neck isn't as tall as a grown-up's neck but the voice in the back of my head says it's too narrow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Caterpillar is Inching Along....

Well, it was. I started it with an orange head and a pink body. Now I think it needs a pink head and tail and an orange body. I had only knit one body section and the head, so I won't be ripping out very much. It will be good knitting while I watch Blade Runner and Paths of Glory tonight. I had a thought the other night that it would be really funny/cute to add legs to each body segment and turn this into a centipede or millipede.

I think I'll finish all of Niece's critters before I start on Nephew's critters. These are really fun to knit and very fast to knit as well. The patterns are clearly written and well photographed. I really like that the whole set was put in a binder too.

Missing Mitt
Some time ago, I knit a fingerless mitt for my right hand. When I'm on the computer for an extended period of time, my mousing hand gets cold. My hypothesis is that the position of my hand on the mouse compresses the blood vessels so my right hand doesn't get as much warm blood as my left hand. The result is icy, numb fingers. The mitt really helped keep my hand warmer longer, along with regular re-positioning and flexing my hand. I had intended to knit a second mitt for my left hand, but never quite got that done.

I came across the remaining yarn recently. I think it is Paton's Classic Wool, but I'm not positive about that. I did, however, have the sense to leave one DPN stuck in the yarn ball so I know what size needle I used. Perhaps I'll get the second mitt knit after the holiday knitting is completed.

Too Cute!
I may have to learn how to crochet SOON. I was sent a link to this Snowman Coffee Cozy earlier this week. Isn't it just adorable? I can think of a couple of coffee junkies that could use these.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Two Paws Down....

Now I just need to figure out which of the critters I'll go for next.  Part of me wants to do the Gator Mittens because they'll be fast too, but then part of me says I ought to get one of the bigger projects (like a scarf) done instead and save the quick mittens for last.  Maybe I'll cast on the Caterpillar Scarf while I watch the shuttle Endeavor launch tonight.

An Almost Oopsie
One of the first pair of socks I ever knit was a pair of Lealt Socks from the first Vogue Knitting Socks book.  I knit them in a yummy orange yarn made by Stahl called Sunshine.  I don't wear these socks very often because they are very warm and a bit too thick to wear with most of my shoes.  I did end up wearing them a week or two ago and washed them this past weekend.  For some reason I had it in my head that this yarn was superwash so I didn't pay any attention when I put them in the washer and dryer.  I am almost positive that I have washed these socks in the washer before.  Apparently I was mistaken.  

The foot portion of these socks is now awfully short looking though it does stretch out enough that I can wear them.  They fit more snugly than they used to, but that's ok.  They were a bit too loose.  When I knit these socks in the early 1990s, I didn't really understand the concept of gauge.

Needless to say, I will definitely remember that these socks are NOT to be washed in the machine or dried in the dryer.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One Puppy Paw Down....Five and a Half Critters to Go!

I whipped through an entire puppy paw mitten last night in just a few hours. It was much faster than I expected. I should get the second one finished this afternoon or evening.

In the interest of time, I elected to go with acrylic yarn. The Niece had requested orange and fuschia for her Critters (Pony Tail Hat, Puppy Paws and Caterpillar Scarf). The Nephew will get a dark green Dinosaur Scarf, Gator Mittens and Dinosaur Hat. I still need to get felt or fleece for the pads on the puppy paws, the eyes on the scarves and the spines on the Dino hat. I think I have some black polarfleece somewhere in my fabric stash.

Surprisingly, I wasn't able to find a nice bright pink yarn locally. I found a light pink and a rose color, but nothing that approaches Barbie Pink. I settled for the light pink and then found two skeins of a bright pink at home that I had purchased for Niece when I intended to knit sweaters for Christmas. Fortunately it's a "no dyelot" yarn so I can get another skein of the hot pink when I do get to the sweaters and not have to worry about the new skein not matching the old one.

While out yarn shopping, I debated purchasing two skeins of the new (to me) Patons Stretch yarn. It's a cotton blend and I found two skeins in a nice green/khaki color. I picked a skein up twice to fondle it, but ended up deciding against purchasing it. Now, of course, I'm having some non-buyer's remorse. I may go back and buy it today. I wanted to double check to make sure I hadn't overlooked the bright pink yarn at this big box store anyway. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Update: Yep, I overlooked the pink yarn. I found it when I went back today. It was hiding behind a stack of hanging freebie patterns. I now have an additional skein of the pink yarn, just for the Critters. And I succumbed to the Patons Stretch yarn. It was a treat for me just because.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Fuschia Socks!

I have finally finished the Fuschia Socks. I cannot remember what yarn this is. I'm nearly positive it is not Mountain Colors. I'm pretty sure it's also not Lorna's Laces, but beyond that I don't know. It is wool and a light worsted weight. Anyway, my feet are quite toasty at the moment, which is quite nice.

I wove in the ends on the Fawkes Socks while I was at it and I might just weave in the ends on the one Slippin' Stripin' Sock I finished from Sock Madness 2. I've got a pair of socks I need to mend as well. I managed to rip a hole in the bottom of one foot. Part of me says to just let it go since the socks are at least 5 years old, but the other part of me says the tops have plenty of wear left in them and it's just a little hole right now. No doubt the mending part of me will win.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Voting Knitting

Well, I actually took knitting to my local polling place, but the wait to get my name checked was just a few minutes and the wait for a voting booth was about the same. The whole experience from parking the car to unparking the car was about ten minutes. I suppose that if I had not been prepared with knitting that I would have stood in line for ages.

Now I'm spending the evening watching Waterloo Bridge, starring Vivien Leigh, on Turner Classic Movies and knitting my fuschia sock. I can't think of a much nicer end to a day than that. Ok, a winning lottery ticket, perhaps, but a nice cup of tea is nearly as good.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The November Calendar

So, in mid-September, I figured out that I might put my projects on my handy dandy wall calendar to keep myself focused and set some tentative goals. How did I do? I did finish the Candy Corn bags on time. I also finished the first Queen of Cups sock, which didn't actually appear on the October calendar. I did not, however, finish the Errold's Grove shawl. Heck, I'm not sure I've even worked on it in October. I haven't worked on it since the unfortunate vacuum incident.

As of yesterday, the only thing on the calendar for November was to finish spinning up my sock yarn. That is now going to change. I'm going to finish the fuschia sock (2nd of the pair in a plain 2x2 rib) that I picked up after finishing the first Queen of Cups. After that, I'll haul out the Boy Socks and get them finished. I still haven't re-worked the toe area of sock #1. It would be good if I got these done before Christmas. So, my only completion goals for November are to finish the fushia and Boy socks.

Now, when I'm supposed to start and finish the critters for the Niece and Nephew, I have no idea. I don't even have the yarn picked out yet. *sigh*

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Name Change

Some of you know that Morenna is the name of my primary online gaming character. Much as I would like to claim it as my own invention, I cannot. I actually saw it at a fiber festival many years ago and borrowed it to name my game char. It has since become something of an online alter-ego for me. Over time, I came to the conclusion that it's a bit unfair to Robin Edmundson for me to continue to use the name she came up with for her company, regardless of how beautiful that name is. (By the way, Robin dyes gorgeous rovings and yarns. You really should go check it out. I'm particularly fond of the Hummingbird colorway.) So, you'll notice in the next few days that the name on my blogs will be changing. Yes, it's confusing and I'm sure it'll aggravate some of you, but it's the right thing to do, so I'm doing it. My apologies to Robin.

So, the new name will be Ruby Louise. In real life, I am named after my grandmothers--the first name of one and the middle name of the other. Ruby Louise is the reverse combination. Ruby Louise will also be the name by which I will sell the knitting patterns I'm developing. I find this particularly appropriate since both of my grandmothers knit, crocheted, and/or quilted. I actually have my paternal grandmother's knitting and crochet tools, including one sweater in progress.

Anyway, I wanted to let you know in case you were confused by seeing Ruby Louise instead of Morenna.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Infamous Bag Hat Photo

Here's a photo of my niece wearing her bag/hat. (My apologies for the poor quality--it's a camera phone pic.)
It seems the confusion as to whether it was a bag or a hat was started by her dad who thought the bags were hats. My sister, of course, knew they were bags but wasn't home when the box was opened.

Last night, my nephew used BOTH bags to Trick or Treat and managed to fill them both. My niece decided to use a punkin treat bag instead, which is fine. Whatever carries the most candy and works best for you.

Still no photo of my sister wearing a bag hat, though she did tell me it was really really warm when she wore it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Single Skeins of Mountain Goat

Shortly before I moved two years ago, I went on a shopping spree at my former LYS and picked up a supply of Mountain Colors yarns--three skeins Mountain Goat and two skeins each of Weaver's Wool Quarters and Bearfoot. I failed to notice at the time that Mountain Goat has a much shorter yardage than the other two yarns. I had intended to make myself some socks from it, but I'm pretty sure that 230 yards is not nearly enough to do that, even for worsted weight. So I've been holding onto this yarn trying to figure out what to do with it. I'm pondering whether to make hats and/or scarves with it. The skein of Ruby River will probably be turned into a Liesl scarf for me. I don't know yet what I'll decide about the Juniper and the Wild Raspberry. I may knit them into scarves as well and simply have faith that someone who needs/deserves a handknit scarf will present themselves around the time the scarf is finished.

Critters Have Arrived!
The Critter Knits book was on my doorstep when I got home from work today. All the patterns are exceedingly cute. As an added bonus, the book was completely and carefully encased in two big sheets of bubble wrap. I allowed myself fifteen minutes of anti-stress popping, which was just what I needed after a long week at work. Tomorrow I will have to start the yarn quest for the Niece and Nephews hats, scarves and mittens. I'm almost positive that the stash won't have what I need in it. I'd like to use superwash wool for these things so they're really warm, rather than acrylic.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's a Bag! It's a Hat!

I don't yet have pictures, but I have been advised that the Candy Corn Bags are *very* popular as hats. Not only has Niece worn a bag on her head, so has my sister. Sis claims to have worn it as a thinking cap while studying for a nursing school clinical exam this morning. I say it didn't happen unless there are pictures.

Queen of Cups #1 Finished!
I'd prefer the leg to be a bit longer, but the pattern called for just two repeats and, now that I've finished it, there wouldn't have been enough yarn to do three repeats. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Now I need to figure out if I want to cast on the second one or work on something else for a little while. Like the Boy Sock.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Doldrums Over!

I picked up Queen of Cups last night for a bit o' DVD knitting. That went quite well and got me a bit more energized about knitting. Then today I came across the Nottingham Hat. I think this will become my 2008 charity knitting project. I've got a couple odd skeins of worsted weight wool that are just screaming to be made into something useful and warm, like a hat. w00t!

The one thing I haven't done and really shouldn't have put off this long is to order the Morehouse Merino Critter Patterns. I am supposed to be knitting a hat, scarf and pair of mittens for the Niece and Nephew. Niece would like a Caterpillar Scarf, Puppy Mittens and a Pony Tail hat. Nephew would like a complete set of alligator gear. As you might expect, it's a wee bit difficult to get started on this project if I don't have the patterns. I had intended to buy the individual patterns, but figured I was up to $25 for those six, I might as well spend $50 and get all the critters. Just in case there's a different critter they want later. Besides, these would also be really cute things to knit and give away for charity.

And now I'm going to watch the end of a Thin Man movie and all of Iron Man while I knit some more on my Queen of Cups.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall Spinning

By popular request, the SpinList has spawned an online spinning guild Yahoo Group called SpinGuild. The first project was recently announced:
I have some lovely Romney/Border Leicester roving I picked up several years ago at the Fleece Festival in Greencastle, IN. It's an orangey-red and old gold color called Autumn Leaves. I have 8 ounces of it left to spin. I have previously spun some of the same colorway in a Romney/Border Leicester/Mohair blend. That batch was made into a 3-ply worsted weight yarn. I think I'll spin the new batch to match the existing yarn. I don't know what I'll do with it. I had initially intended to make myself a sweater, but I doubt I'll end up with enough yarn to do that. Anyway, it's a beautiful color and it really does make me think of Autumn. It's not a terribly creative interpretation of the project goal, but it's what I'm choosing anyway. I'll start the spinning as soon as I get through with the merino/tencel sock yarn already on the wheel.

Next Project Doldrums
Now that I've finished the Candy Corn Bags, I need to figure out what to knit next. Obviously Boy would like me to finish his Boy Socks (and I really should do that). I'm almost halfway down the foot of the first Queen of Cups sock. Errold has been languishing on the coffee table ever since the vacuum cleaner incident. I rather feel like starting something new, but nothing really appeals at the moment. Perhaps I'll just work on the spinning for a while and see what pops into my head.

I have begun to wonder if the end of project doldrums is why I have a bit of an aversion to actually finishing a project. Hmmm......

Friday, October 24, 2008

Candy Corn Bags Done!

And just in time as I really need to mail them tomorrow if they're going to get to my niece and nephew before Halloween. Update: They went in the mail this morning, along with a box of almond hot chocolate mix for my sister. Mommy needs a treat too!

To recap, I used the Candy Corn Bag pattern by Isela Phelps, with some modifications. First, I used acrylic yarn and did not felt the bags. Rather than using bulky weight yarn, I doubled some worsted weight. Next, I changed the width of the three stripes to more closely reflect the pattern of stripes in actual candy corn. Finally, I failed to read the directions for the handles. Technically there are supposed to be two handles per bag, sewn to the sides like on a standard tote bag. I failed to read the handle directions and made one handle per bag, attached at the ends like a messenger bag. Either way I think it'll tote a goodly amount of candy.

As far as yarn use goes, I'd estimate 300 yards of doubled yarn per bag or 600 yards total for both bags. It was a pretty quick knit. The most tedious part was the last 3 inches of the I-cord on the second bag.

Monday, October 20, 2008

More Candy Corn Modifications

I've already told you that I changed the width of the various stripes to make the bags look more like actual candy corn. I also mentioned that I didn't think I'd have enough of the yellow yarn to make the handles. I was right. I also didn't have enough orange yarn to make handles. Rather than using white yarn for handles, I decided to use brown yarn. I did not, however, bother to read the handle directions before starting to knit the I-cord handle. Had I actually read the directions, I would have noticed that there are TWO handles per bag, not one. And the handles attach on the flat sides of the bag, like a regular tote bag, not at the ends like in a messenger bag. Oopsies.

It's now a single strap tote bag shaped like candy corn. I'm calling it a "pattern modification". I am not going to unknit 14 inches of 4-stitch I-cord and then re-knit twice as much I-cord to fix it. I did at least decide to make it a 4-stitch I-cord which is what the pattern calls for and I did pick up the stitches on the body of the bag to anchor the cord to the bag, rather than knitting it separately and sewing it on later.

It is incredibly cute though. Now I just need sufficient light to take a picture with my camera phone and to remember to take said picture when sufficient light exists, rather than remembering after dark. *sigh*

February Lady Sweater
I think I have resisted the February Lady Sweater. The overwhelming urge to start that project over the weekend has abated. This is good. I don't think much of spending LOOOOOOTS of time knitting a sweater I won't ever wear and I'm not quite altruistic enough yet to knit an adult sweater and then donate it to charity or the Good-Will store. I do like that idea though. Perhaps after I get a couple of my own sweaters-in-progress knocked out, I'll do one for charity.

No Sheep For You!
I think I'll have to buy this book. I like to knit with wool, but I really like a bunch of the patterns in this book. I am particularly enamored of Morrigan, Intoxicating, Bespoke and Cables & Os. Morrigan is a highly detailed aran pullover. Intoxicating is a pullover with a mosaic knit body and lace sleeves. Bespoke is a long, seed stitch jacket. Cables and Os is a cabled cardigan. I would love to wear any of these. There are another three or four patterns that I like a lot too. It is unusual for me to find this many patterns in a single book that I would like to knit and wear. I also like the general fiber information at the front of the book and mixed in with the patterns. This is much more than a simple pattern book catering to non-wool yarns. It's a great resource for anyone who knits with non-wool yarns and wants to learn how to make yarn/knitting decisions to help ensure a good outcome.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bag Number Two In Progress

I have finally started Candy Corn Bag #2.  I am nearly through the yellow section.  It seems like this one is going faster than the first one, but that doesn't seem quite right.  The second bag needs to be finished this weekend and the I-cord handles done by Monday or Tuesday so I can get the bags sent off to the Niece and Nephew in time for Halloween.

Travel Knitting Decision
The travel knitting I took with me last week was not the Boy Sock after all.  I ended up taking Queen of Cups.  I did finish the gusset decreases and the first repeat down the foot one evening, so that was quite productive.  The second evening, I was too distracted by my thoughts, the phone and the television to work on it.  I think it'll be around 1 1/2 more pattern repeats to finish the foot.  Although this is a patterned sock, rather than a plain ribbed sock, it does seem to go much faster.  I am increasingly convinced that this is a function of having pattern rows to check off.  I don't think there is actually a true time advantage, just a better documentation of progress so it seems faster. I like this apparent time advantage. It does wonders for my motivation and excitement to finish a project.

Pattern Ideas
The pattern ideas continue to spawn in my brain.  I now have several sock, shawl/stole and sweater ideas written down in various degrees of vagueness.  The formal writing up of said pattern ideas is progressing much more slowly.  I have actually only started to write up one pattern, but I also started to test knit it.  Well, I've done the ribbing for a sock pattern.  I stopped when I got to the pattern part.  Just as soon as the Candy Corn Bags are out of the house, I'll get back to it.  With the sock patterns, it seems reasonable to write and test knit one sock a month. The trick will be figuring out where that fits in among all the other things I need to get done.

Next I'll need to figure out if I want to sell the patterns, give some or all of them away for free or just keep them for myself.   At the moment I'm leaning toward offering a couple of patterns for free and selling the rest.  There is already an Etsy shop called Three Fates Fiber, so I'd need to come up with a different shop name, if I wanted to sell there.  I do own the domain, so setting up a shop there is an option, but I like that Etsy already handles the shopping cart and payment stuff.  I guess that will be my thing to think about when I'm knitting this week.

February Lady Sweater
Why is it that I feel compelled to knit this sweater?  I don't think it is particularly attractive.  I don't think I would ever wear it.  I reminds me of something leftover from a rather unfashionable woman's closet from the 1940s/1950s.  Yet I keep asking myself if I have any yarn in my stash which could be turned into one of these things. WHY!?!?!?

Friday, October 10, 2008

One Down, One to Go (now with photo!)

I have finished the first Candy Corn bag, sans I-cord strap. I changed the proportions of the three colors a bit from the pattern. Rather than three equal-width bands of color, I made the middle orange section the broadest, followed by the top yellow section and a smaller white tip. I felt this more accurately reflected the coloration of the candies. (Which reminds me, I need to buy some candy corn. 'Tis the season and all that.)

I'll cast on the second bag soon. I'll save knitting the I-cord for the end of the project so I don't risk running out of yellow yarn on the bag. I can always make the handles a different color if necessary, but an oddly colored candy corn is just right out.

Travel Knitting
I'll be in a hotel two nights next week as a result of some out of town meetings. I will have to decide upon my travel knitting this weekend since we're leaving Monday afternoon. At the moment, I'm leaning toward taking Errold's Grove (once I spit splice the vacuumed yarn). On the other hand, a sock would be simpler to manage and less fragile. I have my choice of Queen of Cups, a half-knit second fuschia sock from a year ago, the second Boy Sock and the new sock design I dreamed up a couple of weeks ago. We'll see what the old brain says on Sunday night when I'm packing. (Boy has already voted for Boy Sock and he asked very nicely, so I may just have to oblige him.)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Progress Pics

The first Candy Corn Bag is now maybe 1/3 done. It's actually going pretty quickly when I sit down and work on it. (I've been easily distracted.) I should have plenty of yarn left for the second bag. This is generic acrylic yarn from an afghan kit someone gave me a while ago. The afghan was one of those 70s era things with butterflies on it. I think it may have actually been a crocheted afghan kit. In any event, it wasn't anything I was going to actually make, but the yarn is certainly usable. Most of it is an off-white color, but there was also orange, yellow and brown.

Here's where I left the Queen of Cups sock.... I'm ready to knit the foot. I just have to sit down and figure out the instep pattern chart. It's not going to be particularly difficult. I just have to do it. I'll coordinate the decreases with the pattern rows so it takes fewer brain cells to remember what I'm doing.

Errold's Grove is still sitting forlornly on the coffee table, ever since I vacuumed up its yarn. I have attached the vacuum yarn to the ball, but have not yet attached the yarn back to the shawl. I really should work on that.

Here's an up close pic of the vacuum-yarn incident. Surprisingly, the yarn wrapped quite neatly around the beater bar and didn't tangle at all. I don't know that I'd use the vacuum to wind balls of yarn, but it didn't do a half bad job.

Unearthing WIPs...
I rediscovered this green polo sweater over the weekend. I knit it years and years ago and even seamed up one sleeve (badly). The rest of it has languished in pieces ever since. I'm seriously considering figuring out how to neatly sew up the rest of it. The pattern is from a 1990s-era Vogue Knitting and calls for a zipper to be installed. I think I may skip that part and just wear it over a tank top or figure out a button closure. I don't think my sweater sewing skills are quite up to managing a zipper just yet. I'm still trying to figure out mattress stitch.

So my reward for finishing the first Candy Corn Bag is to sew up the green polo.

Next I'll have to figure out what to do with the purple grapes vest I thought would look good about ten years ago. I'm not sure it would have looked good ten years ago either, actually. Maybe in the 80s with a poofy blouse (and shoulder pads) and a silk scarf/tie. On the other hand, the yarn is beautiful. It just won't end up being exactly the same vest that the pattern intended.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Candy Corn! Candy Corn!

Ok, so that doesn't sound quite as good in a song as "Lollipop! Lollipop!", but it's close....

I have started Candy Corn Bag #1. It's about 2 inches tall at the moment. The bag is knit from the top down, so it'll actually go faster the further along I'll get. I really like projects whose rate of completion has a positive acceleration. In another 28 or so rows, I'll change colors to orange. I'm not looking forward to the I-cord handles, but I haven't yet tried to come up with an alternative. Perhaps I'll just make a braided or twisted cord instead.

Sock Pattern Developing
While at lunch on Tuesday, I wrote a sock pattern. I just started to test knit it today. I was too braindead to manage Queen of Cups this evening, but could manage to do some K1, P1 ribbing, so I did. There are several more patterns rattling around in my brain for socks and even for sweaters, plus my little red notebook of ideas from the past ten years. I'm trying to decide if I want to sell patterns or submit them for publication or both. If I decide to sell them, do I want to do that off my own website or from Etsy? If I start doing sales, at what point do I need to deal with sales and income taxes? (I'm going to guess that it's as soon as I start taking money.) Questions, questions. Details, details. In the absence of any answers at the moment, I'm going to just design away (and testknit away), then make some decisions once I have at least three or four patterns to mess with. Conservatively, I think I can produce one sock pattern a month (written and test knit). Now I just need to figure out how to get all the other knitting/spinning done at the same time.

If only I could fold time and space like they did in Dune....

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Vacuums are EVIL!

Note to knitters everywhere: when vacuuming near your knitting project, particularly when the laceweight yarn blends in with the carpeting, use extra care that you DO NOT accidentally vacuum up the yarn and suck several dozen yards of lace weight merino into the vacuum, wrapping it around the beater bar. Fortunately end of the yarn attached to the project snapped so I didn't suck the project into the vacuum or unravel any part of my Errold's Grove shawl. I did, however, manage to suck a sizeable chunk of lace weight yarn into the vacuum. This necessitated taking the vacuum apart and removing the beater bar so I could unwind the yarn. While I was at it, I also cleaned all the mutant dust monsters out of the vacuum (and even vacuumed the vacuum!), so that was good. I have now re-wound the yarn back onto the ball, but have not yet spit-spliced the ball end to the project end. There are a few frayed areas in the re-wound yarn that I may decide to cut and splice, but I didn't really want to mess with it at the time.

This experience may explain the general aversion to housekeeping exhibited by many knitters.

Halloween Knitting
I suddenly had a craving for candy corn today. It's the quintessential Halloween candy to me, being just the right color and not chocolate. Then I managed to find the pattern for Isela Phelps' Candy Corn Bag. Her pattern is for a knitted and felted bag, but I will make mine unfelted, using doubled worsted weight yarn, rather than the Lamb's Pride Bulky the pattern indicates. If I start tomorrow, I ought to be able to make two of these bags--one for my niece and one for my nephew. I haven't decided how big to make them. They could just be cute bags or they could be used for collecting candy when they Trick or Treat. I could just fill them with goodies before I mail them, I suppose.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oddly Enough....

when I am mentally tired lately, I make fewer mistakes while knitting Errold's Grove than when knitting my Queen of Cups socks. It seems like the more complex stitch pattern ought to cause me more trouble, but apparently not.

What's that you say? Queen of Cups? Yes, I have decided to skip the blue Lorna's Laces yarn that used to be in progress to be Bellatrix. I am instead working on Queen of Cups, using some lovely Shibui Sock in the colorway Jewels. The pattern probably won't show up as well as it could, due to the variegation, but the yarn is royal purple, so Queen of Cups seemed to fit. I'm already through the first of two pattern repeats for the leg.

Halloween Knitting?
I found this pattern today. I have a nice cone of Harrisville Designs fingering weight wool in black that would be perfect for this. I'm trying to resist until I finish Queen of Cups, if not Errold. I don't really need a Bat Shawl. I really need to start knitting the niece and nephew sweaters for Christmas (and to order the Morehouse Merino critter patterns so I can start that knitting too).


Yes, my e-mail account was spoofed. It also appears that my "frequent contacts" list from gmail was used to send spam advertising electronics equipment. I have changed my account password as a matter of course, just in case the account was compromised. My apologies. If it's any consolation, I even spammed myself. Twice.

Burst of Creativity

For some unknown reason, I've been spewing out all sorts of creative thoughts in the past few days. I've had half a dozen ideas for knitting patterns (plans for swatching and writing are already begun), plus a couple of ideas for books/essays and other projects. I don't know what has brought this on, but I'm not complaining. It seems as though just about every time I get my brain quiet and floating in a sea of nothingness, some big idea pops into it. Whatever its origin, I'm going to foster this idea popping trend as much as I can.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Relaxation or Revitalization?

Today I was listened to a few past episodes of the Sticks and String podcast by David Reidy. In Show 64, he interviews designer Ann Feitelson. They discuss her extraordinary Fair Isle work and she mentioned that knitting revitalizes and rejuvenates her, rather than relaxing her. She simply doesn't knit to zone out or wind down and this is why she thinks Fair Isle knitting appeals so much to her--the challenge gets her fired up. That got me to thinking about what I want to get out of my knitting.

The answer for me is that it depends. Sometimes I want my knitting to recharge me. Other times I want to just zone out and relax. I suppose this is why I have multiple projects at any given time. Usually one is challenging or otherwise exciting and the other one is simpler or requires less mental energy. Oddly enough, the rejuvenation aspect can happen regardless of which project I work upon. There is something about knitting (or spinning) that can recharge my internal wellspring. Sometimes that is relaxing and sometimes that is invigorating.

I knit to have something concrete to show for my time and efforts. I knit to connect with my (deceased) paternal grandmother (I have all her knitting things, including a sweater in progress.) I knit for a sense of accomplishment. I knit because I have come to appreciate hand knit socks. I knit because my handknit garments fit better than store bought knitted things and are of higher quality than what I can afford to buy ready-made. I knit because I can give my knitted stuff to other people (even complete strangers) and they get to feel hugged by it. I spin because I love the look and feel of beautiful fiber. I spin because the rhythm of the spinning is soothing. Knitting and spinning can be meditative. I knit or spin to keep my hands busy while my mind wanders (or focuses) elsewhere. Knitting and spinning can be calming as I have to focus on what I'm doing and let the stresses of the day diffuse away. They can also be energizing as I watch the knitted (or spun) product grow and develop. There's just something exciting about watching yarn or fiber slowly reveal its end state.

Why do you knit (or spin or quilt or do whatever fiber thing you do)?

The Former Bellatrix Socks
Have decided that they really do want to be Pomatomus. Yesterday I thought they might have wanted to be Firenze Socks or Zombie Socks, but today Pomatomus is winning the "argument". I'm not sure the color is exactly what Firenze Socks should be, though the color yarn I have is almost exactly the same as what the designer used in her original socks. Watery blues are just not what I picture when I imagine the centaur Firenze. Something green/brown or yellow/gold/brown, but not this particular blue colorway.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Uninspired by Socks

I am, for some odd reason, completely uninspired by the prospect of starting a pair of socks. I have frogged the Bellatrix socks. I think they'll probably become Pomatomus socks eventually, but at the moment, I just cannot bear the thought of starting a pair of socks. I'm not even interested in finally casting on SOTS-3. I'm actually not all that thrilled about starting any project at the moment. I don't know where all that excitement and startitis from this weekend went, but it's certainly not here at the moment. I seriously hope that it has merely gone out for a bite to eat and will return shortly.

Perhaps if I go poke through my stash of yarn and patterns this weekend, I can coax the knitting fever back into existence....

In the meantime, I'll have a crack at chart 2 of Errold's Grove and see how that goes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Have Resisted!

It was a close call. I actually got out my favorite drop spindle and a bin full of prepared fiber, but I put it away later that same evening without opening it.

Since I was able to resist spinning, I did get quite a bit of knitting done. I am now up to the toe shaping on the first Bellatrix sock. And I have decided that it's too big in circumference in the leg/ankle area. It's going to end up all slouchy and droopy. I don't like slouchy, droopy socks. I like socks that are rather more snug than these. So I'm frogging them. The yarn will become Pomatomous socks instead.


Murphy's Law of Knitting
Now that my sock knitting project is waiting to be filled, I really don't feel like knitting socks at all. That's not exactly true. I want to knit lots of socks. I just don't want to knit any of hte patterns I have with any of the yarn I have at the moment. I really want a pair of Monkey Socks and a pair of Pomatomous, for example. I just don't want to work on them with any of hte yarns I currently have. Then, I really want to knit with my Unique Sheep Verve, but not any pattern that I have. *sigh*

Time to leave it alone for a few days. I'm clearly being far too fussy right now to pick something out.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Now the Bargaining Begins

So, yesterday I decided that I'd keep myself limited to 2-3 knitting projects at a time: one sock project, one larger (probably sweater) project and one "bonus" project to enable me to participate in KALs, etc. Now I'm negotiating with myself to increase that to 3-4 projects so I can have a consistent shawl/stole/lace project. And then there are the two sweaters I intend to knit for my niece and nephew for Christmas. Plus the Morehouse Merino critter hats, scarves and mittens. Maybe Holiday knitting needs to not fit into that 2-3 or 3-4 project plan.


Time to go knit. Maybe this will all sort itself out while I'm gone. I need to make progress getting projects finished and yarn used up. There's waaaaaay too much stuff in my house, including fiber. Maybe I'll give it until the end of the year and see how much progress I make, then decide in early 2009 if I need to just do some de-stashing.

I always thought I was the only person who knitted scarves but never really expected or intended to use them. Apparently, I am not alone. Oftroy at Golden Apples also questions her sanity when she knits scarves, but still continues to succumb to them. (They *are* a good project to use up odd skeins of yarn and to try out new stitch patterns...)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I Have Discovered Calendars!

Well, it's not that I didn't know what a calendar was. I have one on my Treo SmartPhone to keep me organized and going where I'm supposed to go every day. I have a paper monthly calendar hanging on the wall of my home office. I even use it to plan out gardening and yardwork activities a year at a time so I don't have to remember when I last fertilized the lawn, when I need to fertilize it next or when various plants should be divided and/or transplanted. I can remember routine daily or weekly activities (weeding, watering, harvesting), but I am not as good at remembering the intricacies of planting schedules or when I last did some periodic activity, like fertilizing. I just don't often use the wall calendar for planning.

I had a flash of insight this morning with my coffee. I could put knitting and spinning goals or plans on the calendar too. I have been excavating my stash and UFOs (UnFinished Objects) this week. I've talked about using a calendar-based approach toward finishing objects by assigning each work in progress (WIP) a day of the week and only working on it on that day or otherwise setting up a project rotation since I usually have fewer than seven projects (and also rarely get to knit each day of the week). That plan did work for about the first week, before I realized a fundamental problem with it. Well, the problem isn't so much the system as it is a personality trait conflict between me and the system.

You see, I'm a binge/immersion sort of person.

Once I get started on something, I tend to get very focused and don't want to do anything else but that one thing until either it's done or my attention wanes (for various reasons). Obviously my UFO stockpile indicates that I usually have an attention deficit issue before the project finishes, but if I achieve a critical mass of excitement and progress, I can actually get projects done. It's just a matter of making measurable progress over time. With more knitting time now, I am more likely to make measurable progress, even on larger projects.

So I'm proposing setting some time-based goals. Like finishing Errold's Grove by the 15th of October. Like finishing Bellatrix by the end of October. Like finishing my current spinning project (sock yarn from some vintage Blue Moon Fiber Arts roving) by the end of November and perhaps finishing the socks by the end of December. At the moment that is all that I've pencilled onto my wall calendar. This system may require some tweaking, like using intermediate sub-goals, but I will give it a go for the rest of the year.

I'm going to limit my active projects to two or three knitting projects and one spinning project. Any more than that and I tend to make little progress on anything, leading to abandoned or unfinished projects. With my recent desire to clear out the stash and the UFOs, I'm going to focus on having one sock project (can't put them down) and one "other" project from either stash yarn or finishing a UFO. That leaves one "bonus" project for those crazy knit alongs or other really cool projects that I just cannot wait to start. Where possible, the "bonus" project will also use stash yarn. I'm really in no danger of running out of yarn, even if I could knit all day, every day.

The Fall 2008 Knitty is up. I'm very enamored of Kinetic. It's meant to be a wrap. However, I have in my stash a cone of heavy aran to bulky weight yarn that would be marvelous in this as a throw/lap blanket. I'll probably double the width of the project as written, aiming for 36 inches wide and knit until "long enough" or I run out of yarn, whichever comes first. The yarn is something I bought on eBay years ago and is comprised of a strand of beige wool/cotton yarn plied with a rainbow variegated chenille. I have no idea how much of it is on the cone and I don't know that I really care. I had initially thought of knitting myself a vest from it, but I really don't think I'd wear it if I did. It would be comfy and pretty as a throw, however. Perhaps in early 2009 I might start that....

The Interlocking Leaves and Baroque socks have already been added to my To Do list for sock knitting. No decision yet on what yarn to use. I'll wait until I get closer to finishing Bellatrix to figure out the next sock project.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Errold Update and Knitting Blues

First, this is how far I've gotten on Errold's Grove.

I'm done with Chart A, except for the part where I can repeat the last motif several times. I thought I had repeated it the extra three times, but apparently either MMario's math is incorrect or I cannot count repeats. I have approximately two more motif repeats (eight rows) and some fudging to do before I will have 78 stitches per side (plus the corners).

Update: Morenna Math strikes again....if you add two stitches per round, it takes FOUR rounds/rows to add eight stitches, not eight rounds/rows. DOH! Yes, it's true, I can do differential calculus and like it. I cannot, however, do simple 4 function math terribly easily.

My "Blue Period"
Between five and ten years ago, my favorite yarn to buy was something blue. (More recently it's been red or purple, but I digress...) I had great intentions about knitting myself some pretty blue sweaters, but I found myself much better at starting projects than finishing them due to attention span issues or skill deficits.

This is the "Blueberry Sweater". The yarn is Cleckheaton Drop Dead Gorgeous. The color is Blueberries, thus the sweater name. What is amusing about this yarn is that I bought it in two separate states, but managed to get the same dye lot. Of course, it's now a discontinued yarn. I started this sweater following the Seed Stitch Pullover pattern from the book Simply Beautiful Sweaters. Of course, I changed the pattern to knit it in the round, but have no idea how to deal with the sleeves, so quit working on it about halfway up a sleeve since I didn't know how big ot make the top of the sleeve or the armscye. Having read EZ's Knitter's Almanac the other night as bedtime reading, I have begun to ponder the idea of frogging this sweater and re-knitting it as the "Last Minute Sweater" from the December chapter in Knitter's Almanac. This yarn will get me about 2.5 stitches to the inch, which matches the pattern gauge. I cannot think of any compelling reason why I couldn't or shouldn't frog a stalled (and unlikely to ever be finished) project in favor of re-knitting it as something I could and would finish. Can you?

This is the other blue pullover I started knitting years ago. I forget the name of the yarn and I am too lazy at the moment to go look at a yarn label, but it's a pretty superwash wool. The pattern is from a Berocco booklet and is now probably available for free on their website. I think I had to adjust the pattern to take into account my desired stitch gauge. I don't remember why I stopped working on this one, but I have the back done. I'm now debating ripping this one out and knitting myself a Fibonnacci Pullover with it. Or finding another pattern in my stash where I won't have to re-write the pattern to fit this yarn. I may just haul out Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns and see what I can find in there.

Next up: the purple Noro yarn that I've never seen anywhere else, but is dying to also become a sweater for me!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Yarn...She is Fickle

So, overnight the Lace-A-Licious decided it wanted to be the Myrtle Leaf Shawl from Victorian Lace Today and not be knitted into SOTS-3. I can live with that, but then I was a bit vexed because I still want to knit SOTS-3 at the moment and SOTS-3 has continued to insist that it be started SOON.

Fortunately, I have a suitable stash of yarn and of sweaters to be recycled. I found a wool sweater in my "recycle" pile that is a pale, heathered green color with some yellow and brown to it. The color reminds me of the green eyes of a cat and should be lovely as SOTS-3, based on what I've seen of the pattern so far. I spent the evening winding one sleeve into a ball and will hopefully cast on tomorrow evening. I'm not bothering to wash the kinks out of the yarn or to swatch. The yarn is fine enough (lace weight) to probably work up well on a size 4 or a size 5 needle. The kinks in the yarn will help me keep a looser gauge.

I'll leave the Myrtle Leaf Shawl for after I finish SOTS-3 and Errold's Grove. Myrtle will be the most complex-appearing lace project that I've yet knit.

The Adult Sweater Coming Soon
Silly me. I made the mistake of reading EZ's The Knitter's Almanac as my bedtime reading last night. Now I'm trying to decide between making the January Aran Sweater or the December Hurry-Up, Last Minute Sweater. I have a sufficient amount of red worsted weight wool from KnitPicks for either. The blue worsted weight will still become the Fibonacci Pullover. Decisions, decisions.....

What better topic to ponder while I knit, but what to knit next! (This, of course, is absolutely *dangerous* when undertaken while knitting at your favorite yarn shop. Fortunately, my favorite yarn shop is 7 hours away!)

I really ought to just finish the Blueberry Pullover I started several years go. I'm not sure how the sleeves will turn out, but I ought to just bite the bullet and go for it. If the sleeves aren't measured right, I can always rip them out and re-do them. This is what I get for modifying a pattern to fit a substituted yarn, while also re-writing the pattern to knit it in the round. Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns ought to help me with the details for sleeve measurements. That's it!! I'll use the Blueberry Sweater as a "reward" for finishing SOTS-3 and the new adult sweater as the reward for finishing the Blueberry!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!! Here's hoping my spinning wheel and drum carder don't start talking!!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Is it a bad thing?

I can't remember if I'm counting the additional repeats of rows 57-60 or the total repeats. I think it's additional. I may have to do the math to figure it out. That could be dangerous. With my math skills, there's a definite chance that the number I calculate will, in fact, be incorrect, which will wreak havoc with the subsequent knitting if I change what I'm doing to match the incorrect figure. I dunno. My brain is tired. I'll try to figure it out tomorrow.

The Shawl/Stole Knit Along Decision
I have decided to hold off on MS4. I'm not up to knitting a beaded stole at the moment and I haven't got a good idea yet for whom I would knit it. It's clear that this is not a project for me to wear/use. On the other hand, I'm definitely going to cast on Secret of the Stole 3 in the next week or two. That puts me about 4 weeks behind everybody else at the moment, but that's ok. I think I'll use a size 5 needle with my J. Knits Lace-a-licious. No, I'm not going to swatch. I'm just going to dive right in. Well, that's what I say right now. We'll see if I keep my nerve!

The Next Project Pondering Continues....
I'm thinking I need to knit a sweater for me this winter. I have the yarn and pattern for at least three different wool sweaters for me (not counting the Samuel Charis kits). Well, I'm short one pattern since I still haven't purchased Zimmerman's The Opinionated Knitter, but I do have the yarn and pattern for Knit Picks' Fibonacci Pullover and for the Paton's Must Have Cardi. Now I just need to decide between a cardi and a pullover. I'll let my subconscious mull that one over for the next few weeks while I finish Errold. (What do you bet my subconscious decides on a completely different project!)

The Returning Project
Sock Boy has informed me that he mailed the first sock back to me today. It ought to arrive by the end of the week. In the next couple of weeks I'll get the toe re-knit and send it back for a second fitting. Hopefully the second time is a charm and I can get a start on the second sock. I will manage to take better notes about the first sock so I can reproduce it reliably. I actually found my knitting notebook a few weeks back. Perhaps I ought to utilize it more often than once or twice every few years.....

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Back on Track Again!

I got the offending error fixed with a minimum of fuss and got knitted back up to row 57 with no trouble at all. I am now repeating rows 57-60 another three times to get me a bit more size with my shawl. Depending upon how big the remaining bits of the pattern are, this may well be a teeny, tiny little shawl. Oops. Once I get to the end of Chart A, I'll put all the stitches on some waste thread and see how large it might block. Since I'm knitting on a circular needle, I haven't really seen it flat yet. Another option to gain some size would be to go up a needle size at the end of Chart A, where the transition might not be as noticeable. And if I'm not happy with the size, I can always add repeats of the later charts, like the Companion's Tracks. It'll all work out somehow, of that I'm absolutely certain.

New Project Ponderings....

I spent part of the weekend working to move the Fiber Arts Bloggers blog ring from RingSurf over to Alt-webring. As a result, I perused several hundred fiber blogs. Wow! Now I'm seriously inspired to try some new things!! I found some patterns I hadn't ever seen before. I saw some absolutely gorgeous mixed-media fiber art and beautiful quilts.

Jennifer at A House on the Hill posted photos of a stunning quilt she designed and made to meet a challenge for her quilting guild's upcoming show. I had never heard of a Burpee challenge. The idea is that you draw a number out of a hat which corresponds to a page in the Burpee seed catalog. You then use something on that page as the basis for an art quilt--using the names, colors, anything from that page. She designed a quilt based upon a flower variety named "Strawberry Fields", which is, of course, brilliant red-pink. My favorite part of the quilt is the feet with the flowery, beaded toenails. It's just so cheery and summery. Now I'm wondering if I could somehow adapt the Burpee Challenge idea to using up my stash. I have plenty of single-skeins or single cones of yarn which could be turned into scarves or shawls/stoles, if only I had a pattern for them. (Yes, I'm still on a kick to use up my stash yarns.)

Despite these ponderings, I'm not feeling the urge to cast on something new. I want to finish Errold and Bellatrix, then move on. However, I may cast on SOTS-3 soon. It's still talking to me.... Mystery Stole 4, however, isn't talking as much at the moment. In looking at photos for Clue #1, it's apparent that the beads really are necessary. (Yes, the designer was right and it wouldn't look right without beads.) Now I'll either have to figure out what yarn and beads to use or decide that a beaded stole really isn't me and drop out. At the moment I'm leaning toward the latter and that's just fine.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Well, *that* didn't go quite as planned....

Surprisingly, I did NOT knit any new mistakes last night. I did, however, find a mistake about 3 rows down right when I started to knit. I ended up not knitting a single stitch. Instead, I spent the evening ripping out a round of knitting and have two more to go, probably. I missed one of the YO's just after the corner stitch. I tried to fix it, but still ended up with a goofy stitch count. The only thing left to do was rip. That's ok. Better to find the error just a row or three later, than an inch or three later. I'll be back on track in no time!

Now I have something of a quandary. The first clue for Mystery Stole 4 came out this morning. Conveniently I am taking this afternoon off, since I've worked straight through the past 13 days, with some very LOOOOONG days to boot. So I could quite easily cast on MS4, except that I have no beads. According to the designer, the beads are integral to the design. That's fine, but I'm not exactly a bead sort of girl. I'm only barely a shawl/stole kind of girl and I'd rather have a plain stole than a beaded one. My smarter neurons tell me to wait and see what other people's Clue #1 looks like with beads before casting on myself. My startitis neurons are telling the smarter ones to sit down and be quiet. And then there are the neurons pointing out that I could just cast on for Secret of the Shawl 3 and leave MS4 for later. *sigh*

I have decided that this afternoon will be devoted to cleaning my house (for the first time in three weeks), until 5pm, which is when I normally get home from work. After that, I'm spending the next two days doing whatever comes to mind that might be fun. Methinks that will be a lot of knitting!!! At the moment, I'm thinking I'll alternate between Bellatrix and Errold's Grove while the two mystery KALs battle it out in my head.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Commence Knitting Now....

The last bus has left the shelter and we have closed our operations center. I am now about to plop myself in my comfy chair for an evening of knitting. Oddly enough, I feel like working on Errold's Grove. I've had my Bellatrix sock in my car all week (and was far too busy to knit anything), but my brain says it wants something challenging to end the day/week. Go figure.

How much do you want to bet that tomorrow's post is all about having to rip back whatever I knit tonight! :-)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Temporary Knitting Hiatus

I'm working long hours and no days off this week. I'm helping run the medical care end of a shelter housing about 550 Hurricane Gustav evacuees. We're thinking the shelter may de-mobilize this weekend. Knitting will commence immediately after. I'm going to spend a whole day sitting on my bahookie and knitting something entertaining, yet soothing.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Errold's Grove Progress Photo

I think this was about round 35. I don't really remember. Could actually be closer to 39. Anyway, I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out, though I don't know how big the finished product will be.

I may get to the end of this project and decide to rip it back to the middle to add more repeats to gain extra size. Or I could rip it back and start over with a different yarn or a different pattern. For all that Errold demanded that this yarn be used, he doesn't seem as opinionated now.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thirty-five again!

Well, I'm ready to start row 35 on Errold's Grove. It's amazing how much faster it is for me to knit from a chart than from a written pattern. It took just a couple hours to knit ten rows/rounds on the shawl. Then again, there are only about 140 stitches to deal with at the moment and every other round is knit plain, which doesn't take much time. I might actually get through Chart 1 by the end of the weekend (just 30 more rows), barring any major errors or other distractions. By the end of the weekend I'll post a progress picture.

While I was deciding whether or not I had the brain power to tackle lace knitting tonight, I wound my Secret of the Stole 3 yarn into a ball. I debated casting on tonight, but decided it would wait until tomorrow evening, when I might be a bit more focused. I'll try to keep up with the knitalong, but I'm already a week behind everybody. My goal is to finish within a month of the last clue being issued, more or less. I don't remember how "late" I was in finishing the SOTS-2. I did wear it last week though to keep the chill off.

Speaking of SOTS-3, there's a bit of controversy/debate about the shape of the end of the stole. People are quite invested in whether the end is flat or pointed or curved in either a convex or concave manner. It's amusing and annoying to see people lecturing each other how the stole should be shaped, when they're just guessing themselves. Having looked at other people's stoles, I think it would look best with a concave curve at the cast-on end, but that's just my opinion and it's completely subject to change once the rest of the pattern comes out. In any event, I figure each knitter is entitled to shape it however he or she sees fit and none of the answers are wrong. The only person who actually knows the designer's concept is the designer herself and she ain't telling yet. That's part of the fun of a mystery knitalong, I think. You get to discover the pattern as you go along and try to figure out what it is, but it's not about who is right and who is wrong. It's about knitting and camaraderie and watching the pattern unfold.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back to Row 25....

I have the Errold's Grove errors removed. I had been at Row 39 or 41. Now I'm back to Row 25. I even had to switch from one circular to DPNs, though I'm about to use 2 short circulars instead. My circs have better points for this particular yarn than the DPNs. For all that this shawl is not yet very large, it took me TWO NIGHTS to rip back 30 rows. As far as I can tell, the remaining stitches are all correct. I'm hoping that it will take just three nights of knitting to get back to Row 39 again. I have a Dean Koontz audiobook that ought to get me through all of that knitting.

Bellatrix still waits patiently for a braindead night of knitting. Maybe I'll have one of those after I get Errold back together.

Monday, August 18, 2008

*double sigh*

Well, my brain is screwed on right today and I'm blogging in the right place, but I'm having to un-knit part of my Errold's Grove shawl. I got as far as row 39, but now I seem to have an off number of stitches in one section and I can't quite tell where I went wrong. I'd been debating ripping back about 6 rounds anyway since I'm missing one of the yarnovers bordering one of the quarters, so I'm not terribly upset about it. Would it have passed the galloping horse test? Maybe. It kinda sticks out that there is a LINE of YOs above and below this spot, plus there are the other three uninterrupted lines of YOs. If *I* were galloping by on a horse, I'd notice, but I probably wouldn't have ripped all the way back to the YO error if I hadn't had a 2nd error to correct.

And now that I've had a boo-boo, I'm now going to knit off the chart rather than the written directions. This should, in theory, help me identify any errors sooner, rather than later. We'll see how well theory and reality match as the knitting progresses.

Boy Sock Update
Boy has tried on his sock. You may have heard the squee when that happened. Everything fits well, except the toe area. The toe seems to be perhaps a bit short and definitely a bit narrow across the smaller toes. Boy will mail the sock back to me for a toe re-knit. When I re-do the toe, I'll make the toe decreases at a shallower angle and leave the toe "seam" wider to create more space in the toe box. The rest of the sock--the instep, the heel and the cuff--were all up to Boy's rather particular sock specs. (He doesn't like "floppy" socks and can be on his feet a lot for his job, so fit is important.) I figure I can re-knit the toe within a couple days of receiving the sock back, then send it out for fitting #2.

Is languishing at the moment. I had an Errold's Grove craving over the weekend instead.

Holiday Knitting Plan
Ok, so I'd initially planned to knit my niece and nephew sweaters for Christmas and I may still do that. Then I found the Morehouse Merino critter patterns. I sent the web address to my sister so she could ask the kidlets what they'd like. My nephew would like an alligator scarf, alligator mittens (he called them "glubs") and an alligator hat (really a dinosaur hat, but I can see how you'd call it an alligator). My niece would like a pony tail hat, a caterpillar scarf and puppy mittens. My sister also wants a caterpillar scarf and niece and sis have decided that matching scarves would be really cool. I'll order the patterns later this week and then set about on a quest for machine washable yarns in the best colors. (Unfortunately the Morehouse Merino yarns are not machine washable or I'd just order the kits.)

In a fit of madness....
I signed up for another laceknitting knitalong--Secret of the Stole 3. I have the first clue printed out and waiting with the chosen skein of yarn. I'm using J. Knits Lace-a-licious in the color Pueblo. It's a soft, pale green alpaca yarn that reminds me of lichens. Although I'm really looking foward to this project, I have yet to wind my yarn. Oddly enough, the sometimes compulsive project starter in me is okay with waiting until I fix my Errold's Grove shawl error before starting SOTS3. A few weeks ago, I don't think that would have happened.

Friday, August 15, 2008


You know that post just below this one? The one that has absolutely nothing to do with fiber stuff? Yeah, right post. WRong blog. Oopsies. I think I was distracted. Or something. *sigh*

I'm past the heel on the first Bellatrix sock though, so I don't think I really care.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Good Works Are Rewarded!?

Ok, this is an interesting story. I complimented a listserv moderator earlier in the week on how he handled issuing a correction to a post he'd made. I thought it was handled very professionally and graciously and told him I was considering using that response as a template for my future boo-boos. He replied a day later thanking me for my kind words and mentioned that one of his former grad students works for my employer. I replied back and said I really enjoyed working with said student and thought said student was a valuable addition to our organization. I also mentioned a couple of projects that I'm working on with former student. Moderator writes back with some suggestions and ideas about these projects. A bit more back and forth ensues talking about satellite imagery and predicting tick habitat/presence. At one point I comment that I always thought it would be pretty straightforward to create a national predictive atlas of tick species. The reply I got today was "If you're seriously interested, let us know. I've cc'd the go-to person on the project." !!!

Wow. I never would have expected that to happen. Going from compliment to project in 4 days! Heck, I never even considered going from compliment to project at all!

I did, of course, say I was interested. I don't know what I can contribute, but I can certainly work with satellite data. I guess it's time to wait and see what happens next! Time to do some background reading on tick biology. I've worked on tick projects before and even on tick projects involving satellite imagery, but my PhD research was actually on mosquitoes. It's been ten years since I had to know detailed tick biology. Fortunately I never quite got around to throwing out my four file boxes full of research articles....

Working Out!

I tried to not go workout this morning. I even stayed in bed a bit late, trying to decide if I was tired. When my feet hit the floor, they took me to the bathroom to wash my face and put in my contacts, then to where I had left my workout clothes for today. All righty then. Looks like a workout day! I had just under an hour to workout, but it was just the right amount of time to do a full weight circuit. Tonight I'll hopefully get to bed a bit earlier so I can get out of bed a bit earlier and get in a full hour of cardio.

And I had a deja vu moment with my workout clothes and packing my gym bag last week. That was weird. Oddly enough, I also remember when I had the dream that it was weird to dream of working out/workout clothes when I absolutely wasn't doing any working out and hadn't been working out for several years.

How I Made My Sister Nearly Wet Her Pants
I left her voicemail yesterday. Voicemail in which I sang the Oscar Meyer Weiner Song as loudly as I could, in my best 5 year old's voice. Apparently she laughed so hard, she nearly wet herself.

So now, after that splendiferously spectacular day, I'm going to park my behind in my favorite chair and watch the Olympic dressage competition while knitting. Then I'll go mow my yard. w00t!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Have Fawkes!!

I finished my Fawkes Socks over the weekend. I have not, of course, woven in the ends or washed them. For that matter, I still intend to rip the first sock back to re-do the heel turning according to my preferred turning rather than the pattern directions. Nonetheless, I have a pair of Fawkes.

About 30 minutes after I finished the Fawkes, I finished Boy's first Sock. I don't have a picture of it though since I shipped it off to Boy this morning for a fitting. He'll get it on Friday or Saturday, which is probably not nearly soon enough. I can only hope he'll be mollified by the cookies that are in the box with the Sock. If the fitting goes well, I'll commence sock #2. Fortunately I have most of my notes written down. Except for how many stitches I cast on. *sigh*
(Boy is smart enough to learn how to count stitches though, so all is not lost!)

After finishing the Boy Sock, I commenced to cast on for Bellatrix. While knitting Fawkes, I had rediscovered the pattern for Bellatrix. I thought it was quite suitable for two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn. The colorway is blue, but rather reminds me of moldy bread, having some grayish areas and some brighter aqua areas. Given that the character Bellatrix was working for He Who Shall Not Be Named, I thought it suitable that a "moldy" colorway be used. On top of that, the pattern uses dropped stitches which gives the appearance that the sock is a bit worn or unravelling. Altogether it's quite a statement of decay and neglect. I like it!

Next up? Queen of Cups in the purple ShiBui sock yarn I bought in May. The Errold's Grove shawl appears to be rather dormant at the moment. Perhaps that will change by the time I'm done with Bellatrix. Then again, I may feel the overwhelming urge to knit the third Monkey Toes Harry Potter-themed pattern, Nagini. I am discovering that socks seem to knit up faster when there is a stitch pattern in them (as opposed to being just ribbing. I think it's the >2 row repeat. I can see myself making progress through the multi-row repeat and it's easy to set a goal of 1-2 repeats per evening. I'm going to have to re-think what my "basic" sock pattern is and include something more complex than ribbing.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Ok, still just nearly finished

I didn't quite get my second Fawkes finished last weekend and I didn't knit on it at all this week. I haven't knit anything since last weekend. There just wasn't time between working out, mowing the lawn and doing the normal weekly chores around the house. I started to get excited this morning about knitting this weekend, but a crummy day at work sucked all that excitement and energy right out of me. Now I really couldn't care less if I knit at all this weekend. Meh.

Boy's sock is still sitting here. I didn't even get the toe grafted shut, nevermind mailing it to Boy. Boy's sock will have to be mailed soon since he's not traveling this week. There are brief windows of opportunity for packages to find Boy at home these days.

I haven't touched Errold since I got back from vacation. I'm not sure that's good after work weekend anyway, given that I can be unfocused and distracted or too tired to concentrate. Maybe I'll try it again next week. I really really want to make some progress on it, since what I've seen of other people's Errolds is just beautiful.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Fawkes Nearly FInished!

I'm about 1 pattern repeat from finishing the cuff. I could very well have a finished pair of socks by the end of the weekend. Then I'll seriously consider ripping back the first sock to re-do the heel. For the first sock I followed the pattern directions, which put all the shaping of the heel underneath the heel, rather than along the sides of the heel. I think this would be a fine plan, if this particular heel didn't pull funny at the end of the shaping area and look like it will wear badly. I really won't want to rip out half a sock, but I want to be mending socks even less than I want to re-knit. I still think I could get a finished pair of socks this weekend.

And then I'll kick the Errold's Grove Shawl into high gear.

Oh, the first Boy Sock is finished. I'm packing it up and shipping it off to the Boy for a fitting. I don't mind re-knitting things if they don't fit well, but I want to have some idea of how well the first sock fits before I knit the second one. Boy is terribly excited that he's going to have his very own socks and keeps asking if his sock is there yet. *sigh*

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sock Update

I have finished the first Fawkes Sock. I actually finished it a couple of weeks ago, but never got around to blogging about it. I have the cuff finished on the second sock. I had intended to work on it while on vacation/at a conference last week, but that didn't happen. What was really fun(ny) about this sock was that ABC Family channel on TV was having a big Harry Potter movie weekend which I discovered while channel surfing for some background noise. I thought that was a fitting accompaniment.

The Boy Sock has been tried on by the Boy. Boy says it fits perfectly. I'm about an inch away from starting the toe shaping. My plan had been to finish Sock 1 by now so he could have tried it on last week, but that didn't happen either. The Boy might be visiting in a few weeks though, so I have another fitting opportunity coming up.

While I was on vacation/at the conference, I did make serious progress on the
Errold's Grove Wedding Shawl. I'm now on Round 25. It's going pretty well and I've now switched to a circular needle from the double pointed needles. I'd show you a picture, but I managed to break my camera on my last day of vacation. The shawl really isn't much to look at right now anyway. Just a wadded up ball of knitting. I'll get through the first chart and then block it for a progress picture. I think it will be stunning when it is finished.