Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bragging about complete coincidence.

I've been reading back Yarn Harlot. There's a lot of it. I've been doing little else reading for two weeks. Today I got to last September, when she turned in Casts Off, and it turns out...

Stephanie Pearl McPhee and I have the same wedding date. While she was having a party in Toronto, I was having one in Birmingham.

:P to all of you who can't say that.

Other stuff:
I finished the first SeaWool sock on Monday. For the first time, I really flirted with second sock syndrome, thinking about starting something else. I love the results of that chevron pattern, but I'm really bored with it. Apparently my sweater's going to be the zone-out knitting now, which is making me cranky since it's not nice and portable. I might start a sleeve soon, as EZ suggests. I'm also thinking about raiding the cotton stash for supplies for another Ball Band. My mother-in-law's birthday is Monday, and I know she likes knit dishcloths enough to make them for herself. Let's see if my husband can help with color choices. (I'm laughing a little at that. He wears black shirts and blue jeans daily.)

I checked out Mindful Knitting from the library. The whole deal with it is to knit meditatively and use it as a calming and focusing point in your life, right? So I go to make what it calls a "rice stitch dishcloth." (I'm a little obsessive with my cotton stash right now. I'd forgotten half of what was in there.) The pattern says "p1 *k1 through the back loop, repeat from *." The other row is plain knit, alternated with this. Notice that this is a one-stitch repeat. I get a row through it and am realizing that this will give me a column of stockinette and the rest half-twisted garter, and how is that rice-like? Besides, knitting in the back of the stitch is making me crazy. I cannot be meditative while wrestling cotton the wrong way. So today I google "rice stitch" and find that my suspicion was right, there's a P1 missing from that repeat. And that you don't have to do the twisty thing. Seems like it would be easier to have your knitting bring you peace if you can trust the pattern to be right! There's a lovely lacy scarf in there that I think needs to be done for a friend for Christmas, though. And its pattern seems to add up okay. Maybe that'll be more relaxing.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I am such a homebody. Seriously. If I work all week, I find it terribly burdensome to leave the house on the weekend. While I do get a little cabin-fevery if I'm home All the Time, I mostly like to stick close to the nest. So this weekend, when we had to amuse my Dad on Saturday, and went to the largest single-day sporting event in the world on Sunday, it's nice to have a day to spend at home in my jammies.

Wanna see what happened yesterday?

And no, I didn't leave the sock in the car. I lied. We were at the track early enough I figured why not bring the knitting in? I put it away when the spectacle began, and when we started getting crowded. There was other driving around this weekend too, so look how much is done!

That sock only needs a toe to be done. And a mate. It's pretty. I'm so pleased. Oh, and look!

It's a sweater! It fits onto me and around my middle, which is why there are two circulars' worth of ends in that tangle there, and I'm so pleased about that I could spit. I was a bit worried about that whole "fitting" thing. I have no delusions that this sweater will be pretty. I was really only hoping for "wearable" and "comfortable," and will strive for "attractive" on later projects. I figured with this that at the very least this will keep me warm about the house this fall and winter. But I was worried, and am no longer. This is happy.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Holiday Weekend ahoy!

This almost got mailed today. It would have, had I not had the stupidity to not realize that the post office can't get a box to people without the address of said people. Jackie will have to wait till next week for her Latin Granny blanket. Not that she knows it's coming. I went to high school with her parents. Jackie's their second child. This is very strange to me, as I have no maternal urges at this point. But the point is, had I remembered to bring their address with me as I ran errands this afternoon, I wouldn't have been able to take this photo tonight:

The border is two rounds of single crochet in different directions. Works pretty well, I say. What else have I been up to? How bout that sweater?

Oh. Nope, purple Greensburg block. The Addi is happy. I'm still not sure it's "invest in a whole set" happy, but I believe in its superiority over Clover. I'm considering a Denise set. It just makes some sense.

This is how I'm spending Friday night:

Wine is Red Truck, which is increasingly not my favorite. It gets better as it breathes, but that's also as I drink it, so I'm not sure that's an actual thing. The bottle's darn cute, though. The sock's got its heel turned and not much else. I think I want to finish this pair before Summer of Socks, which might be difficult, or maybe not. Generally I get such a high after finishing a sock that I want the second one immediately and drop everything till it's done.

Speaking of Summer of Socks, I have six pairs of socks' worth of yarn - besides the ones in progress. I've decided that since I miss the plain stockinette that the self-striping yarns can be that. I'd been planning on doing some Jaywalkers or Broadripples or something, but the SeaWool ballband pattern is basically the same as the Jaywalkers (pump up the gauge, turn them 1/8 of a turn and trade garter for ribbing), so I'm saying been there, done that, and going on. The grey will be that way too, although I'm not sure it stripes, I think the variegation is more subtle than that. They'll be man socks, they shouldn't be too pretty. I'm going to make jeweltoned Monkeys for my Mom's birthday this fall, and red Rainy Day socks for me. I also have beautiful blue variegated Bearfoot (read - mohair blend sock yarn!) that needs to be special socks. But right now I'm not sure what they'll be. I don't want them to be too flashy, the colors are gorgeous enough. I'm thinking about a garter rib pattern or something similarly simple. That's three pairs of patterned socks, and three ordinary knit-in-traffic jams (I'm not yet cool enough to knit at the movies, not that I really go to movies) pairs. I'm considering having two pairs on the needles at a time, but really, that seems excessive. Doing 12 socks serially should get me through the summer, what with the move and working and all, don't you think?

Project monogamy is a nice idea, but I think it wouldn't work for me. I'm striving for project bigamy and sock monogamy. Not counting Greensburg squares, because they're easy and I can do them while reading archival Yarn Harlot. Which is where the purple one came from.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cross purposes

Seriously. I told you about my rockin' haul yesterday. Wanna see? Here!

It's happy and yummy. And right now, I'm not touching it. I got home and posted and eventually turned on my podcasts because Wednesday's a No TV night (btw, is Project Runway ever returning? I miss it), and buckled down and did something else.

All seams are done, all ends woven in. It's not done yet. I still need a crocheted border, which will require at least four more ends woven, but I'm not sure about which shade to do it in. The light pink would be easiest, but I think one of the extreme ones would be prettier. So I'm stymied on that for a little while. I'll probably ask opinions at yarn collective tonight. Eric can tease me more about not being finished with it.

So this is what I'm doing today.

Yeah, that resolution to not start the sweater till the pink blanket was done? I decided that its one-piece-ness was good enough for that. So the ribbing for Janet's First Sweater, which is being adapted from The Sweater Workshop by Jacqueline Fee, is begun. Ribbing annoys me. I don't know how much longer I can do that. The purple thing is another Greensburg block, and an excuse to try out my new Addi. I do kind of love it, but I'm not sure it's twice as good as my friend Clover. I'm going to try Mandie's baby shorts pattern soon and maybe playing with it in the round will make me believe. But the fact that I bought a bunch of new yarn and the things I decide to do have nothing to do with it? Kind of bugs me. Like I didn't need new yarn or something. And we know that's not possibly true. I've been thinking of returning for Lopi for a felted bag of some kind. I've been thinking I could use a felted messenger bag. Probably I could use a couple in different sizes, don't you think?

And there's the TiVo remote and what I'm currently reading. I'm trying to reread the Harry Potters before the new book comes out. I'm trying to rush through this one because it's not my favorite. For a long time I thought it was the weakest of them, but the stuff that happens in it really matters later. It's still not my favorite. I think it's Gilderoy Lockhart. He's especially grating on the seventh or eighth read-through. Although I have to say of the covers this might be the best. But I've got about two months to get through them, so I should be all right there, even with the huge later ones. Plenty of time to read and knit. Sometimes simultaneously.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Stopping while I'm ahead.

My yarn crawl this morning lasted one hour and one stop. Don't laugh. I did, however, snag $130 worth of yarn and needles for about $80. I figured I'd used all my luck and gotten stuff to keep me busy for months and went home.

Via the library, where more knitting books were procured.

Things I got:
Nine balls of Knitaly. I'm fairly certain it was discontinued more than five years ago, but it's a gorgeous heathered hunter green worsted superwash wool, and it's going to be a cabled hoodie. As soon as I find a pattern or the courage to design my own.
Two hanks of Classic Elite Lush. I scored angora at 40% off! Ok, it's an angora/wool blend, but it's yummy. The color range available was kind of lame, so I went with black. I'm thinking mittens or fingerless gloves. My hands are going to need something happy this winter.
Two balls of Baby Cashmerino. It's red, which should be fun. Red socks rock. These are going to be Rainy Day socks from MagKnits.
A ball of Regia sock yarn. It's a muted grey, with mild variegation and it might stripe some, maybe not. I'm thinking man socks for my dad for Christmas. Plain stockinette all the way.
And an Addi Natura size 9 16" circular. I figured if I'm going to try an Addi, why not try one at 40% off? I'm vaguely in love with my Clover size 8 short circ, it was what did the dishcloth and most of the hat and the Greensburg square, but I'm not married to it. And I've heard good things about the Naturas.

That's today. I was impressed at how much was left. They still have a ton of Regia in great colors, a generous rack of Debbie Bliss, and a half a wall of Lopi. The place is a wreck, but it may have always been that way. They're open till the end of June, and they're apparently just continually trucking more stock downstairs. It is amazing how much yarn is in that house. Depending on how I like the Addi, I might go back for more, they still have a bunch of needles. And I might want to play with the Lopi. We'll see.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nothing wrong with a little instant gratification

This is a pile of most of what I've been working on lately. First, stuff that's done!

This is the LA-bound hat for Kid Brother. Yarn is Paton's Classic Wool in deep olive, I think? Pattern from Never Knit Your Man a Sweater - though the gauge in that pattern is smoking crack. When it claims 3 stitches an inch for a hat about 17 inches around unstretched, and then tells you to cast on 112, you know something's wrong. I think they're counting ribs, truth be told. Whatever. Easy project. Kind of embarrassed it took me this long. Very plain hat. Kid brother should like it.


The Mason-Dixon Ballband dishcloth. This one was happy. Mostly done on Saturday. (See? I can knit fast sometimes!) So quick, fun, easy! And because you never see the wrong side of this thing:

This was done in Lily Elite Cotton from the stash. Wal-mart clearance impulse buys making themselves useful. The cloth, however, is amazing. Poofy and squashy and textured like a dishwashing dream. I think. I'm saving it to use in our new house. I'm nesting. :) And because I have guilt about having a new house when some have none:

It's a garter stitch block for Rebuilding Greensburg. Leftover wool from the kid brother hat and other white Patons wool. Boring, but made me feel like I wasn't so selfish for ignoring this:

Little Girl Latin Granny still has two seams. But they're long ones. I'm so embarrassed. And then a border. That'll be the easy part. Need to get this one done.

But aren't you doing any socks lately, you ask? Well, yeah. Here!

And because I'm in love with how the silly slipped-stitch heel is striping:

Yes, that's my ridiculous tan line from knitting through opening day at the speedway. Not going to be doing that this weekend, though. I'm not saying I won't have a project in the car, but I can't see knitting actually during the race. Not to mention someone I'm married to would have serious issues with it. And probably the people squished in around me wouldn't enjoy it much either.

I have the rest of the week off. Yarn shopping will happen. If I get through tomorrow without buying yarn, someone should slap me. Between visiting the store in the process of closing and the one whose annual sale starts tomorrow, I should be good. Or bad. Whatever. Just say my inner consumer might be let loose to play for a day or so.

I've got so many things in my head that I want to make. I'll talk about them later.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

This is how we do this

Finished the hat at yarn collective last night. Took much flak about finishing the Christmas woolen hat for Kid Brother moving to LA when there's a birthday gift for baby girl born two weeks ago languishing in the bag.

So tonight, ends are woven in. Three blocks are together in a strip. Another strip is being sewn. I'm on my third glass of wine. Too drunk to cast on for my sweater. And I was a little bored. It's been an icky week. And so.

Tonight! The Aaron Sorkin tribute to Jerry Falwell:

"Charo's got a bigger fanbase ... I know the vast majority of people consider Jerry Falwell a spiritual pillar of great and gentle wisdom. I know that most people consider him a scholarly and tolerant man who would never judge others harshly just because they were different. I know that most people find his calm leadership to be a gentle, soothing beacon in a time of great social chaos. His guidance, for instance, on the great purple Teletubby matter was fraught with the kind of theological sophistication that only Jerry Falwell and a cafeteria full of sixth-graders could devise. I know, I'm going way out on a limb, but I think Jerry Falwell's a badass."

I'm considering doing the West Wing equivalent with Mary Marsh and the fake Dr. Laura. But probably not tonight.

Down to five pieces of afghan. Yay. More ends to weave in. Yech.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


My new faster-feeling route home is making knitting while driving not a necessity. Although I expect that when i try and get across on 116th tomorrow it'll be a different story.

Last night I stayed up too late getting my brother's Christmas hat off the circular and onto dpns to start decreasing. Somewhere in that process I remembered that by Christmas he's going to be living in LA and probably a woolen watchcap won't be such a good present as it would have been had he still been playing around in New York. Of course, he might have moved back by then. He follows the work. And he might be into wearing it anyway. He's funny like that. Just going to finish it, wait, and hope he likes it.

Finishing has not yet begun on the new Latin Granny. It needs to.

I stopped by Knit Stop on the way home. I'm not sure about this place. I might have bought something, if i could have found things. I'm vaguely lusting after Magknits' Rainy Day socks, but while I found the yarn called for and the substitute an acquaintance used on them, I couldn't find either in a color I liked. Oh well. But yeah. Getting the yarn-shopping urge. I keep reminding myself of the bag of wool that's got sweater aspirations and the basket of sock yarn I've said should last me the summer. The knowledge of an LYS closing and clearing out its stock also has me itching.

I picked up No Sheep For You and Mason-Dixon Knitting at the library tonight. I'm going to try and figure how to do this in log-cabin knitting. I might have to break down and do it in miters. Or grannies. Please no more grannies. Not for a little while.

Oh, and CraftLit has me wanting to find the new Knit.1 out today and Charmed Knits, both out this week. To browse before maybe buying. Actually I've already reserved the second at the library, so that probably won't get bought. Unless it's awesomeness embodied as book.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Happy Monday

You know, even if I never buy anything there ever again, visiting Hobby Lobby still makes me smile and relax a little. I nearly picked up some cotton/acrylic crochet thread that I wanted to try and play socks with. I also nearly picked up aluminum size 0 dpns. My 2's, 3's, and 2.5's are good, but I'm starting to think of going a little smaller. But I'm pretty sure the metal thing is not for me. There was a stitch counter and other little tools I kind of wanted too.

Mom got her Fruit Salad socks, they fit, she loves them, and she is wearing them to work tonight. Yay for that.

All blocks of my newest Latin Granny creation are done. Pictures will be forthcoming probably tomorrow. The child it was made for is almost two weeks old now, but she's not due till a week from today.

Patterns make sock-knitting in traffic a little riskier. I may need to rethink my "no more plain stockinette socks!" cry. Because it is true, stockinette does soothe a troubled soul. Which I need while sitting in traffic listening to the sad news of the world and fighting with myself over whether I'm going home or to the gym.

And when Friday night comes, I have wine made for knitting: Dyed in the Wool Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


I got 2.5 inches of sock knitted at the track today. The yellow-shirted security ladies thought I was so clever to have brought my knitting to the track.

I got probably an inch and a half of it done last night before deciding it was too small, frogging and restarting in the bigger size. I got the garter stitch done before finally sleeping. The pattern is four chevrons around and the stripes are lining up nicely, with two sides mostly blue and yellow and the other two mostly pink and green. It may be spiraling some too, but it's subtle.

I'm sure I'd have gotten more done if we hadn't had to leave before happy hour. But next year. Or maybe not - we got home in time for the last couple of runs and Chris really loved the trackers that the tv had.

I have a fanged chomping bunny guarding my yarn stash now, due to my husband and Spamalot. He's too cute.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I'm finding myself doing that thing that I do when I haven't written in a journal or diary for a while - trying to catch up on everything old before I start talking about anything new. And seriously, that's boring. Blogs and journals are NOW things, and while having a record is nice, eh.

So I finished my Mother's Day gift socks. Just barely in time to pack them up and send them to mom. And of course, since I was just barely under the deadline, I couldn't find the camera. So the pictures of them exist, they're just in my phone. And I can't seem to get them out. My acrylic nightmare socks are in the same limbo. Sucky.

Oh, but FYI? Panda Cotton takes seriously forever to dry. Two days. For a pair of socks. Did I mention I really wanted to mail them so they'd get there for Mother's Day? Yeah. They went out Thursday and I'm hoping.

The husband has been using the camera a lot lately since it's May in Indy, which means he's been hiding it from me. It will exist again tomorrow. I will be knitting at the track. It worked last weekend, it should work again. It meant casting on new socks tonight, and so far they're yummy! I'm using Fleece Artist Seawool in (I think) Sorbetto and doing the Bordello pattern that was on the ball band. I'm digging the no ribbing thing - they've got five rows of basically garter instead, and while I was a bit concerned about pattern, it's a two-row repeat and as long as I can remember that the last two stitches on the one row are ssk'd and not knit together, I'll be good. And I'm planning to improve my Kitchener stitch, because apparently it's not supposed to be a seam, but despite my best efforts so far, it has been. I'll figure it out.

Meanwhile, there are three new episodes of Craftlit that have been posted this week, and Chris is resting up for our big day tomorrow, so I've got a few hours of happy time to establish the pattern in my head before crashing for the night.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

second beginnings

My friend Kylee gave me a kit for this past Christmas - a ball of yarn and wooden size 10 needles in a cup. I had tried to knit before, and earlier in the year a friend had taught me the long-tail cast-on and straightened out my problem with twisting stitches, but I had not gotten to the point where I liked knitting.

I'd gotten a little stifled with the crochet. It seemed less versatile than I liked and I had done about a million scarves and enough afghans to cover all the people I liked. There were babies getting blankets still, but very slowly. Wireless internet in front of the tv sounded more fun.

So I got this kit from a beloved friend, I cast on and started knitting. There was driving for the holiday, and car time is great yarn-crafting time. There was this garter stitch scarf or there was a diagonal baby blanket in a crazy block stitch that was in the long cold winter of somewhere-around-halfway-through that happens with diagonal projects.

And then the playoffs started. I had recently moved to Indianapolis and the Colts were doing well. But not consistently. And one day in front of a game, I realized that it was much easier to watch while knitting the garter stitch than while crocheting the blocks. So that scarf got finished. And then there were a couple balls of a cotton-wool blend that needed a use. So I knit them into a ribbed scarf for my mom. That got the whole knit-purl thing into my head. And the yarn was yummy. It was a happy thing.

I think it was the wooden needles. And maybe the yummy yarn. I'd been playing with acrylic and aluminum before, and that wasn't as pleasant for me. And then I found a knitting group. And that just cemented it. I've been learning fast since then, and it's pretty awesome.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

How this all began, part 1 - crochet!

I've been crocheting since the winter of 2000/2001. Somewhere, for some reason, I thought it'd be cool to make mittens, and crocheting was easier for me to learn from the internet. I started with a multipack of plastic Susan Bates hooks and a ball of Sugar and Creme. I graduated to Super Saver and a free afghan pattern from Lion Brand that was meant to be made with Homespun.

I have not yet made mittens or anything out of Homespun.

The afghan wound up huge, yellow and navy striped, and very good for University of Michigan fans. Or members of Alpha Chi Sigma, the chemistry professional fraternity. I am neither. It now lives on a loveseat in an uninhabited part of my mother's house, collecting dust and cat hair. Which is kind of sad. I should really take it, wash it, and give it to someone who would use it. Or Warm Up America. Or Goodwill. But it's my first afghan, I can't do that. It will be mine forever.

There have been other things since. Several baby blankets, nylon purses, two other full-sized afghans, countless scarves, including probably thirty or so orange-and-blue stranded mesh ones that the Auburn Democrats wanted to sell for charity. I hope they eventually sold some. A doily or two, and several snowflake christmas ornaments that still haven't been stiffened.

I'm still partial to Susan Bates hooks. Clover ones are good too, but Boye hooks drive me nuts with their pointy barb on the hook. Aluminum and plastic, the bamboo one I used once was not fun.

I love granny squares, after the mathghan they're a favorite way to do things. Plus you get to play Latin squares with them. I'm working on a granny baby blanket right now, and it's going to be a pair of orthogonal Latin squares of order 3. I tried to knit this one, it was going to be my first knitted blanket, but I got bored. And then I got annoyed. So I whipped up a granny and tried to knit into it, and that got annoying too. So now it's just going to be granny squares.

My grandmother taught me enough to make a chain. From her I learned single and double crochets too, but I forgot those throughout the years. I was 21 when I decided I needed to make stuff from yarn, and used her green Learn How book (copyright 1959) as a reference. She made my mom an orange and brown Park Lane afghan when Mom left home, and we had it on the couch in the living room when I was growing up. I was delighted to find the pattern in a library book and still have it on file. When I find the right colors for my home, I'm going to have that afghan in my living room too. But definitely not in orange and brown.

Next time - knitting and its dangers

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


So, while I was spending five years in graduate school, getting some math larnin' so I could eventually score standardized exams for peanuts, I wasn't always studying. I spent a lot of time working on this:

It's a self-orthogonal latin square of order ten, which sounds complicated, but isn't really. You've done Sudoku? It's like that, except without the smaller 3x3 parts. Each column and row have each color exactly once in the outside and inside parts of the granny square. Every possible coupling of outside and inside colors is there, and if you flip the thing along the upper-left to lower-right diagonal, the inside and outside colors match. See the upper right corner? It's blue on the inside and black on the outside. The opposite corner is the reverse. This is a pretty nifty mathematical construct that for the longest time was conjectured not to exist. (Seriously, if you asked Euler, it totally would never happen.)

I took it to seminar and everyone thought it was cool.

Crafting-wise, it's pretty easy. The hard part is that every square is different. Other than that, it's 100 granny squares in ten colors, done in Red Heart acrylic. They're whipstitched together and there's a border row of single crochet around. Actually, the hard part was assembling in the right order. I looked this particular square up in a journal, so it wasn't like it was a puzzle or anything, but it was still annoying.

It lives on the back of our couch now, when it's not needed for its bright happy warmth.