on the needles

Monday, January 30, 2006

Houston - We Have a Podcast!

Woohoo! Whit's latest podcast is out. She did an awesome job as usual - and I'm not just saying that because I'm on this episode. Seriously!

But in the interest of shameless self promotion - go listen to the About Time podcast - because I'm on it!!

Okay - got that out of my system.

Now I have to add the disclaimer that despite what I sound like (and okay sometimes look like!) I am not really a fifteen year old surfer chick. Wow! Doesn't it always sound weird to you to hear your own voice on a recording? I always think - "I sound like THAT?" But I know I must because Whit on the podcast sounds exactly like what Whit on the telephone sounds like. So there you go.

Anyhooo - Whit has announced a contest! She will be giving away a very special afghan. All you have to do is submit a segment that she can air as part of her podcast. How cool is that? The tiny wheels in my brain are already turning....

In other news: I asked my children to choose aliases for the blog because I'm sick of just calling them "my son" and "my daughter". So from now on you will be hearing about Sir Lancelot and Princess Ariel. We will make that SL and PA for short. I love the self-image these nicknames project! Wouldn't it be hilarious if adults were as honest about how they wish to be perceived? Or about how they see themselves?

You Want Some FO? I Got Your FO Right Here. Finished Socks!

Here they are:

My first ever pair of handknit socks! :) They count towards the 2000 Socks and the Show Your FO KALS.

Pattern: 2x2 Ribbed Socks from Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Twinkletoes "Medley" from OTR Yarns
Gauge: 30 stitches = 4 inches
Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo DPN's size 1

Four things I learned from doing these socks -
1. Charlene Schurch's book is the BEST book for sock knitting. It is really a sock formula book rather than a pattern book. Love the flexibility this gives to the process of sock knitting.
2. LOVE her method of doing a garter stitch along the sides of the heel flaps. Really helps hide where you pick up the stitches so it looks entirely seamless.
3. How to add extra stitches to cover the gap at the top of the gusset. Brilliant!
4. Do not Kitchener at 4:00 am. I'm not one of those people who is freaked out by the Kitchener Stitch, but I think I pulled it a wee bit tight on the second sock due to the late/early hour and my desire to actually complete a pair of socks. I just couldn't put it down because I was THIS CLOSE to finishing. I'm sure you know how that is. Anyhow, I don't think anyone else would see anything wrong with the Kitchener on this sock, I'm just nit picking here.

In conclusion: Run - do not walk - to your LYS to pick up this book. I love it that much and so will you. :)

And yes, that's Luca and Henry in the background. You don't think any knitting would be going on around here without them do you? ;)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Starting tomorrow....

I'm going to:

Starting with my first ever PAIR of finished socks.

I also HAVE TO block and fringe the Alien Head scarf and if I get very ambitious I will do the same with my Harry Potter scarf.

Thanks to Karen for giving me a shove in the finishing direction. I obviously need it!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Frogging and Seaming? With a Smile?

Well - I don't know what has gotten into me.

First off - I frogged the Blossom jacket without a single qualm. Sometimes when I knit something - spend all that time working on a project - well, it just kills me when I have to rip it out. Not this one. It was that ugly.

I have swatched the Blossom for Eloise. I think I am going to end up having to go down two needle sizes to get gauge. I'm sort of waiting for my extra hanks to arrive before plunging into the deep end on this one. Also - I think seaming with Blossom is going to be a bitch to say the least - so I am thinking about ways to make the fronts together with back instead of in three pieces. I also think I want the cardi to be a few inches longer. So....that all calls for some brain work which I don't feel very capable of right now. I think I need back up on this one. :) It may have to wait until March when I can get back into my knitting class.

Second - I actually picked up Myrtle. What? You've never heard of Myrtle? That's because she has been languishing in pieces on the the sidebar for months and months now. Well, I picked her up and started seaming. I did the shoulders and *gasp* set in my first sleeve. And I must say it looks pretty darn good. I MAY even finish the rest of the seaming some time soon - you know while the good endorphins are still fresh!

I've still got to block and fringe the Alien Heads. It's the blocking part that is getting in the way of completion. I honestly have almost nowhere to block something in this house - at least not anything large or long. We have hardwood floors everywhere. The only carpet I could pin anything to is in a "high traffic zone" and between kids and dogs I am dubious about the survival of anything I might try to block there. That leaves me thinking I need to do my blocking at night (less traffic) and hope things will be dry by morning time. But I think we all know just how much I feel like getting down on my hands and knees and putting umpteen pins into something at the end of a long day. Zero motivation there. Luckily, the Alien Heads are a gift which means I will be forced to do the work soon. Otherwise they might slip into obscurity on the sidebar like poor old Myrtle.

In the meantime, I'm not finishing up the second sock of the pair of socks I'm not working on. And it's not because I really want to cast on for another pair with some stash yarn... Sigh. I guess will have to face reality someday soon and rip out the wonky foot on my second Conwy sock. It think it needs to go all the way back to the heel flap. And I just really hated knitting those teeny twisted cables the first time around..... But if I finish the second sock of the pair I'm not working on right now then I will be able to put the Conwy socks aside without the shame of thinking I have the dreaded SSS (second sock syndrome). Then it will just be an issue of not really enjoying the pattern, and not an indication that I am an ADD type knitter who can't finish things.

My "problem" is that I am a process knitter. I just want to knit. It really is okay with me that I have several projects that are all finished, just waiting and waiting to be put together. It's really only the sense of guilt that occasionally attacks me that makes me "finish" anything at all. Even my motivation to actually get to wear something I knit is really not enough to push me through into the finishing phase. I keep waiting for the day when the seaming bug will hit me and I dive into the unfinished pile like a madwoman. I also keep reminding myself that I could designate one day a week for seaming. Like Seaming Sunday. It could be a cute little weekly segment for the blog... "Welcome to Seaming Sunday, today we are working on the sweater we finished knitting two years ago"....Yeah - boring!!

Weird thing is I totally don't mind weaving in the ends.

Does anyone else have a part of the "process" which just seems (or seams!) like a chore?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Fessing up!

Okay Kim - I'm fessing up. I violated the Stashalong. I bought three hanks of Blossom so that I could use the yarn I have to make Eloise. My justification is: I didn't want to wait until after the Stashalong was over to try to find the matching dye lot. If you can find a matching dye lot I think you have to jump on it right away. Also, Blossom doesn't have a lot of pattern support. The jacket and Eloise are about it actually. So if I was going to get to use this yarn at all, it had to be Eloise and I needed the three hanks. I hope I will be forgiven and not hung out to dry in the Hall of Shame! Plus, Marina, AND Jessie said I could so if I'm in trouble it's their fault! (LOL)

Whew! Now that I got that off my chest....

I think I'm pretty close to finishing the knitting on the Alien Heads. I've got four heads already and I think I may stop at five. I am getting "running out of yarn fear" if I try to go for a sixth head AND some fringe. And since I DON'T DARE buy anymore yarn to finish off a longer scarf - five heads I think it will be. :)

Jenni said she felt like these carves take longer to knit then you might think. I'm finding it to be just the opposite. Once you get the hang of reading the chart you get in a groove and knit very quickly. Maybe all of my recent lace knitting has helped me to "get it" about reading charts. It's pretty much the same feel. Plus every other row is a plain knitting row so that helps it to be speedy.

Alice (is that you Alice over at Just a Few Skeins?) asks where I got this pattern. Well - this one is from Stitch and Bitch (the first one). But there are also several really cute skull and cross bones illusion scarf patterns just floating around out there for free on the internet. I have the yarn for one which I MAY cast on soon. These illusion scarves go so fast that one of them might end up being my contribution to the kids school auctions. If I can get all of this birthday knitting out of the way!

Carrie asks if I'm still reading The Perfect Prince by Anne Wroe. After getting over my astonishment that anyone even looks at my sidebar (I thought I was putting up all that decoration just for my own fun! But I'm glad SOMEONE is paying some attention! LOL) The answer is, Yes I'm still reading it. I had it for a long time without getting around to it as well but I knew I would be "in the mood" for it eventually. It is a strange book in terms of history books. It's not written the style that a history book normally is - it took a bit of getting used to. But I like the story. I am a big fan of Henry VII. He was so crafty and quirky. I think that not enough has been written about him - there is more to be told about the man who ended the Wars of the Roses! I studied him in a Tudor History class I took which was great fun.

Here is your Henry VII trivia for today:

Henry VII spied on EVERYONE. The courtiers all knew they were being spied on and they hated it - but what could they do? They still had to make nicey nice with the King while all the time being completely paranoid about what he might discover about them. Henry VII had a book in which he wrote down all of the info that he had gathered about the courtiers. They were all terrified of that book - were their names in it? What did he know about them? The King exploited this fear by making an open show of writing in the "secret" book.

Henry VII also had a pet monkey. Everyone, including his family, hated this monkey because it was completely spoiled. The King doted on the monkey and let the monkey do whatever it pleased. Naturally, the monkey had horrible manners. It bit several of the courtiers.

Imagine the general rejoicing there was on the day that the pet monkey ripped the King's "secret" book to shreds. That was the end of the "secret" book. The fate of the monkey remains unknown.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Blossom Jacket Wilting...... :(

Here's the latest photo of the Blossom Jacket. Today I finished the rest of the knitting on the circular part so I could try it on - sticking my arms through the holes. Which I did and....I hated it. It is NOT going to look flattering on me. Too much collar bunching up at the back of the neck - not enough to cover the chest - flaring out at the back right over the butt and hips thus greatly enlarging them - armholes humongus - yuck yuck yuck. My enthusiasm for the Blossom Jacket has wilted. Oh well - I always knew that trying this pattern was a big risk.


All is not lost because I still love the yarn. So it is heading for a gentle frogging. If it still looks alright I will knit it up into the plan B project which is:

Eloise from Noro Knits.

I have already started the search for the two extra skeins which I will need in order to knit this pattern. I don't know if this violates the Stashalong or not - I kind think maybe I should get extra points for knitting the same yarn twice. What do you think?

Alien Invasion!!!!!

Dude - illusion knitting is da bomb.

You see here an ordinary striped scarf.

Do you see anything strange? Creepy? No? Nothing???

Try looking at things from a different perspective.

Agggghhhhh!!! Aliens!!!!

4 or 5 more heads to go and then the aliens will have landed (around the neck of my teenage nephew). :)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Gift Yarn and Olympic Decisions

Thank goodness for my KTC Classic Romance Swap Buddy - she's a wonderful excuse to buy yarn! The Stashalong prevents me from adding to my own stash - but I'm allowed to grow other people's stash. Like a little escape valve for all the non-yarn buying angst that is building up! So yesterday I bought my buddy some sweet yarn. I can't say who she is --- because she reads this blog, but I can say, "Hi Book Buddy! I hope you like the yarn I bought you." :)

And I made an Olympic decision. I decided to go with the Zen Olympics and join the Eddie Along. I didn't want Marina to have to stage an intervention (LOL) - lord knows she has enough on her mind with that gorgeous Russian River she is knitting! I know Laura joined the Eddie Along too so we will have to be a mini Zen Knitting team together. :) You know, all the OTHER Olympic participants are getting cool team buttons. Like the USA Cable Team, the Fair Isle Team etc. So, hey Margene, can we get a USA Zen Knitting Team button? I have no button skills otherwise I would oblige my own notion! Maybe I will have to talk Whit into joining the Eddie Along so we can get a button out of her. She has mad Photoshop skills! :)

Do some cheering for the USA Zen Knitting Team Ramona!

In a new twist to the Olympic knitting saga, Ramona has created a Olympic Fans section. They will be kickin back and watching the Winter Games - and cheering on the Olympian's both sporty and knitterly. (Although anyone who thinks knitting is a hobby and not a sport needs only to read a few of the blogs this past week as we gear up for the competition! LOL!)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

KAL News

So, in the past few days:

I finally cast off the Harry Potter scarf. I wove in all the ends and now I just have to block it and put on the fringe. I was originally thinking that I would give this to one of my children's schools for their auction - now...I'm not so sure I ever want to knit another one. They are just so HUGE! I kind of hate knitting scarves anyway and this thing is the mother of all scarves. Knitting a scarf is ok until it gets to the point where you are flipping super long piece of knitting back and forth every five seconds. It gets all tangly. It's a pain having to fuss with that. So - since I think I may never knit another one I'm not so sure about giving it up. My kids school's are going to have to get something else. Maybe an illusion scarf. Those things are fast, easy, lighter weight to work and pretty damn cool.

I worked the Blossom jacket up to the point where I had to divide for the sleeves. Then I left off so I could take it to class and get help with that. I think I understand the idea but I may as well wait until I have confirmation from another knitter. I still feel pretty dubious about the success of this project, It is driving me CRAZY that I don't have any Addi Turbos in the 7 mm range. The USA number is #10.75 and #10.87. At the LYS they keep telling me that it won't make any difference but I'm not so sure. And with the circular construction of this jacket there is no real way to tell if it is working until it is done and I try it on! I'm afraid the collar will be too small, that it will sag or bulge across the back & a whole host of other things....I really hope this does work out because the yarn is SO pretty AND it won't take kindly to frogging. :(

That left me with "nothing to knit" (we won't even go there - you ALL know the feeling of nothing to knit despite the huge stash!). Luckily, the last bit of yarn that will be arriving at my house until after the Stashalong (sob!) is over, came the next day. This is the yarn for the Alien Head Illusion Scarf from SnB that I am knitting for my nephew for his birthday. (I am also using it as my project for the book KTC will be reading next month "Woman on the Edge of Time" - needed something futuristic). Ordered the yarn right under the wire before Stashalong! So, I started the scarf and I have to say it is pretty cool. I've got to get a picture of it - as soon as I have one Alien head totally complete. I've always been fascinated by those little illusion cards - you know, the ones with the strange corrugated surface where if you look at it one way it looks like one thing and you tilt it and then it looks like another thing. For instance I had one as a kid that had Mowgli and Balloo doing different dance moves. Totally awesome. LOVE those things. Geek - I know. Anyhow, it is SO cool that you can actually do that WITH KNITTING! Woohoo! Honestly, I don't know why everyone isn't knitting Illusion scarves.

Hopefully pictures next time....

Podcast Update

Whit says she thinks her next podcast at About Time will hopefully be out tomorrow. Hooray!

She also says she divided our interview into two parts so I will end up being on two Podcasts. I TOLD you I talked her ear off! LOL!

The Knitting Olympics in all it's forms

Well, for the past couple of days I have been struggling with a big decision - whether or not to compete in the Knitting Olympics. You know, the one sponsored by Stephanie aka the Yarn Harlot. The rules are that you have to knit an object from start to finish between Feb 10th - Feb 26th. You have to choose a project that is challenging for you but in the realm of possibility - just like an Olympic athlete. You get a gold medal if you complete the project, nada if you fail.

Factors affecting my decision are thus:

1. 16 days to knit and finish an object. What am I a masochist?
2. Anything I did knit would have to come from my stash due to my participation in the Stashalong. This doesn't limit my choices much - you've seen my stash right? - but it dampens the adrenaline rush I would probably get from a new yarn purchase.
3. My birthday falls in the Olympics time frame. Potential time I have to take away from knitting in order to get older.
4. I also have a class two of the evenings during the Olympics to learn a new technique - socks on two circs. Unless I can get that project to qualify as Olympian due to the fact that it is challenging since I am learning a whole new technique - well, that would mean I would be knitting TWO projects from start to finish during the Olympic Games.
5. I don't like to commit to something unless I intend to finish - so I would be very serious about this challenge!

The insanely competitive part of me wants to do this. But I fear the public ridicule if I should fail. Or - actually since I would do ANYTHING I had to do in order to finish - I fear the 16 days with no sleep.

The second possibility is the UFO Olympics being sponsored by Keeping Me in Stitches. In this one the rules are pretty much the same except that you can pick up a UFO rather than starting something new. This is a great idea and of course this is the Olympics I SHOULD participate in - you've seen my sidebar right? - so naturally this is the one the least appeals to me. When have I ever done what I SHOULD do? This would be knitting driven by guilt. I would feel like I had nagged myself into knitting.

Third, Margene of Zeeneedle is hosting the Eddie Along. She presents this as the Olympics for knitters who want to enjoy the process and not stress over finishing or not finishing. Everybody who participates wins. I think the only rule is no fussing or whining about any "setbacks" (frogging) in the process. This is all about enjoying your knitting. This is the Olympics for hippies. I can totally get on the bandwagon with this philosophy. I think I am a process knitter anyhow - plus I'm a total hippie. An SUV driving, soccer mom hippie - but a hippie nonetheless.

Or there is always The Homer Simpson Olympics over at I'm Knitting as Fast as I Can. The rules here are that you are forbidden to knit anything at all during the Winter Olympics. Instead you must firmly glue your butt to the sofa and veg out to all of the sports action. You need to keep one hand on your beer and the other in your waistband. In the true spirit of Homer Simpson these folks are too lazy to even make a button. While the Homor Simpson philosophy is very tempting, I don't think I can not knit AND Stashalong at the same time. I have to either be buying yarn or knitting yarn. I would be a seriously grouchy Olympian. I know I would sneak into the closet to knit a few rounds on a sock - you know, just to get a fix!

So I think I am leaning towards the Eddie Along. I just want to feel the knitting love.

What are the rest of you doing?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Podcast Debut

So a few days ago my new friend Whit interviewed me for her new knitting podcast About Time. Whit is a member of the KTC knitalong which I co-host. She posted a message saying she would like to interview one of the KTC ladies for her new podcast and I volunteered. I love to talk about knitting and literature and thought it would be great to get to "meet" one of our members.

So Whit called and we had a great time visiting. We have some things in common aside from knitting and she is really easy to talk with. She's just one of those people that you know you like right away and she sounds just like she does on the podcast. :) I love the fact that she is starting up a podcast about knitting - there are only a few out there and I always think the more the merrier. Plus Whit is a smart cookie so I think her podcast is going to turn out great. It was nice to be a part of it!

My family, especially the male members who are a bit more "up" on all this technology stuff, are all really excited to hear me ON THE COMPUTER. Oh, they can hear me talk about knitting any old day but if it is ON THE COMPUTER suddenly it blows their minds. My son just is so excited that he will be able to hear his mom on his iPod.

So after talking to Whit (probably talking her ear off in fact! Poor Whit!) I was on a bit of a knitting high. I even got the new Vogue Knitting in the mail that day - which I was pretty excited about until I looked through it - booooring. But that didn't ruin my knitting buzz. Nope - it was so much fun talking to Whit that nothing could bring me down!

Until the next few days when I started actually thinking about it. And by thinking I mean getting after-the-fact-stage-fright. I started to worry. Did I pronounce things right? Did I giggle too much? Was I maybe just plain boring? Would she even have enough usable material??

Sigh. Well, I'm past the worrying stage now and I have moved on to the resigned-acceptance-of-that-which-we-cannot-change phase. I think I'm a little more comfortable with this state of mind. It's out of my hands how! I just hope the podcast comes out soon so my husband can stop pestering me about it. Funny how he can tune me out when I am sitting next to him on the sofa talking but he CANNOT WAIT to devote all his attention to listening to me talk through his iPod headphones. LOL!

It was nice talkin' to you Whit! :)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

And the winner is.....

I had so much fun reading your false memories of me! Apparently, I have a drinking problem that I had forgotten about: Jennifer reminded me of a binge I went on in Paris, and I'm pretty sure Jenn's memory of the time at knit camp involved some alcohol! Miriam's depiction of a drunken me at a SnB was probably close to what would really happen if I combined knitting & drinking! And Nancy - while I would love to go to Nepal, I would never dare to try to drink a sherpa under the tent. Alcohol does weird things to me at high altitudes. ;)

I also seem to have a strange predilection for sheep. Stephanie imagined us as sort of a super hero Stephanie's team of sheep wielding yarn store terrorists. Probably because she knows about my craft room mascot who is a sheep named Walter. Go check out the cute sheep she has been knitting. Amanda tried to bring a cow into the mix with disastrous results!

I actually think Melanie's idea about sending a swift on a galactic journey is a good one. As is Whit's idea of an underwater knitting/felting class.

But the false memory I would most like to actually have was Laura's! I love baseball and hockey is a close second (but only watching it live - it's boring on tv) so an extended tour watching farm team play would be an awesome time for me. So, Laura - if you ever schedule that tour I'm there! I'm not sure if my husband would trust me out there on the loose with all those sweaty ballplayers though! ;) There was some drinking in this false memory - (I had to look up what a Gewurztraminer was!) - but the alcohol consumption seemed much more gentle than what the rest of you expected of me! LOL!

So the winner is Laura. She will be getting a copy of:

and a copy of:

Thanks for playing everyone. You gave me a lot of laughs.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Blossom progress

I thought I'd post a picture of the Blossom jacket in progress:

The colors are more vibrant than this photo shows. I have the feeling that Blossom is one of those difficult to photograph yarns. But I am loving knitting with it. I'm definitely going to use it again.

The dogs were helping:

Useful aren't they? I don't know dogs who can take up space on a couch better than they can!

So I was knitting along on my Blossom jacket when it occurred to me - wait a minute - Blossom = flowers = theme in Mrs. Dalloway - the Blossom Jacket could be my project for the Mrs. Dalloway read at KTC! Woohoo! This is also my first (hopefully there will be more than one) Stashalong project. I love it when my projects serve double knitalong duty. :)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Wanna be a Knitting Jedi?

Hell yes I do! My son would be so impressed - "Look sweetie, I'm using the force to create cables and bobbles! I bet even Mace Windu couldn't yarn over like this! Check out my Continental style battle action! Woohoo! Watch me battle this Merino sock yarn! I'm going to turn this heel away from the Dark Side! Yeah - take that Darth Vader! I can even knit in the dark now! How about that? Who's your daddy now Luke?? Watch this....sweetie? Sweetie? Hmm...where'd he go? Hmmm... too wierd I am. Frighten my children I do...

If you want to become a knitting Jedi follow this link....just please, use your awesome powers for good!

Stashalong support needed!

Be strong Stephanie - think of your Stashalong!

I may have to stop reading blogs after this: Alison posted a photo of her beautiful socks made with yarn she got from Sunshine Yarns. I've got to resist the urge to snap some up for myself so I am posting this link to enable all you other sock knitters out there. Help a girl out won't ya? Buy up all this yarn so I won't break my Stashalong vow!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Blossom Jacket

You guys are doing great with the fake memories meme. I think I will let it go for a few more days and then choose a winner. It will be hard to pick - there are some memories there I almost wish were true! :)

In knitting news - the Blossom jacket won out and I cast on for it at my class last night. I chose it for a couple of reasons - mostly because I wanted to try using Blossom. Also, I would have had to do a gauge swatch for the Karlsro (no time = lack of interest in spending time on gauge swatch). Plus, the Blossom jacket will look really fab when it's done. It seemed to be the favorite pick in the comments as well.

So - how is it going you ask? Well, the jacket is constructed as a circle. There are very few decreases, mostly you go down a needle size every few rounds instead. This is all very well and good - lord knows I have had PLENTY of experience knitting around and around in stockinette lately thanks to the HP scarf - but the Blossom jacket is 320 stitches of around and around. Casting on for that was a bit of a pain. Slubby yarns like Blossom are always a pain to cast on with (knitting it is easy though - thank goodness) and Blossom has no stretch to speak of so my usual Twisted German cast on was a good deal since the cast on edge is also the outer edge of the jacket and thus will "show" and need to be a bit stretchy.

The real weirdness with this project is the pattern. It calls for NINE different circular needles. This easily adds $100 to the cost of the project if you don't already happen to have them. Also, it is a bit cramped having all those stitches on a 32" cord, so you may want 40" which seem a bit harder to find. To add to this the needle sizes stated don't actually exist in the US. The first size called for in the pattern is a UK 0/US 12 - there is no US size 12 that I know of. Addi circs jump from 11 to 13 and I've never seen a size 12 in any other brand either. Also, the millimeters stated don't match up to the numerical sizes stated - for instance a US size 10 is equal to 6 millimeters but is listed as 6.5 millimeters in the pattern. Every other size is wrong too. Clearly, (I think!) the pattern is written for UK needles. If anyone knows if this is the case please let me know. And if anyone is going to England please pick me up a full set of Addi circs - every size in, oh lets say a 32" cord - thanks, that would be real helpful. :)

So - anyhow, this pattern is a bit of a mess but hopefully has enough room for a bit of fudging. I decided to start with size 11's and work my way down through the next nine needle sizes. Hope this works. I'm trying to stick closer to the millimeter size & forget the needles sizes. Supposedly the UK equivalent of a (non-existent) US size 12 is 8mm which is actually a US size 11 so that's what I started with. Confused yet? Well, I just decided to start the project in a way which seemed logical and then hope it doesn't turn out to be a huge mess! The knitting itself is no big deal - just knitknitnkit and then divide for armholes and more knitknitknit.

I guess this is my first official "Stashalong" project since it is the first I have actually started since I joined. I will try to post a pic soon....

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

My First Meme

Ok - maybe some of you have noticed that I don't do memes. It's usually because I am either too shy to just join in "unasked" or I think they are kind of stupid (no offense, it depends on what the meme is!) but this one I just couldn't pass up. Probably because it is out of left field, completely wierd and totally creative. I have played along so far on Laura's blog (where I first saw it) and on Jennifer's blog. I hope I don't wig people out with the stuff I come up with - this is a chance to let your imagination run wild! :)

So here's the meme:
If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, even if we don't speak often, please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL MEMORY OF YOU AND ME. It can be anything you want--good or bad--BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE. When you're finished, post this on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you.

**I think I will give a little prize to the person who comes up with the best fake memory of me that could have actually happened to me. Don't let this limit you to the probable - I've had a varied life!**

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Odds & Ends

Pausing in my Harry Potter knitting to photograph snuggling puppies.

My Shoalwater shawl - which I haven't touched since I started Harry Potter...I didn't have the extra hands to stretch it out to show off the pattern, but the photo is fairly representative of the colorway.

And lastly, simply because I enjoy a good revenge story...It's called karma people - and I'm glad to see it is alive and well in America!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I finally have a button!

Thanks hubby!

If you want to use it to link to me please save it to your computer and yaddayaddayadda because of the whole bandwidth thing. Thanks!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Harry Potter and Stashalong

Here's my Harry Potter scarf in progress. It's pretty much the only thing I have been working on lately so it's rolling right along. I haven't even been knitting the socks I'm pretending I'm not knitting. But I might pick them up soon and not knit them some more.

In Stashalong news I have a class coming up at the LYS where I will be getting help for any pattern that seems strange or challenging to try to knit on my own. Now, I could knit some of the things on the sidebar just to get them finished but I don't really need any help with those patterns - just more knitting time in the day! I don't want to waste my class time on stuff I could easily knit at home. So I went through the things I have in my stash and came up with these two:
I could do either Karlsro from CTH 1 in Silk Garden 208


this Jacket from Noro 18 in Blossom #5

Both of these are "hard" because I have never knit a sweater all in one piece before. For these patterns you have to either divide and leave stitches for sleeves or pick up stitches or both. The Blossom jacket has the added problem of being knit in a circle from the outside in (I think) starting on huge needles and going down a size every couple of rows to achieve the effect of decreasing. The strange thing is that the needles that the pattern calls for don't actually exist in American sizes. I think the Noro pattern books are terribly written as well. (Not the ones by designers who work for Noro but actual pattern books put out by Noro.) On the Pro side: I've never worked with Blossom and have been wanting to. The con to that is that means possible gauge swatching. But the Blossom is gorgeous and I think the finished project (if it is possible to get a finished project from those crappy instructions) will be stunning! Another possible con is that this is yet another jacket - see sidebar for works in progress and works in finishing. Three coats and two jackets. Not one single sweater. I NEED to get over my jacket fetish and knit a damn sweater.

The Karlso has the advantage of being a well written pattern in a familiar yarn. Although I probably still have to swatch because the gauge is in some lacy stitch pattern. It's also slightly more sweatery. Still half-jackety because it is a wrap style but much closer to the goal of sweater knitting.

So what do you think?

Need Some Classic Knitting Inspiration?

Then check out the Victoria and Albert Museum's site where they show off some of their holdings, offer a space where you can share photos of your own knitting (they're making a virtual knitting museum!). There are free patterns - check out the knitting insanity from the 1940's! - knitting booklists, some blogs, how to videos..... A great site from an awesome museum. If you ever have the chance to visit the V&A - run, don't walk, to this great museum!

And look who I "met" yesterday? Christy and her two Italian Greyhounds, Callie and Merc. Knitting mom's of Iggy's are an elite group - the only other one I know of is of course Cari with her Iggy's Diego and Luna. I'm crazy in love with this breed of dogs so whenever I meet another Iggy owner I get excited! And a knitting Iggy owner - all the better! In fact, I confess I discovered the world o knitting blogs because I was surfing around the web looking for Italian Greyhounds and stumbled across Cari's website. I instantly thought - IG's - knitting - cool blog - I want one too! - and pestered my hubby until he set one up for me. (Ah... the olden days when I didn't know how to do anything bloggy on the computer - at least now I am halfway blog-literate!). Ok - one more doggy photo & then I will (temporarily) stop my Iggy raving. :)

PS - I'm happy to know that my apparently seriously huge stash has gotten some of you (Jenn) off the hook with your hubby. Glad to be of service! :)

And yes, Ramona, my stash is always that organized! It's the only reason I get away with having so much I think!

And I agree Ina, I want Stash Pride button. Now who will make us one?....

Jackie - you are welcome to come over and and roll around in my stash anytime. As long as you put it all back in it's current pristine condition! LOL!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Stash Diversion

Wow! I feel so creepily exposed showing everyone my stash.

Am I too organized? Is there really too much yarn? Are people envious or horrified? Do I dare show my knitting around bloggerland ever again? Have I alienated everyone with my mounds of Noro and heaps of Rowan? Or should I boldly proclaim: "I LOVE MY STASH!" I mean, it's obvious that I'm not REALLY ashamed to be such a hoarder - heck I display my goods right out in the open - that closet doesn't even have doors. It's practically a yarn collection, a museum of yarn. It even has it's own room for goodness sake! Agghhh! Too many conflicting emotions! Must divert everyone's attention by pulling out the secret ace I have kept up my sleeve for a few months now...

Hey look over here!!

Cute doggy photos!

Yep - Luca has a brother now. His name is Henry and as you can see they have become best buddies. Iggy's have a high body temp so they usually like to sleep snuggled up together to keep warm. Henry's solution is to just sleep right on top of Luca.

Aren't they cute?? Doggy photos solve everything, right? Right?


Monday, January 02, 2006


Sooooo...Stashalong. Alright - deep breath. In the spirit of the whole painful enterprise I decided to go ahead and "document" my stash. Besides - Kim has already been by my blog so I know she's checking up on me! ;) So here it is people - this is what were dealing with here....

My Wall of Shame/Glory - My stash!

Ok - my weak defense is that at least 75% of this yarn was actually bought for a specific project. The rest is mostly sock or lace yarn or leftovers from finished projects.

I'm not going to name everything but the major highlights are:
Top Row: Some grey Brown Sheep Co wool that was for a project that I just couldn't make work with that yarn - so that is a "homeless yarn" good stash along candidate. There is also some Green Mountain Spinnery that is projectless but that's a cotton & I'm not really sure if I even like it. It's a great yarn, I'm just finding out I'm not much of a cotton person. The Colinette, Cascade and Rowanspun are all spoken for but the new Cherry Tree Hill I got is looking for a project. The Colinette is supposed to be a wacky garter stitch scarf which I could do but I think I will be scarved out after my Harry Potter-a-thon.

Okay next row down: All Noro and all spoken for. I could knit that jacket out of Blossom I've been wanting to do.

Third row down: More Rowanspun, some Summer Tweed, some Cork, tons of Silky Wool hiding in the back :) - all spoken for too. There is some hand dyed worsted from OTR that has no project but I don't really even have any vague ideas for that yet. I probably won't use any of these yarns during the Stashalong. Silky Wool and Summer Tweed seem wrong season and I'm just not in the mood for the others.

Fourth row down: there's tons of Gedifra on this shelf - all spoken for - two huge coats and two sweaters. There's some Kureyon which I got specially for gift knitting hats and such. Some Rowan Plaid which I am already using (see sidebar) and two boxes of odds and ends. I might dive into those boxes for a hat of something. There's also some Felted Tweed which I probably won't work with right now - too lightweight.

Fifth row down: Two boxes of lace yarn, two sock yarn, some Recycled Silk, three boxes of Malabrigo (that I got when it was cheap yay!), a Fair Isle hat kit, some Rowanspun DK and a box of odds and ends. I have no project in mind for the Rowanspun but I am more likely to use the Recycled Silk. I've been thinking of making some purses.

So - that's most of my stash. There's some Biggy Print and some Elann Peruvian Highland Chunky, some more Blossom and Cash Iroha that is sitting on the floor. They are for a sweater for my hubby, a celtic poncho and a sweater for my daughter.

I also ordered (under the wire!) the yarn I will need to make my nephew's birthday present which will be the Alien Illusion scarf from SnB. I also ordered some yarn to make a Skull Illusion scarf as well.

So what will I be knitting in the next three months? Well - everything already on the sidebar I hope! I have to finish up the Tess project for my sister, several Harry Potter scarves, the Alien Illusion and Skull Illusion scarves, and something for another friend who has a birthday coming up in February. He wants a hat but I haven't chosen the pattern yet so I have no idea what that will be! I also REALLY want to get my Myrtle and Willow out of finishing mode and on my back so I can finally wear something that I made for myself!

Ok - I am now prepared for Stashalong!

***This just in***
I've already made some progress on getting rid of some stash! My hubby wanted to knit an Ipod sock so I gave him some yarn, and some more yarn until finally I just said. "Do you just want to have a mini-stash of your own?" I ended up getting rid of at least ten skeins! This counts right? The stash has moved out of my stash-space and is being knit by another knitter...that counts...it must count! :) I was careful to only give hubby enough yarn that he could fit into his closet. Just because he has a stash doesn't mean he's getting any of my stash-space!! LOL!

Something Red For Tess

Well - here's my project for the Something Red For Tess KAL (actually it's a present for my sister. I had her try it on over the holiday but of course failed to get a picture!). It is the Spiral Shell from Wrap Style in Knit Picks Andean Silk in Cranberry. I thought the yarn was only average but the pattern was very easy and very fast. Unfortunately it also came out too large! I had a wierd paranoia that it would be too small for my sister so I knit a larger size - too large! You can see that it barely stays up. Sorry for the flash that makes it look like I'm not wearing anything underneath - trust me I have on my Napolean Dynamite Liger shirt.

Anyhooo - I have two options at this point. Help me decide which to do. (And no - frogging and re-knitting the whole thing is not one of them - sorry purists!:) ) I am either going to make some twisted or braided cord to thread through the eyelet holes along the top of the design so my sister can tie the thing to any size she wants. It would make a cute sort of skirty thing using this method too. OR I can pick up and knit along the top edge making an inch or so more of ribbing and doing some heavy decreasing - and we are talking heavy here! I would possibly knit a rose to embelish the shoulder with either method.

I'm worried that the tie method would be uncomfortable to wear and that the extra ribbing method would throw the whole look out proportion and look funny.

So - which is the best idea? I need to finish this by February.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Vacation Knitting

Yes there is knitting on this knitting blog! I took several projects along on my vacation and actually got a fair bit of knitting done. I am halfway through my first Harry Potter scarf in Gryffindor colors. This is a fast knit (each section of color is about equal to one episode of Lost on dvd - give or take the times I have to stop knitting to go "No Way!") . I also cast on for my second sock (the socks I'm not really knitting) and it is progressing along just fine (probably because I'm not really knitting it). I'm very pleased with Charlene Schurch's pattern book so far. More details when I present the finished socks (which I am currently not really knitting but when they are done they may "just appear").

Here are the socks not being knitted.

**Please ignore the horribly broken and ugly thumb nail and concentrate on the serious bling bling on my finger. This was a Christmas present. It is an eternity band with the stones being my children's birthstones separated by diamonds and the whole thing set in platinum. SWEET! I have always wanted a "mother's ring". This one was designed by hubby and I and matches our wedding rings. :) Now back to the knitting...**

I also took along my Shoalwater Shawl which I totally ignored.

In honor of the massive amount of Harry Potter knitting I will be doing in the next few months I have joined the Another Weasley Along which is hosted over at The Blue Blog. I have promised Harry Potter scarves to my children's schools for their auctions and of course I can't knit Harry Potter scarves for other kids without knitting some for my own and my nephew - so I may never actually escape from this Harry Potter knitting black hole I have been sucked into. Fortunately I have at least 6 more episodes of Lost on dvd. After that I don't know, I may have to resort to watching the rest of season 8 and season 9 of Little House on the Prairie. I hope Little House works for Harry Potter knitting! ;)

I also joined the Evelyn A. Clark Knitalong because I have just completed the Leaf Lace Shawl (which is what the group is working on now) and the Shoalwater Shawl is her creation as well. I have a bunch of her patterns and I'm sure I will be knitting several of them in the future. They are very well written and pretty too. I've never done a Yahoo Groups knitalong before so we'll see how this goes. I like the blog format much better so far...

Just before I went on vacation I also joined the Stashalong that Kim is hosting over at Knitter in Progress. When I came home and checked in at the Stashalong I had a minor panic attack when I noticed that one of the rules was NO YARN BUYING FOR THREE MONTHS!!! I am going to have to ask for an exception or something because my birthday falls within those three months and my LYS gives a good discount for yarn you buy on your birthday and I can't really miss out on my one time a year when I can get a good discount can I?? Can I??? And I'm pretty sure I will need more Harry Potter yarn and I did make a promise to the schools to knit the scarves BEFORE I joined the Stashalong so what if I have to buy more yarn for that??? Help! Panic! I'm going to email Kim......

Thanks goodness I did some gratuitous yarn buying during my vacation. Well my Mom actually PAID for the yarn - I just picked it out and played the role of yarn enabler for her as well. :) My Mom knit a multi-directional scarf out of Silk Garden over the vacation - that was one visit to the (very tiny) LYS. I was restrained on that visit. I only got one skein of Cascade 220 superwash in a pretty turquoise color. Which will become a hat of some sort - possibly the Beehive hat from one of the SnB books. HOWEVER, on that first visit I did notice some lovely Cherry Tree Hill Zebra Caribe in the Moody Blues colorway. Over the next few days my Mom and I brainstormed about what I could make with that yarn - you know, IF I had bought it. Well - luckily my Mom needed another skein for her scarf and another project to keep her busy after that so back to the yarn store we went where I snatched up all of the Cherry Tree Hill I could find. I think I have 5 or 6 skeins. I'm not really sure, I was in a bit of a yarn induced high at the time. I'm thinking about making a sweater - just winging it and making it up as I go along. We'll see... I've never used any Cherry Tree Hill yarn before so this should be fun!

My Mom got the yarn to make the Poster Boy bag (also from the SnB books) so I decided I had to try felting too. Which is why I ended up also getting three skeins of Shadyside Studio Wools. I have never seen this yarn before but I like the look and feel of it as well as the colors. It is 100% wool - hence the felting idea - from the Natural Dyed line. I've got one each of Logwood (purpley color), Lac (raspberry), and Fustic (a sort of mustardy yellow). I think I will make a simple striped bag using one of the SnB felted bags as a general guide.

Somehow some sock yarn also jumped into my bag. It's some Regia Multi Effekt which I am pretending I might make into socks for one of the men in my life but will hopefully end up for me. :)

My Mom claims that teaching me to knit has been a hardship on her budget....

I have decided that 2006 should be the year of me. Seriously, 95% of what I made last year was for other people. And while I enjoy giving - and my hand knit scarves and hats were very much appreciated by all my in-laws and family - my head is cold too! My feet are cold! I don't have any sweaters! I need some hand warmers! So, step aside people it's all about me for now!!

Any votes on how fast that resolution will crumble?? Especially since I have a nephew with a birthday coming up and Harry Potter scarves to knit for auction (did I mention those are gi-normous??)

2005 Books

Many bloggers out there are posting lists of their finished objects for 2005. I would have a hard time doing that since I didn't really keep track of everything I made this year! I gave away the vast majority of the things I made so it would probably take me an hour to remember them all. So instead - in the spirit of my other blogging home Knit the Classics - I am presenting my list of books I read this year. Non-fiction is in green.

1.Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde (excellent as usual)
2.Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (a good book but didn't live up to it's hype)
3. Lizzie by Frank Spierling (about Lizzie Borden - not a very good book but I have always been fascinated with that case - probably because i heard about it as a kid and freaky stuff you hear when you are little seems to stick with you)
4. Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding (this book was okay - a bit of a guilty pleasure I guess like watching episodes of Breaking Bonaduce or something)
5.Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the People's Temple by Deborah Layton (another gruesome event that I learned about as a child - I have never forgotten the news footage I saw of those poor people lying dead in the hot sun - this book was sad mostly because it revealed the desperate emptiness that leads people to join cults)
6. The Queen's Fool by Philippa Gregory (another slightly fluffy book but a darn good read nonetheless)
7. The Children's Blizzard by David Larkin (this was about the freak storm that killed so many people in 1888 - another story I learned about as a child - probably from watching Little House on the Prairie! - a good book but a bit too much on the technical side)
8. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (liked this one alot - sort of an un-put-downable read - great story telling)
9. The Fiend Inhuman by John Maclaughlin Grey (I'm a bit ambivalent about this one - it started off slow and some of the writing was too obviously "writerly" if that makes sense but the overall story was very good)
10.Conclave by Roberto Pazzi (I had high hopes for this one - who wouldn't like a story about conclave process getting bogged down - what an excellent opprotunity to explore all kinds of issues - but the story itself was flat and I ended up just hoping it would be over soon so I could read something else!)
11.Diana's Nightmare: The Family by somebody I can't even remember (okay I'm coming out of the closet on this one - I read just about every book on Princess Diana I can find - it's an obsession, I admit it! - this book was about as good as you would imagine)
12. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Anne Burns (I liked this book in spite of myself - it is really too "writerly" as well but you couldn't help but like it)
13. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman: An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aidan (I shouldn't even admit to reading this book - it was pretty awful - I'm on an endless quest to read a good Austen sequel)
14. Fitzwillaim Darcy, Gentleman: Duty and Desire by Pamela Adian (see above except this was even more far fetched than the first! - that said I probably will read the last one - I can't help myself!)
15. Queen Victoria's Children by John Van Der Kiste (great book despite the errors the authors sometimes lets sneak by him)
16. Princess Victoria Melita by John Van Der Kiste (great book again - fascinating history)
17. Middlemarch by George Eliot (this was a re-read and even better the second time around - this book would make my top 25 of all time for sure)
18. Lost Prince: The Unsolved Mystery of Kaspar Hauser by Jeffrey Moussaieff (another crazy story I heard of in childhood and believe me there is much more to the story than is usually told! - this was an excellent book which proved the story to be true and that he actually was the hereditary Prince of Baden - with real evidence not just surmise)
19. City of Light by Lauren Belfer (I don't usually read stories with an American theme so this was a departure - it was good but predicatable)
20. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (another re-read and top 25 of all time book - run to the sotre and get your copy now!)
21. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling (I amazed my family by reading this book in three days - but seriously, we all know Harry Potter is literary crack! You can't help but be addicted.)
22. Diana: The Last Word by Simone Simmons (my other addiction - all I can say is that I hope this really is the last word from this "friend" of Princess Diana - most of this book is BS)
23. The Lost Fortune of the Tsars by William Clarke (I was hoping this book would be more interesting - certainly full of facts but a pretty blah read)
24. The Firm by Penny Junor (another Royal Family book by a famous suck up of an author - many grains of salt taken with this book)
25. The Lost King of France by Deborah Cadbury (this book was awesome - I learned tons of new things and it was well written)
26. Nectar From a Stone by Jane Guill (this was a middling book - liked the characters but the writing was too self-conscious)
27. The Rose of York: Love and War by Sandra Worth (a terrible book about Richard III - please! give me a break here & try throwing in some reality next time)
28. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (this was a re-read and better the second time around - the psychology in this book is really deep)
29. A Hapsburg Tragedy: Crown Prince Rudolph by Judith Listowel (a painfully boring book - how could the Mayerling tragedy be made so boring?? - please someone write a good book on this subject!)
30. Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier (this was a great book - I could hardly put it down!)
31. The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier (not as good as Angels but still a great read)
32. Afterimage by Helen Humphreys (way too "writerly" - could have been a great book because I liked the characters & plot but something about the writng was too precious)
33. The Illuminator by Brenda Rickman Vantrease (I liked this book even though it was ultimately unsatisfying - I would like to read more from her though)
34. The Beggar's Throne by David Falconieri (I love Edward IV so I was hoping this book would be better - it was middling)
35. Dared and Done: The Marriage of Elizabeth Barett Browning and Robert Browning by Julia Markus (this was a good book but a bit tedious - I have read ones on the Browinings I liked better - this one was good for the background of Elizabeth's family)
36.The Golden Warrior by Hope Muntz (a very good book about the Norman Invasion and William and Harold- I loved the way this was written)
37. Harold: The Last Anglo Saxon King by Ian Walker (a bit dry but fact filled)
38. Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert Massie (a re-read for my NaNoWriMo project - a great story)
39. The Last Empress by Greg King (great book on Alexandra - one of my favorites)
40. A Lifelong Passion (excerpts from the diaries and letters of Nicholas and Alexandra - great sourcebook)
41. Alexandra: The Last Tsarina by Carolly Erickson (be careful with this one - she is a bit loose with her facts and sources)

I also have three books in progress - one about the abdication of Edward VIII, one about Anne Boylen and one about Rasputin - all non-fiction.

So this year I read 41 books (that I kept track of) which beats last year when I read something like 35, although those books were on average longer I think. The general trend this year was more fiction (mostly historical), a few throwaway fluff reads and fanfiction, and a good helping of non-fiction books generally on royal subjects. (I highlighted the Princess Diana and Royal Family books as non-fiction alothough they really are at least half fiction.) Oberall this is a fairly good representation of what I like to read.

Happy New Year Everyone and Happy Reading in 2006!