Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Historical Post #3

I'll double-check, but I do believe this is the last of the old news posts that never made it to the Blog proper, although the title implies I had more to say, so maybe not

Originally Titled "Gobsmacked All Over Again, part 1."

August 20, 2011

The Princess and I stole away to Knitapalooza (known to the rest of the world as Stitches Midwest). We've done this for the last 4 or 5 years. My mother, sister and nieces meet us there.  We rent hotel rooms. We have a knitting/girls' escape with classes and yarn and good food and room service for breakfast.

I truly love Stitches Weekend.  I love shedding all my responsibilities. I love the Market.  I love that we take the weekend (although now my ambition is to get there on the Thursday, when it opens). I love that I  learn something new every time.  I love room service (No, really, I love room service - someone else cooks your food, brings it to your room and then comes back and takes the mess away.  It is my firm belief that there is room service in heaven.).

I still haven't gotten up the nerve to sneak a camera in, though, so we'll just have to make do with my after the fact photos.

Class this year was Kathy Zimmerman's Ruffle, Frill and Scalloped Edgings

I'm afraid I'm no longer sure which was which. The Princess took the class, too.  It was humbling to receive proof positive that she is a much faster and better knitter than I.  You'll have to take my word for it.

In a true miracle of self-restraint, the only yarn I bought this year is for gifts, which, as we all acknowledge, doesn't count toward stash accumulation.  It also means I can't show it to you.

Actually, now that I think about it, I might have bought some yarn for charity,

but that doesn't count as stash, either.

Okay okay, okay.  So I might have made one measly personal yarn purchase, a mere single skein.

Silk Merino worsted from Ellen's 1/2 Pint Farm in Norwich VT, 1375 yards.

Yeesh.  Some people and their expectations of full disclosure.

Nothing like getting the past out of the way before the New Year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Tis the Season

Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming from tender stem hath sprung.
Of Jesse's lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah 'twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the Virgin Mother kind.
To show God's love aright, she bore to us a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, I hope it's filled with joy (and knitting).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's Coming on Christmas

I was so smart. I scheduled the cleaning people to come in this week.  Too bad my house is nowhere near ready to be cleaned.   I have Christmas decoration boxes on the dining room table, wrapping paper and presents on the bed, cards strewn across the kitchen table (I know I had two boxes, I know I did, but can only find one and so am frantically scrambling to find the extras from previous years). Ah well, at least the bathrooms will be clean and the floors washed.

At the moment, I've been ousted from the Kitchen, so thought I'd update the four pitiful pieces I manged to finish in time for the Christmas Market. I never did finish either the pink thing or the red thing.

Apple Green Cowl.
Pattern: Cowl'd and Frosty Morning (free!).  Just followed the directions after adjusting my needle size and took what came out.
Yarn: Dream in Color Groovy (bulky weight) in Happy Forest, one skein.
Needles: Addi Turbo's. US 11/8 mm.

Infinity Scarf
Pattern: Purl Ridge Scarf by WestKnits (Ravelry Link) (also free!) with modifications for bulky weight yarn.  Basically, I guessed. Figured what I thought my gauge might be and cast on accordingly (124 stitches?), hoping to get at least close to the dimensions recommended by the pattern.  Did only three repeats and bound off, which left me with about 2 yards of yarn.
Yarn: Tess Designer Yarns Superwash Merino Bulky, in Cobalt, almost exactly 2 skeins.
Needles: Addi Turbo's US 11/8mm.

The Grey Cowl
Pattern: I kind of made it up as I went along.  I know it's 2 x 2 ribbing, and the third rib is twisted every other row, but I can't remember what I cast on for, somewhere between 40 and 50 stitches.  Then knit until I ran out of the alpaca.
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Charcoal and Blue Sky Alpaca Melange in Licorice, double stranded.
Needles: Addi Turbos, US 10/6mm.

The Cedar Leaf Shawlette (yes, that one!)
Pattern: The Cedar Leaf Shawlette.
Yarn: Handmaiden Lady Godiva in Woodland.
Needles: I forget. I would bet US 8/5mm, but maybe US 7/4.5mm.

I'm sorry to report I haven't a clue what my gauge was on any of these projects, so take the needle sizes with a lot of salt.  I knit American style; my knitting is tight.

Two of these, the Cedar Leaf Shawlette and the Green Thing, I brought along to the Market thinking they would maybe help other knits to sell, but figured I'd be taking them home once the Market was over. The Green Thing because it was, well, eye-searing, and the Cedar Leaf Shawlette because no one would pay the price I put on it. They were the first to go.  Good thing I'm not in retail anymore.

All of which is well and good, but doesn't answer the burning question of the season - will I get a red sweater knit by Saturday? Or should I give up and scout the early sales?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Single Shot

I need the reassurance.  I'm not a total slacker.  I do have some things to offer the Christmas Market.  Just not as much as I had hoped.

Here's a picture.

If the Internet ever decides to let me in for a prolonged period of time (say, more than 20 minutes or so). I'll post details.

Is there a patron saint of computers?  I may need an intercession. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Test Patterns

No, I haven't abandoned the blog again.  My Internet has gone all wonky and will hardly let me in. This will, of necessity, be brief.

Spending one's days with Tech Support eats in to one's charity knitting time.  Knitting like the wind isn't really a possibility for The World's Slowest Knitter.  She needs to find some knit-in-one-night patterns.

Hope these will work.  I'll let you know.  More later.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Found It, a.k.a. Semi-Historical Post #2

Ha!  I knew I had written something about the Super-Secret Knitting Present before.  I wrote it mostly to show off my row-counter, but also to remind myself why I couldn't cast on for a red sweater yet.  Since I feel, if anything, more miserable this morning than I have for the past two days -- they were apparently only the opening salvo-- you'll have to content yourself with this snippet.

Originally Titled, "No, It's Not Kokopelli"

Dated 11/19/2011

Perhaps the real impediment to my red cardigan is the super secret Christmas gift I'm supposed to be knitting, symbolized here by my handy-dandy row-and-repeat counter.

Note that "supposed." I'm finding this four-row sixteen-stitch repeat fairly tricky.  I think it's a combination of the difference of only three stitches per row, and every row (including the wrong-side rows) being different by three stitches.  I need to Pay Attention, which slows down productivity considerably.  There have been evenings where I've knit 12 or 16 rows only to get a single repeat knit correctly. Which explains why I need the additional visual the counter provides to prove that I do, indeed, progress.

I'm pretty sure I'll persuade myself to go ahead with a red sweater soon, if only to give myself the break of some mindless knitting. I just need to get a little further along.  Sadly, as the above shows (and this is as much of a hint as you're going to get until after Christmas), I've only knit 21 repeats out of the remaining 50 I need to knit before I can knit the last 36 rows.

I love my row-and-repeat counter, which explains why you needed to read a post about lack of progress on a project that you already know I finished.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Score

I ignored my own very excellent advice and decided to push forward on the Monteagle bag yesterday.   This morning I forged ahead on the bind-off - and found that I've lost two stitches.  An examination of yesterday's knitting revealed some really wonky stuff, and I realize I have no recollection of what I thought I was doing or how this extremely odd section of knitting happened.

I should listen to myself.

Encouraged by what I thought was my success in pushing the Monteagle bag toward completion, I worked on the Super-Secret-Present Knitting Project.  That went a little better. 

Then again, it was later in the day and I suspect the antihistamine was wearing off.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


I have mine set for today.

First, I should probably tell you that I have some Super-Secret-Present Knitting that I need to finish.  I know. This is the first you've heard of it.  It involves charts.

It's close.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

Second, I need to finish the Monteagle bag.  DianeH,  in the comments, assures me that it grows.  I still feel the need to add to it; my veil stitches are pretty much already stretched out.  I'm pretty sure this will involve the addition of a section of right-and left-crosses.  The alternative is to invent some open stitches of my own and we all know how possible that is.

The only impediment to these goals?  I have a massive head-cold.  Knitting convoluted stitches and from charts may be fraught with more perils than I am in a position to cope with.  Kind of like that sentence, which looks wrong to me, but I can't figure out where.  I suspect it has something to do with the preposition at the end.

In No Fond Return of Love, Barbara Pym observes that "Life's problems are often eased by hot milky drinks." It could be that a more attainable goal would involve cups of tea and old Castle episodes.

Monday, December 05, 2011

What Was I Thinking?

This chews rope, and at the moment that's the kindest thing I can think of to say about this pattern.  I started with verve and enthusiasm.  By 2 PM Friday afternoon it looked like this.

This is what happens when you start thinking the pattern isn't so bad, and that however dreadful the right crosses are, they're a piece of cake compared to the knitting through the back loop, double yarn over, knitting two together through the back loop with a double yarn over that the left crosses require (not necessarily in that order), so you blink once and look at your knitting to find that three (or maybe two) ( or maybe four) (it's hard to tell with all those double wraps) stitches have fallen off your needle and you have no idea how to read the knitting and pick them up.

Things are better this morning, although we had a similar scene on Saturday when I finished the second set of horizontal stitches and only had 83 instead of 84.  I never did figure that one out, just gave up and skipped the last psso, figuring the join looked wonky anyway, and this would just look wonky in a little different way. 

Turns out, it's wonky in a little worse way, but now that I'm past the veil stitches, there's no way I'm going back to try to fix it.

My current dilemma?  It's small.  At least, I think it's small. All those loose stitches make it hard to know for sure, but I am somewhat concerned that I've finished the veil stitches (yes, I know I have 4 rows instead of 2, that's because I made them half as long as the pattern called for) and I still have 70 grams out of a 100 gram skein.  I can't imagine the last four rows (something called a bind-off stitch and again involving double yarn-overs) and the garter stitch handle (even if it is supposed to stretch out to 20 inches) are going to need more than twice the amount of yarn than the body of the bag.

I truly despised the right- and left-cross stitches, but find I am contemplating doing one and a half sets (one right, one left, one right) before I go into the final stretch.

It really does look that small to me, but then again, maybe I'm still not thinking straight. 

Friday, December 02, 2011

Another Confession

I kind of inadvertently poached a bag this summer.  A very cool and not replaceable because it came from an event kind of bag.  Had I said, "This isn't mine," instead of  "Is this for me?" I wouldn't be in this fix.  Had the owner of said bag given me a lecture on avarice or offered it in such a way that I could have back-tracked, I wouldn't be in this fix.  She was so warm and gracious about it, though, that I felt I would be even more badly behaved if I refused to take it. As things stand, I've been feeling wildly guilty a little uneasy ever since.  She's coming into town next week and I think I have finally come up with the salve my conscience needs. 

I could knit her a bag.  It, like the original, would not be replaceable. It would be cool. It would offer back what I probably really shouldn't have appropriated in the first place.

I decided, for lots of reasons, on the Monteagle Bag from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. It looked cool (see above requirement).  It was Anne and Kay.  I haven't knit a Mason-Dixon pattern in a while (and no, I am still not willing to talk about the state of the mitered square blanket, so don't ask). Besides, I actually have a stash of Euroflax Sport that I need to start knitting up.

I scanned the Ravelry projects for tips.  Provisional cast-on to do a three-needle bind-off instead of sewing up at the end?  Sounds good to me; three-needle bind-offs are fun.  That, and I don't really trust my whipstitch to hold up under pressure. Then I got to all these, well, I can only call them grim prognostications. Warnings.  Caveats about the "trippy" stitches.

No way, I thought.  This is Anne and Kay.  This will be a great knit.  I did my cast on and knit the first four rows last night.  Then I got to the 5th row.  The 6th row is no better.  Neither is the 7th.  Need I go on?  Go ahead.  Take a look. There's a link to a free copy of the pattern here (scroll down to below the picture).  I'll wait.

Now all those warnings about dropped stitches and video tutorials make sense, don't they.  This is going to be an even better conscience-salver than I realized.  It might even cross the line over into penance. 

The subtitle of the books reads "Patterns, Stories, Pictures, True Confessions, Tricky Bits, Whole New Worlds, and Familiar Ones, Too."  (Italics mine.)  Indeed.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Real Wool-peddler's Shawl

Here's the part where I cast about for someone else to blame.  I choose the Scarlet Knitter and her red Tehri shawl.  I thought I liked the subdued Tehri-variations on Cheryl Oberle's Wool-peddler's Shawl, a la Kay Gardiner. Months ago though, when I saw the Scarlet Knitter's version, I lost my heart.  I wanted a red shawl, except I really didn't want to knit another Tehri version.  The green shawl was languishing while I tried to steel myself to frog it.  To cast on, even for a red version, seemed foolhardy.

In Folk Shawls, Cheryl Oberle notes that what made a Wool-peddler recognizable in the crowded market was the color of her shawl.  It was red.  As far as I was concerned, that meant I could cast on any shawl and as long as it was red it would still be a wool-peddler's shawl.

So I cast on for Mara from Madelintosh, a most aggravating pattern.  It's free, and sometimes you get what you pay for. Poorly written to begin with, the new versions that purported to address errors in earlier versions did not. Even more annoying, the directions were (and still are, at least on Version 4) for a variation of the shawl pictured on the pattern. Not pleasant, not pleasant at all.  Thank heavens for the Raveller's who figured out the the pattern and posted enough information for the rest of us to actually knit it.  Much as I love the yarn, I will think twice, or possibly ten times, before I knit another Madelintosh pattern.

With all that said, behold the Mara shawl

Proof positive that while I've been trying to get back to the blog, I've been knitting. Miracles do happen. 

Not blocked.  No ends sewn in.  So I can't give final dimensions nor properly call it a finished object, yet.

Pattern: Mara by Madelintosh (go look at the projects on Ravelry first, as in do some extensive research).
Yarn: Madelintosh, Tosh Vintage in Tart, 4 skeins and the start of a fifth for the bind-off because I was too lazy to rip back and reclaim the yarn and had an extra skein, anyway.
Needles:  Addi Turbo circulars, 40" by the end, US 9/5.5 mm. 

Changes:  I've decided I don't like holes in my solid fabric shawls anymore, so I did mirror imaged M1 increases, lifting the bar from the front for the two increases before the center stitch and from behind for the two after the center stitch.  Once I finished the K1P1 section, I only increased stitches at the edges, not up the center.The ribbing along the edges is not 2 by 2 as specified in the pattern, its P2,K2,P1,K1 up until the center spine, then mirror-imaged. 

Isn't it beautiful?  Now you know the source of my desire for a red sweater.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I was almost ready to publish the last of the historical posts, the one that would bring you up to date on this year's Stitches Midwest and was quite pleased with myself for posting on four consecutive days for the first time in who knows how long.  It needed one more picture, but I couldn't find the one I wanted.  No problem, I figured.  I'd just take another.  Then I made the dismaying discovery that the object I sought was not where I thought I left it. You may think I am unreasonably disturbed about this.  Abject is, after all, a pretty strong word, meaning to be brought low in condition or status, contemptible, miserable, wretched.  Let me tell you the story.

Truth be told, the summer of 2011 was not the best summer of my entire life. Not the worst, either, but I said yes too many times.  Conned myself that since commitments did not actually overlap or conflict that I could handle it.  I suppose I did, but it wasn't pretty and frankly, by the time Galena and then Stitches Midwest arrived I was pretty wrung out. 

It may be that I was therefore disproportionately touched by the fact that the Girl Wonder* sent a package to the Princess that was not to be shared until we were at Stitches and dispensing party favors (which I can't show you, because it would spoil some surprises for her).  The contents did not disappoint.  Inside were knitters pins, once for each of us --that would include my sister and the Eldest Niece -- tiny balls of different colored yarn, stuck through with tiny knitting needles made from toothpicks with different colored beads for the tops and threaded onto tiny safety pins so we could wear them.  Girl Wonder had made them.  I wore mine all through Stitches.

This one is not mine.  This is the Princess's.  Mine was a warm and beautiful golden amber sort of brown and the beads on my  knitting needles were red.  It looked smashing against the blue of my hand-knit sweater.  By the time I was ready to take a picture for the Stitches post, though, I had lost one of my needles. I put my pin (the best of the lot, I can assure you) someplace safe (I thought) while I either located my lost needle or replaced it.  Instead I've lost the whole pin.

I could just spit nails. I'm so sorry, Girl Wonder.  Would I be out of line to note that Christmas is coming?

* Right. I promised an explanation. Well, the Princess, during her sojourn on the other side of the pond was, for reasons that are lost to me, "Batman."  Batman's companion is Robin, the Boy Wonder.  The Princess companion, however, is female.  Hence, Girl Wonder. I'm rather proud of it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

P.S. to Semi-Historical Post #1

I realise I forgot to mention:

Best party bags, ever!

The recycled Sari Silk from the Oldest Niece is destined to be used in a Scribble Scarf, replacing the one that disappeared lo, these many months ago, as soon as I locate an appropriate co-ordinating yarn.

The mini crochet hook and the WIP needle holder (the tube thingy by the Tsock Tsarina) are from my sister.  Strangely, while my full size crochet hooks tend to disappear, I manage to always be able to find that bitty stitch-picker-upper.

The Jennie the Potter stitch-markers, courtesy of the Princess and the Girl Wonder (I'll explain in a later post) actually came in a set of 6(5?). (Hey, I've had them for over a year.) (And I'm oldish) (And they've been dispersed across various Works in Progress.) (I'm impressed I was able to track down three of them.)  I particularly like the little stitch instructions on the back.  Not just K for knit.  Each marker has a different abbreviation, like SSK or Cb F.

There. You're brought up to speed on Stitches 2010 (in other words, I'm done gloating).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Semi-Historical Post #1

Originally titled "Backstory."
 October 8, 2011

The problem with neglecting one's blog is that after a while updating begins to Loom. After a while, I sit here staring at a blank screen, overwhelmed by how much I haven't written.  A backlog of seemingly mammoth proportions accumulates. Then there's the whole guilt factor.  Of late, blogging has felt frivolous, an activity in which I do not deserve to indulge,  When did that happen?   After a while, one forgets that one began subjects which one never finished, like Stitches Midwest.

From last year.


Last year's class from Sarah Peasley was all about Lord Kitchener.  We did a section of stockinette rows to stockinette rows as a little warm-up and then went into what I can only call Extreme Grafting.  Over there on the right side of the left-hand swatch?  Not only is that grafting stitches to rows, what looks like a fold is actually a grafted hem.  Along the top of the left hand swatch? That's grafting a picot hem.

I expect it's obvious from the right hand swatch that my attempt to graft 1x1 rib was less than successful.   I can, however, attest to the fact that it is possible.  I saw the swatches Sarah Peasley had, other members of the class managed it, and I have the instructions, should I ever feel an overwhelming need to do so.

The highlight of last year was, of course, the brain-washing indoctrination of another sane woman into the the whole knitting thing. It also, however, started a trend that has become the standard here at Chez Woolgathering. 

Buy patterns, not yarn.

Not that I didn't buy yarn, it's just that I bought patterns to use up the yarn I have on hand, too.  I know my stash may not rival  that of a lot of Serious Knitters, but there's enough of it that I feel compelled to hide it when non-knitters come to the house. That attests to a pretty impressive stash, especially considering the speed with which I knit.  My Stitches yarn acquisitions last year, then, didn't involve much in the way of Yarn Pr0n.  Note the "much" because of course I have some to offer. I just bought few, and of small(ish) quantities,
in support of

 -Ta da! - patterns.

We are not going to go in to how many of these patterns I have actually knit.  I begin to think I have only found a new way to stash. 

I wonder if 3-inch binders ever go on sale oat Office Depot?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Needs Must

That was a lot of knitting around that chocolate turkey.  It's all destined for local charity.  Very local.  There's a leak in the roof of our National Historic Landmark church building and the parish, like everyone else these days, is strapped.  A clever parishioner came up with the idea of a Christmas market to raise some cash.  So, with the conviction that if you make it they will buy, The Princess and I have embarked on an epic journey of small knitted objects.  She, with a stash of hats (sorry Afghans for Afghans, charity begins at home), is ahead of the game.  I, on the other hand, must start knitting as fast as I can, and we all know that's not very fast.

The item that is currently consuming my attention is the pink thing.  It's supposed to be the Winding River Cowl from Knitting Daily. Already at the time of the turkey picture I was having issues.  It calls for a three needle bind-off and I really think it wants to be grafted. What, after all, is the point of making the cables reversible if the piece itself is not, in point of fact, going to be able to be reversed.  

The pattern tells you to end the cowl at row 14 of a 28 row pattern repeat. Let me explain a little bit about the construction of this thing. The cables alternate position, one set (the row 14 crosses) lining up on the right of the piece and one set (the row 28 crosses) lining up at the left. By ending with row 14, I'll have two right side cable patterns in a row.  That can't be right. 

Let's not even go into the lack of joy I'm finding in a 12 over 12 cable.

These are annoying, but I can work with or around them.  I can, for example, refuse to end the piece at row 14, ending at row 28 instead and then Kitchener the ends together. There are, however, other issues which are my own fault. I chose a yarn that was drastically incompatible with the recommended yarn (one skein of Handmaiden Lady Godiva at 250 meters, 20 stitches/4 inches instead of two 150 meter skeins of Berrocco something or other at 22 stitches/4 inches). (Let's not think about how ironic it is that I, the world's tightest knitter, am actually getting the recommended gauge for my yarn.)  I knew it would be wider than specified in the pattern, and at the time I started it, estimated it would be shorter, but not impossibly so.  The plan was to skip the twist that would make the cowl into a mobius.  This would, I hoped, mean I could work a shorter piece but still get an attractive, wearable item.

Today I checked the pattern errata.  Turns out the cowl needs 3 skeins of Berrocco whatever.  That means 450 meters of yarn, not 300.  No way can I fudge my single 250 meter skein of Lady Godiva into something even close.

I think I'll go knit on the black thing while I contemplate the need to order another skein of Lady Godiva and debate whether I could get a pair of fingerless mitts out of the left-overs.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What I Want for Christmas*

Ordinarily, it's impossible for me to post on a Saturday, since the Resident Adolescent Male, a.k.a. the Lord Protector, confiscates the computer, ostensibly for homework and long-term projects, although I sure notice a lot of YouTube and Hulu in the history.  Since, however, I didn't manage to post all week, I'm asserting my parental right to boot him off for a while.  I figure he can go do something low-tech, like read a book. You know, with pages.

So, about Christmas.

I want a red cardigan.  I know I do because I've been accruing a substantial cache of red yarn for quite a while now. We're talking serious yarn accumulation here.  A hoard of red worsted that would make the most acquisitive knitter blush. Stockpiles of it. When the aliens invade, if you want red yarn, here is where you want to be. I have Madeltinetosh Tosh Worsted (superwash merino) in Tart (from when there was no such thing as with Tosh Vintage), Velvet in Squoosh Fiberarts Ultra Worsted (merino, cashmere, and nylon) and Sweet Georgia Yarns Superwash Worsted (another superwash merino) in Rage, all in generous quantities. 

Strangely, the mountain of yarn those three skeins represent hasn't stopped me from periods of Internet self-indulgence. I really have no business hunting high and low for Fiberphile Super Squish Worsted in Rosegold (thank heavens Eat.Sleep.Knit. only has it in Super Squish Sock).  Nor to be haunting Miss Babs, frustrated that there are no skeins of Yowza in Vlads

Despite the yarn lust, I know I'd be cranking along if only I knew which red to pick.

Maybe what I really want for Christmas is a green cardigan? 

Oh wait, I forgot. I have almost as many greens as I have reds.

*This is really just an exercise to remind myself why I do not need to buy more yarn. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Historical Post #2

Originally Titled "Steal Away."

August 30. 2011

Before I tell you about Stitches, I have to tell you about Galena, which is where a fair bit of the sweater knitting I hadn't told you about before happened.

We snuck away for a long weekend right before the Lord Protector had to start school for the year.  It was wonderful. We went back to the Galena Historical Museum and saw their new high-tech presentation on Galena's most famous citizens (that would be Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia).  Visited the American Old Fashion Ice Cream Parlor for home-made ice cream (twice). Walked all over the town and even made it to the Blacksmith Shop.  Yes, Virginia, Galena has an actual working blacksmith.  It was wonderful.

Most importantly, Fiberwild is still there. 

 Does souvenir yarn count toward stash?

What if I'm already knitting it?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

"Days, Weeks, Months, Who Knows?"

So says Eeyore in Disney's Winnie the Pooh. Although I can no longer remember the context, it seems an appropriate title.  I took a look at my blogger "Drafts" folder.  Lo and behold, I have not completely neglected the blog all this time.  In fact, I have a number of posts that I started and never released.  Over the next while, as I get my blogging life back in order, I propose to add the pictures and post them in the order I wrote them.  It won't get me anywhere near the NaBlPoMo that November is supposed to be all about, but it just may get me back into the land of the blogging. They are brief, but they were meant to be shared. 

Herewith, Historical Post Number 1:

Originally titled "Ambition."

August 23, 2011

What is it about a finished object that makes me want another? Shouldn't I be resting on my laurels? Nibbling bon-bons while I marvel at the wonder that is she who created something out of sticks and string?  Instead I've added three new patterns to my queue, downloaded four more to my pattern collection, and am seriously eying another one.  Or maybe six.

The most astonishing thing, though?  The latest finished object is a sweater for me.

That's not the best part.  I finished in time for Stitches Midwest, with a full three days to spare.  All right, all right. Strictly speaking, I admit there are some ends still to be woven in, and mind you, I may yet change the buttons, but by my definition it is finished in time for Stitches.  Do you  realize this will be the first time I'll have a handknit to wear there? You would think I was a real knitter or something.

Pattern: Neck Down Scoop Neck Cardigan from Knitting Pure and Simple, by Diane Souci (available at Patternfish).

Yarn: Mountain Colors, Mountain Goat in Dusty Blue.

Needles: The ever faithful Addi Turbos, US 8/5 MM.

Modifications - My shoulders are more vertical than horizontal.  I added short-rows -- about 2 inches worth -- to the back below the armholes.  For the first time, I have a sweater that doesn't look like the sides are longer than the back.

And I did a lousy job with the buttonhole-side buttonband.  A row of half-double crochet across the top, though, and you'd almost never know it. 

Maybe I should knit another one.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Obvious Question

What else would you do once you've finished one shawl?

Has an obvious answer.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Gotta Feelin' Called the Blues

Observant knitters that you are, I imagine you noticed that the only real knitting that has happened here at Chez WoolGathering since May is the Melody Shawl. That real knitting, however, has produced that astounding, amazing thing, that Holy Grail of the Knitting World, a finished object in time for Stitches Midwest.  At least, it will be once I cut it open, knot the fringe and block it.

I have to admit, this was fun.  It shouldn't have been.  It was 800 yards of light fingering weight yarn in stockinette stitch in the round with two fiddly twisted stitches to over-look darn near every  round. It should have been onerous.  It should have been mind-numbingly boring. It should have been, at least by the second skein, a tedious exercise in discipline and determination.

I blame the yarn.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

July in a Nutshell

So that was June. I'd like to be able to say that it all slowed down in July, except it didn't. There was the parade (not a single picture this year, even though we combined the Pirate's graduation party with the picnic). There was getting the Pirate set up with his sheltered workshop, some of which involved him making his displeasure over my Phoenix trip known. Then it got just too hot (not 115 degrees F hot, but then, here in the Midwest it's not a dry heat). Too hot knit on big woolly projects.

Of course, that didn't keep me from trying.

I tried to knit on the Original Afghan in the Round and made the interesting discovery that seed stitch is hotter to knit that stockinette stitch.

I tried to knit on the Last Gasp of Winter.  That one needs to marinate while I reflect on what to use for the next solid yarn.  Decisions, decisions.

I tried to knit on The Sweater.  Did you know that contemplating 1x1 rib is just as hot as knitting seed stitch? Came as a shocker to me, too.

Which is how I came to ascertain that the Melody Shawl is the perfect July-in-Chicago-when-you're-hideously-over-scheduled knitting. 
Soft. Lightweight. And it spreads nicely when you're trapped in over-air-conditioned spaces

but scrunches up small once you've been released.

Monday, August 08, 2011

It Was a Dark and Stormy . . .*

. . . Spring.  And early summer.  So I left it all behind to go to Arizona, where dark and stormy are so far removed from reality that the words may as well not be in the  dictionary.

Arizona is interesting.  Did you know that in late June in Arizona, if you want to let your host's dog out into the (astro-turf) yard for a morning run, you need to wear shoes because the pavement and fake grass are too hot to walk on without risking injury?

Did you know that in Arizona, Saguaro cacti substitute for trees for bird's nests?

Did you know there is a cactus called Grandfather's Hair?

Did you know there is an awesome yarn shop called Knit Happens?

I got souvenirs.

The yarn is not local (it's Malabrigo sock in Arbol to feed my shawl obsession) (I thought it looked desert-y) but the stitch markers are.  Somewhere there's a little white organdy drawstring bag with the rest of them.

I tried to blog about all this while I was out there.  I just couldn't figure out how to get any pictures off my camera and onto the dinky notebook thing I'd brought along on the trip - no cord and I couldn't find a port for the camera's memory card.

Finally, let me just say in words of (mostly) one syllable,  I don't care how dry the heat is, once the temperature is over 115 degrees F, it's too damn hot.

*Second in what I hope will be a series of getting you all caught up on the last 2 months.

Friday, August 05, 2011


It was a big day.

And he did a really good job holding on to his dignity.

Until the end.

Eh. dignity is over-rated.