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.