Monday, December 31, 2012

Taken By Surprise

One just never knows what it will take to bring one out of hiding.  I had most of a re-entry post written.  I was all set to extol the joys of selfish knitting when an email from Afghans for Afghans showed up.

"** New January Quickie, Mini-Campaign **

We have just been presented with a new opportunity to send several
boxes of wool hats, socks, and mittens (for 5-12 years) to Afghanistan
in January -- for use by girls and boys THIS WINTER.

Beginning January, we welcome wool socks (knit only/no slippers),
mittens, and hats for 5-12 years based on these same guidelines --

We are aiming to ship out a few boxes early in the week of January 7.
The second batch will go out later in January. Would be best if you
can get your item to us by mid-January. "

Not even for a4A will I knit another sock or mitten. Hats, now.

This is your basic Watch Cap as outlined in Knits Men Want, using the smallest size and the smallest stitch count (sort of).  The original pattern calls for 1x1 ribbing, which always leaves me with an almost irresistible desire to strangle myself with my circulars, so I've modified it slightly to accommodate 2x2 ribbing.  I'll be letting the yarn weight determine the size.

The green is Malabrigo Chunky Merino in Emerald with a contrast cast-on in Cascade Superwash 128 in what I'm betting is Deep Sapphire (last scrap of this yarn, no idea what it was really).  The red is Lamb's Pride Worsted in M197 - Red Hot Passion.  The last is Malabrigo Rios in Indiecita.

One down, one on the needles, and then we'll see just how freely the milk of human kindness is flowing through my veins, or if it's turned to sludge.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Not as Much Fun as it Should Have Been

Yarn - Dale Garn Heilo, red, white from Woolybaabaa
Needles - Assorted US 2/2.75 MM wooden DPNS

Notes to self - 

I don't like color work.
I don't like carrying colors in both hands because
I don't like continental knitting.
Sixty four stitches when you don't like the technique or the yarn are an awful lot of stitches.

And yet, here I've cast on for another one? 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Because some things are more important than knitting

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.  If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were.  Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind . . . ."

~John Donne, MEDITATION XVII        

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Admitting Defeat

Remember the Monteagle bag project?  In June I had another opportunity to deliver on it.  On the one hand, it could be argued that I failed; the Monteagle bag remains a hopeless tangle stuffed into the bottom of one of my myriad piles of knitting. In fact, I should probably admit to a fundamental failure because I have given up on the Monteagle Bag.  A wise decision prompted by the imminence of the Giftee's arrival and the fortuitous concatenation of circumstances that sent us to Galena for the Easter weekend.

Galena means Fiberwild and one of  Fiberwild's in-house brand kits is for a crocheted market bag.  I figured that since it's crochet, it would be fast.  I was right.  All would have been well had I resisted the little voice that said, "If I just . . . ." 

Even with tweaking, I would have finished in a timely fashion if one of my tweaks hadn't involved a second handle.  Deciding that I should be able to get a second handle after I had changed the body of the bag proved my undoing. I ran out of yarn.  A search of  the Berroco home page revealed that not a single LYS in my area carried the yarn. My only option was to call Fiberwild and order another kit, and while Fiberwild did their usual outstanding job, it still meant a one day delay between order and delivery.  Which meant I got the yarn I needed on the day I met with the intended recipient.  All was not lost.  I finished it the next day and was able to send in on with a friend who lives in the same state and who was visiting at the same time. 

A most felictous defeat (means I win).

Friday, August 31, 2012

Twice in One Month

It's the second full moon in the same month tonight.  By some definitions, that makes it a blue moon.  How can I not take advantage of it?

Actually, I just need to get the details of this project up before I forget them.

Pattern: Cosette Shawl by Never Not Knitting
Yarn:   Malabrigo Organic Cotton, two skeins in Turquesa (main color) and one skein of Pimienta (edging, which means actually a very little bit and what am I going to do with the rest of it?).
Needles: Surprisingly, not as big as I thought.  US 8/5mm Addi Turbos.

I expect to need this information, because now I have to do a picot bind-off.  I hate picot bind-offs. I anticipate this project will get shunted aside for something else in very short order.

Maybe so I can finish this?

Yarn: Handmaiden Sea Silk in Ruby
Needles: US 4/3.5mm Addi Turbos, which is surprisingly small.

As long as I knit at least a little bit on each today, that will makes two things I can now say happened (at least) once in a blue moon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I miss the Blog. Maybe it's time to do something about that? 

While I organize my knitting and my thoughts, go take a look at Matt's latest.

See you soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Posting Delayed is Posting Denied

I have a miserable cold.  For some reason this makes me need to post to the blog. I'm going to call it a sign from the knitting gods that I have been denying myself the fun of writing about knitting for too long.  Who cares that I have deadlines? Not me (not today, at any rate) (although that may be the antihistamines).

I meant to have written about this for St. Patrick's Day.  When that failed, I figured the First Day of Spring would work. When I didn't pull that one off, I thought I could get it together for the First Full Day of Spring. Then I didn't. I'm sensing a trend. Here I am instead, on a day of no particular significance whatsoever.

Back then, in late March or early April, we had a bout of unseasonably warm weather (we topped the previous high temp record of 77 degrees F by 10 degrees), and then settled into a dank, foggy, damp, only 20 degrees above the average instead of 40.  All those beautiful days of warmth and sun and not a single picture or post.  They had their influence, though.  I went with the green.

I'm still working from Knitting Plain and Simple's Neck-down Cardigan using the v-neck variation, which is where the red sweater started. It's a little trickier this time with this yarn.  While it was all purchased at the same time and from the same source, Sweet Georgia yarns don't have a dye lot and there's significant variation among the skeins.  Since I don't want the Sudden Switch Effect, where the line between skeins is as clearly demarcated as, say, the boundary between parkway and sidewalk, or land from water, or Illinois from Iowa (that would be the Mississippi) I need to be a little creative. I'm doing the Island Embrace technique, knitting from three separate skeins, trading one skein for another at the end of every row.

It works a treat to get the fabric I want, but I suspect it will come back to haunt me when I'm ready to pick up for the button and collar band. Switching the yarn every row means leaving a skein behind on every row which means carrying a strand of yarn up the side for every row.  Counting my stitches is going to involve either A) really paying attention or B) picking up from a row in rather than from the edge stitches. I'm pretty sure I'll be going with B). B) sounds easier to me, and I figure all I need to do to make up for the lost row is knit the bands a little wider. That 's a ways off though, so I'll worry about it later (Why do I hear echoes of Scarlett O'Hara -- one of my least favorite literary characters, I even prefer Ophelia and Lady Macbeth --doing her "Tomorrow, at Tara" bit?).

More pressing is the sleeves. Or, more accurately, the whole what do I do when it's time to set those stitches aside and knit only the body stitches? I'm getting close to that point and I don't want the Sudden Switch Effect here either, so I have to think about this.  The sleeves are knit in the round, I think carrying three skeins of yarn for each sleeve could get ugly, especially since knitting in the round means I can change yarns every row without doing the whole slide your stitches back along your circular to pick up the new skein thing.  Then there's my fear that if I just start knitting with 2 new skeins I'll still get sleeves of entirely different colors.  I'm wondering if, rather than starting new skeins for each sleeve and continuing on down the body with the three skeins I currently have going,  I could ease the new skeins in by using one each of the three current skeins to transition for each sleeve and the body, adding one new skein alternately for each sleeve and two for the body so I can continue with the three skein approach there.  The hope being that alternating even only two skeins for the sleeves will continue to control the over all color. Two skeins per sleeve will be easier to juggle, while knitting in the round will mean I can easily switch skeins every round.  Continuing on with three skeins for the body will at least make the edge consistently difficult, instead of difficult in two completely different ways.

All right, that was all  pretty convoluted, but I think it all makes sense in my head now and we're going to trust my head to keep it there. I foresee another entry into my knitting journal though. Let's hope that between that and the blog, I can figure out what I meant to do when the time comes.

The question being, will it still make sense when I'm over my cold?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Not Meant To Be

Sometimes, no matter how badly you think you want something, you just can't have it. Case in point.

This was an infinity scarf. It made it's first appearance here.  It's the one that's still on the needles.  The one that never got a post with details. Maybe I didn't actually love it as much as I thought I did, and it didn't get a post because it didn't get finished in time for the craft market, and so was set aside for other, more intriguing projects. 

I note that it was one of those projects I started while blogging was falling apart.  When I picked it up again in the Spring, I no longer had any idea what the pattern was. I remembered knitting from a sheet of printer paper, which argued it might have been a PDF stored on my computer somewhere.  It wasn't.  It might then have been something stored in my Ravelry Library.  It wasn't.  A prolonged and protracted search on Ravelry revealed it as a free pattern. I printed it off (again).

When I brought it out to work on this Spring, I took it along as my down-time knitting during a seminar/retreat day with 7 and 8 year olds.  One of the children noticed me knitting during the lunch break, and pretty much didn't leave my side.  She wanted to know how to do it. It was the only knitting I had with me.  What was I going to say?

All I did was show her the knit stitch, trying to remember the rhyme that everyone in the world except me was taught to knit with. Something about in, around back and somebody named Jack jumping off.  She knit on my project for the remainder of the lunch period and during free moments for the rest of the afternoon.  More, she inspired that herd instinct so strong in second and third graders, emboldening two or three other children to ask to try their hands.

By the time I got the thing home, it was pretty much unsalvageable.  Stitches had been dropped down several repeats.  Yarn overs had been lost.  At one point the yarn was cut and then tied on and then cut again.  I pulled it off the needles and unraveled it down to the second or third pattern repeat and put it aside while I did some deep breathing.  I put it aside (and here's the crux of the matter), I put it aside without the needles or the printed copy of the pattern.  We all know where this is going, don't we.

I picked it up again yesterday. Now, not only do I not know what pattern it is, I have no idea what needles to use.

Sometimes, all you can do is say good-bye and start fresh somewhere else doing something else.  Sometimes, things have to end, even if you thought you loved them.

Unless I put it in my Ravelry queue?

Friday, March 09, 2012


One would think after this many weeks that I would have finished the Circles in Squares Afghan. Not so. Instead I have once again demonstrated my complete inability to remain true to any single project.  In a truly masterly demonstration of avoidance technique, I have managed to:

cast on another shawl,

Mountain Colors Weaver's Wool in Wilderness,
pattern Weaver's Wool Mini Shawl
with numerous modifications.
start a Honey Cowl, despite my fervently expressed determination to never knit from another free Madelintosh pattern ( I will lay the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of Mason-Dixon Kay),

Malabrigo Silky Wool n Indiecita from Eat.Sleep.Knit
( a remnant from the year of the Christmas neck thingies),
knitting alternate skeins every row.
swatch for another sweater -- (which one, which one?)

clockwise from upper left, Dream in Color Classy in China Apple, Dream in Color Classy in Black Parade, Sweet Georgia Superwash Worsted in Cypress and Madelintosh Vintage in Stovepipe all from Eat.Sleep.Knit (no wonder I'm a permanent member of the 10K Club) except the Classy in Black Parade (purchased at the now defunct LYS Chicks With Sticks) --(I was going to format that as a caption, then decided it was way too long and convoluted),

and choose my next crochet afghan

courtesy of an unplanned trip to Knitche with the Pirate (no, really, this one was necessary, because the CinS afghan isn't going to eat up nearly as much stash as the pattern promised it would).

And you thought that I was silent because nothing was going on.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I'm not, not when it comes to yarn. It's just not one of my virtues.  I'm more the fits and starts kind of fiber enthusiast.  Into every crocheter's life, however, a little discipline must, alas, fall. So it is with the Blanket of Many Circles.

Despite my erratic tendencies, I'm down to the last six center motifs. All very exciting, except that all circles must get a navy border that turns them into squares. I begin to foresee another Blanket Which Must Not Be Named.  In an attempt to circumvent such an event, I'm instituting a new rule:  before I can knit a center motif (which, truth be told, is where all the fun is), I must finish at least five navy borders. There is an element of self-deception here; I'm not allowing myself to count the eight squares I have already completed.

Harsh, I know, but necessary.  There are four pattern variations.  I have six of each variation completed. Finishing five squares to every new circle means I get caught up on one of the variations before I knit the last circle (or two in the cases of variations 1 and 4) to that set. Factor in the eight completed squares that I am pretending to ignore, and I wind up way ahead of the game. 

It's really just an elaborate hoax I'm playing on myself in order to guarantee that I don't end up with 30 circles and nothing to make out of them.  One that I'm disguising as discipline.

Friday, February 10, 2012


The answer to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

On a little less cosmic level, the answer is Their Father's Broken Hand.  It involved a car (ours) or two, black ice, and a high school memory where four football players managed to slow a car with their feet on a sunny August afternoon. At least, that's what he thinks he was thinking of when he put his hand on the door latch as our car slid on the black ice and made contact with the rear bumper of the car stopped in front at the instersection on a wintery Sunday morning.  It's made life a little demanding, what with doctor's appontments and surgery and the fact that he's not allowed to drive, so if he has to be at a hearing or deposition or meeting outside the immediate (as in, accessible by public transportation) area, he needs me to drive him.

Oh, as they say, well.

All this wating around in anterooms and parking losts has, however, led to some productive knitting.  Look at this.

Is this cool, or what?  It's the Ashby Shawl by Leila Raabe for Brooklyn Tweed. Well, it will be, at any rate. Terribly clever and attention-demanding construction, which made it excellent knitting while waiting for himslef to come out of surgery.  I had originally considered some of the lacier shawls I have in my queue, then reflected on how much I don't really enjoy knitting lace and how long it had been since I had an adventure in cabling.

The yarn is a wild and irresponsible indulgence.  It Miss Babs Northumbria Aran in Navy.  That would be hand-dyed to order 3-ply superwash Blue-Faced Leicester.  The pattern only calls for 740 yards, which would mean about 4 skeins, but I am seriously considering adding in a couple border repeats, just so I can knit more with this yarn.

And yes, I really did order a whole box full.  I pretended to convince myself I needed to knit Their Father an afghan and purchased accordingly.  So much for altruism and generosity of spirit.  Apparently they fly right out the window when I am confronted by the merest whisper of a hint of Something fo Me.

Back to the cleverness of the construction.  The border is knit first.  The narrow cables are twisted on the wrong side and travel on the right.  The larger cable emerges gradually as you knit your way through the first of five charts.  The border then somehow makes a sharp turn at the third chart with the cleverness of short rows to form the point of the triangle.  Once the border is completed, the body of the shawl is knit from inside it.  Okay, I admit that piece has me a little baffled, but the knitting right now is fun and creative and I'm willing to make a leap of faith and accept that the rest of it will come out as promised.

Who knows, I may find the ultimate question to go with the ultimate answer. I'm betting it's something like, how many yards more will a knitter knit after she says, "Just one more row."

Friday, January 20, 2012

By Leaps and Bounds

I had forgotten how fast crochet goes.

And how greedily it consumes yarn.

I had some reservations about this pattern.  They were confirmed when The Princess looked at the first four squares and opined that they looked like they came from two different projects.  True enough, the pattern alternates predominately green squares with predominately rose ones. While it seemed a good idea when I chose the pattern, looking at the first four squares? Well, maybe not. 

We also discovered that some of the colors just do not play well together.  In fact, some of them need to be kept on opposite sides of the playground, or at least have a fence between them. The navy and the slightly brighter blue there in the foreground are the worst offenders.  Since they really needed to be separated, and I really needed all the squares to match, I've added an additional row of single crochet in the arbtrary color of my choice to every square. Which, of course, means I have to adjust the pattern for the final two rows, the ones that square the circles.

Then we devised a Plan. Rather than repeating the same four squares until we had enough for the blanket, we would opt for a freer, more eclectic approach. Each square will continue to contain the main color - the navy, although that may not make it as the background color -- and the two neutrals as written up in the pattern.  The other colors would be movable. I drew up a list of the colors from A to H as I had assigned them for the first four squares, then set up seven more series where I successively bumped each color down. So A became B, B became C and so on, skipping when the color choice was navy, taupe or oatmeal.  

I think I'm going to like it.

And did I mention that crochet is fast?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Something New

I fully expected to have already posted about a finished red sweater, but it's not (how's that for a mix of tenses?).  Finished, that is. I had decided on the buttons (the slightly larger not-so-shiny ones).  It was all bound off. I did one last try on and had to face some sad and sorry music.  Think Dead March in Saul kind of sad and sorry, with that whole cadence of slow inevitability thing going on. 

I want the collar to be deeper. A good thing, insofar as it means I'll probably use up all of the red yarn instead of having a useless half-skein or so left over.  It's just that this particular decision means more than simply un-binding-off. I need to shift the button holes.  I also need to keep the various stitch markers in place, which means no frogging. I have to undo stitch by stitch.  It's resting comfortably on my dining room table, half-way through the tinking process, until I get up the intestinal fortitude to finish the job.

Fortunately, winter has arrived in the Midwest big-time and I've decided what I really need to do is start an afghan.  Lately The Princess and I have stopped enjoying shoving the stash around and started to feel annoyed and embarrassed by it.  A knitted afghan could make a bit of a dent in it. I've added a couple to my Ravelry queue, downloaded a couple more, and stored some in my Ravelry library.

Then,  I rememberd one thing and figured out another.  I already have an afghan started, and crochet uses up a lot more yarn than knitting.

I need to track down three more skeins of the red, one of the blue on top of the pile, and the rest of the navy. Then I need to decide on one more color.  We're talking 30 skeins of Cascade 220 here. If I pull this off, I almost won't feel like I have to sneak yarn in here in the dead of night.

Saturday, January 07, 2012


Still stuck on the button thing.  DianeH's comment was right on target. No single button came out ahead of any other. I'm on my own.  

I have at least narrowed down my choices, though.

Neither button calls for a large button hole. Which means so I can go ahead and do the math for yo/K2tog eyelets instead of the more tedious one-row buttonhole. 

Well, at least I'll be able to finish the knitting part.

Friday, January 06, 2012


There was red knitting in the Daisy bag.  It is the red sweater.  For lack of any other inspiration, I've been knitting away at it pretty much exclusively.  Odd, since I won't need a Christmas Sweater for almost a year from now, but there. Like I said. Lack of any other inspiration.  All this monogamous knitting has, however, brought me up against design issues. For example:

Seed stitch, 1x1 rib, 2x2 rib or garter stitch for cuffs, waistband, neckband and front bands?

Decision made.

Plain cuffs or something a little different?

Decision made.

Neck band, shawl collar, pointed collar?

Decision made. By the bye, did you know that if you're working in garter stitch, you don't need to pick up the wrap together with the knit stitch? Neither did I.

All those issues settled, yet here I sit, seven rows of garter stitch and a bind-off away from a finished sweater. It's the whole button thing.

Button, button, I've got too many buttons.  I foresee a fashion consultation with The Princess and Their Father tonight.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Annual Gloat

I do have real knitting to write bout, but first , there's the obligatory "Eat Your Hearts Out/Look What I Got" post.

First of all, I forgot to tell you all about St, Nicholas this year.  You'll have to take the chocolate Santa and peppermint stick as given.

The yarn is Jade Sapphire Silk Cashmere in Anya's Garden and the pattern is the Anne Shawl by Schaefer yarns.  The thing is, on the website, the yarn looked red and blue and brownish gold. In real life, it's purple and green and brown.  I see charity knitting in my future.

Then, someone must  have heard my dismay at not getting any knitting presents last year, because this year, while they were few, they were choice.

A skein of Prism Yarns  in  .  A gift certificate to my favorite yarn store. And a knitting bag.

That knitting bag is a Daisy Bag by Offhand Designs, who were going to close when the designer/owner moved out of the country, is back, at least on a limited basis.  I've been longing for one of these bags ever since I bought one for the Princess.  I have eyed them at Stitches Midwest.  I've bookmarked them at Dreamweaver Yarns and the Offhand Designs website.  I've handled, explored, turned them inside out at Knitche.  I just couldn't ever settle on one.

Thank heavens for Christmas and sisters, or I'd still be without one. Now that I have one, though, I'm thinking about another.  There's that gift certificate, you know.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Looking Back

I'm taking a leaf out of Wooly Headed's blog this year and for the year end/beginning post, here's 2011 in review by way of the first line of each post for each month I posted.

January: It's astonishing how difficult it is to concentrate when you know water is dripping from your kitchen ceiling and has been since Monday evening.

February: We, like a wide swath of the country, have gone all white and buried, like a Currier & Ives print. It seems then particularly appropriate to tell you about our second Christmas.

March: I think I might be playing hooky.

April: This will never do. 

May: Well, while others try to track down the poem from last post (yeah, good luck with that), I'll  take you all back in time to the Green Shawl.

Then there was a lot of empty space.

August: It was a big day.

Then I disappeared again.

November: So says Eeyore in Disney's Winnie the Pooh.

December: Here's the part where I cast about for someone else to blame.

So. There you have it. Happy New Year.

From our house to yours.