October 31, 2007

I didn't really want a sweater anyway

I finally did it. I frogged Wicked. The top half just looked awful on me, and I knew I would never, ever wear it.

So tonight at SNB, I took the big step, and ripped out half of it.

I was so very proud of myself.

Finally, I was a knitter With Standards. A knitter who wouldn't settle for substandard work. A knitter who stood up for Getting it Right.

Which is all well and good. Except, I ripped out the wrong half.

You'll have to excuse me, I have some important drinking to do.

It's not a stash - it's a backup plan

In case the dead rise from the grave with a ravening hunger for human flesh today, you might want to check your odds of surviving.

Me? I’m shit out of luck.


Though if I was forced to barricade myself in my apartment to avoid the teeming masses of the undead, all that stash yarn would look less like hoarding and more like good contingency planning.

In fact, if I ever own a yarn shop, that will be my slogan: Buy today. Because tomorrow the zombies may come.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

October 25, 2007

A Wicked thing to do

I am one faux cable cuff away from finishing Wicked. It’s looking awfully pretty.

I haven’t blogged about the nearness of first sweater victory because it just doesn’t fit.

The body is perfect up to a few inches below the armpit, but then it blooms grotesquely into ginormous bagginess. Plus, the sleeves are really, really huge. It’s possible the collar also has an unpleasant Flashdance thing going on.

And just to be clear. When I say the sleeves are huge, I mean it.

They make me look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man.

Clearly, Denial is not just a river in Egypt . It is a wide and mighty river that flows right through my living room, because I knit two of these gigantic sleeves. Wicked was knit top-down, so this also means I screwed up at the very beginning when I decided how many stitches to cast on, then compounded the original screw-up as I increased and increased and increased through the yoke. I’m trying very hard not to be bitter about this.

For some reason, it cheers me considerably that my friend Kelley had much the same experience with her first sweater.

This is the first version of her baby sweater (pardon the blurry picture – the light was bad and I was laughing, cruelly).

Truly, she is my student.

I’m seriously considering ripping out both sleeves and the yoke and reknitting them in a size that will actually fit, bottom-up this time. I’ll also knit the collar on smaller needles to keep it from going all Jennifer Beals on me.

I’ve never ripped out that much work before and the idea is frankly a little nauseating. But I’d really like to have a wearable sweater.

So what do you all think? Live with it, since it’s my first sweater and all, or send it to the frog pile?

And can I just rip out the top half of a top-down sweater and start knitting it bottom-up, or will that screw up my stitches?

October 22, 2007

Plenty of yarn in the sea

Considering how long it took me to knit both these pairs of socks, I figured they deserved a proper FO post.

FO1 - Basic Socks


Pattern: 68 stitch cast on with 4-row picot edge, 19 stitches picked up at the gusset, forceful denial that the sock is miniscule throughout all stages of knitting both socks.
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Happy Stripe
Needles: Clover bamboo DPNs, size 1
Gauge: 10 st/inch
Made For: Megan (of the dainty feet), by default
Notes: on the second sock, I knit the first row of gusset stitches through the back loop, as was recommended in the Monkey pattern. This twists and tightens the stitches and makes for a rather pretty textural look. Plus, less gapping. I think I’ll do this on all my basic socks from now on.

I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have knit a bigger sock than these wee socks for Megan, because the yellow would have pooled throughout the sock, rather than just at the gusset. This pooling thing is starting to piss me off.

FO2 - Monkeys


Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Clay
Needles: Clover bamboo DPNs, size 2
Gauge: 9 st/inch in stockinette, but I purl very loosely
Made For: Me, me, me!
Notes: Again with the pooling at the gussets! The darker and lighter colors split perfectly on opposite sides...


...but as soon as I got back to 64 stitches in pattern, it went right back to semi-striping. Plus, the brown bits in the second skein (SAME DYE LOT) were much darker, so the two socks don’t match exactly. But ask me how much I love my Monkeys anyway?

Now I'm trying to make a difficult decision. Lorna’s Laces makes some really lovely yarn, and the socks wear pretty well, but I really don’t like pooling. So I’m considering breaking up with Lorna’s Laces.

But maybe I’m being unfair? LL is pretty much the only non-self striping highly variegated sock yarn I’ve ever used. So maybe ALL yarn has a tendency towards pooling and I’m just being unfair to poor Lorna’s Laces? Maybe other sock yarns have wildly different colors in the same dye lot? Maybe I should give it another chance?

But with all the lovely sock yarns out there, why knit with something that has disappointed me in the past?

October 14, 2007


On one gorgeous island...



One gang of smart, lovely, hilarious, and talented knitters...



[Aside: the Craft Pirate is no less smart, lovely, talented and hilarious - I just managed to go an entire weekend without taking a single picture of her - though I assure you she was there, and awesome.]

A shocking amount of yarn...

A ball winder and swift for winding up all that yarn...


[Aside: I'm pretty sure I know what my next big purchase will be, because DAMN is that ballwinder/swift combo some sweeeeeeeet shit]

Combine all ingredients for 2 days, at roughly 50-65 degrees, with plenty of sunshine and salt air...


Yield: one perfect, relaxing, inspiring, and all-around-wonderful weekend.

You might even end up with a finished object...


Or two...


Warning: side effects may include overeating, staying up ridiculously late, laughing so hard your stomach hurts, staying in your PJs all day, walking through a pitch black seven-acre corn maze without a flashlight, and starting to have fantasies about quitting your job, moving to Martha's Vineyard and raising sheep, whose fiber you will process, spin and knit in a ramshackle weathered shingle-covered gingerbread house surrounded by knotty salt-seared oaks.

Also, those particularly sensitive to bucolic fantasies may also begin to wonder if a wee spotted pig with bristly ears and a sweet, snuffly little piggy snout would technically violate their apartment building's firm "No Pets" policy.

Livestock isn't exactly a pet, right??

October 12, 2007


Thanks everyone for the sympathy and good wishes for my AWOL suitcase.

The suitcase arrived first thing the next morning, but thankfully not before I bought some fetching charcoal wool trousers and the sweetest little black ballet flats (little being a relative term of course, as all shoes in my size are in fact honkingly gigantic).

I rarely feel completely justified buying new shoes, so really it all worked out pretty well.

Much sock knitting was accomplished on the plane, but The Stinky Bitches and I are off to Martha's Vineyard for a fabulous weekend of cooking, knitting and relaxing.

Edited to add, it's possible I've overpacked.


Many more pictures and goodies on my return.

October 8, 2007

There's always a bright side

So I'm in Iowa for work. My suitcase, however, is not. The fine people at American Airlines customer service do not know where it is, nor when I can reasonably expect them to find it.

I'm trying to view this as an adventure - like camping, but with a flush toilet and toilet paper. And a fully stocked 24 hour "convenience mart" in the lobby, where I can likely procure such necessities as a toothbrush and deodorant.

As well as all my work clothes and personal hygiene necessities, my suitcase also contains my laptop power cord, so blogging and commenting may be even spottier than usual to conserve laptop power for the actual working.

The upside? I have made all kinds of good sock knitting progress.

Thank goodness I carried all the knitting in my purse...

October 4, 2007

Putting the 'R' in SMART

You may have heard that your goals are supposed to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely. I’ve had a long-standing goal to be flexible enough to bend at the waist and put my palms flat on the floor. That is a SMART goal. Most importantly, it is a realistic goal.

Less realistic would be getting flexible enough to do this...

Or this...

What does that have to do with knitting? Well, in writing up my September to-knit list, I clearly decided that ‘realistic’ goals just weren’t my thing. I’m not sure how I thought I could knit three socks in two weeks. Especially since September was really busy and I’ve never knit three socks in two weeks.

This is what I actually did accomplish.

1. Second sock for TB - DONE

2. Second picot sock - Fixed the picot edging, knit the leg and am cruising through the heel flap. The problem is, there’s no way these socks will fit the intended recipient, who has size 9 ½ feet like mine. I tried the finished first sock on several times and totally lied to myself decided they just might fit. In retrospect, I realize it was much like Cinderella’s stepsisters trying to jam their honking feet into a wee glass slipper.

Then Megan (of the dainty feet) tried on the first sock and the damn thing fits her size 6 foot perfectly. So I guess that makes her Cinderella. Except she gets socks instead of a prince. Though if I could accidentally knit a prince, that would be awesome.

3. Second Monkey - Just finished the gusset decreases.

4. Fix sleeve on Wicked - Not so much.

Okay, I understand now that there’s a difference between challenging yourself to accomplish things and making an unrealistic list that just makes you feel like a big, cranky failure. So here’s my October To-Knit List, realistic edition.

1. Finish September socks.

2. Start toe-up socks. I’ve never done toe-up socks, and I always have a ton of yarn left over. So in honor of Socktoberfest, I’m learning something new. I’m intrigued by Leyburn (also see quite lovely Leyburn-inspired baby sweater here).

3. Finish Wicked.

4. Swatch for Tangled Yoke.

5. Starting another basic stockinette sock is permissible, but not required.
In yoga terms, I’m setting my knitting goals here...

Photos made possible by the generosity and amazing thrift shop mojo of Awesome Meredith, knitterly friend/amateur yogi extraordinaire. Not only does she find unintentionally smutty knitting patterns, but she also found the hugely entertaining Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga (by Swami Vishnudevananda), AND she was actually willing to part with such a treasure. Thanks!