A blog about my life, knitting, and other stuff.

May 31, 2004

Extreme Knitting

The Purlygirls had an "extreme knitting" day today. I had to skip Phase 1: Brunch. While the 'girls brunched I went to the Seattle International Film Festival to see Wes's film. After the screening I met up with the 'girls in Volunteer Park for Phase 2. We worked there for a while but a very strong and chilly breeze made us flee to a Mexican restaurant (Phase 3). I finished the sleeves (at last!) for the GE Cardi last night so I spent the day knitting the first sleeve to Rosy. At six, we moved on to Phase 4--Church of Craft at Re-Bar. It was a neat group of crafters but the dark, dank, smokey location left me cold. So we moved on to Phase 5, El Diablo, and knit there until they kicked us out after 11. Then I went home and wove in all my ends on my Shapely (Optional Phase 6).

I managed to finish only one sleeve. I realized after two hours of knitting at Re-bar that I had forgotten two decreases back at La Cocina. So I spent my first twenty minutes at El Diablo ripping back. I literally cast off the last stitch as they were flashing the lights and putting the chairs up on the tables at El Diablo.

Tomorrow is another crazy knit-filled day. I put together a little Purlygirl family picnic during the day. Then there's the regular Purlygirl knit-together in the evening. Hopefully I'll get the other sleeve for Rosy done and get the girl all seamed up. The I can do a big Rosy/Shapely photo shoot. Shapely fits pretty darn well. Hooray. It's not the shapeless sack I feared it would be.

May 27, 2004

What Happened?

Yesterday while Wes was getting the boys ready for bed, I sat down on the sofa with my Shapely. I have one armhole to finish. Six rows to knit. And I fell fast asleep. This was not a little nap. I was down for the count. At around 10:30 I crawled into my room, changed into my jammies and got into bed. I didn't get up until the boys woke me at 7:30 this morning. I had twelve hours of sleep and I still feel like I've been run over by a trunk. I did manage to get to the gym this morning for a killer 90 minute workout. Now I'm ready for another nap.

From Thursday's New York Times. A somewhat rambling article about online knitters, including members of the Rogue-along.

I'm Looking Over...

a four leaf clover!

I'm on my way with the first sock from the Six Sox Knitalong. I'm using Elann Esprit. This is another fun, quick sock like Broadripple. Unlike Broadripple the pattern isn't written for two circulars so I'm going to have to figure out the whole heel thing when I get there.

I'm ever so slowly working on the finishing for my Shapely Tank. I forgot how much I love the yarn but I'm hating knitting with an entire sweater hanging off my (little) needles. This week at least. I've left it on the kitchen island. Whenever I walk by a knit on it for a minute or two. It should be done by the end of the weekend. There's no rush since it's cold and miserable here right now. I pinned it together yesterday and tried it on. It's not going to be as baggy as I feared or as long. It's a little big around the hips but it's okay.

I've taken the GE Cardi sleeves out of my purse. They are just too big to carry around. I moved the socks in there. But now I need to hunker down and finish knitting these damned sleeves. There's something about this sweater that makes me feel like I'm just treading water. I took the sleeves to Stitch 'N Bitch last night and knit on them for three hours and it seems like they stayed the same size. Huh? My fuzzy pink yarn for the trim is being held captive at Ram Wools anyway while they wait for my Cotton Angora to come in. I ordered it on April 4th and I'm still waiting. Mia, hang on! I'm coming!

May 25, 2004

Cursed No More

As you can see, Lottie/Nottie (Thanks for the new name, Alison) is complete. It's not the form-fitting pattern from the book but it's a great slightly oversized kicking around sweater. And I needed one of those.

Yesterday was a great day. My oldest son (6) woke up very early and A) didn't wake me, B) got ready by himself and C) made and packed his own lunch for school! I took this all as good omens for the day. I went to the gym and got a really great work out. I came home and made a batch of low fat hummus and had a feast of veggies. I spent the day at home with my younger son playing and finishing Lottie/Nottie. Did you know you can play Cariboo and weave in ends at the same time? You can. My older son had a playdate after school so I was home relatively undisturbed from noon until five. It was bliss.

Then I was off to Stitch 'N Bitch with the Purlygirls. It was another fun evening of chatting and knitting. I worked on the first sleeve for Rosy. Although I was having some sort of mental block with row counting and spent most of the night counting and recounting and muttering under my breath.

I cast on for the first sock from the Six Sox Knitalong (it's really worth clicking this link to see what may be the best photo of animals and knitting in the history of the universe) last night too. The sleeves for the GE Cardi have outgrown my purse and I need a new take-along project.

May 24, 2004

Scary Doll Book

The scary doll book, also known as Basic Crochet and Knit is widely available in the states. I did a quick check on Best Book Buys and found it was available from most major book chains.

May 23, 2004

Not So Hottie

I took my Finishing for the Finicky class yesterday. I came home all fired up to finish Lottie/Hottie and my Shapely Tank. What a disaster. Lottie/Hottie is--as I feared--way too big. It will be a good kicking around sweater but it won't be a "Come 'ere, Big Boy" sweater. Those of you who know me are probably rubbing your aching sides right now after laughing so hard at the thought of me in a sweater that meets the latter's description. So, other stupid things I did with this sweater. 1) While knitting, I experimented with a different M1 which ended up leaving holes everywhere. 2) Sewed up shoulders and then side seams in a fit of enthusiasm. "Um, Jess...sleeves?" 3) In a pique of frustration started sewing on the first sleeve backwards. Yes, cuff to shoulder. Don't ask.

Disgusted I cast the sweater aside and took a picture. Today things are better. I have attached both sleeves the right way. And now I'm starting to seam up the sleeves/sides.

I realized about a week ago that I've been making the wrong size sweaters. (I'm pretty sure the Shapely Tank I'm making will also be huge). With the Debbie Bliss book the patterns are all by bust size. I have a 38" bust. So I've been knitting the patterns for a 38" bust. But these are all the largest sized patterns. I don't wear a large. I wear a medium. Hence, a bunch of gigantic sweaters.

The finishing class was outstanding. It's the second class I've taken from Susanna Hanson. She is a fabulous instructor. She's incredibly knowledgeable but more importantly she's well organized and very clear in her directions. She prepares excellent handouts with lots of notes and an annotated bibliography. She will be teaching at Stitches East so if you have a chance to take a class with her I strongly recommend it.

In the class we covered a lot of basics about how to knit to make your finishing easier--adding selvedges, counting rows, dumping projects you hate. We also covered mattress stitch,

Japanese short rows for shoulder shaping,

picking up stitches

and button holes.

I was also introduced to "The Scary Doll Book."

Click to see just how scary this doll is.
It's a Japanese knitting and crochet book that's been very badly translated into English. It has really good illustrations of the Japanese short row technique.

May 22, 2004

Go, Rosy, Go

We sing a song at my younger son's preschool about Alice the Camel.

Alice the camel has three humps
Alice the camel has three humps
Alice the camel has three humps
Go, Alice, Go!

While I was taking a (yet another crummy) photo of Rosy with both fronts complete all I could think was, "Rosy the sweater has two fronts, Rosy the sweater..." Well, you get the idea.

I finished the left front of Rosy last night while watching All the Real Girls. I loved the mood, sense of humor and dialogue in this film. Wes didn't like how open-ended the ending was. He also felt it was too "Sundance."

In other movie news, last week for our film series we screened The Tracker. It's an Australian film set in 1922 about a group of (white) policemen and an aboriginal tracker following an aboriginal man accused of murdering a white woman. It's stark and reserved like a western with really interesting music. The audience enjoyed it a lot.

May 20, 2004

Rowan, What Were You Thinking?

When I was at a LYS on Tuesday I saw a sample tank knit from the new Paper yarn from Rowan's R2 collection.

The yarn was icky. It took me a moment to place exactly where I had felt this material before. Then it hit me--it's the material they use for the pillow cases on airplanes! That same nasty, scritchy feeling right here in a tank top. How wonderful. Take a close look at the photograph and you can practically smell the jet fuel and start to feel anxious about your baggage. The top was stiff and scratchy...Completely unpleasant to imagine wearing. Oh and see through! Very, very see through. Ick. And why is this monstrous stuff called paper? It's 100% nylon. What about that makes you think of paper? And it's a real disservice to yarn that is actually made from paper, which I haven't had a chance to experience in person. I can only imagine it's much nicer stuff than this.

I was at the store for an anniversary sale. There have been three big sales in the last three weeks at yarn stores here. It's a dangerous time to be a knitter. I managed to leave with all but 15 of my dollars. I couldn't say no to Crystal Palace bamboo circulars for $5 each. The cables are so soft and supple. I want to cast on for a new pair of socks as soon as I finish the sleeves for the GE Cardi. I'm around halfway up both sleeves. I can't believe that I might finally finish this sweater some day.

Michele has graciously turned down my copy of The Namesake because she just got it from the library. She asked me to give it to another contestant. So congratulations Jan!

May 19, 2004

Dude, Where's My Post?

I was trying to post unsuccessfully all day yesterday. Wes finally figured out that he forgot to renew our domains so we had a lapse in service. But I'm back now, Baby!

The winner of The Namesake is Michele!

Here's a (crappy) picture of Rosy's back and right front. I'm half way through the left front now.

I am really enjoying knitting this pattern. The side to side knitting is so non-intuitive for me that it's a surprise to see what comes off my needles. I saw a completed Rosy last night in Manos Stria. It was really nice. That yarn is so soft. I will definitely need to get some one day.

I'm still working on my swatches for my class. It's so dulldulldull. I'll spare you a photo.

$400 soccer ball, anyone?

May 17, 2004

Last Call

Anyone else want to include their name in the book drawing? Email me ASAP. I'll pick a name tomorrow night.

I finished the back and right front of Rosy. Before I go any further on it I need to finish my swatches for my finishing class. It's several tediously dull smallish white swatches. But they have to be done to exactly as written. Zzzz...

May 15, 2004

Birthday Month

Birthday month at our home has come to a close. The four of us all have birthdays in mid-April to mid-May. Our oldest son turns six tomorrow and we had his party this afternoon. It was a Captain Underpants party complete with Poopy Cake (my son's idea) and a game of Duck, Duck, Poop (mine)! He's been reading Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies From Outer Space (and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds a lot lately.

Tonight he asked, "What's a zombie nerd?"
"It's a nerd who's undead," I helpfully replied.
"What's a nerd?"
"A nerd is someone who is uncool," Dad interjected.
"A nerd is usually someone who is really smart but uncool," I added.
My son's eyes grew bright and he sat straight up.
"Like Daddy?"
I stopped laughing about fifteen minutes later.

May 13, 2004

Pass It On

A few months ago I saw in the sidebar of Mariko's blog that she was reading The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I adored reading Interpreter of Maladies and asked Mariko how she was enjoying the book. Imagine my surprise a few weeks later when it showed up in the mail from Mariko. Knitters are just great people. Well, I have finished reading the book and it's now sitting next to my bed. So I would like to extend the favor to someone else. Just email me with "The Namesake" in the subject line and on Monday I will draw a name from a hat and send the winner the book. Hopefully s/he can keep the favor going.

May 11, 2004

Photo Catch-Up

Wes took our digital camera to a special event on Friday and I just dug it out of his briefcase. So at last I bring you...

A totally finished Lola.

Everyone likes the ribbon on this the best.

I lucked out in finding it. I went to Hancock Fabrics to return an unused skein of Cotton-Ease (the 3-4 size of this sweater only used 2 3/4 skeins). They had a meager ribbon selection. There was nothing in the color of the yarn I used and finally I found this ribbon hiding around the corner. I did a pretty awful job of sewing it on to the sweater. I still have a month to get it perfectly on there before I have to wrap it up and give it away.

Rosy is going great guns. I knit an entire skein of yarn between 8 pm last night and 10 pm tonight. I'm 2/3 of the way across the back. This isn't a great shot of it. The back looks pretty scrunched on my needles right now and the color isn't very true. But at least there's a photo!

And lastly the Ara poncho. Talk about your quick knits. I knit two skeins of this yarn in one sitting. Zoom, zoom, zooming along. I'm a quarter of the way through this.

It look like a hideous blog right now. Ah, the joy of cheap circular needles. They twist, they coil, they make your knitting look like a lumpy mess.

Yarn close up.

This yarn is great. I love thick and thin yarns. The texture is wonderful. It's soft and fluffy. It's completely fun to knit with. The colors are beautiful. And it was $3 a ball at the Weaving Works sale. I keep calling it my Colinette Point Five for cheapskates.

May 9, 2004

Happy Mother's Day

I had a happy mother's day today. I "slept in." This means that after my son and cat woke me at 7 am and prodded me awake on and off for over an hour Wes turned on the TV to lure them out of our bedroom. Then the alarm went off every seven minutes for about an hour. Finally the rest of the family went downstairs and I proceeded to have horrible anxiety dreams about my own mother. Then I finally dragged my ass out of bed around 10:30. Still, it was better than the usual. We had lunch out and then went to Archie McPhee's to buy toys for the goody bags for my soon to be six year old son's birthday party. After dinner Wes looked at me and said, "Do you want to get out of here for a while?" I was out the door like a shot. I don't think I even bothered to answer him.

I knit at the Teahouse for a few hours on Rosy. I just finished the first skein of yarn. I'm about a third of the way across the back. Photos tomorrow, I promise. I don't want to wind another ball by hand so I need to wait until tomorrow to do any more work on it. So I started a new project! I decided to make a poncho with my Dale Ara. A few months ago Mariko posted about picture of an adorable hot pink poncho she made using the Poncho Pattern Generator. I decided to give it a try. I've been resisting the poncho trend but this wool just says poncho to me. I knit my gauge swatch and plugged in my numbers and out came a pattern. I've worked about 25 rows and it's looking nice. Photo of this tomorrow too. I know I don't have enough yarn though. I'm going back to Weaving Works tomorrow to wind my '03 Tweed for Rosy into balls. I will see if any Ara survived the sale. I'm dreaming, I know. I can always order some online if I really need to.

So that was Mother's Day.

Dare to Dream

Today I lived the dream. Today I was paid to knit. Yes, today was my first day of work at the Fiber Gallery. In addition to straightening and selling, I was asked to knit a scarf from some beautiful soy silk chenille. I haven't knit with chenille in years. I forgot how inelastic it is. It made my hands pretty sore. It was slow today at the shop (they only opened yesterday) and the store is still very low on inventory. But it was my first day at work at a real job in exactly six years and I enjoyed it. I also got to meet Melinda which was very nice.

I was making great progress on Rosy when I realized that I had cast on the wrong number of stitches about 25 rows back. I ripped and am reknitting. Still it's cool to see this pattern develop. Knitting it side to side I am surprised when I look at my work and see something that actually resembles a sweater.

May 7, 2004


Here she is.

I realized when I finished seaming the sweater that I should have taken a picture of it before. It's an interesting looking sweater since it's knit in one piece. This was a really simple project that knits up very quickly. I still need to find a bit of ribbon to sew on for the closure. The girl I made it for won't be three until late June so I've got time.

I started Rosy this afternoon. It's knit side to side. I have to just follow the pattern blindly since I can never quite orient myself. Of course, I usually just follow the pattern blindly anyway. I've got four or five inches of the back done now. It definitely requires a lot more concentration than my usual miles of stockinette projects. It's still miles of stockinette but with short rows and shaping in all sorts of strange (to me) places.

Carissa has generously compiled a list of tank patterns and put them on her blog. How cool is that?

Another Shapely Tank has been completed. Jackie's Shapely is dazzling and mesmerizing.

I found this adorable ribbon at Nancy's Sewing Basket in the famous ribbon room.

Sorry the photo is a little blurry. It's three-step instructions on how to knit. They had one for crochet too. Fabulous, no? I think I want to make a simple A-line skirt and add this as trim. Perhaps I will do it some day...

Did Someone Say Sale?

Today was the first day of Weaving Works big anniversary sale. I thought I was going to get some Cotton Fleece for Gigi. Instead I got 9 skeins of Grignasco Cloud in a baby pink, 8 skeins of Dale Ara in a mix of greens and 10 skeins of Classic Elite '03 Tweed in a burgundy for Rosy.

Lola is practically complete. I have a few inches of seaming and a few ends to weave in. Then I need to get a ribbon. I'm also up to about six inches for the sleeves on the GE Cardi. I started swatching the Ara and Cloud tonight but I don't know yet what I'm going to do with them. I will finish Lola tomorrow, block her and snap some pictures.

Good night!

May 4, 2004

Happy Birthday Wes

I was reading Mariko's blog last night and was inspired by her post about making green tea ice cream. I happen to have a fridge full of cream (a whole quart) and a husband who loves ice cream. So the boys and I made Daddy some "special birthday ice cream." It was so easy to make and Wes really liked it.

I have been knitting away on Lola. I have finished the body/sleeves and am two inches into the four and a half inches of ribbing that go up and down the front bands.

I spent much of the day yesterday at the zoo with my younger son. For four hours I followed him around as he explored then doubled back, around and around again. I spent much of it knitting while strolling. I worked on the sleeves for the GE Cardi. I have them both on the needles at once. I managed to knit several inches of sleeve and only screwed up the decreases once. But since I'm knitting them together they both have the same screw up and I can live with that. And by the way, you know what's cute? Baby sloth bears!

Wes had a meeting scheduled last night so I was sad I couldn't join the Purlygirls for a night of knitting. Then at the last minute his meeting got canceled so I had a great evening of knitting and somewhat outrageous conversation. Sure beats a night home with the kids.

May 2, 2004

A Sign

I have spent the last hour trying to post. My computer crashed once and my web connection died once while trying to preview my post. I will take it as a sign. There was not meant to be a nice post today. I will try again tomorrow.


My web connection died as I was previewing my post so I lost the whole damn thing! Grrrr.
I had my tea part today. It was lovely. I made an absurd quantity of food. I made 60 scones, 30-40 truffles, six and a half dozen cookies, 90 little sandwiches, two walnut rolls...it was nuts. There were about 25 people there. I was worried it would be more like 40 and I wouldn't have enough seats or food. I ended up forcing everyone to take food home with them. And I completely forgot to take any pictures! One friend was working on a cute Rowan baby cardigan in coral colored Adrienne Vittadini yarn (Hi Eileen!), one friend was creating the No Sweat Pants in Chamonix (oo-la-la), one friend was working on a felted tote bag, one friend was finishing Tank Girl from Stitch 'N Bitch, one friend, who has lived the dream and actually visited Threadbear in person, was working on a lovely silk/wool Lorna's Laces shawl. Amy was working on Elfin ruffles, another knitter was making a baby sweater on size 1 needles. I know it's just for a baby but I think it will be a cold day in hell when I pick up size 1 needles to make a sweater. More power to her! So there were lots of cool projects and wonderful conversation.

Lola is crusing along. I finished the left front and am now working on the right front. I think I will start Sam next. I want to attempt the Estonian Socks from Folk Socks but need to get the right size needles.

May 1, 2004

Picture Day

I had a lovely day sitting in the park for another picknit with the Purlygirls. We sat under a tree and knit and talked. Even with an attacking horde of tent caterpillars it was a great way to spend the day. I spent the rest of the day preparing for my knitters' tea party. I've invited all the knitters from the three (!) knitting groups I'm in to come to my house tomorrow afternoon to sip tea and knit. I spent the afternoon baking cookies, making truffles, cooking lemon curd and preparing the sandwich ingredients. I just need to get this place cleaned up tomorrow, bake scones and make the sandwiches. I think about thirty to forty people will be coming.

I got out the camera to take a picture of Lola from Debbie Bliss's Cotton Angora book. I'm making this one in Cotton-Ease which knits up very nicely.

The sweater is knit in one piece. This strange blob-shaped thing is the back and backs of the sleeves. The right sleeve is on a holder which is why it looks so bunched up and the left side is being worked on a wiggly circular needle.

Then there's Lottie/Hottie.

She just needs to be seamed. I am planning on waiting to do the finishing on Lottie/Hottie and my Shapely Tank until I've taken my finishing class in three weeks. Can I wait that long? We'll see. I feel guilty every time I see my Shapely waiting to be finished.

And while the camera was out I also got a shot of my GE Cardi. It finally looks like something. Although it's pinned up so crookedly on this board, it's not even funny.

I'll try to remember to take some pictures at the party tomorrow.