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

July 31, 2004

What A Bear Wants

Darn that Corduroy! It's always "Gimme, gimme, gimme" with that bear. First he needs a new button. Then he wants a pocket. And now that bear wants a Bottoms Up! Bucket-o-Chic. Or at least that's what my six year old son told me. He said that since I made his brother socks, I needed to make a hat, sweater, pants and socks for Corduroy. I'm hoping the hat will appease him. Otherwise I'll be knitting stuffed animals clothes for the rest of my life. So here's that grubbing little bear and his new BOC made from navy Sugar 'n Cream.

I also finished my younger son's socks today.

He promptly removed them and left them on the floor. Just like a man...Trying to figure out the sewn k2 p2 rib bind off nearly did me in. I looked in Vogue Knitting and was baffled. I looked at the Scary Doll Book and was further baffled. Then I looked at The Principles of Knitting and was slightly less baffled but still not there. I spread out Principles of Knitting next to the Vogue book and about three-quarters into binding off the second sock I figured out the right way to do it. I think. Ah, what the hell. He's never going to wear them anyway.

I Know You're Out There, I Can Hear You Breathing

I haven't been receiving many comments on the ole blog lately and was starting to wonder if anyone was really reading it. So I got a stat counter. I put it on the site on Tuesday afternoon and have had over 700 unique visitors since then. Holy crap! You all sure are stealthy. I had no idea.

I have one inch to go on the little green socks. I tried them on my son today and they fit perfectly. I hope that he doesn't have a sudden growth spurt. Since I made them with Koigu I may be inclined to rip them and reknit them in a larger size as he outgrows them.

Hopefully this weekend I will get close to finishing the Waving Lace socks too. I really want to start some new projects but wanted to get a few complete first. Next up will be the newest sock for the Six Sox Knitalong, Making Waves, which I will be making in Mountain Colors Weaver's Wool Quarters in the Red Tail Hawk colorway. I really should finish Candy Sam before I start Mia. I want to do something small and lacy with my burgundy Noro Lily but I haven't figured out exactly what. I also want to make the hipsters from Mon Petit Chou from the latest Knitty. And poor Birch. Only 4 rows done and left in a heap at the bottom of a basket. I need to wait for some cooler weather for that one. I was felting the mohair with my sweaty little paws.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

July 29, 2004


The little green socks live! I restarted them and have finished both the feet and am just starting to turn the first heel.
They're Alive!

I am still having trouble with ladders. As I said before, I don't ever have problems with ladders doing a single sock on two circulars but something about two socks isn't really working out for me.

Waving Lace is also turning a heel.
As the Heel Turns

I was bored yesterday and made this.

I bought the yarn (Encore Colorspun) on sale to make a hat for a friend's baby about six months ago. I got sidetracked and never made the hat. I just found the yarn yesterday after reading an email announcing a new baby. So I knit this in the morning as a diversion. I accidentally picked up the wrong needles (7s instead of 6s) as I was starting so it's a bit bigger than I planned. I'll have to hang on to it now until the kid is about one. I just met another new baby today. I need to make something cute (all the way on the bottom) for her too.

I bought myself a toy today.

Ball winder will be coming soon. The ball winder pictured in yesterday's post was generously lent to me by Megan. It's great having a knitter on the block.

The new Rowan books are available for previewing. I'm not seeing anything that is really calling out to me yet. Capelets and ponchos galore. I'm intrigued by the Vintage Style book though. It's hard to tell because the photos are so darned dark.

July 27, 2004

It's Not Easy Being Green

It started out so well. I was so proud. I was giddy. But, no, it had to be done. They simply had to go. Between the too-narrow toes, the sloppy short row wraps, the hideous ladders, the botched two-socks-on-two-circulars and, finally, the too-short foot that made my son shout, "Get it off! Get it off!" those little green socks had to go.

I frogged them and rewond the yarn this time into two balls. Hopefully this will make the yarn less inclined to wrap and twist into an impenetrable web. I have restarted and am cautiously optimistic.

This is very amusing that it would happy today. The same day that Amy wrote a post about how some comments I made about perfectionism are helping her relax a little more with her knitting. I have never been in danger of being a perfectionist. The socks didn't get frogged because I wanted them to be perfect. I just don't want them to be horrid.

July 26, 2004

Those Special Words

I had so much to blog about yesterday but the fire seemed to eclipse it all. Thanks so much for all the emails and comments.

On Friday I heard the special words I have been waiting to hear. "Mommy, will make me a sock?" My four year old and I were at Nordstrom waiting to try on a pair of shoes. I was working on my Waving Lace sock and my son told me to try it on. For some reason putting an incomplete sock on is a riot to a four year old. Then he asked me to put it on him. Then he asked for his own socks. When we got home I lined up all my sock yarn on the dining room table and told him to pick the one he wanted. What can I tell you? The boy has great taste.

I swatched last night. Then I cast on for Double Trouble. I've knit socks on two circulars before. This is two socks on two circs done toe-up, which I have not done. It was going all right this afternoon except I was getting terrible ladders which I don't get when I use two circs to make one sock. Then at Purlygirls I got distracted and knit onto the wrong needle. I moved the stitches back--I thought--but it was still a mess. After fiddling with it and cursing for fifteen minutes I pulled one sock off and put it on stitch holders. I'm just going to knit them separately. Fortunately my son's  foot is only 6.125 inches long.

On Saturday, several Purlygirls went to the sidewalk sale at Churchmouse Yarn on Bainbridge. Jill wrote about it. And Amy. So I won't rehash it again. I only got two skeins of Kid Classic.

Over the weekend I also made more afghan squares.

Today I took my four year old to the zoo and knit my Waving Lace sock while we meandered around for three and a half hours. I'm 16 rounds from the heel flap on the second sock.

Okay, this is just a brain dump. Not very interesting blogging. I'll be witty tomorrow.

July 25, 2004

Scary Night

I woke up last night at about 4:30 because there were lights flashing in my bedroom. I looked out my window and saw two fire trucks parked in the bank parking lot behind my house and a few firefighters on the roof of the nearby movie theater. I saw a little smoke but nothing else. I went back to sleep. In the morning the trucks were still there. Wes went out to walk the dog. When he came back he told me the extent of the damage. We own a house on the opposite side of our block that we rent to a family from my oldest son's class. I walked over and found the mom. They were woken up at 3:45, by a neighbor's shouting, to see the townhomes, still under construction, across the street totally engulfed in flames. The mother's boyfriend grabbed her 5 year old son and ran out of the house. He brought him around the block and banged on our door, rang our bell, rattled our windows. We heard nothing. We were all asleep in the master bedroom with the air conditioner blasting on high. Luckily the wind was blowing in the opposite direction. Another classmate's dad woke up when he smelled the smoke and came to see what was happening. He was able to take the boy home with him. Fortunately, no one was hurt. The house we own had no damage even though it was directly across the street from the fire. The vinyl siding melted off the house next door to it. The garbage can on the curb melted. The trees were all damaged by the heat. It was a horrible shock.

Our tenants told us they realized in the midst of a crisis that they were completely unprepared for an emergency. They couldn't find flashlights or the cat carriers. So please, check your fire alarms, make and practice evacuation plans with your family and stay safe.

July 22, 2004

Lacy Day

Today was very lacy. I finished the first Waving Lace sock for the . I really like the way it turned out. I bought the Lorna's Laces yarn off the clearance shelf. They only had one skein of each colorway--Vera and Valentine--but I thought they went together well. Now that the sock is complete I believe I was right.

Click for a lace close up.

I also got instructions to make a honey bee in lace from one of my fellow campers. Cheryl had a wonderful little shawl at camp that was covered in violets and had these honey bees around the border. I thought they were fascinating and adorable. She found the instructions and forwarded them to me this morning. I immediately grabbed yarn and needles and made one.

Maybe Cotton-Ease and size 10 needles are not ideal for lace? Anyway, I think the bee is as cute as the dickens. Now I need to find a project to slip him into.

Taking a Break

I'm very close to finishing the first Waving Lace sock. But today I needed a break. A break from fine yarn and tiny needles that were making my hands cramp. So I rummaged around in one of my many storage bins of yarn and pulled out a bag of cotton yarn that I bought off the clearance racks months ago. I got it to make afghan squares for the . I pulled out my trusty Vogue Knitting and picked out some pattern stitches. Flash forward a few hours later and we have this.

The purple is leftover Cotton-Ease from Lola knit in Brick stitch. It's a super-simple slip-stitch pattern. The pale green is Reynolds Colors knit in a textures chevron. I knit them on size 10s. Just what I needed today.

This evening I went to the Seattle Knitters' Guild. The talk was, frankly, dull. But I did get to fondle the new Noro ribbon yarn and see the new Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton pattern book for Noro. The patterns really didn't thrill me at all. On the other hand, my friend wanted a copy immediately!

After the meeting was over I went to introduce myself to Ryan. I've been reading her blog for some time so it was nice to finally meet her. She joined me, Marti and my friend, Rose, at a coffe shop/book store afterwards for some snacks and more knitting chat. It was a great way to wrap up the night.

July 20, 2004

Send in the Small Norwegians

I finished my camp project. It's a teeny Norwegian sweater. I made it up as I went along using Elizabeth Zimmermann's percentage system as a guide. I still need to get buttons. I fudged so many things on this sweater. Like the steeks. Eek! It's a train wreck inside that little cardigan. I "tacked" everything down tonight with thread but still... One crochet steek failed and I was left with this huge mess of cut ends. Then the front bands were just a pile of fuzz without enough sweater to fold over to cover it.

Also I don't think I handled the neck properly and would love some feedback on this. I cast on 92(?) stitches, knit the corrugated ribbing then increased up 4 or 6 stitches above the ribbing. I knit straight up until the body was 8 inches. I put 10 stitches on thread for a kangaroo pouch and cast on three stitches above it. I knit straight to 10 inches. I cut the neck steek. I divided the stitches evenly for the front and back (is this the right way to do it?). I grafted a few stitches over the shoulder then I cut my steeks for the arms. Then I panicked and did a three needle bind off for the rest of the shoulders. I picked up stitches around the arm holes and knit the sleeves down to the cuffs. Then it occurred to me that the neck hole looked teeny-weeny. I feel like there was some step in the arm hole placement and shoulder bind off that could have made the cack of the neck bigger. Of course, this sweater is for an imaginary child or stuffed animal so it doesn't matter that the neck is small. But the point of the whole exercise is to understand how this type of sweater is constructed so please any advice would be appreciated.

July 19, 2004

Tea is Served

I finished the Fiesta tea set. These were very fun little doo-hickies to knit. I have no idea what will become of them now.
I'm a little excited about this.
Some fun links:
The Incredible Hulk has a blog! Who knew?
A very funny Lego version of Spider-Man 2

July 18, 2004

A Consistent Mistake

I got to the bottom of my troubles with the right front of Sam last night. While watching Monster I cast on and knit the first two rows about ten times. Each time deciding it was wrong and ripping it out. What I finally realized was that I was doing it correctly--but had done it wrong on the left front. There is supposed to be a column of garter stitch up the front where the zipper gets placed. I had unconsciously switched to k2, p2 instead of k4, (k2, p2). Aha! So do I rip out the entire left front? I've decided, given that I'm sick to death of this sweater, that I will repeat my mistake on the right front. Because, after all, a mistake made consistently becomes a design. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

July 17, 2004

Bad Hoodoo

Yesterday I had some kind of knitting hex on me, I think. I spent most of the day working on the left front of Sam. The patterns in the Cotton Angora book have been a dream so far. I've made Lottie, Lola and Rosy without a hitch. The patterns were clear with no errors. Just lovely. Left Front Now on Sam I found one error (I think) and the pattern is written very clearly--almost line by line--until I got to the really tricky part. Then it says,
"Keeping the armhole edge straight, cont decreasing and increasing to travel ribs as set on next 10 right side rows."
Now hold up there, Missy. You've held my hand this far. Don't bag out on me now.

I did what I thought Ms. Bliss was indicated and ended up with something that resembles the sweater in the book. But it's not pretty. It's not neat. I reworked sections over and over. I laddered down and worked them again. Finally, I finished the front. I laid it out and it looked so awful that I whipped the needle out of my work and was about to start ripping it when I realized I was looking at the wrong side. So I flipped it back over. Oh, that's better. But still kind of blechy. Blech! I cast off but left it attached to the ball of yarn in case I want to rip it out and try again. I'm going to make the right front and see how it all looks together before I make a final decision. Then I tried to cast on for the right side (I said tried). Now this is where the hex part comes into play. Screwing up a vague instruction is one thing. But screwing up casting on? Have mercy. I had to cast on three (yes, three) times to get the yarn amount right for my long tail cast on. Then I started knitting in k2, p2 rib and kept screwing it up! I couldn't see where I was screwing it up and concluded finally that I must have cast on the wrong number of stitches or had been suffering from a voodoo curse. So I pulled it off the needles while cursing wildly and put it aside.

Then I did all the finishing on the Fiesta Tea Set. It's blocking right now. Only I just noticed that I didn't make a handle for the tea pot. D'oh!

July 15, 2004

Lonely Night

No one came to project class. It was so sad and lonely in the shop that the owner decided to go home early. So I had to sit and knit all alone in the store. I did get to swatch some Pakucho organic cotton. It is so soft and in lovely colors. I didn't think I'd like it at all but it's quite wonderful. It wasn't as splitty as I feared and it feels like a 20 year old t-shirt--soft and comfortable.
I'm still cruising up the left front of Sam. But my mind is starting to wander. The Six Sox Knitalong just announced the next sock today. Already I'm thinking about which yarn to use...but I still have Waving Lace to finish. And Sam. And my tea set. And my baby sweater (I got more yarn at work tonight). Must focus!

July 14, 2004

Project Update

I think I've rambled on enough about camp for a while. I still have lots of pictures and more to share but I'll save some of it for later.

Now for the update.
The Candy Sam is finally beginning to resemble a garment. It has a back, one sleeve and part of the left front.

The fiesta tea set is complete except for weaving in ends, some handles and some blocking.

The Norwegian baby sweater I started at camp can't be finished until I pick up more yarn at work tomorrow.

I'm a few rows away from the heel flap on the Waving Lace socks.

And I knit up my little ball of handspun yarn tonight.

While I was at camp my Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora arrived (I placed the order on April 4th). Now I will finally be able to make Mia. The pink mohair came for the GE Cardi too but it's much too peachy colored. I will have to find something else for it. Hopefully in the next few days I will have some FOs to share.

Wish me luck tomorrow night. The knitting instructor is on vacation and I will be teaching the project class. Let's hope there are only easy problems to deal with.

July 13, 2004

Knitting Camp, the Saga Continues

Okay, I will stop with the blow by blow and just add a few more highlights from camp.

On Saturday, there was a "market" that included Mielke's Farm, Joslyn's Fiber Farm and Kimmet Yarns. I was really good at camp and didn't get anything from the Schoolhouse Press "store" but lost it at the market. I got a hank of Shine from Joslyn's in a deep merlot/purple and Twinkle Toes sock yarn in a white/yellow/celery combo. I also got a Bohus hat kit in the Red Palm colorway from Kimmet Yarns. I got $1 worth of green roving from Mielke's Farm.

Then I hunted down Diana and her spindle and got her to teach me how to spin.

She was very kind and loaned me one of her many drop spindles and showed me how to "park and draft." After a while I got a little confident and actually drop spindled. And here is what I made.

I've been meaning to knit it into a swatch but I haven't had a chance.

Another thing I forgot to mention about camp is the massages that they have during class. Anyone can go back and get a chair massage.

I have not stopped since I left for camp. I had Purlygirls on Monday, I babysat for two girls today, I had my own knittin group tonight. Tomorrow is an all day playdate then Seattle Stitch 'n Bitch and Thursday I'm hosting a playdate and then I have work at the Fiber Gallery. Man, I better go to bed now.

Knitting Camp Recap Continued

Friday morning we covered steeks, borders, and hems. At the beginning of camp several sample project sheets were handed out. We were strongly encouraged to pick out a project to work on that involved some techniques that were new to us. I picked a Norwegian baby sweater so I could cut steeks. I worked on it like made on Thursday. On Friday I sat on the edge of my seat while Amy demonstrated how to crochet a steek. I crocheted right along with her.

Then as we broke for lunch I cornered Amy, made her inspect my steeks and made her stand there and watch me cut my neck steek.

Then I bragged all through lunch.

After lunch I crocheted and cut my arm steeks. I picked up stitches and started to knit my first sleeve and my steek started to fail. Some combination of loose crocheting, large gauge and who-know-what caused my crocheting to pretty much drop off my sweater leaving lots of vulnerable loose ends. I carefully knit the sleeve. When I picked up for the second sleeve I was very careful not to disturb the steek. It could go at any moment though. I decided on a cardigan and when it was time to steek the front of the sweater I used the sewing machine. That steeks not going anywhere.

Friday brought more Show and Tell. Eileen had a fair isle vest.

Fran had a favorite cardigan that has growing sleeves. Meg suggested that she cut off the bottom of the sleeves and reknit the cuffs.

Cheryl had a huge lace shawl that's still wadded up on the needles. She's working on the border and only has a few hundred more rows to go!

Everywhere in the room are piles of sweaters, shawls and hats. Many knit by Elizabeth Zimmermann herself.

Here's the knit stitch sweater that Lisa is making right now.

Friday night in Wisconsin is Fish Fry night (so I learned) so who was I to argue.

The fish.

And the company.

Then we knit into the wee hours.

I forgot that on Friday we also made the front page of the Marshfield paper--above the fold!

July 12, 2004

Knitting Camp Recap

To give you a sense of just how exhausted I was last night (2 AM) when I wrote my post, I found this morning that I had never published it.

There is so much to tell about camp. I don't know where to start. I guess I'll begin with an outline of camp.

I left home at 5 am on Wednesday. I flew to Chicago and then got a connecting flight to the Central Wisconsin Airport. As I got to my seat, on the plane in Chicago, the woman in the seat next to me looked at my felted tote and asked, "Are you going to knitting camp?" My first real-life co-camper! We talked the whole way to Wisconsin comparing notes on classes. Karen, my companion, is also a felted bag fanatic so we had lots to discuss. We had arranged to get a limo to take us to camp. When I say "limo" I do not mean a car service. Apparently in Marshfield, WI there is no car service. So Karen and I, along with five other campers, rode in a white stretch limo to camp. We arrived at the Marshfield Best Western at 5:30. There was just enough time to check in, meet my roommate, take a quick shower and get down to dinner at 6.

At dinner we met Christie, the camp administrator, Amy Detjen and Joyce Williams (the camp assistants)and one another. It's a little overwhelming at first with 55 campers. I forgot to make a nametag. After dinner we got to see the "class room." In the hotel conference room tables were set up and a store.

The store was set up for the entire camp. Any time we felt like it we could look at yarn, needles, notions and books. We could take anything we needed and log it on a "brown book" sheet. For some items we had to request it on our sheet and Eleanor would bring in the order the next day.

So the first night we socialized, knit and turned in early. Thursday morning we had breakfast in big groups at the hotel and at 9 we had our first class with Meg.

Here is the only thing that would entice me to central Wisconsin in July.

The first day we covered EPS (Elizabeth's Percentage System) and talked about the construction of Norwegian and yoke-style sweaters. We also went over myriad increases and decreases. We had a little snack break at 10:30 and a lunch break at 12:30. After lunch is Show and Tell. Most campers (me) seemed a little unclear about what this involved. I was kicking myself for not bringing my scrap sweater. I thought it was too lowly and that every camper would be whipping out a self-designed fair isle like in Sweaters from Camp. That was not the case. Mostly people brought their most recent projects, the ones they were the most proud of or projects that were giving them fits. Amy runs the Show and Tell. Amy is a hoot. She's a very tall woman with an enormous voice and personality. She is screamingly funny and irreverent and no one gets by without Amy poking a little fun at them.

(More on Amy and Joyce later.)

After Show and Tell, Meg resumed class which wrapped up at 3:30 or 4. Most campers stayed and knit in the classroom until dinner plans started getting formulated. I went with about 8 other women to a Chinese restaurant called China Chef which was really not half bad. And cheap! We ordered a lot of food--more than we could eat-- and the total was $10 a person including tax and tip. (This was the most expensive meal I had in Wisconsin.)

After dinner it was back to the classroom for more knitting until I couldn't see straight and went to bed.

I'm out of time right now. I'll tell you about the rest of camp later.


I'm back from camp. I've spent 25 hours traveling to and from Wisconsin. I haven't slept past 6 am (my time) in five days. I am beyond exhausted. I am crawling to bed. I will report on camp tomorrow though it will take days to share all I've learned and done.

July 6, 2004

May I Present...Scrapenstein

Well, here she is.

And a close up.

Wes is out tonight so we have to settle for the artful arrangement on the floor. The sweater is a wee bit shorter than I wanted. I may cut off the ribbing and add a few more inches. I don't think I'm going to cardiganize it. That was my original plan but I'm liking it as a pullover. It's taking a bath right now along with all my other barely blocked and seldom washed dark wool sweaters. Rosedale, Banff and Rosy are all having a good soak and spin tonight too.

Tomorrow in the very early morning I am off to camp. I will bring my camera. I'm very excited and I promise to tell you all about it when I get home. Have a wonderful week everyone.

July 5, 2004

Stay Tuned

It's almost done.

July 3, 2004

Weekend Update

Scrap raglan body is complete.

The back of the Candy Sam has been complete for about a week.

July 2, 2004

I've Been Robbed

Both kids were at camp yesterday morning and I went to the mall to run some errands. I walked into the Anthropologie store and the first thing I saw was this.

Okay, it wasn't this. This is Rosy from Debbie Bliss's Cotton Angora book. But it was an exact copy of Rosy. I mean exact. I just finished the sweater a few weeks ago. The front, the collar, the sleeves were all identical. It was made by a company called Moth. I hope Debbie is getting a cut of this because they ripped off Poppy too. But they made it in a woman's size and added a button.

I don't know why I feel so angry about this. It's Debbie Bliss's designs they stole, not mine. But stealing is stealing and it's just wrong.

I finished the body of my top-down raglan a few days ago. I'm working on the sleeves now. I also finished knitting the sugar bowl and lid for the Fiesta tea set. I still need to do the handles. Then I'm on to the tea pot. I've been fiddling around on a lot of projects in the last few days. I started working on the sleeves for the Candy Sam. I knit a few more inches on the Waving Lace socks. Progress on many fronts.