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

July 31, 2005

Nodding and Spinning

Thursday night after knitting I got in the car. The radio was on NPR and I chuckled to myself as I found myself believing that the people on the radio were talking about knitting. And then I realized they were actually talking about knitting on the radio. I only got to hear a few minutes but on Friday I was able to listen to it online. I worked a bit on my spinning for the Union Square Market Pullover as I listened. I found myself nodding and agreeing with so much that I was hearing. There were some very good stories and interesting ideas around knitting that I enjoyed. And not too much of the "ooo, knitting is so hip and trendy" talk that makes my eyes roll.

Trying to Wait Patiently Until April

July 30, 2005

The Natural

I sat for my best friend's daughters last night. They are 4 and 7 years old. They've always been a little curious about my knitting. Last night the 7 year old asked me, "How do you do that?" I showed her how to knit a stitch. "Let me try," she said and ripped my knitting* from my hands. She worked feverishly over the stitch--stretching the dickens out of it--until she had completed a stitch. I congratulated her and promised to bring yarn and needles the next time I came over. A few minutes later she said, "Let me try again." She grabbed my knitting again and knit three more stitches. The girl is a natural.

*I'm still struggling with the new design. I realized late last night that I will need to change the pattern stitch. It's back to square one. Swatching tonight.

July 29, 2005

Do You Smell Smoke?

I am thinking so hard about my new sweater design that my brain my burst into flames. I have the yarn: Knit Pick's Elegance in Grass (thank you, Ann). I have the swatch. I know I want to make the sweater seamless. I did just spend four days with Meg Swansen. What kind of knitter would I be to come home and make something in pieces? Now here's where my head starts to throb. I like knitting top down. I want to knit this top down. I was thinking I could write this brilliant pattern and submit it to Knitty. I know I can figure out a way to knit this but I don't know if I'll be able to do it in a way I can write it in under 50 pages. I have already started making charts, notes about shaping, sizes, etc. How can I simplify all this? I have no clue. So far today I knit a few rows, ripped them, knit them again and now I need to rip again. Oy.

I completed the first lace repeat on my Wool(less) Peddlers Shawl last night. Actually Molly and I were sitting outside at our favorite hangout when it got quite chilly. I was hoping to knit to the end of a row on the shawl to then drape it over my shoulders so I could keep working on my sock. But my needle was too short. And I looked like a dork. So I kept working on the shawl instead. It's nice to work with some healthy US9 needles. Lately everything I'm doing is on a US1 or 2.

It Was a Hit

I couldn't make it to Stitch 'n Pitch at Safeco last night but it looks like I'm the only knitter in Seattle who didn't. 1600 tickets sold! Wow.

July 28, 2005

Thursdays are For What the Hell is This?

Oh dear. Maggie is at it again. I want to be a nice person. Really, I do. But then she goes and puts things like this in front of me and I crumble.

And now she's introduced a favorite accessory. One so fabulous every model in every sweater must wear it. I present the fur headband.

It's ingenious really. It completely takes my mind off of how unattractive the sweaters are.

You'll have to bear with me as every picture will have an animated gif in it for the next few days. It's just too much fun.

Knitting Camp--The Beads

One of our campers this year is a wonderfully talented glass artist. She was set up on Market Day with her beautiful buttons, earrings, pins and beads. I looked. I touched. But somehow I resisted. Later that night I noticed that I was pretty much the only one who wasn't completely seduced by Caitlin's beads. I also learned that for a few dollars more any bead can become a necklace. I succumbed. Caitlin's website is a little out of date but you can also find her work at galleries around the country and on eBay (no current auctions).

July 27, 2005

Knitting Camp--The Photos

The Many Moods of Meg

The Loot

Click on the loot for more info.

July 26, 2005

New Knitalong

I just joined the Knitting on the Road knitalong! I didn't see a button so it's given me a chance to create an animated gif. What do you think of it?

Camp Overview

Ah! Where do I start? From the beginning I guess.

I flew from Seattle to Chicago. I spotted this sign which just makes me laugh for some reason at O'Hare. I guess I keep imagining an entire congregation of these stick figures who are all scared of flying and are hoping a little last minute prayer will save their asses in the air.

(Boring travel details deleted.)

I arrived at the new hotel to find my roommate and fellow returning camper along with my other good camp friends right there in the lobby. We unpacked, caught up and headed to dinner. There were nearly 20 campers that had attended the same Camp 1 that I did returning to camp. I couldn't believe how many remembered me as I recognized faces and struggled to remember names. We had our little sandwich buffet dinner and got into the "classroom" where we got our camp bags, welcome packets and goody bags (free cheese!). Then we knit and knit and knit.

It was basically four days of knitting and laughing ourselves to death. It was heaven.

Meg is still the same lovely, lively, funny, insanely knowledgeable person she was last year. Amy is still the same hilarious jokester and amazing teacher she was last year. Joyce is still the same inventive designer and knitting technician she was last year.

Camp 2 is very different from Camp 1. We had no curriculum to follow. Meg just answered questions we gave her and we skipped from topic to topic. Everything was less formal which felt more like a giant knitting circle of friends than a classroom. There was show and tell each afternoon and on Saturday there was Market Day. I think Camp 2 must not be much fun for first timers. We were a little high schoolish in our cliques. There were a lot of groups that came together, four or five mother/daughter pairs. It may have been hard to join in as a new person.

Mostly I knit on my Bohus hat. I bought the kit last year and convinced myself that I couldn't buy new yarn until I knit something I bought last year. It was excellent for practicing my two-color knitting. I felt much more competent by the time I finished. I also started a Bavarian twisted-stitch cap. I really wanted to learn how to read traveling stitch charts. I think I understand it now and would like to make the Chalet socks from Folk Socks to practice.

The show and tell was amazing. Everyone had great projects, successes and failures, funny stories. This year shawls-that-grew-to-enormous-proportions seemed to be a theme. I brought Rogue and Birch since I felt like I had accomplished the most when I finished knitting them.

The funniest/most horrifying moment of camp came on Market Day. Mielke's Farm, Kimmet Croft Yarns, Joslyn's Fiber Farm were there. There were campers selling some items as well (dyed roving, handspun, glass beads and buttons). But in the middle of the room I saw a face that made me gasp. I turned around and frantically told my friend, "That's my Thursday from two weeks ago!" She told me, "You better hope she doesn't read your blog." I ran for my camera and started snapping photos all over the room and finally got one of her set up.

There's the prize winning project right on the table. I didn't go too close. I thought I would somehow be found out. I am a very bad person.

I heard the pool and waterslide at the hotel were great. I wouldn't know because I couldn't put my knitting down long enough to go look.

(To be continued.)

Knitting Camp Knitting

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Red Palm Cap from Poems of Color
Kit from Kimmet Croft Yarns
US 1 & 2 needles
Purchased at camp last year

Four Days of Yarn and Laughter (and Cheap Fried Food)

I'm back from camp. I am profoundly exhausted. I got about 4-6 hours of sleep a night thanks to the time difference, adreneline, Harry Potter, my tendency to be a night owl, and my early bird friends (yes, Mary, I'm talking to you). Yesterday I woke up at 4:30 am (Seattle time) and didn't get into bed until 3 am. But the boys are bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning. I've got to get them out of the house for a while. I'll post some pictures and fill in the details when I get home.

July 20, 2005

Thursday Comes Early This Week

I will be out of town at knitting camp on Thursday so I had to share something with you before I go.

If you receive the Lion Brand newsletter you may have already seen that they have a Martha poncho reader gallery and that one industrious crocheter couldn't stop at making herself a hideous poncho. She had to make a matching cape for her pet rat! I kid you not. Here's the proof.

Have you ever felt so much sympahty for a rat in your entire life? Look at the poor guy.

He can't even face the camera crushed by the weight of his total humiliation.

July 19, 2005

You Call That a Boulder?

You know that famous scene in Crocodile Dundee when he's confronted by the muggers in New York. "You call that a knife? Now that's a knife." Well, yesterday I thought I was rolling a boulder up a hill for all eternity in working on my Psychedelic Squares afghan.

Then I worked on my Wool Peddlers Shawl. Now that's a boulder.

I've had a nagging sense of doubt about the lace portion of this shawl. I never felt like I was getting it right and was fudging a lot. I've ripped and reknit the first few rows several times. I put it aside. It had a bad juju. Yesterday I finally decided to pull the shawl out and work on it. It was wrong. I could feel it in my bones. I ripped back to the garter stitch portion and started again. And again. And again. And again. Are we getting the picture here? Anyway, I am scared to say out loud that I think that this time I've got it. But that's what I thought all the other times. Why should this time be any different?

In other banging-my-head-against-a-wall news, Molly and I decided to have a little zipper sewing party (her Ribby Cardi, my Sam). My machine is not working so we were going to use hers. I got to her house at 9:15.

We pinned and futzed with her machine for a while then realized she didn't have a zipper foot. I looked at her machine and thought that the zipper foot from my machine would work. We packed up and went over to my house. My foot didn't fit. We drove to Ballard to buy a foot. When the woman at the store showed it to us Molly realized that she did have one. So we went back home.

Click to see Molly recording the moment for her own blog.

We pinned, sewed, ripped, sewed, pinned, ripped, sewed. At last, at 12:45, it was the moment of truth. I unzipped my sweater and realized that I didn't to buy a separating zipper.

Son of a bitch!

July 18, 2005

Excuse Me While I Roll This Boulder Back Up the Mountain

Do you ever get that Sisyphus feeling? I do. Last night I carried an armful of psychedelic squares up to my room so I could seam and watch a movie. An hour and a half later, after Rita Hayworth and her hair had successfully seduced Glenn Ford, I had less than two sets of four squares sewn up.

And I still have a mountain of squares to seam. And this is only a third of the squares I planned to knit. Does anyone see this ever ending?*

*Kay has given me a few tips on speeding up the seaming. I'll give it a whirl and see how it goes.

July 17, 2005


I went to the yarn sale at a LYS yesterday. The only thing I was hoping to find was something good for a Tivoli T. The sale was underwhelming. I did find two skeins of Cotton Classic on the $2 table to add to the heap I already have. I pulled out all the Cotton Classic and shot the photo for my stash blog. 28 skeins! Oh my. I felt very guilty so I immediately cast on for another afghan square. I haven't knit any for months. I have watched Suzy see me knitting squares, go get her own yarn and knit herself an entire afghan while I'm still hovering around 28 squares completed. We had picked up our copy of Harry Potter 6 so Wes read aloud while I worked on my squares. We made it about 80 pages into the book before I left to have dinner and go knit with friends.* I managed to finish three squares in all last night. Those suckers are like potato chips. Can't have just one. I came home to find Wes in the same spot still reading (he did pause to feed and bathe the children and put them in bed). He finally put the book down around 4 am when he finished it.

* I meant to take pictures but completely forgot as always. I did snap a shot of my empty coffee cup after everyone else left. But I figure you wouldn't be interested in looking at my dirty dishes.

July 16, 2005

Don't Hold Your Breath

Last night I finished plying 2 more skeins of yarn for my Union Square Market Pullover. That's a whooping 488 yds of yarn there. Only 1492 to go. Sigh.

Louisa Harding's new designs for her new yarn line are out. Nothing jumps out at me here as great or terrible or even that interesting. Although she does win the prize for most black eyeliner on a model and strangest camera angles. I also give her demerits for super dark photos. This is kind of cute.

July 15, 2005

I'm Now An International Knitalong Whore

Thank you very much. Or should I say, "merci beaucoup." I just joined Ene's Scarf Ensemble. I sent off an email in my feeble and terribly rusty French and was graciously welcomed to the knitalong. I have two yarns in my stash that I'm considering for the project. I will probably go with the Madeleine. My friend, Jeanne, is knitting Martha from it and keeps cooing over how lovely the yarn is.

Yesterday at work I picked up the Veste Everest I'm working on as a shop model. Did I tell you about that yet? It's Veronik Avery's little vest in the new Interweave. It's cute and cabled. But I would never wear it. I'm using Rowan Harris Tweed Aran. Anyway, I picked it up and started knitting when I noticed a glitch in the pattern. It's just k2, p2, cable 6, p2 all the way around (I'm making mine in the round instead of flat). Well mine went k2, p2, cable 6, p2 all the way around until I got to a section that went k2, p2, k2 p2, etc. and then I saw the part that went k2, p2, k2, p2 k2, p2! ARgh!!! So I ripped it back to the first pattern row and started again. Oy.

July 14, 2005

Going With It

My sock yarn, it turns out, didn't want to become Conwy socks. I did a half-assed swatch and found the yarn far too thin. So I'm going to Go With The Flow.

I have also been diligently knitting away on Martha. I finally completed her left front. Two pieces done now. The back will be next.

I took her outside in the hopes that some natural light (the sun is out!) would help me show off her true color. No such luck. While she is a bright berry/fuchsia shade, she is not the retina-searing flaming hot pink you see in this photo.

Thursdays are For What the Hell is This?

I have a Rowan membership. I went over to the member's area to see this month's free pattern. That's where I found Peaches.

I'll say that right of the bat I have no need for a cropped knit vest. But this photo is so confounding to me. The combination of sweater vest and swimsuit? The Tara Reid abs? The whittlin' with a knife while thinking of the perfect way to kill her rival, Thyme (I mean, God, she's such a slut).

Peaches has issues.

July 12, 2005

Rockin' My Socks

I got my hands on Molly's sock blockers last night. Oh man, oh man. They are incredible.

Blocked Socks

Cabley Goodness

**Update: I found the glitch that was making the photos unviewable for some. Should be fine now.**

July 11, 2005

What Can I Say? It Makes Me Smile

I was flipping through a recent Spin Off magazine and spotted a Majacraft ad featuring the winner of it's Fifth International Competition for Innovation in Fibre Art.

I had no idea that Linda Tripp was a spinner.

July 10, 2005

Who's Next?

I finished the Whitby socks tonight. I'm going to try to beg Molly's cool antique sock blockers off of her to block them to a perfect foot shape.

Now I need to decide on a new pair of socks. I want to use my Joslyn's Twinkle Toes. I am considering Alison's Basic Cabled Socks, Conwy from Knitting on the Road (example 1, example 2, example 3) or Aran Braids.

Who do you think should be next?

July 9, 2005

The Perfect Shirt

I finally found the perfect shirt for me.

And it's on sale!

July 8, 2005

From the Ridiculous to the Not Too Shabby

Since I usually spend my time ripping apart helpless knitwear designers I thought today I would give some nods to some good designs I have found.

This cupcake hat is just too damn cute. I must have some yarn around here somewhere...

Frecklegirl, who just got hitched herself, made these for a bridal shower gift. Being a knitter of lace underwear myself I really appreciate this sweet little design. The lace is just lovely. The i-cord to go up your butt? Not so much. Maybe a 3 stitch cord instead.

And speaking of underwear. To the person who came to my blog searching for "friend's daughter panties," may you burn in hell.

July 7, 2005

London, Our Thoughts Are With You

What is there to say? What a horrific day.

Thursdays are For What the Hell is This?

Today we feature a random round up of confusing knitting from around the web.

I knew I was in trouble when I found a knitting pattern named after The Wrath of Khan. The frontless, bulky knit turtleneck bolero creation is something I had hoped would stay in the realm of science fiction.

Then I perked up when I saw a cardigan called Grape Vine. I love vine patterns. But this is the whole freaking vineyard. On your chest. With puffy sleeves! Oh and the colors. My eyes! My eyes!

There are lots of cool patterns available on Craftster. This is not one of them. Oh dear God. No. The name, Kawaii legwarmer des [sic], is "the legwarmers are cute" in Japanese. To which I say, "Yetis はかわいくない."*

There was the pig pot holder which could be kind of fun in a kitschy sort of way if the pig didn't look so damned pissed off. Also I love the note, "A novelty gift for the country folks, and pig collectors!!" Yeah, nothing them country folks love more than a novelty gift. Yeehaw!

And lastly, the inexplicable. It's supposed to be cattails. Why would you want to knit cattails? I think they should call it "Weenie Roast."

Yes, it's all very confusing. What the hell is all of this?

*Yetis are not cute.

July 5, 2005

Spinning at Windmills

Last night, some time well after midnight as I sat spinning my pink fleece (just found out it's Romney, by the way) I had a vision. Perhaps it was a dream because I think I dozed off there for a moment or two. As I spun I thought, "What will I do with this pound and a half of fingering weight pink yarn?" "And the half pound of coordinating burgundy." And as I sat there thinking--or dreaming--it came to me. The Union Square Market Pullover. Is this pure stupidity? Probably. Will I ever finish spinning the yarn? Probably not. But impelled by my curiosity to see if I was spinning something even close to the right gauge I spun another ounce today and plied it. I was mildly fixated on getting this done tonight.*

Click for a close up of the candy-striping.

I measured and weighed the skein. I came out to about 133 yds and exactly 50 grams. No lie.

Crazy, huh?

So I immediately knit up a small half-assed swatch. I was so excited I used the wrong size needle. I was still able to massage the swatch into a shape that fit the stitch gauge but not the row gauge.

So, is this pure folly?

*Meaning, I did not get up at any point from when Wes came home from work to when he left for a meeting an hour later and only reluctantly left my wheel to put the kids in bed and eat a bowl of Raisin Bran for dinner.**

**I did pause to make a new banner for Wendy's blog.

How Jessica Got Her Groove Back

Last night, after having spent a lot of the day working on my second Whitby sock, I decided to give my spinning a go again. I spent a while working on the green merino/mohair. I did all right. I was feeling a bit better but I was still aggravated by my glacial pace. Glancing around my office I saw some half full and full bobbins lying around. I decided to do a little spinning house cleaning and finally plied the last of the slubby/fuzzy yarn. This last batch is a lot finer than the first. When I finally got some hand cards my preparation improved which lead to better spinning. It's still quite slubby and fuzzy.

My plying skills also leave a lot to be desired.

Then I spotted the pink fleece I got off of eBay a while back. I have two batches. One is very, very, very clean. The other is, sadly, not. I started working with the clean fleece. I just used a flick carder to tease out the locks and spun away. It was like magic. I realized that my trouble with the merino/mohair was that it's slippery. It's very slick and I've never spun either fiber before. This other wool, I can't recall the breed, is sticky but smooth. It practically spins itself. I kept working on it. I got into a groove. I stayed up until 1:30. I'm tired but feeling good. I can't wait to test-ply some of it.

July 4, 2005

New Knitty!