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

October 31, 2005


The shop was a ghost town today. It's been really busy for the past few weeks. But today I was there pretty much by myself. And it's so dark. And windy. And rainy. And yucky.

Have you seen this new online knitting magazine? It seems to be trying a bit too hard for the "I'm so apathetic and dark so you probably don't get me" vibe. But I do really like these gauntlets with a snowflake motif that morphs into a skull. Rock on.

I worked a bit on my Ruffled Gloves tonight. I just finished the first index finger.

And last night I did something really scary. I cast on for Frost Flowers and Leaves. Ah!

The start was a bear. I did Emily Ocker's circular cast on which was fine. But then I couldn't keep those few tiny stitches straight. The needles would get mixed up or slide out. I finally decided to knit the first few rounds using the magic loop method. It was a lot easier to keep the stitches straight. Once I knit a few rounds I switched to double points so I could see my work. This will take years to finish.


October 30, 2005


I was thinking about knitting the braided scarf from Loop-d-Loop. It's an intriguingly knit item. Small, fast, nothing too tricky going on. While rummaging in my stash for...something, I forget what, I found my Rowan Cork that I got as a membership gift last year. I got excited as I realized it was the right gauge for the scarf. I left it out on top of a pile of other stuff in my office. The next day or so I walked in and saw it sitting there. What the hell was I planning on knitting with it? I couldn't remember. For days I couldn't remember. Then it came back to me. The next day I walked in. Crap! What was I going to do with it? Oh right. Braided scarf thing. Got it. Before I forgot again I grabbed the book and started flipping through it on my way to the braided whatchamacallit. I passed by the Ruffled Gloves. Oh those are cute. Two skeins of DK weight yarn. Hey! I have two skeins of DK weight yarn.

For the Lost Fans Out There

Wes's Halloween costume.

October 29, 2005

Halloween Hijinx

Via Boing Boing

A Photoshop contest to merge movie monsters into Renaissance artwork.

Under the Wire

Just before the end of .

Pattern: Conwy from Knitting on the Road
Needles: US2 Addi Turbos
Yarn: Lorna's Laces in Black Purl
Changes: I used a larger needle to get a bigger sock. I also totally made up the toe (although not the same way on each sock).

October 28, 2005

Oh Dear

Why do I go to eBay? Why do I look? I think I just got myself an early holiday gift (and probably my birthday and Hanukkah and Christmas next year). Enough Rowanspun Aran to make the Cabled Riding Jacket from Loop-d-Loop and a drum carder. Oops.

October 27, 2005

Build A Bear or Ancient Pattern Meets Stash

I bought the Bobbi Bear pattern over a year ago. I've seen my friends (Hi Jennie! Hi Rose!) crank them out in an endless stream while my pattern gathers dust. While digging around in my stash I found the Dale Ara. This yarn has vexed me for over a year. I bought it at the Weaving Works sale last year. They only had 8 skeins (55 yards per skein). I had no idea what to do with it. I decided to knit--brace yourself--a poncho. But then I realized that I hated ponchos. So half a poncho and 4 skeins of Ara sat in my stash for a very long time. I saw it the other day and the idea came to me to knit a Bobbi Bear with the Ara. The result is a slightly lumpy, very GI Joe looking bear so far.

Talk about your quick knits. It will, no doubt, take me eons to find some stuffing for the poor guy and finish him off. I think I only used two skeins of the Ara. Now what do I do with it?

I also wanted to offer photographic evidence that my Conwy socks are progressing well. It took me two weeks to knit the first sock. I've only worked on the second one for two days and I'm on the heel flap already.

Thursdays are For What the Hell is This?

The fuzzy continues to spread. Apparently it can be transmitted from mother to child.

And then to handbags.

Be careful out there. It's getting pretty frightening.


Someone came to blog today doing a Yahoo search on "Jessica." I'm number 7. How in the hell is that possible?

October 26, 2005

I Must Have Done Something Good

And I did. I, and millions of other Americans, donated money to the American Red Cross. Luckily for me knitters are astonishingly generous and not only did they donate over $100,000 but they donated dozens and dozens of prizes to thank other generous folks for their donations. I was fortunate enough to receive these goodies from Hollis at Full Thread Ahead.

In case you can't tell from my truly awful photo I got two skeins of Karaoke and a pattern for some fingerless gloves and a fuzzy teddy bear kit. So much fun! I will need to think of something else for the Karaoke since I've knit fingerless mitts, mittens and started a pair of gloves in the last few weeks. My hands are well taken care of. Thank you Hollis! And thanks to Susan and Margene for focusing the knitting community on helping out.

Dang, Too Bad It's Not Real Money

My blog is worth $22,017.06.
How much is your blog worth?

October 25, 2005

Fastest Knitalong Ever

I joined Sandy's Warm Hands Knitalong on Saturday and finished my mittens the same day. I guess now I'll need to join Nona's glove knitalong. I want to use up all my sock yarn scraps.

October 24, 2005

Does The Girl Come With It?

A $3000 poncho. Holy shit.

via Manolo's Shoe Blog.

Deja Vu All Over Again

For the second time I went to Purlygirls and was handed a sack of alpaca. Am I the luckiest girl ever or what? A new Purlygirl, Trisha, lives on Bainbridge Island. Right next to a new alpaca farm. Apparently she's been stalking the place and got her hands on a big Huacaya blanket and a pound of Suri (ooh la la). She gave me this beautiful bag of cinnamon Huacaya. It's so soft and lovely.

The second front for Mia was completed last week. I'm just barely starting the sleeves.

And I'm into the toe decreases on the first Conwy. I'll have a finished sock to show you soon.

October 22, 2005

Happy Yarn and Hands

Last night I went to the drop-in spinning at Weaving Works. I brought the combed top from Butternut Woolens that I bought at OFFF. I wanted to spin it as singles using Manos del Uruguay as a model. I got pretty close.

And I made a pair of mittens from the Neapolitan yarn from yesterday.

They make my hands happy.

October 21, 2005

Bumper Stickers That Have Made Me Smile Recently

Honk if your [sic] doing your Kegels!

At least the war on the environment is going well.


To soothe myself after the merino/silk debacle, I decided to ply the crazy thick and thin brown stuff from last week with all my leftover singles from my mini-cardigan, Union Square Market Pullover yarn and alpaca. It looks yummy.

This Looks Promising

Another new book by Leigh Radford.

Don't Go Breaking My Heart

Oh, Merino/Silk. You're killing me. We were getting along so well. You were plying up so nicely. And then one of your strands snapped and the end has buried itself somewhere in the bobbin. I gave you a nice massage for 20 or 30 minutes but still you won't show me where the end went. Look at how beautiful you could be.

138 yards

October 20, 2005

Thursdays are For What the Hell is This?

Elann is a great company. They offer wonderful yarn at unbelievable prices. And they offer free patterns. Kathy first alerted me to the "astroturf capelet." Which got me thinking? How much other awful crap do they have hiding around here?

Answer: A lot.

When Wes saw this one he cried, "There's no where safe to look!" It's rather deconstructionist, I think. How much sweater can we take away and still have a sweater?

This number initially hooked me with it's bit-o-fuzz-creeping-out-the-top look. But now I love it for capturing the maze of veins across the model's chest so nicely.

That's right, baby. Hide your face.

October 19, 2005

Dear Nashua Knits

The 70s called and they want their knits back.

And you seem to have a brain sucker problem as well.

Veronica Mars and Veronica Lake

I spent a good chunk of my afternoon spinning the merino/silk. I've almost finished spinning the singles.

I decided to take a little break from it to spin the rest of the coarse wool on my drop spindle. I watched the first disk of season one of Veronica Mars while spinning and plying. Then I watched Sullivan's Travels with Veronica Lake of the famous peekaboo bang. I ended up with 75 yards of bulky wool. It's crazy think and thin because the fiber was really poorly prepared. There were all sorts of neps and short cuts and matted bits. It was good though because it gave me the excuse to just spin for the hell of it and not worry about the results.

I've also made some decent progress on my first Conwy sock. I finally clicked with the pattern and it's going quickly. I have about half an inch left to knit on the first leg. I took a very bad photo of it yesterday morning. I'm almost done with the second front of Mia. I'll try to finish it tonight.

October 18, 2005

Secret Pal Super Cuteness

I got a package all the way from Australia yesterday. It was filled with the cutest gifts from my secret pal.

An adorable pin cushion made with vintage buttons.

Filled with shrinky dink head pins.

Vintage knitting notions.

And Lorna's Laces in Watercolors.

There was also some cute bear stationary which I could not photograph. Thank you so much Pal! It's all wonderful.

October 16, 2005

How Not to Andean Ply

How to Andean Ply.

How not to Andean Ply

The end result.

29 yards, .9 oz

Where the Hell Did My Weekend Go?

It's a blur.

On Saturday, I had breakfast with a friend from knitting camp who was in town. Then I worked all day, including teaching a Learn to Knit class (very nice students, fun class). Then I had to rush straight home because Wes was gone all day escorting a visiting filmmaker around town. Wes had talked one of his co-workers into babysitting the boys for six hours. When I got home I found my 7 year old and the babysitter slumped on the sofa playing Gamecube (the babysitter's) with my five year old hopping up and down like an over-caffeinated monkey. Wes had ordered pizza for them too. I told my son that if he had spent six hours doing nothing but play videogames and eating pizza than he was ready for college. He grunted.

I spent the rest of the evening at home spinning the silk/merino blend. I should point out that the photo I posted may be a bit misleading. I am using my jumbo flyer so the yarn is pictured on a jumbo bobbin. This makes it look like I'm spinning much finer yarn than I really am. The yarn I'm spinning will be a thin fingering weight when plied, I hope.

Today we had a screening for Sneak and no babysitter. Our regular Sunday babysitter had the nerve to graduate from high school and go to college. So the boys came with us. They kept our guests pretty well entertained by doing things like announcing they had to use the potty at the top of their lungs. Once the screening was underway I brought the boys home. I was spinning at my wheel when my 7 year old came in and started asking a lot of questions about spinning. Then he said, "Can I try it?" I looked at the silk/merino in my hands and the yarn on the bobbin. I cringed. Then my drop spindle caught my eye. I leapt up and grabbed some coarse wool a friend had given to me. I started to show my son how the spindle works. After about six seconds he got bored and wandered away.

This lead to a major spinning revelation on my part. Lately I keep reading* things about holding the fiber in your non-dominant hand while drafting with your dominant hand. I had been doing the opposite and felt that it would be very awkward to switch. When I was getting ready to use the drop spindle I took my roving and wrapped it around my left hand and tucked the end under my watch band like I was first taught. It took me a moment to realize that I had been taught to draft with my dominant hand but somewhere in my self-taughtness switched. So I spent the rest of the day spinning the silk/merino the other way with no trouble at all.

So I was spinning all day. Expect for a quick trip to the mall to get an armband for my iPod nano and some groceries. I also brought dinner to my friend who just had a baby. The new baby got her hat and even tried it on for me (I failed to photograph the hat or the child). And then 9 pm rolled around and I wanted to watch "Desperate Housewives." Why, I don't know, because the show is just not that good. But my Replay TV records "Law & Order: CI" at that time slot and if I want to see the housewives I need to remember to go upstairs and turn on the TV at 9. How old fashioned. Usually I bring my knitting. But that spindle with the coarse wool was sitting there where my son and I had left it. I brought it with me instead and spun on it for an hour. Now I have to remember how to Andean ply.

*My boss was given several years of old Spin Off magazines. I've been borrowing them.

As the Bobbin Turns

The merino/silk keeps beckoning me. I finished spinning the first half last night.

Click to get up close and personal.

I took a break from the silk to take some plain brown wool for a test drive. It was given to me by the woman who sold me my wheel. I have no idea what it is. I wanted to try out my thick and thin spinning before breaking into the Butternut Woolens handpainted top.

The top is so pretty I don't want to ruin it. I think I have my plan. I'll spin it relatively thick (I have Lamb's Pride Bulky in mind as a rough guide) and I won't split the roving at all so I can get the longest color runs possible. Then I'll set the twist and use it as a single.

October 15, 2005

A Quickie

I'm heading off to have breakfast with a friend and go to work. I finished the back of Mia on Thursday. Yesterday I made some decent progress on the second front. I also have spun nearly half the merino/silk. It's coming out much darker than it appears in the roving. I'm desperately trying to preserve some of the color distinctions but it's difficult. There are so many colors in the roving (light blue, teal, dark blue, several shades of purple and red)that they all blend to make purple. Hopefully I'm keeping a little color interest in it. Pictures later. Have a good day!

October 13, 2005

My Hot Little Hands

My handspun alpaca mitts are done. On Tuesday I had this and now I have mittens. It's like magic.

Thursdays are For What the Hell is This?

Beware the fuzzy. It creeps. It spreads.

It starts with a tee.

Then spreads to a jacket.

Next thing you know it's all over your hands.

And then one morning you wake up and you look like this.

With shorts to match!

Beware! Bewaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare.

October 12, 2005

You Want Beagle Photos?

You got 'em.
Here's Hugo keeping Wes company while he reads Harry Potter.

And at dinner time.

Merino and Silk Are the Themes of the Day

Jen asked in yesterdays comments what I would be spinning today. The answer is 3.5 oz. 70% merino/30% tussah silk blend.

I'm aiming for lace-weight or something in that neighborhood for a scarf.

And the UPS brought me 3 cones of Zephyr.

That's Ice Blue, Jade and Pewter from left to right. The Ice Blue is for Marti, Molly and I to split. The Jade is Molly's and the Pewter's mine for Frost Flowers and Leaves. It will be a pain lugging that cone around with me when I knit it but what a joy to not have any joins to weave in on my lace shawl.

Questions from the comments section:

Jeanie said, "Oh my gosh, does it really take that long to spin? I was thinking about trying my hand at spinning but don't want to take away from my knitting time."

Let me tell you that I'm not a fast spinner. And until two weeks ago I was lucky if I spent an hour a week at my wheel. No, probably less. But yeah, it takes a long time to make yarn. Just like it takes a long time to knit a sweater. It would be faster to go to the store and buy one but that's not why we do it. Sometimes it feels like spinning is taking time from knitting and at other times it feels the other way around. I also spend so much time each week out knitting with friends that I don't feel badly about spending my time at home at my wheel. I know I'll still have hours to knit.

Cheryl asks, "You in the market for an alpaca??"

No. And if Wes asks don't even tell him I was looking.*
I was looking online for a picture of an alpaca to illustrate where the fiber I was spinning came from for my five year old. He thinks everything I knit or spin comes off a sheep. A Google search landed me at Alpaca.com. Not all alpacas cost a quarter of a million dollars.

*Wes and I have an agreement about children and pets. There is a limit in our household of 5 heads and sixteen legs. He let's me divide this up however I choose. It used to be 2 children (2 heads and 4 legs), 2 beagles (2 heads and 8 legs) and a cat (1 head and 4 legs). We have since lost a dog. This leaves me with the choice of having another baby or getting another quadruped. I'm leaning toward a dog. But I'm constantly mooning over animals. "Look honey, aren't these rabbits cute?" "Don't you want a goat?" "Alpacas are just a little bigger than dogs." He's not buying it.

October 11, 2005

Alpaca for Sale

At this price she better shit gold.

Spinning Out of Control

I'm on a bender. I sat down in my office and picked up my knitting this morning. I glanced over at my wheel. Nothing on the bobbin. The wheel seemed to speak to me. I'm so naked and alone. Then it caught my eye. Alpaca. Two ounces. And Coopworth. Also two ounces. I told myself I would just card a little. Next thing I know it's dinner time and I have this.

127 yards of worsted (?) weight alpaca/Coopworth blend. It's so soft and fluffy. I love it. I want to make fingerless mitts from it. I hope there's enough.

I also took some of the twist off of the first few skeins of the pink Romney. Now all the skeins are having a bath.

Hey, the bobbin on my spinning wheel is empty...

Breaking the Rules

Obligatory Works in Progress Photo

I broke a big knitting rule for myself yesterday. I cast on for two new socks. I have never had more than one pair going at the same time. I worry about becoming one of those knitters (you know who you are) with 8,658 half-knit socks lying around the house. Why this makes me worried I don't know. But yesterday I cast on for the second Amble and knit the ribbing. And I cast on for Conwy and knit a dozen or so rounds. Conwy is easy shmeasy. I like it. Amble isn't difficult but I have to follow the chart. I got a good chunk of Mia's back done too last night at Purlygirls. Gotta love size 8 needles. Zoom, zoom, zoom.

October 9, 2005


Okay, just crawled out of bed. Felt really crummy earlier.

The Spin-In was from 10 to 4 yesterday aty Weaving Works. I've met nearly everyone who attended at least once before at this point. I sat next to the same woman I sat next to at the last Spin-In several months ago. Now our sons go to the same school so we had a lot to talk about besides fiber. There was a huge contingent there with Lendrum double treadle wheels (a bunch in the 25th anniversary walnut). I think that will be my next wheel. I love my Ashford, but portable it ain't.

Early in the day Shirley (Shaw from Weaving Works) pulled out several bags of alpaca blankets (the term for alpaca "fleece") to tempt us. They looked at me longingly all day batting their silky eyelashes but I was able to resist. I kept telling myself that there will always be more fiber and that these were not the last alpacas on Earth. I did take some time to fondle it all though. Ooo baby.

One woman was spinning a dyed combed silk top. I just watched a Patsy Z video on spinning silk last week so I was pretty interested to see her spin it. Another woman also got intrigued and ran downstairs and got some silk "hankies" and tried spinning it. It produced this teeny thread with a bit of texture. It was fascinating to watch. I did buy a tiny bit of the hankies and a bit of combed Bombyx top before I left just to play with.

All in all, a lovely day of spinning. Then I got to knit with Marti and Molly all night!

This morning I finished up the merino/mohair and plied it.

I swatched some too. 8 stitches to the inch of US1s. Just right for socks. Woohoo.