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

November 30, 2005

Spinning Again

When we last left off with my spinning I was crushed by losing the end of my yarn while plying merino/silk singles. Yesterday, in preparation for my Beyond Beginning spinning class, I had to finish plying it or junk it because I needed the bobbins. So I screwed up my courage and snipped a strand. An hour of treadling and many knots later I have another 358 yards of lace-weight yarn, shown here next to the first 80 or so yards I plied before the yarn snapped.

I also wound off the first half of the second bunch of the Butternut singles. I had a bad join close to the beginning so I ended up with a second tiny skein. This is 174 yards and a bit.

The second batch is thinner and less consistent from the first and the colors are lighter.

Class was fun but frustrating. We spent an hour and a half just sitting and listening to the teacher talk. It was annoying. Next week should be a lot more interesting. We'll get into fiber preparation and learn to use the drum carder, hand cards, flick carder and combs.

November 29, 2005

From Every Corner of the Universe

You know how that phenomena of the same thing coming up again and again all of a sudden out of nowhere? My best friend refers to this as "plate of shrimp," a Repo Man reference. Well, I had a total plate of shrimp experience yesterday. Kay posted this shot of her youngin' in Durrow. I could finally see the sweater which I can barely make out on my monitor from the photo in Magknits. I was liking the sweater. Wondering if Wes might like it too. Then I went to Purlygirls last night. Someone (hi Daniel!) was making a sweater. I looked it over and asked, "Is that Durrow?" "No," he told me, "it's Donegal." "Are you sure?" Well, yeah, it was Durrow. It looked so nice all tweedy and in person. So I showed the picture to Wes. He thinks he might like it. This started the Search for Yarn. The Jo Sharp yarn called for in the pattern is spendy. It would be better to knit it in something I can get from work. Hmmm...not much there at 4.5 sts/inch in wool in Wes-approved colors (some shade of gray). I'm thinking about ordering some Lamb's Pride Worsted Superwash in Charcoal Heather. Anyone work with it before? The obvious choice was Cascade 220 but I don't believe them when they say you can knit it to 4.5 sts/in. It looks much nicer at 5 sts/in. Which gets me thinking that if I just knit a larger size and used Cascade, which comes in many shades of gray and wouldn't require a special order... And since this is my first ever man-sweater I'm also pondering ease. Wes is a slim fella. 36" chest. No. Really. The small size is 40". But that's at one of those "in rib slightly stretched" gauges. That would mean less than 4" of ease. But the next size up is 45". I don't want him to be swimming in the thing either. Any thoughts or comments from the peanut gallery?

And So It Begins

Errata for Handknit Holidays.

November 28, 2005

Word Problem

What do you get when you cross two needles, three started socks and two balls of yarn?

A fucking mess.

I did a stupid thing with Jaywalker. I ignored the little nagging voice. The voice that said, "That sure seems tight. And kind of small too. Are you knitting bulletproof socks?" Yeah, the socks are too dense and too tight and don't fit. I started them on US1 Crystal Palace circulars. I next attempted two on one circular using my Addi US2 needles. For some reason the people at Addi make their US2 larger than everyone else. Closer to a US3. And they're really slippery which leads to loose knitting. So the slippery, giant Addis lead to two socks that appear to be a useless mess. And the two at once on a 32" circular is such a bad idea that I can't believe I even dared to dream it. Tonight I got a 35" Crystal Palace US2 and will be starting the Jaywalkers again soon. One at a time.

I also got my copy of Handknit Holidays at work today. I was horrified to hear that both of our book distributors are sold out of the book until after the holidays. We now have a lone copy. In other sad/happy knitting book news, Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush (a personal knitting icon) is discontinued! Oh, the bastards. One distributor is completely sold out but fortunately our other distributor had a few copies left so I will finally have it for my own before it's too late. It's already gone at Amazon. And price gouging has begun.

For those who were interested Kinokuniya did not have the book in stock so they are having a copy transfered from the San Francisco store. I should have it in about a week.

And for those interested in my Socks That Rock, I have no idea which color my yarn is. It came without any labels. It does look like Lucy in the Sky but I'm not positive.

November 27, 2005

Watashi wa knitalong whore desu

Now I'm a knitalong whore in Japanese! On Thanksgiving we did our traditional Rose-Kim celebration--a trip to the aquarium and dinner in the International District. We stopped at Kinokuniya so I could look at Japanese knitting books and find the book for the Crossed in Translation knitalong (gorgeous sweater, fabulous knitalong name).

So I thought I would update on my many, many knitalongs.

I've completed five of the eight patterns so far. A new one will be released on Thursday.

I finished my November projectm the Ruffled Gloves. Now I'm knitting Jaywalker socks from stash yarn.

Totally up to date. The next sock will be announced on Thursday.

The first project is the Leaf Lace Shawl. I've knit a bit on it using Fairy Hare lace weight I got at camp this summer. A very easy, fun lace pattern to knit.

Folk Socks Knitalong
The first sock is the Latvian sock. I have one and a half socks done. I should be done in a few days. The next sock is announced on Thursday.

I finished my two Christmas Rose bags. My next project will be the Log Cabin Socks in Rowan Cork.

My first sock is underway in Socks That Rock.


I started my Jaywalker socks on Friday night (technically it was Saturday morning). I'm finally using some of the Socks That Rock "oops" yarn that Kaci and Tina gave to me and my friends when we visited Portland. It's knitting up beautifully. The colors are much bluer than I remembered. The pattern is so easy. And I'm so glad. I haven't had any bone fide purse knitting in a long time. I've been knitting from charts a lot lately which don't fit too well in there next to the wallet and cell phone. This will be just perfect.

November 25, 2005

Christmas Roses

Pattern: Christmas Rose Bag from Handknit Holidays
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Bulky in Mulberry and Victorian Pink (2 skeins of each total for the two bags)
Needles: US9 16" Inox circulars and US8 Clover dpns
Modifications: The yarn I chose is larger than the yarn called for in the pattern. Other than that I didn't make any changes.
Comments: This is a fun, fast project. I can see making a bunch of these bags out of scraps hanging out in my stash, even making mini-bags with sock yarn scraps. I'd like to try to Evergreen bag motif next time.

Almost There

Both Christmas Rose bags are completed and blocking. I have a few feet of i-cord left to knit on the second bag then they'll be ready for their (dark, rainy) photo shoot. But first I'm off to work to sell yarn to people fleeing their relatives. Have a nice day!

November 24, 2005

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

What the hell is this?

Or this?

Oh yes, ladies. It is what you're thinking.

Knitted Stirrup Cozies
. I'm sure we'll all be digging out the fun fur to knit up a bunch of these puppies for all the women on our holiday list. Makes a great teacher's gift!

Happy Thanksgiving!


The fifth trip to the PO was a failure. Let's not even talk about it.

Wednesday nights are Seattle Stitch 'n Bitch meetings. Several people said they were planning on going last night so I headed over as usual. I was feeling lucky because I got the one parking space right in front. Inside the place was empty. I ordered my coffee and sat down.

I started working on my second Christmas Rose bag which I started on Tuesday. I've been doing two-color stranded knitting with one color in each hand. I am a poor, bordering on tragic, continental knitter. I was trying to keep my gauge loose so my work wouldn't pucker. I noticed that the pattern showed up slightly better if I kept the contrast color in my right hand. I had mentioned my tension problems at Purlygirls on Monday and Wendy said that's way she only uses her right hand for two-color projects. She only holds one color at a time. This was too slow for me. I've seen Nancy Bush demonstrate carrying both yarns in her right hand but couldn't quite get the hang of it. So as I sat alone with my coffee I puzzled over it. I experimented with different ways to try to tension the two yarns in my right hand and suddenly it clicked. I started knitting along. Immediately I saw improvement. The tension of both colors evened and my knitting tightened up considerably. I also was able to work much faster. See the difference for yourself.

I only have a few rows left on the last chart. I also cast on for my second Latvian sock last night and got the cuff and a few lace rounds down.

November 23, 2005

Another Scare

Imagine how shocking and horrible it was to receive this from Berroco today.

An attractive pattern in a pretty yarn? Has the world gone mad? After looking at it a bit more it started to look awfully familiar to me.

I knew when I wrote this pattern that I wasn't (ay, the first draft read "was") revolutionizing the knitting world so it's not surprising to see a similar design somewhere else. But Berroco, the birthplace of What the Hell is This? is the last place on earth I would expect to see it.

****Update: I'm not saying Berroco took my pattern, just that these two scarves--and countless others--are similar.

***Footnote on my drum carder. The eBay seller has been 100% helpful in trying to resolve this. She is an earnest and attentive person. It's my local post office that seems to be enjoying dragging this out to its limit. I will head back there today for my FIFTH visit. Light a candle for me.

November 22, 2005

My Crappy Day

Today was not good on a really huge scale. Besides little irritations, like being woken up an hour early by one of my kids this morning then tormented by the cat, my day including an enormous irritation. I made my FOURTH trip to the post office to try to clear up my insurance claim for the broken drum carder. After having a Brazil-like bureaucratic stonewalling conversation with a moron who I feel was actually trying to be as unhelpful as possible I stormed out of the post office. It was slightly more dignified than the last time I left, whipping my paperwork out of the same guy's hand while hissing, "That bullshit!" This time I sat in my car, seething, and called someone much higher up the food chain. This person alleges to be able to help me with my claim. We'll see. I was feeling somewhat assuaged.

I went out to lunch with my 5 year old when he got home from preschool and walked to the grocery store. On our way back I was accosted by a man demanding to know if I was Jewish. I tried to brush him off and grab my son and just keep walking as he screamed at me. We turned the corner and ran inside to call the police. The officers who eventually came to find out more about the situation seemed really disappointed that I was not hassled by someone disheveled or "scummy" looking which, I suppose, would be easier to write off. They took all my information and gave me their card in case the guy "comes back for me."

Then I did something really stupid. I went with Wes and the boys to Costco. At rush hour. Two days before Thanksgiving. I soothed my frazzled nerves with a stop at the Krispy Kreme drive thru and came home for a movie night. We bought Madagascar for the boys. They like to turn all the lights off for Movie Night. That's right. I had to sit in the dark and watch this so-so film for a second time (I had taken them by myself one day this summer) without being able to knit.

I fell asleep in about three minutes. But now I can't get "I Like to Move It, Move It" out of my head.

It Would Just Be Easier to List the Ones I Don't Join

November 21, 2005

Debbie Bliss Kills Me Once Again

She's got a new 100% silk DK-weight yarn. I let out a little whimper when I saw this pattern to go with it.

And via Gromit Knits a new DK-weight Silk Garden.


I got mail today from Cathi. She sent me some goodies in exchange for a Starbucks Seattle mug.

I'll pretend I don't see that poncho on the card.

My Christmas Rose bag is done. I'm working on the straps. Just a few feet of i-cord and a major blocking to go.

November 20, 2005


Friday we went to see Harry Potter in the afternoon with our 7 year old. I loved it. So did my son. Wes had some reservations about what they omitted from the book. [This has been discussed ad infinitum in other blogs so I'll just leave it at that.] Our younger son was over at a friend's house. We picked him up and the boys immediately started to argue about where to get dinner. Somehow they agreed on a local hamburger place. I begged off and got dropped off at home. I walked through the front door and suddenly remembered there was drop-in spinning at Weaving Works. I grabbed up my stuff and ran over there. I had to take Wes's Toyota. Let me tell you it's much easier getting an Ashford Traditional into the back of a Passat station wagon than the back seat of a Camry.

I brought the second Butternut Woolens combed top with me. I loved the way the first one came out. But this second one just did not have it going on. The colors were different. The wool was different. I couldn't draft it to save my life. On the first one I didn't split the roving and gave the yarn long, distinct areas of color. I could not make it happen on the second one. I ended up just surrendering to it and split the roving, broke off the wool in color sections, flick carded it and then spun it. It was a drag. And I think it's coming out much thinner than last time.

I came home and fell asleep on the sofa. Wes woke me up so I went into my bedroom. And fell asleep on the bed fully dressed.

Saturday was playdate insanity. The boys and I went to my best friend's house to play. She has two girls. Her oldest and my oldest were absolute best friends until kindergarten started. They don't play when they're at school now but when we get them alone they have a great time. So the kids played and I got to sit and talk with my friend and knit. It's been a long time since we spent a morning like that.

Then we raced home so we could babysit a little boy in my younger son's class. I put Wes on kid patrol and went into my office to knit and little to podcasts. On Cinecast they reviewed the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I came out of my office when I heard my son running down the stairs. He was yelling and pretending to be scared. His little friend was running behind him revving a toy power saw. I couldn't make this stuff up.

After playdate two we dropped the kids off at yet another friend's house so Wes and I could meet some old friends for dinner. They've moved from Seattle to the eastside and we never see them any more. We decided to go to Dandelion (the flash-heavy site makes the place look a lot more pretentious than it is). I had a great meal there before. When we sat at our table we immediately noticed that it was freezing. I went to the bathroom, heated to about 85°, and saw that the back door was propped open. Well no wonder it's cold. I asked the waitress to close it and she told me that they couldn't or the front door would pull open. I stared at her in incredulity. I asked if there was something else she could do so we wouldn't, you know, freeze our asses off. She offered to turn the heat up. So hot air blew on our heads as artic winds blew past our legs. Wes got on the phone and had the Market Street Grill hold a table for us. We left and had a great, appropriately heated dinner.

And I just finished the first Latvian sock.

November 19, 2005

Time of Death, 14:11

Rest in peace, little knitalong.

Here We Grow

I cast on last night.

Christmas Rose Bag from Handknit Holidays

November 18, 2005

Fridays are for Cruelty to Animals

Really, people. Why would someone do this?

Can't a duck have a little dignity?

Can I Get Some Light Here?

The sun has officially left Seattle so taking photos is getting more challenging. Here is another attempt to show you my Leaf Lace shawl.

Click to get up close and personal.

There is some new yarn in my life. Last night I bought some Lamb's Pride to make the Christmas Rose bag from Handknit Holidays.

Victorian Pink and Mulberry

And I got this skein of Honey Lane Farms alpaca at the Knitters Guild on Wednesday.

Mmmm, alpaca.

The owner of Honey Lane Farms came to give a talk and sell us her beautiful yarn. The talk was uh...a little scattered. But the yarn was fabulous. I wanted to get lots more than this but I controlled myself. I'm hoping to use this rich brown to knit the edge on a shawl that I will someday make using my Peruvian Nights.

November 17, 2005

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

We like to get to the hard-hitting questions here at What the Hell is This? This week we try to understand how much fringe is too much. I like to approach this by examining the fringe to garment ratio.

So how much fringe is too much?

Getting there...


Oo, yeah, that's pretty bad...

That's an awful lot of fringe there...


...and we're there.

November 16, 2005

Oh Dear

I seem to have started a new shawl.
The teeny needles for the Latvian socks are driving me to drink. And I'm still slightly scared of Frost Flowers and Leaves. I've knit 16 rounds so far.
But this Leaf Lace shawl. It pretty much knits itself. I had been told by other knitters that this is an easy pattern--easier than the Flower Basket shawl. Boy howdy. Is it ever.

Totally crap photo. Sorry.

I'm Ready to Call It

Should we lay the Butterfly knitalong to rest? Is anyone out there still knitting a Butterfly?
Mine is in the closet waiting to be ripped and knit into a more flattering sweater. I never liked anything about the fit of mine.

You Knew This Was Coming

Come one, come all.

November 14, 2005

Big Blue Bathrobe

How big? See for yourself.

Thanks to Rebecca for snapping my photo. I really like the way it looks like I'm resting my hand on the bird's head.

Pattern: Mia from the Cotton Angora Collection
Yarn: Cotton Angora *cough*
Needles: US8 Clover bamboo

Oy, this thing is huge! And schlumppy. And it gets longer every time I look at it. I'll never get into the Sexy Knitters Club with a sweater like this. I should have realized that 16 skeins of Cotton Angora is 1.75 oz x 16 = 28 oz!!!! One heavy sweater. It is very soft and very warm and very snuggly. If I can decide on a closure that I like and get over the hugeness I think I could enjoy curling up in this a lot. And coating everything I touch in angora.

For the opposite end of the fit scale I finished the Veste Everest for the shop last week. I made the 26.5" size which is designed to have negative ease. Customers kept coming in and saying, "What are you working on?"
"A vest," I'd say, beaming with pride over my beautifully crisp cables.
"For a child?"
"No, for a woman. See?" I'd demonstrate by pulling at the ribbing.

The mannequin demonstrates it better and it looks really cute with her tartan skirt.

The vest in its native habitat.
Roll over for another view.

Pattern: Veste Everest from Interweave Knits Fall 2005
Yarn: Rowan Harris Tweed Aran
Needles: US6 Crystal Palace Bamboo
Modifications: I knit it in the round instead of in pieces.

A Diversion

I am just binding off the collar for Mia. I have thousands of ends to weave in then I'll show you a photo. Don't get too excited. Mia can best be described in three words, "big blue bathrobe."

In the meantime why don't you watch another of Wes's award-winning films?

November 13, 2005

Know Any Young Knitters?

Penguin Books is giving away a $200 gift certificate for yarn to promote their new book. It's only open to knitters 9-16 who must send in a knitted square which will be donated to Warm Up America.

November 12, 2005

Why Didn't I Think of That?

Someone on the Frost Flowers and Leaves knitalong suggested making a large photocopy of the chart and then having it laminated. I thought that was a great idea. I was all set to do it too when I remembered that I already have my own laminator.


My Latvian socks are moving slowly but nicely.

As are the sleeves to Mia.

November 11, 2005

Witness My Husband's Genius

His first award-winning film from a few years ago.

Get Your Own

You've probably been reading about Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock yarn all over the place since Rhinebeck. You can know order it directly from Tina and Kaci on their newly improved website. There are only a limited number of colors currently shown on their site. Hassle them to put up some more.

November 10, 2005

Looks Like an Angel

But she's the devil in disguise.

Heidi Klum poses here in the Victoria's Secret fashion show, two months after giving birth to her second child, crushing the self-esteem of every woman on Earth once and for all.

Thursdays are For What the Hell is This?

A Public Safety Announcement:
Numerous knitters have been reported missing after knitting the Stirling Cowl Neck Shell. Investigators suspect that shortly after completion the egg sacks on the garment hatch and the wearer is consumed by thousands of baby spiders.

Consider yourself warned.

November 9, 2005

Interweave Winter Preview

It's up.

Thank You Secret Pal!

I just got the most wonderful gift in the mail.

It's Fleece Artist yarn! For me! Thank you Secret Pal. I love it. It's my favorite colors. I will have to find the perfect sock pattern for it. Thank you!!

To People Who Say They Can't Bake

I say, "Bullshit!"

Behold cream puffs baked by a five year old.

In less than 15 minutes the puffs were in the oven and the chocolate sauce was made.

If a five year old can do it, can't you?


With Amble out of the way I started the Latvian Socks from Folk Socks for the Folk Socks Knitalong. It begins with a picot edge. You knit in plain stockinette for several rows than work a turning row of K2tog, yo. Knit more stockinette and then fold in half and knit the cast on edge with the following row. That can be a little fussy so I tried doing a provisional cast on instead so I could just pick up live stitches instead of digging them out of the cast on edge. Eunny mentioned that when knitting her Union Square Market Pullover that she did a provisional cast on using the cable of another needle instead of waste yarn. How brilliant is that? It makes casting on much easier and you don't need to then transfer the stitches back on to a needle.

So I began doing the two circular method using 2 16" Crystal Palace size 0 circulars and a third Crystal Palace needle to hold the provisional cast on (32" size 1). It sucked.

The business end of a 16" circular is 3.75" long, about an inch shorter than in the larger needle sizes. It was impossible to get a good hold of them so I knit the first several rounds slowly and loosely. Wes was out for the night so I made the bold decision to gather up the kids and take them with me to the shop. I was also trying to figure out what yarn to use for the Child's Socks in Shell Pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks. I haven't even purchased the book yet. So my plan included getting the book and the yarn for those socks too. You know how this all turned out, right?

[Insert aphorism about planning here.]

Ten minutes of "Don't touch that!" "Sit down." "Sit DOWN." "I said don't touch that." " I mean get your hands off of that." "Sit!" and I was ready to leave with just my needle.* On my way back to the car I realized that I was so distracted I bought a US1 instead of a US0. Another quick run through of the store and I was back home knitting.

Ahhh, much better.

*for magic loop method instead.

November 8, 2005

Amble On

Pattern: Amble from the Six Sox Knitalong
Yarn: Pingoun Laine nylon, a gift from Nanette
Needles: US1 Crystal Palace Circulars