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

February 28, 2006

Maybe You're Michelle Kwan

Nancy asked me to make her a button* to illustrate her own Olympic experience.

*She told me I was pretty. I had to do it.

Crooked Cables Minus a Toe

I'm getting awfully close to the toe on my first Sockapaloooza sock.

February 27, 2006

Let Us Sing a Song of Praise

The Yarn Garden has my yarn and is shipping it to me today! Woohoo!

Remember Those I Am Canadian Ads?

Mark your shame and failure with a button!

February 26, 2006

I am the Bode Miller of the Knitting Olympics

Was it a failure to train? Was I out of shape? Did I party too hard at the Olympic Village?

I can't really say. I will tell you this: Debbie Bliss is a lying so-and-so. The yarn requirements for the Knot Cable Jacket are 600 grams of Silk Garden (1380 yards). I have 1600 yards of Cash Iroha (640 grams) and it's not enough. Not by a long shot. I have emails out all over the internet and around the world right now trying to find more yarn. I have a scheme for the fronts and collar that would take less of the color I have but I still need at least half a skein (20 grams!) to finish the fronts. So I have put it in the wool tomb yarn closet and will leave it there until I find more yarn or can stomach ripping the whole thing out.

Now I can finish my Sockapaloooza socks! And Durrow! Remember those?

February 25, 2006

You Have Got to Be Kidding!

I was so close to finishing up my sleeves tonight when I realized I had jumped the gun on the decrease pattern and gone to every row decrease, zooming right past all the every other row decreases. Shit. I had to rip out at least two hours of work.

On a much funnier note I heard two things today that made me laugh really hard. The first was from a co-worker. We were discussing the large slubs in Cash Iroha. I was mentioning how they really pop out of the cables on my sweater. She said that in stockinette it's worse and that they "stand out like a dirty deed at a Baptist picnic." Now is that a great simile or what? And then tonight Molly told me that she had been at "Iwo Jima" when she meant to say "Uwajimaya." Sorry Molly! But that was definitely one of the high points to my day.

February 24, 2006


When I picked my Olympic Knitting I made several miscalculations.
  • Madrona cut out most of three days' knitting.
  • I had to work last Sunday instead of spending the entire day knitting.
  • This pattern lacks charts.
  • I might not have enough yarn.
  • I am bored shitless of knitting the same damn thing day in and day out.
  • I have begun to resent my knitting and find other things to do with my time besides knit(!).
  • My children have been home all this week for mid-winter break.
  • Wes has back to work after being home for three months leaving me on my own with the above-mentioned nutso kids.
  • I am a slower knitter than I thought.*

At this point I'll be lucky to finish the sleeves by the closing on Sunday. I do hope to spend all day Sunday knitting. Of course, that's what I thought last week.

*People often tell me that I'm a fast knitter because I finish a lot of projects. I always say that I'm really not that fast. Guess I was right.

February 23, 2006

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I can always count on Berocco on a lazy Thursday for some truly ugly-ass shit.

Can we all just agree that the sweater dress is dead? Especially the sweater dress with granny square panels and peek-a-boo styling? This pattern is named Delmar which I can only assume is a reference to the main character of Brokeback Mountain. His pain and tragedy are reflected in this design.

Separates, also dead.

Want to add ten inches around your hips? Have I got a design for you!

Or maybe you want to add ten inches everywhere.

Want to be the town slut?

Or Mrs. Roper?

Okay, I could go on like this all day. I better save some for next week.

Ted's Arm Band

My seven year old on his knitting:
"It's pretty fun and hard. I liked it a lot and I did it mostly with my mom. I was going to make a scarf but then I decided to make a wristband. I did wristband because it wouldn't take as long as a scarf. It was complicated but pretty fun. I didn't really know about the tail part. My mom told me it was a part you need to sew in when you're done. The wristband sort of reminds me of Spider-man. It reminds me of Spider-man because it looked like his wrist cartridge holder."

I've been trying to teach my son to knit for a long time. He was interested since he was about 5 but didn't have the dexterity to manipulate the yarn and needles. Later he simple lacked the patience to learn a new skill. I've tried not to push him on it but when he expressed interest I would take out some needles and explain it again. For some reason it just clicked for him the other day. I've given him wooden circulars instead of the small plastic straights I had given him before. They aren't as slippery and he doesn't have to worry about dropping one.

February 22, 2006


Meh. Working on my sweater feels like...well, work. I feel like continuing is foolish since I a) don't have a hope in hell of finishing this thing any time soon and b) don't have enough yarn. The twisted competitive part of me wonders exactly how much yarn I'm short and is pushing me to knit to the bitter end. The lazy, quixotic part of me wants fresh blood. So I cheated on my Olympic project last night. I'm scandalous, I know. I started the "dainty bootees" from Knitting for Two. My excuse is that I borrowed it from Molly and have to return it tonight so, you know, it's now or never. But then the guilt crept in again and I went back to my sleeves.

Favorite quote from my son today: As we are heading out the door for a trip to the mall he asked, "Can I bring my knitting?" He did and he knit all over the mall. In fact he got upset at one point because we did not pause long enough in the Women's Lounge for him to take out his work and knock off a row. Hilarious.

Be Still My Heart

Thank you, Kath Dalmeny! Thanks to the platypus in the World of Knitted Toys my seven year old asked me to teach him to knit.

He had a very hard time with knitting English style (which is how I knit). Once he took his hands off the needles things would fall apart--literally. So I taught him to knit continentally and he's doing great with it. For a seven year old boy. I cast on five stitches for him and he's knit six or seven rows. He's got a uniquely seven year old boy take on the knitting process. As he describes it, "The worm comes out of his hole, grabs some food, then goes back in his hole." And as he pulls the yarn from a center-pull skein he says, "It's throwing up yarn." He also knits standing up while pacing around.

But still this morning, when he came down for breakfast, instead of reading a Spider-man comic book he said, "Where's my knitting?"

Cold Light of Reality

Yeah, I definitely won't have enough yarn to finish my sweater. After a lot of complex geometry I see that I will need at least one more skein to finish it. With the collar maybe two. Or more? Who knows. Okay, stash checking time. Anyone have any Cash Iroha #14 just lying around?

February 21, 2006

Where Were You Last Week?!

This awesome site generates charts for cable patterns. Too bad I didn't know about it when I started my Olympic sweater.

Moving Forward

The sleeves are going nicely. I may squeak by with enough yarn. It's still too soon to say.

February 20, 2006

Sleeve-y Progress

Six inches and counting. Photos during daylight hours tomorrow.

The Olympics are Five Weeks, Right?

I finished the damned back. I was so excited as I slipped the stitches onto holders that I considered having Wes photograph me doing a victory lap. Since that will probably be my only victory during these Olympic games. I started the sleeves (two at once) and have four inches done so far. It's just a four row pattern now that's very simple so I'm moving a lot faster.

But there is something I haven't been telling you. I don't think I have enough yarn. That's right. Not enough discontinued yarn. How stupid am I? I measured carefully and if I can't finish these sleeves using only five skeins of yarn I am completely screwed. When does this thing end?

February 18, 2006

I Break for Spinning

I had to take a break from the endless #^$^&!(%)($#&@#! sweater back. I went to the monthly spin in at Weaving Works last night and spun up the rest of the four colors of merino from my Color for Spinning class. The idea is to hold three colors side by side and spin across the web. This creates a marled yarn with stretches of solid color and stretches of mixed color. Then rotate in the fourth color and take out one of the first three. My colors were navy, chocolate brown, soft sage green and hot pink.

I also spun a tiny bit of a Chasing Rainbows merino/silk roving Judith gave us in class. Nice stuff.

The sweater back refuses to grow. I knit on it tonight for several hours and it refuses to get any longer. I also found two twists that I missed. I'm not going back and you can't make me!

I've Never Done It, But I'm Happy to Teach You How

On Thursday nights at work I sometimes teach. We do drop-in Learn to Knit and project help. This Thursday night while the regular instructor was teaching Learn to Knit I had two ladies come in who needed help. They wanted to learn the Moebius Cast On (MCO)from Cat Bordhi's Treasury of Magical Knitting. I've never read Cat's books (I met her at Madrona, does that help?) Fortunately, it turns out that the MCO is just a provisional cast on using the cable of a very, very, verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry long circular needle looped around as the "waste yarn." And the ladies were able to cast on and knit a full round and see that it worked. Phew.

February 17, 2006



1. To proceed or perform in an unsteady, faltering manner.
2. To move about in an indolent or clumsy manner.

Do I need to explain?

I really hoped I would finish the back of my sweater yesterday. But that was delusional thinking. I had about 13 inches (?) done by bedtime on Wednesday night. I got to bind off a few stitches for the armholes at 15 inches then decrease for 11 rows. I thought this would speed things up. And it did but the back is 23.5 inches long. As of bedtime I was at 17 inches. If I work like a maniac today I might get it done. I was planning on a massive knitting all day event on Sunday but I'll be working instead.

Can I just do the back and the fronts and call it a vest?

February 16, 2006

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

The latest Vogue Knitting has a lot of useful patterns in it...for your next costume party.

Flower Child (or 3 Year Old)

Star Trek

Patsy Stone

Sweetie darling!

February 15, 2006

Photo Randomness

I got my yarn from the Unloved Sock Yarn Swap. Thanks Alex.

Here is my sample "sock" from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks class. Okay, it's not a sock. It's a cuff, heel and toe. This one has a Welch heel and a French Toe.

My first yarn from Judith's lace spinning class.

The loot. Merino/tencel roving from Chasing Rainbows and baby camel/silk from Crown Mountain. The baby camel is so damned soft. I made everyone touch it at least twice.

Hugo sleeping on my younger son's stuffed dog. I just thought it was cute.

February 14, 2006

Injured List

I'm sick. My tummy's gone all wrong and I feel feverish. I knit a bit on my sweater today. Wes and I had planned on dinner and a movie. I went and watched him eat dinner then came home. I didn't even knit at the restaurant. Even Wes thought that was a bad sign.

Official Member of the Judith MacKenzie Fan Club

I am not alone in my complete adoration of Judith. First she taught me (and everyone else in our class) to spin lace-weight yarn in about 4 seconds. She spoiled us with things like baby Rambouillet combed top and hand-combed merino. She exuded a wisdom and calm that is unparalleled. I think everyone at Madrona agreed that they would be willing to pay money just to sit in a room with her--extra if she talked.

On Saturday I was in her Spinning for Color class.

Those big balls of color are Ashland Bay 80s Merino Top. Oh. My. God. The woman has spoiled me for inferior fibers. It was heaven.

Now I just want to spin. But instead I'm soldiering on with my Olympic project. It's much easier now that it's charted but there is an error in one of the cable panels. I discovered it last night. I will not be going back to fix it on my first panel because it will just make me too sad. As I mentioned yesterday, don't plan on seeing this sweater on me anytime soon. I will just have to be that athlete who is completely outclassed but struggles onward to the finish line.

February 13, 2006

Olympic Knitting Thus Far

I'll update you first on my Olympic saga. You all voted for the Knot Cable Jacket. I put the yarn, needles and pattern in my bag to take to Madrona...without looking at it. At 2 on Friday I cast on. I was in my Spinning and Knitting Estonian Lace class next to--get this--Stephanie. I felt this was an auspicious way to start.

2 pm

And just in case you don't believe me, here's Stephanie's cast on.

Notice how she's beating me already.

I hit my first snag about three minutes in.

First Snag

I came across this thick, bloated, odd bit in my yarn. I had to cut it and start over.

About 20 minutes later I'm still casting on and Stephanie has something that already looks like a sleeve.

Falling Behind

[I need to interject here that while we were doing this Nancy Bush came by our table to check on our progress. Stephanie managed to put down her sleeve and pick up her lace so that she looked like a good little student. Nancy looked at my Olympic knitting and said in a disappointed tone, "Oh, you're not even working on our project," and walked away. Busted in class!]

It just went downhill from there. My pattern is not charted. My pattern is not written in a comprehensible or easily knit way. That is why by Saturday night everyone in camp and the greater Tacoma area had heard me cursing forcefully and repeatedly and I had decided Debbie Bliss was the devil. It all came together when I looked at my knitting and saw this.

Errors Marked in Orange

I spent a long time going way into the wee hours on Saturday dropping down 11 rows on one entire cable panel and reknitting it only to find errors in all the cable panels. I went to sleep. In the morning I saw that I had also reversed the direction of some of my twisted stitch columns. At breakfast while cursing and talking to myself I realized that I had to rip back to the top of the welt. I did. Then proceeded to knit several rows with mistakes in them again. When I got home last night I wrote out a chart for the pattern and completed the first set of knot cable panels without any errors (that I see so far).

I think I'll be done with this sweater by the end of the next summer Olympics. With luck.

February 12, 2006

Home Again Jiggity Jig

I'm back. I'm pooped. I have so many stories to tell, pictures to share and names to drop. It was a blast. But now I need to knit a sweater...

February 9, 2006

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

A quick break from Madrona-ness. In the market I found a trunk show for the new Nicky Epstein book! It's all too, too awful in person.

Say it with me. Ewwwwww.

And something I missed from the new Rowan.

Ah yes. The classicly elegant combination of granny squares and a giant flower over your pupik*. Lovely.

*Get your mind out of the gutter! It's Yiddish for "belly button."

February 8, 2006

New Evelyn Clark Knitalong

Something went all hinky with the original knitalong and no one can post to the group. I started up a new one. The first project is still the Leaf Lace Shawl but we will be picking a new project soon.

Prepare for the Slowdown

Tomorrow morning I head off to the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat. I'll be commuting and won't be cut off from my computer entirely but I'm not sure how much blogging time I'll have. I'm charging my camera battery right now. I will try to remember to actually bring the camera with me. I will try to remember to take the camera out of my bag and snap some pictures. I can't make any promises. Given my impulsive nature I get pretty caught up in stuff like this.

The other thing that will probably bring this blog (and hundreds of others) to a screeching halt is the Knitting Olympics. Has anyone else considered the dark side of this event? If we're all so busy, feverishly knitting away, trying to bring home the gold, who will have time to blog? I am going to try to hold myself back from engaging in my usual blog reading. Blog writing will also be seriously curtailed. But really, if I'm just knitting the same damned sweater for 16 days will there be that much to say?

Which brings me to another point. I appreciate all of you voting on which sweater I should knit. I forgot to remind you all that I will be at Madrona Fiber Arts all day Thursday-Sunday. So for me the Olympics won't really start until Monday. Just two weeks to knit an entire sweater and sew in the zipper. Will it happen? The poll will stay open until it's time to cast on. The cables pulled into an early lead but Ribby is still hanging in there.

And now some answers and responses to comments.

First, thank you all for the nice comments on my Country Socks. You all seem very weary of knitting socks in Cashsoft DK. I think they will wear very well. I did not reinforce them but I knit them firmly. Very firmly. I used a US1. They are still very soft but FIRM. They are also not too thick. I wore them after my photo shoot and they were thicker than my usual socks but not at all bulky. I wore them with my regular shoes (Keen Bronx! Love these shoes!) and they felt great. I was a little sad to take them off.

There were several questions about the cat in my spring cleaning photos. Yes, that was a real cat. She sleeps on top of my monitor all day and night. She's an old girl, turning 19 this summer, but still quite spry and possibly the friendliest cat who ever existed. Also, please have no fear of inadequacy. While I did straighten up the office, the rest of the house is a falling down disaster.

Lastly, I've been tagged twice for the "Four Things" meme. I'm not too meme-y usually but what the heck.

Four jobs you have had in your life.
Museum Guard (no, I did not carry a gun)
Bi-lingual salesgirl in a patisserie
Marketing Manager
Assistant Manager at Coach

Four movies you would watch over and over:
Annie Hall
Auntie Mame
Say Anything

Four places you have lived:
Larchmont, NY

Four TV shows you love to watch:
Arrested Development
Law & Order (all of them!)

Four places you have been on vacation:
Vancouver, BC

Four websites you visit daily:

Four of your favorite foods:
Corn bread
Pecan Pie
German Chocolate Cake

Four places you would rather be right now:

I'm not tagging anyone else because everyone has done this one already, right?

February 7, 2006

Hold On To Your Hats

Yes, it's Sam and she's done. That wily bitch.

The saga of Sam is long. I started her on June 1, 2004. Things started going wrong in July. By mid-August 2004 we had separated. We got reunited in February 2005. On May 21, 2005 I started working on her again. By June 12, 2005 I was ready to put in the zipper. On July 19 I finally installed the zipper. Sadly it was a non-separating zipper. I had to rip it out. And now, a mere seven months later I have finally sewn in a separating zipper.

This gives me pause. Should I do another zipper-related project for the Olympics? I don't know.

Pattern: Sam from the Cotton Angora Collection by Debbie Bliss
Yarn: Bandolino
Needle: US6?? Inox??
Changes: I added a few inches to the body. It's still pretty short because I've *ahem* put on a little weight since I started this project nearly two years ago.

February 6, 2006

Decision Time

It's getting down to the wire and I haven't decided what to knit for the Olympics. I've dismissed the shawl idea because I've got shawls coming out of my ears. I need a sweater.

I've narrowed it down to three patterns. I have the yarn already for all of them.

Ribby Cardi
Yarn: Peruvian Highland Wool
Pros: Simple knit. Very wearable.
Cons: I need to sew in a zipper.

Cable Knot Jacket
Yarn: Cash Iroha
Pros: Cashmere! Cables!
Cons: More complex to knit. I need to sew in a zipper.

Sitcom Chic
Yarn: Cotton-Ease
Pros: Easy-shmeasy.
Cons: Perhaps not enough of a challenge for this event. Out of season.

***I've removed the poll because it was seriously slowing down the page loading.***

Office Overhaul

The unusually warm winter must have all the knitbloggers in a mood for spring cleaning. My office was a disaster area. I have photos to prove it.

WARNING: The photos you are about to see are not for the faint of heart. If disorder, chaos and sloppiness make you dizzy, you might want to be sitting down for this.

One trip to Ikea for a small table later and many dusty hours later I have this.

Check out all the empty horizontal surfaces! There's room for my new sewing machine! It doesn't induce panic attacks or threaten to fall over and bury you alive in yarn, papers and books!


My Sockapaloooza sock has begun.

I'm using Sockbug's Crooked Cables (.pdf file) pattern with Brown Sheep Wildfoote in Rhapsody on 1s. So far, so good. The colors detract from the lace and cables a bit (in this photo a lot) but I think it works.

February 5, 2006

It's Not an Air Raid

The streets are deserted. Apparently there is some sporting event today.
I worked for a few hours this afternoon so Molly could go to a party. (Hmph!) I stopped on my way at Jo-Ann's to get fabric and a pattern for my Sew? I Knit! skirt. I chose a LOUD fabric. It was cheap and will hopefully distract from poor execution. Photos tomorrow when there will allegedly be sun for the second day in a row. It's crazy, I tell ya.

Country Socks

Pattern: Country Socks from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Rowan Classic Yarn Cashsoft DK
Needle: US1 Crystal Palace circulars
Changes: I made the leg slightly shorter than specified in the pattern.

These socks are so soft and lovely. I will definitely be using Cashsoft for more socks in the future.

February 3, 2006

Where Am I?

I'm disoriented. The kids had the day off from school--some nonsense about a "day between semesters." Wes, bless him, let me sleep in this morning. When I dragged myself out of bed at 10 I thought it was Saturday. This delusion has persisted throughout the day. I took the boys to the library and off to our funky neighborhood barber shop so my 7 year old could get his hair cut. He likes going there because that's where his dad goes. Plus they have candy vending machines. I'm not as fond of it because the magazine selection ranges from Maxim to Playboy. I had no idea there were so many of these mid-level "men's magazine" featuring women I've never heard of on the covers who all sport identical over-inflated spherical breasts. A learning experience indeed. While there I was overcome with acute stomach pain. I called Wes to come and take over but he had a job interview. Oh right. It's Friday. I got through the haircut, got the kids home, turned on the computer for them and crawled into bed. I stayed there until dinner time. (Wes came home during this time. I didn't completely abandoned the children.) I feel better now and still have no idea what happened to me.

I'm nearly at the toe decreases for my second Country Sock. But now I feel like spinning instead. I started some of the CVM (California Variegated Mutant) I got during my spinning class. Soooooooft.

I have also been trying to crochet a pair of baby booties. Yes, you heard me. Crochet. Usually when the subject of crochet comes up I throw my hands in the air and proclaim, "I'm tragic at crochet." But more and more customers at the shop want help, advice, etc. on crochet and I feel like I should be able to help them. Molly gave me a few pointers on Wednesday and I've been crawling my way through these. I have maybe half a bootie that doesn't look horrible but doesn't look great. Isn't crochet supposed to be fast? Isn't that what crocheters always say, "Oh, I couldn't knit. I takes forever." I could have knit three pairs of booties in the time it's taken me to crochet half of one.

February 1, 2006

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

It's hats off to Liz this week for sending me the links to this week's passel of unfortunate knits. It's especially good since I was recently speaking of my love/hate relationship with Nicky Epstein. Okay, I was only talking about the hate part but there is some love here for her too. But not today. She has published a new book called Fabulous Felted Knits. There's already errata for it here (pdf file). Fabulous? I don't think so. I would like to put forward a title change suggestion, "Inconceivable Felted Bags." These bags cause such a riot in my brain I don't know if I can write anything else about them. I'll sum the whole thing up for you in two words-- dangly bits. The photos are a bit small so I apologize but you may thank me in the end.

This one is called "S'wanderful." Oh, Nicky, the wit! The wit!

I think I speak for all of us when I say that I will never again look at a chess set without feeling a little ill. And dirty.