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

September 30, 2006

Check Your Calendar

It's Socktober, baby!

Holy shit, there are 1414 people signed up. It's not a knitalong, it's a movement.

Dye Another Disappointment

Wes has the camera so you'll have to visualize this one. I soaked my merino superwash top last night. Put it in the crockpot. Painted it with a very pretty maroon and mauve with little dots of violet. I left a lot of white going for the Sock Hop look. I cooked it on high for three hours. At that point the magenta had migrated a little bit and had turned the white areas pinkish. I let it cool over night in the crockpot. This morning I took it out and rinsed it. The colors all separated into their constituent parts. I now have pinkish roving with dots of violets and large sections of black, yellow and magenta. Bah! Why does dye hate me? Anyone have this problem? I am using Mother Mackenzie's dyes with vinegar in my dye bath. I'll post photos on Monday if I can stomach it.

Updated: I meant to say that the colors separated out overnight which I noticed when I rinsed it. The dye had exhausted and the rinse water was clear.

September 29, 2006

Friday Night Video

It's silly but I love this Yahoo! ad.

Classic Blunders

At OFFF I picked up some commercial yarn that a woman was selling on behalf of a friend who could no longer knit due to Alzheimer's. All the yarn was $2. I bought a full bag of DK superwash wool in white and these two skeins of sock yarn.

I thought both yarns would be great for dyeing. The white because it's, you know, white. And the sock yarn because of its subtle shades of gray. I thought if I lightly overdyed it in, say, blue I would get a lightly variegated blue. But I'll never know because I committed two classic dyeing blunders.

The first is my biggest dyeing problem--too much acid, too soon. I thought I had only put a little bit of vinegar in my crockpot with the wool but the dye told a different story. I poured it into the water and it struck immediately. Immediately. So much for lightly overdyed with subtle variation.

My next blunder was an attempt to counteract my usual blunder. Typically I look at the wool in the pot and think, "Geez, it's so dark. That's enough dye." And then when it's dry I end up with watery, dull color. So this time I went too far in the other direction.

It's not terrible but, as is always the case with my adventures in dyeing, it isn't what I wanted.

I've got my merino superwash roving soaking right now for the Twisted Knitters dye-spin-knitalong. Hope I don't screw it up too much.

September 28, 2006

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

The people have spoken. My inbox is filling up with emails from readers who all want me to feature the same website. I'll give you the link to the site, which I don't usually do, because the site design is part of the whole, er, experience. You may recognize some of the designs from a previous post.

Brace yourself. You may want to have a glass of wine or perhaps a Xanax.

Here it is.

September 27, 2006

Captain Kangaroo

Sorry for the photo quality. Screaming red is difficult to capture at night.

So here is my son's sweater knit to the shoulders with a kangaroo pouch* at the armhole. One of the shoulders has been bound off. Normally the "pouch" would be a bit bigger but this is bulky yarn and a small sweater.

I did a line of basting in cotton so I could see where to machine stitch.

After machine stitching up both sides of the basting I am ready to cut.


The stitches around the armhole have been picked up and I am knitting my sleeve down.

When I finish my sleeve I will steek the second armhole and repeat. Then I get to cut open the front of the sweater! Steeking is fun.

*A few stitches but on a holder with steek stitches cast on over them. The sweater continues in the round and the armhole is steeked.

Swiper, No Swiping!

That sneaky fox.
Crochet Magazine has a "new" pattern out.

Hmmm. That's looks a bit familiar.

Knitty published the Vegan Fox four years ago. I know that this "new" version is crocheted instead of knit but the concept still feels stolen to me in spirit.


Yesterday was a strange day. I'm still not adjusted to having the both kids in school. I feel like I can't settle in and get anything done because I keep worrying that I'm supposed to be somewhere or meet a bus or pick someone up. So I was really surprised this morning when I surveyed my work from yesterday that I got a lot done.

I spun up a whole bobbin of the Romney/Coopworth/angora (right bobbin). It's so nicely prepared. There's a little VM in it but it's mostly large pieces that are easy to pick out while spinning. I also spun up a ton of Dazzle, the llama. I only have a little bit left to spin.

I started a sweater for my younger son on Sunday night. He asked me to knit him a sweater! It's meant to be an outdoor coat type thing. He wanted it in red so I'm using some Lamb's Pride Bulky in an unreleased shade of red I got at a trade show. I've almost finished the body. I'm using the Kangaroo sweater from The Opinionated Knitter as a rough guide for the sleeves. I'll try to get some good photos of how the kangaroo pouch works and cutting the sleeve steeks on Friday.

Speaking of steeking, I finished the body of my Fair Isle Yoke Cardigan on the way home from Oregon. I've got a few inches of the first sleeve done. I'm really happy with the colors I pulled together for the yoke.

I can't wait to finish the sleeves and put the whole thing together. That's always my favorite part of knitting a seamless sweater.

September 26, 2006


I decided to take a class this year at OFFF. I chose "Spinning Bast Fibers."

Linen on a lion.

Bast fibers are the fibers from the stalks of plants. We got to try ramie, flax and hemp in several preparations like line, tow, top and strick (really, I'm not making this up). We also tried "wet" spinning some of the fibers. The upshot? I don't like spinning bast fibers. There is no joy for me in spinning tough, rough, hairy fibers. Of all the things we tried I definitely preferred the hemp and ramie. I chose the class because I bought some ramie top at BSG and wanted some pointers on spinning it. Unfortunately the class was cramped, crowded and noisy. I don't feel like I got any instruction at all. Unless there's a real rock star next year I will skip the classes at OFFF.

Twisted Knitters

It's a dye-spin-knit-along! I've got my merino superwash roving already. I'm going to do some crazy color dyeing and make funky socks. Woohoo.

September 25, 2006

OFFF 2006, the Haul

I had a shopping list for OFFF this year and I pretty much stuck to it. I wanted an unusual alpaca/wool blend, an unusual angora/wool blend and a fleece.

This was the first thing I got. It's 8 oz of Blue Faced Leicester and alpaca.

This fiber came from What a Zoo (no website). They just had a little table set up but the blends were really not commonplace. This is 20 oz. of Romney/Coopworth/Angora. It feels very nice. Not superfine and squooshy but soft and stout. I started spinning this already last night. It's a very nicely prepared combed top. It flows right out of my hands as I spin it.

This one was not on the shopping list. But I'm such a sucker for alpaca. I couldn't resist it. It's only 8 oz.

Here's Amy. She is a Targhee and she weighs 6 lbs. She's not a perfect fleece. She's a little tippy. She's a bit dirty but has very little VM so she should wash up nicely. Now I need to get some combs...

September 24, 2006

OFFF 2006

This is Adagio. I brought home 8 ounces of his first shearing.

Here's a goat my son got a shot of during the judging.

Sam gets some pointers on combing from Andrew Forsyth himself. His combs are lovely to look at and to feel. I thought he was quite charming. Maybe it was just the accent...

Work that diz.

Still Glistening from the Lanolin

I just got back from Portland. OFFF was great. I bought a ton. The kids and Wes had a good time. All in all a very successful weekend. I took three photos. This morning I gave the kids my camera and asked them to photograph the animals. We'll see what I got. I found a lot of wonderful, slightly unusual things and I bought a truly gorgeous Targhee fleece at the parking lot sale this morning. Gorgeous. You'll die. As soon as I get some photos of it.

September 22, 2006

Go To Your Happy Place

Is Friday getting you down? You can't be sad while watching OK Go dance on treadmills.

ok go-here it goes again

Or be thrilled by their live version.

Ok Go-LIVE@Mtv VMAs 2006-Here It Goes Again

I'm off to Portland. Have a wonderful weekend.

September 21, 2006

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

Sometimes this Thursday gig can be pretty hard.

But not today.

What the hell is this?

September 20, 2006

Who's OFFF?

Geez, I meant to post something weeks ago. I'll be going to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival this weekend in Canby. Who else will be there?

The Opinionated Lazy Knitter

This new knitalong came up just as I had spent an afternoon gazing at a wall of Cascade 220 to pick out colors for the Fair Isle Yoke Cardigan in The Opinionated Knitter. I am using the gray that was supposed to be Durrow for Wes. In fact I just picked up the nearly-complete Durrow and started knitting off the other end of the yarn. It makes my progress look epic.

But really I've only done this much.

You may notice the pony tail holder in there as a stitch marker. I couldn't be bothered to actually stand up and go get a real marker. And in the final mark of true laziness I'm using the numbers and shaping from Retro Prep (not just because I'm lazy but also because that's my favorite sweater). I will have to do a little rejiggering when it gets to the yoke. But I'm too lazy to think about that now.

September 19, 2006

A Little Late*

Pattern: Knot & Cable Jacket from Noro Collection 2 from Debbie Bliss
Yarn: Cash Iroha
Needles: US6 and 8 Addi Turbos
Notes: This pattern is a mess. It has more errors in it than any pattern I've ever encountered.

*205 days. So much for the Winter Olympics.

There Were Supposed to Be Goats

Yesterday was G-Day. The day the goats were supposed to arrive to eat my savage backyard. But they never came. So I can't show you funny and interesting pictures of farm animals have a chow down in my urban yard. Sorry.

Update: Goat guy's truck broke down. We'll reschedule when he's back up and running. And for the goat lovers out there--don't worry. He already came and checked out the yard. We don't have anything here that is dangerous to the animals.

September 18, 2006


What she said. What a total letdown.

September 17, 2006

Progress on Trellis

I'm not setting any speed records on this one. I work about 1-2 repeats a night while watching the first season of Rome (trashy but entertaining). This is ten repeats of the main lace chart.

September 16, 2006

Realms of the Unreal

I spent a long time sifting through the craft books at Kinokuniya yesterday. I was tempted by several titles but decided on this one. I don't know if I'll ever make anything from it but it contains projects that make me give a little gasp as my pulse quickens. There's a range of projects from tiny little patchwork pieces to elegant purses to full-sized quilts.

I also spent quite a while shopping at Uwajimaya. I always seem to forget what I want when I get there. So I took my time and walked down all the aisles looking everything over. I got very hungry doing this. Dangerously hungry. So hungry that I didn't notice that I bought the $11.50 bag of real crabmeat shu mai instead one of the cheaper ones. Also so hungry that once I paid for my groceries I walked away without putting them in my cart. I went over to the food court and grabbed some sub-par steam table Chinese food. I decided to eat out at my car and then panicked that I had exceeded my time limit for free parking so I headed home. I thought I knew how to hop right on to I-5 but I guess I was mistaken so I zig zagged all over 1st hill and finally resorted to eating soggy General Tso's chicken with my fingers as I sat in traffic. Not the way I would recommend doing it in the future.

There was spinning at Weaving Works last night and got to try out the new fast flyer I got for my Lendrum. It's fast. A little too fast for me, maybe. I did get a lot of spinning (still working on Dazzle the llama) but hit a point where the I could not get the tension set just so. I wasted a bit of fiber and felt a little frustrated but it was still a very productive night of spinning. I still have several hours of spinning and plying to go on ole Dazzle.

The Darger exhibit at the Frye was completely amazing. Henry Darger was a reclusive custodian in a Chicago apartment building. Shortly before his death in the 70s the owner of the apartment found what may be the longest manuscript ever written--over 15,000 single spaced typed pages--and enormous watercolor illustrations entitled "The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, as caused by the Child Slave Rebellion." The work is feverish and fascinating. He used popular imagery, clipped from newspaper that he would trace or use as collage of his heroines, the Vivian Girls, fighting, being enslaved, dying. The themes are violent and surreal with young, often naked, little girls in the center of the battle. I first became familiar with Darger when at worked at the Smart Museum of Art. There are two Darger pieces in the collection. Academy Award winning filmmaker, Jessica Yu, made a documentary about Darger a few years ago that is very interesting but, to me, unsatisfying, as no one really knows anything about Darger. (Also Dakota Fanning does voice over for it and I just can't stand her). The POV site has more images and information on Darger. So please check out the exhibit if you're in Seattle. The Frye Museum is free with free parking. You have no excuse!


Pattern: Nuts About Squirrels by Debbie Radtke
Yarn: Cascade 220 and Mustachio
Needles: US 10.5 and 11 Addi Turbos
Notes: This guy was a lot fussier to knit than the hedgehog. It has more pieces and involves more stitching together as well as intarsia. But overall it's still very quick to knit and has some very clever shaping. The pink reminded me of Sherlock, the squirrel from The Magic Garden, which you would only know if, like me, you grew up in the New York Tri-State area in the 70s.

September 15, 2006

Get Your Japanese Candy Fix

I discovered while looking up the address for Uwajimaya that they have an Amazon store. I'm heading down to look at cool Japanese craft books at Kinokuniya, do some shopping and check out the Henry Darger exhibit at the Frye Museum.

The Trellis scarf is now 7 repeats long--only 16 to go. I had an FO yesterday but dropped it off at work and forgot to take a picture. I'll try to get it for you tomorrow. Happy Friday everyone!

September 14, 2006

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

The editors of Knit 1 must really love me. They put this right on the front.

I don't even have to pick the thing up. No tedious turning pages or looking. Just blam! Giant ass cable. Right on the cover. Thanks guys.

But since I'm of a curious nature, I ventured further.

And I found this dress, which they say is inspired by Carrie Bradshaw.

First off, Ms. Bradshaw wouldn't be caught dead in this dress with those boots. Honestly. I'm digging the bodice but something just goes all wrong around the middle.

What the hell happened here? It's like some aran train wreck.

Horrible, ruffly dress aside, I can't get over the black to the rib cage pantyhose that the model is wearing that show right through on this sucker. One word, slip. If you're going to wear a knit dress (and I really hope you're not) at least get yourself a decent foundation garment.

And then at the very end, my reward for actually opening the magazine and flipping through all those pages.

That's supposed to be "feather and fan," sweetie. Not "feather and fur." Ay carumba.

September 12, 2006


Contrary to internet reports, I am not LonelyGirl15. When Inside Edition contacted Wes this afternoon (really happened) to find out about me they were really disappointed. Sorry.

Edited to add: They didn't think I was because of my blog (obviously) but because of my IMDB listing.

Even A Child Can Do It

I decided to leave the blog "dark" yesterday. I wrote a 9/11 reflection post but it was all about me and it didn't feel right. The day was not about me. I wish our president understood that too.

Sunday night after dinner my youngest son announced that we were making chocolate souffle for dessert (or "fersert" as he insists on calling it). So we did. They were quick and really simple to make. The only hitch was when I set some water in a pot on the stove to simmer, to make a double boiler, and placed a bowl in front of my son for the chocolate. Instead he tossed some chocolate straight into the simmering water! Whoops. I fished it out and no harm was done. We melted the chocolate, beat some egg whites, added egg yolks and sugar to the chocolate, mixed the whites back in and put them in the oven. Fifteen minutes later...

One minute after that...

I finished all the seaming and repairing on my Knot Cable Jacket but I still need to get a zipper and sew it in. Could be a little while still. My Trellis scarf is growing. I'm on the 5th repeat of 23.

September 9, 2006

But This Is So Right

How Superman should have ended.

This Is So Wrong

A new Gap ad, featuring Audrey Hepburn and AC/DC. Just so terribly wrong.

September 8, 2006

Kids Say the Darndest...

I gave my 8 year a big hug before bed tonight and he said, "Oh yeah, Baby, that feels so good."

I felt dirty afterward. Has he been listening to Barry White?

September 7, 2006

Cocoon Lace Shawl

The puffy cocoons

Waving ribs on the reverse

Pattern: Cocoon Lace Scarf by Evelyn Clark, available from Fiber Trends
Yarn: 1 skein Anny Blatt Fine Kid
Needles: Crystal Palace US8s
Changes: I cut the center pattern down to two repeats instead of four; this lead to having to modify the edging with a few extra knit stitches.

The Notorious Bettie Page

65th St. off-ramp of northbound I-5.

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

A yarn company (which I will not mention by name) recently sent out photos with the tagline "Expect the Unexpected."

I don't think anyone was expecting this.

Eagle-eyed Monty Python fans remember this as the final scene in The Meaning of Life.

"It was the salmon mousse!"