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

July 31, 2007

Swear Jar

The discussion at Purlygirls turned to parents and swearing because of my last post. Someone suggested implementing a swear jar which made me think of this Bud ad.

July 29, 2007

I'll Have to Settle for Second

My son told me last night that I was one of the best moms in the world. I asked why I wasn't the best mom. He thought for a while and told me, "I think the best mom wouldn't swear as much as you."

Completely Fallen Behind

I'm sorry! I never announced the winners for last Thursday's contest. I just couldn't pick from all the great entries so I used a random number generator and picked two winners. Catherine M. and Rita W. (both blogless) have copies of the Schoolhouse knitter's journal on their way to them right now.

I've been puttering along on the first sleeve of my Baby Russian Prime and I can't get over how slow I am at it. I'm magic looping after having to fiddle way too much with double points on such a small circumference. The magic loop involves quick a large bit of fiddling too. It's all a warm up to my Giant Lativan-Mitten Cardigan. My yarn is Satakieli.

I've been a little distracted from knitting since yesterday. I stopped at a quilting shop that is having a moving sale. All their Bernina sewing machines were 35% off. Throw in some no-interest financing and I was a goner. I now own a Bernina Aurora 440. I'm completely unworthy of such a lovely machine. I sewed on it all last night. Then today I had Amanda, Sarah and Sasha (Sasha's our speed demon. She finished one project start to finish and already has a photo up on her blog!) over for more sewing. Love. It.

I'm in the process of turning this Bleeker Street fabric into a County Lines quilt.

I have all my blocks done. Time to cut a billion strips for sashing.

Love the machine. Love, love, love it. Love.

July 28, 2007

Hiiumaa (Extremely) Mismatched Mates

Pattern: Hiiumaa from Knitting on the Road
Yarn: Pingouin laine oddball skeins
Needles: US1 Addi Lace needles
Notes: These ended up a lot more mismatched than I originally intended. Super simple pattern with a lovely eye of partridge heel.

"Knitting Lace Triangles" Shawl

Pattern: Based on Evelyn A. Clark's new book "Knitting Lace Triangles"
Yarn: 2 skeins Artyarns Silk Rhapsody
Needle: US9 Addi Turbos
Note: I spoke with Bev Gelaskas today, by coincidence, and she assures me that Evelyn's new book will be available in about two weeks.
For this shawl I knit 40 rows of Ripple, 20 of Medallion, 20 of Flower, 40 of Ripple, 20 of Medallion then the edging pattern. This will make more sense once the book comes out.

July 27, 2007

Stitch n' Pitch '07

I went to Stitch n' Pitch again this year. This year in my official capacity at Seattle Knitters Guild President. I had to get to Safeco at 4(!). The parking instructions I was given were not very clear and after discussing it with some security guys they parked me in the VIP area. I was next to the media and players' wives cars. I entered a security area and was ushered under the stadium into an elevator and popped out in the middle of all the SnP stuff. I was just there to hand out newsletters, answer questions about the Guild and give knitting help. I was lucky to have a table on Lookout Landing. It was shady, had a view of the field and was next to the Dixie's BBQ stand.

The field at 4.

The field at 7.

I loved all the signs this woman brought with her. I wonder if she got on camera with them.

Deb, from Village Yarn & Tea, was next to me spinning on her new Louet Victoria wheel. This alcohol enforcement guy was fascinated.

Sunset from the park.

Moon over Mariners.

I didn't watch any of the game. I knit and chatted with people. I had kettle corn (the most important part of the game for me). When the game was winding down I made a quick getaway back to my VIP parking spot and was practically ushered on to I-5 by the police. It took me 11 minutes from the moment I turned on my engine until I got to my front door. I was laughing the whole way home.

July 26, 2007

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

From the looks of Ber*cco's new designs the message is clear...

Fit is out.

Looking refined and tailored is dead. All hail baggy and saggy.
(And if you pair your baggy sweater with a huge baggy skirt you get bonus points!)

July 24, 2007


I left my house at 4 am on Thursday, got to the airport, got on my flight (squeezing into an appallingly small seat with zero legroom). I flew to Chicago. The teenaged boy sitting next to me confided that it was his first flight. He was nervous. He was heading to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. He was like the lead character in Hair, a totally naive boy who has never seen anything. He obediently read the card of airplane information when told. He marveled at the cookies the flight attendant gave him. He was amazed and thoroughly entertained my the in-flight movie, Blades of Glory. He thought vomiting jokes were the height of comedy. Anyway he kept me entertained on the flight. At one point, as I motored along on my first Unst sock, I thought that I would easily finish the pair while at camp. Then a remembered that I hadn't brought the second skein of yarn with me. I let out a little gasp of frustration when I made that realization. He turned to me, concerned.
"Did you make a mistake?"

I left my dear naive traveling companion and walked about eighty miles across O'Hare to my gate. My flight to the Central Wisconsin Airport was on time. I had three hours to kill. I got lunch. I checked on my flight. On time. I got coffee. I checked. Delayed--but only by 15 minutes. I checked back. Delayed--but only by another 30 minutes. I checked back again. Canceled. No annoucement or anything, just canceled. I ran to customer service desk. I was told they couldn't give me a guaranteed flight out until the morning but I could get on the standby list for the 7:55 flight. I figured if I just rented a car and drove I would get there earlier. This is where things fell apart and rental cars one-way to Wausau, Wisconsin were impossible to find. I gave up and took a standby spot on the 7:55, got "randomly selected" for a pat down and bag search coming back through security. I sat at the gate and waited, nervously checking the board to see if the flight details changed at all. I got myself some popcorn. When I came back to the gate I took a different seat. The woman next to me took out her knitting. I asked about her project and told her I was headed to knitting camp. So was she. She had also been on the canceled flight and was also waiting on standby. We decided if the we didn't get on the flight we'd rent a car and drive up together. We didn't get on the flight. We rolled out of O'Hare in our rental car after 9 at night. We got to Marshfield, WI at 2:45 am. (I won't bore you with any more about what we had to do to get our luggage, refunds or confirmed seats on our flights home. Let's just say I spent several hours of my camp time on my phone talking to people in a call center in India. It put a real damper on things.)

Camp was great. I knew a lot of returning campers. Camp 2 is very free-form. There is no set agenda. We ask questions about anything. We cover a lot of ground. I didn't take many pictures. I started to but the piles of sweaters are pretty much the same as my last two years at camp. Meg looks the same. Day one I finished my Unst sock.

Here it is trying to blend in with all the sweaters.

Day two I started a baby Russian Prime sweater.

Camper Dawn demonstrates the difference between the baby Russian Prime and the real Russian Prime.

Day three I worked on it some more but kept making mistakes when I started the sleeves and put it aside. I thought I would get tons done on Frost Flowers and Leaves but I was just so tired the whole time I was there. Wisconsin is two hours earlier than Seattle. I stayed up until 2 each night and had to get up around 7-7:30. Sometimes I could barely get my eyes to focus on the chart. So I cast on for the second Hiimuaa sock.

I tried to restrain myself on purchases. There was a bit of Giant Latvian-Mitten Cardigan (Wool Gathering #67) fever at camp this year though. About a dozen of us picked out our Satakieli for the project.

Here's the original GLMC. Cruddy picture, sorry.

I also got a bunch of Kimmet Croft yarn because, sadly, the owner is selling her business. All the yarns were 50% off. I enjoyed her yarn so much when I knit my Leaf Lace Shawl.

Still life at knitting camp

On the last day we discussed lace. Meg upended a huge plastic bag filled with shawls and we descended on them like a pack of wolves.

So to sum up, camp rules and United sucks.

Now to get some rest and read Harry Potter. Anyone who spoils it for me will get a sharp jab in the ribs.

The Return

I am home and completely, totally beyond exhausted. I have lots of camp stories to share and too few photos. I'm trying to catch up and not find out anything about Harry Potter. Despite my full body fatigue I still started it as soon as I got home last night.
I'll pick a What the Hell is This winner tonight. In fact, I'll pick two!

July 18, 2007

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I've got to run to bed. I have a 6 am flight tomorrow morning to go to knitting camp.
I can provide the fugly. You can provide the color commentary. It can be a contest. Make me laugh the hardest and I'll send you a gift from camp.

What the hell is this?

July 17, 2007

Finish, Start, Finish, Start, Prepare, Pack

I finished the first Hiiumaa sock.

See that teeny amount of blue yarn? That's all I have left. I know these socks are supposed to be mismatched but now they're going to be really mismatched. I dug out a bunch of odds and ends to use for it but in the meantime I got distracted and started a new pair.

This is Unst, also from Knitting on the Road. I missed this one a while back in the knitalong so I'm playing catch up. I'm actually using the suggested yarn, Lang Jawoll, which I got as a gift from Brynne the last time she was moving (not to be confused with her current move).

I cast off my shop model shawl inspired by the Evelyn Clark workshop I went to in May.

Hopefully I'll find time to block it before I leave for camp on Thursday(!).

I also started a ripple afghan for Dulaan.

Rebecca was giving away these natural colored wool. It's a pretty rustic yarn. It's kind of rough and still has a lot of lanolin in it. I was inspired by this afghan made in organic cotton. Crocheting, for me, continues to be a humbling craft. I finished the first two rows since I took this photo. So far, so good.

Now I need to pack and prepare for my Guild
presentation on Ravelry tomorrow. You know you can check and see where you are on the waiting list now?

July 16, 2007

Cry Me a River

After going off on parents with babies at movies yesterday, I thought I'd try to be more constructive. Here is a short, cobbled together list of film-going options for people with infants.

Kirkland Parkplace cinema still offers its parent-and-baby program at 9:45 a.m. the second and fourth Fridays of each month. The cinema opens all its auditoriums so parents can choose which feature they want to see. (404 Parkplace Center, Kirkland, 425-827-9000).

However, the following are the Cry Rooms:
Landmark's Metro Cinemas - Auditorium # 1
Landmark's Varsity Theatre - Auditorium # 1
Landmark's Guild 45th Theatre - Auditorium # 2
Information on which Film is playing in which Auditorium can be obtained by calling (206) 781-5755
For the Guild 45th, press 3 and just listen. The cry room is attached to the blue theater, which they mention second.
For the Metro, press 5 and then 3. This is a special cry room message.
For the Varsity, press 8. The cry room is attached to the main, downstairs auditorium, which they mention first.

At Lincoln Square in Bellevue they have special Thursday screenings for parents with infants.
Every Thursday at 10:00 AM Lincoln Square Cinemas hosts a presentation specifically designed for parents and their infant children. This is a parents chance to bring their strollers and come watch the latest movies with like minded parents. Shows are presented with the lights up a bit and the sound down a bit. Box office opens at 9:45AM. These show times do not appear on the regular schedule—check back here each week to see what's playing."

Come on, "at your seat concession service." What more could you want?

July 15, 2007

Potter-Full Weekend

We've had a whole lot of Potter going on this weekend. Wes took our older son to see Harry and the Potters at the downtown library. There was a huge crowd and it sounded like a really great show. Originally we planned to all meet downtown, have a great dinner and see the concert. It became clear that my younger son would want no part of any of the plan. So I stayed home with him. Then on Saturday I left my younger son home with Wes while I took the big guy to see Order of the Phoenix. It's my least favorite book of the series so it's not too surprising that I didn't like the film as much as the others.

My film-going experience was also really ruined by the couple sitting next to me--in the center of the row--with a small infant. The baby fussed and cried the whole time. They got up and left three or four times during the show. I mean, really, if you're going to bring an infant to a movie at least sit on the aisle so you don't have to walk back and forth in front of 20+ people several times during a movie. What's really annoying is that there's another theater in town showing Harry Potter that has a cryroom in it. That's where I saw all my movies when my kids were babies. Sorry for the rant. I'm sympathetic as a mother but was totally pissed off as a film-goer.

In a bit of a coincidence, my Hiiumaa socks that I started earlier this week are in Ravenclaw colors.

I didn't plan it at all. I just had these two oddballs that I got as a gift a few years ago from Nanette. I also knitted for a while during the movie but had to stop when I approached a color change since I couldn't count my rows. When I got home I found that I had stopped at the exact point of my color change. Woot for me.

Thank you all for all your notes of condolence. I think this might be rougher on Wes than me. He got Zasu in college. As he said last night, he'd had her for more than half his life. Wes went to a party last night and it was very eerie to be in the house with the children asleep and no one to keep me company. I promise to try to keep everyone and everything else around me alive for a while.

July 14, 2007


Earlier this week we found out that Zasu, at age 20, was in kidney failure. Wes had a vet appointment for this morning to learn how to medicate her and give her fluids. When he went to collect her he found she had passed away last night under my desk.

She was the most affectionate cat I have ever heard of. She would wrap her paws around your neck and nuzzle your face. She would do that with any stranger that would pick her up.

Goodbye, sweetie.

July 12, 2007

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

This week we have two picks from the reader mailbag.

While I appreciate the whimsy of the concept of the sweater still being knit as the model walks down the runway, I am too repulsed by the dismembered corpse hands resting on her shoulders to enjoy it. Bonus points for Batman sidekick-like mask.
(Once again I have lost the name of the nice person who sent this to me.)

(Sent in my Erin. Look! I remembered this one!)

My first thought was, "Leggings with flip-flops? What the hell? Either it's so cold you need to cover your leg--in which case you also need to cover your feet--or it's so hot you need flip-flops and it's too warm to wear leggings."

But of course the larger problem is that these massive leggings look exactly like this guy's lower body.

If I ever looked down and saw what appeared to be all the flesh from my torso dripping down my legs like this I would high-tail it to the dermatologist. Stat.

July 11, 2007

Simple Zen Quilt

My first quilt top that I sewed has been machine-quilted, "stitch in the ditch" style, and bound. This is my oldest son holding it up for me. His feet, like his father's, are shown for scale. It's about 38" x "43".

(Sorry most of my pictures have been blurry and/or overexposed. My camera seems to be crapping out on me.)

July 10, 2007

Summer Seattle Style

We're having a "heat wave" in Seattle. Today it got up to 90. Tomorrow it will be going up to 97 which is really fucking hot by anyone's standards. But here in Seattle we tend not to have air conditioning. So tomorrow you will find us at the mall.

But today we headed to the beach. We've been to several lately. The beauty of Seattle is that there is water in every direction. So far this summer we've taken the kids to Alki and Magnuson beach. They've headed to Greenlake, Madison beach and a few other bodies of water while at camp. We spent the morning at Carkeek. It was cool and breezy. The kids played in the sand and watched some guys with a set-up I've never seen before. They had some really light-weight half-circle sails that they had attached to their waists and a boogie board kind of thing. They were riding around, skimming and jumping in the water. It looked like a lot of fun.

I realized yesterday that I completely missed the start of the Tour de Fleece. I think between the late start and knitting camp next week (!) I will not be getting in 30 hours of spinning.

Welsh Stockings

Pattern: Welsh Stockings from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Knitpicks Essential
Needles: US1 Addi Lace needles
Notes: I hated this yarn. It's stringy, splitty and irregular. I made my socks an inch of two shorter than the pattern called for. I don't need 10" high socks.

July 8, 2007

Again With the Quilting

Saturday night I prepared the backing and batting for the hexagon quilt (this is a bigger image than the last one I posted).

Then I wanted to try some free-motion quilting. To practice I had heard somewhere that pre-printed panels were quick and easy to use. I remembered I had one that I got in a fabric grab bag that I would never use for anything. I got some batting and backing fabric and pinned it all together. Then I went at it with the sewing machine. I found the feed dog cover for my machine and I had gotten a darning foot a while ago. Free-motion stitching is really bizarre. The fabric just sits there unless you're moving it. Working out the timing of how fast to move the fabric and how fast to move the needle is tricky. And my machine does not have a very sensitive pedal so I can pretty much go fast and super-fast. Fortunately fast is a good speed for machine quiting and I started to feel like I was doing all right pretty quickly.

Click for bigger

First I tried outling the baby's face which didn't go that well. Then I did some of the swirls around the sides. In the blue section at the bottom I made stars that came out really well but are very hard to make out in the photo. Then I wrote my name along the bottom. Woohoo.

So today I took my quilt, backing and batting the The Quilting Loft to use their workroom to pin it all together. It was a lot more comfortable then crawling around on the floor. I got some cool green variegated thread to use for the top and some plain white for the bottom. When I got home I started quilting it. I've only done about six straight lines of quilting so far to begin to stabilize the whole thing. Then I'm going to flip it over and do some free-motion quilting around the cow spots on the back.

I also spent some time last night and tonight tacking down the binding on the Simple Zen quilt. It's still taking forever but my stitching looks remarkably better. I still can't miter a corner worth a damn. Hopefully I'll have this one finished on Tuesday and will post some pictures.

My Welsh socks should be finished shortly and the spider monkey still needs a lot more sewing. I'm currently knitting the tail.

July 7, 2007

Hexagon Quilt Top Done!

Modeled by my lovely assistant, Wes, who insisted I get his feet in the shot for scale.
Now on to basting and quilting. Ack!

July 6, 2007


In case any of you were concerned, I still knit.
I'm coming in to the home stretch on my Welsh Stockings.

I finished the cutest baby sock at work.

It's Juta's Stockings from Folk Knitting in Estonia knit in the leftover Sea Wool from my BSJ. Super easy lace in a lovely little pattern written for three sizes.

I'm also quilting. My boss expressed concern yesterday as she narrowed her eyes and asked accusingly, "You're not going to get all quilty on my, are you?"

I stitched together this little top from the half-square triangles I showed the other day.

You can also see in the photo that I selected a backing fabric (left), border fabric (middle) and binding fabric (stripes on the right). I'm going to attempt a Kaffe Fassettish bias binding to create a barber-pole effect with the stripes. That's "attempt." I'm making no promises about the outcome.

And tonight I spin!

July 5, 2007

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

You can only pull "Yeti" out every so often. I fear I've used it too much here on Thursdays. So I've turned to my thesaurus.

Let's see...








Screw it.

Yeti! There! I said it.

July 4, 2007

Fug Monkey

At Madrona back in January I took a dyeing class. I was feeling light on inspiration and for one of my skeins I just poured the three primaries on in three sections and let them blend in between. The skein came out screaming neon. Screaming. When I got home and started unpacking my bags my younger son saw the hideous skein and immediately insisted I make him the spider monkey from Kath Dalmeny's World of Knitted Toys. He's been "helping" me knit it. He's knit about 17 stitches and I've done the rest.

The pattern has you sew and sew and sew a million pieces. I started changing parts to be knit in the round to save a little seaming but there is still so much to sew. And I haven't knit all the freaking fingers and toes yet. What a pain in the ass!

Thank You. Come Again.

Seattle's got a Kwik-E Mart. It's right by Wes's office so I sent him over with the camera. You can see all the photos on my Flickr.

July 3, 2007

Just Another Block

I sent Wes off with the camera today (reason to be revealed later) so all I can show you today is this, my third hand-pieced block for Dear Jane.

I definitely seem to be getting better and faster at this as I go. I'm very pleased with how well the seams match up. Of course, this is one of the simple blocks. It just gets harder from here. Next up is conquering foundation piecing and applique.

There will be much more later including my first completed quilt and knitting.

Thank You

Thank you all so much for all the kind and thoughtful comments about Hugo. We are all doing fine. The boys are pretty oblivious and have already starting asking for new pets. Wes and I are still adjusting.

July 1, 2007

It's Not Me, It's You or This Foot Was Made for Walking

My quilting has been at a standstill because of my walking foot problem. I finally got a chance to take the machine and the foot to the shop. After a bit of fiddling they concluded that they had sold me the wrong foot. It was such a relief to know that it wasn't my mistake. It's amazing what a blow to your self-confidence something like this can be. They did have another foot that works that was the same price. So I came home all fired up to quilt.

First I quilted my little disappearing nine patch practice quilt. I also sewed on a binding using the instructions at Heather Bailey's site and this video. I'm still in the process of hand-stitching the binding down. It's slow going and a total pain.

So I took a break and machine quilted the first top I made. It went from simple zen to 70s guest bedroom. I used synthetic batting and it's so puffy. I machine-stitched the binding on using the same method for the first quilt so it's also waiting to have the binding hand-stitched down.

I worked some more on the first binding. Then I got bored.

So I decided to do something with the Lotus "Jolly pack" I bought a few weeks ago. (I went to The Quilting Loft in the morning for their first "Strip Club." It's a monthly free "club" where they debut a quilt made from pre-cut strips. The patterns are free. While I shudder at the name the quilt pattern they gave out looks really fun and easy. I wasn't in love with the color scheme they were offering (aquas, browns, rust) so I'm saving it for another time. But I did learn the following technique for charm squares while there--even though it isn't used in the quilt they were showing.)

I marked the diagonal line then stitched 1/4 inch away from it on both sides.

I chain-pieced them so it went really quickly.

Then I sliced them down the middle.

And, like magic, I had a bunch of squares made up of triangles.

This is just a sample layout with half the squares.

Next up, putting the borders on the hexagon quilt.