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

September 29, 2007

In Advance of Screen-Free Sunday

I'm making so-so progress on my sock. I've been sick all week (just a cold and a lot of crud in the chest) and I've been kind of spacey. I knit all night on Thursday and realized that I only knit one half of a cable round about 8 rounds back. I had to tink back stitch by stitch. Then I Friday night I knit about an inch or two past where I was supposed to start my heel. Tink. Tink. I finally finished the heel and gusset decreases and am working my way quickly to the toe.

I was stuck at home yesterday waiting for new washing machine to be delivered so I finally dyed the yarn I spun for last year's Tour de Fleece. It's a sweater's worth of Cormo/silk that's bulky and slubby. I put it on the drying rack today and set it outside. While I was at work it started to rain. A lot. Fortunately none had a) blown away or b)gotten totally resoaked. I was going for a dark reddish-brown. I think it will end up much lighter than I'd hoped.

Tomorrow I'm heading to Tacoma to see the Gee's Bend exhibit. Have a great Sunday everyone!

September 28, 2007

Memo to Ken Burns

Ken, I haven't seen your new documentary, The War, yet. But I did just see your appearance on The Daily Show. And I have to tell you, get a fucking hair cut. No, seriously, you've been walking around with that same dopey mop for like 45 years. It's not 4th grade any more, Ken. Time for a big boy cut.

September 27, 2007

More Wretchedness to Share

Click here to see the rest of the rat cape runway show. Brace yourself.

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

It appears *shudder* that RAT *shudder* is the new black. *shudder* *shudder*



Manolo even found rat shoes.*

Hustling off the the shower now. *shudder* Can't. Make. The. Dirt. Go. Away.

*Manolo's site seems to be having trouble the last few days. And FYI those are not real shoes.

September 26, 2007

Hello Mojo

After my post last night I reached into the sock and grabbed one of the first skeins I saw. It's Regia 4 fadig Line Step Color that I got as a blog contest prize a very long time ago. The pattern is the Broken Cable Rib by Ann Budd from the Summer '05 IK. It's easy, easy, easssssyyyyy knitting and I am passionately in love with the color (which is impossible to photograph).

September 25, 2007

ISO My Mojo

I thought when I started my finishing frenzy that it would leave me all fired up to start a zillion new and wonderful projects. Well, I've finished four long-languishing projects in the last few weeks and I'm not fired up. I'm downright unfired.
Current WIPs
  • Sock Yarn Blanket. Thank goodness for this project. It's simple and engaging and never-ending. I pick it up when I don't know what else to do. I knit on it all weekend in Portland and it was perfect for knitting in the car. I am down to one small baggie of sock yarn scraps. Then I guess I'll set it aside until I have some new leftovers.
  • Frost Flowers and Leaves. I am so ashamed. I thought I would finish this last December. I really did. I haven't touched it since I knit a few rounds of it at camp.
  • Ripple Afghan. I started this a while ago after Rebecca gave away the yarn at Purlygirls. I plan on donating it. The yarn is kind of musty/dusty so I don't like taking it around with me. It's already wound so I don't feel like reskeining and washing it.
  • Gypsy Shawl. Evelyn Clark's newest Fiber Trends pattern. I'm knitting this one for the shop out of Cashsoft 4ply and only knit it at work. I'm up to the large chevron border on it.

There are a few other odds and ends that have been hibernating for a long time. I thought about what to work on next all night last night. I thought about it all day today. I finally decided now was the time to knit Am Kamin. I pulled out the swatch cap I started ages ago and ripped it back to the top of the ribbing. I took it with me while my son got his hair cut and worked on it a bit. It's slow and I still don't feel confident about how I interpret twisted stitch charts. Other sweaters waiting in the wings are Bpt in Naturwolle, Katharine Hepburn Cardigan in Gems Opal and the Giant Latvian Mitten Cardigan in Satakieli. I have excuses for not starting all of these. I'm thinking of knitting Bpt for NaKniSweMo which is in November. I don't want to make the KHC until I lose a little weight*. I'm scared of the GLMC and I still haven't made copies of the charts.

And what about socks? There are no socks in progress right now. I'm feeling a little Nancy Bush-ed out. I've knit nothing but her sock patterns from her three sock books for the last few years. Years. I still want to knit the rest of her patterns but I need a break. Then when I look at other patterns I feel guilty, like I'm cheating. How nuts is that? It's a pair of socks. Why I am all angsty about it? I think I should just dip my hand into the giant bin o' sock yarn, pull something out and find a pattern to knit with it. Maybe I'll go do that now.

*I've started running again and am in my third week of the Couch to 5k program.

Now It's a Crime Wave

Another stolen rabbit!

September 24, 2007


Pattern: Duck-Billed Platypus from Kath Dalmeny's World of Knitted Toys
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted in Onyx and Wild Oak
Needles: US8s
Notes: I converted several pieces to be knit in the round.

September 23, 2007

OFFF '07

Another year, another great show.

There were lots of unusual animals this year.

5 and 8 month old camels.

Himalayan Yak heifer.

St. Croix Hair Sheep lambs. The breed is new to me. The lambs were just two weeks old.

There was a mole busy digging burrows on the fairgrounds. He was not at all deterred by all the foot traffic. Every time I walked by I'd see him tossing out more dirt. He'd poke out his head then get back to work.

The most unusual thing about this year's show? I didn't buy anything. You heard me. Nothing. NOT ONE SINGLE THING. So, ha! In your face!
Unless you count kettle corn.

I did spend several hours under the shade of a big tree spinning.

September 21, 2007

No Platypus

I am this close to finishing the platypus. I came home last night all ready to tackle it. Then I passed out, face first, fully dressed on my bed and slept straight through the night.

I'm heading to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival tonight. I solemnly swear I will not purchase a fleece. Stop it! I mean it.

September 20, 2007

More Breaking Northwest News

Stolen rabbit! How heartless is that?

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I can't leave Clare Tough alone.

And in return she can't seem to leave shlumpy, falling off knits and catsuits alone.

September 19, 2007

Spider Monkey

Pattern: Baby Spider Monkey from Kath Dalmeny's World of Knitted Toys
Yarn: Rambouillet dyed by me at Madrona and Lamb's Pride Worsted in Wild Oak
Needles: US8s
Notes: I used a much larger yarn than called for in the pattern. I knit paws following the gorilla pattern. I knit several pieces in the round instead of flat as called for in the book.

September 18, 2007

Stashbuster Spirals

Pattern: Stashbuster Spirals
Yarn: Odds and ends of Land Jawoll, Dale Baby Ull, Pingouin Laine nylon and Knitpicks Essential
Needles: US1 Addi Turbos
Notes: I made the woman's large size. I should have made a smaller size. These are kind of baggy. This is a great free pattern for using all those dribs and drabs of sock yarn.

September 16, 2007


This weekend was all about squares.
I joined a Ravelry group making mitered squares to assemble into blankets for Afghans for Afghans. I made my first square last night.

It's leftovers from my FI Cardigan. Even after all the squares I've knit, I still enjoy making them.

There was also a lot of sewing. I had friends over on Saturday night and I got many more units done for my Shadow Star quilt. I also did a lot of prep for Dear Jane blocks. That made it very easy for me to pick them up and sew them tonight.

That last one was my first attempt at hand-applique. I tried using a freezer paper template and don't know how I would have done it without it.

Wes came up with a new idea for our family--Screen-Free Sundays. A day with no tv, computer or video games. The children protested. In fact, my 7 year old cried (you may see a trend here). To distract them we went to the South 47 Farm in Redmond. Wes and my older son went through the corn maze while my younger son and I went on a hayride. Hayride, by the way, means sitting on hay bales while you inhale copious amounts of tractor exhaust. Lovely. We bought some squash. We looked at some goats. We had kettle corn. [This reminds me that I am briefly interviewed in the new Cast On. It was recorded at Stitch 'n Pitch so I sound a little funny trying to make myself heard over all the noise. I mention this because I see kettle corn has become a dominant theme in my life.] When we got home Wes made apple pie with our older son and playdough with our younger son while I sewed. We had dinner together. We had all this free time. We talked to one another. It was crazy.

As soon as the kids were in bed Wes and I sprinted to our computers.

September 15, 2007

September 14, 2007

Owl Post


The Trouble with the Yarn Harlot

She's a wee thing. You can barely see her behind the podium. This makes it very hard to take a picture of her. It's a better picture of the first Stashbuster Spiral that I finished while Stephanie gave her talk. The second one is finished too.

After the talk I went to the Wedgewood Broiler with Amanda, Sarah, Sasha and Molly. It's old school. I mean, old school.

Check out the salads.

You're eyes aren't playing tricks. Those are cheese nips on the salad instead of croutons. And the peaches and cottage cheese? With a cherry. Could you just die?

Lunch Bag

Pattern: Lunch Bag Carryall from Knit One, Felt Too
Yarn: Lopi, Lopi Lite and Lamb's Pride Worsted
Needles: US 11 and 15
Notes: The yarn bled and bled and bled when I felted it. It turned my lingerie bags red. It is also super hairy. When I started this project in May '04 I was still into felted bags. No...not so much. But it's done!

September 13, 2007

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

Some of you quibbled with me when I said that baggy sweaters weren't a good thing.

Are you happy now?

We're being lead down a path that will end when women can't find their own arms in their sweaters.

September 12, 2007

Somebody Say Hallelujah, We're Having a Revival!

The long lost felted bag is felted and nearly dry. It still has lots of sewing of straps and bits to do. So only 3+ years to wrap that one up. But it got me thinking about what else was way back there deep in the closet. I reached in and grabbed something. The shrug I knit for my appearance on the Knitty Gritty three years ago. I was stunned to see that not only was it completely knit but also seamed with the ends woven in. All that was needed was to sew on the collar. I even had a length of yarn cut and ready for the sewing!

Done. Still horrendously ugly. But done. Now to find someone who would want it. I'm thinking maybe I know some girls who might like it for dress up.

So what else is back there? Oh, Spider Monkey! You need hands and feet.

Behold the monkey's paw. Some kind soul on Ravelry sent me a message with her solution to all the monkey fingers. Don't knit them! Instead knit a big paw and stitch on finger lines. I knocked out four paws today. Monkey now needs to be assembled (I already stitched up all the long seams) and get a face.

If I'm working on the Spider Monkey than what about the Platypus? No point waiting for my son to knit it. He (Platypus, not son) has all his feet now and I'm working on his bill.

Damn, it feels good to get this stuff out of here. Can I get an amen?

Famous Moments in Mom History #3

Scene: Younger Son emerging from classroom after the first day of school with a scowl on his face.

Mom: What's wrong, honey?
Son: (Face crumbling as he begins to wail) [Student] called me a crybabbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

September 11, 2007

It's All Coming Back to Me Now

Very late Sunday night I was rummaging around in my office closet for a spare baby photo of my older son to put cut up and used in a class project. Fun. I did, however, find my lunch tote that I started in September 2004. It was all knit except for one handle and two 20" lengths of i-cord. Idiotic. Why would I abandon a project when I was right at the finish line? I pull it out and started the second handle yesterday. Oh...now I remember.

The instructions have you cast on 96 stitches in waste yarn, knit ten rows of handle (there's a stripe in there which is why it's knit the longway and why it's not knit in the round). Then you cut and pull out the cast on and graft all 96 sts. When I did this in '04 I didn't have much kitchener experience and I'd never heard of a provisional cast on. Okay, not a big deal. I knit the handle (used a provisional cast on). Then I read the instructions for threading seam binding through the handle and stitching it in place and then basting the length of the handles on both sides in wool. What a royal pain in the ass! No wonder I shoved this in the back of the closet.

Anyway, the knitting is done.

Tonight I will felt.

September 10, 2007

I Had to P

September 9, 2007

You're Just Wild About Harry

There have been lots of questions about the Harry Potter blocks. So here's more information.

The block patterns are designed by Jennifer Ofenstein who has made a full Harry Potter quilt. They are available here for free. There is a LJ community that is testing the patterns. They are 5" blockas and are all paper pieced. Jennifer has just added a video of how this done to the pattern page if you're not familiar with it. It's the same method I used to make these blocks and these.

Here's my latest block.

September 8, 2007

All Work and No Sleep Makes Jess a Dull....Zzzzzzzzzzzz

I'm tired people. Not like just, "Gee, I'm kind of tired" but "Good Lord, I AM BONE TIRED!" Nearly too tired to complain about how tired I am. And it's all because I'm an idiot. I have let my "normal" bedtime slide from midnightish to 1ish to 2ish to 3ish. I've gotten steadily worse all summer long. Now I feel like I'm dying and still I stay up late.

I was watching TV last night (finished Rome--gonna miss that one--and started Dexter) and I was too freaking tired to knit. Wouldn't a normal person just go to bed? Not me!

And today when I got home from work I tried to make another Harry Potter block and screwed it up at least six different times before it dawned on me that I just couldn't do it because I am so tired. So I went to "rest" which resulted in sleeping for two hours like the dead. I now feel like I may very well still be asleep.

I fear this lack of sleep all summer has been bad for my knitting. I can't concentrate. I can't do much of anything. I realized this morning that I pretty much missed a full page of instructions on my Stashbuster Spirals. It's okay. The socks are still fine. Hopefully they'll be done in another day or two, if I can stay awake.

In the meantime my latest blocks.

Quill dipped in ink

Flying Snitch

September 6, 2007

Thursdays are for What the Hell is This?

From Bulgaria with Love, Part II

Don't you hate it when you knit your man a sweater and he tries it on and tells you, "It's okay but I wish the sleeve caps were poufier." Never again!

Oh yeah, baby. Work it.

Or what about when he says, "Sure, a classic aran is nice but what about an immense gray cape so I can pretend I'm Gandalf." Problem solved!

"You shall not pass!"

And when he tells you that sweaters with matching fronts and backs are lame you'll have the solution.

"I love my mis-matched sweater. Deep in here."

Fido doesn't want to be left out!

"Mis-matched legwarmers rock! Woof!"

September 5, 2007

The Thrill of the New

Sorry guys, it's more sewing. It's still all new and exciting to me.

Cute little bucket holding some fabric scraps. You may recognize the cows. I only broke one needle!

Another Dear Jane Block. This one came together very quickly and my seams are all nice and straight.

I'd show you the Tangled Yoke I started but my gauge was too loose so I'm ripping out and starting over. I also seem to have knit and ripped the same dozen rounds of my Stashbuster Spirals. I'm just starting to increase for the gussets.

September 4, 2007

Pottering Around

What started this morning as a passing interest in trying out a new quilt block ended with me near tears tonight. But I ended up with four new quilt blocks instead of just one.

It began with the wand.

Then the lightning.

Then Voldemort.

And finally a dementor.

These blocks have about eighty billion itty-bitty pieces. They're maddening. And yet so much fun. One trick I figured out after sewing and ripping multiple times (the rest of you probably already know this). When sewing two parts of the blocks together instead of lining up the edges or the corners I stuck a pin straight through the cross-section of the seam allowance in the corner to be seamed and went through the same cross-section of the second piece. I did this in both corners and it got my seams lined up really well.

September 3, 2007

I'm Stashbusting! In Spirals!

This is a nifty little pattern.

I'm using up all my solid sock yarn scraps. They look too dull in the Sock Scrap Blanket. I love taking all these little dribs and drabs and making something attractive and useful from them. It does a number on your yarn though.

Knitting from both ends of three balls of yarn simultaneously creates some serious snarls.

I hosted another sewing get together yesterday. It's so much fun. We were all working on different kinds of projects. Sasha was knocking out these lunch totes and placemats at light speed. Amanda was in the home stretch on her Joel Dewberry throw (she even shared her scraps--I love those scraps). Molly was making a hooded towel for her baby.

I worked on my Shadow Star blocks for a while then started work on a quilt designed by my 9 year old son. You didn't know he was a quilt designer? Neither did I. When we were at the art museum last month in the textile gallery he said something really casual and off-hand, "something something the quilt I designed something something."
"Huh? You designed a quilt?"
"Yeah. In math class. It was a spider."
"Can you show me? We could do it together as a project."
"I just design 'em. I don't make 'em."

I may be biased but I believe the kid is a fricking genius. Even though I have to make it myself. Now my younger son wants a Pikachu quilt. Oy.

And one tiny bit more on sewing. I made two more Dear Jane blocks on Friday night. These are both pieced by hand. I'm definitely improving with each block. I'm very proud of the second one. It looks a little skewed in the photo but that's due to bad photography. It's actually very square. It's the most pieces I've done in a block by hand so far.

September 2, 2007

Seamless Hybrid

Wonky photo by ill seven year old photographer

A peek inside the cuff

Pattern: Seamless Hybrid by Elizabeth Zimmnermann's Knitting Workshop
Yarn: Cotton-ease in Ice Blue, Cotton Patiné in green for hem facings
Needles: Crystal Palace US7s
Notes: I added waist shaping (just three sets of decreases and increases). I wanted a relaxed fit on the sleeves and increased to 40%. This left the top of the sleeve a little too roomy. Otherwise I followed EZ's percentages and this sweater was a snap.

September 1, 2007

September Doll Quilt Challenge

Pattern: Fresh Tradition Doll Quilt
Fabric: Peas and Carrots, Aunt Grace 15th Anniversary and assorted reproduction fabrics.
Size: 23.5" x 20"
Machine-pieced and quilted.