Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ying and Yang

Ying. I am so unbelievably irritated tonight. According to the business card that I picked up the last time I was at the snooty yarn shop, they are open until 8 pm on Thursdays. Says so, right on the card. Anyone else see this as a bad omen? So, I took the craptastic skein of Koigu with me to work and planning to go all the way to the other side of town afterwards to exchange it for the 2 that they are holding for me. (I called about that earlier this week. I am not so confident that I will have enough with just one skein per sock.) I stop home quickly on my way to the shop to get Eric after his exam (more on that later) and we set off to the other side of town. The conversation was excellent; we haven’t talked this much in almost 2 months. I grab my knitting bag and climb out of the car thinking that the windows of the @#$#%& store look pretty dark. Sure enough, the hours posted on the window do NOT match what is on their business card. The one I just freakin’ got. I swear, once this yarn thing is straightened out, I am not going back. I don’t care how much great sock yarn and hand paints they have. I. Will. Not. Yang. As I mentioned already, Eric took his board exam today. We have to wait 6 excruciatingly long weeks to get the results. (I’d ask you to keep your fingers crossed, but that would make it hard to knit.) So, tonight, we went out to celebrate. Eric will pick up Caleb tomorrow, so we are childless for the evening. And here I am blogging instead of having a wild night with the hubby. So much for middle age! We had a very nice dinner – spent way more money than we should have, but hey we don’t do it often. I am keeping this short so I can work on the tank top. I have started the armhole shaping on the back and am almost done with the bust increases on the front. I have started into the last skein – think happy, yarn lengthening thoughts. I am too lazy to take pics tonight, but hope to have it nearly finished soon.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Who would have guessed?

I had a whole long post nearly written when my computer crashed. This time, I am composing in Word and will copy and paste. Yesterday, I ran what seemed to be a million errands. In reality, it was probably closer to 5 places, but one of them I tried on clothes so it seemed like more. One of the items on my list was to return the flawed skein of Barefoot to the snooty yarn shop. I have to say that the ladies were much more gracious than I expected. They were horrified by the skein once I showed it to them and obviously agreed to exchange it. I spent an inordinate amount of time choosing a replacement.* The remaining Barefoot did not call out to me as the original had. There were a few skeins of Schaefer Anne, but it was more comfortable on the shelf than in my stash. While the yarns are beautiful, some of the color combinations are too jarring for me. I finally decided to go with 2 skeins of Koigu’s PPPM as a replacement. I took them up to the counter and pulled out the receipt for the Barefoot and realized that the PPPM was three dollars more expensive for the pair of socks. The lady was very generous and let me make a direct exchange because of all of the trouble. I thanked her profusely and left the store thinking that all was right in the universe. Hmm, usually that signals trouble, doesn’t it? I should have known better. I set up the ball winder and dragged the lamp over as a swift. Everything started well enough. I was enthralled by the colors, the silky texture of the yarn as it slipped through my fingers, the pearl-like appearance of the plies. It was a short-lived bliss. About halfway through the skein a few slubs appeared. At first I was irritated. But I rationalized that yarn is a natural thing and that natural things aren’t perfect. Besides, knitted up tightly, the slubs shouldn’t cause any problems. Then IT appeared. One of the plies was slightly longer than the other and had twisted up on itself causing a small lump. I was moderately irritated. But again, I thought to myself, yarn is natural. One little thing like this, no problem. I can cut it out and who cares about 1 join in a sock, its only 4 ends. It seemed that there was smooth winding ahead. We all know how appearances can be deceiving, don’t we? A few minutes later, the first knot appeared (notice I say first). My irritation boiled just below the surface. Now there would have to be 2 joins in the sock. That’s 6 ends to weave in on one single-colored sock. Because I was about three-quarters of the way through winding, I pushed onward. Then I found a SECOND knot. I fumed. Eight frickin’ ends? No frickin’ way was that going to happen, not on a skein that run $12.50. I finished winding the skein and resolved to take the hateful thing back. Unfortunately the second skein must have noticed my bad attitude because, while it was free of flaws, it tangled terribly and took nearly an hour to wind. Guess that shows me. Now, if only I could find a sock pattern that matches the gauge I am getting. I have lots for 7st/in, some for 8, but for most of yarns laying around the house, I am getting 9st/in. How crazy is that. There are a few patterns from Vintage socks that I should be able to modify to fit my purpose and gauge. Hopefully I will have more to post on that later. Progress report on the tank top – I have reached the bust increases on both front and back. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the yardage will be sufficient. Peacock Feathers is progressing. I am through row 42. Once I finish this chart (and it stops raining) I will post more pictures. *I have a very hard time making a decision when there are a lot of options. When I was a kid, if given money to buy a candy bar, I would often leave the store with the coins still in my pocket, paralyzed by indecision, overwhelmed by the myriad of options. Unfortunately, I still struggle with the same issue today. I have found a solution when it comes to yarn though. I simply purchase most of the items that strike my fancy. Hey – notice I didn’t say this was an affordable solution, simply a solution. Just don’t tell Eric – he has no clue how much yarn I have.

Friday, June 16, 2006

What a sweet surprise

Today is a bit bittersweet. On one hand, I am a bit sad because Caleb has gone to spend some time at my sister's house playing with his cousins. I already miss his sweet, slightly sticky self. On the other hand, I am child-free for a weekend. I can't even remember the last time that happened. Hopefully at the end of it, my house will be clean (or not). Both halves of the purple tank are approximately the same length.

I am figuring that I will knit until I reach the end of the shorter (swatched from) skein and see how it looks. Judging by the fact that the number of stitches at the waist and the bust are equal, I think I will need to add at least 1-1/2" in the middle. (Being tall sucks - all of your sweaters take longer. Why can't I be 5'5" instead of nearly 5'9"? Just think of all of the yarn I could save.)

The lace is much more fun an challenging than the other pattern. On this one, all even rows are purled except for a garter stitch boarder. But on the right side, the pattern is charted to the center, then you reverse and knit it back. It can be tricky because you have to reverse all of the K2tog and SSK's. Fun. So, here is the obligatory lace in the flowers shot.

I put in a lifeline now I can't remember which row it equates to. Oh well.

But the sweet surprise is what was waiting in the mail for me today. A while ago, I sent off some leftover sock yarn from my first couple of pairs to Jennifer. Today, I received my sample Knit Notes. I love them so much, it is neat to see how well they turned out. The best part is that she kept meticulous notes and made sure that each knitter's samples cards contained the yarn that (s)he donated.

These are from the Christmas presents I have to my mom and sister. Eventually she will have these blank cards up on her blog for purchase. Thanks Jennifer, they rock!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Random Tuesdays

Yep - got a whole lot of little things... or nothin' depending on your point of view. 1. Last week I posted a comment on the Yarn Harlot, something I don't do all that frequently, but by chance, I was in the first 10 or so comments, so I wouldn't have been the 20 bazillionth person to say the same inane thing (nope, one of the first this time). Then, the most amazing thing happened. She. Replied. To. My. Comment. I will never delete that email. My lone brush with fame - excuse me while I swoon. 2. The scale has turned out to be quite the fun toy. I have diligently split several skeins of sock yarn. Nothing too exciting, so no pics. Really, they are just 2 smaller balls of yarn. Use your imaginations here. It was great fun to do it knowing that it was accurate to within a gram! Why yes, I do have anal-retentive tendencies, thank you so kindly for noticing. 3. My new lace pattern arrived today. I can't wait to cast on, again. This time, I am trying the Peacock Feathers Shawl from Fiddlesticks. I am intrigued by knitting variations of the same pattern. I asked a few questions over at knitters review and got some more advice about the Merino Oro. I was shocked to see that they recommended a size 3 needle for this thread yarn due to the bloom. I hadn't thought to test block it, but will shortly. 4. I finally got around to felting the 2 hats I had. The second VPH came out just like the first - no real surprise there. Imagine - using the same yarn, needles and pattern and getting the same results - it boggles the mind. Predictable results, what a concept.

I used the same pattern and the thick and thin wool that I overdyed and got the largest hat imaginable, even after felting. It can only be called extra-large if you are being overly kind. *Freaking* gigantic is more like it. The thing is huge on my 21" head. Here's hoping there is a woman with an overly large head that wants a honkin' purple hat. Any takers?

I do like how the thick portions of the yarn created a scalloped edge on the brim. Not something I anticipated, but nonetheless, I like it quite a bit.

Felting is always so much more fun than I remember. I now have the itch to do more. Partly because the weather is heating up and lugging a sweater around just isn't my idea of fun. I am still working out a pattern I have for a felted purse. Hopefully I will get it figured out soon.

5. Speaking of sweaters, the tank progress, but until the split for the neck, it is BORING. Even the fun ribbing pattern doesn't jazz it up enough to pull me away from the shawl.

This particular pattern has me a bit nervous. By knitting it as written (except for adding a bit of length) I will be seaming my second sweater.* Yep - I've been knitting more than 10 years and have always found a way around seaming. I know that I simply need the right resources (including a glass of liquid courage). Thinking about this has made me accept the fact that until I seam this thing I will be just a lowly knitter, not the Knitter I picture myself as. (Sorry - I don't need to steek to be a Knitter - not yet anyway). Guess, I need to find out something about this thing called the mattress stitch.

*My first seamed sweater was a true disaster. Not one of the pieces fit with it's mate. In a fit of rage, I ripped out the entire thing and reknit it in the round. Yep. The whole damn thing. Now, I am thinking of reknitting it because I know a bit more about shaping and I have found that raglans are not the most flattering fit for me.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

How did this yarn get in my stash?

Yesterday was a good day. Caleb went to play with a friend and I had a small S.E.X. Yep - it was great, almost as good a chocolate. First I went to the snooty LYS here that I don't normally frequent because they frown on small children. Since Caleb usually comes with, I frequent the shop that has a puzzle and the employees are willing to sit with him and color. However, the snooty LYS has a different selection of sock yarns. Since I just got Knitting Vintage Socks, I wanted a plain yarn, preferably tweedy, but without a lot of variegation. I am quite happy with what I found. I am thinking that these might be for Eric, but, I'm not sure yet. I also picked up the Stitch Keepers by Rollie. I can't wait to cast on and use them. Somehow, a lone skein of Mountain Colors Barefoot jumped right on to the counter while I was checking out. I can't quite figure it out.

I am a bit disappointed because I started to wind the Barefoot and realized that it has several snags and flaws necessitating a trip back to the snooty store. Blech However, the best part was the pocket scale that I found. There is a place here that sells all sorts of odd things, mostly science related. They had a scale that was great, but was way more than I wanted to spend. The kid behind the counter referred me to a place I had never heard of saying that they also had scales. When I pulled in the lot, I had to laugh at the kid and myself. Gamely, I made my way through the parking lot. I opened the door to the store and was hit with the invisible wall of incense. You know the one. The one you once thought disguised the smell of other things. Once my eyes adjusted to the lower light levels, I could see the physical wall of incense and the knowledge that I was in a head shop was undeniable. I also realized that any place like that which sells scales accurate to 0.1 gm is not selling it for legal purposes. It completely made my day to know that I was probably their only customer this year who was not planning on using the scale for street drugs!

The tank is progressing, waist shaping is done on the back. I am very happy with how it looks so far. Because the knitting gods may strike me down of the potential yarn shortage I started the front even though I am only about half way through the back. I am beginning to think that I might just make it, but I am sure that even thinking that will draw the wrath of the gods. Just to keep me on my toes, the other night I found this. I couldn't live with the split stitch so I dropped it down and fixed it. Sorry, no pics of the repair in progress.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Today on my way home from work, after picking up Bubba, I stopped and got my glasses fixed. Had to. Stepped on them this weekend. Luckily I was able to force them back into a semblance of the proper shape, but they were a bit crooked on my face. I would not have gone to the mall if I had know what was waiting at home. I was so excited when I saw the box. Eric ordered these for me back before Mother's Day and they finally arrived today. I could hardly decide which to read first. In the end, I couldn't make up my mind and tried them all. I too have been suffering from Startitis. The Amazing Lace is partly to blame. I have still not found the right pattern for the thread cobweb weight yarn. I keep looking and everything I see, the pattern either costs an arm and a leg for just the pattern or it is for laceweight. We'll see what I come up with. In the meantime, to stave off boredom, I started a tank top. Granted, it is already June, so I need to get cracking if I have a snowball's chance in August of wearing it yet this summer. (Sorry for the crappy pics - there is no macro lens on this vintage digital camera.) I am so loving the twisted rib patterning. Hopefully the 3 skeins of Cotton Fleece will be enough. It's all I have. It was on clearance. Personally, I think the fates are against me. This is coming out. As is the same amount of progress in thread. Blech. I am contemplating this for the AL, but because it is just 4 row repeat, it seems like cheating. I have pretty much decided that I would like to use up the sport-weight TFA, but am still searching for a pattern. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Amazing Lace Team

While the past few weeks leading up to the big event have been nerve-wracking for our Team Captain, she remains strong in the face of a number of last-minute substitutions. The team originally consisted of our Team Captain (TC), the Pinwheel Shawl pattern from Wool You Order, Merino Oro in black and brand new Addi circ. The first hint of trouble was the needles. The size 1 (yes 1) needles seemed too small. Having already shelled out for both the thread yarn and the needles our TC needed some quick thinking. The cost of the Addi's was nearly what the skein of Merino Oro had cost and there was no way to justify another set of needles. Not having a size 2 circ handy she sat back and thought for a bit. She quickly realized that the first substitution wouldn't break the bank. Digging through her great-grandmothers stash of vintage knitting needles she found a pair of pale pink straights. Sadly, the tip of one was damaged, seemingly beyond repair. In a stroke of genius, our illustrious TC pulled of a miracle and fixed the tip. The pinch hitter was on track to save the day, but our TC noticed that she suffered from a flare-up of tendonitis each time she sat down to knit on the shawl. Before long, she even realized that it was the straights that were causing the problem. Grandma's straights went back into the stash and out came a size 3 bamboo circ. Aaaah, much better on the wrist. But they were much too large for the thread yarn. Hmmm, this was not going to work. After much consideration, the Merino Oro was benched. Tree Frog Alpaca in color #38 was in. As the TFA is so slippery, it will take some careful consideration to determine the proper needle for this yarn. Originally the ball band calls for a 3.5/4, so our intrepid TC has decided to try size 7 (circ), most probably a Susan Bates, but as it has been marinating in the stash for years, its lineage is uncertain, and it is slippery as heck as well. How will she fair? Stay tuned for more updates.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Playing Catch Up

There were all sorts of things that I wanted to post yesterday, but in my rush to do something (besides crawling around the neighbor's yard taking pictures of the scarf) I completely forgot about them. And others have cropped up since. 1. Go read this awesome pattern from the Yarn Harlot, you'll have to scroll down a bit. Go ahead, I'll wait for you to come back. 2. Thanks for all of the lovely comments on the overdyeing. A lot of the varying intensities came from the fact that the yarn was already variegated, white, gray and dark gray to begin with. What did surprise me is that even though I thought I mixed the Kool-Aide colors together pretty well, I still had a spottiness to the color which is what I had hoped for. So, some of it came out all black cherry-ish and other parts are a deep purple hue and still others are a faint pink or purple. 3. What you can't see in the picture from the other day is that I cast-on as soon as it was no longer dripping wet dry enough to wind into a ball. I am planning yet another felted hat out of it, mostly because I don't know what else to do with a thick and thin yarn like this (please talk me out of it if I have to have some of this again!) and the yardage is about right. Let's not talk about the 3 remaining skeins in 3 different colors I have in the stash approximately 100 yds each. I am open to suggestions because another garter stitch scarf may cause irreparable brain damage. 4. However, I did not test felt this yarn. I know that the knitting goddess/fairy/imp will strike me down for this. In my defense, I know it will felt because I mucked around with it a bit much on the first dyeing go-round and the fibers aren't quite as "lofty" in the unspun areas as they used to be. *cough* While I thought that the VPH was laughablely large ginormous, this thing is a behemouth! I cast on the same size and am using larger needles, so it make sense that it is larger, but I didn't envision being able to fit a regulation basketball in it. 5. Last night I decided to put all of the stuff for the craft fair in November in one spot and realized that I already have four things in there and several others are planned. Woo hoo. 6. Unfortunately, during this brief foray into my knitting basket corner I also discovered that lace does not knit itself, nor have the knitting fairies deigned to knit it for me.