Monday, February 28, 2005

On Golden Pond

The camera bleached out the color. This one really is GOLDENROD like that old typing paper color. It certainly doesn't look it, though:

This is the start of a 6 month size surplice sweater. Those eyelets at the edge are for the ties.

KIP today at the doctor's office (nothing serious) and sort of staring into space and watching the stupid slide show, and not really paying much attention to anything when I heard stage whispers: "Look how fast!" and "She's not even looking." Three Knovice Knitting Knurses! Figure I gave them someting to aspire to in about 50 years!


And in the category of "I never meant to buy another one":

From the Dollar Tree. One buck!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Shut My Big Mouth

Never say "yarn diet" and never even think "yarn fast!" If you do, you can be assured that people you didn't even know did crafty stuff will give you leftover skeins and big piles of yarn.

My friend Rabbitch reports that since the start of her stashbusting efforts, she is actually up 10 balls! And that's after mailing off yarn to moi, which will add to my stash. And one of my co-workers gave me some leftover skeins of acrylic in really pretty colors that I am already incorporating into a baby blanket, so that will never make it to the spreadsheet.

I am pleased to report that my food diet is going almost as good as my yarn diet. (That was sarcasm, for those who weren't quite sure.)


I started something new (guaranteed to use up 5 balls): a baby surplice sweater (that's a "ballet" sweater for those of you without a dictionary handy) in bright goldenrod Phildar Pegase (acrylic/wool blend like Encore--DK weight). No pictures yet (there's nothing to see).


And I started a stash-buster baby blanket on the Bond.

Sadly, not one of the components is on my spreadsheet!

Equally sadly, one of the yarns (Pound of Love) was not feeling well:

Yep, that's yarn vomit!


Today's sheep doesn't have a name, but if he did, it might be "Wobble" (or maybe "Weeble").

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Blue Denim

A progress (of sorts) report:

I've reached the point in the pattern where Joan (Hamer) suggests putting the sleeves on holders (I'm using a strand of worsted weight yarn) and working the body to its logical conclusion, before trying the thing on and determining how much longer the sleeves need to be.

If my kitchen scale is to be believed, I am 9 ounces into this cone of yarn which was originally exactly the same weight and length as the eggplant/aubergine one shown next to it:

Each cone contained exactly 1772 yards and 33.76 ounces of yarn. So, there should be plenty left. (And why am I obsessing?)

Several people have asked about this yarn.

I am a bit ashamed to admit that I did not swatch even though I have never in my life used a yarn that is expected to shrink about 15% in length (but not in width? How does that work, I wonder), so I am certainly setting myself up for some sort of awakening.

It is not staining anything, but the color is light. I wonder if the eggplant and bark colorways will be the same. Some of these denim yarns are surface dyed and have dye that comes off (on hands and needles).

It is very hard on the hands. There is no give at all! And it's rough. I am counting on some serious bloom! Another reason I sort of regret not swatching (and laundering the swatch) at least a little!


I give you, the one that started it all. I found this one at the grocery store (I kid you not!). He's carved and painted wood.

Today's sheep has something to say:

Friday, February 25, 2005

Catch My Soul

Caught again, this time by Lucia who has some terrific patterns on her blog (go ahead, I'll wait here for you), this time a TV meme:

1. How much space is left on your Tivo or Comcast box? Right now? Quite a lot. But we just deleted whole bunches of already-viewed epidodes that the kid said he doesn't plan to watch.

2. Have you ever bought a DVD of a TV series and if so which one? No. I got the first season of The Sopranos as a gift. Then we rented the next several seasons, one disc at a time. The kid bought the other half the Ken Burns' Civil War, and we , in turn, bought him Band of Brothers, so I gues the real answer is "yes."

3. What was the last TV show that you all watched before reading this message? Live? The news. We don't watch much live these days. I call it quits at about 9 each evening, because I get up at 5 to get ready for work. If it weren't for TiVo, I would have no connection to pop culture at all. But we watch the news for 2 hours (5-7) nearly every evening. And last night we rented Shall We Dance. Oh, my. Must see. If only for the choreography!

4. List 5 shows you won't miss. Again, thank gawd for TiVo: NYPD Blue and I sure am going to miss it after next week, Law and Order, and all its iterations, ER (did I hear it's being cancelled?), Third Watch, and The West Wing (we came upon that one late, but got up to speed thanks to syndication), in no particular order. Throw in current Star Trek version and a "flavor of the month" like Medium and Lost and you have a peek at the viewing habits in this household. Nielsen would be appalled!

5. Name 3 people to whom you will pass this stick. Well, I think I'll just put it up for grabs seeing that many/most of my readers have already participated.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Bells Are Ringing

The weather has turned on us yet again. Could someone haul that ground hog out of that hole and shoot him?

They started cancelling school at 10. It started snowing at noon. By two, it was really starting to come down. At 4 (when I left for home) it was starting to turn really nasty.

Fifteen minutes (6 miles) from home, someone had slid off the road (bad curve), so one by one, those of us still on the road did a 3-point turn at a barely 2-lane part and went back the way we came. Except that one jerk in the big SUV. If you can't drive it, get it off the road! Our driving instructors would have been so proud.

Have I ever mentioned my dislike for the winter months?

And so, dear readers, I snuggled in with my big boring blue sweater and got to the stopping point on the first sleeve. The second sleeve is now underway (barely).

And here's what you've all been waiting for:

Proud sheep with bell

A cheap sheep from one of the last remaining 5 & Dime stores in eastern PA, Spillaine's in Palmerton. He called my name. I brought him home.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Heart of the Matter

Talk about no knitting content!

I've progressed on the first sleeve. Whoop-di-do. Past 3 decreases, so it's nearly 4" long! I am having that Great Fear, known to every thinking knitter at some point. You know the one, where you suddenly realize that there might not be enough yarn for a long sleeved tunic and start thinking in terms of a tee-shirt with exposed belly button. (I don't think so!)

So, I'll take the WIP to work tomorrow and weigh the damned thing on the postal scale! Then I'll decide if I want to expose my chubby arms or my chubby belly. Or I'll be incredibly relieved to have the sweater I imagined.


And, as promised, the next sheepy installment. A pair of ceramic sheep of the minimalist variety. These guys are from Ireland. Bought on vacation in 2002, for mere pennies (they were on sale).

Isn't that sweet? They're sittin' on a heart!

UPDATE: I've used 8.6 oz (weight includes a bamboo and a nylon circ in the knitting) and have 30 oz. (including the cone) left. Since Elann says that I started with 35 oz. (net) there should be enough for the sweater of my dreams and a little summer cap.

The Very Thought of Ewe


The current knitting content is b-o-r-i-n-g! I have begun the first sleeve of the cotton Henley (decided that it looks a bit like one since I dispensed with the collar). I mean, if vast expanses of gray stockinette is boring to knit and photograph, what is vast expanses of baby blue?

So, without futher ado, I present:

Ewe-nice and Hairy Potter

Two hand-knit sheep from my collection. Prize winners, both, though I can no longer remember what prize, or even what year. They are the only two in my collection with names..

Ewe-nice (on the left) is knit from vintage homespun wool (that I didn't spin--it was a gift from a friend who did re-enactments at a historical farm). Pattern is a Cottage Creations (Specialties for the Eclectic Knitter). The holly on her neck is from Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments.

Hairy (on the right) is made of Lion Brand Al-Pa-Ka, I think. His scarf is vintage MacAuslan Shetland Wool. The pattern is from House of White Birches (Knitting with Bits and Pieces,).

Both are small enough and light enough to be Christmas ornaments, but since we no longer decorate that way, they grace the shelf above my computer.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Next One

Well, four, actually.

Since the accountability of posting my last 5 (reduced to 4) WIPs seems to have forced me to finish them, I decided to try it again!

Unfortunately, this next batch is likely to be just a tad more difficult to get over to the FO side:

They are 2 of my year end carryovers (1 & 3), and 2 relatively new projects.

1) Aran cardigan vest from 2 Sticks and a String. Yarn is Bernat Club Soft (cotton blend). Back is done, shoulder saddles are done. Just need to finish the fronts. On the needles since 2003 (at least).

2) Top-down raglan pullover. Pattern by Rosemary Hoffer and Joan Hamer, with modifications (to the neckline) from moi. Yarn is Naturelle (cotton blend). I have 9" finished of about 13 before I start the sleeves. Started last week.

3) Basic Socks. Ann Budd pattern. Yarn is Sock It To Me! Colori (wool blend). I'm going to start with the third ball and see if I have better luck with the patterning this time. I finished the first of this pair at least 6 months ago.

4) Yet another beanie. E. Zimmermann basic recipe. Cervinia Sorrento (100% acrylic) yarn. Started this one last night as a break from cotton yarns.

This doesn't mean I won't start something else in the meantime! I have my eye on some alpaca on the stash shelf. And there's the matter of a half-dozen nekkid bears in the other room. And I really should make a pair of fingerless mitts.

See why I said getting those finished was going to be a chore?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Sheepman

Or maybe Woman?

Newest sheep for your late-night viewing:

A real bargain, this one! $2 at the Dollar General. They had bunnies and chicks, too, if you are in the market.

( I swear, I went in looking for a new lunch carrier and a pair of flip-flops. He followed me home, honest!)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Finshing School

On February 9, I posted pictures of 5 (count 'em) works in progress (WIPs). On February 13, I reported the completion of 1, 4, and 5.

Today, I am reporting the completion of 2:

and the demise of 3:

which has been sent back to the bullpen:

That Pinguoin bootie pattern was just too much to bear!

But I'm not done with the destruction of the stash. Oh, no!


the beginning of a top down polo sweater in cotton blend. That's the "skein" it's resting on--all 2.2 pounds of it! I adjusted Joan Hamer's pattern a bit, eliminating the collar, and I think I'll make the placket just 2 buttons deep. I might make the sleeves 3/4 length. I have time to decide about that.

And when I finish that one, I have two more "skeins" of the same yarn, one in "bark" and one in "eggplant." I see summer tops in my future.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Any Number Can Play

I've been tagged!

Janice wants to know:

Do you knit using the English or Continental Method? Well, I guess you'd call it English, but I'd rather not. I throw. I've tried to pick, but I can't maintain tension, so despite the Irishness of my blood, I employ English. So shoot me!

How long ago did you learn to knit? Oh, my. It was the middle of the last century. Before I started school. I was 5. So, ur, 50+ years ago. Oh. My.

Who taught you how? Mama taught me the knit. But then, at about 18, I taught myself to purl, cast on "properly" and to bind off and all the rest, from a booklet published by Seventeen.

What was your first FO? The ever-popular garter stitch scarf. I made them by the dozens, no, hundreds. For all living relatives, all my dolls, and most of my stuffed animals. In Red Heart (it was wool back then) in green variegated and a gawd-awful hot pink. My first real project was an Aran sweater for my sweetie (you know him as the Other Half). It's still around here somewhere. The wool was Germantown, I think.

Favorite yarn? All things natural, and preferably animal. Wool, alpaca, wool, mohair, wool. I love Manos, I'm partial to smooth basic wools like Brown Sheep Naturespun and Cascade 220. Gjestal Naturgarn is another favorite. Did you mean "pick one?" I would like to try cashmere. And I plan to try both linen and silk very soon.

Favorite pattern you've knit so far? That's a tough one. I come back (often) to the 5-hour baby sweater and to the Wonderful Wallaby. But for pleasure in knitting it, I think:

I like knitting toys. And giving them away.

Favorite pattern source? The one I seem to use most often is Cottage Creations. I like browsing through knitting magazines and pattern books, though. I have a fine collection of patterns I printed off Internet sources, a file cabinet of magazines, and about 6 shelf-feet of books. But I keep coming back to Cottage Creations for the basics!

Favorite needles? Depends on the project. I love Addi Turbos, but Brittany birch can't be beat for socks. The old Bryspun needles (the ones made in NZ, not the US kind) are pretty terrific as well. Then there are the old nylon circs. Decisions, decisions. The only thing I know for sure is that I prefer not using straight needles more than 10" long.

Nicest thing you've ever knit? Maybe not the nicest, but most recent "nice." Will that do?
Well, I really liked this:

But for revelations, this:

opened my eyes. Wow! Sock yarn (washable wool) in place of baby acraplic. Who would have thought?

Most hated project? Has to be the sweater from hell! Miles and miles of moss stitch. In midnight blue. It was a cardigan for the Other Half. I can truthfully say that I will never again use that color to make anything that large. And If I ever think about making anything bigger than a baby sweater in moss stitch again, I'll just have to run into traffic.

To whom shall I pass this? Well, I'm thinkin' Hockey Mom, who is a loyal reader. And, actually, as the title says, Any Number Can Play, so if you'd like to play, please do. But post a comment, so I can bop on over and read what ya wrote. 'k?

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Heart of the Matter

I finished the Heart Hat. (For those looking to make their own, it's in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop.) I am pleased with the way it turned out, and though I would have rather made it with a bright red heart and ties and white for the rest, and in wool, these are pretty traditional grands, so the lavender and pastels was appropriate. And the acrylic will be easy care for the new parents.

It is, after all, a token gift, not the new baby's entire wardrobe. Damn, I hate being practical!

The week is shaping up to be another from-hell one. Folks off Monday, audit Tuesday, different audit today, press visit tomorrow. Yikes! The good news is that there's a three-day weekend looming on the near horizon. Let us all be grateful for Dead Presidents (and everything that implie$).

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Your Three Minutes Are Up

It seems that I made the mistake of criticizing someone's use of multiple periods (as in ..............................) on one of the e-lists I follow. The response to that was a scathing critique of my blog and my literary style.

I don't think that my critic follows this blog on a regular basis. Nor has she read in the archived areas. (If she did, she might have noticed something quite surprising going back a few weeks.)

Frankly, I have no plans to change my style. I write this blog for me. The pleasure that reading it gives to others is secondary.

Okay, that said, I finished three of the five projects that were pictured on the February 9 entry:

The booties are a gift for a friend whose daughter is expcting her first daughter (his first granddaughter). The scarves are gifts as well.

I was so pleased with how good the Caron Soft baby variegated looked with that blasted Phentex sport (the lavender) that I immediately cast on an old standby baby girl gift: Elizabeth Zimmermann's Heart Hat. I'll do the heart and the i-cord in the solid and the rest in the variegated.

Neither of the other two projects have been touched this weekend, but I've used 7 balls of yarn. (The baby stuff doesn't count--it's not on my spread sheet.)

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Fast and Furious

It's Lent, and I am on a yarn fast (well, I need to be on a yarn fast) :

(shown above: just a small portion of the 51+ miles of stash)

So, in the grand scheme of yarn fasting/dieting, what constitutes success? Would elimination of, oh, 10% qualify? (That would be 5 miles or 50 balls, or 8 pounds (128 oz., or 3600 g.)--in 40 days??) What is the likelihood?? Slim to none, I'd say! 5%? 3??? But in the spirit of the thing, I will post a countdown (if I can figure out how) . It looks like I'll be cranking up the knitting machine, in any event.

And I already started my list of yarn-I -will-order-on-Easter-Monday.

I also joined Shape Up PA along with 11 of my coworkers. It's a competition, man! And we're gonna win!! (right). That's a 5 month commitment that started the same day as the yarn fast. Eat less, exercise more. Oh, boy! I'd like to be down a couple of dress sizes before the summer's big event, the wedding of the bigger kid. For me, success here would be fitting into a size 12 again!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Blue Ice

I just realized that I have a big whack of little projects going again, and most of them are pastels. Take a look:

From left to right (sort of)
1) another baby bootie (like the ones on the bear a few days ago)
2) 5-hour baby sweater (sort of--it'll be a pullover like others I've shown)
3) Bootie from an old Pingouin book
4) scarf
5) scarf

The yarns are mostly nice to work with. They are all suited to the project at hand (or at needle).


Yeh. *yawn*

Monday, February 07, 2005

Thing From Another World

This is the film at 11.

A basic garter stitch striped scarf.

With a secret:

Ooops. Wrong secret! (Wrong alien!)

With a secret:

I apologize (just a little) for the encore presentation of these photos. It's been a very long day.

And has anyone ever noticed how alien-like most cats are? Or is it that aliens are cat-like?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Old Yeller

It never ceases to amaze me. I put aside a project (for whatever reason), and later dig it back out and finish it in a matter of hours. What was so overwhelmingly overwhelming when I put it on the back burner?

The yellow tee-top is an FO. I think it needed all of about 2 hours. Maybe less.

And it looks good and fits fine. And I will wear it as soon as it warms up a little.

And on another note, the Alien Scarf is also an FO. It's on the blocking board (the pool table). I'll get a picture on the recipient after it dries.

Then I cast on another scarf (yes, this is "I-don't-make-scarves" writing), this one, something quick and (I thought) simple from S&B Nation. What's the big deal? Double stranded mohair blend (Katia Soft) a bit heavier @ 87 yds/25 g v. 116 yds/25 g for the original (Anny Blatt Angora Super), but it's making a nice fabric and the gauge is spot on, and besides, it's a scarf for lord's sake, not a dress! "Fake" cabled rib. Twenty-two stitches wide.

The big deal is, the #11 needles! Aside from the torture of working with needles that size? the slipperiness of the yarn. The double strand? Nothing!

Four tries later, I'm on my way. Rejected: 2 different Addi Turbo circs (cable issues) and a pair of Boye 14" (length issues). I settled on my 7" Brysspun dpns. Just enough grab, perfect length.

I am hoping to use up a big whack of the pink stash on this one.

Film at 11.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

A Series of Unfortunate Events

I believe that says it.

Remember the plumbing problem? The drip? No, that's not what set off this chain, though it will finally be corrected. Soon, we hope.

Nope, what started all this is that the other half arrived home yesterday afternoon to no-hot-water.

Fortunately, we had already been in touch with a plumber a few weeks ago regarding replacement of our very old water heater. (It was old when we moved in here in 1989. I think the house was built around this sucker.)

The good news is that he ordered a new one right away. The bad news is that there have been lots of frozen pipes, so he didn't install it right away. But there's other good news: when the other half called Friday, he came right over to make sure it wasn't just a "reset" issue, and when he found that it wasn't, he made arrangements to install it today (Saturday, the day before the Super Bowl). What a guy!

If you live in the Allentown area, I'll happily share his name and number!

Then, there was my visit to the dentist this morning. Just fine, thanks. I think what I got is the dental equivalent of spackling over little holes in plaster. As always, I had my latest port-o-project with me. The dentist claims that his grandmother tried to teach him to knit when he was 7. Troubling because he claims that his "fine motor skills" are what prevented his learning.

So, what say you get your hands and those nasty tools out of my mouth, 'k?

Friday, February 04, 2005

Yellow Submarine

It seems I missed a UFO when I reported at the beginning of the year! And the question "how could I?" comes readily to mind. This UFO was lovingly (?) created from stashed yarn that I purchased several years ago from Smiley's . It was (at the time) one of my favorite colors. Still makes me smile when I see it! I "found" it in plain sight, stuffed into a plastic bag, on the stash shelf.

The yarn:

Vendome Phila

Made in Italy, viscose, cotton, polyamide blend in a beautiful lemon yellow. The color on the screen (above) is actually pretty true! I have a good start on a summer top: loose, raglan shaping, knit from the neck down. The fabric it is knitting into is great:

It's nice and nubby with little shiny slubs. Just "interesting" enough to keep this top from being plain.

So why did I stop? Weather, maybe.

And where is the pattern? Beats the heck out of me!

So I am just winging it at this point. All of the shaping was finished before I stowed it for the winter. In fact, 12" of the body below the arm pitwas already knitted. I added a couple more inches of plain stockinette. Now all it needs is a couple of inches of 3X2 ribbing (I was able to "read" the neckline, even though the yarn obscures much of the stitch pattern) and it's done!

Wow! A top I'll be able to wear this summer. What a concept!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Final Test

Today was a long and very draining, emotional day.

We drove to the site of the funeral, peaking too early (as is our habit), which made the day even longer than it needed to be. The kids were tapped to be pall bearers, squeezing out the guys that the funeral director had recruited from the bar down the street. I doubt that they were upset to miss standing around in the cold. But that meant that we had to go to the grave site.

I was surprised at the number of people who came to pay their respects. It would seem that she had made friends late in life. That's a good thing. Hearing the celebrant praise her love of people made me wonder if I had fallen into the wrong service.

The grandson (who is a couple years older than my kids) was poised and eloquent. He said the right things very well.

Knit Content: I neglected to take my knitting along. (For the drive! Even I wouldn't knit during a funeral!) Late in the day, I did manage half a pattern repeat on the alien scarf, and a bit more on the other scarf, but that was about it.

I know I've had a bad day when I can't pick up the needles and wool.

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