Thursday, November 30, 2006

Is It Friday Yet?

and the back of the Second (or First) Aran Sweater is finished.

One third of the sweater (according to conventional wisdom), one third of the yarn I have set aside for this project, twenty-seven hours to go. Piece of cake!

(Did I mention that I am off on Monday?)

I would love to be finished with this. The unscoured yarn is very rich in lanolin and very rough. I have lots of little snags on my yarn carrying finger and they hurt.

/whine mode off/

It's really very pretty.

The little Dulaan sweater continues to grow. The shoulder is knit together and the first sleeve has begun it's downward trek.

This yarn too, is hard on the hands, but I know from experience that it softens a lot with the first wash.

And it's warm, which is the main thing where it's going.

I had company tonight while I knat.

They aren't much for conversation, but the company is nice.

And so ends November, and though I didn't sign up for that Post a Day deal, I did, indeed, post every day.

Where are my cookies?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wednesday Musings

Okay, bite me. Coming up with a catchy title every day isn't easy!

So far today, I have added another 15 or so rows to the Aran Cardigan aka Second First Aran Sweater.


It should be painfully clear that it is bigger even though [mutter] I have miles to go before I sleep! (in actuality, about 3 more inches, or about 2/3 of another diamond repeat until the back is finished and I am 1/3 done). I figure another 27 or so hours, give or take.

It is very possible that I will get this thing finished in time, and still be able to scour the last of the spinning oil out of the yarn and get the seams sewn up and get it blocked and dry. . .by Christmas!

My peaceful evening was somewhat interrupted by the arrival of the floor guy who came to measure our kitchen and bathrooms for new coverings.

We are replacing this white stuff with the trendy green diamonds that really, truly looks in much better shape in this picture (eyes left, please) than it does in real life and is 10+ years old (with all the wear and tear that goes with being the main traffic pattern from There to Anywhere Else in this house) and pulling up in spots and, well you get the picture. . .

And here's the replacement stuff. Tough as nails, and a lot prettier (than nails). It's got a guarantee to beat the band!

The dark stripe is the grout color. It goes down like ceramic, supposedly wears like ceramic, but does not chip and break the first time you drop, oh, say a cast iron skillet on it, like ceramic.

Since we plan to leave this house in matching body bags, it's worth the trouble! Three days to install. Oh, my.

I switched from hats to the blue Dulaan sweater for my car knitting and have added quite a bit.

It's a 26" (about) which some of my pattern books call variously "24 month" or a "2" or a "4." The yarn is Lopi-type and the real stuff (leftovers from sweaters I knit last year). The pattern is in the Summer '90 Knitters. This issue is still available and can be purchased here.

Gentle Readers, fear not for my safety. There are a dozen (actually, more than that depending on the route) traffic lights on my commute home. Oddly, I almost never have to stop on the way there, but I seem to catch every single red on the way here.

And tonight, I was about the 30th car back at the stop sign where I turn to head northish and westward, and there was lots of traffic that we all had to wait for a break in.

And in de-stashing news, the teen daughter of one of my COW-orkers (yes, I know) has joined a knitting club.

I bestowed the remains of the VooDoo on her. I could not bear to knit another stitch with this nasty stuff.

She was thrilled.

I call it enabling.

It felt good.

Both to make her happy and to be rid of this gawdawful crap.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Another 14 Rows--Update

That was all I managed to squeeze out tonight in 2 hours. Good grief!

I need 4 more inches (at least) before the back is finished. There are no photos!

I making a little progress on the Dulaan sweater, too. I've decided that pullover is the way to go. It's cold in Mongolia. Buttons fall off. And get lost. So I'm modifying again.

There might be pictures tomorrow. Of Aran and Dulaan and Aran buttons. Maybe. If you are very good. Or I am.

I Guess It's Progress

I have passed the armpit underarm and am moving ahead, but it seems that I have slowed down considerably. No, there are no pictures, but I was able to compare the real life version with the photo from yesterday. Not even 20 rows! :poop!: And I was at it for nearly 2 hours!

I did the math on this one, too, and based on the lengthening I did and the 40 yards per hour calculation I used for the First Second Christmas Aran, I will need to devote a total of 41 hours to this sweater. Since I am a little more than half finished with the knitting of the back, and since back, front, and 2 sleeves each consume about 1/3 of the yarn in a sweater, I think I'm a little over 1/6 done. (Still with me?) So, 34 more hours?

I can do this!

Buttons were ordered and arrived.

Film later.

Monday, November 27, 2006

In Which We Show Progress

It's becoming a bit easier to manipulate 2 separate cable needles on one 6-stitch cable, though it's still not as fast as, say 3 miles of stockinette stitch. It's definitely faster than 6 rows of brioche, though.

Yesterday, I accomplished about 40 30 rows or a little more than 5". The whole damned day! Now, there was a bit of a nap thrown in there when I couldn't keep my eyes open another minute. And I had to make dinner and do a couple of loads of laundry, but most of my day was spent working on this puppy.

I am nearly at the armhole bind off on the back.

There won't be a lot of progress shots on this one. I mean, how much oatmeal cabling can I throw at you Gentle Readers before you throw in the towel? (Or I do?)

Back to work today. Half my staff is back from the holidays and the other half is off. I'm there until next Monday (woo hoo! 3-Day!) then a week all in a row for me. I am really looking forward.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Falling Off a Bicycle, or Trust Your Nanna

The First Christmas Aran is soaking nicely in a tub of warm water and lavender scented bubble bath, so I took the calm quiet of the early Sunday morning to haul out the Second Christmas Aran (which was started first, but will be completed second so, therefore. . .nevermind).

Look familiar? Nanna said, back in October, that I would breeze right along once the pattern was committed to memory.

Here's exactly what he said back on October 24: "How many repeats have you done?? None, so far, so you are still at the learning stage. Recalculate the hrly rate, after the 2nd repeat & I think you will be pleasantly surprised. "

And I was, though I doubt that this one will go as fast as the first second because those little "chain" cables require manipulation with two cable needles at the same time. Interesting technique.

And truth be told, the "diamond cables" aren't true cables. That is, if you define 'cable' as having crossed or twisted stitches. Look closely--the edges of the diamonds are traveling but don't actually cross.

Back to the Grind

Going back to work after a long weekend is never much fun, but Monday was particularly painful.

All that cheer. All those holiday wishes (And how was your Thanksgiving? Like anyone's going to say "It stunk, why?")

And now we gear up for Christmas and the end of year inventory clearance. :whew:

Is it New Year's yet?

I managed just about 15 rows on ran Number 2 (or 1, depending on your POV) which got me past the armpit underarm shaping and also got me one less of those nasty freakin' chain cables on each side which should speed up the knitting to the top considerably a little bit. I am hoping.

The pattern calls for 1640 yards of yarn. I have about 1800 that I am positive is the same dyelot (wound it off the same cone), plus another 900+ yards from a second cone so running out of yarn is not a possibility. Even with the extra length I am adding to both body and sleeves, I have enough yarn.

Figuring back to my 40 yards an hour, I have 41 hours to put into this one, and I am about 1/6 finished (half of the back, figuring that back, front, and both sleeves each are about 1/3 of the knitting on a sweater, any sweater). That means I have about 34 more hours to knit. Then scour, scour, scour (did I mention scratchy?)

Finished by Christmas (and blocked and dry?)--Piece Of Cake.

I just jinxed it, didn't I.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Lessons In Life

Lesson 1: When the power goes out, it is very, very dark in the house (especially the basement).
Lesson 2: Flashlights should always be where you are expecting them to be (not 5' away from where you expect them to be, especially when it is very very dark)

Lesson 3: There are few ways to seam reverse stockinette stitch so that it looks really, really good.

Case in point:

The Aran, he is finished.

Pattern: Patons Classics (book 950, available from with modifications (change sleeve cap, widen sleeve)

Yarn: Elann Peruvian Highland Wool Color 282 (Oatmeal Heather), 109 yards/50 g. Size XL took a hair less than 18 skeins.

And so, I finished it by the birthday (today), but will hold it until Christmas (30 days away) and now finish the Aran cardigan that is On The Needles.

Stay tuned.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Too Short? Whadda Ya Mean, Too Short?


See that wonderful Sweater Still In Pieces? See that Piece of Paper that clearly states: sleeve length-21 1/2"? See that tape measure clearly measuring 21 1/2" for the total length of the sleeve?

See me carefully removing the bound off stitches and sliding them back onto the needle?

See me adding another 2" to the sleeve length?

That's pretty much ho the whole day has gone.

I was able to knit a bit in the car driving back and forth between our house and the flooring dealer. We have decided to bite the bullet and replace the kitchen vinyl with something that looks a lot like ceramic tile.

Unfortunately, all of the samples we brought home the first trip had a whole lot of pink cast to them. So back we went for another batch.

I don't want stark white (it's a kitchen) and the gray tones and the bluish tones just look wrong with the honey oak and the creamy countertops.

I think we found the right one. We're waiting for it to "grow" on us.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Creative Uses

Aren't these little guys cute? 24 for a buck in the hair care aisle at the Dollar Tree.

And look what you can do with them:

They hold the pieces of a project together well enough that it can be tried on with ease (at least if you are careful). Then you can take them right back out and stitch it up if you are so inclined

I bought a couple packs for me and one to send to my December swap buddy.

I want you to know that I am closing in on the end of the second sleeve (woo hoo!) and should be putting shoulders together tonight.

I'll save the sleeve setting and the side seaming for daylight (please, may the sun come out tomorrow--today has been really pissy).

And I did just a little more on the Dulaan project early this morning. The cat got me up before 7 and I simply could not face cables at that hour (90 minutes later than I usually rise).

Time to break out the fatted pork loin, the smashed potatoes and the homemade applesauce.

This house is a turkey-free zone!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

At Least Pretend!

that you are a little surprised that I cast on again! Consider it car-knitting!

Little sweater for Dulaan From Knitter's 19 (Summer '90) in leftover Lopi and Gjestal Naturgarn #1, one from Iceland, the other from Norway, two places where it's been known to get a bit cold. I'm using 4 shades of blue.

This should make a nice, warm sweater. And already (halfway up the back), I'm thinking of changes.

I think this one I will make "by the book," but the next one (if there's a next one) will likely be a pullover.

I've found several likely candidates among my patterns, books, and magazines. And I have lots of this wonderful bulky stuff in a nice range of colors.

Best part? Cast on of 44 stitches for the back. Biggish needles, fast knit!

And in the line of not-car knitting (and is unlikely to ever cross over to that particular "dark side") I got through 2+ diamond repeats tonight watching TiVo'd Grey's Anatomy and Lost episodes.

Tomorrow is mine (until time to make dinner--a lovely pork loin, no turkey in this house!) so it's entirely possible that I can get through the remaining 4 repeats (I figure 6 hours).

The knitting (at least) will be finished on or before the 25th, barring major mishaps.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Four to Go

This is where the picture of the four Dulaan hats I have finished would be if IE7 and the upgraded software for my camera were at all compatible.

Ah, ha! All it took was 3 reboots and 4 reloads!

Little hats in all- or mostly-wool ready to mail. All but the gray and blue one (bottom left) are homespun (but not by me).

But first I want to make a couple of little sweaters. And maybe grab some little sneakers from the sale bin. Or a couple little pairs of boots. Those bare feet really got to me. Can you tell?

And lest you think that I have been sitting idly by, I did one diamond repeat on the second sleeve. Six more to go.

This one took about 90 minutes, so I figure that I will have completed the major knitting (just the neck ribbing and seaming to finish) in about 10 more hours. /whew/ Didn't think I'd make it, did you?

And here's the thing. Since we won't see the Older Kid on or near his birthday, and since he decided that what he wants (not knowing about this wonderful sweater) is a couple things from Ranger Joe , well that sure got moi off the hook, so to speak.

Thursday and Friday are "days off" for me. I will finish the knitting and the blocking of the individual pieces. It's even possible (if the dehumidifier does its job) that I will be ready to seam and finish by the 25th.

But I'm no longer under the gun.

Where is that blue Lopi yarn?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dust Myself Off

Yes, it's time to "pick myself up" because I can feel a serious bout of pre-holiday depression coming on.

And so, I dabble in the very dangerous hobby of "retail therapy." I Do Not Need Any More Yarn! And I Will Not Buy Any Either!

But there are lovely things everywhere I look.

I just need to look a little more closely at the stuff in my stash, don't I?

It isn't as though there isn't a ton big bunch of yarn on the shelves.
Yes, those are hand-knit sweaters (mostly). And hand-knit Christmas stockings, too.

Some years, there were Christmas sweaters, but mostly, sweaters were made and worn as soon as they were finished.

There was no mad frenzy of Christmas Knitting in the dark of night so that there would be Surprise Sweaters under the tree.

No, sweaters were made and worn as soon as the last end was woven in.

I dearly hate this time of year. It bothers me to see and hear the sounds of people throwing themselves deep into debt to make what they hope will be a "happy holiday," and how it simply never is.

It's hard to put a finger on where this general feeling of sadness starts. I cannot remember many happy childhood Christmases, and the ones of my teen years were an absolute horror. It was only when I went away to college and married that holidays began to look a little bright.

And Christmas with small children! There's nothing better.

I hate that people call looking for a Thanksgiving turkey (though I certainly understand the need for a bit of holiday cheer) when its likely that there's no cereal for breakfast, and no peanut butter for lunch, but lord knows, there's got to be a turkey on the table even if the leftovers won't be fit to eat because there's no refrigerator to store them.

I hate that there will be fortunes spent on "retail therapy" by people who can't afford to put sneakers on their kids' feet.

I'm appalled that there are guys camped out waiting for the release of the latest $500 game system and that those same guys won't have the cash to pay the electric bill so that they can run that system.

I hate that Christmas is no longer Little House on the Prairie sparse in the gift department and generous with the things that matter.

When did we lose that spirit?

Can we get it back?

How much does it cost?

Aran update: The first sleeve is bound off and I'm starting to worry that it still isn't big enough! It needs a good soak and block. Second sleeve is On The Needles and looking good.

Please let it be big enough!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Back On Track For the Moment

Despite yesterday's setback, I refuse to give up!

I had completed 2 2/3 diamond repeats when I discovered how narrow the sleeve was turning out. I'm well past that point (7" left to go) and moving forward nicely.

The problem is (isn't there always?) I'm really growing weary of oatmeal. Thirteen Skeins knat up. (In theory) Nine more to go, though I'm thinking it won't be nearly that many! And most of another sweater.

What I'd like to do is break out the Lopi and Lopi-look-alike yarns and cast on this sweet little sweater. And the hat, too!

This could easily become my next car project!

It calls for 5 skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky in 4 colors. I'm looking at leftovers from 3 sweaters that are probably enough to make 2 of these. Size 10s. No cables. Tempting.

Must Finish Arans.

Christmas is right around the corner. I can tell, because one of the neighbors strung the lights and another filled the window boxes with velvet Poinettias. It isn't even Thanksgiving, for the love of FSM!

Of course, another more distant neighbor covered all his bases. Front and center on the lawn: Giant Turkey in Pilgrim Hat. Flanked by lifesize Santa, Sleigh, and 8 Humungous Reindeer. And Nativity, also lifesize. Oh, my merciful lord!

Scrooge (aka The Other Half) and I will put out our Tasteful Wreath (complete with sheep) in time for the arrival of the Older Kid and the No Longer New Daughter In Law. It'll be back in storage by New Year's Day. Humbug!

Spotted on Main Street: I thought I had seen it all when we were in Foggy Bottom (the area of Washington, D.C., near George Washington University and the State Department and Embassy Row) . We were having breakfast in the restaurant of our hotel when we were joined by a family of tourists (oh, please, say they were tourists!) in their jammies.

Friday, I was driving past the Turkey Hill (regional equivalent of the Quickie Mart) when I spotted someone coming out, newspaper in one hand, coffee in the other, dressed in jammies and bunny slippers. Truly, I have now seen it all!

Replies to comments:
Anonymous asked if Partner in Crime and The Other Half are the same person.

Nope. But they are both my good friends.

And a Question from the Sheepie:
So, the little sweater, shades of blue?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I Could Just Weep!

After spending several hours of car knitting (I was not the driver!) and a whole football game (they pulled it off, by a Lion's whisker!) working on the first sleeve of the Aran, I realized that this pattern is "vintage" in the sense that the sleeve dimension, while spot on, is way too narrow for a 2006 sweater.

So I pulled out the needle from the half-finished appendage, sighed deeply, and started over.

I might still make it by the 25th, but it's looking seriously doubtful.

Friday, November 17, 2006

If You Need Some Inspiration

Hop on over to Ryan's blog and take a gander at some of the kids that the Dulaan Project is helping.

Then cast on a hat or scarf or mittens (or all three).

Do it in honor of your grandchildren (actual, or hypothetical future) or in memory of your grandmother.

But do it!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Makes Me Proud

Sometimes you get the chance to give a kid the world. Today, I got that chance!

The Rotary Club of which I am a member presented Dictionaries to third graders in all the public elementary schools in our city.

I was fortunate to be able to go along for the dictionary lesson and presentation in one Inner City school today.

It's an older school (built in MCMIX, I think), so nearly C years old! Steep stairs lead to the front door. The building is 3 stories tall. I did not see an elevator, though I know that some of the district's buildings have them.

It's not air conditioned (or climate controlled--the heat was blasting), and there's no carpet. But the enthusiasm of those eight and nine year olds was contagious.

You see, they get to have these dictionaries for their very own. To Keep Forever!

The books we provided are brand new! They even mention Pluto's demotion. That new!

Oh, wait, did I mention the Stuff In The Back? The text of the U.S. Constitution, bios of all 43 presidents, maps of the continents, the Periodic Table, metric conversions, facts about the 50 states. Way cool!

And here is my partner in crime, dispensing wisdom to the kids.

I have known G for a good many years. He was a businessman and a member of a Board I Was On when we met. Later, he retired from that job and became food bank director while the search for a permanent director was conducted. Then he ran for office and became a county commissioner. Then he was appointed head of human services for the county. Then he finally retired again. And he plays Santa every December.

He plans to travel. We shall see.

Judith commented: I linked from the Dulaan group. I looked for your Kool Aid dyeing instructions, but can't find them. I attempted Kool Aid dyeing earlier this year. The result was extremely uneven. Tell me your secret to even colouring.

Judith, the secret to Kool-Aid satisfaction is to love the look of "kettle dyed" wool (think Manos solids or Araucania Nature Wool). It's variegated, but not. I suspect that using more Kool-Aid might be a partial solution, but I really like the look. Sorry to not be more helpful.

I will say, though that I made sure that the wool had been "scoured" (soaked in hot water with a bit of dish soap) then spun out to just damp before I started.

Aran Update: I reached the shoulder! (Okay, only on one side, but I should be able to finish the front in about another hour. Wooo Hoo! Then I can start the sleeves (and remember why I always knit the sleeves first except this time).

My handy yarn gauge tells me that I have 28 2/3 hours of knitting left to go. Anyone keeping score is welcome to dispute that figure.

Nanna, you may win the bet!

In the foreground, the most recent car hat. Finished up tonight. (If it hadn't been for that %&*%$ hat, I'd be finished with the Aran front!)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

If I Could Just Stay Awake

I'd be at the front neck bindoff/slip to holder if I weren't so tired! No matter how I measure it, I am 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch short of where I need to be and I cannot put needles to wool any more today.

Tired is what makes you mis-cross a cable (easily rescued--it was only 4 rows down, so I dropped the 8 stitches and knit it back up).

Can you see it? Me either (but I know where it is). The miracle of warm water wash-blocking will even out the problem stitches and it will definitely pass the Galloping Horse Test.

Tomorrow, I get to do something Wonderful and Exciting with one of my Favorite People (and a bunch of little kids). I hope to have Film at 11.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Calling Charlotte!

Okay, this is the level to which I've stooped.

Some knitting was accomplished tonight, but only when I was able to ignore the loud and obnoxious buzzing of the World's Biggest Fly that was dive bombing me every chance it got.

Of course part of the time, it was banging against the window and flying about near the floor and driving a tiny spider that had chosen the warmth of the electric heat unit to build its web absolutely bonkers.

I know this because the poor tiny thing went positively ape shit every time the fly got in range, scrambling hither and yon on its web.

Let's just say that my aim improved and I finally slapped that fly to its eternal reward with the Lands' End Christmas catalog.

If Spidey hasn't done something with it by morning, it'll go in the trash.

Yes, I am a little weird. Why?

Back to knitting.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Wasted Day

Hop on over to Franklin's blog . I will wait here, giggling madly. Then come on back, 'hear?

I spent the most part of the day running the vacuum in the basement and gathering the trash (it's garbage night). Days off should not be spent mostly cleaning!

But I managed (as I said I would) to get to the armhole decreases on the Aran. I figure I can get in another 2 hours of knitting before I crash. That should be at least one diamond repeat.

It's back to the grind tomorrow. But for tonight, I got one of those robo-calls. From a charity soliciting my donation. Do I tell the calling organization (that I am on a first name basis with) that I will not ever donate to taped pleas?

I do not send money to the "professional firefighters in your community" (because they are volunteers and I don't respond to telephone solicitations) when a live person calls. Why would I send money based on a tape?

No way, no how!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Not Even My Birthday

There was a present waiting for me in the living room this morning.

Apparently, Sparky took the "worthless piece of cat" label to heart and decided to prove her worth. Step up to the plate, so to speak.

Since there wasn't a mark on the little thing, I am suspectng natural causes.

I think this makes 4 now. I hope we are coming to an end to the home invasion.

Haven't identified the killer for sure. We put the CSI team on it.

And lest you think I did nothing at all yesterday (but watch football and eat), here's the progress on the front of the Aran pullover. I really do think I might make the November 25 deadline!

I've knit 9 (almost) of 24 balls (37.5%) and have 15 left to knit. That's 37.5 hours of knitting left to go.

And I'm home tomorrow. (Note that I did not say "off" since I am "off" a little most days!)

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I'm still working on the Aran--7 of 24 balls knat up.

This is the front. Ribbing plus one diamond repeat finished. One ball's progress.

I plan to spend the better part of the next couple days working on this and hope expect to be at least at the armhole decreases by the time I go back to the saltmines on Tuesday.

No more long weekends (except for Thanksgiving) until December. :bah:

And here's a shot of the car hats for November.

The Ragg is a wool ack blend (50/50) that I have used for boot socks in the past. It's a heavy worsted weight, fuzzy, and very warm. The stripe is a bit of leftover Cervinia Sorrento (100% ack, but in a nice way). I'm making this one on a size 7 for a fairly dense fabric. I cast on 100 stitches, ribbed a 2" cuff, then switched to stockinette.

The brown blob is chenille Velour by Bernat. Buck a ball (I got 2) at the Tree, originally intended for teddiness or some other sort of toy thing. I cast on 44 stitches on size 10.5 16" circular and knit until I couldn't stand t any more was almost out of yarn from the one skein, then I decreased by skp (slip, knit, pass stitch over knit stitch) because I was pretty sure that k 2 tog wasn't going to work very well.

Here's the hat all finished. Probably will fit a 10 year old with cold ears and no taste a love of velvety things. (Isn't that most 10 year olds?)

I might sew on some little gauzy flowers that I have stashed some place, 'cause it's pretty dull-looking as it is.

I have another ball of this stuff. This could well go in the next box for the reservation. It's soft and lush feeling, but a real bear to knit. My hands hurt! I think it would be better for crafting.

It's fairly warm for November, but clouding up. And rain is predicted for tomorrow and Monday. Today might be a good day to mow the lawn one last time and clean the leaves out of the rain gutters before it's too cold to address that task.

Then, I'll retire to the basement and knit the afternoon and eening away.

Join me?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Nothing To See

Last night, I completed the 12 rows of twisted ribbing for the front of the Aran. Yep. That's all.

Then I crashed.

Early to bed and early to rise might not make me wealthy, but it's sure made me a tiny bit less tired.

I have 2 car caps on the needles. They'll get the Friday Trek To The Grocery Store attention they deserve later today.

The Aran will get its due all weekend. The Three Day Tradition continues. Yep. I'm off again on Monday. First person to remind me that I am "always a bit 'off'" will get a hit in the head.

Film later.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Moment of Silence

Never again!

Today is the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night in 1938 when German Nazis coordinated a nationwide attack on Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues. It's generally considered the official beginning of the Holocaust. Before that night, the Nazis had killed people secretly and individually. After Kristallnacht, the Nazis felt free to persecute the Jews openly, because they knew no one would stop them.

Text from The Writer's Almanac. For daily e-mails, subscribe here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Back, Back, I Say!

The back of the Aran pullover is finished! Hooray, I say.

I did a fair amount of adjusting to make it suit the recipient. The pattern has set-in sleeves which I rather like, but Older Kid likes a modified drop shoulder, so I worked a bit with Ann Budd (the knitter's handy book of sweater patterns) and refigured the armholes, shoulders, and sleeves.

Then, I cast on for the front.

I was pleased (for the most part) with the results of the U.S. elections, and this afternoon's press conference just tickled me silly. Is our Commander In Chief finally listening?

We can only hope.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Aran Update

No pictures.

I knit my fingers to the nubs and now have 1 more repeat to go on the back. That's 18 rows, give or take, if you are keeping score). I'm at a hair over 8", cruising toward 10". I believe I'll be casting on the front tomorrow night.

I keep adjusting as I go.

Did you vote? No dinner for you if you "forgot."

New Car Knit: is another hat. In dark, dark brown chenille. Yummy!

Election Day

Gore Vidal said, "Half of the American people never read a newspaper. Half never vote for president. One hopes it is the same half."

Clearly it isn't.

W.C. Fields said, "I never vote for anyone. I always vote against."

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Knitting (and possibly results) later.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Three Days In a Row

Knitting was just not going to happen today, was it?

I spent some time clearing up the mess I made in the Other Half's office, moving my summer "wardrobe" to that closet, and my winter wardrobe to the one in here. Fear not, my winter colorway is just as dull as the one I wear in the summer. Beige, black, gray.

Then, I boxed up a bunch of stuff and shipped it off to the Reservation. Now, you can actually walk in there without tripping over much but some minor computer equipment.

I did get one more repeat done, but Sports Fans, I am slowing down. There are so many other things I'd like to be working on. Anything that isn't beige, for example. Give me some red or purple. Or even pink!


Even my furry escapes are beige. I seem to have fallen into one of those pre-color worlds. (It's a scarf, in case you couldn't tell. Muppet pelt.)

Fortunately, I'm almost finished with the knitting. The weaving will take a few minutes, then I can toss it in the corner.

Would a pair of beady eyes make it loveable? I didn't think so.

Just for the sake of showing that something got accomplished today, I wove in the ends of the latest car hat.

This one will wind up somewhere. Perhaps Ship Support or the Reservation. It's definitely adult size, and though not as deep as I would like, it fits me (and covers my ears).

That's it. The last of the Kool Wool except for about 2 yards of the claret that I am saving in the event my Surprise Jacket ever needs repair.

Snowblower Update

Isn't it pretty? May it stay this way right on through the next few years!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

When I Put My Mind To It

I can accomplish amazing things! In only 6 or so hours of solid cabling, I managed to knock off another ball (109 yards) of yarn.

Those of you who are keeping score will notice that I should have been able to knit up about 240 yards in that period. Do Not Mention This To The Crazed Knitter!

I am past the armhole bind off. In four more repeats of the diamond, I will have the back finished.

The letter carrier brought the Winter Interweave Knits.

I'm sorry to say that it's only just so-so. At least in the pattern department.

There are a couple of intriguing designs.

There were a couple of hits.

This one, for example.

I like the wide neck and the reverse stockinette ground. And the yoke treatment is interesting.

The yarn is a little heavier than I'd like (calls for size 9s), but I think I can work around that.

In any event, I won't be casting on for a couple of months, if then.

Then there were some misses.

This little number is sort of "wtf?"

It's winter, folks. And the vast majority of women these days shouldn't be seen braless in public. And yes, I know about strapless bras.

This is just so not me or anyone I would knit for.

And the yarn? Mohair blend. Can you say "itch?"

This, however, is so cute that I might be forced to cast on ASAP.

It's Aran weight and should keep the wearer (moi?) toasty warm.

Current scorecard on the Aran: I figure that if I knit straight through the next 48 hours, I can still finish by Tuesday. Realistically, I can finish the back tomorrow and cast on the front.

It has taken me 4 days of concentrated knitting to get this far. I am off tomorrow and will finish the back. By next weekend, I hope to have the front finished and the sleeves On The Needles.

Is there a small group of you outthere betting on the outcome? If so, I want a cut!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Doing the Math

Back to the inconsequentialwhining complaining grousing musing about the Math of the Aran, I actually sat and did the math!

I have 25 balls of Highland Wool (2725 yards--each ball is 109 yards). The pattern calls for 12-100 g balls (200 yards/ball or thereabouts) so I am thinking that 2400 yards (whew, there's enough). I have finished knitting roughly 2.5 balls (about 275 yards) so I still have (roughly) 2125 yards left to knit.

Are you still with me?

At 40 (roughly) yards per hour, that means that I have (roughly) 53+ hours left to knit. Yeh, yeh, plus blocking and such and at 2 hours a normal weeknight (4 per week) and 4 hours on the weekend days/nights (2 per week)--notice I'm giving myself a day off for good behavior, showering, and paying bills, I could be finished by Tuesday.

Would you like to chew on the other side of this mushroom, Alice?

No, seriously. When you actually sit and do the math, it's possible. Probable? Not so much.

There has been progress as you can plainly see. The box lid that I am using as a staging area is very nearly obscured.

And then, there's the car knitting, because No One In Her Right Mind would attempt cables in the car at stop signs.

Here's the Kool Wool, knat up into a warm hat. It's not as deep as I'd like, but I'm running out of yarn :eep: so I've decided to decrease faster and hope for the best. (I seem to be doing that a lot lately.)

This is the very last of the Kool Wool. I won't be getting more. Not because I don't like it. I do like it. Because it's discontinued and, well, I should be am on a Stash Reduction Plan.

Confession time. Since all of the yarn I've acquired lately is earmarked for something, I have chosen not to "stash" it. It will not be showing up on the sidebar on Monday. There is (literally) miles of it, yet I am refusing to call it "stash" because I have big plans.

Clearly, I am floating down that Egyptian River again, and without benefit of a paddle! Besides the huge whack of wool that I am dyeing (and haven't cas on a single stitch with), there is the Highland Tweed (being knit into the cardigan) and the several luxury skeins I bought for "trying out" (see comment about newly dyed wool) and the Highland Wool that I am using for the Aran Pullover. :looks around: and the stuff Leah and Rabbitch sent me. Shall I go on?

Another Country Heard From:VooDoo hat aside, this stuff is gving me fits! I don't know what posessed me to buy it--no wait--Two Words: Dollar Tree.

It's taking up valuable space. It isn't an eyelash in the strictest terms (so therefore, not especially suited for much of anything). I decided to give it one last chance as a sideways scarf.

I'm really having my doubts. (Thank the FSM that there isn't a whole lot of it, and that I didn't spend much money getting it!)

Okay, time to hunker down. I have declared this to be a three-day weekend and I will be spending much of it watching the TiVo'd House marathon and football and knitting. Since I was off last wek, the bathrooms aren't even filthy!

But first, the Other Half and I will venture out on a Quest To Buy a Snow Blower. Regular Readers will recall that we went through this ritual about 10 months ago, but wound up "just looking." Today, we are buying.

That should keep it from snowing at all this winter.

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