Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What we've been up to

Pretty kitty


Irish Wrist Warmer #1

(Why yes, that IS more Karabella Aurora 8. The pattern is here. My modifications? I knit 7.5 repeats of the pattern, knitted 2 x 2 ribbing (plus one edge stitch each end for seaming) for 12 rows, and cast off.


This is Angela's fault.

This is Sassenach's fault.

Check out Sassenach's yarn, too - she rocks!

Bonus: Read all about Pantyhose Connector Parts!

Monday, February 27, 2006


Tonight I knitted a hat. It's for my friend's baby. I used Karabella Aurora 8 and a #6 needle, and the pattern is very loosely based on the stocking caps pattern from Holiday Knits. Actually, I used the yarn, needle and cast-on number. The rest is mine - cast on 72 sts, knit 10 rounds of k2, p2 ribbing, knit till it's about 4" long, decrease in 8 groups by k2tog around every other row until top, graft last 8 sts together. (Photo below)

Now I have got myself into trouble. I love this yarn. I don't like knitting with it that much...but the finished product? Smitten. The problem is that right now there is a sweater keeping me up at night. Has been for about a week - I've left crazed messages on Kirsten's answering machine about it, trying to decide if I really wanted to commit to a sweater when I can't even finish my Clapotis.

It's this sweater. I don't even know why I like it that much - it's pretty, classic, but slightly plain. It looks like it would easily become a "Mr Rogers" sweater. You know what I mean, don't you? Constant companion, best friend, always exactly correct in every situation. Jeans, khakis, skirt. Invaluable.

So then somebody on the Olympics team I was on made one. Strike two.

And strike three was this amazingly gorgeous yarn. Strike four is that tomorrow is payday.

I haven't had money trouble for a long while. I can well afford 1100 yards of this yarn, and I can probably also treat myself to a new Addi Natura needle to knit it on.

It's just that...that...I haven't spent this much on yarn, ever. Collectively I could have probably put myself through a year of college on what I've spent in the last year, but I have a hard time making the leap to the big time.

I just passed 7 years at my job, and got a nice raise. Should I justify it that way?

Should I just do it and not think?

Sigh. This is what happens when you're smitten. I don't so much want to knit a sweater with this yarn - I want to wear a sweater made of this yarn.

Trevor's Hat

Must. Get. Cracking.

Must finish Clapotis. Must finish Gauntlet 2. (Do I really want these? They are awfully long. Do I have to make them since they are 3/4 done? No answers yet.) Must make second pair of socks for Tifany.

Must cook dinner.

One more comment on the Olympic Socks

Can I just tell you that when I washed them, this yarn did not bleed???

Honest to Pete. (Who's Pete? I don't know.)

Tonight I'm going to work on my other gauntlet, just in time for the 70 degree weather we are supposed to have on Thursday.



Sunday, February 26, 2006


I finished at 1:32pm CST. (Hope that counts!)

Pattern: Elfine's Socks
Yarn: Socks that Rock, Red Rock Canyon
Needles: Addi Turbo 40", size 0
Modifications: You can see the stitches I added in to the leg; I made the heel deeper, shortened the cuff to my liking and added ribbing at the top. I used a figure 8 cast on for the right sock, and the "easy toe" cast on from Knitty's Techniques with Theresa for the other.

Time spent: eternity
General satisfaction level: very happy
Injury report: will ice/advil right hand

Seriously, I can't believe I finished these. This pattern challenged me in ways I haven't been challenged since I was a new knitter (I learned one year ago this weekend, by the way!). For the second sock, I gave up the chart and used the line instructions with a sticky note. It worked a lot better for me. Considering I knit most of these with a terrible viral/ear infection, they were my first toe-ups, first wrapped short-row heels, and first time using size 0 needles, I'm pretty happy with them! Astonished, actually.

I'm glad I gave up the stockinette leg - it really didn't look as nice.

They're comfortable, roomy socks. I can't wait to wear them!

Olympic Socks, view 2

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Cat pictures

Based on my commitment to the Knitting Kitty webring, I present this week's contribution to the Cat Photos:

First, Grady sitting on the couch after his bath. He's drying off and supervising my knitting. Yes, he gets baths - it helps control my asthma, and he gets a bit dandruffy without them.

The Scene This Afternoon

Next, Fee finds baskets of clean sheets completely irresistible:

Fee in a Basket

Tonight I'm going to an Arena football game, and I may have to stay up late to work on the Socks. Off to work on it a bit more before I leave!

I think I've got it

The lace patterned leg fits so much better than stockinette.

I'm halfway through the second repeat past the heel. I'll finish this repeat and do an inch or two of ribbing and call it done. Then rip the other sock and do the same. Should be done tomorrow, but might have to get up early!

Later: Started my first round of ribbing.
Frogged sock 1 back to just before heel. ( I couldn't help myself.) Wound yarn.
Left to do:
Sock 1: heel, 2 repeats of lace pattern, ribbing.
Finish ribbing on sock 2.

I have bags under my eyes

And my right hand seriously hurts, but -

I finished the lace repeats for the foot, and I have all but about five rows of the heel done.

On the other sock, I had a loop and a pucker. It was a result of a missed stitch when I recovered stitches for the heel - I originally dropped the loop down and fixed, but not very well. Plus my cast-off edge was a little tight even though I did it VERY loosely. I undid the cast off row, dropped the stitch down (about 5") and worked that loop in a lot better. It's still not perfection and I have to live with the pucker, but it's fine. (No, it won't block out.)

I am still debating reknitting the leg - AFTER the Olympics - in the lace pattern. I was thinking of trying the lace pattern for the leg on this one. It takes about 45 minutes for me to knit one repeat of the pattern, and probably 3-4 repeats would do the trick, so we aren't talking a big time investment. Except that I have to do twice as much to get through one repeat...but I still have a day and a half. I think it's going to look and feel better.

The bonus is, if I do this I can also fix the heel for real. So I haven't cast it off yet, just in case I want to reknit the leg.

Tomorrow I do the leg on sock 2, and if I like the lace, I'll do the other one over. Did I say that? I'm incoherent.

At this rate, though, unless I sleep till 3 tomorrow, I will make the deadline.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Who are your favorites?

This week, mine are Kevin and Kellie.

I'm off to knit! Sorry for the light, hyperactive posting.

Focus, focus!!! It's later, and I've done about 4 repeats of foot. Focus!

Do List, updated

Knit 3.5 repeats of lace pattern
Knit heel
Decrease for leg
Knit leg
Knit cuff

Time remaining - 3 hours shy of 2 days.

I'm hosed.

Read this article

Everybody should read this helpful and thoughtful article on whether box-store yarns are cheaper. I have always been positive that box-store yarns are pricier than even tonier yarn stores. Anyway, she does most comparisons with KnitPicks (they're ok) but I think if you really compare yardage, quality and prices, you'll find that most yarn stores come out ahead of JoAnn and Michael's.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

My list

Knit 5 lace pattern repeats
Knit heel
Decrease for leg
Knit leg (lace or stockinette?)
Knit cuff

I am lazy

I'm supposed to be leaving for work in 10 minutes and all I've done is wash my face. Oops. It will take 10 minutes for makeup and another 10 to straighten my hair, so I'm going to be late.

I got a toe done. I'm not starting the rationalizing yet, but I'll be very surprised if I get sock two done. It doesn't really matter to me - I've definitely met my Olympic challenge - but I'm going to do it just because I said I would do it.

I was on a rowing crew in college. It permanently changed me - from my hands and heels (badly scarred) to my brain. I won't give up - because I was an oarsmen. I have that temperament; a mixture of tenacity and orneriness. Not because of rowing, but just generally, I tend to easily get obsessed with things. In addition to that, I'm generally the type that loses interest before finishing something, which is a scatterbrained combination -- unless I think I can't do it. Then I dig in and push harder, and the on-water personality comes out. My lungs are burning - so what? My legs are shaking - and? I puked in the water - good, I'm lighter now. Keep pulling.

So for now I'm going to keep knitting. I haven't gotten mad at these socks yet. I think knitting should generally be free of mad, and free from the confines of competetive sport. But I'm gettin' there. And not quitting yet.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won't, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones you've never even heard of. From Chris of "Stumbling Over Chaos" fame (link in sidebar).

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
(The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger )
(His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman )
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
(Life of Pi - Yann Martel )
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien

(The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon )
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling

One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
(The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini)
(The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold )
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
(Neuromancer - William Gibson )
(Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson )
(The Secret History - Donna Tartt)
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis

Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
(Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell)
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

(Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman)
(Atonement - Ian McEwan)
(The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
(The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood )
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert

The two on my bookshelf are Pride & Prejudice and The Great Gatsby. I might have a copy of Wuthering Heights kicking around somewhere.

I minored in literature and marketing. Marketing was useful, literature not so much. But so enjoyable. I took a million classes I found very interesting, but I think the ones I liked best were those involving the yarns that come out of writers' heads.

My favorite book? Pride and Prejudice. But the best-written, most brilliantly told and constructed story is Anna Karenina. If you've never read Tolstoy, it's a nice introduction, non-threatening, wonderfully dramatic, scathingly accurate and not too long. What prevents me from saying it's my favorite is that it's painful to read. When you finish you'll be in the car before you know it to buy a copy of War and Peace, which is also wonderful. You'll also be forever horrified of the absolute injustice of cheating on your spouse. It is painful.

The last couple years I've been on a history kick, and I haven't read any fiction except a moldy copy of The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor I found in my bookshelf (I am the type of person who regularly finds things long forgotten in the bookshelf).

Anyway, that's me. You're it.

Now why did it take me two days to get this?

I don't need a toe to start this sock, I need a cast on. That's it. I just need to get 24 stitches on 2 needles that are connected in the middles.

Sigh. I ripped out the short-row, redid it with 24 stitches, re-read the instructions for the sock, realized I needed a cast on instead of a toe, read instructions for "easy cast on" (a version of figure-8) -

realized I only need 12 stitches for that cast on, but luckily it was easy to tink back.

So now I'm motoring along. It's a really good thing I'm not a drinker. Honestly.

It's Gunsmoke

Not Gunpowder. So I will sing the theme song while I knit!

I forgot to mention

I bought the Wildfoote. The colour is Gunpowder. Or Gunsmoke. It's lovely. I can't wait to knit it.

So the problem I'm having now, is, when she says in the pattern to cast on 24 st using my preferred method of toe-up cast on, and I go to do that, my short-row toe says "start with half the total stitches." (Aren't you sick of my dyslexic arse?) Though I strongly suspect that 24 st IS half the total number (though I'll eventually top out at 64), I start working it on 12 stitches anyway. You know the result - tiny toe. It would be perfect for a sock for my cat.

So, um, last night wasn't much progress on sock 2. I guess I'll be redoing that cast on today sometime, if I'm lucky.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

#1 is done!

I consulted with three knitting divas today and we all decided that ribbing against lace was going to be...ugly. So I did it in stockinette, with an inch of ribbing at the top.

I hope you'll forgive me for still not having a picture. They've been taken, but Flickr is acting funky and besides, I need to go cast on for sock two RIGHT NOW. (Actually, the picture is taken and at Flickr, so just click Pictures of my Stuff in the sidebar. I don't have time to link right now! And there's a crazy treat for Kirsten there too.)

The heel fits!

Well dang

Remember those Prize Socks? The ones I used some fingering weight yarn that wasn't sock yarn, that seemed all splitty?

She wore holes in them. I mean, how cool is that? It's cool that she wore them that much. It's not cool that they shredded after a month of use.

I'm going to reknit. I'm thinking Wildfoote. I'm thinking a lovely shimmery grey I keep seeing at Threaded Bliss.

I'm thinking I better be knitting my Olympic socks first though.

Who knew there would be a sock queue?


(But not of knitting, yet.)

He's angry again

Silly girl

Basically what you have there is Grady hating the camera and Fee hunting it.

So last night. I worked some decreases in stockinette on my Olympic sock, and I thought I liked the leg in stockinette, but I might rip it back (gasp) and do ribbing instead. Or I might drop down columns of knit stitches and pull them back up as purls.

It's probably FINE as is, but I still can't bring myself to take a picture of it.

Must work.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Now then.

Time to get down to business.

Time to throw frozen dinner in microwave, put on comfortable clothes, slippers and put hair back in clip, and knit my butt off.

Must finish heel tonight and start leg ribbing.

Must finish ribbing no later than tomorrow night.

Must cast on for second sock tomorrow night.

I am thinking of that moment - the moment the torch goes out. Will I be able to hold my head high as an Olympic gold medalist, or will I feel the shame of defeat? Will I let a pair of socks beat me?

Oh hell no.

Ok, so

I got a Widget.

A Widget is a little application that runs in Dashboard - on a Mac. Widgets are always on, and they are mostly information - I have a calendar widget, a weather widget, even a widget that shows what part of the earth is in daylight at this very moment. Chrono is a widget that helps me track my time on jobs. There's a flight tracker, a lava lamp, a dictionary, yellow pages, CNN, solitare and sudoku. (And many others.)

So today I got a Widget called Dashblog, and it lets me post here from Dashboard! No signing on, no pesky "blogThis" popup that doesn't always work. Just a fun little blue window that records my typing and posts it up.

So THAT is the new thing. (I was kind of hyper excited and a little incoherent.

Trying a new thing

Dashboard is just the coolest thing ever. Hi everyone!

Oh my goodness


Moopy & Me

Oh my goodness

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Nothing new today

Except a gauntlet. Mostly brown, with orange ribbing at the top. Hang with me, it looks cool. Started the second, about 4" done. Frogged and reknit heel with 4 extra stitches - it's better already. (There are an extra 4 on the instep also.) Heel depth seems to need work, and I'm in the process of figuring out a solution (hence all the gauntlet knitting). I downloaded Handbrake - if you have a video iPod, it's a must!

Ate at Waffle House. Knit too much, must ice my hand or someting. :)

Three hours of knitting gauntlets

Has one almost done, and me looking wistfully at Socks on table, wishing I had the answer.

Ok, for all the Olympic-grade griping I've done about my dyslexic inability to "get" the lace pattern in my head, I absolutely love these socks. So much so that it's 2am and I'm still sick, yet surfing around for solutions. I also love this yarn, though it's plied very tightly and can be a bit hard to knit with...I'm in Grumperina's camp - look at the stitch definition!

Must go to bed. Must fix sock.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Houston, we have a problem

And I am not talking about the built-in air conditioning. That is the absolute least of my worries and I'll fix it later.


I'm also not talking about the appalling lack of colour in my skin, though that has been radioed to Houston on previous occasions.

What I am talking about is the instep. Although the foot on this sock is positively roomy and fits better than any I've ever made, here is what the instep looks like -


And that is a serious problem.

It's one I'm really not sure how to solve. It's too tight on all the subsequent rounds after the heel stitches are taken back in. So...Here are my possible solutions:
1. Rip it back, add 2 sts to each needle and keep knitting in pattern
2. Rip it back and begin with some k2, p2 ribbing (or maybe k4, p2).

I was going to do some ribbing anyway, becauses the leg isn't going to be stretchy enough and I don't really care much for the garter stitch cuff the pattern calls for. So doing it a little sooner? No big deal, and the ribbing won't exactly ruin the sock.

I'm a little discouraged that the rest of it fits so well and then this...my ankles aren't very big, at least they aren't out of proportion or anything. Despite the horridness of this photo, they really aren't freakishly large.

So what do I do? I think I'm going with the ribbing, but for now I'm going to knit the rest of Mom's sock yarn into a hat, and make some gauntlets to match if I can find a color that coordinates. Maybe after that I'll have the answer.

I really hate these stupid things have a bad attitude today.

Friday, February 17, 2006


I got a little sleep. I was feeling a bit crazed and desperate last night while I was trying to sleep. Poor Fee, though - she was outside all night. It was positively balmy at 7pm...but this morning the temperature was 33. She is a Maine Coon, which is supposed to mean she's a mighty north-woods-forest-cat, so I don't feel too terribly guilty. She wasn't halfway to being a popsicle or anything. But I heard a desperate, high-pitched chirping at 5:30, and when I let her in she made a blue streak for the cat box.

Poor Fee.

I got mucho Olympic knitting done last night (but no picture, sadly, I didn't realize my own limits and when I finished knitting it was time to stop EVERYTHING for the night). I'm done with the foot, and I have begun to puzzle out the mystery of yet another short-row heel. I'm not sure about this wrapped-stitches thing. Doing the wraps really tight seems to prevent holes, but it just doesn't seem like the nicest and neatest method of doing a heel. I've done the backwards yarnover method as well, and that just seems to have more substance, although I always get confused with how to knit/purl them out.

A friend from when I was a kid, a little boy whose parents were friends with mine and who was always around, had a benign tumor removed from his spine when he was 10 or so. He grew up, got married, had a couple kids and then it came back and was causing him pain. Long story short, he died - apparently from a reaction to the pain medication. I remember running around with him and his brother and my sister, two crazy girls and two crazy blondheaded boys. I remember his dad taking us to the factory where he worked and giving us some plastic pellets, and how I learned to tell if something was plastic by the smell. I remember the day it snowed in Rocky Mountain National Park in August, and how the sky looked like a painting. I probably had a crush on his older brother, who was a couple years younger than me. I remember a family's log cabin somewhere near the park and a comfy dinner in that house followed by a harrowing ride home over hairpin turns and steep dropoffs. I remember his mom's sunglasses and his dad's smile and white t-shirts. I remember Dad and his dad drinking Coors together and laughing. We were always laughing.

Rest well, friend. I'm sorry you had to go.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

We have a rule in this house

"Knitting and NyQuil don't mix."

Tomorrow -

Day 4

Feeling much better, thanks! Worked a total of about 15 rows on Sock yesterday, and maybe 20 on Clapotis. I even pulled out Jaywalker for a while!

I had crazy dreams last night - mean, crazy and awful. Maybe it's the medicine.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A temporary setback

I went to the doc this morning on the way to work because I had an earache. Diagnosis: Massive ear infection, possibly also strep (although the quick test came back negative, she gave me an antibiotic that would kill strep just in case - turns out strep is more rampant around here than flu, which is characterized this year by coughing). Horse pills, tylenol, stay home.

Ow. Will not be knitting Olympic sock today. Have worked a bit on Clapotis though.


Monday, February 13, 2006

Olympic Progress, Day 3

Those Finnish judges just won't give me a break.

I've decided that, contrary to all logic, popular opinion and fact, this is the best sock I've ever made. It fits absolutely like a glove. The yarn couldn't be prettier; the stitch pattern is a work of art.

Despite all that...grump grump grump. The stupid Addi Turbos I'm using? They are clacky. They bend in my hands. They scrape. I am an INOX girl, and I'm sorry if that's too low-rent for some. I love them utterly.

The pattern, while it is gorgeous, is not fun to knit. I'm still puzzling through it very slowly - not so much tinking now, but those pattern markers aren't coming out anytime soon. Move the sticky note, clank, clank, scrape, scrape, cuss needles, try not to grip so hard, lose place, count, find place, argh. It's miserable. Again, I'll get it done, and I'll adapt this toe-up idea to most of the socks I make from now on. But Lord, it is the perfect storm of crap needles, slow learning and unintelligible pattern clashing with my comprehensional challenges.

I look for logic in everything I see. It's one of those uniquely me things that alternately drives me crazy and fascinates me about myself. When I did the shell pattern sock, I was sure I couldn't do it - but by about the fourth repeat, I could recite the entire lace pattern while laying in bed, eyes closed, no yarn in sight. It is a very logical pattern. And while I can see the pattern in this sock - the actual repetition of yarnovers and decreases - the logic of how it came to be completely escapes me. I know I always P1, K1 at the beginning and end of rows. I know the decreases flip at row 7 and there's a funky double-decrease thrown in that row for fun. I know that once the switch happens the yarnovers go before and after the markers. But I couldn't tell you this pattern to save my life. And that makes me absolutely rebellious.

So like I said, I'll knit them, I love the end result, I can't wait to do the heels...but I am not enjoying knitting this. Not today. If it weren't for the Olympics, I'd have quit. I knit half a sock for my two-year old nephew last night, and worked about six rows of clapotis after supper tonight. That tells my attitude. Haven't worked on it during breaks at work. Most of all - I'm doing this pattern using magic loop, and I divide each round into twos (front needle, back needle) and the pattern into twos (knit round, pattern round). So that means that one of every four needles I knit is lace - that's it. 25%. I don't mind the knit rows, but I hate the lace rows.

But I am an Olympian, and I will conquer.

Also also wik: "Beutiful art made with kintting" (Yes, it's spelled that way.)
Props to Strange Little Mama.
I mean, cat guts??? (But my favorite is the crocodile.)
lactose intolerance

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Olympic Progress, Day 2


ITA 3.5
NOR 2.9
GER 3.1
USA 3.7
JPN 1.4
FIN 1.3
TOTAL 17.7

Comments overheard from commentators:
"Well, that wasn't the best decrease ever done, but it gets the job done."
"Her needle grip is looking a bit desperate - I wish she'd relax into her routine."
"Here she has to knit back four stitches. That's going to cost her on the time points."
"We've seen her complete repeats 2 and 3 today, and she's gaining confidence. Tomorrow could be her day with two more repeats under her belt."

Photo coming tomorrow - it's taken and all, but Flickr has gas.

Ok, photo -

Day 2 progress

Now these are some warm socks.

Ok, my feet are toasty. These are the warmest socks I've made to date. I don't know what makes them so warm, but my feet are cooking.

Pattern: Diagonal Rib Socks from Interweave Knits subscriber-only section
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport, colour Icehouse
Needle: 2.5mm / US 1

Mom asked for super stretchy footies, so that's what these are. I accidentally made one cuff 2 rows shorter than the other, but hopefully nobody will ever know. I'm all around happy with these house socks for my momma.

(I don't care about the pooling AT ALL, or the fact that they don't really match. I think they are perfect as they are.) :)

Now I'm free to knit my Olympic socks with abandon. First, though, I have to put on some real clothes and get a big pad of sticky notes.

Mom's Socks

Oh my gosh

I can't believe how totally awesome this picture is. I was in first grade in 1976...these look like boys I went to school with. Click the link and then click All Sizes to see it big. It's absolutely priceless.

And this is just so funny and weird I have to mention it - part of the US Army's training manual...advice on how to wear your beret. Turns out it's complicated! I mean, a badly worn beret can make you look like a total idiot. Trust me, I know - there are pictures. (This link downloads a pdf so hopefully your machine is set to open pdfs, not save them automatically to your hard drive.) Go look! My favorite is "giant forehead."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Olympic Update 2

First, thanks for the encouragement! And go check out Julie's blog - she is a good friend to Kirsten.

Hi Julie!

I'm definitely going to make the socks - I'm not a quitter. It's just that fighting my inability to follow directions without getting lost is a process...and I just jumped in with both feet. I should be doing a confidence-building project, but instead I'm doing the equivalent of BASE jumping. I'll get 'er done, but it's going to be hard.

After I posted last I tried to knit a few more rows but my stitch count - and a couple of yarnovers - were hopelessly off. I frogged back to the first row of the repeat (whee!) and reknitted it. This is progress after one pattern repeat -

Olympic sock

(looks pretty good! except I need a pedi!)

Schmade says, "Keep that stinkin' flash out of my eyes!"


Fee says, "I'm Feerce!"


(That's her cat condo, consisting of a box, a rug knitted from fun fur, and some old towels. She'd kill me in my sleep if I threw it out. She is chewing on the camera strap.)

Off to watch Tommy Boy, make my feet look nice, paint fingernails, shave my gorilla legs and take a shower. Later!


I'm wondering if I should have joined "Team What the Heck Was I Thinking."

Honestly? This pattern is too hard for me. I've been a sock knitter for quite a few pairs now, and I thought I was doing pretty well. But this? I'm really not doing well. I'll keep at it for reasons listed below, but I'm really struggling.

First there was the cast-on. (Debi, I'm going to try the Turkish next time, I just wanted to try this one once because it's what the pattern says to do.) Talk about fiddly! Talk about next to impossible! I had to get out the Hated Steel Addi Skacel dpns to do it too - you remember how much I despise those needles, and I used them! But I got through it. Looks pretty good, too.

Then the real challenge started! The increases went just well enough to lull me into thinking it was going to be all right. But then I started the pattern.

Well, I had made a chart but (the fun of dyslexia) I did the increases backwards on the chart. I put ssk first, then k2tog - oops. Then I messed up the instructions themselves and knitted row 2 of pattern when I was just supposed to be doing the backside of row 1 on the sole (how predictable for me). But since I'd been doing the decreases wrong anyway, I took my first opportunity to rip back (having learned the Hat Lesson well). It was only 2 rows.

But let me tell you, this pattern is too hard for me. I may eventually get it, but it's going to take sweat and frowning at every step.

Also, a photo of our "big snow" from last night, because the sun is out and by 11am it will be gone. I love the little dog circle.

Olympic progress

Friday, February 10, 2006


7:35pm - Decide to cook supper. Rummage in freezer for something fast and delicious.

7:36pm - Decide to make Asian stir-fry. Read package instructions. Tablespoon of oil, high heat, pan. Frozen food into pan.

7:38pm - Pan starts to burn. Turn down heat. Put rice in microwave.

7:40pm - Pan no longer smoking, but food cold. Turn up heat.

7:42pm - Decide mushrooms in stir-fry look like bits of sliced leech. Pick out mushrooms. Ignore smell as pan starts burning.

7:44pm - Rice is finished. Burn hand taking bowl from microwave. Stir pan. Alarming smoke and burning smell coming from dinner. Turn on vent fan, keep stirring.

7:46pm - Decide dinner is hot. Divvy up rice and stir-fry. Lick tongs. Burnt. Throw entire dinner in trash can.

7:48pm - Open patio door and reassure alarmed-looking cats that everything is going as planned. Put OxyClean in pan to soak off 1/4" of burned soy sauce.

7:56pm - Put microwave dinner in oven.

Olympic Gear - click it to see my Flickr notes!

Olympic Gear!

The best part of this is my new Olympic stitch markers. They are from the bead store down the street from where I live. They fit on sock needles! The bigger rings are for Clapotis though. Not bad for $11!

Stitch Markers!

Having successfully fed myself, I finally finished work and my last bit of preparation is to print out an article on the figure 8 cast on - and then go cast on! WHOO!!!


Foot: 7.5" around
Pattern size: Medium
Pattern needle: 2.25mm
Pattern gauge: 8.25 st/in

Jen's needle: 2.0mm
Jen's gauge: 7 st/in

64 sts around / 7 = 9.125"
64 sts around / 8.25 = 7.75"

Remeasure foot: 9.5" / 8.5" = 90%
(or 60 sts)

(My sock is going to be about 1/2" too big)


Thursday, February 09, 2006

I finally found it

The most perfect summary of the cartoon fiasco I could ever hope to find, eloquently written by (huzzah!) a newpaper in Seattle:

Read it. Especially the paragraph about the gang of bullies.

So anyway

Thankfully I've come to my senses about the hat.

You know those knitting projects you start where everything is wrong from the minute you pick up the yarn?

Like, purely for example purposes...where you go looking for your 40" #6 needle and realize your Clapotis is hibernating on it? So then you think "5 is probably okay, it will be a warmer hat if I do that, so what the heck." So then you cast on on the wrong size needles, but the tail is way, way, like 18" too long. It should be a sign, but you decide to go on and just sacrifice the tail to the scrap heap, but then pretty soon you realize that somewhere in the K2P2 ribbing you P'd 4, and you're going to have to correct that, so you do, and you blindly knit two more rounds thinking it won't matter, but you're kidding yourself, because of course it matters, and you can totally tell.

And I was watching My Name Is Earl (the funniest show on television) and it was all about "karma" trying to tell him something.

Ok, I definitely don't believe in karma - that's an overspiritualization of coincidence. But I do believe that lots of times things happen where we forge on in spite of "difficulties" and don't realize that maybe the fact that the timing, the needles, the cast-on and the ribbing are all wrong means that maybe this project can wait a few days. And though I'd like to go to lunch with my friend and triumphantly hand her a handknitted baby hat tomorrow, I am not stupid enough to think that a barely adequate gift knitted to prove that I can make a deadline is worth anything.

So I frogged. Hypothetically, I mean. In my hypothetical scenario, I wasted about 30 minutes of Mom-Sock knitting time to knit a Nothing.

So then I started working on the sock again, and it turns out I'm at just about exactly the same point on both socks - just over halfway down the foot, and it's going to take some weekend knitting to finish them.

Now, to go on even longer, I am not a one-project knitter. Lately, though, I have been. I worked on Dad's socks full-steam and touched only the dragon gauntlets for about two days before giving them up. Since Friday I've worked on nothing but Mom's socks, and I'm even having trouble thinking about casting on Elfine tomorrow. Now what is up with that? I don't like this pattern THAT much, but I do feel an obligation to block and mail them by Monday, which means I have to finish them.

Strange little story - I wanted Starbucks this morning, so I went to one in a big office building downtown. It was full of accountants. I never do this, but today it just wouldn't leave my mind to get a teeny soy latte. A Starbucks full of accountants? Finance guys who talk about sports by reciting statistics and wear five thousand dollar suits? (People I find irrepressibly boring, sorry but I'm a snot. You date the finance guys, give me the arty types. Fair?)

There was an empty space on the street - it was 8:26, and at 8:30 the Loading Zone warning expired, so I grabbed it. But then I had absolutely no change except pennies. Nothing for the meter. My experience with all parking meters generally is that if I chance it, a meter maid will be waiting for me to get out of my car so she can hand me the ticket personally. (Do they still call them meter maids?)

So, into the garage across the street knowing it would take longer and cost $2, but better $2 than a $10 ticket. Get elevator with accountant, find the Starbucks, wait on line in front of a VERY loud woman who was discussing the fascinating legal issues surrounding her back fence, order my coffee, pay with a debit card, and make mental note that I have no cash. Must get cash at ATM once at office. (Yes, the company I work for is so big we have our own ATM. And a post office.)

Back into the elevator, after I found it. Six large ostentatious banks of elevators for going up to the Accounting Offices, and one teeny, tiny, hiding-behind-a-plant lift for going down into the parking dungeon. Walk to car, praying for VISA at parking attendant booth. Mom calls, and is enthusiastically telling me a story about one of her patients, who is adding on a 4-car garage to her home to house her antique Porsches (patient's family invented railroad lanterns). Put Mom in lap, talk to attendant - no VISA. Panicky scramble in wallet, lunch money wallet and purse for money, any money, just two freaking dollars -

Find $20 bill left over from Christmas tucked into wallet.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Survival of the Fittest

I have this cockamamie idea about my Olympic Knitting.

First, last night I did some training - pattern swatching. I figure I'm allowed because of my comprehensionally-challenged brain. It was a major bafflement, so I fired up InDesign and made me a chart. It's lovely. I'm going to use a chart. For some reason symbols work the way abbreviations don't.

Second, I'm having trouble deciding how exactly I'm going to get gauge on my socks. The pattern gauge is 8.25 to the inch, the needle called for is a 2.25mm, and I have only a 2.0mm and a 2.5mm. So. (deep breath.) The first thing I need to do is actual gauge swatch,

but as you can see from my photo, my OK yarn is in a hank. Hank hank hank. I love the word "hank." So, order of business today is to go beg LYS owner to wind this yarn for me.

Yesterday I was all set to buy a ball winder and swift, and then GB reminded me that I need to spend about $300 getting RAM for my computer. Because it's crashing. I called around today and nobody has the 2GB chips. What to do...Maybe I can find it on Apple's website. Ergo, no ball winder/swift. Pfft.

Which brings me to how exactly I've lost my mind. I knitted a small hat for a friend's new baby about two weeks ago. I did something wrong with end-weaving and the darn thing frazzed, frayed and unwound! NEVER had that happen before. Big hole. Hat ruined. So I bought some gor-geous Karabella 8 in two colors - a dark reddish-brown and a sky blue - and it's going to become New Hat. I thought at first I would do the stocking cap in Holiday Knits, but the mom was worried he'd grab for it. So it's going to be a regular hat, which I could finish in a day...only I thought, what if it's a cool striped hat? As in every other row or something? Good opportunity for a tiny bit of stranding, but nothing truly vexing. Although I am keeping in mind the Yarn Harlot's test that proved Fair Isle knitting is faster than solid color knitting, I am trying to be realistic...and I'm wondering if I ought to write out a chart and make this hat a Fair Isle hat.

See, maybe the brown is the base color, and it tapers off and blends with the blue, then it goes to blue (for the decrease part)...wouldn't that be cool? Only...it needs to be done by the 14th. Because that's her last day at work.

Am I totally insane?? It's two days before the Olympics, I have a pair of socks to finish by Friday, and I'm already trying to betray my Olympic knitting with stuff like this.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Now honestly

(It's my week to use adverbs in the titles of posts)

I did not (I promise!) realize that I did this:
Now, honestly

I bought the yarn on the same day. One is handpainted, the other self-striping. The handpainted is my Olympic yarn and going to become Elfine's Socks, because I have talked it over with friends and decided that Straight-Laced just isn't enough of a challenge for me. Elfine's are toe-up, short-rows and look to be extremely complicated.

Fifteen days from now when I'm crying hopelessly over what I am attempting to do, please console me.

The Vesper is going in the Golden Stash, and will only come out when THE project comes along. It's going to sit in there next to my OTHER skein of Vesper, which I seem to be inexplicably hoarding. (It's called Tartan, and the Socks that Rock is called Red Rock Canyon).

Off to make spaghetti!


Something we all suspected has surfaced in the Janet March case.

A colleague at work tells me that Friday night's benefit for Hawk Smith raised over $60,000. Isn't that so great?

(I mailed Dad's socks today!)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Bigfoot Socks Pattern!

Pattern watch Dad's sock pattern is finished! (If you find a mistake in it, please let me know!) I changed the name because it won't do to have a pattern named after what the YARN does. This one's long, so I made a pdf you can download by clicking here.

If you use the pattern, please tell me what you think of it!

Also, I reworked and actually wrote out the Guitar Boy Socks pattern into pdf form - link's in the sidebar.

Citius, Altius, Fortius: Lovely and talented founder of the Knitting Olympics Yarn Harlot featured on NPR's The World,

props to Miss Kirsten.

Well obviously

The Streaking Sheep was my favorite Superbowl ad. I wonder if kids would think that one was funniest - not a good message to send your 9-year-old.

There were a few others besides the sheep that reached the level of greatness: the FedEx ad, the Young Clydesdale, the second Monkey ad. (Again, I'm wondering about what exactly Budweiser was saying with the Clydesdale ad though.)

Ads that were amusing, entertaining or okay, but not Superbowl quality - MacGyver, the ad where the guy says he has music for every occasion, the "magic fridge,' the one where Fabio gets old, the Dove self-esteem ad (shameless manipulation on the part of Dove, if you ask me - they're a beauty company, don't forget that), the Ameriquest "misunderstanding" ads, the Sharpie Pirate ad, the "Might as well face it, you're addicted to LOST" ad. THAT was fantastic if you're a fan of the show, but only if you're a fan of the show.

Ads that were just plain creepy, stupid or terrible: the awful pregnant albino monster H3 ad (someone will get fired for that), the Whopperettes, the Machete men/Emerald Nuts ad, the "beer motivates employees" ad, the Cadillac runway ad (does anybody look to runway fashion for coolness anymore? that's so 10 years ago).

What do y'all think?

Sunday, February 05, 2006


I finished Dad's birthday socks on Friday night, after lots of knitting time on planes:

Dad's Star Trail Socks again

This shows the color better:

Dad's Star Trail Socks

I used all but about 20 yards of each ball. Dude has big feet! A man on the plane asked me what I was making and when I told him he said he had size 13 feet. I held up the one that was nearly done and asked if they looked right. He said, "Just make them stretchy." Well, I can fit both fists balled up into one sock side-by-side. I doubt anyone's feet are that big. But you can see how nicely they draw in, too. Hopefully that's a plus. I have no way to try them out on anyone, so these are socks by faith. I am really, really pleased with how they turned out. They are a near-perfect match, except for a gray toe on one and blue toe on the other.

I started Mom's birthday socks yesterday afternoon and got some good airplane knitting done then, too:

Mom's Lighthouse socks

The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Icehouse on 2.5mm needles. LL's Shepherd Sport is my go-to sock yarn. It's cushy, probably too soft for socks, but so soft and pretty. I love making "house" socks out of it. This pair is the Diagonal Rib Socks pattern from IK's subscriber-only section (and I just subscribed!). The pattern is lovely and easy.

I just started the gusset decreases. I love this pattern so much I think I'm going to adapt it for armwarmers. I was worried I'd have trouble parsing the pattern at first, so I had a little previsualization session. Previsualization helped me learn how to feather my oar when I was a rower; it helped me become a runner. Why wouldn't it help me be a better knitter? I sat with my eyes closed and imagined what it might look like to k2tog, but keep both sts on the left needle and knit the first stitch again. Finally I "saw" it - and when I went to do it, it was no problem! I still left out part of a pattern repeat on my first try, but it wasn't the usual botch job of "sight-reading" a pattern. So I have learned a new trick!

This photo shows the rib pattern better. The diagonal ribs pop out, while the regular ribbing stays in the background looking chic:

Rib pattern

And finally, a couple of cat pictures:

"I do not like cameras."

"I'm an arty type of cat."

Happy Superbowliday!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Off Like a Dirty Shirt

Back Sunday. Have a fantabulous weekend!

PS: I'm finished with sock 1's foot, so I have only the toe left to do. I have to knit about 50 more rounds of sock 2 and I'll be done with its foot (yes, I am a geek who uses row counters on socks, otherwise I get lost lost lost and believe me when I say I am NOT a good count-er).

The socks make me happy. I hope they make my dad happy too.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hawk Smith

There's a little boy that one of my friends knows, Hawk Smith.

Hawk is 4. A few months ago Hawk started dragging his right leg.

Hawk has rare, inoperable brain cancer.

Hawk has a 5% chance of survival.

Hawk's mom is a single mom. Hawk's mom wants to take Hawk to do everything he has ever wanted to do, if she can. Hawk's mom took an unpaid leave of absence to take care of him.

Hawk has a 16-month-old sister.

There's a benefit for Hawk tomorrow night in Watertown, TN.

Here's the benefit information.

This would be a little boy and family who need your prayers.

Here's a link to some background, including email, addresses and family information.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bad Jen

If you want some Vesper Sock Yarn, you better go get it now.

I just bought some Tartan...this yarn is to die for...so soft, squishy and yummy...and I haven't even used my Knit and Tonic yet...

In addition to my Socks that Rock, by the way. Oops.


I caught Henry sneaking around last night.

Sneaking Around

(I'm feeling much less whiny.)

I added some new buttons and signed up for Team Threaded Bliss in the Knitting Olympics. I looked again at the Straight Laced pattern...it's going to be really hard to do these. Two at once, I don't know. I'm going to try.

I finished the heels on both Space Dad socks. Now for the long haul of knitting till they are 9.5 inches, and then the toes. Toes are quick. But I have another 5 inches of foot to go...k3, p2 rib just isn't that fast, even though the bottom of the foot (stockinette) flies.

I am nearly done with my first gauntlet, also...I'm making it shorter because although I liked the picture, I should have added a little more ribbing. I am trying to decide if I should finish it shorter or rip it all the way back and add more stitches. I have big arms - not chubby, just bigger than the average bear, and I can't decide if I want these to be full length or not. They are just a tiny bit too snug. Adding another k2, p2 would make them comfy and stretchy.

Maybe I'll decide tomorrow. I am staying somewhere way out of the way this weekend, and maybe I'll get a lot of knitting done then.

I just ordered some Socks that Rock! in the "Red Canyon" colorway. This is my Olympic yarn...whooo!!!