Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Objecto finito

Vesper Knit and Tonic Socks, size 1 needle.

The pattern, if I wrote it, would go something like this: cast on 8 sts using Queen Kahuna's Aloha Cast-on (ignore the part where she says it has to be an odd number, just use the basic movement to cast on 4 st per needle). Work a round toe - knit one round; k1fb all sts next round (16), knit 1 round; k1, k1fb around (24), knit 2 rounds; k2, k1fb around (32), knit 3 rounds; k3, k1fb around, continue this till you have 64 sts (hint: remaining increase round stitch counts are 40, 48, 56, 64 - increase 8 per round - just write it out for yourself). Knit stockinette till 2 inches are left before heel. Work a nice short-row heel. Change to 2x2 ribbing and knit till they are as long as you like. Use a crochet hook to bind off.

Easy as pie. Terrifying pattern, I know, but 'tis simple. Just short. If you write out the line instructions for the round toe you'll be able to do it whenever you want as long as you have your paper. You can do it! :)

Happiness for my feet! (El Happio Feeto.)

Stripey goodness


It looks like Mr Stupid is being systematically harassed into not using stolen knitting patterns anymore - good for all you gals who are standing up to him.

He's crying foul, though, as if he's the victim of his pattern-choosers and we knitters are just overreacting. Typical - as if it excuses him in any way from his illegal behaviour that he didn't know.

Not much knitting content today - I wound off the other 1/2 pound of yarn to dye and skeined one ball up (two left). I am within three rows and a bindoff of finishing the Vesper socks, and I've got the second Embossed Leaves sock here with about 10 rows of ribbing complete and then I start the sprint through the rest (lace knitting always seems to go so fast for me).

I'm on deadline this week so I can go on vacation next week and I'm SO looking forward to it and SO need it. The Nephew and I (Nephew the Elder) are taking a road trip from Chicago up to Michigan to see Gran and Grandpa. This may yet fall through - Pennie, my sister-in-law, is doing worse (or maybe better). Nobody gave her a CAT scan when she first had this blood clot, so we don't know if it's worse or better, but the clot is now invading her abdomen. It's near her kidneys and vena cava. She went for an emergency consult with a vascular surgeon and they decided not to do the surgery that would relieve the clot (too dangerous) so she's at home and waiting for it to clear up. (Next stop is a doctor called an interventional radiologist.) So if she's having surgery next week or something, we'll be staying in Chicago and doing some sightseeing and X-boxing. Dunno.

I'm tired already today!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


This eBay store has been selling patterns copyrighted by quite a few of the knitters you know, without permission (including Julia, Elizabeth and some other people you know.

Don't ever, ever buy anything from him.

Jenna has been detailing her correspondence with him at her blog journal - he ripped her off, too.

Tell everyone you know to check this book out if there is even a small chance their pattern might be included in the book.

Theft of intellectual property is wrong, evil, bad, illegal and stupid.

What do you think?

I believe the overdyeing worked. I overdyed the chartreuse skein with gold and the red skein with more red.

Red and gold

The blue sock is a Fuzzy Feet slipper for Nephew, knit yesterday in a couple of hours using Paton's wool that I dyed with sapphire and a splash of sunmetal (acid dyes).
Fuzzy Feet pre-felting

And Grady. (Fee is nowhere to be found.)

Monday, May 29, 2006

New in the sidebar

Instructions on how to make your own PVC niddy-noddy. Have fun! It costs about $4. You need 1/2" pipe - one 18" length, four 6" lengths, four end caps, two t-joints that are threaded at the base of the T only, and two single connectors that are threaded on one side only.

I love my overdyed yarn. It came out all goldy and happy. It's impossibly tangled and drying in the sun. We'll see if I can salvage dye pal may get both of the skeins I dyed yesterday. I'm loving them! Pictures later.


It's hooooottt. High 80s and pounding sun and yet I'm outside taking pictures (see harsh shadow in photo for proof). And winding yarn.

First, the sad news. After a preliminary stitch of my scoop du jour sleeves, I've decided the sweater is a lost cause and frogged it all. I just don't like Cascade 220 that much. I really didn't like it in such a bulky sweater. All is not lost, though - I'm thinking of overdyeing the yarn and using it to make a bag. Of some sort. (Not sure it will take 6 hanks though.) Maybe a felted rug with some funky whipstitching. Or maybe I'll trade it away.

Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon dyeing yarn and making spaghetti - multitasking. I had some pretty good luck. I made one skein of reds with a bit of black thrown in (it turned the red purple, but oh well). The silver looks pink. The whole thing is dried and reskeined and going into a bath of solid red today, just for kicks.

The other skein is supposed to be chartreuse, red and purple, but the chartreuse came out a funky, awful, retina-burning neon green. There are no words to describe the awfulness of this color. My camera even paled at the thought of trying to reproduce it. So although I really like the color distribution in this skein, it's going into a bath of gold - weak gold, or maybe lemonade kool-aid - to tone down the everloving green.

I mean, this green is craptacular. It defies explanation.

3 & 4

So I'm off to start dyeing yarn again!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Pay Lakes, Catfish & Nathan Bedford Forrest

YARN CONTEST WINNERS: Thanks to all of you lovelies who raised almost $700 for Kirsten. You are SOOOO awesome! The three winners of sock yarn are (according to the random number generator at Research Randomizer) - numbers 3, 4 and 9. That's Zonda, Lynae and Eli.

Email me your address at meangirl AT comcast DOT net if that's you! Also, Samantha - you get a prize too, so email me!

THANKS to everyone for saying such nice things about my yarn! I have so much more confidence now, I'm going to wind skeins and watch tv and think about what colors to use tomorrow!

So, I think the concept of a "pay lake" is something that y'all don't have in other parts of the country. (I never heard of it before moving here.) A pay lake is a lake that's kept stocked with fish, and you pay a certain amount to fish in it and keep the fish. Today we went to one in Baxter, TN called Twin Lakes. Lest you not believe that it's really called a pay lake:

A Pay Lake

We didn't fish, though - we went for the catfish. Catfish, hush puppies, fries...corn on the cob. It was the freshest fish I've had since leaving Michigan (well, except for Boondocks in Daytona Beach).

We drove around out in picturesque hills and valleys with amazingly good weather (the a/c was spotty, but generally good) and went across a huge bridge into Carthage, TN (home of Al Gore's family). We drove around Lebanon (pronounced Leb-nin) and saw a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest with a plaque that said something about Confederate Veterans of America on it; we drove back on old country roads and saw a mailbox with four legs and a tail made out of rope so it looked like a horse, and we collected three new hair salon names:
Dixie Cuts (ha!)
Creative Images Hair Salon (I'll bet you ARE)
Hattie's Hair Salon (I don't want a Hattie haircut.)

(I love cheesy hair salon names, and dog grooming salons like "The Barking Lot.")

The cats got their monthly shampoo today, and seem very fluffy and cuddly. It was their own personal Groomingdales. (UGH!)

Friday, May 26, 2006


It's still drying but I couldn't resist reskeining. My skills at wrapping a hank ain't the best, but paradoxically what's bothering me now is the green - it needed more yellow. As for the rest - I love it. What do y'all think?

After reskeining

'I will not bite my nails" and other bad habits

One perpetual bad habit I have is thinking my hair will look good worn curly when it's not cut to do that. It's huge. Unimpressive without a ton of work.

Another bad habit I've developed lately is running late for wherever I'm supposed to be. Deciding I'm going to knit the ribbing combination style and then switching every few rows. Eating peanut butter out of the jar.

Today's bad habit is "running late." I leave you with a picture of some dyeing I did last night. I was ffeeling too terrible for SnB, but not so bad I couldn't paint some yarn. I was just trying out some Jacquard colors. Looks ok, just not my favorite palette. I love the orange and gold and brown, hate the pinks and purple. (I just hate purple.)

Anyway, off to Starbucks!

Thursday yarn

That's Fee in the back. She says "rrow."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

Yes, it is.

A big heartfelt thank you to everybody who donated for Kirsten's trip. I'll be figuring out the number thing tonight!

Not much knitting last night - just a row or two on my current sock at the waiting room of the chiropractor's office and a row or two after LOST. (My chiro has been working on loosening up my neck sufficiently so that I can look over my right shoulder without pain, and it's slow going.)

So yeah, LOST! Season finale! Big cliffhanger! My only question is - they said the plane was 1,000 miles off course when they crashed. Did the magnet do that, too? Or was something else at work?

Glad Taylor won. Am I the only one who thinks Dionne Warwick looks absolutely fabulous?

Oh, did I mention I'm a member of a Beauty Club now? How funny is that?? (It's not what you think, I just find it hysterical that they call it that.) I got the Sally discount card the other night - I was buying dye bottles there. They were graduated plastic, on sale for 99 cents each (I bought nine, they didn't have any more). These are for dyeing yarn - 1 color per bottle. So anyway, the discount card means that instead of the regular price on stuff, you pay the secret price - the last few numbers in the string of numbers above the price. The card is $5 but by the time I got done buying Nail Life (best clear strengthener ever), cuticle terminator, a nail file and those bottles it cost me 30 cents (they apply the discount right there). And yes, I really do like to get my toenail polish there, and this gimmicky thing called Tween Time, which is a wax crayon that turns into a hair retouching stick when you get it wet. Magic! Touches up your roots! Washes out! (If you dye your hair you should get one. They are my beauty pick of 2005.)

Yes, you should take a picture out your window even if it's boring, a carport, getting dark out, the window is dirty, or you're worried it will be a stupid shot. This is a photojournalism project! Reality is what matters. Let us see the view that you see, what things look like from where you are (the postmodern implications of that are staggering and somewhat nauseating, but I'll go with it). If the window doesn't work, take one from your patio, back door, front door or is in some other way a picture of something you see every day. Ok? Ok! :)

I have to do a photo shoot Friday night. Not art direct, actually shoot. I do this about four times a year. I like it, but I always get nervous. What if I forget to focus? You know, amateur stuff like that. I could be a professional worrier if I didn't knit. Knitting lets me worry with my fingers and frees my brain for other pursuits.

Speaking of other pursuits, time to leave for the office. My car a/c isn't working. If it's broken and costs more than five hundred or so to fix, I'm just getting another car. I know this sounds dumb, but I already have an oil leak and that's an expensive fix and if this is an expensive fix I might as well invest that same money in something that's newer. The only rule is that it has to be something I can pay off completely in a year or less. So yeah. Dippy.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

All right y'all, cowboy UP!

Post a picture of a view from your window! You don't even need to put the place. I want to see what you see. :)

I worked some on the Embossed Leaves socks last night. I'm not exactly sure how long to make the foot but finally I devised a scheme - count toe rows. There are 20 toe rows, so my suspicion was confirmed - it's a very short toe. So I measured in my gauge how much room 20 rows takes up - I have to knit past the base of my big toe for them to fit.

Which is okay - I have been modifying this pattern ever since I started knitting it. It's worked out really well to decrease the number of stitches for the foot, the ribbing is stretchier (and nicer, to my mind). I can't wait till this sock is finished, because the details are awesome...the way the ribbing from the cuff becomes a stem on the leaf above it (same with heels, which is truly cool) and I keep hearing everyone gushing about the toe. It really is pretty - I highly recommend knitting it. The sin of asking the knitter to break the yarn after the heel is a forgivable one.

I ordered a skein of Scout's yarn last night in the Zutano colorway. (Go on over to her Etsy site if you want some - there's about five skeins of different colors left!) I should have resisted but it's so gorgeous I literally couldn't resist. Oh well, I've been home sick lately and haven't spent a ton of dough.

Now I REALLY wish my dyes would get here! This weekend is going to be spent dyeing yarn for my pal. I think tomorrow night is going to be Skeining night. I'm a little nervous about using that niddy noddy to measure my yarn (since weighing isn't that exact and I don't have any other way to do it).

So anyway, what's the view from your window??

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

One more day!

Thanks to everyone who's participated in the sock yarn contest so far - tomorrow at midnight is the cutoff...I'll be drawing names on Thursday night.

(Click here for the sock yarn contest.)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Cowboy Up

That's what the back of the truck window I saw tonight said. It was a sticker. "Cowboy Up." So ok, I'd better.

First, have you seen Eunny's excellent knitting advice column? It's called Unraveling. She publishes twice a week, and it's full of great advice whether you're a novice knitter or ... not. So check it out!

The Aloha & Oreos blog has a post up today about ugly toes in sock-in-progress shots. My apologies!

I'm working on a swatch tonight, nothing exciting folks, move along.

Andrew Sullivan is doing a sort of interesting photo project. It's called "The View from My Window" - submit pics that are what you see, every day. photo won't get published, probably, but I'm starting a meme. You're it if you read this. Take a snap out your window, post it, and tell us why you like the view. You can do it!

This is my backyard, from the patio/dining room. There's a lot more field/trees to the left - this is looking to the right. I love it because it's green, and although I love working in the city, I want to come home to green at night. (Preferably cut and landscaped by someone else, but green.)

The sky is not actually cyan. I don't know what's up with that.

The view from my window

Get posting!

OH, AND - last day to vote for The Codenames at TagWorld! Go to the main site and register a name (or six) and the click here for instructions (just below the songs) on how to vote. Any votes before Tuesday midnight get counted! Please help! (They've been in first for weeks but are suddenly the victims of a vicious spam campaign by a Cheesy White Band. You can do this in five minutes! Please help!)

Good read

I try to keep politics out of my blog, but if you'd like a succint and brilliant explanation of why I've been slowly slipping away from the party of "small government," click here.

I think it was all the knitting

(Click here for the sock yarn contest.)

Today I feel better. Fever is gone and apart from the loud thunderstorms that woke me (and the cats) up last night, I got a good night's rest and I feel okay. Not great, but okay. So I'm going to try to go to work today.

Outside, it's a downpour. Grady is soaking it in, but all I can think about is the negative effects of rain on whatever hairstyle I go with today. Plus it's only 60 - so that means a hat. I love wearing wool hats; I think the wool absorbs the rain so that my hair doesn't. Probably a crackpot theory (I'm full of them) but it makes me feel better.

Speaking of feeling better - this pattern is amazing, easy, intuitive. Apart from some really wonky ribbing and heel instructions (I used my own, as usual). So, um, the lace pattern is amazing, easy and intuitive. (I don't know about the rest, but why a sock pattern makes you break the yarn after turning the heel is absolutely beyond me.)

Here's a picture. Yarn is All Things Heather in Leprechaun, knit up on #1 needles at 8 stitches per inch. I added a few extra stitches for the ankle/cuff, and dropped back down to about 67 or so for the foot. The yarn reminds me of Koigu - yummy feel, great stitch definition, and always a surprise colorwise. Don't you think it's lovely?


Sunday, May 21, 2006


is my temperature, and I'm going to go knit. It's a dark and rainy, stay-in-your-jammies kind of day.


Saturday, May 20, 2006

Another update

Debbie is doing better. She's down to 6 liters of oxygen today and doctors told her when she is at 4 she can go home. They aren't really optimistic, but they aren't as negative as this morning. Hopefully the immunosuppressant drugs are working.

As for the Embossed Leaves sock - I am loving the pattern. Super easy (so far, knock wood, don't let me curse meself) lace, and I added one purl stitch to each side of the chart to distribute the 8 extra stitches I need (most people would find a yarn that fits gauge, but not me, I'm a sucker for abuse). So the spaces between the leaves are a little wider - I may or may not leave it. It's not a hard pattern, so maybe I'll keep going and maybe I won't. If I don't, you can bet I'll be dyeing some of my superwash with lime kool-aid (or maybe chartreuse jacquard dye when it comes in) and using that.

It just hit me that I ordered chartreuse dye. I'm going to use it with some chestnut brown and gold, I think. That just sounds scary to me, but I have a pillow on my bed that is those colors, and it rocks.

Tonight we watched Aliens...great throwaway lines..."nukes, knives and sharp sticks"...

my stomach hurts...and it's thundering...

New stuff!

Let's see - sock yarn contest info is here.

I did a barter swap with Mame-E: she got new web banners, buttons and yarn labels, I get yarn. Yarrrrrn. Check out her new site here.

I'm working on the buttons and stuff today as long as I don't um, yark. I've been home with a stomach bug since yesterday morning. So far, no yarking. But discontent, riots and the like are threatening.

Now, for some pictures!

I finished a Vesper sock - this took longer than I anticipated but I redid some ribbing and used a super-easy crochet hook bind off - why have I not been doing this already? I saw it on an episode of Knitty Gritty that I DVR'd. Excellent! Use the hook instead of your right needle - knit a stitch with it, knit the next stitch with it and hook it through the first. Wayyyyy better than leapfrogging. Here's the bindoff, and yeah, I did some funky calf shaping that makes the end look a bit like a flower:
Vesper sock

Vesper Cuff

Also, I cast on for an Embossed Leaves sock with my Leprechaun All Things Heather yarn:
Start of new sock

(That is why you need to order some of Heather's yarn!)

(Note: that is not the ribbing called for in the pattern - the size given won't fit me, so I am winging parts of it. I am not quite sure how I'm going to distribute the 8 extra stitches).

We are lazy today, laying around outside:

Upside Down

The update on Debbie (my sister's motherinlaw) is that her body is rejecting the transplanted lung. She's now up to 8 liters of oxygen per day and won't be allowed to go home from the hospital until she's down to 4. They are trying immunosuppressant drugs. She's still in the Mayo Clinic. Prognosis isn't good.

Friday, May 19, 2006


I am so amazed and grateful at the incredible response to the contest for Kirsten! Thank you all so much!

You can read about the contest here and here is the link to Kirsten's PayPal button.

I'm running late today so no pictures (I slept in till 7! ha!), but yesterday was Yarn Day around here - my two half-pound skeins of Henry's Attic Kona Superwash fingering weight arrived! Now all I have to do is wait for my dyes to get here and figure out what to do with it all.

Also, two skeins of All Things Heather arrived yesterday as well! I can't say it enough - this yarn is beautiful! Order some! (No wait, that's less for me. Don't ever order any. Hear me??) So far I have two handpainteds and a self-striping, and they are all equally lovely. The colors are brilliant and artfully combined...check out Heather's yarn here.

If you think of it, keep my sister's mom-in-law Debbie in your prayers. She had the lung transplant last fall? Long story short, she's basically dying. It's complicated, but she had pneumonia and that damaged the new lung beyond repair. She's back in the Mayo Clinic on 6 liters of oxygen per day (she was on 2 before the transplant) and has heart failure. She has a DNR in place. My sister and her family are in Florida, probably seeing her for the last time. (Come to think of it, they could use some prayers too.)

Stay frosty.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I'm running my first-ever contest on behalf of my superfriend gal pal Kirsten.

Many years ago Kirsten was my roomie - she lived in Nashville and we had a nice apartment with a happy cat named Casper. She's like a sister to me. In 1999, Kirsten left Nashville to go live on a ship. This was not for the faint of heart - small cabins, toilets that flushed with seawater, constant seasickness, several typhoons and virtually no personal space made for quite an adventure!

This ship is part of a christian ministry, but the kind of christians you'd like if you aren't one - not the "we're righteous, you're not" crowd. More like the "how can we serve you" crowd. The ship is a bookstore, basically - everything from growing a garden to C.S. Lewis can be found in it. They also did some church planting, church encouraging, and sponsored cultural events. I think she went to about 17 different countries in Asia.

Kirs came back in 2001 and moved to Portland. Around the same time, this ministry bought another ship to refit and send out on similar tasks. The ship is in drydock in Croatia next month, and Kirsten's taking a team of 7 people to sweat, lift heavy things, and work on machinery.

That's where the contest comes in. Disclaimer: This contest was MY idea - not Kirsten's (she's not a moneygrubber.) I thought of it this morning while putting on makeup. I made her hook up the PayPal before I even told her what I was doing.

There's no other way to say this - Kirsten needs money for the Croatia trip. Around $1100 total, and she's not even half there yet. Maybe little by little we can help her out. (Please don't be mad at me for asking for your help.) If you can make a donation of $7 or more to her PayPal account (by clicking her blog and using the button in the upper right of the sidebar) by midnight on Wednesday, May 24th, you'll be entered into a random-number drawing contest to win one of the following fabulous prizes:

1. One 440-yard skein of coveted Vesper sock yarn in Tartan and a copy of Knitting Rules;


2. One skein of beautifully handpainted Treadsoft sock yarn in orange and pink and a Chaos mix cd (donated by the lovely Chris) (Cat not included).
Chaos and Treadsoft


3. One rockin' 360-yard skein of Socks That Rock sock yarn in Pebble Beach and a $12.50 Starbucks gift card (donated by the lovely Kirsten).
Socks That Rock

(Prizes may also contain additional little goodies.) (There will be three winners.)

There will also be a tasty prize for the largest donation, separate from the number drawing.

If you don't have a PayPal account, you can still donate - just click "Read My Letter" in the sidebar and it will tell you where to send a check.

There's a link in her sidebar to a pdf that tells a little more than I can in this space, in her own words.

Can you help? For about the price of a skein of yarn you can help my friend help others. (Any money collected over what she needs will go to the team's account.)

It's a very worthy cause, and I am most appreciative of any of your efforts to help her. If you are able to donate, send me an email at meangirl AT comcast DOT net letting me know you did and I'll enter you in the contest. (I'll get the biggest donation winner from PayPal itself.)

53 Degrees and Rain

Pretty much sums it up. I'm fighting some kind of something nasally and headachy, which is making me a) not very interesting and b) accidentally zone out at inappropriate and sensitive moments.

I'm toying with the idea, for the 1,000 time, of ripping back some part of the Vesper socks and trying something else. I haven't let myself rip back all the way though, because the socks fit and are comfortable. But I think I knitted the leg too long and ripping it back a ways will make it more comfy for me. Who am I kidding? I buy footies for every season of the year, and on the rare occasions when I wear wool ragg socks, I scrunch them down around my ankles.

Anyway it's all congestion and bad ribbing decisions and linty towels and Zantac here lately. Really the ribbing isn't that bad but I think i have to do it to accommodate my own quirkiness.

I have several quirks. I'm afraid of biting my tongue off in the car. Not when I'm out walking around, but specifically in the car (which leads me to believe I got yelled at for sticking my tongue out at someone when I was a kid in the car and my dad probably told me that to scare me).

I hate those blown-air dryers they have in public restrooms that are supposed to be "sanitary." I can't stand the idea of warm air blowing on my hands. It just utterly freaks me out. When I had long curly hair I used to dry my hands on my hair (which itself is kinda gross) but now that I mostly wear my hair straight I just shake the water off and go.

I would mention more but at the moment I can't think of any and I have to go style my newly-colored roots. So what are your quirks?

Monday, May 15, 2006

A is for Absorba

I'm finally posting a picture of my progress on Absorba, the giant superhero bath mat from Mason-Dixon Knitting:

Absorba the Great

The yarn is four (!) strands of Peaches n Creme worsted - I bought two cones and with the help of my scale and ballwinder I wound each cone off into four sort of similarly sized balls. While watching The Firm. I don't remember what happened in the movie, really, but I remember weighing the yarn and trying to decided if it was a 50 gram ball or a 60. And then through no fault of hers, I happened to see that Grumperina has a digital food scale instead of the sproingy - analog? - thing I picked up at Target for $10. (In my defense I must say this was beforrrrre I figured out how useful a scale is to a knitter, so next time I get a Bed-Bath-&-Beyond-20%-off-one-item coupon you know what I'll be getting.)

So really, the cotton isn't wound into anything even remotely resembling consistent sizes, but you know what? I am knitting log cabin. I can do what I want. I can tie knots and hide them if I want, or I can cut the ball of yarn prematurely to match up with the others, or knit on anyway, or...

my sister-in-law Pennie now joins the esteemed list of Hospitalized Family Members. Pennie is my age (35) and she was feeling badly for about a week. She thought her asthma was acting up because she was having trouble breathing. No. That would have been the "easy" way. Turns out she has a blood clot in her leg - from her groin to her ankle. The breathing problems came from blood pooling in her lungs. On Wednesday last week she was doubled over in pain in her abdomen, and her leg swelled up and turned purple. She's been hospitalized ever since. After two days in CCU and two more in a regular room, she's doing a little better but not much (apparently these things take a really long time to go away).

So yeah, tonight I bought a box of Zantac. I don't do real well with alcohol, so my medication of choice is ... um ... antacid. I'm such a type-A personality. Most of the time I thrive on the stress of deadlines and the great big unknown of not having any idea what we're going to get when the photographer sets up the camera, but this health stuff is for the birds.

I mean really.

In other news, I found my notes for Vesper Sock 1 and was disappointed to find I'd knitted one short-row heel with a 9/14/9 stitch split, and one (yesterday) with a 10/12/10 split. Before you tell me I shouldn't frog - I did. The second heel was longer, and by golly the 9/14/9 fits. And a short row heel doesn't take any time AND I was here anyway so I just reknit it. It's already done. Took an hour.

Now where is that Zantac???

PS: News flash! Now you can make $330 profit in four weeks selling box-store yarn to all your friends for more than the box store sells it! Don't miss out on this great opportunity to make Lion Brand some money.

How about you?

You Belong in Barcelona

When it comes to Europe, you don't want to decide between culture and fun. You want art by day and a big party by night.
Barcelona is ideal for you. You can check out some Picasso, eat some tapas, take a siesta, and then dance all night!

Your Japanese Name Is...

Michi Takahashi

Thanks to Heike for the links. Think I'll take my Japanese butt to Barcelona.

Almost finished!

I finished the knitting on the baby cardigan yesterday. Now I have to seam the hood and figure out some kind of closing for it - my sister said that Niecie is real grabby right now, so i-cord ties might be pushing it (and you know how I feel about i-cord, right? hate it!). I think I'm going to look for some snaps that sew onto the fabric - I've got a cardigan like this that I absolutely love. It looks really neat.

I am about halfway up the leg on one Vesper sock and I am through the heel on the other. The 2x2 ribbing I'm doing for the cuff is awesome - so neat and tidy, because I am doing the purls twisted. (And untwisting on the next row.) I'm working increases into this section to accommodate my calf muscles, which means I am making these socks a bit longer than usual.

So far, I like. I'll keep you posted. For now, gotta go.

I just bought 8 sets of towels this weekend (another TJMaxx find). That kind of seems excessive, but they are Pima cotton - and we all know how lovely Pima cotton is, right?

Saturday, May 13, 2006


I'm still seeing green. Remember in The Fifth Element Chris Tucker's character kept saying "green" as in "cool"? Green.

About the frogging - it's tricky! Read Ashley's tutorial on how to do it. Sharp scissors. Patience. Even still, I wasted about 50 yards of yarn by accidentally cutting the selvedge instead of the thread (but don't worry, I saved it for seaming).

This particular sweater was even trickier because it had a kind of rolled hem. I don't know the technical term for it, but they picked up stitches at the selvedge on the front side, knitted about 8 rows, then folded it over and crocheted it down on the reverse side. It's a great edge, but so time-consuming to rip/cut.

The other thing to remember is that even if you get the deal of the century on an $8 GAP sweater, you are going to do approximately $250 worth of ripping, skeining, washing, winding and weaving in ends.

Which is, in the end, why I may well decide not to make the Hourglass Sweater with this yarn. Because those smaller balls of yarn are about 50g each, and the sweater is knitted in the round. Yep, you heard me. Think of the endless weaving of ends with no selvedge to hide them in. And it's cotton, so no tricky spit-splicing allowed.

So I'm still looking for patterns. I'd kind of like something cardigan-y because those are more versatile to me. I'll have to figure something out.

Fenway Park

(Yarn from the Green Monster - it truly is that exact color!)

Yarn from the Green Monster

I think it's going to become an hourglass sweater from LMKG, but I might find a different pattern I like better. I'm winding this into hanks and washing it first, though. (The hood is in the upper left and one front was left. I finished frogging it this morning.)

Oh how I love my green yarn!

I frogged the Green Monster Cabled Cardigan tonight (a $7.97 buy at the GAP, cables were Bulk-O-Matic!).

I have so much yarn! And oh my, the color. Pictures in morning light. Woo.

Friday, May 12, 2006

51 degrees!

In May! I am so lucky today! (I really love cool mornings - it's the Michigan in me.)

Here at long last is a snap of the baby cardi I've been working on:

Baby Cardigan

This was a complicated project for me. It involved gauge problems with the yarn, massive amounts of frogging, gauge problems with the sleeve/in the round needles and the body needles, problems with keeping my seed stitch straight. As it stands it's got some pretty huge honking holes which are in the same place (that is, in the front on one side, and in the back on the other), plus it needs some truly punishing blocking to even out the stitches.

What it means is, I have knitted socks so consistently for such a long time that my purling stinks. My purling is a lot looser than my knitting, and when you add in a yarn without much give like Blue Sky Organic Cotton, the result is - your body gauge is off from the pattern and your sleeves have to be knitted on a needle two sizes smaller than the body. EEK.

I gave in to materialism last night and exchanged my old-fashioned digital cable box for a DVR box. The guide was off so I couldn't quite set it up the way I wanted to, but I did manage to catch most of My Name is Earl. I set it to record House and CI. I'll find others - Lost, AI, Medium...Crossing Jordan. (Why do I even like that show?)

I am no longer slave to network programming! I can tape what I want.

Oh, and I ordered two more skeins of All Things Heather - Leprechaun and Vacation. She's got the yarn posted through Monday at her site for sale, and whatever's left goes to KPixie on Monday. So if you want some, buy some!

(Must stop buying yarn. I just got a great deal of Mama-E as well, and at this rate I'll never make all the socks I want to, despite what Stephanie says about sock yarn not counting in the stash. At this rate I'll have at least 15 skeins in the queue!)

So, yeah. Get on up.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

This picture

Knitting and scissors don't mix

But I did it anyway. This time when I did the afterthought heel on Thuja, I just threaded the needle through the stitches I was going to knit and then hacked open the waste yarn with a pair of nail scissors. Yes, it was scary, but in order to prevent unfortunate mishaps (are there any fortunate ones?) I knitted two rows on the waste yarn before going back to the regular yarn.

This serves a dual purpose - one, no messy unraveling to deal with (well, it's still a bit messy, but it's quicker) and two, when you do one row back-and-forth you end up back at your starting point, so you can just pick up the regular yarn and go on. No worrying about how to get the yarn from there to the end of the row, etc.

Clearly I'm a pretty lazy knitter, and because of some sizing considerations I'm not completely sure I love the afterthought heel - but it's practical, fairly easy to do and doesn't take any more time than knittting a toe.

I didn't work on anything else last night, and I still have to finish sewing up the dreaded holes in the corners (I have not yet learned how to completely avoid them).

What about Idol last night? Even Chris was shocked. Guess he really thought he was going to win the contest (I did too, actually). I liked him okay, great personality and very good voice, but he had a consistently dreary, sad-b*stard-metal choice of tunes and I think the Elvis night really drove it home for me: he made every song he sang sound the same. (How's that for sibilants?)

Still, I think Katherine lucked out big time - any of them could win and it would make me happy.

And LOST? Trippy.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


For the pictures of cat food. Those responsible have been sacked.

I'm nearly done with Thuja #2 and I'm to the heel on my second Knit and Tonic sock. (I messed up a wrap, will probably frog it.) I cast on for a baby bib from MDK. Pink!

I have projectitis. Watch out - it's contagious.

No knitting pictures tonight, but to distract you, here are some cat photos:


(Notice how the deck is two totally different colors - and I took out so much green Grady was starting to look magenta.)

Has anyone else had experience with their Socks That Rock socks felting?

Dye-O-Rama meme

For my Dye-O-Rama pallie:

Questions specific to this swap:
Your favorite colors? Oh dear...I like mostly anything but I'm not real fond of purple. Or teal. I tend to like muted colors best.

Preferred yarn weight (Fingering, Sport, DK, maybe even Worsted)? Fingering or Sport

Do you prefer solid or multicolored yarn? Multi, but solid is A-OK too.

If your buddy is able to do so, would you like a variegated, self-striping, or self-patterning yarn? Vari or self-striping

Would you be interested in a wool blend sock yarn (nylon, tencel, silk, acrylic, alpaca, etc.)? Wool-nylon or wool-silk is ok, no acrylic (I'm allergic)

Imagine the perfect colorway. What would you name it? Mars Hill

What was the biggest appeal to you for joining this dye-along? Something that would push me to do more than just play around with dye.

General yarn/fiber questions:
Have you dyed yarn/fiber before? Yes

If so, what’s your favorite dye and method? So far I like Kool-Aid best, though the colours aren't so great. I'm going to try Jacquard next.

Do you spin? Only in circles.

Have you knit socks before? Please.

Do you use sock yarn for just socks or in other patterns too? Whatever I think it's good for, but mostly socks.

What are some of your favorite yarns? Love Koigu, Paton's Classic Wool, Wool of the Andes, Blue Sky Cotton, Cascade Sierra, Socks that Rock, Vesper, Sundara and All Things Heather, Dreambaby DK (it's one of the few acrylics I can use).

What yarn do you totally covet? At the moment, Sundara DK Silky Merino or Rowan Cashsoft DK

Favorite patterns? I like Clapotis a lot; at the moment I like just about anything by Anna Bell.

Any pattern you would love to make if money and time were no object? I don't know.

Favorite kind of needles (brand, materials, straights or circs, etc)? Inox Express metal; Addi Natura bamboo; circs

If you were a specific kind of yarn, which brand and kind of yarn would you be? I would be Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport

Nothing to do with knitting/yarn/fiber in any way but seemed kinda fun:

Do you have a favorite candy or mail-able snack? I'm not really a candy gal, but I do like chocolate. Don't know if that's mailable! I love tea, especially green tea. And pretzels. Oh, and popcorn. How could I forget that?

What’s your favorite animal? Giraffe

Do you have pets? What are their species/names/ages? Two cats - a Maine Coon named Fiona who is 4 years old and a gray tabby named Grady who is 8.

If you were a color what color would you be? warm rose or brick brick red

Describe your favorite shirt (yours or someone else’s): How embarrassing - my favorite shirt is a man's flannel shirt from Abercrombie & Fitch; it's red and gold plaid and can be seen here and here. If we were talking fashion, my favorite shirts are basic t's from Banana Republic.

What is your most inspiring image, flower, or object in nature? Sunsets.

Tell me the best quote you’ve ever heard or read. There are two: 1) "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." (Jim Elliot) and 2) "They will know we are Christians by our t-shirts."

Do you have a wishlist? Somewhere, yes. If you want it, let me know!

Anything else you’d like to share with the group today? Cheetos! Have some Cheetos!

Something cool to do

New Sundara "Petals" Sock Club!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Proof we're all crazy

(Wait, I meant proof I'm not crazy)


Fee models Yarn:
Fee Models the Blue Yarn

And just when I think I might be doing all right with this dyeing thing, this arrives:
Yarn from All Things Heather

and puts me to shame. Sock yarn from All Things Heather. It's the yummiest, softest, happiest sock yarn ever. And since I'm signed up to be a test knitter for her yarns...well, let's say I hope I get to test it soon! This is too pretty to knit up.

So I was thinking, during my walk, when I had the Stones blaring in my ears and the light was just so and I was trying to kick it - I passed by Curves (for Women). And I thought, it's probably an encouragement to women everywhere to go in there because they won't be ogled, etc. And my naturally libertarian, say "whatever" to feminism (I mean, women, do whatever you want) brain piped up, "I bet that nobody could ever get away with calling a place Ripped (for Men)."

Right? Because CNN would find out about it and all manner of gals would be out protesting the exclusion of women. (Admit it.)

You don't see men out protesting the LPGA or the WNBA as exclusionary. And why doesn't anyone protest a "For Women" workout gym? I'll tell you - and the key is to my mind the key to true equality between men and women. Because women, some women, would see a sign that says "For Men" and think, "Why can't I work out there? I'm just as good!" They automatically think with an inferiority complex. Why would they do this? Why not just say "let the guys stink up their own place and ogle each other instead of me"? A guy wouldn't look at a "For Women" sign and think "Why can't I go there? I'm just as good as any woman."

Men do not think that way. Ever. A woman could be standing in front of a man with a flow chart complete with four-color illustrations and 72-point type explaining to him why he wasn't as good as her, and he would never, ever think "I'm just as good, shut up."

You know what he would think, don't you?

Whatever. Which really cracks me up.

I can't win

Fee slept all night curled in a ball on the multi-colored yarn in the picture below. (I had to unwrap it and let it dry some more.) I was fine with that till she snagged a toenail in it this morning (then I hung it up).

It's funny how they don't like dry yarn, yarn that is being knitted, scraps of yarn laying around on the floor, or yarn that is sitting out on the table. Thank God, but they seem to know that yarn isn't theirs. I think what they are so ridiculously attracted to is actually wet wool - maybe it's the smell. (To me a wet skein of yarn smells like the cats after they have a bath, so maybe it's a comfort thing.)

Cats never cease to amaze me, anyway. Mine are not lap cats. They aren't cuddly and they certainly aren't my 'kids' - they are sort of companions who live with me as long as I maintain the right balance of food, water and cat box. (I like to think of myself as Tall Cat.) I have no doubt that if they someday decided to leave, they'd find a way - even though the apartment is on the second floor and I don't think they can open doors.

But they get what they want. Some nights I could call Grady's name and invite him to sit on the couch next to me 17 times, and he'd appear to be totally deaf, then walk to the fridge and open the Laughing Cow cheese to get a slice - and he'd come running. (Clearly there is no hearing problem.) He is usually up for a cuddle, though he prefers to sit next to me instead of crawling on me. Some nights he sits on my feet while I knit - others, he buries himself in the corner between the Yarn and the end table and sleeps all night.

But Fee? Fee is just a weird duck. She is the classic scaredy-cat. She walks up to Grady occasionally and bashes him in the head, then howls when he pins her and bites her throat. (I have learned not to become alarmed at this.) The only affection I seem to get freely from her is when I get up in the morning and go into the bathroom. She loves all over my feet while I ... sit ... and then winds herself incessantly around my legs while I get ready. When I get out the hairbrush she stands on her hind legs and yowls at me to brush her face with it (I have also learned not to become alarmed at this). She'll keep howling till I do it. She stands in the litter box with her front paws on the edge to go. She lays on the bathroom rug - she won't get on my bed or the couch - and although I give her canned cat food every night for supper (with Grady) she will only lap up the gravy - she leaves perfectly gravy-free bits of food in the bowl for Grady to clean up. (It probably says more about me than her that I don't just dump in gravy for her.) They split a pack of cat food each night, and seem to have a peaceful arrangement.

Every night after supper, (weather permitting) Fee goes outside on the deck and stays out there until bedtime. Occasionally she plays an endlessly entertaining (to her) game called In-N-Out Kitty, but most of the time she's out there till I go to bed around 11. Then it's back inside to cuddle with my feet again while I wash my face. And at about five minutes till six she meows (rather quietly). Then a little louder once my alarm goes off at six. Usually I wake up to find Grady sitting over me and staring directly at my face as if willing me to get up and feed him. He goes outside while Fee supervises my morning routine.

They are nuts.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Forgot to take pics in daylight

But here are two more.

More Yarn

These are done with Wilton's dye - painted on. Tonight I experiment with solid colors. I'm going to try painting and then overdying the whole thing. With Kool-Aid.

Oh, and...this fire is about 6 miles south of my parents' house - yeah, Mom and Bill's house - that's kinda scary.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Somebody take away my camera

And my Kool-Aid...I went yarn-hunting this morning and got 4 skeins of Paton's Classic Wool and an 18" piece for my niddy-noddy (36 is just too big). I wound off the first two skeins into around a hundred yards each - just practice. A third is soaking in a bath waiting for some Wilton's.

These were all done with Kool-Aid.



(Photos lie - the black cherry came out really uneven.)

I had fun. I'm trying to figure out how long (realistically) it takes me to do this.

Also, Grady had a bath and is now sparkling clean:

Fee dodged the camera as usual, but she's looking fluffy from her soak in the tub:

I worked on my Knit and Tonic socks:
Stripey socks

Although I'm not done with the first, I avoid second sock syndrome by working on both socks at the same time, so I started #2. Stupid me, I was trying to get the two balls of yarn the same size and I cut out a piece from one and put it in the other...backwards. So that is why I have a green toe on both but the first two stripes are in reverse order. Then it straightens out. I'm not "fixing" it. It's just how they are. My fault.

And I need to remember to wear gloves, my fingertips are red! Love the green and orange together. Must play some more with that.

Friday, May 05, 2006

That Way Lies Madness

(with apologies to fans of King Lear)

Really, what was I thinking? I can't do math. I'm so mathematically challenged I can't read strings of numbers in my head - I have to do it out loud or I can't copy them. I have to cross out every number in a knitting pattern that I'm not going to use - or I'll use it.

So what made me decide to try to work out the gusset/short row heel by myself? Ahem.

I got through the increases okay, but then couldn't - even with the help of some very talented knitters - figure out how to decrease it back down. Where do I start? Blah, blah.

So I got home, ripped back to before the increases, knit the sock just a tad long (because I strongly suspect my Elfine heels simply weren't long enough) and put in a basic short-row heel:

Knit and Tonic sock

(My cuff looks dirty, huh? That's because I like my pantlegs to drag on the ground.)

(The designer in me loooooves how the stripes switch up at the heel - clever how they match sizewise but are different colors.)

This yarn is knitting up so wonderfully. It's beautiful fabric, cheery and punchy and with lovely vivid colors:

Knit and Tonic sock

I made the mistake of forgetting my Singulair the night before last. Last night to get back on schedule I took it anyway. And boy am I tired because of the crossover. And it's raining really hard. And I have to be at a meeting soon.

I ordered some sock yarn from Heather last night through KPixie. "Strawberry Fields." It's lovely. (Do I need more sock yarn? No.) You should check out her yarn if you haven't already - one-of-a-kind handpaints, and she's truly gifted about color.

(PS) I knitted a swatch with the Kool-Aid yarn last night at SnB - it's lovely! I'm going to try again some more this weekend. Fun!

Thursday, May 04, 2006


It never stops raining here lately. The weather map today resembles the paisley fabric I just bought for my couch.

Mom got to go home from the rehab center last night! She's doing well. Basically the surgery she had messes in some way with the balance center in your brain that lets you know where all your limbs are at any given moment. She had to relearn a lot of stuff, but now she's able to walk for 10 minutes at a time without assistance. She feels very upbeat and positive. She'll be considered homebound until June 6th when her IV antibiotic is through. (Phew.) (That IV antibiotic is fascinating - it works by preventing cell walls on the bacteria from forming. Also the molecule is too big to pass through the intestinal wall, hence IV.)

Thanks for all your happy comments on the yarn. I need to work some contrast into it - the next step for me will be ordering some Henry's Attic Kona fingering superwash from Catnip Yarns and some Jacquard acid dyes. Also I'm going to have another piece of PVC cut to 18" and put the screw threads on the ends so I can just screw on whatever handle I want to use. I'm thinking 4 yards may be a little too huge.

It's embarrassing to admit what a princess I am, that I do not own a single power tool (is a hair dryer a power tool?) and that even the idea of borrowing tools from Guitar Boy makes me start to look shiny. I asked him to help me make a warping board, but he said it was too much work and told me to buy one (isn't that the opposite of the typical male!). Well, then I was talking to a friend at work whose husband is very handy. I gave him Scout's schematics and we talked it over yesterday - mostly some questions he had about the design - and he's going to make one for me for around $40. (Maybe less, I don't want to assume that yet.) Anyway, it's going to be a five-stripe number with plastic bushings instead of washers (so no potential for rust) and we made a few other modifications.

One of Guitar Boy's Thujas-with-afterthought-heel finally fits him. I had to rip out three pattern repeats and reknit the toe (again), work the heel twice (the second time with decreases only every 4 rounds and going to 13 stitches on each side for grafting) AND block the snot out of it. (I did this while LOST was on, that's dedication!) I steam-blocked it with a squirt bottle; it's Wool-Ease, but it worked great. Now it's comfy and fits.

Speaking of ripping, I knitted about 11 stripes worth of Vesper sock yesterday and decided it was too darn big. Apologies to Sensational Knitted Socks but my Koigu socks - 72 stitches at 8spi - are not quite snuggy enough (but great for house socks). So I took Wendy's advice and went with 64. They are much better. I made up what I ripped out. Negative ease on my size 10 foot means this: my foot is 9 inches around, and subtracting 10% gives me 8 1/4" as a target diameter.

I would like to try this heel - she did some kind of interesting toe-up-gusset-short-row heel that looks like it will solve the problem of my big heels (the diagonal measurement from bottom/back of heel to front of instep), but I'm not quite getting why it works. (She increased from 68 to 88 stitches, then did short-row decreases only.) If you have ever seen/knit a heel like this, please leave a comment!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Some success with making a handpainted yarn:


I wound it off into a 2-yard hank, painted with Kool-Aid (that's ice blue, lemon-lime, watermelon cherry and pink lemonade, each with a little sprinkle of black cherry mixed in), washed, dried (Fiona wadded it up for a pillow last night) and then rewound it into a 1 1/2 yard hank.

Yes! I was mad about the color repeats looking too regular. This fixed it.

Paton's Classic Wool in winter white.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Happy packages and more

If you're here looking for Harlot pictures, welcome! click here.

Let me share with you one more reason why you should order yarn from Julia. (Yes, I know this means less yarn for me, but girl's got talent!) This happy yarn arrived for me today:


It's called Antigone, and it's my favorite Vesper colorway so far. I really, really love that shade of...raspberry? not sure what you call it - it's sort of a violet-red (according to the crayon box). I love how she combines colors.

(I don't think she knows she sent a present for Fee, either - the tissue paper will be well loved by a certain kitty.) It was just in time to take up the space in my stash made by starting a new pair of socks in another Vesper yarn:

Start of new sock

This is Knit and Tonic. The sock is a weird (MG™) variation of the round toe - I cast on 8 stitches using Queen Kahuna's Aloha cast-on (opens pdf). If you can do a long-tail you can do this one. It's awesome.

So instead of casting on 8 and joining (messy hole) I cast on 8, that's 4 per needle, using the Aloha method and then just increased normally for a round toe. I'm using a weird ribbing pattern - k3, p1. I'm not sure yet if i like it or if it will fit. (I just realized I took a picture of the bottom of the sock!)

Here's a picture of the completed Koigu socks:

Finished Koigu

I'm warning you, if you decide to make this pattern, these are not the most slimming socks ever constructed. But so comfy!

That's Fee in the corner. Here's Grady:


I never get tired of watching cats sleep.

One last thing - remember the Snakes on a Plane song contest I told you about? The Codenames are #5! If you are so inclined, go here to listen to their song and here to sign up and vote for them (Tagworld doesn't send spam). The easiest way to find them from the voting page is to choose Alternative from the drop-down menu and By Name, then T. Look for the pink and green costumes. They'll be on the CD on the way to Hollywood for sure, but extra insurance never hurt. (PS, they also have a tribute song to Evel Knievel, how cool is that?)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Four bucks!

My homemade niddy-noddy, thanks to a super tutorial (go to this link and click on the "how to" link in the sidebar) and some clever flirting. Here's how I made my GIANT one...

Homemade niddy-noddy

1 60" length of 1/2" PVC pipe
2 T joins with threads, 1/2"
2 single threaded pieces (to join to the pipes, they are smooth on one end, threaded on the other, in the picture it's right under the T join), 1/2"
4 caps (threadless) for the ends, 1/2"

Flirt a little and have the guy cut you 1 18" and 4 6" lengths of pipe (I got one 36", but it's too loooong).

Put a single threaded piece on each end and screw in the T join. Put one 6" piece into each side of the T and a cap on each end. Do this on both sides.

No need to glue! It works GREAT. I can wind 2-yard skeins by just looping it around once, or 4-yard skeins by using it as a proper niddy-noddy.

I Kool-Aid dyed some yarn tonight - I used lemon-lime, starfruit, watermelon cherry and ice blue somethingberry, each with a sprinkle of black cherry. I just painted all over the yarn - one skein of Paton's Classic Wool in natural wound into a two-yard hank. I've been toying with the idea of making the skein a larger size so that the color repeats seem a bit more random - this was a test, with absolutely no rhyme or reason to how I poured the dye on it.

I got the mother lode of Kool-Aid tonight at Kroger. I am usually a Publix chick, but they had eight million kinds of Kool-Aid. I spent a whopping $3.46:
The Mother Lode

Speaking of dyeing, check out Kirsten's pretty yarn (it reminds me of a Van Gogh painting of irises, I think). And I got my match for the dye swap, so that probably means my match has me.

So hello, dye swapping coolio! I'm glad you're here!

(Oh, and PS, I finished my second sock - wonder if Strange Little Mama is done with hers yet...)