Sunday, April 30, 2006

Already the Vesper is calling my name

Even though I'm so happy with this sock I could cry, and am dying to finish the last little sprint of the other...I hear the Knit and Tonic calling my name...or maybe the Tartan...

Front view:
Koigu one

Side view:
Side view

Yarn is KPPPM in 315L, needle 2.5mm, pattern is Baby Cable Rib Socks from Sensational Knitted Socks. Though I got a little stir-crazy near the end (that's 26 pattern repeats you're looking at) I absolutely love how these fit and feel. I told Guitar Boy that I want all my socks made of Koigu from now on. That would be so heavenly, wouldn't it?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I should be committed...

...but somehow I'm still on the fence about the fabric I just bought for the couch. I really, really love it but I am worried it will be ugly as a couch. I just worry a lot.

(Oh, you thought I meant...committed? No, I mean in the "commitment" sense, not the...oh, never mind.)

Today I went to a lovely, wonderful and magical (if you're looking for fabric) place in Fayetteville, TN called Sir's Fabrics ("A Beautiful Selection of Drapery"? They ought to fix that). Bolt after bolt after bolt of loooovely upholstery fabric. Stack upon stack upon stack of remnants - draperies, upholstery, outdoor, suiting. And (I am not making this up) pre-cut John Deere tractor quilting squares. The most expensive anything I saw was $15.99 a yard. That's it! Scandal!

When I was in Russellville last week, by the way, there were a lot of people selling throw pillows made from the John Deere stuff. With big green ruffles. (Shudder.) Or big yellow ruffles (double shudder). And potholders. Purses, for crying out loud.

So what we have here is the base fabric (it's a lovely camel color called Beach). The color almost exactly matches the Zara color swatch I knitted. How's that for crazy? The paisley and the red chenille will be made into 20" throw pillows, and the necktie patterns will be small oblong pillows. (I already have all the inserts, hope you didn't just choke on your food.) The blue one looks a bit green here - but it picks up some of the tones in the paisley. The damask you see in the back is the couch as it exists today.


So then we had a delicious, yummy lunch at a place called Cahoots (awesome salads) and went back for round 2. Kim found a lot of stuff to finish out some projects she's been working on. We drove back and it sprinkled rain a little.

A good time was had by all.

In knitting news, I frogged about half the bath mat because I inadvertently discovered I am supposed to be knitting *6* rows of garter and then turning, and I was knitting *9*.

(I thought it looked a little huge)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Knitting is a Sport

I'm telling you, tonight was hi-larious. My stomach hurts from laughing so hard.

I stood in the presence of Olympic Knitting Greatness:
Olympic greatness

I met the Olympic Knitter Herself:
Stephanie and her Sock
I geeked out totally and showed her my Olympic Elfine Socks. They are sort of felting themselves together because i've worn them so much (I don't think socks that rock is actually superwash, anyway) but I love them. (Also, Stephanie, I'm sorry I bossed you around and made you hold the sock in your other hand, but now you see why, don't you?)

I helped Niquie decorate the front window with postcards:
Niquie's Window Art

I made Niquie, Jenn and Eli pose for a picture:
Niquie, Jenn and Eli
Note to everyone: Eli is another Knitting Champion of the World. She can. Knit. A Sweater. With No. Pattern. (Shut UP! No, I'm serious. I've seen her do it.) She is a veritable encyclopedia of knitting and has taught me just about everything about socks that I know (except for what Kirsten taught me).

I made Lindsey and her mom Lisa pose for a picture while Lindsey growled "I hate you I hate you":
Lisa and Lindsey

I made Emily hold up her sock for a picture:
Emily shows off her sock
(That one, you have to click. Because I broke a cardinal rule of photography and it looks like Emily's DPN is sticking up the woman's nose behind her. Sorry Emily.)

I was amazed at the amount of stuff Betty fit into her Lexi Barnes knitting bag (look how much pink!):
Betty Likes Pink

And I took a picture of Ann hard at work knitting something gorgeous:
Ann Knits

It was such a fun night. It was almost perfect, except that when I got home I found some cat yark on the floor.

My hands hurt. Yeah, knitting is a sport.

Harlot Day!

Today is Harlot Day!

(How many times in your life do you get to say THAT?)

I finished the couch-color swatches and we ended up picking the middle caramelly color (knit in Zara). I would post pictures but that would be phenomenally boring. The middle color seems to a) not pick up cat hair b) be light enough so the couch won't become a brick wall in the living room and c) won't show every stain it ever gets (though I am going to get washable fabric and preshrink it before it goes to the upholsterer).

I feel very scattered knit-wise. I worked on one of Guitar Boy's re-vamped Thujas last night. I had worked a short-row toe on it, but he didn't like it (it was too long) and for the afterthought heel I worked a 44-down-to-16 toe (it was too short). After poking around some in my knitting books (this is why you buy knitting books, love!) I decided on a 26-stitch goal for the grafted part. I think part of the problem was the heel depth, and part was the width - or how far those decrease stitches actually came down (he said the heel felt too narrow, if that makes sense). These were such a fast knit - I've got to finish them!

I've been working on a blue and green dishcloth during breaks at work. (I was happy to see the other day at the yarn shop that Lindsey seems to have gotten the dishcloth bug too.)

But all of that means that my Koigu socks have been woefully, woefully neglected. And since I've got enough Vesper for two pairs of socks, enough Sundara for one pair of socks, two skeins of Mean Girl on the way from Mama-E and just ordered a skein of Antigone from Julia...I'd better start knitting.

However I do consider myself lucky that only unfinished socks seem to be showing up in pictures with Ms. Harlot.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

For the record

I'm swatching the yarn to see if I like the color. If I like the color I'll try to match it when fabric shopping.

I am not knitting a slipcover for the couch.


The saga of couch

Last night I bought some yarn and knitted swatches. I'm trying to decide on a color for my couch.

I know, I know. Years ago a very dear family to me gave me a really spectacular, comfy couch. It's down-filled, hardwood, extra super gigantic, silk damask. (Their three-year old at the time helpfully drew all over it with markers, but that's mostly hide-able.) The problem You can't actually clean it - the color runs. By the time I figured this out I'd made a nice brown stain on one armrest. Eek.

So I have an interior designer friend who's helping me through the process of getting a custom slipcover made for it. The couch will last for years and years, so it's a good investment. I want something machine-washable so I can get the cat off it when needed. She and I are going to Sir Fabrics this weekend - discount shopping, really - and I want to have some ideas.

So somehow in all these months of searching for colors I've managed to pick about seven that are all the same color. Different shades, but all the same nutmeg-y, caramel-y tone. A week or so ago I found some old fabric samples I'd picked up years ago - a light nutmeg twill and a dark nutmeg chenille with red pattern. (Those colors are very "me".) A few days ago I got to really looking at some GGH Safari at the yarn shop and decided it might be worth a shot to try to match it. And last night when I went in to buy it, a ball of Zara just jumped into my hands.

So I spent last night knitting swatches, and miracle of miracles, I actually liked it. I loved seeing the color it was becoming and how it looks totally different flat than on the ball. I love how the GGH thinks it's suede. I love the hand and the drape of the Zara, and depending on the colors I find it's a candidate for Jemima.

I knitted two enormous swatches in the round and I'm just going to cut them to lie flat. I know - it's sacrilege - but I really did not want to purl back all those rows. I'll stitch the sides down first.

Remember the baby cardi, the one with the pattern error that I emailed the designer about? She still hasn't addressed it. I have to admit that's taken some of my enthusiasm for knitting it. But I'm nearly finished, so I'm going to finish it. The problem is - as Sheila can attest after seeing it last night and saying "Wow" over and over again - the sleeves are picked up and knitted in the round after the body (knitted flat) is done. And my gauge is startlingly, strikingly, mind-bogglingly different in the round with this yarn. Like two needle sizes (Sheila thought at least). (So I also bought a #8 Addi Natura last night.)

This really could not be more timely. I'm reading the Harlot's chapter on gauge and she says "tension is often very different in the round than knitted flat." (Or something.) I didn't know this, so I had a gauge accident. And what's most timely of all is that Madame Yarn Harlot herself is going to be doing a booksigning in Nashville tomorrow night, and I'm going to be there (I may just take my sweater in to show her).

So the sleeve will be riiiiipped and reknit on a #8, I'll keep knitting those couch swatches (that has to be proof that I'm at least down a few bricks from the proverbial load), I'll try not to embarrass myself in front of knitting greatness, and eventually I'll get that slipcover made.

(Yeah, it's Wednesday, but foggy and damp and cold and it feels like Monday.)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Mean Girl says Hi

"Hi Knitters!"

This is Mean Girl
(She's kind of a grump.)

(People find my site by Googling the weirdest things. The weirdest one lately is plastic wrap abdomen drop inches. Imagine their surprise when they find that "plastic wrap" is for dyeing yarn, "drop" is for stitch, and "inches" is for i-cord. (I don't know what abdomen is for. Oh yeah, Mom was maybe going to have surgery on her abdomen. Quotes, people!) )

Oh I am so excited!

The fantabulous, talented and extra-cool Mama-E is going to make a Mean Girl sock yarn colorway! How cool is that? We've been emailing back and forth today talking colors and it's been so fun. She's super cool - buy some yarn from her!

(The History of Mean Girl: Long ago and far away I used to draw a stick figure comic character called Mean Girl. I have never wanted to give up the blog address, and I use MG as my Codename and handle on various message boards. I guess I could have called this incarnation of the blog Mean Girl...but I liked the i-cord joke so much. Mean Girl's slogan is "what Mean Girl wants, Mean Girl gets!" MG is temperamental, but very loyal and loves to knit.)


Map showing gas prices across the U.S.


So I swear I posted something yesterday and it never showed up. What's up with that?

I had to go to the chiropractor last night - I've got the best chiro ever, who has really, really helped me to not have constant headaches and to stop grinding my teeth. Yesterday it felt like he twisted my head off and then put it back on. I'm very sure it's just stress, lack of sleep, reasonably poor nutrition and a lot of knitting.

I worked on Absorba last night, see, and it didn't hurt. So apparently there was something about the combination of misalignment and heavy cotton that was a bit toxic.

Go over to Strange Little Mama's blog and view her completed baby cable and rib sock. How cool are those? Love the yarn! I have one inch left on sock 1 before knitting toe, and about four inches left on sock 2. You know, two days of full-on knitting, so of course I'm ignoring them. Forget that my awesome awesome Vesper is waiting for me when I finish these - I'm still stalling.

I often wonder if I do this because I don't want the pattern to end, or because I feel I've internalized all the quirky ins and outs of the stitch repeat and I'm bored with it, or if there's some other reason why I tend to put off the last stages of knitting any garment. I'm doing this with the baby sweater. While I compulsively knit dishcloths, bathmats and the occasional row of sock, the darling sweater I've been plowing through is sitting unloved in a bag.

I forgot to bring it to the knitting shop the other day to ask about the gauge question. Maybe that's what I should do today. Maybe there's a new needle in my future, or maybe I will use double points. It's odd, but I never really thought when I got into magic loop knitting that a 40" circular would be so completely versatile. I tend to buy them in sizes I'll likely never use for socks.

I saw Fig and Plum's Hourglass sweater yesterday at her Flickr page. I haven't made a yarn decision yet, and some things about the neckline construction in general bother me (to a girl with the shoulders I have, v-necks and boatnecks are a form of visual torture, but I love the sleeve length she got and it's always great to see a pattern on a "real" person. As for Jemima, I'm going with the Cashsoft DK as soon as I can justify another large outlay on yarn (seems the stash is growing exponentially lately) and I am still looking for a sweater pattern for the Karabella Breeze.

I guess I will just wait on that one.

Although I titled this post ugh (because of the lost post) I feel better this morning than I have in weeks. Now if only Mom's house would sell so they can move back up here...

Sunday, April 23, 2006



Is a picture of Mom from the summer of 2004:

with Nephew. At Boondocks, best fish restaurant ever. (She got a real good health report today, full recovery expected, and her PT made her walk a long way with no walker and no cane.)


Is a picture of my cotton yarn:

Somebody stop me

It is clear I'm a little obsessed lately. NO MORE COTTON. (That's 600 grams of colors and 900 grams of plain. Two pounds of plain, in fact. It's gradually and with great pain becoming Absorba - the bath mat from MD Knitting - I'm knitting with FOUR strands held together. OW.)


Is a picture of two of the new giraffes at the Nashville Zoo:


Congo (male) is in front. He's 15 months old and stands 12 feet tall. Either Margarita or Savannah is in the back.

They are awesome.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Now I know why it's called Dixie

I've lived in the South since after my first year of college - 17 years this year (OUCH) and I've just figured out why they call it Dixie. Dixon - Dixie. As in Mason-Dixon.

As in these wonderful ladies.
Ann and Kay sign books

I tried both a Whoopie Pie (Yankee) and a Moon Pie (Rebel). Here's a picture of the Whoopie Pies.

(I liked them better, but then, I'm originally from Michigan.)

Lindsey's log-cabin blanket is a work of art:
That Log Cabin Blanket

More people enjoying the party:
David and Catherine
David (King of Socks) and Catherine

Catherine and Niquie
Catherine and Niquie


Bethany, Mary Lou and Sheila
Bethany, Mary Lou and Sheila (note that Sheila is wearing a Yankees hat and shirt; she also wore cowboy boots).

Ann, Jen and Kay
Me with Ann and Kay

And finally, my two dishcloths (which do you like better?) and the very beginning of my mom's walker bag:
Cotton Adventures

(I also met the extra-cool Angela of Nashville SnB, who brought in the most beautiful quilt ever.)

(Two pounds of worsted cotton is about 1600 yards. It's not as much as you'd think. But man, a double-strand of this stuff is seriously tiring to knit with!)

Today - off to the Flying Fish Festival in Russellville, KY to hear my favorite band play! My goal this afternoon is "tasty barbecue."

I'm really glad I live in the South. It was by choice. (No offense to my fellow Yankees.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

First the howling

Then suddenly there's Flying Kitten!

Fee isn't a kitten anymore, but I think of her that way. She's a big cat - 12.5 pounds of Maine Coon goodness - but a dwarf compared to the 24 pound Grady. (He used to jump off the couch on top of her when she was real little and weighed about 7 pounds. Meanie.)

Every now and then she gets a ... (insert quirky southern saying here) notion and jumps. Straight up. The wall. At least a foot higher than the light switch.

She just did that in the doorway to the bathroom. I'm off to dream up a walker bag for mom with the TWO POUNDS of peaches n' creme I just bought.

(What was I thinking????)


Anybody got a pattern for a knitted walker tote?

(Insert crazy expression here)

There was apparently a big fire at Mom's rehab hospital last night. Mom's in the sub/acute rehab unit. An elderly man down the hall had a dangerous blood sugar drop, lit a cigarette in bed and passed out. Mom woke up to the sound of six fire engines pulling into the parking lot outside her room. Her hall wasn't touched; she counted 35 or 40 firemen running by her door with axes, oxygen tanks, etc. The man who started it was burned, but she didn't know how bad. One fireman had a light implanted in his teeth so that people could find him! Mom wheeled over to look and listen to the nurse's instructions and just watched them run by one after the other.

She's fine, once again thank God, but my goodness - what a night.

Update: The man wasn't burned after all. He was taken to the hospital for observation. The nurse who tried to put the fire out had some smoke inhalation. It wasn't too big a fire. Ok, I feel better. (Yark.)

Another update - the man who started the fire was removed from the nursing home and arrested for arson. It was intentional. The nurse is still in the hospital. Jerk.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

It's amazing how much fun you can have for $2.50

Ready for tomorrow

That's iced tea, and yes, Grady is licking the glass.

I'm getting ready for tomorrow, see? Bought the Sugar N Cream cotton tonight on the way home from work. Started this as Earl was ending. What a fun knit!


Get on over to Scout's Blog and click the link to sign up for Dye-O-Rama!

If you can dye one skein of sock yarn in 6 weeks, you can do this! You can use Kool-Aid, even!

You can do it! You want to, you know you do. Sign UP!!!

A Shout-Out

To Marie Grace (Yarn Slayer) - for her two adorable toddler sweater patterns, available free at this link.

Happy Thursday! Tomorrow I get to meet the Mason-Dixon Knitting ladies!!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Progress report

This is Dye Attempt #2 - which I like, but have decided on Scout's advice to check out acid dyes instead of Wilton's...

Dye #2

It really looks like the bottom of the crayon box. I used moss green, delphinium blue, brown and copper and then after I dyed it once I dunked the whole thing in a vat of brown until it screamed. Because the color screamed at first.

And cats!

Have I told you

This is Fee

Happy Wednesday. I've got to clean, clean, clean the house now.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I am tired of knitting this swatch


but I finally got gauge for Sweet. I knit it on 9s, 8s (for Jemima), then 5s (Denise), 6s, and finally in desperation and with a nod to the KnitList chicks, decided maybe my Denise 5s were a teeny bit smaller than my metal Inoxes, and knit it on those 5s - and got gauge. With the #5 Denise I got 6 to the inch. This is a very comfortable 5.5, but it's still not got the body I was hoping for in the fabric.

I am giving myself one week to make a decision - either knit this sweater (which I will have to rename, as I hate "sweet" as a noun) or knit up 4 balls of the silky goodness into a Cozy shawl for Mom, which I've been wanting to make anyway, and which she would greatly appreciate now that she's in a rehab hospital (and might be for six weeks).

In the meantime, I'm frogging all but a couple rows of the baby sweater sleeve and forging headlong with my #7 bamboo dpns. They are not the best needles in creation to use with organic cotton. Trust me, I've tried. But...fortitude! Courage! Temperance! (In the C.S. Lewis sense of the word: "Going the right length and no farther" not some crazy 1890s anti-drinking catchword. Jesus drank wine, by the way. Drinking can't be a sin.)

Fortitude! Courage! Temperance!

PS: Go on over to this blog with a tissue, and read about Catty, and say some prayers for Catty who is going to now be both three-legged and cancer-free...poor Catty, but she'll still be Catty. Poor girl.

(P.S. Kirs - this picture is for you. I don't remember how we decided to do this, but I do remember I was laughing so hard I couldn't stand up.)

I'm really tired

I went to bed a little early and I'm more tired today than I was yesterday. Thank God my company has a Starbucks downstairs.

(Did I mention I'm tired?)

Last night I went bargain hunting at the mall. I had two pillow shams to return from an unfortunate "impulse" purchase. I really liked them, but after shopping for a coordinating duvet cover at approximately 6,000 stores I realized the color is absolutely impossible to match. Then I ended up buying the cool green duvet cover from Z Gallerie which REALLY doesn't match. So I took back the PB sale shams, got some makeup and hit the sale racks with my $16 return money.

First, about the makeup. It's not a good thing to have bad acne. You wouldn't know it to look at me, but I use three prescriptions for my face. Benzoyl peroxide does nothing. Salicylic acid makes me peel but doesn't clear it up (now that's a good look). I changed to a lower strength Retin-A prescription in March. Finally I'm starting to see some change, and my skin looks the best it's ever looked.

So all of this high-maintenance crappy skin means I do not, under any circumstances a) go without foundation or b) buy cheap foundation.Thicker foundation exponentially increases the amount of bacteria that stays on top of my skin, thereby increasing chance of bad stuff, and cheaper foundation tends to be thicker. So I stay away from that. I am very picky about foundation - what I use for foundation has to be light, oil-free, and reflect light like crazy in order to both look natural and cover spots. Also, it has to be yellow-toned. Must. Have. Sunscreen.)

(You aren't using pink-toned foundation, are you? Don't. Ever.)

(You are using sunscreen daily, aren't you? I worry about that.)

A few years ago I started using Chanel Teinte Fluide Universal - it's a reasonable price, very light, and a good match for my skin. I put Bare Minerals over it - something about it just takes the red out of my skin and makes it look so much more polished (and if I just go out on an errand, I usually just use the Bare Minerals and don't put any liquid foundation on.) And after three years of using this stuff you'd THINK I could remember the color. But no...fifteen minutes of trying on all the lighter ones ensued before I finally remembered the color is "Clair." Sigh. I only buy it twice a year, I guess I should write it down.

The powder was really easy to buy - for that I use Bobbi Brown (also check out her concealers, fabo). There is only one light enought for me to wear. Hey Kirsten, do you remember the time I put foundation called "espresso mocha smoothie" or something like that all over my skin from our Mary Kay kit? I need to post that picture.

So, back to knitting, since this is a knitting blog - I hit the sales at a few places and then ended up at the GAP. The GAP and I have had a love-hate relationship for a long time: are they marketing to my thirty-something demographic? Teenagers? Everyone at once? They used to be so hip and now they are just kind of blah. But old habits die hard, so I checked them out.

I found a DK weight cardigan with square collar and snaps (it's shown in green as "snap shawl collar cardigan, but I got it in a nice cornflower blue) and a green cabled monstrous hoodie (cable knit zip hoodie, same page) that I can best describe as "freeway sign green" - it's worsted, it's got bulky cables over every square inch of it...and it was $8. (The blue one was $9.) I bought both with the idea in mind that if I really hate the green monstrosity, I'll frog it and maybe dye the yarn with RIT dye and make something new from it - it's cotton/acrylic, not too shabby. Just a really weird shade of green. Usually green works pretty well on me, but this green is just weird. It's called "mineral green" but I think it probably ought to be "poison."

I worked quite a bit on my Koigu socks last night and knit some of the baby hoodie. This one I need to bring to SnB - because I think my gauge is way tighter in the round and I'm not sure if there's a visible changeup in the sleeves. I don't care if I have to frog it, but I will care if I have to use dpn's. Har. :)

Have a nice Tuesday.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I may have bitten off more than I can chew

That knitted hem. I know I can do one - knit a few rows, knit a turning row, knit a few more rows, k2tog with old and new - but what I'm being all squeeny about is getting the pieces the same. This sweater is knitted flat front & back. That may not be the best option for combining with knitted hem. Another option is to knit them but don't turn and stitch the hems until after seaming.

Sadly, that would mean that I have to purl every other row of the body of a stockinette sweater. You know I'm not going to do that, don't you? Actually, though, purl rows are the only ones I can knit without looking (I have no idea why this is the case). So it might not be bad, depending on the scenery (and that is some damn fine scenery indeed. That kind of guy makes me want to wear heels and a skirt and paint my toenails red and flirt like crazy. I don't generally wear skirts - so this is quite an effect).

(My toenails are already painted red.)

(Thinking about how shallow I am.)

So maybe I'll take out four stitches from the f&b total (two for each edge) and cast on that number, knit up to the armholes and employ some waste yarn and knit the back/front separately as if they were flat. I'm going to seam the hem while it's on the needles so I don't get mixed up about what row I'm on.

I may need some moral support. I think I can do this, but it's not really the best idea to start twiddling with major design elements the first time you knit a sweater. For instance, what will it do to the drape if I take out the seams? Will it be crooked, twisty or sloppy? What will happen? Will I sob and throw it across the room? Will I give the sweater a silly soap opera name so I can yell dramatic lines at it when I'm angry?

Stay tuned.

(Some people dropped Newsgator subscriptions to my blog last week. I hope it wasn't the post about that cussed Moussaoui. See how shallow I am?)

Big day yesterday

It turned out that Saturday night when I went to an informal church meeting, a lot of the ladies/teens there like to knit! Two wanted to learn, so Sunday we brought extra yarn and needles and had some lessons. One is my age - she picked it up so quick I know she's a lifer. That's always good to see.

I decided to use the Karabella Breeze for my Sweet sweater. It's the one in the Rowan book my folks got me for Christmas. I've been swatching all weekend - first the swatch you saw on #8s/9s, then on 5's, and finally on 6's. It's making a beautiful fabric at 5.5 to the inch, and right now the main concern I have is whether to cast on 400+ stitches for the bottom ruffle or knit a hem into this garment. I'm thinking, I like the shape but want a hem and rolled stockinette cuffs instead of a ruffle. And I want the whole thing to be fairly long - not long like butt-covering, but longish, because I have a long torso and unlike some fashion mag editors, I like to emphasize that. "Short stumpy body" is not my idea of well-proportioned, especially when it involves wearing jeans that go all the way up to my waist - ugh! I have a t-shirt that is the perfect length, so I'll measure it before I start.

As for dyeing, I experimented with using four colors. They came out way, way oversaturated and I'm still rinsing the stuff and getting this odd Mello-Yello colored water out of it. This after the water in the microwave was clear! It didn't stay, is what I'm saying. The brown came out nice. Copper is kind of a crazy canyon rock color, and I really like it, but it's much stronger than I was expecting. The nice mellow blue turned a bit indigo, and the green is just sort of blah and medium. It may be that after my faded brown experience this weekend I over-saturated the dyes. No pictures since I'm still rinsing it, but I'm toying with the idea of soaking the whole thing in blue and just seeing what happens.

I'm going to be late if I don't dry my hair (do you detect a theme?).

Saturday, April 15, 2006


But that brown? Although the water was clear when I took it out of the microwave, it just ran and ran and ran when I washed it. So it got lighter than it was, but it's a lot darker than the sans-vinegar try. I mixed the dye a lot thicker and it just soaked it up - I'm sure the vinegar is responsible. The dark pink came out a lot brighter too (though I'm sure it will tone down when it's dry.) It's outside drying now. I ran out of plastic wrap as I pulled off the second sheet (whoopsie!) and one of my rubber gloves has a hole in the finger (didn't know) so I will make a supply run and then come back home for round 3.

So ok!

Round 2

In the morning things are clearer

Like when you remember that you accidentally left out the vinegar step in the Wilton's part of your dyeing. The brown is pretty ooky - more of a coppery orange, so it will be going back into the dye pot today. I like the pinks all right, so let's see if cleaning up the brown will help. It needs a little blue added to it to really compliment the pink, though, so I'll add some pink to the brown and see if the magenta in it will help. This time I'll do it on the stove with the help of my mason jars and see if we can get some real color in there.

So, the gauge swatch for Jemima Puddleduck is done. I am seriously worried about this yarn on these needles. The pattern calls for Cashsoft DK knit at an aran gauge - #8s, 4.5 to the inch. The Breeze makes an awfully thin fabric (which could be fine for a summer sweater, I'm not sure yet). The Cashsoft is 142 yards per 50g - the Breeze is 202. So you can see where the problem is, right? (Thank God for the lady over at Go Knit in Your Hat.)

I'm not worried about it being summery, but I am worried about possibly making a delicate fabric that gets destroyed after wearing it a few times or never really drapes properly. After knitting, my gauge was right at 5 sts per inch whether I used an 8 or a 9 - isn't it funny how some yarn just wants to be knitted at a certain stitch gauge no matter what needle you use? After washing, it opened up a lot to what is more or less 4.5, but you can really see through it.

What I'm trying to do now is decide if I should go down to a 7, get a gauge that is more comfortable for the yarn, and make the next size or two up, or knit it on the 8s and hope for the best...I can figure out how big around to make it from the pattern instructions and adjust that accordingly, and just work out the lengths as I go. I'm going to rewash the swatch and just let it do whatever it wants - without fierce blocking, it may not change so much. I made the smallest size baby cardigan (but paid attention to the lengths for the bigger sizes) and it seemed to work well. I'm not really up to revising every stitch count on my own to get gauge, but I could do it. I do know that Anna tends to knit a lot more tightly than I do - I found that out with Elfine's Socks.

So I don't know. But here are the pictures.

(The art director accidentally got his paw in this one)

Mr Brown went away

Jemima swatch

(Update! I just went back to Purlpower's site, and she had the same problem! She used this free helper to get her gauge right, and did an awesome job! I'm going to follow in her footsteps. #7 swatch, here I come!)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Progress report

Good Lord, I made a mess...but it was pretty fun. I need a turkey baster or something - I was pouring it out of mason jars and at one point dropped the jar on the yarn, that was pretty. I spilled on my wool rug (but cleaned it up fast). I have some blotchiness in the kool-aid and I think the brown could have been darker.

We'll see if I improve with my sophomore attempt.

First time

Left to right: Brown Wilton's icing dye, pink lemonade Kool-Aid, mix of brown/rose Wilton's, rose Wilton's. Drying.

Ugly. Yellow. Hanger.


The other yarn store (not the one I bought the original Breeze at) had the same dye lot in my wonderful celery colour, and I got a ball of blush for the trim. I am so happy! 1400 yards of cashmere-silk goodness!

Now watch me mess it up! :) I can't wait to get the baby sweater done so I can cast on for this!

They are carpeting my hallway at work, and only white flower is getting me through the day without wheezing.


I wound yarn last night till my arms hurt! I started with the skeins of Cascade 220 that I washed and the cats camped out in. Two were so tangled it took an hour to sort out, and I couldn't bear to face the other one. I forgot about it. Then the other day I was putting away laundry and found it - in my closet, on the shelf, with stuff on top of it. Great job, Jen! Now you'll never get it untangled! Then I wound whatever I could find that was hand-wound or not wound at all (saves space in the stash bucket, it's only a copper tub after all). Then I wound my two skeins of Dale Baby Ull (white), one skein of Paton's Classic Wool (cream) and TSTSNBN dye-your-own into guessed it...for tomorrow's dye-a-thon! Whoo, I am STOKED!

I just bought a pattern! Jemima from Anna Bell. I love the look of this jumper (ok, have to call it jumper because she does) and I'm fairly certain I can pick up three more balls of the Karabella Breeze today (plus a contrast colour). I was inspired to do this by PurlPower's version, which I think is just lovely.

Today it is supposed to be 88 degress. I'm wearing my hair curly. (Unfortunately no pics, as camera battery is in the replacement stack. Later.) I finished the body of my baby cardigan and practice seamed the hood (it's crappy, must read the Studio Knits book again). Now I just have to do the sleeves, which I can probably get done this weekend.

I'm off to put on makeup, and then go to work even though today I don't have to. Have a lovely one!

Thursday, April 13, 2006


It's awfully creepy to read about the Moussaoui trail, awfully, terribly disturbing to read the transcripts of the cockpit recording. Deep in my heart I am grateful to the ordinary people on flight 93 who became heroes that fall day and crashed the plane into the field.

Personally, I think the death penalty is too good for him. Why give him the reward of martyrdom among his supporters? Like the guest blogger over at Andrew Sullivan said - I'd rather he be in prison with a burly cellmate who's a fan of NASCAR racing who beats the crap out of him every day.

I know that isn't very Christian and it's theoretically advocating something very bad. It's just emotion, and it will pass. But how do you really give justice to such a person? What amounts to justice for him might be unjust in theory. What is beneficial to him might be what we consider justice - and therefore unjust.

Another example of why I love America, though - because our fundamental human decency will not let us give these people what they deserve. In the end, while I want to think up horrible things for our government to do to such monsters, I am grateful that our government won't do it because it means we are better than they are. I'm grateful that we can speak our minds here, even if it means a...person (insert Joy's favorite word here)...can speak violent hatred against me, my faith, my fellow citizens, and my government. And our country can allow it, and that simple act of allowing that which we hate elevates us to a better society. "Turn the other cheek" - don't be vindictive, make that person slap you as a man, not a child - is an essential betterment of the victim.

But somewhere out there is a dude in federal prison wishing a guy like Moussaoui would turn up as his cellmate. Because they don't allow punching bags in prison cells and some nights he'd really like to hit more than his pillow.

Ouch, that was harsh. Even for me.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

About that Vesper

Zonda asked - how did I get the V sock yarn?

I got it ages ago right after Wendy at K&T first got hers and started those durn knee socks. Then I blabbed all over the place about Vesper and how cool it was and so did a lot of other people. The upshot is, now I can't get the Neopolitan I'm dying for! (Nice.)

So yesterday I remembered that I have a lovely skein of dye your own sock yarn from The Store That Shall Not Be Named - a great SP5 gift from Jo. And Kool-Aid. But when you want brown yarn...they don't make brown Kool-Aid. (If you ever see brown Kool-Aid, do not under any circumstances let anyone convince you to drink it. Chances are the water did not come from an EPA-approved source.)

So after hunting around on the Knittyboard a bit and talking to David (King of Socks) I decided to go to Michael's in search of Wilton's icing dyes. I bought 2 for the bank-busting price of $1.69 each (a good thing after the ball winder/swift purchase) and each bottle looks to hold enough dye to color several entire sheep (if you could get them into the pot). Rose and brown. And, I have some pink lemonade Kool-Aid. So we are going for rose, light rose, brown, and maybe light brown. I'm not sure yet. I'm not copying neopolitan, just liking those colors. But I also have some Berry Blue...anything could happen!

So this weekend I'll be experimenting with three skeins of yarn - the sock yarn, a leftover ball of Patons (which is cream, so it should be interesting) and some Dale Baby Ull (which I have not yet purchased).

I have a hard time with things like this. I have my absolute dream job as an arty type, and yet when I once went to a paint-your-own-pottery thing, what I made was so craptacular I didn't even bring it home. I mean, it was astonishingly craptacular. It was worse than everything I did in second-grade art class. So I really worry that although I have no problem working in a two-dimensional space, somehow when I start applying my own colors to yarn I'll mess it up so bad that the only recourse will be to hang my head in shame.

I know - plenty of people do absolutely gorgeous work in Kool-Aid and Wilton. I have all kinds of ideas, but I don't know what will work and what won't. So...the supplies I still need - some Mason jars (9.99 for a dozen at Publix, what the heck am I going to do with a dozen Mason jars?), a food scale, some white vinegar and a lot of patience.

Must also remember to wear gloves and change into old clothes before dyeing. Otherwise, hilarity is sure to ensue at the church get-together I have that night. I don't want to go out in public with brown stains on my hands.

New toys!

Here's a picture of my two new friends (hint: the Vesper Knit and Tonic is something I've had for months, but was sitting unwound in my stash):
Knit and Tonic

And just for fun I decided to wind one hank of my Sundara sock yarn (colour Popsicle):

Notes to anyone thinking of making this purchase - it's so worth it. However, you must 1. Read the instructions (even if you've used a winder many, many times before) about how to snap out that little metal guard just right, or your first ball of yarn will end up wound around the saucer part of the winder. How do I know this? Guesswork. That's all.

2. Make sure you put the winder on a corner of your crappy dining room table (wait, that's my crappy dining room table) in a way that allows you to see the TV while you are winding. Otherwise you will miss the beginning of House and not realize it until you are madly winding yarn and it's impossible to stop.

3. Put frozen lasagna in the oven BEFORE setting up winder & swift and winding yarn. Otherwise you will be eating dinner at 9:22pm. Again, merely guesswork on my part.

My hair is still soaked, so only one other comment before going to dry it - many of you will think I am crazy, but I have to recommend that any time you buy a Stouffer's frozen lasagna you improve it by adding extra cheese and turkey pepperoni to the top before putting it in the oven. It isn't exactly a meal to serve your future mother-in-law (though come to think of it, she'd probably like it) but it's awfully tasty. It would be a good meal to cook for the boyfriend some night when you want comfort food.

Anyway, you see just how small-town I am, don't you?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Card for Mom

"I Miss You Tons!

Card for Mom

Monday, April 10, 2006

Oh and...

Koigu. The sock says hello. It's been neglected lately.


Snakes on a Plane

The Codenames' latest project is a submission song for the movie Snakes on a Plane - contest at Tagworld, voting begins April 19. Check out their version of Snakes on a Plane and don't forget to cast your vote.

The Codenames are a funny spooky mix of The Violent Femmes, Tenacious D, The Replacements and occasionally somebody real country and western. This song is full of snake puns - see if you can find them all.

If you like what you hear, their MySpace page is here.


I spoke with my mom this morning - she called at about 7:30. She's doing great - said you couldn't pick a more beautiful place to be deathly ill in, so her spirits are high. She's very tired and on Friday she thought she was going to die.

Thanks again for all your prayers.

If you want to see some photos of tornado damage, click here. His mom works with me, and I think they are probably not going to be back in their house again.


Sunday, April 09, 2006


First, a couple (not too dramatic, but pretty good) of the storms last Friday -

Stormy skies Friday

Hail yeah

Next, the kitties -



And finally, the Karabella Breeze -

The Breeze Is Nice Today

(Ok, I admit that one's a little blown out.)

Thank you sweeties

Thank you so much for your prayers and good thoughts for my mommy. I appreciate it more than you know!

The shawl crochet was disaster, unless a piece of Tennessee-shaped shawl is what I was going for (it wasn't). First thing tomorrow, the rest of the hellful yarn is going back to Michael's. That's the last time I try to make an easy-care project for anyone. If they want handknitted stuff, they have to pay for it by handwashing. Humph!

Humph! I say!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Back to knitting content

I scored three balls of Karabella Breeze today at a yarn sale. The color is celery, the content is 60 cashmere/40 silk, and the destination is...socks. Yes, I'm going to use all 600 yards of it for socks. But in what incarnation, I do not know. I may double-strand and make house socks. I may make the Padded Footlets from IK summer last year. Could be three pairs normal socks. But either way, my first stop is a box store to buy some reeeeeinforccing thread. This stuff is soft. Pictures tomorrow in daylight. Also pics of the hailstorm we had Friday night.

The sky is the limit. Grady seems to be unnaturally attracted to cashmere, so I'll have to keep his furry mitts off it.

I've spent tonight (apart from a tiny bit of Daily Sock Knitting Requirementâ„¢) watching a show on the History Channel about the Kennedy assassination and crocheting - yes, that's right. I know how to do exactly two things in crochet at the moment - double-crochet and chain. But that's all I need to do to make my friend's granny a shawl out of (ahem) Lion Homespun. The color is Prarie, it's going quick, and concentrating on something my mother loves to do has helped me to not feel so freaked about her.

So...I'm crocheting a shawl for Thelma. :)

Well, I think I have an ulcer

But Mom is okay! She is in the recovery room at the hospital and moving her fingers and toes. There is no sign of paralysis. They did the laminectomy (a fairly routine surgery) and drained the infection. She'll be in ICU for a couple days and the hospital for a week. Then she has to have IV antibiotic therapy at home for 6-8 weeks. They didn't do the abdomen surgery - it seems connected to the back infection so they are just going to watch it. She'll have some more MRIs.

Meantime, my stepdad will be investigating this dentist situation a bit, probably with a lawyer.

Thanks again for your prayers.

Update on Mom

I just got the update on my mom. After numerous CAT scans, MRIs, blood work and xrays they have determined she does not have endocarditis (infection in heart) or a brain infection. However - she has a patch of infection in her spinal column and one in her abdomen. Apparently when the tooth infection drained that bacteria went searching for a new home in her body and settled in her spine. This is serious - if not treated, it will cause permanent paralysis - but it has been caught early and will be treated asap.

She will have two surgeries today. One will be on her back where they remove a small portion of her spinal column (he didn't say cord, just column). They will drain out the infection the best they can and then give her powerful antibiotics. This will be a very painful surgery - not without risks, but the risks are pretty remote. It's called a laminectomy and she should recover fully from it and not be disabled or have permanent pain or anything. The problem will be the time immediately following the surgery - this procedure causes extreme pain, so she will be taking demerol or morphine. I don't know how long the hospitalization or recovery times will be.

The other surgery will be going in from the front to get at the infection in her abdomen. It is in the general area of her appendix, but was more vague on the MRIs so this will be more of an exploratory type surgery.

Apparently with this much infection in the body it can't be taken care of with antibiotics and has to be removed surgically. Both surgeries are mandatory and happening today. I'll let you know more when I find out (after the surgeries). She is exhausted and scared and falling asleep mid-sentence. The only people in the world who can do anything to help her are scrubbing in right now to do it. Please pray God will guide their hands, and that the surgery will go well with few or no complications and her recovery will be swift and easy.

My mom has always been such a rock in my life - so steady and secure. Please pray that God will be her rock as she's been mine.

Thanks and love,

Friday, April 07, 2006

Scary news about Mom

Bear with me - this is a long story.

Mom had an abscessed tooth about 10 days ago. It was extracted and she took antibiotics for an infection in her jawbone. That was Monday. Tuesday, she went to see a patient (she's a home health nurse) and the patient refused to extend her leg for bandaging, so Mom had to do some contortions to do it. When she did, she heard a crack. She's been in severe pain - lower back - ever since. And running a low fever. The whole thing with the back was workman's comp, so she felt her treatment was a bit scattered between urgent care and emergency room stuff.

So anyway, today she ended up back at the urgent care because of severe pain and because she had a high fever - 103.6. They put her on morphine and sent her by ambulance to the hospital.

The ER doctor thinks her heart is infected. This is very, very serious. If left unchecked, it will destroy the heart valves and necessitate open heart surgery. Since she's also very confused, they aren't sure if her brain is involved also - it might have an infection too. (Also very serious.)

They started her on treatment for the heart infection, and she'll get tests tomorrow to confirm. In the meantime, if you have ever said a prayer before in your life, say one for my mom, Connie.

I'm shaking. Really bad.

Big bad storm

I mean, REALLY big and REALLY bad. A town north of Nashville had 7 fatalities. The community college I went to for a couple semesters to flunk accounting again make up for the grade-point-carnage I caused myself at Grand Valley got hit by the tornado. I think one of the people on my team was stuck on the freeway when it happened. (I am very worried about her.)

Now it's lightning and I just turned the heel on Koigu sock #1. I tried a new (to me) method of picking up heel stitches - otherwise known as "the right way." I'm using Sensational Knitted Socks and making myself be disciplined about following actual instructions and not just knitting from memory. (It's wearing me out.)

The sock is so...pretty. My ugly feet aren't worthy! Must do a pedicure this weekend.

I try to be a good sport about easter, but...

Eggs? Rabbits? Spring fertility celebration? Not for me. Easter lilies smell awful. Sunrise services? Too pagan. I'd like to go to a Passover Seder. I definitely celebrate the Resurrection of Christ. But like Jesus said, "the traditions of men make the word of God of no effect." (And here we thought he was only talking to the Pharisees, but it turns out to be relevant today!)

Theologically what I like most to yap on about this time every year is the timeline of the Resurrection. Jesus said that no sign would be given to Israel except the sign of Jonah - that just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man would be in the earth for three days and three nights. Now how does this translate into Him going into the tomb on Friday and resurrecting on Sunday? Answer: It doesn't. The "part of a day" argument notwithstanding, I believe He was in the grave three actual days and three actual nights. Not parts of days and nights.

So permit me for a moment to digress from the topic of knitting. I won't stray long.

This chart will show you the timeline of the Resurrection - scripturally, and with parallels to the Old Testament scriptures that define Passover week, how Jesus was actually in the tomb three days and three nights according to the scriptures.

(If you have a while to browse around that site there's a lot of good stuff - things that will scrape you and challenge you. Examples - Why New Testament giving is NOT tithing. Why you cannot walk around saying the Church is the new Israel and that somehow God has cast off Israel forever. Lots of stuff on the theology of God's sovereignty. Why not every descendant of Abraham is a Jew. Why Christians aren't under the Law of Moses. Etc.)

And now, back to our regularly scheduled knitting content: I am slogging my way through the 10.5" of baby cardigan I have left (not bad length, but it's a lot of purl stitches for a girl who knits mostly socks). I am mostly done knitting one heel flap on the Koigu socks, and trying to decide if I should work all the way through the gusset before working the other heel or break it up into smaller bits. I spent too much time yesterday reading the Hourglass sweater knitalong blog and trying to decide if I want to tackle it (sounds like TV knitting to me).

I want to knit some pink socks with white heels and toes because they remind me of Joy's crazy shoes on My Name is Earl last night.

I'm drinking coffee, so I'm hyper. Deadline today. Must rush.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Playing around

With colors for the Circle of Friends Garter Stitch Blanket from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

Playing with colors

And going to eat POPCORN.

She Earned It

Dear Kirsten: Natty just won Female Vocalist of the Yeeear. Isn't that awesome?! Yay!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Please Lord, give me some hair.


Thanks to David, King of Socks for the solution to my sock dilemma. New pair of socks will be knit in Wool-Ease with an afterthought heel and the heel itself will be double-stranded. Then if he rips it again I can take it out.

I'm sorry Mandisa is gone.

Lost: Baffling.

My swap package arrived today! There is so much I want to make in Last Minute Knitted Gifts (which are so NOT last-minute). I love the Koigu though it's definitely a leap for me colorwise - pink, purple, periwinkle, blue and black. It's going to be so fun to knit up!

In other news I had half a Krispy Kreme tonight. (Guess who ate three.) I don't allow myself such indulgences usually - I lost 50 pounds a couple years ago and i'd like to keep it that way.

But boy, that donut was good. Too sweet, more than I could take, but tasty.

I need some help

Guitar Boy has worn through his Thujas again. Though he yelped in protest when I said I'd make a new pair, I think it might be time to find a different yarn.

Originally I went with Wool-Ease on #6s. He's wearing them out in the heel. (UPDATE: He actually snagged the sock on a carpet nail, it wasn't worn out.)

So, would you go down to 5s for a tighter fit or change the yarn to a different worsted weight? I've heard the nylon carry-along doesn't really do much.


That Yarn Store Owner

Ok, I vented about Annie's experience here earlier - because I really like Annie. If you go to Knitter's Review or Knittyboard or Craftster you can learn the whole story. But it's probably not right for me to vent about it too. This is a stitching blog, not a .... well, apologies to SFSE.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Quiet Hours

Here's Grady resting on our new duvet cover from Z Gallerie. He likes that it matches his eyes - he's kind of a metro cat. (Please ignore the plaid blanket - it's going to be replaced with a chocolate brown quilt as soon as I get some more dough.)


Fee, meanwhile, is still laying on the toolbox covered with yellow tissue from Sundara Yarn. I'll bet she never knew it would be this loved by a small kitty.


The Continuing Crisis


(Be careful what you buy in the street. At least no one will pass off an oven door as yarn.)

No knitting yesterday.

Bah. I had to take Grady & Fee to the vet - my chubby kitty lost a pound last year! which is great! Both got clean bills of health. Then I worked on some freelance stuff. I didn't get any knitting done.

But about repairing seed stitch - this is something that for me, when I mess it up, is almost impossible to fix. I back up to something I know is right and sit there and pick it back up - but somehow something always goes wrong. I was trying to fix a very apparent error I made in the baby cardigan. It wasn't apparent when I was knitting it, unfortunately - but now? awful. So I patched it up. Or tried. Blue Sky Organic Cotton unfortunately isn't the most froggable yarn. This is great when you're weaving in the ends, but not so good when you're trying to fix an error. It took two tries and while I still think there's something funky going on, I only need to fudge one stitch or so instead of eight. So that's good for me.

So it was mostly a frustrating night, except for some happy news that I got about being a test knitter for some absolutely gorgeous yarn. No more about that now - more later, surely, when I'm actually doing it. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

It's not right to keep so much love to myself

(Or, a Yankee girl makes biscuits)

Biscuits. Let me tell you about biscuits. They can be fluffy or substantial and dense. They can have 10 ingredients or 2. They are as distinct in the South as family names.

When you get a good one, you have to share. And oh, boy, is this a good one:

These are not fluffy "angel" biscuits. If you want those you have to go to another blog. These are biscuits that will hold their weight under butter and jam; they are meant to be eaten as a helper to get the food into your mouth.

To me, they are a treat. This is from my friend's mom - easy recipe that even you Yankees out there can make.

You need self-rising flour and buttermilk and Crisco. A pan with sides, an oven, a fork and a glass. Ok? Ready to start?

Heat your oven to 475 (that is not a typo). Dump some of the self-rising flour into a bowl. Wet it with the buttermilk but don't stir too much - if you break down the gluten (sorry Kirs) they will be tough. Mix them only as much as you have to to get the flour wet. Turn it onto a floured board and rub some flour into the top so the dough isn't sticky. Pat the dough down reasonably flat - about 1/2" thick. Cut it with a glass, rework, cut. Don't rework more than twice.

Melt 1 tbsp of Crisco shortening (I use the trans-fat free kind) in the bottom of your pan. Dip the top of each biscuit into the Crisco and put that side up in the pan. Ok? Ok.

Now bake them for about 15 minutes and make sure you have some real butter handy. Give a little buttermilk to the cats and enjoy your treat hot out of the oven.

Biscuits. You probably won't find a fried chicken recipe on this blog, but this one is so simple and so good I had to share. If you make them, tell me how they turned out!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

It's 2am

Do you know where your stash is?

Yarn I've purchased since this picture -
1 skein Dale Stork
2 skeins Dale Baby Ull
3 skeins Blue Sky Organic Cotton
2 skeins Koigu
2 skeins Sundara
1 skein Cascade Sierra
2 skeins Patons Classic Wool
2 skeins Koigu coming from Zonda
2 skeins WIldfoote sock yarn

Don't tell me I don't have a problem! I'm just getting started. Click the pic, then click ALL SIZES to get the gigantic one. And notes.

Young and Stashly