Saturday, January 27, 2007

Check this out

I found this on Unravel Me. I think I know what will be on my Christmas cards. Is it wrong to be disappointed that they are machine knit?


In other news, I have convinced Eric that 60 inches is plenty long for a scarf that will stretch. If I knit it any longer, it will end up hanging out of his coat in a month and will be chocking hazard. Now to bind off and weave in the ends.

I am left with half a ball of black 22o superwash and no ideas on what to do with it. I have a couple of balls of 22o superwash in a different color and they might look good together... I originally bought it to knit a sweater for Bubba, but once I got it home, I wasn't feelin' the luv for the color for him. It is more periwinkle than it looked in the shop. So, 660 yards plus ~100 ish yards in black. It might just have to be for me. Knit in the round, I might be able to squeeze out a sweater.


The bag-a-thon continues chez knitter. It feels freakin' weird to be sewing, and actually producing something that doesn't cause me to hang my head in shame. I like this pattern, but have a tough time getting the round bottom sewn into the sides. I have sewn 3 together so far. The first one is completely done. I have a second one that I did in the same fabrics and that one just needs a bit of hand finishing.

The third will be a bit trickier as I have added some trim to the bag. I managed to get all of the pieces lined up with each other, but I realized that they are at a slight angle on the bag. I can't decide if it is worth ripping it all apart. I think I will just let if fly and see what happens.

One of the other patterns in the package has square sides and I thinking that I will try that one next. It should simplify the whole sewing on a curve problem.

I have included a link to the sale page of a new website I am creating.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Branching out

Eric and I have been going back and forth over the wisdom of knitting for a craft fair and the consensus is that, economically, it doesn't make sense. The reality is that a washcloth takes one night to knit and I can sell it for about $5.00. Not a great return on investment. Felted hats take several nights to make and I can sell those for about $30.00.

On the other hand, sewing is fast. I mean really fast. So fast that I (and my professed hate/hate relationship with the d@mn machine) whipped this beauty out last night.

I might be hooked. I love this fabric, it is the most beautiful chocolate color with the bright blue and coral patterning.


As promised, I have a picture of Eric's scarf, finally. I still have about 8" to go, but we are rounding the final bend and I am glad.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Got meme?

I knew it was just a matter of time before someone tagged me for the 6 weird things meme.

While I've been knitting non-stop lately, there is so little to show for it. So, on to the meme.

1. I use this one every time someone asks for an obscure factoid as an icebreaker in meetings or something.

When I was 16, I was dating this boy who (in retrospect) wasn't the greatest boy ever. His family had an exchange-student from Sweden who was one of the rudest, cockiest boys I had ever met. I couldn't stand Max and the feeling was mutual.

One day, while we were all hanging out, Max told me that I didn't have the nerve to be an exchange student like him. The next day, I met with my guidance counselor (what a misnomer, but that's a different topic) and he indicated that there was a informational meeting the following evening for Rotary International's exchange program.

Within a few months I found myself on a plane headed for Brazil, knowing how to say only two things, "eu nao falo portugues,I don't speak Portuguese" and "uma pera, a pear". Both were in the most dreadful, thick American accent, near unintelligible. This last item was particularly useful as I ended up living just below the equator on the coast and they had never seen a pear before.

While the wisdom of rushing off to live in a foreign country for a year on a dare may seem a bit foolhardy, it was one of the most profound and life-altering experiences of my life. I may bitch and moan about being broke (as the wife of a med student with a child, funds are perpetually tight); however, meeting a woman living in a 2 room home with polished dirt floors who had just given birth the day before and was up doing all that needed to be done to care for the 7 other children sobered me tremendously. I might not be able to afford STR or cashmere, but I have a good roof over my head, health insurance, a hobby and enough food to eat. Life is good.

2. The corollary to the first item is that I have a fantastic ear for languages (at least latin based ones) and ended up leaving Brazil with an accent that most people were unable to detect as American. They noticed it wasn't quite right, but couldn't place where it was from (other than the region I had been living it - it has a very distinct dialect. Think Boston versus mid-west, mine is as distinct as the Bostonian).

3. I am terrified of walking on frozen bodies of water. Ice in a parking lot is fine. Walking over a frozen lake, not so much. I get all tense and jittery just thinking about it.

4. I am phenomenally clumsy. This probably isn't weird so much as unfortunate. At any given moment, there are bruises that I can't remember getting because I get them so often. Unlike others, I don't try to liken them to geographical entities.

5. I like crunchy overcooked food. The little bits of rice that stuck to the bottom of the pan and turned a golden brown, deee-lish!

6. I hate making decisions of any kind. As a child, if given a quarter and told to pick out a candy bar for myself, I often left the store with the quarter in my pocket because I couldn't decide which one to get. When we go out to eat, I usually get the same couple of entrees, because the thought of having to decide on something else is paralyzing. I realize I should probably seek professional help for this one.

Now for the 6 3 lucky victims.

Tracy and Stacy from my Tuesday night knitting group.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It's an illness really

Honestly, I should just know better.

$14.00 and 2 pounds of Peaches n Creme later and the wash clothes are flying off the needles. Three are already finished with a fourth on the needles. Since Saturday afternoon. And I found this website. I like that most of the patterns have pictures so you have some idea of what you are knitting.

Seriously, could you resist something that cost $0.65 worth of yarn to make? Didn't think so.(Figuring 1.5 oz. per washcloth, roughly) The Daisy colorway - cutecutecute. The blue isn't doing it for me so much but someone out there will like them.

The best part, to me, was the following conversation with Caleb (who just turned 4).

Me: knitting furiously
Caleb: Whacha knittin' Momma?
Me: A washcloth.
Caleb: For me?
Me: Would you like it?
Caleb: Oh, yes Momma *imagine a wistful, little sigh as it is said*
Me: What do you like so much about it?
Caleb: 'Cuz it's special, 'cuz you made it.

Is he trained well or what?


I have joined the second ball of yarn for Eric's scarf. I swear on all that is holy that scarves are the knitters version of purgatory. They go on forever and no matter how simple or intricate the patterning, you get bored. This one is simple, but the opportunities to mess it up are endless. That is, they occur on every wrong sided row.

What does intrigue me about it is that the fabric is not behaving at all how I expected it would. The pattern is straight out of one of the Barbara Walker Treasuries (number 2, I think). Nothing fancy, just a simple 12 row repeat, repeated until your eyes start to bleed. It is based on a P3, K3 ribbing and it moves 1 stitch over every right sided row.

I expected that it would scrunch up like the Wavy did when I knit it. But, I am fascinated by the fact that this scarf lays completely flat with no scrunching up or curling at all. Granted, it looks just like the sample in the book, but somehow I was thinking that she must have blocked the snot out of it to look that way.

Once I have decent lighting, I will post a picture of it.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

As the Swift Turns

I had mentioned a while ago that I was bidding on a swift on eBay. I ended up winning the auction but the seller took a ridiculously long time in sending the swift. I was pretty peeved, I called their storefront once and sent a couple of emails. I definately will not buy from them again.
When the swift finally arrived, I was so disappointed because the arms did not extend very far. There was something wrong with how the mechanism was sliding up and down on the center post, i.e. it wouldn't move more than a third of the way up the post. This picture should have tipped me off.

I tried using waxed paper and it helped a bit, I could slide it up an ooch more. Then the lightbulb went off and I remembered that we have some 000 steel wool in the basement. A half-hour's worth of elbow grease and the swift works like a charm. It easily holds a skein of Cascade 220 and will definately hold larger hanks. Sorry, January in Wisconsin means that there is no sun for another 97 days equaling totally crap pictures. Just imagine the center post a lighter color that gleams because it is so highly polished and that the thumbscrew part goes all the way to the top.

In actual knitting news, I found a cute dishcloth pattern on 1870 Pearl that I had to share. I cast on this morning and am half-way through the first corner. Now I just need to head out to Wal-mart for the big-a$$ cone of Peaches and Cream and I think the quicko-cheapo gift stash will be well under way.
Eric's scarf. Still black, nearly done with the first ball of 220 superwash, which puts me at about halfway on the length. Still not possible to photograph the dang thing with the overcast lighting we have here until June. Have I mentioned that I have a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Jury Duty

Jury Duty – Part I*

So, I finally received that dreaded letter from the local county government. Actually, I received it this last summer, but asked for a deferment because I didn’t have any way to get Caleb to and from daycare given the hours I needed to be 140 blocks in the opposite direction. Who would have thought that Eric’s illness would have made JD easier…

So, what I don’t get is that presumably we all received the same letter with the courthouse’s guidelines. Pretty simple stuff. You know, like wearing appropriate attire. Not a baby blue track suit with a logo emblazoned across the booty. Not a pair of jeans with more threadbare spots (HOLES) than actual denim. I’m not sure what it says about those individuals. I have my opinion, but I will let you form your own. I sure wish I had brought my camera to show just how ridiculous people can be. One kid honestly said that he needed to get out of JD because it was "painful to get up so early."

It makes me wish that I worked downtown in a way because the Freeway Flyer is pretty easy to use. Or rather, I wish there was something that went to where I work, but unfortunately, it is in a different county and the two systems don’t intermesh all that well.

I did bring knitting because I knew there would be a lot of down time. I thought carefully about it because, while I was tempted to bring something interesting like the Pomatomus sock, I also knew that being held hostage would be the perfect opportunity to work on Eric’s scarf.

I also have the laptop with me, because I have so much to do for work. Tradeshow season is in full swing and the potential buyers for the corporation are coming through to ensure that we really exist. At least this way, I can try to keep up with emails and make a few phone calls. I turns out that the free wi-fi is like most things that are free. Connectivity is spotty at best.

Jury Duty – Part Deux

I didn’t get called for a trial yesterday and was lucky enough to get released at noon. This means that I earned $8.00 yesterday. At this rate, I will be able to eat lunch after all.

Because there is a ton of construction going on near downtown (we are lucky to have a 4 year project to revamp one of the largest freeway interchanges in the state going on in the middle of the downtown) there is very limited parking and what there is costs a small fortune. The city is genius and gives us all a bus ticket to use. It is pretty handy. I drove 10 minutes to a Park and Ride, pick up the bus and have to walk one block to the courthouse.

After 30 minutes in the "Jury Management" room on the second day, I, along with 44 other people, got called to a courtroom. We all knew it was not a good sign that they needed such a large initial pool. I kept thinking, please let it be a criminal case, please let it be criminal, knowing full well that as the daughter of a police officer, no defense attorney in their right mind would allow me to be on the jury.

While my luck didn't hold in that regard, it was a civil case after all, it could have been worse. The case was a medical malpractice case and in short order, I got booted. Thank you honey for getting me out of jury duty because of your chosen profession.

Some knitting got done, some got ripped because of the remarkably bad light in the hallways. Again, it is a black scarf, I will post pictures when it is all done if we get a sunny day. (As this is Wisconsin, the odds are not in my favor for quite a while.)

*The vast majority of this was written previously and I finally got my lazy butt around to posting it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Off the needles

I am a lazy slub and have started writing this long before Twist is done because I know that once it is, I will write up a completely half a$$ed entry in my rush to post SOMETHING... Knitter, know thyself.

Twist - this is my own design, inspired, in part, by Wendy's Sizzle, but making it work for my numbers.

It is knit with an absurd amount of negative ease creating a very snug vest. In retrospect, I should have gone up one more needle size, but live and learn. My waist is fairly narrow and I didn't want to mess around with shaping which is why there is so much negative ease. I blocked it pretty severely so that it wouldn't constrict my breathing.

Yarn - Rowan Magpie in the Mexico colorway. Sadly discontinued. I used approximately 3-1/2 skeins. I could have added sleeves to make it a sweater, but I am way too lazy and have wanted a vest for a while.

The yarn bloomed nicely once I washed it. Losing any trace of scratchiness. I was able to block some extra length into it as well.

The pattern is simple: K1, P1, K4, P1, K1 for the right side rows. Wrong side rows, knit 'em as you see 'em. C4 front on the 6th row. I did a total of 160 stitches (I think) and have a 34" bust (I know this for sure). Each repeat is ~1" both vertically and horizontally.

I split for the neck at 13" or so and started the armscye shaping 1 inch later. Both the V and the armscyes are deep. The V for that oh so sexy office-wear look and the armholes to accommodate a shirt underneath so I don't itch myself to death or give anyone an eyeful of the girls. I wish I had split earlier so that the V was even deeper.

The ribbing is a K2P1, nothing fancy. I tried a couple of other options but wasn't pleased with the results. It took about 3 tries to pick up the right number of stitches for the neckline. Because I slipped the first stitch of every row, I was left with holes when I picked up just one stitch in each of the slipped ones. I ended up picking up one in each of the slipped stitches and then finagling to pick up one in between each slipped stitch. It came out to 3 stitches for every 4 rows and it is good enough.

Overall, I am pretty happy with how it came out. Not to bad for designing on the fly.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Twist - update

It is amazing how much can be accomplished if one has a week off from work with a modicum of childcare available (aka a house-guest).

Twist (it now has a name) is moving along quite well. I have finished the bodice and have seamed the shoulders. I took no notes, so there is very little chance of this ever becoming a pattern. Besides, I have no desire to crank out the necessary numbers for multiple sizes.

But the neck edging is killing me. Following all knitting tips, I slipped the first stitch of each row to "facilitate" picking up stitches around the neck. Meh. This resulted in too few stitches and it looked home-made. Double meh.

Out it came. I am trying to pick up double the stitches. We'll see how it goes. I flipped through Knitting on the Edge and found a couple of options for the edging in lieu of a K2P1 ribbing which is nice, but very, very boring.

Eric's scarf is languishing in the background waiting impatiently for this burst of creativity to come to it's normal grinding halt. There is nothing wrong with it, it is just, well a bajillion inches of black sameness.