Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm too stupid for my knitting

bonus points if you can identify the reference...

Lately, every project I touch seems to turn to crap. I have been trying to knit this bag and while the pattern in painfully simple, it would seem that I am not up to the challenge.

First, I cast on the wrong number of stitches. **rip**

Then, I knit about 3 inches and realized that I had knit a row with the incorrect decrease, so instead of a lovely zigzag meandering up the bag, I had a bit more zig than zag. **rip**

The third attempt was apparently not charmed either. I started again and got about 6 inches into it when I stopped and looked at it again. I realized that the bag was written for a much finer yarn than what I was using. It should have been about 8 inches wide or so, but I was coming in at nearly double that. **rip**

Needless to say, I put that project aside for a bit and finished up a dishcloth. A generally painless project.


I had ordered some garment labels for my handbags a few weeks ago and they arrived late last week. I am now in the process of opening up a seam in each bag so that I can stitch on the labels. This depresses me more than you can guess. I have over 30 bags in inventory and the thought of having to redo something on each one of them makes me want to weep.

I am hoping that I can get something accomplished over the long weekend. As a bonus, Caleb and Eric are heading to California to visit my FIL and I get my very own vacation here at home! (This is infinitely more appealing than spending 4 days traveling.) They will be gone the weekend of the 15th, so I can actually accomplish something. No dinners to prepare, no games to play with clingy 4 year olds, nada!

I am also hoping to nail down a date for a purse party at a friend's home later this month. It will bring in a new influx of cash so I can afford a new digital camera.

What do you use to photograph your knitting? Do you use a macro function to capture stitch details? I would really prefer a point and shoot type (not SLR) digital camera at about $200 bucks. Recommendations anyone, or a good place to look online?

Thursday, August 23, 2007


1 Ark
2 of every animal

Yes folks, Flood Watch 2007 continues here in Southeastern Wisconsin where up to another 4" of rain are predicted by the end of the weekend in an area already hard hit by overflowing waterways. (Minnesota may be called the land of 10,000 lakes, but we have more of them and dammit every one of them in the southern third of the state is ready to bust.) The entire bottom third of the state is under a flash flood watch until Saturday. SATURDAY, people. Anyone else find this to be remarkably disturbing or is it just me?

Its either an ark or gills and I'm guessing that the former might be easier to come by.

And to think that 2 weeks ago we were experiencing a pretty severe drought.

Lest you think that all we do here at the House of Wool is bitch about the weather and how it isn't a perfect sunny tropical day all year round just like it is in Jamaica or the Bahamas or hell, anywhere but here I did cast on for the Ribby Cardi after swatching a bunch. Or at least a bunch for me. I also planned carefully and washed the swatch because I've never worked with this particular yarn before. I'm really glad I did because it bloomed like crazy.

Combining the bloom with the fact that it is pretty loosely spun and looks like it will pill pretty easily, I decided to go down another needle size and knit the next larger size. In part this is because my bust measurement is 34" and 2" of ease for me will look like I am drowning in it and 34" will be too snug for a cardi.

I started the bottom ribbing on size 4's (yes, I realize that I must knit really loosely...) and was all set to switch to 5's for the body when I realized that I can't find a single one of my size 5 needles. I have at least 3 24" or longer circs and from what I can see none are in a WIP in the basket (the WIP don't stray from the basket or they will never become FO).

I keep all of my circs in a binder with heavy duty page protectors, one for each size with the length's written on the sleeve. This is how I know that I actually own some. I looked in the 4 sleeve and those appear to be correctly stored. I looked in the 6 sleeve and there are a couple of bamboos in there that say 5 but when I size them, they aren't...

In my heart of hearts, I know that this means I need to purchase the knit picks options.

Monday, August 20, 2007

At a loss for words

I had been mentally composing a clever and witty post while driving to work today when I heard about the recent rainfall in my hometown. Normally, I would have heard about it sooner but my parents and my sister's family are all up north vacationing.

I am heartbroken to see the devastation that a tremendous amount of rain can bring. At the beginning of August, southwestern Wisconsin was several inches behind on rainfall. As of yesterday they are 16" over normal. 11" of which fell in just 4 hours.

My parents are lucky. According to my uncle who stopped over to survey the damage, they lost a retaining wall, but it was behind the garage and it appears that the house suffered no damage.

I am including a link to the local newspaper as well as a couple of photos from the area. There are several slideshows on their websites.

The number of major roads that are closed is stunning. Several counties have been declared Disaster Areas so that they can apply for state assistance. 6 people are confirmed dead. This map details it all.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Contest time again

I've been thinking of running another contest to disguise my blatant trolling for comments. There will be yarny goodness for the 500th commenter.

I have updated the bagatelle website so that some of the bags I have in inventory can be purchased directly. I need to photograph more of them and put them up on the site. New fabrics are coming for fall as soon as I can put down the knitting to finish them up.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

How does this happen?

Last weekend, I noticed that Caleb's sneakers were getting worn at the toe and made a mental note that this coming weekend we would need to go shoe shopping for him. Sounds good in theory right? I mean, the shoes should last 7 days if the that little bit of rubber that wraps up on the toe of the shoe is starting to, well, erode, for lack of a better description.

It turns out that 7 days was entirely too much to hope for. We only able to squeeze another 5 days from the shoes because Thursday he came home with the sneakers looking like this!

Yes, that is a hole worn right through. I swear he must be dragging his toes while riding the trikes at school.
Let's just say that he wasn't a happy camper about being dragged out to the mall on a school night. Paymore was having their typical BOGO sale, so the damage wasn't too bad and I picked up a pair that he can leave at school for gym.

These were a smash hit.

These are similar but not quite what we got, his are tan.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Today was the last day of Stitches Midwest and I was finally able to make it there after several aborted attempts in previous years.

I was lucky enough to be there when Franklin Habit was there to take photos for his 1000 Knitters project. He was lovely to meet in person. (I have to admit that I kinneared him for this photo.)

While he may have resolved to not purchase anything while at Market, I did no such thing. I must admit I made a bit of a thud as I fell off the no yarn buying bandwagon. I'm pretty sure that it was audible to most people in the greater Chicago area. I will acknowledge that I have never purchased so much yarn. Truth be told, I will need to find a new storage area for this haul because I have no room left in the normal stash containment area.

This is a good thing in my mind.

Here is the photographic evidence, but for some reason, the colors are waaaay off, so, where possible I will link to the real deal.

First off is the sock yarn. I scored a skein of Dreams in Color Smooshy (love that name!) sock yarn in the Deep Seaflower colorway at Mass Ave Knit Shop from Indianapolis. My skein looks a bit darker than what is on their website. I also found a vendor who had STR, The Fold in Marengo, IL. I got the Rose Quartz in heavyweight. Again, mine is a bit different than what is up on the Blue Moon website. I'm looking forward to working with both of them.

I found 10 balls of Louisa Harding's Kashmir Aran in color 19, a lovely rusty orange for just $3.99/ball. The color here is pretty accurate. This should be just enough for a 3/4 length sweater with a fair bit of negative ease.

Next up is a huge cone of tweedy goodness of unidentified wool. It was labeled on the shelf at the Web's booth, but it escapes me now. All I know is that it will be more than enough for a sweater. This time I'm thinking of trying a top down pattern. I've done a few bottom up, but I'm thinking that it would be nice to try something new. This is a rich brown, more coffee than chocolate with flecks of pink, blue and gold. I can't wait to swatch for this and see how it blooms. According to Jim at Web's it has been scoured prior to coning, but the yarn should still bloom a bit. I've got a bottle of Synthropol that I will probably use because it still feels a bit greasy to me.

Last up are 17 balls of burgundy and light grey from Valley Yarns that are destined to be come a Ribby Cardi. I'm looking forward to casting on for this as well.

This definitely means that I will not be buying myself any more yarn for a LONG time to come.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I feel like I have so much to say, this time with actual knitting content. Borrowing from Madame Sheepie I bring you a bullet post.

*Sizzle is done and I wore it to work on Monday. I love the shaping in this tank, but followed the pattern rather blindly, not stopping to think about the shape of my body and how cotton stretches horizontally. I really like Wendy’s patterns because they are well written and designed.

Unfortunately, it did not grow as much vertically as I hoped. I feel like I spent a good part of the day tugging on the hem line to ensure that I didn’t flash my belly at work. Because of this, I know in my gut that there are only a couple of possible options:

1. Give the damn tank away because the thought of knitting the purple cotton again makes me want to burn it. Any takers?

2. Cut the tank in the middle of the body. Knit up a bit further from the bottom half and then graft the 2 pieces together.

3. Laboriously undo the cast-on edges and rip it back to the section between the waist and bust darts and knit down.

I’ll be honest. Option 1 is looking good. I wouldn’t be afraid of option 2 if this were wool because it is infinitely more forgiving than cotton during blocking. Option 3 makes me nervous because I am guessing that the darts won’t line up correctly if I do that. Hmm, that last thought supposes that I will be able to graft it back together with the darts lining up correctly. This might not be an accurate assumption.

* I finally signed up for Ravelry and there are only 14,119 people ahead of me. I will not be OCD about it and put in all of the old projects that I have done, nor will I photograph my stash and post it. Mostly, I want to be able to surf and look for good ideas for some of the odd ball quantities I have of certain yarns.

I am currently looking for something to use up ~450 yds of Rowan Magpie. This is the yarn that I used to knit Twist, so I don’t have enough to make another garment and the thought of getting all cutesie and having matching hat and scarf makes me want to gag. I keep going back to the idea of something lace. I have a vague recollection of the candleflame stitch shawl that was done in worsted weight being all the rage last winter. But, I am too damn lazy to search the archives of all of the blogs I read.

Okay - I lied, I just realized that I saw the shawl on Brooklyn Tweed and a quick look at his 2006 photo archives let me to the post that I wanted.

* As a HUGE plus, Sunday I am heading to Stitches in Chicago! Yay me!!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Finally, a post worth writing.

I have been working slavishly steadily haphazardly on Sizzle and the end is in sight. The body is completed. I have bound off the shoulder seams and picked up and knit the edgings. Thankfully, these came out okay on the second try. About 1/3 of the ends need to be woven in yet and the ends of the neck edging need to be tacked down.

I tried it on last night and am not sure about it. I am loving the deeeeeep neckline and the negative ease, but even with adding a couple of inches to the body length, it is still a bit shorter than I would like. Either my row gauge was waaaay off or I can’t measure worth a crap. Right now the body is 21” long, a bit shorter than the 22” – 23” I usually like.

There is no way in Hades that I will be ripping this back. Again. I am hoping that a good blocking will add a bit to the length and that the weight of the Cotton Fleece will stretch the tank a bit further when I am wearing it.

Please tell me this will work. I’m not sure that my sanity will hold up if I have to knit a third tank from the same damn yarn. I am sick to death of purple Cotton Fleece. Sick. To. Death.

The only other option would be to cut off the bottom and add another inch then graft the 2 pieces back together. It would work, but I think this particular “solution” will have to wait until after I wear it for a day to see if it grows of its own accord.
Pictures to follow shortly - stealth posting from work...

Besides getting another wearable garment out of this, the best part of finishing Sizzle is that there is another long-standing UFO that is done. I can start working on the Peacock Shawl again as well as knitting up another version of the Christmas stocking that I designed for my nephew. (My sister is trying for number 4 and I want to be prepared!)


My parents are coming for a visit this weekend. This can mean only one thing. Eric and I will be bickering working like crazy for the next 24-48 hours as we frantically try to disguise the fact that we actually live in our house. This necessitated a trip to Wal-mart to stock up on some missing cleaning supplies. (The fact that we have been out of the Swiffer Wet Jet solution for months is not lost on me.)