Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Propping my eyelids open with toothpicks

Or, how to appear to be awake when you are, in fact, completely asleep.

What is making me so tired? Possible culprits include the humidity, boredom at work, and frustrations elsewhere. Is it time for vacation yet? (No it is not, stop asking.)

In any case, the weekend was not spent entirely by lace ripping... (I am glad that post was helpful for some folks.) I also went on a wee-tee-tiny hike on the Rock Creek Park trail with FMF. The RC trail is over 18 miles long and stretches from Gaithersburg to the heart of downtown D.C. It is filled with bikers and sprinkled with all sorts of rec-type parks and things along the way.

FMF took the first one, and I took the last two. Does anyone know what kind of flower that is in the middle pic?

There has also been some knitting at le maison des petites mains. First, the Dulaan box was shipped off stuffed full of woolies.

Sorry about the overexposure, it was a last minute cell phone picture.

Inside were 5 hats, 2 pairs of gloves, and 2 neck gaiters. I hope they keep some children warm and cozy.

Also, I am trying to finish up some of the long-life WIPs around here. I finally finished the knitting on the fingerless gloves last night, I will be weaving ends today. This means I need a new bit of travel knitting, and I think it is going to be landlocked socks for FMF's mom out of the turquoise Lorna's I got at MDS&W. Though, this would require resizing the pattern (it is written for DK) and I may not be up for that. I will check my On the Road socks book for a good substitute.

The other long withering WIP has been the Bijoux from Oat Couture. I am using Lion Brand Jiffy in Black, so the photos leave more than a little to be desired. Here is my black bat photo:

The pattern has you knit the front and back separately, then join the shoulders and pick up stitches for each ¾ sleeve. Sleeve one is ¾ done.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I'm fixing a hole / Where the rain gets in

And stops my mind from wandering,
Where it will go....

Last week, I found a mistake in my Sunshine Wrap. I appreciate all the comments folks left pro and con, but I ultimately decided to rip back to the mistake and fix it. I did this for two reasons: 1) It would have really bugged me, and 2) Having never ripped lace before I had to know if I could do it or not.

I wasn't using a lifeline, and this little adventure has proved that at least on this piece, I don't really need one.

NOTE: A couple of things made this process particularly doable: size 10.5 needles and smooth wool/mohair blend fiber. If this had been Kid Silk Haze on size 3s, I may have been more willing to accept the imperfection as an homage to the knitting goddess.

Here is the lace ripping adventure:

1. Get Ready, Get Set


First, I used two hardback books—the bottom one is as wide as my Wrap—to weigh down the piece. This will prevent tugging, slipping, and unplanned dropped stitches. I am going to be leaning over the Wrap to put the stitches back on the needle, so this will also give me something stable on which to lean. After I have the books positioned right under the needle, *zwoop* out it comes!

2. Knit side ripping


My lace is one-sided. So, the WS is always purled and all of the yarn overs and ktogs and whatnot happen on the knit side. Even though my mistake is on the knit side, you can see how tricksy picking up stitches on this side would be, so I am going to rip just past the error to the purl side.

3. Purl side ripping


I am not sure if you can tell or not, but the purl stitches are much more orderly.

4. Pick up lines


I ripped just to the end of the mistake row, and then I began to insert the needle (two or more sizes smaller than my knitting needle - makes it less likely to pull out the approaching stitches) into each purl as it is ripped. If you rip the row completely and then try to get the stitches back on the needle you run the risk of missing a stitch or (worse) losing a yo in the process.

Here, I pull out one stitch at a time and put it on the needle before going to the next. I am not concerned with the direction of the stitch on the needle, I will remedy any backwards stitches on the next step.

NOTE: I think it is easier to re-thread the stitches from this direction (rather than turning the piece upside down so that I wasn't leaning over it). Since this is the view I have had of the piece while knitting it, I feel like I can "see" the stitches better.

5. Mission (almost) complete!

All of the stitches are now back on the small needle. You can see how loose they are... At this point I can take the books off.

6. Deja vu


After all of the stitches are back onto the smaller needle, I use the pattern needle to carefully knit the next pattern row, untwisting any problem stitches as I come to them.

7. Success!

Here is the previously offending row, now patched right up.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Lace be not proud!

I admit. I was a bit cocky after Lotus. I mean, she is lovely! Somehow... I, who can barely keep a lucky bamboo alive or bake anything even remotely resembling a loaf of bread... My uncoordinated self made that!

It's not that I wasn't reading the chart. I was. But, I was also enjoying some trashy TV... And well. Such are the wages of knitterly arrogance:

Don't see it? Click for big.

If you still need a hint, it's in the left side "swoop" up the side of the flame. I knit the wrong 2tog, and broke the line.

Tomorrow I will attempt to frog back. Stay tuned for pics of the process. And cross your fingers. And learn from my mistakes: be a humble knitter. (Also don't watch Nanny 911 while trying to read a chart.)

PS, I huge thank you to all who left me encouraging comments about the shawl. I am right well pleased, and really appreciate everyone sharing in my excitement.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Lotus makes her debut...

I have such a crush on this shawl.

Lotus reclining on the loveseat after a tiring blocking session.

Macro shot courtesy of Sweet Baboo.

Requisite nature shot.

Click for Wingspan

Don't let the picture fool you, this little bit of silk and wool makes me happyHappyHAPPY. (But, getting my picture taken doesn't.)

Pattern - Lotus Blossom Shawl from Fiddlesticks Knitting
Yarn - Fleece Artist approx 50/50 silk and wool in color Wine (no longer carried in the kit, but the Country Silk looks like a great substitution) 250 gm skein (at 750 mt) and I have 75 gm left after one swatch.
Mods - WhattreyaouttayerMIND?? No mods.
Notes - I was stitchmarker crazy for the "stem" portion of the shawl, and I needed to be to get my groove. But during the "blossom" charts, you have to move the markers one stitch to the right on the right side of the knitting and two stitches to the right on the left side. This interrupted my knitting too much, so I dropped the markers from the pattern repeats.

I still wanted to be able to count stitches though, so on every WS row I would put a marker every 20 stitches, to the center and back out again, then on the RS, I would take them off as I came to them. This worked well and prevented at least 3 mistakes.

The bobbles are a drag, but I did get into a rhythm with them, and the last 8 weren't so bad. They give the shawl a nice clean edge and don't look at all dear, so I am glad I left them in.

In conclusion: The rumors are all true, Dorothy Siemens patterns are wonderful! I cannot stress enough how "trouble-free" this project was... The charts are giant, you get a nice color picture of the shawl draped and blocked (good for getting the shape right), and she is very helpful on the phone. She also has some of the most intriguing triangular designs that I have been able to find. You don't have time to get too bored with her designs.

Lotus off the needles!

Ready to cast this baby off! Each stitch marker is a bobble-to-be.

Right. A slight black hole occurred with the bobbling. This picture was taken after I completed what seemed like 97 bobbles, yet I seem to still have, like, twenty left to go.

I reached escape velocity at my favorite LYS. Lisa and Jessica were very supportive.

So close, yet so wrinkly...

A nice little soak, and almost no bleeding.

Ah... Something about seeing the lace all orderly is both soothing and celebratory. Click for a close up of the pattern.

Tomorrow: out from under the pins!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Aloha Friday!

At my office, we have a new team member who came to us from a)Dell and b)Hawaii. Every Friday at his last office, it was "Aloha Friday — No work til Monday!" And it was accompanied by many donuts and donut holes.

Lucky for us, he has decided to bring that tradition here to Maryland. Aloha!

(Unfortunately for my "better living through not eating so much crap" regimen, at his last job they also had "Cookie Thursday" which is going to start up here next week. Anyone else? What sugary buzz should we dive into on Tuesdays?)

This weekend, I will be knitting up a storm trying to fill this little box:

with a few more goodies. Ideally, another pair of mittens, and two more hats.

In Lotus news:

See that blurry bit? The chart? With only TWO pattern rows left? I am going to try to get those done tonight. Maybe the wicked bind off on Saturday. I can't believe I am so close to being done!

In honor of the Summer of Lace (yes, I jumped off that cliff, too). I will be posting most of my laceweight and lacey-things-to-be stash in Anatomy of a Stash today. This group has been great so far: all kinds of lace tips and tricks (ever want to know how the @#$ to deal with nupps? Liisa gave us a great tip just the other day). Come on, join in the fun. You know you wanna.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

On hiking (and daisies) and progress

Here are two pics from the forced march on Saturday:

The lovely Rock Creek from a really high bridge on the Capital Crescent Trail:

And a field of Norma's favorites (or a reasonable facsimile thereof):

And lest you think that there has been NO knitting progress lately, here's this:

This is terribly cute looking but the ends and the seams, oh my! In shawl news, I finished row 156 last night... Only 10 left!

I am adding miscellaneous "wool" bits from my wool bin to the stash blog. Thanks to everyone's encouraging comments, even if none of them were along the lines of "oh, that little bit? That's nothing." I am still open to any and all comments along those lines. Seriously. Jump right in.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Monday, Monday.

I have no pictures from the weekend. Can you believe, I completely forgot to load them?

Notes from the Edge:
  • I did go on the hike, but the heat and my heavy boots contributed to a bit of heat stroke and a nearly-migraine. I had to bail out a few short blocks from the end. Needless to say, I now have low hikers and a new pair of hiking shorts.
  • I finished one thing: a yellow Dulaan hat.
  • I started documenting my stash.

That last one is a doozy. I don't have any cool gallery software, so I was at a loss initially on how to do this in a manageable way. I didn't want to have to write and upload new html code each time I updated. The answer was a new blog. A sub-blog, if you will. I will be dumping all of my stash in there and keeping track of it somehow.

You can see it here: Anatomy of a Stash.

I still have about thirty pics from the weekend to post, so it is definitely a WIP of its own. I think I will use Anatomy to swap out leftovers or reconsiderations, but I am not sure yet. I know I want to find homes for a few balls of GGH Goa and Aspen that I have leftover from projects, and I have a ton of knitting mags from the 80s that need to move on... I wish Blogspot had a way to categorize entries. Anyone know of a hack for that? That way I could have "Sock," "Book," and "Sweater" categories, etc.

I welcome any comments along the lines of "It's not nearly as bad as mine!"

Friday, June 10, 2005

Finally some pictures.

Today is my Sweet Baboo's birthday. He is approximately a krillion years old. Happy Birthday, A!

Here is my lotus, passed out gracefully reclining on the couch.

Click here for more, closer.

I am three rows from the end of the second lotus repeat (of three!) I am on row 140... The end is in sight! I have been looking at this kit for over a year, trying to get up the courage to knit it, so I am feeling mighty good about seeing the finish line. I am formulating some tips about it as I go.

Also, I have been the luckiest girl in the world lately, just winnin' cool stuff right and left.

First, I give you this LOVELY Jo Sharp Silkroad (enough for a supersoft pullover... mmm) and one lone ball of the super dreamy Silkroad Tweed in Licorice. I love it, I love it, I love it, and am trying REALLY hard not to order enough to knit, oh, say a bed.

Thank you Deb (aka Chappy's Mom) for the really fun contest. Check out some of the creative entries!

And next, look at this fabulous stitch marker stash from Laura over at Poor Miss Finch!

Also, the beautiful card designed by one of her daughters:

Have a great weekend, everyone. Next week: Stash Documentation begins, and hopefully so does some freakin' finishing.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I got nothing.

My power was out for what seemed like most of yesterday. The nasty Bermuda-airstream crap or whatever it is called has descended upon DC like a blanket made of sweat and hair. (Have I mentioned that I don't like humid OR hot?) Knitting continues slowly.

I am thinking I need to document the sheer extravagance that is my stash. This scares me, but that's probably why it's such a good idea.

Needles update for you bloglines folks who can't see my lil progress bars:
Lotus: Row 134 of 166 done
Bijoux Blouse: Back and 3/4 of Front done
Sunshine Wrap: One repeat plus a coupla rows done
Gauntlets: One done plus 1/3 of second done
Pink Purse: done, needs finishing

My wish this week: I would like the strength/fortitude to go on the "easy" six mile hike this weekend in the ASSHEAT.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Which way did he go, boss? Which way did he go?

Has anyone seen the weekend? It went by in such a blur, that I think I am going to have to limit my future goings'n'doings to one day outta the two. I woke up this morning shocked and appalled to be facing Monday so suddenly.

First, the Race
Well, phenomenal, of course. There were upwards of 50,000 people there, the weather cooperated, and but for a bit of Metro delay, the commute to and from wasn't bad at all.

My Sweet Baboo and I were there, in my employer's colors (and leis):

The pink signs are in "Memory of" or in "Celebration of" and the pink race shirts (with HOPE in big letters) were worn by breast cancer survivors.

And we're off! (Or, why it is good to come to race day with a really tall guy.)

A big cheer went up as the first walkers met up with the last runners at one point in the route.

Thank you all who contributed; you raised $200!! That may not seem like much, but imagine if all 50,000 participants had raised just half of that.

Next, the Hike
While Saturday was cool and breezy, Sunday was humid and oppressive. If I had been thinking straight, I would have stayed home. But, I am in training now for Alaska. And I am pretty proud of myself for sucking it up and going out in the misery anyway. Plus, I had a happy reunion with my hiking buddy! She was on her way to Sri Lanka after the tsunami last I had spoken with her, so I was very glad to see her safe and sound. She is currently raising money to buy sewing machines and bicycles for the tradespeople there whose livelihood was washed out to sea with everything else.

We had company on the trail from a local or two:

Click for a peek at Bull Run river.

Finally, the Knit
Lotus is stalled at one repeat of the "blossoms." I am going to recommit myself to her this week.

Startitis took hold last week, and I began another lace piece. This one is from Shawls and Scarves: Best of Knitter's and is being worked up in some of Woolarina's Shiny.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Thank Goodness its Almost Over

This week, that is. Surfing the cyberknitcafe lately has shown that several folks are feeling a post-spring slump.

I would like, therefore to make a list of all the things that are great about summer. What gets you absolutely FIRED UP about June-July-August? Leave me a note.


This weekend, I will spend Saturday taking a 3.1 mile walk, rain or shine. (Cross your fingers for shine!) And on Sunday, I am going to try to take a wee hike around Bull Run as well. I need to get out more and walk some of my butt off. (This is week one of my new training program to get me ready to enjoy my Alaska trip!)

With such an overflowing of fiber around here, I am having a hard time finishing stuff before I start new stuff. Last night, I couldn't wait any longer and cast on for a beautiful candle-flame pattern wrap with the firey-sunshiney Shine from Woolarina ... No pics yet, but stay tuned!

I still need to finish the Lotus Blossom shawl, the black gauntlets, the black oat couture sweater, the little pink purse, and the new stripey afghan. EEK!

Until Monday, here is the next project that is calling my name loud and clear:

(Have I mentioned lately how much I love my new little ball winder??)

These are a couple of skeins of Brooks Farm. I am thinking big needles, simple pattern = quick wrap. But I am also thinking that I should finish a few things first.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

That's what friends are for...

(Doncha just wanna belt it out? You know you do... In good TIMES and BAD TIMES I'll be on your side for evermooooooooorrre. That's what friends are for.)

So, in light of my recent gloominess (we will speak no more of it), I would like to appreciate the following points of light:
  • My racing support! (Yes, I keep calling it a race, even though there will be brisk walking only.) For more on this, look to past entries.

  • K8 and Paula exerted very little pressure on me last night at THE BEST KNITTY MEETUP EVER to buybuybuy more of their fabulous yarn. They could have, I was in a weak state. But they are way too awesome to take advantage.

  • Coming home from a uber-crappy day at work (can you say "birthday parties for everyone but me" whinge whinge) to a little party on my computer, courtesy of my Sweetest Baboo and the Post family of cereals.

  • A.C. Moore, for sending me a 40% off coupon in the mail. Probably I will use it for something other than yarn... (bwahahahahaha! riiiiight.)

  • Lara, for being a wonderful friend who gave me a fantastic b-day present (which included the not-pictured the book du jour: Loop-d-Loop) :

[Click to see all of the cutest ever (as yet unnamed) in the company of austere Frog and Toad]

Who could be anything but thankful with all that greatness happening around her?

I also released a UFO recently. The Hex-from-Hell afghan was originally a pattern that really excited me. The long color changes in the Homespun means that the blanket looks as though it is made with a lot of colors (rather than only two, Tudor - the multi color and Deco - a cream). The big downfall to this pattern is the line:

"Hexagon Pattern: Make 17 with A and B as follows; make 42 in A only."

OK. I don't even like to make the second sleeve on a sweater, and I thought that Fifty-Nine hexagons would be "doable" ?! I got through exactly 5 and stuffed it in the closet.

Luckily, Lion Brand has scads of free patterns, and I was able to find this baby. I can still enjoy the changing colors of the Tudor, and there's only one piece. Plus, it hooks up on the crochet equivalent of size 13 needles (K 10.5 for you closet hookers). Hopefully this blanket will replace my first and rather tragic afghan. But that's a story for another day.

It was very liberating to pull out those five hexagons. Talk about taking a load off! And though diagonal blankets always seem to take WAY longer than square ones, it is breezing along. Isn't she lovely? And so soft!

Anyone else feel like liberating an old FO... Letting them go peacefully on to the stash basket in the sky? Let me know if you do, or tell me about it if you already have. Letting go can be a good thing.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I must be stopped.

Some people drink when they are gloomy. Some people exercise obsessively. Some can't stop cleaning their homes. (Oh if only I were a cleaner or exerciser!)

I. buy. yarn.

Copious amounts. I can't stop. Let's just say that "some" laceweight is on it's way as we speak from the super delish and also "some" of the 50% off Rowan yarns from their quarterly discontinued colors sale.

Didn't I just buy supercool yarn last weekend?? Plus. Hello? My MDS&W purchases are barely cool. What is the matter with me?

Clearly something needs to be done: I need to learn how to knit even faster.


Despite recent evidence to the contrary, it's not all buy-buy-buy all the time around here. Sometimes knitting occurs.

Witness the nearly complete black gauntlet #1:

Click for sans-thumb close-up.

These babies are super soft in Debbie Bliss' Cotton Angora. They go a little less than half way up my upper arm (I feel it would be false advertising to actually refer to it as my "bicep") and will be perfect with tanks and Ts this summer when its a thousand degrees outside but only 22 degrees in the office building.

You, too, can have your very own. The pattern is a freebie at Crystal Palace. And on size 7s they are a relatively quick knit when one applies oneself.

I have finished up the pesky thumb and am into the third cable of the second glove.


What about the vacation?

I thought you would never ask.

Clue one:

(New rain gear and goofy-ass mosquito netting - Click here for the intrepid explorer)

Clue two:

(Fields of ice. As in, not the tropics)

Clue three:

(Some random hiker. In ALASKA.)

Four reasons why this is awesome:
1. Times I have been on a vacation on my own: 0
2. Times I have been out of the contiguous US (not counting a drive to BC when I was, like, 7): 2
3. Times I have wanted to see all the amazing sites in Kenai, Denali, and Chugach: at least a million
4. Times I have bitched and moaned about how much I hate hot summers: at least a million-five.

I will be spending 10 days of August in Alaska, touring the Kenai fjords and wildlife refuge, both Denalis, and Chugach forest. I will be camping, hiking, riding, and maybe even a little kayaking (see biceps, above). With 10 other folks and the wonderful people at Alaska Outdoors. I can't really believe it is real yet.

I have my raingear, my netting, my requisite convertible pants, and my compass. Now. What will I take to knit?