Thursday, October 26, 2006

FOs and the Elusive Miss Lucy Cat

I finally finished the silk cashmere scarf at SnB last week - just need to weave in those pesky ends. (I think my knitting buddy Patrice is my good-luck charm for getting projects finished ;) !) And, due to this being midterm week for my students, I have actually had some time to work on the Irish Hiking Scarf. I fully intend for that project to be completed by the end of SnB this week. Two FOs on the Progress-O-Meter,and one almost FO! Yippee!

So, I guess there is something to this whole listing and facing up to one's unfinished business. I feel so much more organized and goal-oriented. And remember the felted bag with the rolled-over top edge? It actually turned out just fine. I added the handles and will soon be mailing it off.

I will have pictures of all of these FOs soon! In the meantime, I thought I would post some proof that I do, in fact, own a cat. Her name is Lucy, and she still hasn't quite forgiven me for coming home with Frisky the chihuahua, whom she despises:



I don't really know what it is about Frisky that offends her so. I mean, what's not to love?

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Awww... Oh well, she was here first. Being a diva apparently means needing LOTS of personal space, which we maintain using a complex system of baby gates and personal assistants (who carry her past the dog and administer Pounces as needed.) Are other people this crazy???

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Need Help With Bag Closure

Hello again - I forgot to ask - if anyone out there is reading this, do you have any ideas for bag closures? Most of the people I make these for don't knit so they have this funny idea that the top of the bag should stay closed :)

Magnetic, button, snap? What to use? Anyone have an opinion?

Felting is Like a Box-a-Chock-lits... just never know what you are going to get :) This is the seventh bag I've made using some variation on the Booga pattern and Paton's Classic Merino yarn, and they are all unique in some way.

Bag #1: realized gauge matters even more with felting, ended up with a weeny little child-sized bag
Bag #2: PCM apparently shrinks more vertically than horizontally, ended up with a very wide and very short bag
Bag #3 played with gauge and got a bag very much to my liking! Its the purple/green/gold one I use a lot in the winter.
Bag #4 for my mom - bottom came out a bit thin...
Bag #5 for my SIL, came out very thin and all misshapen. Required a good deal of forcible shaping to even ressemble a bag
Bag #6 for my kids' teacher, knitting holding two strands together - much less shrinkage and thicker, better quality bag.

Just finishing Bag #7 for my MIL, used the lessons learned in 1-6. Here it is pre-felting (doesn't Frisky look stressed out?? I think he is waiting for a new sweater;)


But look - after washing:


About 2/3 of the way around, the top edge started curling over and felted onto itself! I couldn't get it straight again, so I rolled the rest over and tried to make it look intentional.

Here's how I held the rolled edge down and kept the sides from flopping over:


I took the clothespins off after a couple hours so they wouldn't leave permanent indents.

Yes, that's Near East rice mix in there. And Betty Crocker Brownie mix. Anyway, it looks like it's drying up okay, so hopefully that edge will play out as a "nice finish detail" rather than a "WTF happened to that edge?"

Can't wait for SnB today - so glad I'm done with that damn I-cord. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 20, 2006


You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 7/8 correct!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My Week in a Nutshell

Felted bag for MIL, almost done!! This really was a quickie:

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I have about 13 more rounds of grey, then the obligatory endless I cord handles, but then its done! It's actually a lot bigger than it looks in the picture. Hopefully I can finish at SnB this week. It is so overdue.

DH and I took the kids to the public library tonight. The librarians in the children's room all knit, and when they see me we always get all knitty together. One of them was making a long rectangle bag of her own design with a clever crocheted handle using Paton's Classic Merino in Palais and Royal Purple, held together. I never would have thought of that combo. It was gorgeous.

While at the library I also managed to get my hands on Scarf Style - finally - those knitting books just fly off the library shelf. I am hoping to squeeze Forbes Forest in my lineup somewhere, I've been totally inspired by brooklyn tweed to make this fabulous scarf.

Little ds scored a King Arthur book to KEEP, mind you, for just 25 cents from a box at the check-out desk. Cool, huh? :) BTW his Harry Potter party last weekend was fabulous - our Muggle version of Quidditch worked out great! We also flew owls into the Owlery (paper airplanes) and dropped letters into the Great Hall, did an HP alphabet scramble, and played a little HP Scene-It. The kids had a blast and dh and I did not even need ibuprofen afterwards, unlike after a certain older child's party...

I even made a miniscule bit of progress on my dissertation proposal tody...after five hours at the keyboard, but that's okay. Progress is progress.

All in all, a pretty good week!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

More FO Pics

Started another "quickie" (I hope) today at SnB. It's a felted bag for my MIL's birthday...last August. I think it will be worth the wait; hope she agrees :) Pics tomorrow.

Finally got the kids' bed socks out for a photo op:


They're a wool blend, and a little pilly, but they've seen some pretty heavy wear. The boys are going to get some new ones soon - they've each picked out a color of Magic Stripes that they love. I may quietly swap that out for a 100% wool (superwash of course) if I can get gauge; MS calls for a size 3 or 4 needle and I'm looking for something at least that big. I'm definitely done with size 1's for a while, especially for kids' stuff that I know will soon be outgrown.

I'm looking forward to getting all my photos together in some kind of album. Maybe Flickr? Something I can set up as a sidebar would be nice...any ideas?

I picked up this book because of some beautiful shots of knit ads from over the course of the 1900s, but also loved the title. Dh was like, hmm, honey do you think maybe this hobby is getting out of hand?


Yes, actually, it's way out of hand, darling :) But at least your feet will be warm. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 13, 2006

Socks Done!



Nashua Handknits Cilantro Colors Lil Socks (Summer Project)

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Fall Butterflies and This Season's Chihuahua Wear

In all my years of planting fall mums, I have never seen anything like what we've had this year in terms of butterflies. Has anyone else noticed it?? Sometimes, there are as many as 4 or 5 on one plant! Always, they are monarchs. Is something going on in the world of nature that I should know about? (Probably, as I know so very little...)

This guy is the only one brave enough to let me take his picture:

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This guy would like to eat THAT guy, but can't jump high enough:

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(How cute is he in his little warm-up jacket?? That was a gift from his non-knitting auntie.)

Funny thing noted on younger child's homework sentences: instead of "Yu-Gi-Oh cards" he wrote "Yu-Gi-Ho cards". Yu-Gi-Ho. Tee-hee. Sometimes it is so hard not to laugh, especially when older child yells it out loud.

FOs later, I promise!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Check out the festive harvest colors of the Progress-O-Meter, for your viewing pleasure.

Check Me Out...

Hey, check out my stats over there on the Progress-O-Meter. Something will be finished this weekend, by gum. Or maybe even two somethings. Watch this space for updates.

Monday, October 09, 2006

10 Knitterly Things You Don’t Know About Me - Meme

Grumperina’s meme got me thinking about my knitting self...

1. I was inspired to learn to knit when I was an undergrad, working at a 5-and-dime (New England Stores in Salem, MA) that sold some sewing notions. A woman came in and bought some pewter-looking buttons in the shape of little bears (was it bears or puppies? Bears, I think. This was 1985, and in the college memory is a tad fuzzy;) ) I gushed over the buttons and asked about the woman’s project. She said “I just knitted a sweater for my nephew, and I’m going to put these on it.” She then pulled a little gray wool cardigan out of her bag. It was like BONG - OMG – MUST. DO. THAT. That night when I left work I bought some needles, a skein of purple Red Heart, and a copy of The Knitting Dictionary and Encyclopedia by Nomis. (I still have that swatch, and the book is still one of my favorites.)

2. My mom doesn’t knit, but she is great at buying already knitted things. My grandmother knitted but didn’t have much success teaching me how. My grandmother’s relatives did a lot of filet crochet and, according to my mother, knitting. I have a picture of my great-great aunt Helen crocheting; I keep it in my office for inspiration.

3. My first project was a sweater (of course!), light blue with dark blue sleeves. The pattern called for size 3 (for the ribbing) and size 5 needles. I chose a heavy worsted acrylic. That sweater must weigh 40 pounds. The metal needles were curved by the time I was done. I actually wore it.

4. My second project was another sweater. This time I did a little better with the yarn selection. I stayed up all night the night before the GRE exams to finish the sweater so I could wear it to the exams, “for luck.” The sweater turned out to be a wee bit too small. I wore it anyway, and despite being utterly exhausted I did pretty well on those GREs :) That’s the power of yarn, I say. (Or maybe I just wanted to give myself an out in case I bombed?)

5. My third project was another sweater. It was a snowflake sweater, red and white. I did a pretty bang-up job with this one, but the yarn I used was very cheap, and unfortunately after a few wears it became horribly pilly. I did learn from this project how to strand yarn, carrying it over the backs of the other stitches; this was a lightbulb moment for me. I also learned, the hard way, the ultimate value of good quality yarn.

6. After that, I just messed up some things and got frustrated. Eventually, I got a hold of some Candide wool and started making socks. I experienced my own version of the Sweater Curse in a pair of ski socks made for a fickle boyfriend. Later, I made several pairs of the same for my most appreciative husband. Live and learn! I took a few years off when my children were small and took it up again about 6 years ago, and in earnest just about 2 years ago.

7. Sometimes, I like the yarn and the books and the blogs and the needles more than the knitting part...ssshh!!

8. I am a closet crocheter – filet included. I have even crocheted doilies. Damn nice doilies, dammit.

9. I am not an especially talented or prolific knitter, but I have this need to knit (okay, and sometimes to crochet) and in a way it connects me to who I was (have been?) at different points in my life. It is immensely satisfying to me as I'm sure it is to you, too. I live in fear of the day my eyesight starts to wane.

10. Knitters are some of the most fabulous people in my life :) Awwww, you guys are the greatest!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Men Knit

I stole this from squawker girl's blog - check it out! These guys rock.

YouTube rocks too. If you are into little Lego people, check this one out - my kids love it. Warning: the music may get stuck in your head for a while, causing your head to bob inexplicably...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Just One Quickie - I Swear!!!

After vowing to finish at least some of what I have OTN before starting anything else, I went ahead and made this today:


Isn't it cute?! It's my mom's birthday tomorrow, so of course I had to make something. I used some leftover Plymouth Suri Merino in celery green, a Vogue pattern, and added this picot bind-off for the edging and i-cord for the drawstring. It would have only taken a couple of hours if only I wasn't so stubborn...

What slowed me down was some damn Lion Brand chenille I got for $1 a skein this summer at Christmas Tree Shops - they had a big closeout, red and black only. I bought it thinking it would be just the thing for festive little projects like this one. You know, little holiday gift bags.

Anyway, I cast on and got a few inches in. The thing was mammoth and the Turkish cast-on bottom was all holey. Thinking I just hadn't yet mastered the technique, I ripped out and did it again. This time the cast-on looked fine. After several more inches, I noticed the v's of the knit stitches were tiny, separated by big fat ladders. The cast-on area now looked horrible again, all stretched out.

A non-stubborn person would have given up at this point and gone to another yarn (God knows I have a little kicking around.) But no - just one more try, this time pulling really hard. This is what I ended up with:


Eww. So I went and looked at the sleeve of the yarn to see if maybe I was way off with the needle size: knitting needles appear on the label. (I know the picture is all blurry; humor me.) Off to the website...where it says: product is not recommended for knitting. Doh!

Oh well, lesson learned. Sometimes it has to be about the process, I guess, otherwise we'd never learn anything. I love the bag, I learned the Turkish cast on, and mom will get a little goodie bag tomorrow. The only thing I would do differently is make the i-cord a wee bit shorter, but I will definitely be making more of these.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006


Another gorgeous fall day. We are on a roll here, kids!

I have made some progress on the IHS, as evidenced by my "new" progress meter (see sidebar). I love you html code!! How fun to change the colors around and keep track of all those knitted bits.

The meter has got me thinking that if I get cracking I can actually turn some of these WIPs into FOs. Certainly anything over 50% seems doable? Some of these things have been hanging around so long that at some point I just grew tired of them. Somehow, though, seeing them all together like this makes me want to work through them, one by one, in an orderly fashion. It would be lovely to get them all done.

LYS is having a crazy yarn sale at the end of the month that I sorely want to attend. Perhaps this will be my incentive to work that list...

Anyway, spent a few minutes earlier at Kat's blog having fun with this. I'll have to make sure my kids don't see it - I'll never get my computer back!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Work? Is it Monday Already??

Had a lovely weekend.

Saturday - gotta love kids' sports, they are the perfect excuse to sit outside all day in the gorgeousness of New England fall, KNIT, and holler at your children. (Bonus: other parent/friends to commiserate with.) Also: planting of fall mums (after getting of good deal on them at local farm).

Sunday - apple crisp for lunch, SnB with all my fave knitting ladies, and family dinner at Nana's.

Life just doesn't get any better than this!

But now it's Monday, and I really should be attending to some work things, along with the paralyzed dissertation proposal. Yikes.

IHS progress:

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