Monday, March 31, 2008

Yarn and Taxes

Cool online knitting tool of the day, in case you missed it: Interweave's Curvy Waist-Shaping Calculator! All that nasty math, done in a nice, logical way by the computer. No more pulling-out-your-hair over fractions! No more trying to guess how many rows to decrease! Yaaaay! (And I'm not excited *just* because I'm about two days away from working on the body of Titania. Really.)

Finally got the right flash-drive hooked to the right SD card, so here's my post-Lenten stash haul, in picture form (because that's WAY more fun):

The last skein of Country Christmas colorway
and some cute size 1 straights I've been wanting.

Point protectors, which I need,
a row counter that works on circular needles,
which I need, and purple and green
stitch markers, just because.

And, also just because, another picture of my Nutkin sock. No, I haven't suddenly learned to knit at super-speeds, this is the first sock. It's just the best picture thus far for actually representing the colorway of the little darling, so I'm posting. Plus, I love this sock, I'm so proud of myself! (And the second one actually *is* underway!)

I did *not* get to go to the Yarn Party yesterday, as I had hoped, but the deal with myself was "if you get the taxes done, you can go." Yarn Party was at 2pm; taxes were done around 6pm. I didn't quite make it, but I'm still alive and nobody elsedied, which are all possibilities when I'm forced to confront my financial neuroses. (I'm still calling them neuroses; the fact that I actually get through financial stuff, when forced, means it's not a full-blown psychosis yet. So there.)

Tomorrow, pics of Saturday's trip to Aylin's Woolgatherer!

Friday, March 28, 2008

One Sock down...

Last night, I finished my Nutkin Sock! As near as I can tell, a "three-needle bind-off" is what I usually do to seam my sweaters at the shoulders. I just use a crochet hook, and it's about ten times faster than using three needles. But I tried it As Directed, so I can at least say I did it properly once.

One Sock, Right.

I've already turned the cuff of the second sock, so it should be done soon(ish) - the Nutkin pattern goes very quickly, and as the toe of Sock #1 went speedily compared to the heel (where I was figuring out the short-row-heel instructions), I figure this second heel and toe will be very quick, indeed.

This weekend, assuming I finish my taxes, I'm going to start going through the Giant Room Full of UFOs, and figure out (a) better storage methods and (b) what I'm actually going to finish of what I've started. I'm actually hoping, I think, that my taxes take a while...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Nutkin Progress

Well, not quite so many loot pictures today as planned; I can't figure out how to get my USB port to stop trying to map the USB device to drive F (which is already assigned) and go instead to E, as it should (and as the other one does when *it* gets installed). *sigh* So, today, Nutkin Sock progress, and the really cute little Rural Chick stitch holder I got at Stitch DC Tuesday night. (Not finding a website for Rural Chick, drat!).

First, the sock at around 8pm last night, before the three-hour conversations with folks out west I haven't heard from in a dog's age:

Not crazy about the way taking pics of my own feet makes my calves look fat.

I've just started the short-row toe this morning, so should have one sock by the end of the day. Woohooo! I'm really liking my little Rural Chick stitch holder, too.

Useful *and* a cute little flag ribbon!
Plus, this pic more representative of Actual Colorway.

More photos tomorrow, maybe, although our computer guy is on a skiing vacation this week, so possibly not.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Crocheter's Prayer

One of the really *phenomenally* good crocheters I know just happens to work where I do. She's started a crochet class during lunch, since several (okay, all) of the girls at work have expressed interest in learning, and I pretend to help (mostly by finding videos on the internet). One of the girls said that she really needed a "Crocheter's Prayer", and much to my surprise, there wasn't really anything to *help* crocheters, more "I make this thinking of you, and putting my prayers and love into it as I go". So, to meet the need, I wrote the following:

Prayer for the New Crocheter

Now I sit down to crochet,
I have a scarf to make today.
Just ten more rows I have to go -
Because my teacher told me so.

Now I sit down to crochet,
To finish up, while it's still "day."
The hook won't work, the loops fall free!
This scarf will be the death of me!

Now I sit down to crochet,
I pray the Lord my yarn won't fray,
And if I stop before I'm done
I must remember
"it's for fun"!

One of the girls responded back immediately with:

Teacher, Teacher show Me which way -
You say 2 loops, 10 loops
My chain won't stay;
Teacher, Teacher HELP me Today
All I want to do is learn to CROCHET!

For REALLY COOL IDEAS, this is a great one for this time of year: Knit-Your-Own Espadrilles from flipflop bottoms!

Tomorrow, pics of all the loot from my It's-Not-Lent and My-Birthday-Has-Passed shopping frenzy at Stitch DC!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jessica Rabbit can SEW!

Okay, so, I collect Disney pins. Mostly Jessica Rabbit and Si & Am (the evil Siamese cats from "Lady & the Tramp"), but sometimes there's some-other-character doing something needlework-related (lots of Tinkerbell, for example.) You can imagine the really, really loud squeals when my husband handed me this for my birthday:

Jessica Rabbit - Sewing!

Now I also collect American flag-themed things, so the fact that she's playing Betsy Ross... BONUS!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Finished Travelling Roses Shawl

The big news: I finished the Travelling Roses Lace Scarf, which became a shawl, thanks to winging it with some lacy ruffly edging. See?

Obligatory shot of whole shawl

Pinned in front


Of course, I finished it Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon, we found the two extra balls of Lacette that had gone missing. That's the rule, I think: the yarn won't reveal itself until it's no longer needed.

Had a fun weekend, over all, and I'm really happy I got the shawl done in time for Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mutant Bunnies and other signs of Spring

'Tis the season for cute little bunnies... thus, everyone should make a Mutant Bunny Hat. I know I will (eventually)...and really, everyone needs a Mutant Bunny Hat. (I just have a normal bunny hat, now.)

'Tis also the season for springtime colors. Here's my first finished bit of Titania - a sleeve. Yes, I learned long ago that if I want a sweater, I really should knit the sleeves first. (This, sadly, isn't possible for The Cat Sweater, since I have to go from the arm-steeks down. *sigh* This is why I still don't have The Cat Sweater as a wearable object.)

Titania, one sleeve down...

I'm enjoying working on this pattern; I used a variation on the cuff lace for the edging on my Travelling Roses Scarf/Shawl (i.e., I started with that, then added stitches hither and thither to make it extra-puffy). Hopefully, the shawl will be done by Easter, and I'll have pics next week.

Now, because they're pretty, I give you my Birfday Daffodils:

And, okay, because I'll be getting older soon.

I neither took nor posted the pic on my *actual* birthday, because I'm a mite paranoid, and because anyone who knows me has the date scorched in their brains due to the Great UFO Arrival Party of 1991. (The daffodils in that spot have been sprouting around my birthday since before I could actually manage to say "birthday" properly, hence the "birfday".)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Knitting Scouts!

Okay, so, on the Nutkin socks, I'm debating how tall to make them. Never having used the yarn before, it *looks* like there will be plenty for two socks. (It's advertised that way.) Plus, I have short, boxy feet, so I don't use *that* much yarn, really. Although having just four needles (one was lost at gaming over the weekend) is making it a bit too tricky for me to keep everything as it should be, so I'll be ripping back a bit once I have more size 1s.

In more sock-related news, I have, in fact, figured out Problem A with the Sekrit Projikt socks. I have figured it so well that I may (sadly) attempt to get over-fancy. Thankfully, it will have to wait until next week, when I can load up on more size 1 bamboo knitting needles. (I have another set in the house. If you've seen my house, you know why buying a third (and fourth) set is just easier.)

Fun things found: Knitting Scouts. How many badges do YOU have? I've got more than I thought, thanks to my mother. (She qualifies for MacGuyver III, due to the Save The Grizzlies project of 1969. Barbed wire, a turkey net (now a "yarn bra"), and a size-10 aluminum knitting needle kept a rogue herd of tourists from getting eaten.)

Preach Knitting
to the Masses

Math Prowess

Math Prowess

Knits Items with
No Useful Purpose

Level One
Knitting Injury
(Medical Attention Required)

Level Two
Knitting Injury
(Trip to ER Necessary)

Inordinately Fond
of Novelty Fibers

Level One

Level Two

Feel free to ask questions as to how I qualified for some of my badges!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Learn to Knit On-Line (...and in Finnish)!

For Cindy, Quilter Extrordinaire (and anyone thinking "gee, knitting looks fun!"), here's a list of various on-line resources for learning to knit:
  1. Lion Brand Yarn probably has the most extensive and detailed set of instructions: The Learn To Knit Tutorial. Assumes one is very new to yarncraft, and carefully explains EVERYTHING. I like this one best. There's even an option to download the entire set of instructions as a PDF file (it's 60 pages long, FYI).
  2. has videos that explain everything with visuals, which is a huge help for lots of folks. I'm a fan of tutorial videos.
  3. The Yarn Company has a quick basic lesson that starts with "make a slip knot"... which is really a good place to start. You'll learn enough to make a fun scarf, for certain!
As long as we're on the topic of fun on-line knitting resources, last week, I discovered I need to learn Finnish. Now, mind you, I could cheat HORRIBLY by wandering down the block to the Swedish embassy and asking for a translation, since Swedish/Finnish is rather like Spanish/Portugese (close enough that someone fluent in one can probably get by in the other), but I'd much rather figure things out on my own and then casually be knitting from a Finnish pattern before being spotted by the Embassy's super-knitter (who is really the person I'd have to ask, since most English-speakers don't understand English knitting patterns, so accosting one of the kids over for the term would only result in tears and possible ill will between our nations).

Why the Finnish, you ask? Because, if I finish the three lace projects I really should finish any time soon, my next pattern is the Aquila Shawl by Sari Astrom from Ulla. (Add lots of umlauts on her last name, I don't know how to code for them yet.) Thankfully, I found Yarnover's list of translations for knitting terms, one chart of which deals with Finnish/English translations.

Because I need more pictures on here, here's the Stitch DC in Georgetown.There are little knitted-chick egg covers in the window. V. Cute!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Unexpected Sock

In the I-have-no-willpower-and-people-musn't-give-me-irresistable-yarn Department: there was a slight hiccup in the Not-starting-new-projects Department. The irresistable yarn was Scholler&Stahl Fortissima Socka, in the pictured colorway (needs must improve my German, methinks). #0013, lot# 62157, 60% superwash wool, %25% bamboo, 15% polyamide. Feels only a wee bit scratchy! (For me, anything with "wool" and "not instantly itching all over" being unconnected is a relatively new development.)

A nascent Nutkin sock.

Now, this is a nifty little sock, and I love the way it starts... mostly because with a few slight alterations (okay, huge alterations), something similar might work for my Sekrit Projikt. And make all the problems I was having with said Sekrit Projikt go away - YAY!

Monday, March 17, 2008


Today, we interrupt this Knitting Journal for the color Yellow.

First, the forsythia bushes at the back
of the house have finally filled in nicely.

And look how my car matches the daffodils!

Tomorrow, we will resume actual knitting news.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Miscellany

Finally got to Sweet Life last night, and it was great to see everyone again. Also managed to pick up the stitches on the ENTIRE edge of the Travelling Roses Now-it's-a-Shawl, and between that and my commute in (plus being driven about in the morning), I'm actually on the THIRD row of what I figure will be about twenty to twenty-four of ruffly shawl edging. Which, I should add, I'm completely winging as I go. Hopefully it will (a) work and (b) be done by Easter. It's going to be a very Easter-y shawl.

Signs I really need to make to put in front of my desk at work, so I could just knit and people would leave me alone without bringing me any of that "work" stuff:

In the things-on-TV-that-are-nifty-and-I-want-one-department, one of the Entertainment Tonight reporters had a killer chartreuse dress last week. Sadly, I could only get this blurry photo in time, as the A/V system hasn't been finished yet. But it's enough that I'll be able to probably make one for myself. Scary thing? I've already got the chartreuse spandex on hand.

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Cashmere.
You are sophisticated and luxe.
You can often be found in high-end boutiques and hobnobbing with the upper crust.
You are one of the beautiful people
and you don't let anyone forget it!

Take this quiz!

Quizilla | More Quizzes

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Okay, it's gonna be a shawl.

Fun Things Found Department: Sanguine Gryphon's Fairy Tale Sock Club. Wheee! This should be fun, indeed! I'm going to sign up after Easter, for certain, if there are still spaces left.

As mentioned earlier in the week ...somewhere (possibly one of the Ravelry forums, since it's clearly not here), I acquired through gift two more balls of Lacette to finish the Travelling Roses Lace Scarf.

More yarn is all well and good, and, okay, I've spent the time this week that wasn't finishing Haeckelbeutel or starting Titania, getting the scarf finished. But is that enough? Nooooooooo! Because I knitted the scarf on size 8 needles, it's almost a shawl. It just needs a pretty, fluffy border. Rather like the scallop lace on the sleeves and bottom of Titania. And gee, that requires an 11-stitch repeat. Which - oh look! 44 rows (add 1 stitch every 3 and that's 66, or every 4 for 55), and gee, 11-stitch repeat border. Sometimes it really *does* all come together without me even trying. Yay, pretty frilly border! I figure five repeats of the scallop should do it (20 rows of border), and *poof*! It's a shawl!!

I've started to pick up the edge stitches already. The scarf is five and a half feet long *before* blocking, and sixteen inches wide. Yikes! It also looks like the EXACT same pattern of a shawl I saw somewhere on the internet this morning (if you've knitted something over and over a bunch of times, you recognize it). I can't find the bloody thing now, of course, but it was yellow, and clearly used the roses-and-diamonds-with-roses-at-intersects that the Travelling Roses Scarf uses. It's not this one ((Ravelry link)), although it's dead-on similar, just it had a scallopy edge (like mine will have). It was a picture of the bottom of the shawl and the wearer's feet. It's not the Shetland Rose Lace Stole ((Ravelry link)) either, but I'm sensing "roses within diamonds" is a popular theme.
Who knew?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Here we go again...

The wonders of no willpower and a short attention span: I start projects like... um... I breathe.
Easily, and without thought.

The Culprit: Elizabeth Klett's Titania sweater, for spring. (Hey, she said it was lovely for spring. Can't argue with the designer!) The first batch of sock "test yarn" for the Sekrit Projikt was worsted, thus didn't work at all (I've since replaced it with sock yarn)... so it's been sitting on my hope chest, mocking me, and making me notice it time and time again. And, as luck would have it, I just happen to know where my size six straights are right now. (This being written Tuesday afternoon.)

The Victim: My UFO count, which, after a brief flirtation with the number 57, has scooted its skirts back up to 58.

The Aftermath:

Something approaching a sleeve. Or a back. Or something. We'll see how quickly it shapes up into something (which will be abandoned once Spring has passed and I still don't have a sweater). The math on this one (to make it actually fit me) is giving me, well, fits, but I'll make it. I'm a bright, brave Gryphon, and numbers don't scare me.

Back up to 58, dagnabit.
Melanie M. Seward-Rolle

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lace, lace and MORE lace!!

Holy cats, you gotta see this. Miss Alice Faye's blog - oh my heavens. Just *look* at that amazing lace over there! I'm totally in awe. Wowzers. I wanna knit lace like that when *I* grow up!! Even more amazing, the Flickr photoset she's got. Wow, wow, wow!!! She's done a couple of doilies, the patterns for which can be found for free at YarnOver.Net (my new favorite lace site!). Oooooooo! I've just *got* to finish a couple of projects this week, I've just got to! I have some Lacy Lamb that *really* wants to turn into a doily (or six)!!

And, just because, a pic of my Shiny New Backpack I got from my bro in Seattle. In my favorite colors, and monogrammed, yet! (Today's the first day I've used it.)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Haekelbeutel finished!

This morning's headache: getting the bloody link for the Simple Top-Down Mitts to work over on Ravelry. Gaaaaah! I swear, I put in the same thing three times before it finally took. Gaaaaaah!! Anyway, all fixed now (or at least it works as of two minutes ago; let's hope it keeps working).

Oh, great. Now flickr won't upload my pictures of my finished Haekelbeutel. Gah. The internets gotz fleaz 2day...

Which reminds me: I did, in fact, finish something over the weekend, which is 1/4 of what I need to keep my "4 projects off the list per month" going. "Inga's Haekelbeutel by Inga Joana Mertens", done in a solid color, just to be different:

First, bits get crocheted together,
through the back loops so there's
a nice ridge between squares.

Then, handles.

Shot of finished bag that's actually
a shot of my lovely Tiffany-style back door.

Actual photo of finished project.
Conveniently, it's holding more yarn.

Yay! Back to just 57 UFOs!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Knitting and Crochet - actual progress!

I'm getting picky about my knitting, especially if other (and better) knitters might see it. To wit: I have frogged the same twenty rows of the Secret of the Stole II three times now. (Finally, I got it right this morning, and can now proceed as charted.) The second re-knit, I came up with a workable cluge... but the little center medallion wasn't going to look like all the other little center medallions. And since it's the one that starts a chain of the dratted things, it really should try to look like the rest, right? The wonkiness at the edges of the shawl, thankfully, can be straightened out during blocking (I hope). And hopefully the knitting will pick up pace one of these days, if I'm actually going to wear this thing for Easter!! Thankfully, I'm halfway through Hint #4 in the last three days, and about to get back to the easy/less counting part of the stole.

I'm really glad I decided to switch every other row between the yarn balls, as the second has so much more blue... but by doing that, it's gradual, and I really like the way it flows from one dominant color to the next.


The Hackebeutel (sp? Hackiebuttie!) is also coming along nicely. I've finished making the squares, and I've joined the first row together with a seaming I like (squares back to back and chain through back loops). Repeat three times, then join the four rows, edge, add handles, and I'm done! Then I'm totally making another one with a striping yarn of some sort. Wheee!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Facing Reality

First, I actually got to spend almost an HOUR knitting at work this morning. Our Florida Guy (moved for health reasons, telecommutes every day - from next to his swimming pool) is back for three days to train us on Evil Computer Interface X. (Not that I feel strongly about learning about it or anything.) My computer was the only one that had enough space around it *and* memory to get a class in to learn it - of which I wasn't a part. So I sat further down the room and knitted! Woohoo!!

Second, I appear to have gone from the 10% of humans-post-gallbladder that can eat bloody anything I want, and have gone to the 10% who can't eat *any* fat without a bad reaction. How do I know this? No fat (for the reflux) for two weeks now, until lunch today. (We took out Florida Guy to the bar down the street.) Had a tasty Reuben and fries - and only ate half the sandwich, and maybe 10 fries (and an onion ring), since I didn't want to push my luck. That was around 1pm. I was fine until 2pm... and I've been paying for it ever since.

Drat. Next thing, I'm going to find out they've stopped making yarn!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Knitting the Web...

Another wonderful thing I found out there: Silver's Sock Class - Two Toe Up Socks on One Circular Needle Tutorial. Very, very thorough. As soon as I finish my Hackiebuttie (or some other project), I'm going to try making a pair of socks *this* way. Which will help make a second, slightly more complicated pair of socks later... Yay!!

Have I mentioned that I'm a bit of a yarn addict all of a sudden, especially now that I can't buy? To the point that the girls at the local Stich DC were wondering if I'd broken my foot again (the last time I went weeks without wandering in to at least say "hi" was the Haagen-Daaz Ankle Incident of May, 2007). They understood (sort of) "giving up Yarn Buying for lent", knew to ask if the prohibition included yarn-related items (it does), and also understood that I'll be ordering my own umbrella swift on Tuesday, March 25 (the first day they're open after five pm after Easter). Thankfully, they also understood that "no yarn swift, but yarn" constituted an emergency, and Friday night, wound up my next ball of Gaia for me. This made SOTS-II go much more smoothly over the weekend. (While my husband has, once, sat still and acted as a yarn swift of sorts, I'm not forseeing getting him to do this again before Easter. And there's two balls of Gaia left to wind between here and Easter, if I want that shawl done.)

Oooo, fun things to go to: Camp Stitches in White Eagle, NY! I seriously seriously thought about going, since it's not that far from my Dad, and it'd be a nice summer vacation... but for my kid sister is getting married that very weekend, and if I'm not in Florida for that, I'm dead.

And did you see the Ulla shawl in the Daily Chum? (English translation here.) I have some lovely sunset-colored yarn that's SO going to happen there. After I've finished 20 or so OTHER UFOs first, of course.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Yarn Ring Tones

Got a lot of work done recently on Secret of the Stole II. I'm now on Hint #4, have parts of the pattern embedded in my brain (which makes things go quickly, at least!), and have made it to my second ball of Gaia. This one has much more blue than yellow in it (the first was the other way around), so I was a good bunny and spent twenty rows switching between balls every other row. I think the transition is working well (since both balls have lots of green, which was rather the point). Anyway, it's really pretty, and I've got a whole THREE WEEKS to finish the thing if I'm wearing it for Easter. (This decision to knit an occasionally tricky project insanely fast may have had something to do with my decision to up my UFO count by one by starting a nice, simple, fast crochet project Sunday afternoon. And not that SOTS-II is tricky at all, it just involves counting carefully, which is not my forte.)

Today, I give you something I actually wish existed: Yarn Ring Tones. I wish I could remember what search I was running when I got "yarn ring tones" as a result...!

I mean, imagine actually *knowing* that the yarn was calling you...!

Monday, March 3, 2008

More on the wishlist, something off the queue

Another entry in the things I want catgetory: The Moroccoan Days/Arabian Nights Shawl Kit. Thankfully, it's mohair (I'm not friends with mohair), it's Lent, and I honestly can't decide between the two colorways, so the Impulse Buy of the Week has been prevented. I may change my mind at the end of March, though. I've been looking for a fourth shawl to do, and I really like this one...

...and besides, I was working with WOOL yesterday with no ill effects! Actual Patons WOOL. Having been a Very Brave Gryphon, and getting a whole bunch of scary tax, business, accounting and assorted life management stuff done over the weekend (in addition to having a whole bunch of fun, I must add), I started my Hackiebuttie (aka "Inga's Haekelbeutel by Inga Joana Mertens" - Ravelry link here). See?

Also went to the National Museum of the American Indian on Saturday, and wound up getting tiny knitted Finger Puppets. Got a rabbit for my mom, eagle for my dad, sheep for me (I'm an Aries) and my husband picked the llama for himself, as it was "the coolest".

rabbit, llama, sheep, eagle

The museum itself is "the coolest", too - we spent most of the day there, and only got through two floors. We'll have to go back sometime this season to catch the *other* two floors. (PS, if you go, eat at the cafeteria. I suggest splitting one Five-Regions Platter among everyone, unless there are non-meat eaters who would rather not have their piles and piles of yummy veggiefoods touched by meat (although they'd probably work with you on separate plates - super good staff there!).