Wednesday, September 27, 2006

WIP's and a meme

Ten knittery things you didn’t know about me. A meme.

I found this on Grumperina’s blog.

  1. I used to knit combined style, way back before the internet was around to tell me that this style had a name, and wasn’t “wrong”. I was taught continental by my grandmother when I was a child, but when I picked up a pair of needles again in college, I couldn’t quite remember how to knit and purl. I remembered how to do one stitch correctly, but not the other, and all my stitches were twisted. See my first sweater (100% twisted stitches). Eventually I figured out how to change the other stitch so I wouldn’t have twisted stitches (fully combined knitting now), and I knit happily along until I came to my first lace pattern. I figured out how to change my yos and k2togs to work, but decided after that project, it was time to buckle down and re-learn regular continental knitting. Makes following printed patterns SO much easier.
  2. I made my first real lace object this year. It was a scarf for my mom out of laceweight merino. Wow that’s skinny yarn! This was pre-blog, so I didn’t think to take a photo.
  3. It has been almost exactly a year since I discovered the world of knitting online. Prior to this, my searches for knitting information always seemed to land me at the LionBrand or similar sites. Not exactly inspirational. For some reason, it just didn’t occur to me that knitters would be gathering together in cyberspace. Expectant mothers, yes. Star Trek fans, sure. But knitters? How could such a visual craft translate to words? I was really amazed when I stumbled on my first knitting blog (, and thrilled to find the KnittyBoard.
  4. I really, really dislike mohair. Makes my nose itch.
  5. I made my first socks this year! Since then, I have also made my second, third, and fourth pairs of socks. I will take a short sock-knitting break while I wear them this fall and get a sense of how sturdy the four different brands of yarn are.
  6. I enjoy the process of knitting, but I think I fall more in the “product” camp. I need to see a useful finished object at the end.
  7. I never save my swatches.
  8. I learned how to do Fair Isle color work this year. The multicolored hats were my first (and second) attempts. I did them in worsted weight yarn. I am contemplating a sweater in finer gauge yarn for my daughter next, possibly Oriental Flower by A & J Starmore. I am also contemplating checking into a padded room with a white huggy jacket.
  9. I prefer working on circular needles, even when working flat, but I prefer dpns to very small circulars for small diameters like sleeves.
  10. It makes me uneasy to have more than one project on the needles at once. I very much prefer to finish something before starting a new project. The exception to this is airplane knitting. If there is a sweater in progress at home, I will happily leave it there in favor of taking along a sock or scarf on a trip. Efficiency of packing and all that.

So, how about you?

Clippity, cloppity, clappity!

I am 3/7 of the way done with my Clapotis. Here it was this morning:

Bee surgery.

The neckline bindoff on Audrey’s Bumblebee sweater, which slid easily over her head last spring, now won’t go on without a fight. I unbound the edge, and re-bound using a “stretchy” sock bindoff. At least it is stretchy on socks. It doesn’t feel so stretchy on this cotton sweater. The sweater is very wide and the arms quite long compared to Audrey’s body, so she could get another season or two out of this if I can make the neck large enough for her noggin.

I got a very good phone call yesterday. I'll tell you all about it when I get it in writing!

Friday, September 22, 2006


Yayyyyy! DH is coming home today! I bought new curtain rings at Joann today to replace the partial set that is on the curtains now. These have clips to attach to the fabric too - much easier than the rings that have to be sewn on. The sew-on rings that are on the curtains now keep falling off too - they are metal, and there is a tiny gap in the ring where the two ends meet (why it was not welded shut is beyond me).

I worked on Clapotis during the Grey's Anatomy premier last night:

I am nearing the end of the increase section (2), and also nearing the end of the first skein. Would have liked to finish the skein before going to bed, but was toooo sleeepy.

Did you watch Grey's Anatomy last night? What did you think of the abandoned baby storyline? Besides it not really fitting with the rest of the show in general, I thought they missed a golden opportunity to promote Safe Haven laws. These laws, which are on the books in 46 states including Washington, where the show is set, allow a mother to leave a newborn baby within a few days of it's birth at hospitals, police stations, etc. Anonymously. It's such a terrible thing to hear on the news that another baby has been found in a trash can, when a safe option exists. There is more information about it here. Despite its almost nationwide presence, these laws have not had a significant impact on decreasing the numbers of abandoned babies. The main reason? Lack of public awareness of the law and publicity among those who are most likely to abandon their babies: young, unwed mothers. Wouldn't this show have been a perfect opportunity to mention it?


Pomatomus Socks
Designer: Cookie A.
Pattern Source:
Yarn: CTH Supersock Merino in Wild Cherry
Needles: US2, Clover Bamboo dpns
Pattern notes: great pattern! I changed the toes to short-row and kitchenered them closed across the bottom of the foot.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I cheated

I promised I would not cast on any new project until after the living room was redecorated. Nothing major, just some paint, new curtains, and a valence. The living room is Kicking.My.Butt.

First, some "before" photos:

Not terrible, but not good. We painted the walls of every room right after we moved in to clean them up (house was 13 years old and had raised 3 boys). Just went with "contractor's white" to avoid having to make any color decisions. You can barely tell where the walls end and the ceiling begins. Next, the curtains. Very heavy, ornate curtains from the late eighties in deep tones of red, green, and blue with a golden paisely overlay. They actually looked good (if a bit dated) with our old green sofa. But with the new furniture (geometric prints in shades of gray/black/brown/tan/beige) - a pattern/color war.

First off - remove the old curtains. I pulled up where I should have pulled out and removed a sizeable chunk of drywall with the curtains. Add 3 days for extensive wall repair.

Next - paint. New color: Behr Country Beige. Sigh. It's a nice beige, but so much lighter than I was expecting. Now you can see where the walls and ceiling meet, but you still wouldn't say we had added a "color" to the walls. I was expecting more of a distinct tan color based on the chip, and the adage that paint is always more intense on the wall than the chip.

Then - remove the painter's masking tape. Accidentally removed a strip of paint at the edge by the door - right down past the top surface of the drywall. Time to get the spackle back out!

Time to hang the curtains - I measured the length 4 times to be sure I knew how long they were, including hardware. I wanted a 1" clearance over the baseboards - they are puddling on the floor. Also discovered the dry cleaner had lost two of the curtain rings. Yes, I should have checked this a year ago when I had them cleaned (these were some hand-me-down curtains my mom had made for their old house).

Last - went to Joann to pick up another package of clips for the valance - discontinued style. No more to be had. Can't find them on the internet.

What a freaking disaster!

So, with DH out of town this week, there's really not much more I can do to the living room until he gets home. Can you blame me for pulling out the needles?

My newest project: Clapotis in Noro Silk Garden. Very calming neutral shades of oatmeal, lavendar and greens. I stitched happily along while watching "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" last night on DVD. And I'll stitch along more tonight with the season premier of "Grey's Anatomy" - Dr. McDreamy - swoooon.

Kudos to Kevin!
My friend Kevin had a small part in the season premier of CSI:Special Victims Unit on Tuesday! He was the paramedic attending the detectives who were at the bad guy's cabin when it blew up. A speaking role! Kevin has been working really hard for the last decade to get into the acting business, and while he has been in (or done voice work for) many independent films, shows, and cartoons, this is the first role that has been on PrimeTime network TV. So I finally got to see him.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lucky Tank Top

Pattern: Lucky Tank Top
Designer: Wendy D. Johnson in Wendy Knits
Yarn: Filtes King Stampato Color Baby #800 (100% merino), 4+ skeins
Needles: US3, Inox 10" straight
Began: 6/8/06, Finished: late July, 2006

Pattern notes and lessons learned: Nice easy pattern, could easily be done by an advanced beginner. The lace border at the bottom is knitted first, then the body stitches are picked up along the long edge. There are two errors in the pattern book, they are corrected on Wendy's website. If I were to do this pattern again I would: (1) make it longer. The 19" length comes just below my belly button, skimming the top edge of regular waist shorts or pants. I am too self-conscious to wear this with lower-cut pants. Memo to self: I like my tanks at least 21" long. (2) change the shoulder shaping and bindoff. This uses the standard "stair step" shoulder bindoff, then the two edges (front and back) are seamed together. I have heard there is a short-row method for shoulders that results in a smoother edge, and then I think I might put the stitches on holders and do either a three-needle bindoff or even Kitchener. The tank is quite lightweight and I don't like my bulky seams. (3) lower the neckline. Would prefer a deeper scoop. (4) Color. I envisioned myself wearing this with golden tan arms. I forgot that I work in an office and my arms are rarely tan, and even then, it's more of a farmer tan. Not a great color choice for me.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

While searching for yarn, I killed some houseplants

Don't you just love the randomness of Google searches? Bina mentioned in a post two great non-pilling yarns she likes for kids-wear, one of them being Easy Care 8. I hadn't heard of this one before, so I googled it. One of the hits on the top page is 8 easy care plants for your dormroom. Of the eight plants listed there, I currently have 5. They are: English Ivy (hedera helix): surviving, but not thriving; Pothos (Epipremnum aureum): growing enthusiastically on the side of my bathtub; Jade (crassula arborescens): getting a little leggy in the foyer; rubber tree (Ficus elastica decora): nothing can kill this plant; and Mother-in-law's tongue (sanservieria trifasciata): it's doubled in size since I bought it and has taken over two pots. The other three are: spider plant (died in my office), cactus (nope, I couldn't keep this alive), and African Violet (never tried this one).

I don't live in a dorm anymore, but my plant-caring instincts haven't improved much since college, so I try to stick to the no-brainers. Some other houseplants I've had great luck with are: Schifflera (umbrella plant), philodendron, bamboo, and assorted bromeliads. The orchids were a disaster. I should just stick to visiting them at the botanical gardens.

Crack in a bag at Target.

I bought a little bag of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Squares at lunchtime today. Oh.My.Goodness these are good. No comparison at all to the Hershey's bars in the vending machine. My bag came with a Sweepstakes gamepiece inside. First prize: A trip to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival in San Francisco. Second prize: A day of Chocolate Spa treatments (?). Third prize: another bag of chocolate. I did not win any of these prizes. The consolation prize is a coupon for $1 off another two bags of chocolate. With the coupons in these two bags, I can get another 4 bags, and then another 8 bags, and then 16, 32, 64..... until I have spent my daughter's college fund and am laying face-down in the living room in a pool of dark, melted, mind-fogging chocolate.

You know where to find me.

Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf

Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf
Pattern: by Karen Baumer
Yarn: CTH Super Sport, Old Rose, 1 skein
Needles: US 5, plastic
Notes: used pattern modification (at bottom of pattern in linked page) to make the ends of the scarf symmetrical; Unblocked scarf is 5" wide at 36 sts across leg of triangle. This allowed a reasonable length scarf from one skein.
Began8/22/06, Finished 9/10/06

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This is me in a nutshell

My Personality

Openness To Experience

Find your MySpace/Xanga/Hi5 soulmate / pysch twin
Test Yourself Compare Yourself View Full Report

MySpace Surveys, MySpace Layouts and hi5 by Pulseware Survey Software

A meme making the rounds, first spotted on Zib's blog, which directed me to Laura...

I often find these personality profile tests to be frighteningly accurate. Last week I had to take a much longer version (1.5 hours total testing time, including a quantitative (think SAT exam) section for the job interview process. Assuming my personality has not changed too much in the last week, I like to think I would make a good employee. The results of the pulseware test (advanced version, 120 questions, 6 - 12 minutes) suggest though, that I might not be management material. Which is too bad, because I really think, and I have been telling my interviewers, that after a few more years at the lab bench, I would really like to move towards project/program management.

Some of the more dismaying analysis: people think I am arrogant, and although I am perceived to be well-educated, I do not appear to be an intellectual. 9 years of post-HS education and I'm not an intellectual? I think it's because I checked "strongly disagree" for the "wears black turtlenecks while drinking strong coffee and smoking cigarettes" statement. Just kidding. That wasn't really a question.

I'm off for interview #3 today - I wonder if they will share the results of their testing with me too? Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Knitting a rectangle

The scarf goes on and on and on… I am getting a little bored with this scarf. I like the way it looks, but its all garter stitch. Short rows keep it from being entirely mind-numbing, and hopefully the diagonal construction will prevent it from stretching out too much, but it’s basically an all garter stitch rectangle. I measured it last night – 34” long and the remaining ball of wool has dropped under the 50% mark. Woo-hoo! The end is in sight!

After I finish this scarf, and kitchener up the toe of the second Pomatomus (remember the second Pomatomus?) I am not, repeat NOT, going to cast on a new project until the living room is painted, the curtains hung and a new valence sewn. Because that room is really depressing me. It’s so close to being finished, nice new furniture, new lamps, some coordinating accessories. New wall color and window treatments would make it complete. Okay, a new carpet would really be nice too, but that isn’t in the short term plans.

Next project on the drawing board? There are so many things I want to do. A distinct down-side to having a stash, I am discovering. I used to only buy yarn for the next project in line, but my friends at the Knitty Coffeeshop convinced me to buy buckets of beautiful yarn to keep around in case inspiration strikes. So now I’ve got a big under-bed box of yarn and not enough time to knit it!. Here’s some of my ideas:

Malabrigo grape colorway - 1 skein. A winter hat I think. It sounds like it gets a little too pilly for a scarf, but it is so soft, I’m sure I can wear it near my face or neck and not itch.

CTH SuperSport – assorted skeins. I think I’ll make all the blue-toned colorways into a feather-and-fan wrap. I love the way that pattern looks in variegated yarn.

Noro Silk Garden – 7 skeins. Enough for a Clapotis!

Noro Kureyon – 7 skeins. A vest? I’d like to try designing a garment on my own, and a vest seems a good first start.

Margaret Stowe lace – lace scarf for MIL.

From the Fall Interweave knits: the Sienna Cardigan. Other projects I like in this issue are Gatsby Girl and Coral Crossing (sans pockets). I’m leery of knitting a next-to-the-skin sweater though. I haven’t had good luck with animal fibers next to my skin. Sometimes merino, sometimes cashmere, but even those aren’t sure things. I’d hate to invest the time and money to knit a sweater and then not be able to wear it. The cardigan is designed to wear OVER another shirt, so I know I could wear that.

That’s not the end of the stash of course, but those are the things that are calling out to me now.

Want to hear about the fabric stash? Nah, didn’t think so.

We had a visitor on our porch last night.

He (or she) forgot to wipe his (or her) feet off. A raccoon maybe? I've not seen any evidence (upturned garbage cans) in the neighborhood, but the prints seem a little wrong for groundhogs and squirrels, right?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A set of washcloths

Well, I was a busy little bee on my vacation last week. When I wasn't taking the kidlet to the lake or scarfing down my MIL's cooking, I was churning out chenille washcloths as a gift to Audrey's Duckling room teachers. She just graduated to the Puppy room last week. She loves her "school", and the teachers in the Duckling room were just so wonderful. I made six, two each of the three colors shown below (you can get two cloths from each skein). Unfortunately I really botched one of the purple ones, but didn't notice until after it was washed, which made frogging and re-knitting impossible. So, each teacher will get two. They are wrapped around a green olive-oil soap.

Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille Washcloths

Pattern: Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille Washcloth free pattern
Yarn: Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille. Colors: lime, lavendar, and light blue.
Needles: US6, plastic? These were some of my Granny's old needles, and they aren't metal, but don't feel like modern plastic. They are white, very smooth and almost shiny. They were made by Boye.
Notes: the ball band says hand wash or dry-clean, I tossed them in the washer on warm water, delicate cycle. Then I tumble-dried them. They shrank and got denser, which I actually liked better than the original fabric. Who's going to dry-clean their washcloths? I was very happy to see no significant shedding or worming of the chenille fiber during the wash/dry cycle.