Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ear Cozy

I have been eyeballing this pattern for probably more than a year. I am a big fan of pony tails and not so fond of cold ears. For these reasons alone this seemed like a great thing to own. It is also made from under 1000 yrds of yarn, so it also seems like a great way to get rid of project left overs. I never made it though because there was a lot of scary talk about it online. It seemed that every forum I visited had at least one thread about how this pattern was plagued with FOs that turned out WAY too big. I have always had gauge consistency issues and I've been a little scared of those patterns that tell me to figure out anything out on my own.

The other night I was looking for a instant gratification project to take a sock break. This one tempted me again, and I figured if I can knit a sweater, I can handle this cute little short row head band. This one is made with the left over Bare Super Wash Wool from my last baby blanket. I cast on 100 stitches instead of the 120 in the pattern. I did do all 15 repeats of row 5 like the pattern suggested. It took about 3 hours or less and I couldn't be happier with the result. It is soft, cuddly, simple, and washable. I didn't have a spare button lying around so I had to improvise. My favorite closure is this one (Rav Link) that used some spare legos. I don't think it would have been hard to get myself legos for this one, but it might be difficult to find them always missing because my hubby snatched them to play with. I made a little Icord dumbbell to hold it together instead.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rolling Along

We've been a little under the weather here. It has increased the sleeping quite a bit, and decreased the knitting a little. No worries though, the productivity has still been way up there. I finished the socks for my brother in-law and started a much deserved pair for myself. I also cast on a lace project and made myself a headband.

For tonight, I'll just share the finished socks with you. This isn't the best photo, but it will have to do. These are a tad too long for me so I don't make a very good model for them and they are no where near as long as hubby's feet, so he's not allowed to try them on. When I put them on, the pattern shows up better than they do on my sock blockers. In addition to the lack of foot models hanging around, we've also had rainy weather and a lack of sunshine for lighting. The pattern is Earl Grey, and I went all crazy with yarn colored Ash. The pattern was simple, and the color far from extravagant, but they are exactly what I wanted. I mentioned when I cast them on that I wasn't certain my BIL would want or appreciate hand knit socks. So my goal was tasteful, and what ever the male version of elegant is. I wanted them to be easy to like for the recipient, and I wanted them to be easy to make to ease my frustration in a worst case scenario. These socks were all of those things, and a real pleasure to make. It was close to mindless knitting (which is good for someone with a head full of cold) but there was still enough going on that the FO is something special that I am excited to gift. I've also been assured by my hubby that I'm allowed to beat his brother up if he doesn't like them. I doubt it will come to that though, since he's on the opposite side of the country. It does make me question whether or not I'd want hubby to be my big brother.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bad News Travels Fast

At six this morning I was groggily checking my email when i was snapped into alertness by bad news from my alma mater. The news didn't come in an email from a friend or a colleague; it was one of the news bulletins in the higher ed update that I get every morning. This has been the second time since I left that I've gotten news this way. While they were both different types of news and completely unrelated, neither of them were good.

Today's news has me unsettled. I am not disappointed or embarrassed like I have been with other negative news reports. There is a lump in my throat and knots in my stomach. I am not involved in what's going on there. There is nothing I can do from here to make it better. It is not news that directly affects me any more, but I wish some of that weren't true. Today's news and how it affected me, made me realize just how much that place was home.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Match Made in Jersey

Both my scarf and its hat are finished, and I am mighty pleased with the results. The hat took about 80 grams of they yarn, so not quite a full skein. It also means that there wasn't much extra left over to add more length to the scarf. The scarf is a little short at just over 50 inches When it was all over though, I had less than 6 inches left over, and I like not having a lot of extra yarn. (Having too much extra yarn makes be feel compelled to make some teeny tiny project just so I don't waste it.) Again if you want to see the stitch patterns together you can click on the picture to enlarge and see them better.

The scarf pattern is Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks and the hat is The Amanda Hat. The yarn is 2 skeins of Manos del Uruguay 100% Wool.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

He Likes It!

Another hubby update:

Mike started himself a garter stitch scarf, but he wasn't satisfied with the outcome. So, I taught him how to purl and now he is working on the scarf he wants instead of the scarf a 'new knitter' is suppose to be making.He took me at my word when I told him it was easy, and now he is making his very own Palindrome. He is a really tight knitter so the cable rows are his least favorite, but overall I think he likes it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Things I Won't be Talking About

Since I didn't go to Rhinebeck, I don't have any fantastic stories or beautiful pictures to share. That doesn't mean they are not out there though.

Here is Simply Mindy's Photo Journal of her time there. (I should have hid in her trunk.)
Girlwich found it a bit crowded but still seemed to have a great time.
Glenna from Knitting to Stay Sane verified that it was everything I could have wanted it to be.
The Yarn Harlot made it in her flurry of travels.
The Ravelry Crew threw a party.
Lime and Violet were living it up there too.

I know the Yarn Harlot was there, but she hasn't reported in yet. When we hear from her I'll add her to the link list.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Hat Too?

I joined my second ball of yarn the to my scarf during the presidential debate the other night. (Clearly I was relieving some frustrations with my needles because I was rocking that scarf for those two hours.) When the debate was over, I noticed that I had quite a scarf pile in my lap. My plan so far has been to knit the scarf until I ran out of yarn, but I thought it might be fun to measure it since it seemed to be growing so well. It was well over 40". My general scarf goal is 60". They aren't always that size, but it is usually what I am shooting for. It started to occur to me that I had no idea what i was going to do with a 90" scarf. Something that much taller than me seems destined to be dragged in the mud unknowingly. Then I realized that this scarf had a soul mate. I had to knit it a hat.

I didn't have to do much searching for the perfect project at all. The Amanda Hat was already in my queue. It calls for a half of a skein of Malabrigo and the ones I found that used Manos said they used less than a full skein. The stitch isn't the same, but feel that it is close enough that even a knitter with a critical eye and a tendency toward perfection would bless this union. (Especially since most of the pattern for the scarf is worked in the purl stitches, and I'm knitting the hat in the round and not purling at all during that pattern.) If you would like a good look at the two different stitches you can click on the picture and check it out much bigger.

I promptly cut the ball I had just joined off my scarf, and cast on for my hat. (Note: I don't recommend going swatchless for those playing along at home, but I am a little tight on yarn for this project so I risked it.) The new plan is to finish the hat and then use whatever is left over for the scarf. The scarf is big enough right now for a good wrap around the neck. If there isn't much left at all, it will still be a fantastic scarf. The slight shortage will be made up for by its personal happiness from having a soul mate and never being lonely again.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stash Enhancement

There are a lot of very fun ways to enhance your stash, but I have to confess that topless men might just be the most entertaining.

I am about to stick my head in the virtual sand when it comes to knitting. I've printed off a hat pattern, and I've got my scarf and socks to work on. Hopefully they will be enough to keep me away from Ravelry and the knitting blogs that I follow until this weekend is over. Everyone is getting ready for Rhinebeck, and I am not going. I remember reading about everyone's Rhinebeck excitement last year and wondering if I would ever be 'in to knitting' enough to hit up an event like that. This year I read about the sweaters people knit just to wear there, and who's packing what projects and which authors will be signing their new books. I'm 'in to it.' I want to go, and I'm less than two hours away! I am just not in a position to be able to go to the festival this year, let alone buy any of the stuff I can just imagine I will be coveting while I am there. So instead of making the quick jaunt to upstate NY, I am going to pretend that it is really more of a fleece thing and I won't appreciate it since I'm not a spinner. (I am warning you... nobody is allowed to correct me on this for the next 3 days!) I am going to avoid any of the tempting reports from Rhinebeck until Monday when it is too late for me to hitch a ride and try to sneak in.

For those of you going... I want to hear all about it. Tell me details, take lots of pictures... just don't expect to hear from me until next week.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Last night the Yarn Harlot was in Brooklyn. I had never read any of Stephanie's books, but I've been reading her blog since before I knew how to knit. I wasn't going to pass up this opportunity to see her speak and get my hands on her new book. The Barns and Noble that I was headed for was in Park Slope. Since Park Slope was home base during our apartment hunt last year, I figured I could handle it. Nope. I got off the subway and walked almost 15 blocks in the wrong direction. I managed to turn around and find my way. I missed out on the leisure reading time that I had planned, but I wasn't late for the reading. (As you all know, I like to leave plenty of cushion time for these very reasons.)

She gave a great talk about what she goes though making a book, and how when you add knitting to something it no longer the same. (Specifically, a book about knitting, becomes a knitting book, even if it is a book of essays and not patterns.) Then she read an essay from her new book on knitting and self-esteem. Finally she answered some questions. Then we all lined up to have our books signed. Over a year ago she came in contact with the Charity Blanket that I worked on. If I was thinking straight, I would have given her an update, but it didn't occur to me until after I got home.

As I waited in line I received the greatest compliment I could ever imagine. A knitter told me that she was debating with herself over whether or not my sweater was store bought. To have my sweater mistaken for store bought by anybody is incredible, but to have a knitter consider it is almost overwhelmingly flattering. Then when I got up to her table, the Yarn Harlot herself gave me a compliment. I mentioned that I was proud of it because it was my first project with sleeves. That earned me a spot on her blog! I have no idea what snork means but clearly I'm famous now. I may not be Kinneared any time soon, but it is a compliment that I will be proud of for a long time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Earl Grey

I am half way though my Christmas knitting for this year, and I am starting to feel myself lag a little. I think there are a few reasons that my excitement is petering. First, I really like knitting for myself. I haven't done much knitting for me, and Francis was empowering. Beyond just creating something, I created something that is useful, stylish, beautiful, and it fits me perfectly. Nothing ever fits me perfectly, so now I am obsessed with wanting to knit more things for myself. To top that off, I don't have a pair of hand knit socks. Secondly, I am knitting socks for Christmas. No matter how simple the pattern is, they are still made on toothpick sized needles out of fingering weight yarn. It is not nearly as soothing as worsted weight (which I don't have to pay nearly as much attention to because I can feel what is going on a lot easier).

In addition to all of that, I think the biggest reason is that I am just not as confident about this gift as I am the others. My current project is a pair of Earl Grey socks for my brother in law. I don't know my brother in law as well as I do my other in laws. We just haven't spent as much time together. I gather that he has very fine taste, and it is obvious that he has a better fashion sense than me so it is hard to be confident in what I am making him. I went with some simple socks that small cable pattern along each side in a simple gray color. The yarn is soft and so far, the fabric is really nice, but my hubby can't give me any assurances that he'll like them.

To be honest, it is not the pattern or the yarn that I'm worried about. It is the concept of hand knit socks. I think that if he is going to like hand knit socks, he'll like these. So, I guess I'm worried that he won't like receiving hand knit socks, and he's not going to be able to return them to the store. I'm probably just being silly. His mother is big into crafts and so I have every reason to believe that he time and effort that go into handmade items. No matter how it turns out, that lack of confidence does take away a bit of the excitement of knitting for someone else.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

For My Home

I have no idea when I started this little bag minder, but it is now finished. This has been the mindless little project that sits on my desk waiting to be mindlessly worked on while I play video games or my computer loads YouTube videos. I know it has been there for at least a few weeks, but if I had actually worked on it with any concentration at all it probably should have only taken a couple hours. This bag is much smaller than the pattern calls for, but I wanted a small one. I used some left over DK yarn instead of worsted and the mesh section is only about six inches instead of twelve.

At our old apartment we kept our plastic bags in a spare garbage can. (It was suppose to be the recycling can, but we never kept the recycling in the apt long enough to worry about collecting it in the can. Over time it became the plastic bag can.) We had so many plastic bags when we moved out that they were a primary packing material. I never want to deal with that many plastic bags again, and now that I bring bags to the store, we don't have many extras to worry about.

This is my second bag minder. I made the first one just like the pattern is written. I had some Red Heart for it and everything, but it was just too big. The cabinet doors under my sink don't hang straight so I knew that I wanted my bag minder off that little knob, and a foot and a half long bag minder just doesn't fit there. Instead that one is hanging from the wire rack above my dryer. I keep all of my cleaning rags in it. It was a great way to clear up some shelf space. Since space is such a hard thing to come by in my area of the country, I'd be surprised if this is my last bag minder.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Brooklyn Tree Completion

The Brooklyn Tree socks have been finished and re-queued. Hubby and I both want a pair, because these are some of the coolest socks I have ever seen (let alone made). This pair was made with Essential Tweed in Blue Ox. Through the middle of the arch shaping, I started to worry that they were going to be way too long. I just kept reassuring myself that the hubby has long feet and they would be fine. (I've been using Mike's feet as a gauge for what size to make his dad so he's been trying these on constantly.) When I finished the arch shaping, he tried them on and they were still about 3 inches short of the end of his foot. I knit another inch straight, and then the foot sizing said they were ready for me to start the toe. By the time the toe was done, I thought I had some how accidentally knit a pair of socks for a clown.Can you see what I'm talking about? Look at how long those are from the heels to the toes. Well, I guess it is an optical illusion because they are so skinny. They almost fit me just fine.They are smidgen too long, but not a full inch. You can't even tell in this picture that they are too big. They fit the sock blocker nicely too.The true test is how they fit Mike though, so here (in his modeling debut) are the socks on him.Notice how well he shows off both the top and the bottom of the socks in one photo. That is pure skill; I didn't even have to ask him to do that. He says they fit great and are wonderfully comfortable. I think that I will go up one needle size when I make his. Since these fit both of us fine, I think a little extra room isn't going to hurt him, and he is pulling the spots that have two increases in a row a little tight for my satisfaction.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

In All Fairness

You may have noticed that when i was trying to pick out a blanket pattern, I liked to keep things equal. There were three pros and two cons for each, and quirky videos for both. So, it shouldn't be surprising that when debating over my scarf project, I couldn't resist knitting up a bit of the other pattern so that I could make a fair judgment on my scarf. I knit up some of the Holding Hands, and Feeding Ducks pattern, and it is beautifully obvious that this pattern and yarn were meant for each other. As much as I want one, I can't in good conscious go back to palindrome now that I've seen the yarn worked up like this. It is ok though, because I realize I've been going about this all wrong. A knitter only having one scarf could be considered just as scandalous as a knitter without any scarves. Instead of making the yarn I have fit the pattern I want, I really should just be out hunting for some more yarn. Last time I was there, Patricia's had some beautiful tweedy Rowan that I think would be incredible for a cabled scarf.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Francis is...

Francis is soft.
Francis is purple.
Francis is fuzzy.
Francis is warm.
Francis is finished!
Francis is perfect.

As you can see, I am happy with this FO. The pattern was clear and easy to follow. She knit up really fast, and she is so comfy to wear. It did take a while to dry though. The cowl neck was still damp long after the rest of the sweater had dried.

Here is a better look at the sweater.

It fits me well. It goes great with a skirt, slacks, and jeans. I used Andean Silk in Imperial, and I have a feeling I'll be making myself more with this yarn. More what you ask? More anything it was just all around great to work with. It did shed a little bit while I was wearing it today, but nothing at all compared to the CotLin top I made.

If I had to change anything, I think I might have knit it at a different gauge. I had mentioned that I thought this sweater would need an undershirt and I was right. I've had a lot of store bought sweaters that did the same thing as this one. It is not much of a problem. Neither my hubby nor I noticed it while we were out and about taking pictures, but as you can see in this picture there is a bit of seethoughness. I think that a tighter gauge would help this at least a little, but I have no idea how it might affect the drape of the fabric. Despite me saying I would make that change, I probably would have pushed the project off until I had some more sweater confidence before I reworked all of that math.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Don't Vote

Brooklyn Tree Socks

I am working on some Christmas socks for my father in-law. The pattern is Francie, but I've renamed it Brooklyn Tree to make it sound a little more manly. I was originally drawn to these socks because they have a very unique construction, and my FIL is definitely one who would appreciate a unique construction. The inspiration for the pattern designer was the book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I've never read the book, but I think these socks are going to inspire me to.

I was all excited about a new way of doing things, but now I can't get over the wonderful bark like texture that these have. I am thinking that I am going to need some brown/tan tweedy yarn for some incredible fingerless gloves. I don't know if my FIL will apprecaite the look as much as I do, but I 'm sure I'll be able to distract him with the very cool heel, toe, and arch shaping.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I've been knitting for well over a year now, and I don't have a scarf of my own. It hasn't been a problem, because I wasn't really aching to have one while I was living in Arkansas, but now there is a chill in the air and I am ready for my very own scarf. While I was at the LYS I picked up a couple skeins of Manos Del Uruguay 100% wool. I love this yarn because it is some of the most beautiful yarn I have ever seen and because it helps support economic independence for rural artisans in Uruguay.

With this beautiful variegated yarn, I really should choose a scarf pattern that shows off the beautiful colors and their subtle differences.

Like Holding Hands and Feeding Ducks:or My So Called Scarf:
but those aren't really the scarves I want. I wasn't thinking about this when I bought the yarn, but the scarf I really want in Palindrome. It is a reversible cable pattern that I used to make a Christmas scarf for my grandfather last year. Variegated yarns and cables don't really go together very well, because the cables often get lost in the color changes. It is not really the cables I want though. What I want is the reversibility, (reversitility? ooh I like reversitility better but spell check tells me it doesn't exist) and the kooshyness of this pattern. Kooshyness probably isn't really a word either, but it is the most appropriate adjective. Forget the Charmin, this scarf is incredibly squeezable. It is like a cuddly stuffed animal, and I love it.

I knit up a few repeats last night to see how the pattern and the yarn look together.
The cables aren't as distinct as they could be, but having them downplayed a little, makes them more of a texture than the centerpiece of the scarf. So, the part of me that wants this scarf doesn't care if the cables don't pop out like they could. And the part of me that likes to do things the best that I can, knows that I am not playing up the strengths of this yarn. I'm still a little torn. What do you think?