Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A little bit of Christmas knitting

Think I can have this done by Christmas?

Clapotis 2

It's the start of a Clapotis scarf for my grandmother, which I started over the weekend. I'm into the straight row repeats now, so this is the part that can just go on cruise control. It's narrow enough that I can get a row done whenever I have a spare minute. I even had it with me at 'Legal Issues for Supervisors' training and worked on it during our "Go get water or go to the restroom" break (today, volunteer supervision; tomorrow, world conquest. One step at a time, people.) I think I can get this scarf done if I make a conscious push to do so.

Clapotis 2

The yarn is nice stuff. It's RYC Luxury Cotton, which is 2 plies of cotton and 2 plies of viscose/silk. It's a little splitty, but show me a cotton that isn't. The viscose/silk plies give it some sheen without being gaudy, and it feels like it will have a good drape once it's finished and blocked. Hopefully in 13 days. :)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Handmade holidays

I had a most awesome day off yesterday. First off, Sarah's in town for the weekend, so it was awesome to see her for the first time since July or so. A group of us got together yesterday morning to decorate onesies as a baby shower-ish gathering for Jolene, and we had a blast being total craft geeks. Yay for my days in college making letter shirts for APO; blanket stitch FTW!

After that, it was off to tea. Now, I have always had a picture in my head of what "going to tea" involves. Etiquette. Straw hats. Hoity-toity-ness. Tiny sandwiches. Pinky fingers sticking out. You know... proper, snooty tea.

The place we went to, Teavolve in Fells Point, was not at all what I was expecting from a tea room. It's not formal; there were people in there with laptops, everyone was wearing jeans. We each got a pot of whatever tea we chose, and a scone with clotted cream and raspberry preserves, 3 sandwiches and a deviled egg, and a little dessert plate at the end. We ended up being there for almost 3 hours, and despite the fact that this was one of those days where caffeine reacted badly with my nervous system, it was a lot of fun.

We had our handmade gift exchange, and to all those who saw the socks Sarah made for me and didn't think they would possibly fit, I say this:

Socks from Sarah

Sarah, they are DEAD-ON! The yarn is Socks That Rock in Pallas Athena, one of their new Raven Clan colorways. I know she said what the pattern is, but I was busy admiring them and convincing everyone that my feet are actually that small. They came wrapped up in this bag that she made, which has skulls on the outside and is shiny purple on the inside. And there were also some yummy hand-dipped chocolate mint candies. Hot. ;)

Bag from Sarah

Thanks, Sarah, for being a fantastic gift buddy!

Monday, December 03, 2007

My own worst enemy

A couple of months ago, I decided to take up sewing. I had a successful tutorial afternoon, I felt stoked about it, I came home and revved up my sewing machine, and it just wasn't working right. The top thread was leaving these HUGE loops on the underside of the fabric, so the bobbin thread wasn't being held by anything, and I ended up with a messy tangle of thread that wasn't holding the fabric together at all. It did the same thing over and over, and being as clueless about sewing as I am, I didn't know what to do to fix it. It's a 30-year-old Kenmore sewing machine, and the thought had occurred to me several times that, hey, maybe it's just plain broken.

Then Erin came up with an idea for the group of us to do a handmade holiday swap. I took it as a sign that I should take another crack at the sewing machine over this past weekend. I changed the needle, I put in new thread, I tried every tension setting, but it was still doing the same thing. The top thread had absolutely no tension.

Because genius me had it threaded through the tension wheel incorrectly.

*headdesk* (I needed something more emphatic than *facepalm*)

So, um, it works just fine now...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I made a short-row heel

Just to show that I still knit from time to time...

Northern Lights sock, post-heel turn

I turned the heel on my Northern Lights sock. It's my first short row heel; not too shabby, if I say so myself.

Northern Lights sock - short row heel

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family, and believe me, I know exactly how much I have to be thankful for right now. A whole bunch of wonderful things have happened as a result of getting myself back on the path that I was supposed to be on, and I thank my lucky stars for that every single day. I love my family and my friends and my job (even on the weirdo full moon days); I think I'm entitled to a couple of lines of sappiness about that every so often. :)

Anyway, Thanksgiving was very nice. I didn't get a ton of knitting done, just a little bit while my parents were watching a football game. All I had with me was the sock; Ljod's in a bit of a hibernation, since I need to figure out where the buttonholes go and I'm facing another long and somewhat boring section of stockinette. It's also hard to get jazzed about knitting a sweater when our temperature control at work keeps the building right around a balmy 80 degrees...

Monday, November 12, 2007


I can't believe I didn't post this... I got it a bit before my birthday, so it wasn't together with the other yarnage when I was taking pictures of that.

Skull washcloth

Kathy was my birthday buddy at work, and she gave me a Lantern Moon sheep tape measure and this skull washcloth that she made!

And in my own knitting... I have about half a sock foot done in the Cherry Tree Hill yarn.

CTH Northern Lights sock

With the way it's pooling, I can definitely see why they named this colorway "Northern Lights". I think "plain ol' stockinette socks" is the way to go with this stuff. Even a basic stitch pattern like feather and fan was getting a bit lost, so the yarn's going to take center stage with these.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Three weeks later...

So, part of the reason I haven't posted in three weeks was because I was making the following, and didn't want folks at work to see it on the blog before I'd actually worn it.

I made a Hallowig...
It was going to be part of my Halloween costume, but didn't really work out. See the little flip on the bottom? That's after 10 minutes of blocking with a steam iron... and it was gone entirely within 20 minutes. Without that, it doesn't look like a wig. It looks like a hat that Went Terribly Wrong. This particular one, in the green, made me think of the melon helmet cat. Still, it only took about a week of night and weekend knitting, so at least I didn't spend a ridiculous amount of time making something that I ended up not wearing.

So, I had to change my costume plans:
Halloween @ work
I worry that so many of my FOs can double as fortune teller/pirate gear (I was going for fortune teller, but several people thought I was a pirate.)

My birthday was last weekend, and was celebrated with dinner at my favorite Indian place. Yum!

Jolene has picked up on my "I like bright pink" vibe... I can't wait to see what this Colinette Jitterbug looks like knitted up:
Colinette Jitterbug

And Jody gave me this wool/tencel from Ellen's Half-Pint Farm, and a super-cute notions bag:
Ellen's Half-Pint Farm Wool/Tencel

Notions bag

Birthday yarn rules! Thanks gals!

Saturday included a rather chilly trip up to Delaware to hang out with Jody, John, and some friends of theirs at the World Championship Punkin Chunkin competition:
Pumpkin cannons

I actually got a picture of a cannon firing where you can see the pumpkin (although you may need to click through and View All Sizes to actually see it)
Fire in the hole!

It was an odd mix of people there. You had the engineers and folks who had made the rigs, you had a bunch of families, you had groups like ours who were just there to hang out and watch some siege engines, and then you had the drunk college students and rednecks, who made up most of the crowd. The organizers of this thing know their audience: case in point, the Skoal Zone tent. It was fun and completely bizarre, although I'd check the weather report a bit more carefully if I went again. Since I was already halfway to NJ, I left early and drove out to my parents' house in time for dinner.

Jody has decided that she and I should be sweater twins, and talked me into doing NaKniSweMo. We're each making Ariann by Bonne Marie Burns. A sweater by the end of the month is going to be a huge stretch for me, considering that I ordered yarn last week and just got the shipping confirmation a few minutes ago. Casting on halfway through the month instead of on Nov. 1 makes it a far less realistic goal for me, but I'll get done whatever I can. We'll see what happens. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stitches swag (even though I didn't go)

I have awesome friends!

Circumstances worked out such that I couldn't go to Stitches with everyone on Saturday. I couldn't get it through my head that it was a different weekend this year than last year, and didn't make the connection that it was on one of my work Saturdays until it was too late to request leave. *facepalm*

As you can guess, I ended up missing the whole thing. And then Jody showed up at Panera with some of the sample yarn that people had been giving out, and offered it to Jolene and me, since neither of us had been able to go.

Malabrigo laceweight

Fibranatura Aspen

470 yards of Malabrigo laceweight (!) in a gorgeous rusty orange, and Fibranatura Aspen in pinks and purples.

Yay to Jody for snagging the yarn, and to Jolene for saying, "Jen, you should take the Malabrigo and make a scarf out of it." :D


My Northern Lights socks only got through about 4 pattern repeats before I faced the fact that they would be huge on me. Yeah, you start out with 55 stitches... which then immediately increases to 85 stitches. I'm thinking about just doing a basic toe-up... I haven't made plain socks yet.

The positive thing was that, for those 4 repeats, I actually did feather and fan without any major mistakes for once! Woohoo!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Renn Fest!

I spent a lovely day Sunday at the Renaissance Festival. It was a hot, dusty day out there... which is far superior to a cold, wet, and muddy day.

Lots of dust

Vulcan neck pinch


Fried foods, shopping, a couple of shows... 4 of us bought honey at The Bee Folks, and were joking about how now we need to have a blind honey tasting. I also got some herbal tea, and a purple velvet beret from Tall Toad, a lampwork glass pendant from Transparent Sands, along with my jar of mint honey.

Lampwork pendant

Beret from the renn fest

I've also started socks for Socktoberfest:
cth socks 001

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock "Northern Lights", and the Tropicana pattern from Magknits (which uses a feather and fan stitch). The pattern should be more visible once I have more than one repeat done... LOVE the colors in this yarn, though. Mostly black and dark purple, with bursts of magenta and green.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Musical theater geekout, sorry

Sweeney Todd trailer's up!!!

We did Sweeney Todd when I was in 10th grade. Sadly (and thankfully), all of the photographic evidence is at my parents' house. We didn't exactly pull in big box office receipts, nor had we gotten large audiences for Into The Woods the year before, so for 11th and 12th grade it was back to things like Wizard of Oz and Carousel. Those first two years, though... oh, we had such fun with those two shows. It was Sondheim-palooza. I'm so excited for this movie!

And in some knitting news, I finished the cables on the front pieces of Ljod. In another inch or so, I'll have to sort out the buttonhole situation (i.e. the pattern figures that you'll do one front, evenly space out the buttons on that, then place the buttonholes on the other front accordingly... which isn't helpful at all if you're knitting both fronts at the same time).

Monday, October 01, 2007


Ok, there's a little website out there called Television Without Pity. Nowadays I read mostly for the 24 and BSG recaps, which... yeah, none of those until 2008.

Anyhoo. Many of the TWoP recappers also maintain blogs/websites elsewhere, and one such site is Tomato Nation, run by Sars. Ordinarily, I wouldn't bother you all with "I read this site, so you should go check it out" stuff, but through the month of October, Sars is hosting a DonorsChoose challenge. DonorsChoose is a fantastic organization that matches sponsors with underfunded school projects submitted by teachers, many of whom are working in high poverty areas. Sars has gone through and earmarked $35,000 worth of projects for her challenge, and as of this post, TN readers have already raised over half of that. In one day. The mind, she boggles. We're set to blow the initial goal out of the water. :D

If you have a spare $10, $20, anything at all, click on through and pick out one of the challenge proposals to sponsor. Every bit helps, and there's always the sweet promise of Sars having to run around in a tomato costume (plus a giveaway contest for those who donate).

***Edited to add: The initial challenge has been met! Woohoo! There's now a bonus round set up here. Never underestimate the power of a bunch of folks on the internet who genuinely care about something. If you're a teacher, or you know any teachers, you're well aware of what they go through to try to give kids a decent education. Knowing how many teachers and students and schools are going to be helped because of this gives me such warm fuzzies...***

Friday, September 28, 2007

Something pretty for the weekend

Colinette Shimmer 5

Colinette Shimmer Five, "Tuscany"

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Itsy Bitsy bag

When I get on one of my "I want this project DONE NOW" kicks, I go a bit nuts.

Itsy Bitsy

Sunday night after getting home from work, I ripped out one entire side of this and redid it. Monday night, I seamed it and made the little knitted rose (which is not only cute, but also hides the ink stain very well). Done. Just had to wait for Mr. Sun to come out so I could grab a couple of pictures. I can be a scary-fast knitter when I feel like it.

Knitted rose

The only major change that I made was adjusting a little bit for the yarn thickness that I used. The pattern calls for a kitchen cotton in the bulky range; I used fingering weight hemp. Thanks to the stretchy mesh pattern, I didn't have to do much to accommodate the very different yarn. I cast on 69 stitches instead of the 51 that are called for, and I went down to a size 7 needle. There's also a pattern error as far as the placement of the short rows; following it as written will give you a short row on one side (right) and a short row on the bottom (wrong). Luckily, when I cast on for the stitches for the strap, I had put in a stitch marker to mark the first stitch of the cast on; I just had to shift the short row to that marker. Easy fix.

Itsy Bitsy bag

Look how well it holds a 100g skein of sock yarn! When you see a name like "Itsy Bitsy", you picture one of those tiny bags that you can fit a box of Tic Tacs in and nothing else. I'm glad this came out to be a good size.

All the problems that I had (minus the easy-to-fix short row error) were my own. This pattern was a lot of fun, with 3 different main stitch patterns that kept it from being boring. You can see the mesh pattern well in the other pictures... there's also a basketweave and a herringbone:

Basketweave stitch

Herringbone stitch

Incidentally, folks who were at ABC last night, I heard "Cold As Ice" on the radio on the way home... terribly fitting, no? I hope everyone's core temperatures are back to normal. ;)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

One hot mess

This poor bag, I swear...

My Itsy Bitsy bag from Knitty has been on the needles for over a year. It's been my "I'm tired of other projects and just need to work on something else for an hour" project. It's small-ish, so it was purse knitting last year on the light rail when I went back to Stitches. It was there that I discovered that I can add 'pen caps' to my list of untrustworthy things, as I found a black ink stain on my in-progress bag. The WIP went into hibernation for a while then... I needed time away to contemplate the ink stain, and I was working on other things.

I got it out a couple of weeks ago, intent on finishing it. I finished the strap. I moved on to the mesh pattern for the other side. I was making PROGRESS.

I noticed that I was doing something differently with the mesh stitch than what I had done on the first side. I couldn't fake it; the stitch looked completely different. Rip back three repeats, go again. This time, I had the stitch right, but something else was still off. Namely, the fact that the mesh pattern on the first side had twice as many stitches as one the second side.

Itsy Bitsy bag

At first, I looked at how poochy the first side was and how flat the second side was, and assumed that I had messed up side #1. Too many yarnovers, or not enough decreases, or a combination of the two... which I then somehow magically fixed when I got back to the herringbone stitch? I know, it doesn't make any sense. I was planning to finish the bag, then go back, thread a lifeline through, and cut away the offending mesh part to redo it.

As I was working on it this morning and moved on to the herringbone border, I noticed that it was narrowing into a trapezoid. That's when I decided to actually count my stitches and discovered that side #1 doesn't have twice the stitches; side #2 has HALF the stitches.

I'm suddenly VERY glad that I decided to finish the bag first, instead of stopping where I was and redoing the first half then... phew. I think that discovery would have led to actual tears. Or a lengthy stream of obscenities. Probably both.

Off to try frogging back to the herringbone along the bottom...

Monday, September 10, 2007

A real button

So, the day that I wore my new crocheted wrap to work, I was totally honest with everyone about the fact that my "pin" was a $2 barrette from Target, and was a temporary solution.

A couple of days later, one of my coworkers, Jean, came over to me at lunch with her button stash and told me that I was welcome to poke through to see if she had anything I could use for my wrap. (If I haven't mentioned it, I work with a fantastic group of people.)

An actual button

I had been picturing this with some kind of metal knotwork button... and ta-da, a metal knotwork button was in there! :D Thanks, Jean!

Jolene had a baby sweater with her this evening, and it involved steeks. We each took a turn cutting it...
Jolene's steeked baby sweater - Jody's turn

Jolene's steeked baby sweater - my turn

Jolene's steeked baby sweater

Nifty technique! If I ever whittle down my to-do list, perhaps something steeked will be on the horizon...

And lastly... I just got my first WoW character to level 60 over the weekend. 10 more levels, whatever rep and key quests I have to do, and I can finally start RAIDING, which I'm very much looking forward to. I've been hearing all about my guild's Karazhan runs since May. I wanna go too. And I wanna help figure out how to stomp Gruul. ;)

Monday, September 03, 2007

It's not purple!

I spent the better part of the day yesterday at a cookout (which was tons of fun!), so I'm planning to try to be productive today. Laundry and cleaning for the most part, maybe getting something done on Ljod...

... and finding a place in my stash for the SWTC Optimum that was on sale at Flying Fingers:

SWTC Optimum

I found out after I ordered it that it's been discontinued, so I'm glad I went ahead and bought it. It's ridiculously soft, and is screaming to be made into a sweater.

One of Ljod's fronts has 6 stitches too many. I was bit overzealous with the cast-on, and then I apparently didn't count my stitches before I started knitting. 6 stitches is a bit much for me to hide with strategically placed decreases. The good news is, I'm only about an inch into it, so I don't have to frog too much.

Hope everyone stateside is having a nice weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

No capes!

I will not call it a cape or a capelet. I am calling it a wrap... but I will stay away from jet turbines while wearing it, just in case.

Chanson en Crochet wrap

I really did mean it when I said I don't have a lot of experience with crochet, and I give most of the credit to the very clear and very follow-able instructions in the pattern and the pattern's lengthy errata page. This pattern calls for about 400 yards of worsted... I had about 350 yards of the Summer Tweed. It was close enough, although I opted to leave off the last couple of rows along the bottom.

Chanson en Crochet

I wove in my ends Wednesday morning and waited for my dead camera batteries to get enough of a charge to get a couple of pictures before work.

Chanson en Crochet on the railing

Unfastened may be fine for pictures, but my job is a fairly active one. I needed to have it fastened for practical purposes. My button stash is pitiful; it's one of those $1 bags of plastic buttons that they sell at Joann's and Hancock. I want a nice button for this, but I needed something to use for yesterday. I found a barrette that happened to be the right size for the buttonhole. Attached it to the one side, pushed it through the hole... instant button.

Temporary closure. Maybe.

This cheap barrette got So. Many. Compliments... I may leave it there.

Summer Tweed worked up

Pattern: Chanson en Crochet from Wrap Style
Hook: I/9 - 5.5 mm
Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed, 3 skeins, "Bouquet"

Monday, August 27, 2007

Nasty storm

No cable at my apartment since Saturday... which also means no internet for me. We'd also been without internet at work since Saturday night, and just got it back about 5 minutes ago.

Anyway, I'm not ignoring anyone, I've just been a bit cut off for the last couple of days. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Don't look now... I'm crocheting

A copy of Wrap Style crossed my path at the library yesterday, so I grabbed it. Almost as soon as I got home, I started this:
Chanson En Crochet capelet

It's the Chanson En Crochet capelet. Yes. A capelet. A crocheted capelet (sorry, Amie. I promise I'll keep it away from Panera) . I'm feeling quite well, thank you.

Chanson En Crochet in progress

The yarn is Rowan Summer Tweed. I love it. From a distance away, it just looks lavender. Closer up, you can see the tweedy flecks of greens and oranges and pinks and blues. It makes me smile, and I've been trying to find something to do with it for the last year. I only have 3 skeins, so it had to be something not-too-big. I think it's lending itself to chunky crochet pretty nicely.

Incidentally, this project has potential for many comedic foibles... I'm not exactly an expert with the crochet. I can do a single crochet and a chain stitch, and I have to look up everything else. So far (knock on wood) all is going well. I worked on it this afternoon while watching Columbo; LOVE me the old Columbo movies, and I was way too excited to see that my favorite one was on today.

Lots of love and hugs going out to everyone who needs them. :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A third of a sweater!

I had no idea that I was quite this close...

Ljod back

I finished the back of Ljod today during some unexpected waiting time at the mechanic... I'd just had my car in for a scheduled service last week, and when they checked the battery, they didn't hook it back up correctly. So basically, my battery had been slowly draining itself dead over the last week, and finally had it today. And when I say it was dead, I mean so dead that the dashboard clock and all of my radio presets reset themselves. Anyway, they fixed it for free and totally owned up to what had happened, so I give them credit for not trying to pull one over on me (although I may see if they feel like giving me a free oil change, since I had to miss a couple of hours of work to have them correct this).

The knitting progress makes up for it a bit. :)

The armholes look uneven in the picture there, mostly because it's not pinned out. I ran an iron over it to get the edges to stop curling so I could get a picture... better blocking will happen while I'm at work tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I can't believe I get paid for this



Staff all dressed up

My Harry Potter Flickr set

This was so much fun! We've been planning for this program since at least November, and it went smoother than any of us could have hoped for. We had good weather, plenty of help, and a large crowd (but not so large that nobody could move). We were thrilled to see that a lot of kids came in costume, including two very little ones who were running around in their Gryffindor sweaters expelliarmus-ing everything in sight.

All of the staff people were running around taking pictures like crazy, and I think we might have had more fun than the kids. :D I was dressed as Moaning Myrtle, and was so happy that people knew right away who I was supposed to be. All of the staff costumes were great. A lot of them had sewn their costumes themselves, and there I was in my Target/Old Navy/H&M knockoff... but considering that not a single person had to ask who I was supposed to be, I think I did good. :D

One of those days where I love my job. :)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bejeweled Scarf

So, here's the danger of having a scarf as purse knitting:
Bejeweled scarf stretched out

That's a yooge scarf there, folks.

I made this my purse knitting after I finished my GWTF socks. A row here, a row there, a whole mess of rows while I was trying to tune out the guy at the tire place telling me in graphic detail about his rectal cancer... I pulled the scarf out last night to see how much longer it would have to be; it was already at 72", and I still had to do the snappy little point. Surprise!

This has long been the ignored middle child of my WIPs, so I'm glad that I can stop feeling bad about neglecting it. It's done just in time for the lovely humid days of August.

Bejeweled scarf modeled
That look on my face says, "I am wearing a scarf, and it is 95 degrees out. Perhaps this knitting thing has gone too far."

Bejeweled scarf rolled up

Bejeweled scarf detail

Bejeweled scarf, by Lisa Shobhana Mason
Started January 07, finished July 07
Yarn: Rowan All-Seasons Cotton, limedrop, 2 skeins
Needles: US size 8.
Mods: Bigger gauge, thicker yarn, fewer stitches. Slipped stitch edges.