Monday, October 31, 2005
Anyway, last night I tried the long-tail cast-on again for the ribbed scarf and finally got the tail length about right, (the remaining tail is still a little long for my preference, but enough is enough, ya know?) And so, I'm happily knitting along in the airport this morning and on my first flight, when, shortly after take-off the woman in the window seat (I was on the aisle) has me stop mid-row so she can get out to go to the bathroom. (I'm thinking to myself, you didn't go when we were all still in the airport a mere 15 minutes ago? This is a forty minute flight - you can't hold it?) I'm uncharitable like that on Monday mornings. Okay, grouchy. So, anyway, in all the up-and-down of letting her out and back in, she got me flustered and I F-!#$%^&*'d up the row I was on -- purled when I should have knitted, so half the row is wrong -- and now I don't know how to fix it. I know how to fix a mistake in garter stitch or stockinette, but can't seem to figure it out when it's knits and purls in the same row, so I had to put the knitting away for the rest of the flight, which made my former knitterly "zen" state of calm turn into a state of royally-peeved annoyance. And then I had nothing to knit on the next flight, either. Grrrrrrr. I at least had a book to read, but I really wanted to keep knitting. And so, I will try to fix it tonight in the hotel room, but I may have to go to the one-and-only yarn store in town at lunch tomorrow and see if the owner can help me. How sad that I get stalled by such silly little things. I sure wish I was home this week and could go to the Stitch 'N Bitch group -- I'll bet someone there could help me. I guess it's all a part of the learning process....
Sunday, October 30, 2005
So, anyway, about a month ago I get an email out of the blue from my college sophomore year roommate who had found my email address on our alumni website. I hadn't seen her in about 10 years when I was working at the hospital where she was attending medical school, so it was a nice surprise to hear from her again. We then proceeded to email back and forth to catch up on each others' lives. She told me she's now an OB/GYN at an academic medical center. I told her I was doing consulting work, and that my current project was in Augusta, GA. She wrote back, "I live in Augusta, GA, and I work at MCG". I wrote back, "I'm consulting for MCG!". Well, it was destiny, I guess. It appears we were meant to reconnect after all this time. And so, we've gone out to dinner a few times in the last month, and it's been kinda nice to talk to someone who knew me way back then. We've both come a long way, baby - she, more than me. Husband, two kids, big house, big job. Me: no husband, two furry kids, small house, small job. I'm not jealous, though - really!
This all has made me think that I would like to knit her this someday:
once I'm finished with all of my holiday and birthday knitting (ha!). I figure she can display it in her office for all her patients and residents to see. She can use it as an instruction tool! ;-)
I suppose it could be worse. At least I don't have ambitions to knit the likes of this.
I'm still avoiding the scary circular needles (how appropriate that I deem them "scary" during this Halloween season), but I will take them with me this week - perhaps I'll get inspired and be able to focus whilst in my less distracting hotel room. Meanwhile, I've frogged the ribbed scarf twice, and attempted to cast on, oh, at least 15 different times. My second attempt at the scarf looked great except that the cast-on edge appeared to have holes underneath the first row's purled stitches, because I did a knitted cast-on. I would almost let it slide except that I know when I go to bind off the other end I will bind off in pattern, and then the two ends will look different enough to scream "amateur!". I've even considered attempting to do a k2p2 knitted cast on, if that's even possible. And so I've asked various folks their opinions on what type of cast-on I should do. Many people, the pattern's author included, recommend a long-tail cast-on. Two ladies who replied to my post on the Knitty Coffeeshop forum suggested a German long-tail cast-on. I taught myself the regular long-tail last night but ripped it out at least 15 times because, as you might guess, I just can't get the tail length right, (usually too long). By now that poor first few feet of yarn is probably throwing up its little yarn hands in surrender, saying, "please, for the love of all things woolly, stop knitting before you pill us beyond recognition". I may try and teach myself that German cast-on to see if that's any better. We'll see. It really shouldn't be this hard, ya know? It's a freakin' scarf! Whatevah.
Alrighty then, I will end this post, although I may continue to do some blog maintenance to add a few more "blogs I'm reading" links over there on the left and perhaps join a few more webrings to see if that might increase traffic.
Have a great daylight savings Sunday, everyone!
Friday, October 28, 2005
and I found it to be fun reading. Certainly not Pulitzer-prize material, but fun to imagine the main character's cottage and the yarn store across the street and her first projects as she discovers the wonders of knitting. Fun escapist reading for fiber lovers. And I was especially glad I had it with me when I was crammed into a tiny plane seat next to someone who would have surely objected if I were constantly bumping them with my elbow as I knit -- a good entertainment alternative when knitting isn't an option. Maggie Sefton has another one coming out in December, and a third one next June.
I read this:
a few months ago - found it half-off at a bookstore in the Palm Springs airport and read it on the long plane rides home. I read this before I'd even learned to knit, and although I still enjoyed the knitting and knitting store aspect of the story because I had the urge to learn, I found the characters fairly one-dimensional and the plot quite formulaic and Harlequin-romance-esque. Perfect for mindless beach reading, if one needs that. I guess Debbie Macomber believes in quantity over quality, (she's quite prolific), but I'll still gladly read her next one when I get my hands on it, because (a) mindless reading is under-rated, and (b) hello! -- it's about knitting!
Thursday, October 27, 2005
And this is why:
<-- (#1) I split the yarn on these stitches, and it just looks messy and frayed.
(#2) I have this wonky <--stitch right here on the edge where it will stare accusingly as I knit this entire scarf and I don't know that I can stand it.
A close-up of the wonky stitch:
It is a beautiful yarn and pattern, though, so I will start over. It will be for my dad for Christmas. The yarn is Karabella's "aurora bulky" color:18 (navy), and the pattern is Alison's lovely "orange bliss scarf" pattern, which is basically 2x2 rib throughout the entire length of it. My LYS doesn't carry Debbie Bliss yarn, and recommended this as a substitute. It is really quite nice, my only regret being that it is 100% merino rather than a merino/cashmere blend like Debbie Bliss' cashmerino, so I cannot brag about a gift of (a tiny percentage of) cashmere. Close enough.
Ribbing is really quite cool. It amazes me that just putting your needle in the stitch a different way makes a purl which, when paired with another purl and spaced in between pairs of knit stitches, causes this stretchy fabric. Wild. I wonder who and how someone ever figured this out?
I emailed Alison to ask her if she recommended blocking this scarf, and she indicated that it was basically personal preference, but probably not necessary.
The only other problem with this yarn is that because it is dark, it attracts and shows every freakin' white cat hair that gets anywhere near it, (yeah, that's the yarn's fault), and let me tell you, there are millions of them coating every surface in my house. I may have better luck knitting this next week while on cat-hair-free airplanes and in a cat-hair-free hotel room.
So I really need to set this aside this week, stop procrastinating and face up to the scary circular needles and chemo cap I've been avoiding.
Thanks, Eddie Bauer!
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
He came to town last night and was as amazing as ever. I missed the E-Street Band, but not much. He puts on a great show all by his lonesome. (Setlist available here.)
I think that Cara, who dreams about him on a nightly basis, should knit him some socks in a colorway that matches the stage lighting. I think he'd appreciate it.
Actually, the Coliseum was so chilly, thanks to Hurricane Wilma raging outside, that even Bruce mentioned that his hands were cold as he was playing the piano. I think, then, that fingerless gloves might be a more appropriate gift for the one true King of rock-n-roll. (Step aside, Elvis - you've been de-throned).
Monday, October 24, 2005
(This is what replaced the ROYGBV scarf I originally intended to knit her but chickened out after trying to cast-on 300 stitches on too-short circular needles. Never fear - I will still use the other yarn originally intended for ROYGBV -- I'm thinking it could make a cool rainbow-striped felted purse one of these days. Or, I could actually go back and knit the ROYGBV scarf. Either of those projects will have to occur after the holidays. But I digress.)
My sister received the Sari Rainbow scarf Saturday evening while on her Emmaus weekend. Her email today indicates that she likes it, although she referred to it as a "stole", (not sure how one wears a 3-inch-wide scarf as a stole, but whatevah). I think it came out okay, and am happy that for the first time, a FO of mine has reached its intended recipient. I'm a real knitter now! (Sorta.)
<-- This is a gauge swatch of that yarn on some size 19 needles, which I decided was just too loose and flimsy-feeling and unstructured for my preference. I ripped that out and tried it on size 15's, which was still too loose, so I kept with the original tight gauge made using the size 11's.
<-- This is a side-by-side comparison of the two gauges (size 11 vs size 19).
Two things happen with this yarn when it is knitted:
1) if on smaller needles (the 11's), it folds in half lengthwise on itself, so that what is really a 1-centimeter-wide ribbon becomes about half that width when knitted. That bothered me originally, but after testing the larger, looser gauges which I didn't like, I got over it.
2) Knitting puts a slight twist in whatever yarn you use, and when using a ribbon yarn, that can be a problem (at least it was for me). The twists back up between the right-hand needle and the ball of yarn, and if you don't untwist it on occasion, it will become so twisted as to be unrecognizable as a ribbon, once you knit it. So, it requires that you stop every few rows and hold up your knitting to let it "spin" and untwist, before proceeding. Later I figured out that as long as you pull a long enough length of yarn from the ball, the twists can get spaced out so that they don't "back up" and become a problem. Live and learn.
<-- My niece, modeling the scarf before it was wrapped and delivered to my sister's pillow up at the retreat center. This young lady has learned how to knit, by the way, and has the most unusual technique I've ever seen. I should have taken pictures of that!
Now, on to my next project, which is a chemo cap. I started it week-before-last, but messed up the ribbing so will mostly frog and re-knit sometime this week. More on that in a later post.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Her guest had a lot of neat ideas on how to quickly jazz up a regular purse with knitting, without having to go all out and do a felted one. (Not that I'm knocking felting in any way -- I can't wait to do my first felted purse.)
And so I say to you, Carol Duvall, queen of all craftdom, on behalf of knitters everywhere, thank you, and knit on!
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Here's what's really sad: I've got a 2-3 hour drive ahead of me on Saturday and have been trying to figure out a way I can knit while I drive.
And I'm not even blonde!
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
And here's the button for knittyheads ring:
And let's not forget the Mid-Atlantic knitters web ring:
Monday, October 10, 2005
It's Mason-Dixon Knitting's buttonhole bag. I can't decide if it's just the colors they chose for it, or the style, or both, but I can't stop looking at it and lusting after it and wanting to knit it the very first time I get up the nerve to move beyond just scarves....
And then there is the holy grail of grown-up knitting:
Lily Chin's 'Central Park' convertible coat. It just looks so warm and comfy and cozy -- I'd wear it more like a sweater. I want it NOW! So, in about a ten years when I am skilled enough to advance to the likes of sweaters and coats, this is the one I'm knitting FIRST!
Sunday, October 09, 2005
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. 2005 is the 20-year anniversary of that event.
Until recently that didn't mean a lot to me other than the occasional, random, passing thought of, "oh, yeah, I should maybe think about doing a self-exam". I remember an instructor in high school health class demonstrating how to do this with a naked female torso dummy, and I also remember how incredibly embarrassed and uncomfortable we all were during that class. Lots of jokes and nervous giggles, and then, thank God, the bell rang and that humiliating class was over.
They say we have a 1-in-9 chance of getting breast cancer in our lifetime. I have known several woman (co-workers) who have survived it, one of whom was only 29 years old when she underwent that ordeal. I have known at least one woman who did not survive it. Still, it has all been quite cerebral and unemotional for me -- it's amazing how much denial we can live with on a day-to-day basis.
Recently, however, I have learned that a very sweet woman I know has been diagnosed with it. She just had a mastectomy, and will be beginning chemo shortly. And so, I'd like to do something for her in a feeble attempt to show her that I care.
I found this pattern, and would like to knit the following cap for her, which should come close to matching her haircolor:
It will be my very first attempt at knitting a cap in the round, so I think I may need to go to the LYS to get started under their guidance.
I just hope that it doesn't end up the wrong size or too ugly or perhaps too scratchy for her sensitive scalp.
There are also a couple of fun cause-related projects in last fall's knitty.com surprise issue dedicated to BC awareness, which can be found here. [It's in .pdf format -- you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader (free download) to open it].
Anyway, this post is dedicated to you, Jeannie! Hang in there, lady -- my prayers are with you! :-)
and knits up like this:
Close-up of knitting:
But there are problems with my work, which is why I'll be ripping it out and starting over.
Problem #1 -- I knitted it on size 10 needles, which makes it knit up nice and tight, but the loops are too small for the puff balls, so every stitch is a struggle to get the puff balls through it. My next attempt will be on at least size 15's.
Problem #2 -- I somehow dropped not one, but two stitches which have laddered down so far that it's not worth trying to salvage the work - yet another argument for "frogging", (which I've learned is the popular term for ripping out your knitting).
Problem #3 - I had tension issues, apparently, because the bottom three inch section of the scarf is about twice as wide as the rest of it, as is plainly evident in the close-up photo, above.
So, let's just consider what I've done so far with this yarn as a reallllly long practice swatch. ;-) That's one thing I do love about knitting -- even though you have to re-do your work when you make mistakes, all you lose is the knitting itself -- it doesn't destroy your yarn or force you to buy more. Other crafts aren't quite as recyclable, I don't think.....
Anyway, there was a sample scarf of a different color of this yarn on display at "Lettuce Knit", and they had it carried alongside a very fuzzy mohair-looking yarn, which was very cool. Perhaps I'll do that in my second attempt. It will, however, require me to make another trek to the yarn store and buy more yarn, (come on, twist my arm!). I can hardly wait!
First is this, which I bought at "Lettuce Knit", but which can be found at almost any LYS or anywhere on the web. It is Plymouth's Eros #4796 -- a lovely "railroad"/"ladder" yarn with shades of blue, green, purple and turqouise. I've seen this knitted up tightly (size 8's) but have also seen recommendations for knitting it on size 15's, or stranded along with another ball of either itself or some other yarn which could be a more conservative yarn, or a wilder one like an eyelash. No finalized plan yet for this, but it will probably end up being knit by itself as a skinny scarf. I may end up doing a couple of gauge swatches to see if I like it on the smaller vs. larger needles.
Another of my novelty yarns in my favorite blue/green color scheme is
Plymouth's 'Combolo' #1044, which is really three yarns stranded together into a lovely combination of textures and colors. I could see this being carried along with a solid navy yarn like Plymouth's 'Sinsation' #3320, but not felted like my previous version. I do have one ball of the navy Sinsation left, which isn't enough. So, decisions as to what to do with this yarn will be postponed indefinitely until I have time to knit something for myself again! I bought this at "Knitting Addiction" in Southern Shores, NC, while on vacation, but it can also be found at various yarn sellers on the internet.
Also purchased at "Knitting Addiction" is this Adriafil 'frou.frou' #42, which has great potential to become something fun, perhaps carried along with a solid-colored something...? I've discovered that I'm not very creative when it comes to design and color combinations - I need suggestions from others, but that's fine. Makes for fun interactions with other knitters.
Speaking of interacting with other knitters, one of these days I'd like to join a "stitch-n-bitch" group, but those typically meet on weeknights when I'm often out of town. Here's hoping someone will start one locally that meets on the weekend....
...but now I'm thinking that the scarf itself is too narrow (3 inches wide) and not open enough to see enough detail of the ribbon (it's being knit on size 11 bamboos). The knitting does have a 'sproingy' feel to it, which is nice.
Here is a close-up of the knitting:
I'm also wondering if it is "rainbow-y" enough. I need another opinion.....
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
It is Kertzer's "Sari", which is NOT silk, as one might surmise, but is made of 100% nylon. Started a scarf with it (16 stitches on size 11 needles) last night and it knits up pretty nice. I got two balls of color # 80, which is "Rainbow", so am hoping that, if I don't finish the ROYGBV scarf by the time I need to give it to my sister, I can give her this one, instead.
I'm wondering if 16 stitches is wide enough, though. I'll do a few more rows and decide if maybe I need to bump it up to 20....
I'm glad to have something to do on the planes and in the airports tomorrow. I can only hope that I don't run into any travel weenies like the ones the Yarn Harlot faced the other day....
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
1) I need a better cast-on method
2) Stitches twist VERY easily on circulars
3) 29-inch circulars might not be long enough for 300 stitches
I hadn't even cast on the full 300 before I realized that things were twisted beyond repair, so I ripped them out. It was stressing me out, and I knew that while traveling this week I wouldn't be able to work on anything more complicated than a normal scarf on straight needles, so I left my knitting at home and am now having withdrawals. In order to feed my addiction, at lunch I'm going to hit the one knitting store this small Georgia town has and see if they have anything fun. Let's hope I hit paydirt!
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Anyway, here are the yarns I found to fulfill the ROYGBV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet) requirements:
The only yarn that's not displaying true to color is the purple on the right end. It's really much more purpley and less navy than what the picture shows.
I think officially, rainbow colors (at least those that appear when white light is shown through a prism) are ROYGBIV, but as far as I'm concerned, the "I"(indigo), is too close to blue, and I've therefore skipped that particular (non)color.
Okay, at this point, I think I'm caught up with documenting all my projects, so it may be a week or more before I post anything again.
Which knits up like this:
(how appropriate to pose it with actual autumn leaves)
Here's a close-up, although the colors are truer in the previous image:
I love the random self-striping.
You'd think I had stock in On Line's Linie yarns, but it's just coincidence, I swear! I guess since they make a lot of novelty yarns, and I'm currently drawn to those types of yarns, it just makes sense that I'd end up buying a lot of their yarn.
As per usual, since I didn't figure out gauge before I start knitting, (come on - it's a scarf!), I ran out of the yarn after two balls, and the scarf clearly needs two more, at least. And of course, the LYS (Lettuce Knit) where I purchased it was all out of that particular color. I almost offered to buy the knitted sample they had in that color, but figured they'd turn me down anyway. I found more at WEBS, however, and it's already in the mail, so I should get it sometime next week. WEBS looks like a great store - maybe I'll be lucky enough to find myself in Massachusetts some day so I can go visit their huge shop/warehouse.
So, this scarf is on temporary hold until the new yarn arrives. Which gives me a chance to finish up the Linie Spot turquoise scarf (wide version). I'm almost done with that, so will just need to weave in the ends and add some fringe. It can wait, too, because it's going to be a Christmas gift. I really need to work on what is most pressing, which is a gift for my sister which is due in about three weeks. See next post (ROYGBV scarf) for discussion of that one....
Upon further rumination, I decided that it, too, was just not right. It might look cool carried along with this yarn:
to make a Halloween scarf, except that I'm not a huge fan of Halloween and don't plan on wasting time, energy and money on a knitted item to honor that so-called holiday.
This is a black Fun Fur by Lion. I originally bought it to make a skinny fun fur scarf like the one I'd seen a coworker wear last year and had admired. I know, I know -- fun fur is man-made, tacky and oh-so beourgious for any serious knitter who should devote themselves monogamously to natural fibers. Well, I guess you can call it a guilty pleasure, and since I'm a novice knitter, I'm going to wear that classification like a badge and milk it for all its worth so I can have fun with the novelty yarns, until I get bored with them and want to advance to the classier yarns. So far, I'm not bored. Anyway, my friend wore her black fun-fur scarf with a black blazer over a black dress - she looked very chic, and the scarf just made it appear that her blazer had fur trim. I liked it. I'm going to copy it.
Alas, since gift-knitting takes priority, I won't get to knit my black fun-fur for several months. By then it'll actually be cold enough to wear scarves!
There's really no other term for this -- butt-ugly just suits it so well. I asked sister-in-law Jenny to confirm the butt-ugliness, and although she was kind and didn't use that particular term, she did say that the (Gedifra Chapello) yarn that I'm using as fringe (sort of) was "a little much". Talk about understatement! I finally figured out that it is an exact match to the shag carpet we had in our family room growing up in the 1970's. And so, I cannot in good conscience give this as a gift to sister-in-law Mary or anyone that I care about. I might wear it at Thanksgiving and give it to the first person who makes any kind of comment (good or bad), just to get it the heck out of my house....
It was knitted on size 13 needles, casting on 15 stitches, not that anyone cares.
Close-ups of knitting (aka, my alternative to syrup of ipecac):
The LYS (Lettuce Knit) where I bought this yarn had no more of this color, (of course), and another LYS (Got Yarn) also had none, so I ended up buying some on ebay. I like this yarn so much, I ended up buying 10 more balls from that ebay seller. I was originally going to make this wide version for myself, but decided that this particular item will go to a friend for Christmas, since she also likes these colors. I'll have time and yarn to make myself a wide version after Christmas.
I just love this yarn, though -- the colors are eye-candy for me. It's actually three yarns stranded together -- a metallic turquoise eyelash, a solid black thin thread, and a pale blue slightly wider thread with little puffs (spots, hence the name) of various other colors. Fun!
Here's a close-up of the knitting:
Gedifra Chapello (4267?) - bought a few of these to go with:
Gedifra Arica 2404: also bought a couple balls of this
Gedifra Arica 2462: bought all they had of this -- around 10 balls. Maybe I can make a Dallas Cowboys-themed something for my sister-in-law Mary who is a fan. (That would be a definite teeth-gritting labor of love for this Redskins fan!)