Monday, October 31, 2005

no trick

Some local color

...and now its time for another
• • • • She Shoots Book Swap• • • • •
New Knits on the Block
My brand new copy of this should go to someone who'll knit the great things in it for little kids. Ten years ago I would have been ripping into it, knitting a mermaid costume for my niece, the pirate hat & skull & crossbones bath getup for a son, and some very funky hats & toys. I just don't have this age group in my life - not in my gift needing life- right now. The ideas are fun, and a good range of skill levels. The DIY Knitty Gritty show host Vickie Howell put this book together.

So if you have a book to swap with me, drop me a note at ezisusATsnetDOTnet ( or in the comment below, just make sure you leave an address becasue Blogger anonymizes - is that a word?- allof them ). What book am I pining for? Hmm, a Jane Ellison Noro, or a Rowan knitting book , or maybe a skein or two of Kidsilk Haze.. as they say in the Yankee Swop cloumn, "will swop for what have you...?"

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Let the gifty knitting season begin.

Branching Out, for the first in a snowball of gift giving occasions, my mom's bday just after Thanksgiving. By the way? That's not my personal lump of Kryptonite in the background, its some coral that I stuck in to contrast its bright whiteness with the yarn's natural warm white shade, but the sun came out just as I shot. Superman, you can still drop by, anytime.

pattern: Branching Out from Knitty. This is the scarf to knit to get your lace chops. Well written, too.
yarn: Cashmere from Elann, Far East Collection. 1 skein . I think they're out of it now.
dimensions: blocked 6" wide x 60 " long
my 2¢:
The yarn is quite the bargain, @ us$12.50 . At first I wondered if it was living up to its cashmere pedigree hype. After a dunk & block, it became so light and soft that it floats around your neck, and its just lays, instead of hangs, on you. Warmth with no heft.
I've had a rough relationship with lace knitting. This pattern was a breakthrough. Still, I spent the first 75% of the scarf restraining myself from ripping it out. The needles, size 8, seemed so big for a lace pattern, the yarn too plain (I have this problem with color. I like it. Lots of it. ) The pattern alternately looked too messy or too fussy... I guess I"m an instant gratification girl at heart and lace takes some faith. It doesn't really sit up to be admired till you finsh it & block it.

Now, I love it. The only restraining I'm doing is from giving the scarf a test run in my personal wardrobe. Not really. But it crossed my mind to get another skein of this and dye it.... oh wait, what was that about gifty knitting?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

that big sucking socking sound

First I order a skein of yarn from an ebay store and just for fun, she throws in a sock pattern. Knitting socks? Nah, not really interested.

Second,the wonderfully generous and fleecy MamaCate deems me the winner of her oldest living WIP contest and gifts me with this beee-yyo-tiful Koigu.yarn3 Whatever it looks like on your monitor, its even richer and redder in person. I've never knit anything in Koigu. (I've also never won anything on a knitting blog. I am on a roll. ) It is sock weight. I'm not interested in knitting socks. Or am I? I browse the web for sock info, getting all- toe-up or down? Calculator or set pattern? Ribbed or sockinette? No lace, please. Where is a simple stockinette pattern that'll let me just knit 'round and 'round as the colors unwind?

Third, I looked down. At my favorite fall shoes. Those plain socks. Its just not right.feet

Is there a conspiracy afoot ?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

ursa MAJOR

I put out a call for the last of the critters from last winter's Knitting Happy Hours (see my archives in March & April for unparalleled bear & wine action ) for the Mother Bear Project , a charity. Look who showed up. group
There are almost as many UFO bears sprinkled around the area. Its been requested demanded that this winter's knitting happy hours only be scarf producing, for the increase/decrease impaired.

A testament to personality. And if you think tension and gauge don't matter, look at the assortment of sizes we came up with from the same pattern & yarns. We amuse ourselves endlessly naming them.

pattern: aWW2 classic from The Mother Bear Project
yarn: anything & everything machine washable - acrylic, cotton, superwash wool
degree of difficulty: you can do it
notes: no ends to weave in- they're all sealed inside!
Also, stuffing makes the shaping very forgiving,wine makes the shaping irregular, good company makes the wine more enjoyable, and the knitting very festive.
Festive, especially mid-winter, is good.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

yarn botany

warning: nothing Rhinebeck here. Not a whiff!
What I meant to say at the end of my last post was to see if the aggravating ebay yarn would be better when it bloomed, not blossomed. I did the scientific thing, soaking and airdrying a swatch from an earlier scarf start.before . Better but several degrees short of miraculous. after I wouldn't make anything that you wear on bare skin but a scarf that goes over a layer of clothes might be fine. This is now,officially, one of those get back to it when I feel like it deals.

I won't be feeling like it this week, because the Elann cashmere arrived, and I'm Branching Out.branching I'm showing tremendous discipline by knitting it plain white. Accordingly, I'm only swigging colorless beverages while working on it, which is cramping my early morning caffeine & knit style. I think I figured out why lace patterns & I don't always get along. I knit through the back loop and that makes some lace maneuvers slant the wrong way, unless you modify some specifics on how to do the stitches. I was feeling all out of step about this until I happened to visit Annie Modesitt's site and learned that 1) there's a name for what I do, its combination knitting and 2) that's the way she does it. And Annie Modesitt is pretty damn cool. She also says she writes her lace patterns explaining the effect you want (like a slant to the right) not the specific way to get there. Because (say it with me) in knitting , there's more than one way to do it right.

Monday, October 10, 2005

knish & kvetch

What is this about? An alliterative law firm? A pair of yiddish chihuahuas? No, just a day in the life.....
With no school, me & the Guys headed to NYC Monday. A short viewing of the Columbus Day Parade, then downtown for the Tenement Museum and knishes. We love a parade. We love the tenement museum. We love a good knish. We hit the trifecta.

How to start a day like this? The same as you: deciding what to knit on the train. A cool 1.5 hours of jiggity jogging MetroNorth knitting time. Its at moments like this I wonder why I never knit socks. So small, so portable, so direct. So easy to lose in the laundry. Oh yeah, that's why.

The pair of sweaters underway are too large to haul all day. I returned to a troubling ebay yarn from last year. I sent it to sit in the corner until it - or I - had a better attitude. It was listed as a soft laceweight felted merino in a rich warm colorway. It is laceweight, that part is true. Soft? Only compared to, say, razor wire. Richly toned? Only compared, dull gray? Ok, in the spirit of the season I'll be kind and call it muted earth tones. I'm skeptical of the merino pedigree,too. Its coarse, and grabs itself like a 4 year old who needs a potty, stat. I've started no less than 4 scarf patterns with this yarn, tearing each out as Not Quite Right.
Attempt # 5 is Morning Surf. It was good to have it to work on during the train ride. I like this stitch. Now I'm at the point I reached with the last four starts. Enough done to see that the pattern looks fine, maybe even good, but realizing its no pleasure to see it unfold further. This time I'm going all scientific on it. I'll swatch, soak & dry, to see if the miracle of blossoming will make this frog into a prince. Otherwise, frog it is.


Friday, October 07, 2005

my mom can outknit your mom

This is instead of boring you with four inches of Torgeir front. fyi.
This is a toddler sweater Mom knit on a whim last week. Because she's stalled between two other projects and just happened to have stashed some KnitPicks Crayon . The pattern is from the pattern-a-day box. I think she said she modified the design- something about an unnecessary big bear's face? Not quite sure. She usually changes something as she goes along. I'll vouch for the feel of this yarn though. A soft, almost silky- feeling boucle cotton, really much nicer than it looks in a skein on the KnitPicks site.

I had a whim moment myself. I ordered a skein of white cashmere to make my Mom a lace scarf. Did you see the price on it at Elann?

There are some inherent challenges: I can barely stay away from saturated colors and variegated yarn. This is pure white. If you see me near the koolaid aisle of the supermarket, feel free to hit me upside the head. Also, me & lace? Not a close warm relationship. But with 100% cashmere, I'm thinking I can get close and warm. Literally.

Happy Columbus Day!
He didn't "discover" America.
Go eat some pasta to celebrate, anyway.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

imperfect thoughts

Last winter I put aside the sweater I'd started, from Elsebeth Lavold's book of Viking knits, using her Silky Wool. I was making little mistakes in the pattern, which has simple cables plus reappearing cabled motifs going on. The motifs were giving me trouble. One looks like it has the knit version of a sneeze in it.

I decided its time to finish the back, flaws and all. Here's why : Leonard Cohen says it better than I can:
Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything-
that's how the light gets in.

It turns out Cassie also has some thoughts on perfection and it's limiting qualities, earlier today. She says it better than I can. too.
Assuring myself that noone will ever mistake me for a perfectionist, I finished the back. torgeirback This here is a good argument for doing the back first. The little mess-ups occur mostly in the bottom half . If you notice them, I'll need to inquire why you're staring so closely at my husband's sweatered butt.

By the time I got to the shoulders I concluded the problem is with the " left lifted increase" and "right lifted increase" move. It keeps vexingly becoming a yarnover in effect. I think the way I usually do knit stitch, through the back loop, is gumming things up. Clearly Elsebeth is a front of the loop knit stitcher, done that way the increase stitch seems to behave itself within the motif. I'm knitting the front of the sweater using a front of the loop knit stitch and we'll see if that takes care of it.
• • •• •• •• •• ••• ••• •• •• •
Is it not perfect to end with this creature, when yesterday was Rosh Hashana ( the Jewish New Year) and the start of Ramadan too?

Saturday, October 01, 2005


Yeah, the bunny was real. Here's another one.
people That'll be the last. I promise.

And felting? I was sufficiently frightened by your words like "skimming the felt scat" and "the pump" that I used a regular pillowcase closed by five clothespins. We have felted shrinkage. Mucho thanks for all the felting advice.

Before: sm10felted1


The verdict? Still not sure what to do with it but I like it.

I especially love the edges, they swelled and rolled a little in the process. I don't like the striped piece much, not nuts about the colors. I bought the yarn in 1988, teal was somehow fresher looking then. I'm thinking maybe the big piece can be the front of a tote with a heavy fabric back. And the smaller stripey piece can be a small purse that someone else will love. Or maybe I can do something on top of the teal stripes. I think the project will hold here for a bit.....

Now that the riveting felting action has been reported, I'll mention that if you are ever in Providence, Rhode Island with a bit of cash, by all means go to A Stitch Above on Wayland Street. See all the luxurious yarn you'd want to squeeze, as well as clothes & shoes and accessories,for both knitting & for looking good). I spent almost an hour there yesterday being helped by the nicest, most patient person. Being the queen of indecision as I am, and also being totally unable to buy an affordable choice after falling in love with yarn beyond my budget, I left empty-handed. And late for my meeting. I blamed it on "the traffic" and did not mention merino.