Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Okay, I wrote this post about a week ago, and have been waiting to post until I had pictures. I even wrote notes on what the pictures would be. And a week later, I still don't have pictures. So, I'm going to post this now, without pictures, and will do my best to get pictures added soon. Maybe the knowledge that my incomplete post is sitting out in cyberspace will get me to take the pictures and move on. Sheesh.

Look at this! {insert picture of koigu socks}

I finally finished them almost a month ago, after they had languished three-quarters done in my closet for 2 1/2 years. What held me up? The fear of washing them! The yarn is Koigu, and people have debated endlessly on the various lists on whether the yarn is superwash or not. Now, I am not into socks I have to wash by hand. I know myself, and I know that handwashing just ain't gonna happen. So, I stuffed the poor unfinished socks away and (tried to) forgot about them.

Eventually I decided that they weren't doing any good in my closet. Many people swore up and down that they'd sucessfully machine-washed Koigu, so I pulled out my socks, and finished them up. Wove in the ends, wore them, and put them in my laundry bin. Guess what? They survived! And they're noticeably softer on my feet, too. I think I need more Koigu.

The pattern is Purl Lace socks, from Socks Socks Socks. I changed the heels to short row heels (just for the heck of it), and extended the pattern down the top of the foot.

After careful inspection ... {insert pic of Hadrian on sweater pieces}

I also finished this! {insert pic of Banff}

I knitted the rest of the sleeve right after posting last, and started seaming. Then, life got hectic, and I didn't do any needlework *at all* for several days. I'm surprised I survived without going into withdrawls or DTs.

It's not the most flattering shape in the world, but it's extremely comfortable, and very warm. I think this is going to end up as one of my favorite sweaters.

Pattern: Banff
Yarn: Merino Frappe

Monday, November 14, 2005

Stuck on the Island

According to Wendy, that endless period of working on the sleeves of a sweater is Sleeve Island, because you feel like you're stranded there for-ev-er.

Well, I'm working on Banff, and hoo-boy, have I been stuck! Banff is a super-mega-oversized pullover, and the sleeves look like the size of a normal sweater's back and front. It is knit on size 10 needles, so it's not quite as bad as it could be, but it's still bad.

And I tell you, this sweater is out to get me. It really is.

I knitted the first sleeve, giganto thing that it is, and I stopped at the end, and looked at it. And looked at the amount of yarn I had left. Did a little bit of frenzied math, and came to a scary conclusion. I didn't have enough yarn.

The pattern called for 770 yards, and I had 840. This means, to me, that I have enough. It's been a long time since high school math, but I'm certain they told me that 840 is bigger than 770. But, I have been doing this long enough to know that yarn amounts are approximate, often on both the pattern and the ball band. And typos happen. And Individual Mileage May Vary. So I shrugged, and re-wrote the sleeve pattern to be eight stitches narrower (which is, like, three inches).

And, took a deep breath, and ripped.

And then cast on, and started again. At the end of the sleeve this time, I had used a satisfyingly smaller amount of yarn. But then, last night, I got to here:

That is a second sleeve, and a yarn end. Out of yarn. Again.

I whined. I yelled. DH said, "Yeah, that's bad." (He knows his job here is sympathize and stay out of the way.)

So, today I took myself off to the LYS where I had bought the yarn back in January. I almost didn't bother to take a ball band, because I seriously doubted they'd have the same dyelot.

But boy, did I luck out! I found a ball in the same lot, and eagerly snatched it up to bring it home with me. Hopefully, this evening I will finish my third mega-sleeve, and will be able to sew this thing up.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Things I learned from shingles

1. It is nearly impossible to get a good look at your own back. No matter how much you twist and turn in the mirror, or how many extra mirrors you try to use, it is still not going to work. All I've managed to see is a big, angry, red spot. Which, fortunately, is turning into a smaller, mildly annoyed, red spot. (Lesson 1.1. While taking a picture of your back with a digital camera and then looking at the picture sounds like a great use of modern technology, it won't actually work unless you can figure out how to turn off the flash.)

2. Males do not look at such things the same way females do. At least, this is true of the males in my house. DH says, "It looks like a rash." The pets, of course, do not care about a red spot on Mommy's back. My back is not the part of me that feeds them, pets them, or throws the ball.

3. It is actually possible to get sick of wearing pajamas. My rash is right at my waistline, so the only way to keep my pants from hurting it was to walk around in my pj bottoms, whose elastic waist kept them from riding up.

4. It is silly to think that just because the only visible sign is a small rash, you won't actually be sick. After all, the chickenpox is a bunch of little sores, and that makes you sick. You should not try to do sudoku puzzles or applique while in this state, unless you want to undo it all again.

5. My new camera has way, way too many buttons and symbols. They are not self-evident. I am certain that one of those tells me how to set the camera to auto-flash, but the one that looked like it might did not. My inability to figure it out might be related to lesson # 4 above, but it might just mean that I really need to find the manual that came with the danged thing.

I seem to be on the mend. If my camera and I can make peace, I will show you pictures of the socks I finished. And of the new socks I started. Or not.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

I TOLD you I was a Knitting Geek...

No one understands a word you're saying, but you don't care. Bespectacled geek by day, fearsome D&D warrior by night! Geek power! ;)

Which flock do you follow?

this quiz was made by alanna

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Not just for the roof

What do you find on roofs except for when they're on your back? That's right, shingles. Let me tell you, I like them much better on the roof. Ow, ow, ow. As David Letterman said, "There's nothing good about the BEEP shingles. The BEEP are so BEEP painful, every minute you pray some giant son-of-a-BEEP will shove a red hot poker up your ass." (No, I don't know why the last word didn't beep, too.)

Mine aren't as bad as David's--for one thing, he had his around his eye, which can be very dangerous--but it's bad enough. They're this maddening combination of itching and pain. I can't scratch because it hurts to much to scratch, but I can't just block out the pain because it itches. Letterman didn't mention being about two inches from the loony bin, but I bet he was, 'cuz I know I sure am!

Tomorrow: a return to your regularly scheduled needlework blog, complete with FO!

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Harlot is coming!

I just got email from the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat (aka the Gig Harbor retreat, though it's moving this year)--the Yarn Harlot is coming to Tacoma!

I'm really stoked about this, as I missed Stephanie when she was in Seattle a couple of months ago. I had been planning on going, but my work schedule was changed at the last minute. I possibly could have begged out of it, but I'm still a newbie there, and how do you explain to your new boss that you can't come in to work because you have to go see a Harlot? (Well, maybe if your boss is a knitter...)

The site doesn't say (yet) what Stephanie will be doing, but she's not the keynote speaker on Saturday, and I'm doubting she's going to teach a class--not that she'd have any trouble filling it if she did.

Oh, and there's also a few other people coming, like Sally Melville, Nancy Bush, Vivian Hoxbro (I have no idea how to make the funky 'o' symbol for her name), Cat Bordhi, yada, yada... No, really, I'm looking forward to seeing many people besides Stephanie, but I've been kicking myself so much for missing her before that I'm wearing out the toes of my shoes, so this is Big News. I haven't picked up bookbookbook2 yet (trying to hold out 'til Christmas), so maybe it's time to re-read bbb1. And see if maybe this time I can restrain from reading half of it out loud to my husband. Yeah, right.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Jammie Sweater

Today I'm wearing my jammie sweater. I got the term from an old co-worker who had what she called her "jammie dress," for those days when she really just didn't want to come to work.

My jammie sweater is just a basic, raglan-sleeved top-down sweater. It's the first time I took a pattern and rewrote it to fit a new gauge, and I was so proud that it turned out.

It's also my first sweater knit from handspun. Not my handspun--I bought it at the fair a few years before I started spinning. It's a lovely grey with just a hint of brown, loose without really being baggy, and very, very comfy.

The amazing thing about this sweater is that it is rarely ever too warm or not warm enough. Wool is very versatile, but this thing is amazing! It's one of the first sweaters I pull out in the fall, and the last I put away in the spring. I wish I knew what kind of wool it is, but the tag didn't specify.

I love sweater weather.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


That's where I was a year ago this week. Maui. This beach was half a block from our hotel. Sigh...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Knitting Geek

A few years ago, I reconnected with a friend I hadn't seen in a decade. Now, this guy is a major, major computer geek. (And, no, that's not a bad thing in my mind. I married me a computer geek. Geeks make great husbands.)

Despite the fact that we seem to have few interests in common, he's one of those people that I can just talk to, easily. So, one day I started babbling to him about the yarn I'd just bought. It was Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift and a few skeins of Campion for the cover sweater of Alice St*rmore's Tudor Roses. I was telling him I'd had to substitute a darker color for one that didn't exist anymore, that I'd pulled the foreground colors but not liked the green in them and substituted more golden tones, that this was my dream sweater, and ... and ... and ...

And his eyes started to glaze over.

Now, normally, I'm not too perceptive when I'm blathering on about yarn. (Okay, normally I'm not too perceptive when I'm blathering on about anything, but especially not when I'm talking about yarn.) But this time I noticed. I was just working out a way to segue into Macs or hard drives when his gaze cleared and he grinned widely. He'd obviously had a paradigm shift so big I could practically hear the gearshift grind. "You're a knitting geek!"

I blinked at him.

"You geek on knitting the way I geek on computers. You're a knitting geek!"

From that point on, he got it. He completely understood (understands?) my knitting obsession. Maybe we're not so different after all.

This is me last fall, with my dream sweater. Which won my dream ribbon, the Grand Champion, at the Puyallup Fair.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


... is not something that anyone who knows me would ever accuse me of having. I am not a patient person. As a kid, I got so worked up waiting for Christmas or my birthday that I would be physically ill on the actual date. So why am I doing so much needlework, when each new project I start will spend my next several birthdays in an unfinished state?

We all hear it, don't we? "Oh, I just don't have the patience to knit (cross-stitch, quilt, spin--take your pick)." "I couldn't do that--I'm not very patient."

My answer is always the same. If the finished project was the point for me, I wouldn't have the patience, either. In fact, my lack of patience has gotten me into a bit of a mess, as I have over sixty active needlework projects, and I can never wait to finish one before starting another. I just want to see what my project will look like, how the yarn or fabric will feel, whether the colors I've chosen will really look good together or not. Does this sound like patience to you?

I don't knit to have the sweater, or the socks, though I certainly do enjoy wearing them once I do manage to finish something. I don't cross-stitch for the pictures, or applique for the quilts. The finished project, whenever I get to it, is just a nice little bonus at the end.

I do my needlework because I enjoy the process. I like choosing the fabrics for a quilt and then challenging myself to make the neatest, straightest stitches I can. I like feeling the yarn run through my fingers, and seeing the shape of a sweater forming under my hands. (And, yes, I like seeing people's faces when they say, "You made this?")

I keep hoping my needlework will teach me patience. But I'm not holding my breath.

I don't know about this...

Lately, several people I know have been urging others to start blogs. I've frequently thought about having my own blog, but I'm nervous about the commitment it requires. I know that if I find a blog that isn't updated regularly, I lose interest quickly. But, I'm not good at being obligated to do things. Housework? Not my specialty. Making handcrafted gifts? I'm great at picking them out and starting them, but I hate making them.

So, a blog? Dunno if it's a good idea. But, if it gets me writing regularly, and maybe even helps me keep on task with some of my projects, bring it on!

(Oh, and please bear with me as I figure out all the program options...)

Friday, October 14, 2005


This life is a test. It is only a test. If it had been an actual life, you would have been given further instructions on where to go and what to do.