Sunday, December 30, 2007

Fit to be Tied

Well, the Monkeys in Birches socks will fit me. Last night I knit most of one foot and slipped it on and voila! If I were the type to keep score, I would have said it was my turn for a pair of socks anyway.

The fit of the red-red-red sweater/hoodie is another matter. While nearing the armpits of the body, I found myself wondering, Is this going to be big enough? I checked the gauge (correct), measured the width (difficult to do with the lace and the circular needles), and finally took it off the needles so I could actually try it on. Well. It is a bit... fitted. Because of the lace up the front, I definitely need to wear something under it, and that something had better be form-fitting because there will not be much space between the sweater and me. I wondered why it fit so snug, so I went over the size info. Uh-oh. Where it said 42 inch bust, it meant that was the actual measurement of the hoodie, whereas I took it to mean the size was for a 42-inch bust. Argh!

So. What to do? I decided to plow ahead while trying to convince myself that blocking will add an inch (to the sweater, not to me) and that maybe I can lose 10 pounds really, really fast. (HA!) And I will stop referring to it as a hoodie since it is definitely going to be more sweater-like.

On a sad note, today is the last day of my xmas vacation. I have to go back to work tomorrow. *sigh* I had a great time the past 10 days, partly because instead of fouling my time off with to-do lists, then stressing over how much I did not get done, I just went with the flow and pretended I was retired and time was not of the essence. Not a bad way to live.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Knitting Today

Yesterday my SO and I ventured forth, heading north to a LYS one of my co-workers had visited recently. Knitting Today has been in business for about 15 years, the first eight online-only. The owner (whose name I neglected to get) is friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable, and the yarn selection wide. Some of the brands I was familiar with, but many were new to me. I came prepared to buy, though, and buy I did.

Here we have Zarina Print "Blues" which is a merino superwash destined to become a baby blanket.

I haven't even cast on yet, but I can tell this yarn will be a joy to work with, as it has a nice spring to it.

And my SO picked out this Di.Ve Autunno, for a new scarf:

It's also merino.

And this Classic Elite Inca Marl in "Tobacco Road" is for a special pair of socks for my special son-in-law:

Mmmmm - alpaca. My daughter will make sure these are hand washed.

Knitting Off Broadway is supposed to have their grand opening today, but the weather is so crappy (slush is falling from the sky) that I did not try to go. Their website is not up yet, so I'm wondering if they are ready for prime time.

And I learned from Knitting Today that there is another yarn store opening in the Fort, on North Anthony. My informants have been notified to keep an eye out.

Meanwhile, I am almost ready to attach the sleeves of the red-red-red sweater-hoodie and start the yoke.

Besides being seamless, this sweater is destined to be purl-less as well. To accomplish this, the hood may have to become a snood. We'll see how that works out. Every project is an experiment!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Two Steps Back, Two Steps Forward

I let the red-red-red sweater/hoodie ferment for a few weeks and finally faced the fact that, despite my original protestations, I could not go forward until I went back. Those extra stitches would not be apparent to anyone else, but they were right in the middle of the front of the garment and I would always know they were there. So yesterday I decided to make like a frog and rip-it back 18 rounds. And, actually, picking up 190 stitches in the round and reknitting those 18 rows (3420 stitches) was not all that bad. Now I can move forward.

This morning a little snow fell, so everything has a thin coat of white icing. I'm glad my son got out of Dodge before the roads slicked up, but whenever he leaves, it's like a little knife to the heart. I would support my kids in the pursuit of their dreams, even if it meant their moving halfway around the world, but I take a secret pleasure in the fact they haven't wandered too far afield.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I don't know which came first, the novel or the blog-entry-a-day thingy for November, but someone wants us to knit a sweater during the month of November as well as write a blog entry each day and write a novel (and who knows what else). Do these people think of November as a particularly slow month? With Thanksgiving and the beginning of the xmas season? I think January or February would be better for all these activities. Those are two very slow and boring months around here, especially since we get so little snow.

Yesterday, the weather was just right for a hike in the woods, though. My son and I headed for Vandolah Nature Preserve for some fresh air and a little exercise. Neither of us had been there before, but it has a nice walking trail and interesting land and creeks and a marsh. And, unfortunately, a highway that runs through it. There was enough traffic to be disturbing; I can't imagine what it is like on a regular business day. Still, walking amongst the trees, inspecting animal tracks, listening to birds, etc. is very restorative.

Last night, my daughter came over and the three of us played Uno and laughed until I nearly wet my pants. A perfect end to xmas day.

Oh, and I knitted some on the Monkeys in Birches socks. The heels are turned and I'm into the homestretch.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


At last, the xmas surprise can be revealed. But first, a little bit about xmas tradition.

My maternal grandparents were from Denmark, and my mother carried on a few Danish xmas customs while I was growing up. The one we kids liked best was opening presents on xmas eve instead of xmas day. When I married, I suggested continuing this tradition, but my husband preferred xmas morning.

Well, he is my ex now, and my daughter now has in-law duty on xmas day, so a logical step this year was to reinstitute the xmas eve tradition. We had our xmas dinner last night - which must have been good because all conversation stopped while we filled our pie holes (and there is a recipe at the end of this post) - then my son started a fire in the rarely used fireplace...

... and we opened presents.

And was my daughter surprised when she pulled Elizabeth out of her xmas bag!

The story behind Elizabeth is a mystery. None of us can remember where she came from or why she rarely had any clothes. I think she may have been a substitute for a Cabbage Patch doll. Except for the Magic Marker on her face, she is very lifelike, so much so that I was afraid to leave her in view from the picture window lest someone see her and call Child Protective Services about that baby that is just laying there on the coffee table - and without a leg! (Her legs come off periodically.) And, in case you are wondering, the Magic Marker was a misguided attempt to give Elizabeth some hair, which my daughter blames on her brother. Natch.

Anyway, when my daughter handed over Elizabeth at Thanksgiving so I could fix her leg, I got the idea of knitting her an outfit. I used the yarn leftover from the Neverending Afghan and a free pattern from Lion Brand called "Cabled Baby Set".

The odd thing about this pattern is everything is knit flat and seamed together. I'm not very good at sewing seams, though, so I need to redo a couple that turned out particularly awful. Also, I got confused about turning the ribbing and stitched that up backwards, too. So I still have Elizabeth while I correct my mistakes.

Here is a gallery of the xmas surprise:

The first hat I have knit flat:

I was concerned about running out of pink yarn, so I striped the sleeves and back of the sweater:

Besides the above hat and sweater, the outfit includes pants and booties:

And here is Elizabeth, aka Chuckie, in her new xmas outfit:

And a view from the back:

And into the bag she goes!

And, as promised, a recipe. I don't know where I got this, and they are not a Danish tradition, but they are really, really, really good.

Miniature Pecan Pies

      1/2 c. butter or oleo
      1 3oz. pkg cream cheese
      1 c. sifted flour

Let cream cheese and butter soften at room temperature. Blend. Stir in flour. Chill about 1 hour. Shape into 1-inch balls (about 2 dozen) and place in ungreased mini muffin cups. Press dough in bottom and up sides of cup.

      1 egg
      3/4 c. brown sugar
      1 T. butter
      1 t. vanilla
      dash of salt
      2/3 c. chopped pecans

Beat together egg, sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Add half of the pecans and pour into dough cups. Top with remaining pecans. Bake at 325 until filling is well set, about 30 minutes. Cool, then remove from pans.

And put them where the dog cannot reach them!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Hoppy Halidays!

Whew! After battling a sinus infection for the past week or so, Saturday night I came down with a 24-hour bug of some sort. Suspiciously, my SO was sick as well, and we contemplated that it was something we ate, but we had not eaten anything in common. He did not get as sick, but yesterday I was down for the count. It gave me an excuse to glue my butt to the couch, watch football (very boring games), and stitch up the xmas surprise. Pix soon, I promise.

Speaking of pix, I don't think I ever posted a pic of the Jaywalkers.

They turned out too small for me, but the pattern has instructions for a larget size, so I will make myself a pair. Eventually. Details on this pair can be found here.

In other knitting news, I joined the Knitting Blog ring (see links on sidebar), but I (obviously) don't have a graphic for it yet.

And I am still working on the Monkeys in Birches socks, the red-red-red sweater/hoodie, the lace shawl, the Blue Lagoon baby blanket. But they will have to wait until another day, because I have baking, cooking, and cleaning to do.

Enjoy the holidays!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sweating It

I finished the Trekking socks with 7g of yarn remaining. As you recall, this skein weighed in a bit short, and toward the end, I kept eyeing the remainder, wondering if I would have to frog back a bit or switch to another sock yarn to finish the toes. But no, plenty of yarn leftover.

Once again, I worked from both ends of the skein.

Yarn: Zitron Trekking XXL in color 82
Needles: US1
Pattern: Six-stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks using twin rib stitch

And finishing one pair of socks freed up the needles for another pair:

The yarn is the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in "birches" (and I weighed the skein, just to see, and it is a generous 105g). The pattern is "Monkey" from Knitty. It seems like I am knitting it too tight but the gauge is right-on, at least as far as I can tell with this zigzag lace stitch, but we shall see. If the socks are too small for me, I am sure my daughter will give them a home. And then I can play with the pattern to make a pair big enough for my gigundo feet and calves.

One reason I have made such nice progress on Monkey in Birches is I have been ignoring everything else and I stayed home today (okay, that's two reasons). My on-again, off-again bug decided to turn into a sinus infection. So I actually (some would say finally) went to the doctor. I hate going to the doctor because you have to beg for an appointment, and then once you get the appointment and show up on time, you wait forever to see the doctor, and then frequently his nurse is on the verge of a meltdown, etc. But today it was different, maybe because he has a new nurse. And a new haircut. My stylist says it's "in" but it shouldn't be, at least not for men in their 40's. It would be like my wearing a mini skirt. Oh, well. At least I was in and out of there in 20 minutes, a new all-time record. But then I took my Rx to Walgreens, where there was a 40-minute wait. I waited at home.

P.S. Today my neighbor across the street ran his snow blower up and down my drive again. I have the best neighbors!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Finished Object!

Yesterday, with the weather predictions being what they were, I decided it would be prudent to finish the Lopi mittens. As you may recall, they had turned out different sizes, so I actually reknit most of mitten #2, but they were still different. Well, so what? They are for me to use shoveling snow. End of story.

I wore them to walk the dog, and they were quite... airy. My hands were warm enough, but the breeze moved right through the fabric. Hmmm. Maybe they will felt up a bit with use.

Well, I got to use them today.

My neighbor across the street bought a new snow blower yesterday, and he could not resist my driveway, but I still got out there for a while with my back-saving snow shovel. And the mittens were perfect. Usually, my hands get hot and sweaty, but the mittens repel moisture while letting my hands breathe. Just right!

Now that I am inside, warm and dry, I am hoping to finish the Trekking socks today as well, because look what arrived in the mail the other day:

Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in "Birches"...

... Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in "Serengeti"...

... and Interlacements Toasty Toes in color 202.

I have a tendency to pick paint and yarn by their names, but what would you call that last one? Turkish Turban? Persian Carpet? Intense, is what I call it.

So, you see why I have to finish the Trekking socks, don't you? That, or buy more DPNs.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Yoga Yogi

Last night my daughter and I went to the Kachmann Mind Body Institute to participate in a "Yoga Basics" class. We like! The facility downtown includes an art gallery which is where the class takes place. So not only are you surrounded by artwork, there are no mirrors! The last yoga class I participated in was in a dance studio and there were entire walls of mirrors; when I performed the Triangle, I could see how my face sagged - I looked like I was having a stroke. Anyway, we like Kachmann. The Lafayette location is near where my daughter lives and they are opening a studio at Lutheran Hospital, which is near where each of us works, and they are going to have a third location at the Dupont Hospital, near where I live. No only convenient for us, emergency services are a step away!

I located the two locations where I inadvertently added stitches to the red-red-red sweater/hoodie. Whatever I did, I did it twice, so I am considering frogging back to the most recent one (only six rows - wah!), just to see what it was I did wrong so I don't do it again. Considering it. No forward progress until I make my decision.

Yesterday at lunch I did another 10 rounds on the Trekking socks, and this time it took only about 40 minutes. Maybe I just need to get used to socks again, after working on projects using US7 (sweater, xmas surprise) and US10 (blanket) size needles.

During NaPoBloMo, I was able to post to my blog from my computer at work. A good thing, too, or I would never have made it. But now, the Powers That Be have cranked up the Internet security (again!), so I can read blogs but I cannot update mine or leave comments on others. Curses! Foiled again! I'm contemplating switching over to WordPress, as that site is reachable... so far - there are no guarantees. And if I wait awhile, someone higher up the food chain than me will complain, and access to blogger will return.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I am not a native Hoosier but I grew up in the Midwest, so when I first arrived in Indiana, the almost constant gray of its winter was a bit of a surprise. I am not affected by SAD, but still. This weather is growing tiresome. If I could stay home and hibernate, it would not seem so bad, but I actually have to go out and drive to work while slush falls from the sky. Ick.

The missing stitch on the red-red-red (are you getting tired of that phrase yet?) sweater/hoodie magically reappeared, but now I have two extra stitches. There is nothing like the body of a 190-stitch-per-round sweater to make one lose one's attachment to perfectionism. No way am I ripping out 1900 stitches of stockinette (I think that is where the offending stitches multiplied - it's hard to tell because of the lace pattern crawling up the front). Jeeze - I never thought about just how many stitches a sweater takes. Hmmm... 190 stitches per round, 6 rounds per inch, tap-tap-tap on the calculator - that's 17,100 stitches just for the below-the-armpit section of the torso. Yikes! Some things are better left unknown.

The Blue Lagoon blanket is also loosening my grip on perfectionism, at least as far as slavishly following a pattern goes. I made some modifications to the Sweet Cherries pattern because I wanted to carry the yarn up the side but it was too difficult with odd numbers of rows for some colors. The Blue Lagoon does not suffer from this problem, but the pattern looks like water, so I'm going with a more random version of the pattern repeats. Just for fun. After all, it is all garter stitch, so I feel compelled to inject something different to stave off the boredom. And I am not carrying the yarn up the side; instead, I break off and knit the ends in as I go. This results in less yarn wrangling. The blues are very soothing, too, so this is an enjoyable diversion.

Unlike the Trekking socks. Yesterday at lunch, it took me nearly an hour to knit ten rounds on the sole. That's 780 stitches, 780 tiny stitches on 4 tiny needles. This is why we knitters work on multiple projects at one time. When one is driving us nuts, we can give it a time out and pick up its jealous sister for a while.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

I Love Sundays

The weather outside is frightful, so it's a good thing I have no place to go and nothing to do, just like most Sundays.

Even though the power went out briefly this morning - it was sleeting at the time, and shortly afterwards there were sirens, so someone either hit a pole and caused the outage or the outage may have contributed to an accident - things are now cozy and warm inside, where I am knitting up a storm to counter the ice storm warning crawling across the bottom of the TV screen.

The surprise xmas gift is coming along nicely. (No pix - it's a surprise.) The Trekking socks are past the gusset.

I have used three skeins of yarn on my six-skein red-red-red sweater/hoodie, so that means I'm half done, right?

And yet, I could not resist starting something new.

In the past few years, several neices and nephews have married and I'm a little surprised none has announced an impending pregnancy yet, but I want to be prepared. When I first started knitting again, I went a little nuts and bought enough Lion Brand Baby Soft and Microspun yarn to make three blankets. I completed the Sweet Cherries quite a while ago, and it is still sitting in the FO drawer, awaiting a recipient. It must be lonely because now I am working on the Blue Lagoon. I'm not really a fan of Microspun because it is splitty and the skein falls apart too easily. I solved the latter problem by stuffing the skein into the leg of an old nylon. Kind of weird looking, but it does the trick. Other than remembering which colors to switch to when, this is a no-brainer project that I may take to work and just keep there. On US 10 needles, it goes fairly quickly, too.

Oh, and here is a belated bday gift from my SO:

It's a turntable for big cones of yarn!

Hmmm. Weather frightful --> fire delightful. Maybe it's a good day to use the fireplace.

Or not.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Case of the Missing Stitch

I was working on the red-red-red sweater/hoodie last night and, as is my wont, I decided to count stitches to make sure there were still 190 on the needles. Oops. Only 189. Since I am counting-challenged, I checked again. Still 189. I inspected the fabric, looking in vain for the dropped stitch. Was I blind? Had I miscounted from the start, and on every recounted round since? It was driving me mad, so I gave up and went to bed.

This afternoon, I decided I would find that missing stitch if it killed me. I gathered some notions to help mark off the stitches and was about to start parsing the whole thing, when I decided to count stitches one more time. 190. Hmmm. I told you I was counting-challenged! In my defense, last night I was coming down with a cold, which necessitated staying home from work today to sleep away the germs. So, either I miscounted, or the missing stitch magically appeared after being AWOL for almost 24 hours.

A little tired of the red-red-red, I switched back to the Trekking socks (remember those? I have been neglecting them of late.) I had started the gusset decreases on one sock, and decided to pick up the gusset stitches on the other before continuing with any decreases. Believe is or not, somehow in the process of picking up stitches for the gusset, I managed to lose a stitch on not one, but both socks. This won't be a problem until I reach the toe decreases, where the instep will have 39 stitches and the sole only 38. Maybe if I sleep on this problem, the missing stitches will magically appear. Again.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Because I Deserve It

I live in a three-bedroom house. I sleep in the master bedroom (natch!) but the other two bedrooms are generally useless except as repositories of stuff, one for mostly yarn-type stuff, the other mostly paper-like stuff. When my son came to visit at Thanksgiving, I cleared out the yarn-stuff room enough for him to sleep there. But one night, after he and a bud were out partaking of adult beverages, he and said bud had to shovel the paper-stuff off the bed in the paper-stuff room so the bud could crash there. So I decided one bedroom should become a paperless, yarnless guest bedroom.

Which means the other bedroom can now become My Home Office!

Sunday morning I took to shoving furniture about, so now the guest bedroom contains both a double bed and a twin bed (and a fold-up cot under the twin bed, but god knows where that could be set up) and a used-to-be-a-printer-stand-but-is-temporarily-an-ugly-nightstand-with-a-cute-lamp and an old rocking chair. (There is also a file cabinet in there, acting as another temporary-nightstand-with-a-cute-lamp, but that may get moved to My Home Office.) The closet is full of old computer equipment (can you spell "Bernoulli"?) and retired purses and boxes of paper-stuff that is not old enough to shred.

You would think that right now My Home Office(!) would look like a yarn and paper disaster, but for some reason it does not. At least, not yet. It contains the Big Desk (which fits through doorways only after the doors are lifted from their hinges) and the table-and-chair set that predates my marriage and two office chairs (one of which sports mystery stains) and a file cabinet and many bookshelves full of books I have not looked at in years plus two boxes of books I have not looked at for at least a decade. The closet contains camping equipment that I swear we will use again someday, more old computer equipment, and yarn.

For some reason, I am immensely pleased with the guest bedroom and My Home Office. The alteration of these two rooms represents a paradigm shift of some kind that I have yet to define. It feels good.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Knitting Off Broadway

We almost have a LYS again! The grand opening of Knitting Off Broadway is scheduled for after xmas, but they had a "trunk show" this past Friday and Saturday. I stopped by to check it out, but there was not much to check out just yet. Too bad, because the flyer led me to believe that there would at least be some notions for sale. Instead, there were knitted sweaters to try on. Now there's a concept: being able to try on a sweater to see how it looks before knitting for weeks on end to find out it is not "you".

The store was a challenge to find, partly because I did not read the flyer carefully. I saw the "near Jefferson and Broadway" part and I knew where that was, but I did not realize that the shop was actually on a side street (the "off" in "Off Broadway" - duh). The side street is not much more than a glorified alley, and parking will be a challenge, especially on Saturdays when they have classes scheduled all day long. Tucked away where they are lends an air of exclusivity to the shop as well. We'll see how that works out. But their hours are better (for me, at least), they plan to offer lots of upscale yarn, and it sounds like the co-owners have assistants and instructors lined up.

Here's to their success!