Saturday, October 06, 2012

Well, that was a dumb idea

I have a habit of over complicating my life. As if maintaining three blogs were not enough, I tried to start up a Twitter account for each. Bad idea. Bad, bad, bad. So I am going to pare that down to one Twitter, and while I am at it, combine my three blogs into a single brand new one: Between Rome and Paradise. I hope you will give the new blog a whirl. Regardless, thanks for your readership!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

An experiment

For my upcoming milestone birthday, I bought myself a smart phone, which is rapidly becoming my new BFF. While playing with it, I downloaded the Twitter app and discovered that, unlike on a PC, I can have multiple Twitter identities on the phone. Like one for each of my blogs. So I am going to experiment with that. I doubt I will suddenly become entertaining or provocative or fun in any way, but I thought I would give it a try. See side bar to read and/or follow me.

Which brings up the question: Do you Tweet?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Too sick to knit

I will spare you the details, but I've been ill over the past several weeks. Not feeling well was bad enough, but the meds actually made me feel worse - foggy-headed to the point where simple tasks like doing laundry or making jello were nearly impossible, let alone driving or knitting. So I watched three seasons of "Breaking Bad" instead. OMG - that show is like a train wreck in slow motion. You know it is going to go from bad to worse ("Breaking Worse"?) but you can't look away.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

If only

If only I could find my tapestry needles, this sweater would be done...

and these socks would be blocking.

Last night I broke down and purchased some new needles at Joann's, and yep, you guessed it - today I found the missing ones.

And if I had remembered to take my knitting to work the other day, a day that included two hours of mind-numbing, soul-sucking meetings, I would be two hours closer to having another pair of socks done.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Dishcloth orgy

I have seen more volleyball, beach and otherwise, in the past ten days than I have seen in my entire life. And I used to play volleyball. Enough already!

Not volleyball AGAIN?!?

While watching all the digging and spiking, I cranked out these four dishcloths:

Pattern: Three Easy Wash Cloths - box stitch
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton
Needles: US7
Modifications: Attempted to balance the design by repeating rows 1-3 and binding off on the wrong side.

Pattern: Three Easy Wash Cloths - garter ridges
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton
Needles: US7
Modifications: none that I can recall

Pattern: Three Dish Cloths - waffle pattern
Yarn: Lily Sugar 'n Cream
Needles: US6
Modifications: Did not cast off in pattern

Pattern: Three Dish Cloths - ridge and rib pattern
Yarn: Lily Sugar 'n Cream
Needles: US6
Modifications: Did not cast off in pattern

The aqua ones were snatched up by my SO. I decided to keep the green ones because 1) they are kind of small, 2) I need a couple more dish cloths, and 3) they are REALLY green.

Unable to resist, I have already cast on the first sweater of winter, for the dumpling at the top of this page. I might as well work on it while watching (more) volleyball. *sigh*

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Oh. Hello there.

I am not knitting up a storm here, that is for sure. For one thing, I have been distracted by yardening. For another, our prolonged heat wave makes wool seem positively repugnant at times. To counteract the latter, I turned to cotton.

Nothing special, just a dishcloth in box stitch. This color is a bright alternative to my other projects.

Still plodding along on this cowl - over halfway done, but it still seems to be taking forEVER. I blame the Kidsilk Haze - I can stand to knit only 2 rows at a time.

I turned the heels on the current sock project without looking at the instructions. Whoohoo! Now for the march to the toes.

I anticipate the Olympics will glue my butt to the couch in the coming weeks, so hopefully more progress will be forthcoming. I'd like to get these projects done, as I feel the itch of winter sweaters coming on (pun intended).

Friday, June 29, 2012


The temperature reached 105 degrees yesterday. Today it was cooler (mid-nineties) and a storm blew through with 92 mph winds and about 0.25" of rain, then the temperature dropped 30 degrees. Aahhh! Back to the 90's tomorrow, though.

I have been knitting, albeit not much. Even though my house is air conditioned, it is difficult to work with wool in the summer. I would knit cotton, but it is too inelastic, makes my shoulders and wrists hurt with the effort.

The Gap-tastic cowl is my mindless knit project. Knit, purl, knit, purl, round and round we go.

It is difficult to tell in that photo, but the color is chocolate.

The portable project is socks, of course. Plain ol' ordinary striped ribbed socks.

I don't know why, but I don't want to knit anything more intricate right now. Lazy days of summer, I guess.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Take flight

I will skip the apologies for not blogging more often, as I have been spending most of my time outside, hose in hand, trying to make up for the lack of rain in these parts. Watering really cuts into my knitting time. Still, I managed to finish something.

Pattern: Wingspan, by maylin Tri'Coterie Designs
Yarn: Kangaroo Dyer Superwash Sock yarn
Needles: US4
Modifications: I chose to wrap and knit the turns; also, I sl1k on the edges.

I tried both sl1k and sl1p wyib at the turns and decided I liked the sl1k better. I also ran out of yarn and had to knit the last four rows and bind off with some yarn leftover from the purple February Baby sweater from 2010. Fortunately, the colors were close enough.

While I gave this piece a soak upon finishing, I did not try to block the points, as I have never had much success getting wool/nylon blends to hold a blocking.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Plain ol' (striped) socks

As I have said before, socks are my go-to project for portability, so I almost always have a pair on the needles. Sometimes they do not get much attention (can you say "Honey Cowl"?) but they are patiently waiting for when I need to grab and go.

Pattern: Sock Recipe, from Knitting Rules
Yarn: Austermann Stepp, in colorway 0028
Needles: US1
Modifications: Eye of partridge heel flap

Since I knit socks so often, always from detailed patterns, I wanted to get used to the idea of just knitting a pair of socks with little help from instructions. My goal is to be able to just pick up some yarn and needles and GO, a la the Yarn Harlot.

This was the practice pair. I am going to try to do the next pair without peeking at the book.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Still alive and knitting

The Honey Cowl is done, has been done for a while, I'm just slow to blog these days.

Pattern: Honey Cowl by Madelinetosh
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden, colorway 282
Needles: US9
Modifications: None

I used four skeins of yarn, and yet the width is not up to pattern specifications. That's okay. When I loop the cowl around my neck once, it drapes over my shoulders a bit. Or I can loop it around my head as well, babushka style. I see getting a lot of use out of this item this winter.

I have other knitting projects going on, like a pair of socks and a GAP-tastic cowl, but it is summertime and the gardening is not-so-easy.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Road trip

Last week my SO and I hit six states in seven days - whew! What knitting projects to take was an issue. At first, I packed the current sock project plus yarn for a second pair. But wait, sometimes US1 needles are hard to manage in a moving vehicle. I opted to also take Honey Cowl, in Noro Silk Garden, not heeding the warning that this pattern is addicting.

Addicting it is, so much so that it is all I worked on the whole trip.

We also hit a few yarn stores along the way. Sadly, this one in Galesburg, IL, was closed.

But Fiber Wild! in Galena, IL, was not. I was overcome with yarn fumes and came away with enough of this yarn from O'Day Farms (Waukesha County, WI) to knit up a sweater or jacket.

Blue Heron Knittery, in Decorah, IA, was also open for business. I made the mistake of petting this Eco Duo yarn (baby alpaca and merino) from Cascade, and it followed me home.

We made it to Minneapolis, too, but I was yarned out by then. We were so impressed with that city, we will return.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

In progress

I have a touch of startitis this spring, even though I have several projects just a button or seam away from being 100% done.

From Mason-Dixon Knitting, the Bubbly Curtain, because I got tired of being blinded by the late afternoon sun streaming into the window above my kitchen sink:

Lace always looks like a blob before blocking

The Ambidextrous Mittens from Knit One Knit All, because there was pink yarn leftover from the Suspender Sweater and Katmandu Cap:

Never enough pink

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's sock recipe from Knitting Rules!, because I almost always have a pair of socks going:

For moi

The socks I work on at work, during long boring meetings, the curtain is my go-to project for TV (up to season 6 of "Desperate Housewives"), and the mittens, well, they seem to have taken up permanent residence on the diningroom table.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The magic of short rows and built-in i-cord

To escape the fiddleyness of the fingerless gloves, I worked up EZ's Katmandu hat over the course of a couple of days. It's pink!

Pattern: Katmanu hat, by Elizabeth Zimmermann (in Knit One Knit All)
Yarn: Cascade 220 Wool, in colorway 9478 ('Cotton Candy') - a little more than half a skein
Needles: US8
Modifications: None

The cleverness of EZ's patterns never ceases to amaze me. This hat requires no seaming (yay!)

Even though my gauge matched that for the larger hat, it does not fit me the way it fits the model in the book - mine is much more snug. I must have a big head.

But not this CareBear.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fiddley fingers

One think I do not like about knitting gloves are the fingers - too fiddley, especially in fingering. But I do like the result.

Pattern: Basic Glove Pattern by Ann Budd (I frogged the earlier attempt at the Leap pattern because they were too small)
Yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock yarn, in colorway S95
Needles: US1
Modifications: fingerless, with 1x1 ribbing at the end of each finger.

I have enough yarn left over to knit another pair, which I will do someday, when I recover from the fiddleyness. Next time, however, I will shorten the hand length. That is, if I remember to reread this post.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

No toasty toes

Even though the yarn for these leg warmers is called Toasty Toes, my toes are not toasty. But my legs are, which is the point of leg warmers, I guess.

Pattern: Takeout for Two, by Cathy Carron
Yarn: Interlacements Toasty Toes, colorway 202
Needles: US4
Modifications: Lots

I basically followed the pattern except for using stockinette here and there, switching to 2x2 and 4x2 ribbing when it seemed appropriate. In spite of my efforts, these don't stay up very well. Their purpose in life, though, is to keep my legs warm in bed when I wear a nightgown.

This variegated yarn did not like any of the stitches I tried - it pooled with wild abandon - and the colors look electric and dark at the same time, very saturated. I'm not sure what else I could have made with this yarn, except maybe a Baby Surprise sweater. But with the recent downturn in the temps here - threat of hard frost tonight - I am glad I have these.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mitered Crosses

I decided to stop obsessing about how best to join the squares of the Mitered Crosses blanket and just whip stitched them together, then added an attached i-cord border.

Pattern: Mitered Crosses blanket - for Japan, by Kay Gardiner
Yarn: Noro Kureyon in 284 and Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in "Victorian Pink"
Needles: US7
Modifications: whip stitch join

Working on this with record high temperatures (85 in March - seriously?) was a sweaty affair, but now that it has cooled down a bit, I am enjoying this lap blanket. Perfect with a cup of coffee on a cold morning.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Don't buy this yarn

If memory serves me right, I bought this Noro sock yarn on sale, the caveat being I had to take the colorway that was sent. That was okay. But I am really, really glad I am not knitting socks with this stuff. For one thing, the wool content is not superwash. For another, the yarn is spun too tightly; it twists when pulled from the skein, then sticks to itself. The thickness varies, from thick to thin (see below), in places almost thread thin - I can't imagine the fabric holding up underfoot (very punny). And it is scratchy and unyielding and stiff.

Having never used this yarn before, I made some knitting decisions based on my ignorance. Now I fear the fingerless gloves will be too small for my man hands, even though I knit the large size. I know - I should have swatched.

I can't even decide if I like the colorway. What do you think?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Worth the wait

And worth the work.

Pattern: Prairie Blanket by Oat Couture
Yarn: KnitPicks Bare Superwash Merino Worsted Weight
Needles: US8
Modifications: Knit a rectangle instead of a square

I had purchased ten skeins of yarn, used part of one to test dye and swatch, then dyed up nine for the blanket. I knit the increasing portion of the blanket until I used up three skeins (and reached 223 stitches), then knit "even" - increasing on one end of the row while decreasing on the other end - until another three skeins was used, then knit the decreasing portion, using up almost all of the final three skeins. Finished size: approximately 59"x33".

I am very pleased with the results. The pattern is interesting enough to prevent boredom, even with the elongated middle, and I love the double border and bias design. Dyeing with KoolAid produced a variegated yarn, with subtle striping because some skeins had to be redyed. After a bath, the stitches plumped up for a wonderfully cushy feel.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

It won't be long now

The KoolAid-dyed Prairie Blanket is nearing completion - yay! - just in time for the end of winter. It will help keep the AC chill off my granddaughter this summer, though.

The blanket is not green and my carpet is not orange. I just need to learn how to use the camera better. The striping is not so pronounced, either, but reflects the fact I had to redye some of the yarn. I'm not sure I am cut out to be a dyer, but using KoolAid is a fun and cheap way to find out.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Knit, knit, knit

Sorry for the long absence. Days tied to the PC are starting to take their toll - physical therapy to the rescue, sort of. Two two-hour sessions a week are helping with stretch and strength, but pain continues. In an effort to help my right wrist (too much mousework), I have been limiting my knitting to short bursts. Consequently, the Prairie Blanket is taking forever.

I'm about 70% done and on the downhill side - decreasing two stitches every other row - so the end is in site.

Because the blanket has become unwieldy, I had to start something more portable:

Leap! fingerless gloves, because that day my hands were cold. I plan to use these while keyboarding but I am not loving the Noro sock yarn - not superwash, very sticky, uneven, hopefully not too scratchy to wear.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Takeout for Two

I tried to make a scarf with this sock yarn, but it kept saying no. So I gave in and made not socks but leg warmers for my daughter.

Pattern: Takeout for Two, by Cathy Carron (from Joy of Sox)
Yarn: Austermann Step, colorway 0026
Needles: US1
Modifications: See next paragraph

The pattern called for DK yarn and I used fingering, so I cast on 64 stitches, as I would for socks for my daughter. The pattern uses multiple skeins of different colors, inserting a round of plain knit amongst the k2p2 ribbing at the color changes, but my yarn was self-striping and I did not bother with the plain knit rows. I knit the foot length indicated in the pattern, then knit 6 inches of leg before increasing stitches and changing to k4p2 for the calf. I knit 6 inches for the calf before switching back to k2p2 for the top. Then I simply knit until I ran out of yarn. The DK version goes above the knee, but my fingering version just reaches the knee, which I consider perfect for leg warmers.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Still plugging away

It seems like forever since I posted, let alone posted about an FO (why, oh why, can't I force myself to sew a few measly buttons onto some otherwise completely done cowls?!?) I have been knitting, though: the KoolAid blanket is about 30% done, the stripey leg warmers are about 80% done, the Suspender sweater is - stuck again, because I ran out of yarn, again. While I was trying to figure out what to do about that, another Raveler I had contacted and forgotten about contacted me, and yay, yarn will be in the mail tomorrow. Surely, one more skein will do the trick. (Who knew my arms were so long?)

If you are in need of some inspiration, check out 500 Felt Objects. There is not much in the book about technique, but there are a jillion photos of objects made from felt that will blow you away. I kid you not.

Now my Amazon Contextual Product Ads are not showing up at all. Someday I will have to redesign this blog.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Almost famous

As I am undergoing physical therapy for my right wrist and both shoulders, I decided to lighten up on the knitting a bit. But that doesn't mean I can't read about knitting. My SO picked up a new Rachael Herron at the library for me, not knowing I "know" her.

Initially, I just leafed through A Life in Stitches, but the chapter on love blankets caught my eye. In this chapter, Rachael describes the love blanket she received, and the one she conjured up for Zoom, a Canadian blogger who was having a rough year. I didn't participate in the former but I did the latter. So, while not mentioned by name (or by pseudonym), I still feel like I am part of Rachael's story. And it's a good book, too, very readable and entertaining. While there is a lot of knitting and knitting metaphors, this is really about Rachael and her life so far.

Meanwhile, I redyed the not-dyed-very-good yarn, then started on the Prairie Blanket.

The redyed yarn looks more saturated, so I plan to alternated skeins, to spread the color out. So far, I am liking the results.

(A while back I added a widget for Amazon Contextual Product Ads on the right sidebar. The resulting ads are odd, to say the least, and sometimes a little hysterical. Money Ball? Seriously? How did they come up with that, from a knitting blog?)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Back in the saddle

Somehow, when I set a project aside, I assume that when I pick it up again in a day or two, I will know exactly where I left off. That assumption does not apply to projects that get set aside for weeks, though. It took a bit of knitting and tinking and counting and puzzling to figure out whether I was slipping the first stitch of every row and how I was decreasing the sleeves, etc., but now I "have traction" on the gray and pink suspender sweater. I just hope I don't run out of yarn again.

The KoolAid dyed blanket project is languishing a bit while I work on the sweater, primarily because I need to make a decision on the dyed-not-so-completely yarn. And then actually do something about it. The problem is I have to work for a living (boo) and there are only so many hours in a day.

The legwarmers are progressing, though, because they are small and portable and require no thinking or counting, perfect for keeping my hands busy and my mind from wandering during business meetings. Next week I have to take the car in to be serviced (and to find out why the gas mileage is dropping). I would not be surprised if the legwarmers did not get finished then.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Poodle Skirt scarf

Another scarf in fingering - I don't think I will do that again for a while. I usually get tired of scarves halfway through, and scarves in fingering seem to take forever. I don't know why I would think they should knit faster than socks, though, even if the needles are bigger.

Pattern: Favorite Scarf Ever by Lisa Bruce
Yarn: Barn Yarn, in 'Poodle Skirt'
Needles: US5
Modifications: I did not knit this scarf in two halves to be grafted together, so I ended with 2 knit rows and a bind off.

I love this colorway (especially the name), but the color runs were too short for socks. I'm loving the tiger-stripe chevrons, though.

Now. I REALLY need to get back to the gray and pink suspender sweater, before winter passes us by.