Friday, May 30, 2008


Here are some not-very-good photos of the lid holders I mentioned in the previous post.

The red one is the original and the white ones my attempts to duplicate.

The depth of the hats vary, depending on the stitch (double crochet or half-double crochet), the number of rows, whether I crocheted in the back of the stitch, etc. I wish I had kept notes of what I was trying, so that when my co-worker decides which one she likes best, I can more easily duplicate that one.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Could Not Resist

At work, the dress code is "business casual" which means about anything. Usually I wear slacks, but today I dressed up a bit so I could wear the Montego Bay Sea Silk scarf. I had fun futzing around with it: I spread it over my shoulders like a narrow shawl, wrapped it around my neck once and tied it low, wrapped it around several times, etc. But I had to be careful in the restroom or the ends would have received a baptism in the toilet!

Last week we had a carry-in (that's Hoosier talk for potluck) at work, and there was a Crock Pot with a little crocheted cover for the lid handle. It looks a little like a mini-sombrero and keeps your fingers from getting burned when lifting the lid. Well, the owner of the Crock Pot later approached me about trying to duplicate the mini-sombrero, so I have been playing with that a bit. The design looks very simple, but duplicating it is not quite so easy. I'm beginning to suspect that the original is of wool and that over the years it has felted a bit.

The rest of the knitting report is rather ho-hum. At lunch, I try to get two inches done on the Big Bad Baby Blanket. At night, I knit ten rounds on the remaining Pinwheel sweater sleeve. And right now a striped burp rag is inviting me to do a few rows before bed. But first, bunny chores.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Montego Bay Sea Silk Scarf DONE

I thought the fringe on this scarf was going to take me forever. Expecting thunderstorms today, I settled down with Olive Kitteridge on CD and wrapped it up.

Now my outfit is all dressed up with no place to go.

Maybe it's time for a fancy night out on the town!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I Was Wrong

The day before the race is the perfect time to visit Indianapolis, especially the Indiana State Museum. We had a peaceful time examining the quilts (mostly Amish) and knit/lacework (more art than craft). One of the displays was video from microRevolt. Besides raising the profile of sweatshop abuses, the website includes a free software program that translates digital images into knitting patterns.

There was a parade going on downtown, but our Mapquest directions (or the wrong turns we made) skirted the activity, so after the museum, we were able to wend our way over to the Knit Stop. The Knit Stop is one honkin' yarn store, one of the few LYS's that carry sweater-quantities of many, many yarns. Many, many fine yarns. I petted the qiviut ($$$) and the cashmere ($$$), and interviewed several candidates for the Dollar-and-a-Half Cardigan. In the end, however, all I bought was a skein of Rowan Denim, in natural, so I can make a striped burp rag. I guess having two sweaters in the queue is enough for now.

Then we ate at P.F. Chang's (highly recommended, especially the crisply green beans appetizer, which is sort of like a blooming onion but lighter and crunchier and spicier) before heading home. I worked on the baby bib in the car, and it occurred to me that denim yarn might make a good alternative to a linen blend for the Dollar-and-a-Half Cardigan. What do you think?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Holiday Weekend Fantasy

This weekend may not be the best time to go to Indianapolis, but we be going anyway. Not to the Indy 500* but to the Indiana State Museum which has two displays I want to see: "Quilting Blocks and Binding Threads" and "Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting". And then we plan to stop at the Knit Stop (rhymes with "pit stop" - get it?) and maybe lunch at P.F. Chang's. Not a bad start to this three-day weekend.

In my fantasy world, I will be wearing the Sea Silk scarf (part of the fantasy is that it will be done - adding the fringe is turning into a long, slow process)...

... and while in Indy, we will run into Karen Allen (with or without Indiana Jones), and she will notice the scarf and strike up a conversation, which will result in an open invitation to drop by her fiber studio the next time I am in Massachusetts. Oh, yeah.

In real life, I will probably be working on the latest baby bib in the car...

... loving the indigo color. I bought only two skeins of this Rowan Denim while at Ewetopia, so I am hoping to find a third at the Knit Stop.

And (*sigh*) more yarn arrived today. I think I am turning into a sweater-and-sock girl, which means not only does sock yarn not count as stash, sweater yarn doesn't, either. Right?

At least, when you finish a sweater, you have made a serious dent in the fiber pile. The problem is finishing one before starting another. There are two boxes of sweater yarn sitting next to the Pinwheel sweater, which is almost done: 1.25 sleeves left to go.

Hope your Memorial Day weekend is a good one!

* Mike Royko once described Indiana as one day of racing and 364 days of bowling.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I've Been Memed

Qutecowgirl meme'd me. The so-called rules suggest I meme five others, but I'm going to leave that up to YOU. If you want to meme, knock yourself out.

If you think meme'ing is fun, you should try what Sheri is doing. Someone challenged her to write one hundred things about herself. I think I will save that idea for November, which is NaBloPoMo.

1. What was I doing ten years ago?

I was in my first year of employment where I still am today, in IT. I came from engineering services and thought I knew a little something about software, but the IT world is very different from engineering (less rigorous and more complex in an unnecessary way). I felt frustrated and stupid and ended most days near tears. And my children were teenagers! NOT a good time.

2. What are five things on my to-do list today?

Buy one-cent stamps so I can pay the neighborhood association bills (I'm the treasurer); knit 2 inches on the Big Bad Baby Blanket and 10 rounds on the Pinwheel Sweater; clean the toilet and unstop the sink in my bathroom; look for garden stuff at Home Depot and Lowe's; find out if my lawn mower has been fixed yet.

3. What snacks do I enjoy?

Popcorn, popcorn, and popcorn. And potato chips and salted nuts.

4. Where have I lived?

Ohio (suburban), Illinois (suburban), Massachusetts (industrial), Indiana (first rural, now suburban). I prefer the Midwest.

5. What things would I do if I were a billionaire?

Quit my job. Develop a hobby farm (with lots of fiber animals!) Buy up green space. Plant trees. Give more to organizations like Heifer that promote self-sufficiency.


Have you noticed that when you buy new yarn, it somehow migrates to parts of the house where you are bound to see it every day? And every time you see it, you want to pick it up? And every time you pick it up, you want to knit it? So it is not entirely my fault that I cast on another baby bib, in the Rowan Denim. The pattern suggests several cotton yarns, including this one, but the instructions state to knit the bib longer if using Rowan Denim. I always wondered about that, and now I know: denim yarn shrinks in length. Nancy shows us how much. Huh. Whodathunk?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Falling Apart

While munching cole slaw at lunch yesterday, I discovered something hard in one mouthful. A small pebble? A dried lentil? Nope. It was a piece of a tooth. I was not a good teeth-brusher when I was a kid, and I have a mouthful of fillings to prove it. Now, as I approach my dotage, my teeth just crumble. I have lost track of the number of crowns I have, but this one looks like a candidate for another. Thank goodness for dental insurance.

On my way to Women's Weekend I stopped in Troy, OH, to visit Ewetopia. The first thing I noticed is Troy is a happenin' town on Friday nights. Many were dining al fresco and on-street parking was scarce. I found a public parking lot where it appeared that parking was free on Friday nights (Fort Wayne, take notice!) There is what people out east call a rotary in the center of town, and Ewetopia is right there, where Main meets the traffic circle.

The next thing I noticed was a little girl (age 9?) sitting in a wicker chair in the store window, knitting away. And the store was full of more knitters. Every first and third Friday, Ewetopia hosts a late night knit, and that's what I stumbled into. If I had planned my time better, I could have accepted their invitation to join them in pizza and yarn. Instead, I browsed the store, picking up their last two skeins of Rowan Denim in "Tennessee".

Ewetopia is my idea of a yarn store: open 7 days a week, including most evenings; many, many classes plus a sock club; online sales to complement the brick-and-mortar; and friendly folks. My only complaint - and this applies to many LYS's - is they did not have many options for sweater-size projects, which is what I was looking for. Maybe as their online business builds, they will be able to expand their inventory.

WW was fun, as usual, and I worked on the Big Bad Baby Blanket (which I managed to screw up while trying to knit and play cards at the same time) and the Pinwheel sweater. The former is about 25% done and the latter is at an annoying stage, the sleeves. Annoying because the sleeves are knitted in the round, right on the garment, which means rotating the whole thing for each round.

I am into sweaters now, though, and bought enough yarn from Webs for Sitcom Chic.

You are probably thinking, Oh, no, another red-red-red sweater! And you would be right, but there is logic behind my choice. I have a red store-bought cardigan in Orlon that makes me sweat because the fabric does not breathe, so Sitcom Chic would be a replacement for that. The pattern calls for Cotton-Ease, which is a cotton-acrylic blend. Since I find acrylic blends to be not all that comfortable, either, I am trying out this Pima Tencel. Pima is cotton, Tencel is wood pulp. And the yarn was on sale!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Three Questions

How Much Is Too Much?

Most of us do not count sock yarn as stash. Nonetheless, I counted how many potential sock projects I have and arrived at 13. I average a pair of socks a month, so that is over a year of socks. Is that too much? The yarn fills an entire drawer. If I could have a do-over, I would unbuy some of the so-so sock yarn (it's perfectly fine sock yarn, just not anything special) and replace it with wowzers sock yarn, the kind of hand-dyed yarn that is so beautiful it makes your eyes hurt. Okay, that is my new Sock Yarn Rule: only wowzer yarn from now on. Unless it's on sale. Which is how I wound up with the so-so sock yarn.


Do You Wear Shawls?

I have knit several shawls, and I love knitting them and I love the way they look, but I find I don't particularly like wearing them. Keeping them on my shoulders takes too much futzing around. It could be that the ones I have knit are not conducive to staying put. I have a pattern (and the yarn) for a big, winter-weight shawl. Maybe I just haven't found the right shawl size and type for moi yet.


What Else Do You Knit with Fingering?

With all that sock yarn I have, I got to wondering: What best to knit with fingering weight yarn besides socks and shawls? Unfortunately, when impulse buying sock yarn, I get just one skein of a particular colorway, but if I had a particular pattern in mind, I might purchase more. Hmmm. Maybe this is a dangerous question. My sock yarn non-stash may grow by leaps and bounds.


Well, the Montego Bay Sea Silk scarf is not going to make it to Women's Weekend. After a slight mishap at work with the Embossed Leaves socks (it involved much cursing and the strategic placement of a paperclip until I could get home to my dropped-stitch-handling tools), I decided the scarf was a better option for knitting in meetings. Consequently, the knitting portion of it is done. All that remains is the fringe. The fringe consists of clusters of 5 lengths of yarn, to be doubled and braided. How best to braid ten lengths of yarn? (That's question number four, but who's counting? Ha! Another question, if rhetorical.)

I did start the Big Bad Baby Blanket (interestingly enough, in fingering weight yarn, doubled), and it is a primo candidate for WW. It has a seed stitch border, and the inner panels are stockinette and reverse stockinette. Surely, surely, I can talk and knit this at the same time. Surely!

My son is here for a couple of days, so I am taking some vacation time and pretending I am retired. Aaah! My big goal for today is to bake a rhubarb-strawberry birthday pie. Ymmm!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Next weekend is Women's Weekend. Someone knitting at WW several years ago inspired me to take up the needles again. I expect to do me some knitting at this WW, but the cabin where we stay is nestled amongst the trees and shrubs, and is not well-lit inside. And we talk. A lot. So I need some easy-to-knit things that can be knit in the semi-dark.

That rules out the current Embossed Leaves sock project:

A lace pattern plus dark yarn won't work. I'll just make mistakes and exhaust my vocabulary cursing.

The Pinwheel sweater is a possibility...

... but only if I complete the edging and get a sleeve started. The edging is a challenge to stay with because either the two yarns get confused as to where they need to be in relation to the needles and the loops, or whatever needle I am not clutching has a tendency to slip its stitches and leap bare naked to the floor. This struggle is why my cursing vocabulary is running dry.

The Seasilk scarf is definitely going...

... but it is so close to completion that it will not last long once I hunker down in the cabin.

What to do, what to do? Big Bad Baby Blanket? Ski Beanie? IU socks? Hmmmm.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Questions Answered

Qutecowgirl asked what kind of camera I have. It's nothing special, just a Canon PowerShot A520 (4.0 mega pixels). I'm not much of a photographer, so when cameras went digital, I considered it a godsend. The photo of the stitch holders on the previous post was the only one of about 20 that was viewable. My camera has a macro setting, but it doesn't always work the way I want it to. So I experiment with different backgrounds, different lighting, zooming in and out, until I accidentally hit on a combination that works well enough. In the "bad old days" experimenting like that would cost a small fortune in film and developing, and you still would not know if you were successful until days later.

My general photography rules are:
1) Use a white background. (This hint came from my daughter.)
2) Use natural light.
3) If 1 & 2 don't work, try something else.

And what am I going to make with Poodle Skirt and Weathered Barn? I dunno!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Look What I Got

Yarn! From Qutecowgirl's Etsy shop. I have been admiring her spinning and dyeing and was wondering when she was going to go Etsy. I must have ESP.

I love the names she comes up with for her colorways. The one on the left is Poodle Skirt, the one on the right Weathered Barn. Maybe she will be offering up her Ketchup and Eggs one of these days.

And look what she included as a free gift (because I am so special):

Stitch markers made by her and her daughter. How special is that? Thanks, QC!

As for actual knitting, not much progress has been made. I blame the weather. My morning knit is being bumped by dog walking, while evenings I work in the yard. Even my lunchtime knitting has been truncated lately - work gets in the way. Stupid job.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Smells Like Shear Spirit

If you pine for your own sheep, don't read this book! It will just intensify your longing. But I know you won't listen to me, so let me just say that once I release this book back to the local library, I may have to buy my own copy. Shear Spirit profiles ten fiber farms, provides 20 patterns using fiber from these farms, and sucks you into wanting to visit them all on a prolonged fiber tour. The photography alone is worth the investment, but I also like most of the patterns.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Can't Help Myself

I picked out a pattern for my next pair, the Embossed Leaves socks from Interweave's Favorite Socks, and left the book on the coffee table, open to the pattern. (Why can't all pattern books have a spiral binding?) Well, I couldn't see that pattern everyday without wanting to cast on. So I did.

This pattern uses a 1x1 rib cast-on, which I think I like better than my usual long-tail cast-on. And I'm using Cherry Tree Hill Supersock yarn for the first time. Its beaded appearance is going to really enhance this lacy pattern.

Meanwhile, the pinwheel is bogged down a bit in the edging.

It took me a little while to get the hang of this I-cord loop thingy without trapping the yarn inside the loops. Now it feels like I'm advancing trippingly around the border, but in reality, it is taking a time-frozen eternity to create each loop and knit it to the sweater body, over and over again. After hours of work, I am about 1/4 of the way around.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Code inda Noze

I'm home with the spring cold that seems to be making the rounds at work. These particular germs are courtesy of my boss. I told him I wanted to be sick enough to miss work but not be incapacitated. Apparently, those are mutually exclusive, as I am not making very good use of the day away.

I try to knit, but keep mixing up the knit rounds and the purl rounds on the pinwheel sweater.

I did manage to get it off the needles and onto me for a quick fitting. The armholes feel small, but that is probably due to the stitch holders. It is large enough across the back and overlaps by an inch in the front, so that is okay. But I am going to continue a few more rounds, to see if I can get a little more coverage in front. This is such an odd sweater, from a practical standpoint: a nice shawl collar to keep one's neck warm, a long back to protect the tush, then hardly any coverage up front. I guess this one is about the construction.

Time for a nap.