Monday, January 31, 2005


As not-quite-promised, here are pics of my weekend FO's.

First, the Crusoe socks:

Pardon the crappy lighting. I was trying for an artsy outdoor shot, but there was freezing rain falling, and little natural light. You can get an idea of the real loudness of the yarn from my previous pics of these socks.
Summary: Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in "Sweetie," with the Crusoe pattern from Knitty. 88 stitches cast on size 0 needles.

Mum's Pocket Scarf:

Another crappy picture. Although it's nearly impossible to tell, the right side is the "right" side of the scarf. The left side is the "wrong" side, with the pocket. I chose to put the pockets on the inside of the scarf for a few reasons: 1) it looked better with the pattern; 2)you can keep your arms warm inside the scarf while still having your hands in the pockets; 3) if the scarf is just hanging around your neck, you can use the pockets for kleenex (very important for my mum), without having them bulge out on the outside. I also discovered that the pockets are very good weights to hold the scarf in place when it's wrapped around your neck.
Summary: Filatura di Crosa Luna in my own pattern (k 1 row, p1 row, k 3 rows; repeat) on size 11 needles.

Finally, the Hat (not the NippleHat, just the Hat):

Yup, another crappy photo. Natural light has been at a real minimum the last few days. I'm thrilled with the way this hat turned out, but I'll definitely knit the next one in the round.
Summary: Filatura di Crosa Luna in a cable pattern from Winter 03/04 Vogue Knitting. 3 inches of ribbing on size 7 needles, pattern in size 11.

My only complaint about this pattern is the way it grooooows when washed. The magazine explains the need to use the big needles because of all the tension created by the intense cableing. However, that also means the yarn (normally knit on size 7 or so) has plenty of room to grow. This hat really tried to stretch itself out when I went to block it. Only some serious smushing effort on my part kept it a normal, snug size. I'm a bit concerned about making a sweater in this pattern, since I get perfect gauge, and I don't want to land up with a sweater that is suddenly two sizes too big just because I tried to wash it. It's a bit irritating, since this is the yarn called for by the pattern, and no mention of this issue is made (though I certainly can't be the only person to notice it). I'll probably knit a test swatch and wash it to get an exact idea of the growth percentage. Then I'll adjust the sweater accordingly. What a pain in the ass.

That's all for now. I'm going to work on my Clapotis a bit more tonight. Details tomorrow or Wednesday.

An FO Kind of Weekend...

Pictures when I get home from work tonight.

I knocked three projects off my WIP list, and then added one more last night.

I finished the Crusoe socks on Thursday night. I love the way they turned out. They fit perfectly, and are just the kind of funky, brightly-colored socks I love. I wore them to work on Friday, where they got quite a bit of attention.

I hurt my wrist at work on Thursday, so knitting was at a minimum on Thursday and Friday. I finished the sock on Thursday (about an hour), and then did some simple 2x2 ribbing on Friday (another hour). By Saturday I was back to normal, so I got cracking on Mum's replacement hat.

Knitting 3 inches less certainly made the hat knit up much faster (about 12 hours, total). I finished it around 5:00 on Sunday, and immediately seamed it up. While it was upstairs soaking in the sink, I seamed up the pockets on her matching scarf as well. I wasn't too thrilled with the way the seam on the hat turned out. When I knit one for myself, I'll definitely do it in the round. There's really no reason to ruin such lovely cable work with my amateur seaming skills.

After my seaming fun, I cast on for a Clapotis while Andrew and I watched the last 4 episodes of Sex and the City. We've been working our way through the series for the last few months, so it was pretty exciting to reach the end. Anyway, I made it through two repeats of the second part, and then it was time for bed. I really should've cast on for my Sockapalooza socks (I've already picked out yarn and a pattern), but I think I'll wait and start them on February 1st (which yes, I know, is tomorrow).

I took pictures of everything as it was finished, but didn't get around to uploading them to the computer. It was either post pictures, or watch Sex and the City, and well... we know which one won. I really needed to see if Carrie landed up with Big.

Have a good day, everyone!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Measuring Time by Knitting...

Andrew and I watched Alien vs Predator last night. I don't know that I was quite as keen to see this one as he was, but I can always appreciate a brainless sci-fi/action movie with good special effects. This one certainly qualified. Having watched it, though, I can honestly say that I have little desire to ever see it again. The movie was oddly pointless, and by the time it was finished, I honestly felt as though I had fallen into a time warp and lost 90 minutes of my life.

I know this didn't happen because 1) I'm not enough of a conspiracy theorist to belive in random spatial annomalies; 2) Andrew was there with me, and didn't have the same feeling; and 3) I got a good bit of knitting done on the Crusoe sock.

Speaking of the sock, I have another 1/4" to go on the foot, then the toe. I think I could be finished tonight, while Andrew and I watch Predator. (We're going through the series a little backwards. I've never seen Predator, but I'm a big fan of the Alien series- okay, just Alien 1-3. 4 sucked. So I'll be playing catch-up tonight.)

Just out of curiosity - do you think the Alien series is better classified as sci-fi or horror? I prefer to call it a suspenseful sci-fi movie, while Andrew classifies it as a horror movie with sci-fi overtones. Because of this, he has great difficulty understanding why I like the series so much, yet hate horror movies. I insist that Alien is a sci-fi classic, and that I've seen it so many times from such a young age (my mom was a big fan too), that while it may be suspenseful, it is no longer scary. Thus, I can watch and enjoy Alien while still wanting to avoid things like "The Ring" with a passion.

It makes sense to me, at least. :)

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Ah, yes...

Yup, it's another monster update from me. So much for the more-frequent-blogging resolution. Although, for the record, I did manage to send out all my thank-you notes early last week. So I'm only a partial slacker.

To start things off, this is what greeted me when I opened up the shades in the living room on Thursday morning:

Lovely, isn't it? It snowed again today, so there's a nice powdered sugar dusting on everything.

Now, on to the knitting.......

First, the NippleHat. Here it is laying flat on the kitchen table:

And here it is stuffed with some random paper:

Now, remember that I said it was 3 inches too tall. So just imagine a round head in that shape, with 3 inches stick up on the top. Get the name now? And no, I will not post a picture of myself wearing the NippleHat.

Here's how it spent most of the week:

And here's how it looks today, after a little quality time:

I busted out 3 new skeins of yarn to re-knit this. I'll used the recycled yarn to knit my own hat. Either way, this will be the THIRD time I've started this hat. Maybe I should just give in and accept the message that is clearly being sent to me. Nah.

Speaking of hats, here's Andrew's hat as it looked last Saturday:

And here's how it looks as of noon today:

He loves it. Thank god. He wore it to the grocery store today, and it didn't look goofy, or especially homemade. The only change I'd make is to move the stripes a bit lower, and to duplicate stitch at the seam to disguise the half-stitch jog at the join. Otherwise, I'm thrilled with the way it turned out, and would definitely knit another one.
Details: Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepard Sport, Orange and Navy, 2 skeins each, with yarn doubled throughout. Needles: Size 8 24" circulars, and size 8 dpn's at end. Pattern: Alison's Double-knit hat pattern. This pattern was excellent, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to make a similarly-styled hat. I had enough yarn left over that I think I can make a matching pair of socks. We'll see.

On to other things...

My Crusoe socks are moving along nicely:

This pic is a bit old; I'm now done with the gusset decreases, and about 1/2" down the instep. I don't anticipate any problems with being done by the end of the month so I can start my Sockapalooza socks (see sidebar for link and details).

Mum's scarf, meant to match the hat, is still waiting for its pockets to be sewn up. Andrew's hat has been front and center all week, but now that it's done, I plan to finish the scarf this weekend.

This is how it looked blocking in the library:

(Pardon the mess. I was cleaning out my old student loan stuff, and it didn't quite make it to the trash before I took the pic.)

Here's a better, more "artsy" photo:

I really loved working with the yarn for this scarf, but I was really surprised at how drastically it stretched out after washing. I guess I should've used smaller needles. ;)

Finally, since I forgot to post it before, here's a quick shot of the yarn Courtney and Val gave me for Christmas:

I don't own much yarn in the red/pink spectrum, so this is a great addition to my stash. And even better - it was a gift, so I didn't break my yarn diet (which is now into month 2).

Okay! So there's my week in a nutshell. Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I'm Not Embarassed to Admit This...

I am nerdier than 72% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

I Don't Promise

It's just occurred to me that every time I say that "I promise" to do something on this blog, I don't. So I won't do that anymore. I'm not sure why I felt the need to in the first place, probably the part of me that craves approval, but too bad now. No more promising.

Actually, I did take a bunch of pictures yesterday to post, but never quite made it up to the computer. Maybe tonight, maybe not.

A quick progress rundown:

1. Mum's replacement scarf is done. I used more Luna in a simple knit 1 row, purl 1 row, knit 2 rows, repeat until done pattern. The scarf was about 5 1/2 feet off the needles. I washed and blocked, and it stretched (very unintentionally) to over 7 feet. So now the scarf will have pockets.

2. I frogged the NippleHat. I did it before bed one night, so I could just feel depressed and go to sleep. I started again last night, and finished about 1 1/2 inches of ribbing.

3. Finished turning the heel on the Crusoe sock.

4. Worked a few more rounds on Andrew's WaHoo hat. It's progressing much slower than I'd like (and I haven't had much time to work on it), so since it just dropped to 20F here (during the day), I may have to suck it up and work on it in front of him so I can finish quickly.

Today's also one of those peverse knitting days. I brought the rest of my thank-you cards (yeah, I'm way behind) to finish during my lunch hour (after getting a prompting phone call from my mother. What am I, like 12?), and then had to deal with a really nasty, rude call this morning at work. Now I desperately want to knit to de-stress, but feel guilty about not finishing the cards. Maybe I'll go half-and-half.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, January 14, 2005

It's Friday...

It's Friday... and that is definitely a good thing.

I made some more updates on my blog yesterday - I've switched to Haloscan for my comments (I'm hoping this might cut down on the number of Anonymous comments I get), added some new buttons to my sidebar, and also added an "Alongs" section to my sidebar where I have the buttons to my knit-alongs and yarn-non-buying-along.

Knitting has been a little slow this week. I'm still a bit demoralized over the whole "NippleHat" issue. It's currently sitting upstairs on Andrew's desk next to my computer (I don't have a desk, but he had two). I may suck it up and frog this weekend, but I know that's going to be a bit of a nightmare, so I'm fully immersed in avoidance behavior right now.

I started the replacement scarf for Mum on Tuesday. The one I made for her birthday (from a Patons yarn whose name I don't remember) was just too scratchy to be worn, so I'm making a replacement from the Filitura di Crosa Luna I have. The plan was for a matching hat and scarf set, which will still happen, as soon as I get up the motivation to either frog the current hat, or just suck it up and make her a new one. Anyway, I have about 12" on the scarf done. (I told you knitting progress was slow.)

I've been reading quite a bit over the last few days. I finished Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Firebrand" on Tuesday night, and then spent Wednesday and Thursday nights reading Anne Bishop's "Dreams Made Flesh," a collection of short stories to follow her Black Jewels trilogy. I couldn't put the book down, and stayed up reading until 12:00 on Wednesday night. I started a bit earlier last night, and finished the book around 10:30. Next, I'll be reading "Love in a Dead Language," which Andrew gave me for Christmas.

In other news, Stephanie's MSF drive has passed the $47,000 mark, as of yesterday afternoon. The generosity of people continues to amaze me.

Tomorrow, Andrew and I are off to Orange, VA for his grandfather's 80th (85th?) birthday party. It should be a fairly casual affair, and it'll give me plenty of time to work on the second Crusoe sock in the car.

Pictures of the NippleHat and other fun stuff this weekend, I promise.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

It's Too Big!!

::cries:: It doesn't fit! It's too big!!

I seamed up Mum's hat last night, and ran into the bathroom to try it on. Some people say that hats make them look phallic. Well, this hat made my head look like a big nipple. I'm calling it the NippleHat from now on.

Supposedly, the hat is supposed to be a cute cap that rests just above your eyebrows after you fold up half the ribbing. I've instead discovered that if you only fold up half the ribbing, the hat makes a great nosewarmer. Literally - it covers your nose. I could have easily cut 3 inches - THREE INCHES - from the pattern, and it would've been so much better.

You know what's even worse? This isn't my fault (well, not really). My gauge is spot-on. I knit the pattern exactly as I was supposed to.


I've learned three things from this experience:

1. Even if you're right, you can still get screwed.

2. Photos LIE!!! Especially photos with models in them, since we all know they live in the lying liarly world of airbrushing and invisible pinning. It was only after the fact that I noticed that the top of the model's head is never shown in the hat photo.

3. Never trust a garment pattern with no schematic. I kept hoping I was overlooking it somehow, but it definitely wasn't there. If it had been, I would've thought twice before knitting the NippleHat as written. Thus, from now on, if a garment is lacking a schematic, I'm drawing my own. (Which is what I should've done in the first place. Ah well... hindsight, and all that.)

The funny thing is, as I was knitting the hat, I kept thinking how much I loved it, and how I might just keep it for myself and knit my mum another. Well, it looks like I got exactly what I wished for. I've decided to try and salvage it, instead of ripping out all my beautiful cable work. I can't bear to destroy it. Instead, I think I'm going to fold the ribbing to the inside, sew it down, and then when I wear it, I'll fold it again halfway to the outside - thereby still showing the ribbing, but also shortening the hat by about 4 inches.

Who knows... it probably was my fault and I'm just not seeing it. Maybe I will frog, so I deny all knowledge of such a disastrous project.

Ugh. At least it was good practice for the sweater I'm planning to make with the same stitch design.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Day 10

Before I get to the point of today's post (so in another 10,000 words or so), I just need to say three quick things:

1. The Yarn Harlot's MSF fundraiser has passed the $37,000 mark. I think something really cool should be planned for $50,000. It will not, however, involve naked snow angels (especially since there is no snow here yet).

2. Speaking of a lack of snow, it's about 60F here today, so I busted out The Shawl again. I got a very nice compliment from the barrista at Starbucks who was making my caramel frappuccino. It made me feel good, and a little less guilty that I spent the whole weekend knitting, and not doing housework, etc.

3. Someone has apparently gotten to my blog by searching for "dust" "knit" and "mittens" via Dogpile. I'm #64 on the list. I wonder if this post will move me up at all?

(You know, if I were a good blogger, this post would be 50% done. Instead, I'm a slacker blogger, and you'll be reading this for at least another 10 minutes, should you stick with it to the end. You don't have to. I won't be offended.)

Since it's day 10 of the New Year, and I still haven't talked about my resolutions (I prefer to call them "life improving suggestions") or my after-Christmas activities, I thought I should get that done now.

First, my Life Improving Suggestions:

1. Excercise more. I now have a desk job, and I take the bus to work everyday. My ass has gotten bigger, and I don't necessarily need my slightly-snugger jeans to tell me that. Thus, I'm going to try to move around a bit more. Progress: minimal. I've walked home from work once, but have made few (okay, no) attempts at using the free gym in my apartment complex. The only thing stopping me (okay, my major excuse) is that I haven't gone to the mall yet to get some sweatpants/yoga pants/excercise pants. That's a lame excuse, and I know it.

2. Be better about staying in touch with friends and remembering birthdays. Last year I think I missed every single one of my friend's birthdays, or at least called them several days late. I like having my birthday remembered, and I know everyone else does too. Thus, I will make a stronger effort to write or call on the appointed day. If I were really good, I'd do both. Progress: neutral. None of my friends have had birthdays yet. However, in a related venue, I still haven't sent any of my thank-you cards from my birthday/Christmas. Thus, progress is really poor.

3. Blog on a more regular basis, and thus have shorter posts. Let's face it - some of my posts are more like chapters. I'm a very good academic writer - I can craft 5 pages of content into 25 pages of end product and have it still look good. My blog, however, isn't a paper, and doesn't need to be done all in one massive sitting. Thus, I'm going to try to keep them short, sweet, and frequent from now on. Progress: see for yourself. Would this post be getting this long if I were doing well?

I'll get there. After all, it's only day 10. I have 355 to continue working on my "suggestions."

Oh, and before I do a post-holiday recap, for those of you actually interested in my knitting and not my verboseness, here's a quick rundown of my recent knitting:
1. Started the second Crusoe sock. My goal is to be done by the end of the month.
2. Joined Alison's Sockapalooza, and I'm looking forward to finding out about my secret pal. I'll start those socks when the Crusoe socks are finished, with and end goal of March 1.
3. Started Andrew's WaHoo hat. It was originally supposed to be a WaHoo scarf, but the dk weight yarn (Lorna's Laces Shepard Sport) was too thin, and my circs were too short. Thus, I'm using Alison's Double-Knit Hat pattern, with orange on one side and navy on the other. So far, so good. Depending on how much Andrew-free knitting time I can get, I may make this a lunchtime project, hopefully to be finished by the end of the weekend.
4. Knit my mum a hat over the weekend (mostly). It's from the Vogue Knitting Winter 03/04 issue that I'm planning to make a sweater out of. In fact, the hat is supposed to match the sweater, so it was good practice for me. The whole thing is cable knit, so I got really good at cableing without a cable needle (thanks wholly to some great directions here). The hat just needs to be seamed up, which I'll do tonight. I think my total knit time was about 15 hours, including frogging one row, with appropriate swearing.
5. Minimal progress on my Rainbow Jacket, which will probably stay on hold until I finish a new scarf for my mum. Maybe next weekend (you know - while I'm finishing Andrew's hat and knitting my socks).

Post-Christmas Adventures...

I opened gifts with Andrew's family on Sunday, the 26th. Matt headed back to DC for work, and Andrew and I loafed around Greg's house playing DS, knitting, and reading on Monday and Tuesday. We ran some minor errands, one of which included taking the DS back to Best Buy, since it had two blown pixels. Nintendo allows you to exchange them for free, so we just wanted to get one that was in perfect condition. This started a 10-day hunt for another DS, since EVERY Best Buy in Northern and Middle Virginia was out of stock. Andrew finally got a new one on January 5th. Poor guy. ;)

On Wednesday, the 30th, we went into DC on the Metro for some fun and excitement (more or less). First we went to visit Andrew's dad's office in the Golden Triangle. Greg's office was very nice, and we learned a lot more about the company (CSIS) and what they do. The whole experience actually reminded me a bit of a job interview. Anyway, Greg took us around to meet many of his co-workers, and I was introduced repeatedly as "Andrew's friend, Cathy." I'm not sure what, if anything, to make of this.

After we left, we walked a few blocks up 18th St. to DuPont Circle, and met Courtney, Val, Janice, and Melissa for lunch. The last time I had seen them all was at Janice and Melissa's wedding in May, and there hadn't been much time for group socializing then. This was also the first time Courtney and Val had met Andrew, so it was nice for them to see that he actually existed. The food at the restaurant was good (Mexican), although the service was a little shoddy. Fair enough to be remembered, but not laughably poor.

After lunch we walked throught the Circle to the Metro station, where Andrew left to go see Matt and his apartment. The ladies and I went into Krispy Kreme for some donuts to dip into chocolate fondue later that night. We all stood outside sharing a hot one afterwards, and Val commented that we looked like a bunch of anorexic sorority girls too afraid to eat a whole donut by themselves. At this point I had to comment that, although I didn't want to insult anyone, none of us could hardly be qualified as anorexic. Not that any of us are obese, or nearly so, but we're also not rail-thin, either.

After a quick stop in the gay bookstore (where I briefly looked at a book called "The Gay Man's Guide to Watersports"), we drove back to Janice and Melissa's apartment in their environment-friendly Hybrid car (as soon as I need and can afford a car, I'm getting a Hybrid Civic). Val, Janice and I immediately sat down for a game of Settler's of Catan. (You can google it for more info. It's basically a resource development/city building game. Way fun.) The rest of the night was filled with such fun things as Scattegories (which elicted such hit responses as "Annoying People: Politicians," "Part of Body: G-spot," and "Things you Find in the Ocean: Acorns." There were no points for the acorns.), and Pictionary, which I was painfully bad at (How would you draw Berlin?). It was interesting to discover, though, that Courtney can draw upsidedown amazingly well (she's an Art teacher). We also had cheese fondue, which was a first for me. Didn't love it, didn't hate it, but it was a neat experience.

Oh, and we also drank lots of champagne, and rum and coke, which made Pictionary way more fun than it normally would be. Towards the end of the night there was also much talk of the all-women-sleepover tradition of pillow-fighting in our underwear, but that just wouldn't work for a variety of reasons. This did prompt Val to tell us how some of her Res Life staff annually propose a Jello-wrestling match at the end of each school year. She keeps telling them that if they can propose a viable way to clean up the mess afterwards, she'll approve it, but it's yet to happen. Someone also proposed mud wrestling on the balcony, but that was just a bad idea for a whole lot of reasons (can you tell we'd all been drinking by that point?). (I should note that the underwear-pillow-fighting was completely a joke that I had inadvertantly started, and we were never serious about it. Sorry to all of you who are seriously interested in those kinds of things.)

The next morning involved the drinking of lots of rehydrating liquids and pancakes for breakfast while we all watched "The Dog Whisperer" which is an odd show about a Cuban dog psychologist. I must say, the guy was extremely skilled - at training both dogs and owners. We also watched a show about training dogs for the military, which was pretty interesting, although a bit sad at points, as some of the dogs succumbed to heat exhaustion during training.

After breakfast Janice, Val, and I squeezed in one last round of Settler's, and then it was off to the Metro for me. I met Andrew and Greg at Pentagon City where they had been suit shopping for Andrew. They had already picked everything out by the time I got there, so my presence was pretty superfluous, but I did get to have a tasty lunch at Au Bon Pain, so the afternoon wasn't a complete wash.

On Friday, Andrew and I headed back to C-ville, to re-settle into our house before I started work again on Monday. New Year's Eve was pretty uneventful. We actually almost gave up and went to bed at 10:00 (we were both pretty tired), but we persevered, and rang in the New Year while watching Sex and the City on DVD.

So there we are. All caught up on my post-holiday adventures. Shorter posts in the future, I promise. Have a good week, everyone!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Lone Sock

I got an email from my friend Val yesterday (hi Val!). Val has successfully completed her first (second?) pair of socks as of Tuesday night, using some yarn I gave her quite some time ago (Regia Ringle in Clown). Needless to say, this was an exciting moment for me, not only because I helped Val start the first sock (on July 4, 2003), but also because I have vague fantasies of socknitters taking over the world , since yarn is much more environmentally friendly than oil.

Anyhoo... having successfully finished a pair of socks, Val did what any good knitter would do, and immediately ran out to buy more yarn. She wrote to me to ask about a pattern I had used for a pair of socks I made for her wife back in 2001.

So, without further ado, I present Courtney's Socks:

(Sorry for the lousy picture. It's years old, taken with a crappy digital camera.)

I knit these with Regia Ringle, and used solid Regia in turquoise for the heel and toe. Beyond that, I can't tell you much, since these were knit in a time before it ocurred to me to write down my patterns. (Fortunately I've grown since then.) Courtney wanted slouchy socks, so I randomly picked a color repeat, and whenever it came up, I purled. It made for a neat effect, but there's no pattern, and the "technique" wouldn't really work for solid-colored yarns. Anyway, Val described the purling effect as "wave-like," and this reminded me of the Lone Pink Sock:

(Click for a fuzzy closeup of the leg patterning.)

I knit this sock early in 2004 with some Paton's Kroy. Great yarn - I have another pair (in the Winter Eclipse colorway) which softened nicely after washing. They'd be my favorite pair if I hadn't made them a bit too tight. Anyway, I knit the first Lone Pink Sock (although I didn't know it would be "lone" then), and immediately after finishing decided I didn't really like it.

I adapted the pattern on the leg from a book Val gave me (coincidentally) by Barbara Abbey, called "The Complete Book of Knitting." I don't know if I'd agree with the "complete" part of the title, but it has hundreds of stitch patterns in it, which is what makes it a real asset (at least to me). Anyway, the leg pattern is an adaptation of pattern #73, "Waved Welt," (page 173) but reworked to be knit in the round. I had knitted a scarf in this pattern (but flat), really like it, and thought it might look cool on a pair of socks. I didn't stop to think about how going from 5 spi to 11 spi might effect the asthetics. Rather than frog the whole sock (since it was very well made, if I do say so myself), I figured I'd knit the mate one day, and give the pair away. No biggie. So, now, lo and behold, here's Val referring to a wave pattern in another pair of socks. All I have to do now is find the pattern I wrote down (since it seems to have walked out of my knitting bag), and convince Val that her new favorite color is pink, not blue, so I can knit the second sock and will be freed from my obligation to her.

(This post is never going to end. You know that now, right?)

I owe Val a pair of socks because I knit her a pair back in 2001 (I went through a friend-knitting phase since they were all graduating from college/grad school at the same time), and they have since grown holes.

Cute, right? I used Paton's Classic Wool (same as The Shawl) on size 1 needles, and with laceweight merino in the heels and toes for reinforcement. I should've reinforced the whole damn sock.

Val gave these back to me at her wedding in February. That's how long they've been sitting in my knitting bag. And yes, I know the holes are fairly small (although bigger than shown in the pic), and that it wouldn't take too much work to fix them, but I'm a procrastinator by nature, which you should know just from reading this blog. If I didn't procrastinate so much, I'd post every day, and then each post wouldn't be the lenght of a novel. But I digress... I finally got around to trying to darn them shortly after Christmas (knowing that I'd be seeing her in a few days), and realized that either I am darning-impaired, or that this yarn just isn't darn-friendly. I suspect a bit of both. I'm contemplating just knitting a patch to put over the holey area, but I don't think that will solve the long-term problem. We'll see. Anyhoo, in my typical avoidance behavior, I decided that rather than try to persevere with the darning/patching, I'd just knit Val a new pair of socks out of more sock-appropriate yarn. (Have I ever mentioned that I'm a glutton for punnishment?) I am so smart. I am so smart. S-M-R-T.... I mean S-M-A-R-T. So then, of course, Val asks about a wave-like pattern for socks, and my conniving brain starts speculating how hard I'd have to work to get her to like the pink socks, thus fulfilling my obligation to her and doing away with the pink socks all at once, and with only a minimum of guilt.

Okay, so I'm not really serious about that. But the thought did cross my mind. Hey - does anyone out there like pink socks with a too-small-at-this-guage wave pattern on the legs?

Briefly, in other knitting news, I've re-cast on for Mum's hat. Andrew and I watched Seabiscut last night (great movie!), and I managed to get all the ribbing done, and start the first cable row (good work for me). I even have the right number of stitches this time. ;) No picture, since it's pretty much identical to the one I posted a few days ago, pre-frogging.

I also got more work done on my Rainbow Jacket:

So that's all she wrote (for now, since I still haven't mentioned the wackiness that happened after Christmas, but you'll just have to make do until then).

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

The Power of the Written Word

Go check out the Yarn Harlot's blog for yesterday and today. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Now take a look at the number in her sidebar under "Donations to MSF."

See that? In 24 hours she has single-handedly inspired nearly $10,000 in donations to Doctors Without Borders.

Ten thousand dollars. In a single day. All from one post on a blog.

And people say nothing good is written anymore.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Post-Christmas Knitting

I'll post more about last week's adventures tomorrow, but before I forget here's a (not so) quick rundown of what I've been knitting since finishing my Christmas knitting on the 24th.

First, I immediately cast on a pair of socks for me. The first one is done:

I used Lorna's Laces Shepard Sock in "Sweetie" with the Crusoe pattern from Knitty. I absolutely love the way this sock has turned out. If it wasn't for the problems with the heel, this would've been a near-perfect socknitting experience.

I wanted to try branching out my sock knitting abilities, and throw some new heels and toes into my repetoire. So I flipped through Folk Socks and decided to give the half-handkerchief heel a whirl. No problem. Right? This is what I landed up with:

I got Eyore to help me model. Here's a better shot of what I think is the problem:

Now, keep in mind I've never knitted a half-handkerchief heel before, but is it supposed to be that pointy at the back? I tried slipping it on my foot, and no amount of stretching could get it to round out. It looked really, really bad. So what did I do wrong? I had 44 stitches for the heel, so I suspect that the large number of stitches just emphasized the triangle-nature of the heel - fewer stitches would've meant less of a point... I think. Anyway, if anyone out there with half-handkerchief heel experience can tell me what I did wrong (if anything), I'd appreciate the advice.

In the meantime, I frogged the heel, and went back to my usual band heel (or whatever the hell it's really called).

So that was my knitting minor disaster. Here's my major one:

Looks great, doesn't it? It's a cable-knit hat from the Winter 03/04 Vogue Knitting. No problem. Cast on 114, k2p2 for 3 inches, switch to size 11 needles, and cable until the cows come home.

After several hours of work, this is what I had to show for it:

What went wrong? Somewhere in my convoluted brain I forgot how to count while casting on. I cast on and on and on, and started to worry that I would run out of yarn. So I counted my stitches, cast on a few more, and had 90. And then somehow I made the logical jump that if I cast on 14 more stitches, I'd have the correct number of 114. So I did. And I counted them all. And somewhere in my brain, 114 began to turn into 104. So I started knitting, and did 3 inches of k2p2 rib on needles that are really too small for this yarn, and then I started to cable. 10 stitches from the end, I realized that I had too few stitches. Pattern error? Could it be? I had downloaded the errata for this pattern before the holidays... I didn't remember an error in the cap pattern. I scanned the pattern again, doing the math in my head, and it all seemed okay. Then I counted my stitches. 104. AArrggh!

I haven't yet re-cast on for that hat. Soon, but not today.

So that was my knitting major disaster. My knitting success came in the form of this:

It's the very beginnings of Vivian Hoxbro's Rainbow Jacket from Shadow Knitting. I bought it as a kit years ago, and am finally making the push to get it done before spring. I reversed the color scheme since I like the purple more than the lime, and wanted to have more of that showing. Otherwise, it's smooth sailing. My row gauge is a bit wonky (I went up 4 needle sizes to get stitch gauge), but I think I can accomodate for that at the shoulder. So stay tuned for this to potentially turn into another knitting disaster. ;)

Oh, I almost forgot. I tried to darn Val's socks (pictures later), and decided it would just be faster to knit her a new pair than to try and repair these. I must be darning impaired.

I think it's time for some post-Christmas chocolate. Happy knitting everyone!

Happy New Year

Happy (belated) New Year, everyone! I hope 2005 is starting off on a positive note for everyone out there in blogland.

I had a great Christmas this year. It was the first holiday since 1996 that I wasn't traveling long-distance, and I must say I like it better this way. Andrew and I started off Christmas day by opening our "Santa" gifts (tea and a UVa hat for me; the Complete Works of Oscar Wilde for him). After that, we packed up the car, and headed off to Andrew's aunt and uncle's house in Orange, about 45 minutes from us. Besides Richard and Karen and their daughters Jessie and Eliza, Andrew's grandparents (John and Kitty) and dad (Greg) and brother (Matt) were there. We had a nice afternoon eating (the cookies were a big hit), playing games, and just chatting. After that, Andrew and I drove up to Woodbridge, dropped off our stuff at Greg's house, and then went to visit his mum, Marcia, for a bit.

Sunday we actually celebrated Christmas, and spent the better part of 4 hours opening gifts (they're a one-at-a-time-with-accompanying-story kind of family). We all had a really nice time. Here are a few highlight photos:

This is Marcia, with that hat I knitted her on. It matches a Homespun scarf I knitted for her last Christmas. That is absolutely the last hat I'll ever knit with Homespun. It is an evil and dastardly yarn. Marcia also loved the socks, and the fit perfectly (no picture, though. Oops.)

Speaking of socks:

Andrew loved the Schottische Kilt Hose, aka The Lunchtime Socks.

Maybe I should've called them the "carpet camouflage socks." :)

Finally, since this gift generated such joyous excitement, here's Andrew with the mystery gift I bought last week, a shiny new Nintendo DS:

It is important to note that this gift wasn't actually from me. I played personal shopper and bought it on behalf of Andrew's brother, Matt (thereby saving his ass, since he does all his shopping on the 24th). My big gift to Andrew (besides the socks) was Metroid Prime 2: Echoes for his GameCube. That was the gift I had been referring to as "Ball" in some of my previous posts. However, I've since discovered that Andrew definitely doesn't read my blog, so I guess the codenames were a waste of time. But, hey, spy games are fun every now and again. :)

As for me, everyone was very generous this year, and I got all kinds of neat gifts, including (but not limited to) the Matrix box set, Vivian Hoxbro's "Shadow Knitting", and Nancie Wiseman's "The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques." Andrew also gave me Alton Brown's new baking book "I'm Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking." Obviously, you can see what I'll be spending the next few months doing. :)

I also used the Barnes and Noble gift card my boss gave me to buy Nicky Epstein's "Knitting on the Edge." What a cool book.

More about actual Christmas-week knitting in a bit!