Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Random Update

Well, I managed to save enough of The Skein to finish the boots, so yay. The dogs are still alive, so no one has to worry on that front. I wouldn't have actually been so upset if I hadn't gone out of my way to put The Skein in a spot where I thought they wouldn't get to it. The had to seriously try and reach it, so why take it? Why not take one of the hundred other things lying around that would have been easier to get to? Hrumpf. Dogs.

I haven't actually done much knitting this past week. I'm nearly finished with the second pair of felted boots, but haven't worked on the Rogue at all. I'm too busy doing other things right now. I also probably won't be updating much this next month or so, which also means I probably won't be reading your blogs as often, but I'm sure I'll check by from time to time.

In other news, there is no other news, nothing noteworthy anyway. I could babble on for hours about what I've been doing, but it's really rather boring, so I won't. I save all of that for my lucky friends who have to listen to me. :P

Friday, 30 November 2007

The Skein

Remember the illusive ball of yarn from my last post?


Probably while I was writing that entry.

I am not happy. Quelle Surprise.

Off to see if I can salvage enough to finish the boots.

Bloody Dogs.

Can you say Panic?

After this week, I can. I'm knitting along on my lovely to be felted indoor boots for my Grandmother when I realize that there are only 4 balls of yarn. I need 5. I know this because I used 2 and a bit for the first boot. Thing was, I could have sworn there were 5. I bought 5 expressly because I bollocksed up the project last year and I used 5 per boot then too. So where was the 5th? I looked everywhere. I search the stash, under the table, in my knitting back, under the couch, by my desk, everywhere. No Where To Be Found. Bugger. Oh wait, I did find it one place - in my Ravelry Stash. It's in the there. I don't know about you, but I prefer real yarn to the virtual stuff. Knits up much better. So where was it in reality??? What really worried me was that I'm fairly certain they no longer have this yarn. It was a bargain thing at $1 per 50g ball and I don't remember seeing it the last time I was there. I was sweating bullets. I mean seriously, what do you do with 1 and 3/4 felted indoor boots? This isn't a colour you can match really. Besides, ONE boot tip a different colour? Two and you could call it quirky, but One? That just looks like a disaster.

Found it last night. It was in the bag with the yarn for the second pair of felted boots I'll be doing, of which there are 5 balls. Why look where the yarn should be when you can panic yourself and search the whole house for it? Wouldn't want to make life too easy.

Add my usual pre-trip panic and your picture of my life will be complete.

Ah well, I console myself with the impending visit to the LYS tomorrow morning where I actually have a budget for yarn buying. Spewers are plz2b ignoring my questions about Knit Picks yarn. That's a different budget. Really. I swear. That's the hope Dad is generous at Christmas budget. :D (spoiled? yes. I am. and lovin' every minute of it. Hey, I'm not buying drugs with it you know. Um, yarn isn't a drug, is it?)

I'm seriously enjoying knitting the Rogue. It is just sooooo much fun. But let me give you all some good advice here: when you read something in a knitting book and think to yourself, "oh, what a good idea!", always remember that it is an even better idea to put the good idea into practice. I'm knitting in the round with two circulars. Firstly because I don't like knitting in the round on one and secondly because this has the added benefit of me having to stop and change needles before I begin the side cable panels. This seriously reduces the risk of me blissfully and unknowingly knitting stockinette stitch right through the cables. I am a very tight knitter. I've had people comment that they thought they knit tightly until they saw my knitting. This makes for problems moving stitches around. After spending last night desperately trying to get the stitches off the cable and back onto the needle circulars whilst reminding my fingers that they should never get arthritis, I suddenly remembered that I read somewhere that tight knitters could replace the needle you knit off of with a smaller diameter so that it's easier to get the stitches back on. *headdesks* It took me 42 rounds of 200 stitches to remember that. Well, at least I did remember, and at least it was before I finished the sweater.

Now let us stop and take a moment to extol the virtues of Knit Picks Options. I would not be able to do this with normal needles, but with the Options, I just popped the left hand needles off and put a size smaller on. There was a vast improvement in speed. My fingers decided that they might be able to knit a few more rounds after all. I no longer felt like cutting the stitches open so I could get them on the needle (counter productive, I know, but I was getting desperate). Life in general, was much improved. Seriously. I love my Options and often wonder how knitters of long ago got by without them. I know they did, but their lives were the more difficult for it.

The moral of the whole story being, it's not a good idea to forget a good idea.

As far as finishing in time for Christmas goes, I'm on schedule. I'll finish the second boot this evening and start the second pair this weekend. I'm saving one of the second pair to do in the airplane. Should have that finished by the time I get home. That and a sock too. The sweater doesn't matter, so yay for that. Wonder how many more last min. projects there will be?

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Stash Sale for a Good Cause

Itty Bitty needs help paying off her vet bill so her owner is having a stash sale for her. Since I greatly sympathize, especially due to recent events, I'm pimping for her. She's got some lovely stuff, so go check it out!

Monday, 26 November 2007

Christmas is coming faster than you can say Reindeer on Amphetamines

Did I say I’d finished my Christmas knitting?

Well, I haven’t. Rather I’ve decided I can do some more. What can I say. I’m a glutton for punishment. I was digging through my stash at the weekend and found some wool I’d purchased for felted boots. They were meant to be replacements for the felted boots I made last year and failed at. I still swear that wasn’t my fault. Under the foot portion of the pattern it says to make the foot 10 inches. I had never felted before so I didn’t know how much it would shrink and couldn’t guess if she meant from the heel or just the foot portion of the boot, so I make the foot 10 inches and they were too long by far. So. Now I’m redoing them. My grandmother will be pleased with them I know and I’m making a pair for my “cousin” who I think will like them. At least they are a quick knit – I knit one boot on Sun. in just about 3 hours – and I can felt them at my dads, so there’s plenty of time, especially since they don’t have to be done until Christmas.

I’m also working on my Rogue and really enjoying it! It’s got just the right combo of cable and stockinet. The cabling makes it interesting and the stockinet means it knits fairly quickly. I haven’t spent that much time on it and already have 5 inches of the sweater (back and front knit in the round) and the kangaroo pocket knit. However, knitting this now is teaching me a valuable lesson – Never choose the wool for a sweater in summer. Last summer I thought the sweater I was knitting for my dad would be too warm in wool. Now I’m realizing that the cotton blend I chose instead is a little on the cool side. Granted, his has more cabling than the rogue and that makes it a little chunkier, but still, it’s not as warm as it seemed last summer. I’m still going ahead with knitting it in this yarn. It just means that I might have to knit it again in a wool yarn too :0) Can you tell I’m liking this sweater?

I also have the usual phone sock on the needles, but it’s pretty much going nowhere fast.

All in all, the knitting gods are being nice to me at the moment. Things are going almost a little too well. I feel like I’m tempting fate. It’s also a lot easier to make fun of yourself when things go wrong. Oh well, you can’t have everything.

I will, however, most certainly have blog fodder after I pack though. Do you have any idea how much knitted wear I’m taking with me? I swear I’m running the risk of being arrested at customs for illegal import of mass knitted goods. Wonder if there’s a limit of any kind, like no more than 3 pair of socks, 1 sweater and a hat. If so, I’ve got problems. Rather large ones. And what if they ask me to value the goods? Seriously. If I told them what I would have to charge just to recoup the yarn I’d have to pay a fortune in customs, heaven forbid they decide to include the knitting hours in the price! *goes off to practice innocent look for zooming through customs purposes*

Good thing I’m blond. They’ll just assume I’m too stupid to knit.

Oh, and my next socks will be these:

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

On Being Ill

I’m baaaaaack! Scary, isn’t it?

Well, I’ve had a cold/flu that was sent by express mail from Satan himself to punish me for, well, probably just for fun. I do believe he must have enjoyed himself quite a bit while watching me suffer. Even my doctor told me I really was a poor thing and then wrote me off sick for 2 weeks. She’s not prone to doing that. Still, it’s all gone now, except for the cough, but I’m sure that will go away in a few days.

Since then I’ve been told it would be a good idea to have my tonsils out, but I can’t at the moment due to organizational problems. It will just have to wait.

I'm afraid this means that I am woefully behind on blog reading since I really didn't feel like sitting at the computer. The cord to the heating pad is thread behind the couch and I couldn't be bothered to move it. I'll be catching up over the next two weeks or so.

So, what have I been up to? Not much. Literally vegetating on the couch. There were several days when I couldn’t even be bothered to turn on the telly let alone knit. It took a few days, but I did eventually reach the point where I could manage to knit for a while and took full advantage of it. I finished off the Snickets, the commission socks for my aunt, another pair of phone socks, knit up a couple of ornaments, a Leaves scarf with matching hat for my aunt's birthday and have now started plain phone socks and the Rogue Sweater for myself. Oh, those links sort of assume everyone can get on Ravelry, but I'll add pics of the scarf later for those who can't - mostly because I have to show the scarf off since I love it. I didn't like knitting it, but I love the finished project. I think she will too, but then, it's no skin off my nose if she doesn't because hey, then I can keep them for myself, yes? :0)

Oh yes, that brings me back to The Pink Gods. They are good for something. I learned from all of that, which is a good thing since I used the same yarn for the Leaves hat and scarf combo. I made both of them a little too small and they turned out perfect! Go me! Just because you're blond doesn't mean you can't learn.

Now I'm sort of gearing up for my trip home (again, potential buglers, there really is NOTHING in my apartment that you'd want to steal. Really. Just trust me on this one. You'll be disappointed if you make the trip for nothing.) I can't wait to go on the one hand, and am sad to be leaving the poochies on the other. I worry that they will be cold out in the barn where they will be staying. No, they won't freeze and they certainly won't be bored. T is partial to Rabbit TV, but you have to make sure he can't get to the door handles. T has one talent in life, he can open just about any door. He has been know to open all of the cages and then stand there watching the rabbits while they cower in the corner. Didn't touch a single one, but they could have all gotten out. Biscuit will have other dogs to play with, so she won't be bored, but it's still cold out and I feel sorry for them.

Other than that, I am looking forward to going. I just need to make sure that I balance my time better and do a few more things on my own this year. I love my family, but too much of a good thing...

I could drone on, but I'm not feeling particularly creative today so I'd probably just bore everyone to death. Hope everyone else is having a good run up to the Christmas Season!

10.5 working days and counting.

Oh yes, the scarf:

Monday, 12 November 2007

Oh Woe is Me

This blog is rather on hiatus at the moment due to a very, very nasty cold that doesn't want to go away. Even drugs haven't helped enough to make me want to spend a lot of time sitting in front of the comp staring into a screen. Frankly, any time I do have when I'm not asleep I'd rather be knitting. Must be knitting as a matter of fact. Still working on the Christmas knitting and I keep coming up with more to do all the time. Should be back sometime around the end of this week.

Hope all is well with all of you.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Blog Contest

Like contests? Like to meet new people and learn a lot about them? Go see Tangled Up in Knots and have fun!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Post Aran Knitting Depression

It's a terrible disease this. You spend weeks working on a "complex" project, finish it, are thrilled, high for a day or two and then you hit rock bottom. Horrid. Why? Mostly because it seems like after that, everything else should just be easy, but that's when the knitting gods have the most fun. They make everything you think you'll just whip out with ease go absolutely, horribly wrong.

Yes, it's the Knitting Gods. I swear it is. It couldn't possibly be my fault. - Just in case you still think it is my fault, see disclaimer in my entry a few weeks ago about how blame is fairly distributed on others, but never on oneself. Hey, if they're doin' it, I can too.

I'm making, you guessed it, more socks. Oh the surprise of it all! Hope I didn't give anyone a heart attack with the shock of that announcement. I would feel ever so guilty - and then I'd blame it on the radio program that's running whilst you are reading thing. See above note about blame. Anyway, socks shouldn't be difficult. I’ve done enough of them in my knitting career that I can now do them blindfolded. Change the number of stitches though, and I’m screwed. Math is not my strong point. It’s actually such a weak point that it really just fails to be a point at all. This does not bode well for my socks. They go just fine up until I get to the heel and then it all goes wrong (cue laughing Knitting Gods). You can’t do an alternating k, sl1 pattern for the heel flap with an odd number. It just doesn’t work since you need to end on a knit. Then you have to figure out when to turn the heel for the first time. Once you’ve finished the heel, the gusset slaps you in the face by forcing you to figure out how to evenly distribute an odd number of stitches on your needles whilst still having the middle where it should be and not off a stitch. That one just makes my brain hurt just thinking about it. Finally you get to the toe where you also suddenly have an odd number of stitches. This is, in itself, not a problem, except that you’re trying to find the middle of the bloody toe so the seam is in the middle. This cannot be done exactly with an odd number. Bugger that for a lark.

Combine all of this and you get the Winging It socks. Yeah, it looks like a sock and yeah, it fits on the foot, so yay for that. Now you just have to ensure that no other knitter ever looks at that pair of socks. Never, ever. A decent knitter will spot the mistakes at 100 yards. These are the socks that would be locked up in a room on their own somewhere if we were still living during the Victorian times. They would have to be sequestered for “their own safety”, aka to conceal the complete incompetence of the knitter and to spare them (them= both socks and knitter) further embarrassment. Nowadays they are simply socks to be worn under shoes where no one can see them. They must be kept hidden at all costs lest they frighten people. Only the very best of friends and relatives will ever be allowed within seeing distance of these socks. Showing them to people will become an honour because then those people will then know that they are one of the few well loved enough to be chosen to be allowed into the inner circle of those in the Know About the Socks that Failed. Ridicule of said socks will get you thrown into the Outer Circle, permanently.

Um yes, I blame the above on the drugs (I’m the current owner of some unhappy tonsils).

The point being that I am working two pair of socks at the moment and neither pair is going very well. They will get done and they will be wearable, but they will not be my best pieces. Topping it off is that I really don’t care for the yarn I chose to make the Snickets out of. There’s too much black and not enough cranberry. They should have just stuck to grey and red and life would have been fine, but no, they had to put black in there. Gah. However, since they are to be relegated to the House in the Country for fresh air and self-protection, I’m not going to bother to rip them out. They will be warm and warm is what I need.

As for the other pair, must buy KPs 2.75 circulars for socks in future. That way I can get the right gauge with a better number of stitches for sock making.

Oh yes, and just to make me even more miserable, the Knitting Gods messed with my Christmas ornaments too. I did one. It looked horrid. Will try again soon as Christmas is coming and I need small gifts for random people. I’ve also already got decorations for them. I found some brads that I can stick in the Styrofoam after pulling the knit tube on over it. They have little snowflakes and trees on them. Plus there are one or two other things I can glue onto them, so they should look spiffy – if the Knitting Gods will leave me alone that is.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Aran Sandal Socks and more Knitting Police

THEY’RE FINISHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m referring not to the 9th wonder of the world, but to my Aran Sandal Socks. (I say 9th and not 8th because I’m suddenly uncertain if they might have come up with an 8th in the meantime and I would not want to suggest that my Arans eclipse a wonder like Mount Rushmore, the Taj Mahol or Tom Cruise’s single brain cell, even if they really should). After much sighing, gnashing of teeth and fixing of careless mistakes in the cable pattern, I finished them on Sun. and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them. They are warm and toasty and lovely and soft. They also help me to achieve my life’s goal of looking like a conservative desperately trying, and failing, to look hip by wearing her cabled sandal socks to work in her leather Teva sandals. Woot! I can now look back on my life and say that I achieved one of my goals. Go me.

I’ve also been mulling over the idea of the knitting police after reading the following in the Yarn Harlot’s blog entry from Oct. 19th :

The first sleeve is done, and I started the slightly tricky business of adding the front circle stitches at the same time as I start decreasing away the sleeve stitches. I started that part last night on the plane, but the cold drugs took their toll on my ability to count and I can't tell you of the multiple things I discovered wrong with it this morning when I was clean and sober.

So you see? We really do need knitting police, or at the very least one of those gadgets like they are developing for cars that can tell if you are having short blackout or if your eyes are closed. I think they’re supposed to do something to wake you up even before you fall asleep, like having your MILs voice shriek at you that your house isn’t clean enough for her baby boy who needs to have everything done for him or he will surely die a sudden and painful death caused by the effort of putting his own dirty (hand knit by you) socks in the laundry basket.

This would work for knitting too. As soon as it detects your eyes drooping or blinking more often or more slowly than usual, your MIL will ensure that you are jolted awake again with a rapidity that rivals the TGV. This has the added benefit of ensuring that you will not continue knitting in this state because most of us have more than enough of our MILs in real life and do not need to hear any more diatribes on the hygienic state of our husband’s underwear, which surely should be washed by hand in 110° water, dried in the fresh air so it smells nice and then ironed to make sure it looks neat enough for him to be hit by a bus without embarrassment - after we’ve picked it up off the floor ourselves that is. (my own ex-MIL is exempt from this as she is lovely. I would like to have kept her, just not her son).

I’m sure there are those of you out there who would object to this because not only do you knit whilst out to dinner with friends, in the movie theatre and while waiting in line at the bank, you knit in your sleep as well. I assure you the latter might be functional, but it’s wrong. Just wrong. Knitting is your hobby. Hobby people, hobby. Try and remember this. One of the basic requirements of enjoying your hobby is being awake for it, of which your MIL would surely love to remind you.

Now I just have to figure out how to police taste and colour usage so we never have a repeat of the 70s...

Friday, 19 October 2007

Drunken Knitting

Well, I made some pretty good headway on the second Aran last night. I was going to finish the phone sock, but figured I'd leave it for the moment so I would have something to do when on the phone. I don't want to risk the Arans.

Which brings me to knitting when tired. Someone ought to invent a gadget that tells you if you are too tired to knit. I'll be knitting along, knowing I'm tired, but not wanting to quit, especially as I'm utterly convinced that I am doing everything correctly. So I continue to knit and knit and knit. Suddenly I look at my work, only to realize that something has gone completely haywire. I used to blame this on my knitting ability. Now I know it's not. These are mistakes I made because I was too tired to knit. I feel like the drunk who is convinced that he is still fully capable of driving when, in reality, he's two sheets to the wind and about to fall out of the boat. Now we ask ourselves, should a person in this state be allowed to not only possess and hold, but wield two sharp pointy sticks? Is this wise? Should we have knitting licenses with tiredness limits? Should there be knitting police?

Oooo! Knitting police. Now there's an idea. They could not only save us from knitting when we're tired, but knitting things they know are not going to work, will look horrid on the person we're knitting them for, should not be knit in THAT yarn, or are of a colour that will make future generations spew at a glance. Think of it! If we had had knitting police in the 70's all of those tightly knit tunics with belts in bile yellow, poop brown and dirty orange would never have come into existence! What a service that would have been! Maybe the Swiss Fondue Police (who come around making sure you are stirring your fondue properly) or the Paper Recycling Police (who are there to make sure you do not put your old paper out for collection before 6am on pick up day) would be interested in collaboration.

But I digress. The reason for all of this is that I did that last night with the Arans. I suddenly realized that I had knit the same 6 rows twice. It did not look attractive. Even if it had, it wouldn't have matched the other pair. Thus, we Frogged. If Frogs were only Princes...

I am hoping to get them finished this weekend, as I am fickle. Now that I've got the hang of the arans, I'm wanting to get started on the Snickets I found whilst hunting for a pattern for my aunt's commission socks. So many things to knit, so little time!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Brain in Overload

Lately my posts have been taking on a long winded quality - honestly, if I were that long winded in sports I'd be a marathon runner - so I'm going to try and make them a bit shorter. Hmmm...36 words to tell you that, will I succeed? Bets anyone?

First up - doggie update, the short version: After a very long week full of very little sleep, T is finally getting better. *takes short break to play with wooden drum set, aka knocking on wood* He's a lot brighter and wants to take part in life again, for which I am extremely grateful. I am even more grateful that he is no longer on cortisone because the constant trips to the loo at all hours of the morning, and I do mean ALL, were making me question my love for this dog. I'm fairly certain he wasn't thrilled either. All of you Moms out there, I just don't know how you do it. T is only a dog and I have several more grey hairs this week than last week. Had it been my child I probably would have been hysterical.

So, since life is set to get back onto it's normal rickety track, I can get back to knitting. Having spent much of the last two weeks at the vets or running around after a sick dog, not much of that got done. I did finally finish the first of the Aran socks, go me! It took a couple of evenings just to get my head around no longer knitting the cable pattern in the round for the heel flap. I never did manage to do it as per the instructions, but I did do it. I just decided to start on the other side of the sock so that the first cable row was an odd one. The even rows were much easier to do from the back. That solved the problem and the heel looks fine. All roads, Rome, toga party til dawn, right? The rest of the sock was a breeze and now I'm looking forward to starting the second one.

Even though I really do like knitting the Arans, I'm taking a break so that I can finish the phone socks that have been on the needles for a month now. My aunt has been travelling so I haven't had my normal amount of phone sock time and it shows. She does still have the Internet though, so I mailed her pictures of the *Keira Knightly 9 to 5 and the cable socks so I could show them off, which landed me in a bit of a predicament. Now she wants some. They've been commissioned. This is good because I GET TO GO BUY YARN WITHOUT HAVING TO FEEL GUILTY but bad because I now have yet another pair of socks to knit. I was hoping to actually start on my Rogue Sweater some time this century. The socks can't wait though because they have to be done for my trip home in Dec. (yes, anyone reading this I will be gone for the entire month of Dec. Don't bother to come to my house and burgle it. There is nothing to steal except yarn. All of my electronic equipment is either second hand or of the lowest quality and none of it is new. Honestly, it isn't worth the petrol, especially as petrol here is running $6.50 a gallon at the moment. It's also not worth risking my neighbour's dog who is every bit as big as mine, and slobbers even more. If yarn is stolen, I will know it is a knitter and they were desperate. I will forgive them. Just don't ever let me find out who you are, k? :0) So, guilt free trip to yarn store. I can't wait for the weekend! :D

*I'd like to note that when I refer to my 9 to 5s as Keira Knightly socks I am not knocking Keira Knightly or insinuating that any of what the media is saying is true. It's actually because it's the media saying it that I doubt it in the first place. It's just that she is thin and that's just a fact. Should this truly a be natural occurrence, then that's just more proof that life really is fairer for some than for others.

PS: I'm in this month's edition of the Yarnival! Check it out, there's some cool stuff in there!

PPS: the second dog sweater fit like a dream apparently. Now they just have to convice the dog that wearing clothes is a good thing. Smart dog imho.

OK, It was another marathon. I'll try harder next time.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Aran Sandal Socks Revisited

Those of you who’ve already had the pancreatic blow by blow account may feel free to scroll down to the bit about the yarn. I don’t think you’ll want to hear about this Again.

I should have updated this sooner, but due to a slight glitch with my dog's (T’s) pancreas, I’ve been a little busy. Short, sparing version: T hadn’t been feeling well last week, but I’d thought we’d gotten him well again. Unfortunately, it all started up again Friday morning. I took the afternoon off and went to the vet's where they diagnosed gastroenteritis and gave him meds. Despite the shots, which really should have worked, he was still ill on Sat. Called the vet, she seemed to feel we could wait, with which I agreed. However, by Sun. morning it was clear he needed help, so we went to the vet's again. He’s been there since with Acute Pancreatits. Poor mite is not a happy, healthy dog. He’s apparently resting comfortably, or as comfortably as one can with Acute Pancreatitis, which is probably generally not very comfortable, but we’ll just skip actually thinking about that. Poor mite. He’ll be at the vet’s until at least this evening. Longer if she feels he cannot stay at home alone tomorrow. I want him to be out of danger before he returns. Biscuit, in the meantime, has gone to her mother’s, quite literally. I couldn’t bring myself to leave her at home alone all of a sudden, so she’s gone on a little vaccy where she can be outside all day and lay in the sun and generally irritate mom, which is always fun. She’s actually very lucky because she’s the only sibling who’s still tolerated by Mom, but for whatever reason, Biscuit gets away with everything. She can even eat out of her mother’s bowl, which no other dog on earth is allowed to even try without losing a really handy limb or two. It’s bizarre, but cute. And at least her mom doesn’t mind cuddling up at night. T hates it and Biscuit misses it so she keeps trying. T mostly winds up giving in. You can only get up and move so often you know.

On to non-dog related things. *cue scrollers*

After the vet visit on Friday I went to my Not So LYS. Hey, I was in the area, sort of. For the first time ever, they let me down. I now know why I never knit plain socks. The colour range is as follows: Swiss military green, steel grey, black, navy, brown. Woot! Oh the choice! How do you choose with all of those fabulous colours available! I’ll tell you. *You stand there looking at the yarn. You think, this can’t be it. You spy other solid colours and think “Triumph!” . The you look at the pretty colours and realize they are synthetic. You disregard pretty colours and return to contemplating the 80’s tie width range of solids in wool. You look longingly at the navy blue but know that it will not show the pattern, so you disregard it and choose the brown. You look at the brown, realize just how ugly it is and put it back. You abandon search for solid colour sock wool, while diligently ignoring all of the pretty striped and variegated versions. You walk away from sock yarn.* *repeat pattern 1 to 2 more times. You realize that like your refrigerator, the choice is not going to magically change and you must either settle for something you don’t really want or abandon the store. I chose to abandon.

After all, there is always the LYS with the sooper dooper sock yarn that comes in pretty greens, which just so happens to be on the way home. *innocent whistling* So, I stopped and made a bee line for the sock yarn section, not difficult as the entire store is the size of my bedroom. By the way, did you know that they call it a bee line because bees who have found pollen return to their hives using the straightest possible course? Of course you did, but I’m behind and just learned this about 2 weeks ago. They used little bitty bee sized antennas attached to a little bee sized collar to find that out. Y’all wanted to know that didn’t ya? Returning to the point, once again I found myself utterly disappointed with the array of yarns available in solid colours. Granted they did add a few colours, like bright red, bright yellow and bright orange, but since my wardrobe is otherwise rather sombre colour-wise, I felt it would be ill-advised to knit myself socks that precluded anyone actually noticing that I was wearing anything at all except a pair of large, bright, yellow, red or orange socks. “Witnesses said they aren’t able to provide a description of the perpetrator’s clothing. In an unusual diversionary tactic, the person donned a pair of bright red aran sandal socks that outshone any other articles of clothing the person may, or may not, have been wearing.” Like I said, unwise. Plus it might draw attention to my shoes which are definitely not pretty and are seldom clean (see dogs in my life). In the end, I had no choice but to choose the oatmeal coloured yarn that was at least a little better than the brown. I’m sure I’ll like them when they are done, even though it’s not a particularly attractive colour per say.

I cast on last night and got the ribbing and one pattern repeat done (4.5 inches of sock). It’s looking pretty good, or at least I think it is. You can see the pattern at any rate. I’m actually quite chuffed with myself now because it says it’s for the experienced and I’m actually doing it! Go me!

The only thing I didn’t like about knitting them last night was the lack of dog snores accompanying my stitches. Life is a little drab without dogs.

ETA: Last night (evening after original post), I unfortunately noticed that there was something wrong with the pattern. However, it didn't look to bad, so I thought I'd leave it but check my written out pattern today for errors. BUGGER. I made mistakes. More than one. Now I think I'm going to have to frog the last 33 rows of the sock. Damn. Ron and Hermione are still fighting on this though. I'll have a look at it at lunch/this evening to see how bad it is and then decide whether to frog or not. I'm afraid I'll have to though. What I did just cannot be right. It would also explain why the little diamonds on the mirror cable look a bit wonky. Bugger.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Aran Sandal Socks

Sadly, very sadly, I frogged the Aran Sandal Sock yesterday. *holds moment of silence*

It wasn’t the sock’s fault, nor the patterns, nor the knitter’s (aka me). It was the colour’s fault (plz2b not pointing out that choice of colour was down to knitter, kthnx muchly). Things were going along just fine, except for when I wasn’t paying attention which resulted in much tinking, and I kept thinking “soon I’ll be able to see the pattern”. Unfortunately/fortunately, I realized that I wasn’t seeing the pattern, not because it wasn’t there, but because the yarn is just too dark. I thought about it a while and realized that it would be silly to revert to Denial and continue knitting a complicated pattern that no one will ever really see and ergo couldn’t appreciate, so I frogged. - I assure you, this decision had nothing at all to do with the fact that I completely forgot all but one of the cable twists in one panel and would have had to frog to redo them anyway. Nothing at all. *innocent whistling ensues*

Again not wanting to do the 9 to 5 pattern again, or to spend time looking for, working on, and knitting another pattern that would never really be seen, I decided to ditch the fancy socks and just frogged back to the 2x2 ribbed cuff and started knitting again. I’ve thrown in a p2, twisted stitch, p2, cable panel (p2, k1tbl, p2, k6 (cable), p2, k1tbl, p2) on both sides just to make it more interesting. I have to say, it looks a lot better, even if it is simple. At least you can appreciate the pattern, such as it is. The only thing is that I realized this morning that there is an inherent design rule in sock creation. Never place your pattern in the middle of the socks. I knit on 2 circulars and putting the cable exactly in the middle means that it would technically continue down the heal and the front of the sock. I’m going to have to do some creative turning to get the cables on the sides of the socks. Should be doable, just needs a cunning plan, and I think I have just the thing. I also just realized that the sock now looks more like a man's sock. Oh well, suck it up Grandma, they're warm.

So, the new dilemma is that I really, really want to knit the aran socks (for me this time). This in itself if not a problem; it’s the yarn. You see, I have enough sock yarn to make more than enough socks. We shall not go into this here as it is an embarrassingly large number. (Hi, my name is Melinda and I’m addicted to sock yarn.) However, I don’t have any yarn that would suit the pattern and I really, really need to curb my spending. Any other knitter will understand my anguish. How long do you think I’ll hold out?

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Should we be stashing our yarn in the fridge?

I was thinking about Inkystick's question in our Ravelry SPEW forum the other day and something occurred to me, either that or I read it somewhere and it just popped into my head masquerading as an original thought. I can't imagine being the first person to think of this.

Your yarn stash is like your refrigerator. You go to it wanting something but you don't know what, you look in, you search, you stare, you realize you're wasting energy and shut the door on it again. Then you realize you're still hungry, you go back, you stare, you move things around, have a squeeze or two and then you realize you have three courses of action: A. Finally take something out just because you want something. B. you go to the store and get more interesting things. C. You call up the delivery guy and get a pizza. The yarn equivalent being on-line shopping of course.

The question is, should we just save ourselves the trouble and stash the yarn in the fridge? Seriously, think about it. You'd have much less room for food, ergo fewer calories in the house, you'd be saving energy because yarn doesn't need to be cooled and you'd be saving space in your other rooms. Sometimes my genius scares me. - Coincidence that I work just 800 meters away from the local psychiatric hospital? I think not.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Aran Sandal Socks

Dang. I had just finished pasting and re-formatting my Aran Sandal Sock chart in here so I would have it for future reference when I realized that it might be a tiny bit illegal to post that publically. Bugger. All that work for nothing. Still, as I have little to no desire to find out what the inside of a Swiss prison really looks like, or an American, or any other prison for that matter, I erased it. I'd like to keep my non-experience of prisons and police stations just that, non-existent.

I started these socks because, as pretty as they are, I couldn't bring myself to do yet another pair of the 9 to 5s in the same yarn, whether in Denial or not (oh, those are finished by the way). So I'm doing the Arans. Grandma better appreciate this because I'm tellin' you, the learning curve is steep. This is by far the most difficult thing I've done to date (which tells you how limited my experience with kitting actually is). The pattern says experienced. I figured I'd try anyway. I can always give up.
At first I thought it was the pattern, then I blamed the publisher, now I know that it's my fault for not understanding the pattern. I didn't read the beginning thoroughly enough to understand that they did list the abbreviations, just didn't label them. Now that I've found them, I have to frog the first 4 rows I did last night because I did the one cable wrong. I guessed at the abbreviation figuring that it would be OK as long as I did them all the same way, but now that I know it's wrong, I want to re-do it. Hermione is still fighting with Ron. She refuses to be caged completely. This is how I know I never actually reached Denial. Sad, I would have liked to see what was on the Other Side.

Back to the point. I love the book Socks, Socks Socks (see above link through Ravelry. I can't get to Amazon to link right now), but if it has one failing, it's that they tried to cram everything into as few pages as possible. Great for the number of patterns, bad for comprehension. So, I've gone and written the pattern out. It's going to be slow enough going with this sock, but constantly having to go back and forth between paragraphs to find where I am and what I'm supposed to be doing makes for little knitting and lots of reading.

Should you not hear from me for a time, you'll know that I'm still fighting this sock. I am determined. I am also occasionally very stubborn. Unfortunately, this stubbornness always seems to surface when it is needed the least, like with knitting patterns for socks that could be knit 1000 other ways, all of which would be easier.

In the meantime, a little Zen. This is the only thing that keeps me sane when doing difficult projects. Now, imagine a little light snoring, soft breathing and the occasional yap in their sleep:

Saturday, 29 September 2007

The Ron / Hermione Debate along the Road to Denial

I'm pathetic. I've gone all NoOby again because Ralvery asked me if they could use my picture of Riley for the Basic Dog Sweater page. Pathetic.

In sock news: Denial continues. I'm working on the second Keira Knitghtly sized sock and all was well until I realized that I hadn't moved the stitches before starting the heel flap. You're supposed to rearrange them so you have one purl at the beginning of the top of the sock and one purl at the end. I didn't do this and wound up confusing myself. Finally I figured out where I had gone wrong. I had to choose what to do next; free my inner Hermione and frog the entire heel and heel flap and redo everything correctly, or make something up and continue knitting sans le grenouille (Henceforth known as freeing your inner Ron). I thought, I fought with myself, then I realized that I was already so far down the Road to Denial that there was no point in trying to turn back now. Ron is free. I purled two together, knit the pattern, purled one, made one purl-wise and am now continuing to skip happily along the Road. I wonder what happens when you actually reach Denial. Is that the point where the people in the little yellow car with the nice crisp white jacket come and pick you up and take you to the little room with lovely soft walls where you sing 1970's hit songs to yourself for the rest of your life? Or does Life step in, ruin your nice delusions of everything being wonderful and make you start all over again?

Since I "wasted" two skeins of the sock yarn on the Denial socks, I had to go get more to make the Reality socks, i.e the ones that will fit Grandma. The Swiss have this really annoying way about them. This woman must remember that I was in the shop last Sat. and bought green sock yarn. I was the only customer and it was all I bought. Still, she has to point out that I'm going to need three, not two, of these skeins to make a pair of socks. I told her I know. She persists in telling me that because it's thicker, there's less yardage and therefore you need more than for normal sock yarn. Thank you, I know. Again she tells me it's not the same. Come on woman! You don't seriously think I'm going to stand here and tell you that I need this yarn because I screwed up the first pair of socks do you?!? I know what will happen if I do this. You won't let it go if I just tell you I messed up the first pair. You'll hound me until you have the whole, blow by blow humiliating story of my Failure to properly knit a pair of socks, all the while clicking your tongue and tut-tutting over not only my failure to properly knit a pair of socks, but my persistent refusal to see that they are too small, that I could never have knit a sock with one skein and why didn't I frog the whole thing and reclaim the yarn to start afresh. Indeed, why don't I go home now and unravel the sock I finished so that I will have a pair of socks I can actually wear without using forceps to pull them up? No, the Swiss just can't let things go at "I made a mistake", they have to know the whole story so they can feel utterly superior to you and then tell the story to their friends so they can feel superior to you as well, especially as the whole telling will culminate with the sentence: "Of course she's not Swiss you know." accompanied by many nods of the head and click-tuttings. She didn't seriously think I was going to give her the satisfaction, did she? The Swiss have learned to free their Inner Hermione in a big, rather unhealthy way, and they like to let you know that. Join them? No thank you, I'm quite happy skipping along the Road with Barry Manilow songs running through my head. Fly Ron! Be Free!

In other news, WE HAVE HEAT! Wooot! 60° in your apartment is just not warm enough. Thank you for noticing that dear landlord. Maybe she noticed that I put up my second windows (Vorfenster) today. I figured I should so that I didn't lose the heat that I might manage to generate with prodigious candle burning.

I also cleaned the car, went groc shopping, cleaned the balcony and the windows, hoovered and mopped the floors, cleaned out my tea cupboard, went to the post office, hung the laundry out side and cleaned the kitchen. I'm tired now. I think I'll go knit.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Knitterly Denial

I looked at the pattern. Looked at the yarn and thought "72 stitches will be HUGE". I cast on 60. I knit a round or two. It looked waaaaay to big. I frogged. I cast on 48 stitches. I knit for a while, thought "this might be just a weeeeny bit tight. I knit on. I tried the sock on. It was still a liiiiiitle tight. I thought it might grow a bit with the washing and grandma has much thinner legs anyway. I continued to knit. I tried on. I felt there was still hope. I finished the sock. I tried on. No two ways about it, it's too tight. I washed. It did not grow as hoped. It remained the same. I thought since the damn thing says "unshrinkable yarn" that it would still grow because that would be sod's law, but alas, it did not. This is known as reverse sod's law.

Currently, I'm trying to convince myself that if it was too tight for me, it should be OK for Grandma because she really does have much thinner legs than me (I have the calves from hell. Doesn't matter how much weight I lose, my calves refuse to give up a mm of circumfrance and remain the size of small elephant legs. I console myself with the knowledge that it is really all muscle, and at least I still have ankles. Wonder if you could make rump steak out of them? Lord knows I wouldn't miss them). I'm going to make the second one come hell or high water. If all else fails, I'll just hunt someone down who has really thin legs and randomly present them with a pair of socks. Anyone have Keira Knightly's address?

Knitterly denial or have the Pink Gods been colluding with the Green Sock Gods to make my life hell? I'll go for the latter. That would make it less my own fault. After all, no one owns up to fault anymore, why should I?

At least no one can sue me for this, can they?

Monday, 24 September 2007

Not Much New

Well, life has been going on as per usual. I haven't gotten much knitting actually finished lately. I did do the second goodie bag for my cousins. I think they'll like the chocolate more than the bag though. Still, it was a cheery yarn and maybe they can use it for something else later. I also have two pair (count them TPS, two) of socks for my grandma on the needles. One plain pair of phone socks and one pair of 9 to 5s with super special (read: expensive) winter snow and rain resistant yarn in 8 ply so they will be super warm. Yes, this means I not only fell off the wagon, but got run over as well. I didn't want to go all the way to my usual Not So LYS just for plain sock yarn, so I went to the really LYS and got it there at three times the price. It did, however, come with reinforcement yarn so these socks will last a long, long time. It's the first time I've worked with it and I have to say I rather like it. You do have to be a bit more careful when knitting it because it's double stranded, and you do have to weave in the ends, but it's worth it if the socks last longer. Anyway, I bought that and a skein of the same in light blue for me, only mine was on sale for just a little more that I usually pay. Grandma likes green, so I got the not on sale stuff. I keep justifying with: It's Grandma and she will appreciate it, like really appreciate it. Plus, I didn't have to pay for the gas to get to the NSLYS, so there was a bit of savings there. Master of justification, as long as I don't think of my stash. *cringes*

Spent Sat. at the Concours. My friend's horse (Pete Rose - I am oh so not responsible for that name) was jumping in it and it was near where I live, so we went together. The guy riding Pete was supposed to have finished his riding apprenticeship thingy this year, but had a nasty accident involving most of the bones in his foot and leg. This was the first time he'd ridden in a competition since and was nervous. He got to the second phase of the first competition, but lost concentration when he was trying to listen if he really got through and knocked a pole off. He would have won otherwise. Poor thing. Pete then decided he didn't want to play anymore and refused to jump in the second competition (just one jump, not all) and Christoph gave it up as a bad day. At least the weather was nice and we got to sit outside and enjoy the day.

Spent Sunday sleeping, reading and knitting, oh, and walking the dogs as per usual. T had looked a bit wobbly on Sat. but was fine on Sunday, so I am refusing to worry. Besides, what am I supposed to do, go to the vet and say he very occasionally looks a bit wobbly? He was probably just tired. I left them out on the balcony on Sat. while at the competition and he probably didn't get much sleep out there - for those of you who do not know, I have a very large balcony that goes around 3/4 of the house with beds in both sun and shade, so the dogs were not in any way, shape or form poor things for having been left out there. It was just to nice to leave them out so they could enjoy the sun and see what's going on outside for a change.

Deb had mentioned the Cow Thing in her blog, and indeed, we had to take a detour for the cows this weekend. They were coming home from the Alps and this is a big deal here. People come from all over to watch the cows walk down the middle of the street. (Let me tell you, if my dogs shat in the street like that and I didn't pick it up, there would be hell to pay. Apparently cows are exempt from the poop pick up thing. So are horses and sheep. Bitter? Me? Never!) So the people watched and we drove around them. The cows are now all safely tucked up at home and Switzerland can sleep well again. Oh the relief!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

We are not amused Volume II

As you can see, we really aren’t amused. I’ll grant you, it was still over 90°F (32°C) when the picture was taken, but Riley was not amused. It remains to be seen how she reacts when it’s cold.

I also need to do another one. Same yarn, same size, different armholes. They’re too tight. This is my fault for assuming that a dog the size of a large rat (This is reverse sizeism. What can I say, I own Great Danes. People don’t like my dog's size either and I get to hear about it All. The. Time. and then some. Besides, I'm sure I'll love her to death when I meet her, she's just very small.) could not possibly have legs wider than that. I was wrong. I should have paid attention to the pattern. My penance: Re-Knitting the sweater. Ah well. This time it will be perfect. *bangs very hard on large block of wood with two by four*
Finished second goodie bag last night. Yet another two Christmas Pressies down. Will CO dog sweater by this weekend. In the meantime, sock work. Need to get socks done.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Wherein We Learn Not to Anger the Pink Gods

Now that she finally has them, I can post about the very first Coronet Hat and Cowl I made for thepinksheep as “revenge” for the load of tea she sent me (Still hoarding/lovin’ it :0).

Note to TPS: This is meant to be funny. Even when I was knitting this hat I though it was funny, well mostly. OK, occasionally. Well, after I finished anyway :P It is also proof of how much I really do value your friendship, because trust me, there aren’t that many people I would have finished this hat for. What am I saying! It’s pink, there are even fewer people I would have started the hat for, let alone finish it :P

First of all, I should have done mine, (in blue - oh the surprise), first. That way I would have known what I was doing when I was making hers.

Secondly, NEVER, EVER ANGER THE PINK GODS or any other colour gods for that matter. Never thinking that I would ever knit anything in any shade of pink whatsoever, I have razzed TPS over her choice of favourite colour for ages now. This was a mistake. As soon as I decided that I would give in and knit something in pink because it was the only colour for TPS, the pink gods decided to take this rare opportunity to take their revenge and wreak havoc with me, in a big way.

Problem #1 – Finding pink yarn. They don’t make decent yarn in pink, at least not in wool. (I am soooo refraining from asking if they make anything decent in pink. *whistles innocently*). As it is cold where TPS lives, I wanted wool. Nope. That wasn’t going to happen. Not unless I wanted her to look like a human being wearing a pale pink flower on her head in the middle of winter. Needless to say, I didn’t. Some poor unsuspecting bird, thinking it had struck gold in the middle of winter, might have tried to suck her hat dry of non-existent nectar, pecking and pooping away in anger and disappointment . Since we do really like TPS and don’t want her full of bird poop, we decided it would be a fall hat and switched to cotton.

Problem #2 – Gauge. Shut up knitters. I hear the collective snorting. Gauge, schmauge. A: it never works anyway. B: The only decent pink, cotton yarn they had was in aran weight and the pattern calls for worsted. OK, we calculate. I am not good at math. Three hours later, I gave in and just started knitting, figuring I would just stop when it was just short of fitting around my head – the coronet part is knit in a band which you mattress stitch together and then pick up the stitches for the top from the “side” of the band.

Problem #3 – The yarn was STIFF. My fingers suddenly knew that they really never want to have chronic, acute or even mild arthritis. A few minutes into knitting and I wasn’t sure which was stiffer, the yarn or my fingers. I couldn’t / didn’t want to stop and rest because I really needed to get the hat done and sent before the last leaf fell off the last tree. Finally. The band is finished and is looking GOOD. Woot, I think. The rest will be easy. – This is proof that sometimes even I’m an optimist, rarely, but it happens. Shit happens too…

Problem #4 – Gauge. (alright already!) Since I didn’t get gauge, I didn’t know how many stitches to pick up, so I just went along picking them up happily and then suddenly realized that I would have to figure out how to do the reductions evenly. Whoops. OK, no problem, I think. I counted the stitches and made a reduction or two in the first round. This would work. (oh the misplaced optimism!)

Problem #5 – Happily knitting along, I’m just about to finish the crown when I turn the hat to look at the back . At this point, hat, needles, dogs, cats and other random objects fly. There was a big, humongous, gaping hole at the back of the hat. I must have done something seriously wrong with kitting in the ends because the whole hat was coming apart on me. This is where I began to suspect the pink gods. Only they could want me to have to knit this hat twice.

Deep breath. Much frogging of crown. More expletives uttered. I pick up the stitches again and restart the crown.

Problem #6 – The realization that I have indeed picked up too many stitches and the crown is going to be huge. Decision time: Knit pink hat a third time or make emergency reductions. Hmmmm…me and my multiple personalities opted for the emergency reductions to save what is left of my sanity.

I continue knitting, making the reductions as attractive as possible, and finish knitting the hat without too many more difficulties (note the Not Too Many. There were, but only the boring kind), whilst my hand continues to wither in arthritic pain. I finish the hat. I throw mini-party including dancing around room and mad, cackling laughter. Dogs learn to dial 911and bark for help (they can be quite clever when desperate).

Very pleased with myself, I try the hat on and become even more pleased with myself as it fits perfectly. Even more misplaced optimism.

Still pleased, I wash the hat and immediately notice that Sod’s Law, a.k.a Revenge of the Pink Gods, struck again. It grew. OMG, the bloody hat grew! It was too big. I cried. Then I tried rewashing in hot water. Then I tried drying it with the ceramic fan heater (heating is not yet on and nothing dries in my house at the moment). Then I tried rewashing and scrunching in front of the heater. It was still too big. I begin to pray that TPS has a large head. She doesn’t. We know that now.

Still having yarn left over and thinking I could redeem myself by making her a matching cowl, which I already knew she wanted, I sat down to cast on the cowl – five times. First it was too big, especially seeing as how the yarn would grow when it got wet, right? So, I cast on afresh, knit for a while and noticed that it was still too big, we still know it’s going to grow. I re-cast on and suddenly couldn’t get it over my head and even with growth it wouldn’t be big enough. I re-cast on, again, but it was still too small. Finally, I re-cast on and it seemed to be just the right size – namely slightly too small because, yes, you know it, it would certainly grow, as shown by the hat, when washed, oui? Woot! Success! The rest was easy peasy! Knit away, got the cowl done before the hat was dry for the final time, and revelled in my success.

But the Pink Gods were not done with me.

I finished, I tried on, it was slightly too small, I enjoyed the glow of a job well done, I washed.

It stayed Exactly. The. Same. Bloody. Size. Namely slightly too small. I banged my head against the wall until I couldn’t remember why I was doing so. It didn’t help. The cowl was still the same bloody size.

So, once again we transfer our hope to blocking. I stuck the thing over a large jar to see if I could get it to stretch, alas, the jar was not wide enough and I had nothing else appropriate. As already mentioned, absolutely nothing dries in my flat right now as the heating is not on, but it’s not overly warm out. The average temperature in the flat is 65°F (18°C) with an outside humidity of 68%. Nothing dries. It’s all just a different stage of damp. Ergo, blocking and pinning on a towel was not an option or it’ll would have been next fall before she gets the hat. So, I finally gave in and just dried and sent it. Poor TPS will have to block her own cowl.

Pink Gods - 1
Melinda – somewhere in the region of negative with triple digits.

Fortunately, the combination of being too big and the emergency reductions gives the hat a sort of cloche look that both TPS and I agreed would look good anyway. She’s also going to re-block the cowl and get it to stretch just a little so that it’s easier to get on, even though it does apparently fit - hallelujah. (See, the pink gods like YOU). Then she’s going to put the ensemble on and take pictures, Oui chérie?

Monday, 10 September 2007

We are not amused

As worried as I was about the dog sweater, it’s finished. Poor Sydney got stuck modelling (we were not amused, as you can see) since I lack a small dog to try it out on. The leg holes seemed to be in the wrong place for her, so I’m hoping that’s just an anatomical difference between dogs and cats. If it’s not, I’ve written everything down so I’ll know what to change on the follow up model. At least it didn’t take long to knit up, so if I do have to do it again, I won’t have to spend days on it. It actually took more time to figure out how many stitches to CO than to knit it since I was using a much fatter yarn than the pattern called for.
Tonight I’m doing socks. At least I don’t have to think about those.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Slow Knitting

I was finishing projects on almost a daily basis for a while and now I’m not, so I feel kind of like I’ve let knitting down. Hmmm…upon reflection, this could be a really unhealthy thing. However, in the words of a friend’s (you know who you are) relative, I’ve never been to a psychiatrist, so I cannot possibly be mentally ill. Ergo, I’ll just continue not to seek psychiatric help and all will be fine. Sounds good to me anyway. *raises eyebrows*

I have still been knitting, it’s just all been socks. I occasionally freak out about sock knitting. I’ve just finished a pair of Phone Socks for myself (grey camouflage and boring so I won’t post pics, especially as they are already on Ravellry) and have the second of a pair of blue striped socks that were originally meant for me, but will be for my aunt as I know she’ll like them, on the needles. *takes breath* That sentence makes sense to me, so I’ll just refer you to the previous paragraph, k? I’ve also still got to do at least one pair (of socks) for my grandmother, one for a friend, and then I really need to start thinking about random Christmas gifts. I already know that I want to do two little knit drawstring bags for chocolate for my “cousins”. I’ve got the perfect yellow and orange cotton yarn in my stash for that. I’ve also got enough sock yarn for many random pairs of socks should I fail to come up with better ideas for other gifts. I also should probably wash and stretch my father’s sweater again, just to see if I can get it a liiiittttle bit bigger, just in case (oh Lord, please make that sweater fit!).

Anyone want to chat on the phone? I seriously need to get some sock knitting done :P

Can someone tell me why it is that something I do for fun can be so stressing? Oh, wait, I remember now. I have no Christmas money this year and an extensive stash. That might have something to do with it.

Never did I think in the beginning of my knitting days (1.5 years ago) that I would ever have yarns that sat around in my stash for so long. I blame the yarn store for not being closer. I can only go on Saturdays because it takes a half hour to get there and closes at 6:30pm on the weekdays, so I always feel like I need to make the trip worth it and that I need to make sure that I don’t run out of yarn. Then there is, of course, the yarn that screams buy me! but doesn’t get used right away, gets replaced with something “better” and is now still awaiting knittage. At this point I will refer to you to paragraph one again. Anyway, I’m currently stash busting which is a good thing. I should have enough yarn for interesting projects to last me until next year, especially considering that I really need to make myself some socks as well. I’m the one who live in the cold environment after all, I really need them. I shall now refrain from scoffing at Californians who wear wool socks – and then refer you to paragraph one again. (yes, Californians, I know, it gets cold there too)

Oh yes, and the dog sweater. I really, really need to start the dog sweater. This weekend. I solemnly swear. My sweater will just have to wait. Bugger that for a lark.

So much to knit, so little time.

Knitting list for own purposes:

Dog sweater (CO this weekend)
Second sock for Aunt N
Socks for Grandma (CO this weekend)
Socks for friend
2 drawstring bags
random Christmas gifts
socks for me
Rogue Sweater for me
Christmas Ornaments - possibly
Bookmarks for Cousins

Friday, 31 August 2007

Yet Another Hat

Once again Mr. Bear does his duty and models my latest hat. This one is for me and I love it! The colour is actually a bit darker than in the photo. It's more of a clear blue and has less grey. I did try and make the strobist box that Mari knit liked me to, but that failed miserably. Well, it turned out, but has since wilted in the humidity and won't stand properly any more. So, I'll just have to make do. The next thing will be a matching cowl in the same yarn since there were leftovers enough.

Details of the pattern: it's the Coronet hat from Knitty. It's a relatively easy pattern to make and is a nice cable. Unfortunately / fortunately, I realized too late that I was meant to have knit the top so that the coronet band should be flipped up for extra warmth around the ears. I didn't do that, but it turned out all right in the end since the yarn is really too thick to do that anyway. I used a cotton blend because I wanted a hat that was warm, but not too warm. It should be good for the fall. I also changed the crown decreases a bit to suit the shape of my head better. I rather think the decrease pattern would have been just fine with a different, more springy yarn, but this one is stiff, so the shape matters a bit more. However you look at it, I love the thing and can heartily recommend it.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Not Much New

Several days ago I finished the Celtic Cabled Hat . It’s a brilliant pattern. Really well written. I’ve never done complicated cables before, but the instructions on this pattern were so clear that you just couldn’t go wrong. I like patterns like that. Correct patterns are your friend.

Unfortunately, the hat itself will have to go to charity. It’s not deep enough for me, although the circumference is fine, so I’m going to eventually redo it with a second repeat of the middle cable. That should make it deep enough to cover my ears a bit.

I actually waited (or forgot) too long to make this entry, because now I can’t remember what all I was going to say about this. I sure there was something I wanted to write down for future reference, but you know, brain + sieve = me.

I’ve started on the Coronet hat that I liked so much. I’ve also got two different pair of phone socks on the needles at the moment. One dark blue self striping in wool (probably for me) and another of the cotton for myself, but in grey this time. I also really need to get at least two pair of wool done for my aunt and grandmother for Christmas. Plus I just got the measurements for the doggy sweater for Riley - my aunt’s very spoiled Schnauzer. I am not, repeat not, knitting for my dogs. Not going to happen. Nope. Not that I don’t love my dogs, but a sweater for them would be the size of a sweater for a large male and I’m not going there. Besides, I really don’t put much stock in doggie clothing unless you really do live in a very cold and snowy area. Needless to say, California does not qualify, even though auntie dearest doesn't believe this. Plus, they don’t appreciate self-knit anyway, so you might as well buy it if you’re going to clothe them. It’s probably cheaper. Anyway, she asked (my aunt, not the dog. The dog is probably secretly puking in the background and wondering how fast she can destroy it) and I’m knitting. Things we don’t do for the people we love.
I am beginning to wonder how I’m going to get this all done before Christmas, and if it’s even worth it. I’m not even certain I can go home this year. *sigh*

Thursday, 23 August 2007


Those of you who know my dogs will want to scroll on by *jumps to the side to avoid running masses*. I just figured since I signed up for the Purling Puppy Knitting Ring I should probably put something substantial in here about my dogs and cats. There's T (a.k.a. Tiron), 6, and Biscuit, 3, and Mildred the cat who thinks she's a dog plus Sydney who uses the dogs as her own personal body guards. T (the brindle) is a third hand Great Dane who is very grateful to have escaped his last home with 12 other dogs where he didn't get enough personal attention. Biscuit (the fawn), also a Dane, and Is from a friends litter. She is a lovely little ray of sunshine whom everyone loves to bits. How could you not love a dog who's mastered the Full Body Wag? Sydney (second Picture) is my oldest addition and was rescued from a mean old drunken farmer who was going to shoot her. She's shy as he tended to kicked her around; thus body guardness. Mildred (first picture, note relation of body size to amount of space taken) is the last addition to the family, and she came from a nice farmer who let her children and dogs play with the cats so she's just not afraid of anything. She firmly believes her rightful place is in the middle of the dogs giant bean bag and no one is going to tell her any different. They're all lovely and now rather inseparable. They also all hate the fact that I knit as it takes away from petting time. They exact revenge by raiding my knitting supplies on those rare occasions when I forget to put it away before going to work. This morning it was the cable chart key from my Celtic Cable Cap pattern. Very endearing, oui?

Tuesday, 21 August 2007


Oooo! Just whippin' out the projects. Nothing like a little instant gratification :0)

I've finished the cowl (took a whole two hours). You see it here on the left, very obligingly modelled by Mr. Bear, T's should have been toy. Poor T. The sacrifices he makes for my knitting *dramatic gesturing* Anyway, the cowl is basically a straight tube, as seen in the other picture. It can either be doubled up for more warmth, or scrunched up, as seen on Mr. Bear, and pulled over the chin for warmth. The idea was taken from HAD Headwear, (sorry, that was the best picture I could find) which is popular here. I love them for walking the dogs because they don't fall off when you bend over like scarves and can be pulled up over the chin to keep your face warm and they'll stay there. They can be worn under or over things and if you get too hot, you can take it off and stuff it in a purse or pocket. This you can't always do with a scarf. /HAD advert. The pattern for this is based on the Winter Femme pattern and was made to match the hat. It's out of the same yarn, it's just a different bit, so the colours are slightly different. It's also not double knit like the hat, because I didn't have enough yarn. Besides, that might have gotten too warm. So, now we just have to hope she likes it!

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Phone Socks

Yep, post #3 for the day. I just finished my phone socks and *gasp* now have nothing on the needles. *gasp* I will soon. I'll cast on more socks (of course) and the cowl tomorrow. In the meantime, I've got the socks on and LOVE THEM. They're really soft and comfy. Must make more of these.

Cabled Hat

I know, I know, two posts in one day, but hats=instant gratification :D Modelled by Mr. Bear, T's new toy from my foray to the second hand shop yesterday (no, he hasn't had him in his mouth yet), it's double knit, so it should be warm and I'm sincerely hoping the recipient will be happy with it. I'm hoping I have enough yarn left over to make a tight cowl sort of scarf. Handy because it keeps you warm without falling off when you bend down to pick up after your dog :P Disgusting, but true. It's base on Winter Femme, but I had to change it because the yarn is too thick to get gauge. I should have used smaller needles, but I'm not going to reknit it. Either she likes it, or it's going to charity.

Jaywalkers Update

The Jaywalkers are finally finished. Actually I finished on Thursday. I wanted to see if I could get some better pictures, especially of the colour, in natural light. Unfortunately, the sun decided to da a disappearing act just as I was getting the camera out. It's supposed to be pretty much cloudy over the next few days, so I opted to go with what I could get. Otherwise I'm going to have to save up projects to photograph on the weekend, when the sun just happens to be out. Picture me on the balcony with 6 weeks worth of knitting laying on various pieces of furniture trying to get it all photographed before the sun disappears. The neighbours would have a field day with that. It would become a weekend past time for the whole village. "Watch the crazy American try and utilize natural light for knitting pictures" time. Since I might eventually actually try and get my Swiss citizenship, just because it might come in handy one day, like if another Bush ever gets into office, I'll have to pass on providing weekend entertainment for these people. They are, after all, the ones who vote on whether they will give me citizenship or not. - Switzerland is a direct democracy. Everything gets voted on. This includes people who live in the village and want citizenship. Your neighbours quite literally vote on whether they will allow you to have citizenship in their village or not. Too many nays, and you can forget it. You also can't just up and move to another village and have a re-vote. You have to live in a village for 3-5 years, depending on the village, in order to apply. This is after you have already lived in Switzerland for a total of 12 years. Unless you're married, then it only takes 5. I could have actually gotten citizenship when I was married, but didn't bother. Now I haven't lived long enough in one place to get it. - The point being, that if you are even remotely considering going for citizenship, it's recommended that you don't out and out prove your insanity to your neighbours before they vote on you. After that, you can do what you like. They can only revoke citizenship if you become involved in actual criminal activities. Knitting doesn't yet fall into this category so unless you begin wielding knitting needles in a dangerous manner in public, you're safe. Just never knit anything more complicated than a garter stitch scarf when out and about and you should be OK.

Back to the Jaywalkers. I'm fairly happy with them, although I have to admit that I prefer the plain ol' phone socks for daily wearing. They're more comfortable and stay up better. I might adapt the pattern for ankle socks so that the pattern is really only on the foot part and just do a ribbed ankle cuff. It won't make much difference to the average observer anyway since no one ever sees more of my socks than the foot part, and even those who do don't care.

is going to have a filed day with this, since this is the second time that I have to admit to really liking a yarn that has pink in it. I might even buy more of this one if I can get it this winter. It's 4-ply Regia Nordic Color Bergen. I'm hoping they might have it in 6 ply this winter. 'Twould be nice anyway. It's a cheerful colour. I'd love to be able to extract a couple of the colours in it, like the blues and purples and make a sock yarn out of that. That would be brilliant. Alas, I can't/don't dye my own yarns and Schachenmayrs are probably not going to be making a TheBlackSheep yarn any time soon. Even if I did dye myself, I'd probably get it wrong so we'll just stick to the commercial stuff anyway.

I've now embarked on a hat for a friend's birthday. I'll also be continuing work on my phone socks. It's actually quite likely that I'm always going to have one of those on the needles at any given time, if only to render my conscience a little less guilty for spending hours on the phone.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Columbine Peaks

Since she now has them, I can finally write about the Columbine Peaks I've been doing for Pen. It's a pattern from Cat Bordhi's book Socks Soar. Although I think the final outcome is pretty, I was not happy with the pattern. I guess it's OK if you know what you are doing, or don't care if it doesn't turn out exactly the way she intended, but the pattern itself lacks clarity. Of course, so have all the others I've done from that book, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. One thing I will say for it, once you've gone through it all, you've gained a lot of experience you might not have had you not been through the mistakes. First of which is trust your instincts when you think "this isn't quite right". Stop knitting and think about it before continuing. Trust me, it's worth it.

Having said that, I think and hope Pen is quite happy with them, so that's all that really counts Pics on Ravelry. I wanted to go for something other than my prerequisite Phone Socks, which are comfy, but plain. I tried several different things first. One of which was the jaywalkers, which didn't turn out because the yarn is too thin. Then I tried to do swirly ribbing, which was actually quite good, until I tried them on. Unless Pen shrunk her foot several sizes, to like the size of a 6 year old, she'd never have gotten them on. swirly ribbing isn't as stretchy as normal ribbing and I couldn't even get the thing on over my heal, so that was out. I actually totally frogged those before remembering that I could have finished them and given them to Lisa for Christmas, which is a shame, but that's what you get for not thinking. Anyway, the Columbine Peaks was just what I was looking for; pretty without being too fussy. It also went well with that yarn, imho.

By the way Pen, have you played "spot the mistake yet"? There is one, or at least one, that I just couldn't bring myself to go back and fix since it would have required me to redo the entire gusset. Why is it that I never notice my mistakes until it's waaaaay too late to go back and fix it? OK, too late for a sane person to go back and fix. I do try and repress my inner Hermione on things like this and console myself with knowing that I'm just never going to be perfect anyway. You've now got hard evidence of this, please don't use it against me :P

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Jaywalkers Update

The first sock is done. I'm not quite happy with it as I found a mistake that was "too late" to change. When I saw it, i.e. recognized it for what it was, it was already about 3 inches back and I decided against frogging. They are for me after all, and shouldn't need to be perfect. It bothers me, but I'll just have to get over it. I'll start on the second one this evening. I somehow managed to increase a stitch in the foot part and wound up with a shift in the "seam" between pattern and foot. Blah.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007


Once again I'm trying the Jaywalkers, only this time with Regia Nordic Color. This yarn makes me think of thepinksheep more or less constantly. It's got quite a bit of pink in it, and is otherwise bright and cheery. I think they'll be quite pretty (despite the pink :0)

This has also taught me a lesson I should have known already. The yarn has to be right for the project. The cotton yarn is really too thin for most patterns. It might be all right for lace or lacy type patterns, but not for something that really needs to show up. It's too thin and the colours aren't right. Even so, I do like the cotton yarn and am making me my first pair, but just phone socks, nothing fancy. I can't wait until they're finished. Phone call anyone? :D

I'm still resisting the urge to go to the yarn store. It's going to have to wait a while. At least until next month.

I'm also still (im)patiently waiting for my new knitting books. Why is it that things take longer when you're expecting them? If I had thought they would take a while to get here, they would have arrived by now I'm sure of it. As it is, I'm hoping for tomorrow.

In other news, it's raining cats and dogs right now. This is, of course, just fine by me. Good knitting weather. I'm also hoping that it means that summer is largely over. I'm sick of the hot sunny weather *ducks*, even if most people would tell you we had a horrible summer. There was enough of it for me anyway. Fall. I want fall. A nice, long, lovely fall with rain every few days. *sigh*

Friday, 3 August 2007

Knitting Meme Gacked from Mariknits

Bold for stuff I've done/am doing
Italics for stuff I plan to do someday
Normal for stuff I'm not planning on doing

Afghan/Blanket (baby)
Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Entrelac Knitting
Purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public