Wednesday, 16 December 2009


I know I should stop apologizing for the lack of posts, but once again, I feel I have to at least mention the reasons. I am now on my yearly vacation, which means I had my yearly stress to go through during the last month. There was the baking, knitting and cleaning I go through every year before heading off home, and this year I got to add inventory on top of it. Inventory is really fun, especially since my job mostly required me to sit around waiting for people to finish counting so that we could check the results against the system numbers and then start searching out the discrepancies. Most of the lists I got landed with were fairly simple, so after the initial panic about getting things counted etc., it was mostly waiting around for the work to come to me. Even the stores I had to count were done fairly quickly. It did all make for long hours though and less time for me to get my stuff done at home.

I did manage to finish all of that too, but I can't blog about it much because it's all secret stuff. I can say that I made waaaaaaaaay too many Christmas Cookies and will seriously be reducing the number of batches I make next year, especially for certain types.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying relaxing at home and trying to catch up with the jet lag so I can finally stop falling asleep while knitting. I'm working on a decadent wavy shawl in a green cotton blend for myself and would like to have it done before I go home.

I hope all of you are having a happy holiday season and enjoying the festiveness of Dec.

Happy Holidays to you all!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Primal Scream

You know I was bragging about having finished all of my Christmas knitting? Well, I had. Then things started to pop up. I thought I'd do another hat for my aunt so she has a replacement in case she loses one again. One doesn't want her to go hatless while she waits, you know? Then there was the homemade secret santa I needed to do. A hat and a small surprise, no problem. Then there's my friend's cardy which can wait until Jan. I really need more socks. Then today I got pulled into another secret santa thinking I could deal with another small gift. Finally, I need to finish my Georgiana Scarf

asap for a charity bazaar. I've got three weeks and this shouldn't be a problem, right? Well, it wouldn't be if the scarf weren't a lace pattern. After hurrying home to work on the scarf so I could get it done and in the post before the end of the week, I knit and knit and knit and then looked at the beginning only to find that I'd left out a YO and it looks funny. That's over a foot of scarf I have to frog and re-knit. It's lace and you all know how I enjoy knitting lace. It's just so much fun spending more time frogging and counting stitches than knitting, right?

Really now, when am I going to learn to stick to cables?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

How Shocking Can a Flu Shot be?

Once again, ‘tis the season and I decided I’d get my flu shots before boarding an aeroplane in Dec. I have no desire to spend my vacation ill and spreading the doom and gloom to others. So, yesterday I got myself down to the doctor’s and sat in the waiting room waiting for my turn. As it has been rather chilly, I decided I would wear my Arwen sweater, which I finished just in time for our summer heat wave. I’ve been looking forward to wearing it ever since.

As it happened, I had to wait a rather long time and while I was sitting there, I listened to a book on my iPod and contemplated the walls, the floor and finally the tweed in my sweater. Looking at the arm, I thought I spied a particularly odd ball of fluff clinging on to the sweater. I picked a bit and it seemed pretty stuck, so I took a closer look. To my utter horror, I realized that it was a dropped stitch in my beautiful, finished sweater, at which realization I broke into a cold sweat. The others in the waiting room all moved over a seat or two. Even worse than noticing the stitch was, there was absolutely nothing I could do about it, and while my doctor always likes my hand knits and admires them, I didn’t think I could waltz up to the desk and asked if they had an emergency knitting kit and spare bit of yarn. All I could do was sit there instilling fear into the other patients as I sweat blood and hoped that: firstly it would not fall down the ladder any more that it already had, secondly that I would remember to fix it asap and finally that when I did remember to fix it, I would still have a 12 inch piece of yarn to fix it with. This was the one sweater which took every bit of yarn I had to finish and I didn’t know if I’d saved the last bit of my swatch instead of tossing it.

Now, this stitch must have been dropped for months and months and months. It hadn’t gone anywhere during that time. It had only dropped down three rows before becoming stuck, so I figured that the yarn being hairy would work in my favour. My turn came, I was given said flu shot, during which said doctor admired said sweater, and then took the dog for a walk before dropping her off at home. Now, do you think I could have remembered to do a quick stitch up while I was at home? Of course not! That would have meant that my brain retained something important for a change! No, I remembered when I was back at work, where there is also a surprising dearth of emergency knitting kits.

However, all ended well. The brave little stitch clung for dear life and managed to make it until the evening. I also managed to find the rest of the swatch and darned in a fix, going through said stitch more times than strictly necessary. Now I think even if the rest of this sweater falls to tiny little bits, this one little stitch will still be there hanging on for dear life. Bless him.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Retail Therapy of a Sort

Three weeks ago tomorrow, I had to have my Great Dane Tiron put to sleep. He had bone cancer and the end had just come. It was the right thing to do. It left rather a large hole, literally, in my home. As if that hole wasn't big enough, my neighbour, who has a solid lead foot, ran over Mildred last night - in our driveway. Not on the street, in our driveway. The same place where children and hedgehogs and foxes etc. walk. Having three children herself, you'd think she'd be more careful. They've asked her to slow down before to no avail, but I think she might have gotten the message now. Just to round off my rant, she didn't even stop. It was my other neighbour who came home later who found her. Granted, she did start to wonder and called my landlord after a while to see if her cats were OK, but stopping apparently wasn't an option. But I digress.

Mildred was a tiny 9lb cat with the attitude of a Great Dane. You knew when she walked into a room. She was boss and all the dogs and cats knew it. Of course, this also meant that she often sported cuts on her nose because she decided to take on cats twice her size, but she was still boss. The point is, the hole she left is at least as large and the one T left. It feels so empty in here now with just one dog and one cat. I guess attitude can be more impressive than size.

So, what do you do when you're depressed? Shop. It's unhealthy and expensive and ultimately doesn't help, but it's what I did anyway. In my defence, I did only purchase 2 items and both of them were necessary. Besides, they're beautiful.

I bought buttons made from Mountain Mahogany for the cardi I'm knitting for a friend who definitely has more to depress her right now than the loss of two pets:

and a yew shawl pin for my grandmother's Every Way Wrap:

Both are from South4th's Etsy Shop and I think they are gorgeous. Even if you don't need anything, his shop is worth a look. He has some beautiful wood in there. The pictures, as you might note, I nicked from him. I'm hoping he won't mind.

I'm now broke, but it was worth it.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

As Time Goes By

Once again time managed to slip by faster in the internet than in real life. Funny how it does that.

How do you know your knitting is appreciated? Well, one way is when you get an apologetic call from a knitting recipient which starts with the words, I don’t know how to tell you this, but… at this point, you know something’s up. It continues, you remember the hat I loved so much because it was perfect and fit just right? Now you know a piece of your knitting has at the very least suffered. When they ask what it will cost to replace it, you know it’s a goner. The hat is lost, but there is a light. The evident contrition points out that recipient at least knows: A, you might be quite upset that they lost your work of art, B, it wasn’t free and a replacement will cost them and C, they loved it so much that they want another exactly the same as the last regardless of the cost. The fact that it was lost also tells that the hat was being worn and was loved and there is no better thing for a knitter to know than that.

Recipient: Aunt
Lost: During Balloon Festival in Albuquerque
Resulted in: about 10 people searching the field for said hat, 7 trips to lost and found, much tears and lamenting, one confession of lost hat, one promise of a Japanese meal as replacement cost, three evenings spent knitting another hat to status perfection.

You know, if this had been a sweater, I might have been upset. However, it was a hat a knit 2 years ago and hats get lost. So I’d say I’d forgiven her, but there’s nothing really to forgive. I’ve always had the suspicion that people who never lose or forget things are either very lucky or must lead a life which is careful to the point of tedium. I couldn’t abide that myself, so I wouldn’t ask it of anyone else. However, I am planning another hat for said aunt so she isn’t out of a hat if something happens to this one.

ETA: Alke pointed out that I hadn't linked to the pattern, so, here's the Ravelry page and here's the direct link to Brooke's pattern.

Since then, I’ve finished a cat blanket out of sock yarn left-overs and a pair of plain, grey cotton socks, which are both so uninteresting I won’t post pictures, my Calendula’s using Zauberball Wolle in Cranberry:

A Half Cable and Lace Scarf for my little cousin for Christmas:

I’m glad to say this concludes my Christmas knitting. I think. I'm pretty sure. Unless something else comes up.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


I haven't posted in a bit, but this time I have a good reason. I had my tonsils out 10 days ago and have been suffering ever since. Call me a wimp if you like, but it really was painful and very not fun. I found myself wondering if anyone who gets a knife stuck in their throat ever survives and if so, how long it takes them to get better and if they get better pain meds than I did. I hope so. Anyway, enough of my wimpetude.

I must be feeling better because I woke up today (after about 10 hours of sleep) to realize that it's just bloody cold outside. We hit freezing last night, which prompted me to get out my hats, gloves, scarves. First thing I noticed is that they all smell of dog. I washed them this evening. Then I noticed that my beloved scarf, my oh so beloved scarf which is practically inseparable from me, really needs replacing or something. It's looking decidedly faded, stretched and over washed (which it is because of said wearage). I also really need to make meself some cotton gloves (wool is too warm when you're walking the dogs). Seriously, I knit all the time and have no knit wear. Silly, isn't it? Still, I need to finish the two pair of socks I have on the needles, one plain cotton and the other Calendula Cable Socks in Cranberries and start my Byzantine Bazic, which I'd really like to wear this winter. Then there's the scarf I'd like to do for my little cousin, who loves pretty things. *sigh* so much knitting, so little time...

Before having my throat ripped out with a dull spoon (aka the tonsillectomy), I finished the Shallow Sharks, which I'm quite pleased with. Grandma should have a happy Christmas this year.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Every Way Wrap

I’m really beginning to think that I may have to consolidate my book and knitting blogs instead of leaving one to languish. Only thing is, I rather like both of them. Hmmm, what to do. Any ideas or opinions?

On the knitting front, I’ve just about got the Every Way Wrap in Drops Paris for my grandmother done. I’ve gotten the ribbed bit up to the first buttonhole finished, so I should get done by tonight. Everyone who’s seen it up until now has found it fabulous in every way but one. The pattern is brilliant, the yarn soft and cushy (I pet this thing at random intervals just because it’s so nice to touch) and the buttons are pretty. The only thing that no one cares for, with the exception of maybe Inkysticks, is the colour. I went with the moss green because my grandmother likes green and I was hoping that I would turn out to like it too. However, I’m afraid I don’t care for it and other people’s reactions are making me sort of desperately hope that I haven’t made a huge mistake in choosing the colour. So, if anyone else likes it, please let me know. I need reassurance because I’m in that flipping out stage where I’m convinced that I’ve totally done the wrong thing and why oh why didn’t I just go with beige even though it’s boring and what was I thinking when I thought I’d branch out to a different colour than I normally would have chosen. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a little insecure in these matters. But dang it all, she’s got to like it because it needs a home.

I’m also still working on 2 pair of socks and not getting very far. I have decreed, however, that I will finish the Shallow Sharks before moving on to my Byzantine Bazic, which is really what I would prefer to be knitting. Still, I need to get those done because they’re also for my grandmother for Christmas.

What I really, really need to do is check my Knitted for Christmas Box to see what I have for whom and if there’s anyone I’ve left out. I may or may not have to knit another pair of socks or two. Shouldn’t be much left though. I think I’m pretty much ahead on that front.

How’s everyone else doing on Christmas Knitting?

*ducks flying objects*

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Friday, 11 September 2009

The Cardy Saga

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I kept thinking, “oh, I’ll wait until I get the next bit done and I have something more interesting to say”. I think this is called procrastination with a tinge of denial. Although I did book blog in the meantime, so I’m not that bad.

I’ve been working on my Drops Knitted Cardy. All in all, it should have been fairly straight forward, and really it was. After agonizing about the size and gauge, as per usual, I finally picked one, ordered my yarn and started knitting. The back went well, the sleeves went well, the first front went well, then things went down hill. I have to admit not all of it had to do with gauge, knitting ability etc. Unfortunately my older Dane, T, was diagnosed with bone cancer last week. Being upset, I thought I’d go home and knit to calm me down, only I should have chosen to knit a plain sock and not the cardigan. I think I must have knit the same 20 rows about 4 times. It was a complicated bit with decreases in two places, a double knit row at the edge a button hole and cables and I’d either forget one or the other, or then think I forgot one or the other and rip out only to notice I’d done it right the first time. It was a bit of a mess. Never knit complicated stuff when you’re upset. I should have known this. Now I just wonder if I’ve learned my lesson. Maybe I should just knit garter stitch scarves for the next few months and save myself the bother.

Anyway, after finally getting through the second front bit and wondering why all was going so swimmingly, I notice that I forgot to make the stitch before the edge stitches on the other front piece garter stitch. Fortunately I was able to just open up the cast off, frog one row, drop the stitch down to where I should have started the garter and pick them up properly. This went surprisingly well. I still can’t get over not having to frog the whole bit. After that, I sewed the pieces together – again this went deceptively well – only to find that despite having gone that extra mile with my swatch and having chosen a size that should have just barely fit me because I knew the cotton yarn would get wider, it was still too big. Much too big. In the immortal words of a co-worker,

“You could be 35 months pregnant and still fit into this sweater”.

For some reason, my gauge had gotten much tighter as I knit, leaving the bottom quite wide. The middle part of the sweater was roomy, but acceptably so. It looked a bit like a bell bottomed sweater. I’m sure a model would have pulled it off as a fashion statement, but it just made me look like a pregnant hippo with a conical baby.

Funnily enough, I wasn’t devastated (my devastation has all gone into the dog). I just looked for a way to fix it. We discussed this at work - with my boss looking on and shaking his head as four women stared at a sweater and hemmed and hawed for about half an hour - and finally decided I should just try pulling the sides apart and hemming them in a bit (since I can’t do steeks). Sooooo, I went home that night, pulled the sides out – for all of my fear that my ends will come out and the sweater will unravel, it took me three times as long to pull the seams apart as it did to sew them up. I re-sewed them, gradually increasing the intake and thus making the sweater narrower and straighter. The hem looks great outside although a bit wonky inside. However, I’m betting very few people will be asking me to take it off so they can inspect the inside seam. I will probably whip stitch that bit down too, so it doesn’t roll inside the sweater and make it even bulkier, so even if they did, it will at least look tidy.

It’s still quite roomy, but I can live with that. I actually wanted it that way. It was generally agreed by my co-workers and moi-même that it’s really pretty and nice and soft and lovely and now I can’t wait for it to get colder so I can wear it. I love this sweater, despite its roominess. Love it. The only down side is that if I ever manage to loose any weight, I might still have to look for that pregnant hippo to pass it along to.

For those wondering about the dog, T is still fine at the moment. He doesn’t seem to be in any pain at all, he just has a tumour on his leg. I will eventually have to start giving him pain killers, but at the moment, he’s still fine without them. Well enough even to pilfer and devour a half a kilo of dried tripe while I was at work one day this week. The sympathy factor served him well that day. Any other time I would have throttled him.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Just so you know I'm not dead and that knitting goes on, I'm still working on my Drops Jacket and am loving it. It's so fun to knit the cables and the yarn (Drops Paris) is nice and lovely and soft and I like to just sit and stroke it ocassionally. That doesn't help my knitting speed of course, but it's still a nice fabric. I can't wait to be able to wear it *insert prayer that it fits when finished here*.

I won't bore you with pictures of the stockinet back and sleeves. These are just the interesting bits:

I'm also still working on the Shallow Sharks, which are nice and lovely, but will be a Christmas pressie (Grandma is cleaning up this year) so they still have time.

My next project (also for Grandma) will be the Every Way Wrap. I don't know what colour it will be, but I'll be using the Drops Paris again. It's a good yarn and I need cotton for California whether or she'll not be able to use it more than once a year. I'm looking forward to knitting this one too. So many cool things to knit, so little time...

Monday, 10 August 2009

New Project

Having finished Grandma's Funky socks and then the really ugly cat blanket, which the cat adores (this is her literally 20 seconds after cast off), I had to decide what to do next, so I came up with this: Drops Knitted Cabled Cardigan Ravelry. It's a simple sweater, but has cables, which is why I like it. It's perfect for me and I'm looking forward to wearing it. I have, however, as per usual, changed things a bit. I'm using Drops Paris 100% cotton wool in colour #48 instead of the Karisma and have changed the hem to a plain hem instead of the ribbing - since cotton doesn't really do well in ribbing - and took out the shaping. It's turning into a fairly boring knit for the moment as I'm working on the nearly all stockinette stitch back, but it's coming along quickly and I like the fabric that's coming out of the knitting. It's soft and purty and that's just what I wanted.

I'm also working on the next pair of socks for Grandma (she's getting 4 pair for Christmas). It's the Shark Infested Waters (Rav Link) pattern done in Spruce KP Essentials Kettle Dyed. I'm quite pleased with the way these look, so hopefully grandma will be too.
Finally, I'd like to apologize for not commenting much lately. Not only have I been busy, but they've now blocked all blogging and forum sites at work, so I can no longer read blogs during my breaks. I'm also not always motivated to turn the computer on at home again after having been on it for 10 hours at work already, thus, fewer posts and fewer comments. Sorry. I do try and get them all read though. Still like reading a lot.
Hope you're all having a nice summer!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Grandma's Funky Socks

You know that the weather influences your life too much when you structure your life around it. At least that’s what it feels like to me at the moment. We’ve been having some fairly erratic weather lately. So erratic that’s it’s like taking a ride on a yo-yo. By last Thursday, the world was becoming quite a cranky place due to lack of sleep from too hot and humid nights. I was so cranky that I decided to take Friday off just so I could get some sleep. Thursday night was another scorcher and then Friday, the rains came. And came. And came. And came. Lor’, didn’t it rain children, talk about’a rain, dinit, dinit, dinit, oh my Lor’ didn’t rain…

The world turned into liquid air. My dogs seldom refuse to go out because they’re used to the rain, but Friday night, there was no way they were going to go out and pee at their usual time. We had to wait until there was at least a little space between the drops. It also got cold, relatively anyway. By Sat., it was 50°F in the morning and about 65°F during the day, with Sunday being but slightly warmer. However, this lovely break is at an end. We’re set to get back up to 95°F by Wed., but then back down to 78° by Friday. Yo-yo time, I’m telling you.

What does this have to do with knitting you ask? The weather fluctuations have begun to determine what I knit and when. If it’s cold, I revert to my cat’s blanket, which is coming along nicely thanks to this weekend’s storms. Hot, I return to knitting cotton socks. Speaking of which, I’ve finished my Grandmother’s really funky socks. I really don’t know what I was thinking when I bought this yarn. Well, OK, I was thinking she likes green and I wanted to do cheerful, but seriously, these are so cheerful that she’s going to have to forego wearing them at church for fear of distracting people from the sermon. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for other’s souls by having distracted them with my loud socks. Besides, I don’t really want my grandmother to be known, in hushed whispers, as “the old woman who wears weird socks”. She only wears them because she doesn’t want to offend the insane granddaughter who knits them for her you know.

Actually, this is all not true. My grandmother will probably love them so much that she’ll show them off to people who couldn’t really care less, and/or then revert to thinking the above. It’s just very odd to think of my grandmother, who is usually a fairly plain sock person, running around in luminescent green striped socks and loving them. Also, if I remember myself correctly as a child, I wouldn’t have wanted to have been caught dead with her when she was wearing socks like that. I probably would have disowned her immediately. Now I’m knitting them for her. That means I’ve either grown up, or gone completely Dolally, or maybe both.

This week we’re headed for hot and humid again, so it’s back to plain cotton socks. At least I’m getting Christmas knitting done.

Monday, 13 July 2009


Wow, it's been almost a month since the last time I posted. I can't believe time has gone that fast. Summer is my busy season at work and I'm too tired by the evening to sit at the computer and read more. I won't even pretend that I'm going to catch up on everyone's blogs since I know that's unrealistic at the moment.

I also haven't been knitting much lately, partially because of the heat and partially because I'm just too tired. I have started a cat blanket out of left over sock yarn. I'm hoping this will keep the cat off my current knitting projects, or will once she comes back in again in Fall/Winter. If not, at least I'll have used up a few remnants. It won't be a thing of beauty, but somehow I don't think the cat really cares much.

I finished the Bamboo Waffle Scarf which started out life as a Christmas pressie for my aunt, but is now a random Christmas pressie for someone else. Aunt wanted a lighter weight scarf in these colours, but this turned out pretty heavy since I was using two strands at the same time. It's very comfy and I'm sure someone will like it.

I also did a Falling Water Scarf for my cousin. I broke the Normal Knitter's Rules of never knitting the same thing twice. It's the same yarn and pattern I used for my own, but I think it will suit her and it was easy to knit. It's also light weight, which is a plus in the heat.

Finally I started a new cotton sock for Grandmother. This is turning out to be another one of those projects where the yarn in the ball is prettier than when it's knit up. I keep wondering whatever possessed me to purchase this particular yarn and what in heaven's name Grandma will ever wear them with. Fortunately my aunt thinks the yarn is pretty and that Grandma will like it. If she doesn't, she can just wear them under boots or to bed where no one cares. If she doesn, I'll have a Grandmother with funky socks. Never thought of my grandmother as funky before.

Future projects - I need more socks. Christmas is only 5 months away and I've not gotten all my pressies done. However, I think they're going to have to wait until I've done another sweater for me. I want to do the Drops Knitted Cardigan in Karisma, only in Paris, which is a cotton yarn. I want a cotton cardy and I love this pattern. I just hope it turns out ok and that I'm not makeing a huge mistake with the yarn sub. I want this sweater in cotton so bad I can taste it. Unfortunately, it will all have to wait until next month when I can afford the yarn.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

New Commercial

There are some really clever ad people out there and whoever came up with the new string they have for our local grocery store was a genius. This is the latest they came up with (It takes place on a Sunday and the point of the ad is "respect nature and it will respect you - it's for the groc. store's humane treatment of animals food brand)

Animal Farm on Sunday

Now, if I could just convince my neighbour's geese to do this, oh, and maybe get the cows to hold still at night so their bells don't ring, it would be great. Think it would help if I hauled the TV out and showed them the commercial?

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Boyfriend Socks

For the first time in a long time, I tried something new in knitting. I decided I liked the Boyfriend Socks so much, that I would finally try knitting a toe up sock, which I’d been too lazy to learn up ‘til now. I’ve also always been enamoured with the idea of knowing just how long I can make a sock when I’ve got two 50g balls, without running out in the end. The fear of running out of yarn when knitting a normal sock has always restricted the length of the shaft since running out would be no fun at all. I know it can be fixed, but I don’t particularly like fixing, so I’d rather just not go there.
I found out two things with this experiment. The first being that my feet are too short to require more than about 40g of yarn to make a pair of socks. Finishing off the ball would have given me socks that were impossible to wear since they’d reach halfway up my calves requiring me to start increasing and then they’d just wind up falling down. Ergo, 40g is enough. The second realization is that I neither care for working the tow increases, nor the short row heels. I usually don’t mind short rows, but working that second round where you have to pick up two wraps and knit them with the stitch is a real bugger and made me swear six kinds of blue. They also wound up too long since I found it hard to gauge the length the other way around. I’ve decided that I will stick to shaft down in the future unless I’m desperate.

Now I have to admit that this would all probably be no problem if I just practiced them a bit. I tried to convince myself of this the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth times I knit the toe and heal only to find that they were too loose, or left holes, or I couldn’t get the needle through the wraps and the stitches. Alas, I failed. It didn’t help that I completely forgot that the cable pattern needed to be done on the back side of the shaft as well on the second sock and wound up having to frog half the sock, only to find that I had started the heel too soon and wound up with the cable pattern in the wrong place. That, of course, meant that I had to frog the whole heel, finish the pattern and then rework (for the second time) the d*%/ç* heal again. For the record, I didn’t like knitting it the last time either.

The upshot is that I will continue knitting my socks leg down whenever possible for the rest of my knitting career. But, at least I can now say I tried.

I do, however, love the socks despite being a little too long in the foot. I’m hoping they will shorten a bit, as so many of my socks have. Sod’s Law says they won’t though since I actually want this pair to. Whether or no, I love the pattern and the colour and the yarn and wish it were winter so I could wear them. Alas, it’s summer, the weather is humid and warm and wool is just not the thing to be wearing.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Knitting for MS

There aren't many things I tout on my blog, but this one is a must for me since my mother had MS and I’ve seen what it has done to many, many wonderful people over the years. Frankly, it’s not something that I would wish on my worst enemy and we need to come up with new ways to treat it and ultimately eradicate it.

Claudia of Knitters Against MS is riding for MS again this year. She’ll be accepting donations up to June 29th. Lots of lovely people have donated some really cool prizes (scroll down on her blog) like a copy of Tudor Roses by Alice Starmore, which will run you into poverty if you want to actually purchase it. However, for just a $10 donation, you could win it, or one of a number of other fabulous knitterly things. If you feel so moved, please donate.

Saturday, 23 May 2009


OK, I need to finish weaving in a couple of ends, but other than that, I'm done. I'd left those ends just in case I wanted to resew the sleeves, but I think I'm going to leave them. They look better blocked and should be OK once the sweater has been washed a few times. So, enough chat, here it is...

ETA: See how nice and sunny these pictures are? That's because it's 90°F out today. Just in time...

Friday, 22 May 2009

Who ever said gauge swatches are pointless

OK, well, that might have been me. But I was right. They are mostly pointless as far as telling you what size something will be when you finish it. However, I have never been so glad in my life to have taken the time to knit a gauge swatch for Arwen.

Roll back to yesterday. Yesterday was a holiday here (Ascension) so I had time to knit. Being so close to finishing Arwen, I chose to work on it than something lighter, despite temperatures of 80°F plus and a relative humidity of 70%. As I knit, I worried. Was I going to have enough yarn to finish the sleeve? Would it work? Was I going to have to put the whole thing aside and wait until I could get more of that yarn? I knew from what I had in front of me that it would last until at least a few rows before finishing, but I dared not hope it would be enough to actually cast off. As it turned out, I was right. Hope was futile. 20 stitches. Yes, you heard me correctly, 20 stitches before I finished casting off, the yarn ran out (and probably did a little jig of joy at having buggered my day too). Did I really want to travel all that way just to get a skein of yarn to finish casting off? What would I do with one nearly complete skein of this yarn? I knew I’d get away with sewing it up with the left over yarn from my Linden, so even that was no reason to go buy more. So, I started searching.

The search for a piece of yarn just long enough to finish casting off 20 stitches took me through the garbage can, where the pieces were all too short for my purpose Then thinking I might have a single or partial skein somewhere in my stash, I went through all of my project bags, my stash boxes, my couch cushions, under the couch and even into cupboards which have never seen any yarn at all. Finally, I checked the box the yarn came in, filled with the knowledge that it would be empty, and it was. Except for my gauge swatch. Jackpot. I was able to both finish the sleeve and sew both of them in and still had left overs.

Arwen is finished, or it is for the moment anyway. It’s blocking as I type, but I’m not sure I’ll be happy with it. The sleeves are too big around to fit in the sleeve holes properly and I had to improvise. The look a bit scrunched in places, which is probably because they are a bit scrunched in places. I may have a go at fixing this, but I doubt it will work. I’d really need to reknit them, but I’m not sure where to reduce at. Width? Length? I dunno. Probably width really, but then I’m afraid the arms would be too tight and I hate that. Sooooo, I may just leave them or try and get all the scrunching in under the arms where it would be less visible. I’ll decide as soon as it’s finished blocking. When I think about how much work has already gone into this sweater, I’m inclined to leave it, but then why do all that work for something which is less than perfect? *sigh*, we’ll see.

I really need to take that course in sweater design/knitting.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Note to self

Feel free to stroll on by. These are just notes to myself which could come in hand one day. You might want to check out the cable grafting trick. It sounds really handy.

Source Tinker Tots
I learned a great trick back when I was knitting Rogue for the first time to graft the cables. When done the main knitting (don’t break your yarn) - knit about four or five extra rows with a light colour dishcloth cotton. Knit or purl the stitches as they present themselves. Cast off. Bring the two sides together with your kitchen cotton folded in like a seam. When grafting you can follow the light coloured dishcloth cotton in and out of your stitches. When you are done you just undo the bind off and rip back the kitchen cotton. You end up with perfect grafting in knit/purl and you don’t have to think about which direction you are going in and out of stitches. Don’t have to worry about stitches falling off your needles or juggling all the needles. It makes it as easy as straight seaming.

LJ Knitting - Tree Graph

Sunday, 17 May 2009


I finally finished the sleeve and I don't actually want to frog it this time! Oh the relief. I do believe that I've knit this sleeve at least 4 times in total. I've never frogged so much in my entire life. For a while, it seemed like I'd knit 2 rows and frog 4. I was beginning to despair and think of giving up. However, I persevered and this is the result.

It might not be perfect, the bit after the cuff could be straighter and the bit around the cable flatter, but frankly I'm not sure I'd have the skill to fix this, even if I did have the patience. I might be more bothered about it if I thought people would notice it when it's on, but I don't think they will, so I'm leaving it.

Oh yes, the cable bit is also not a "good" cable, as in it's not the way cables are supposed to work, but there wasn't much I could do without having the cable beginnings look really funky. I had to hide the behind the existing cables at the beginning and ends, so the rest of the pattern doesn't go under and over as it should.

Now I just need to knit the second. I also need to pray very hard. I have 3 skeins and a bit of yarn left. I weighed the first sleeve and it's 160g, which is 3 skeins and a bit. I'll also need to have a bit of yarn to sew the sleeves to the body. I hope there's enough. Funny, I usually have way too much yarn because I'm afraid I'll run out. I hope I don't run out and make my mania worse.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Arwen Continued

Well, I frogged. I had to really. It really was a bit unshapely for a sleeve and I really want to like this sweater when I finish it. Thing is, I had already frogged it several times before finishing it the first time. Then I frogged the whole and restarted. I've now frogged this at least twice more. I discovered that I needed to do a quadruple increase in the first row after the cuff to prevent the sleeve from becoming smaller from the cuff. Then I didn't like what happened with the pattern when I added the side cables. One of the cables started in a funky place and kind of skewed the look, so I frogged again.

I've reknit in a way that kind of messes with the cables, as in they are not as cables "should be" with the whole one over, one under thing, but it looks better than cables starting and ending in weird places and No One Besides Another Knitter Is Ever Going To Notice This. I asked myself how many knitters I know and see on a regular basis. Then I asked myself how many of them are going to care. Answer, probably zero. It's hardly likely that one of the guys from the technical dept. is suddenly going to look at it and say "oh hey, you're cables aren't quite right". That would be like me looking at their electrical schematics and saying, "hey, you've got your wires connected in the wrong place!" Not going to happen, or it might, but that won't mean I have a clue what I'm talking about. I'm just sometimes a bit ornrey. Ergo, I'm going with funky cables because frankly, even if I can stand to frog once more, I'm not sure the yarn will. I'm reaching the point where I'm not going to be able to reknit the yarn again. Pictures if I ever manage to finish the first sleeve again.

In other news, my good friend, Thepinksheep (who is incidentally selling a bit of hand dyed sock yarn) sent me a pressie! Thanks to her, I have the Earl Blue Socks from the last post and now I can make Earl Ivy and Earl Spruce if I want to! :0) I rather think I'll be making a different sock with these, but you get the picture. Thank again!

My other good friend, Inkysticks, who is currently buried under her dissertaion work, sent me The Knitter's Book of Yarn a while ago too. I've finally read it all and can recommend it as a good reference book. It has some quite useful information in it. I think it's meant to help with my growing yarn problems, which it might have, as long as I go back and read up on the yarn I'm using before knitting any projects with it. Thanks to Inky as well! And don't work too hard. You'll burn out you know.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Spot the Flaw

Having finally finished the sleeve (maybe), I laid it out flat on the table, which is next to the couch upon which there are two wool blankets and a cat couch, to photograph it. Can anyone else spot the major flaw here?

Meet Sydney, one of my cats. She's was once kicked around and neglected and is now afraid of every other human on the planet but me (which can be really annoying). She also once disappeared from home for 2.5 months (although I don't think that was intentional on her part). She also usually sits next to me and meows a lot while I'm knitting (also really annoying). I now know why. She is slowly plotting to take over me, my knitting and my stash. I just hope she never meets The Brain or I am doomed.

The sleeve was definitely not intended as a cat bed.

What I had intended, was this

I wanted to show you the shape of the sleeve. I'm not sure I'm happy with it. I should have started increasing every 3rd row just after the cuff and not after the cable thingy. I'm kind of thinking I should frog the whole sleeve and start over. Don't you think? Advice anyone? Opinions?

Very randomly, my current favourite commercial just came on. I just love that chicken. It really looks like a happy chicken, even if the ad is really ridiculous.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Ousted by Cows

Well, Spring has sprung. It finally rained here and everything decided to turn green pretty much over night. I meant to get a few pictures earlier when everything was in full bloom, but forgot, so now you’ll have to make do with these.
Unfortunately, I’ve now lost my picnic spot
to the cows. I tried to point out that it wasn’t fair as they certainly don’t appreciate the view or the peace like I do, but we’re in Switzerland where cows are spoiled and that didn’t wash. So, I’ve been relegated to the front field for the time being. Eventually the cows will be moving to the front field and I can have the back field back again (complete with cow patties) but this will be a while in coming. Actually, it’s not like I’m suffering much. The front field has a good view too but not as good and there’s more noise from traffic and the demon spawn, oh, sorry, children, from next door. For the record, the children aren’t actually at fault, it’s just that the adults lack parenting skills so the children have no manners and spend most of the day screaming at the top of their lungs. This is Switzerland, we have good air and they prove it, constantly.

Which brings me back to the cows. I watched a report last night on "Gourmet Milk". There's a guy in the depths of Switzerland (somewhere in the alps), who sells milk for something like $4 a litre (ca. 1 quart). Apparently it has more healthy bacteria in it than normal milk and tastes better. Somehow I think the Swiss will be the only ones buying this guy's milk. No one else in their right mind would pay that price.

I’ve been spending more time outdoors and less time knitting, so I haven’t much to show. I did finally finish the Earl Blue, and have worn them a couple of times too (it cooled off with the rain). They are nice and soft and I love them.
Please ignore the dog hair. That's just sort of a part of my life.
I’ve also continued working on the Arwen, but haven’t made much progress, especially in relation to the amount of time I’ve spent knitting it. I wanted to add a bit of a design to the sleeve, but since I’m not knitting the sleeve as it’s meant to be knit it’s been difficult. I think the Arwen calls for the sleeve to be knit “sideways” and then sewn together, but since I restructured the sweater from the beginning, I can’t do this. I’m knitting cuff up and have added the middle portion of the St. John’s Cross from the back, only it really just looks like a diamond with cables in it. I would rather have had the whole Cross, but I think that might have been a bit overwhelming on a sleeve. Still, it’s more interesting than a plain sleeve and since it’s small, it’s not overpowering. I’m going to leave it, even though it’s not what I really wanted. I should finish the first sleeve tonight and hopefully the second one by the end of the weekend. I’m a bit worried about getting this done because it’s such a heavy sweater that if I don’t finish it while it’s cool, it will get put on the back burner until next fall, by which time I will have forgotten how I’m doing it. There’s a real disadvantage to winging it, you have no pattern to follow when you get ready to knit the second sleeve. Pictures will follow once the weather gets a bit better and I have time. The two things must coincide.

Thursday, 30 April 2009


When I started this blog, it was partly out of interest in knitting, partly to catalogue what I knit and how I went about it, and partly because I had a lot of time on my hands. At the time, it seemed like my work load was constantly shrinking because many of the tools I use were getting faster. Between the new computer and a new printer (of my very own), the amount of time it took me to get my work done had been halved. A bit belated, my company finally caught up and gave me more work, so I no longer have so much time to kill - thankfully. I really am much happier being employed the whole day, even if I do wind up too tired at night to do much more than comfort knit.

Last night, however, I did finally finish my Earl Blue socks. Pictures will follow as soon as the weather improves. We finally been getting some much needed rain this week, but that makes for bad pictures. They are really, really soft and comfy and spiffy looking and I love them. The yarn makes a great "plain" sock, because it's not too plain but also looks good with a design in it. The only problem is, that I love them so much, I'm afraid to wear them. I don't want to ever wear them out. That would be a tragedy.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Knitting Gone a Little Mad

But it looks like they had fun doing it and raised quite a bit of money, so Go Them!

Knitted Villiage

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Knitting Math

I came up with a new maths formula for knitting this evening. It goes as follows:

Lack of Attention+Overconfidence=Frogging

I've begun knitting the second Earl Blue sock, knit with Knit Picks Essential Kettle Dyed sock yarn, which is fabulous. Soft, yet durable. I love it - Damn. I never should have linked. They're having a sale on colours they won't be restocking and I'm broke. I really would have liked to get some of the Ivy. Bugger. So, back to knitting, it took me a bit to get back into the rhythm of the pattern, but when I did, it started to go well. After all, it was an easy pattern and a pleasant knit. Only, after a few rounds, I started to think that all of this 1x1 ribbing was irritating, after a few more rounds, I started wondering how I ever managed to get the first sock done, then, another 10 rounds or so later, I start thinking it's a complete pain in the proverbial and blast if I was going to continue with it. It was then that it hit me. I should have stopped the ribbing and switched to stockinette when I started the pattern. *headdesks* I decided that this might be a good point to check the pattern again, as in read from the beginning, and not only did I miss the bit about the ribbing, but I also forgot that I needed to increase by two stitches. I console myself with knowing that I only had to frog it all once and not twice. Let this be a lesson to me. Always check the pattern again, even if you've already knit it before. Simple things can save you a lot of effort put in creative swearing when you've messed up the basics, yet again.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Insert Fantastic Title Here

Because I can't come up with one.

I am really bowled over by a package I received from ProseKnitic this week. I won a comment contest on her blog and she, crazy and wonderful woman that she is (she has a career, 4 children, knits, DOES STEEKS, and blogs all in her stride), sent me this:

Those of you who know me, even slightly, will know that these are my colours. It's fabulous yarn and something I would have never purchased for myself. I now need to find a project that will do it justice. I may have to think on it a while. Thank you so much Holly!

I have been knitting this week, just not as much as I thought I would. I'm on vacation and I always assume I'll have more time and motivation than I usually wind up having. I did try and knit out of doors with the dogs, but either the wind was blowing (not good with lightweight cotton yarn) or the dogs felt I should be petting them and not knitting. Plus, I'm doing some free lance work, so it wasn't all free time anyway. However, I did manage to finish the Hermione Scarf and Hat and have now started on "matching" handwarmers. I won't be using the full pattern for this, since having holes in handwarmers is a bit counterproductive. Hats and scarves with holes are OK because the scarf wraps around itself and most people have hair on their heads to help with warmth, but bare hands are just cold when it's cold outside. Ergo, I'm just doing the cable and leaving out the eyelets. It's a bit of a construction site because I'm trying something new. I'll let you know how it goes when I finish the first of them.

Unfortunately I haven't made any more progress on the Arwen. I should really be working on that instead of the handwarmers because it's cooled off, but I don't feel like it at the moment. It will get done in time to wear it next winter.