Saturday, December 27, 2008


When the package of yarn arrived yesterday, just as I was finishing a pair of crazy socks, I felt the overwhelming urge to rip into it immediately and cast on for its intended project--the sweater of a million tiny cables. I scrambled around to find the right size needle and got to work.

A mere three rounds later, I felt an twinge, then an ache, then shooting pain in my right arm. Turns out that knitting and cabling cotton at a tight gauge, on old sticky bamboo needles is a sure-fire way to blow out your carpal tunnel. Never mind, though. Two advil. Continue knitting.

Six rounds later and even the advil was no match for the needles from hell. So, first thing this morning, I ran out to my LYS and bought a pair of much-needed addis. Huge difference--much better.

Good tools are such a joy. I thought I hated dpns until I found the pricey but priceless signature needles. That itty bitty ribbing, the stiletto points--they make such a huge difference. Addis are a longtime favorite--I do wish they weren't quite so blunt sometimes, but in general, they are my go-to needles for both straight and round knitting.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Shhh. Don't Tell Anyone

Yeah, so I've had a sneaking suspicion of this for a while, but I fear it might be knitting heresy.  

I hate variegated yarns.  

They are sneaky bastards--looking all pretty as yarn in skeins, looking nasty once knit up.  OK, so sometimes socks and maybe scarves look OK.  But sweaters?  Hideous.  Hats?  Awful.  

Maybe I'm not using them properly--but at this point, I really don't think it's me.  

Case study:  Two balls of Sheep Shop Two yarn.  I have tried making a cardigan out if it.  Result: ugly.  Next, a seed-stitch scarf.  Result:  ugly.  And the most recent incarnation?  The Yarn Harlots cute "unoriginal hat."  Judge for yourself:  

So.  New Years Resolution #1:   NO MORE VARIEGATED YARN.  You will not tempt me with your multicolor swirls that look so delicious on the shelf.  I know your game.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


For a while now,  I've been wanting to make the cable and rib sweater with hood from Debbie Bliss's "The Baby Book."  I'm really starting to feel the pressure now that my own little guy is pushing a size 3T.  This pattern goes up to a size 4, but that's it.  It looks like a fairly mindless pattern with a ton of little cables.  Perhaps this will be the time to learn to cable without a cable needle.  Looks like I'd get lots of practice. 

I envision a cozy cotton sweater that little buddy can wear on chilly nights during the month we spend on Nantucket every year.

I'm not a huge fan of the Debbie Bliss cotton, and I AM a fan of Rowan's all season cotton.  So imagine the thrill I got when I scored 10 balls of Rowan ASC in "Cookie" for $23, shipping included.  WOO HOO!  Now, I just have to get it done.  Let's see, we leave for Nantucket in early July so.... I should have enough time, right?  I actually think I might have this one sent out to be seamed--looks like there is a lot of it and I know my track record.  Hey, with the $$ I saved on the yarn.....

ETA:  In my excitement, I assumed that 10 skeins would be enough for this yarn hog of a project.  Once I went through one of ten skeins and had only a few inches of knitting, I panicked a bit.  Luckily, cucumberpatchUK over on eBay still had individual skeins of this discontinued yarn in her store--whew.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cure for the winter blues

I usually love winter--love the clothes, love the comfort of being warm inside while it's cold outside.  I love the expectation of snow and how pretty it looks.  This year though, December is getting me down.  Maybe it's because Thanksgiving came late and the golden days of autumn were gone in a weekend, it seemed.  I was particularly blue yesterday and decided to hit the 
LYS in search of some retail therapy.  What I found, was Kristin Nicholas's "Kristin Knits."  It's full of vibrant designs from the color lady herself.  Sitting right under the book was a big pile of Nashua Handkints "Julia"--which is Kristin's signature yarn.  Yes, I did fall for the strategically placed yarn, but the colors were so bright and gorgeous and I loved the idea that, without thinking, I could exactly duplicate the fun knits in the book.  So, I bought enough for a pair of socks for my little sister (who is hibernating with her new baby) and a pair long-overdue mittens for my big girl.   

I immediately cast on for the socks, in hopes of finishing them before my next yarn shipment arrives.   The endpaper mitts are still a WIP, but two days of tiny colorwork had me seeing stars, so it's nice to switch to a mindless knit for a while.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ya Learn Something New Every Day

For example, last week I learned that infamous duelist Aaron Burr was the grandson of Jonathan "sinners in the hands of an angry God" Edwards.  Monday I learned that Gen. Eric Shinseki, Barack Obama's pick for Sec. of Veteras Affairs was one of only 8 Vietnam combat amputees who returned to active duty.

And yesterday, I learned how to do the tubular cast-on.  And oh it made me so happy.  I even put off fixing myself the evening cocktail until almost 7pm so I would be stone-cold sober while working on it (recommended). 

I feel like it was a reward of sorts, learning something new.  For the last week or so, my next-door neighbor has gotten interested in learning to knit and I've been helping her out.  It's been really fun and it reminded me of the time when I was picking up a new skill every time I cast on for a new project--knitting in the round, cables, colorwork-- whole new worlds open up.  

But then the learning curve inevitably flattens out.  I am not a master knitter by any standard, but I am comfortable with the basic and intermediate skills.  So, when I come across something I missed, it's so fun.

I cast on for Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts.  I'm using Lorna's Laces sportweight in blackberry and sunshine.  After a tour of the blogosphere, I decided to learn a regular tubular cast-on rather than the Italian one she recommends.  I tried the Italian version initially, but I could quickly see that I would run into many of the problems others had reported--it's hard for mere mortals to get an even edge.   It's gorgeous.  I love it.  No one will ever know because it will be tucked into my coat, but I know.  And it was fun.

Here is the tutorial I used. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sick Day

Bad stomach bug going around, but I'll spare you the details.  But let's just say that I'm not sure the car will ever be the same again.  Poor girlie is home sick from school today and my tummy isn't feeling so hot either.  So between bottles of gatorade, saltines, cinnamon toast and applesauce, we managed to get a few movies in.  My favorite was Kit Kittredge--American Girl and my favorite part of the movie were all the awesome vintage clothes, esp. the knits.   There was one particular green seed-stitch cardigan I haven't been able to find yet, but I did snag a picture of Kit's signature ribbed cardigan.  I'm going to make one for the kiddo in blue, but I want to find just the right shade of vintage dusty blue.   And I do love the cloche as well.  

Friday, November 21, 2008

Drive Thru Thanksgiving

Just in time for Turkey Day, the super-fast, super-cute Drive Thru.  I finished this in exactly one week and it really could not be more adorable on the little guy.  Easy color work, no seams--lots of fun.  The only trouble I had was the neck.  Even with a super-loose bind off, it was still too tight to fit over the boy's giant noggin, so I moved from knitting in the round a back and forth and will put a button in the back to close it up.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sweater for a Wee One

Sometimes events drive knitting.  I tried to get this done for my sister's baby shower last week, but it was missing a sleeve.  And a neck.  But I got it done and the baby isn't even here yet.  The pattern is the child's placket sweater from Joelle Hoverson's "Last Minute Knitted Gifts" and the yarn is Rowan Purelife Cotton.  I like the idea of cotton--soft, washable, etc.  But we all know it's not as much fun to knit.  It's so unforgiving compared to wool--shows every last little mistake--and even things that aren't mistakes, like decreases seem to jump out at you.

That said, I've been wanting to make this for a long time and have had many false starts, so it's nice to finally finish one.  It's knit in the round with the sleeves attached and then decreased for the yoke.  I did fewer rows in the collar to avoid the "turtleneck" effect that is unflattering on babies.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Peace Baby!

OK, so this had been languishing in the WIP pile for a while now. But I seamed it up today--rather badly, I might add. Whatever. It beats sitting in a pile waiting to be outgrown, right? I *know* I don't have the patience or talent to do the embroidery, and the kiddo is already loving wearing the sweater.  Also no button due to large noggin. 

Peace out.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Politics, part 2

Ok, so no knitting, but I *wished* I'd had my knitting while we waited for... Joe Biden!
After the awful, divisive, hateful sniping I heard at the RNC, it was so great to hear Biden speak.  He talked about issues--not about petty silly issues.  He talked about the
 struggles that people face in their daily lives.  Talked about the
 challenges we face around the world, talked about what it really means to forge compromise, bring people together and find solutions to problems like Social Security, climate change, health care, etc.  It was so clear to me that
 if this election were about issues, it would be a landslide.  Sadly, the GOP has gotten so good at the politics of mass distraction--they would like nothing more than to make this election a referendum on
 Sarah Palin.  And all the while, people continu
e to work, struggle, and hope for a better way. 

 Also speaking was Gov. Ed Rendell--who did a great job of talking about the importance of green-collar jobs, and DR. Jill Biden, who talked about education.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Political Knits

I made tremendous progress on Trellis last week during the DNC. This week, not so much. I wonder why that is. Could it be because I keep throwing things at the teevee? A bad mood is never good for knitting karma. I will have to pick a less throw-able project for the debates.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blocking Ziggy

So, I missed the Ravelympics deadline thanks to blocking. But the good news is, Ziggy is blocking! And it's only August! Of the same year I started knitting the sweater! Missed deadlines aside, I'm proud of myself for actually pushing to finish this cute sweater. I don't have a blocking board, but I found a "sewing center" type of mat thing at JoAnn yesterday and it's working pretty well.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Trellis Underway

After many (4) false starts, I think Trellis is finally underway. I love this pattern, I would pay big bucks for this sweater in a store and I refuse to admit defeat. Some things I have learned:
1) this pattern is not a good one to do while watching Project Runway
2) this is not something I should pick up after two mojitos
3) counting. counting is good.

In other words, for the beginning knitter, this is not a mindless pattern. Folks on Ravelry say you eventually get the hang of the pattern, memorize it blah blah blah. But for now, this is an ipod-only knit.

Trellis -- from
yarn: Rowan All Seasons Cotton in periwinkle
needle: size 7 addis

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Took long enough

I started this well over a year ago--and there were some bottlenecks. The seaming of course. Then picking up the stitches for the button band and collar--I messed it up several times and had to start over. Then it took a while to find the buttons. Then another six months to sew them on.... you get the picture, I am not a champ at finishing. But it's done, and , as it turns out, it fits the boy perfectly!

From the Yarn Girl's Guide to Kid Knits--"Paula's Perfect Project"
Blue sky alpacas worsted in denim and red
Size 9 needles

Thursday, August 14, 2008


It's inevitable.  If you can't have it, you want it more.  Sundara's yarn is hard enough to get--but a few months ago, she stopped selling worsted and sport-weight yarn.  I'm not much of a sock knitter, so even though I get excited about her colors in sock yarn, I rarely buy them.  What I really love are those big fat skeins in gorgeous colors.  I have two lone skeins left of worsted weight yarn in this beautiful red, and I know it's going to be a scarf.  For me.  As mentioned below, I think it will become "Shifting Sands" but I'm still on the lookout for something that might show it off even better.  Suggestions welcome! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Planning for Fall

Not everyone knits in the summer (right?).  Well, I don't.  I don't wear tank tops and I dunno, "summer knits" just seems like a oxymoron.  So, when August rolls around and I start getting excited about fall, I pull out the yarn, needles... start a blog... perform CPR on my Ravelry account, etc.

I have to do some massive reorg of my Ravelry queue so it actually resembles a list of projects I'm going to tackle this fall as opposed to a random collection of link from across the internet.  But just of the top of my head, there are some things I definitely want to get done this fall:
  • Grumperina's "shifting sands"--using a great Sundara yarn
  • "Trellis" from Knitty
  • Basic scarves and hats for the kiddies
  • Central Park Hoodie
  • Bunting for my sister's new baby (due in Nov)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Let's just go ahead and start this, shall we?

If I wait until the blog looks all pretty before I launch, I'll never get it started. So here's the deal: this blog is going to be about my knitting. And the sister blog SprocketEats will be about my other passion: food. But more on that later.

For now, I'm back from vacation--and gearing up for fall and winter knitting. First up: my Ravelry Olympics project. I picked "Get Ziggy" by FabMama Anny Purls. Now, I just love this woman. She has style, she has substance and she has that great sense for the simple and beautiful.