Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hello! Remember me?

Sorry for the delay between posts -- this week has been very, very busy, with not much time for knitting or blogging.

I'm still getting stuff in the mail, though! Here's a Mirror Yarn Ball from Bezzie's cleverly named Etsy shop, Random Meanderthings. It is now hanging from my rear view mirror, but I keep forgetting to take a picture of it.

Mirror Yarn Ball

And remember my box of goodies from KnitPicks? Well, they sent it to me twice! After the first thought of "Did they charge me twice?" and the second of "If they didn't, I'll give away the Harmony needle set in a contest!", I called them, and they sent me a return label to send it all back for free. Oh, well -- y'all missed a good contest! ;-)

For those of you who asked about the Harmony needles, I have to say I love them -- they're smooth without being slick and pointy without being painful. The join is great and I've no problems with the needle and cord disconnecting. They are also absolutely beautiful! If you like wood needles, I highly recommend these.

And now, I need to go work on my Red Scarf scarf -- I need to get it done!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

New Stuff, part 2


This beautiful yarn is, technically, 434 yards of fingering weight wool/nylon Superwash Colonial Wool Blend. It is one of Jessie's beautiful hand-dyed yarns, in a colorway called Away. It is a very subtle blend of grey, perinwinkle, lavender, and even a very muted rose tone. It's absolutely gorgeous. If you haven't bought yarn from Jessie.... well, more for me!

And what's under the yarn? Yes, it's two copies of the Fall issue of Interweave Knits.

Double IKs

This was the first issue since my move and, when in hadn't arrived by September 1, I emailed them. I got a reply within 24 hours, apologizing and saying they would get it right in the mail. Yesterday, more than two weeks after that email, I bought a copy. Guess what came in the afternoon mail? sigh......

So -- if you'd like my extra copy, just let me know. First come, first served!

Friday, September 21, 2007

New Stuff

New stuff -- really, new needles! As you may remember (I always feel silly saying that -- does anyone actually pay that much attention?), I am planning on knitting Anne's Honeybee Stole as a Christmas gift, out of the suggested yarn, Wooly Wonka Merino Laceweight in Northern Lights. I figured I should use the suggested needles, too.

Here they are -- Jenkins circulars, US size 5 in Bolivian rosewood. I've never owned handmade needles before! They look perfect -- nice and pointy!

Jenkins needles

Not too long after I ordered these, KnitPicks came out with their Harmony set of interchangeable wooden needles. I had been whining (silently, of course) about the thickness of the cable on my Denises, and had even considered buying the KnitPicks Options metal needles -- even though I don't really like metal needles. The Harmony set solved my problem!

Here they are, working on my Hemlock Ring lap blanket -- which, by the way, is getting quite large, but the fact that 3 out of 4 rounds are now stockinette in the round really bores me. I miss the fun, large-scale lace in the center!

Harmony needles and Hemlock Ring
Oooh! Ignore the scaly-looking cuticle!

Along with the Harmony needles, I ordered yarn for my Red Scarf. Scarves are due October 15, so, as the world's slowest knitter, I need to get to work on it. I'm using Knitpicks Swish Superwash in Fired Brick (the color is WAAAY off in my photo) to make the Interlocking Balloons scarf from Scarf Style.

Red Scarf scarf

This is a fun pattern -- a few cable crossings among 1x3 ribbing, combined with increases and decreases, and it really does resemble balloons. It's a 44-row repeat, so I can't memorize it, but it really makes sense, so I don't get easily lost. Oh -- and it's full of the previously-dreaded purls-through-the-back-loop, which really aren't so bad, once you do 10 or 12 in an evening!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Did you hear the one about the goat?

Sunday evening I was driving from my mom's house back to Iowa City. Instead of taking I-74 through Peoria, I decided to take 474 through it (why? I don't know. It's not like Sunday evening traffic is heavy!) Just before I got to the Illinois River, I came up behind a pick-up truck. I could see a guy sitting in the back, leaning against the cab. And then I saw something standing next to him. I figured it was a big dog. But as I got next to the truck, I realized it was a goat, complete with horns! He was standing right next to the guy (who was probably in his 20s) and staring him in the face, like he was trying to say, "Hey! I'm a goat! I don't like this!" I laughed out loud, and the guy saw me. He smiled and waved, then patted the goat on the head. It was so funny -- I considered slowing down so I could pull out my camera and take a picture, but decided that would be embarrassing. But it was one of the funniest things I've seen in a while!

Speaking of cameras -- I decided my little red camera needed a sock of some sort to protect it in my purse, so I made it one. This has to be the fastest thing I've ever knit.

Camera Case

Yarn: Jojoland Cashmere (leftover from my sister's fingerless mitts)
Needles: Size 1 rosewood DPNs Patterns: I made this up as I went. I started with 9 rounds of stockinette over 56 stitches. In the 5th row, I made eyelets by knitting two together, then doing double yarnovers. I dropped the first yarnover in the next row, to make the eyelets larger.

I then used the pattern from the Whitewater mitts in the October 2006 Magknits to do the lace. I think I did 3 repeats. I finished up with 5 or 6 rounds of stockinette, then I did a three needle bind-off.

I made a length of i-cord to run through those double yarnover eyelets, but decided it was too high up, so I ended up using the first row of "lace holes" for the i-cord, instead.

I worked on these while waiting for the parade on Saturday. It was Riverfest in Riverton, Illinois, and members of my mom's church marched -- they were a "Drill Team." Can you see the drills?

"Drill Team"

And considering that I had staked out a space for me and my knitting all by myself, without any kids within at least a half block, I made out pretty well with the tossed candy. I didn't bring a bag for it, so it had to share with my knitting.

parade candy, with yarn

Does anyone else remember parades where they tossed more than candy? I can remember running to catch pencils, fly swatters, and, my favorite, yard sticks!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Good thing she's cute....

because obviously, she can't spell!

Recipe (or "receipe") box purchased at Wal-Mart

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Seeing is Believing

After I whined about how I dislike casting on toe-up socks, Chris pointed me towards her favorite way. I tried it -- still fiddly, but not so bad. However, what really made it easier was pulling out the reading glasses (which I've used once before in the the three years or so I've been carrying them around) from my purse. I had LASIK almost 8 years ago. I knew it wouldn't slow down the deterioration of my close vision, but I've been lucky. Although maybe not as lucky as I thought!

At least they have pink rhinestones on them!

In other knitting news, I frogged Midwest Moonlight. I was only 11 rows in. I absolutely love the yarn, and I like the pattern, but not together.

Brooks Farm Primero

The yarn is fantastic -- Brooks Farm Primero, which is 100% kid mohair. It's sport weight, I'd say, with a bit of a halo. But I only have one skein -- 500 yards. I'd like to make some sort of scarf with it. Does anyone have any ideas?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Random Saturday

This morning, while I was having my hair cut and colored, my stylist, Jodie, pulled out her camera to show me some pictures of her daughter. Her daughter is cute, but I loved the camera, a little Nikon Coolpix. I came home, did a little research, and off I went to Best Buy. I had a $10 gift card, so obviously, I needed to spend it!

I came home with this. (ETA: link to specs)

new camera

Isn't it cute? It's very small and very flat, not to mention very red! When I bought my Canon PowerShot A620 last fall, I considered something smaller, so I could carry it in my purse. I convinced myself I didn't need to do that -- and I've regretted that decision.

So now I own two digital cameras. This means I won't be upgrading my iPod! But hopefully it means that I'll actually have more pictures of day-to-day stuff.


It's been a shopping kind of day. Did you see these? I seriously considered buying a set of Options, because the cord on my Denises frequently seems to fat for the needles. However, I don't really like metal needles (not even Addis -- really!) and decided that the Options weren't the best solution. But these beautiful wood needles seem perfect. I ordered a set, along with an extra 40" cord. While I was at it, I ordered 4 skeins of Swish Superwash in Fired Brick, for my Red Scarf. Red Scarves are due by October 15 this year, so I need to get knitting.


Speaking of knitting, I've finally finished one Illini sock and started the second. And here's the reality: straight stockinette bores me to tears, unless I'm doing something else very interesting at the same time. And I mean, more interesting than your standard television. Also, I'm still not crazy about toe-up socks. As much as kitchenering frightens me, I find starting toe up just annoying. I think I'd rather be frightened than annoyed!


This is my first home game weekend since moving to Iowa City. The game doesn't begin until 7:00 p.m., but when I was out at 8:30 this morning, there were already impromptu parking lots set up, and lots of people wandering around in gold and black. Last time I lived in a college town, I was in college, or fresh out. I lived within walking distance of the stadium. I don't think I ever thought about the traffic jams, parking problems, and other realities of Big Ten football! And speaking of the Big Ten -- since my cable company doesn't think we want the Big Ten Network, I won't be able to see either the Iowa or the Illinois game. (Minor rant: The Big Ten wants cable companies to carry the network on expanded basic cable. The cable company says that many of their customers wouldn't watch it. But really -- there are plenty of channels on my expanded basic I never watch. Why not give us this one, too? Oh -- it's because they want to include it in a sports package and make us pay extra!!! Of course!)

Monday, September 03, 2007


Obviously, this has been a long weekend!

Askew is almost finished. There are still some ends to to take care, and I think I'll reblock it. The straps are, weirdly enough, too wide set and there are a few wonky looking stitches. Maybe re-blocking will help. And possibly a different bra. (Insert rant about how men never have to figure out what underwear would work best with an outfit.)

But all in all, I'm happy with it. I do wish I'd noticed that one side is a lot more colorful than the other. Actually, I have so much yarn left over, I could have re-knit it. But -- no.....


I'm also making progress on the Hemlock Ring Lap Blanket. I've switched to my 40 inch Denise circ at this point, so obviously I'm getting somewhere. I'm well into the feather-and-fan chart. Four out of every five rows is straight stockinette in the round -- good for TV knitting.

Hemlock Ring Lap Blanket

I've also finished the back of Arwen (a large stockinette rectangle) and have begun the left front, but so far, there's not much to look at. And I'm back to working on the Illli toe-up plain stockinette socks. I've decided that I have to finish these before I begin another pair.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

This post brought to you by the letter B

B is for Bananas and Bugs......

My friend (and one of the former co-workers I taught to knit) Melissa gave me this great "cupcake" pan for my birthday. It makes cakes in some of my favorite bug shapes.

bug cakes

Today, I made banana-nut muffins in it. I got a little carried away with flouring the pans before hand; I hope the excess flour will brush off!

B is for Bats....

No pictures, but we found three bats (two alive and one dead) in the library this week, and a friend had one in her house, too. Apparently it's Bat Season in Eastern Iowa, although the natives seem as surprised as I am.

B is for Blocking....

Look! It's Askew, blocking! (Doesn't it look like I was way up high when I took this?)

One of my goals for this long weekend is to get Askew all done. A top like this is year-round in Texas, but probably not in Iowa. I think it will work under a jacket during the fall, though.

I'm dreading the seaming, since this is the first adult-sized garment I've ever made (socks don't count). It doesn't seem to matter if baby sweaters don't end up quite the right size, since sooner or later it will more-or-less fit the child. But I'd like Askew to fit me. If you never see it again, you know why.

B is for Badges...

Have you seen the Knitting Scout badges? I first read about them over at JenLa; you can get your own from Cast On. There are more, including ones for those of who have had designs accepted (or rejected) by a knitting magazine.

The “Proselytize Knitting” Badge - A requirement for all Knitting Scouts, the recipient must do his or her bit to present knitting in a positive light, whilst at the same time avoiding all references to “hipness”, grandmothers, and yoga.

We've all earned this one, I think!

The “MacGyver” Badge (Level One) - The recipient must demonstrate clever use of a non-knitting tool in a knitting-related scenario. For instance, recipient has used paper clips as stitch markers, or successfully whittled and then utilized bamboo skewers

Hasn't everyone used a paper clip as a stitch marker? And I don't even know where my scissors are -- I always use nail clippers to cut my yarn.

The “MacGyver” Badge (Level Two) - The recipient must demonstrate clever use of a knitting tool in a non-knitting-related scenario. For instance, recipient has used a strand of Regia Bamboo to slice cheese, or repaired a small appliance with a metal knitting needle.

Pointy sticks are very handy, are they not?
(Be sure to check out McGyver Level 3!)

The “Knitting Whilst Under the Influence” Badge - This applies to both actual knitting under the influence, as well as achieving moments of stunning intellectual clarity about ones knitting under the influence. Presumes talking about knitting whilst under the influence a given.

Sunday afternoons spent knitting while eating cake and drinking wine -- I miss that!

The “I Will Impress You With My Math Prowess” Badge - The recipient is a whiz at substituting yarns and calculating gauge, can space increases and decreases evenly and is fully comfortable with the basic math encountered in all knitting projects.

Yes, I substitute yarn and knit loosely -- math is always at least peripherally involved in my knitting!

The “I’ve Knit Items With No Conceivable Practical Application” Badge - Recipients are those “special” campers who have knit items which somehow missed the mark of their intended application. There are probably more who are deserving of this badge than one would expect.

Well, I did once knit a baby bib solely to see how it would look on my cat. Someday, I'm sure someone I know will have a baby girl, and then I'll be able to say I was just knitting in advance. And really, I blame it all on Chris and her lovely model, Chaos!