Sunday, December 18, 2011


One cowl done:

Pattern:  Pei
Yarn:  Brooklyn Tweed LOFT, in Postcard

This was a quick and easy knit, although when I finished, I realized my cast-on (the scalloped edge at the top of this photo) was a little tight.  The yarn is the new fingering-weight from Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed.  It's very traditional, maybe a little rough, but soaking and blocking really softened it up, and it's very comfy to wear. That's good, because I've got a couple more skeins that I plan on using for mittens!  It's also a little lighter in color than the picture, really a pale grey with a little lavender tinge, and tiny flecks of pink and blue.

34 tiny jars of cranberry-apricot chutney done:

For many years, I made lots of mini-loaves of Carrot Coconut Bread for co-workers and friends.  Two years ago, I became obsessed with Cranberry-Apricot Chutney, after buying a jar at Williams Sonoma.  I made several different recipes and finally combined what I liked into the recipe I use now.  I can it in 4-ounce jars; last year, I bought real canning supplies, and let me tell you, some of those extra things that seem unnecessary, like the canning rack with handles and the magnet-on-a-stick to retrieve lids, really come in handy!

Cranberry Apricot Chutney
Makes about 4 cups

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 cup dried apricots, diced
1½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup orange juice
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Peel of 1 large orange, grated 
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root

Combine ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium high and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved, most of the berries have popped, and the mixture is very thick.

I canned this using 4-oz (1/2 cup) jars, processing for 10 minutes.  Ball has some good instructions on their website, if you haven't canned before. I would also recommend their book, Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yarn, Yarn, and More Yarn

I need to post tonight so I'll have two posts this month!

Although I am knitting along on my second Entangled Stitches glove and Pei cowl, my yarn stash is, as usual, growing faster than my FOs!

About a week and a half ago, I saw (on Ravelry) the prototype for Boo Knits' Fragile Hearts, and knew that, not only did I need to knit it, but that I needed to knit it in the same yarn -- DyeForYarn's Tussah Silk Lace.  This yarn is made in Germany and until recently was sold only through their Etsy shop.  (Just last week, they opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Furth, Germany.   Weirdly enough, when I lived in Germany 30 years ago, it was near Furth -- our "big PX" was there!)

Anyway, I ordered a skein from their Etsy shop, and it came all the way from Germany in just 8 days!  I don't think I've ever knitted with 100% silk before.  Hopefully, I'll start this soon.  So pretty!

Dye For Yarn 100% Tussah Silk
It's actually a little pinker than this....

Then, last Saturday, I made a quick trip from Mom's (where I spent Thanksgiving) to Champaign to have lunch with my cousin.  I could go there without hitting Needleworks, where I left with three skeins of worsted weight yarn.  I never buy worsted weight unless I have a specific purpose -- I don't know what came over me!


Two skeins of Berroco Lustra, a wool/tencel combination, in a color that's kind of red and a little orange that they call Capucine.  Maybe it's coral.  Maybe someday I'll get a better picture...

Berroco Ultra Alpaca

One skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Candy Floss Mix, which I think is a fantastic color name!  The color is sort of a darker, pinker version of the LOFT yarn I'm using for my Pei.  I'm hoping one skein is enough for some sort of hat -- they only had one skein of this color left.

I'll try to post sooner next time and with better pictures.  I just hate trying to take pictures in the winter dark...

Monday, November 07, 2011

Well, hello there!

If I have any followers left -- I had a very busy October and am just now recovering from it!

Mostly, it was "work busy," since I was at two conferences.  There was knitting at both, but the second, in Baton Rouge, was best, at least in part because I got to see Steven!

I was working on a sock while I was there -- the Lenore socks I talked about in my last, long-ago post.  I worried that they might be too small, remember?  After I turned the heel on the first one, I decided to slip it on to see how it fit -- and it was huge!

Can you see?  They're practically baggy -- and they actually are baggy around the foot!  Steven admitted that when he saw them, before the heel turn even, that he thought they looked awfully big...

Lenore sock (too big)

I love this pattern, but I'm thinking the I'm going to frog this and make something simpler -- ribs, maybe, with an eye of partridge heel....

I've also been working on the Sugared Violets shawl.  I have to admit that the sparkles make this yarn a little scratchy  But -- still very cute!  And not as eye-searingly bright as it might appear here....

Sugared Violets Shawl

My third currently-active project is (are?) my Entangled Stitches gloves.  I'm working on the index finger of the right glove right now, but what you see here is just the back of the hand.  There's a mis-crossed cable there, but we won't talk about that.

Entangled Stitches gloves

I am suddenly very take with several of Jared Flood's designs, so I ordered several skeins of his new LOFT yarn, from which I plan to make the Carlisle mittens and the Pei cowl.  I ordered three colors:  Postcard, Homemade Jam, and Stormcloud (top to bottom):

Brooklyn Tweed Loft yarn

There's another skein of Postcard (a gorgeous pale grey with flecks of pink hidden in it), which Alice had some fun with in the few minutes between when I dropped in and when I realized it was gone.

Loft, post-Alice

I think it will be fine.  I hope so, since I plan to use one skein for Pei, and the other, with Homemade Jam, for the mittens.  I'm not sure what the Stormcloud will be -- when I ordered it, I thought I might use it for the mittens (with Postcard), but I think Homemade Jam is a better choice.

High on my queue is also Jared's Juneberry Triangle, which I plan on making from Madeline Tosh Vintage in Amber Trinket, which is an absolutely lovely color -- a mix of reds and ambers and bronzes, and a little darker than my picture.

MadTosh Vintage "Amber Trinket"

However, I really need to get to working on the sweater I promised my niece for her miniature chihuahua, Thor, who, at 4 pounds, is half the size of the smallest cat I've ever had! Yes, a dog sweater.....

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Baby Sophisticate #2, etc.

Baby Sophisticate #1 got its buttons and has been gifted.  I will say that the KnitPicks Swish really bled in the wash -- the water of the first wash was as red as the yarn!  I washed and rinsed it three times, and really should warn the recipients that it might still run a bit. However, I really like knitting with Swish and the washability makes it great for baby gifts.

Baby Sophisticate #2 is almost done -- it needs to have ends woven in, buttons added, and a wash.  This one is from Eco Alpaca, which is undyed, so it shouldn't run!  Of course, it's also not machine-washable and dryable, but the soon-to-be mother is a knitter so I think she'll appreciate it!

Baby Sophisticate #2

This yarn is just a little bit thinner than the KnitPick Swish, although both are considered worsted.  While knitting this, I also realized that I knit stockinette a lot tighter in the round.  This shouldn't be a surprise, since I tend to purl loosely.  For some reason, this problem seemed exacerbated in this yarn, so I went up a needle size for the sleeves in the round.

I'm about to leave for two conferences -- Midwest MLA in Indianapolis, followed just a few days later by South Central Chapter/MLA in Baton Rouge -- so I need travel knitting.  While I'm sure several of my WIPs would fill this bill, I have cast on for two new projects!

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Lenore socks have been in my queue for ages.  I even bought the yarn they were designed for (Blue Moon STR Lightweight in the Lenore colorway).


I'm glad I cast on for these before I left.  Socks tend to work best on my feet if I cast on between 62 and 66 stitches on size 1s.  The regular size Lenores are 60 stitch socks.  I didn't want to go up a needle size, since I don't like a floppy sock, so I first tried casting on the large (72 stitch) size on size 0s.  Whoa!  Talk about huge!  I got through most of the lace cuff and admitted this wasn't working.  So now I'm doing the regular size on 1s -- I think they'll be fine!  I really need to get over the idea that I need to knit big socks!

I also cast on Sugared Violets, a pretty little shawlette that will be perfect for knitting during meetings - the pattern is very straight-forward.

Sugared Violets (shawlette)

The yarn is Dream in Color Starry in Punky Fuchsia.  Starry is a sock-weight yarn shot through with silver fibers.  It's very pretty and not as flashy as it might sound!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Look! FOs!

To continue the saga of the dying computer -- well, it's dead.  I am posting from my pretty new MacBook Pro.  It's a bit heavier than the MacBook Air I had before (which was first-generation and taught me to avoid first-gen in the future) but I like it a lot -- and I won't have to keep editing the contents of my hard drive to keep it below the 80 gigs of my old MBA.

The big news, though, is that I have finished two projects!  Well, almost -- if you're really picky and insist that the ends be all woven in and the buttons on and all the blocking finished, well, then, they aren't done. But they're close enough for me!

Several days ago, I finished the knitting on my Catkin.  Here is Alice, helping with the blocking (and notice the ball of yarn, which she picked up out of the yarn basket and carried around without unrolling it!):

Catkin with Cat
Sorry about the laser eyes!

Here's a perhaps better picture:

Catkin blocking

The yarn is madelinetosh sock in Citrus and Baltic (aka, Illini orange and blue).  Because of my freaky loose knitting, I ran out of Baltic and had to order a replacement skein from the Loopy Ewe, whose service was amazingly fast.  And the second skein matched just fine. Because I then had so much extra of the blue, I diverted from the pattern a bit, doing the last bit in blue rather than orange, and adding a couple extra rows, too.  I still need to weave in some ends and find buttons, but it's so close to done!

The second almost-finished Finished Object is the first of two Baby Sophisticates.  Two of my co-workers are expecting baby boys in the next few weeks, so they will have coordinating sweaters.  I'm making both in the 6-12 month size because Ravelry says the pattern runs small.

Baby Sophisticate #1
Pardon the weird looking hand...

The yarn was some stash-busting Knit Picks Swish Worsted in Fired Brick.  Swish is a great yarn - I'm glad I had enough in the stash for this project.  This was a quick knit - Ravelry says it took me about 3 weeks, but most of the knitting was done in the last week.  I need to find buttons for it, too.

So - there you go -- a new computer, two finished objects, and yet another cat assisting with the blocking!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

No pictures, and almost no computer

I am SO close to finishing Catkin.  I've changed the color combination a bit and added a few rows to make it a bit longer, but I only have five (very long) rows left to knit.  I could show you a great picture, if I had one.  Or, actually, some way to post a picture.  You see, my three-and-a-half year old MacBook Air is dying.  It starts up about halfway, then just sits there.  I've gone through all sorts of suggestions I found on the internet.  This weekend, I'm taking it to my brother, who is great with computers, especially Macs.  In the meantime, I have my seven-and-a-half year old iBook, which still runs but needs everything updated, and a loaner PC from work.  I can't post pictures from the iBook and don't want to use the work PC for pictures so you'll just need to use your imaginations!

I've also started not one but two Baby Sophisticates.  Two co-workers are having baby boys in October, and I need to get knitting on them!  One is in brick red Swish Worsted, while the other one (for the mom who knits) is in a beautiful undyed grey (color 1518) Cascade Eco Alpaca.

Samantha Alice -- now just called Alice except when she's in trouble -- is feeling right at home.  She loves the yarn, so I've had to reorganize and actually put away all the living room yarn.  Harley still find her too rowdy, but Alice follows Harley around and clearly wants to be her friend.  It's really cute, and I'm pretty sure she's going to win Harley over completely before long!

Oh -- and we are back in our library, but still under construction.  We have no ceiling tiles and temporary lights everywhere.  It's interesting!  In my May post about the move, I mentioned that we were configuring some of our shelving for ADA compliance and weren't sure if everything would fit back.  In the comments for that post, a couple people asked about the possibility of using compact shelving -- aka "stacks on tracks."  We do have compact shelving on the 1st floor of the library.  However, the piece of the collection being reconfigured -- actually the largest piece of the collection -- is on the 4th floor.  Compact shelving is incredibly heavy and can only be used on ground floors or specially reinforced higher floors.  So -- regular shelving had to do!  Luckily, everything did fit back, although we are going to have to do some shifting, once the workmen are all out of the way.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


So sorry -- didn't mean to disappear!  I have nothing new to show you except....

Samantha Alice

Samantha Alice
(Lousy iphone photo)

This is Samantha Alice!  I had planned on calling her Alice, but her name at the shelter was Samantha, and she seems to recognize it, so for now, she has two names.  

I brought her home a week ago.  I knew I wanted a tuxedo cat who wasn't real young.  S. Alice about a year old and had been at the shelter for 6 weeks.  She is small -- about 6 pounds -- and although she was very quiet and calm at the shelter, she has become a rambunctious playful girl in the last few days.  I kept her and Harley separated for the first couple days, but Harley is pretty laid back and likes other kitties, so over the weekend they spent lots of time together.  And although they aren't yet to the cuddling and mutual grooming stage, they are definitely friends.  Of course, we all know that Harley is particularly fond of tuxedo cats, as am I!


Simon and Seraphim


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Still Knitting

Last week it was South Texas hot here in Iowa.  Many of the natives were not happy but I loved it!  I like hot weather, but the fact that I knew it would only be really hot for a week or so made it even better.  This week is still plenty warm, but if I still lived in San Antonio, we'd think the weather this week was practically cool!  Plus, you don't have to shovel the heat, and I don't worry about breaking a leg while walking to the bus.

I am still knitting.  I finished my Hedgerow socks, but I realize I don't have a picture of them. They'll be nice and warm in the winter.  I'll try to remember to take a picture some day.

I do have pictures of my two main WIPs, Breaking Hearts and Catkin.

I've got one Breaking Heart sock done, and I'm not sure.... maybe it's the yarn?  I'm not crazy about it, and I think my hearts aren't nearly as "heart-like" as the original.  I'm thinking that I probably should have gone down a needle size, but there's no way I'm frogging this one and starting over!  However, these will be nice and warm, so I'll finish up the second one eventually.  Also, I did modify the toe slightly -- about halfway through the patterned toe, I realized it was going to me too long, so at that point, I switched to plain stockinette and decreased every round.



My Illini Catkin is moving right along.  I'm to the third part, and I have to say, I'm really enjoying this project.  It's not absent-minded knitting at all, but I can still watch TV while I work on it.  I love the colors, although the blue is a tiny bit greener in real life than in this picture, I think.



As much as I love these colors, I can't stop looking at all the color combinations used by others knitting this.  I might need to knit another one!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I'm Back!

I really didn't mean to be gone nearly so long!  So here's a quick catch up:

I went with my Mom, brother, my almost-15-year-old niece and her almost-15-year-old friend for a few days in Memphis.  We always camp, but our planned campground had flooding issues, so we ended up at a KOA where the tent sites don't have electricity.  That won't do -- how would we all charge our phones? -- so we rented one of their "kabins."  It slept five and was air-conditioned, which was nice but just seemed weird.  I mean, a/c but no bathroom?  However, the bath- and shower-room was very close by, and the a/c drowned out the sound of the interstate, which was too close.

Here's what it looked like inside -- two sets of bunk beds, one with a double bed as the lower bunk and just enough room for our suitcases, etc.

 Memphis vacation: "kamping"

On the front, it had a nice little porch.  Out front, there was a fire pit and a picnic table, and a nice area to set up our camping kitchen, which Mom uses to cook pretty much whatever she would make at home.  However, we also had great barbecue at Corky's and hot fudge pie at Westy's.  And on the way down, we stopped at Lambert's, home of throwed rolls. We've seen their billboards for years and years and finally stopped.  And yes, they really do throw the rolls to you, which doesn't harm their yummy yeastiness at all.

While in Memphis we rode on a trolley,

 Memphis vacation: trolley

walked down Beale Street,

Memphis vacation

and spent a half day at the National Civil Rights Museum, which is housed in the Lorraine Motel, where MLK was assassinated.  From the outside, it still looks like a motel.  If you are ever in Memphis, you really need to visit this museum.
 Memphis vacation: National Civil Right Museum, at the Lorraine Motel

Some of us had a little nap on the way, too.

Memphis vacation

There's been knitting, too.  More on that in a day or so.

Thursday, June 09, 2011


I actually did the Catkin swatch exactly as directed.  The result: my swatch is a teeny bit oversized, but going down a needle size would make it too tight.  I'll just try to knit a bit more tightly.  Except - not while I'm knitting the "catkin" -- the almost-circular section.  I need to strand a bit more loosely there, to prevent the pucker

Colorwise -- I love this!

Catkin swatch

P.S.  I'm pretty sure I said I was finishing the Hedgerow socks before I began anything else, but then I remembered that I'm going to be traveling next week, and the socks will be perfect travel knitting.  Therefore, I was forced to begin Catkin!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Startitis (again)

Man, do I ever have a case of startitis!  I have been fighting it, though.  Since I last wrote, I finished my Pyromania socks. They're a little on the tall side, but the foot fits great.  Here they are being blocked.


And here's the lace detail from the cuff.


They're knit from Scout's Superwash Merino, in Izvar.  This was the club yarn from December 2010.

I'm on the foot of the second Hedgerow sock, which have been on the needles for well over a year and a half - I began them as conference knitting in October 2009!  I swear I will finish them before I begin anything else.  Here's a reminder of what they look like:

Hedgerow Socks

They're knit from Malabrigo Sock in Persia.  They're nice and soft and squishy.  The one that's done fits perfectly.

Despite having a bunch of stuff on the needles (feel free to check out my Ravelry project page if you don't believe me!), I really want to start Curatio, probably in the Dream in Color Starry I showed you in my last post.  (Suddenly, I want to knit everything Kirsten Kapur designs!)

Or Amalia, in this lovely Malabrigo Sock in Alcaucil (not gray, not green -- a little of both).


Or, heaven help us all, Catkin (Rav link, because I can't find it elsewhere) in -- are you ready? -- orange and blue madelinetosh tosh sock!


That's the orange you saw last time, Citrus, but the blue is a different, somewhat less intense one, Baltic, that was in my stash. The orange will be the second color -- the top part and the "eyes" at the bottom, as well as the bottom edge.  The large middle section will be blue.  What do you think?  Too Illini? (Never!)

Because I need more shawls on the needles....

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Minnesotan Yarn

You're right -- that is Chaotic Chris pictured in the last post.  I was in Minneapolis for the annual conference of the Medical Library Association, and had a little free time on Saturday afternoon.  Even though Chris and I had never met in person, I feel like I've know her for years and really couldn't imagine being in Minneapolis without seeing her.

So, we visited two yarn shops (more on that later), went to lunch, made a quick stop at the incredibly impressive Minneapolis Central Library, where I bought a tote bag because, you know, the conference tote bag wasn't enough, and stopped by Surdyk's, where I bought a wonderful chocolate bar and Chris bought gluten-free beer.  And we had some great conversation, all in just under three hours!

Of course, the highlight, next to actually meeting Chris, was the yarn buying!

First we visited Depth of Field, a nice-sized, friendly shop that I might not have been able to find on my own.  I followed my rule that tourist yarn should be yarn that I can't readily get at home.


Four skeins of Bristol Yarn Gallery Buckingham (fingering weight; 80% alpaca, 20% silk), in a shade of pinkish red that's not quite as bright as the picture.  Apparently, the distributor is no longer carrying this yarn, so I felt the need to buy four skeins!


One skein of Dream in Color Starry in Gothic Rose (fingering weight; merino and a little metallic).  I've wanted this yarn, in this color, ever since I first saw a picture of it.

I also bought a skein of gift yarn, but it hasn't been gifted yet, so you don't get to see it.

After Depth of Field, we went to Bella Lana, a smaller but very elegant shop.  I sort of broke my rule there, since I can get madelinetosh yarn fairly easily -- but I hadn't seen these colors, which were even right next to each other!  And Chris reminded me that sock yarn doesn't count....


madelinetosh sock in Citrus and Cobalt, or, to me, Illini orange and blue.  I'm fairly certain this color combination made Chris cringe, but I'm imagining orange socks with blue toes and heels, and another pair win blue with orange toes and heels.  Or maybe stripes!

I was also the lucky recipient of one of Chris's mix CDs, which I've been enjoying in the car, and a tiny black cat spiral notebook.


It was a great afternoon!  Thanks, Chris!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mystery Knitter

Who is this mystery knitter, with fingers flying so fast they're blurred?

Mystery knitter

(Hint:  I'm currently in Minneapolis for a conference.)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

No Pictures, and Not Much Knitting

Usually when life gets a little overwhelming, all I want to do is knit.  But for the last month or so, even knitting has been a little much.  All I've wanted to do is read blogs -- knitting, of course, but also adorable cute kitten blogs, cooking blogs, and even nail polish blogs!

You see, my library's four-story building is closing for 3 months, while they do some massive -- but mostly invisible to the naked eye -- renovations. Duct work will be cut out and replaced, lighting will be replaced, ceiling tile will be changed out.  And a little bit of asbestos will be removed along the way.  All of this will make our almost 40-year-old building greener.  A few weeks ago, it was decided that the carpet on the 4th floor would also be replaced -- it's the last of the original harvest-gold and is mostly held together with duct tape.  Carpeting around the stacks was discussed, but it was pointed out that if we ever moved the stacks, that would be a problem.  Another problem is that our stacks aren't 36" apart, so they aren't ADA compliant.  If the stacks were taken down, they needed to go back up compliant.

So, now we're getting new carpet and ADA compliant shelving, which also means we had to figure out how to fit all our books onto fewer stacks.  Luckily, we are in the midst of a major shift, so about 15% of our shelves on that floor are empty at the moment.  We're pretty sure everything that's up there now will fit in the new arrangement, but we won't know for sure until August.

Of course, we've also had to make arrangements to move the books (about 80,000 of them) to temporary, but accessible storage, to have a couple of temporary locations where we can still help our patrons, and to find space for everyone to work during the summer.  Add to the fact that this closure happens exactly in the middle of our largest conference, and it's very stressful!  We're almost there -- we close the library on May 13 and open in our temporary locations on May 16, but everyday brings new issues (today's: library staff use four faculty studies for storage, and everyone thought that someone else was getting them cleaned out so that new carpet can go in!)

I've got lists out the wazoo, and even knitting seems a little too complicated right now!

I need to remember to take some before and after pictures, too.....  have to add that to a list....

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Ubiquitins (and a little knitting)

Ubiquitin is a protein that is ubiquitous, hence the name.  It was apparently discovered in 1975, although it went by a different name then.  I don't know when it came to be called ubiquitin, but that was it's name when it won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2004 (okay, I guess some chemists actually received the award).  However, some friends of mine began using the word in a different context at least 15 years before that.

To them, a ubiquitin was one of those people you see everywhere.  You know how it is -- there are people you don't know at all, but who seem to pop up in your life all the time.  You probably never say a word to them, but there they are.

I thought of this this morning.  There's a rather odd looking man who I see around my bus stop on campus pretty frequently.  He never seems to be getting on or off the bus - maybe he just walks past it at times I'm getting on the bus.  I've also seen him on the street downtown and at the mall.  And this morning, I saw him walking down the street near my house, carrying two bags from Fareway.  That freaked me out a little -- Iowa City and Coralville aren't a very large metropolitan area, but it seemed weird to see him in my neighborhood.  And I still wonder if that's his real hair...

Anyway -- I can't believe I haven't posted since March 23!  Unfortunately, even though I feel like I've been knitting, I don't have much to show for it.   I'm working on I'm still working on the Shiraz sweater and Pyromania socks.  One sock is almost done.  So far, my favorite part of the sock is the eye of partridge heel.  I love the way it looks in this not-quite-solid yarn.

Eye of partridge heel

I am almost to the point where I will have to take Shiraz off the needles and try it on, before I separate for the sleeves.  I think it will fit, but I need to be sure!

I also feel a bit of startitis coming on....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Checking In

Not much knitting content.  Or at least no pretty pictures.

Although I had swatched for Shiraz, the swatch lied.  Once I got past the yoke, into the part with swaths of stockinette, I checked my gauge, and it was off, both for stitches and rows.  I'm sure part of the problem can be blamed on the fact that I was using Addy Turbos.  I really don't like their stubby, stubby tips, but I figured this would be a good project for them.  Plus, they were the only size 7s with a long enough cord that I had free.

But the slickness of Addys combined with my naturally loose knitting to make it even looser.  I also decided that I was making a size too large.  I frogged the whole thing and cast on again on size 6s and a smaller size. When I was about 10 rows in, I realized I was 4 stitches short on one of the fronts, so I ripped back about 6 rows.  I'm now about 12 rows in and things seem to be going better, but it looks pretty much the same as it did in my last post!

In my frustration after frogging, I cast on for another pair of socks.  In my defense, I also wanted a small project with a lot of stockinette to work on at an all-day meeting I'll be in on Friday.  So, I chose Pyromania -- a little lace and a lot of stockinette.  I'm past the lace on the first sock, so I have stockinette to work on Friday.  I'm using the December 2010 offering from Scout's yarn club, Izvar, a beautiful, almost solid, dark-bright pink.  I don't have a picture of the sock, but here's the yarn:

Scout's Sway "Izvar"

Looks familiar, doesn't it?  I never know what to call this color, but it's my favorite shade of pink.  Make it just a little more red, and it becomes cherry. I have lots of yarn in my stash that's about this color.

And here's something unrelated to knitting.

Last Tuesday, I came home from work and found this little bird sitting on my stoop.

His back was to me, and he looked like he had just hopped up on the step.  I had to look more than once to convince myself he wasn't real!  He seems to be made of wood, and the end of his tail is broken off.  I have no idea where he came from, but I suspect that one of the many kids in my neighborhood found him and left him on my doorstep. So I moved him back closer to the house, in a safer place, where he can watch the world go by.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Another One Finished!

I pulled another project started long ago out of the pile, and finally finished my Boneyard Shawl - or at least, my version of Boneyard.

First of all--and I may have already told y'all this when I cast on over a year ago (according to Ravelry)--Stephen West designed this shawl while he lived in Urbana, Illinois, which, along with Champaign, is the home of my alma mater, the University of Illinois.  The Boneyard is a creek that runs through the north end of campus.  One year, I lived in an apartment that looked over it.  When I was in school, it was for the most part polluted and full of trash, but it was  part of my life.  Luckily, it has since been rehabilitated and is now an important feature of the U of I's Engineering Quad.

Obviously, I had to make this shawl, even thought it is composed of swaths of my nemesis:  stockinette.  Stockinette broken up every 11 rows with a garter ridge. Which is why it took me a year....

Boneyard Shawl

Pattern:  Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West
Yarn:  Malabrigo Sock (2 skeins) in Stonechat, and a tiny bit of my beloved MadTosh Vintage in Cherry for the bind-off.
Needles:  US 4
Mods:  The pattern calls for DK and, if you check my Rav posting for this, you'll see that it took me a while to find the perfect yarn for this.  I had bought two skeins of the Stonechat for something other than socks, and it worked great for this project.  One change that I made at the very beginning was to use yarn overs for the edge increases, while keeping the M1s along the center ridge.  About half way through the 2nd skein, I accidentally knit the garter ridge two rows early, and I decided to make that a feature - I would knit the garter ridge two rows early every time, until I ended up with several rows of straight garter stitch.  However, once I got to the garter section, I got bored, because each row by the was 400+ stitches.  After three rows of garter stitch, I threw in a row of eyelets, then did three more rows of garter.  And because I didn't have enough yarn to bind off, I used some of the MadTosh Vintage in Cherry (previously seen in my Ripley hat and Sidecar mittens) to bind off.  I had actually considered using the Vintage for the eyelet row, but I was afraid the yarn weights were too different.  However, it worked just fine for the bind-off!

I'm really happy with this shawl - it will be my work shawl, replacing a really ugly and ancient black store-bought shawl that has been in my office for at least 15 years!

After I finished this, I worked a bit more on the Hedgerow socks that have been on the needles forever, then cast on for Shiraz.  Appropriately, I'm knitting it in wine-red Cascade 220 Heathers.  (I have a work-related trip later in the month, and I think the Hedgerow socks will be great travel knitting.)  My next sweater was supposed to be Myrtle, which I cast on and ripped out last August, but after reading more about that pattern, I think I need a little more sweater experience before trying it.  Myrtle's lace doesn't frighten me at all, but actually turning the lace into a sweater does! Shiraz is a more straight-forward pattern, so, in addition to being a great sweater that I'm sure I'll wear, it's also good practice.

Beginnings of Shiraz
Not-so-great photo taken with my iphone - the yarn is really a dark red.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Yes, I really have two finished objects to show you!

A week or so ago, the daughter of one of my co-workers brought her two-and-a-week old baby to the library.  Those of us with offices in the admin suite (plus a couple others who were alerted to Chloe's presence) spent a good hour passing her around.  She's a very happy, very tiny thing - at the time, she was still several ounces under 8 pounds and only at about the 15th percentile. When her mom went to bundle her up to go back outside, she pulled out a little acrylic hat, too big for her but nevertheless already coming unseamed.

Well - you can imagine how that struck me!  I have not had particularly good luck knitting for co-worker's grandbabies in the past and have pretty much decided that I will only knit for people I know appreciate it, but that pathetic little hat just did me in.  A few days later, I delivered this to the grandma, who will pass it on this weekend:

baby beanie

Pattern:  Baby Beanie (Rav link) by Ulli Shibuya, with some modifications
Yarn:  Some unidentified sock yarn - I know it's been in my stash forever and its ballband is gone.
Needles: US 2.5 circ and DPNs
Mods:  The smallest size seemed too tiny for even this baby so I cast on an extra four stitches, which didn't actually add that much to the size, but made me fee better.  I followed the pattern up to the decreases, then decreased according to the method in The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.  I topped it all off with a corkscrew, also from the Handy Book of Patterns.

baby beanie

My second FO has been hanging around a while.  I started my Cotty socks last September and finished the first one pretty quickly, I think -- at least, I know it's been laying on the coffee table for a long time!  I put off starting the second one, though, because of the fiddly picot cuff.  I love the way picot cuffs look, but I find knitting the cast-on row to the cuff really annoying.  And, yes, I know you can just sew it down, but somehow that feels like cheating to me, so I have to face up to the fiddly!


Pattern: Cotty by Irishgirlieknits
Yarn:  J. Knits Superwash Me - Sock in Palm Springs (does J. Knits still exist?  That's a Rav link because their website seems to be dead.  I've had this yarn in stash for years.)
Needles: US 1 DPNs

I made no modifications in this pattern at all, except to use US 1s instead of the suggested 1.5s.  The pattern is well written and very clear.  It was interesting enough to not bore me, but didn't require too much attention, either - except for the picot cuff, of course.  I'm not crazy about the yarn - it seemed kind of splitty to me.  The color is interesting, too - a very, very pale grey with the faintest streaks of lavender and blue.  I think the color might have been better for a shawl than for socks, but I'm pretty sure I'll wear these anyway!


In other news, our big snow mostly melted, but we got more Thursday night, and a bit more last night/this morning.  It's only a couple inches, though, and it's almost March.  Spring must be on the way!  A sign of that, I think, is my constant craving for citrus (or maybe it's scurvy....)  Anyway - I think I'll make this cake tomorrow, but with just lemon and orange, since I really don't like grapefruit, and I have all of the rest of the ingredients on hand.