Monday, January 30, 2006

Crisis Averted

After the last Blanche-Neige swatching incident, I was obsessed with gauge (and thank you again to all of you who made very helpful suggestions and offered tips!). Believe it or not, I actually dreamed about the knitting Thursday night, and by the time Friday rolled around my brain was busy with thoughts of how to fix the problem. I decided that the only thing to do was another swatch in smaller needles. During my lunch break I went on to Knit Picks, thinking that I'd need more yarn (because of course I was panicking that the yarn I'd use on another swatch would cut into my supply enough that I wouldn't have enough yardage to finish the sweater). What do I discover? Take a look for yourself here and see my dilemma with getting more Merino Style in Vanilla -- that's right, if I want more, I'm going to have to wait until St. Paddy's day. Apparently I cleaned them out. So, further panic. I jump over to the pattern to check the yardage needed and calculate how much yarn I'll have left, even if I use up the remainder of the first ball on a second swatch. Phew. Assuming I can get gauge, the size S will only require 1200 yards, and I've got 1353 in the 11 balls of yarn that are untouched. Okay, now all that remained was to knit a successful swatch.

On the way home from dinner Friday night, I convinced J to make a quick stop at JoAnn's, because I just wanted to see if maybe they might have a pair of US 2 circulars. I wasn't too hopeful, and I did have some US 2 dpn's at home in my knitting back, but hey, it was on the way and we were already planning on stopping at Giant Eagle anyway. It must have been my lucky night -- there were actually two pairs of US 2 29" circulars waiting for me! I got one pair, along with the "sock set" of teensy dpn's (in size 000, 00, 0, and 1) that I'd eyed but passed up last time. I immediately started swatching when we got home, much to J's chagrin, because he wanted to lie down in my lap and I kept elbowing him (sorry, J! love you!). I finished the swatch yesterday, blocked last night, and measured this morning. And.... it's Monday morning miracle! I GOT GAUGE! Well, nearly. My stitch gauge is almost perfect -- I got 28 and about a quarter of a stitch over four inches. For a fraction of a fraction of an extra stitch per inch, I'm not sweatin' it. Row gauge was a little less perfect, at 42 rows (rather than 40) over four inches. Again, I'm not terriby concerned, as that can easily be adjusted for in the part where the pattern says "continue even until piece measures...."

Now the only thing to do to get ready for the "knitlympics" is to get myself over to
Knit One and get myself some Addi Turbos in a US 2. The Susan Bates 2's I got on Friday were fine for swatching, but if I had to knit the whole sweater on them I'd go nuts. The needle parts are fine, but that cheap-o plastic cord between them is complete you-know-what. It curls up and refuses to stay straight, which means that the yarn is constantly getting tangled in it, and the time it takes to extricate the yarn cuts into my knitting time. With only 16 days to finish this project (for the gold), that's time I just can't afford. (I feel I should add here that I recently learned that I'll have more knitting time than I expected, as I'm taking a weekend trip to someplace in the Midwest. All that time sitting at the airport, on the plane, and commuting -- perfect for knitting. I even went to the TSA's Web site to make sure that knitting needles are allowed on planes; some very smart person -- probably a knitter -- realized that us knit-o-holics wouldn't want to use our needles for anything other than knitting, especially if we might risk dropping a stitch!)

As to projects that I've actually been allowed to work on, I've made significant progress on my Jaywalker, and successfull turned my first heel-flap heel. I'm now nearly done knitting the foot, le voila:

I'm experiencing a little bit of laddering in the stockinette portion, but since this part will be on the bottom of my foot, no one will ever see it but me. It's still rather frustrating, though. Anyone have good advice on how to prevent this? It's the main reason I started knitting socks on circs rather than dpns, and sometimes it really drives me nuts.

No progress has been made on my shawl in the past week, probably because I've been too taken with knitting Trellis. I finished the back yesterday and am more than halfway done on the left front. I had to frog and restart after that little problem with the border stitches, but it's coming along very quickly now and it's quite simply adorable.

Finally, this hat (made to match the sweater and knit from the leftover yarn) was finished over a week ago, but I didn't get around to blocking it until Thursday night and photographing it until today. So here you see the completed set (modeled by a bear because I didn't have a baby on hand to do the job):

Now, anyone have a quick pattern for booties?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Slight hiccup

Knitters, I need some help. I swatched for Blanche-Neige last night, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The yarn is fabulous, and knits up into a soft, dense fabric. But there's a slight problem -- I'm not quite getting gauge. The pattern calls for a gauge of 28 stiches over 4 inches (or 7 stitches per inch); I got 24 stitches over 4 inches (6 stitches per inch) on my blocked swatch. The swatch was knit on US 3's, although the gauge given on the yarn label calls for US 5's. The knitting was pretty tight on the 3's, and so I'm wary of trying a swatch on US 2's to see if I can get gauge that way, so now I'm stuck. I know that having one less stitch per inch than I should doesn't seem so bad, but I know that multiplied over many inches it'll make an impact. However, I'm wondering, if I follow directions for the size smaller than I was intending, will the extra inch I get every so often work to my advantage and actually give me a size closer to what I wanted? Or will this really mess me up and do I really need to re-swatch with smaller needles? Help, all of those who are good at the maths!

Edited 10:06 pm
Pulled out my swatch again, and got 37 rows over 4 inches (the pattern gauge is 40 rows over 4 inches). I looked over the pattern again, and there are parts where it says something to the effect of "continue in pattern until piece measures x inches." I'm thinking that here's where I have a little wiggle room, since I can always eliminate some of these rows to account for the difference in row gauge. I think. Am I right?

As to the stitch gauge, I did some calculations at the end of the day and I think that if I follow the stitch count for a size XS, it should get me approximately to the width of the M.

Thanks all for your helpful comments/advice -- you help is much appreciated!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Meet Blanche-Neige

(Consider this her baby picture)
Here you see 12 balls of Knit Picks Merino Style in Vanilla, one ball of Knit Picks Elegance (70% baby alpaca, 30% Silk, 100% delicious) in Coal, and a new pair of Addi Turbos which may or may not be right for my gauge -- but you know I'll keep them anyway.
Let the "training" begin!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Just call me Kermit

Yes, I frogged again. Thank you to Holly, who pointed out I was making the same mistake she did with the borders on Trellis (they're reverse stockinette, not garter stitch) and directing me to this post on Jill's blog about her own [mis]adventures with this pattern. So I have started over, and this time I hope and pray I will do it correctly, because lately I've not been having great luck with patterns.

Today I caved and signed up for the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics, in which I will be competing in the Blanche-Neige event. I would be "training" (that is, swatching) this very evening were it not for one minor complication -- my Knit Picks order hasn't arrived yet. It was shipped on Friday, so it's now been in the mail for four days. I'm starting to suspect that my mailman is a closet knitter and has stolen my fibers and my turbos. Keep your fingers crossed that it comes tomorrow! There aren't very many training days left before the start of the game, and as I know I'll need to play around a bit to get gauge, I will need as many of them as possible.

Now, can anyone tell me how to "steal" a button and get it on to my blog?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Actual Knitting Content

Shocked? So am I. But anyway... As I alluded to in my earlier post, I did some ripping 'o the lace late last week. I'd learned the hard way that gossiping and lace knitting do not match. After my meet-up knitting session, I had quite a few mistakes, and rather than trying to cover them up (which I was finding myself having to do quite often) I decided to just start from scratch and this time really pay attention to what I was doing. I'm now through two repeats (of 14) of the body chart and it looks much better, although there still some weirdness going on that I just can't explain. No pictures yet, but I'll post some when I've made some more progress.

I had a mini shopping spree over the weekend. Sadly, my local JoAnn's is going out of business, so they are selling everything at a very nice discount. Take a look at what I snagged in a mere 20 minutes of browsing.

Here you see some baby yarn (with the beginnings of Trellis on some US 6s), two packages of the stitch markers I favor for lace knitting, four strips of buttons (in pearlescent white, dark gray, and blue), and dpn's in US 1, 2, 3, and 6. All of this for about 30 bucks! I was tempted to buy some Patton's wool yarn (I forget which type), but I didn't have a project in mind at the time and decided that I had enough in my basket for one day.

Here's a closeup of one repeat of the chart for Trellis:

This is nowhere near gauge for this pattern, but frankly I just wanted to get to know the pattern and the stitches, and the yarn was cheap, so I'm not terribly concerned. I'm doing the largest size, so if it actually comes out nicely, it might do to fit an infant.

Still awaiting my shipment from Knit Picks, which I really thought would come today. I'm hoping for tomorrow. Still also contemplating entering the Knitting Olympics with Blanche-Neige, since I know I'll be parked in front of the TV just about every night (especially when there's skating on). I'm cutting out the fancy parts of the pattern, like the beading, so it's really not too complicated a pattern, and two weeks might be enough time if I only focus on the one project. What do all of you webstalkers, er, I mean, blog readers think? Should I go for the gold? (And has anyone tried this pattern and know if it's doable in a fortnight?)


Since I've read this meme about four times already, and I guess I'm not cool enough to be tagged by anyone else, I've decided to tag myself for it. (I guess since no one else tagged me, that means that there's generally not much interest -- so sorry if you didn't want to know this much about me!)


Four Jobs You Have Had in Your Life
1. Proofreader
2. Retail salesperson
3. Elementary school teacher
4. Teaching assistant

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over
1. Sense and Sensibility
2. The Parent Trap ('90s version)
3. Amelie
4. Pride and Prejudice (A&E miniseries version)

Four Places You Have Lived
1. Pittsburgh
2. West Philadelphia (3 separate locations)
3. Center City Philadelphia
4. Pittsburgh (different location from #1)

Four TV Shows You Love to Watch
1. Gilmore Girls
2. Lost
3. Sex and the City
4. The West Wing

Four Places You Have Been on Vacation
1. Cape Cod
2. London
3. Italy (Pisa, Florence, Rome)
4. Israel

Four Web sites You Visit Almost Daily
1. Google
2. Merriam-Webster online
4. various knitting blogs

Four of Your Favorite Foods
1. chocolate
2. peanut butter
3. eggplant parmesean
4. Mineo's pizza

Four Places You Would Rather Be Right Now
1. at home
2. at J's
3. in a yarn store, knitting
4. in any warm room

Four Cars You Have Owned
1. 2004 Subaru Forester -- the first car I've ever owned!

Four People You're Going to Tag
Yeah, tag yourself if you want to.

Perhaps some knitting content will make it up here later this evening. I will say this much -- there has been some lace frogging since my last post.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Three Cheers for the Comcast Guy

Today my favorite person is Eric, the Comcast service technician, who no only replaced my cable box but arranged it so that there is no fee (he decided that it was not a power surge that killed my box, but rather the problem was that the equipment was old and just died -- it had a TCI sticker on it, for pity's sake!)

But let me back up and explain how Eric came to make my day. At about 3 a.m. Tuesday night (er, Wednesday morning), I woke up inexplicably -- although I think that the fact that it was the first night J wasn't here in over a month had something to do with it! As I rolled over to see what time it was, I discovered that my clock was off. Groggy as I was, I had to get up and walk around the rest of the apartment to see what was what, and indeed, the power was out. No power is what my management company calls a "true emergency" (I know because I've called their maintenance line way too much), so I turned on my cell phone and called up the emergency line. They must have been getting a lot of calls, because I didn't even get out where I was calling from before the person on the other end interrupted to tell me Duquesne Light was on their way. Okay, that's great. Never been a huge fan of Duquesne Light, but at least they know there's a problem. I knew it could be a while before the power came back on, so I set the alarm on my cell phone and tried to get back to sleep. I was still tossing and turning when the power came back on at 3:30, at which point I had to get up and reset my clock and alarm. Then I was all paranoid that it would go off again, so I kept opening my eyes to check that it was still on -- long story [not so] short, it was about 4:30 when I finally got back to sleep, and then I had to get up at 6. To add insult to injury, when I dragged my exhausted self into my living room to watch the news with my coffee, I discovered that my cable would not go on and, worse still, was displaying the ominous message "E 11." The customer service guy at Comcast told me that it had probably been killed by a power surge when the power came back on; when I protested that every other electronic item in my apartment was perfectly fine, he told me that he was an "expert" because he used to work at a radio station and they once had lightening hit a tower, and the resulting surge only killed some items but not others. Yeah, whatever. It's 7 a.m. and I haven't had my coffee yet, just send me a technician and a new box so I don't have to eat breakfast in my bedroom and spill coffee all over the books next to my bed (yes, that did happen this morning).

Which brings me to Eric, my cable savior, who apologized for the idiot who I talked to yesterday morning and told me there was no way in hell I could possibly control or be responsible for electricity (I believe his words were, "There's a reason they call them acts of G-d!").

Okay, now that I have that out of my system, back to the knitting content of my knitting blog!

Had a lovely evening knitting with the ladies at the Waterworks B&N last night. I took my lace shawl, although I quickly learning that talking and lace knitting do not mix: I wound up with about 5 extra stitches on the last row I completed. (Shh, don't tell anyone, but I just knit them all together and pretended I didn't see them.) I promptly put it down and picked up my Jaywalkers, but here you can see my progress so far, bearing in mind that of course lace looks really crappy (sorry, J -- make that "creppie") until it's blocked.

As you're looking at it, it's upside-down and the top border is at the bottom (near my thumb). I was rather surprised by how this shawl comes together -- it starts at the top center, and works out and down. I've already made several mistakes (namely finding myself with too many stitches and solving that problem by just knitting them all together), but I'm not too bothered by them, especially considering this is my first foray into lace and my first time reading a chart. For my next attempt, my goal is to do this with a slightly thicker yarn (I'm afraid to handle this yarn because it's so ridiculously thin!)

I've been making slow progress on my Jaywalkers, as you will see to the right. This may look like a lot to some, but let me add that I started the zigzag pattern on Saturday (and got over an inch of it knit in that session), and I'm a fairly fast knitter. I've really only been pulling this out for part of my lunch hour this week. At last measure during lunch today, I had about 4.5 inches of the leg done, so a little less than 2 to go before I start the heel -- scary, because I don't think I've ever done a heel flap before (at least not successfully).

I decided to forgo my last few minutes of knitting time today to finally place an order on Knit Picks for my supplies for Blanche-Neige. Those of you who read my blog know that I've been talking about this pattern pretty much since the winter Knitty came out; I've decided that since I finished all those projects on my knitting resolutions list, I just don't have enough UFOs. I'm contemplating signing up for the Knitting Olympics, but I'm wary of giving myself such a tight deadline with work being as crazy as it's been. Besides, I'm not sure I can resist the lure of a new project, and I'm not sure that swatching alone will sustain me.

Thanks for all your lovely comments on the baby sweater! It was a very easy pattern to follow, and I highly recommend it. I had some yarn left over, so I started a little hat to go with it this morning. It's got the same garter stitch border as the sweater, and I'm working in the stripes as well. If I still have leftover yarn, I'll have to find a good pattern for booties.

Okay, I think that's enough posting for one night. If you made it all the way to the end, thanks for sticking around! Perhaps you could leave me a comment, even if it's to tell me to stop the diarrhea of the mouth (hands? I am typing, after all ...)

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Joys of a Long Weekend

I had a very productive knitting weekend, as you will see here:

Pattern: Seamless Raglan Baby Cardigan Sweater by Carole Barenys
Yarn: icky acrylic (baby friendly!) from the stash - worsted weight
Needles: US 7 29" circular and dpns
Mods: I knit this in a heavier yarn than the pattern called for to end up with a larger sweater. (I always like to give clothing in larger-than-infant sizes as baby gifts, since it seems that everyone always gets a lot of really small stuff that the kid outgrows rather quickly.) I finished the knitting Saturday morning before I went to work, and wove in all the ends and sewed on the buttons during the Steelers' amazing upset victory on Sunday. You're seeing it blocking here, still pretty wet, so the green appears darker than it actually is. I still have some yarn left over, so I'm thinking of making an umbilical cord hat (from SnB) or booties to go with the sweater.

As soon as I finished this adorable item, I immediately cast on for my first foray into lace knitting -- an Adamas shawl (from Knit Picks) in Knit Picks Shadow. I've gotten through the first chart and through one repeat of the body chart, and so far it seems to be going pretty well. The charts are a bit of a headache, but since the pattern is symmetrical, I really only need to pay attention to one half of it. The next challenge is seeing exactly how the chart works with repeats; keep your fingers crossed! I would have posted a picture of my progress so far, but my camera batteries just died on me. They're charging now, so I'll take a picture once I've made some more progress.

I'm still making slow progress on my Jaywalkers, after having to frog back to the cuff and restart the zigzag pattern for a third time. We won't go into details -- let's just say I'm a complete idiot and don't read patterns carefully enough. (Ironic, since my day job is to read carefully!)

To all of you in the Pittsburgh area, I hope you'll make it out to the knitting meet up at the Waterworks Barnes & Noble on Wednesday evening! My Adamas shawl and I will be there, unless it refuses to cooperate between now and then and has to take a trip to the frog pond.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Probably not the best picture (hey, it's hard to hold it up while holding a camera!), but you get the idea. I'm on the last white stripe, which will be about the width of the previous two combined. There will then be a thinner stripe of the green at the bottom to finish it off. The sleeves will more or less match, though they'll be shorter than the body.

This is knitting up really quickly, and I think it's not unrealistic to say that I'll be done by the end of the weekend. I am being very good about keeping my current number of projects down to only two (one for home, one for travel/work). I am very anxious to start my first lace project (the Adamas shawl from Knit Picks), and I'm thinking of doing a sweater for myself as well. Perhaps Lucky from SnBN, which caused me to buy the books in the first place. Or perhaps Blanche Neige, about which I've been waxing poetic since I first saw the new Knitty. Maybe it's finally time for me to order that yarn and see if I can play around with needle size to get gauge. And come to think of it, I haven't been to Knit One in a while, and they might have some new stuff in. Sigh, so many projects. I guess for now I should focus on finishing this little one at least.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Who ya gonna call?

Just call me a Stashbuster. I've started to use some of that "icky acrylic" in my stash for another baby sweater (specifically this one) for my cousin, who's expecting a baby in February. I was intending to give her the first one, but just found out over winter break that she's having a boy, and I thought it looked a little too girly with the stitch pattern around the neck, sleeves, and bottom. So, I've moved on to a less decorative pattern and more "manly" colors, and here is the progress so far:

I guess this makes me a "Rogue Stashalonger," ala Jill.

I took my Clappy in to work today, since it came out more like a shawl than a scarf. It did keep me nice and warm in my little icebox of an office! I do have to say that if I knit this pattern again, it will be in a much lighter yarn (and by that I mean weight, not necessarily color). The Saucy has a nice sheen to it, but it's 100% cotton, and we all know how heavy cotton can be. I'm thinking perhaps a nice alpaca-silk blend, mmm.

I have not made too much progress on my Jaywalkers (perhaps 1/2 an inch of cuff), mainly because not only did I have to work through lunch yesterday and stay late to finish a big project, but I also manage to wind up with a migraine in the middle of the day. Lucky me. I only get them once every two or three years, and of all the bad days to get one, yesterday was it. Needless to say, when I finally got home, worsted weight was about all I could deal with. That stuff I can knit by feel, unlike fingering weight, which I've definitely got to look at to do correctly. I got a few rows done during lunch today, and it's finally starting to resemble a sock cuff. I've got a long weekend coming up, so hopefully I can make some headway and at least get to a point where I can try the darn thing on and make sure I'm not having the same size problem again.

Now, off to work on the baby sweater and watch a new episode of Lost!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Ravel and Unravel

First there is good news to report. After hours of vigorous stitching -- even through the Steelers game, I'll have you know! -- I finally finished up Clappy this evening. Here she is, blocking, in all her misshapenness (yes, I just made up that word):

Pattern: Clapotis from fall '04 Knitty
Yarn: Saucy 100% mercerized cotton in Claret
Needles: US 7 aluminum straights
Mods: I skipped one repeat of the straight rows because I was afraid I was going to run out of yarn. Turns out I probably had enough, but frankly I had just had enough of this project and was anxious to finish.

I've also been working on my Jaywalkers (my travel project). I had gotten a few inches done by the end of my lunch break today when I decided to try them on. Good thing -- look at this:

The photo is a little fuzzy, but can you spot the problem? That's right, they are way too small. Couldn't get them over my heel. So I'm going to frog and cast on again in the larger size. I'm worried that the cuff might be too big, so I'm going to cast on and knit it on my US 1 circulars, then switch to the US 2 dpns for the pattern rows. I'm hoping that a few more extra stitches, plus a little bit of give when I block, will help me squeeze these over my (apparently) freakishly large heel.

Finally, since it's getting late and I'm getting ready to pass out, here's my last thought for the night (and this one is for you, J). You want to know why I never wear skirts or dresses to work? Honey, here's why:

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Cutting the Cord

After finishing up the French Market Bag and my Jaywalker swatch last night, I decided that my next move should be tackling one of the UFOs taking up space (and looking messy!) atop my newly organized stash -- in other words, the long-neglected baby cashmerino tube scarf. I took my inspiration from Jen, a fellow long-scarf-lover, who decided to bind off her mother's scarf much sooner than she would have if it were for her; I decided that I'd just had enough with this scarf and bound off this morning. I'd been working on it since last March, having started it when I was stuck in my best friend's apartment in Philadelphia with the flu (so much for my vacation!), with yarn and needles purchased at my former LYS. Before blocking it was five feet long, plus some inches (I didn't measure very carefully). Here you can see it finishing up its blocking:

(I apologize for the crappiness [sorry, J!] of this picture. The towel on which the scarf is resting is rather close to the color of the yarn. I promise to take another picture of it, with the chocolate brown suede coat it's meant to go with, once it's dry.)

Pattern: My own (and definitely not one of my best, but at least it was simple)
Needles: US 5 bamboo 16" circulars
Yard: Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in a light blue shade (lost the color number), 5+ balls
Notes: After blocking, the scarf measures about 66 inches long. I used 5 full balls of the yarn, plus a little bit of the last one I had (I'm planning on using the extra yarn to make
this cutie, or maybe two.) Since the scarf was knit in the round, it's a long tube, but I've blocked it to lie flat so that it'll be like a double thickness scarf. I love love LOVE this yarn, so I really don't care about the mistakes I made because I wasn't paying attention to my cabling; I can't wait to feel the softness against my neck.

Next up: finishing Clappy, my Clapotis (currently half done) and casting on for Jaywalker #1, which will be my travel/work project. (And a note on the Jaywalker: this is the first time I've seriously swatched for a project, and it's a success! I used US 2 -- but I think they're more like 1.5 -- needles and got 32 stitches over four inches; the pattern calls for 31 over four inches. If you ask me, that's pretty darn close. I don't think an extra quarter of a stitch each inch is worth playing around with needles.)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

2006 FO #2

E voila, mon sac francais du marche':

I finished knitting the last handle and practiced my kitchener stitch this morning, then wove in all the ends this evening. All that remains is the felting, which will be done in the machine at my parents' house (since it works better and will require less cycles than the one in my building. Also, it's free.) Here are the FO details:

Pattern: French Market Bag from Winter 2003 Knitty
Needles: US 7 29" circular and dpns
Yarn: Cascade 220, 1/2 skein burgundy (base of bag) , 1 1/2 skeins aporto (body and handles)
Notes: This is a great pattern to knit, especially when you want a quick project and a pattern that requires minimal attention. The only slightly aggravating part was the beginning of the base, knitted in the round on dpns. Another plus of this project is that because it's felted (and the felting process hides most errors and secures all loose threads), it's good practice for weaving in ends and grafting with kitchener stitch.

Shown here, it's stuffed with some plastic bags and held up by J to give you an idea of the shape of the bag. Once it's felted it'll probably stand up on its own.

Now on the needles: swatch for my Jaywalkers...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Good News

Forgot to add to last post -- I FINALLY finished Villette last night (stayed up late to get through those last 25 pages). I really only bothered because I was so sick of the thing, and I was way too close to the end to just not finish. Besides, I rarely stop reading a book in the middle -- I may take a very long break (like the 1.5 year+ break I'm currently taking from Madame Bovary), but I usually finish it eventually.

So, in a nutshell, my review: Not nearly as good as Jane Eyre, and much more confusing.

As promised

Here are the promised photos! First up, J's socks, which were blocked last night and are almost finished drying as I write. Here they are:

Pattern: My own (i.e., made up as I went along)
Needles: Two US 1 Addi Turbo 12" circulars
Yarn: Regia 4fadig, 75% wool 25% polyamide, two balls (100 g total)
Notes: These were knit from the toes up, with short-rowed toes and heels. They are plain old stockinette stitch, with about an inch and a half of K2P2 ribbing at the top.

J tried these on periodically as I knit them, so they should fit. He is only planning on wearing them around the house, anyway (as far as I know), so they were intended to be more like slippers than socks.

Next up: The Great Yarn Organization Project of 2005. Voila:

Here you see two four-drawer plastic bins (on casters) purchased from Bed Bath & Beyond. I am sorry to say that I did not take a "before" picture of the stash, but I'll bet you can picture it pretty easily: all this stuff (along with some additional junk that I did away with) in a ridiculous number of plastic bags, and all of that in an overflowing heavy-duty plastic trunk. I could never find anything, and it was too full to close the lid of the trunk, so needless to say it looked awful. This is loads better. If you look carefully you can see the last bit of the icky acrylic stash in the bottom drawers (and here I must admit that I inherited about 4 more balls of acrylic from my mother last night -- all destined to be more baby sweaters). On top you can see some of the holiday gifts from J's mom and stepdad: an Asian-style knitting tote bag (inside of which is a matching needle roll) and a zippered knitting supply carrying case. You may also see one component of The Great Holiday Present of 2005; you can see it with its partner in use right here:

Yes, here I am using my brand new swift and ball winder! J took himself over to Knit One to get these, because he knew how much I was coveting them (I think his first inkling was when I shoved the first balls I wound in his face when he came over one night). The man is a genius -- he not only knew what the perfect gift for me would be, he even knew how to find a simple solution to the problem of the hole being too big for the screw thing at the bottom that holds the swift to the table (by the way, the solution is to wrap a couple layers of plastic wrap around it, then screw it in the hole. Works like a charm.) And just what am I winding into a ball here, you might ask? Perhaps some of this:

Presenting The Exciting Knitpicks Shipment of 12/31 (which was shipped on 12/28, I'll have you know -- how's that for fast?!) Here you see two balls of Sock Garden in Morning Glory (front); three balls of Sock Landscape in the Cape Cod colorway (middle left), destined to be a pair of Jaywalkers for moi; two balls of Shadow in Lost Lake (middle right), destined to be my first lace project, an Adamas Shawl (pattern also purchased with the yarn, but not shown); and in the way back, 440 yards of dye-your-own sock yarn, just waiting for the Kool Aid. Everything you see is 100% merino wool. Mm mm good.

Tonight project: attempt to finish French Market Bag. The bag is already about 9 inches deep; I'm aiming for about 10 before I move on to the handles. It's a miserable, rainy day -- perfect for knitting.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Happy 2006, all (meaning all two or three of you who actually read this blog -- J being one of them). Hope everyone had a happy and safe New Year's Eve. J and I had an interesting time at the home of some friends. There were a lot of babies/little kids present. J particularly got a kick out of one almost-two-year-old who would answer "No!" to just about every question (except, ironically, something to the effect of "Are you a nutcase?")

We've been having a relaxing vacation, so much so that I've neglected this blog when in fact my intention was to use the free time to shower it with affection. The one improvement is the little thumbnail gallery you see off to the right, which J (my computer genius of a boyfriend) spent about two hours doing for me. He has promised to show me how to do it on my own before we go back to work on Tuesday, which is especially helpful since I'll need to start a gallery for 2006 FO's.

I already have my first finished project of the new year -- J's socks (I still need to weave the ends in and block them, so a photo will have to be posted later). I finished them up this afternoon, while watching the Steelers deliver a good butt-whooping to the Lions. I also need to post pictures later (tonight or tomorrow, I promise) of The Great Yarn Organization Project of 2005, completed this past week, the Great Holiday Present of 2005 (from J), and The Exciting 12/31 Shipment from Knitpicks, in addition to the socks.

Since I never keep them, I have determined not to make New Year's resolutions this year. However, I am setting some very specific knitting goals for myself, which I don't consider unreasonable under the circumstances (and I think you'll see what I mean):
  • Finish the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino cabled scarf, BEFORE it reaches its first birthday in March.
  • Finish the royal purple Lion Brand Microspun scarf I started back when I was in grad school (in 2003-04, mind you. You haven't seen it because it was just recently uncovered in the The Great Yarn Organization Project of 2005; I made a hat to start with, and the scarf was already about 2/3 complete before I put it down for unknown reasons.)
  • Sew on buttons and block this baby sweater for my cousin BEFORE the baby is born (he's due in February).
  • Finish Clappy -- she's half done, and tired of being ignored.
  • STASH BUST. Get rid of as much of the "icky" acrylic in my stash as possible. This could mean a lot of baby garments, since I consider acrylic the perfect fiber for babies who tend to spill, drool, and spit up.

More later when I can post pretty pictures!

P.S. I'm sad to report that I didn't manage to finish Villette before the end of the year (I was about 25 pages short). The goal is to finish it tonight, so that I can chalk up my first finished knitting project and first finished book of the year on the same day.