Christmas · crafts · food · knitting · Life · yarn


It’s been unseasonably warm here for a week. Last night we walked to trivia wearing short sleeves. I like warm weather as much as the next person, but enough already! I’m getting tired of having to keep all the windows and doors open. Tomorrow they’re predicting snow, which I’m not so happy about either. How about a comfortable medium?

Last night at work I had two cancellations, presumably because the weather is making everyone sick. In my free time then I gave the Jaywalker socks another try.

The yarn is Lorna’s Laces sock yarn in Lucky Stripe. Here’s a gratuitous yarn close-up.

They’re slightly more pink and less orange than they look here, but it’s pretty close. The pattern is going fine now that I got over my stubbornness and divided the stitches among 4 DPNs like the pattern calls for. I really prefer three, but after the laddering fiasco on Marc’s hat I think I’m going to learn to love using 4.

Marc is going out of town tomorrow, and since that’s my day off I’ll be bored. My friends are all busy, so in consolation I’m going to try to finish some Christmas shopping. I still need to buy for my Mom and get a few baking items to make cookies. Does anyone have a good cookie recipe they’d like to share? I’m open to anything except nuts.

I also realized that there are two LYS that I’ve never even been to, so tomorrow may be the day. One of my Mom’s friends recommends the Grinny Possum, which is in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Since we live downtown, Indiana is just a short little jaunt over the river. I also haven’t been to Sophie’s Fine Yarn shop. It’s in middletown, which is on the far east end of the city, and a good 25-30 minute drive. So I don’t know if I’ll make it there, but I was happy to see that the Grinny Possum carries Cherry tree hill and SWTC -yarns, neither of which are carried by “my” LYS. I love my LYS, but they have no sock yarn. Ok, they have wildfoote and Lorna’s laces, but not the Lorna’s colors I really want. They also have some of the self patterning yarn, but I’m not really into that. Of course, I may have to go there to fondle the Rowan Tapestry, since I’m not sure any other store in town carries rowan, and I’m still considering buying some. Hee… it always sounds so dirty when we talk about yarn shopping doesn’t it?

I spent 5 hours yesterday trying on everything I own and then sending 5 garbage bags of clothes to consignment or goodwill. Now we have room for my clothes, and I no longer am holding onto things that I feel guilty for not wearing. I personally think this achievement deserves yarn, but then I think every achievement deserves yarn.

Tonight we’re going out, since Marc will be in Lexington tomorrow. I’m trying to decide on a place. Nothing too crazy expensive, because I am cheap when it comes to food. I like good food, but I also like to cook, and I know how cheap pasta is. We were going to try Volare, but I decided it was too pricey. I would feel guilty. Instead I think we might go to Maido. We went there for Valentine’s last year and it was fabulous. It’s a sake bar, and sort of a Japanese Tapas bar if that makes any sense. You can get lots of little things, and they have great sushi too (just not a sushi bar to sit at). Japanese is by far my favorite food, and I’m glad so many new places have opened around here lately.

There is progress on the Clapotis, but I’m not taking pictures until I drop my first stitch, which should happen tonight. I want it to be finished for wearing around Christmas, so I’m going to focus on that (my poor socks will only be worked on when I’m out of the house.)

Christmas · crafts · decorating · finished objects · knitting · Life · yarn

Pictures are back!

I finally got my camera returned to me yesterday.  It’s been making me crazy not taking pictures of everything!

First of all, I have pictures of actual FOs to show you!

Pattern: Simple K2P2 hat that I found on a blog somewhere.

Yarn: Paton’s SWS in the denim colorway, 1.5 skeins.

Needles: US7 DPNs (I didn’t have a 16″ circ so I made the whole thing on dpns)

Notes: This hat took me way longer than it should have.  I blame it on a combo of large DPNs and going out of town in the middle of knitting, and possibly also the fact that I cast on 100 stitches (seems like a lot for hat, but this is ribbing)  The SWS wanted to ladder like mad, and while most of that blocked out you can still see a few spots.  Marc won’t mind though (this is a Christmas present for him – he left his hat at Skyline and lost it a few weeks ago.)  The SWS feels great in your hands while you knit with it – soft and silky, without a hint of roughness.  I recommend using blunt tipped bamboos for this yarn – I tried it on metal and hated it.  I’m still not sure that I like it – it splits with no effort at all, and I’m a bit worried about how it will wear.  It’s very soft but fuzzy, so I hope that doesn’t mean it will pill like crazy.  Overall though I’m really happy with this hat.  If I liked the other colorways better I would probably buy more of this yarn.

Pattern: Grandmother’s favorite washcloth

Yarn: Sugar and Cream in a sort of aqua/teal color (not gray like in the photo)

Needles: Knitpicks options size 7

Notes: I made this while we were in Cincy for Thanksgiving.  They go to bed rather early for me, so I sat in my room, listened to “This American Life” on my Ipod, and made this.  I’m making washcloths to give as Christmas presents to all the women on my list.  This one took about an hour and a half.  I increased to 36 stitches rather than the 44 called for in the pattern, because I wanted this one to be the same size as my other patterns.  I’m happy with the size.  I do not like knitting with the washcloth cotton, but since these are small it isn’t too painful.

And finally, I’ve started another big project after being “projectless” since the completion of the Hourglass sweater.

Everyone recognizes this, right?  It’s a Clapotis, made in Southwest Trading Company’s Karaoke in the Mermaid mix color.  I love, love, love this color and this yarn.  The color changes are so subtle, and maybe a little bit longer than noro, and the yarn is so soft!  It’s what I wanted the SWS to be.  I think I’m quickly becoming a huge fan of soy yarns – I’m even considering doing my Lady Eleanor in Rowan Tapestry, since I love the sheen and subtle colors.

While we were in Cincy I dragged Marc to a LYS, and he bought me four knitting magazines on clearance – Vogue Holiday 03 and summer 04, Interweave Fall 05 and a Knit.1.  Because of this my list of things to knit grows ever longer.  I didn’t really love the store we went to – it was heavy on the novelty yarn and had no sock yarn to speak of, sad since I really wanted to buy sock yarn as a souvenir of our trip.  It was 5 times the size of my LYS and had nicer places to sit and knit, but I still like mine better.

The holidays have arrived here.  Feast your eyes on my lone piece of decoration.

It’s sad, right?  We don’t have room for a tree, especially not now.  My lease on my old place is finally up at the end of December, so we’re in the process of moving the rest of my stuff in.  It’s becoming rapidly apparent that we need more space.  I can store a lot of things at my Dad’s, but I really hate to do that.  I moved the rest of my (mostly unworn) clothes, and because of that we’re going to go to Target tonight and look to buy an inexpensive second dresser.  My old place had giant closets, while this place has 3 in the entire house and they’re tiny.  My closet has double rods, which is nice, but they’re full now.  I’m totally OCD about things setting out, and we currently have clothes on every available surface.  It’s making me crazy.  I can’t even really store the out of season things because there’s nowhere to put them!  I am going through my things looking for items for the upscale consignment store.  I’m pretty sure I can make back the cost of the dresser.  I have a sad amount of clothes, especially since I found the good local thrifts.   I do not suffer from an inability to purge things though.  I hate having too much “stuff.”

crafts · knitting · yarn


I cast on for the Shedir hat last night, and I’ve managed almost one entire repeat of the pattern.  The problem?  The cables.  It’s not that I can’t do the cables, it’s just that I find it incredibly tedious.  Cables are nice if there are a few of them strategically placed, not if the entire piece is covered in little teeny tiny cables.  It’s also sort of hard to see the cables on the tweedy fabric.  I tried the “knitting in the back loop” trick, but then I found that sort of tedious too, and it didn’t seem to make a difference.  I think it’s a combo of the tweed and the relatively dark yarn.  I’m also not certain it would fit Marc, who has a relatively large head, plus (and this is awful I know) I just love the color so much that I don’t know if I can bear to give it away.  So I’m thinking… make Marc a different hat out of a chunkier yarn, and save the Shedir hat.  I’ll either finish it for myself or frog the yarn, buy more, and make a sweater.  Ah, how my stash grows.

I tried to take a picture, but the camera is currently in the Volvo, which is currently 30 minutes away at the Volvo repair shop.  Oops.  Hopefully it isn’t a huge problem so that we can have it back in time to drive to Cincinnati for Thanksgiving.  My car is a VW, and tends on the “not so reliable” side of things.

I made myself a “fetching” fingerless glove, which turned out well, but I’m not going to make the other.  I just don’t think I would get any use out of them – they aren’t really my style.

So my only WIP is the never-ending scarf.  I need another project, but I feel so ADD lately!  I’ll think about starting something big, but then I just can’t bear to commit.

Pictures tomorrow, I promise!  Perhaps the hat will look better to me in the daylight…

crafts · knitting · Life · yarn

More holiday musings…

I slept for 12 hours last night, which is just unheard of for me.  But today is my day off, and I’m allowed to do what I want, right?

Otismurph enabled me towards using the Rowan Felted tweed for Marc’s hat… and I kind of wanted to anyway, so I went to the LYS.  I spent about half an hour walking around trying to decide whether the yarn I’d picked was purple or blue.  I decided it was blue, bought an Addi Turbo 16″ #3 needle and left.  Oh, and I did find a few lonesome balls of Noro’s Cashmere island hiding from me on a low shelf, so I was able to feel up the yarn and get a better look at the colors.  I think Noro must use a ton of sizing in their yarns, as every single one of them feels stiff until washed.  Don’t get me wrong, the Cashmere island was a bajillion times softer than the Silk Garden, but it still feels “starched” to me… but since I think Silk Garden feels nice after washing I’d imagine this stuff will be great!  The #6 colorway was really lovely, as was the #2.  I also find it interesting that all of these yarns have black segments as well as the colors.  I think that’s a good idea, as it will help to anchor the crazy color changes that Noro has.  So I’m pretty certain my Lady Eleanor will be made of this… I’ll order from WEBs soon.

Here’s the ball of yarn I bought.

I think the color will look really nice with Marc’s pale coloring and black/silver hair (poor guy… he’s been greying since he was 20!) I’m going to use this for a Christmas gift (my only knitted one, because I know he will appreciate it.)  I’ll have to do some stealth knitting, because I don’t want him to know about it ahead of time.

I meant to buy a new cable needle but forgot.  The size of your cable needle doesn’t really make a different, right?  Because mine is large (bought it to use with bulky yarn).  I’m thinking it would be ok.  My cable experience is… um… limited.  By limited I mean that I’ve made swatches with cables in them, but no actual cabled things.  I think I’ll practice a bit more before I try for the hat – perhaps I shall be a lemming and make a pair of those lovely “fetching” gloves from the summer Knitty.

I’ve given some more thought to my handmade gifts and decided on bath salts, glycerin soaps, and jars of readymade muffin mixes (I’m going to put these together with my Mom – it was her idea)

So that takes care of the women on my list who aren’t my Mom, and I’ll probably just buy gifts for the men.

Tonight we’re having dinner with my Mom and her boyfriend at my favorite Thai restaurant.  I’m happy because it’s a “low stress” kind of day around here.    I might even get in some knitting.  I require a lot more “down time” than I think most people do.  I’m unhappy being stressed and too busy, and I’m not afraid to bail on things if I feel myself getting too tense.  This makes me none too popular with the people who would like me to do things for them, but I’ve learned from hard experience that I need this time to myself every day.

cooking · crafts · Life · yarn

Today was better…

Today was a better day than yesterday.  I had a new student who was just lovely, and I made up a yummy recipe for chili in the crockpot.  I loved it, although I think Marc wished it had bacon.  His dad’s chili has bacon in it, which was enough to make me not eat it.  I think I’m the only person on the planet who hates bacon.  I don’t even like the smell of bacon cooking.  So anything that requires bacon either gets subbed with ham or italian bacon, or just doesn’t get made.  I toyed with the idea of making veggie chili today, but it would have only made Marc sad.  I frequently toy with the idea of being a vegetarian.  I think that I’m unlikely to ever go full throttle on the idea, but I’m not really big on meat.  I like vegetables better, possible because I was raised on a diet that was light on the meat, heavy on the granola.

I frogged my Jaywalker sock because I wasn’t sure about the size.  I want to consider my options before starting over.  I like the stripey yarn, but I think it might be better suited to a different pattern.  I saw some finished ones where the stripes on the foot were all wonky… so maybe I’ll use some Lorna’s laces I have instead.

I put in another hour or so on the Short Row ribbed scarf tonight while watching Angel.

Sorry for the crappy picture… it’s late and the flash makes the colors totally fluourescent on this one.  It’s brighter than the picture, and I think it’s going to be very striking when it’s finished.  It’s 4′ long, and I really want another foot at least before casting off.  I remember from my last silk garden scarf that it really grew in washing, so I don’t want it to get too long the way that one did.   I don’t know why I’m finding this scarf so tedious, but it seems to never end!  The silk garden hurts my hands, so who knows when I’ll actually finish the thing.

I want to make a hat for Marc, because I want him to no longer wear the bright orange acryllic hat he’s owned since 1989.  I like the pattern “Shedir” from knitty (I want to practice my cables), and I’ve seen some great “manly” renditions, but I don’t want to make it from Calmer – he walks to the bus every day and I want something warmer.  I was thinking of Merino style, which I have stashed in a nice olive… or I could go buy something nice and tweedy.  I know Calmer is super stretchy, but I’m feeling cheap here, and wanting to use up some of my small yarn amounts.  Maybe if I went up to sz 4 needles it would go better?  (I say because I don’t have a sz 3 16″ needle and would have to buy one – how is it possible that I still don’t own every needle?)

I’ll have to swatch!  I know I’m the crazy knitter, but I love to swatch with a new yarn.

crafts · knitting · Life

The holidays are sneaking up on me…

I haven’t been one to make a big deal of the holidays lately.  This is mostly due to my career as a singer and a church musician which makes me even busier than most people.  I will, for instance, play or sing at eight masses during Thanksgiving.  That’s a whole lot.  Christmas itself is far worse, especially since this year the last Sunday of Advent falls on Christmas Eve, making for what’s basically an entire two days of services.  Add that to holiday parties I will sing/play for and all the people who think getting married during the holidays is a good idea, and well… you get the point.  I also have the normal social/family obligations, although I haven’t been able to make our family Christmas Eve in quite sometime.

I actually quite enjoy the season (except for the music – occupational hazard.)  But it didn’t occur to me until today that it’s almost Thanksgiving!  And after that will come the Christmas gifts…

I probably won’t knit any Christmas gifts.  I know this is crazy, but I just think I would feel unappreciated if I put that much time into my gifts.  I do, however, want to make things, and in fact I had to be physically restrained from buying the Martha Stewart Living holiday gifts issue.   Most of them are up on the website anyway…  I like the Peppermint BarkTea Cup Candles, Bath Salts, and the Homemade Sachets, although the idea of sitting there poking holes as designs into envelopes is sort of… insane.  She also suggests making personalized flavored coffees, which isn’t a bad idea and not too difficult.  I need gifts for some of my boyfriend’s family, and I’m really just not sure what they would like.

crafts · knitting · yarn

First socks!

My first socks are finished!P

Pattern: Simple ribbed socks from Spun Magazine

Yarn: Brown Sheep Company Wildfoote in Bluegrass

Needles: Clover bamboo DPNs size US1

Can you see where I started the second skein?  I can!  Both skeins were from the same dyelot, but the red was much brighter in the second for some reason.   These socks are far from perfect – there are a few misplaces purls in my stockinette (I got tired and confused about which needle was which) but it’s on the bottom and not really bothersome.  I’m thrilled with my first socks, and I can’t wait to start more!

Speaking of which… I took back the bad Plymouth yarn and got sock yarn to make me feel better

Cascade sassy stripes and Fleece Artist merino in Moss (love this color!)  I think the thing that makes socks so addictive is that it’s easy to justify buying just one skein of something.  And also because you can wear colors on your feet that you would never make into a sweater.  I love this green, but I think it would not be my friend in a larger size.

Thanks for the suggestions for Lady Eleanor!  I’m going to look at the Nashua, which I remember seeing and liking before.  Right now I’m learning towards Noro Cashmere Island, only because I have a GC to webs.  I absolutely would not spend that much on yarn for a project otherwise.  I saw a sample worked up on the web, and it basically looks like all the other Noro yarns, just softer – plus it’s only a dollar more than Silk Garden.   I thought about Kochoran but decided I don’t really love Angora.  I’m deciding between these three colors if I get it (these are clearly not my pics… it was hard to find it online and my LYS doesn’t have it.)

#1 #2 #6

I’m pretty sure this is one of the “controversial” KFI cashmere yarns… but I don’t care.  It isn’t that expensive compared to their other yarns, so even if it has less cashmere I’m ok with that (although they should label them properly of course!)

I’m learning towards #2 or #6.  #6 is more purple and #2 more blue.  I look best in blues, but I do love the greens in #6, and that’s the one I’ve seen worked up.

You know… I really do things other than buy yarn, I swear.  Looking at this blog I feel like I spend a ton on knitting, but it really isn’t that bad.  I budget for it, and knitting takes the place of some things I don’t like doing – for instance, we never go out to the movies, and very rarely out to the bars on weekends.  I am such a cheapskate though… I feel bad spending any money on anything ever, even if I can afford it.  That comes from a childhood of little money I think.  I’m always convinced I’m 10 dollars from my cats and myself living in a cardboard box under a bridge.

Ah, decisions.  I’ll think about it.  My hands are stiff today, probably because I both taught and played a rehearsal yesterday, and then came home and knit.  Rehearsals are harder on me than anything else because I play pretty constantly for a few hours without a break, and sometimes is aggravates my tendonitis.  I’ll give my hands a rest and maybe start on a new sock if I have to knit (I want to make jaywalkers from the striped cascade yarn.)  Sock knitting doesn’t hurt my hands much.  I may have mentioned this before, but I have no trouble with teeny tiny needles, while needles over size 7 make my wrists ache.  So I won’t work on my scarf, which is Silk Garden on size 8s, until I feel a little better.

crafts · knitting · Life · yarn

Yarn Warning!

In my last post I said I was going to swatch the new Plymouth Boku yarn for a possible Lady Eleanor. Well I did, and oh my goodness… I cannot recommend this yarn! It feels ok to knit with – not too scratchy or excessively thick/thin. Only one problem though – it breaks if you so much as look at it wrong. I know people complain about Kureyon breaking, but trust me… I’ve never seen a yarn break this easily. I can literally pull it apart with my fingers with very little pressure, something I can’t do with the Kureyon I tried the same thing for. This yarn is so going back tomorrow. I’ll choose to believe that I got a defective batch, but even so I’m not trying this yarn again. Here is the remnants of my swatch.

That yarn is literally in a hundred pieces… and trust me I didn’t try very hard. I can also see a few knots in the skein, which means it broke during manufacturing… no good! I’m sad because I liked the colors, but I will soldier on.

So… who has another Lady Eleanor sub for me? I’ve already tried Patons SWS (too splitty) and this yarn. I’m leary of Silk Garden because it tends to be rough on my hands. Today I looked at Berrocco Foliage, but I don’t like the way the colors change.

Yarns I’m considering:
Noro Aurora (I like the bling)
Noro Silk Garden (but the feel- ugh!  Might the “lite” version be better?)

Noro Cashmere Island – is this a soft yarn?

Noro Kochoran – too fuzzy/heavy maybe

Classic Elite Desert (Love the lizard color, but I can’t find it locally – any comments on this yarn?)

SWTC Karaoke is my favorite, but none of their colors are warm enough for me.  I’m not looking for brights.

I would really love any suggestions, especially if they can be found at WEBs (I have a GC there!)  I’m totally at a loss for what to use.

So after the Boku debacle tonight I made something else.

What is it you ask? Well, it’s entirely possible that it’s a set of hot pink legwarmers for a statue of a Knight that’s the trophy for a Euchre club.

Yes, that’s it all right. It’s also entirely possible that Marc was last year’s grand champion, so he has to add something to the trophy. It’s also entirely possible that the club meets at one of the local gay bars, hence the tutu and the rainbows (although the rainbow legos are Marc’s). All of his Euchre friends refer to him as “Sir Marc,” so we’re often out to dinner or a show when we hear someone calling “Oh Sir Marc!” from across the room.

My friends think this is weird. I know better. Marc’s quirky, and he has interesting friends – what more could I ask for?

To comfort myself over my yarn sadness tonight I picked up the new Interweave Knits. I don’t like it quite as much as the fall issue, but both the equestrian blazer and the vest are things I could see myself making. I really like the Enid cardigan, but I felt up some Reynold’s Whiskey today and thought it was too rough for me. I like Eunny Jang’s sweater, but the thought of all those colors just terrifies me. And in truth I don’t think I’m a multicolored sweater kind of girl. I don’t buy multicolored sweaters, so I’ve never felt the need to learn fair isle. And I doubt I’ll start now, as I’m pretty happy with my monochromatic wardrobe.

crafts · knitting · Life · yarn

The hair!

 Marc and I are plotting an Amazon order.  He wants to order a book for a Christmas present, and I get knitting books so we can get free shipping.  I want to get a sock book (yes, I know…) and Yarn Play… mostly because of my total love for these armwarmers

I love them because they don’t have a thumb hole.  Thumb holes in arm warmers make them useless to me – I can’t play the piano well while wearing them.  And yes, I know this is a simple pattern, and in fact I could probably reproduce it from looking at the pattern in the bookstore… but I have this whole thing where I want to support the designer.  Plus the other patterns are totally things that I would wear.  I already have the yarn I want to use for these armwarmers (I’m using Lorna’s Laces Shepherd sport in black purl and violet).  I’m going to stop at Border’s on my way to work tonight, so that I can see the sock books in person.  I either want “Sensational knitted socks” or “Knitting vintage socks.”  And if they have the new IK magazine, of course I’ll have to look at that…

Yes, I totally have a problem.  But that’s ok, because at least I use my patterns, and use up the yarns I buy fairly quickly.

Speaking of yarn, I got a ball of one of Plymouth’s new yarns, Boku.  It’s totally their copy of Silk Garden, although it’s 95% wool and only 5% silk… but it looks like silk garden, plus the name… totally a copy.  But it’s half the price of silk garden, softer than Kureyon, and comes in nice long color changes.  I got one full of greens and browns, and I’m going to swatch it with an eye on making Lady Eleanor from this yarn.   I love this pattern, but it’s so expensive!  WEBs has the Plymouth and it’s discountable, so I could make this for even cheaper than the Patons SWS (which I didn’t like anyway).  I really hope I like the yarn… I’ll swatch and post a review later.

My socks are nearly finished.  After I finish them I will finish my scarf – the silk garden was hurting my hands so I put it aside for awhile.  My next scarf will probably be “My so called scarf” in Malabrigo Verde Azul.  I have two skeins of this yarn, but they aren’t from the same dyelot.  One is a little lighter than the other.  I’m wondering if I could use them both in a scarf wthout it looking weird.  Maybe alternating them throughout?  The change isn’t huge, but I don’t want the scarf to look strange.

In other news…

I am one of those people who never deletes anything from their computer.  Recently Marc and I combined our computers, because we don’t need two – he works on computers for a living so I’m the only one who really uses it.  Going through my old hard drive I found some craaazy pictures of myself from high school, including this gem.

Yes, that’s my sophomore homecoming dance picture, circa 1994.  The dress!  The hair!  The date!  The horribly awkward pose!  Yes, I like to choose the best photos of myself to share with the entire internet.

crafts · knitting · yarn

Gloomy day…

Today suffers from a severe case of being gloomy.  Check out the view from my balcony

And why is the balcony door open?  Because once again it’s too hot in here to leave the doors and windows shut… in November.  Apparently our condo is the warmest, and at least one unit has radiators that aren’t even working now… so maybe we’re lucky?

But I am not gloomy, because I have…

a sock!

I finished it last night, later than I’d really like to admit that I stay up knitting.  I cast on for the second sock this afternoon, and I’ve already done almost three inches of the leg.  The first sock has a few… issues.  Most of those I’ve already mentioned, and none of them are especially bad except for the row of purl stitches on the heel.  I did note that I have smaller than usual ankles and heels, and I think it would be useful for me to adapt future sock patterns to my weird feet.  Isn’t the color great?  I’m completely in love with it.  And I’m not confirming anything, but it’s possible that I may have bought yarn to make another pair.  I got an order from Angelika’s yarn store awhile back, and they included a sample card of all the Lorna’s laces yarns.  I think I would like to try their sock yarn, so I’m going to get some in the color “lucky stripe,” which combines pink and orange.

I love variegated yarns, but I’m pretty picky about them.  I want all of the colors to be similar hues in terms of their relative light/darkness.  That way any pooling isn’t especially bothersome.  The socks I’m working on now are my idea of a great handpaint – it gives depth but doesn’t scream at you.

Now I’m off to mass – my first of four this weekend!