27 February, 2009

Don't Call It a Preview

Yesterday, my plan for the beginning of Stitches weekend looked like this:

5:30 - get off work and head to Stitches Preview
6-8 - calmly stroll the market, making notes of things I would buy on Saturday. Also take some photos using my Press pass. Make friends with famous knitting people like Lily Chin and Lucy Neatby. Be handed a fabulous job as the new editor of a popular knitting publication such as Knitscene or Vogue Knitting because clearly I deserve it.
8-10+ - dinner with the girls. Possibly margaritas involved because of the lack of work on Friday AM.
10-ish - Get home, dye hair, shower, bed.


9:30-ish - Get up, caffeinate, read internet
10:30 - head to Stitches, where I would calmly walk the floor again, prudently pruning my list and possibly adding things
1:30-6 - work at R-N's
7+ - have dinner with Mom and friends, possibly margaritas involved

Then I got the call. The Younger R-N has a fever and wasn't at school on Thursday, nor is he likely to be at school on Friday. Did I have plans for Friday morning? Could I possibly take care of a sick child all day? Of course I can; these people are wonderful and nice to me, and I already bailed on them for Saturday night in favor of the party at Bobbin's Nest Studio - where there will be champagne and possibly margaritas involved. So I bailed on my plan for Friday morning (sorry Aija! Have fun!) and also the margaritas from Thursday night. Don't worry, I'll make up for it on Saturday.

Despite my tendency toward impetuousness, I don't deal well with change I haven't initiated myself. This is a somewhat hypocritical attitude, I know; however, all the things I do impetuously are amazing and the things everyone else does are obviously less so. Such as needing me to nanny a feverish 8-year-old instead of schmoozing with knitting celebrities.

Anyway, let's talk about Stitches. I arrived on Thursday and got my press pass from Jasmin - the one that lets me in the door of the market on preview night. Wait - stop. Consider the word "preview" for a moment. For example, Cookie A's book was available to PREVIEW at one of the booths, but not to buy. However, everything else was for sale... which did a bit of damage to my "calmly walk the floor and write down items for Saturday" plan, especially in light of the "not going to the market on Friday morning" change. So I gave up on that and bought the things I didn't think would last through until Saturday, while also trying to stick to my mental shopping list.

See Flickr page for notes

Looking at the photo, I can see that I have once again shot the rainbow in color choices. Go me!

There are a couple of things I didn't get to last night, namely: A sweater's worth from Tess Yarns, more Pagewood Farm Denali, and a ball of TOFUtsies that coordinates with the Berries and Cream socks. There may also be some Malabrigo sock yarn in my future, but it'll depend on the color selection.

Chloe got some Lisa Souza batts!

I've altered my plan a little - okay a lot - for today. Instead of spending money this morning, I'm sitting at my computer tapping out a lovely, witty little blog post for you all (see how much I love you?). I also threw more projects than I can possibly finish/start/work on into my bag today. A second Coraline glove, Scarf #21 (re-started and up to row 12 this time!), Girasole, and a mending project for which I forgot the appropriate needles.

Yesterday I finished two things!

Dishcloth #1 (of a projected 10), 85 yards

Mismatched Elder R-N socks, 302 yds.

That's right, those socks are finally done! I decided a few weeks ago that the first sock I finished on the Mexico '08 trip was too big and also ugly, so I pulled out the bind-off and just re-knitted the thing directly from the original sock. It earned me a few stares and a couple of comments about Sisyphus, but it was quicker and easier than re-skeining, washing and winding back up. And now they're ready to block! Hurrah!

All right, I'm out of tea and itching to start all this knitting that I've promised myself. After all, there's a whole market full of gorgeous yarn that I haven't even imagined, just waiting for me!

25 February, 2009


The last time I cut my own hair, I was six years old. My best friend Bonnie and I had decided to save our mothers the trouble of cutting our then-waist-length hair, so we stole a pair of scissors and slipped out to the woodshed. Even then, we must have known we were doing something bad, otherwise why choose the woodshed? 

When we traipsed back inside, proud of our new 'do's, our mothers were properly horrified. I vividly recall the ends of my hair brushing my chin while my mother spanked me, and the look on Bonnie's face as her mother did the same.

Today, I couldn't stand my scraggly ends for one more moment. The way they were just this much too long in a pony tail, the way they made me look unkempt instead of hip (it's a fine line!), or the weird coppery color that is the result of however many years' growth covered in old dye. And so today,  twenty-four years after that fateful afternoon beneath the mountain ash trees, I again took shears to my own head. Well,  I'm not certain if that's the right phrase, since I took two inches off the ends, leaving me with a measly 34 inches instead of the former yard. Those of you who know me well enough to see my hair down can breathe again - it was ONLY two inches. You probably won't even notice. 

I can now understand the compulsion to simply keep cutting until your hair is either even or short enough that it doesn't matter.  I didn't keep cutting, but I have to admit: my hands were shaky and I needed a glass of wine afterward. 

And I wouldn't have stopped if my mom weren't coming on Friday to fix whatever I may have messed up. I don't think she'll spank me this time around, but I have to confess: I'm not entirely sure.

18 February, 2009

The Rose Period

I don't think of myself as a pink person. For the last several months, that honor has gone straight to Jasmin, and I haven't been jealous or really even noticed.

Today I rounded up all of my recently finished works and discovered that I must be going through what can only be called a Pink Phase. It began innocently enough with the gauge hat I made to try out a stranded yoke pattern for the EZ sweater:

Gauge Hat, 104 yards, Cascade 220

Not even pink, really. Gryffindor scarlet and gold, more like. The night I knew I would finish the hat, I grabbed a pre-wound ball of yarn off the top of the sock yarn stash - TOFUtsies cast-off from Jasmin - and appropriate needles:

Vanilla Toe-Up sock, 274 yards

Harmless enough, but my descent into my Rose Period was already established at this point. Back in July after the Tour de Fleece I started spinning a lovely bump of Crown Mountain Farms SW merino in "Wish You Were Here." I think I mentioned that I joined the 10 minutes/day spinning group in Ravelry, and today the fruit of my labors paid off with 2 skeins of lovely 3-ply yarn in - you guessed it - pink:

420 yards, roughly DK weight

Then on Sunday Jasmin invited me over to hang out and record a podcast with her and her lovely mom, and we discussed on the air how we needed to cast on some of the Pigeonroof Studios yarn we have. The color in my stash should by now have no mystery for you at all:

Mysterious Mirror socks, PRS sw merino one-of yarn

And there you have it. For someone who rarely wears pink, it's certainly been cropping up a lot. Perhaps it has something to do with the gorgeous flowers in my kitchen?

14 February, 2009


I've just spent the last hour and a half tearing apart my closet, and I've come to a couple of conclusions:

1) Since the last time I dressed up regularly, I have gained a size or two. Not enough to mean the clothes totally don't fit so I can get rid of them. Oh no - the Clothing Deities are much too crafty for that. I've gained just enough weight so that I can get into them, but they are clearly ever so slightly too small. There are two ways to deal with this:
a) diet more and exercise more, which usually becomes simply "don't eat until you're skinny" in my crazy former-ballet-dancer brain, or
b) get rid of the stuff that doesn't fit and replace it with stuff that does, because I'm 30 now and not likely to be the same size I was when I was 23 again. Which given a) is probably a good thing.

I've never been in a situation where I'm tempted to keep clothes because "if I lose a few pounds, they'll fit again!" Suddenly I understand that particular feminine inconsistency, and I hate it. Therefore, I think I may go with option b.

2) Of the going-out clothes that do still fit me, most are sleeveless - as is appropriate to California, I suppose. However, it does mean that I would desperately like something to cover my shoulders on this California-chilly February afternoon. Something that is pretty, matches my chocolate-brown dress, folds up small and keeps me warm in either the over-air-conditioned buildings or the winter breeze. Something not a coat, or sweater. Perhaps rectangular, or maybe even square. Heck, triangular would work too, considering the back of the dress has a triangle point. Something like a shawl, maybe?

Color me an idiot, but the thought of matching a shawl to a particular dress so they would, well, match just never occurred to me. Please excuse me while I go bang my head against the desk for awhile, then dig through my stash for an appropriate color of lace yarn. Not that I'm in any sort of hurry to get this done; the next time I have to dress up for anything will probably be next Christmas, after all.

12 February, 2009

Off the Needles...

Five of Seven Seeded Rib Scarves, plus a vamping kitty.

...and into the dye pot!

This one weighed in at 313 yards, which is enough to push me over into Mile 2. Hurrah! Now it's draining in the sink and awaiting a good wuzzing before I set it out to dry and then... SHIP. Only two months late, but it's colder in Illinois so hopefully the scarves will get a bit of wear before winter is over.

I started some more plain socks out of a ball of TOFUtsies passed on to me by Jasmin. She found the yarn splitty and didn't like it, but it seems to be behaving nicely for me. It is a touch on the thin side - a good thing for summer socks - so I bumped the stitch count up to 64 stitches instead of 56 or 60. Maybe it's just my impatience to be working on something else - Faby clothes, for instance? - but these seem to be taking for-ev-er. Oh well. Once they're done I'll be perfectly thrilled to have a pair of handmade socks I can wear in the summer time.

Speaking of socks, here's the sock yarn I made at Yarnia!
Wool/Nylon blend, 5-ply, ~400 yards

I'm tickled by all of the blends I made, so here are the other two plus the straight silk:

50/25/25 silk/merino/tencel, 2-ply, ~2500 yards (IIRC)

84/16 hemp/cotton blend, 6-ply sport weight, ~1030 yards

100% silk, ~1800 yards by weight

I obviously haven't started working with any of them yet, but the sock yarn is heading for the rotation post-haste.

I've also been spinning, but again pictures of bobbins are boring. I've started bobbin #3 of the Wish You Were Here; it's amazing how much more quickly projects go when you ::ahem:: work on them. Spinning for ten minutes per day seems to be working well, although that time does stretch a bit once I get into my groove. If I shoot for 10/day and end up with 30, it's overachievement, but if I switch it and shoot for 30 and only get 10, well, that's just lame. So ten per day it is.

Time for wuzzing! And spinning!

08 February, 2009

Coraline Gloves

On Friday, ManCandy and I went to see Coraline. It was... amazing. A beautiful and scary and clever film that touches on all the secret fears of kids around Coraline's age. I'd highly recommend reading the book first; this is one of the rare movies that expands on the story without losing its heart and soul.

Coraline also gives good knit. There's a lovely starry sweater that's just adorable, but there's also a pair of gloves that Coraline - and I - desperately want. And there is as yet no pattern. Well, there was no pattern until yesterday, when I made one.

So here in all its glory is a pattern for the Coraline gloves. The stripe sequence inside the pattern itself is as true to the itty bitty original gloves (by the amazing Althea Crome) as I can make it.

Also, welcome to everyone from Craft and Lime and Violet's Daily Chum, and especially those from Mr. Gaiman's blog! I'm thrilled that you guys like the gloves. And (ahem) Hi, Mr. Gaiman! I can die happy now.

EDIT: Changes were made on 2/9. They appear in red.

Size: Women's small (Hand circumference 7.5")
Materials: Cascade Yarns Cash Vero [55% merino, 33% acrylic, 12% cashmere] Color #006 - pumpkin (MC), #032 - Olive (CC1), #002 - black (CC2), : One ball each
Stitch markers, darning needle, scrap yarn for holding stitches.
Note: One ball of each will most likely give you two pairs of gloves, if not three depending on the size of your hands.
Needles: Size 6 or whatever size needed to get gauge
Gauge: 5 sts/inch

Pattern notes:
*Because of the many color changes, it is easiest to carry extra strands up the inside edge of the glove.

PM - place marker
M1 - make one by picking up from the round beneath and knitting through the back loop
A short video for the cable cast-on can be found here.


CO 34 sts in MC
Arrange on needles so that the beginning of the round is NOT at the edge of a needle. This will make it easier to carry the extra colors up the inside edge and snug up the joins from one color to the next. PM to mark beginning of round and join for knitting in the round.

Work K1P1 rib for 2"
Knit 3 rounds plain
Drop MC but do not cut.
Join CC1, knit 2 rounds
Drop CC1 but do not cut.
Join CC2, knit 3 rounds.

Thumb Gusset:
Pick up MC and knit 17 sts. PM, M1, K1, M1, PM. Knit rest of stitches in round.
K 1 round
K to marker, slip marker, M1, k3, M1, slip marker, K rest of sts in round.
K1 round
Drop MC and pick up CC1.
K to marker, slip marker, M1, k5, M1, slip marker, K rest of stitches in round.
Drop CC1 and pick up MC
K 1 round
K to marker, slip to marker, M1, k7, M1, slip marker, K rest of stitches in round.
Drop MC and pick up CC2
K 1 round
K to marker, slip marker, M1, k9, M1, slip marker, K rest of stitches in round.
Drop CC2 and pick up CC1
K 1 round
K to marker, slip marker, M1, k11, M1, slip marker, K rest of stitches in round.
K 1 round
K to marker, slip marker, M1, k13, slip marker, K rest of stitches in round. 14 stitches between markers.
Drop CC1 and pick up CC2
K 2 rounds
Drop CC2, cut and weave in ends. Pick up MC
K to marker. Place 14 gusset stitches on a holder or piece of scrap yarn.

Glove Top:
Using cable cast-on, CO 2 sts with MC and continue knitting round. Total sts: 36
K 5 rounds in MC
Drop MC and pick up CC1
K 2 rounds plus 4 stitches in CC1
Drop CC1 and pick up MC, beginning at 4 stitches after beginning of round (directly after dropping CC1)
K to 5 sts before end of round.
Drop MC and join CC2 4 stitches before end of round.
K to 4 sts before end of round.
Drop CC2 and pick up CC1. Trim CC2 and MC and weave in ends BEFORE moving on to fingers.
(Note: All this fussing will give you a pumpkin stripe around the first 3 fingers of your hand but not around your littlest finger, as in the original bitty gloves. If you don't care that much, simply k 1 round of MC then 1 round of CC2 and continue as written for Fingers, below.)

Little finger:
Join CC1 at 4 sts before beginning of round. Knit 8 sts in CC1. Using cable cast-on, CO 2 sts. Total sts for little finger: 10
Place remaining 28 sts on holder. The stitches on your needle will create the littlest finger for your glove.
K in the round until you reach the tip of your little finger.
Final round: *k2tog, k1* 3 times, K1.
(This is a good time to try on your glove to see if the little finger is long enough. The knitting should be about 1 stitch's height longer than your finger.)
Cut yarn and, using a darning needle, run through all stitches. Pull tight to close.

Very important step! Count the rounds from the bottom of your finger to the top. Write it down. For example, my gloves are 16 rounds from the base of my finger to the final round.

Ring finger:
Pick up 4 sts from each side of the glove. With the completed little finger on your right, join CC1 and k 4 sts. Using cable cast-on, CO 1 st, then k 4 sts from other side of glove. Using cable cast-on, CO 2 sts. Total sts for ring finger: 11
K the number of rounds from your little finger in CC1. (For mine, 16 rounds.)
Cut CC1 and join MC
K in the round until you reach the tip of your ring finger.
Final round: *k2tog, k1* 3 times, k2tog.
(This is a good time to try on your glove to see if the ring finger is long enough. Don't worry about the gaping holes between the fingers; we'll close those up later.)
Cut yarn and, using a darning needle, run through all stitches. Pull tight to close.

Middle finger:
Pick up 5 sts from each side of the glove.
With the completed fingers on your right, join CC1 and k 5 sts. Using cable cast-on, CO 2 sts, then k 5 sts from other side of glove. Using cable cast-on, CO 1 st. Total sts for middle finger: 12
K the number of rounds from your little finger in CC1. (For mine, 16 rounds.)
Cut CC1 and join MC
K in the round until you reach the tip of your middle finger.
Final round: *k2tog, k1* 4 times.
(This is a good time to try on your glove to see if the middle finger is long enough.)
Cut yarn and, using a darning needle, run through all stitches. Pull tight to close.

Pointer finger:
Pick up remaining 10 sts.
With the completed fingers on your right, join CC1 and k 10 sts. Using cable cast-on, CO 2 sts. Total sts for pointer finger: 12
K the number of rounds from your little finger in CC1. (For mine, 16 rounds.)
Cut CC1 and join MC
K in the round until you reach the tip of your ring finger.
Final round: *k2tog, k1* 4 times.
(This is a good time to try on your glove to see if all the fingers are long enough.)
Cut yarn and, using a darning needle, run through all stitches. Pull tight to close.

Pick up 14 thumb sts. Join MC, k 14 sts. Using cable cast-on, CO 2 sts to bridge gap. Total thumb sts: 16.
K 5 rounds MC
Drop MC and join CC1
K 4 rounds CC1
Cut CC1 and pick up MC
K in the round until you reach the tip of your thumb.
*k2tog, k2* 4 times. 12 sts remain.
Final round: *k2tog* all sts; 6 sts remain.
Cut yarn and, using a darning needle, run through all stitches. Pull tight to close.

Closing the gaps:
Using a darning needle and CC1, weave gaps in fingers together. Do the same for the thumb using CC2.
Weave in all ends. Repeat for glove #2.

I hope you enjoy your Coraline gloves!

06 February, 2009

Chugging Right Along

I joined the Ravelry group Ten Minutes a Day last week, and I finally decided to start actually spinning my 10 minutes per day this Tuesday. So far it's been three days, and I've been doing very well! I notice that my 10 minutes stretches into twenty, thirty, even forty minutes depending on whether I've begun a new episode of Smallville or not. So far I'm nearly finished with my second ply of the Wish You Were Here, but shots of bobbins full of the same roving aren't really super interesting so I'll spare you the details. 

I finished my Santa Fe socks! I think I've finally worked out a good vanilla sock pattern for my feet, and it turns out that I need between 56 and 60 stitches around to fit well. Most of my previous socks are a teeny bit sloppy around the foot, but these ones are perfect and I love them. Plus I'm completely enthralled with the color: 

Pagewood Farms Denali "Santa Fe" socks, 315 yards. 

Sorry for the gigantic pictures. Apparently Safari doesn't like to shrink pictures like Camino does, and I'm blogging from the VRL at SJSU. Scanning slides makes for a lot of downtime. 

Here's the photo of the finished Drunken Monkey socks:

Fleece Artist 2/6 merino "Sangria" yarn, No-Purl Monkey pattern. Sangria + Monkey = Drunken Monkey! 

I like the offset photo, although it wasn't intentional. I shot both pairs of socks this morning right before I headed out for work and uploaded them quickly, knowing I'd be scanning slides and have leisure to blog in between slides. 

I'm also coming along on the last Seeded Rib Scarf:

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, "Huron"

In addition to ALL that, I've been trucking along on the EZ Seamless Yoke Sweater. I worked out my very own stranded pattern and I'll probably start swatching it today once I run out of the first ball of yarn for the Seeded Rib Scarf. 

Life has been pretty quiet, as you could probably tell given the vast amount of knitting that's been completed. Tonight we're headed out to dinner and see Coraline in downtown San Jose. I re-read Coraline a couple of days ago and was struck again by the level of wordsmithing that Neil Gaiman uses. His books aren't so much written as crafted, and I love them. I'm excited to see the film version. 

03 February, 2009

Transportatum Incognito

You may have noticed that I mentioned a stealth trip planned for this last weekend. Well, I went, and I'm back! Hurrah for me! I spent the weekend with my best friend, whom I haven't seen much in the last 3 years since the third wheel of our tricycle got hitched. I say tricycle because I don't think of her - or any of us, really - as third wheels in the traditional sense. There used to be four of us, but we three 'Beans got ditched by the fourth for reasons I will not go into, and now we are three. A very happy three, I might add.

CoffeeBean and her lovely fiance, Brian, took me to their favorite sushi place for breakfast the next day. Already you can see why she's my best friend! ManCandy doesn't care for cold fish, so I don't eat sushi nearly as often as I used to. Getting a fix was fantastic and will encourage me to go to sushi on my own more often.

The weekend was short but packed. We spent Saturday wandering around Portland and deciding which university I am going to apply to. Not as a student, but probably as an admin. Intel was tossed around, but since they've just laid off a bunch of people I'm guessing it's a long shot.

We explored the less seemly parts of town and spent the evening at a piano bar atop a gigantic office building, laughing at the poor suckers headed to the Blazers game. Traffic on I-5 was miserable.

I also took the opportunity to go to Yarnia. CoffeeBean is a painter, so the two of us spent a happy couple of hours combining different colors and being brave about adding things we never thought would work. She is deeply interested in How Things Work and also in History, so I got to wax nerdy about yarns and how they're put together. I ended up throwing caution out the window and came home with four gorgeous blends: one for socks,

two for lace, and one with a five-to-one ratio of hemp/cotton in a sport weight. It'll be some sort of summer something; I've never knitted with hemp before, but I figured it was appropriate coming from Portland. One of the lace weight cones is roughly 1800 yards of 3-ply silk that I didn't bother blending with anything; it was so stunning I simply brought it home as-is (after giving it a snap test to see if it was worth it, of course).

I anticipate that the color combinations CoffeeBean and I came up with will create something that looks sort of like handspun crossed with immersion-dyed yarns such as Dream in Color. 

I'm nearly to the second heel of my Pagewood Farms "Santa Fe" socks. They're lovely so far; I really like the flecks of color that are interesting but don't pool. I'm just making plain tow-up socks with a Cat Bordhi heel and a k3p1 rib in the leg, so they're going really quickly. It's also possible that they're going quickly because they're only over 60 stitches instead of the traditional 64. They're certainly using less yarn; I should have enough left over between this yarn and the Forest Camo to make a third pair of stripy leftover socks. 

Anyway, I'm putting Portland on notice: find me a job!