Knit Picky: September 2004

"properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit...
 and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either."
~elizabeth zimmerman

Thursday, September 30, 2004
Confession Is Good For The Soul, Right?

I have a confession to make. It's a deep, dark, knitting secret. Unlike 99.999% of the online knitbloggers whose sites I read (and believe you me, that list at the right is only a teeny tiny little sampling; truly, it's amazing I have time for anything else), I don't really like Noro Kureyon. {cringing, knowing that other knitters think there's something seriously wrong with me} I know, I should be banned from the sisterhood of knitters! I keep trying to convince myself that I WANT to knit with Noro whenever I go into my LYS (minimum of 2x a week), but I keep talking myself out of it because it feels like it would be itchy and scratchy. To be fair, I haven't done any actual knitting with it {read: I can be persuaded}, but that's because it's so goshdarned expensive to buy when I'm not crazy about its feel. I DO however, really, really want to use some Noro Cash Iroha. Maybe for socks. Although, it's a bit pricey, too. For some reason my internal yarn barometer gets uncomfortable at the $11+ skeins of yarn. $10.50 and down, I don't even question them. Well, not much (had to throw that in for The Boy, you know).

In other knitting news, at the risk of The Boy pelting me with my own skeins of yarn when I get home tonight (he reads this blog), I've spent a bit more cashola on knitting books. I checked out EZ's Knitting Without Tears from the library to see whether I liked it (besides, Amazon and B&N online both said it took a month to get). Shortly after deciding that yep, I did want to buy it, I saw on someone's blog that it was available at Amazon (with a little "this item ships in 24 hours" note on it, no less) for 30% off. Ahem. Then they sucked me in with their little 'buy 2 books and save even more' deal. EZ's Knitter's Almanac could be purchased as well, and the whole shebang would only cost me $19. Yeah. So that came yesterday. {sigh in contentment} EZ's quite entertaining, in case you haven't read her stuff yet. I just wish her patterns had lots of pictures; I love knitting pictures.

I've been having a lot of pain in my left wrist while knitting recently. I've sprained that wrist twice--once in a car accident (not my fault), and once in an unfortunate incident with a ceiling fan (think of the stupidest way you could hurt yourself with a ceiling fan, and you've probably guessed what my 'unfortunate incident' was). Once in awhile the wrist will start hurting for no good reason. It's been hurting me a lot lately. I blame work and the fact that I type for 8 hours a day (I'm a communications writer), but I think that--between you and me--knitting probably has a little to do with it. I knit English style, gripping the left needle and throwing with my right. It seems that means that I hold the needles a lot tighter with my left than my right (probably since the yarn is wrapped around my right fingers and can't be held too tightly or I wouldn't be able to feed the yarn into the work). But I prefer to blame work.

Recently I've been forcing His Furriness into joining me for photo shoots to help me use up my film, so I should have pictures to post next week. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to coax a cat to play with yarn if he's just not interested? My cat, unlike that of Stitchy McYarnpants (Dot the cat has her own blog!), is much more inclined to steal notions than yarn (scissors, point protectors, the small plastic bag my portable projects are stored in). I do thank the knitting gods and goddesses that Max does not eat my yarn, but last night it would have been helpful if it made him cooperate with the pictures I wanted to take. I guess it's true: cats really do rule the roost. I ended up taking the pictures HE wanted me to take. How embarassing to be outmaneuvered by a 13 pound furball.

Well, I'm plagued with a migraine today, so I'm going to get a little more work done and then head out a bit early (so that I can go home and stare at little loops of yarn on sticks; knitting'll help my migraine, right?!). ;)

posted by Stephanie at 3:20 PM

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Finally, an honest-to-goodness picture! Here's my littlest sister, Lexi (she's 5), displaying the scarf I made her for her birthday. The fuzzy yarn is Adriafil Stars in Peach/Pastels and it is every bit as soft as it looks. Stars is a bit thin and kept tangling, so I carried it along with some acrylic Red Heart Kids variegated rainbow-colored yarn. I made the darn thing so long (probably a good 6') that it is wrapped around her several times. She's very tiny! But I wanted her to be able to play with it and dress up in it if she wanted.

I want to get a head form for blocking hats and for 'holding' them until I give them away (it wouldn't hurt for measuring either, so that The Boy doesn't end up modeling all of them). Here's one that I found on ebay. I'm calling her Kate, because she looks like Katherine Hepburn. What do you think? Is she worth $16 (incl. s&h)?

posted by Stephanie at 11:44 AM

Friday, September 24, 2004

So I'm working on the Reverse Bloom Washcloth last night, right? And the petals come out perfectly! Nicely formed, not all squinchy and tiny like the last ones. I was so proud. Then I joined the petals to begin the center of the flower. And that's where everything fell spectacularly to pieces. {sigh}

I'm a tight knitter, right? Well, to combat this fact I went up a needle size. Beautiful. Everything was going swimmingly. Then on row 2 the chenille mysteriously tightened up on one of the petals. I tried to wiggle the needle in delicately to loosen it up a bit. You know what happened, right? Snap! Gasp! Er....what now??? I didn't want to go and rip out everything, taking all the petals off the needles and risking further damage. So I thought I would cleverly add an inc stitch in to get back to 105 st on the needle. Ha-ha! After all, I'm smarter than some dumb old yarn, right? Um, apparently not.

Something's definitely not right. I have a leetle (but definitely noticeable) hole in the petal now! But will I be deterred? Will I listen to the voice of reason that says take it out and do it right? No way, buster! I've got to make 3 more of these puppies once this one's done. I'm going to find some magical way to fix it. I am. I have a plan. It may mean a nice little chenille-y worm sitting on the petal, but it's all to the effect, right? And this will be going to a dear friend--the only people who are not blood-related who are not allowed to complain that your handiwork is maybe just a little too handiworked. They'll love it, dammit! That's all there is to it!

posted by Stephanie at 1:57 PM

Thursday, September 23, 2004
Oops II!

When I was setting up my blog, I kept saying to myself, "Now, remember self, Boogaj has temporarily closed the Knitting Bloggers webring. Don't submit for that one." So yesterday I'm looking through my email, and I'm thinking, "Hmmm, I still haven't heard back about that Knitting Bloggers webring. I wonder why."


Clearly, I don't even listen to myself, what hope do I have of hearing anybody else? So, if I have irritated or annoyed the almighty Boogaj, please don't hold it against me. Let's call it temporary knitting amnesia, 'kay? I have removed the ring code from this blog and will await the opportunity to apply again when applications are actually being accepted. Again: D'oh!

posted by Stephanie at 11:16 AM


Correction and apologies to Betsy. There are 70 yds of the superwash. For some reason my brain substituted 40. As Homer Simpson might say, "Stupid brain! D'oh!"

posted by Stephanie at 9:53 AM

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Cats & Yarn

Last night Le Chat was being adorable. His Furriness stole one of my needle point protectors and started batting it all over the living room while I was knitting on the couch. He would bat it, roll around, bat it some more. So cute. He chased one under the air conditioner, then when he couldn't immediately see it, he walked away and just sort of fell into a reclined position. Until he spied the second point protector. Then the cycle began again. It was finally left to me to recover the lost prey from under the a/c. This is why The Boy calls him Tyrannosaurus Max--if his prey ain't movin', he ain't seein' it. I think the flaw in that theory is that the point protector wasn't exactly doing a jig on the floor next to my knitting bag when he captured it to begin with.

I went to lunch today, and when I came back there was a manila envelope for me with a return address in MA occupying my desk. What could it be? Oh yeah! Superwash yarn, spun by Betsy at 2KTog. Yay! Sooo pretty. The wool is a sort of caramely brown mixed with just-south-of-white white. What a beauty! (Betsy's original picture was pretty 'on' as far as the colors go). I love the way that some of the strands are white, some are brown, and the rest are a blend of thick and thin strands of both.

Now, what to do with it? This is a special yarn (my first online gift from a knitblogger!), and it's so pretty. Betsy said that there's only something like 40 yds, so the project is somewhat limited in scope. Any suggestions? I could do a scarf, of course, but I want it to be something special. Anybody in blogland (who actually reads this blog) have any ideas?

posted by Stephanie at 3:01 PM

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
I Am A Gosh-Darned Genius!

Well, maybe not, but my friends and many others in the knitblog community sure are, and they provided the resources to help me fix this blog! After an incredibly short life span, my lovely KnitPicky was already--to put it technically--all honked up. Yesterday when I checked the blog, most of my images were gone, gone, gone. A phenomenon you may have noticed. At any rate--and to make a long story short--I moved all the images that are involved in the design of the sight to geocities for hosting there, and the body images will stay with flick'r, as they (mysteriously) were not affected by the weird outage that messed up my background. I got a response from Flick'r help that they changed the architecture for referencing hosted files, but I figured why mess with it, when I knew how to save them at geocities?

So due to Food Poisoning Friday, and Internet Outage Monday, it's been a long time since I blogged! Yes, I was out with food poisoning on Friday--not an experience I would recommend. And yesterday, after spending the morning trying to fix the images on this blog, suddenly our internet was unavailable. Like my images it was gone, gone, gone. Apparently it did not come out of hiding until after 8 p.m. PST last night! All this to say, sorry for not blogging, particularly as I was just welcomed into the Beginner Babe & Knitting Kitty webrings!

Knitting was pretty productive over the weekend--indeed, I did not do much else. I took a bunch of pictures that I will hopefully be able to get up in the next few days. I finished this baby hat for my friend's little boy, Ian, but I left out the intarsia. (Since I don't have pics of FOs yet, I'm going to include here a pic of Ian the Beautiful).

I've also done two 'grow with me' hats from Frugal Knitting Haus. I was very proud of the first until I knit the second and it's much, much bigger than the first. Then I realized that I knit the entire first one on the wrong size circs. I used 6s, the pattern calls for 8s, and I knit the second really loosely on 7s in the absence of 8s (a feat, I tell you, since I'm a tight knitter by nature!). So I re-cast on for the first hat. I've also done two pairs of very easy, straight knit baby booties that you just whip stitch up and single crochet chain the ties for them (and the hats). It's rather fun: there's a woman at work having a girl, so I'm using up this enormous skein of acrylic yarn (unsure of the brand) in variegated white, pink, mint green, baby blue for her hat and booties, and then my sister's best friend had her baby boy two month's early, and he's getting a baby blue hat and booties set (Plymouth Encore)--just watch me support those sexual stereotypes for children!

I'm also working on a wrap for myself in between other projects; a novelty scarf for my little sister's best friend (8-year-old); as well as assorted Christmas gifts, so I'm definitely keeping busy. Of course, my projects are incredibly simple when compared with so many other knit bloggers, but I figure that if they are familiarizing me with patterns, methods, etc., it's all good and will lead to greater things in the future. :)

There are so many fantastic projects out there that I'm dying to get my hands on, but I may just have to wait until next year. On my list is the bee-yoo-ti-ful Audrey--I absolutely love, Love, LOVE the way that Lauren's turned out. And the ballet-wrap sweater from the most recent Vogue Knitting. And oh-so-many more.... [Sigh] Well, I guess that's it for now. Must work to support my yarn habit!

***P.S. Thanks for the comments re: Kool Aid Dyeing acrylic!! I'll just stick with the acrylic colors as-is, or look into some other inexpensive wool when I want to play with dyeing.***

posted by Stephanie at 1:05 PM

Thursday, September 16, 2004
Kool-Aid Dyeing

Can you overdye dark-colored yarn with Kool-Aid? I assume that you can, but I've never done Kool Aid dyeing before, so I'm curious. I have two skeins of acrylic yarn that I bought about 5 years when I foolishly thought that I could teach myself crochet. That fantasy lasted about two weeks (I can single chain. That's it.). One skein is a pretty raspberry color, the other is a wedgewood blue. Both are nice colors in & of themselves, but I can't think what I'm going to use two whole skeins of acryclic yarn for with my newly discovered yarn-snobbery.

I mean, I don't know that many people having babies that I can sell on the idea of, "Oh, I'm not making this for you out of acryclic because I'm a cheap person, it's because I care about you! This way you can just throw it into the wash whenever you need, dear new mom." This is already going to be my ploy for one woman who is getting my first ever baby booties (assuming I start them before she has the baby next month).

I would like to turn the blue to a dark purply color that can be held with the raspberry for the Stash-buster Slippers that Lauren featured on her blog a couple of days ago (sooooo cute!). I'll make the test pair for me (hee hee) and then I can give them for Christmas if they work out. Wouldn't they be adorable with some novelty yarn or goofy doo-dads on the top of the foot? I want to experiment. :)

My Christmas knit list is enormous. I have a feeling all new knitters probably mistakenly decide to do all of these handknit gifts one time, and then after that realize how crazy and misguided that decision was. This is my year. Assorted funky scarves (on 19 needles, they'll take me a couple of hours at most), one manly scarf (a little harder), a kitty hat, a roll-brim hat, a beanie, and 5 reverse bloom washcloths. That's the one that's sort of daunting. I've done one. They are not hard, per se, just tedious. Add one increase for two rows, knit for two rows, slip stitch, slip...then come the dpns. [sigh] I shouldn't complain since the one I finished is sooo soft and cushy. I am such an incredibly tight knitter that the petals on my finished flower are very small. I ended up with about 1/4 of a skein of the CP cotton-chenille left, and the whole thing sort of puckers. It's not ugly, but it does look homemade. I'm consciously trying to knit more loosely for flowers #3+. 2/5 done, and it's getting much better!

Happy Thursday.

posted by Stephanie at 3:31 PM

Wednesday, September 15, 2004
I'm A Bad Girl

Have I gotten any knitting done yesterday or today? No. Why? Because I'm spending wayyyyy too much time playing around with this blog. And signing up for web rings. See all those nifty banners at the right? That was me. I know that to many of you this is not impressive, but I'm something of an anomaly: I work in technology and can write great articles or whitepapers on the marketplace, products, new technologies, etc., but I have trouble with anything but the most basic of site design basics--and I've shown myself completely incapable of working The Boy's complex 5 remote control system for the Bose surround sound system.

So I spent an inordinate amount of time getting those up just so, and am darn proud of myself. Which subsequently means I 'worked' through lunch--well, I did work; it just didn't happen to be on any actual work--where I would normally spend some time knitting and decompressing from the first half of the day.

I also have a bit of a problem for a knit blogger: no digital camera. I'm trying to finish off a roll of regular camera film (worse yet: disposable! [gasp!]), so that I can put some pictures up. Otherwise I'll be breaking Wendy's #1 blog rule--and we don't want that, do we?!

I want a digital camera sooo badly. I thought I'd get one for my birthday last week, but I got an engagement ring instead, so I can't really complain too much. So the dilemma is...should I buy a cheapy "baby's first digital camera" (that's about my skill level anyway), or wait it out till Christmas and beg all the parents and siblings to go in together on a good one? Yea, I guess you're right. In the meantime, what else can I do? I wonder if they have a digital camera at work that I could borrow occassionally...

posted by Stephanie at 4:44 PM

Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Lousy Day, Good Gifts

Well, go figure. I've been having a pretty darn lousy day, one in which I have found myself near tears of frustration more than once, and I get bombarded with good knitty things. I think it's one of those laws of nature: oops, she's had so much negative, let's balance it with some positive.

First is this yarn. Handspun by Betsy of K2Tog (You know the blog, right? Well, you should! Betsy and Omar have fabulous knitted goods, handy advice and really cool layout)

Anyway, Betsy indicated that she wasn't crazy about the yarn, but I commented that I am--I think it's bee-yoo-ti-ful--and Betsy said she may be willing to part with it since little ol' me is a fan. How cool is that!? Wow, only day 2 of my knitblog adventures, and I meet someone as generous as Betsy. This bodes well!

Then I got an email from our receptionist that some packages had arrived for me. For my birthday last week I accumulated $70 in B&N gift cards (props to Dad and The Boy!) and I instantly put them to use on some knitting books I've been salivating over. I went to the B&N store near work, but found out that I could save $22 by ordering online + I got free shipping since I spent more than $25 (significantly more, in fact). Yes!

So today I got The Yarn Girl's Guide, which I've been ogling at my LYS for a good couple of months now; The Ultimate Knitting Book, which I think is far superior to the portable quick reference version; and The Big Book of Knitting. I foresee an evening of oohing, aahing, post-it-ing my favorites and generally ignoring my home, The Boy, The Cat and everything else. Sigh. This should redeem the day at least a little bit.

And speaking of The Cat (a.k.a. Puff Kitty, a.k.a The Beast, a.k.a. Tyrannosaurus Max), last night I gave him his first taste of hot dog (I don't generally cotton to giving people food to pets, particularly with The Beastie's tummy troubles, but he was begging so cutely, and I'm a bad mom). The Boy warned me that it was just going to sit there untouched. Well, I was so proud when I looked over a minute later and the hot dog was gone from where I'd put it on the floor, by the table. I gleefully pointed out to The Boy: "See, he ate it!" Then The Boy pointed out that Puffy was actually batting the hot dog end around and chasing it through the kitchen and living room. It was quite a sight to see, actually. The Boy said that The Cat was 'killing' his food before eating it. I was so proud that I gave him two more little pieces, just to watch him running around, batting the pieces. He was so proud of himself. Yeah, I know...but I don't have any kids yet, so this is what I do, people!

posted by Stephanie at 3:54 PM

Monday, September 13, 2004
My Acceptance Speech

There are a number of people I would like to thank, for helping me get this blog up and running. First, I want to thank my personal yarn savior, Mo Hair, for introducing me to the beautiful vagaries of yarn.

Secondly, I'd like to thank Jenny Smith, without whose stunning graphical talents, this blog would not be possible. Seriously. Without Jenny, this blog would be on a very simple blogger template, and my linking abilities would be severely limited (or, rather non-existent, since she showed me all I know about blogging to begin with). All I gave Jenny for this blog was a scanned image scribbled on a piece of computer paper, and she created the graphics and the design for the site.

And last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank Kathryn Weiss, without whom I would have a very pretty and very useless site. It is thanks to Kathryn's coding genius that this site is live today. Using talents completely foreign to mere mortals such as myself, Kathryn took Jenny's designs and made this thing work so that, frankly, all I have to do here is write.

Thank you, thank you. You are the best kinds of friends a girl can have. Virtual hugs all around. (And while I'm doling out virtual gifts, why don't you down some virtual champagne and caviar from my virtual gourmet kitchen, while counting the virtual cashola that I most assuredly owe you for your efforts.)

posted by Stephanie at 2:02 PM