Knit Picky: October 2004

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

Friday, October 29, 2004
I .:Heart:. Koigu

I am in love. With Koigu. I, who have resisted the 'popular' yarns thinking that there is no way that they can live up to the hype. [sigh] Man, I'm so glad that I met this Koigu!

So I'm knitting away on this spiral lace hat for my sister (why yes, I did finally get that hank of yarn rolled neatly up yesterday). And I love, love, love it! So much so that I am most definitely buying more Koigu and making this baby for myself. And just about anyone who wants one. The colors of the Koigu just work up so bee-yoo-tee-fully. Happy, happy. Content knitting. Lovely way to end the week. :)

posted by Stephanie at 1:22 PM

Thursday, October 28, 2004
Patience Is A Virtue...

And it's one I do not--under most circumstances--possess. That's why knitting is a continuous exercise in amazement to me. Not only do I sit and patiently figure out stitch patterns and where I made mistakes and how to fix them (whether this involves getting help from an expert, research or whathaveyou), but I patiently sit and untangle eensy little knots in yarn.

In just about any other area of my life, I would metaphorically cut the @#$% yarn, toss it and buy more. And yet, here I am, gently unwinding a skein of Koigu KPPPM.

All day I have been looking forward to beginning this great hat from a pattern acquired at the TKGA festival on Saturday. I have the skein of Koigu (color P807), my first foray into this fabulous fibery arena. I was all prepared to spend my lunch hour knitting happily away.

And then it occurred to me. This little hank was not wound into a neat little cupcake yarn ball. I would have to wind it all by hand. But that's no problem for little Miss Mysterious Knitting Patience! Bring it on!

Miraculously I have the patience for this kind of thing since I started knitting (don't go getting any crazy ideas that this has made me any more patient in any other area of my life; heaven forbid!). Naturally the hank of yarn is tangled and looped back on itself many, many times. Necessitating a very cautious, very thoughtful, very thorough untangling into little handwound balls that are neither too tight nor too loose.

The good news is, I'm almost done! The bad news is, it's taken me a ridiculous amount of time and I still haven't started on the hat!

Aw well, when I get home...Whoa. I'm getting all yarny zen and stuff! What's happened to me?

posted by Stephanie at 5:01 PM

Monday, October 25, 2004
Knitting Fun

Saturday I went to the TKGA Fiber Arts Festival in Burbank. And I talked a girl from my knitting class into going with me (hi Denell!). Yay! It took us 2 hours in traffic on the 5 freeway from Orange County, but we made it. And we had a game plan.

The plan was to survey all the booths, make our selections, and then spend money. We were very methodical. We committed before even going in that we weren't going to buy yarns that we could get easily at our LYS. We spent about 4 hours at the event, and were shopping up till the very end.

I must say that I'm quite proud of the restraint that we both showed. I walked away with only a few skeins, and Denell had just a few more than I did--and they were mostly for gifts, so it's practically a wash anyway!

My first purchase was one skein of yummy alpaca from Village Spin & Weave (just like Jen of JenLa). Wowza, is that stuff nice, or what? What she got in a brown tweedy alpaca, I got in some very handsome black/gray/white alpaca. This shall become a Christmas scarf for my stepfather, and I'll still have at least one more scarf's-worth of yarn left. Mmmm. I have recently seen lots of posts about the joy of alpaca, and now I know why. This is so buttery soft. I love it!

I got one skein of Koigu KPPPM in a bright purple/pink colorway to make a hat for my little sister Rachel's birthday (November 1; she'll be 10). I have read about the Koigu, but had never seen it in person. This was from (I think) Hand Jive Knits. The colorways were astounding--I wanted skeins from just about all of them, but I was a good girl.

Lastly, I got two skeins (ropes--whatever the correct term for that is) from Newton's Knits. Now, I live in Anaheim, and didn't know about Newton's. Denell and I had quite a bit of fun there--lots of beauteous yarns. We both fell in love with the same yarn; fortunately there was enough for both of us. It's a dark, dark brown with some slubby reds and ecrus. 40% off of the price on the tag! AND the tag said it was acrylic/novelty, so the prices were really low. When we went to pay, the guy told us that they were 100% wool and had been mislabelled, so they should have cost much more but he would honor the price on the tags. Yeah, I don't know if he was telling the truth or not, but it made us feel even better about our purchases!

We finished up our expedition with dinner at the new PF Chang's in Burbank. Delicious!! What a lovely, yarny Saturday I/we had.

Sadly, we got some bad knitting news that I won't go into just yet on Saturday morning, and I developed a migraine Saturday evening that had me down all day yesterday (I was awake for about 7 hours the whole day), so not everything was perfect--but I think Saturday's goodness makes up for a lot of it. :)

posted by Stephanie at 3:41 PM

Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Knitting, Knitting Everywhere

I was just thinking on Sunday how much I'm noticing knitting so much more now that I engage in the habit. Er, I mean, hobby. Then I was on Knittikins blog, and she blogged about the same thing! Great minds and all that, I guess. :)

Anyway, on Sunday it was actually raining here (not all that common in Southern California, you know), and everyone had busted out the winter sweaters. Everywhere I turned in church, there was a knit sweater. I stared at the back of the sweater of the man in front of me, admiring how his narrow cables twisted, for the better part of the hour (is knitting the new spirituality?!). I noticed a plethora of cables--many that looked mass-produced, but a few that could be handknit. Many that were quite lovely. And I started wondering if cables and sweaters are really, really in right now, or if it's just synchronicity--you know, I'm noticing these things because knitting is now such a part of my life and this is my first knitty winter.

Sweet heaven how I want to knit a sweater. I lurve Rogue with an irrational passion. I love how Claudia turned it into a cardi. Recently I am jonesing for a cardigan like nobody's business. Mostly because I don't want to make a lovely sweater or top that will (hopefully) not fit in the next few months. (I'm a Weight Watcher) But a cardigan would always be useful. I've been trying to convince The Boy of this for a few days now. He's not too excited since I already have the yarn for this.

Lately I've been eyeing some of my well-loved sweaters that are beginning to look a little the worse for wear and I hear myself saying "I could make one of these." Never thought I'd be saying that! I've also been noticing how they are seamed or ribbed and the size needle that I would have to use to reproduce the look (in some cases it would require toothpick-sized needles which would be just plain insanity). For instance, the one I'm wearing today. This sweater was clearly not handknit by the employees of the Target where I purchased it!

Ah well, maybe after my (never-ending) Christmas knitting is done (i.e.: 2005), I'll be able to make myself something.



posted by Stephanie at 4:13 PM

Thursday, October 14, 2004
America's Next Top Model

Here we are, me and Puff Kitty in all his fluffy glory:

(Well, that's his stage name, you know; at home he just goes by Max)

Oh, how embarrassing! What a silly look I have on my face!

Max wanted to strut his stuff for you, and show how he can model an umbilical baby hat--against my better judgment, I might add. I tried to stop him, but what can you do, right?

I'm almost ashamed to confess this, but Max has fallen into that herby trap of so many fabulous felines before him. It's....catnip. Yes, it's part and parcel of that jet-setting lifestyle of model cats worldwide. {sigh}

He insisted on showing off and having his picture taken with that slightly drunken look on his face, and a child's hat on his head. I told him no, but when he's on the 'nip there's no negotiating with him. It's like when you have one too many at the company Christmas party and end up with a lampshade on your head. Not that I would know anything about that, nooooooo.

Anyway, here's another picture of him:

At this point I'm trying to cajole him to remove the hat in exchange for some nice tuna. But he was having none of that. Look at that smug look on his face! He knows that I don't have the means to get him the caviar he's demanding. Fortunately The Boy walked in at this point and was able to get Puffy to give up the camera. Whew!

I'm afraid we'll soon be joining Catnip Anon to deal with our battle scars while he tries to get off the sauce. Er...plant...

posted by Stephanie at 3:46 PM

Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Dude Looks Like A Lady

Well...maybe not, but he is modeling an awfully girlie scarf here.

[Er, never mind my messy, messy apartment in these pics; I don't know what happened! It was clean when I took the must be those nasty photo development fairies at Walgreens!]

It also makes a nice Rambo-style bandanna, apparently.

Props to The Boy for being willing to let me take his picture showing off this lovely pink fuzzy scarf made for a girlfriend of mine (and just about ready to go out in the mail with the umbilical hat I made for her little boy, Ian).

FYI, in case you're interested, the scarf is made with KFI's Cashmereno #3 (mmmm, yummy yarn to work with, so soooooffffft): 55% Merino Wool, 33% Microfiber, 12% Cashmere. I thought that the scarf needed a little oomph to jazz it up in the stitch I wanted to use (waffle), so I added in a skein of Lion Brand Fun Fur Prints in Confetti 206 from my stash (bought for a little kid hat that never came to be).

Oh, and Debi is back on the needles. I scoured my knit books and my three knitting magazines last night, and decided to use the openwork Chevrons & Eyelet stitch from the Ultimate Vogue Knitting book. By the time Debi was frogged (took awhile so as not to destroy either yarn, and the Colorlash is prone to leeeetle knots), and the stitch was selected, I only had time to knit one pattern repeat of the stitch (8 rows), but I already have one set of eyelet-y chevrons to enjoy. Very light and lacy; a much better choice for this yarn, I think.

And as a side note, I found a yarn that Max will eat: the Colorlash. He was hanging out with me while I was knitting in the bedroom so that The Boy could study uninterrupted in the living room (oh the joys of small apartment life) and suddenly I was having trouble unwinding the yarn. I looked over the edge of the bed, and there was His Furriness, trying to stuff as much Colorlash in his mouth as possible before getting caught. I managed to get it away from him, and escorted him out of the bedroom before assessing the damage. Nothing visible, just a section generously coated in kitty saliva. Good thing this scarf is for me, I guess. Eucalan, here we come!

posted by Stephanie at 3:04 PM

Monday, October 11, 2004
Knit For The Cure

On Friday night I decided that I really needed to make a pink scarf to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Partly because I care about this disease and the toll it's taken on women everywhere, in general; and partly because it is what ended my very young, very vibrant grandmother's life only 4 years ago. Since that time, the importance of this month has been keenly on the minds of my family members.

So on Saturday I went into my LYS and picked out some great yarn for the Tribute To My Grandma scarf [I'll call it Debi, after her]: KFI's King Tut 100% mercerized cotton in Pale Pink (sorry, can't find a direct link; King Tut is a joy to work with, though), and Plymouth's wispy Colorlash (no direct link either, but very good picture), also in a light pink.

I decided to use this really cool stitch that was invented by the manager of my LYS; it involves alternating rows of knits and purls with slipped stitches that create wraps. Anyway, I ended up casting on and ripping poor Debi about 5 times on Saturday. Not a little frustrating! I finally got it going and knitted about 10" while watching Fight Club that night with The Boy (love that movie). Afterward I noticed that Debi is really inconsistent. I think part of the problem is the cotton; it is just too light and flexible for this stitch. Also, there were places where I forgot whether I was knitting or purling on that row (obviously not paying much attention) and so the scarf looks weird with some gaps and mismatched rows. {sigh}

I sincerely did not want to rip it, so I tried blocking it overnight to see if it 'shaped up'. And it did. Until I tugged gently on it in the other direction. I'm afraid that this yarn just will not work with this stitch. The stitch must be intended for a more solid yarn. I've seen it used with Adriafil's Frou Frou held together with Muench's Touch Me--which is far more substantial and 'hefty' than what I'm using. I need to find a more lacy stitch to use for the scarf, I think. So tonight I will be frogging Debi and starting over. Sob...gulp...sob.

When I was blocking it on Saturday, The Boy looked a little confused and gently asked, "Oh, are you done? It seems a little....short." I had to laugh; he was trying so hard not to come right out and ask me what lunacy I was up to. Cute Boy!

I do have pictures to share, but Flick'r does not seem to be cooperating, so hopefully I'll be able to post those tomorrow. Ciao!

posted by Stephanie at 3:41 PM

Thursday, October 07, 2004
Kate Is In The Hizz-ouse! Woop-woop!

{Man, is that sad. I'm so not able to pull off the urban slang; I just sound ridiculous.}

At any rate, last night, The Boy played a trick on me. This is one of those times that I would LOVE to have a digital camera.

I came home around 8:30 from my knitting class. The Boy greeted me as always. I proceeded into the bedroom to set down my humong-o knitting bag, and as I came around the corner from the living room, I thought "What's going on? It looks like there's..." I didn't even have time to finish the thought {which was "...a body in my bed"} when I saw that crowning the masterpiece was Kate's head on my pillow, displaying a lovely hat I've been commissioned to make by my mom's friend. OMG. I laughed so hard! The Boy had padded out Kate's 'body' with pillows and tucked her in to my side of the bed. I couldn't stop laughing. The Boy came in to join me and, believe you me, he was quite pleased with himself.

So Kate has joined the family. I'm pleased as punch, although I do have to admit, it was a little unnerving watching Lost in the bedroom with her heavily made-up eyes boring into me. The Boy turned her around to face the wall. In fact, he has mandated that she has to live on my blocking table in the living room because he got freaked out when he was a-moussin' his hair and caught her in his reflection {she wants him}. She's lovely, but it is a bit disconcerting to see a disembodied head in your bedroom. A little too Godfather, for my taste. ;)


I have finished something that I was working on (wove in all the ends yesterday), but I can't blog about it because I found out that the future recipient reads this blog occasionally, and I want it to be a surprise. {Since I can't talk about it, why bother blogging about it, right? 'Cause I want to prove to myself and the four others who read this blog that I am occasionally productive.) Once that recipient has gift in-hand, hopefully I'll get a pic to post. Let me just say this: my color-matching skills are, like, competitive level. I could be on the Olympic Yarn Coordinating team. And I'm available for it, should any members of the Olympic Yarn Committee read this blog.


Last night was the first of two 'goof proof' classes that I'm taking at my LYS. In the class we're learning how to back out of stitches, pick up dropped stitches without a crochet hook (oooooh), basic seaming and the three-needle bind off. In preparation for the class we had to bring in a 6x6 swatch of garter stitch, and a 6x6 swatch of stockinette. I was working on the garter stitch on Tuesday night, and The Boy asked me what I was making. I told him it was a swatch. In return I got that blank male look where you can actually see the thought bubble that says, "Huh?". I told him what a swatch was and he still didn't get it. So I put it in language that he could appreciate (no, nothing to do with football or NASCAR--although that is an idea for future incidents...). I told him that a swatch made sure that my gauge (TB: "Huh? -- Me: "Just think of it as how tight or loose my stitches are") was right so that I didn't end up wasting yarn. 'Cause then I'd have to buy more. Suddenly he was very encouraging of swatch-making. Hm. Go figure.


Well, gotta go work for The Man (no relation to The Boy, tee hee) to fund my yarn addiction. Good thing Knitting Is Sexy, since I'm such a Yarn Ho!

posted by Stephanie at 1:54 PM

Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Another Scarf, Another Model, Another Sister

Here is another sister modelling another scarf. This is Heather. Heather is a 26-year-old Leo who loves romantic dinners and long walks on the beach. Heather is wearing a simply smashing scarf made by yours truly for her birthday (Heather's, that is) in August.

[Back off boys, she's a happily married gal!]

It is the drop-stitch scarf, made with Gedifra's ribbony yarn yeah, Azzurro. I think it's #44. A lovely burgundy color. I held it together with Muench's Fabu in what I think was the Mint/Teal/Rose/Kiwi colorway. Although Jimmy Bean's says that that's a new color and the one I used has been hanging out at my LYS for awhile. [sigh] I guess that's what I get for not having the little skein wrapper with me, huh?

Incidentally, I *do* know that these pics are very dark. I tried to do a little bit with Photoshop on the top photo, but I'm no graphics person. I decided to give up when Heather began to look like she'd had a run-in with a vampire. All I can say is, I didn't take the pictures! Don't blame me!

Anyway, I love the way that this turned out. And I'm not the only one. I'm such a trendsetter at my LYS that 3, count 'em 3, other ladies have done this same scarf since I completed mine. Two in the same colorway, and one in another colorway, but with the same yarns (peachy colors).

Anyway, hopefully I'll have another FO tomorrow to talk about. Happy almost hump-day!

posted by Stephanie at 5:01 PM

Friday, October 01, 2004
Yippee! It's Friday!

Why I Love

~The fastest shipping in the west

~$2.98 for 152 yds of yarn


Isn't that enough?


I did it. I bought Kate today. With The Boy's blessing, no less. Below is Kate, in case you have forgotten or if you have not read this blog before.

Some have called her creepy (ahem, Jenny Smith), but I think it's just 'cause she's hairless. It's not kind to mock the follic-ularly challenged. Just wait till she has a hat on. She'll look better. Maybe I'll knit you a hat, Jen, and Kate will model it for you. Bwahahaha!

Last night I was knitting a scarf and I had an important epiphany. I'm BEYOND scarves. At least for a little while. I'm tired of the tedium. Sure, they're a great way to use just a ball or two of yarn, but I need more of a challenge. Of course, after I finish this, I'll probably want to knit nothing but scarves (yep, the ribby shell is destined to be my first article of clothing). But I know that once I have hissed, cursed and sobbed through the tank, I'll miss the splendid simplicity of scarves. Besides, I also want to try Rachael's cabled scarf. That would definitely be more challenging than garter or stockinette alone. Cables both intimidate and thrill me. I think that if I conquer them, I will try BPT, like Lauren is doing over at Almost Felted. (Hi Lauren!)

I also want to do the Chevron tank, which Lauren has also done. (I may plague her someday for tips) Someday, I endeavor (hope, wish, dream) to tackle Audrey. Oooh Audrey. In her sleek, charming ribby lines. {sigh} You will be mine, my pretty. I just need experience with, you know, patterns and seaming and lace. But hear me now Audrey: in 2005, we will dance.

Not to mention the Booga Bag (using Tahki Dazzle from, where else? Elann), and a sweater that I have the pattern and yarn for from Austermann (Caprice in a honeygold color {cough, Elann, cough}). Plus about 75 others that I've seen on various blogs or in magazines. Oh yeah, and the 6 bazillion Christmas gifts. Slow going, I'm afraid. I'm no Wendy. Now that woman KNITS. She's like a machine!

Have a knitty weekend, everyone. :)

posted by Stephanie at 4:52 PM