Knit Picky: December 2004

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

Wednesday, December 29, 2004
5 Days And Counting

That's how long it's been since I last knit. I feel like an addict coming down off a drug or something. My fingers are itching for my needles. I want some fibery goodness in my hot little hands NOW. I have never gone this long without knitting since I started learning in February. I have all those fabulous new books to go through and overcommit myself to!

Suddenly The Boy wants to do all these things we haven't done in ages: go to movies, go out to dinner, see friends. When he's hermited away with his nursing books (he's in nursing school, but currently on holiday), I knit. I never realized how much I count on his hours and hours of study to be my alone time with the knitting.

I must knit soon! Is it weird that I miss it so much?

posted by Stephanie at 2:00 PM

Tuesday, December 28, 2004
It's Your Fault!

If it weren't for all you knitbloggers with your lovely pictures of the beautiful scarves you've made from Pam Allen's Scarf Style I wouldn't be jonesing so badly for that book. That book that I cannot find anywhere around me!

My sister told me before Christmas that she'd tried to get it for me, but her husband (who works at Barnes & Noble, I might add) couldn't get it till next week. I've checked all the Barnes & Nobles and Borders in my area fruitlessly. Finally I ordered it online, but it still won't even ship until next Wednesday. Boo!

I'm all about the instant gratification, people! I don't like having to wait to start something that I want. Especially since knitting for myself has never really happened.

Oh well, I guess it's good because that gives me a little over a week to finish the outstanding Christmas gifties, and then I can start something for me, Me, ME!

posted by Stephanie at 3:33 PM

Monday, December 27, 2004
Who's A Spoiled Knitter?

I am! I am!

Well, I could post about all the many goodies received on Saturday that prove that I am indeed a very, very spoiled girl, but since this is a knitblog, I will contain myself and focus only on those knitterly items that I received for Christmas.

*Hot Knits, Melissa Leapman [from little sisters]
*Hip Knits, Better Homes & Gardens [from Dad]
*The Knitter's Gift, Bernadette Murphy [from Dad]
*Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, Debbie Stoller (duh!) [from sis Heather & bro-in-law]
*2005 Pattern A Day Calendar [from sis Heather & bro-in-law]
*5 skeins of Steadfast Fibers Wonderful Wool in purple to make Fibertrends' felted clogs [from friend Denelle]
*Knitted Shawls, Stoles & Scarves, by Nancie Wiseman [with money from grandpa]
*$30 gift certificate to Skein (Pasadena, CA yarn shop) [from The Boy]
*1 skein each Lion Brand Chenille & Paton's Allure [from sis Heather & bro-in-law]

Oddly enough, all of these gifts came with a caveat--I MUST make some items for myself. Hmmm...that shouldn't be too hard. I'm dying to cast on for the wristwarmers in Last Minute Knitted Gifts (I have the necessary Noro Cash Iroha in the stash already from the sales as my LYS went out of business). Plus I would love to take a pass at a sweater--probably an easy one without much shaping involved, like a raglan.

First, though, I need to finish those two Christmas scarves that are still hanging out for (bio)Dad and (step)Dad. And (step)Dad requested a hat to go with the scarf, and I found some lovely black Jiffy on sale at JoAnn's for $1.84 that'll look great with the scarf (Irish Hiking), maybe with a stripe of the alpaca from the scarf to really tie it together.

By the way, was I high or what, thinking that picking up and knitting around all the edges of the girls' ponchos would actually be faster than just fringing them??? It took me about 19 hours to seam the two ponchos and pick up and knit fuzzy yarns around the edges of the ponchos. Then I fringed the third poncho in about an hour (!).

Wouldn't you know, too, that one of the ponchos was entirely too big. Fortunately I had time yesterday while still at the 'rents' house to pick out the seam, take it in a bunch and reseam it to fit, including reinforcing the neck region. Whew! The girls sure do look adorable in their ponchos! I hope they will actually wear them. I wasn't too sure after the five-year-old opened hers and mom asked her if she liked it and she glanced at it dismissively and said, flat-out, "No." I suppose that's to be expected if it's not a toy. She DID, however, voluntarily put it on to go to her grandfathers' house. My brother-in-law took pics of the girls in their ponchos and I'll post those as soon as I get copies.

Well, that's enough Christmas recapping. I need to go do some actual work!

posted by Stephanie at 1:26 PM

Thursday, December 23, 2004
32 Stitches x 96 Rows

A godawful and unwieldy scarf?

Nope. The LAST panel of the ponchos for my sisters. Finished last night at 12:30 (that would be a.m.).

Do you know what this means?? My very first seaming party! We found out yesterday that we get to leave work at 1 today (that's T minus 38 minutes, bay-bee). I so freakin' have a chance of finishing these ponchos by tomorrow afternoon when we get to my mom's. And even if we don't, I could technically still work on them tomorrow when the girls aren't around. I can hardly stand it. They will actually HAVE hand-knitted Christmas gifts from me (on Christmas morning) that they will probably like.

2 to seam, 1 to fringe, 2 to pick up stitches and crochet a fuzzy edge (I assume this will be much faster than fringing the whole darn thing).

I'm going to try to get my (step)Dad to take a digital pic of the girls wearing them so that I can post them here next week.

I'm so darn excited!

posted by Stephanie at 1:15 PM

Tuesday, December 21, 2004
In An Effort To Preserve My Sanity

I will have to give up the attempts to be crowned superwoman. Between the current demands of my job and all the knitting I was trying to get done, I was making myself crazy. With my own natural inclination toward anxiety--and recent attempts by my doctor to get it under control--I've decided to consciously separate myself from those things that will likely make me nutso. Like trying to finish all my Christmas knitting by Christmas.

I only made it through half of the Irish Knitting Scarf. When (step)Dad opens it, he will see how lovely and soft it is. He may admire it. And then he may return it to me so that I can finish it.

The other dad is getting 2 skeins of yarn (1 navy Plymouth Encore & 1 light blue Sirdar Denim chunky) and a pattern. He can admire these and imagine how they will look once knit up. Sometime in January, most likely.

The only things I'm really trying to finish are the ponchos for my little sisters. I think kids don't really get the idea of 'your gift will arrive sometime next month'. I think that if I can finish the two panels for the littlest girl's poncho by tomorrow night, I can seam the last two on Thursday and do fuzz around the edges for the biggest and littlest girls (to heck with fringe!).

The middle one will get fringe because hers will have leopard-print material knotted to make the fringe of her black poncho. She's absolutely crazy for 'animal print'--that is, leopard-print. Do you think I can do the fringe on Friday night after the girls are asleep? What if I don't sleep much between now and then? I can crash on Christmas after we do gifts...and nap all day Sunday if need be.

Yep, it's too late. I've already crossed the bridge into Crazy Town.

posted by Stephanie at 4:21 PM

Thursday, December 16, 2004
Cable Needle Woes

I'm doing my first cabled project, the Irish Hiking Scarf. I LOVE how it's turning out. It's so rich and beautiful. The problem I've run into is with my cable needle. I have a Susan Bates aluminumn cable needle; it was the only one they had at the LYS when I went in. The trouble with it is that it keeps slipping out while it's holding 3 stitches and I knit the next 3. But I found last night that I can use a double-pointed needle and it works better.

Anybody else ever have this problem? Are the plastic cable needles better?

posted by Stephanie at 9:54 AM

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

There's only 11 days left! And I only have about 1/4 of my Irish Hiking Scarf done for my stepdad, 1 unfringed child's poncho and a load of allocated yarn! I still need two more children's ponchos with ungodly amounts of fringe. And fringe for the first poncho. And a scarf for my dad that calls for intarsia. That's so not happening. I'm going to attempt to do duplicate stitch.

I need more freakin' hours in the day!! Why, oh why did my company decide that the holidays were the time to plan a massive relaunch of the company??? Who relaunches a company in January!? ARGH! I have 114 documents/web pages that have to be rewritten or edited in 5 weeks. I need a full couple of days for knitting. I don't have time for all this WORK.


I'm so never doing this Christmas knitting thing again. Maybe for one or two people, but not for the whole freakin' family, that's for darn sure. I don't think this is good for my mental health.

posted by Stephanie at 1:24 PM

Thursday, December 09, 2004
The Results Are In!

It turns out that people LOVE my knitted gifts to them. I've been making them all year, and I'm just now hearing this, but whatever, right? Take the love where you can get it!

My best friend mentioned that she was wearing her scarf to work and got a bunch of compliments. Those led to a woman saying that she really wanted a poncho like one she saw in a store, but if she knew how to knit she'd just make it herself. Well, D mentioned that I had made the very scarf she was wearing, and her friend asked if I might be interested in a commission after the holidays! That would be so awesome! I don't know if anything will come of it, but I appreciate that D was out there pimping the knitted goods for me. :)

Then my mom and I were talking about Christmas a couple of days ago, and she mentioned that she wears her Mother's Day scarf* all the time now that it's been so unseasonably (in my opinion fabulously) cold in Southern California. She also mentioned that my sister Nikki (8) wears her scarf all the time because it's so fashion -- not fashionable, but 'fashion'. Nikki decided a couple of years ago that fashion was an adjective; it's sort of caught on in our family.

At any rate, Nikki's scarf** was my very first knitted project and I still think it looks pretty nice. Here's a picture of Nikki modeling her scarf (sorry for the low quality photo; my sister took it with a cameraphone):

nikki in steph's scarf

But the love doesn't end there! I was talking to my sister Heather (26) last night, and she told me that she wears her scarf all the time and gets lots of compliments on it. Wow! Christmas should be great if people like my knitty gifts so darn much!

And speaking of Knitty...I just had a chance to look through the latest issue. There are some really great things in there. I adore Belle Epoque, but like Lolly says on her blog, I'm too afraid of being asked when I'm due! Some of us just can't pull off empire waists. Tempting really lives up to its name. While Candy is girly sweet, I don't know if it would look good on me (maybe in -40 lbs or so). Mariah is the one that I could really see myself wearing (with maybe a longer waist; I'm pretty modest). I'm seriously going to think about that one for next year.

The one that I find most exciting, though, is Womb. I mean, who wouldn't love receiving a knitted female reproductive organ?? Okay, maybe a lot of people, but my mom would get such a kick out of it. (My stepfather, on the other hand, will think I've lost my mind.) My mom worked for an OB/GYN for years, and I MUST make this for her. She will just love it. I know a MUST HAVE when I see it.

Well, friends, it's back to work for me. SOOOO much to do.

*Mother's Day Scarf: Plymouth Encore in turquoise, held together with GGH Apart in Mermaid in garter stitch. I believe it was on 15s (US), and 16 or 18 stitches wide (she requested a wide scarf). It turned out quite beautiful, fuzzy and squooshy. It was hard to part with, but she deserved it, so she got it. Good thing she loves it since it cost me nearly $40 smackers! ;)

**Nikki's Scarf: Lion Brand Polarspun in Candy Pink on 10.5 (US). It was 8 stitches wide, I think. Very soft and cuddly.

posted by Stephanie at 2:41 PM

Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Of Teeth And Scarves

Sunday a crown that was temporarily mounted to one of my teeth came off when I ate a sourball. Bummer. It was already loose, and it's my own fault for not going to the dentist, but I REALLY DON'T LIKE going to the dentist, even though mine is known for being gentle, and she's super nice.

The only upside to the emergency root canal that resulted from all this yesterday (all 4-1/2 hours of it) was that on each break (say, when the disinfectant had to sit for 20 minutes to clean out the roots of the tooth), I got to work on my aunt's Airy Scarf from Last Minuted Knitted Gifts.

It's a great, easy pattern to make, and goes very quickly. I finished it last night. The only downside I found with it was that there's a little thing that they don't explain in the pattern that threw me off considerably, and caused me to rip the whole thing about 4 times: the eyelets don't line up from row to row, they alternate--that is, rows 1 & 3 do, but 1 & 2 don't; 2 & 4 do, etc. I would do 1 & 2 and think I'd screwed it up. That sorta sucked. Also, because it's with a mohair yarn, it's really difficult to keep the tension perfectly even, so there are spots where *I* was getting bothered by it. But I think that's just me. Observers have commented on its beauty (like the guy in the dentist's waiting room who told me he hadn't seen anyone knit since his mother, like 25 years ago), and nobody seems to be troubled by the assymetry, so I'll just let it go.

It's currently pinned out on my little blocking table (old coffee table covered in a towel). Because it's made with such a fine, flexible yarn (I used GGH Soft Kid), I really had to block the hell out of this thing. There are about 20 T-pins shaping the darn thing. BUT, it's really pretty and delicate and I know that my aunt will love it. I even tried it on last night to make sure it would work, and it's very classy.

I went to my LYS and bought a few more skeins of the Soft Kid to have in reserve for birthdays next year (it was 30% off) since I will definitely make this scarf again. It's considered a <4 hours knit, and I would say that's probably about right if I subtract out the time I spent ripping and re-casting on the first 20 rows or so.

Today the tooth is a bit better, but now I have a sore jaw (I may have a big mouth, but I have a teeny little jaw that HURTS when it's held open for so long). Also the gums got inflamed, so they told me that they will hurt for a few days (oh goodie). The worst part is that the work and the noise or whatnot triggered a mini migraine behind my left eye. I'm so not excited about that. My kind boss told me that I can leave if I need to, but we have BIG IMPORTANT MEETINGS today and tomorrow, so I will try to brazen it out.

posted by Stephanie at 11:33 AM

Friday, December 03, 2004
Bandwagon Jumper

I love reading everyone's '100 Lists', so forgive me for jumping on the bandwagon and doing my own. I don't expect you to be fascinated or anything, but it seems fun and challenging to come up with so many things about yourself that are worth sharing! (At least, theoretically)

1. I am a Virgo. Boy, am I a Virgo
2. I am extremely loyal
3. I am pretty shy
4. I don't like to be in big groups of people; I prefer small groups of friends in a casual environment
5. I have lots of acquaintances and only a few friends
6. I've never seen anyone else with my hair color
7. Several times when getting haircuts, I've heard customers ask to have their hair colored like mine
8. I don't plan to ever go gray. I will go auburn instead.
9. Winter is my favorite season
10. I love all the dressing accoutrements of winter (sweaters, scarves, hats, boots)
11. Christmas is my favorite holiday
12. I love the smells of Christmas
13. I hate when shops start Christmas in October
14. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up
15. I'm 29; this is getting ridiculous
16. I really, really want to have kids
17. When I first saw The Boy's profile on in 2002, I emailed my sister and told her that I was going to marry this guy
18. On June 10, 2006 I actually will
19. I am so in love with this guy, it's just crazy


20. I am a Political and Religious Progressive
21. I prefer the word 'Progressive' to 'Liberal', not for the connotation, but because the root of it is progress, and that's what I seek in both areas
22. My best friend is a cancer survivor
23. She has a beautiful name: Desiree
24. I've only known her for a few years, but I feel like we've been friends forever
25. People often mistake us for sisters
26. My other best friend is my [actual] sister, Heather

heather_birthday scarf2

27. She's 26 and married to a very nice guy with the same name as my guy (Jason)
28. I have three half-sisters who are much younger than me (R-L: Rachel is 9; Nikki is 8; Lexi is 5)

ice cream_balboa island

29. I hate the phrase 'half-sisters'; they are not half-people
30. I love my family ferociously
31. They are all nuts
32. So am I
33. My stepdad is a wonderful man; he's been a true 'dad' to me since he came into my life
34. I had never had any ethnic foods until he came along
35. I am still in constant contact with my birth dad; we are close but he's more like a fun uncle than a father
36. I would never tell him this because it would hurt him a lot
37. I learned how to knit in February
38. I am itching to knit something more complicated than scarves and hats as soon as I finish my Christmahanukwanzakah knitting
39. I have a pretty impressive yarn stash for someone who has been knitting for less than a year
40. I want more
41. I am a coward
42. I hate exercise and will only engage out of necessity
43. I lost 30 lbs. on Weight Watchers this year
44. I've gained a lot of it back
45. But I'll try again because I know it works
46. I love yoga and kickboxing, so I'm going to join a gym. That will help.
47. I am a movie fanatic
48. I can quote lots of them, and frequently do
49. My sister (#23) and I frequently quote Friends episodes in casual conversation
50. I know that some people find this annoying
51. My favorite episode of Friends is the one where Ross decides to teach his kid about being Jewish and shows up as the Holiday Armadillo, eager to teach Ben about "The MACabees"

holiday armadillo

52. My favorite book is Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
53. Until I started knitting, I read constantly
54. I haven't reached the point where I can do both simultaneously and I'm not sure I ever will
55. My current favorite TV show is LOST
56. I hate confrontation and avoid it as much as possible
57. I have a strong work ethic
58. Except when I'm blogging
59. Or reading blogs
60. I love to make people laugh
61. I have a twisted sense of humor
62. I have been diagnosed with both clinical depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder
63. Sometimes I'm a real picnic to be around
64. I believe in therapy and the good that it does
65. I think if therapy were required of every single person, life would be a whole lot nicer in general
66. I love sentimental TV shows that make me cry (like Joan of Arcadia and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition)
67. I also love just about any show dealing with forensic medicine
68. If I weren't so afraid of blood, I would have been a pathologist
69. I'm afraid of a lot of things
70. Spiders and just about any bug top the list
71. I drive a Saturn; her name is Ruby
72. Ruby is my third Saturn, but the first I actually bought
73. I love '80s music with an irrational passion
74. I just discovered that Curb Your Enthusiasm can be rented on DVD
75. It is hy-sterical
76. I don't have cable, so I miss out on a lot of really great programs until much later
77. Like Sex and the City
78. Man, do I love that show
79. I now own the first five seasons on DVD (yay Ebay!)
80. I love Ebay when I'm really stuck to find something
81. My mom was really and truly addicted to Ebay
82. My stepdad had to password-protect the site on their home PC
83. She bought thousands of dollars of things she didn't want because of the high of the bidding process
84. I work in the technology industry
85. I've been laid off twice from technology jobs
86. Am I stupid?
87. I love Dean Martin's voice
88. I own a bunch of his CDs
89. My dad mocks me for this, and says I'm secretly old
90. When I need a pick-me-up, I watch my favorite Doris Day movies
91. Or Cary Grant -- [sigh] he had real class; and looks!
92. I am a serious Anglophile
93. I was definitely born in the wrong time period
94. And country (God Save The Queen!)
95. I think that one of God's cosmic jokes was giving me a recycled body
96. It's falling apart, and I'm not even 30 yet
97. This does not bode well for the future
98. I want to eat healthy and organic, but I don't even know how to get started
99. I love chocolate and sodas, which I see as a real obstacle to better health
100. I have no willpower whatsoever
101. Some people have 'a sweet tooth'
102. I have a mouth full of them
103. I guess I can't stop at 100 (how un-Virgoish of me!)
104. What do you know? I CAN go on and on with this kind of trivia...

Well, I hope I didn't bore you too much. Have a nice weekend!

posted by Stephanie at 3:06 PM

Thursday, December 02, 2004

So, yeah, I don't know how to do words that are crossed out in Blogger (is it even possible?) like y'all do with Typepad, so here's a simple list of completed (as in finished, done, off my list and my radar) items from my bazillion Christmahanukkwanzakah knits.

*Mom's gift
*Heather's gift (biggest little sister, she's 26)
*Everything but the fringe on the child poncho #1 (next biggest little sis, she's 9)
*Black fuzzy scarf for picky cousin
*Pink fuzzy scarf for sweet cousin -- I finished this one last night; did it lengthwise, which was different and kinda cool. Unfortunately it resulted in the ends bowing, sorta, if that makes any sense. I used Paton's Divine (Richest Rose) and Paton's Twister (Raspberry Twist).
*Hat for BIL (London Beanie)
*Knitty Sleep Mask for best friend
*5 Reverse Bloom Washcloths (From Weekend Knitting) for various and sundry relatives & friends

I mean, I've still got loads to do, but this is a nice chunk out of the list. I have two scarves that need to be done by 12/11 for our extended family get together for my aunts, and then I can focus efforts on actual Christmas day.

I bought the yarns for both of the aunts' scarves last night, and cast on the easier of the two. I'm doing a simple, striped garter stitch scarf in two shades of Le Fibre Nobili Geisha: this cool purple/blue combo and this really pale blue (almost white). The second one is the airy scarf from Joelle Hoverson's Last Minute Knitted Gifts (couldn't find a picture). I got a ball of GGH's Soft Kid Mohair in a really light, delicate peach color. Once I pound those two puppies out I can get to the real work!

Hope you all have had a nice week so far (mine has just sped by!).

posted by Stephanie at 5:50 PM

Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Is It Bad

To "test drive" the scarves I'm making as gifts? It's been so chilly here, and I only have the one scarf (that was meant to be a gift anyway), so I've been wearing scarves I've made for other people for Christmas.

The good news is, they are all warm and cozy.

posted by Stephanie at 2:53 PM