Knit Picky: January 2005

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

Thursday, January 27, 2005
Tagged, Baby!

Madalyn at Unravel Me has tagged me. You have no idea how exciting this is to me. Madalyn and Vicki (at KU Crafter) have become my most regular commenters (of the 4 or so that I have). They both seem soooo nice, and give me a nice little thrill whenever I see that they've commented on my blog!

I've seen this going around on other knitblogs, and am happy to be asked to join. So here are my answers.

1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer?
I don't have any on my home computer (I tend to listen to music mostly in the car or at work). On my work computer I have a measly 408MB. I know! I still listen mostly to CDs, so that's it.

2. What was the last CD you bought?
I joined the BMG Music Club thingy and got Sarah McLachlan's Afterglow; Depeche Mode Singles '81-'85; Maroon 5 Songs About Jane; The Cure Greatest Hits; The Smiths' Singles (1995); and Franz Ferdinand (self-titled).

3. What was the last song you last listened to before reading this message?
Mad World, by Michael Andrews, featuring Gary Jules (it's from the Donnie Darko soundtrack, but I got it on iTunes).

4. Write down five songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
Unlike Madalyn's very good reasons for her favorites, I just like these and so I listen to them a lot: The Shins' "New Slang"; Fiona Apple's version of "Across the Universe"; The Fugees' version of "Killing Me Softly"; The Postal Service's version of "Such Great Heights"; and Elliott Smith's "Between the Bars."

5. To whom will you pass the stick, and why?
I would like to pass this on to Vicki because, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, she is a regular commenter and reader, and seems like an all-around great gal! :)

6. What is one song or album that you should listen to more often, or an album that you don't have and you should?
Hmmm, I think I should put my new Joss Stone album Mind, Body & Soul into heavier rotation (The Boy gave it to me for Christmas). It's great, but I keep leaving it in the CD player at home for those rare times when I do listen to music there.

Thanks Madalyn for thinking of me!!

posted by Stephanie at 2:33 PM

Monday, January 24, 2005
How Very Exciting

News Flash! I completed something. I know, hard to believe, right?

My (step)Dad asked for a hat to go with his lovely Irish Hiking Scarf. He said just plain old stockinette was just fine (well, he actually said, whatever's easiest and warm). But could I be satisfied with giving my old man a plain old stockinette hat? NO WAY!

Instead I looked around online for some kind of cabled hat that would complement the scarf. I didn't want to do the hat in the alpaca 'cause I thought it would be too itchy for him. I ended up with Jiffy, a mohair-ish looking acrylic that I got for a whopping $1.97 after Christmas at Joann's Yarn Blowout Sale. Well, I could't find a hat online that I liked, so I decided to take a pass at making one up. Yep. I thought I would actually try to create a hat pattern.

I wanted the cables to be on the same principles as the Irish Hiking Scarf, but I didn't want to outright copy her pattern. I did want some ribbing for stretchiness, but I didn't want to do an exact duplication. It was only after I was halfway through my hat that I realized I could probably have used the Basic Cable Hat pattern from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation. D'oh!

Here The Boy models the hat with the IH scarf

So instead of inventing a new hat pattern, I think I probably re-invented something that's been done before: cables + ribbing for a nice man's hat. It's no doubt been done dozens of times before, but I like to think that never in exactly this way. ;)

The only challenge I ran into was on the decreases. I started with an elaborate Excel spreadsheet for the decreases. It was a work of art: color-coded and perfect. It also didn't work. When I started the decreases, the pattern got all honked up. Eventually I came up with something that worked. I finished it last night! There are, of course, modifications I would make for future generations of the hat.

Here I present CHUCK: The Hat

This isn't the best picture (darn nighttime photos!), but you can see that the decreases actually look pretty good! I am so unbelievably proud.

And, finally, the blackmail shot of The Boy. I may use this for our wedding announcement. Heh.

posted by Stephanie at 3:46 PM

Thursday, January 20, 2005
To Sleep, Perchance To Dream

In this case, to dream of an administration that valued human life half as much as they do 'moral values'. To dream of a president who would not lie to the American public to achieve his own ends. To dream of a country that did not villify anyone who is 'different' or 'foreign-looking'. To dream of a leadership that understood the role of the most powerful nation in the world to be one of leading by example; caring for the 'least of these'; protecting the rights of its citizens, as well as their safety; fulfilling the dreams of its populace, not creating a living nightmare that we must endure each day.

As my blog sleeps today, please reflect on what we can do in the next four years to honor every one of the American soldiers who have lost their lives in a war built on lies, and to prevent our country from further becoming entangled in unwinnable wars for questionable goals, built on specious grounds.

"War President"
Mosaic created by American Leftist

Go here to see larger images of the faces of all of the 1362 fallen American service people. These were real people, and this is a real disgrace to America.

posted by Stephanie at 10:40 AM

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
It's Not My Birthday, But It Sure Looks Like It

Nope, it's not my birthday (that's not until September, remember?), but I have all kinds of gifties. For me, from me. That's right. All the goodies that I've ordered over the last month all came! Within two days of each other!

First up, yesterday's arrivals.

Peruvian Wool_ScarfStyle

Why, it's Scarf Style. FINALLY. I guess ordering from Interweave Press was the right thing to do after all. So many beauteous designs, so little time to knit for me. [sigh] But I am making me a Ruffle-y scarf, no doubt about that!

And underneath Scarf Style , we see copious amounts of Peruvian Highland Wool. Yes, I've succumbed to the mighty Elann's goodness. All you enablers out there finally forced me to order 9 balls of Oregano (light green) and 5 of Tuscany Green (dark green). Breathtaking, eh? I guess one of these days I should actually make something with all this yarn, huh?

And today?


Today I got the Adrienne Vittadini Fall, 2004 pattern book. I have been in love with Martina I, on the cover, since the moment I laid eyes on her eyelety, cabley lacework. I certainly can't afford Vittadini yarns, but I can admire the fabulous patterns and dream of how I will someday find that magical substitute that will allow at least 3 of the patterns in this book to become mine. You can actually see some of the patterns here. Beautiful.

This was my first time ordering from Patternworks. They did take kind of a long time to get me my items, but they put a rush on things in the end, so I give them credit for trying. Plus they sent me two free patterns, which is always nice. I'm a pattern whore; I collect them like crazy even though I know I'll never make a dent in the collection I already possess.

In addition to the AV book, I ordered grooved cable needles (on the right, above the name of the book). I'm going to give these a shot since I find the dpns better for cabling, but they are too long and get in my way. Hopefully these'll do the trick.

Man, I wish I didn't have to work and could just sit and admire all my loot. I wanna play with it! I don't wanna work anymore. Being a grown-up sure sucks sometimes.

posted by Stephanie at 3:33 PM

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Good News

Nikki called me to tell me that Disneyland found her poncho! Apparently someone turned it in to lost & found. I wonder if the loser who stole it was disappointed when she* tried it on and found out that it was made for a 7-YEAR-OLD, YOU GIANT #*$(%*#$()*%#) MORON!

Hopefully everything's still intact.

I'm assuming it's a she, but I suppose that's rather heterosexist of me, isn't it?

posted by Stephanie at 3:53 PM

Thursday, January 13, 2005

My sister called (the 26-year-old) to have me talk to my very, very sad little 7-year-old sister. Apparently she took her brand new poncho to Disneyland yesterday because she likes it so much and -- you see where this is going, don't you? -- it was stolen.

Nikki (the little sis) was there with the family of her little friend for her birthday. They had a baby with them in a stroller. I guess they all put their coats in the stroller when it started to warm up (presumably the baby wasn't still in it), and somehow they moved away from the stroller. When they came back, it was gone.

Nikki was just crying, and crying and hiccupping. So I got all teary-eyed and tried to calm her down. You know what I did? You know what incredibly stupid, irrational thing I did? I said I'd make her a new one. Of course I did. The poor kid was a wreck. She thought I'd be mad at her.

I told her I was only mad at the mean person who would steal something that was made for someone else with love and care (read the label, you #$%^&* damn sneak-thief; it says Handmade By Stephanie. Do I know you? Then it wasn't freakin' made for you!)

I could get all self-pitying about how I'll never get to make anything for myself at this rate (and of course the thought crossed my mind), but she was the one of the three girls who actually LIKED her poncho and wore it. She will definitely get another one.

I mean, could you say no to this face?

funny face_nikki

Hmmmmm. Fair enough. How 'bout this one?

little model_nikki

posted by Stephanie at 5:37 PM

Esther & The Egg

Despite overwhelming advice to get a yarn ball winder with a little hand crank, I went ahead and ordered a Nostepinne. Call me old-fashioned, but I just wanted to have the experience of hand-winding neat little cupcakes of yarn. Don't worry; I'm sure that this will blow over and I'll be begging for a real ball winder by my birthday (September 7, for those who are keeping track).

Anyway, here is a picture of Esther, my Nostepinne. Pictured next to her is my first hand-wound center pull, made from Koigu KPPPM (the black yarn is just to hold Esther up).

Esther & Egg

Here's a slightly more close-up picture of Esther.


Esther is from The Silver Goose, and is made from black walnut with hemalyke, sterling silver and a handmade Cloisonne ball on one end. I still haven't mastered the whole flash thing, so it's not a great picture, but you can see some good ones on their site. I actually 'won' Esther through an ebay auction since I wasn't familiar with the Silver Goose shop, but it looks like they have a lot of pretty pieces. Also, it came in 5 days [ed. actually, it was more like 3] from across the country, USPS Standard. Not too shabby. It's a beautiful piece, and was very reasonably priced.

Esther is a pretty solid wood. The end with the ball is the 'handle', and I imagine she could deliver a pretty hefty thunk to any wrong-doers. I was carrying her out to my car last night after work (where she was delivered), and couldn't help but notice her similarities to a night-stick. Hmmm. Good to know.

I used this tutorial to get the fundamentals down of using a Nostepinne. Fortunately I knew to expect the possibility of a football-shaped ball from another site, so it didn't entirely throw me off as I worked that it was taking on a distinctly egg-shaped figure. One of the online tutorials says that it takes 5-10 minutes to wind a ball. Um, mine took 1 hr. Oh well, it was relaxing. The only difficulty I had was that I still don't know exactly what to do with the hank I'm winding from without a swift. I had it on my out-stretched feet. I'm not sure this is the most effective method. Maybe I'll use a chair next time. At any rate, it was fun to look at something that I'd finished, and it works, even if it's not pefectly proportioned. It's my very own little yarn egg.

Yay me!

posted by Stephanie at 2:25 PM

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Irish Hiking Scarf Is Done!

Finally finished, this scarf is tangible proof that I am one of the slowest knitters ever to pick up needles!

Here is a picture without the flash, to show at least a glimpse at the fabulous cables.

IHS_no flash

We have terrible lighting in my house, as you can well see. Sadly I never get home till well after dark, so there's not much chance of getting a better picture unless I can get The Boy to pose this weekend. I'll do my best.

And here is what the colors ACTUALLY look like (with obscured cabling).


Man am I in love with this whole camera deal. Although Hefee has quite an appetite for Alkaline. He goes through batteries like nobody's business. This is because of the LCD screen, of course, but that's why I got the digital camera in the first place--to see my pics!

I guess I'll need to get me some rechargeable batteries, huh? Naturally there is no DC power connector for Hefee....corporations always get you somehow, don't they?

posted by Stephanie at 1:32 PM

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Stash Building

That was the theme of last weekend for yours truly. I had a gift certificate to blow through, and I knew just what I wanted. I have been longing for Debbie Bliss Baby Alpaca Silk since I first lay eyes on its luscious, rich colors. And the softness...there just aren't words for the squooshy, delightful feeling of the yarn. I don't have any idea what it's like to knit with yet but worse case, if it turns out poorly, I will have three balls of alpaca silk to pet and sleep on. Maybe I'll stuff a small pillowcase with 'em. Seriously. That soft.

Here is my Baby Alpaca Silk mini collection:

Oooh, Alpaca Silk

Three balls of Shade #5, a rich, deep blue that is not dark enough to be navy, nor light enough to be royal. It's just gorgeous. Next to the DB is one skein of GGH Amelie in what I think is the brilliantly-named 'Blue' color. The blue is a perfect match for the DB, and will make a great trim for whatever I do with the BAS. (I think that the color of Amelie is a lot more beautiful on the skein than on Jimmy Bean's site.)

I am reserving these for some kind of scarf for myself, should my Scarf Style book ever actually come (today I got a notice from Barnes & Noble that it could be up to another 30 days. I cancelled and ordered from Interweave Press; if anyone's going to have it, it would be them, right?!?!)

Situated around the DB and Amelie yarns are some cedar moth balls; Kate, the magnificent head model; and in the back, upper right, some as-yet-undelivered Christmas presents (knit flower washcloths from Weekend knitting with homemade soap in organza baskets).

But what have we here??

Kate with the spoils

Kate is modelling my very first hat, made on US15s with Gedifra Byzanz in the Red/Pink/Beige colorway (I finished it a few months back). I've gotten so many compliments on this hat, and it was such an easy knit. Anyway, while looking for some coordinating yarn, I found this Koigu KPPPM (color 123? I think) that PERFECTLY matches the hat. I mean, just look at it!

Oh, wait! Here...

Koigu hank + hat

And I was just going to get plain old pink! I love how the greens and pinks, purples and oranges all blend in this Koigu. Sensory approaching... I'm planning to make gloves (probably from the pattern in Weekend Knitting) from the KPPPM. By the time I get them done, the California rains will be over, and it may well be Summer, but I will make them if for no other reason than experience, baby!

Also in the second picture are two skeins of Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK, #1837 (I loves me the Alpaca) to make me a simple 2x2 or 3x3 ribbed scarf to go with the Koigu/Byzanz ensemble. Yummy yarny goodness.

Well, that's enough from me for now. Hefee and I are signing off!

posted by Stephanie at 4:23 PM

Monday, January 10, 2005

Guess what I got this weekend. Okay, well, that's such a vague request that I'll just show you:


All blurriness, fuzziness or general picture funkification are more than likely user-error as I learn how to use this baby

Yay! My very own digital camera! Hefee* is an Olympus D575, and we got him at Fry's for $149.99 after in-store and mail-in rebates (normally $199.99). You do not understand how excited I am about this. I just want to play with it all day long. Take pictures of every single thing I've ever knit.

Instead I'll settle for showing you what I did yesterday. Here is my good friend and knitting buddy Denell.

She's working on the airy scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts in GGH Soft Kid #63, Sky Blue. It's loverly!

Oh, and as a side note, Denell is not actually possessed by any dark spirits (that I know of, anyway). I guess I'm going to have to use that red eye feature on Hefee, huh?

Here is Denell's boyfriend, Pablo.

Pablo says, "Knitting is A-OK with me!"

Here's a really, really bad (blurry) picture of the Irish Hiking Scarf.


This is really just to convey the sheer length of this puppy. 68" and counting. I think I'm going to stop at 70". That should be more than enough. You can get an idea of scale by the fact that it runs almost the entire length of one side of Denell's sectional sofa. I wish you could see stitch definition, or the beauteous cables, but I'm not that good a photographer--hence the desire for a digital camera that allows me to view images and only print what is actually decent (I'm famous for taking pictures obscured by my own thumb).

Anyway, I got some gorgeous yarn this weekend (hint: alpaca figures heavily, as does Koigu KPPPM), and I'll take some pictures tonight for posting tomorrow--I love that I can say that now!! God bless the digital revolution and USB connectors.

I .:heart:. my camera

*Hefee is named for Hephaestus (in Roman mythology he is Vulcan), god of crafts. Hephaestus, being a Greek god and everything, lived on Mount Olympus. Like the camera. Hence the name. I'm such a dork.

posted by Stephanie at 1:31 PM

Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Oh Wise, Knowledgeable and Benevolent Knitters! Can You Help Me?

I would like to get a Nostepinne, but I know next to nothing about them. I cannot currently commit $100+ for a swift & ball winder, but could happily shell out $10-20 for a more manual method. I simply want one that I can use for creating center-pull balls from hanks of yarn.

There seems to be a lot of information about Nostepinnes available on the net, but I don't know which one to get, where to go, who is a really reputable source, etc. I know that there has to be a knitter out in the blogisphere who has purchased one and can give me some tips. Or if you haven't bought one yourself, maybe you know of a good company to buy these kinds of tools from.

A few days ago I read someone's blog who referenced a knitter's resource site that featured Nostepinne's and digital row counters. I just can't recall whose site it was! Those looked really nice, but it's rather pointless if I don't know where I was....

So, any wise and friendly knitters want to point me in the right direction? Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease with yarn on top??

posted by Stephanie at 2:49 PM

Tuesday, January 04, 2005
2005: The Year of Selfish Knitting

Well, it will be...just not yet.

I'm still finishing the two Christmas gifties for (step)Dad and (bio)Dad. Also, mom asked me to do a special knitting rescue job for her.

The Irish Hiking Scarf for my (step)Dad is finally in the home stretch. After the first few feet it seemed like no matter how much I knit it wasn't getting any longer. As of last night, though, there is very noticeable progress. Yay! I still love the pattern, I think it's brilliant and beautiful. Sadly, though, I just want it done. I want all these commitments done so that I can knit for MEMEMEME!

Back in October, when I went to the TKGA fiber festival, I got this fabulous alpaca yarn that I earmarked for my (step)Dad's Christmas scarf. I wound the whole 650 yds (by hand, I might add) into two balls of yarn. One ball is being used for the IHS, and for a stripe on the hat that (step)Dad asked for to go with the scarf. So, tally: finish IHS, do hat.

Still haven't even started the scarf for my (bio)Dad. Gotta do that when I finish the IHS and scarf for (step)Dad. Tally: one scarf with new skill req'd (intarsia).

And then there's the special project for mom. Mom bought a really pretty, lavendar-ish knit sweater made with a ribbon yarn. Mysteriously the neck began unraveling. Mom showed it to me to ask if there was anything I thought I could do. Amazingly, I think I actually CAN fix it. The bind off edge has come undone, so all I have to do is pick up the stitches, knit a row or two and bind off. Then mom asked if--since I'd be doing this anyway--I would mind adding 2" of a fuzzy yarn for decoration around the neckband. She selected Lion Brand's Fun Fur Print in Caribbean 212. It's going to look very pretty, I think, when done. And the additional yarn will probably help add some strength to the neckline. Tally: neckband of one sweater.

[sigh] Maybe then I can do something for me...I think I may be too nice. Or just a sucker. Hmmm.....

posted by Stephanie at 2:43 PM