Monday, November 23, 2009

Meanwhile, back at the ranch... (plus, sewn bind-off)

I did run the ties through on Hey, Teach! but I haven't redone the buttonband yet, so will wait until I'm done to show you 'after' pictures. Meanwhile I haven't been idle! I finally picked up Rob's socks, which you last saw back in March. I had finished one sock, determined that it fit, and then never started the other one. Well, it's actually a bit nippy these days and Rob could use those socks! So I got about an inch into the ribbing on sock #2 last night. These poor socks were started in 2006 (!!!) so it'll be a wonder if I can even make the 2nd sock match the first given the weird way I take notes. We'll see...

I also snuck in and knit a pair of Debbie Bliss' Two Tone Baby Socks. They're very cute but SO many ends to weave in for such a small pair of socks! Then again, it's not like a baby's going to make a lot of miles on these things.

Finally, I'm making progress on Rob's gansey! After some screwups, I finally got the neck done, so it is a complete sleeveless vest at the moment:

The pattern said to bind off neck in pattern (that is, 2x2 rib), but that looks so messy to me, so I decided to do a sewn bind-off. If you haven't done this before, it's really easy. You make a tail 3-4 times as long as the area to be bound off, then put a needle on it and do this:

1. First, pass the needle and yarn right to left (purlwise) through the first two stitches on the needle and snug up (don't pull tight);
2. Then, pass the needle back left to right (knitwise) through the first stitch only and snug up;
3. Finally, drop the first stitch off the needle.

Repeat until you have bound off. It makes a really stretchy bind-off with a lovely look, much nicer than binding off in rib.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pre-adjustment "Hey, Teach!"

Just so you can see what it looks like pre-adjustments:

I'm wide, but not quite that wide at that spot. And you know how it is — you never want to look wider than you are; as wide as you are is PLENTY. So I think I'm going to try a ribbon through the ribbing (need to go buy some fabric ribbon first) as some of you suggested. And I'm definitely going to redo the buttonhole band. Somehow, even though I count the same # of rows on the left and the right fronts, I ended up having WAY too many stitches on the buttonhole band. And I tried cutting it down, but did the math wrong -- so it's still more stitches on the buttonhole band than the button band. That's only part of why it's gapping, but still -- having them the same would help. Then I might put some hooks on the back of the buttonhole band in between the buttons, to help smooth out the connection.

Yeah, I know I have one more button to sew on. I'm lazy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And now, a trip back in time

Only a few weeks back. But I just realized I forgot to show you pictures of Hedgehog #2, now safely in the hands of Elinoire the Hedgehog Keeper and her Dastardly Companion, Sylvie!

I'm totally in love with Ysolda's ingenious design. What a great way to use up small amounts of yarn of any size!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I have only one sleeve remaining to be sewn in on my Hey, Teach!

OTOH, some of you know that sewing in sleeves is my least favorite part of knitting (I love mattress stitch, but sleeves are hard -- no matter how many times I count stitches and work the math so it'll go in evenly, somehow there's always more stitches on one side than I had counted). So it could take a few more days!

I also think I'm going to reknit the buttonhole band, which came out WAY looser than the button band. Unfortunately the whole back of the sweater is also more tightly knit than the front, but I think that'll block out. Or it'll just look slightly shorter in back. I'm not a perfectionist, just a pragmatist ;-)

I love this already (I've been trying it on as I go), but I wish the ribbing in the middle drew it in more. It makes me look more like a refrigerator with a head than my already more-than-chance resemblance. Middle age has left me without pretensions to a waist, and though I've lost some weight recently (lots left to go), I still have a thicker waist than I used to at the weight I'm at now, if that sentence parses. So having a sweater that sort of flies out widely right under the bust is perhaps less than ideal. I still love it, but some internal elastic may be beneficial.

Oh! I also finished a second pair (smaller size) of mittens from the pink monster yarn.

I can't decide whether they should go to Carson or go to Afghans for Afghans.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


My "Hey, Teach!" is coming along nicely...

... except for one little thing. I seamed up the right side (left side of the photo), and then I took a closer look at the shoulder:

Whoopsie! Yep, folks, that would be a twist. Almost a Möbius shoulder. Not exactly the world's most useful style (though it can be done on purpose, and does look lovely in an evening gown), and, at any rate, not what I was looking for in a sweater :-) Tee hee.

It's easy to fix, though. I closed the shoulder with a three-needle bindoff, so it'd be fastest to undo that and redo it rather than redo the seam.

What are you guys up to? I'm all ready for Halloween!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In a hurry

Afghans for Afghans has an emergency call for mittens, socks etc for 7-14 year olds! The trick is that they need them fast. They have a shipment going out in a week or two — they don't have the final date yet but close to end of October is the most likely time. So if you have a spare ball of wool (wool only!) in your stash, please consider knitting up a fast pair of mittens or socks to send. There's info at those links with the address, etc.

I used it as an excuse to cast on, even though I'm making great progress on Rob's gansey and on my Hey, Teach! I had a ball of pink Araucania Magallanes burning up in my stash, and I bet some pre-teen girl would go crazy for a pair of mittens in these. So here I go. Shouldn't take more than a few days and I can pop these in the mail.
To encourage you to at least check out A4A, I'm holding a contest. Just leave a comment on this post (you don't even have to commit to knit anything) and I'll enter you — drawing on Friday morning for this booklet that I got with a copy of the British magazine Knitting:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New and old...

I really do get itchy to cast on new things, hence the "Hey, Teach!". But cotton is hard on the hands, and my carpal tunnel's been yelling at me, so I needed something wool to trade off with. Rob's feeling cold lately (he's dieting), so I figured I'd haul out his felted Old Way Gansey and work on that.

The brown's actually much deeper than that, but I can't get it to photograph properly. At least you can see the lovely pattern here. It's going well (middle body is done, both sides; nearly done with the upper back, and then I'll finish the upper front and start the sleeves) but it's scarily huge. That, of course, is because it's due to be partially felted and this yarn shrinks a lot when felted (according to my swatch, anyway). But it makes me very nervous. And of course I'm also nervous I'll over-felt it and turn it into cardboard. It's so lovely and soft right now. But at the moment, so long it'd cover his butt. Not a manly look.

"Hey, Teach!" is not forgotten, though. I finished the back:
and started the left front. It's such a fun knit.

And to top it off, I finally bought buttons for Ysolda's Tiny Shoes. Sadly, these Shoes are now far too small for the baby for whom they were knit -- and may have always been, they really are preemie sized -- so I'll hold onto them until there's an appropriate neonate on the horizon. They're awfully hard to photograph so I tried stuffing them with napkins (serviettes for you UK and AU types):

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Getting well means... less time?

It does seem like somehow I have even less time to blog since I got well, but I think that's because I'm putting so many other things back in my life at the same time!

I am knitting, though perhaps not as much as I was before because I'm not just sitting around every evening -- so that is good and bad :-) No regrets about getting well, though.

Thanks for the comments on ripping the star blanket. I totally agree and I don't really mind ripping it. In a way, I hoped everyone would say 'rip' because I was not at all happy with it. I'm a process knitter and I'm rollin' with it.

I am almost done with this hedgie -- I haven't photographed it in a while but I'm sewing on the eyes now.

And I started a "Hey, Teach!" on the 19th. I know I've got a lot of in-progress projects, but I wanted one that I could work on while chatting with friends and watching TV. The lace pattern on "Hey, Teach!" is pretty easily followed just by reading your knitting, and there's lots of stockinette. I'm really enjoying the knit, even though I'm using cotton and it does stiffen the hands. It's shocking just how many people on Ravelry are knitting or have knit this, but it's no surprise -- it's really a fun knit. No idea how it will look on me and I don't care -- if it doesn't suit me, I'll find someone who likes it!

What're you up to with your fall knitting?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ok, tell me REALLY.

BTW, I realized that of course the reason I didn't take a picture of the eyes-on-butt hedgie was that I didn't have a working camera.

Dude. I am a little slow sometimes.

Okay, so here's the story: I fixed the star on the star baby blanket by dropping down and adding the extra stitch.

And then I found that WAY on the other side of the blanket... I had a star with one too many stitches.

I dropped down and fixed that too. But I think they both look like doodoo. And there's about 2 1/2 feet of knitting in between them:

I am really inclined to rip back and redo the stockinette at this point. I just don't think this will block out. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


There are so many things to blog about after not having a camera for a while! I think I'll try to do them one at a time...

As you know, I recently knit Ysolda's "Smith". Now you can see him (or her):

At first, like at least one other person, I thought I was knitting it front to back, and couldn't figure out why the spikes were going the wrong direction. Then, I thought I'd knit the eyes on midway through, and I knit them on the butt!

I really wish I'd taken a picture of that. It makes me laugh just typing it.

I had trouble with the French knot eyes, because it's been years since I've done embroidery and at first I made too many wraps, and the eyes looked like caterpillars hanging off the poor fellow's face. Fortunately I then looked it up online, realized my mistake, and redid them.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Got the camera!

It's late, no time to really post right now. But the camera is awesome.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I'll be back soon!

My camera died, and it seems impossible to post a reasonable blog entry without photos. Since I spoke to you last, I've knitted one of Ysolda's wonderful hedgehogs, and fixed the problem I was having with the star blanket. I did end up dropping only two stiches all the way back, restoring the missing yo, and crocheting back up the three correct stitches. It's super-tight over that area, despite my yanking the knitted fabric around a bunch to try to even it out, but hopefully blocking will help (we'll see — it's a superwash wool, Lanett Superwash).

I also knitted part of the second glove, accidentally placed the pinkie finger in the wrong place, pulled it out, fixed it, and started on the ring finger :-)

I've ordered myself a Canon PowerShot SD780 Digital Elph, a camera that I've wanted for a while now. Aside from good Consumer Reports ratings, it boasts excellent low-light photography (ASA 1600 instead of the 400 of most digital subcompacts) and it has an optical viewfinder in addition to the screen, which is helpful in bright sunlight. I find that most of my knitting photos get taken indoors and I don't like to use flash, so the 1600 is good, and many of my people photos are outdoors in bright sunlight, where the optical viewfinder will help. I was going to wait a bit longer to buy a new camera, but the death of the old one pushed this up a bit. It should arrive next Monday.. and my posts will become more interesting again :-)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Glove love!

I think I've fallen in love with knitting gloves. Even more fun than socks! Fast, so you get that instant gratification thing. And so clever. I'm making the gloves from the 'red section' of the latest Vogue Knitting. I think they look even better in the sheeny grey of Sundara's "Lenten Rose" than they did in the mag in red:

The puppeteer effect is because I, personally, have very short fingers and I, personally, live in San Diego, where gloves are rarely required. So these are going to end up as gifts for someone who lives a bit more north, and has more normal-sized hands. I knit them with slightly long fingers, and I'm going to ask a local friend with a normal hand size to try them on; then I'll adjust the fingers as needed before sending them off.

These are really satisfying to knit (I'm partway through glove #2), and I heartily recommend the pattern. This issue of VK, as I mentioned, and the previous one both have things I'd want to knit, which is really, really weird. BTW the Vogue Knitting site has a video preview of this issue in case you want to see if you want to bother buying it.

Note that I haven't fixed my missing-stitch star yet. I am resolutely ignoring it. Don't worry, I'll fix it eventually. But glove love has me fixated for the moment.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Argghity argh argh argh

Okay, it's not that bad. But I knit 22 stockinette rows past the last row of lace on the first set of stars on the Star Light, Star Bright blanket and only now do I realize that one star ended with only 20, rather than 21, stitches. Oops.

You can't tell anything at all from that photo, especially since it doesn't show the part of the blanket that has the missing stitch. Well, 22 missing stitches, since I'm short every row of the stockinette section.

I could just leave it and no one would notice (just increase one row before starting the next star), but it bugs me, so I'll probably rip back just this section and see if I have enough slack yarn to fix it. I bet I do. I'm a loose knitter and hey, it'll even out in the blocking, right?

Let's hope ...

Of course I got furious and picked up a new project instead. I mean, this realization happened halfway through a DVD episode of Bones! What was I expected to do? Can't get through a TV show without knitting!

I'm knitting the Lace Panel Gloves from the latest Vogue Knitting, in some Sundara Sock in Lenten Rose (a gorgeous luminous pinky-grey). I don't know what's going on with VK and Interweave Knits, but the last three issues of VK had things I actually wanted to knit, and the last three issues of IK didn't. If that's not one of the seven signs I don't know what is.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Okay but you have to admit they are ridiculously cute.

I did get distracted. Now I have more WIPs than before. I am naughty, but I'm using the excuse that I needed distraction as I healed from my second sinus surgery (which was last Monday, and went fine -- ~6 months for full effects, though, so I can't say if it worked or not yet).

First there were these — Ysolda's "Tiny Shoes" from her first book of patterns (a darling little book which you should pick up, it's full of cute little somethings):

They only qualify as 95% done because I don't have buttons that fit them yet, and they're not blocked. But they are to be a gift for a coworker who recently had a baby girl. They took very little leftover sock yarn — they seem a great way to use such scraps up.

But another coworker had a baby boy recently, too, so I had to knit these — Yarn Hugger's Sneaker Booties.

I'm just about done, though I might do some fooling around with i-cord laces. Seriously, aren't these hilarious? I knit them out of acrylic yarn so they won't block — I may have to do another pair out of wool. They make me laugh every time I look at them. (Another pair I have to try are Xalleykatx's Converse Booties.)

And that wasn't enough. A very dear old friend had a baby boy a couple of months ago (I'm a slacker) and he warrants a Star Light Star Bright baby blanket (of wonderful Sandnes Lanett Superwash). I admit my friend Sandi was an inspiration on this pattern choice — she's knitting it too right now. It's going slowly because it's fingering weight, but it'll be lovely when finished.

And I haven't forgotten my brown socks! I've been knitting dutifully on them, after having to frog the entire gusset because I messed up the decreases. But they are not far from on my feet! (Well, in this 95-degree heat maybe they ARE pretty far from on my feet.)

What are you all up to?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

She prefers wearing it with her tutu

Carson had her 4th birthday the other day and we partied. In addition to the T-shirt, I gave her a tutu for playing dress-up. She felt these went well together, and even better with her Snow White high-heeled shoes. She is probably correct.

The T-shirt fits all right — as I suspected, it's a little wide. The arms just fit; when she grows a little more, I'll pull out the sleeves and crochet around the armhole and she can wear it as a sleeveless top.

I finished one of my pretty brown Conwys:

I know brown seems like a boring color for a sock, but I wear a lot of brown socks to work. On the days when I can wear a handknit sock, I feel very happy. I'd love to wear nothing but handknit socks to work (that won't actually happen, because some of my shoes are a little too snug to accommodate a handknit, but it's a nice fantasy).

The best part of this sock is the calf shaping. I've never knit a sock with calf shaping before and man does it fit well!

Now I have to cast on for #2...

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Hey, baby, it's the Fourth of July!

It's also my mom's birthday, so Rob is making a Key lime meringue pie and we are trekking over there for a few hours to hang out. It's our house guest's last day, so we drive to LAX tonight.

I hope you all are celebrating to your satisfaction (if you're an American) or just having a great day (if you're not).

Meanwhile, some progress:

Carson's top is done and blocking. It looks far too wide, the armholes too small, and the arms distorted, but we'll see what happens when she puts it on — sometimes these things are deceptive. If it doesn't fit, I'll either fix it or make her another. The nice thing about making things yourself is you can change them, too.

When I finished the Kraftie socks, I immediately had to start another pair of socks. I don't know why, I'm just in one of those moods where I have to have some socks on the needles. I decided to do Conwy correctly this time, and picked a simple brown yarn (these will be work socks), Lang Jawoll Color. This is one of those yarns that comes with reinforcing thread — my first time using such a thing. I used it on the heel flap and turn, but I think I'll stop now (on the gussets) so I don't get extra bulk at the front of the sock. Ideally I would have it reinforced on the bottom of the heel too, but the heel turn is always the worst part so I should be okay. I might reinforce the toes too; there is enough thread. This yarn is really fabulous to knit with, soft and supple, even if it doesn't look exciting:

Sorry it's blurry. I am the queen of camera-shake. Kind of like being the queen of maracas, but less musical.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

You are the proud mother of... fraternal twins!

These guys are seriously fraternal:

And I don't mind a bit. I love them. They are absolutely gorgeous. I was feeling a little badly that I hadn't made a shoulder shawl with this lovely yarn, but the honest truth is that I won't use a small shawl (there's not enough yarn for a big one), and I will use and enjoy the hell out of these socks. They are beeeeeyewtiful. I don't know which one I like best. I like them both best.

There's quite a lot of yarn left — actually about 30g:

My friend Yvonne (who's visiting from Australia) suggested I make a third sock and see how it comes out... I nearly have enough for that. (But not quite; I used 85g for these two.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Inching along...

Making progress! We have a house guest and I have been on the tired side, but things are coming along:

I don't know about these sleeves. I got them to at least approach fitting, but they don't seem to fit in very gracefully (see the lilt up to the right on that sleeve?). To be fair, I did opt to do the garter stitch edge rather than the specified rolled stockinette, which probably makes more of a flare.

I'll finish up and we'll see how it fits Carson. I can always redo the sleeves if I need to. Though I'm going to be pretty close to out of yarn when I'm done with this. Her birthday is the 10th of July so I need to be speedy!

Finished the first of the socks with Kraftie's great handspun:

Is that not gorgeous? Her handspun is amazing, so even and lovely and soft. It's a pleasure to knit with. I still feel so honored to be using it. The sock fits like a dream and is very soft. Merino-tencel is a great combination. THANKS Kraftie!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Soooo close!

Took that photo this morning. Wove the ends in this afternoon. All that's left is to sew on the frogs... I've tried once and will have to rip it out and try again. May take me a few days. I think it'll be the most irritating part.

The exciting part: this cardigan fits me better than any sweater I've made myself yet. Whoop! However, I'm afraid to wash it; I think it will GROW. Alpaca-tencel, not much memory... So for now, I'll wear it as is.

Meanwhile the sock continues beautiful. I realized I'm not exactly doing Conwy; I'm screwing up the twisted baby cable. I always get confused when they say "knit into the back loop of the second stitch" — do you go around the first stitch, or insert between the first and second? I did the latter, and I think it's wrong. I don't get the braided effect, this way. But I don't really mind; it's still very pretty and suits this gorgeous yarn well.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I'm really liking how Kraftie's handspun knits up in Conwy. Even if, as seems likely from this photo, my two socks are going to be very different from each other. I could do something about this (e.g. knit alternately on two socks, or rewind the yarn), but I kind of like the unexpected and I have no problem with "unmatchy" socks. I'm ready to accept what the universe gives me, handspun sock-wise.

I don't have any other knitting to show you, though I'd better finish SOMETHING soon because I'm itching to cast on "Hey Teach" in some dishcloth cotton I have exploding out of the stash. So here's some garden stuff instead.

I mostly garden in pots these days. I decided to try planting up some pots with more than one kind of plant, you know, like they show in gardening magazines. This is my first attempt, two months in. I'm pretty pleased, though I expected the black grass hiding on the left to grow a bit more. But, yay, the creeper crept!:

Many things are blooming in my garden at the moment. There have been roses:

Gardenia and startlingly orange hibiscus:

And one absolutely stunning epiphyllum: