Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Can't decide

I just bought Boutique Knits and I feel like a 5 year old with a fistful of money in an unfamiliar candy shop!

There are so many good patterns and ideas in this book that I don't know where to begin.

A hat, I think. But there are THREE that I want...and then, one gives me a design idea for a leftover bit of knitting from last year; I steeked it to use part as a collar, and nearly half is left. It might make the beginnings of a really striking cloche.

Does anyone care to give me a shove in one direction or another?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Still Socks

The bed socks are VERY warm.

I need to write up the pattern properly in several sizes and recruit some test knitters. Anyone??

The Slightly Less Bulky Matching Socks are coming along nicely. I finished the first one yesterday and am on the heel flap now. And the vest (finishing) is half-way finished. I still need to pick up for armscye ribbing and seam the sides.

As Zanti mentioned on her blog, it's still cold here. And she's been making mittens.

M'mmm, mittens...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bed Socks

I've finished the first and am ready to turn the heel on the second. They fit well and are very warm, but are not streamlined enough to squish into my loafers.

Looks like Idea #2 will be put into practice soon. I'm going down a needle size and will do a striped stockinette heel flap instead of a slip-stitch heel.

The bed socks might end up a gift; I have a colleague for whom I haven't knitted anything yet, and these will fit her, too. Her birthday is in March, so she'd still be able to wear them for a while before it gets warm.

I'll be knitting this pattern again, too. It's fast and pretty, as well as a good way to use up scraps on worsted weight yarn. Maybe I'll submit this to Knitty for this year's fall or winter issue. They're ready in about 2 days (or less), so they would make good Christmas knitting.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


The striped vest is blocking, ready to be sewn together. I even started matching socks, but have to rip back; I mis-counted the ribbing I need in between cables. Re-starting will be quick, though.

...depending on how many re-starts! It took me four tries, but I have the formula now. (I promptly got sloppy when picking up in the "beneath" row to line up the colors and will have to rip back again, but these do knit up quickly.)

I'll publish the pattern when the socks are finished.

They might be too bulky to wear in anything but my snow boots, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to show them off in my brown loafers. If they really are too much material, I might start again on a smaller needle. I also have another design idea for the heel, which will render it smaller.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope: 2009 Onwards

Thanks to the Presidential [Sweater] Advisory Committee (as represented by Fa Sing and Than Chai), the Obama Hope Sweater is finished.

DH and I will be joining an Inauguration Day party on Hope Street (how appropriate!) at a local restaurant after work tonight. I will be listening to the radio all day, and will be watching Mr. Obama on television as he takes the Oath of Office at noon today.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Dream

Tomorrow part of Dr. King's dream will be realized. The very thought of it makes many of us giddy and tearful and sober by turns. It's a rocky path and like true love, it will never run smooth. But it does run.

Even as an American of Irish and German and Dutch ancestry I feel part of this, and that's part of Dr. King's dream as well as mine. As I was born in 1966 I didn't see, first or second-hand, the ugliest manifestations of blatant racisim and xenophobia, but it, along with the best of human nature, is all around us.

I saw a shadow of it in Virginia, in 1989. My ex-husband and I had just moved there. He was in the Navy. We were in our early 20s. I was raised in upstate New York. Few people of color lived in our area, but my mother had grown up in a multi-cultural city area, and had always taught us to respect people in general. In particular, she taught us (my sister, and me) to respect our elders.

Not long after moving in, I walked over to the local supermarket and picked some things up.

On my way out, I paused to let a gentleman in his 70s or 80s go before me. I held the door for him, and said, "Oh, no—you go ahead, sir."

He stopped and stared briefly before thanking me and going out. He seemed startled, but was very gracious.

As you've probably guessed, he was African American.

It wasn't until I was headed home that I realized why he'd reacted that way. It was a shock to me. Not a good one. I hope that his shock was a good one. But I've never forgotten that, or of the time an elderly relative, who had become demented, spit out racist remarks as she relived her past.

I hope that is past indeed. Nothing will be perfect, and I hope those things will not be forgotten, but most of all I hope they will not be repeated.

I am so very glad, happy, and proud that this country; my country is turning such an important corner and that the best person for the job was selected. Not the best man, or the best white man, but the best person.

The sweater?

Yes, it's ready. (The cats helped.) There will be photos later this week.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Colder than usual here.

RI schools are actually closing (which is ridiculous, they don't hold classes they?).

It's a great excuse to knit more, though. My sweater vest is practically knitting itself. I'm well into the decreases for the back armscyes.

And everywhere in the blog kingdom references to EZ (Elizabeth Zimmerman, if you're not a knitter) abound. I need a copy of The Opinionated Knitter at the very knit those "nether" garments. This weather calls for it!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Begin Again

Begin knitting something new, that is. Last night I cast on for the cable ribbing sweater vest in Hip Knits.

I made one a few years ago for one of the nephews; subbed recycled sweater-from-the-thrift and cone yarn that I dyed myself. It came out very well. He even wore it for his school pictures the following year (that's quite a thumbs up from a grade schooler).

This time I'm using the Lion Wool. The main color will be cream, and I'm knitting two-row stripes: *cream/brown/cream/orange/cream/teal/cream/brown/cream/orange*.

The original pattern uses four row stripes, but thinner stripes are more typical of 30s and 40s sweaters, and that's what I like.

I'm already into the stripes. It's a fairly quick knit, the body is on American No. 7 needles. This one is for me, too.

2009 might be the Year of Knitting for Me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The Hope sweater is blocking. It should be dry by tomorrow, but I plan to begin sewing up on Saturday. Maybe I should start earlier. I don't like to sew up, but when I take my time I do a pretty good job of it.

And here are Fa Sing and Than Chai, deciding whether the stole is good enough to send to Nana for Christmas:

Than Chai is still wondering where it went. He really liked The Blankie, and keeps trying to climb into my knitting bag to find it. One of these days I'll knit one to keep and he'll sleep under it while I'm knitting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On Target

I finished the front and wove in the ends last night! Tonight I'll wash & block it; my workroom is cold, so it will take a few days to dry.

It can be sewn together on Saturday, and re-blocked on Sunday. Whew! (Barring disaster...but I'm not going there.)

There was a nice surprise waiting for me yesterday evening when I got home. The first three Harry Potter books, on audio, as read by Stephen Fry! My mother and nephews sent gift certificates to for Christmas, and thanks to some sales I really scored. The other four will cost considerably more, but I will probably get one or two more sometime this year.

The Stephen Fry version is not available in the US or Canada. I've heard some of Jim Dale's readings; they're very good, but I am a huge fan of Stephen Fry and really wanted his work instead.

Listening to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone certainly made weaving in go faster than usual. That's what audio books are for (that, and commuting).

Right now I'm working on a pair of leaf green ankle socks in a subtle twisted stitch stripe, and planning a vest with that Lion Brand Wool. I can't decide whether to go with stripes or Fair Isle at this point. Stripes would certainly be easier, but I've been mesmerized by the Fair Isle sweaters that make up the 40's casts' wardrobes in Goodnight, Sweetheart. Granted, thin stripes are just as period-correct, and they'd be fun too.

All decisions should be this important.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I Can Do It

Another several hours and some help from a LYS and I picked up again on row 64. Yesterday was knit, do something else, knit, do something else...

As of this morning, post breakfast, I am within two rows of finishing the chart. The raglan shaping went longer than indicated in the pattern, so I will probably add buttons at the neckline (across the top of the shoulder).

All-in-all, it's coming along. I'll have time tonight to work on it, so with luck (this includes cats in a cooperative mood) I will finish the neckline shaping and weave in all of the ends.

If I'm really on the ball, it might even get washed and blocked tonight, but I wouldn't make book on that!

Inauguration Day is next Tuesday, January 20th. The day before that is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

I wish I could be in Washington for this. A colleague is least I'll get a second-hand report!

Thanks, United States. We're not "there" yet, world, but we're working on it.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Pride Goeth Before Colorwork

Or something like that.

Last night I had some time to work on the sweater (part of it cat-free) and I was rolling right along.

You know that's when things go wrong.

I was within 12 rows of the chart's ending when I finally realized that the pattern (free, with typos, online, need I say more?) neglected to mention at what point raglan shaping had to commence for the front.

15", in case you'd like to know.

I was at 20" when I finally figured this out. It took close to two hours to rip back. That includes tinking, running a lifeline, ripping back, untangling what seemed like 2,000 balls of yarn, and more tinking (no, I'm not quite there yet).

There will be two annoyed cats Chez Moi this weekend. (Cats and colorwork do not go together!)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Cheap Yarn and other good things

I didn't like Lion Brand yarns when I first started knitting "real" things. Wool-Ease pills like a b@stard, and I do not like novelty yarns.

But I love wool. LOVE it; for the most part I'll choose it over cashmere or silk or alpaca (sometimes. i am human, you know). It's beautiful. It's warm. It has memory. It insulates. It takes dyes wonderfully.

The yarn I choose to use for the Hope sweater is mostly Lion Brand Wool. That got me started.

Since then I've made a hat for DH, a tea cozy (Frankenknit from a hat that was too small for DH) and early this week I bought enough to make myself a vest. Cream, burnt orange, cocoa brown and teal blue. It's on sale this week at Michaels. Half off. That means I bought enough new yarn for a sweater and I spent $20.00. As soon as I've blocked the pieces for the Hope sweater I'll give myself permission to cast on for this vest. It's a pattern I've used before, and it knits up quickly.

The other good thing is Goodnight, Sweetheart.

DH and I got hooked on this thanks to public television. For people who like the past, not to mention clever writing and good acting, it's divine. We bought ourselves the whole DVD set from, as it's not available in the States. (That also meant a DVD player that will play all zones. Worth it.)

We have been watching a few episodes every night, and it's great fun to see it all again, with the bonus of seeing the shows we missed when it was broadcast here.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


I still have about 28 rows of washing, blocking, sewing and re-blocking.

And Mr. Obama will be sworn in two weeks from today! I've got a lot of work to do.