Wednesday, February 28, 2007

making do

the kyoto sweater skeins are huge and making them into a ball would take forever. i knew that any attempts at a centre-pull ball would result in tangles and tears so thought i'd make my own makeshift cone using first a toilet paper roll (too much yarn for such a wee bit of cardboard.) then i upgraded to a paper towel roll. and it works just dandy but it rolls around on the couch and off the couch and across the dog fur-covered rug.

i came up with two solutions that i think are quite clever. 1) jamming the "cone" in between the couch cusions and 2) jamming the cardboard onto the fisher price stacking rings post. it wobbles a bit but works well enough when i am sitting on the floor with the wee monkey.

speaking of the monkey, i think he is going to be a knitter. he's fascinated with everything knitting releated. he loves to watch me knit. this morning he was doing his best to pick up a ball band just out his reach. i was putting my 'net kintting patterns into plastic sleeves and sorting them in binders (by catagory. i know!) and baby j could not take his eyes off the patterns.

i am still looking forward to getting the swift and ball winder...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

ow ow ow ow ow finger ow

things were going tickety-boo with the double seed stitch sash. i was beginning to like and admire the stitch pattern. yea! then yesterday afternoon, the wee monkey and i were out doing a bit of shopping and as i heaved the stroller into the back of the car i bent my nail. it just flipped right back.

baby j is still rear-facing in his car seat so he sat there staring at me as i squeezed my finger really tight and kept repeating ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow. (i'd like to point out that nary a curse word escaped my lips. incredible.)

i sucked on my finger on as i drove out of the lot and discovered at the next stop light that not only had it bent, but it bent so far back that the nail ripped on both sides a few millimetres down and into the nail bed. ow ow ow ow ow ow. it was bleeding.

the nail in question is the first (index? i can never figure out which is which) finger on my left hand. essentially the finger that does all the work when knitting. eep. project kyoto is derailed for a couple days while i heal. sigh.

in unkitting news, last night the boy was doing the dishes when i heard him say, oh my god! as he dashed, ducking, into the dinning room. the next word came out of his mouth and struck terror into my heart: bat!

there was a bat in our kitchen. we'd dealt with a bat before in our last place so we knew what to do. still, bats freak me out. why? because they are rodent with wings? really, it'd be like finding a bird in your house but it is not. it is way, way worse.

we sprung into action. i grabbed the dog's blanket off the chair and waved it in front of the door to the living room. i yelled for the boy to close to door to the dinning room while he was yelling at me to open the front door. we both tried to dash around in the hall but the bat was flapping around and scaring the crap out of us. i lept at the light switch (we are both running around in a crouch of course) and tried to turn on the upstairs hall light to prevent the bat from flying upstairs. 'cause god, if that thing flew upstairs things would just get so much worse what with four dark rooms and a sleeping baby. instead of turning on the upstairs light, i managed to turn on the front hall light. the bat headed back into the kitchen. the boy is yelling at me to turn off the damn light and i'm yelling that i'm trying.

i finally got the front door and screen door open and ran back into the living room. the boy was crouch-crawling around in the kitchen trying to figure out where the bat went. i got the hall light situation corrected and am panicking that the damn bat has gone upstairs.

jazzie chooses this moment to bolt from the kitchen and make her bid for freedom. i have not seen that dog move that fast in years. out the door, across the porch, down the steps, and across the driveway before you can say bat!

i streaked out after her in my socks and catch up with her half way down the neighbour's driveway. her tail was tucked so you know she saw the bat and did her very best to protect the family by showing the bat which way to go.

i hustled jazz back in the house and the boy can't still see the bat in the kitchen and thinks it might have gotten into the basement. he heads down with the blanket to see if he can flush it out.

just as he goes down the stairs i see it flutter around the kitchen and head straight for me. i frantically waved baby j's snowsuit at him, having grabbed it after pulling off my snowy socks, and the bat found the front door and was gone. phew!

but wait! where the hell did it come from? don't bats hibernate? it is below zero out there. to the computer to find out more about bats. yeah, bats hibernate in caves and abandoned mines or they migrate. great. so, where was this lovely bat coming from? the boy had been taking out the garbage earlier. did it get into the garage and then into the house? or was it hanging out in the basement for the last few months? are there more of them? oh my god. i shudder to think. i may never do laundry again.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

and they call it puppy love

i love my puppers. i really do. but there are certain aspects of dog ownership that maddening and insurmountable. witness: black cotton and jazzie fur.

i have finished the back and have about an inch of the sash done. the double seed stitch was causing much doubt for the first 5 rows. it looked like ass. i was considering frogging and going down a needle size but i'm sticking with it for now. i think patience and double seed stitch go hand in hand. or at least i hope so.

unrelated, we watched the departed last night. my heart was actually pounding in a few spots. nicely drawn out tension. and leo, as much i can't get past him as the skinny kid on growing pains, did a wonderful job portraying a character that was so distraught and conflicted and scared.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

f is for fun!

no knitting news other than i am still working on the back of the kyoto sweater. so instead lets admire my new boots. i love my new boots. (do you know how hard it is to take pictures of your own feet?)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

knit from my what-now?

there is a move in the knitting world to knit from your stash for a few months, for a year, for as long as you can hack it.

it is february and i think i've purchased more yarn in the last two months than i did all last year. so much for knitting from my stash.

there's the mercerized cotton for the kyoto sweater.

the noro cash iroha for the hourglass sweater.

the rowan all seasons cotton i nabbed for $4.15 a ball to make a sweater for baby j.

the two balls of debbie bliss soho on sale for 40% off. it'll make a cute scarf for my SIL.

i'm contemplating going back and getting 6 more balls of the soho for another sweater for baby j. a wool sweater for $36? that's a steal!

i worked on the kyoto sweater last night. i started with the back since it is miles and miles of stocking stitch; better to get it over with. my gauge is working out just peachy keen. no picture because it is just black and boring.

ps. i found the spell check finally. whoopee!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

give 'er!

i'd like to preface this post by saying that my math sucks. i took a fair bit of math in high school but mostly because i had to keep repeating grades. here's math i do know: me + math = not good.

so i sat down with a calculator and a measuring tape and the pattern and my swatches and yeah, i give up.

here's where i get muddled. if the pattern calls for 20 st to 4 inches and i get 21 st to 4 inches, then i have one extra stitch for every 4 inches. across the back that's an extra inch if the back is 20 inches wide.

or does it mean that it takes me one extra stitch to get 4 inches and so my sweater will be an inch smaller across the back?

i'd like to direct your attention to the top of the post again.

i'd also like to point out that while everything i've read about gauge and the importance of getting gauge, none of them spell it out to a simpleton like me which way the math goes. or maybe they do and i just don't read things closely enough (because, hey, no on reads the instructions right?).

i ended up casting on the size that i was intending to knit anyway because i can handle that size being an inch larger or an inch smaller than the pattern. that's my reasoning and it makes perfect sense to me so please do not point out the error of my ways. ignorance is bliss. and potentially funny if the sweater is huge or way too small. i promise to post pictures of the final product.

let's hope i nail gauge on the hourglass sweater.

Monday, February 19, 2007

got gauge?

no damn it, i don't. because i want to create decent centre-pull balls, i am waiting to start the hourglass sweater. instead, i attempted to get gauge last night for the kyoto sweater. and now i find myself doing math.

the only way i get gauge is if i go up two needle sizes from what the pattern calls for and from what the yarn needs. i like a pretty dense looking fabric and going up two whole needle sizes makes everything look all loosey-goosey.

i've even tried knitting different swatches with different needle types -- metal circs and my denise plastic circs. i do not like knitting with the denise needles. the plastic is cheap and every stitch feels like work to me; there is no sliding along the needles and the plastic almost seems to grab at the yarn. but because of that, i do knit looser on the denise.

either way, i end up with a loosey-goosey-looking piece of knitting.

i re-read stephanie's chapter on gauge for inspiration. one of the mason-dixon ladies posted recently on the follies of ignoring gauge. what really drove her point home was her posting a picture with two halves of her sweater sitting side by side, one side with gauge and one side without. the size difference between them was staggering.

here's where my poor math skills come in. i was planning on knitting the second or third size (depending on my research. i think i remember someone posting that the sweater grew due to the weight of the cotton so smaller would be better). right now i am working on figuring out how many extra stitches i'd have, and therefore how many extra inches i'd have, if i knit on the 3.75 mm needles. depending on the answer to that, factoring in potential sweater growth, do i just adjust the pattern to accommodate the extra amount of stitches? do i knit a smaller size and hope for the best? already my head is swimming.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


i almost forgot! i went to the LYS on saturday after to pick up the extra two skeins i needed for the hourglass sweater. incredibly, it was the same dye lot! woot! lynne, lovely and talented sales person, suggested i go buy a lottery ticket. heh.


i just finished weaving in the ends. all but one. i don't want to block it because i love the way it curls in on itself and creates the waves that it was named for. the "ladder" stitches are still kinda kinked though. i'll hang it over a chair and see if its own weight will stretch things out.

i did have enough yarn but i was panicked at the end and so cheated a bit. i k2tog in almost every repeat about 12 rows from the end, effectively reducing the number of rows i still had to knit. no one would ever know unless they were specifically looking for it but i'm not 100% that i'm satisfied. especially now that i know exactly how much yarn i have left. i could rip back and reknit that last bit. i probably will. i didn't weave in that end because i was still waffling. (watch, i'll be just short of yarn when i do re-knit it)

i'm waffling in general. i liked the yarn better as a skein than knit up. i was hoping for a lighter green. i don't really have a coat that goes with it. but it cost so much money! i could give it to someone deserving like my mom but i dunno. i'll live with it for a bit and see. after i fix it.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

continental knitting demo

this is too cool. i've always wanted to learn how to knit continental. it looks so elegant somehow. and sleek. and apparently it is faster. having watched the demo and knitted along with it (pausing and rewatching as i went), i can certainly see how it would be a more efficient way to knit. at the moment i am merely awkward. but maybe in time? i'd have to work on something small and inconsequential, like a scarf, before tackling a garment. hmmm.

in clapotis news, i discovered yesterday that i did not have enough yarn to finish the decreases. curses! so i ripped again. third time's a charm, right? i'll probably have lot of yarn left over now but c'est la vie; obviously i can't gauge it any closer. the boy keeps listening to me curse and watching me frog and he finally asked if it would be possible to just get more yarn. i can't bring myself to tell him how much a hank costs. i just keep repeating, i am not buying any more yarn! i could have finished the damn wrap days ago...

other knit news: my guild has a swift and ball winder available to members. sweet! i emailed the keeper of the swifts and winder and i can have it at the next meeting. in march. i kept meaning to email before this month's meeting (this past tuesday) but always forgot. now i have to wait. sigh.

i checked ebay and found a swift for $36 and a winder $29. tempting. but not right now. my sister in law has both but lives in london. i should see if they are heading this way any time soon. we'll be seeing them in march (around the same time as the guild meeting). or i could just suck it up and wind all of my yarn by hand. i just had visions of all these cute little cakes of centre-pull yarn lined up on the dining room table.

in baby j news: our little monkey is seven months old today. oddly, he was absolutely irate at 12:36pm for no good reason. flashing back seven months to the moment of his birth?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

the dreaded clap, or, this could end in tears

i've had a few UFOs sitting around for a while. i decided that i would finish a few things before i started anything new. last spring i happily cast on my second clapotis using hand maiden's silk maiden yarn in lily pond (50-50 silk and wool). being heavily pregnant at the time, i was unable to concentrate on anything for more than 5 minutes. i shoved the clapotis in a plastic bag at the bottom of my knitting basket.

i picked it up again in early january. i love the pattern (kate is a genius) and as much as i love knitting it, i've been trying to speed through it so i could move onto something new. knitting while watching season 4 of 24 on dvd is perfect. watching jack bauer rush around makes me knit furiously.

i kept glancing at my yarn to guage when it was time to start decreasing. Stephanie has written about the knitting void where it seems like you aren't making any progress no matter how much you knit and then suddenly you are two inches past where you need to be. I felt like i wasn't making a dent in the ball and then suddenly realized that there was no way i could do the 80ish rows of decrease before running out.

of course putting in a lifeline never occurred to me. why would it? that ball was lasting forever. ha! so i pulled out the tapestry needle and some contrasting yarn and carefully threaded a lifeline just above my last dropped stitch. that should be enough, right? ha! i frogged, i picked up the stitches, i started decreasing.

two days ago i finally admitted to myself that there was still no way i had enough yarn to decrease properly. and there it sits on the coffee table while images of hourglass sweaters dance in my head. there's nothing for it. i have to frog it down at least one, maybe two, repeats. eep. of course, i love the dropped stitch action so i pull my ladders all the way down.

can i pick up the dropped stitch a couple rows before the doomed repeat(s)? or do i have to one-by-one fish up the stitches. i think i'd rather frog the whole thing and start over; the clapotis is just about as long as i am. i am going to try frogging two repeats, picking up the dropped stitches a couple rows below the repeat and see what happens.

i realize that the preceding paragraphs do not make any sense if you haven't knit a clapotis. sorry about that. i'm really just typing out loud.

two blogger notes: why does blogger not have a spell check? and why can't i put images just anywhere in my post? why do they show up at the top of the post? i know enough html to insert an image tag and yet...hmmm.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


i recently checked last minute knitted gifts out of the library and absolutely had to have the hourglass sweater. the sweater is made with noro's cash iroha yarn. people rave about noro yarn but i've never knit with it. i find the colors very muddy and dark and kinda ugs; however, cash iroha comes in solid colors. and is very soft. and pretty. and expensive.

off i toddled to my LYS to squeeze some skeins and decide on a color for my hourglass. the sweater in the book is knit in a fabulous orange. i look great in orange. the "orange" at my LYS was not nearly as nice as the one in the book (it is called "curry" apparently.) instead i chose the perfect red for me.

of course, the LYS didn't have enough of the perfect red to make the sweater. i turned again to the trusted internet. and found 10 skeins on ebay for $77 less than what i'd pay at the LYS. woot! and it arrived today! isn't it pretty? i can't wait to cast on.
i need 11 skeins for the sweater and i've read that some people have used almost an entire extra skein. option 1) i'll pop in the LYS to see if i can match the dye lot (not likely). option 2) use the non-matching skein(s) to knit the turned hems -- body and sleeves -- and inside the neck. option 2.5) one smarty pants out there used a contrasting color for her hems but i'm not sure i want to do that with this perfect red. maybe blue? option 3) i can also do alternating rows in the body to hide the mixed dye lots.


well now, that didn't hurt a bit.

i've made the leap.

happy to see you here.

i'm going to explore.