Saturday, December 29, 2007

FO: Hemlock Ring Blanket

Ravelry project link here.

Pattern: Jared Flood's blanket-sized version of the Hemlock Ring doily.

Yarn: One and a half skeins of Cascade Ecological Wool in colorway 8010

Needles: Started on US 10 Brittany DPNs, and finished on 32" US 10 Addi Turbo circulars (my LYS was out of the 40", and I really could have used that extra eight inches).

Size: I did two more pattern repeats than Jared's version -- although I didn't measure the final product.

Mods: None.

For: A Christmas gift for my mom.

Time: Casted on at the end of October; casted off on the tarmac at SFO on December 20th.

Thoughts: A gorgeous pattern, and I am exceedingly happy about how it turned out. My mom seemed to love it! Because I finished it on the plane home, I couldn't block it as long as it really needed -- I had about 36 hours to block on my sister's bed before she came home and, you know, needed somewhere to sleep. I had to block it super aggressively -- there was a lot of fighting, and it's still a tiny bit ripply -- but the final product is pretty striking (considering that it looked like this:

More Christmas updates to come -- fiber goodness, new books, and news on life (I'll be moving soon). For now, though -- I'm going to enjoy my Saturday.

Most recent podcast: CraftLit. I'm catching up with Tristan and Isolde.
Currently listening to: Blue Planet.
What I'm reading: The Amber Spyglass, by Phillip Pullman.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What you are picks its way.

My. It's been nearly a month since I posted last, and I can only partly blame it on the new job. Because I work remotely, I spend most of the day tethered to my laptop; once I'm finished, the last thing I want to do is spend time online. I've even been neglecting Ravelry!

I have been pretty busy, though. The knitting, admittedly, has been slow. Only two more pattern rounds before I finish the Hemlock Ring Blanket, which continues to look like a big, unphotographable blob. I can't wait to block it -- my goal is to finish it this week, and to take lots of blocking pictures. The only other active project on the needles is the second of the Baltic knee-high socks, which have been good for travel. The Urban Aran continues to require a new collar and then a zipper, and it's just occurred to me that I might have some down time next week (house-sitting in Seattle (yay!), and TreeHugger will be out of town on business) to focus on it.

So, instead of knitting pictures, I leave you with "How I spent my Thanksgiving vacation" pictures. I trekked, with TH, his family and friends, to a hut in the Colorado mountains. This east-coast flatlander had a great time, even if I was sucking wind for three days.

Oh, here's something fiber related! I overheat like crazy once I get moving, and so I love my calorimetry. It keeps my ears nice and warm, but lets me vent a bit from the top of my head. I originally knit it up using Malabrigo on size 9 needles, which made a pretty loose fabric that let winter winds through -- so I took a deep breath, and threw it in the wash. Now it's perfect!

Calorimetry at 12,000 feet.

More to come, and sooner than a month later, as I finish up the Christmas gifts, and start a new project or two!

Most recent podcast: Cast On!.
Currently listening to: Sufjan Stevens Songs for Christmas Vol. 1.
What I'm reading: Phillip Pullman's The Golden Compass.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

You don't go out looking for a job dressed like that? On a weekday?

Is this a... what day is this?

Apologies for the lack of posting -- things have been busier than usual around here (which isn't difficult, as most days find me in my pajamas until about 10 or 11am). They have been busier because -- I have a job! After several months of searching, moving, applying, and interviewing, I've landed a job with a great conservation organization in Oregon. It's temporary for the moment, but (finger's crossed) should go permanent once the next round of grants come through. And extra good news -- Corvallis has a great LYS (Fiber Nooks and Crannies) with spinning supplies and classes!

I celebrated with a knitting splurge -- I bought a handful of color cards from KnitPicks, as well as two books, one practical and one impractical, as a true splurge should be. The practical is The Knitter's Book of Yarn, bought as a direct result of my Tangled Yoke yarn selection frustrations. There's an excerpt on alpaca in the winter Interweave Knits, and I think it's going to be a useful addition to my knitting library. The impractical: Twinkle's Big City Knits. This is not a book I'd normally buy -- I prefer technique books to pattern books, and simple, classic patterns to trendy, striking ones (nearly every shirt I own is a long-sleeved, solid-colored, cotton knit). But there was something about a few of these patterns -- Shopping Tunic, Karate Sweater (both Ravelry links) -- that I really enjoyed and kept coming back to (I think knit lit kate's love affair with Twinkle helped plant the seed).

The arrival of these two books, as well as finishing the Tangled Yoke and Joel's hat, has led to some serious project lust. The afore-mentioned shopping tunic is tempting as an instant gratification project, and I've been drooling over the Lion Brand Pringle sweater knock-off for awhile now. Conveniently, I also have LYS credit burning a hole in my pocket -- thanks, four extra skeins of Tangled Yoke yarn!

On the knitting front, I'm about halfway through Jared's Hemlock Ring Blanket, which I am loving. The blanket will be a Christmas gift for my Mom, and should be done (knock on wood) way ahead of time. I never plan this far ahead, and I have to say I'm quite pleased. I may even cast on another once I'm done with the first, for a recently married friend with a baby on the way. (Excuse the poor picture -- I was too lazy for a proper photo shoot).

Most recent podcast: Lime and Violet.
Currently listening to: The Seahawks game/The Simpsons.
What I'm reading: Doris Lessing's The Real Thing.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

FO: Tangled Yoke Cardigan


Ravelry project link here.

Pattern: Eunny Jang's Tangled Yoke Cardigan (Ravelry link here) from the Fall 2007 Interweave Knits.

Yarn: 10 balls of Jo Sharp Alpaca Kid Lustre (Ravelry link here) in colorway 855, Cassis.

  • 26" US 4/3.5mm bamboo circulars
  • 26" US 5/3.75mm bamboo circulars
  • 26" US 0/2 mm Addi Turbo circulars
  • US 4/3.5mm bamboo dpns
Size: Smallest size, 34" bust.

Mods: Only those required for the slightly heavier yarn weight -- one less buttonhole, fewer rows.

Notions: I went with these buttons (which I swear, nearly match the color of the sweater in real life).

For: Me.

Time: Cast on: August 29th. Last button attached: October 19th.

Techniques Learned: buttonholes, three-needle bind off, how to make a yoked sweater.

Thoughts: A gorgeous design by Eunny. I wasn't completely sold on the tweediness of the yarn called for for this sweater, and so I wanted a solid-colored yarn. When I went to my new LYS, I had a great time talking with the owner and sorting through the store's massive selection for alternatives. I was in such a rush to cast on -- I wish that I had slept on my yarn selection a little bit longer. I had picked out a few yarns on my own that felt and looked to be the same weight as Rowan Felted Tweed, but when I discussed yarn substitution with the owner, she directed me to some true dk weight yarns. I chose the Jo Sharp for the color, the softness, the little bit of shine (it is lovely yarn), but I should have known that the mohair content would make the finished product a little fuzzier than I really wanted. The slightly heavier weight, too, required some fairly simple modification to account for the different gauge. I knit the instructions for the smallest size (34" bust) in order to end up with sweater with measurements splitting the 34" and 38" sizes, and allowing for the right amount of negative ease across my chest.

All in all I'm very happy, but not absolutely thrilled with the end result. I think the sweater is lovely, and the cables do show up better than I'd thought they would. The color is gorgeous, and the yarn is soft and warm. But -- it's just a wee bit too heavy and fuzzy. In the end I have to say -- I wish I'd knit it with different yarn.

Most recent podcast: Lime and Violet.
Currently listening to: Wilco's Sky Blue Sky (on my newly fixed iPod!).
What I'm reading: Doris Lessing's The Real Thing.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I miss my ball winder.

Another item packed somewhere in my storage space is my ball winder. It took me two hours to create this:

Cascade Ecological Wool, in the 8010 colorway, that I've begun to turn into Jared's Hemlock Ring Blanket, a Christmas gift for my mom. The heavy worsted weight knits up super-fast on size 10 needles, giving me hope that I'll definitely get it finished in time for the holidays. If it goes quickly enough, I hope to knit up another for a friend as a belated wedding/early baby gift.

My iPod is back in one piece and fully operational -- I'm elated that it took a $30 part and about 20 minutes total to fix a problem Apple told me they'd charge me $150 for, and then suggested I just buy a new one. Apple, I normally love you, but I'm not going to buy a new iPod every year and a half.

Tangled Yoke pictures to come -- I can't wait to show it off!

Most recent podcast: Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
Currently listening to: Law and Order repeat.
What I'm reading: Doris Lessing's The Real Thing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

FO: Joel's Ribbed Hat

Pattern: Jessica of Fig and Plum's Cashmere Ribbed Hat.
Yarn: Rowan Scottish Tweed DK (Ravelry) in 007 Lewis Gray
Needles: 4mm bamboo DPNs.
Mods: None.
For: My friend Joel.
Time: About a week.
Thoughts: My quickest knit yet. Super-easy, but satisfying -- and you get a great looking hat when you're done. I think this will be my go-to hat pattern from now on, and I may have to make one for myself.

The Tangled Yoke is an FO these days as well, but I have yet to get a good photo shoot in to show it off -- I hope to by the end of the week!

Hey, want to see my iPod?

In an effort to stick it to the man (I'm talking about you, Apple), I'm attempting to fix my iPod. My less than two-year-old iPod. The headphone jack is busted, and I can only get the left channel to work. Apple told me they'd charge $150 for the repair, and I might as well buy a new one for $100 more. I told them where they could put their new $250 iPod, bought the $30 part, and went about fixing it myself.

Of course, when I went to put the new jack in, I discovered they'd sent me the wrong size. So until Thursday, when the correct one arrives, my iPod will continue to be in pieces. Yay!

Most recent podcast: Selected Shorts.
Currently listening to: Mel Brook's Blazing Saddles (heehee!).
What I'm reading: Doris Lessing's The Real Thing.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

State of the Union.

Tangled Yoke is blocking as I type -- in the garage, so I'm sure she's going to smell like gasoline for the next few days. Thanks much to Mary Lynn for the wonderful comment. I really do love the sweater, it's just that frustrating little perfectionist voice in my head that gets in the way -- but I still can't wait until it's done blocking so I can add the buttons and wear it!

With TY nearing completion, I've been scouting new projects, and reconsidering the old. I've got the Baltic Socks on the needles, as well as the Urban Aran that desperately needs a new collar so it can be worn, the poor neglected thing. The Bella Blouse has floundered while I try to figure out the ramifications of substituting Tahki Cotton Classic (Ravelry) for the Berroco Touche (Ravelry) -- the yarn shop recommended it. No real gauge is used for the patterned details, but using the Tahki my bottom band is much longer than the finished measurements of the top. My other two projects, Capecho and Kiri, have been classified as hibernating for now (explaining their removal from the sidebar over there). You see, when I moved west, I sort of assumed that I'd find a job within a month, make a final move and settle in to a new place. So when I landed here in southern Washington, we crammed all of our (mine and TreeHugger's) belongings into storage as best we could. Leaving my yarn in the back corner of a 5'x10' storage space brimming with what you see below. Well, that was two months ago, and no job yet. So Capecho and Kiri are unreachable, as are all of my patterns and the supplies for the Romantic Cables and Lace vest, Spiral Boot Socks, The Inga Hat, and several other unnamed projects. Which frees me up for the Hemlock Ring Blanket (yarn to be ordered later today), of course, but without an income I'd really like to get at that box. Frustratingly, you can see it in the picture below -- that box on the upper right. Grr!

Otherwise, progress continues on Joel's hat. It's been funny to make the leap from big and/or somewhat focus-intensive projects to *k2, p2, repeat from * in the round. It's just flying by:

TY should be done by Friday, and hopefully I'll get a little photo shoot in over the weekend.

Most recent podcast: CraftLit Episode 54.
Currently listening to: Brandi Carlile's The Story.
What I should be doing: Preparing for this weekend's party, returning email.

Friday, October 12, 2007


The button bands (my first) are complete, and all that remains is to weave in ends, block, and attach the buttons. Quite exciting, especially since I learned a few new tricks at the end, including three-needle bind off and buttonhole-making. This sweater has more ends to weave in than anything I've ever knit -- I plan to wear it to a party next weekend, so I hope that will spur me on to the finishing.

A different purple in every picture, none of them correct.

My one frustration with this sweater is my yarn selection. I hope to talk about this more in-depth in my FO post, but the mohair in the Jo Sharp Alpaca Kid Lustre (Ravelry link) has had me worried from the start. My fears have slowly built up on themselves, just like knitting a item you know will be frighteningly enormous, but you just have to keep going. It's just so...fuzzy, and doesn't quite show off the cable as I'd like. I'm attempting to overcome this frustration with the mantra "subtlety." The cable isn't fuzzy, it's just a little subtle.

As I near the end, however, I'm getting itchy for a new project, with plenty to choose from. It's getting on toward the holiday season, and I'm thinking BrooklynTweed's Hemlock Ring Blanket for Mom. I've also got some of that Scottish Tweed to use up. For Joel's Hat, I'm thinking Jessica's Cashmere Ribbed Hat, the pattern having been given man-approval.

In other news, more funny keywords people have followed to my site: "How fast can a wild monkey run?" I imagine they were disappointed.

And -- we ate the sushi too fast for pretty pictures; but one day, I promise, that spicy tuna roll recipe.

Most recent podcast: CraftLit Episode 53 -- I am woefully behind without my daily bus ride.
Currently listening to: Beverly Hills Cop II. Hey, I live with three guys.
What I should be doing: Weaving in ends.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The haul.

First order of business: knitting. Although I haven't been blogging, I have been knitting. To prove it, here's my progress on Tangled Yoke:

I finished the yoke last night, and am about to start the little collar bit. I finally decreased enough stitches to try it on like a normal sweater, and it fits wonderfully (although the shedding -- oh, the shedding. Only dark shirts beneath this baby, I think). I've also made progress on the Baltic Socks, thanks to two plane rides and a very chatty (although nice) row-mate on the flight home). Thank goodness you can knit and nod your head at the same time.

Also, I thought I'd share the rest of my yarn purchases from Edinburgh. Along with the Araucania, I picked up, oh, just a little tweed:

I told you I like it! Four balls of Rowan Scottish Tweed DK (Ravelry link) (far left) and 12 of Rowan Scottish Tweed 4 ply (Ravelry) -- 8 in peat (center) and 4 in herring (right). The peat is destined for two pairs of socks for my traveling companions, the DK for a hat for one of the traveling companions, and the herring for a lacy scarf for me. I bought the haul at McAree Brothers in Edinburgh, where my traveling companions were very patient (even more so once I told them if they picked out yarn I would make them something). We happened into the store twice; on the second visit the clerk was exceptionally helpful and friendly. We went for the Scottish Tweed 4 ply because of the name, and because we were told it was one of the only yarns in the shop from Scotland.

Also -- I use Google Analytics to track the traffic on my site, entirely for entertainment purposes. How fun is it to discover your blog is read by Swedes and Estonians?! Until now, the keywords that lead to my blog have been entirely understandable -- usually some variation on the names of the projects I've worked on. Today, however, I noticed a change: people have found my blog by searching for "beer kilts" and "the duck has landed." I wonder if they found what they were looking for.

Tonight: sushi. I'll try to take pictures and share the recipe soon -- Amanda did ask for it so long ago!

Most recent podcast: Symphony Space and NPR's Selected Shorts.
Currently listening to: NPR's Morning Edition.
What I should be doing: Knitting. Applying for jobs.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Look! Yarn!

Lovely, lovely Araucania Ranco multy, bought at HandKnit UK in Edinburgh -- thanks to Ysolda, for recommending it. I'm hoping it will distract from my lack of blogging lately. I returned from Scotland a bit sick and definitely jet-lagged; spent a few days in Washington before heading to Denver for the Land Trust Alliance Rally to network my little heart out. I'll be back home on Monday, and hope to update for real then.

Until then -- look at the pretty yarn!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!

Best line of poetry ever.
I have returned! Tired, and a little sick, and a little jet-lagged, after an entirely enjoyable trip. More to come.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Things that will make you feel better after getting a bad haircut:

1. The new Knitty. Several patterns caught my eye, including:
Although I may not get to making any of them, several makes me happy.

2. Addi Turbo circs from Knit/Purl. I love Knit/Purl. Gorgeous yarn beautifully arranged, and friendly people who compliment my $2 Value Village bag satisfyingly.

3. Buttons for Tangled Yoke. The lovely people at Button Emporium and Ribbonry in Portland were fabulous, as was the store. After I picked out a few I liked the saleswoman -- I didn't get her name, but she reminded me of Ina Garten (it was the hair)-- disappeared and came back with the exact. Perfect. Buttons. In the exact color of the sweater. Without even a the tiniest trace of my yarn. On the first try. So I bought two sets of buttons -- the ones she found (left) and the ones I found (right) for the same sweater because they were both so pretty and I couldn't decide.

Now the haircut doesn't seem so bad. But that could be the wine talking.

Speaking of Tangled Yoke, I've attached the sleeves. As one of my housemates said, "Huh. It actually looks like a sweater now." It will not, unfortunately, be finished for the trip to Scotland. It's so close, however, that I feel deluded into thinking that I can finish it by the end of the flight there. I'll keep you posted. Future posts on TY may include "How I should have known better than to use a yarn with any mohair content for a cabled sweater" or "Why deciding to make a sweater in two weeks will undoubtedly cloud your judgment."

My camera continues to completely misrepresent the color of my Tangled Yoke.

In other news, since I'm not sure I'll blog before then: I'm leaving on Saturday morning for Edinburgh -- exciting! There will be lots of wool, lots of whisky, and lots of beer. I hope to share pictures when I get back in a week or so.

Most recent podcast: NPR's Story of the Day.
Currently listening to: Pirates of the Caribbean.
What I should be doing: Packing. Knitting. Applying for jobs.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Shades of Deep Purple.

After some petting and cooing over my swatches at Unraveled (they really are so very nice), I was charmed and convinced that the purple Jo Sharp would work for the Tangled Yoke, and decided to go for it (really I was just tired of swatching). The yarn is lovely, and knits up wonderfully, although the texture is a little nubbier than I'd really like, truth be told, from the bubbly 2-ply. The color, too, is gorgeous, and just enough out of my comfort zone of green and blue. It helps that my Great Aunt Lottie once told me (at age seven or so) that purple is my color. I've held onto that ever since. And -- not to jinx myself -- depending on how my first-button-band-ever goes, I seem to be on target for finishing this before my trip to Edinburgh. It's nice being unemployed sometimes.

In other news, I saw, among other crazy and wild sights, The Frames last night at Bumbershoot. They are one of my favorite bands, due in large part to their always fun live shows. And their sexy Irish accents. If you don't know them, you should check them out. Even if you don't like them, they have sexy Irish accents.

Okay, Rob Bochnik probably doesn't have a sexy Irish accent, since I'm pretty sure he's from Chicago. But Glen Hansard gets all the love these days (and well deserved it is). And look at the wind in his hair!
Most recent podcast: Selected Shorts.
Currently listening to: The Frames mix.
What I should be doing: Absolutely nothing.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


And not the washcloth kind.

I was going to blog next about the money I just spent on this project (short version: worth it, but frightening for one so very out of work), or on the wonderful experience I had at Unraveled.

But three (Three! Full-sized! With cable! I always skimp on swatching!)swatches later, and I am no closer to starting my there's-no-way-I'm-going-to-finish-this-sweater-in-three-weeks three-week Tangled Yoke Cardigan.

I tried Rowan Felted Tweed, the yarn called for in this project. It worked up lovely, right on gauge, but the tweediness wasn't working for me with this project. I wanted the cable to shine a bit more. (But I love tweed otherwise, I swear!)

So at Unraveled I pondered and compared and measured and thought and even asked for help (it's difficult for me. I almost neurotically like to appear like I know what I'm doing). The Unraveled person (I didn't get her name) was wonderful, helpful, gave me lots of options and then backed off to let me ponder and compare some more. I ended up with Jo Sharp Alpaca Kid Lustre in a deep purple color.

I knew it was going to be a problem when I chose the dark color. I knew it was going to be an issue that the yarn felt a little weightier than the Felted Tweed. But I took it home, and knocked out another cabled swatch. It's just too dark and fuzzy, and it eats up the cable, and the gauge is off.

What's making me the most crazy is the obvious difference in thickness of the two DK yarns. I'm not concerned about conformity of all yarns to one thickness here, but more: how do I pick a yarn? All of the Unraveled recommended yarns, all DK, are even thicker than the Jo Sharp.

So it's back to the yarn store today -- at the very least, for a new color of the Jo Sharp. Possibly a return to Felted Tweed, possibly a new yarn.

Ah well. I guess I shouldn't be complaining about spending another few hours in a yarn store.

Most recent podcast: Sticks and String.
Currently listening to: A friend on the phone.
What I should be doing: Going to the yarn store!

Saturday, August 25, 2007


With Eunny Jang's Tangled Yoke Cardigan from this Fall's Interweave Knits. Absolutely obsessed. I bought the magazine from the store even though I just subscribed (it won't mail until September!); I've stalked it on Ravelry; I dreamed about it last night.

I've been eyeing it for a few weeks, but I think this new found obsession has been brought on by a trip -- to Scotland. In less than a month I'll be flying with TreeHugger boyfriend and friends to Edinburgh for a week. I'm very excited -- it's been so long since I've traveled for vacation, and I do love Scotch, beer, kilts, and Scottish accents. And haggis. Really, I do!

But -- apparently my brain has decided that Tangled Yoke is THE sweater I must have with me on this journey. Urban Aran -- which I had originally planned to finish and bring with -- has been slighted by my mind as being too bulky for travel. So on Tuesday, once I'm back in southern Washington (more on that), I'll head to Unraveled in Vancouver to pick up the necessities and get to work. Then all that's left to do is knit a sweater in three weeks.

Right now TH boyfriend and I are in Seattle, staying with family. We're in town to see Young Frankenstein, in previews before heading to NY. Hilarious -- definitely some work to be done, but hilarious. It makes the bits of me that miss my home and my youth as a Broadway brat feel a little bit better.

For now, I'll leave you with a picture from West Seattle. Blurry, but emotive. It's good to be home.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Duck has landed.

I have landed! Battle Ground, Washington, about 2o miles northeast of Portland, is my home for the time being. TreeHugger boyfriend and I are crashing with some great friends here. The Duck and I were greeted with a welcoming feast of cheese, fresh-picked raspberries, and Scotch. Lovely!

The trip was more enjoyable than it probably should have been, given I was driving 8-10 hours a day, alone, but I can entertain myself endlessly. I saw friends and family, caught up on my podcasts, and got excited at the first sight of mountains, canyons, trees, the Columbia River, Safeway, and windmills. I saw a license plate from every state but Hawaii (I once got all 50, plus the District of Columbia). This is my eighth cross-country drive: back and forth with friends once; four times by myself; twice with TreeHugger boyfriend; five times west, three times east. I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed that I probably won't get to do it again any time soon.

All of that stopping in between the driving allowed for a lot of knitting time. Knitting served particularly well as a way to release some of the energy stored up while sitting in a car for an entire day. I focused mostly on the Baltic Knee Socks, with excellent progress to show for it (excuse the pale legs):
Including my first short-row heel:

Not perfect, but not bad. I won't show you that the other side has a hole an eyelet in the corner. I enjoyed making a different heel, and I'm looking forward to perfecting my technique on the second sock. I'm loving the Fearless Fibers superwash merino in Brick House (the color is more accurate on my screen in the second picture). The yarn just goes on and on and on, and I've never received so many compliments on any other colorway. And besides, I think the yarn is just glad to be home!

More to come. I've got to spread out the blog lovin' (blovin'!), particularly since I'm unemployed and don't have much else to do (and I'm loving it!).

Most recent podcast: NPR's Story of the Day.
Currently listening to: a humming refrigerator.
What I should be doing: Responding to email.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A brief update.

The cross-country-ing (cringe, you grammar fiends!) is going quite well. I am a very strange person who enjoys long, long drives across the country. This is the eighth time I've driven across the country, the fifth time by myself, and it still has not gotten old.

Not a lot of time for updating, but: the socks grow. I missed Stitches (it's all for the best). Gella's in Hays, Kansas is fabulous. I am super excited to be back in the mountains. I'll write in full soon!

My companion on the trip. You can chart our progress here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Things I did not need to know.

Franklin at The Panopticon just happened to mention the date of Stitches Midwest in his blog. That date happens to be the exact weekend I will be driving from New Jersey via Chicago to Washington State.

That may be a temptation I can't resist.

Yay for moving on the hottest day of the summer!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

To sock club, or not to sock club?

To sock club, of course. But life is crazy right now -- the moving truck arrives on Tuesday, and I'm technically homeless for the foreseeable future (not to worry, of course -- I've gotten many, many offers of places to crash until I find a job and, more importantly, pin down a location).

So, no stable address to send packages, little time to actually knit. I have to say no to a three month, reasonably-priced sock club from a gorgeous dyer, right?

Or maybe I can argue that the socks will keep me sane. It's probably telling that I haven't shared the name of the sock club, although if I were smart, I would, and then all the memberships would be gone.

The Artful Dodger, helpfully illustrating how difficult it is for me to take picture of my knitting on the lawn with this attention whore around.

Most recent podcast: Nature Stories.
Currently listening to: WFUV.
What I should be doing: Cleaning and packing as ever.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

FO: Grrr!

Pattern: Knitty's Grrr, by Alice Bell.

Needles: Size 6 bamboo straights and DPNs for the i-cord.

Yarn: Frog Tree Pima Cotton bought at The Yarn Tree, and DMC embroidery thread for the face.

Mods: None.

For: Liam Richard, a friend's first child (born last week)!

Time: About a week.

Thoughts: Lots of fun, and quick to knit. I think I'll knit up one for me with the leftover yarn, and a few for holiday gifts...

I did some knitting in public today, on the Baltic socks as I waited (for two hours) to get my car inspected. Two MVC guys asked if I was making them all sweaters. It's a funny little world -- there's doesn't seem to be much else I do that gets such attention in public.

It'll be slow for a few weeks, as I make my move across the country. I've got a week here until the trailer shows up, and then three more days before I head west. I'll keep you posted as I go.

Most recent podcast: Lime and Violet.
Currently listening to: Brandi Carlile's The Story (my new favorite).
What I should be doing: Cleaning and packing as ever.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"I do like knitting patterns." A. P. W. B. Dumbledore.

I've done little knitting because, of course, my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows finally arrived on Monday. I'm trying to draw it out -- usually I read them through in about 24 hours, but I wanted to really savor this one, since it's the last. Speaking of Harry Potter, I saw Order of the Phoenix the other day, and got all excited about one of Hermione's sweaters. This one, in fact.

Picture edited from MuggleNet.

Pretty simple. I'm not sure yet if I'll knit it, but it piqued my interest. Although I love to see the amazing products inspired by the HP movies that so many imaginative knitters have created, I hadn't yet been inspired to knit one until this one (and the one below -- gorgeous). I think I like this one because it's subtle Harry Potter fan wear -- Gryffindor colors, worn by my favorite character, in a style I'd normally wear. Maybe use my first EZ "pattern" -- I think I'll skip the hood, though.

Picture edited from MuggleNet.

(By the way, Nicomara is working on this sweater, and the charted pattern is available on Ravelry.)

It was actually the first time I watched an HP movie and noticed all of the crazy knitting in it. Ginny had a great vest in one of the final scenes (about which all I can remember is that it looked like a great vest). I'll have to watch the movie in slow motion when it comes out on DVD.

Most recent podcast: Quirky Nomads.
Currently listening to: NPR's Radio Lab.
What I should be doing: Finishing my job applications.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

They really like me!

My copy of Harry Potter did not arrive today, contrary to UPS and Amazon's tracking systems. And so I'm blogging.

So yesterday, a lovely surprise showed up in my inbox: my Ravelry invite! (You can find me at WildThingsRun. Fast wouldn't fit.) I feel loved. I've spent the better part of the last 24-hours playing around, and I have to agree with the general buzz -- it's wonderful. No more Googling and Technorati-ing to find details about projects I'd like to attempt, or to see how a certain yarn works up. (Image edited from

I also enjoyed Ravelry's feature to let you check on your invite status (of course, I only noticed this after I'd been invited). I requested an invite on May 31st, and was 6062nd in line. As of yesterday, 12,693 people behind me! I can't wait until Ravelry gets up and running at full speed, I really think it's going to be a great resource.

Of course, this means that I haven't gotten to finish my mini-review of my NYC-area yarn binging; but I have just started two new projects. Since finishing the monkeys, I've been searching for another sock pattern. I had a few in mind -- the Spiral Boot Socks; Clessidra; Pomatomus; Sweetpea -- but the sock yarn I had wasn't really speaking to any of them. I'd had some gauge problems with the Jaywalkers that I didn't want to revisit. I'll reveal my inner geekiness here and admit to creating a spreadsheet to track my sock stash and patterns. While doing some research I came across the Knitting Philistine's review of Clementine's Baltic Socks [PDF] won me over, and worked well with the Fearless Fibers superwash merino sock yarn I had in my stash and have been antsy to use. There's so much of it (550 yards per skein!) that I had knee socks in mind, and the Baltic Socks' stocking stitch allowed for a simple modification for this first-time-knee-sock-knitter. Here's a picture of the beginning:

And a larger project: Norah Gaughan's Bella Blouse [PDF] from Interweave. I was looking for a good summer knit, and this one caught my eye back when it was called Pomegranate-something-or-other. I think maybe Orangina would have been a better pick, but I can put that in the queue. Although I really liked the colors shown in the Bella pattern, I don't think they would flatter me. So I went with a very saturated navy blue in the Berroco Cotton Twist and Tahki Cotton Classic to stand in for the Touche. Here's the bottom band:

Whew. Hope y'all are enjoying your weekends, and thanks for reading until the end!

Monday, July 16, 2007

FO: Nautie

Pattern: Knitty's Nautie, by Beth Skwarkecki.

Needles: Size 4 bamboo.

Yarn: White yarn is Red Heart Soft Yarn in White; The blue yarns are a cheap, unidentifiable wool/synthetic blend from my stash.

Mods: I embroidered the eyes to avoid using the recommended (and easily removable) felt eyes for safety and longevity. Oh, and in true treehugger style, I stuffed the thing with scraps of mis-matched cotton socks (put through the wash on the "sanitize" cycle, not to worry).

For: A friend's first baby, due today!

Time: About a week.

Thoughts: Loved it! I was so excited by the pattern, as I'm setting myself up to be the nerdy/science-y/hipster friend who gets their little boy all into science (I fully intend to support any dinosaur/slimy creature habit that may come). I thought the idea of a knitted nautilus stuffie over a more traditional teddy bear completely fulfilled that nerdy/science/hipster aesthetic. It was an easy knit, all in the round, and super fast -- it took me a week.

Most recent podcast: Knitpicks. (Still!)
Currently listening to: Ticking clocks.
What I should be doing: Cleaning and packing as ever.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Nothing to see here.

I'm still getting the hang of Google Analytics newest beta version, but I just noticed that the largest portion of traffic driven to my site by search engines is looking for info on Norah Gaughan's capecho. I'm sorry to disappoint, since it may be frustrating that I haven't posted on it for a bit. It sort of just faded away from the blog. That's because it's somewhere in here*:

My largest projects are in limbo for a bit as I too am in limbo, living with my parents in my childhood home in urban (nearly-Manhattan) New Jersey. I've got a small storage unit and my parents' dining room until I figure out where I'm going next.

But not to worry -- capecho will be back. This is my summer to gain some more knowledge on knitting basics so that I can better beat the large capecho comforter into submission. (Brenda Dayne said this:
The only thing you need to remember when knitting a Nora Gaughan pattern is to follow the directions exactly. Don’t be jumping ahead thinking you know what’s coming next. Unless you want to rip back. And it is essential to pay very close attention to gauge. Unless you want to rip back. And don’t go altering the pattern unless you thoroughly understand what you’re doing. Because if you do, the only circle of fifths you’ll be interested in will be fifths of gin, and it won’t be Nora’s fault. That’s all I’m saying.
which may or may not have scared the crap out of me enough to bone up a little bit on the knitting skills).

Most recent podcast: Knitpicks.
Currently listening to: NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday.
What I should be doing: Cleaning and packing as ever (See above).

*Yarn may not actually be in this picture. Actually, the yarn is definitely not in this picture. It would have been, had I taken the picture when I originally wrote this post. I never got around to posting this, um, post until I had been proactive enough to organize all of my stash and move it to another room -- but the point remains the same!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

FO: Monkey Socks

Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A., at Knitty.
Yarn: Three Waters Farm 50/50 Merino Tencel.
Needles: Size 2 metal, inherited from somewhere.
Mods: None.
Time: About one month.

Thoughts: I understand why these are the socks of the moment. The pattern repeats were simple to memorize, and resulted in a unique design that played well with the variegated yarn. I loved working with the merino-tencel blend. I loved the luster -- it makes the socks look iridescent -- the weight, and the feel of the yarn.

My one frustration is that these socks are a little too big. If I make them again -- and I probably will -- I imagine I'll shorten the heel and use one less pattern repeat. I was afraid that using nine repeats instead of ten would make them too short, but they're just a little too big with ten.

And I have to say, I feel a little bit like that kid everyone hated in class. You know, the one who always messed up the curve and was teacher's pet (I should probably admit that this was actually me. Hermione Granger speaks to me.)? I have just finished my second pair of socks. I finished one pair, then moved on to the next pair. I'm the girl who finishes two matching socks before casting on for another? In my defense, this is very unlike me -- I can't imagine it will last long!

Most recent podcast: Knitpicks.
Currently listening to: my parents' ticking clock.
What I should be doing: Cleaning. Packing. Deciding (more on that later).

Friday, July 06, 2007

Hey hey, it's a monkey!

A pair of them, in fact. No pictures of the pair yet, but here's a taste, before bed.

Most recent podcast: Cast On.
Currently listening to: TreeHugger boyfriend on Skype.
What I should be doing: Sleeping.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bad excuses are worse than none.

I've been knitting. I've been taking pictures of knitting. I've been re-reading Harry Potter. I've been cleaning. I've been applying for jobs. I've been thinking about moving to Juneau. No seriously, I've been thinking of moving to Juneau for a job.

I have not, as one or two of you may have noticed, been blogging. I've been meaning to blog. I want to blog. I have so much to share! But alas -- not tonight. Unless I can't get to sleep later, and then I'll be back.

I'll leave you with the half-finished Grrr, and blame my lack of blogging on the depression caused by Ravelry's continued insistence on not inviting me to join. Love me, Ravelry!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I am not my f****ing khakis.

Please excuse the reference in the title, but it's been my mantra for the past few days. (I actually curse with the best of them, more often than I should probably, but I thought perhaps I should avoid it in the title of a blog post). I wonder what Chuck Palahniuk would think of me quoting Fight Club on my knitting blog?

This is one of the things that is taking up a large chunk of my time these days:

Rather disgusting, isn't it? My entire childhood bed is piled two feet high with all of the clothes that I own (minus the clothes I was wearing when I took the picture, of course). In my defense, a rather large chunk of that is clothes I wore in high school. Since college I've been traveling around a bit, always with only what fit in the back of my '95 Honda Accord. I'd bring a large bag of clothes, and then fill it in whenever I got where I was going. So that's how I got here, with doubles and triples of pajamas and jeans, and about 40 sweaters/sweatshirts. So every day I work on getting rid of a little more. (Check out The Seven Things Project for a little inspiration).

1. New York City area yarn store adventures.
2. Job search/moving plans.
3. New knitting projects, plus progress on some old ones.
4. Spicy tuna sushi recipe!

Most recent podcast: Quirky Nomads.
Currently listening to: Mozart's Lucio Silla, K 135: Overture, on WQXR.
What I should be doing: Cleaning. Working out. Applying for jobs.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bad blogger! No cookie.

Amanda tagged me, like three years ago, for the "7 random things" meme. I've been putting off answering this for a few reasons -- first, I've been avoiding my computer like the plague (I've been glued to it for two years, and I'm enjoying this brief respite of Having Nothing To Do). Secondly, I feel like I don't "know" seven bloggers. So this morning I searched all of the knitting blogs I read regularly and feel like I have at least a one-sided relationship with, and it turns out: only two, as far as I can tell, have not filled out memes. So I'm tagging Kim (whose blog regularly makes me snort) and Alli & Adrienne (I love reading their knitting adventures in Alaska). For the rest, I'm following Deb's lead: if you read this blog, and you haven't been tagged (and you'd like to be), consider it done. Leave me a comment, and I'll come on over and check out what you have to say. And we can be blog buddies.

Before the meme, though, a preview of things to come, if I don't crap out and conveniently "forget" that I said I'd blog about them:
  • Tour of knitting stores in NYC
  • New yarn acquisitions
  • Moving and cleaning angst
  • Upcoming projects
Lara's meme rules:

Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those who are tagged need to write on their own blog those 7 facts as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog.

1. It does not bother me as much as it bothers everyone else I know that I do not yet have a job.

2. My sister and I are ten months, three weeks, and six days apart. I'll give you a moment to do the math. Excellent. As kids we looked very similar, and loved to tell strangers who asked if we were twins exactly how close in age we were. I never understood why my mom told us it was okay to tell strangers we were twins until I was much older, and understood the **wink, wink, nudge, nudge** reaction and my mom's supreme embarrassment.

3. I am the least methodical person I know. I jump around from section to section when I write papers. I work on six projects at once. It takes about five seconds for me to get distrac -- ooh, what's that?!

4. I am twenty-six, and the longest I have held a full time job is eight months. The looming necessity of a full-time job with no end date freaks me out a little. Perhaps this is unsurprising given #3.

5. In four years I lived in five states. From 2001-2005, I lived for at least three months in: New Jersey, Alaska, Washington, Arizona, and North Carolina. Doing my taxes is fun.

6. For a very long time I wanted to be a veterinarian. Then I found my school's Natural Resource Management program and instantly fell in love. The whole pre-vet track was just too competitive for me, and I realized I'd much rather spend my days looking at trees.

7. I could probably eat sushi at every meal for the rest of my life and be completely happy. Making sushi is my favorite dinner event, and my spicy tuna (mmm, spicy tuna!) is better than any I've tasted elsewhere.

And, a picture. I'm spending the weekend at my parents' new house in north-central Pennsylvania. This morning I woke up to this:

Most recent podcast: Lime and Violet.
Currently listening to: NPR's Weekend Edition.
What I should be doing: Nothing.

Monday, May 21, 2007

FO: Three-take Jaywalkers

Pattern: Jaywalker, in MagKnits, by Grumperina.

Yarn: Ruby Sapphire Yarn's Ruby Superwash Yarn, Nina Colorway.

Needles: Size 0 bamboo DPN's.

Time: Received the yarn as a Christmas gift, casted-off on May 3rd.

Mods: None.

Notes: I think I just assumed that I had measured my gauge at some point, and went from there. So these socks are a little...tight. Not too tight to wear, but they could be stretchier. I got to the heel of the first sock using the smaller-size pattern -- way too small. I began again, in the larger size, and didn't like the pooling. By the time I realized, on the third try, that the socks were going to be a wee bit small still, I had no other choice but to keep going.

I've worn them a few times, trying to get as much of them in before the summer hit. I love them, but oh my, the pooling! The pooling and I just did not get along. This project really drove home to me the idea of matching the yarn to your project -- I don't think the pattern or the yarn showed the other off particularly well, although both are lovely.

I also picked up a "farewell North Carolina" skein of sock yarn on my last trip to the Carrboro Farmer's Market (where Chapel Hill Creamery was sadly out of Carolina Moon!). Say hello to this little beauty, Three Waters Farm's fingering weight Merino, in Forest Floor. I couldn't help myself. I think this may be destined for Monkey-ness.

That's right, I'm leaving NC. Next week I head to back to the homestead in New Jersey, to finally fully move out of my parents' house. I spent my time after college traveling back and forth across the country, carrying only what fit in my Honda Accord. I should be there for a few weeks, catching up with friends and my favorite northeastern sights, as well as checking out all of those incredible yarn stores I've missed out on while away. After that, it's a blank slate. Maybe some travel, maybe to the northwest. At some point I hope to have a job -- but not too soon.

Amanda's meme to come!

Most recent podcast: NPR's All Songs Considered.
Currently listening to: Regina Spektor, Begin to Hope album.
What I should be doing: Applying for jobs.