Sunday, April 29, 2007


Posting may be sporadic, if at all, for a bit. It's the crazy end-of-school time, I'm having to move classrooms, and I'm going through some personal issues. I'll be back, hopefully soon. In the meantime, I'll keep knitting, and I'll try to check in with y'all regularly.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


It should be a well-established fact that I have no willpower. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. So I surprised myself when I waited over a week to buy these items. That, my friends, is willpower!

The yarn is Rio de la Plata Merino Sock (it's so new that it isn't on the website yet.). It is super yummy. Rio de la Plata is much like Malabrigo and Manos - kettle dyed, great colors. It looks like a really nice sock yarn - I can't wait to try it out. We only had three colors at the store, but we have more on order. I'll try to restrain myself.

The bok is Ella Rae book seven, which contains patterns for their summer blend yarn Silkience. I haven't tried the yarn yet, but it looks and feels really nice in the skein. The book is great, with several patterns I can see myself making. My favorites are:




One or more of these will be jumping on the needles soon, as soon as something else gets finished around here!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

FO: Hubbo's socks

Finally, a finished pair of socks!

Pattern: Simple sock over 84 stitches w/heel flap
Yarn: Trekking - the ball band is long lost. The contrast toe is leftover Paton's Kroy.
Needles: Sz 2.25 mm ChiaGoo DPNs
Dates: Started sometime last fall, finished Sunday April 22.
Mods: n/a
Thoughts: I was really sick of the colors of these socks, so I am glad they are done! I was worried about running out of yarn, so I shortened the leg of the sock, and I still ran out of yarn! Luckily, Hubbo loves the contrast toe (yarn leftover from these socks), and wishes both socks had it. However, I was not in any mood to rip out the other toe, so he'll have to wait for his next pair.

I do love having such an excited recipient! It's a good thing I love him, as his sock yarn stash is starting to rival the size of mine! He's already chosen the yarn for his next pair, but I have to finish up some of these others first.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I made it my b*tch!

I had the torture pleasure of proctering the TAKS test all day on Tuesday and Wednesday (which basically consists of "monitoring" the students, walking around the classroom, not talking and not doing any work. I started to go a little nuts). While having this joyful duty, I had a lot of time to think. Too much time, perhaps. One thing I was thinking of were all my "neglected" knits - you know, all those you loved while you were knitting them, that now live in the bottom of the drawer/back of the closet.

My Turtleneck Shrug was one of these. I love the idea of the shrug - warm and cozy - I have a soft spot for turtlenecks. But I just couldn't see myself wearing it - I felt weird wearing it to school, and I don't wear much outside of t-shirts and jeans on the weekends, so it sat neglected for over a year. On Wednesday, I decided to "make it work." So I ripped.

The turtleneck was simple to rip out - I had to cut out a bit of the bind-off, as I had woven in my ends too well, and couldn't find one to pull out. But the rest of the neck ripped out well. I had hubbo measure across my back, and then I put on the sleeves of the shrug, and had him measure between them. I reattached my yarn, and continued knitting in pattern from one sleeve, until I had enough. I was going to do a three-needle bind-off, but it was not very pretty. So I ripped it out, and kitchenered the stitches. It took a while, but it does look better. I did not center my seam, as I didn't want to have to knit from both sleeves (lazy). I don't mind it.

Results? Fantastic! I have already worn it to work once, and while I don't think it will see a lot of action, now that it is warming up, I intend to wear the heck out of it in the fall.

Final judgement? Be the boss of your knits - if it doesn't work, change, reknit, or rip it out. I feel so much better not having it sulking in the bottom of the dresser.

Title is especially for Emily. Love the skirt girl!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Go Green

Those who are here for knitting content - check back tomorrow. For today, I wanted to talk a little bit about what we can do to take care of our planet.

Earth Day has inspired me to share with you the little ways our household is trying to make a difference.

We switched a few years ago to Green Mountain Energy, and now have 100% wind powered electricity. It costs a tiny bit more than "regular" electricity, but we think it's worth it in the long run.

For a year I walked to work almost every day (living across the street didn't hurt!), and now hubbo and I carpool. This summer we will be getting rid of one of our cars, since one sits in the garage 99% of the time. This helps us economically and reduces the amount of fumes we are putting into our air.

We are slowly but surely switching our lightbulbs over to compact flourescent bulbs.

We use energy star appliances (really, everyone should do this - they are so widely available.)

We use our own canvas bags at the grocery store (simple ones I made, but you can buy similar ones at many places), and refuse bags from other stores as often as we can. I also carry a small bag that compacts into my purse to save on plastic bags.

We recycle almost everything. We usually have no more than 2 bags of trash in a week, and when we have our garden and our compost pile established, that will be even less.

We use tupperware containers, and cheap plastic ware in our lunches that we bring home every day and wash and reuse, instead of filling up the landfill with ziploc bags and plastic spoons.

We plan to insulate our home and put in more energy efficient windows next year, to save on heating and cooling costs.

We have a programmable thermostat - according to the energy star website, this can save you up to $150 a year in energy costs.

When we run the water to get it hot for dish washing, we save the cool water in pitchers in our fridge to try to waste as little as possible.

We do not water our grass. Yes, we're those neighbors with the dead yard. But I refuse to waste water on grass. We're looking into other kinds of grass that require low to no watering.

We have ceiling fans in every room to help with cooling, and keep the thermostat set above (or below in the winter) most people's ideas of comfort.

I hope to put up a clothesline this summer, to reduce our dryer usage.

We have other idealistic plans (including solar panels), but these things are, for the most part, simple things we can do right now to make a difference. Please don't take this post as a "we're better than you - look at all the good things we do" - rather, I hope you find one thing you can do to make a difference today. We all have to start somewhere.

What other things does your family do to keep the earth green?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Don't tell the socks

The beginnings of a Booga Bag for the MIL in Paton's Classic Varigated Wool.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The socks strike back

The socks are feeling miffed. They are threatening a mutiny. They are citing neglect, and I am ashamed to admit, I feel like I'm neglecting them. The cause? Well, you all saw that yesterday. But it also comes down to boredom. I'm bored with these socks. I want to not be knitting on them any longer. But, shockingly for me, I don't want to start any new socks. (I know. You may need to sit down, and take a breather after that last sentence.) I don't want to start new socks with these hanging over my head. So, my goal is to have at least two pairs of these done by the end of the month (all of them have one sock done). Can I do it? We shall see.

P.S. Don't tell the socks that I worked those last two repeats on Surplice Lace tonight -she's ready for the stockinette portion now!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Project monogamy

I'm in deep. I can't stop thinking about it. I run to it when I get home. I nearly cried tonight when I had to put it down to finish up my grades that are due tomorrow.

Ahhhh, Surplice Lace. My sweet sweet love. I've completed the 8 repeats the pattern calls for, and my row gauge must be way off, since I'm at 20.5 cm and I'm supposed to be at 25 cm. So, one or two more repeats, just to ensure that my belly doesn't hang out. I know y'all don't wanna see that. It's a good thing I'm loving the lace pattern, as I still have to finish the front piece.
I don't mind the row gauge thing, but my gauge on this project has been frustrating overall. The pattern calls for a gauge over larger (US 6 4mm) needles in stockinette. But you never knit with the larger needles in stockinette. They are used only for the lace part of the sweater, and you switch to smaller needles (US 4 3.5 mm) for the top. So why did I swatch on 6s? And, of course, I didn't get gauge, so I did the maths to knit a larger size (to get a smaller size), and four repeats into the lace, confirmed what my gut had been telling me since the cast on - it was hyoooooooooouge. Rip - out it all came. It did give me a chance to re-do the cast on edge - long tail cast on with garter stitch immediately following ain't so pretty. Cable cast on is much better.

I wish I could stay home and knit on this all day.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Books - I've already looked through More Sensational Knitted Socks, and it looks great! I finished Casts Off in one evening, and hubbo got hold of it and read some bits out loud to me and LAUGHED! He swore me to secrecy, but y'all had to know that he, a non-knitter, found jokes about knitting funny! We are going to take over the world! I'm excited to read the "Friday Night Knitting Club," but I may not have time until school's out - it's pretty nuts for the next six weeks.

Yarn - Some Regia Cotton Surf in lovely pinks (one of my favorite yarns - so soft and pretty!), and some to-die-for Claudia's Handpainted laceweight 100% silk. It is so much prettier than I can take a picture of. It is a gift from Jen for dog-sitting duties. It is so gorgeous. I never thought I'd be one of those who'd have stash to just look at, but this tempts me. I'm not sure I could do it justice knitted up.

I also may or may not have tripped and fell into a pile of Paton's Classic Wool - the striping variety, at Joann's today (it was on sale). I'm thinking of several projects for it - but they may have to be kept secret for now.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Scenes from a walk

Miles and I have been walking again, now that it's light out when we get home (I still don't like daylight savings time, but I do like my walks). We're gearing up for more running, and trying to drop a few pounds (me, not him).

Just a few of our challenges - these enormous hills in our neighborhood!

Apparently, one of the "road fixers" wanted us all to know his name.

I'm soooooo excited that tomorrow is Friday - Yippee!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Project Spectrum

I'll admit - I wasn't too gung ho about PS this go-round. I think a lot of that stems from me "forcing" myself to work on color-oriented projects last year. I know that it is what you make it - I just made it too stressful for myself (and I still haven't finished my August grey socks). I wanted to take a more laid-back approach this time, to the point of not even officially signing up. I did still want to work on at least one project in each color triad (though I have to admit that the red/black/metallic grouping is not appealing to me, though I have at least one red and one black project. I digress). But I wasn't going to "force" myself to do anything. If something got done - great. If not, it's not like the PS (or the knitting) police would come and get me.


The grey cabled scarf was perfect for February March (blue/grey/white). As are my Feather and Fan socks - long languishing, I managed to finish up the first one this weekend, while waiting for my yarn to finish Hourglass.

I wasn't overly fond of the tencel yarn (and I'm still not, though this sock will have a mate). It seems to stick to my needles - perhaps it is because they are bamboo? It also caused some wrist pain, especially in the heel flap/gusset area of the sock. The tencel causes the yarn not to have a lot of "give," so I found it especially difficult to k2tog, and feared every time that I was going to snap a needle. That said, this sock is very cozy and soft.

I also started a pink knit, out of the RYC Luxury Cotton DK that the lovely Ruth sent as a contest winning. It was all set up to be the Razor Cami, in an effort to maximize the yardage and not have to buy more yarn. However, I have since discovered that my LYS carries this yarn, and let's face it - I'm not much for camis in public (all that action in the love handle department and all), so it will be ripped and reknit into something else. I'm considering Glee, though Lolly recently had trouble with hers. It's such a cute pattern, and this is such wonderful yarn, that I'm hoping the pairing will work out. What do you think? Any other summer tops that this might look better in?

In other PS news, both my new project bag and my new project fit right into the new colors of pink/green/yellow. The color I'm using for the Surplice Lace top is Curcuma, which is a green shade. The yarn is lovely, and I'm enjoying the pattern. Photos soon!

Thank you for all the sweet comments on Hourglass. I do really recommend the pattern and the yarn. Now if I could just figure out a new "fo" pose - that one is getting really old!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Hourglass is finished! Woo Hoo!

Pattern: Hourglass sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: Knitpicks Andean Silk in Orange - just a smidge over 11 skeins
Needles: Sz US7 Clover Bamboo Circulars and DPNs
Dates: Early January - April 9 (mostly only knit during "24," until I decided I wanted it done the last week of March and I worked on it when I wasn't watching "24.")
Mods: I omitted on set of bust increases to make it more fitted. I also did fewer decrease rounds in the yoke (more on this later).

Thoughts: I love the yarn. Lovelovelove. The color, the drape, the way it feels. Love. The pattern is equally wonderful. Nice and mindless - sometimes so nice. The sleeves went surprisingly fast, and I love the circular construction.

I accidentally didn't do as many decrease rounds in the yoke. When I tried it on (when I ran out of yarn) it seemed to fit very well. Unfortunately, the resident idiot knitter didn't realize that the needle still being in the sweater affected the fit. Idiot. However, it does stay on my shoulders (barely) and doesn't bother me too terribly much (I do worry a bit about my bra strap hanging out, but I'll get over it).

I was very nervous about sewing down the hem on the neckline (I knit down the hems on the sleeves and the bottom). However, the directions in the pattern are excellent. I didn't run a length of cotton yarn through the purl stitches (to mark the row you are sewing to), as recommended. I did, however, put the live stitches on waste yarn, so that it wouldn't be so fiddly during the sewing down part - this was a lifesaver. It was surprisingly easy to sew down the hem, and I won't be intimidated again!

My final verdict? Go knit yourself one - I plan to have another in my wardrobe sometime soon!

Monday, April 09, 2007


Thank you all for your good thoughts - it's so nice to be able to get it off your chest, and receive wonderful words of encouragement in return. Though Friday my work life got a bit worse, my weekend was wonderful and surprisingly restful. One of the main reasons? I started a new job.

No, I didn't quit teaching - I added a part-time job. Before you think I'm nuts, you should know that it's at my LYS. Yep - I get to hang out with yarn once a week, for a whole day! I'm excited, but the job is bittersweet - my dear friend, and fellow knitter Jen is moving to Boise, and I'm sort of taking her job. I wish it were under different circumstances.

Combine a crappy week with a day at the yarn store, and what do you get? Purchases, of course!

Enough Nashua Ecologie Cotton to make the Surplice Lace Top (the one I blogged about here),

and a yummy new Lexi Barnes bag.

Expect more purchases to follow soon......

In other news, my ball of orange Andean Silk arrived today - off to try to finish up Hourglass!

Oh - and it did snow Saturday! Nothing stuck, but there were big fat flakes falling from the sky on and off for a few hours - very bizarre!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Maybe it's the weather

I've tried to avoid the whiny posts, but I just don't have anything else. Things are in a bit of a turmoil in my professional life (more joys of working for a large urban school district), my summer plans are still shaky (am I teaching summer school? Not?), we haven't done anything about our planned kitchen remodel, my house is a disaster, we were supposed to be off of school tomorrow, but due to a snow day, we have a make up day, which will have us going to school for 10 straight weeks (every day from spring break to the end of May - it's by far the longest stretch of school time I can remember), and so on and so forth, ad infinitum. Add the stress that I bring upon myself (I'm a terrible parent/teacher/friend/spouse/doggy mommy), and I'm just having a downer day.

But maybe it's that it was 89 degrees on Tuesday, and Saturday it's supposed to snow? And of course, my yarn to finish Hourglass is still not here. Figures.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Elongated Cables Scarf

Just in time for it to be almost 90 out today - I finished my alpaca scarf!

Pattern: Mine
Yarn: Alpaca with a Twist Baby Twist (DK weight), 3 entire balls
Needles: Sz US 6 Clover Bamboo (4mm)
Mods: n/a
Thoughts: It is grey. And yummy. And cabled. And warm. I love it, even though it will be a good 7-8 months before I have any use for it. I really like the relative skinniness of the finished product (don't have much need for big bulky scarves in Texas!) and the long stretchy cables.

Just for kicks - the pattern!
Yarn: Any DK/Sport weight yarn - approx 330 yds.
Needles: Sz 4mm (US 6)
Gauge is not crucial.

Slipping the first stitch on every row allows for a clean edge.

Set up rows:
Set up rows 1 & 3: Sl 1, K5, P4, K8, P4, K4, P4, K8, P4, K6
Set up rows 2 & 4: Sl 1, P5, K4, P8, K4, P4, K4, P8, K4, P6

Cable Pattern:
Row 1: Sl 1, K5, P4, C8F, P4, K4, P4, C8F, P4, K6
Row 2 and all even rows: Sl 1, P5, K4, P8, K4, P4, K4, P8, K4, P6
Rows 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 15: Sl 1, K5, P4, K8, P4, K4, P4, K8, P4, K6

CO 48 stitches. Work set up rows (4 rows).
Begin Cable Pattern.
Repeat Cable Pattern 20 times.
Repeat Rows 1-3 of Cable Pattern again. BO loosely in pattern. Block if desired. Wear proudly, and be the envy of all!

Monday, April 02, 2007

One skein short

My grand plans to finish hourglass this weekend were cut down suddenly on Sunday when I ran out of yarn. I had read many stories of knitters running short of yarn on this pattern, so I can't say I'm completely surprised. I also intended to bring the neckline up more, so I guessed that I may need extra yarn for that.

Anyway, one more skein is on order from knitpicks, but knowing how slowly they ship, I probably won't be finished by the end of the week. This sucks, as it is supposed to be chilly on Thursday and Friday, and this would be the perfect spring sweater for those days. Oh well - there's always the fall!

Apologies for the awful photo - shinyish yarn+indoor lighting=bad pictures. And there is no giant white blob on my sweater - just the flash. And this was the best of all those we took. Argh!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Stumped for a clever title

I managed to finish up another pair of socks during March - sooooooo close to being on track for 2 pair/month, one of my goals for the year.

Yarn: Regia Bamboo
Needles: Brittany 2.5mm DPNs
Pattern: Generic sock over 68 stitches
Mods: n/a
Thoughts - the yarn is very soft, and I can't wait to see how it feels in the warmer weather. However, it is a bit splitty, but not enough to drive me not to knit with it. I should have probably done the sock over 64 stitches, but they're not big enough to bother me.

And for our stash management - in March I added 14 skeins to the stash (my lowest so far this year!), but I only used up 5 skeins. However, I do have big plans to use up more in April and May - we'll see if I can do it!

In a bizarre twist, I currently have no desire to cast on for any new projects. I'm working hard on finishing up what I've already got on the needles, so I hope to have a few FOs around here soon! I really think I'm just sick of thinking about having to work on the same things, so I'd rather have them done and start fresh. We'll see how long this feeling lasts.

I am torn though, as I feel that if I don't start the spring/summer knits now, I won't be able to wear them until next year. Ah well. For the moment, I'd rather have an empty WIP basket. That said, I ripped Branching Out and the Sock Yarn Log Cabin today - Branching Out was barely started, and I had no idea where I was in the pattern, and I haven't been feeling the love for the sock yarn blanket, so it was ripped. I have no current plans for the leftovers, but I do plan to keep them.