Saturday, October 27, 2007

Puppy love

It may seem like I am sweet on Bella, but let me tell you. I am not the only one.

Friday, October 26, 2007

magic heel

Aha! I have success! Last night I executed my first ever forethought heel with a magic cast on. This means I have live stitches on the heel, plus live stitches on the tube of the leg, ready to knit when I finish grafting the heel.

I will attempt more picture plus a better explanation later. That is, if the pics are good, I will try to explain. Trying to explain to Ember already failed miserably.

moon at dawn

I once read about a guy getting fired for blogging a pic of his work at Microsoft. Apparently he was giving away classified information. So here is a dangerous picture showing the view from my desk. A perfect view of the perigee moon as I start my day!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Quality time with Bella

Ah, me and Bella. We don't get much time together, but what we do get, we make it count. Stolen moments on break at work, together in the passenger seat of the car, late at night listening to a CD by lamplight.

Hi5 me!

There's been a great deal of excitement and costume creation going on around here. The kidlets all have fabulous ideas for what they want to be, and it's all coming together nicely. I don't even bother to mention costumes to my #1Man, I know better. For the entire time I've known him, and surely longer than that, he's declined to dress up for Hallowe'en. Thanks to a chance word from my daughter's best friend, he got an idea for a costume he would really wear. Then came the challenge of finding the bits we needed. It only took me 2 thrift stores to find this. Check it out!


Oh goodness! I have been struggling for days to get a good comprehension of XML so I can explain it to my professor. Yes, I know it's infinitely configurable. Yes, I know its versatility is phenomenal. It's articulating all that academically that's whomping me.

Imagine my excitement today when I discovered KnitML. Oh my! I can't even express how exciting this is. Express patterns in a basic data form and they can be loaded into a number of formats. It gives me palpitations!

Screenshot from

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007



It is a strange but true fact that we humans have the capability to forget pain. Take the classic, obvious example... I have not 1 but 2 kids. The same principle is at work with regards to my Crystal Palace bamboo size 2 circulars. If I did not forget how painful they are to use, I would never ever actually use them. It happened again, just last night, that I used them. I first swatched with my Knit Picks size 2, which are a robust 3.0mm, just like the Addi Turbo size 2 circulars. It was just minutely over size. I just wanted a plain size 2, or 2.75mm. My bamboo circular is the only circular I have in the 2.75 size, so I cast on with them.

Ow ow ow ow ow. I am a very tight knitter, and on the bamboo, my tight stitches stick. A lot. And the transition from cable to needle is very clunky, and requires a great deal of pushing, tugging, and wrestling. I struggled with this all last evening and again today, working until my left thumb and finger were raw and near bleeding. At that point, I gave up and switched needle mid-project. I couldn't take it anymore. I switched to the Knitpicks, which meant going up a whole .25mm. Wow, what a difference! The stitches just sliiiiide onto the needles with no trouble whatsoever.

I may have to throw out the Crystal Palace needle, I don't know that I ever want to make that mistake again.

Now let me take this opportunity to introduce... Bellatrix.

Bellatrix made from Skinny Duet Sock Yarn in the colourway Wicked. A match made in creepy dark corners, I tell you.

Friday, October 19, 2007


I'm not quite sure how this yarn got here. I think it was one of those spasms of my sore elbow. I think I'm just browsing, but oops, click, click, bought some yarn? Oh well, the colours are fabulous so I won't send it back or anything. I'll just have to cast on, I guess.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

deja vu

The pirate mitten saga continues. After Sunday's tears, I spent Monday pouting, and Tuesday I asked questions. I got some good ideas for making the next pirate mittens better. But I decided I'd better finish the first pair before I went tweaking my own techniques, so I'd not risk having fraternal mittens. So Tuesday night I cast on for mitten #2, pair #1 (too small).

So, nine days after my crazy pirate mitten-knittin day, I found myself in the same coffee shop, drinking the same overpriced hot drink, doing the same pattern, in the same spot in the pattern. I wanted to note that this time, I not only brought waste yarn, but scissors, too. This is evidenced by the nice orange line on the mitten which denotes future thumb placement. The photo also illustrates that I got quite a bit finished, all that remains is adding the thumb and weaving ends. Which will wait for another day, I think it's time to cast on some more socks.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

mp3 player, October

sewing instead

My son has been on my case for a MONTH now to work on his Hallowe'en costume. The day he proposed it, I had just cleaned out my drawer, and said goodbye to an old favourite green turtleneck. As he was asking me to make a green tunic, I pulled out the turtleneck and he agreed it was perfect. A week or so ago, we picked off the neck. Today I edged it, chopped off the sleeves, and turned the sleeves into bracers. I also had just the perfect green cap, but it has tassles on it, and he needed a hat without tassles. After spending a half an hour combing through my sewing room, looking for green fleece, I checked my scrap bag, and found scraps sufficiently large enough to make him the perfect green cap. He's emulating a video game character with the really tough name of Link. Yes, that is a hyperlink to Link. (As I don't play Zelda, I can laugh about the name.) The shirt is edged with brown Nature Spun zigzagged along the edges at neck and sleeve hems.

After rediscovering my sewing machine, I decided to finish the nightie that I started in March, when I sewed dresses. It took me less than 20 minutes of sewing to finish this up, and I have one happy girlee now.


Well, my Monday's enthusiasm for pirates has waned into Sunday's tears. This morning I was doing decreases, on the home stretch, when I found a really weird discrepancy. I had nine stitches on the palm, and 13 on the back. I investigated further, and discovered that instead of 48 stitches, I'd cast on 44. HUH? I must have been having a moment of insanity. The reason this went undetected so long is that the palm pattern doesn't require counting or charting. I could easily knit it happily, and it looked just perfect, all the while, being sneakily 4 stitches shy. Hello, frog pond.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

what the mail brought

and everybody here was a friend of mine,

All day I waited excited for my Lucky Lurker October Yarn. I saw Sherri's yesterday, and expected mine to arrive today. When I arrived home there were two things waiting for me, but neither were my Lucky Lurker Yarn. One was my new Freur CD, Doot-Doot, and the other a very lonely cat.

This album was one of my most difficult hard-to-find albums in the late 80s. I searched record store after record store for it. We finally heard a rumour of a store that could actually get this album, and a friend and I both ordered it from them. What we got was a cassette, (we were expecting an LP) and as best we could tell, it was a bootlegged cassette. However, we had searched so long and so hard for this album that we each got it anyway.

I've searched for Freur in a digital format in recent years many times, but usually all I've found have been very expensive used copies or compilations with just Doot-Doot on it. There is actually an in-print version of Doot-Doot available on Amazon, but it lacks the bonus tracks. This album had the super hard-to-find Devil in Darkness, which I was adamant about getting, and came for the reasonable price of $18.99 from a marketplace seller.

So when I came home to find the album finally here, I settled down to listen and also snuggle our poor lonely cat. She would climb up, get very comfortable, drifting into one of those deep snoozes that only cats snooze. And then have sudden! cat! errands! to attend to and dash off. After a few minutes she'd come back and get cozy again. In between the cat snuggling, I managed to cast on the newest pirate mittens, while listening to the new album. It definitely took me back to the days of vinyl, when every alternative album scored was an accomplishment of good record shopping, rather than a result of successful web shopping. Freur is a pretty electronic band, and they pioneered the concept of having an unpronounceable symbol for their name, driving record stores up the wall as they tried to figure out where to file it. They were eventually forced to adopt a more fileable name.

Today I officially finished the double rolled mittens. The final shagging was completed in the weeee hours, after a rowdy cat fight outside woke me up at 4am. The shagging is done by wrapping yarn through the ribbing and around a pencil, and then clipping the yarn.

Pattern: Double Rolled Mittens from Favorite Mittens
Yarn: Peace Fleece, with Spinderella's Thrums used for the fuzzy inside.
Needle: Size 9 Addi Turbo Circular
Started: I forget when I started these. February or March 2007.
Finished: October 11, 2007.
Notes: I had the worst time getting the mittens to match. Even when I thought I had them perfectly matched, after binding off, I found one still a little smaller than the other. The shag is interesting, it doesn't look as full as the pictures in the book. I wish I'd used a chunky marker instead of a colour pencil to wrap the shag around.

Lastly, I leave you with the image of the second try at pirate mittens. I found some black cascade 220 in my stash. This was purchased to contrast with some Kureyon I have. I also found some Knit Picks bare. That was purchased to dye and knit into a kitty-pi. I'm trying very hard to allow myself to redirect yarn in my stash. And if I ever do wind up knitting a kitty-pi, or the mysterious Kureyon project, I can replace what I need then. No sense in keeping the yarn saved for future projects while purchasing new yarn for present projects. Right? This new mitten is being knit on size 9 circular needles.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Too much faith

Okay, I admit that Monday was a little scary. That's why on Tuesday, I took a walk at lunch instead of knitting. Today, I upped that and took a different project with me to work and dance class.

Turns out I only had 10 minutes to knit at lunch, and when I puled out the project, I discovered that a needle had gotten pulled all the way out. So I spent the entire 10 minutes just getting the project back on the needles all properly.

During the girlees dance class, I finished up the body of the current babe. This does not mean she's anywhere near to be done. The next step is the face, which always takes some time. So I will need a weekend afternoon all to myself when I can sit down with my supplies and craft a good face. After that will be stuffing, closing her up, and knitting the limbs, which is fairly simple. And then after that comes the hair, which is always a Big Project. As usual, I knit the body in the round rather than in two flat pieces, as suggested in the book, Knitted Babes.

Today I finished up Pirate Mitten #1. Well, I still need to pull the yarn through the end of the mitten. Turns out I had way too much faith, here. I had read that the pattern fits tight, so I went up a couple needle sizes and hoped that would fix the problem. As I knit it, I could tell it was tight on me, but I still had hope. I figured that once the thumb had somewhere to go, the mitten wouldn't be quite so crowded. I also assumed that since the giftee on this mitten is only 12 years old, it would fit him.

Once I got the thumb opening, I discovered that the mitten was still abominably tight. So I caught my son this morning, just woken up, and asked to compare some measurements. I measured his hand, I measured his feet, plus a bonus measure of his crown. I went away happy, he shrugged and said, "whatever..." and went on with his breakfast. Fortunately he's accustomed to his mother behaving like that. But what I discovered with his measurements is that while his hand is shorter than mine, it's fatter. I blame all that guitar playing.

Next stop, mitten in much larger needles, perhaps with extra stitches? The current pair will go on hold until after his bday. Perhaps it will go to a charity. I saw today that the Soaring Eagle Project is considering mittens. These would be perfect for that.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Desperate times, desperate measures

So it's like this. That pirate pattern has consumed me. Don't ask me why. I have no explanation. I started the cuff last night, and by lights-out time, I had it finished. But I didn't go to bed. I stayed up and knitted 7 more rows, because I couldn't stop. By that point, I some how managed to convince myself that Future Valerie needed Present Valerie to get some sleep so that Future Valerie could knit with wild abandon. So I gave up and went to sleep. Reluctantly. Lucky thing, I was in one of those crazed hazes where I could have easily knit until 3am.

So I went to sleep, and all I did was dream of Pirate Mittens. Knit in about every yarn in the house.

Today I rushed off to work, and all day, I was wanting to ditch all the cataloguing and pull out my knitting. Thank god for lunch break, which is time for knitting, with a little bit of eating snuck in.

That's when I discovered The Problem. I was going to be taking little girls to their dance class after work, and that involves an hour in a coffee shop, knitting. But I was working my way steadily towards the part where "waste yarn" was required and I had no waste yarn. I searched my desk drawers and shelves, convinced I would find some forgotten yarn somewhere, but alas, no yarn. I have a knitting coworker, but although she had brought a project with her, the yarn was balled up, with the spare end inside the ball and inaccessible.

However, my coworker was very understanding, and started making suggestions "Do we have twine?" and digging through her drawers to find something that I could knit in as waste yarn. "headphones?" "lanyard?"

Eventually, we settled upon this: medical tape, taken from a first aid kit, carefully rolled up to create a worsted weight substitute. Check it out...

And in this next picture, the rolled up medical tape has been knit into the mitten. It's difficult to see, being that it's white, but it's that extra thick white line on the left side in the middle. Seeeeee?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

knitting spasm

So I've been dreaming of a number of projects, as my several Works in Progress have been coming to a close. There's my tofutsies, and Jarbo, and the knee socks or toe socks for my daughter...

So I had this spasm and cast on Pirate Mittens instead. We were hiking today, and it was cold and snowy, and my son kept making snowballs until his hands were little fingers of ice. And he says his old gloves are falling apart. So.... I cast on pirate mittens. We'll see how it goes. I'm trying to knit two at the same time, from the same balls of yarn, which is causing much tangling.

On the needles...

I've cast off the mittens for my daughter, though I'm still working on the shag cuff. I've woven in ends for all the socks sitting around waiting to have their ends woven in. According to Ravelry, I have no more UFOs but that's not true. There are unblogged, unrecorded Unfinished Objects scattered about. They include:

-Charity Mittens. These got taken off the needles for a quick project and now I don't remember what size needles they were using. Grrrr me.
-Big Black Socks. These are finally in action again. I would like them sent off soon.
-Baby socks. Pair two. No good reason to be dragging my ass on these. Yet I am.
-Stained Glass shawl. This sits in my drawer and gets attention every 8 months or so.
-Knitted Babe. I started her a couple weeks ago. Top down, she's got half a head.
-Fruit Hat. This is for my son. It has 5 rows knitted. I don't like it, so I never knit it. He swears he wants it but I'm convinced that a) it will look weird and b) 7th graders shouldn't wear fruit hats, even if they are unnatural colour combinations.

Okay. I think that tallies every stray project that's taking up a set of needles.

Lost Lorna--the Finished Object

Meet the Lost Lornas of Madrid fraternal twins...

Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, bittersweet
Needle: size 2 knit picks circular
Pattern: Conwy from Knitting on the Road

Cast on: May, on a transatlantic flight
Cast off: Oct 2007
Notes: These socks have traveled to Spain, Canada, Idaho, Seattle, and Park City. Yarn was purchased from Seattle and Colorado. These are well-traveled socks. I knit them to the recommended gauge, but the fabric seems loose and flimsy to me. I wove yarn into the bottom of the heel to add reinforcement, as I don't trust these socks to be very resilient. They are fraternal, being knit with 2 different dye lots. Additionally, there was a mistake in how I knitted the first sock, so each sock has a different variation on the Conwy pattern.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Fetch this


Yes, it's that ubiquitous little pattern, Fetching. It took precisely one skein, I didn't need my little leftovers I had waiting and ready. I didn't like the picot edging, so I did a traditional bindoff, and am not happy with it. I can see why a picot bindoff is used, the top will flare out anyway. However, I want the top to hug my hands, so I will be pondering how to modify for next time.

Yarn: Colour 4 Me
Pattern: Fetching from Knitty, Summmer 2006
Needle: Addi Turbo circular size 7
Cast on: Oct 1, on a school bus
Cast off: Oct 3, while watching SMiLE.
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Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I'm back in school, and need to be studying. There are many obstacles. Sometimes I really really try to study, and there are still obstacles.
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another acquisition

 And don't forget the Seattle yarn purchase. Amazingly, I got out of the store with only one ball of yarn, Jarbo Raggi to go with my 2 other unknit skeins, bought at the same store exactly one year previous.
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 This story starts back in June, when I went on a birthday shopping spree. I acquired many balls of Colour 4 Me yarn on close out, and this was cause for much rejoicing. Then I decided to make Lithuanian Amber Socks with some of that yarn, but that meant using most of my orange stash, which was unexpected. I had Other Plans for that orange, so I called up the yarn store and asked for them to save me a few more balls, while it was still on sale. She told me they could only save it through Saturday. Now I don't have access to the family car much, and sometimes work and family is all that happens in my life, and I wasn't sure I could make it there by Saturday, so she extended my deadline to Sunday. So. Life happened. I didn't make it there by Sunday. Oh well. I can live without the orange yarn...

Fast forward to last week. I'm in Seattle, and my #1Man reports that there's a call from the yarn shop, am I ever going to pick up this yarn? It took me a while to figure out even what yarn they'd be talking about...

So on Monday, I stopped by to see if it really was that same orange yarn. First of all, I had to browse the sale bins, and also investigate all the sock yarn and everything else that caught my eye. Needles in the sale bin! While I'm not a fan of bamboo circulars, neither am I so picky that I would pass up a Good Deal. :) The woman there was very nice (for a change), and very surprised that I'd been given a time deadline on my holds. But then she couldn't find the hold yarn, so apparently they called me, and then tossed the yarn into the sale bin. She went ahead and rang up my yarn choices, and then took one last look on the shelf, and lo and behold! Spotted my yarn! I had considered not getting it, but when I saw the orange, I remembered how much I like that particular shade of orange, warm but not obnoxious, and had to buy it. So we have 4 new bamboo circulars, 3 skeins of Colour 4 Me, 2 skeins of Cascade 200 Super Wash, all 45% off, plus a skein of Cascade Quatro.
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