Outfoxed Knitting

Sometimes I'm smarter than the knitting; sometimes it's smarter than me. The fun is figuring it out.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sick of knitting

At this particular point in time, I am sick of knitting.

Sick, tired and sore.

I have spent the day finishing working
on the Olympic sweater for PsychoHubby. Yes, the Olympics are over. No, I'm not done. He's got a big head. I've redone the neck three times now. And the sleeves took longer than expected.

Would someone please tell me why I knit? Right now I'm not sure. It's expensive and time consuming and getting it right the first time just doesn't happen (to me).

Here's my litany of ugh's for the day:
For all its simplicity, this sweater REQUIRES the use of 2.5 st/in gauge. If you'll remember, I used 3.5 st/in gauge. Theoretically, this would work just fine, but the change has affected multiple things. It has caused a greater than necessary stockinette roll and the arm decreases that work on a bulkier fabric are too few for for a thinner fabric.

As a result, while I have two complete sleeves, I'll have to redo the last four inches on one of them to add extra decreases. The result will be a normal sleeve instead of the bellbottom like one it has now.

Also, while the sweater has no real edging on the sleeves and bottom with the bulkier fabric, something is needed with the lighter fabric. So, I added a hem to the sleeves. I'll also add a hem to the bottom.

I'll add that hem soon. Here's what I have to do first: Take out the cast-on edge, add 2-3 inches too the bottom (his torso length is also bigger than expected) and add hem length then hem the damn thing.

I've spent 3 hours today figuring out how to undo the caston edge, then uncasting the edge. It's now ready to be added onto. Say four more inches max on the bottom and then fixing the one sleeve.

I couldn't care less. Not one little whit. I have other things to work on. Three birthday parties and a bridal shower in the next three weeks and the idea of needles makes my head ache.

I'm sure I'll be OK tomorrow and I'll love it again. But for tonight....die sweater die!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Envisioning the Gold

That's right. I can see it. I can almost touch it. I just can't wear it. Yet.

The sweater I'm knitting for the Knitting Olympics (and PsychoHubby) is close to entering the final "sleeve" phase. Due to some judicious pattern choosing, this sweater only needs light blocking so I should be able to knit right up until deadline. Of course, I may decide later to do something about the unattractively rolling bottom edge.

(Thanks, Mr. Knitting Photographer. Due to judicious tweaking and posing, your
photograph made it seem like this stockinette edge would defy all laws of knitting physics and not roll. Your bit of illusion -- and my urge to get it done -- sure fooled me.)

Regardless, I should be able to finish the Berkshire Pullover in time.

But I gotta tell you, the lineup awaiting me after the KO is pretty daunting. Even more so since I discovered I have a baby shower and triple birthday party awaiting me March 18 and March 25. Yikes!!!!!!!!!

I can do this, I can do this. I'll just pretend it's the Christmas crawl and bang it all out. I will also do my best to not remember what happened to the Christmas crawl. That would be depressing. It will also be difficult as some of the Christmas crawl is actually apart of the March crawl. Lordy, that's a lot of knitting.

Just what I need, I challenge. Here's the post Knitting Olympics lineup in no particular order:

1. Hoover blanket, baby shower -- not in progress yet. May possibly become a sweater.

2. Birthday triumverate -- What possessed this mom and dad, both born in late March to have a baby born in late March? And to top it off, what posessed them to become best friends with a knitter!!! And if you think I'm putting what the gifts are going to be in here, think again Ingrid.

Well, OK, I'll show you what I'm making for Benny-boy. He might be able to wear it for at least one pic by the time I'm done.

3. Just cuz baby coat -- For my niece, provided she's still small enought by the time it's complete. If she's not, there's at least two female babies younger than her in my gift receiving circle.

4. Mark's socks -- see that little string. That's it. That's all I've got to do. Weave that string in and it's been done. Don't ask why it's been sitting in the basket for a month.

5. Frivoli hat -- 2/3 done and I'm looking forward to grafting the seam. I really am...
6. Lorna's Laces Slipped Stitch Socks -- color is Tuscany. I'm so in love with it
7. Mitts from Weekend Knitting -- I actually used up KO time for this....we had a cold spell. Of course I didn't finish. PsychoHubby was having a hissy fit over his math homework and needed me to both doublecheck the work and listen to him vent. He's loud. Very loud. But I'm not bitter. It wasn't like I was trying to get them knit so his hands would freeze off while waiting for the bus. No. I'm not a cradle robber. He's 30 years old and going back to school. We live in Portland, OR, with a great mass transit system. So he takes the bus to school. And it's not a short yellow one.
8. 2nd Bobbi bear. Almost done. I don't know who it's going to yet. There's about half a dozen babies/kids who would love this that I'm related to. I'll have to figure it out.

And no, there's not pictures of the last projects. Why? Because I have an evil head cold. (See Mac&Cheese entry below and "I've Got a Cold entry" on the KO blog. Also, this head cold cause me to swoon as I watch the "Image Loading" icon swirl around. So no, you're not getting anymore stinking pictures.

Anyway, I'm hungry now and I have a lot of knitting to do. So y'all have fun, now. Y'hear?

Why I love mac&cheese

Here's the thing. I'm sick. It doesn't happen too often (regardless of how I whine), but when it does, I get this urge for comfort food and/or Ben and Jerry's. Despite being sick, this urge generally calls for me to cook and it can be a measure of how sick I am what I cook. To give you an idea, I'm sick enough that I seriously considered making my mom's homeade chicken and dumplings, even though it wasn't a weekend and just getting the chicken ready would take about an hour and a half. (Not hard, just boiling it that long, then letting it cool and then tearing it all apart.)

I wasn't that sick. But I was sick enough to go carb-crazy and give PsychoHubby and I some seriously delicious food. And even though this much-neglected blog is about knitting I wanted to share these recipes -- one a real find -- with my sis. So, here's the menu:

Entree: Foxy Sloppy Joes (remember, Rai Rai?)
Sidedish: Kafkat's Mac&Cheese -- Created by Emeril, Kicked up by moi
Sidedish: I thought about broccoli, but then wasted time by blowing my schnoz.
Dessert: Best Ever Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Fudge Frosting

Order of cooking: Make the mac and cheese, during the last 10 minutes of cooking start the Joes, take pasta out of oven while it "sets" toss in Joes for broiling. Do cake as you can fit it in (i.e. prepare the dry stuff, prepare the wet stuff-- stirring is pretty quick)

Kafkat's Mac&Cheese

1/2lb (8 oz) macaroni
5 T butter
6 T flour
2 cans of evaporated milk
2-1/2 c grated cheddard (6 oz)
2 slices provolone (optional)
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 t Emeril's Essence or cajun type seasoning
6-12 dashes Tabasco or other hot sauce
1 t salt
1-2 t pepper
1/5 t garlic powder
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t Dijon mustard
(Start with half the tabasaco add other seasonings and then more tabasco as needed)

Preheat over to 350F. Grease 2-quart baking dish.

Bring big pot of water to boil, add macaroni and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in colander and rinse under cold water. DRAIN WELL

Melt butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Cook over medium heat 3-4 minutes. (follow the time directions. important). Don't let the flour brown. While whisking, add milk in a steady stream. Keep whisking until thick and smooth, 4 minutes (Mine took 5.5 minutes). Remove from heat. Add seasonings and 2 cups of cheddar+provolone tasting as you go. Add the noodles, mix well. Pour into dish.

In small dish mix remaining 1/2 cup cheddar, bread crumbs and essence. Sprinkle evenly or pasta. Bake 25 minutes. Let set at least 5 minutes before serving.

Foxy Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground beef
1 package hamburger rolls (potato is best)
1 package provolone slices
4-6 T pasta sauce
softented butter

Brown ground beef. While browning, butter both sides of buns and put them under broiler until golden brown. Remove buns from oven, put tops aside for now. On bottom buns, spread enough sauce on each to satisfy, carefully top with ground beef followed by slice of provolone. Broil in the oven until melty. Remove, add top buns, enjoy.

Best Ever Chocolate cake

Yes, I know the Aunt Martha Cake. This is something different. In my opinion, the two fall into distinctly different classes. Aunt Martha cake is a stand-alone chocolate encounter. This is a great basic chocolate cake, adaptable for many uses. So stuff it, Mom and Rai Rai.

2 c flour
2 c sugar
3/4 c cocoa
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 eggs
1 c cold coffee
1 c milk
1/2 c oil
2 t vinegar.

Mix all dry ingredients well in large bowl. In another receptacle of your choice, mix all wet ingredients well. Speaking of wells, create a well in middle of dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients. Mix very well. Batter will be thin. Pour in to well-greased pan of your choice. Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes. (I used a 9x13 pan and it took 45 minutes)

Peanut Butter Fudge Frosting

Find your own. The one I used was mediocre, but serviceable. If you've got one you really like, let me know.

Enjoy with ice-cold milk.

Monday, January 09, 2006

What's wrong with these socks?

Other than they're very tiny. Take a good look. There's one cable going down the side. There is NO cable on the other side. So if there's only one cable and both socks turn to the right, what does that mean?

It means there are two right socks. Two Right Socks.

Damn, damn, damn.

So, I frog it back to the start of the heel and try again. Now I'm closing back in on the end and it will be hallelujah time.

Re: The almanac-along. I've cast on. That's it. We'll see if it gets any further.
Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Elizabeth Zimmer-who?

If you can't finish the rest of that name, stop now and check this out. This, too.

Franklin over at The Panopticon along with Tricky Tricot are putting together a Knit-Along to Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac.

I am so there. I'd already planned to work on her baby blanket (February), but this -- this is inspiration. I'm definitely looking forward to this year and being a better knitter (Knitter, even) at the end of it.

So I grabbed my Almanac (strangely already in my knitting bag) and turned to January. Gulp. Gulp. January: An Aran Sweater. Mrs. Z has this to say about knitting an Aran; "Let's start with a challenge -- an Aran sweater. Simpler projects will follow." This lady definitely does not believe in a dumbed-down education.

I gotta admit, I'm a bit intimidated, just because I've never made a sweater before. I'm considering doing just the hat -- I mean, swatch -- and picking up the sweater throughout the year.

After all, according to Mrs Z., gauge is crucial and the need to make a swatch, imperative.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Double knitting -- from genious to ignoramus in 60 seconds

For the first time in my knitting life, a yarn spoke to me. Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Worsted in SandRidge told me it was a baby blanket. So I sat and thought what blanket would most show off the beauty and texture of this yarn.

Friday at work, it came to me. I was leafing through Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac and there was her double-knit baby blanket. That was it -- with a few modifications. Most especially different colored sides and garter stitch in double yarn. I barely got any work done for working it all out in my head.

So I sit down at Powell's while PsychoHubby browses and get to work. Except I couldn't figure out how to carry the damn yarn. I'm a relatively new knitter and for some reason I just couldn't get it.

Got home and was flipping around the Web looking afghans (another potential project), and there it was. The Hoover blanket, immortalized on Knitty.com.

Dagnabbit, there was the same thing I was thinking of already written out in clear concise instructions and a "more elegant way" of handling the double-knitting.

What can I say, except it was one of those Great Moments in Knitting. One minute, I'm on top of the world. The next its humble pie.

Regardless, I'm still knitting.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Hot Diggity DAMN!

OK, this has been a good week.

In non-knitting news, I accomplished something. Small potatoes to many of you, but sweet potatoes for me.

Background: 13 years ago (I was 16 -- HOLY COW!), my parents commissioned a wooden trunk for me in a slightly Southwest style (remember the Alamo?). I have lugged that thing from Texas, to Maine, to Texas, to Washington state (via Maine and Rhode Island) and now to Oregon. A notable feature of this trunk is that there was nothing for the lid to catch on. If you opened it, you needed to rest it against something or it would fall closed.

Well, three years ago, I was digging around in it and decided to rest the lid against my head. Anyway, a cat fight ensued (literally) in the vicinity of my backside, causing me to jump. I hit my head on the lid, causing it to fly up and (remember, no catch) back. Well, that lid kept falling back until a combination of gravity and momentum pulled the lid from its hinge. In the three ensuing years, I have lugged that trunk, now in multiple pieces, to three dwelling spaces. With no lid, the ability of that trunk to contain junk grew in Jenga-like proportions. I finally got sick of it when the contents were so high I couldn't see over it.

After I cleaned the crap junk out of it, there was enough stuff to cover a queen-sized bed. Anyway, with my trusty powerdrill and the help of the self-same cats, I managed reattach the lid last night. As an added bonus, there is now a chain to keep that damn lid from ever falling off again.

Yay, me. I am such a power-drilling bad-ass chica! I can now conquer the world -- or at least small household projects. (I'd show a photo of the newly repaired trunk but my crappy camera died. Who'da thunk batteries were so vital?)

And now the knitting...

With the holidays mostly over, my knitting tasks are feeling a bit dull and overused. All of my projects are/were small things that are either completed or ones of which I'd already made similar versions.

I needed something new. I was broke. Two contradictory states of being. But....(I just love a good "but") the Yarn Fairy had good things in store for me. First, I received an anonymous gift certificate for my favorite LYS. I have showed remarkable restraint in not spending it all in one go. I'm actually saving it for the store's big yarn sale in February where I hope to stock up enough for my first sweater.

That wasn't all the Yarn Fairy had in store for me.

Earlier this year at work, they had this idea thinger. You submit an idea that was more efficient or saved money or enabled the CEO to talk to God, and if it was implemented, you received cash.

Well, I received cash. $250 to be exact. As PsychoHubby and I are in the broke stage of married life, some of this money must go to the mundane things like electricity and food. But some of it I get to keep. (Some of it I've already spent.) As a teaser, I'll tell you it involves Lorna's Laces and an idea for a nifty baby blanket. And with an end-of-year sale at another Portland yarn store tomorrow, I'll be adding to my small stash. Details and pics to come.

Mwah to all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Yo, woman, please fix your comments. You have it set to team members only. Therefore, no one can contact you. And no on has your phone or e-mail etc. And there are people who want to contact you. So, please contact someone. Ciao, bella!

And the socks go on ...

Before the socks....

What the heck is it about me and dpns? Does some weird knitterly part of my brain figure that if I have five needles of the same size, that's three too many? Does that part of my brain further think its OK if the needles disappear one by one into the ether?

Of course, five minutes later, I find at least one of the extra three stuck somewhere in my hair.

Now the socks. Here's the pic I just took. Again, Santa, please. It's time I got a new camera. (I know, we'll talk again after I pay the rent.) Anyway, what you may actually be able to see is that it's gray and there's a cable on it. Both are true. What is also true is that the SSK Maxima is plied so that it looks a rope. I forget what the plying type is, but the result is that in combination, the stockinette looks like tiny single cables. It sets off pretty nice against the bigger cable.

But what do you care about that? Perhaps you'd rather hear about trials and tribulations? How's this: The dang yarn label is in German, and according to the LYS owner, German yarns especially have lots of wiggle room in their gauge. An attempt at translation put the gauge at 4-4.5 stitches per inch. So I did a circular gauge (hoping it would actually work out for the sock) of 40 stitches (full ribbing, 9-inch circumference...yes, I'm new to this). Except, to do a sock gauge, I ended up knitting about half the leg to get the amount I needed to measure against. (BTW the gauge is more like 7 stitches per inch. With this gauge, I ended up casting on 66 stitches -- size 6 dpns.) And I have to do two of these things by Sunday. Mmhmmm. Sunday. Y'all know what I'm talking about. The end result: Four-inches of leg on a child's sock that will never be and three inches of sock leg on ONE of psychohubby's Christmas socks.

But on the plus side, the fooder at Lint was uber yummy and mucho plentiful. Homemade trifle, wraps, freshly roast peppers, cheese crisps, rum cake, wine...and of course great people and yarn. Always a fun way to spend a Tuesday. And yes, I forgot my camera.

Merry knitting to all and FO's for all