Outfoxed Knitting

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

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

Saturday, December 17, 2005

HTML and Christmas gifts

First, let me just say that yes, I know i have to ramp up my coding skills. Just using blogspot blindly does not work. I realize that. But for the brief moment that is now, I'd rather post than code. As PsychoHubby recently added a part-time job to his school schedule, he'll actually be out of the house for periods of time in which I hope to work on the site. Please bear with me.

Now, here's what has me so excited: I did what I shouldn't and picked up some yarn and new needles. Three skeins of SSH Maxima in a dark gray...grey...gray...grey (Quick, what do I do with the extra u's?) Yes, I know I said I picked some other grey sock yarn for PsychoHubby's first pair of homemade socks, but I got to thinking. Painful, I know, but the truth is he's got the narrow feet I wish I had and prefers thicker, snugger socks. So I went up in yarn size. I'll turn the grey/gray sock yarn into some dress socks for me or someone else I love.

In the meantime, I have to put these socks together in one week. I can do it. Really. I'll do my best to provide an ongoing sock update. I'm really excited about this because I'm doing this sans pattern. OK, I have a basic pattern that'll remind me how to do the heel, but that's it. Actually, I might try and find a different heel. I know what I want to do for the design, and if it works out, I'll clue you in.

Take care and merry X-Mas.

ps. All you knitting cat lovers and anyone else, please check this out. It's horrifyingly hilarious.

Even when I write, there's no post!

OK...I decided to use that time at work where I am theoretically ... working to put together some posts. And I did. I wrote two or three posts since Wednesday. In case you haven't noticed, you haven't seen two or three posts since Wednesday. I forgot a crucial step -- the posting.

So here ya go:
Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2005

Dear Santa,
What I really want for Christmas (but isn’t as important in the grand scheme of things like rent or groceries) is a new digital camera. With a new camera I’ll be able to take pictures only once -- Instead of one picture to figure out which way the finder is off (generally about six inches to the left) and two to five pictures to adjust for the difference. A new camera would allow me to wow all my friends and unknown multitude with the simplicity and foresight of my knit designs.

We’re talking Grimace, the pale purple baby blanket from hell. We’re talking the garter-stitch scarf done — gasp! — lengthwise. We’re talking the sock that is ribbed ALL THE WAY. This is high-tech, high-brow stuff here and everyone should be able to see it.

However, I don't think a new camera will improve the brevity of my writing.

Speaking of Santa, I need to share one
of the coolest things that’s happened to me this holiday season. I stopped by my LYS (Lint) last night. It was open-knit and although I couldn’t stay, I wanted to say hi to some people, show off the hubby, check and see if next week’s bad-for-you potluck was still on. Anyway, as I made my way carefully around the room, stepping over people, projects and wine (ouch!), Lint’s owner waylaid me with an early gift from Santa — a gift certificate.

I have no idea who did this; it could be any number of people I hang out with on Tuesdays. That’s probably the point. Regardless, this is one of the most appreciated things that anyone’s done for me — especially because good yarn/supplies are far, far away from any realistic budget right now. Now comes the fun part: What do I do with the gift? I’ve got ideas, but I’ll get into that later. I figure this is a gift for me, and I intend to use it as such. After the holidays.

Before the holidays I’ve got other things on which to work. For some reason, I have *mostly* finished projects lying all over the apartment. My new niece’s crib blanket is about 4 edging inches from completion (I had some extra ends to weave in that I never got around two). There’s one Baby Bobbie Bear that needs only eyes and a nose. Another bear needs it’s arse, legs, stuffing, arms, ears, neckline, eyes and nose. I’ve also got a pair of socks, two random scarves and a hat I started two nights ago just for fun. And last, but not least, I’ve got some KnitPicks coming in that includes sock yarn for a Christmas pair for my husband and green wool for a felted cloche. My eyes are too big for my needles. It's time to get knittin’.

Friday -- Dec. 15, 2005
Update: The second bear now has an arse and one leg. Poor thing looks like i
t’s been through the ringer. I’ll stop by and pick up some stuffing after work today. For others making this project: I’m using polyfil just because it’s the easiest cheapest thing to get my hands on. I know someone else who use wool batting and that resulted in a firm, but cushy bear. I also found some cotton upholstery batting that seemed like it would be good stuff but it was $5 per pound which is out of my league for right now. Ya want to know the crazy thing about this bear is: I’m wondering if I can fit one more in by Christmas. Aye, aye aye.