Hellooooo Mr. Fancy Pants

and Hellooooo Pretty Yarn...
The yarn is not this color. It's teal really. I don't usually like teal, and the yarnshop pic looked more blue. But, you know what? It's grown on me. It really is a good color for me. I think my main aversion to teal is the whole 80's thing. I wore teal back then... so I'm afraid of the fashion statement of teal. But it's not like I'm knitting legwarmers or trying to get my hair to feather this time. It's a nice color that will make my eyes pop, and a super cute pattern that seems to be going well and staying on gauge, despite my apparent gauge issues.

Here's what's done so far... I'm increasing for the sleeves now. (Look at those awesome increases! I did the f&b as called for in the directions, but if I make it again, I'll do a less obvious increase. I'm not loving the purl bump the f&b makes.) Every row gets longer and longer. Soon I'll get to work on the body and knit until my hands are worn down to bloody stumps. Sweet! Perhaps I will make the short sleeve version by default... having only the bloody stumps...

If the neck looks wide, it's because it should. Remember? Quit asking me if it's the bottom. You know who you are. :)

P.S. I apparently keep forgetting how to spell guage. I mean guage. Argh... I mean GAUGE.


Gauge? This can't be right.

I got my new yarn. LOVE IT. Lee looked aghast at the large amount and started to ask "Why..." when he remembered I was making a sweater, so the "why" died on his lips. (Though perhaps not in his heart.)

Ok, I swatched. I did. In the round... I more than doubled the stitches so I could get an accurate in the round swatch. The pattern called for size 7 needles or size needed for gauge. OK. With the 7's I got 3" where there should be 4". Went up to size 9. 3 1/2". Size 10 1/2 gave me dead on gauge. I'll say it again... size 10 1/2. Can that possibly be right? I checked, double, triple, quadruple checked. I don't know how loose I'd have to knit on a size 7 needle to make gauge.

I cast on. So far, the collar doesn't look freakishly large or clownish. And, actually, 10 1/2's work for me because I've actually GOT them in dpns and circs.

I'll keep you posted...

More good stuff from Matt and Sara's wedding

Tree with frozen branches.

Lee with plate of meatballs. (He brought it back for the whole table.) Cousin Sam laughs in background.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

the GOOD... We went to Cedar Falls, IA to see Matt (Lee's cousin) get married to Sara. The wedding was God-centered, to the point, and simply pretty. Lee and I found the perfect gift (the one titled "Side by Side") for them in Galena on the way there. Of course I also gave them dishcloths.

Speaking of Galena... guess what there is in Galena... go on, guess... I admit to buying a few, TOTALLY ESSENTIAL things. Also, it was warm in the store and cold outside. Don't judge me. The shop owner was very nice and gave me a pattern she'd just made when I admired the item in question. Lee thought perhaps her generosity had something to do with the $50 we (ok, I) just spent in there. Skeptic.

the BAD and the UGLY... What's that on the ground? Oh, that? That's just 2 inches of ice from the freezing rain. Oh, is that all? Poor Matt and Sara. Their wedding day reminded us of OUR wedding day, when Mother Nature decided to have a big ole' hissy fit and spit out freezing rain for 24 hours... starting the night before the wedding. (In our case, it was a blizzard 5 days before and a foot of snow the night before the wedding.) Our hotel was not far from everything and basically in a straight line, but it took a solid 1/2 hour every time we got to the car to chip the ice off. I say "we", but it's the royal we. By that, I mean Lee. Bless him, he did have some fun. I was able to open the windows from the inside and punch the ice out that way. Good stuff. Tried to get more action shots, but OUCH... freezing rain hurts. And it's cold. We ventured out Saturday morning. There is a yarn shop 2 blocks from our hotel. It was closed. Yeah... freezing rain. Pretty sure we were the only fools out walking. Glad we went to the yarn shop in Galena the day before. Oh, so glad.

Darn those socks!

On the 2nd sock, I realized I had continued the purl in the pattern about 10 rows too many. Did I TINK? Nope. Did I FROG? Nope. I... drum roll, please... unraveled the wrong stitches the 10 rows and FIXED it. I totally rock.

I finished the 2nd sock on the way to, and in, Cedar Falls, IA. Here's where I say DARN! These socks are the most comfortable things EVER. They are the right thickness, and the wool keeps my feet dry and warm and not clammy. That means I have to make MORE. Rats. Seriously. I hate making socks.


New sweater project... can't wait!

I have ordered yarn for a sweater. Here's the super cute sweater I want to make. And here's the yarn I ordered. Colorway: 9420 Como Blue. I'm thinking the long sleeves, but depending on how long it takes me... maybe it'll be warm enough out for the short sleeves.

Now, you all will have to hold me to the swatching. I promise I will swatch 1st. I will make sure my gauge is dead on before proceeding to cast on in a whirl of hormones. It's 128 stitches to CO, so I will try not to take this lightly.

One question though... sweater is knit in the round (Hallelujah!), but would swatching a stockinette pattern mess up the guage? IE: all K vs. K/P alternate rows? I THINK my P rows are the same size as my K, but I don't know for sure. I had never even THOUGHT of that being a problem, until I saw it on a Q&A knitting site. See, these are the things that make me throw up my hands and CO blindly and hope for the best... so. much. trouble. :)

Here's hoping yarn arrives by tomorrow. We're going away for the weekend to a wedding in IA, and I want to swatch! And/or fondle the new pretty yarn. Turns out that the B&B I booked for this weekend has a LYS within walking distance. Coincidence? I think not. :)


Fat Tuesday 2007: Sugar Free

It just so happens that I was in Venice for Mardi Gras in 1997. I had been working at a castle in Austria just then, and the town I was in offered a bus tour to Venice for the day. I didn't really want to go, but I was suddenly gripped by a "carpe diem" fever. The bus left at 4:30 a.m. and 6 long hours later, we were in Venice. I was there with a woman I didn't know - she was visiting the castle too. A pigeon pooped on her shoulder. In Venice. I don't know why that STILL makes me laugh 10 years later. I hope that she can laugh about it now.

It was cold and misty that day. It was that cold mist that sinks in and chills you to the core, especially when you're just wandering around in it. It took me the whole next day to warm up. We ate several times that day, just to be able to sit in a restaurant and warm up, and use their ultra short toilets. Seriously... 1 foot from the floor. I used an ATM in Venice... took out 75,000 lira. Sounds like a lot. Wasn't. Pizza cost 12,000 lira.

We didn't really have a plan that day... we walked around and went in buildings when we could. I suppose the true Mardi Gras festivities started later that night, but there were people dressed up wandering around. At one point, as dusk was gathering, I looked into a restaurant, and seated at the table by the window were about a dozen people all dressed in black capes, hoods and masks. I wanted to take their picture, but I was spooked by their appearance, and assumed they'd be up to no good later on. Or maybe they were accountants.

I'm thinking that we didn't really pursue "real" Mardi Gras happenings that day. We ate a lot, but that's not the kind of sinning that Mardi Gras was designed for. Nothing I've seen of Mardi Gras has ever made me want to participate. That it was that day I happened to be in Venice turned out to be incidental.

We got back on the bus at that same night and arrived back in Mittersill at 4:30 a.m. It was a long, uphill walk to the castle, then I stumbled into bed and slept until noon. It still seems like a very long, surreal 24 hours. I actually get tired again thinking about that day. Not just tired, but deep down weary...

Here's where the title fits in... FINALLY! I gave up sugar last week. This is day 7 with no sugary anything. My main reason for doing this is to break my addiction to sugar. Once I start eating cookies/candy/whatever I CANNOT STOP. Cold Turkey is the only way for me just now. I wanted to give up my addiction before Lent, because Lent is NOT about giving up sugar. Well, maybe it is if sugar keeps me from God, which maybe it does. If I were to get in the Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) frame of mind, I'd eat everything in sight today, and do all manner of sinning, and give it all up tomorrow for Lent. I don't think that's what God wants for us.

This post has turned out very somber... that was not my original intention, but perhaps that's ok... getting into the Lenten frame of mind to look soberly at my life and see what parts of myself I am keeping from God.


NOW I remember why I don't knit socks!

H'ok, so I was all excited about turning a heel the other day. Yeah. Then came knitting the foot. It took forever and ever, hallelujah, hallelujah. The bright spot... ok, 2 bright spots: 1)the sock fits, and 2)thanks to these directions, I did the Kitchener stitch RIGHT for a change instead of just winging it.

The PROBLEM is that now I have to knit the OTHER SOCK. After solving the short row enigma, I kinda feel like my work is done here, and I haven't got the desire to cast on the 2nd sock. ALSO, remind me why I chose large bands of stripes, so that it's inconvenient to let the yarn travel that far. So that I end up with this many ends to weave in. (For me anyway... maybe there is a technique.) End Rant. UPDATE: ok, crisis averted. I started the 2nd sock. I'm to the heel turning now. Woot. I would show you a picture of the sock on my foot, but it's hard to get a good pic of that. Plus my leg in the pictures was, I kid you not, GLOWING: it is so pale. You'll just have to trust me when I say it fits. :)


Who's Your Daddy? Yes, I am.

Drum roll, please... I have successfully TURNED A HEEL using short rows!! 3rd time is the charm apparently. I'm probably using a bonafide method, but I figured it out on my own. Eventually. And... no holes! Yay! Of course, this yarn is forgiving visually, but I think it'll look good on other socks too. Just have to remember how I did it for the second sock.

In other news... I have FOUND MY BROILER. I've been going to Dinner By Design lately, and last month a bunch of the recipes call for broiling... so of course I've been saving them until last. Well, I called my mom in a panic about using a broiler. No idea how. Wasn't even sure WHERE the blasted thing was on my stove. I've. Never. Used. It. I found the "broiler" button on the stove, and opened the bottom drawer, because I remember my mom broiling things in there when I was younger. No dice. It was stone cold. Finally figured out that you put the broiling pan in the oven, with the rack put in the top slot. Here's what came out... I know it doesn't look great, but it was delicious. The pan was a pain to clean. I DO remember that part from my youth. :)


Yay! At least SOMEBODY likes Kitty Pi

I only put catnip in it the ONE TIME, officer. I swear! Sibbie is laying in KP of her own accord. I know that because she doesn't really like catnip. She'll eat it, but it doesn't make her crazy like the other cat.

I have not got a lot of knitting content, as I cleaned out closets last night. I do not know why. I had a burning desire to do so, and, in fact, I felt so compelled, that I didn't really have a choice. The closet under the stairs looks SO nice now. And it smells good too, since I found the baggie of lavender I'd picked from my garden last fall and put in there to dry. I poked around in the bag and suddenly the heavenly scent of lavender was everywhere. I know not everyone likes lavender. I have a friend who has always hated it, but now has made so many lavender scented items for others... because she's the type of good friend that will make you a lavender so and so even though she hates the smell... that she admitted to me that it's growing on her. And I have to admit that eucalyptus (her fave) is starting to grow on me as well. Huh.
I planted 2 lavender plants 2 seasons ago. I really want to plant more, even though the current ones are huge. (Well, not now, as they're covered with 18" of snow...) I kinda had in mind a big row of them in front of the deck. The plants are fairly expensive though, so it'd be a long term project. Hey! Spring must be springing in my heart! If I'm thinking about PLANTING THINGS! Yay! I don't know what people do in places that don't really have SEASONS. I'm talking about the dramatic seasonal changes in the Great Lakes area. Even though Winter is hard and long and dark, the joy of coming out of the gloom almost makes up for the previous hibernation period.


Short Rows, Shmort Rows...

Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day.... If you're into that kinda thing. My husband and I are not really. He said this morning that he didn't have anything special planned for today. I said "Good. Me either." Unromantic? Maybe... but I think we show love to each other in other ways every day, so I don't need just the one day. Also, you remember the whole "What's your love language" thing? Well, receiving gifts is not how I "feel" loved. But, if Lee will, for example, write out a message for me in dishcloths... I feel warm and fuzzy. Also, for me, just opening the garage door (we don’t have a gdo), knowing I’ll be home soon, is a sure way to my heart. Love you, baby!

Anyhoo, y'all came here for the knitting, I bet. I'm having a serious problem with short rows. I tried the "japanese" method from nonaknits. I then tried the "I THINK I saw it done this way once at my LYS." 2 tries, 2 frogs... The 2nd try actually was closer to “right”, but I started with 30 stitches and ended with 45. Um. I don’t think that’s right. In my defense… the heel actually DID turn, with no holes. It might help if my attention wasn’t divided between my heel and the horrors of WWII, brought to us by “Band of Brothers”. Excellent series, BTW, but apparently I cannot knit to it.

Anyone have a tried and true and super easy Short Row Technique? I’m leaning toward the wrapped kind. I get that part, I think. My problem is the picking them up on the other side.


What does a SNOW DAY mean to a knitter?

It's so nice to be home and knit and knit and knit. I worked on a sock... trying out short rows for the heel... wish me luck. If it happens to bear a remarkable resemblance to Kitty Pi... it's just a coincidence. I'm finally using the yarn from this project.... using it doubled on #2's I like it so far. I'm working the heel now... not sure if I'm doing it right. We'll see if I get little holes when I start knitting the stitch/wraps.

Also, here's a pic of Kitty Pi being used (ish). It took catnip to get them interested. Sigh... Ungrateful wretches. Guess my lap is still better than Kitty Pi. Also, the sides collapsed on KP, so it's looking pretty deflated.


Unclear on the Concept

Kitty Pi is done. It took 4 (!) skeins of Lamb's Pride worsted. I did it with 2 strands, #10.5 needles. Here is a pre-felted look at it... I set Sibbie in it and she settled right in.

A word about felting in a front load washer. (Remind me to get a top load washer next time, although I didn't choose this washer... it came with the house.) Anyway, there is no way to check the progress of the felting, and there just is not as much agitation. That's great for clothes, but not so much for felting. Sooo... Kitty Pi got 2 washes, then the sides stood by themselves. I did the i-cord bindoff rather tight so that the sides would bulge a bit, and they do. Love it when a plan works the way I pictured, rather than the opposite of what I pictured, which has happened.

Here's the felted version which Sibbie would not step in. Ok, granted, it was wet at this point, but there had better be some major kittie useage once it's dry. I'm not above sprinkling catnip on it. I know they will love it if they would use it. Also here's a pic sans cat.

Lee and I TRIED to watch Black Dahlia... booooooooring. Maybe the book was better. We turned it off after 20 minutes, which felt like and hour and a half. So, we popped in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, season 2, and I worked on these:
Yes, I'm still in love with dishcloths. I hope I can part with them when the time comes, cuz I'm pretty much in love with them and their cheerful colors.


Me, Me, Me, I, I, I, I... Me, I, Me, I, OH!

I've never gotten tagged by a meme. JARGON ALERT! I'm sure everybody knows all this, but I'll spell it out, since I didn't get it for a long time. A "meme" is one of those questionaires that goes around on the web and email, where you answer questions about yourself. Me. Me. Ah, got it. In my head, I was pronouncing it "mem". Also, once you've filled out the meme, you "tag" other people to fill it out too.

One going around the knitting blog world is showing your knitting spot. Ok, it went around awhile ago and my blog is so new that I'm guessing about .05 people read it regularly. Thanks, BTW.

Not that anyone asked, but here is my knitting spot... you can tell it's mine by the shape of the middle cushion... it's pretty much form fitting now, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

As a bonus, here is the view from my knitting spot. My feet are up on a space heater. I don't know what I'd do without the heater, frankly. See all the dishcloths in the basket? Mmmmm... I still touch them every day.

Behind the Times

"Real" life is SERIOUSLY cutting in on my knitting time. Here's my latest project:

As usual, I am 2, 3... 5, 6 years behind the trends. I didn't realize when I started, that everybody has already made one of these... I used a different pattern though... based on the Nantasket Basket, so the bottom is flat and not bowl shaped.
I know, I know... it looks like a rastafarian hat. My 24" circulars are a bit overcrowded.

I think Murray already likes it.... or maybe he just likes my warm lap. He's a big help as you can see.

Also, take note: That awesomely cabled sweater is one my mom made me years ago. I think it's time for another... hint, hint...


Theresa's gloves... take two...

Theresa didn't like the mini stripes of this glove, so I did an alternating 2,2,4,4 striping. I think it's cool, hope T. does too! :)

Maybe she meant snack food?

I don't know if you know, but the BEARS are going for the Stanley Cup this Sunday. Oh wait, maybe it's the World Series. Anyway, we're going to a Super Bowl party. My hair dresser asked if I was going to bring anything. "Yes!" I said, "my knitting!"

Live from Craftapalooza 2007

Oh yes, it's going on RIGHT now. We were up until 1 a.m. last night. Carrie was the first one up and scrapping. The guys are still wandering around trying to decide what to do. There was some attempt to get the mouse out from under the refrigerator, but maybe it's best not to tempt fate with a house full of ladies. Here are up to the minute pics from the Craftapalooza.

From top left to bottom right: Nicola deciding which green to use, Katherine making a Baby Kimono from the MasonDixonKnitting book, Beth working on a painting, Carrie working on pics from LA, Sibbie inspecting all the boxes, me (Chris) publishing this blog, Mary scrapping, Nicola and Terri in matching sweaters.

The cookies are almost gone, since some of us like there to be even numbers of cookies left, and some of us like odd numbers. :)


Went to my LYS (Local Yarn Shop) recently. It's not so much L, but it IS a great YS. If you're ever in DeKalb, IL, go to The Yarn Exchange. They've got the staple yarns... not so many trendy ones. I talked to the owner, and she said that's deliberate.

Got some Lamb's Pride for a Kitty Pi. I got to knit with the locals. I love knitters. We bond instantly. Couldn't stay as long as I wanted... had to get home for the CRAFTAPALOOZA.

This looks like trouble.

Um... does this seem like maybe there's another mouse under the refrigerator? Call me crazy.


Cats know how to live, don't they?

This is Sibbie. She is melted onto a sheepskin rug which is sitting on top of a radiator. I ask you... don't you wish you were a cat sometimes?

Irish Hiking Scarf... It's not you, it's me...

Sooooo.... here's the promised knitting blog. I've been steadily increasing the length of the Irish Hiking Scarf, but... there's always a but... and everyone has a big BUT... tee hee... Anyway, I do love bulky yarn, but not so much for this scarf. It's about 3 feet long, and I swear it has NO BEND WHATSOEVER. It will practically stand straight out horizontally from the needles. I'm trying not to give up on it, yet I do NOT want to finish it. Should I finish it and give it away? ("Hey, Mom, Merry Christmas... I knitted a BOARD for ya'") Should I frog it and STILL be stuck with this yarn that I pulled from the "GO AWAY and STOP BOTHERING ME" pile? Should I just slip it off the needles and pretend it never happened? Get my husband to throw it out when I'm not looking? It's comforting to knit... I like the pattern, but I feel like it's a waste of time when I work on it. Knitting is supposed to be fun, right? Ok, I'm taking it off the needles. Sorry scarf... you're not the one with issues... you're being the best scarf you know how to be... it's me. Maybe we can just be friends.