Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just right?

Monkeys take 3: Socks that Rock lightweight in "Foo Foo", size 2.25/US 1 needles.
I don't know if they'll work but at least it fits over my foot (so far). We'll see what happens after the heel.

A big huge thank you to Karen for the yarn! THANK YOU!!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

ix-nay on the url-hay

So I came down with a lovely bout of gastroenteritis on Thursday. I slept through much of Friday, and sat around Saturday getting really tired of drinking water. It's all for the best that I didn't have my heart set on going to Black Sheep, since this weekend I ended up not doing anything but sit/lie around trying not to move much.

It's ok, I felt mostly better by Sunday but let's just say that me and the stomach have a truce. I dearly hope I didn't infect anyone else. Stomach flu is about my very least favorite malady. I HATE feeling nauseated.

I did, however, manage to rearrange some of the stash this weekend, and it's really for the best I didn't buy any yarn. I don't have so much of it that I've forgotten things (e.g. there weren't any outright surprises) but the amount is way over what I could knit in a year and it's embarassing.

Anyway, it's Monday, back to reality day. Bleh.

I started a new lace stole this weekend. This one in Zephyr wool/silk and it's pretty nice to work with grabby yarn again. It's the Arabesque Stole from Marianne Kinzel's 2nd Book of Modern Lace Knitting, for those of you playing along at home.

And yeah, I think I finally found the right combo of needles and sock yarn for the monkey socks. Ha, thrilling conclusion indeed. I will resurrect the camera from the pile tonight, 'k?

(Title quotation from Wayne's World 2. Wow, I really don't remember much from that movie.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I'm thinking I'm not going to go to the Black Sheep Gathering this weekend.

I've got my copouts reaons.
  1. I don't spin. The emphasis of this show is really much more on fleece and fiber than finished yarn.
  2. It's a 2 hour drive to Eugene. That means four hours in the car on a beautiful sunny summer weekend.
  3. I don't need any more damn yarn. The temptation levels will likely be quite high.

I would really like to see (and probably purchase) products of the small yarn producers that surely will be there, but (see above).

Maybe instead I'll visit Farmhouse Knit Shop out in Beaverton. I've been wanting to see that place for a while. Or maybe I'll go to Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks, I haven't been there for probably a year and they carry a bunch of undyed yarn, too. Or maybe for reason #3, I should probably just stay home and knit.


I bought a new shirt this weekend and you know the first day you try out wearing a new shirt? Especially a style you're not used to wearing? So all day is long progression of "do I look bad? do I look bad? do I look bad? No are you sure?" That's today. Unfortunately it seemed to shrink in the wash just enough to make the buttons gap over the boobs. Sigh. Good thing I wore that black bra today.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Alice's Adventures in Gaugeland

Or, Goldilocks and the 3 Monkey Socks


Big Alice cast on for the Monkey Socks and worked up the cuff and a repeat.

First, she cast on in Lorna's Laces (2 mm/US 0 needles)

This monkey is TOO SMALL!

Next she cast on in some hand-dyed Henry's Attic Monty 2/9 Fingering weight (ha, fingering! LIARS. It's closer to sport weight after the dyeing was over) (2.75mm/US 2 needles)
This monkey is TOO LARGE!

Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion to our story!

Friday, June 15, 2007

I gotcher eye candy right here

Fridays are for going all Wizard of Oz:

These beauties are along my walk to the gym (yeah, one of my requirements for a gym is that it's close enough to get to that I can't easily make excuses not to go, based on distance to travel).

Happy Friday (oh thank goodness) and I hope you all enjoy your weekend.


(Warning, bummer of a post. Don't cry for me Argentina, I'm just bitching to hear myself type.)

  • I think I'm getting sick. There's some stupid sore spot in my throat and I'm sniffling. Bah.

  • Stupid blogger which I'm currently using on Firefox is broken enough that the Save Now button at the bottom of this page grows wider and wider the farther I type, until it's about half the size of the window and butts up against the "Draft autosaved" part. I won't even go into it on Safari. Let's just say it's rolling the dice whether I can upload pictures or publish a post.
    And it annoys me to NO END that it's painfully hard to hand-edit the html (I have to download it, modify it, upload it again, then hope for the best) for my sidebars.
    (I know, you're all, "here's a nickel, kid, go buy yourself a real hosting solution").

  • I've been writing documentation for 2 weeks now and I am terminally bored. I seriously can't seem to concentrate on it for more than 10 minutes. This is bad. On the plus side, after 2 weeks of distracted work, it's almost done.

  • Shit keeps breaking. Why is everything an endless series of work-arounds?

  • The commuter socks are almost done. So is the pile of silk lace (just needs some ends woven in). I don't know what to do next.

  • Pile of silk lace needs a photo shoot and I don't have any model besides me (K the love monkey refuses. Too bad). I don't think this is going to go well.
    K will be photographer and we'll see if we can find some new (or at least not fugly) backdrop that hasn't been done to death by Knitty/thousands of bloggers/Debbie Bliss. I think we'll try the Rose Garden first. With backup by the Japanese Garden and then the Chinese Garden. There's a lot of gardens around here. Problem is that the stole itself is green. Green backdrop won't do a lot for it. Big problem is that I don't have any clothes that I think would look good with it. I need a little black dress. Point 1: I am not little, Point 2: nobody seems to sell simple black dresses anymore. Or at least the kind that don't gap out funny if you've got boobage.

  • I ate a donut this morning at work because I was feeling kind of bad and I used that as an excuse. Now I despise myself.

  • I tried clothes shopping again this week, since one place was having a big sale. Hahahhahahahaha. Why do I persist in this exercise in futility? It just embarasses me and makes me ultra aware of just how fat I am.

  • Tired of doing 10+ miles a week walking and the equivalent of running 20 miles a week and it does nothing at all for my size. I do feel better and healthier, but it matters not a wit to my weight. I'm mindnumbingly jealous of anyone who can blithely eat that donut and never have it affect them.
    K drives to work everyday, he doesn't exercise, he gets about 15 minutes of movement out of every day, yet he weighs less than I. The next person who tells me obesity is a failure of my willpower gets their lunch pizza & a coke shoved where the sun don't shine.

  • I have really, really, really got to get the rest of those plants potted up.

  • Grump, I need a new gym book. Something with a good plot, so I can get distracted and tempt myself to go to the gym so that I'll read it. A good plot, not a dumb one, and not stupid characters. Some skimming is ok. Pynchon: not so good gym reading. Terry Brooks: excellent gym reading.
    Action works pretty well, but I've not been able to find a new book using my patented method of "casually peruse library shelves for covers with explosions on them." The sci fi and fantasy shelves just look overwrought lately (I did just finish The Anvil of the World by Kage Baker and that was pretty entertaining).

+ (written despite the protests of the super-ego)

  • It is drizzly today. This is not stupid. This means I will not need to water today. yay.

  • It's Friday. Two days of documentation-free bliss await.

  • I did have a leftover Cold-Eeze (sugar-free, ha) left in my carrier bag. Kill that cold with zinc, baby.

  • I can choose anything I damn well want to knit.

  • Clothing stores and designers can go to hell, I'll sew my own damn skirts.

  • The peas are producing frantically. It's like eating the vegetable world's equivalent of candy. They don't even make it to the kitchen, I eat the pods straight off the vines.

  • Probably it's warm enough now to plant some cucumbers and beans. No more lows in the 40s until September.

  • It seems that I've finally gotten the hang of basil. It hasn't died yet, it's sprouting nicely, yet the leaves are a full basil flavor. Yay. Now I just need to prevent myself rushing out and buying a bunch more basil plants. Then again, I could put them around some tomatoes... hmmm.

  • We had a hummus dinner night last night (hummus with pitas, tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, and onions). That helps counteract some of the donut guilt, doesn't it?

  • I am drinking lots of water, yes mother.

  • Farmer's market is tomorrow! More strawberries! Maybe some early cherries! Woo!

  • I'm going to the Pearl Bakery today to buy some real live artisan bread which we will eat gustily with D'Affinois brie and a tasty cheddar tonight. Screw the donut.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Silk Garden Beanie

I've heard the Noro story: either you lust after it with white-hot desire or you loathe it with the force of thousand suns (ok, maybe it's just dislike, no suns involved). It's like sushi. Very few people are indifferent to sushi. We call it a binary food, in my little personal idiom. So Noro is kind of a binary yarn.

I admit I'm in the former camp. I know all about the veggie matter. The thick and thinness. The knots. I know that I can't tug hard at the beginning of a new line of Silk Garden without risking that the yarn will break entirely. It all doesn't seem to matter. I am helpless before the colors and textures.

Pattern: Silk Garden Beanie from And She Knits Too!

Finished: September 2006. It took longer than it should have because I only worked on it in natural light. It was the changing colors that kept me interested, so I figured why bother working on it when I couldn't see the colors. That's me, easily amused.

Needles: 4.0mm/US 6 Brittany birch DPNs.

If I did it again, I'd work it tighter. I'm a loose knitter and the hat's not very snug at all. The finished fabric just feels a little loose. It doesn't work so well in the wind but otherwise it's remarkably warm for a hat that feels so thin.

I finished this hat a while ago with a trial skein of Silk Garden. The pattern creator remarked that it's an excellent for evaluating the color changes in a colorway you're not so sure about -- I agree. It was my way of avoiding going nuts with a WEBS sale: buy one skein to try it out instead of 20 because I was greedy for the Noro. It worked pretty well, since I got the Silk Garden lust out of my system and avoided the other 19 skeins. It's not my usual colors at all but i still love the hat.

I've completely spaced the colorway - it was discontinued last year anyway. The purple isn't quite so bright in real life, and there's blue and greens you can't really see in these pics. I look at these images and think, what a fugly colorscheme. The pics don't do it justice at all.

Does this hat make me look eeeeeevil?

I like the hat a lot and wear it frequently in the winter. It scrunches up nicely in a pocket and it's great for the drizzley weather that shows up here on a regular basis. It's probably the knitted-item-I-made that I wear the most.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dye me a river (of yarn)

Meh meh. Meh Tuesday.
I never seem to get anything done. How the hell do you people with kids accomplish so much? Do you never sleep?

All I've got is a cat and I still have more unfulfilled plans than finished projects.

I spent hours yesterday writing up the full pattern for Silk Lace Chaos. The charts were already done, but I needed to do a longhand version plus all the little extras like the cast-on and bind-off and how many times to repeat the chart, all of thatstuff. I can't believe it took so long to do, and I still need to format it all pretty, double check the written directions against the chart, fill in some of the questionable stuff (what exactly size crochet hook did I use?), then proofread the lot. I'm anal about the details. I suppose that's a plus sometimes but it takes forever to finish anything.


Shiny beads for distraction:
They aren't all involved in the same project, I just liked how they looked together.

I've got the yarn lust bad lately. I keep looking at pictures of yarn. Stash sets on flikr. Blog posts. All those gorgeous colors and textures are getting to me. It must be time to re-org the stash again. Hopefully I just need some wool fume exposure. I do adore me some silk, but lace just keeps going on and on and on.

I'm still in with the Knit From Your Stash, yes I am. The only yarn I've bought since I started in January was a gift for someone else. (full disclosure: I started after the birthday splurge, the picture I posted a couple days ago). I should feel good about this but really right now I just want to roll nekkid in as many colors of cashmere as I can get my hands on (I own only a small amount of cashmere). Sadly, the stash hasn't really decreased in size much - lace and socks make only a tiny dent.

Maybe if I do some more dyeing I'll stop coveting other stashes. Yeah, that might get the color stuff out of my system for at least a little while. Perhaps a day of cotton dyeing, making a huge ol' mess in the backyard with the spraybottles and the sunprint paint and rubber bands. Oooh I could try some yarn handpainting! Up until now I've only been kettle dyeing. All I'd need to do is setup a steamer.

Damn damn damn it's only Tuesday. 3 whole days until the weekend. Grump.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Crying for strawberries and other embarassing public outbursts

Pic of the yarn I dyed last week. I really really really want to cast on with it for some Monkeys right now, but Silk Lace Chaos must come first. I'm afraid that Silk Lace Chaos is going to be a real PITA to block - the sides are wavy, on purpose.

The Yarn Harlot's talk was good, although the crowd was a bit rowdy (yo, I don't get out much. Knitters in herds make me a little nervous (definitely a pride of knitters)). I got there about 1.5 hours ahead of time and got a seat (yay!). You can see photographic evidence of my presence on the Yarn Harlot's post - I'm in the background on the left in the picture of Chris.

One odd thing. I brought my commuter sock to work on, for the hours of waiting and the time in the signing line afterwards. (Yes I also talked with people. Go away). As I'm standing there the woman next to me, who's been talking to a group behind us, comments loudly to the group "I enjoy circulars for socks so much. I don't even know why anyone would ever bother with DPNs." Did I mention the commuter sock was on DPNs?

I wasn't really annoyed or angered at her outburst, as kind of taken aback. Because:

a) I had been working a DPNed sock right in front of her for the last 20 minutes. Maybe she thought I was ignorant of circs?

b) Different strokes for different folks, you know? Straights are not my needles o' choice but I don't go around implying that people who use them are stupid. My mom detests bamboo needles. I love them for socks and lace. We all get along ok and on the plus side we never steal each other's needles.

I use the DPNs because I prefer them and I find 2 circs awkward. I also feel like some uber competent knitter when using them because nothing impresses the people on the train like 5 needles, heh. Magic loop was ok with me but I don't have all the sock needle sizes I need for that - these socks in particular are on 2.25 mm needles, a hard to find size in a long-cable circ.

But she never even bothered asking me why I was using double pointed needles. Maybe she didn't see me?

Like I said, it didn't anger me as much as confuse me.

In other news (happy, happy news!) I finally bound off the silk lace chaos. I did it about 4 times before I found the beading/bind-off series that came closest to the cast-on/beading. I like it so much if I did it again (ha) I'd probably do a provisional cast-on and then knit the other one exactly the same. The beading after the cast-on is weirdly distorted, like I was keeping the tension too high. The beading before the bind-off is fine. Enh, once it's blocked, they'll both be all stretched out. If I hadn't needed to work a bit on Sunday it'd be blocking right now. woot woot!

The farmer's market is finally starting to carry more stuff than cabbage, overwintered apples, and mushrooms. The first weekend in June was also the first weekend of the strawberries. I arranged my market goodies all pretty just for you.

Oh my FSM they are so so good. I've missed fresh berries so much I started crying as I approached the market. Thank goodness for sunglasses. Those ones in the picture are my favorite variety, Hood. They're not as pretty as commercial strawberries -- a bit misshapen, on the smaller side, and a brighter color when ripe. They're also incredibly sweet and juicy. They're too delicate to ship anywhere, so they're not commercially available. Moan. I am salivating just thinking about them.

And cherries, cherries shouldn't be too far behind. The tayberries in back are starting to turn pinkish. Raspberries and blueberries will start coming in a couple weeks. Oh, I can't wait.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday, with some harlotry

I got nothing today. Yarn pr0n it is.

Last birthday's splurge, cashmere-silk laceweight. I circled it for 30 minutes (and several weeks) before I lost my willpower. It's unbelievably soft and I swear it glows faintly. I think the color as marked on the label is 'periwinkle.'

I'll be at the Yarn Harlot's talk at Powell's tonight.
If you're present and feel so inclined as to say hello, I'll be the one in the red shirt, zits (it's not a skin condition, it's an accessory!), and long thick french braid. (Heh, red shirt. You know that means I'm the first to go when the aliens arrive).

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Low kinetic energy

Wow do I feel awful today.

Actually no, I'll be honest, I just feel really tired. There's absolutely no reason either, as I had a full 8+ hours of sleep disturbed only by 11 pounds of fur who prefers to sleep on TOP of people (or parks herself right in the middle of the bed). It's been a little colder lately so she's snuggling up more.

I drug myself out of bed and to the gym because I've slacked for 3 days in a row now. I just haven't had the willpower to get up before 7:30 am all week long (I know. WOE IS ME. I think I mentioned before: I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON). The body didn't want to move, it was creaky and sweaty and annoying but I pushed through 1/2 hour of it. After, I've just been dragging all day. Sucks to be me. I had a leftover spinach & mushroom calzone and two cookies for lunch. My FSM but the cookies were good. I enjoyed every crumb. The calzone was pretty good too. That's a big winner of a recipe. Yes, I know the cookies negated most of the gym benefits, but I really needed some instant gratification. Sigh. I'm all about the excuses this week.

At work I finally emerged from cut 'n' paste purgatory yesterday and so today I'm at loose ends, having been in zombie mode for days now. So I'm working on docs. Purgatory part 2. But at least the brain can slowly re-engage.

Last night I finally sat down and worked the heel on the socks, so I've got something to knit on the train again. I thought I took good notes on the first but I had to decode some of my shorthand and it took longer than it should of.
Enh, whatever.

The colors in this yarn were good for the grey, rain-soaked, low-light days of winter and spring where the soft blues and greens and yellows would sparkle up from the muted brown background, but now that it's a lot brighter outside they just look dull. Since I'm not up to starting a new pair of socks I better finish up these ones. (For new socks it's still an Adventure in Too Many?/Too Few? Stitches Land. I usually have to cast on at least twice. Not feeling like that right now)

And then what? When the silk lace stole is done, which has consumed 95% of time and energy for months now, what'll I do? I always get like this near the end of a project. It's fun making new stuff and anticipation and all that crap, but sometimes I really just want something that's tried, true, and STARTED. Where I don't need to guess or worry about how it's coming out. It's nice to be machine-like and just follow the damn directions.

Our contestants:

In the north corner we have the Raglan of Doubt, which has been sitting forlorn for months now. It'll probably need 3 or 4 more tries before I get the yoke quite right. But hey, if I start it now, I might actually finish it in time for next winter.

To the south there is Neglected Slip Stitch Trial Sweater, where I stopped when I got stuck trying to sort out the increases to the sleeves while still maintaining the slip stitch pattern. And it's just a trial sweater for a bigger version so I can get better at seaming. I shudder to think how long that's been sitting -- a year now? Yeah, that's about right. I should really finish this up. Both back and front are done, I'm just stuck at the sleeves.

Need we mention the west corner? Where another neglected child's sweater lies in disgrace. It's a top-down raglan-ish (the increases are staggered and not noticeable) and when I divided the stitches for the sleeves and started on the sleeves the whole prior row loosened up unacceptably. I threw it in a bag and buried it for months. Uh, since last fall. Oh I'm good at this procrastination thing. Did I mention it's an aran weight cotton? Yeah, I've learned from that. No more cottons above worsted, thanks.

That sweater isn't that fun to work on but I want the yarn out of my stash (it's like penance for being so dumb as to buy it. Bah. It was on sale and I liked the colors). The whole top part is done. All the increases - finit. I can't guarantee I'm going to get any more neices so I should really finish this while one of them might still fit into it.

East, we have? Um. Oh yes, the pomatomuses, looking surly because they've been sitting for so long. There's about 1/2 inch left on the toe of the 2nd sock. Those'll be quick to finish.

Meanwhile there are a couple skeins of blush pink alpaca silk that call sweetly to me for a lace scarf. Multiple books full of children's sweaters I want to do. An elaborate lace stole in Marianne Kinzel's second book that I've been dreaming about for a year now (in bottle green or basil? I cannot decide) The incredibly soft, lovely deep red, cobweb laceweight that I won from Wen the KFYS Yarn Fairy. It's tired of being admired daily and wants to be used, but no design I find seems suited to it. I might go this one alone and make up another lace stole.

The problem with lace is that FOs don't make much of an appreciative dent in the stash.

I guess I've plenty to choose from. I'm also eyeing a wrap sweater which might actually cause me to break my moratorium of not knitting sweaters for myself.

I'll post pictures later if I can overcome my lethargy long enough. Because what the world needs more of are images of my abandoned knitting projects.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Arise, arouse, a rose!*

So I mentioned there was this Rose Festival thing going on right now. I look outside and I sense a theme.

* From the same movie character: 'ad loc, ad hoc and quid quo pro, so little time so much to know!'

I'm grumpy this morning for no particular reason but less so since I won the parking lottery today! Today being one of those mornings that I thought, to hell with it, I'm driving to work, I can't cope with public transit today. I drove up in the parking garage (which actually had spaces left! Win #1!) and there before me, right near the elevator, was a free space, gently glowing with miraculous light. Amazing, that never happens. I'm always stuck way up on the roof, like some kind of Ben Franklin "early to rise" punishment (thank goodness for flexible hours. I am not a morning person).

Anyway, (the royal) we here are all stream o' consciousness today, if it's not apparent already. We are too scatterbrained to be interesting. We are tempted to blame it on this work project which involves cutting and pasting hundreds of words into a stupid user interface. We might also blame it on the dyeing fumes (aside: we have discovered the whole "blooming" thing that people talk about when they talk about coned yarn. Wooo boy, it's twice the diameter it was before dyeing. Which means that the tied bits were tied a teency bit too tightly and there are some lighter blotchy patches. I could overdye it but I kind of like the effect. I tried taking a picture because I was so pleased with the rich dark greens (I used a crapload of dye. it worked), but the camera's color balance is all off and I'm too lazy to photoshop it. Think deep hunter green shading around to teal, with lighter bits of yellow here and there. I am in LURVE). Hopefully that's not it since although we adore those deep greens, the yellow bits won't work and we wanted something just as rich but a bit more teal-y. So back again to the dyepot. Uh, in my copious free time.

I think we'll do Dan Dan Mien for dinner tonight, noodles with ground pork, bean sprouts, scallions, and shiitake mushrooms. The local farmer's market had shiitakes and I couldn't resist. I like buying vegetables and fruits I'm not overly familiar with, because it's fun and I feel all grown-up and I like shaking things up a little. I draw the line at rutabagas though. Oh crap, we've got asparagus to eat too. Hmmm. It'll have to be thursday. I go a little nuts sometimes with all those fresh veggies.

The commuter sock has been sitting alone, crying for attention. It's at the heel split point and I haven't sat down and set it all up. Some things don't work well on public transit.

I have yet to see a single person ride the bungie-cord-tower-o-death ride.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Update on the knitting front

What I've been working on:

It looks like a big pile of silken lace chaos before I pinned it all out to get an idea of the length. Hey, look, I can't call it a bucket o' boiled ass as Rabbitch so eloquently named unblocked lace. The silk will get all huffy and tangle up to get back at me. For something so slippery it sure knots up itself easily. And I already have to keep a jar of hand cream handy so invisible hangnails don't catch on the stuff.

Jen's working with seasilk and her Print o' the Wave pattern looks frigging gorgeous, much better than this folly. Ah well, it's not over until it's blocked, yes? Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.

One more repeat and then the edging and then blocking and I am DONE, baby!