Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I'm sorry to take so long in posting this. I seem to have the magic superpower of making time pass fast for myself. Where is January? Where did it go? And why can I not employ this superpower when I'm getting my stupid yearly physical and girly-bit review?

Thank you so much, all of you who participated in my food drive blog contest. I didn't get a whole lot of response, but I figure it was December, a lot of people were already jammed to the gills with other obligations. I think I'm going to try it again in March.


Because you are all such wonderful people I am sending EVERYONE prizes! WOOOO! I have sock yarn in various colors (semi-solid to full-on variegated), lace weight Zephyr, and some DK->worsted. Let me know what you prefer and in what colors! Send me your addresses, Fillyjonk, Carole, Kris, Karen, and Janine! Carrie and Carmen, I've already got yours, but let me know your yarn and color prefs, willya?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

This song's just six words long

But this post isn't. Because I do go on and on and on and on, and it's that kind of week. Think of it as an opportunity to improve your blog skimming skills!

Moonrise over Portland

I haven't said much lately because I just haven't had much to say that's worth committing to paper. Um, or bytes. It's been cold, in the 20s of the Fahrenheit, not breaking above freezing all week long (ha, I see you all scoffing in the back there. Scoff away, but when you aren't prepared for cold, it comes as a rude shock.)

But the cold also means that it's sunny, sunny, sunny! (It's a weather pattern thing.) I've gotten more Vitamin D this week than I usually do for an entire winter month.

It's right now that I wish wholeheartedly that I had not dragged my feet about making myself a big comfy wool sweater. I don't have much in the way of heavy sweaters so this week has been Adventures in Layering! And constantly wearing a wool cap!

I've fallen into this trap again where I blink a couple times and wonder, 'where the hell did January go?' The days kind of slide along without me paying much attention to them. This is not good. I need to wake up. I need to stop jonesing after chocolate and cookies and red vines (yum, love those red vines). It's as if I need that little endorphin rush, little comfort of food, so I can feel and enjoy something. Break up the days?

And there's been this kind of low-level grumpiness all the time, which is why I haven't written, because who wants to read unending lists of unimportant things that annoy me? Such as the guy who almost ran me over the other night (no I was not jaywalking), and the stupid building they're building which requires this infernal machine that pounds 60-foot pylons into the ground with an enormous hydraulic-powered hammer. Hey, could be worse, I could be working door next to that building. You can see the glass shake in the windows of the other surrounding buildings when they have it going.

I don't know what the point of this; there really isn't a point. I gotta snap out of it. Maybe it's the cold, dry wind. I think it's just me. I think I get this way every January, restive and dissastified with everything. I need to play my pay attention game, where instead of 'thinking' (dwelling about things), I try to concentrate on all the details of everything I'm seeing, touching, smelling. It helps me focus so that the time doesn't just slip away. It helps me be now, not waiting for something to arrive.

Enh, enough metaphysical crap. The navel-gazing is reaching noxious proportions. Instead I will show you the high, high Kwality local reporting:
I hope the poodle is okay.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday's child is full of grace

I'm pretty sure I wasn't born on a Tuesday.

Ha. Told you I'd regret that in the morning.

These are the Poirot socks. The pattern is 'New England' by Nancy Bush, from her book Knitting on the Road. They're for Mom. She's allergic to wool so I'm doing them with Crystal Palace Maizy. It's that sock yarn that's made out of corn, with a some elastic thrown in for fun. I'm almost done with one sock now. I think I will send her sock the first so she can make sure it fits and is comfortable before I start sock the 2nd.


Because I like words and I like pictures, I think I'm going to do this. I'm sort of maybe still in the first 2 weeks of the year? Close enough?

A is for Apple:
Isn't A always for apple? There's some Law of Nature or something. These are Galas and they sure look REALLY GOOD. Yum. I grew up in apple country and we had a community cider press, so every year a bunch of people would gather in our carport in Fall and make fresh apple cider. It's so good. My Mom would make fresh cinnamon rolls for everyone, so you could go inside and warm up and have a hot cinnamon roll. Every autumn I go a little nutso and have to find some fresh, unfiltered cider.

A is also for avocado:
I used to hate avocados when I was a kid, but now I adore them. MMMMM I think I see guacamole in my future.

A is for angst, Albuquerque, and A-positive. A is additionally for apostrophe. Use, don't abuse.


This has nothing to do with A, but I was paging through an old Rowan pattern book from the library and found this:
When did Harry Potter get the gig modeling Kaffe Fassett sweaters for Rowan?

Monday, January 14, 2008


Ugh, I look at what every cool thing everyone else is doing and I think, crud, I'm so boring. DULL DULL DULL
  1. I scrubbed the bathtub this weekend and cleaned the shower (yeah. I didn't quite get to that last weekend. But I did add it to my Enormous, Mother-of-All To-Do Lists).

  2. I went to the gym (bah, I dislike going to the gym in January. Always crowded). Twice. blah blah, hooray for me.

  3. I did some laundry.

  4. I knit on my seeKriT knitting project. Then I tried it on and realized I'll have to rip back my seeKriT knitting project because of some unfortunate lack of fitting. I threw the seeKriT knitting project into the corner.

  5. I took some pictures of objects whose names begin with the letter 'A'. Coming soon to a theater near you.

  6. I failed to answer my email.

  7. I failed to post PRIZES PRIZES PRIZES! Again, coming real soon.

  8. We went to Powell's. And the grocery store.

Also, from the Too Much Information Department, my rear hurts.

K gave me a lovely Christmas present of a new bike! Well, more like an option on a new bike. He constructed a little gift certificate for me with random bike pictures off the Net, even.

I don't actually own a bike and I've never bought one and I know jack about bicycles, besides the recumbent stationary one at the gym. Seriously, I've never owned a geared bicycle. I've ridden K's, but that's it. I thought it'd be fun to ride together. Also, my rear and my wrists go numb after riding his bike for 20 minutes. I've been assured that the former is to be expected, but the wrists kind of bother me.

Then yesterday the weather decided to pull one of those Ha-Ha-I-rain-for-2-months-straight-but-to-throw-you-off-balance-surprise! things and gave us a rare warm sunny January day. Yeah, cheeping birds and all. Well, relatively warm. I'll take mid-50s. So we went to the bike shop to show off all my bike ignorance.

Sigh. My Natural Padding(tm) seems to be everywhere except right where I need it. It's a bad sign, isn't it, when my rear end still hurts today -- and after only a 15-minute trial ride yesterday?

K sez I will develop the mythical Biker Butt Callouses, but I'm not so sure. How can something be designed to press so specifically into my most tenderest parts? Honestly.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


I finished a sweater for NY niece, although not quite in time for Christmas.


Pattern: Sport, by Kim Hargreaves from the book Pipsqueaks. It's an old Rowan publication with some really cute patterns. My very favorite kids' pattern book. Uh, out of the whopping 4 that I own.

I made the 4-5 year old size, as my niece is large for her age and I hoped the ribbing would stretch, to let her wear it for more than a single season.

Yarn: Rowan Handknit DK Cotton in 307 - Spanish Red (discontinued color, on sale). I think this is the first time I've knit anything with the exact specified yarn. 8 balls wasn't quite enough.

4 mm/US 6 Addi Turbos circular, 47", so I could do both magic loop and work flat,
2 pair 3.25 mm/US 3 circulars (neither was quite long enough for magic loop so I needed an extra to work in the round with 2 circs). One Addi Turbo, one Susan Bates aluminum.

Time to knit:
Started 9/07, finished 12/07. I am so lame.

Pattern comments:
Yes, this is a whole sweater's worth of ribbing. On the other hand, it requires no button bands or special cuffs, since ribbing lays flat and the button "band" is constructed while you knit the rest of the piece, out of moss stitch. Also, the ribbing will hopefully stretch to accommodate a growing child.

I found no errors (except the WTF moment with the armholes. See below) and had no problems. I was confused about the # of stitches to pick up for the collar for a bit, until I realized the the number of "neck" stitches included both front stitches and back stitches, all the way to the long horizontal cast-off at center back. The "back" stitches are just those in the horizontal cast-off.

I knit continental style, holding yarn in my left hand. My purl stitches tend to be slightly looser than the knit stitches. I can compensate by tensioning more tightly, but that is a big pain for ribbing. Instead I worked combination style by short-wrapping all my purls, then knitting them through the back loop on the next row up. This produced a much more even ribbing for me. Hooray!

I still need tension practice, particularly on cotton.

I cast on with the long-tail cast-on. First row worked was a "back side" row.
I cast off the collar quite tightly using a typical cast-off in pattern. Tightly, because I didn't want it to flare.
I cast off the cuffs using an EZ sewn cast off. Nice and stretchy and neat.

Needle comments: I started out using bamboo, because it usually gives me more control and better tension on cotton. However, I tried the Addis and much preferred them, and the tension seemed all right. The cotton yarn stuck to the bamboo and was hard to move. This might be because this is an unmercerized cotton, so it's not as slick as cottons I've used before.

Yarn comments: Enh, Handknit DK is okay, pretty good for a cotton. I probably would have subbed if I hadn't found a color I really loved, and it was on sale, because I'm cheap sometimes. I found it neither painful nor ecstatically wonderful to knit with. However, I have a hard time maintaining tension in cotton, so I did most of the knitting while sitting still. Not a commuter project. I didn't carry it around much.

The cast-on edge was fuzzing up by the time I finished the sweater. I cut off some of the fuzz with scissors. I have no idea if this will wear well - the preliminary fuzz is an ominous sign.

I stayed with cotton for multi-season use and machine washability. Also, it looks nice in the ribbing. And did I mention I really like the color?

My first backstitch shoulder seam. I had to do one side 5 times before I got it exactly how I wanted it.

Mods: Many, but mostly in the way I worked the pattern.

1: It's worked from the bottom up, in pieces. I changed this to work the body from bottom up "in the round" (this sounds misleading because it's a cardigan. I still knit it flat, I just knit backs and fronts at the same time in one long piece.) I split the sleeves at the pattern's armhole depth by casting off the recommended # of stitches for both back + side for either side. Then I worked each front and the back separately.

Why? Since it's ribbing and cotton, I thought it'd be more cohesive and less bulky without the seam. Also, less finishing work, woop woop!

2: Instead of working the sleeves separately and flat, I picked up the stiches from the armhole and worked the sleeve down, in the round.

3: Here's my biggest change from the pattern: at the top of the sleeves, I picked up FAR more stitches than called for. Something like 20 more stitches? I couldn't figure out why the pattern specifies so few stitches. Maybe the ribbing is supposed to be stretched at the top of the sleeve?

The sleeve is a boxy set-in: mostly a vertical line like a drop-sleeve, with a few horizontal stitches at the bottom. I picked up ~2 stitches for every 3 rows, based on recommendations from other books for picking up stitches. I did do a few 3 stitches/5 rows, so I could get a number divisible by 5. And I picked up 1 for each stitch on the horizontal.

I had to decrease the sleeves at a rate of 2 stitches every 3rd row. I devised my own decrease pattern, angling the decreases towards a center stitch on the underside of the arm.

4: I ran out of yarn while making the collar. It's only about 4.5 cm instead of 7. This, despite buying an extra skein over the recommended number in the pattern. I guess that got eaten up by the extra stitches on the sleeve. I used all my yarn leftovers to eek out a few extra rows, so the collar was a frankenstein nightmare of strands that needed weaving-in.
Do you like the buttons? K picked them out at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Overall I'm pretty pleased. Except that 2 1/2 year-olds aren't known for patience in trying on clothing, so I have no idea whether it actually fits. Hey, she and Mom both liked the color. That must count for something.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

2008, the Year I Get Off My Derriere

I don't do New Year's resolutions.

I never have, either; I once got in trouble in 3rd grade because I refused to write any. We were supposed to write them out and take them home and put them on the fridge or something. Someone tattled on me to the teacher (I believe I wrote things such as "New Year's Resolutions are dumb" and "I resolve to eat more candy this year.")

No. It really bothers me that there's this arbitrary date when I'm supposed to change my life. And because there's such a rich tradition of New Years goals that last all of 2 weeks, it seems like I'm setting myself up for instant failure.

Instead I make "resolutions" whenever the hell I feel like it. My mind gets into this place where it decides "NOW. NO MORE OF THIS PROCRASTINATION CRAP." But I really do have to reach a kind of tipping point in my head, or it just won't work. It's usually set off by some kind of external event (not necessarily something large), but sometimes I just get to the "TIME TO CHANGE SOMETHING, DAMMIT" stage all on my own.

Anyway. I do concede that the calendar year's start is a useful way to measure just how long you've been doing (or not doing) something. Also useful if you wish to plan on doing/not doing things for a sort of seasonal time. Also, all you people are being introspective and crap, and it gets to a girl.

So, loosely, I intend for 2008 to be the year to Get Stuff Done. In all ways, forms, and means.

This weekend: the shower, where the pink mold and the black mold have been fighting for dominance for FAR too long. (I know. ewwww. More information than you needed.)

November leaves (shut up, I know it's January. I need to remind myself there are more colors in the world than grey, green, and beige (thank you 70s commercial buildings)).