Archive for October, 2006

One Christmas Gift down, lots to go…

Look! I finished a scarf! Maybe now, I can work on giving Vita a mate!

The details:

Pattern: My own. Knit on the horizontal with 250 stitches (I wish I did 300).
Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in Brown, Mist, Tan and Evergreen (no more than one skein each)
Needles: 47″ US 7 Addis. (I’d have used size 8 or 9s if I’d had a long enough needle)
Size: Somewhere around 5 feet. But it’s thick, so that makes up for length in my mind.
Time: Began Friday night, finished tonight, so, 4 days.

This scarf is for one of my friends. I’m not sure if he’ll like it, but I’ve been told that it’s his colors, so I hope that’ll count. It was super easy and I love the results (I thought about keeping it for a while), but I’m not in any hurry to jump into garter stitch anytime soon. Also, I almost ran out of the green – I was worried that I’d have to undo most of my bind-off and the row before, but I was fine. I had just enough left over for the fringe. Is a fringe too much for a man scarf?

Anyway, it’s one scarf down. One Christmas gift off the list (and a stash-busting one at that. Did I mention that. Yea, I’m trying to do as many gifts as possible via stash-busting). One happy feeling packed away for experiencing in December. I am so on top of things this year. I can handle knitting for about EVERYONE I know. Right?


Oh, Vita…

Holy, bejeesus, it’s starting to get cold outside! Why don’t you step inside, where it’s warm, in to “Nicole’s Sexy Singles Bar.” Order an irish coffee and prop your feet up. Today, we meet Vita.

Nicole: Hello Vita! How are you on this October day?

Vita: Qvuite varm actually. This fair-isle get up is grrreat for varmth. It’s vooly and two-layerrrie. Qvuite nice indeed. It suits me, I think.
N: Now, you just walked in the door. Have you sized up your competition yet? What do you think your chances are?

V: I’m pretty skeptical to be honest, but not because of the competition, no, no. The Chrrristmas knitting vill definetly be an obstacle to finding my future mate. There are 2 pairrrs of socks on the list- that’s 4 socks total – and so farrr, only vone sock is 1/2 vay done. It’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure.

N: Is the Christmas knitting the only thing you’re worried about?

V: There’s also the issue of my heel. Beforrre I got some emergency duplicate stitching, I had a gorrring, gaping hole. I’m still a bit scarred. I feel imperfect. Attepting to create my mate might mean failure again. But, alas, I want someone to share my bed vith on those cold, vinterry nights. I need a mate.

N: But don’t you think your pattern is an asset?

V: Oh, yes! Each inch or so, both my color and pattern changes. That’s so interesting and exciting. The only problem vith that is the excitement von’t be as fresh and new vith my mate. You know, “been there, done that, got ze t-shirt.”

And really, it’s hard to people to see past my Norwegian trophy beauty. There’s character inside me. Talent. More than meets the eye if you vill.

N: Well, that’s all we have time for today, Vita. But thanks for taking time to talk with us today. Best of luck in finding what you’re looking for.

V: Oooh, vell aren’t you sveet. You’re qvuite velcome. Anytime. It vas nice chatting.

View More from this Series:
Katie’s Bitter Diatribe
Marla’s Story
Erica’s Tale
Sarah’s Egotistical Optimism

Please, help me.

I don’t ask for help very often.  But I need it.  What is a good way to do short rows?

This photo is the result of 4 attempts at the heel as described in the pattern (otherwise, a ver fun and excellent sock) and I finally got tired and frustrated – so I just stuck with what I got.  I’ve never doen short rows before and so for a first attempt, I’m semi-satisfied.  What you see in the above photo will not be ripped because I don’t want to rip back so far – and I’ll just see if I can do some duplicate stitch magic… finangling if you will.

Anyway, I’m looking for an online tute about short rows – a really good one with lots of photos.  Can you make any recommendations?

Here’s another photo for your viewing pleasure… (see, fair-isle is pretty and complicated, and I can do it.  I’m still a good knitter right?)


I got a package from my Secret Pal! I was so excited to see a package slip in my mailbox the other day – but even more excited when I opened the box to see the spoils! Such great stuff… It’s some alpaca and silk yarn and both soundtracks from Grey’s Anatomy.

I’m uber excited about the CDs because I can play them on my long drives home for the holidays. And of course, the music from Grey’s Anatomy is freaking amazing.

I love the yarn too! It’s my favorite color (I always, always love greens, I don’t know why). Initially, I considered a pair of gloves – but gloves get dirty – and shine to this yarn is too precious to waste on gloves. So now I’m thinking a pretty lacy scarf. There’s just short of 300 yards, and I’m thinking the scarf seen here, but I’m open to suggstions… got one?

I think I’m really going to love this secret pal thing.  And I think I may have the best secret pal ever… Thank you secret pal!

An apology

Today, my post is an apology – to you, my readers, but first to my Redwood Forest socks.

I’m sorry I doubted you, oh socks of pooling.

Let me explain. As you may remember, I hated the way that these socks pooled. HATED it. But since they were so quick and easy to knit (I knit the second one in 3 days flat), I just kept going. I said that I was going to abuse them as a punishment for being so ugly in their poolingness, and abuse them I have.

You see, I’ve worn them probably 80% of the time I’ve worn socks for the last 2 weeks. I’ve been so busy wearing them (and doing other stuff) that I haven’t washed them as often as I should have (they’re getting a good soaking right now – but no, I won’t tell you how many times I’ve washed them in a 2 week period. It wouldn’t be enough and you would think less of me). And they’ve felted. I love it.

The stitches have completely melted into each other on the heels. Look at this – they hold their shape when my foot isn’t even in them! And they are so comfortable! And warm (this cold and wet streak of weather we’re getting here in Bloomington – I’m not at all likeing it) and I keep reaching for them everytime I have to brave the weather – or just want my toesies to feel comfortable and snuggly. Plus, I have this idea that if I keep wearing them, they’ll continue to felt (a reasonable assumption, no?) and then they will be like a glove to my feet and will be even more comfortable. It’s starting to happen to the toes/pads of the socks….

Everytime I’m done wearing them, I look at the latest abuse I’ve inflicted – and oh, how I’ve abused them – but so far, they’re wearing very well. I’m enjoying them far more than I ever thought I would! It’s enough to make me forgive these socks and this sock like and continue to push forward on the fly fishing colorway. It’s enough to make me give an above average grade to Knitpicks Memories sock yarn. It’s enough for me to be seriously tempted to buying a new colorway…(and 32$ worth of more knitting stuff in order to get free shipping).

My other apology is about all the boring posts lately. I hate memes and things subtly camoflaged to look like something other than a meme – I think they’re boring a cop-out to real, interesting blogging. But I had to, secret pal and all (I love you secret pal!) – but, the point is, interesting posts ahead–including a very special sexy single sock and a new series (poking fun at moi and my idiotic knitting mistakes).

Secret Pal 9 Contest

My Favorites of the following are…. (I’ve never been very good at chosing favorites)

Actor –  Johnny Depp.

Actress –  Maggie Gyllenhal

Animal –  those that make fiber, I guess.

Band –  The dixie chicks (they’re a band right?)

Beverage – Diet coke with lime.

Book –  Favorite book of all time is “A song for Summer” by Eva Ibbotson (Good thing I own it since it’s hard to find).

Bubble Bath – I don’t have a bath.  I’m sorry.

Candy –  I like take fives.  Also, just about anything fruity.  Oh, and this butter nut crunch stuff that they make at the nunnery where my aunt lives.

Color –  Green.  Definetly Green.

Flower –  Pretty ones.

Food –  Raspberries.  Tiramisu.

Lip Balm –  Something without much flavor or color.

Lotion –  Erg… do I have to pick?  Anykind from Bath and body works with a clean scent.

Movie –  Any pixar flick

Song –  Too many to pick on.  Probably Grace from the Grey’s anatomy soundtrack.

TV Show –  Grey’s Anatomy.  Oh, god, Grey’s Anatomy.

Vacation Spot – Ireland

Some more about the mold…

As you may (or for you newbies) or maynot remember, the worst experience that has ever happened to me as a knitter was this summer of mold. The jist of the story is that my airconditioner in the room I was staying in this summer grew mold and contaminated almost everything in my room including much of my yarn stash. You can read more about it in this post here, and you can read what I did about it here.

So why bring this up again? Everyday, when I look at my stats, at least one of the searches that brings people to my blog has something to do with mold. One person had mold under the floor in her boat. I get lots of searches with the question “is mold bad for you?” I find some comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one with this problem.

Anyway, Bryony emailed me the other day because she too was having mold problems. She agreed to let me post her question and my response in order to help future google searchers. She writes:

I’ve been reading about your horrible mold issues thanks to Google and I
wonder if you could offer me some advice.

I live in a very old stone weaver’s cottage that is built into the side of a
hill, and the back of it is the only place that gets hit by the sun (which
unfortunately is the side built into the hill). Because of this, and a
problem with water pipes , we have issues with moisture levels in the house. We have a dehumidifier, which does a great job, but until we can afford to have some more work done, and get the bathroom and the pipes replaced, we are a bit stuck with it.

Unfortunately this kind of makes things a bit difficult with my knitting
habit (as you have already discovered, sadly). My yarn is fine. The WiPs
are ok because they are washed at the end of knitting, and my stored yarn is kept in locking plastic crates, so the yarn is quite happy, has never smelt
musty and comes out the box fresh as a daisy 🙂 My books are luckily fine

My issue is with my needles. I prefer bamboo to metal or plastic, and
while I’m knitting with them they are fine. Even needles left to one side
for a few months stay fresh and clean. However, the set not in use I’ve
kept for the last year in a felted needle case, and these have serious
problems. For the second time I’ve noticed they have mold on them. The
first time, I cleaned them with anti mould cleaner, and most of it brushed
right off, without any staining. I also sprayed the case with
anti-bacterial Febreeze. Apparently that wasn’t enough 😦 I’m ordering a
new set of bamboos from ebay to minimise the transfer of mold, and my
beloved case will have to go 😦

What I would like it know is – did you have any problems with your needles? If so, have you been able to do anything about it like treat them with something to protect them? I’m already thinking of moving my stash upstairs to somewhere more airy and dry, so that I only keep WiPs in the living room, but I’m not sure how to store my needles to keep them safe and dry. Given that I don’t have the opportunity you did (i.e. moving!) to resolve your problem, do you have any advice you can offer? I’ll be keeping the dehumidifier on quite a lot at least!

Many thanks in advance

As someone who enjoys knitting with bamboo needles, I’m glad that I didn’t have any of these issues. Here’s my response:

I haven’t yet noticed a problem with my needles – I was only in the moldy room for 3 months and so I think that might be a factor – also, a lot of my needles are plastic or aluminum (as much as I love the birch and/or bamboo).

However, I do have a few suggestions for you – First – either toss your needle case or give it a long soaking in some Kookaburrah. In the course of my cleaning, I had to throw out a hand-quilted pillow that had a ton of sentimental value for the relationship I had with my mom – the mold was deep inside the stuffing and I just had to let it go – washing didn’t do any good. This had to be one of the worst parts of this whole thing – throwing away something that I valued as special.

Exposing your needles to the moving air will be helpful. (in the course of my crisis someone told me that it’s warm, wet and extremely stagnant air that mold loves the most) – Since I love looking at my needles, I’ve never had them stored in a needlecase – I store them in a vase where I can see them everyday. My circulars hang (from one of those circular solution things), also in the open air. I’d recommend that you first clean your needles – soak/wash the non-porous ones (plastic, metal) in a solution with some bleach (make sure you rinse off the needles really well afterward) and seriously wipe the wooden ones with some Murphy’s oil soap and maybe some Kookaburrah just to be sure. Then, you may want to think about doing what I do (at least for the interim) and store them in a vase – an advantage to doing it this way is that you could put a bunch of rice in the vase – this could suck the moisture out of the needles you have (preventing mold from growing) and make sure they stay dry in your apparently wet house.

I hope this helps!

SP9 — I’m in! I’m in!

This is for Secret Pal 9 – I gots to post this – it’ll probably be boring (unless you get me as your spoilee). Just a disclaimer. To keep it short and sweet for those who’re more interested in “real” posts, I’ll only post an excerpt on the main page – read more if you want to….
1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I’m a fiber snob. I am. It’ hurts sometimes (on my college student budget), but I love merino, alpaca, and good wools. I really do not like acrylics. I have issues with wearing someting that either was prior – or could have been- plastic cola bottles. I like the earthy/hippiness of wearing natural fibers. Usually, I buy Knitpicks yarns – and some cheaper wools – like Plymouth Galway (I love their highland heathers), Arucania, etc. Also, one time I petted some angora yarn (100%) that was someone else’s- and I loved it – but I haven’t been able to knit anything with it – mostly because I haven’t seen any.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a roll-up needle case but I don’t usually use it unless I’m traveling. Normally, I store my long straights in a vase that my boyfriend got me for Christmas. Double-points are stored in a cheap mug that was a freebie from our on-campus bookstore. My circs hang in a home-made circular solution.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I consider myself at an advanced level. Nothing really scares me in knitting (except intarsia – and I probably could do that if I tried – I just don’t have a good enough reason to try). I’ve taught myself just about everything as I needed to know it (how to do socks, fair-isle, seaming, lace, etc.). Recently, this includes the magic loop method of knitting socks (see post here). I’ll have been knitting 2 years this December.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? –

No, I’m sorry. I could make up a list if you wanted me to though.

5. What’s your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.) –

I love clean smells – laundry, cotton, vanilla, spring rain, fresh air type of scents. I also have lotion and body scrub in the Happiness Scent from Mary Kay and kind of wish that I had the perfume for it. I can’t have candles though because I live in the residence halls at IU and open flames are BAD (and I’m an RA so I have to set a good example).

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? –

I’m a fan of Take 5 Candy bars. I also like Milano cookies in the raspberry flavor. Actually, I like a lot of things in raspberry flavors.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I sort of spin on a spindle. The only thing I’ve ever spun into yarn was pretty ugly and really, really thick. The post about it is here. I really, really like dying (again, I’m a snob and I like real acid-dyes – not drink mixes) and I wish that I had some of the dyable sock yarn from Henry’s attic – but right now I can only afford Knitpicks dye-your-own.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

Yes, it can play MP3s. I like some country (the traditional stuff (Dixie Chicks Home)or the sappy chick stuff (Trisha Yearwood, I would’ve loved you anyway) NOT the hick stuff (I’ll stick a boot in your ass), most of the music from Paste Magazine and almost all the music from Grey’s Anatomy (best show ever, by the way!) – I dislike rap and heavy rock. And I kind of think Dave Matthews is a tool.

9. What’s your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can’t stand?

I like earthy, natural colors. Green is my favorite ever in the whole world. I’m not a big fan of bright, bubble-gum, pop colors.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I’m a single college student – It’s my senior year at Indiana University. I’m an RA in the dorms (no pets allowed) – My parents and my younger sister live at home in Northern Indiana. My brother (also younger) goes to Ball State.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Yes. Particularly scarves (but not fun-fur ones).

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Prolly socks. I knit them a lot. But I also get a TON of satisfaction when I finish a sweater.

13. What are you knitting right now?

OTN- a Mason-Dixon style log cabin blanket, 3 or so pairs of socks (at varying stages), a sweater for my mom, the swallowtail shawl (I may frog this, I’m bored), and the backyard leaves scarf from Scarf Style. Oh – and a crappy pair of gloves I’m sorta forced to knit.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Sure, why not?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I like Bamboo and Birch needles – it’s always a treat when I can use them. The KP options are nice, but I still find myself knitting socks with my Clovers and not my KPs. I like the nickel plated circular that my blanket is on – but I do appreciate the bamboo and I find myself prefering bamboo (or birch) in just about every situation. I dislike aluminum and plastic but have no particular preference for circulars or straights – I use them both – it really depends on the project.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

I own a swift, but not a winder.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

No older than 2 years (obviously, since I’ve only been knitting that long). I can’t really think of what it would be. Obviously not very important.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

The Fourth of July. It’s a family holiday for me with memories of good food, good weather and great fun.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

I’m very into tea right now. I love the Tazo teas, particularly the fruity varieties. I also like mugs for drinking it from. I want to have a collection of mugs with varying looks/styles and stories behind them. And of course, I collect yarn and knitting books.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I don’t have any knitting magazine subscriptions. I like Interweave Knits, but I’m not a fan of Vogue Knitting. Also – much of the other magazines are too boring/simple for me (this does not include Rebecca – I love that magazine). I’m wanting the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Barbara Walker pretty badly. The Big Book of Knitting has been on my list for a while also.

21. Are there any new techniques you’d like to learn?

I want to make a sweater with a fair-isle bust but I think I already know how to do that. I guess I want to learn to spin on a spinning wheel (I don’t have one, though). I guess I’m such an independent knitter that nothing really scares me. I guess steeks scare me – but that’s because I’ve only used a sewing machine 3 times in my life (with bad results). So I guess the short of this answer is “no.”

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Yes, I am a sock knitter. I think that I have a size 8 foot. Nothing real abnormal – I’m not wide footed or anything so the basic women’s medium size always works for me.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) 09/19

Also, just to note… I am allergic to smoke and to some animals. Just an FYI.

Oh, oh, it’s magic, you know….

I can knit socks with one needle, I betcha didn’t know it!

So, first I taught myself how to knit socks on two circulars (they don’t soar too much faster than the double-points – I think maybe it’s because the rythym of the DPNS are just etched into my brain).

And now, I’m knitting with one circular. Check it out… It’s magic loop!

I didn’t do it with any instructions either! I’ve known it was possible – and I’d seen photos before. So, I just thought about it logically and figured it out! It was pretty easy peasy.

So, what is the pattern above? Well, the red scarf, you should know. The sock is a future Pomatomus. I say future because it’s only 2 charted lines in – and so it’s not really a Pomatomus yet. It’s not even hinted at it’s potential greatness.

The yarn is Knitpicks Gloss (still loving it) and the needles are a Knitpicks Options Classic Circular 32″ long US2. When these needles first came out, a number of people wanted them longer so that magic looped socks could be knit on them – but I don’t see any problem with this length. Granted it would probably be a little difficult to knit two socks at once on one needle, but still.

Anyway, I still love these needles (see my review of the DPNS here). Great point and I love the flexibility in the cord. And of course, the slick finish is pretty nice. A part of me hopes they come out with a bamboo line though. I love the natural feel of bamboo sometimes.

Anyway, I find myself itching for some difficult socks (probably because I’m on my 3rd k2, p2 ribbed sock and I want to poke my eyes out). Obviously, Pomatomus will fit that bill what with it’s twisted stitches and complicated laciness.

But I also want to try my hand at some fair-isle socks. I have this pattern but my first attemt didn’t work out so well. The fair-isle was WAY too tight and after I knit 3 inches I tried on the sock and could barely squeeze the thing over my heel. (No, I didn’t knit a guage swatch – with socks, the first few inches are the gauge swatch in my book) – I’m thinking that I’m going to have to move up a needle size on the next try.

But I’m also toying with a sock pattern that’s in my head. It’s toe-up, and knit with my hand-dyed yarn – but I really think that the pattern (as it exists in my head anyway) will be really, really cool. But creating a new pattern, especially a sock pattern is going to be a little bit difficult. Not the sock that I want to be working on as I have a 1,200 word article due tomorrow. That’s why I’ve been reaching for my k2, p2 socks, as freaking ugly as they are.

Luckily, after tomorrow night, my stress level should go down drastically – and then, you better believe I’m pulling out at least one of those harder socks….

… or maybe I’ll finally plan out my mom’s sweater.

If I’d wanted pooling, I’d have gone to school in Florida!


Oh, pooling, how I loathe thee.
Sometimes my loathe is my own doing-
Thus, a part of me will always love the subtle socketh of spirals.

Sometimes, pooling, oh ye cunning fool thee be.
Thy pool in subtlety – in thus such an accpetable manner that thine doesth thou continue in thine ugliness with high hope that thy situation will rectify. Alas, it does not.

But, oh, pooling, how I loathe thee.
when thy pooling is stiped of brights and dark….
Oh, mine eyes! Oh, why dosth thy continue?

Why must I continue knitting, watching thy situation worsen
for it worsens so with each round and round I go…

I long to frog thee, oh pooling sock of bright greens and blues.
I long to see thee as an impressionist work of art as this blue piece demonstrates so well,
Bits of color sprinkled here and there, all over thine footeth.

But alas, thy crazy flashing and pooling continues
Despite shaping of calf and a change of stitch count.
Thy ugliness mocketh me. Thy pooling only grows thin.
Thy do not stopeth.


Welcome to the site! Look around. Grab a seat. I hope you brought some knitting. Feel free to bookmark the site - and at the very least, check back every once in a while (I'm a night poster). Oh. And leave me a comment!

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Stuff on the needles – to complete, sometime.

Christmas Gifts to Finish
Mom's Sweater (the body is done)

Socks in progress...
Grandma's Socks
Koigu Scruncher
Raindrop Lace

Lace Leaves Scarf from Scarf Style
The Behemoth Log Cabin
The Swallowtail Shawl
Stupid Ugly Mitten
Felted Clogs


October 2006

On my Ipod…Music and Audiobooks

Devil in White City heartlonely

Flickrize me!