91,955

That is just the most embarrassing number. I wrote a few posts back about my stash inventory system. This week I got the bright idea to add up all the yardage to see how much yarn I actually have. According to my database, I have 91,955 yards of yarn in my stash. That’s 84,094 meters for all of you from the rest of the world. Of course this doesn’t include the latest purchase.

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This lovely pile of yarn is a Colinette AbFab Throw Kit, in Amethyst. I have just been coveting this (which commandment was that??) for a long time, but had not bought the kit. I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with “the look” that I get when yet another shipment of yarn arrives at the house.

My covetousness began in earnest when Kerstin posted this.  Then Crayonbrain had to go and suggest that they were taking these kits off the market. I took this as a sign and whipped out my credit card. I have no idea when I will ever get to this, but I just thank God that I didn’t miss the AbFab bandwagon.

Here are a couple of rare Willie sightings. (That doesn’t sound quite right does it??) I mean Willie the cat…get your minds out of the gutter, boys and girls. The boy cat howls like a maniac till we let him out in the morning, then about mid-morning he howls like a maniac to get back in, and occasionally climbs the patio door screen to let us know that he is serious. He likes his comfortable warm morning nap.

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The rocking chair is one of my few prized possessions. Most of the furniture in our house is of the “I like it but wouldn’t be tormented forever if it disappeared one day” variety. My grandfather built this chair in the early 1900’s for the farmhouse in North Dakota where they lived. It is definitely not fashionable, though it is as solid a piece of furniture that you will ever find. One of the pieces of wood on the bottom of the chair looks like it was salvaged from a box used to ship farm equipment. I had it reupholstered a few years ago, and when I sit in it, I think of my grandfather sitting in the same chair after a long day’s work, playing his fiddle and perhaps sipping on a jug of whiskey if my grandmother wasn’t looking. I’ve mastered the whiskey sipping; someday I will learn to play the fiddle as well. Here’s a better picture of the chair.

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Here are a couple of Rogue pictures. I haven’t done more than a few rows all week, due to work interference, but have made a bit of progress. I’ve attached the pocket to the body and am to the underarm section where the cables start to widen out again.

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And a better shot of the pocket.

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Knitting that pocket back on was just a barrel of fun. I took some pictures but they didn’t come out particularly well, so if you want to see what it looks like, you’ll have to knit it yourself. It is an ingenious pattern, and I could really see doing this again. (Have I mentioned that before??)

Rogue, Real Life.

I have been knitting on Rogue. I even took pictures of my progress. Unfortunately they all turned out to be crap, and I am not posting crappy photos today, even though I have done so in the past with impunity. It’s one of those famously gray western Washington days, and not very photo friendly. I suppose I could have fixed it, but I’m way too lazy. So you’ll have to take my word on it. I’m not making speedy progress due to the intervention of work this past week, but have gotten into the spirally cables up the side. This is really a hypnotic project to knit, as many others have found. Ei and Dorothy are making much better progress than I am. Go look at their pictures. Mine looks like that, only not as far along, and mine is pink. They also evidently know how to take good pictures.

I do have a picture of the pets doing what they do best. Daisie the Corgi was here visiting again, and I guess somebody must have tired them out at the park:

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Note that Willie is on the dog bed too. My husband took that photo, which explains why it is not blurry.

I was going through my site stats and found a couple of things that amused me (it doesn’t take much to amuse me, really). I always look at the search strings in Google that got people to my blog. My favorite for the week is “graph paper knitting alien”. Right up there is “flannel sheets at Costco”. I was the fifth hit on that one. My flannel sheets are from Costco, actually, though I don’t remember ever mentioning it in my blog.

Work this week just plain over-ran me. I didn’t get much done except work, eat, and sleep, and not that much of the latter. I have a work schedule that most people would find nuts. I work 7 days in a row, then get a week off, which sounds great. The 7 days on basically put two and a half weeks worth of work in one week, and I sleep for the first 2 days I have off. Then about 4 days into my week off, I’m pretty excited about my work schedule again, and by Monday (my last vacation day), I’m all pumped up to get back at it again.  It sounds crazy, but it has its moments.  Anyway, I’m still in my jammies at 10:30 this morning, and would have no intention of changing that if I didn’t have a couple of meetings this afternoon. It probably wouldn’t do to go in my bathrobe. Though I might just take my knitting with me.

What Kind Of Girl Am I??

That really fits, is all I have to say. A fine Rhone wine, a stinky cheese, a fireplace, and a good 800 page book on the medieval history of Europe, and I’m happy. How the hell did I get this way after being born and raised by farm parents in North Dakota?
Thanks to ladybean for the link to this one!

The Cat’s In The Bag

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No, Lucy is not trying to kill herself. I pulled Rogue out of the bag to knit yesterday morning, and within about 2 seconds Lucy was playing in the bag. Yes, I’ll be more careful to put it away from now on.

Though now that I think about it, maybe she was considering suicide. We have the neighbor’s dog here for a day or two while they have a family thing going on. Daisy is a Corgi, and just the cutest thing, though Lucy really is not impressed.

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Daisy is barely a year old, so still acts like a puppy. She and Willie, the other cat, get along just fine, and she and Riley are great friends from their many trips to the park together on walks. John takes Riley to the park daily, and generally stops at the neighbors’ house and picks up Daisy as well. It’s the next best thing to having a Corgi of our own (maybe better!).

Rogue is just the most fun thing I’ve ever knit. I am done with the pocket and have resumed knitting in the round. The cables up the side are just a blast to knit. Here’s where I am:

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Purty, huh?

I had a bit of a glitch (actually two) when I started to pick up the stitches after doing the pocket. The pattern calls for knitting the body in the round, then knitting the pocket back and forth on part of the front body stitches. When you’re done with the pocket, you go back and pick up a line of stitches at the inside base of the pocket, and start knitting in the round on the body again. It was a little hard to see where I was, and I kept getting off a line up or down. So out came the trusty dental floss.

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I threaded it through the row of stitches I wanted to pick up, then found it very easy to keep on track. The second glitch was a slipped stitch where there shouldn’t have been one. It was at the very beginning of the pocket, and I didn’t find it till I was picking up the stitches to resume the body. In this heavy yarn I could barely tell from the front, but I knew this would bug me. I did the unravel and crochet back up trick again, which worked like a charm.

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And here’s how I’m keeping track of everything:

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It’s an old music stand, with a magnet board to keep everything where I can see it.

My only complaint with this pattern is that it is almost too much fun. It’s one of the few things that I’ve knit that I would consider making twice. The next one I could see in a woodsy, earthy, Druidy green. I’m a sick woman.

A Very Sad Picture

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This is our local ski area, Crystal Mountain. All the Washington state ski areas have closed due to lack of snow. It’s 37 degrees at the summit at the moment, so while that sky might look like it has moisture in it, I doubt that it will be the white fluffy kind. While I don’t like snow in my backyard, it would be nice to be able to drive to it and play for awhile.

Half Finished!

John’s green socks are half done. I finished the first of the pair the other night while watching television.

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It actually fits him better than it looks in that photo. For some reason he left the toe all bunched up when he put it on.

I think he likes it.

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I’ve also made a little progress on Rogue. I decided to do the pocket just for the fun of it.

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Here’s what the “fabric” looks like up close.

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I bought a new coffee cup and mouse pad, and the mailman brought them this morning, just in time for coffee.

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Cute, eh?
These came from CafePress.com, and you can have them too. Or a t-shirt, or a tote bag, or even a bumper sticker. Though I think if you buy one of these items without donating to the Yarn Harlot’s cause something bad might happen to you.

Another Yarn Project

My weekend project was knitting related. I went looking for a particular bag of yarn, couldn’t find it, and ended up dumping all my storage containers out and reorganizing them. At one point in the project John pointed out “you could open your own yarn store with all this”. Silly man. He’s assuming that I would want to get rid of any of it.

I’ve been planning to do this for a long time. Mostly I’ve been just stuffing yarn in the plastic boxes without any plan. I started out by sorting the yarn into categories, but decided that I need some sort of system to be able to find what I’m looking for. So I fired up the computer and set up an Access database to keep track of stuff. I’ve never used this software before, but it was easy enough to set up a simple table that does what I want it to do. I set up fields for yarn name, fiber content, gauge, yardage per skein, total yardage I own, and most importantly, which box the damn stuff is in. I numbered the boxes and tagged each entry in the database with the box number. I took pictures of everything and attached a photo to each entry. I also added a field for project type. It’s not unusual for me to buy yarn for a specific pattern, then promptly forget what I bought it for. If I have a specific pattern in mind, I put that in the database; if it’s just a generic “sweater”, or “socks”, I note that.

The fields are sortable; for example, if I sort by gauge, I can get a list of all the yarns I have that knit to 20 stitches per 4 inches. Handy, if you are looking for yarn for a specific project.

It dawned on me to take a picture when I was partly done with the whole thing. Keep in mind that I have over half of the yarn catalogued and put away at this point.

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OK, maybe I have way more than half of it put away.

I discovered several things while doing this project. I have enough yarn to make at least fifteen or so sweaters. I am too embarrassed to even say how much yarn I have to make socks and hats or scarves and shawls. Even if I knit four or five projects a year from now until the day I die, I don’t need to buy any more yarn. Of course, that won’t stop me. I also discovered that despite all this yarn bounty, I do NOT have any yarn appropriate for Clapotis.  It’s just going to have to wait, I guess.

On the project front, here is the progress on Rogue:

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I’m getting close to the point where I will need to make a decision on the kangaroo pocket. I like the idea of it, but in this heavy yarn, I’m afraid it will sag and look baggy. It does look fun to do though. Have any of you done the pocket? Any thoughts?

And I’m slowly working on the green socks.

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John likes his socks longer, so my plan was to knit these from the toe up in order to use every bit of yarn. The only problem is that the yarn is in three balls, not two. I came up with another ingenious knitting gadget to figure out when I had used half of the second ball.

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I’m talking about the scale, not the bottle of Three Buck Chuck in the background.
Weigh the yarn, knit until about half is gone (the yarn, not the wine), then start the second sock.

My Stuff

OK, everybody else has done it, so I will too. This is courtesy of Nake-id Knits.

Grooming Products
• Shampoo: Kirkland brand (Costco) in the huge bottle. My theory is that all shampoo comes out of the same vat somewhere in Oklahoma. Occasionally I get suckered into buying the expensive stuff, and always go back to the cheap Costco no-name kind.
• Moisturizer: Nourishing Dew Moisturizer, from www.silkroadtea.com. My skin is so dry that it just soaks up this oil.
• Cologne: Number Six, from Caswell Massey (yeah, yeah, I know it’s a men’s cologne. It’s still my favorite.)
• Razor: Gillette Venus
• Toothpaste: Crest for sensitive teeth…or whatever is available in the big packages at Costco.

Electronics
• Cell phone: Motorola
• Computer: IBM Thinkpad laptop
• Television: RCA
• Stereo: Mish mash of Harmon Kardon and Denon components. The CD player hasn’t worked for months. We’ll probably get a new one eventually at WHERE ELSE?? COSTCO!

Home
• Sheets: Flannel or cotton sheets from Costco.
• Coffee maker: an ancient Bunn drip thing
• Car: 1999 VW Beetle, red. It usually looks like I’m living in it, with all the junk in the back.
• Stationery: who writes letters?? Email!

Beverages
• Bottled water: Crystal in 5 gallon jugs; we have it delivered.
• Coffee: Batdorf & Bronson, a roaster in Olympia WA. Costa Rica La Minita is the best. I drink it strong and black, so as not to dilute out the caffeine. Yes, I’ve tried the Costco whole-bean coffee. Not bad, but I’m very picky about my coffee.
• Vodka: Grey Goose, though Jewel of Russia is good if you’re drinking shots in the Russian style.
• Bourbon: this wasn’t on the original list, but I’m a bourbon girl. Wathen’s, Woodford Reserve, Old Rip Van Winkle. The small-batch bourbon style.
• Beer: La Conner Brewery, from La Conner WA. A good India Pale Ale or ESB from any good microbrewery.

Clothes
• Jeans: actually don’t wear them much, but Lands End.
• T-shirt: I have a huge collection, but the plain Lands End and Eddie Bauer ones get the most wear.
• Briefcase or Tote: I have an old beat up leather briefcase that I bought in a leather shop in Taos, and several Vera Bradley totes for knitting projects.
• Sneakers: Asics
• Watch: Swiss Army, from Costco

Favorite Places
• My kitchen looking out over the lake
• Out on the Washington Pacific coast on the Olympic peninsula
• Paris
• Mandolin Café in Tacoma…coffee, magazines, wi-fi hotspot, fireplace

Necessary Extravagances
• Yarn and knitting supplies
• Good coffee and tea
• Good wine

Yes, I’m a Costco girl! My husband is even worse. Now if they would only sell yarn….

Fun Week

So far this has been a really fun week. I finished my work-week late Monday night, thinking I would have a week to catch up on blogging, knitting, and just generally hanging out. I woke up Tuesday with a horrendous pain in my mouth, and had an emergency root canal done on Wednesday. Between the pain and the drugs I’m taking for the pain (better living through modern chemistry), I haven’t gotten a whole lot done so far with my time off. I had the misfortune of growing up on a farm with non-fluoridated well water, and in a small town with marginal dental care, so have aging teeth that are starting to cost me a fortune. The good side of the story is that I live in a country that has superb dental care available to those who can afford it, and I am fortunate enough to be able to afford it. I could live the rest of my life without ever having to get another root canal, however. That would be just fine with me.

I bought yarn for a new project. This is King Cole Luxury Mohair, in the color Biaritz. I’ve used this yarn before and love its fuzzy mohair-y goodness. I wasn’t sure I’d like the black and white, but it is really shades of black, silver, gray, and white, and quite elegant looking.

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I’m making a shawl out of this. It will be a simple rectangular garter stitch shawl, and the plan is for it to be quite large. Here is the start.

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I didn’t really need another project, but I needed something that I could do while watching movies or TV that doesn’t require paying much attention. And I love warm fuzzy blanket-y things that I can wrap up in when it’s damp and cold outside.

The Rogue sweater is coming along. I finally finished that blasted hem. The twisted stockinette stitch combined with a heavy yarn and the smaller gauge required for the hem part was hard on my hands. Plus it was boring. Now I’m into the body section, with the cabling on the sides. I will just say that this pattern is very well written. Everything is spelled out, so you don’t have to guess what to do next.

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I’ll leave you with a picture of Lucy. Well, really it’s just a picture of Lucy’s tail.

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The visiting dogs have gone home, and Lucy is quite happy to have her house back.

War President

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Check out the American Leftist, and Kerstin’s post from the 19th to find out what this picture means.

And then go here, to the Washington Post Faces of the Fallen.
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(Added at 10AM)

If you want to support the troops while protesting our president’s actions, go to Jean’s post today. She has compiled a list of links in her left sidebar. It’s good to be reminded that these men and women in uniform are just doing their job. Every one of them is somebody’s son or daughter, and most of them are young kids away from home for the first time.

Filler Post

So….what do you blog about when you have spent the last week getting to this point on a new sweater project:

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Meet Rogue. If you think it doesn’t look like much in the picture, well it doesn’t look like much in real life either. This has been one of THOSE weeks at work, and I haven’t gotten much knitting done.

We have a house full of new dogs. We are dog sitting for a friend who is taking her male Kerry blue terrier to the Eukanuba dog show this week, and have her two female terriers here. I took pictures of Kiara and Bianca, but honestly, not being their mother, I admit that I can’t always tell them apart. Riley is used to having them around and knows they always go home eventually, so isn’t too worried. The cats, having a much shorter attention span, are pretty certain we’ve done something totally dumb and brought two new dogs here to stay. Willie, ever the adventurer, hasn’t retreated, but is a bit wary. He also just boxed Kiara in the nose a bit ago, so she is learning that cats are not necessarily just for chasing. Lucy is being her usual cowardly self, and we have the upstairs blocked off with a baby gate so she has a safe haven. Here they are, obviously making themselves at home.

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Competition in the Knitting Doctor world!

Go here and meet Kristen. Another knitting doctor (well, doctor-to-be). Woo Hoo! We’re taking over the blogging world! Here’s to knitting in class!

The Purple Thing

I couldn’t wait until my husband got home to get a decent picture. The buttons are on more or less straight, my hair is just-how-it-dries wacky, but here is the lavender cardigan, finished.

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Once I get a decent photo, I’ll update the Finished Projects page with the details.

First finished project of 2005! Woo-hoo!

Gauge Wars…

Or, The Revenge of the Knitting Goddess

I spoke too soon. I believe I’ve used the word hubris in this blog before. After knitting a few inches of Rogue, I measured. My gauge was not the required 4.5 inches per inch, but more like 4, or even a bit less. Even accounting for the difference after washing, this was going to be way off. The only thing I can figure is that I was very excited about starting this sweater, and that I knitted my first swatch very tightly in my excitement. This has happened to me before. Most notably, when I went to Wintergrass, which is Tacoma’s annual bluegrass festival (which is coming up, by the way!!), I found that I knit very tightly while listening to wild bluegrass fiddle music. Who knew?

I stared at this, and stared at it. I briefly considered making a live animal offering to the Knitting Goddess if she would change what I was measuring. The cats were starting to get nervous.

“Take Lucy”, Willie said, “she’s older and prettier. The Knitting Goddess will like her better.”

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That’s Willie. He doesn’t make many blog appearances, but I tricked him into the photo shoot by telling him it was suppertime.

I considered finishing the sweater as is, and hope it would fit someone. With my new measurements, it would have to be Bigfoot, and I don’t think he would appreciate a pink hooded sweater.

I did a new swatch; it works perfectly, this time on size 6 needles, instead of size 7. You have no idea of the variety of ways the “f” word can be used to apply to knitting.

So I ripped the whole flipping thing out. If you have made Rogue, and if you have followed the pattern suggestion to do a twisted stockinette stitch hem, you know how much fun starting this over is, especially on a size smaller needle than the main pattern needle size. I am already getting my money’s worth out of this yarn.

I’m not saying nothin’ else about gauge until I’m at least six inches into this sweater, and maybe not then.

As consolation, this is what the Pacific Northwest looked like this morning. We’ve been getting snow and storm warnings this week. They were wrong, I guess.

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Gauge Wizard

I have finally started a new knitting project! For my next trick, I will knit Rogue. I bought the yarn for this several months ago, and it has been aging like fine wine in my stash until now. It is from Beaverslide Dry Goods, a small ranch in Montana that raises and shears Rambouillet sheep. The colors are every bit as lovely as portrayed on their web site, and the yarn is lofty, sheepy, wonderful stuff.

I got gauge on the first try, a feat that excites me to no end. Those of you who have knit this sweater know that it is knit partly in the round, and partly back and forth, making for some interesting gauge problems. I have finally come to the conclusion (after a long period of obstinance) that knitting a gauge swatch really does eliminate at least some of the fitting headaches that go along with knitting sweaters.

Just for the record, I am using Denise circular needles, and I got gauge with a size 7, both in the round and flat. I would not have believed that my gauge was the same for both styles if I hadn’t tried. It was a tiny bit off just off the needles, but settled into the perfect stitch and row gauge once dunked in water…this yarn blooms like crazy. At first I thought the fabric would be a little board-like at the necessary gauge, but again, after a bath it is just perfect.

I’m using the fisherman weight, in the color Snowberry. Here are some photos. I didn’t want to knit two separate swatches, so first did several inches flat, then switched to in-the-round on the same needles. Instead of turning the work at the end of the row, I just pushed the whole thing back, like doing I-cord, and started the next row as if to knit in the round. I think this is an Elizabeth Zimmerman technique, though I don’t have any of her books so am not 100% sure of that one.

The finished swatch:

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Mess o’ yarn in the back:

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Yarn ends cut so the thing stays flat to measure:

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And swished in water and suds for wet blocking:

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I am a bit intimidated by this project, as it is easily the most difficult thing that I have tackled so far, but determined to forge ahead.

For those of you keeping track, I haven’t actually finished the purple thing. The knitting and sewing are all done except for the buttons. It is washed and drying, with more pins in that lace border than I can count. Once it is dry I’ll sew the buttons on and get a modeling photo. A couple of people asked about the buttons in the comments from yesterday. Yes, they are from Black Water Abbey, another place with divine yarn (yes, I have some of that stewing in the stash also). I know exactly what it’s going to be, too, but I’m not telling just yet.

There are a couple of new buttons on the sidebar to the left. First is a link to the Knit One Read Too member ring, for those of us who have joined that project. This is the brainchild of Cara from January One. If you are interested check out her post here.

The second is a button I grabbed from the Yarn Harlot’s blog, to celebrate the unbelievable $22,843 donated to Doctors Without Borders so far, inspired by her January 3rd post. Here’s the button:

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King Cole Shawl

The yarn is King Cole Luxury Mohair, in the color “Roma”. The pattern is just plain garter stitch. I started at the point with 3 stitches, and increased at the beginning of every row until it got as big as I wanted it.

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