Ahhhh, Lace!

But first, the Lucy report.  She seems to be fine.  I’m thinking she got into something outside and ate something she shouldn’t have.  There are such a host of plants and chemicals that can make pets sick.  We quit using slug bait because it can be so toxic to pets, and dogs especially love to eat it.  That doesn’t guarantee that the next door neighbor isn’t using something like this in their yard.
At any rate she is back to her usual self.  I was going to say “normal” self, but just exactly what is “normal” when you are referring to a cat?  It took me about half an hour this morning to get a remotely decent picture of her.


“No, I said no pictures!”

Finally I got a decent shot:


“Aren’t I the prettiest cat you’ve ever seen?”

Riley said, “Not to worry.  I eat stuff all the time; she’ll get over it.”


And now, the knitting report.  I made a little progress on the Waffle Socks.   For those of you that are not keeping up, I am finished with the first of this pair.  I finished the heel flap and turned the heel last night.  I love turning heels; it just seems like magic to me to take flat knitting and make a curved surface out of it.  If any of you have heels you want me to turn, send them this way. (I like grafting toes too;  I know, it’s a sickness.) I also got the gusset stitches picked up and am ready to rock on the foot.


Sorry that’s a little fuzzy; damn sock must have moved while I was taking the picture.

Last but not least, the lace neck piece for the Audrey sweater.  This is just so addictive!  The pattern looks like it might be complicated, but it is really easy to knit.


I started out using a lifeline with every pattern repeat.  I might quit doing this, as it is easier than I thought it would be to keep track.  For the record, I left them all in so you could see.  Click on the picture to make it bigger so you can see them.  I am using dental floss for this; at the end of each 12 row repeat, I just thread a length of floss through the stitches on the needles.  If I screw up badly, I just rip back to the flossed row and put it on the needle, and I have a starting place where I know exactly what row I am on.  OK, maybe I won’t quit doing this.  It does seem like tempting fate.

So now when my dental hygienist asks if I’m flossing, I can answer truthfully, “YES!”.

By the way, Lucy says “Thanks!” for all the get-well wishes.  MEOW!

Progress on Audrey

This has been one hell of a couple of weeks; of the last 20 days, I have worked 16 of them; mostly long, late days.  It makes me cranky when I don’t have time to do anything but work, eat, and sleep.  Not much knitting progress in the last 2 weeks, but I have finished the major pieces of the Audrey sweater.  I finished the second sleeve last night and just have a few ends to weave in.  I just got home from work tonight, so though I would love to start that lace border, it would make for a very unpleasant day tomorrow if I stay up till all hours knitting.

I’m blocking the pieces before I sew them together.  Somehow the front and back are just a tad bit off as far as measurements.  They are the same row count, one is just a bit tighter gauge, I think.  Weird.  It’s enough to bug me a bit, but not enough to even contemplate re-knitting one piece.  I’m hoping blocking will make them closer to the same dimensions.  I’ll wait to take new pictures till I can do it in the daylight.

I have a sick kitty…Lucy has been acting very weird the last few days.  Normally she is a big lovable chicken and does not go outside much.  If she does go out, it’s while we are on the deck, and she stays very close.  2 or 3 nights ago she was out and gone for the longest time.  We went scouting around the neighborhood but couldn’t find her.  Finally about 10PM she came tearing in the cat door like her tail was on fire and an alien was after her.  She has been acting strange since; not eating, hiding in the closet, growling at us when we try to get her to come out.  She finally today is starting to come out of it; she ate tonight and drank some milk, and is purring, though now she is hiding out in the pantry.  I’m almost thinking she might have eaten something poisonous that made her hallucinate or something.  Either that, or the eagles tried to get her and it scared the hell out of her. We talked to a vet friend on the phone and if she is not completely better tomorrow she is off for an appointment so a real doctor can look at her.  Think “well kitty” wishes for her.

I promise some knitting progress pictures soon!

Ack, Lace!

I started the Birch shawl, from Rowan #34.  I cast on 272 stitches last night before bed, before I just plain gave up for the evening.  I started the thing on an ebony circular needle:  bad mistake.  Don’t try to knit fine lace-weight yarn the color of old bordeaux on a black needle.  Switched to my Denise needles, and things went better.

I finished the rest of the 299 cast on stitches this morning after a couple of cups of industrial-strength coffee.  Then I counted, and re-counted, and counted again.  This hairy stuff just does not rip out; I did not want to get to the end of the first row and realize that I was a few stitches off.  Here is the thing after casting on; it looks like a hairy caterpillar.


And after a couple of rows:



It doesn’t look like much yet, does it?

I’m counting on suggestions by Ann of Mason-Dixon Knitting, posted on her blog after she completed this last fall.  She has a link to a nice chart as well that should make this a bit easier.  This is definitely not going to be the kind of project you do while engrossed in an interesting movie.  Or while drinking large quantities of alcohol.  Though it might drive me to drink; on that note I will leave you with the Drink of the Week recipe.

Brazen Hussy

Ice cubes
2 oz. vodka
2 oz. Triple Sec or Cointreau
1/2 oz. lemon juice

Shake in a cocktail shaker, strain into a cocktail glass.

As always, enjoy in moderation!

Project Round-Up

I thought it was time to update where I am on my projects.  I have 3 things going at once.  I would probably have fifteen things going at once if I didn’t arbitrarily decide to limit myself to 3.  This may not sound very Bad-Ass, but it’s my blog, I can do what I want.

First there is the pair of socks that is taking forever.  I have yarn for about another 50 pairs of socks waiting once I finish this pair.


This is Sheep’s Gift, in Montego Bay, from Joslyn’s Fiber Farm.  The pattern is the Blueberry Waffle sock pattern, from here.

I don’t mean it to sound like I am sick of these.  It’s just hard to get excited by wool socks in August.  I’ll change my tune in January.

Next is Audrey:


This is Rowan Calmer, the pattern is “Audrey”, from this summer’s Rowan magazine.  I’m workin’ on it, OK?

Then there is (was) this:


You can clearly see that this is done.  This is the Bottom’s Up Bucket Hat, by Bonne Marie of ChicKnits.  You’ll find the pattern for sale on her “Patterns” page.  The yarn is Schachenmayr Rainbow, from Elann.

If you can count, you realize that this leaves me with only 2 projects on the needles.  I have not completely decided, but I think this will be next:


This is “Birch”, a shawl pattern from Rowan #34.  That picture does not even come close to the yarn color.  I gave up after about five photos.  In reality, it is a deep lacquer red.


I am listening to Folk Alley, recommended by Rachael.  This just rocks.  Well, OK, it’s folk music, but you know what I mean.  If you have streaming audio capability, listen up.  If you don’t, well, which century are you living in??

What’s On Your Refrigerator??

I am STILL working on the Audrey sleeves.  Go back a few posts; it looks just like the other one.  Not very exciting, I realize.  I actually don’t experience the “dreaded second sleeve” syndrome.  I’ve found that I’m quite capable of screwing up knitting exactly the same thing twice.  This keeps me alert and interested.  The same thing happens with socks.   Between my aging memory, my slow knitting speed, and my tendency not to keep track of changes I’ve made in the pattern along the way, the second one of the pair is like a new knitting project.

We were in the kitchen cooking dinner just a minute ago.  We are making a great French beef stew that is stewing, as we speak.  This involved flaming the beef in the saute pan with cognac.  Let me tell you, you just should not do this after a glass or two of wine.  I could market this as a way to get rid of facial hair.  I haven’t actually checked to see if I have eyebrows left.

Anyway, I was thinking that my refrigerator door surely must be unique.  I’m posting a few pictures in hopes that this will inspire the rest of you to do the same.  If you are of the Republican persuasion, you might as well just not look; this might annoy you more than it’s worth.

Here is a shot of the whole frig:


And a close-up of one corner; what can I say, my family knows me well:


And my favorite section:


What’s on your refrigerator??

Weekend Knitting

Here’s what I did most of the weekend:


And Willie’s main activity:


He likes to sleep in Riley’s crate. Sometimes he even sleeps in there when Riley is in the crate.

I finished the second sleeve on the “Audrey” sweater.


This went relatively smoothly, after I screwed up the first row after the cast-on about 4 times and had to start over.  Don’t even ask how one screws up the first row of a pattern 4 different times. Here is a close up of the sleeve cap decreases.


Here is my “gadget” photo of the day:


Somehow I ended up with an extra music stand in my house.  This one got put to work as a pattern stand.

I started the second “Audrey” sleeve today.  Now that I have figured out where to do the increases and decreases, this one should go fairly quickly.  (I know, I know; that’s tempting the knitting gods again.)

A nice little package arrived in the mail today as well, from here.


This is Phildar Aviso, a cotton/acrylic blend that is just as soft as the Rowan Calmer.  I had trouble getting this red to photograph correctly; the true color is a crayon/lipstick red, and not as orange-y as in the photo.  I finally broke down and ordered this to make the “Kate” sweater from Phildar Famille Spring 2004.  Here is a photo from the Kate Along blog.

I’m not too sure when I will do this.  I want to do one more lightweight sweater before winter gets here, then start on the Rogue sweater as my main winter project.  How to choose, how to choose??  I think this calls for a glass of wine to aid in the decision making process!

Ah, Summer!

I finished the front of Audrey this week, and am madly at work on the first sleeve.  Here are pictures to prove it:


That’s the sleeve.  It took me a while to wrap my brain around the directions to do the sleeve increases while maintaining the rib pattern.  Basically the pattern just says to do this, not HOW to do this.  One would think that this would not be difficult, but it took me a bit to figure this out.  I’ve never done increases with a rib pattern before; so far it looks like it is working.  The little pins are the way I mark my increases.  I start with a chain of pins for however many increases I need to do.  Every time I do an increase, I transfer one of the pins to mark it.  When the pins are gone, I’ve done all the increases that the pattern calls for.


That’s the front and back.

We went to a Rainiers’ game this week again.  This time I remembered the camera, unfortunately BOTH batteries were dead.  I did manage to get a couple of pictures before the second one died altogether.

Here is a terrible picture of me knitting.  John mostly didn’t get the knitting in the photo.  He did however manage to get a dozen of the thousands of small screaming children that were there from summer camp programs.  Total attendance at the game was about 6000; I’m pretty sure that most of them were under 10.  6000 10-year olds sounds more like 30,000.

Here’s an action shot:


And the mascot, Rhubarb:


The home team won, it was a beautiful sunny day, and I had my knitting along.  What could be better?  We have tickets for tonight’s game also, there is a big fireworks display after the game.  Ah, summer!

Hotlink Hussy?? I hope not…

There have been several knit bloggers writing about blog etiquette lately.  The latest hot topic has been hotlinking.  This involves putting other bloggers’ photos on your blog, but linking to them from their server so it uses their bandwidth rather than yours.  Expropriating someone else’s photos is at best unintentional theft, but linking to them on their server is bandwidth theft.  This can cost unsuspecting bloggers lots of dollars, apparently.

Kerstin of At My Knits End describes this much more coherently than I can.  Read her post from yesterday to find out more about this.  She has links to several other websites that discuss this as well.

Now, I am not an expert knitter by any means.  But my computer skills make my knitting look it was done by a master knitter.  I have gone through my entire blog site, page by page, and I think I am innocent of most blog crimes (except maybe silly posts and dumb pictures).  If any of you think you have been hotlinked by me, rest assured it was only because I am a computer idiot; let me know and I will fix it.

No knitting progress to report today; tomorrow is Friday for me…and it has cooled off here so knitting doesn’t seem like such a bizarre activity!

Knitting Hubris

Oh, I was being cocky.  The back of Audrey went so well.  I started the cast-on, went right on to the cast-off at the neck without ripping once.  I did those increase and decrease darts without a hitch.  Hah, I said.  The rest of this one will be easy, I said.  I can have it done in a week, so when the weather is no longer 97 freaking degrees outside, I can wear it.

I have ripped the front of this sucker more than once.  I am not going to put it into writing how many places I have had to go back.  First the decreases looked like crap.  Then it was those increase darts.  I got to the armhole shaping and thought, well I have this one whipped; I had no trouble with this on the other half.

Somehow I got off a stitch on the shaping.  It wasn’t looking right, but I thought, you know, it took a few rows on the back before it all started to look right.  So I forged ahead, knitting more rows.  I looked at it last night, counted, counted again.  Then I said a lot of really bad words that would probably get me “googled” from some  decidedly juicy non-knitting sites if I repeated them here.  And ripped.  I am partway into the armhole shaping section and so far so good.  But I’m not saying nothin’ from now on till this front piece is done.

The good thing is that this yarn is just wonderful to knit with.  I’ve said that before, haven’t I?  Why can’t yarn that costs only $3 a ball be this soft??

No pictures today, I’m not tempting fate.

Ikea, The New Knitting Store

I made my first foray out to the local Ikea store over the weekend.  What an adventure!  That place is just amazing;  I won’t even go into the Swedish meatballs in their cafe.  I made one knitting-related purchase.  For some time now, my stash has over-run the storage containers I have.  Mostly these are a variety of Rubbermaid-style boxes in different sizes and shapes.  Then there were the shipping boxes from several months of online shopping.


Those are the empty boxes that I finally threw out after I bought these cuties at Ikea:


Aren’t those just adorable?  They have lids, they stack, and you can buy casters for the bottom one so you can roll the whole thing around.  Please note the other storage thingie off to the side, full of yarn also; and the yarn in a bag sitting on the top.  That’s the Beaverslide yarn intended eventually for Rogue.

And here is a shot of another storage solution I found at Target some time back:


And a wicker basket full of a variety of things:


There is just no way I am crawling under the bed to take a picture of the three plastic storage boxes in hiding there.  I call that the Yarn Protection Program.

As you can see, I am well-prepared for when the Big Earthquake hits the Pacific Northwest.  I can pack all this into the car with a couple of gallons of water, and head for high ground.  The yarn shops could be closed for years, and I wouldn’t run out of knitting projects.  Well, OK, I would need an RV to pack all of this anywhere; it’s really sort of a rhetorical discussion.

I am still working on the front of Audrey; I’m into the armhole shaping.  Work is getting in the way of knitting this week.  I have a man cooking my dinner tonight so will get a little knitting done while the pork roast is cooking on the barbecue spit.  Now, what kind of wine goes with barbecued pork roast??
(That’s actually also a rhetorical question; the answer is “whatever bottle you have handy”.)

Half Finished

I’m not talking about the Audrey sweater.  I’ve finished a sock, and started the second of the pair.  The yarn is Sheep’s Gift, from Joslyn’s Fiber Farm, in the color Montego Bay.  Here are a couple pictures before I finished the toes:



And after:


Yes, I have big feet.  It takes more than the average amount of yarn to make socks for size 10 1/2 feet.

This is the Blueberry Waffle pattern; I’ve been working on these a while in between other projects.  Socks make a great portable knitting project.

I’m just to the end of the increases on the front of the Audrey sweater.  For some reason, I had to redo one section of the increases twice.  I was more than a little cranky over this.  I did the “make one” increase wrong twice in exactly the same place after tinking back, leaving a big honking hole.  I’m sure this was intended to make me humble as a knitter.  No picture, as it still looks just like the back piece.  I thought I would spare you pictures of the holes.

I will leave you with these pictures.  I have never in my life put bumper stickers on my car before this election year.  I will make an exception for this year.



You can buy these here.

This and That

I think I need a doctor.  I’ve been in three yarn shops in the past few weeks, all with lovely stuff, and have bought NO yarn.  I bought a set of double point needles in one shop to finish the blue sweater, and that’s it.  What’s with that?  Buying something for a specific project, and nothing else??  Of course, it might have something to do with the embarrassing stash I already own.  I have so much yarn I almost need to hire a full-time Stash Manager to deal with it.  If you add in the knitting tools, books, and patterns, it really could be a full-time job.

So in an effort to get rehabilitated quickly, I went to Elann and bought enough Schachenmayr Aurora in Claret to make a sweater.  It might turn into a Sitcom Chic type of sweater.  I’ll have to swatch it up to see what it wants to be.

I did finally break down and buy a steamer.  It’s a Rowenta hand-held steamer; the kind you use to steam wrinkles out of your business suit.  This could make blocking almost fun!

On the knitting front, I am up to the increase section on the second piece for the Audrey sweater.  It looks just like the first piece, so no pictures.  This is just such nice yarn that I might have to get some more for another sweater.

We had a Bastille Day celebration at our house last night.  The neighbors came over, we listened to a lot of French music, and drank a lot of French wine.  The menu was as follows:


Cucumber Mint Salad

Roast Chicken

Steamed Green Beans with Fresh Marjoram

Potato Galettes

French Bread

Cheese course, with several lovely French and non-French cheeses

Strawberry Tart

One of my French cookbooks points out that although three courses technically makes it a Menu, no self-respecting French chef would serve only three courses, especially to company.  So we had five courses.  I got absolutely no knitting done yesterday, but we have some great leftovers!

Ferry Knitting

We took a little trip to Seattle this weekend.  Instead of driving up I-5 hell, we drove across the bridge to Gig Harbor and took the Bremerton ferry across the Sound.  This gave me a couple extra knitting hours.  I have a little trouble knitting in the car due to motion sickness, but the ferry is great.  I love living in a place where part of the public transportation system involves boats and water.

Here I am waiting in the car line to get on the ferry:


And on the ferry:


And the return trip:


I finished the back of Audrey this weekend.  Here is Willie’s opinion:


I really love the shaping on this pattern:


I am just not convinced that this is going to fit.  It seems like everyone on line says the same thing, so I am going to knit on and hope for the best.  It just looks so….skinny.  We’ll see.

Ice Blue, Finished!

Here it is:


There is another picture of the finished sweater, and the specifications here.

I had to do the cast-off on the turtleneck twice.  I finished this thing at 2AM last night (don’t ask), and when I tried it on, it barely went over my head.  I had done just a plain pullover knit cast-off.  I went to bed with my June Hiatt knitting bible, and read about sewn cast-off methods.  This morning I ripped out the edge and re-did it, and it turned out perfectly.

The sewn cast-off is pretty easy.  I took a couple of pictures, and although they are a bit fuzzy, here they are:


The first step is to put your needle through the second stitch on the left needle as if to knit; pull the yarn through.


Then put your needle through the first stitch on the needle as if to purl, then drop that stitch off the needle.  Fiddle with it a bit to make sure it’s not too tight or too loose, and repeat these steps.  With the last stitch, go  through it as if to knit, then fidget around and find a place to hide your yarn end so it looks right.  June’s instructions run to two pages, and are much more detailed, but this is the basic idea.

I’m most proud of the way that the cable drifted into the ribbed collar.  The two cable branches continue right up into the columns of ribbing. This was totally accidental, but if I had not done this, I would have ripped and done it over this way.


I’m getting rid of my On The Needles page.  It’s too much stuff for me to keep track of.  I’ve decided for now to have 2 pages, the main blog page, and the finished project page.  At some point I will set up a list in the sidebar for things I’m working on.

Ice Blue Sweater



Pattern: Schoeller Stahl Winter 2002/2003

Yarn: Schoeller Stahl Sunshine, color 09 (catchy name, eh?)
88% wool, 12% polyamid

Modifications: I changed the cable down the front so it was a cross-over cable, with a purl row on each side.

Started: April 2004
Finished: July 2004

What I learned from this project:

I learned how to drop a stitch down many rows and knit it back up with a crochet hook, rather than ripping out those many rows.
I learned how to do raglan shaping, somewhat painfully.
I learned that I can change a pattern feature to suit the way I want it to look.
I learned how to do a sewn cast-off to allow for a stretchy neck so it will go over my head. I learned this on my SECOND attempt at casting off the neckline.