Thursday, September 27, 2007


One of my mom's friends has subscribed to Piecework for years, and just recently decided to get rid of her back issues... and gave them to my mom for me. She'd started her subscription with the very fist issue (in 1993, I believe... it's like reading about crafting on a distant planet... no internet! People had to write letters to the editor to make contact with other crafters! None of the ads have websites! There was no (visible) hand-dyed sock yarn!), and I think the set is pretty much complete.


There are 66 total, and I've been looking through them on and off for the past two days. I can't carry them back from DC on the train, but at the same time I want to read them all right this second, so I've been looking through them quickly and picking out the most knitting-intensive ones to bring home now (I'll pick up the rest at Thanksgiving).

This balances out the fact that I knit most of a sock yesterday (in the waterfall yarn from a couple of days ago--it's slightly heavy for a sock, so I'm using size 4 needles), only to decide I didn't like the eyelets. Here it is anyway, although only the toe still exists:

Upstream Sock

It's the upstream architecture from New Pathways for Sock Knitters, and I was very excited that I was using a colorway called waterfall to knit a socks with a whirlpool toe, upstream construction, and there was something else water-y which I've just forgotten. Oh yes--she calls having YOs for increases (instead of a more invisible increase) bubbles. (Ok, maybe the whole water thing was only amusing to me?) But I didn't like how the eyelets just ended (when you didn't need to increase any longer), and the foot felt slightly short anyway... so I ripped it out, and am starting over with Coriolis construction.

Since I think this trip to Peru will be the first time I've been in the southern hemisphere, Coriolis seemed geekily appropriate. (I'm not sure because it's possible that when I went to Singapore the plane flew over/into the southern hemisphere--It was coming from Europe, but flight paths are so weird.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Knitting on the Bus

My sister's getting married at the end of the week, so I'm spending this week visiting my family in Ithaca, NY (everyone except the sister that's actually getting married, who's at her house in a flurry of last minute wedding stuff, poor thing). Kevin couldn't come because he's at a conference for work, and then teaching his class, so I decided to take the bus to Ithaca, drive to the wedding with my parents and sister, then take the train home.

So yesterday was bus day, which meant lots of knitting on Hanami, and the sweater for Schaefer Yarns.


I think this is five repeats' worth of shawl. It seems like it's going to be a little short, so I may do an extra repeat or two in each half.

To got to Ithaca, you first have to go to in NYC, then back out. It wasn't till I was boarding the first bus that I realized I could have also taken the train in, which might have given me more choices about when to leave--although there aren't that many buses (and no trains) to this part of the state, so maybe it wouldn't have made any difference.

In addition to getting to hang out with my family, I'm also finally getting to see all my mom's knitting in person. She's making a gigantic afghan, as well as an entrelac scarf. And she's signed up for two sock classes in the next few weeks (one "regular" and one magic loop--they make little sample socks, not full size ones), and a moebius class, using one of Cat Bordhi's Magical Knitting books.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Sure Sign that I'm Peculiar

I've been working on and off on the Hanami stole, but not really loving the process (although I do love the lace once it's done). And just yesterday, I figured out what the problem was: markers! Not that I should have been using them, but that I shouldn't have.

I don't usually use markers in lace, but when I started Hanami I figured I might as well try them, since they seem to help other people so much. But of course I have to be different--usually I can read where I am in the pattern from the fabric I've knit already, but somehow the markers broke it up in my mind and I couldn't read it as well. Plus, slipping them (or worse, knitting the stitch before the marker together with the stitch after!) interrupted my knitting rhythm. But since I was having such a hard time keeping track of the pattern, I didn't want to take the markers out--after all, they help you keep track of the pattern!

So I finally took them out last night, and things have been going much better--if I'm remembering right, it took me more than three weeks to knit the first three repeats, then just since this time yesterday to knit the 4th!

The moral of the story: just because something is supposed to be helpful, doesn't mean it's going to help you.

Also, and this will come as no surprise to people who know me in real life, if there's a way for me to be contrary, I'll find it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Or at least purple in real life!

Gosh, but I'm slouchy!

I'm wearing my Cobblestone-ish sweater today. In addition to the modifications I planned to make (adding waist shaping and shortening the body), there are a few I didn't exactly plan (but which I've decided aren't a big deal). I knew I wanted to make the yoke shallower than in the original, but--thinking of the shaping on a bottom-up raglan--I decided that to do that, I should start the yoke shaping with fewer stitches.

So I decided to increase fewer stitches than I decreased when I did the waist shaping, making the sweater 8 stitches smaller at the underarm than at the lower hem. This fits just fine (maybe slightly better than it would have if I'd increased more, since I'm more of a pear than an even hourglass), but my thinking was wrong--since the decreases in this yoke are concentrated in just a few rows, the number of stitches at the beginning of the yoke has less effect on the depth of the yoke than it would in a raglan. Fortunately, I realized that as I started the yoke, so instead I shortened the yoke by working my decrease rows close together, with fewer even rows between them.

However, my original plan meant that I had fewer stitches in the body and the sleeves at the start of the yoke than the pattern specified, so my stitch counts were always a few stitches off through the yoke. Since it's just garter stitch, that didn't affect the stitch pattern, and I made sure to center the short rows so my neck shaping is symmetrical.

Anyway. That was a lot of explanation for invisible differences! No one can tell that there are 198 stitches in my yoke instead of 204, or whatever the numbers were. I really enjoyed the pattern--nicely brainless, but with enough shaping (once I added waist shaping) that there were milestones to work towards. I sped through it, and I think it turned into exactly what I wanted--a basic sweater I can throw on with lots of things. I'd hoped that my hourglass sweater (from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, pre-blog but I'm sure you've seen other people's) would fill this role, but it turns out that the cuffs behave weirdly under a winter coat, and the wider neckline doesn't play nice with most of my shirts.

And here's the yarn from the Woolgirl Sock Club shipment for the month, which also included mint-chocolate lip balm, a coordinating stitch marker, notebook, and pen.

Miss Babs' Waterfall

It's occurred to me that since there's a blog for this club, I really should try to knit the socks kind of on schedule, at least if I'm going to do the club pattern. (No, I don't know why I join socks clubs without planning to knit the club patterns, or follow the club "schedule" either. My best guess is that I want the yarn, but I know I'll talk myself out of buying individual skeins, on the grounds that I have plenty of yarn and plenty of socks. The mystery is why I don't talk myself out of joining sock clubs, since there's more yarn leading to more socks.)

Moving on... I'm saving the Hanami shawl for travel knitting, while I'm visiting my family next week and then in Peru (not to worry, I'm also going to bring simple socks). But I did start another fish for Schaefer Yarns, and am working on a sweater for them too.

Monday, September 17, 2007


I lived through the Dutchess County Marathon yesterday--I realized when I finished how worried I'd been, since I haven't done any speed work for over a year (and I'm so inherently unspeedy that even with regular speed work, I'm still not at all fast... my main virtue as a runner is that I keep going). So I was worried that it would take me so long that I'd quit.

But I kept chugging along, and the course was mostly nice and flat, and the weather was perfect, and hardly anyone was running the marathon, so I came in second in my age group, and got a trophy! (I suspect I came in second out of two... there were only 50 some people in the marathon, and the majority were men.)

Second of Two!

Kevin ran the first half with me, then biked the second half--he biked ahead to each mile marker, then waited for me, gave me a sport bean and gatorade, then biked ahead again. That way, I had something to look forward to every mile, which seems silly, but helps a lot. There are a few more pictures in Kevin's Flickr. The horse came over to stand beside Kevin one of the times he stopped to wait for me.

I thought I might want to try to go to the Morehouse Merino store afterwards, but a shower, food, and napping in the car on the drive home won out over yarn. Incredible!

On the other hand, I'm going to be back there for Rhinebeck with the SnBers, so we can go then. And I spent 4 hours knitting on Saturday at Webs with Annie, so it's not like I'm yarn-deprived. (I bought Cat Bordhi's new sock book but no yarn... I can't wait to try the new sock architectures, if I can stop giggling at "sock architectures" long enough to knit. Although I don't know what else she could have called them--I just tried to avoid the phrase in that sentence and couldn't come up with anything.)

Speaking of not yarn-deprived, the September shipment from the Woolgirl Yarn Club came while we were gone over the weekend (Gorgeous! Pictures later!), and it looks like the miles of yarn we ordered form Sarah's Yarns is supposed to arrive today, so I'm really, really, really not yarn-deprived!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thanks Sarah!

So, the New Haven SnBers (or as Kevin likes to call them, my Knitties) have been trying to coordinate an order of Zephyr lace weight from Sarah's Yarns, because if you order more than 4 cones (of only 5000+ yards each!), there's a discount. Heidi did most of the work, but we decided that I'd be the one to place the order.

After many emails, we picked out the colors we all liked, but when I went to the website it turned out that 2 of them were out of stock. I called, and their voicemail said they weren't answering their phone during Rosh Hashanah, but would still respond to email and fulfill orders. So I emailed--and heard back within a couple of minutes. The Knitties had some more questions, and every time "Sarah" (not actually Sarah, but whoever checks the email) responded immediately--once I read her message, responded with a question, then forwarded her first message on to everyone. By the time I got back to my inbox after forwarding the message, she'd already replied. Pretty impressive, especially for days when they said they'd be somewhat out of contact. So thanks Sarah, and for letting us have the discount even on the out of stock colors!

In other news, I worked on my cobblestone-ish pullover during lunch today--and realized I'm making great progress.

More purple in real life!

I'm just about 2/3 of the way through the first skein (I have three, with 350 yards each--this is the silk blend from Farmhouse Yarns), and I think it will be enough to finish the body, to the point where I join the arms. The yoke on a seamless sweater always takes more yarn than I think I should, but I still think three skeins will be enough for the whole sweater--the sleeves shouldn't take as much as the lower body, so that will leave more than one skein for the yoke. Or so I like to tell myself (I'll take off the lower sleeves, pick up those stitches and knit new cuffs, then use the rescued yarn for the yoke, if I'm wrong).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My New Plan

I tried knitting with Duet again last night, alternating skeins, over 8 fewer stitches than before, but that just made spirals instead of stripes--still not the look I was going for! (Jenn, Duet is the 2-ply wool & mohair mix.) So I tried knitting it doubled, making sure that I started my skeins in different places in the color repeat (wouldn't it have been smart of me to take pictures? Oops!). I liked the fabric much better, but the gauge created another problem...

I'm sure I've mentioned the cowl-necked vest from an old issue of Rebecca that I've knit three times, right? In my defense, vest #3 was made specifically to replace vest #1, but even so! I have no idea what it is about the vest, but I really like wearing it and it's the world's easiest knit (so easy that when I got sleepy while working on vest #3, I honestly thought to myself that I should just lie down, close my eyes, and keep knitting!). However, it's kind of embarrassing that I've made three of them, and I'm trying my best not to do it again.

But when I realized that Duet worked double was the right gauge for yet another vest, I was very tempted. I even cast on for it (all 76 stitches) and knit a few rows before I got a hold of myself, and remembered a jacket I've been coveting: the enticingly-named 103-1 from Drops/Garn Studio. (This post is actually what convinced me that I might want to make it, not the Drops/Garn Studio picture--much nicer to see things on people who haven't been arranged by stylists.) So now I'm thinking I'll maybe buy a solid coordinating yarn to carry along with Duet at Webs this weekend. (Kevin's teaching a class in the Pioneer Valley every Saturday this fall, and it may turn out to be a very bad thing for my stash management efforts!)

But that doesn't help with my "simple sweater to wear all the time" problem, so I cast on for a cobblestone-base pullover after all, using Farmhouse Yarns Silk Blend Instead (which is purple, cream and blue tweed).

This sounds like a crazy lot of projects, but it's just my usual three: Hanami, the cobblestone-esque one, and a design for Schaefer Yarns. It's a little weird not having any socks on the needles, but I should get used to it soon! (Or I'll finish something so I can cast on some socks!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Important Knitting Decisions!

So, I have a moderately sized stash. You can visit it in Ravelry if you're truly interested (I'm archiknist--creative, huh?), but to sum up, I have about six miles of yarn, enough for a couple of pairs of socks, four sweaters, three shawls (one of which is Hanami), four scarves I'm planning to make for Christmas (maybe), and then a few miscellaneous single skeins that I'm hoarding till they coordinate with something. Totally reasonable, right?

(As an aside, for someone who thinks of herself as cheap, the consoling thing about this stash is how much of it was free, or at least didn't cost money directly--nearly three miles (or two shawls and two sweaters) came from Schaefer Yarns, as payment for knitting, and another mile came from the swap with my knitting group. Tragically for my sense of myself as frugal, this makes me think I can spend more on the yarn I actually do buy, but it kind of balances out, at least.)

Anyway, I've been keeping track of how much yarn I knit each month (thanks for that compulsion, Annie!), as well as when I acquired each batch of yarn. It turns out that if I knit diligently, and didn't buy any more yarn, I could finish knitting up the yarn I have in 4-6 months (that is, I've been knitting between 1 and 1.4 miles per month (mpm) since I started keeping track in January). See, totally reasonable!

The age of my yarn basically reflects my knitting speed (as measured in mpm), taking into account that I continue to buy yarn, and that I sometimes knit up my new yarn immediately), because the oldest yarn in my stash is from last year's Rhinebeck: 2 skeins of Duet from Brook's Farm, in the frost colorway (grey, grey-ish olive, and grey-ish purple). So naturally, since this year's Rhinebeck is coming up, I'm starting to feel like I should turn it into something.

I think I planned to make a sweater when I bought it, and I'm still trying to make the perfect comfy, throw it on with anything but still look presentable sweater (it bothers me that the equivalent sweater in my wardrobe is currently store-bought) so last night I tried to cast on a bottom-up yoked pullover (to be based on brooklyntweed's Cobblestone, but with waist shaping and more fitted in the arms, which would make the yoke shallower and the whole thing shorter).

I did cast on, actually, but discovered a couple of rows in that--as usual--I'd picked the exact number of CO stitches to make the yarn create vertical stripes up the body. (Casting on the number of stitches that causes striping without trying is my third superpower, along with taking the wrong exit out of subway stations and falling asleep instantaneously in motorized transportation). And alternating skeins wouldn't have helped, since then I'd just have two alternating sets of vertical stripes.

So I ripped it out, but now I can't decide if this yarn wants to be a sweater at all, since I can't get too far away from that number of stitches and still have a sweater that fits (I really liked the fabric on that size needle, so I don't want to change needle size). Maybe four more or fewer stitches, plus I could knit the sweater flat, at least to the yoke? (I don't dislike purling or seaming, so that would be fine). Or maybe it wants to be a shawl or wrap? Or maybe I should knit it along with something solid, to tone down the variegation? (Note to self: stop buying handpainted yarn! You get all the gorgeous handpainted yarn any one knitter needs from Schaefer! Buy solids, so you have some variety!)

[Edited to add: I thought mmp looked funny, but I couldn't figure out why! Thanks Beth!]

Sunday, September 9, 2007

See, I Do Knit!

Every single month, I finish my Sock a Month socks in the last four hours on the month, and the blog is so slow while I'm trying to post about them that I accidentally post my post three or four times. On the last day of August, I left Kevin to baby sit the computer while it finished posting, and he posted the same post multiple times too.


The reason this is relevant is that, thanks to the archivists' meeting, I'm already done with my September socks, the Pomatomus socks from Knitty. I used some socks yarn I bought at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, some a shop called the Barefoot Spinner, which I've never found online. She also had lovely roving, which I waffled over so long that it sold out. In any case, socks!

Now, if I can just manage to post them on the SAM KAL blog before September 30...

And here's my Coachella, speedily knit 2 weekends ago, and already worn twice (good thing too, since I like to imagine it's about to get cold. I'm more impatient that usual for fall, because I'm apparently running a marathon a week from today, and I'd rather it wasn't hot for that.)


Just to review, Coachella took EXACTLY one skein of Schaefer Yarns Laurel... there are 400 yards per skein, and I think this used 396 of them, maybe 397. It was close!

And speaking of apparently running a marathon in seven days: the last 2-3 weeks before a marathon, you're supposed to shorten your long runs (from 20 miles to 12-15, then to 6-8), and run a little easier overall, so you're rested for the race. During those weeks, I get incredibly paranoid about my feet and ankles--everything is a foot-related disaster waiting to happen. It's exhausting to worry so much, and by the time the race comes around it's a relief because it means I can stop worrying. Too bad running that far is exhausting too!

What's funny about this paranoia of mine is that earlier in the year--say, 8-10 weeks out from the race, when I'm doing the first of the 20 mile runs--what I want most in the world is to break an ankle, so I can skip that long run.

Friday, September 7, 2007

And the Winner is...

Casey, from Family Fun. Go say Hi, and look at the incredible sweater she knit for her husband (currently one post from the top).

Thursday, September 6, 2007

2 Repeats

At long last, here's my progress so far on Hanami: 2 repeats of the basket weave end.

2 Repeats

I'm using Schaefer's Andrea, in the colorway Lillian Gilbreth (this is the one that looks like an antique cream when knit up in this pattern, even though it was clearly pale green, blue and yellow in the skein). I'm using a size 3 needle, since it's the same yarn I used for my Argosy earlier this year, and that seemed too loose on a size 4, after blocking. This is the same size I used my my Mystery Stole, and I'm using a 2 (2.75mm) for my socks, so the size 6 needles I started swatching with just now feel gigantic.

Speaking of socks, here's Pomatomus:

Red Sock, Blue Sock

Or rather, here Pomatomus was, as of last week. I've finished this one, and am currently turning the heel of the second. I love pictures on other people's blogs--you'd think I'd be better about taking them for mine!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Drawing on Friday!

Don't forget that you can still enter the drawing to win one of these skeins of Vivien, also used for my Mystery Stole.

I'm going to enter the people who've commented since the entry when I announced the contest, even if they didn't comment on that particular day... you're going to win yarn, dang it, whether you like it or not!

And in unrealted news, my site meter allows me to see the search terms people use to find my blog. Most of the searches make sense, and I don't seem to have accidentally included combinations of suggestive words (obviously, I need to try harder), so no one seems like they weren't looking for knitting, if you know what I mean.

BUT.... someone found this blog by searching for the words lisa souza mother of pearl. It's likely/possible that I've written mother and pearl, but as far as I can remember, I've never written about lisa souza.

Until now, obviously.

(Actual knitting content, possibly even with pictures of knitting progress, soon!)

Fried Green Beans

So, here are most of the photos of the food Kevin and I ate at the fair... although I'm pretty sure I also had a root beer float and frozen, chocolate-covered banana, and that he also ate a corn dog (and a second sausage sandwich.... I think Kevin may be choosing photo quality over documentary integrity!). Don't forget that this was actually two visits--from 7 to 10 one night and from 9:30 to 1 the next day... a timespan in which we could have legitimately eaten three meals.

Fried Green Beans

Kevin's gone to this fair every year for 37 years (including before he was born, since his birthday is in October), his mom's gone every year of her life (she grew up in Canfield), and his dad has gone every year since his parents met... so one of the key areas of interest is new food. Fried green beans were new this year, and it turn out that they're very tasty. (Unlike the tragic disappointment of the fried Oreos, from which I have still not recovered... how can fried Oreos possibly be mediocre, rather than life-alteringly delicious?!? I fully expected to set myself up to crave them 363 days a year, and eat them non-stop for the remaining two, for the rest of my life.)

What's really fascinating about this fair it the attendance. Over 6 days, about 350,000 people attended... in a town of just over 7,000 people.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Knitting Plans for September

I'm back home (which is kind of strange, after being gone for a week), but still picture-less. However, Kevin and I took pictures of everything we ate at the fair (not including beverages, although we decided floats count as food because of the ice cream), so there's that to look forward to! Looking at them should be enough to convince me to eat more healthily for the next little while! (As much as I joke about eating only dessert, I don't really think my food choices are that bad, most of the time, but the 8 hours or so we spent as the fair are definitely a huge exception. Deep friend veggies and a sno-cone stand out as comparatively healthy selections!)

Knitting-wise, have I mentioned that I joined the Hanami knit-along? It started last week, although it's a less official knit-along, so some people had actually started before the start date. I'm using Schaefer Andrea (100% silk) in the Lillian Gilbreth colorway. I've knit about a repeat and a half of the lattice pattern that makes up about half of the shawl (I think we're meant to knit seven repeats before starting the next pattern). Lillian Gilbreth looks green, blue, yellow and cream (that sounds awful, but they're all very pale, so it's lovely) online, but in real live my shawl appears to be an antique cream. I think it's because the colors are very close and the lace pattern is very dramatic, so the lace overwhelms the color and makes it look like a blend of all of them--because in the skein you can still see the different colors! This sounds negative, but I really like how it's turning out--I usually have the opposite problem, and am unhappy because the lace pattern disappears into the color. (Alternatively, it's just that I haven't looked at the lace in natural light!)

I actually have two other Schaefer yarns in this colorway right now: Laurel (worsted-weight cotton) and Susan (sport-weight cotton). I used one skein of Laurel quite suddenly, when I knit Coachella in an (unblogged) flurry Sunday, Monday and Tuesday last week. I'd been thinking about knitting it all summer, then realized summer was just about over and sprung into action. I'll take pictures soon, but in the meantime you'll just have to believe me that in stockinette stitch you can definitely see the blue, green and yellow of the colorway! I made the second smallest size but lengthened it by a couple of inches and made a hem in the lower edge, rather than just letting the fabric roll.

I've gotten completely off track here--what I set out to write was that I'm planning to work on Hanami, finish up the Pomatomus socks I started at the conference, and work on a couple of designs for Schaefer during September. The sport-weight cotton is for one design, and I also have more yarn for stuffed animals and some for socks. I was thinking about trying to knit a sweater for one of my sisters for her birthday (in mid-September), but I regained my senses and will make it for Christmas instead. Just because it's sometimes fun to knit a sleeveless tank from worsted weight cotton for oneself in three days does not meant it's also fun to knit two long-sleeved sport-weight sweaters (one of which you're also designing) for other people in a hurry!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Knitting Together

This will be another speedy update--Kevin and I are in Ohio for his family reunion and the Canfield Fair, and we only have a few minutes before it's time to go eat again. (Truly--you cannot believe how much food we eat at the fair... we just about finish chewing one snack before we spot something else that looks interesting. And by interesting, I mean fried).

Anyway, lots of knitting at the archivists' conference. In addition to knitting in the sessions themselves, I ran into Lolly first thing on the first morning, and then I met up with her, Amy, and Nova to knit Friday night. In true knitting fashion, we meant to just knit for a little while, then ended up spending a couple of fun hours together--and we were spotted by other knitting archivists (including one who I think also talked to my supervisor about knitting, since my supervisor was also there, knitting during the sessions). Clearly, we need to arrange yarn field trip at the conference in San Francisco next year!

I finished my solstice slip socks (did I say that already?), knit one Pomatomus and one Pomatomus cuff, and started (in the evenings) Hanami.

And now, time to eat!