Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pattern Sighting

I'm in Chicago for the annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists (the hotel has wireless internet access, but Kevin may not be 100% finished preparing for the presentations he's giving over the next few days, so he needs the computer more then me! So I may or may not post much before we're hack home next week), and since I had yesterday afternoon free, I went on a little field trip to Loopy Yarns.

It was inches from the Harrison El stop (on the red line), which would have been very simple and straightforward except that I have a superhuman ability to walk out of the least convenient exit of any subway station, then turn in the wrong direction once I reach the street. It's a gift, and I try to use my powers for good, but it does mean that I make a lot of sudden u-turns in the middle of the sidewalk.

Once I backtracked to the store (in sight of the El), it was great: bright and organized, with a good selection and friendly sales people (the other woman who was shopping at the same time as me ended up exchanging phone numbers with the woman who helped her, when they discovered that one was starting the program the other graduated from). As I was checking out (I restrained myself on the yarn front, but bought some little bamboo DPNs for socks, and pretty beads for Hanami... what does it say about me that I had a crochet hook small enough to fit through beads in my possession already, and I barely crochet?), the salesperson gave me kind of a funny look, picked up a piece of paper from the counter, looked at it, looked at me, and then asked "Is this you?"

It was--they're going to knit Convertible for a store sample. Yay! And they asked me to sign the matter, which makes me giggle. (I finished the solstice socks yesterday, and expect to make miles of progress on my new socks today. Maybe I'll manage to take pictures?)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sock Progress

You'll notice over on the right there that I'm actually signed up for the next round of the sock a month KAL, and that the end of the month is fast approaching. Fortunately, the end of the sock is fast approaching too:

Solstice Slip Socks

And I've made a bit of progress since taking this picture--I'm about to turn the heel.

You know, I think I make my socks shorter than other knitters (or at least short compared to my foot length). When I fold my socks in half at the heel, my cuffs tend to be a couple of inches shorter than the foot--they only reach to the end of the toe increases (assuming a toe-up sock), even with ribs.

I don't think it's because I'm impatient to be done and/or lazy about knitting long cuffs, just that going further up the calf seems to raise the chances that socks will fall down, increase the amount of fabric that's available to bunch around the ankle, and not improve anything. At least--not for me, since I don't think my calves are usually cold (not that I can remember what does get cold, since it's summer).

Yet another handy case where my possible laziness and apparent preferences coincide to make things easier for me (or where my laziness is so all-encompassing and embedded that it convinces the rest of me that the easier option is better... but wouldn't that be a lot of work?).

Speaking of getting cold, by neck definitely does get cold, and this will come in handy as human caulk.

TdF Scarf & Vespa

You can just barely tell from this picture that there's a second lace border on my Tour de France scarf, and that it's semi-blocked, at last!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sleep with the Fishes

Without the Mystery Stole to work on, I'm making great progress on everything else.


And I've finished the fish! Ruffles! Bobbles for eyes! I've been swimming it around the apartment since dinner, so I think Kevin is pretty impatient for me to wrap it up and send it off to Schaefer Yarns.

And I finally made it to yoga this morning... the trouble with tri training is that ever when you one workout, you feel guilty for not doing other workouts. Or, at least you do if you're me. So even though we've been doing all kinds of biking and running, I've felt guilty every day there's yoga for not going. I suspect my arms and abs will be sore tomorrow.

We're also trying to run hills more, because it looks like we're going to go to Lima, Peru in October (for work! Boy, was library school the right decision!). Knock wood as you read this, because it's the same project I was going to go to Sierra Leone for, and I never got anywhere near Africa. But Peru looks more likely. This relates to hills because we're going to stay for a week after the meetings are over, to do some running near Machu Picchu and Cusco. So we need to run hills, which we basically haven't been doing because Kevin's tri and my marathon are flat. And I hate hills... but Machu Picchu!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cygnet Pond & Yarn Giveaway

Pictures from yesterday, since I finally got the camera, cord and computer together at the same time!


The theme of this year's Mystery Stole was Swan Lake, but mine's on the small side, and the color looks more like a baby swan (a cygnet... not a gosling, which is what I keep trying to say) than an adult, so cygnet pond seems more accurate.

As it turns out, it's the perfect size to wear in normal life (vs. wear to dressy events)--small enough not to catch on things or be pulled off by its own weight, but large enough to keep my neck warm (hey, the meeting yesterday morning was in a chilly room) and stay in place by overlapping itself. And I love how the wing end shows across the front.

With Vespy

The color is more accurate in these two than in the next one, but this one shows the points... which I love.


So, I have a whole skein of the yarn leftover, and rather than make a second shawl in the same color (although I could give it as a gift, none of my usual giftees seem like shawl people), I'm going to have a little drawing, and answer my idle curiousity at the same time.

My blog stats let me see a map with pins where readers' ISPs are located, but I'd love to see who the pins are. So, leave me a comment by Thursday, September 6, with your first name, general location (whatever you're comfortable with), and your blog (if you have one), and I'll pick someone at random to send my second skein of Live 2 Knit's Vivien (640 yds of superwash merino/50 g) in the chocolate color way to. Since I won the yarn in a drawing from Debby, I think the second skein should be shared the same way.

Small print: You are still eligible even if I already know who you are, where you live, and what your blog is... I'll post the winner on September 7 (and you may want to check back on the 7th, in case the next step is a post that says "Molly in Maine, I have yarn for you, but I have no idea what your email address is! Help!" Also, hi Molly!). One entry per person. And I have a tiny bit of extra left over from the first skein, if the winner wants it as insurance.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


It only took me a couple of hours to remember that we still have our previous camera... so here are some of the other photos I "owe" the blog:

Silk Noil

Some gorgeous silk noil which Heidi gave me at SnB last night. I've never spun with silk before, so this should be interesting... but I love the colors, and it's really... um... silky. Yum!

Ruffle Fish

And a half a fish! What you can't tell from this picture is that the fish is sitting in the fish dish--a serving dish (meant for fish) that Kevin and I received as a wedding present. It's huge, and technically Kevin doesn't usually cook himself a whole fish at once, but I really like the shape, and it fits veggies too.

This Post Should Have Had Photos!

I made Kevin take pictures of my finished Mystery Stole and today's progress on the Solstice Slip Socks on the way home... but left the camera cord at work, so no pictures. I'd made all kinds of progress on the socks too, thanks to SnB last night and a 4-hour meeting this morning. I finished sock #1 at SnB, and got started on sock #2. Now I'm about half way up the foot to the heel. And next week is going to be great, knitting-wise: the annual professional meeting of the Society of American Archivists, with hours of potential knitting time during presentations.

I felt self-conscious knitting at my first SAA meeting (because I was worried that people who saw me wouldn't understand that I listen better when knitting), but then I noticed that more established archivists were knitting too, so now I knit with impunity. And I've talked to archivists I never would have spoken to otherwise (admittedly, we talked about knitting not archives, but talking is talking, right?)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Solstice Slip Sock

All appearances to the contrary, I didn't take this against a black background--it's just the flash.

Solstice Slip Sock

In addition to the unphotographed fish (made entirely of ruffles!), this sock is the main thing I'm working on. It's basically the Solstice Slip Socks from the June STR sock club (I figured I should at least start before the next shipment arrived!), although I'm doing my usual figure-eight cast on toe and short row heel.

And yes, it is just about as bright as it looks in this picture--good thing it's a sock. I'm expecting to make great progress on the sock and its mate next week, when I'm at the archivists' annual conference. Good thing too, since I've signed up for the next Sock a Month KAL, and these are meant to be my August socks!

As usual, I'm way behind on photographs: I have some great new yarn from Schaefer Yarn that they sent me to play with (with the idea, of course, that playing will turn it into a sweater). And I brought my Mystery Stole and the Tour de France scarf to work, in hopes that I could convince Kevin to take a picture of them at lunch, but that didn't happen.

It hasn't been the most coordinated day--someone broke the driver's side window of our car last night, in order to take our beloved GPS/navigation system thingy. Which we've always put into the glove compartment, except that we were frazzled the last time we parked the car and forgot. We wanted to fix it right away, which meant that we had to leave work to drop off and to pick the car, so it didn't seem like the best day to take the entire alloted lunch hour for a photography session.

It's annoying, but fine, since it's covered by our insurance (incredibly, we picked a policy with no deductible for glass, since broken glass is the only time I used my alarmingly expensive Massachusetts insurance). BUT we need to remember to get directions before we set out, at least till we get a new one.

The sad news (for the thief) is that s/he left the power cord behind, dramatically reducing the resale value (I assume), especially since I believe the battery was just about dead. Ha!

Photos from the Triathlon

Even though I'm a lousy spectator, I did manage to take a couple of pictures before the race:

Looking slightly chilly

Lost in the Crowd

And I finally remembered to use a camera setting that helped rather than hindered my picture-taking efforts (speaking of which, the macro setting on this camera is called cuisine... clearly, more people are taking pictures of their food that I would have guessed).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Speedy Update

In the form of a list:

1. Kevin remembered his shoes for the run portion of his triathlon this weekend.

2. This is a good things because I reached a new low in my career as a bad spectator. I watched the swim start, and even yelled "Go Kevin!" audibly during Kevin's first transition, but then I never saw him again. My friend Molly came over from Maine to watch with me, and he was just slightly faster than I expected, so he biked past our viewing area before we got there. But of course we didn't know that so we waited and waited, getting more and more nervous (Where could he be?? How many flat tires could one bike get in 56 miles??!). When we gave up, I wanted to go back to the transition area to make sure he'd started running (that is, make sure his bike was there and his running stuff was gone), which meant that I didn't see him finish, although Molly did. Then I couldn't find him in the finish area either. We did finally find each other back at the car.

3. Fortunately, the race went really well (and he was speedier than ever before in a half IM), so he wasn't too upset.

4. We will make a better plan so I can actually see him at his next races.

5. I finished my Mystery Stole!

6. And blocked it on the bed at our hotel! (pictures later!)

7. I have abandoned the turtle in favor of a fish, and it's going much better.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Unravel Me

I have officially started yet another turtle... the one I talked about yesterday, with the overall texture. And I unraveled the pointy turtle to use that yarn, even though it showed some promise as a tam or beret. (The current turtle is more of a toque/ski hat.)

Ravelry Pin

I'm distracting you from the lack of turtle pictures with substitute pictures: the pin is a gift from knitting friend Annie, who met Jess and Casey at the Yarn Harlot's Massachusetts reading, and sent this to me (and has doubtless been wondering when I was going to say thank you... Thanks!)

Slanting Lace Scarf

And this one is also Ravelry-related. Last winter I made this a scarf for Schaefer Yarns, but wasn't sure what they planned do do with it. Then a couple of weeks ago when I got a message from volunteer editor Smurf/Alison, asking about the details of the pattern. It turns out that it's in the current issue of Knit n' Style. Yay!

The scarf is an eyelet lace, knit on the bias. It's an easy knit, but I think the fabric is really satisfying, and the bias helps prevent pooling. Too bad you can't really see it in this picture, and since I sent it to them pre-blog, I didn't take any for myself... because I'm such a reliable photographer!

And speaking of what a lazy photographer I am, I'm also a lazy model. I've worn handknit sweaters to work nearly every day this week, planning to make Kevin take pictures of me at lunch so I could add them to Ravelry. Have we taken a single photo? No. Although it's not yet lunchtime today, so there's still a chance!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Long run, and turtles

This was a short long run week--12.5 miles instead of 20. It's like we hardly even had to work out at all. Hurray!

I've been working away (except when distracted by the mystery stole and my new socks--more about the socks in a sec) on Turtle 0.2, which starts with three hexagons and grows downward to the rim of the shell. I was really happy with the hexagons by themselves (and may actually make the hex coat from Knitting Nature someday, because it was the hexes which I thought I'd hate), but I'm not so sure about it now that I've worked down a ways.

Turtle 2

It may not be clear in this picture, but there's a row of reverse stockinette around each of the hexagons, to make the shape stand out more. And once I picked up stitches around the hexagons to knit down to the edge of the shell, I purled the stitches at the joins and corners to continue those lines down the edge.

I think it's a little more realistic, but I'm less happy with it--maybe because it's trying harder to look like a real turtle (but not actually looking like one), whereas the other one was clearly a cartoon turtle? And you can tell even in this picture that it's flat with 2 bumps, instead of flat with 1 point. Not exactly progress. So after some consultation with Emily at SnB last night, I'm going to try a simpler shape, with an overall texture pattern.

While trying to decide, I knit a toe warmer (which will eventually grow into a sock) that's more or less the Solstice Slip pattern from the June club shipment from Socks that Rock. More or less because I decided to do my usual figure eight cast on toe, on my usual number of stitches, instead of following the directions exactly. I am using their stitch pattern though, and I like how it mixes up the colors a little more. Of course, I haven't taken a picture of it yet--who do you think I am?

And a Vespa update: we've driven it to work all four days so far this week, and once we even left at the same time we would have left if we'd been walking so we got there early! It was especially nice not walking yesterdayafter the long run. And I've taken to calling it Vespy. (To go with the scooba, who's called Scooby. So creative with the names!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Finished BSJ

It still needs buttons, but the baby surprise jacket is otherwise finished!

Finished BSJ

The yarn is my own handspun, 100% merino. It's not superwash, but the mom is a knitter and kind of crunchy-hippie-environmental (that's how I describe myself too--but she's better at it--so I mean that in the best possible way), so I'm hoping she won't mind too much. Or she can felt it on purpose and have a smaller jacket to wear sooner. I'm not quite sure how much yarn I used, because I use the bottom of a chair to wind my handspun off the bobbin, and I forget how big the chair is. But I love how the stripe-y-ness of the yarn worked in this pattern, and how the stripes on the fronts and sleeves are similar but not identical.

One day, I'll make either enough yarn to make an adult garment, or thin enough yarn to make lace or non-slipper socks. (It would help if I spun more regularly, huh?)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sock Pal Socks Revisited

While we were taking pictures of the Vespa, we tried again with pictures of my sockapalooza socks from Gina. (Gina, which Gina are you?!?)

Socks from Pal

I think the cable and rib pattern shows a little better in this picture that in the last attempt, but just in case, here's a close up:

Close up

And, since it was oddly chilly Friday night (and we ran home? Did we run home? I think we ran home, and maybe it was rainy? No wait! We didn't run on Friday because we ran long on Thursday). Anyway: it was oddly chilly on Friday night, so I got to wear them. They're toasty and cozy and I'm definitely going to sign up for the next sockapalooza--it's fun having someone make socks for you!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Don't worry Mom!

We bought helmets too.

And I wear real shoes (and long pants) when we're actually going anywhere.


Earlier in the week (after a particularly hilly and whiny bike ride), Kevin and I started thinking about getting a scooter for me to ride while he bikes. So yesterday morning, we went up to northwester CT for a triathlon, and stopped at Vespa Hartford on the way home. We'd planned to just test ride a scooter (there's a dealer in New Haven too, but they don't have the space for test drives), but they were really helpful and I liked the plum and it was a 2006 model and they were already delivering one near here already... so we bought it.

Vespa in the Park

It's a Vespa LX50, so it has a top speed of 40 mph, so the state of CT considers it a moped, not a motorcycle. Which means we can't go on the highway (which we didn't want to do anyway--Kevin doesn't bike on the highway, and 40 mph is already twice as fast as he's going to go on a bicycle), and that we didn't need to get a motorcycle license (or register it... so no DMV!).

Vroom, vroom!

The other thing we're planning to do is use it to get around town. It'll be easier to park than a car AND gets between 80 and 100 miles per gallon. We already drove it to a barbecue and Ikea (for frozen yogurt... we tried to get Italian ice but the line was too long) last night and to knitting and the grocery store today.

We've already learned it's not the most subtle mode of transportation ever. We were quite a hit among the little boys at the barbecue last night (and their parents too), and I had an extensive conversation with a random passerby about it while Kevin was in the store this afternoon. And I'm even more certain than usual that everyone is staring at us as we go by.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sweater Smidge is Growing

It's amazing how much progress you can make during lunches, breaks, and walks!

BSJ progress

It's actually a tiny bit bigger now--I've finished the ball of yarn that's in this picture, and just joined by second skein. I'm past the halfway point in the directions though, so I think I'll have enough yarn. And I'm going to a presentation this afternoon (in the lecture hall which makes everyone sleepy), so I should get to work on it a little bit more.
I'm still working on the turtle, but didn't get to take a picture this morning. I've made 3 attached hexagons, which was much faster and more fun than I expected. It looks pretty much like this:

Now I have to decide/figure out how to make the rest of the shell. I'm wondering whether increasing at the inside points (along the sides) will be enough to fill in the indentations, or if I'll need to do something more complicated.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Turtle, part II

Ok, so I see what you're saying about the hexagons (it does need to be knitting, so crocheting them is out), and I love the hex coat, so anything like that is really appealing. But my worry is that people would be put off by fussy knitting and/or fussy finishing. I have this great pattern for a stuffed sheep that I've never made because of my hatred of bobbles, for example. But do you think they wouldn't mind? That people who knit stuffed animals are expecting fuzzy finishing?

I've never made a knitted stuffed animal, so I'm not the best person to ask. I did sew several jointed teddy beards in elementary and middle school, and didn't mind all the pieces at the time... but now I haven't made one for nearly 20 years, in part because of all the pieces.

Wait! What about just 3 hexagons along the top, then the rest picked up and knitted down from there?


So, I've been trying to design a stuffed turtle for Schaefer Yarns, and the shell has been uncooperative.


Ignoring the fact that this is a little too pointy on top, does this look at all turtle-y?

What if it had feet? A head?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Tour de France Scarf Finished!

But not in this picture! (Please ignore my hair, squint and overall funny expression. Look at the scarf!)

TdF Scarf

Even though I was a terribly TdF blogger, I did keep chugging away on this scarf pretty steadily though the 3 weeks of the tour. But apparently I didn't actually want the tour to end, because I stalled for over a week with only the second border to knit. In my defense, I needed my whole brain to knit the border pattern (unlike every other lace pattern I've tried, this one didn't seem to have any kind of rhythm or logic, and I needed to rely entirely on counting and remembering where I was... and the pattern is 24 lines long), and made me tense and cranky.

I worked on it a little bit Saturday, and finished it up last night. Kevin's not used to how much I needed to pay attention to it (remember that I can usually knit while walking and reading, as well as the usual talking, listening to podcasts and watching TV), so he didn't quite believe me when I said I wouldn't be able to talk while working on it, but it's completely true. Every time I opened my mouth (even between rows) I lost my place and had to count stitches to figure out where I was again. At least I didn't need total silence, and the TV could stay on.

I'm glad to be done though! Blocked shots (and that second end) soon. Maybe.

To rest my brain, I cast on for a nice simple baby surprise jacket this morning as my "break and walking to work" project. (Although I'd never think to construct a jacket this way in a million years, the knitting itself is straightforward--all garter stitch, with regular decreases and increases.)

I have just a tiny bit done so far. (I sent this picture sent directly from my phone to Flickr... it's like I've finally entered the 21st century, huh?)

BSJ beginnings

Just a little smidge of a sweater so far, and I'm not sure if I'll have enough yarn (it's my own handspun, and the ball there is about half of what I have). I may be visiting one of my many friends with a new baby in a couple of weeks, and if it works out (and is finished, and seems like it might fit come fall, etc...), it may be a present.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Wedding Shawl Pictures

I brought the shawl I made for my wedding (last September) to visit the Yarn Harlot last night in Madison. She made a shawl for her wedding from the same book, and I'd felt silly commenting on it in her comments at the time... What does it say about my sense of weird that bringing the shawl to see her seemed nearly normal.

Anyway, I still lived in MA when I made it, so no one her had seen it before, or seen pictures of out wedding. We eloped to Iceland, without telling anyone but the 2 friends who witnessed our signatures on some documents (there were many documents). So here some are pictures--the rest are in Kevin's Flickr account.

This is the best close-up of the pattern, I swear. And, oh look! My ring!


Knitting Before the Ceremony


There are lots of sheep in Iceland. During the summer, they roam freely, eating whatever. In the fall, they get rounded up, sorted out, and driven back to their owners' farms. Along the highways, in some cases--here are some we passed on the way to the hotel where we got married.

Sheep Road Block

Conveniently, the Lopi outlet store (formerly the factory, although I think the factory has now moved to another town) was also on the way to the hotel where we got married. It's possible that I went twice. Here's the official Lopi vehicle.

Alafoss Car

The shawl is the Azalea design from the First Book of Modern Lace Knitting, and I used about 3 ounces of Zephyr wool-silk. I knit it in about 3 weeks (we decided to get married, planned the wedding, and got married in 3 weeks... BUT we'd been together for nearly 6 years, so it wasn't as sudden as that sounds!). We drive to Ohio and back during that time, so I got in a lot of good knitting then, but I couldn't knit in front of very many people because the wedding was a secret and it's so clearly a wedding shawl that it would have given everything away.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


I've just noticed that I haven't posted finished photos of the picot cardigan (called piCardigan for short) over here, only in Ravelry. So here it is:

Standing still...

and walking.

Sizes: 37.5 (39.5, 41, 43, 45) finished chest measurement (when closed--the size I'm wearing is about 2 inches larger than I am at the bust)
Length: 20(21, 22, 23, 24) inches from back of neck to hem
Yarn: 9 (10, 11, 12, 13) skeins of Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere, 103 yds/90 m per 50 g skein.
gauge: 17 sts = 4 inches/10 cm (I used a US size 7 needle.)
Pattern: 4-page pdf, with schematic. You'll receive an email with download info when you pay (through Paypal).
Cost: $5.00

Note: I was within a few yards of starting a 10th skein for the smallest size, so if you're going to lengthen anything you might want to buy more yarn. According to my calculations, there will be more leeway in the other sizes.

[ETA on 11/26/07: this sweater is now available for sale on The Garter Belt--there's more information about it there too!]

In Which Knitting is Not Quite as Popular as I Think

I realized that I don't have any stray hats floating around to bring to the Yarn Harlot's talk, so I started this one Tuesday night and finished it several hours after this picture was taken (yesterday).

Wouldn't you like some yarn?

It's a simple roll brim hat with symmetrical decreases around the top. I usually make these hats on 72 sts, which seemed fine, but this one turned out either too tall or too wide, so I may try felting it a bit (or, figure someone is bound to have a big head and they'll be glad to have a hat that fits them perfectly?). I'm making a second one, slightly smaller. The yarn is from the Farmhouse Yarn bins-on-the-driveway sale... I think the one this spring, rather than the one last fall... and didn't have any labels.

Anyway, the thing is that I dreamed that I went to the Yarn Harlot's talk with some SnBers and got ice cream. I apparently have the most un-inventive subconscious ever, since a bunch of us are going together in real life, and there's every chance that we'll get ice cream. But in my dream, Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton came too (they were nice enough, but didn't get any ice cream). It's possible that I'm overestimating the spread of knitting, huh?

That's My Last Lifeline...

As I've told everyone who will listen (including some people--Kevin--who barely care) over the past couple of days, I put in the designer-recommended lifeline on row 287 of the Mystery Stole, and I'm never going to put in another lifeline!

MS lifeline

For those of you who aren't knitting the stole (and why not? All the cool kids are doing it!), the designer sent out an announcement a couple of weeks ago that said we should all put in a lifeline (that's where you run a smooth thread/yarn/piece of dental floss through every stitch in a row you know is right, so you won't lose any stitches if you need to rip back to that point) in row 287. Even if that would interrupt the pattern of where we'd been placing lifelines. Even if we'd never used a lifeline before (that would be me). Just do it, and we'll thank her later.

So I did, and it was kind of a pain in the neck to knit the next row, and for the first time in my life I nearly knit stitches together with each other accidentally, and I'm not doing it again (unless, I suppose, the next clue tells me to just do it and I'll thank her later...).

The good news is that it gives me a better answer (it's a pain, and makes me make mistakes!) when people see I don't have any lifelines in my lace and ask why. (People, as though I'm constantly running into strangers who want to discuss lace with me, but never mind.) My old answer (knock on wood, but I don't usually make mistakes that are big enough that I can't correct them without significant ripping) was just asking for trouble. Falling back on laziness and refusal to carry around extra supplies is much safer.