Monday, August 25, 2008

Just in Time

Hey, I'm an aunt! My sister and her husband had their baby yesterday--a little girl. Everyone is doing well. Oddly, their number one priority was not telling me what I can and cannot tell the internets about their baby/my knitwear model, so I may or may not tell you more later. (People I actually know: I'll send pictures and details in a second.)

My sister had asked me to make a boppy cover for her a few weeks ago, and I finally sprung into action yesterday morning. When she first asked me to make it, I was feeling guilty about how much driving I've been doing to get to rowing practice, so I thought I'd go to Ikea to buy the fabric. (Ikea is in walking distance.) I wasn't crazy about the actual fabric, but I found some fun curtains with a great border:

The borders were wide enough to make the whole cover (I used this pattern), but it turned out I had to go to the fabric store anyway for a zipper. While I was there, I got over-excited and bought fabric to make some baby clothes, got home, sewed them up, and realized I needed another zipper. So I went back, got the zipper, and some other fabric, and somehow in the course of wandering around and having my fabric cut, lost the zipper. Naturally, I didn't realize it till I got home... so I'm going to have to go back. If you're keeping track at home, making this boppy cover has also produced 1 trip to Ikea, 2 trips to the fabric store (with another one to come), 1 new baby outfit, 2 new dresses for me (just as soon as I hem them), 1 knitting magazine, 1 package of M and Ms, and very little knitting time yesterday.

At least I managed to knit at knitting yesterday (and a great deal on Saturday), with the result that this... now almost 2 socks (just a few more rows of sock 2 to go). I've been hit by another bout of picots, so they're plain stockinette stitch socks with a picot hem. I tried a bunch of stitch patterns at first, but I didn't like any of them as much as I like the stockinette stitch sole, so stockinette stitch it was.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Good Idea

Someone named Audrey (hi Audrey!) asked in the comments of an earlier post whether the rainbow fish could be knit in the round to avoid seaming.

It can, although there would be a little jog in each ruffle/fin on the fish's belly (just like stripes knit in the round have a jog in them). However, I think that's the kind of issue that only a knitter would care about! (And not even all of them!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

No Pictures (as usual!)

I feel like I'm working on a bunch of things that I either can't photograph, or which don't photograph well... and that, coupled with overall laziness, is enough to eliminate pictures entirely.

Wait, that's not true! There are the anklets I made the week before last, in preparation for socks for Kevin that I expected would take longer more than a week (they did). Of course, the anklets took longer than expected too. (The first part of this story will make sense only to knitters... sorry.)

There's this yarn from Schaefer that I love, Anne, which is a mohair/wool/nylon blend, 560 yards in a 4 ounce skein. I can easily make a pair of socks plus a pair of anklets from one skein--and given that I like slightly shorter cuffs than usual, one skein is probably enough for 2 complete pairs.

I knit pair 10, Embossed Leaves, out of a yarn called Leili. Leili is heavier/thicker than Anne (270 yard to 4 ounces) but has a similar composition, so by the time I'd finished knitting, I'd decided they were the same yarn (and crucially, completely lost track of the differences in yardage). When I finished the socks, I had about 1/3 of a skein of Leili left over. Since 1/3 of a skein of Anne is enough for a pair of anklets, and I'd decided Anne and Leili were identical, I was also sure 1/3 of a skein of Leili was enough for anklets. (Note that 1/3 of 270 is not even slightly equal to 1/3 of 560!)

So I knit cheerfully away, ignoring the alarming rate at which I was using up yarn, through the first anklet. I must have known something was wrong though, because I did finally weigh anklet #1 before binding off, and noticed that I'd used well more than half of the yarn I had left. So I ripped back the cuff (I was knitting toe-up) till the sock only used half of the yarn, knit the second sock to the same point, then knit both cuffs with coordinating scraps.

Then I decided I wanted slightly longer feet, so I snipped a strand of yarn near the toe, separated the toe, unraveled it, knit the foot longer using the reclaimed yarn, and knit a new toe from the same scrap yarn.


I think the colors worked out OK, don't you?

Since then, I've made the socks for Kevin (which took 10 days--not so bad). They'll never be photographed in action because it turns out that while Kevin is comfortable taking pictures of me making a fool of myself modeling knitwear, he's oddly unwilling to model knitwear himself. (Strangely, he also didn't want to try on partially completed socks in public. Is he suggesting that's not a normal thing to do?) Then I made a pair of baby socks, and now I'm working on another pair of socks for me. Which I could photograph. As well as a couple of designs which I can't. And the lace shawl from last month, which just looks like a shiny blue and purple blob.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Over the course of last week, I became convinced that Moppet's fur was on the verge of matting, and that she wasn't going to sit still for me to pluck it. And (since the loose hair doesn't shoot off in all directions like a fuzzy porcupine) I wasn't sure I'd be able to tell when I'd plucked off all of the loose/detached hair.

So Moppet got a little haircut.



Obviously, I still need to work on symmetry. Although some of the fluff on that side could actually be feet.

She didn't seem to mind too much, and I think it was definitely the right thing to do--after I clipped the fur off her lower back, she started cleaning that area like mad. I think the skin there must have been itchy, but she wasn't able to get to it with all the fur in the way (fortunately, the skin there looks normal, so I much have clipped her before the itchiness turned into anything else).

I'll still be able to spin the cut fiber, although the Angora bunny book says the fiber will need to be sorted (by length). She does look a little funny, but she doesn't seem to mind. And look how tiny she is! I was starting to think maybe she was getting fat (I couldn't feel any bones!), but it turns out it was mostly fur.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ice, Ice, Baby

This doesn't look like much, but it's a major victory!

While we were in New Hampshire/DC/North Carolina, our ice machine's water line started leaking into the neighbor's condo. The management company broke in (they don't have keys) to deal with it, and turned off the water. (In a side story, they drilled through the deadbolt, and the regular lock wasn't working properly at the time, so when they "locked" it, it didn't actually lock--the handle wouldn't turn, but it didn't latch, so the door was open for a bit--although the building was still locked, so things were only semi-insecure. So I spent my first day back here having that fixed!).

Anyway, moving on: I don't use much ice, so I didn't mind that there wasn't any (naturally, when we got this fridge, we got rid of all our ice cube trays). Once Kevin got home, he wanted ice, so after ignoring the problem for a week, we bought a new water line and swapped it in. But when we tried to turn the valve back on, nothing happened--no water made it into the line, so no ice. So we googled ice machines, and learned what kind of valve it was, and ignored the lack of ice for another week.

But yesterday morning we had a flurry of cleaning and home improvement in preparation for an influx of spinners. I trooped out to Home Depot again, bought another valve, took off the original valve (turning off the water to do so), and discovered that part of it had broken off and gotten wedged in the main pipe, blocking the water--no wonder the ice machine never got any. So I swapped in the new one, but it didn't work either. So, in a moment of desperation, I cut the head off a pin, temporarily stuck it on place of the broken-off piece (which I'd determined wasn't required for the valve to work, but which I needed to get everything lined up properly). I couldn't stick the original piece back in place because when it detached (I was using poster putty, not a very permanent adhesive!), it would have blocked the water again--but the pin was thin enough that it wouldn't block the water.

And it worked!

And now we have ice!

(You have no idea how sad Kevin has been without ice!)

Monday, August 4, 2008


So, last week was the last week of the first part of my learn to row program, and we had a short race on the last night. (We will not speak about how annoyed I am about several terrible strokes---I "caught a crab" (or more than one), which means my oar was pulled way under the water and kind of got stuck (because I didn't square the blade soon enough). I have no idea why it's called a crab, but my current theory is that it's because it makes me crabby.)

Anyway, the video is naturally on youtube, right here.

I'm in the bow (front, in the direction of motion) of the right-most boat, but fortunately you can only see me for a couple of seconds (towards the end).

Friday, August 1, 2008

Pair 10

Hey, I finished the 10th pair of socks! It's been 2 weeks since I finished my last pair, but it's still just the end of the 9th week, so amazingly, I'm still on schedule with the whole 52 pair thing. This is much longer that I figured I'd be on schedule--I was sure I'd be sick of socks the instant the challenge started, but somehow I'm still excited about deciding what yarn to use next!

And here they are:

To sum up, the pattern is Embossed Leaves from a winter issue of Interweave knits (2005?). I used a 2.5 mm needle, and about 200 yards of Leili from the Unique Sheep. I think I still have enough yarn to make a pair of anklets, but I'm going to take a little break from the yarn first!

My other projects are coming along too. I knit the dragon scarf in a flurry over 2 days after I blogged about it. I bound off after dinner, rushing into the closet to try it on in front of a mirror, and discovered that it just made me look deranged, and somewhat unraveled--probably because of the tabbed edge. (Even though I still think it looks cute on other people!) I have pictures, but I keep forgetting to upload them.

I liked the ribs through, and wanted to keep them, so I removed the tabs (quite a project since I'd started with them, and knit them perpendicularly to the rest of the scarf--I snipped one thread and picked out each stitch one at a time, pulling the cut yarn back through the stitches--it got longer and longer, but I didn't want to cut off the extra because I hadn't had much yarn to start with). Then I put the live sts from the ribbed section back on my needles, and started knitting a sweater out from there. I knit a strip about 20 sts wide from the center of the live sts (forming a Y), then knit out from the sides of the Y (formed by the sides of the Y and the live sts) to form the bodice of a sweater. Then I joined up the sides (partly--I left armholes, which may or may not become sleeves, depending how much yarn I have), and started knitting down from the lower edge. I waffled for a bit about making a cardigan or a pullover (which included knitting a couple of inches in the round, ripping, knitting a couple of inches flat, ripping, knitting a couple of inches in the round, ripping... ), but I think I've settled on a cardigan.

Obviously, I need to draw some pictures, to make up for not having taken photos!