Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I think I mentioned that I was making the Shetland Triangle Shawl from Wrap Style? Well, I finished it over the weekend, blocked it, and am wearing it now. I used 2 of my handspun yarns, which looked like they were essentially the same color (completely by chance--I bought one of them from an Etsy seller and one at Art Fibers in August).


What's funny is that they look almost the same in natural light (like in the picture), but seem completely different in artificial light, especially in my badly lit bedroom and office. I think it might be that they're close in actual color, but because they're different fibers, they catch the light differently--and in bright light, that distinction gets bleached out. Or something. In any case, I think it's fine--I used the color I had more of for the center and the smaller skein for the border.

Speaking of borders, I've started knitting the feather and fan shawl from Folk Shawls with the blue yarn I brought back from Peru.

This is the yarn that was wound together in three ply sections of maybe 10 yards each--the one that needed to be unwound, the three plies separated (they weren't plied, just slightly stuck together by fuzz), spit spliced together, then wound into one ball. I thought I'd done all 4 colors, but it turns out I still have one left (argh!).

This relates to borders because I'm going to use the darkest blue for the mostly garter stitch portion (in the center/top), then the three lighter blues for the feather and fan border. Except that my feather and fan sections won't exactly be a border, because I have approximately equal amounts of 4 colors, not 1 main color and half as much of 2 contrast colors. Who knows ow it will turn out! Can you stand the suspense?


Someone named Judie asked a question about the stitch count in the comments of the post about my Chevron Wrap pattern, but didn't leave an email address so I can't clarify where in the pattern she is. (And I can't figure out from the email addresses/user ids of people who bought that pattern who she might be.)

If you're Judie, please comment again here, and let me know exactly which row isn't working out for you, and how many stitches you have--Schaefer Yarns had the pattern test knit and tech edited, so it should be right... but you never know!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wait Wait...

Like all good crunchy vegetarian liberals, I give money to NPR, and about 1000 years ago, the incentive for donating was tickets to a live taping of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me at SCSU. It took most of Kevin's and my combined brain power to remember that it was last night, but we did, and we went, and it was lots of fun. (Now that we've freed up that space in our brains, think how productive we'll be!)

It was a little weird hearing everyone's voices and seeing them at the same time--it was hard to remember that those people on the stage were actually the talking, not lip-synching to the radio.

There was a reception after the taping, and at first I was worried that there would only be 8 people there and we'd have to make small talk with Peter, Carl, the panel and guest (the panel was Tom Bodett, Kyrie O'Connor, and Charles Pierce, and the guest was Christopher Buckley). After I few minutes, I realized there was nothing to worry about because our entire section had passes (Backstage passes! Laminated cards on lanyards! Which I refused to wear except while in the room where the reception was held, because I didn't want the other NPR listeners to think I was a dork. Apparently, I'm the dork who's too cool for whatever dorky thing I'm doing.), and the was no danger we'd have to talk. Or be able to, if we'd wanted.

But in those few minutes, I tried to think of things to chat with them about. Possible conversations went something like this:

1. Hi Peter. I listen to a podcast by someone who I think mentioned one time that she knew you. Maybe that she went to school with you? Anyway, she said you were funny in school too. So Heather, who doesn't know me, would say Hi if she knew I was talking to you.

2. Hi Christopher. My department has your father's papers. Everyone says Hi, by the way. Do you remember if you gave permission for Mr. Smith* to see the papers? Because he came in the day before yesterday and we couldn't find your email. Our filing system is a little... creative... so it's probably in there somewhere. Anyway, could you send that message to us again when you get a chance?

Perhaps it's just as well there were a lot of other people there. I will now segue into a semi-related story--Kevin, his parents, a friend from grad school and I were in Cleveland a few years ago for a Indians-Red Sox game. (Kevin's family is from Ohio and our friend is a big Sox fan.) We were in a food court near the ballpark eating lunch, when suddenly our friend was having a conversation with someone about the Red Sox's previous game. A real conversation--like he knew the guy, like they were friends who always talked about sports, like they always commiserated about unfair calls at away games. Except that the guy was a member of the Red Sox. I do not have that skill... not even with not-famous people. The end.

*Mr. Smith is not the researcher's real name.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sweater in Action

Much cuter on E than on arranged on a bench.

Speaking of benches (since I'm sure I'll arrange at least some of it on one), I should take pictures of my Rhinebeck fiber...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


1. Do you think the grey sweater in this Mason-Dixon Knitting post (scroll down a long way) is Saranac?

2. I bought Moppet 2 presents at Rhinebeck: clippers (for her claws) and a harness with leash. We've been practicing with the harness inside, just like the package suggested.

It's tricky to put on over all that fur, but she doesn't seem to mind it too much.

(I bought myself all kinds of spinning fiber, but no yarn. Now I just need to stop knitting long enough to spin it up.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

One and Two Halves

Look! I made a pair of socks!

Only, not quite.

It's a little weird having 2 pairs of socks underway--for all the socks I've been knitting, I usually knit them one pair at a time. But I wanted to get started with the blue pair (the one I'm designing for Schaefer, with their lovely new sock yarn--lovely, lovely, lovely, but not yet on their website), but not set aside the Waving Lace pattern (in Schaefer's Anne), so here I am.

(It's also occurred to me that the third project I have on the needles is a wrap from Schaefer's Nancy. At least they're different colors--in contrast to the time everything I was knitting was from Scahefer and in the Lillian Gilbreth colorway.)

Unexpectedly, I kind of miss the mostly mindless knitting of the sweater. I've been listening to a couple of podcasts that include book reviews and/or excerpts, and one of them (Forgotten Classics) included selections from Agatha Christie's autobiography a couple of weeks ago. Since I evidently did not learn my lesson about literary biographies when I slogged through the recent Edith Wharton biography last year (I suspect it was actually a good book, but that I am an uncultured heathen), I started Christie's autobiography last week.

It's going much better, since she's writing about things that happened, rather than endlessly discussing what her writing might or might not owe to various other mystery writers' books... which would be very difficult to do about yourself, come to think of it. So it's mostly interesting (and I'd love to be knitting and reading, which is why I miss my easy project. See how this relates to knitting?)

Except that every so often I work myself into a tizzy of annoyance because she writes about how much better things were for women, how much more free time they had, how they could do whatever they wanted, etc, before they convinced men that they should be allowed to work. And then I'm annoyed on two fronts: all that wonderful free time was only available to the middle to upper classes (in the golden period when women had all kinds of free time, Christie's family had servants, and it never seems to have crossed her mind that their female servants did not share in all the free time available to women!), and Christie only sees women as being able to do anything because the things she personally was interested in as she was growing up (art, music) and as an adult (writing) were things that women were already allowed to do. It never seems to occur to her that she would have had a completely different perspective if she'd been interested in something off limits.

It's not that I want her to write about how limited women's career options were, or how difficult servants' lives were--that's not the point of the book, after all. It's that since a big part of writing fiction is seeing things from other people's perspectives, it's interesting to me that she apparently doesn't in these cases, either at the time or in retrospect when she was writing. If she had, she would have described the same events/situations/experiences, but just skipped the few editorializing sentences about how perfect it was, or written that it suited her instead of suggesting that it was perfect.

OK, that was a digression! Maybe now I'll stop ranting to Kevin about it! What I meant to say was that I've been reading, would like to knit while I read, but need to finish a pair of socks before I start something mindless.

And I'm not sure what that mindless thing will be. I'm thinking about a couple of shawls/scarves that are mostly garter stitch or stockinette--the Wool Peddler's Shawl (sorry, these will all be Ravelry links... you should join Ravelry!), the Feather and Fan Triangle Shawl, or some kind of garter stitch wrap with ruffle, along these lines.

And there are several yarn options:

1. An unknown amount of single-ply cream wool which Rachel brought back from Peru (seems best suited to the Wool Peddler Shawl).

2. An unknown amount of four colors of blue wool I brought back from Peru (best for the Feather and Fan Shawl).

3. The remaining handpainted lace weight from the sweater plus some coordinating solid alpaca bend lace weight... but not the same coordinating solid I used for the sweater... it turns out that all my yarns coordinate... (this option seems best for the ruffled wrap).

Whichever one I've thought about most recently always seems like the best choice--any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hurrah! And a Mystery

I finished the sweater, and it's blocking as we speak! I have only the tiniest bit left (of the yarn I thought I'd run out of)--wound up, it's smaller than a golf ball, maybe more like a walnut.

Here's what's weird: I used a Zephyr Jaggerspun, a 50/50 wool silk blend, and Forever Lace, from Spunky Eclectic, that's labeled as 100% merino, with instructions to hand wash. Nothing there sounds like superwash, right? But when I wet-blocked it last night, it acted like superwash--stretched a good 4-5 inches in length, seemed floppy and kind of lifeless, etc. (wet-blocking in this case means I soaked it in cool water, rolled out the excess water in a towel, then patted it into shape on a towel and left it to dry.)

I thought about putting it in the dryer last night, when it acted like superwash (superwash wool often needs to be machine dried to bring it back to normal), but then I reminded myself that I was tired (and perhaps a little unhappy about my now too big sweater) and that I should just go to bed and see what it looked like it the morning.

It was the same too-big size this morning, so into the dryer it went. And whoosh, it came out the right size after about 10 minutes (I didn't let it dry completely, just got it from the drier side of soaked to slightly drier than damp). So, hurrah!

On the other hand, how weird! Could one of the yarns be superwash without me knowing (and despite the label)? Was it the silk (and if so, how? It was less than 25% of the yarn)? Gnomes who like to make you nervous but not actually ruin anything?

In any case, I can't wait to wear it to Rhinebeck (Where I will take pictures! And then write a proper project summary!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Naturally, getting space yarn from Jenn has caused my remaining yarn to last forever.

Whereas before I was knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting and the yarn was being visibly used up at an alarming rate but the sweater was not getting any bigger, yesterday when I knit and knit and knit and knit, the yarn got used up at the same rate as the sweater got bigger.

So now, although you can't tell from this picture, I've finished the round portion of the yoke, all of one shoulder saddle, and about half of the other. I plan to finish the rest tonight, no matter how late I have to stay and how many granola bars I have to eat. I ate approximately 1.3 million candy bars last week, and am trying not to eat any this week... which seemed like a good idea, until I noticed that I'd replaced them all with granola bars. At least granola has some redeeming nutritional value, right? (My preferred granola bars have visible oats.) Too bad they also have less chocolate.

Although I don't think it should be too late--compared to the yoke, the saddles are tiny.

The especially good news about the whole thing is that before I put the stitches on this short needle, I tried it on, and it looks like it's going to fit. I've been worried because the body seemed wide compared to the sleeves, and then before the yoke was done everything seemed short.

Speaking of short needles, look how bent that needle is! I've been having very bad needle luck lately--there's the one I broke on the plane, and who knows how I mangled this one. I tried to bend it back, but it wouldn't budge--maybe I slammed it in a door?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Remembered

While running again, I remembered what I wanted to blog about last week--and it is THRILLING, let me tell you!

Kevin and I arranged our honeymoon travel in Iceland through a travel agent--an Icelandic woman living in the UK (since we don't speak Icelandic). She was very excited about our rental car, a Toyota Yaris. She told us it was a Yaris every time she mentioned it, and seemed to expect us to be thrilled too--except we didn't know what a Yaris was, since they weren't very popular in the US yet (and were too lazy to Google).

When we got there, the Yaris turned out to be fine--exactly the kind of car we might have bought ourselves... which isn't saying much, since we've collectively owned 1 Suzuki Swift and 2 Honda Civics. So I'm still not sure why she was so excited (maybe car rental companies in Iceland usually rent Pintos?).

So the Yaris has now arrived in the US, and I'm amused whenever I see one in the wild. This relates to running because there's often one parked on our route--but I only notice it on weekends because it's too dark/I'm too sleepy when we run in the morning.

See? Thrilling!

In knitting news, Jenn has given/loaned me some extra yarn for the purple-y laceweight sweater--I'm still not sure if I'm going to need it, but it's nice to know I'll have enough. (And it's nice that I won't have to buy a skein, then only need 10 yards). I'm making great progress--I finished the second sleeve yesterday, joined everything together, and am slogging through the longest rows in the world. If I'm focused, I should be able to finish it by next weekend... although perhaps not block it. But what are a few uneven stitches among friends?

And I'm plotting a new sock for Schaefer. I'm going to resurrect the eyelet lace from early in the summer, since I think it will work well with the yarn--and I can't stop stopping on that page when I flip through the stitch dictionary. This pair of socks will interrupt my current pair--the waving lace socks from the Summer 2004 (?) Interweave Knits--and the wrap I'm designing for them, since they'd like the pattern as soon as possible.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


It's the time of year again--the time when it's cold outside, so the (large, stone) building which contains my office cools down overnight. Naturally, the heat in this wing isn't on yet, and the stones helpfully release the cold they've saved up during the night over the course of the day, so it's colder inside than out and everyone freezes. (In the summer, the stones manage to release heat during the day, and there's no AC, so it's hotter inside than out. But the stones are pretty!)

As an aside, I have a vague recollection from Russian history class that some czar or another (Peter the Great?) tried to make the peasants build stone houses (so they wouldn't burn in case of fire), but the peasants resisted because of the cold too. I guess I can see how fire resistance might be an important thing when building a library, but gosh, it's chilly! It's not much better at my desk once the heat's on, actually, because my radiator is temperamental. AND inside a large stone wall, with only a small grill to let heat into the room.

Anyway, this means I've been wearing a lot of wool at work. Sweaters, wrist warmers, and shawls/scarves, mainly, although since I've been wearing skirts and dresses (instead of pants) to work lately, a blanket is starting to seem like a good idea. Or fuzzy slippers (so professional!). Maybe some kind of under the desk foot cozy.

Or I could just remind Kevin that he said he'd loan me his heated floor mat!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Blogging While Running

I'm trying to be more consistent about what days I run (and to run more than 3 miles at a time, because in my head three miles is starting to see like a long way--I'm ready to be done, even though physically I could keep going--and that's kind of depressing), so I ran 6 miles on Saturday. I thought of all kinds of exciting things to blog about during that time, but once at the computer, here's what I remembered:

1. The way I mostly run from home starts in a non-residential, kind of unattractive neighborhood, so I'm always excited to see other people running there. On Saturday, there were two people, running together. That brings the total number of people (other than Kevin) who I've seen running on that street when not late for a bus to... three. I always figure when people run through that neighborhood that they must be doing a long run, because otherwise they would have stayed closer to home.

2. ???

Pretty thrilling, huh?

The rest of my weekend reminded me of another exciting fact: knitting projects progress faster when you actually work on them. I knit about 2/3 of a sleeve on the purple-y, 2-laceweight-yarns-together sweater, finished a pair of wrist warmers, and knit a whole tier of entrelac squares on a wide shawl. Unfortunately, it's the first sleeve, and it's still not exactly a fast knit, so I'll need to remember this "discovery" if I'm going to wear it at Rhinebeck as planned. (I will also need not to run out of yarn.)

And it works for spinning too: spurred into action by the approach of Rhinebeck, I finished some wool and silk blend roving I'd been dawdling over. It's plied and set and everything (not dry yet though), and it turned lovely when washed, so I'm much more excited about it now than I was while spinning.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sock Update

Just to be tricky, I used some light green Schaefer Heather that didn't make it into the photo session for 2 stripes and the ribs... I didn't mean to be contrary ("Ha! Of course you did!" says Kevin), but when I tried knitting option 4, it seemed too dark for the rest of the socks--and the light green matches just as well color-wise (meaning, only somewhat), and is a similar value to the sock yarn. (I think I mean value?)

I just have to knit a couple more rows of rib and cast off, so the striped socks should be done soon... (also, Must. Write. Up. Patterns!)

And I took pictures of Pair 18 (the lovely Spring Forward Socks, knit on size 2 needles with Cuaran yarn from Ancient Threads.

I'm amazed at how stretchy these are--the pattern said they'd stretch up to 11-12 inches, and they do.

I've decided the way to take pictures (without annoying Kevin) is to sit on a bench, lean over, and rest the camera on the ground. Of course, I can't actually see what I'm taking a picture of, but it's easy to delete the ones where it turns out that I've missed my feet. So there will be lots of feet-under-bench pictures (some with an arm or finger along one side, like this one...), till I get bored and make Kevin help again.