Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Fleece Navidad!

Merry Christmas!
I finished Dad's socks in time. He opened them Christmas morning and the cutest smile slid across his face. He put them on immediately and proclaimed them soft and warm and a perfect fit! He is colorblind but can see the rich brown stripes.
I received no knitting presents, but plenty of other awesome and thoughtful things. Did you all see the hilarious gift list primer for non-knitters over at Yarn Harlot here? And check out Eunny Jang's photo galleries: See that orange Bayerische? Those are mine! Yay!
Happy New Year everybody!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Is anyone else madly finishing the Christmas knitting?
I've been knitting a sock all day. In a flash of foresight I made them toe-up socks, thinking that a shorter ankle is more acceptable than toe-less socks. My butt hurts. I'm almost through my Netflix and there is no mail until Tuesday. My wrists are sore. These socks are for my Dad, who has yet to experience my hand-knit socks. I really hope he likes them.
Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Published Sheepies!

The new Hawaii Island Journal came out last Friday, and has my contribution to the West-Side Holiday Gift Guide: Jan's Sheep Ornaments! The PDF of the entire article can be found here, and the section and photo is at the top of Page 2. I fear I have damned her entire December to felting miniture sheep.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Check out the new Knitty!
I also recently got the new Winter Interweave Knits in the mail, and the first winter knitting came to the mailbox in the form of Vogue Knitting.
Now: If only I had some time!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


These tiny cute little sheep are available at Bentley's in Waimea, and Marcia Ray Art Gallery in Honoka'a! Hawaiian Homegrown Wool Company: Maluhia Farms. Someday I hope to help spin this wool up!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mindless Ribbing and Hawaiian Sheep!

Mindless Ribbing is all I am up to:
I got the 2 projects both to a point where I could K1 P1 in the round rather mindlessly while de-stressing from all the activity I have going on this week...er...this month. The cumberbund on the Kyoto is almost re-knit, and useless glove #2 is growing in length.
I briefly considered knitted Christmas gifts, but I would have to be crazy.

But to focus on someone else's stress and fiber projects:
Jan has sheared her sheep! She is working on cleaning and carding all the fleeces (which I have offered assistance with...after December 15th). She has also confessed the joy of spinning the wool from her very own sheep!
Yes, dear friends: Hawaiian wool yarn is on the horizon!
In the meantime, she is hand needle-felting the courser Ram's wool into wee cutey sheep dolls and ornaments which she will sell at Craft fairs and a few gift shops around the island. Photos and info soon!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Crazy 88's

Yarn Monkey reports there are still 88 sock warriors left standing. I am in awe of these fine warriors (or their slacker assasins...) and can't wait to see what happens. Monkey hints at perhaps an Ebay auction or charity drive...

Fiber Arts meeting starts again tonight after a brief hiatus of a month or so. We shall see what, if anything, we all got done in the interim. One of the stated perks of the group is motivation. Or peer pressure. Or group insanity, I can't really tell.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fancy Socks!

I just finished the Bayerische socks and I love them! (2 circs size 0, Knitpicks sock in coral, 9/22-11/7)
Of the 96 plain cable twists, any guesses on which ones I really really messed up? Cable number one, of course, and cable number ninety-six! Like 95 cables in a row weren't good enough practice?
Update: Aloha Eunny! Thanks for the awesome pattern! I had a great time learning something new and I am really happy with them! In re: How much yarn I used: I used 2 balls of Knitpicks Essential sock yarn. They are 231 yards to a 50 gram ball. I used all but 6 grams on one ball and 8 grams on the other. (I didn't weigh the balls at the beginning, but some other essential balls in other colors average 52 grams). My feet are about a wide size 6 (US women's) and I did 4 repeats of the 16 row pattern on the ankle, and 3 repeats of the 16 row pattern on the foot.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Remember Dearest BF? The one with the very nice qualities as a knitter's mate, but one I had started to worry about? The other day I was swatching, and realizing that I needed smaller needles to get gauge, began to add up the amount of extra yarn I would be needing. This cost is of concern to me: I have a number of large expenditures on the horizon, and can't really be plunking down the cash right now. However, the matching dye lot has miraculously appeared, and I feel like I need to swoop it all up right now.
I was voicing this dilemma aloud, when DBF said,
"Yeah, but isn't yarn more like an investment?"

He's a keeper.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

One Down...

I completed my first Bayerische sock this weekend, and to avoid Second-Sock-Syndrome I began the Second Sock immediately. I am loving this pattern. Some things I am learning:
  • Cables. I have made one cable in a test swatch once. So this is my first foray into cables, before I begin the Aran sweater.
  • Cable-needleless cables. Does anyone else get nervous dropping stitches?
  • First time on tiny tiny number 0 needles. I am using the two-circulars method, which I like (but have done before. On larger needles).
  • First use of Knitpicks yarn. I like it, and it is affordable. The colors don't match very well on my monitor, but these are a pretty coral orange color, and if I like the yarn it's pretty affordable!
  • I am such a tight knitter. I am attempting loosening techniques on the areas where my knitting is binding. Cast-on, set-up rows, heel flaps. The good thing about being so tight is that the edge of a cable is missing those gaps that can sometimes occur.
  • My feet are smaller than I think they are. I am trying to get to that perfect size where a little stretch keeps them tight on the foot. Negative ease for the feet, in a way.

I'm hoping I have time to finish this sock. I should be studying and writing and working. And now with no TV to "listen" to while knitting... Well, maybe the second sock will go faster now that I am more familiar with the pattern.

Been tagged with a MEME by Stilaholic Nartian Knits and have answered on the non-knitting blog (Is there such a thing as a non-knitting blog?). Fun! I love quizzes!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Baby Couture!

I just received this photo of the adorable baby for whom I knit the baby kimono from Mason-Dixon knits. Cute?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Don't Worry, The Yarn is Fine!

Hawai'i earthquake, right near where I live. 6.7! And plenty of aftershocks! This is what my house looks like after the Earthquake that hit today (okay, we stacked those 3 boxes on the right while searching for the cat). Shelves empty, all glass broken, drawers open, pictures off the wall, cracks in the plaster, door doesn't shut right, and cat headin' for the hills! No electricity, gas shut off, no water...no cable TV but since my television did a faceplant onto my wood floor, it's not like I can notice. Outside it is even stranger: Several cracks across roads and bridges, huge landslides and boulders in the roads, broken water mains flooding the streets. All the streetlights are out (Drive with Aloha people! And an out streetlight means a four-way stop!) but since there are only 3 streetlights in town, we are doing okay.
My mother and I went through the 1989 earthquake in Northern California, so we are jaded Californians about it. When the shaking started, we knew instantly what it was, and for the first few seconds it is a bit of a fun ride. Then the knowledge kicks in, and in our heads we go through the following thought process: "Earthquake! This is fun!...Wait, this is strong! Wait, this is going on too long! Okay, fine, I'll get up and head away from the windows...Hmmm...About a 6, maybe 7..." Funny how I didn't notice things falling. I moved away from the walls and windows, and I watched the walls shake. I guess the structure was more of a worry than the falling items. Immediately afterwards, I went outside, of course. Checked on the neighbors, all whom were looking for pets. The first aftershock came while I was outside, the ground surging in P-waves, like dirt surfing, under my feet.
Ironically, my big strong father is taking it the worst. He was away during the 89 earthquake, and maintains this was the worst earthquake he has felt in his life: Stronger than any in California or Japan. My mother and I set to work cleaning up the glass, but since we have moved alot, been through earthquakes, and, well, we are both pretty clumsy, we had experience in briefly mourning and throwing out the broken shards of favorite things. These items are just possesions. They are with you for awhile and then they break and you move onwards.
What is more important is the blessing of everyone's safety, and family and friends are fine. Utilities are back on, our service-people in safety and utilities sprang to work, and I hear we are under a state of emergency. The beauty of it is how everyone pulls together, sits outside, waves at cars, calls all their friends to make sure everyone is okay. Thank you to everyone who called, emailed, texted, and checked or commented on this site! What aloha!
Update: The Cat came back Sunday afternoon, hungry and dirty and acting like he hadn't freaked out at all! Noooooo! Not him! I'm at work now and it's a mess here, too, but we get paid to deal with that mess! Thanks for all the emails and comments! Knitters Rock!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Study of a Man-Who-Doesn't-Knit, and a Woman who Does

Subject appears to have all the proper qualities for the ideal mate-of-knitter:

  • Is very enthusiastic of knitted projects. Asks questions. Gives praise. Thinks I am overly smart and talented.
  • Is very appreciative of knitted gifts.
  • Is manly, tall, handsome and well-built, but posseses non-huge feet and non-huge shoulders. Could conceivably be outfitted in knitwear relatively quickly and cheaply.
  • Adores Aran cables and all things Irish due to family heritage. Wears Aran cables on his rings. I could knit all things cabled and the entire Alice Starmore collection, and he would never tire of them. Likes Green.
  • Wears lots of different colors and fibers.
  • Wears socks every day. Wears socks I knit him only in the house on comforting occasions.

However, Subject has exhibited recent worrisome behavior.

  • When I was ripping out the Kyoto, did not understand what I was doing. Thought I was "just being annoying" or deliberately attempting to distract him from his book with strange repetitive winding motions.
  • Accused me of knitting in a huff, or knitting to avoid paying attention to him. Not true! Just need to have hands working, and after my attentions were rejected, yes, turned to knitting. But never in a huff! (Can't do cables in a huff! Have you seen Bayerische? Really!)
  • Lives in a non-wool environment. Well, okay, so do I. Scratch this one. Hawaii is a knitting desert for men. (No sweaters, scarves, hats, lacey shawls, purses...Socks and dishtowels is about it for men. Knitted golf-club cozy?)

Now, it is a given that a mate-of-knitter can't reject the knitting. Immediate Lemon-law would be enacted, Sweater curse would make it's magic, over, done, etc. But what we have here is not a rejection of the knitting (see above: he is very appreciative). Nor is it just ignorance of the knitting (he asks questions, I provide short answers, the rest comes with time.) No. What we have here is use of the knitting, and not in a woolen-hat-on-a-cold-day kind of way. He sees the knitting as not just knitting, but an escape I use to ignore him or show my displeasure. Knitting as substitute for marching off in an angry huff, or turning my back on him and pretending to be asleep.

All charges I deny vehemently.

And yet... Perhaps I am using the knitting as well. Obviously we have some tension (Not guage-tension. Emotional tension. Much harder to fix.) and some communication issues. I think he doesn't want attention so I knit to, you know, knit. He thinks I am mad and knitting to ignore him. So we are using the knitting as excuse or communication tool...

And I am using the knitting right here. I'm not addressing the real issues, but instead drawing the line and faulting his criticism of the knitting. Knitting is not our problem, nor is it a good excuse for either of us. And when it all ends, will I blame the sweater-curse? Blaming a sweater would be way easier than really examining our problems, now wouldn't it?

Kyoto body is ripped out, finally. After much measuring, calculating, and swatch-manipulation, I faced the fact that the sweater was just too damn big and there was nothing to be done about it. Consoling knitters on Wednesday night helped me rip part of it, I did the rest, well, see above. Bayerische Sock #1 has it's heel turned and I am about halfway down the foot. Plan on casting on the second sock immediately to avoid the "second sock syndrome". Although I have never experienced SSS on a sock before, I still only have one celadon green silk and mohair glove. Third on the list is, of course, the second glove. Fourth? Maybe I will begin a green Aran BF sweater, just to really put the nail in the coffin of the relationship.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sock Wars: I'm Dead.

Agent Kel, following check-in procedure.
Status of Agent: Dead. Toe-up. Toe-tagged. Six-Feet-under, no-longer-kicking. Appeal for assistance, backup, safehouse, or a leg-up were kicked to the curb. Although intel foretold immanent death, was still a kick in the gut.
Assassination package delivered via the foot-soldiers of the United States Postal Service (Level of involvement in mission by this government agency still undetermined). Confirming sock death as of Post Office opening Thursday October 5th 0830 HST (1830 Zulu).
Method of assassination: Sock. Lovely creamsicle orange socks in Dale of Norway Svale Cotton/Viscose/Silk! (And lovely handmade stitch markers! And crafty goodies! And wool-wash!)

Agent of Assassination: The very precise and talented KAT!
Status of Agent's own mission: Complete. Socked-it-to-her! Target acquired, knitted-for, and assassinated via UPS. Confirmation received Friday September 29th 1530 hours EST (2030 Zulu). Method of assassination: Sock. Wooly fuzzy fawn-colored sock!
Agent Footnote: How fun was all this? Props to Yarn Monkey for the great idea and all the wild and wooly organization amid hurricane Gordon! Anyone for getting a foot in the door for Sock Wars II?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Week One: Sock Wars Debrief

Assasin ? (In Australia) Status: Unknown
Assasin Kat: Still alive. Has sucessfully assasinated Katskratch.
Assasin Katskratch. Dead. Has mailed off socks to me.
Assasin Kel: Me! Still alive, but my death is imminent, as my socks are on the way carried by the loyal agents of the United States Postal Service. I have sucessfully killed Kelli.
Assasin Kelli: Dead. Sucessfully killed Kelly.
Assasin Kelly: Dead. Sucessfully killed target.
Assasin ? Dead: Sucessfully killed Kerry.
Assasin Kerry: Dead. Has sucessfully completed socks of doom but has not yet mailed them to her target.
Kerry's Target: Status Unknown, but weapon is complete and death is imminent.

Theoretically the unfinished socks down the line somewhere must travel back through us all to the one still alive (and we are of course attempting to save postage by skipping the partial socks right to the live assasin!)
This is so wild I just can't get over it!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

War is Fun!

I am having a great time with the Sock Wars!
I have emailed my target, and my assasin. I have even had an email from my assasin's assasin! I spend my days in fear of the post office, and my nights knitting and strategizing about the speed of other knitters, the mailtime from the Midwest to New England, to Hawaii and from Australia!
My coworkers tentatively ask me each morning, "Are you dead yet?" My parents are checking my post office box for me during the day. My friends think I am the biggest knitting geek ever, and I don't care! I am a part of a huge multi-national force of knitters and we are poised and ready to strike!
This is only the first step in a massive global takeover!

(Nope! Not giving away any clues! No photos of work-in-progress or finished weapon-socks, no UPS tracking numbers, NADA!)

Friday, September 22, 2006


Strange what being injured does to your head, strange what it does to your knitting. I took some time last weekend, stole some time from all I had to do and all I had to give to my job and house and relationship, stole it right out from under all of that and took it for myself. I used this time to go diving. Both days. Two whole days of diving and hanging out and getting nothing of any consequence done except for floating among the fishies.
I also injured my back. Something to do with carrying tanks and a lead weight belt around my tipped pelvis- doesn't matter, my chiropractor is working on it in his way, and I am working on it in my way:
I started a fussy new knitting project, of course! The lovely Bayerische sock from Eunny Jang. As she states:
I've found that when my brain is in danger of melting altogether and dribbling out my ears, a couple repeats of Bavarian-style twisted stitch patterns set everything right. All the little lines are so graceful and logical, so tidy, so totally devoid of chaos. What you see is precisely what you get - and it doesn't hurt, I suppose, that what you end up getting is almost always really, really beautiful.

See, that is just it: My head is too full of too many things. Work, relationship, writing, friends, what it all means and what I want to be when I grow up and why I needed to steal away two days and why did my body crash out from all of this? An ex once told me that when you re-injure yourself, you must go back to the time of the original injury and revisit that pain in order to work through it. He said that the body's constant reinjury was a reminder of something unresolved. I first injured this area of my back years ago in a gardenia and yoga-mat scented summer in North Carolina. I was independent, newly graduated, tremendously in love and yet drifting and sad like many women that age. Healthy, beautiful, and unfulfilled, living as an addendum to my boyfriend's dreams for lack of my own. I remember feeling raw, sensual, new, and fragile. Everything went easily straight to my heart, and I lived with an unguarded immediacy that I have not felt since. My heart broke at the end of that summer as I left him and I left that town, and in the years that have passed and the walls and guards I have built, I still lack the lower back core strength to protect from this reinjury. It all reminds me of how little I have journeyed from that time. I am still raw and drifting.
"I don't have a handle on this knitting thing," a friend just told me, "I know that I need to check in on you when you are injured, missing work, and thoughtful like this. But I don't get how to read the knitting yet."
Well here it is: I am unfulfilled by the projects I have working now (the Kyoto to rip, the 2nd useless glove) and in that boredom, have chosen a project beyond my abilities. While I attempt to convince myself that I will be learning new skills (tiny needles, cables, cable-needleless twists) and shall be forgiving of my own newbie mistakes (there are a few already. I am understanding, but hardly forgiving) the real purpose is distraction. Like maybe if I pour out all the thoughts and obsessions and worries, pour them into the knitting, those thoughts will run like rivulets along the tiny precise cables of this complex pattern, and the pattern itself will create a beautiful order to it all. Maybe when I am done I can look at it and say, "There. See? It all makes perfect, beautiful sense."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Too Much Work

I am at a place where it is all seeming like too much work. That big black blob is the mis-sized Kyoto that I need to do some math on and then rip out. I want to figure out if the inch or so of top section is the right size, and then maybe only rip the bottom out?
That green bit is one almost-finished glove. I want to find a very loose and stretchy bind off, and may need to rip it back a bit for enough yarn. I hate the little lace bit on the back of the hand. I need to start the second glove before I forget what I did, but here is the problem:
I have said before that, even if I know how to fix a problem, don't just fix the second sock, because I am still left with an unmatched pair. So do I repeat the little lace bit that I hate? Or do I trust that I will embroider over it? Or turn it around and make it the palm?
The third bit is swatching for my Assasin sock of doom for the upcoming Sock Wars! Yay! It is Rowan Kid Classic, which I think technically is not DK weight but maybe Aran weight? I got gaugue with size 3 instead of 5s.
Not pictured is the Bayerische sock from Eunny Jang, which I just began, having never done twisted cables, or cables of any nature, or socks on a size 0 needle. Am I in over my head?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hand-knit Hand-towel!

I finished this little hand towel this evening while watching Project Runway (I can not believe they brought back Vincent and Angela! They were the worst!). The pattern is the Mason-Dixon dishcloth made longer. I love the idea that I can knit everyday items for my new little place: towels, rags, rugs, pillows... It feels decadent and yet everyday. Like I can make everything (or almost everything) myself.
(Check out the new Tiki mug! And the other towel is...K-Mart. 4-pack for wicked cheap. What? I said almost everything!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I had a fight with Dearest BF the other day and buried it in retail therapy. I bought the sockyarn in the back and some unpictured small-sized circular needles. And Yes! Those are the sweetest knitting bags ever! Very professional/luggage looking, spatious, organized yarn project bags! Yay! My little anal-retentive organizational side just loves these enough to forget about the fight with whats-his-name.
Am I burying my relationship issues in knitting and knitting accessories? Will such habits make me even more of a reclusive scary cat lady?
At least I will be a lonely crazy bag lady with great bags?

Big black one in the corner is not included in the set: That's the cat. You can't have him.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Decadent, Useless...

I am using these beautiful yarns to make gloves. Yup: Silk and mohair fingerless gloves. Totally useless, decadent, ridiculous gloves that I can hardly ever wear in Hawaii. I don't care. I love the color, I love the 80's throwback of gloves lacking fingertips, I love the silk, and, quite frankly, I love the useless decadence of them. Maybe I will wear them while driving. Maybe I will wear them with a tank, or with my equally-useless ankle-length Dr. Who scarf.
Come visit! I will be that weird girl with the gloves and the scarf, digging for wool in the Ace Hardware Eyelash-yarn bin!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Finished! Icarus Shawl

Icarus Shawl from Interweave Magazine, Summer 2006.
Started: July 4th 2006
Completed: August 22nd 2006 (In the wee hours. Took me a long time to block, too.)Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze. 3 skeins. All of three skeins! 75 grams, 630 meters/687 yards. Shade 592 light blue.
Needles: Size 5 Denise circulars (not the size 3 called for in the pattern: Knew I was running out of yarn)
Finished measurements:37" deep, 86" wingspan
Pattern Alterations: Only 3 repeats of chart one instead of 5 repeats called for in the pattern. I had calculated correctly that I did not have enough yarn and had no way of getting more. Ended up with a very tight cast off, and then an even tighter final crochet-style bind off in the last third of the pattern. Seriously: Ran out of yarn. Due to the tight bind off, I have more of a scalloped edge than the pretty, extreme feathery points shown in the magazine. Oh well, nothing to be done!Shetland weight: I did actually pass this entire shawl through a ring!
I love this pattern and am really proud of the finished product, even with the problems I had. I am also really proud to have knitted lace! Many thanks to the great knit along and all the super knitters and great advice I found there!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ripping the Kyoto

I'm going to have to rip out all the work I have done on friend's Kyoto. It is too big: I think 8 inches of ease on her size small frame will just not be fixable.
Although it is only one week's worth of knitting, I hate to do it all again. This is the same pattern, in the same color (black) that I have already made for myself. I am already sick of it, and when I am done, it will mean that I knit this damned sweater two and a half times already. Oh well.
Last Wednesday I helped a fellow knitter rip out her incorrectly sized sweater, both for the fun and the emotional support of it. Maybe she will lend me the same assistance.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Not Quite Enough

This photo shows the place on the bind off row where I ran out of yarn. I ended up doing a crochet cast-off for the rest, but it is really tight: I doubt the points will block out as pretty as they should. I am now crawling into bed to get some sleep, because tomorrow night I think the surface of my mattress will be occupied with blocking.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Getting Nervous...

At any point, do you think Icarus knew he was too close to the sun? Like maybe a "whoops" moment? Or, like me, do you think he was just like, "Well, if I go a few feet higher...and maybe a few feet higher...and let's just see how far this flight thing will take me..."
After knitting Icarus all week I am down to the last 4 rows, plus a bind off. I am desperately afraid I will run out of yarn. Nothing to do but run lifelines and knit.
Maybe if I just go a few rows higher I won't get burned...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

And what do I do on my birthday? Knit!
Took the day off work and had a lovely time doing things I wanted to do...which, like the big nerd that I am, turned out to be knitting and a bit of stash organization. But dearest BF gave me jewelry (hmmm...that necklace would make a great strap for a wee felted evening bag or iPod cozy...) and took me out for sushi!
I learned a very good lesson today:
Don't put Icarus down for too long, or you lose what you were doing. Don't get seduced by, say, a fast-easy-portable Mason Dixon warshrag and forget to make knit stitches on the purl (ws) rows. So I learned how to flip a knit stich into a purl stitch on the next (rs) row. Then I practised my new skill... every eleven stitches for the whole row! But I'm not bitter. Every problem overcome teaches a new skill in knitting.
And besides, is that a new bracelet from dearest BF? And does it match my knitting?!?!?!?!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fruit-heads Coast to Coast and Breast to Breast!

Thanks to Stilaholic Nartian knits for sending me this link to a Contra Costa Times article about the Richmond WIC program and the gathering of fruity hats for their Breastfeeding program.
A snippet:
Jeanne Conboy of the Richmond WIC office had contacted Canadian author and knitter Stephanie Pearl-McPhee seeking hand-knitted infant hats to give to mothers at the local event. McPhee placed a notice of the request online, and the result was that more than 300 knitted baby hats arrived in Richmond from throughout the United States and Canada.

Over Three Hundred Hats! And in my comments Ilene mentioned she had over one hundred hats about a week before the Brockton Massachusetts WIC! What an amazing response from knitters! Knitters rule!

Update: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee blogged about the response to her rallying the troops here!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Advanced Knitting Math (for dummies and artsy folk!)

My genius of a brother has been visiting me for the last two weeks. He is wonderful with all smarty-pants stuff, like math, physics, computer science, etc. So I showed him my Icarus-Shawl-In-Progress, told him about my constant worry that I shall run out of yarn, and posed him the following questions:

Q1) Kel has only 3 skeins of yarn (she bought them up at a yarn store with no pattern in mind because she enjoyed feeling them up) of approximately 630 meters (3x210 meters each, according to the ball bands) for a pattern that requires 800 meters. Kel has assumed that her yarn will run out if she follows the pattern exactly. With that in mind, she has cut out 2 of the 5 repeats suggested in the pattern. Will she run out of yarn?

A1) Perhaps. Just from yardage (meterage?) Kel has 78% of the yarn used in the pattern. Are the two repeats enough to cut out this percentage? (This is further complicated by the magazine editors comments that the shawl only weighed 90 grams, which is 90% of the alpaca skein called for in the pattern, and KAL bloggers comments that their shawls took more than the amount called for in the pattern!)

Q2) I am using the shawl percentage calculator found on Rose-Kim-Knits to hopefully determine the percentage of yarn used. However, this MS Excel spreadsheet is an area calculation of a triangle if one begins at either the base or the tip of the triangle and works straight rows to the other side. This calculator, when adjusted for the 196 rows I am now knitting (after cutting out 2 pattern repeats) reports that after one skein I have used 32.1% of my yarn. Will I run out of yarn?

A2) Perhaps. This pattern is not a tip-up or base-down pattern, but a steadily increasing triangle: we increase along all edges of the pattern at once. Therefore, we need to do an area calculation for the triangle based on the gauge we have already achieved, and the pattern's gauge and finished dimensions. We know that the pattern is supposed to be 36 inches base-to-tip and 72 inches across the base. Repositioned into a square, this gives us an end area of 1296 square inches (or 36"x36") over 244 rows using a gauge of 9.5 rows and 5.25 stitches per inch. My gauge is 6 rows and 4.5 stitches per inch, over 196 rows. The first skein of yarn created a triangle measuring 25 x 25, and completed 111 of the 196 rows. Assuming that I will use all three skeins of yarn, and each skein will be 33.3% of the total area of the shawl, then my completed 111 rows will be one-third the total area.

Q3) But wait! This assumes an even pattern, like an even stockinette or something. This pattern begins quite standard, with mostly stockinette with an increase of 4 stitches every-other-row, and a few K2Tog and YO for the stripey ribs. Then all hell breaks loose at the end of the pattern as we create holey, lacey feather looking things. Apparently, the holier the lace, the less yarn we use. So won't we actually gain some leeway in the lacey bits? Does that mean that being short 1.2% on the first skein (33.3% minus 32.1% per shawl-percentage-calculator) will be made back in the lacey bits? You mean I won't run out of yarn?

A3) Perhaps. So people on the KAL have reported that holey lacey bits take less yarn than the basic stockinette at the beginning of the pattern. Can they tell you how much less? (um. no.) What is that percentage? Say it is 50% less yarn for lace than stockinette (I know: It couldn't possibly be that much less, but it makes an easy number). We need to assign the volume of yarn needed to complete the first stockinette area as "thickness 1" and the volume of yarn needed to complete the lacey part as 50% of that thickness, or "thickness .5". We then do the same area calculations above, only realizing that the amount of yarn in the lace will be less by this percentage. However, we still don't know the percentage of yarn used for lace as opposed to the percentage of yarn used for stockinette, so we can't complete this calculation.

Q4) Furthermore, Skein #2 seems to be about half stockinette pattern and half chart 2, which is the beginning of the lacey bits. Therefore, skein#3 will be entirely lacey bits. We thus have to do the above calculations while splitting skein# 2 into half "thickness 1" and half "thickness .5"...

A4) Right. But since we still don't know the exact ratio of yarn usage for lace vs. stockinette, we still don't know the value.

Q5) Assuming I will run out of yarn, I have also switched from the size 3 needle suggested in the pattern to a size 5 needle, on the hopes that a looser, holier knit will give me a large-sized shawl while using less yarn. Knitters often adjust their gauges by trading up or down on their needle size, and since I am a tight knitter, I often go up a few needle sizes to compensate anyway. Will I still run out of yarn?

A5) Do you know what fractals are? (Um. No. Well, kinda, since I just read about the Coastline skirt in Knitting Nature: 39 Designs Inspired by Patterns in Nature by Norah Gaughan.) This is pretty advanced math, but apparently brilliant math-geeks like my brother can figure out the distance of yarn needed to complete the same pattern over a size 3 needle versus a size 5 needle. This blew my mind. However, with the Icarus pattern in general, we still have the same gaps of information (What percentage am I cutting out by not repeating 5 times? What is the ratio between yarn used for stockinette versus an inconsistent lace pattern?) I hope for a more advanced math lesson in fractals, and watch this space for me measuring the circumference of needles and the distance of yarn needed to complete one stitch. I am enthralled!

So, after all of that math, I am no closer to the truth of my yarn usage than I was at the beginning. I shall still continue to knit away and worry and hope, and the yarn will be what the yarn will be. However, he has given me hope that the three steps I have taken:
1) larger needles.
2) cut out repeats #4 and 5
3) Lacey bits will take less yarn than stockinette
Will hopefully yield a large, lacey shawl with perhaps a bit of yarn left over.
(um. You think if I have a bunch of yarn leftover I will be tempted to rip it back and put the repeats back in? I may need some help with the math...)

Update: After an exhausting day of diving, I reported that I was going home to measure my knitting before crashing into bed. You know what he did? He called me a nerd! Ah well. I am thankful I have such a brilliant and cool brother, and shall wear the mantle of "nerd" as proudly as if I had knitted it myself!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Summertime...And the Cotton is Easy

I admit it: I bought cotton at Walmart.
I wish I was a fiber-snob. I wish I had a high-end Local-Yarn-Shop where I could lovingly fondle expensive handpainted fibers hand-spun off the backs of elegant alpacas, sheeps, and silkworms.
But I don't.
I have the internet, which offers non-tactile and high-postage yarn of all types.
I have Ace Hardware which occasionally yields a bit of wool or on-sale cotton next to it's horrific "art yarns" and sparkley ribbons.
And then there is Walmart, which has Lion Brand (won't go there after the disappointing chenille), Red Heart acrylic, sparkley art yarns, and one tiny little shelf of Peaches & Creme Cotton! After a recent foray into Mason-Dixon Global Knitting Universe, I have come around to the delights of cotton. The ease of use, the many colors, the coolness for hot climates, and the cheap prices in local stores. I also enjoy the relaxed ease of working with cheap cotton. This attitude allows for hand-knit dishcloths and bathmats, and opens every inch of life to the possibilities of handknits.
I would never even think about knitting a dishcloth out of handspun alpaca-silk.
While the fiber-snob in me longs for luxury, my reality is more country: I live in a cowboy town on old ranchland. I am awakened at night by the bitching of the neighbor's cows. Wild turkeys are roosting under my porch as we speak. There is a hitching post at the Post Office. And I just swooped up bags full of Bernat cotton on sale at the hardware store for 67 cents a skein! Ye Haw Y'all!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Caught in a Spiderweb

Sometimes I feel like knitting is flimsy. Literally, the project I am currently working on is the very lacy Icarus shawl in kidsilk haze as thin as thread, and I am using big needles so the overall effect is like spiderweb. It is soft and beautiful and feels like I could push right through it.
I know that I use knitting as a meditative distraction from my other worries: The one strand is manipulated through pattern, counting and repetition to yield something beautiful, soft, and three-dimensional.
I work a lot with numbers, and see the patterns in numbers very clearly. Slowly I am getting to a point with this pattern where I can glance at the chart and it all is clear, it all makes sense. I wish the rest of the world was like that.
Numbers I have seen this week:
20,000 Israeli ground troops, 1000 Hezbollah.
51 Israelis dead. 750 Lebanese dead. (Numbers from BBC)
Close to 900,000 Lebanese displaced by fighting (from UN Relief Agency)
Days of fighting (this round only): 20

I don't even know what to do with this. You see why I prefer to think:
"Knit 2, YO, k7,ssk,yo,k1,yo,k2tog, k7..."
And then I just throw it down because, well... It is all just so flimsy.

Update: A wonderful way to vent aggression through knitting! See Yarn Monkey and join the Sock Wars! Pummel your chosen target with hand-knit socks! (It is not lost on me that this wonderful idea comes from a Belfast knitter. You feel me with the knitting-as-flimsy-relief-from-territorial-aggression?)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Trailing by a Tomato

I finished up the last Tomato Hat for the WIC programs, and sent three hats each via UPS with the following letter:
Dear WIC Program Specialists,

Enclosed please find three cotton baby hats in various fruit shapes for your very wonderful WIC nutrition programs.
My mother demanded that I knit these hats, saying, “You owe these ladies, and now it’s payback time!” My mother was appalled at the misinformation about breastfeeding that existed when she had by brother in the late 1960’s. Her doctors told her that Asian women’s breasts were too small to nurse! She knew this was preposterous, and by the time my sister and I were born in the 1970’s, she had found out all she could and even become a La Leche League leader. She says we all are healthy, beautiful, smart, and allergy-free and she credits it all to breastfeeding.
Times have changed, but you are still battling misinformation, and struggling to reach the women and babies who need you the most. I wish I could do more than knit a few silly baby hats. Please know that I admire the work that you do, and these hats are a tiny symbol of gratitude for you and others like you, and the work that you all do.

With Thanks and Aloha,

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Fruit Heads

Must...Finish...Fruity...Baby Hats!
Due to the mail time from Hawai'i (ok, I plan on sending these Monday via UPS) to Massachusetts and California, I figure I must get the baby fruit hats for the WIC programs done this weekend: Finished, washed, dried, packed up and addressed.
These projects have been fun! They are portable, made from inexpensive hardware-store-cotton, for a good cause, and so cute! Of course, people worry about me that I seem to be obsessively knitting baby clothes... (no worries: Am happy to be giving these away for other people's babies!)
They have also been excellent distraction from both driving, other knitted projects (Kyoto, Icarus), and some very important writing which needs to be done this weekend for a deadline next Thursday...oops!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Work In "Frog"ress...

Two Kyoto sleeves, a bit of Icarus shawl, two and a half hats, and a hat-to-be-ripped.
Since the hats are due at the end of the month, I think they will draw my focus...And they make such good car knitting!
That damned purple chenille: I started to patiently undo the cast-on edge while stopped in traffic, and ended up with a worn-out but still holding tight little knot, and a car full of little chenille fuzzies. I put it away until our Wednesday night knitting workshop, where I tried again over a trash can. Eventually I just cut off the green leaves on the top, worked all the remaining purple out of them, and eventually grafted them onto another (orange cotton, thank-yew-ver-much!) hat. The body of the purple chenille hat? After a few minutes of attempting to frog it out, with the good intentions of saving the yarn for further, non-knitting use, I threw the damn thing in the trash! How liberating! How Final! Yes, we were all choking on airborne purple fuzzies, I had not cut the top neatly or evenly, and all I was getting were irritating little unusable bits, and, quite frankly, what non-knitting use would I have for this small amount of purple chenille? I mean, I still have the whole damn roll, I don't crochet, and probably shouldn't learn on such an irritating piece of...Ahem...Anyone want it?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Car Knitting!

Construction is blocking the roads in my town, and I have curbed my road-rage and impatience with a good piece of car knitting! Small project, one color, stockinette baby hat! I got a few rows done, realized my tires need an alignment, was calm and friendly enough to let a grateful driver into the traffic line, and didn't mind the twice-as-long commute! "Drive with Aloha" my ass! Drive with knitting!
Update: Objects in Photo Safer and Duller than they appear!: I am not knitting while driving, but knitting while stopped in traffic...knitting while driving a moving car would be dangerous...and risky, as I would probably drop a stitch (hehe!). The yarn used here is Sugar and Cream cotton in red (part of a tomato hat) but the way the sunlight hits it makes it seem a bit more lush and fluffy than it actually is.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Chenille Nightmare: Worming Purple People Eater!

Serves me right for straying into acrylic, but it was so soft! And so Purple! And so readily available at the hardware store in town!
I knit this eggplant/grape hat for a donation (read about it here) out of Lion's Brand Purple Chenille, because it was so deliciously eggplant color. Near the end of the hat, I noticed big stitches or big loops appearing where no big stitches had appeared before. I don't remember dropping stitches, or knitting large tangles like they weren't there, and I am a tight knitter, so its not like I created loose loose stitches that could have wiggled into big coils. So I washed and dried it, hoping erroneously that blocking was the answer to my acrylic woes. (It never is. Wool loves me back! Wool is alive!) What I got instead was even more loose loops! What is going on?!?!? Are you supposed to only knit chenille partnered with something else to hold onto it? Is this some sick way the acrylic camp makes you buy 2 skeins, a chenille and a holder companion? I vaguely recall Wendy telling me that Chenille "worms" something awful. I always thought this meant that the ends wouldn't stay woven in, but would wiggle their way out. Could she have meant that all the strands in the entire knitted piece wiggle about and get caught in cul-de-sac loops? It makes me nervous to think of worming strands wiggling and looping of their own accord. Especially atop a baby's head! Oh the horror! It really is alive!
This monster is fated to have it's leaves cut off and grafted onto another (cotton!) hat, and the rest of it will be frogged. Then I think it, and the other 2 partial chenille skeins I have moldering in the stash, need to be donated to an acrylic-loving fake-lei crocheter somewhere in my town. Yech!

Update: From Comments:
Stilaholic Nartian knits said...
Isn't there a disclaimer on the Lion Brand website that their chenille's not recommended for knitting?

Oh-My-Gawd! Immediate search of Lion Brand website ensued and found this:
Knit: Product is not recommended for knitting
GRRRRRRR! After some frogging, maybe I will finally teach myself to crochet.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fall Interweave Knits Preview

After making two (alright, one and a half-in-progress) patterns from the summer issue (and maybe more...) I am not nearly as inspired by the Fall Preview over at Interweave. But I am hard to please: I immediately discard any pattern that looks cozy and warm, since it will be unbearably innapropriate for my climate. Back to socks and handbags for me!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Dr. Who Would Have Known Better...

I was organizing my patterns the other day and came across the pattern for my second project ever: The official BBC pattern for the Dr.Who scarf. I made this pattern for a dear friend and longtime Dr. Who fan, and then I used the leftover Red Heart Acrylic (hey, I was new to fibers!) yarn to make a non-official, inspired-by version for myself (in the photo: left). The long, fringed, multi-striped scarf is perhaps the most recognized piece of television knitting (until, perhaps, the dawn of the Harry Potter scarf), and I remember being so excited to find the pattern online.
At the time, I happily grabbed my mother's old aluminum number 10 straight needles and the acrylic yarn bought at Ace hardware, and I knit away for days and days, yeilding a huge scarf. I knew the scarves worn on the TV show were oversized, and when mine measured about 2 feet across by about 20 feet long, I didn't think much of it. I just put it in a large box and mailed it off to my friend, who folded it lengthwise and has been wearing it ever since.

But recently, after a little more knitting experience under my belt, I thought, "Wouldn't the Official BBC knitting pattern be written with UK-sized needles? And if I interpreted that as American-sized needles, wouldn't my knitting be...huge?"
I can't find the website for the original pattern I used, and all the patterns I can Google now seem to have both the UK and US sized needles listed. Well, we live and learn! Luckily, my very handsome friend looks stunning in his huge scarf, and he is dramatic enough to pull it off!
A guy who has loads of cool info about the scarves. Another fan with way too much detail about the scarves.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Somewhere on my way to Aran cables (really, I plan on doing loads of cables) I got caught in a net. Literally. I have discovered lace! My first foray were the lotus blossoms (aka alien-heads) in the Lotus Blossom Tank. While I made a few mistakes, I can't find them now, as the merino has proven tight and forgiving. Then I got very distracted by the Icarus Shawl, which I began on July 4th using Rowan Kidsilk Haze in this beautiful light blue color. It is very delicate and shows every mistake.
I have avoided blocking (as the Lotus Tank went into the dryer) and I am technically not yet at the lacy bits of the Icarus, I have enjoyed learning something new, seeing a pattern emerge, and forgiving my mistakes as part of the learning process. I also like to see patterns in things, and can see how I could perhaps eventually be seduced into enjoying charts. (But not quite yet).
But what I am enjoying the most is the next step in "reading" my knitting: Not just recognizing a knit or a purl stitch, but understanding how each combination or addition of stitches skews the pattern a little bit away from stockinette. I suspect this education shall continue with those delayed cables. Which I will get to. Soon. I promise.
Although lacey socks are tempting...
(Both Lotus Blossom Tank and Icarus Shawl are found in the summer 06 Interweave Knits, and check the sidebar for the knit-alongs. Apparently I am a joiner.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

New Knitty!

The new Knitty is up! Yay!
I have sock yarn and fingerless glove yarn ready to go! Here in Hawaii it is too warm for the Starmore-style Aran and Fair-Isle that I really want to wear, so socks and purses are usually what I end up with. Happy Summer Knitting!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Perfectionist: On the Block

Saturday was laundry day:
I attempted to steam-shrink the button band on the Philosopher's wool cardigan (I attempt this everytime the iron is out. I think it might be getting smaller...gradually...)
I washed the Kyoto Asian-Fusion sweater, and attempted to shrink the 6 inches of ease I factored in. I did this with the dryer. I think it may have shrunk a tiny tiny bit.
And: I washed and attempted to block the Lotus Blossom Tank. Now, I figured I made this with 1 inch ease, and I should have made it with 1 negative inch ease. I also wanted to flatten the rolling neckline and maybe shrink up the gapey armholes. Just a wee bit of blocking magic, I figured, and since it is Merino wool, I thought it would be an easy task to bend it to my will.
Not so.
I washed it gently in the sink with cool water. I bunched it up while still in the water, and squeezed the excess water out. Never once did I pull it out of the water or otherwise attempt any action that would stretch the garment. Remember, I was trying to shrink it by 2 inches. Just a simple 2 inches!
I lay it out on top of the dryer. It had grown. It had grown by 10 inches of ease sideways, and I can't even begin to tell you by how long. Maybe a foot. The lace was huge gaping holes, holes too big to wear to work. Especially if it turned out to be the size of a potato sack.

I panicked. I assumed I had ruined the damn thing and I threw it in the dryer with the Kyoto, a few towels, my jeans, and various non-knitted laundry (what?! Non-knitted laundry?!?) I checked them every few minutes while I ate ice cream from the carton. And I am supposed to be a vegan.

The Kyoto shrank a little bit, but is still large. The tank shrank back to its pre-wash sizing, complete with 1 inch positive ease, gapey armpits, and rolled front edge.
My conclusion? Too damn bad! Get used to it!
(And I am knitting everything one size too small from now on! It is easier to stretch than to shrink!)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Mom says I gotta make hats...

Have you seen this wonderful Yarn Harlot post about breastfeeding? A snip:
Jeanne, who reads the blog and is a knitter, has an idea. She works to promote breastfeeding with low-income families, and is trying to get together gifts to give to families at an event in early August to inspire interest in what the WIC program has to say about breastfeeding. She has had the wonderful idea to give them each a baby/toddler hat (especially a fruit or vegetable hat, since the program is about nutrition) and would love to enlist a few knitters to help her get enough hats.

Most of you know by know that I'm an IBCLC (Lactation Consultant) and can imagine that this means that I'm extremely pro-breastfeeding. I'm interested in everything to do with breastfeeding, but I have a special passion for initiatives that serve low income families. In Canada and the US breastfeeding initiation and duration (if you start and how long you stay with it) has a very great deal to do with your income and education. (This effect is very pronounced in the US, likely because of issues surrounding maternity leave, access to health care, and public information) The more money you make and the more education you have, the more likely it is that you will be breastfeeding.

I immediately sent this wonderful post to my mother, who was a La Leche League leader in Japan in the early 1970's. She was so very frustrated with the lack of information back then that she went out and learned all she could, and has been a vocal proponent of breastfeeding ever since. I told her she was a "lactivist" before they ever called it that.

My mother responded to my email thus:
As a totally breastfed baby/child which is obviously why you are "smarter than the average bear," you owe this lady a (some) hat(s).
Love, Mom

Yes, Ma'am! I shall immediately add them to the list! (Hehehe: Mommy thinks I is smart!)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Bereft...Lacking...And tense about it

Nothing on the needles.
You heard me.
Remember when I decided to have more than one project going at a time to avoid this horrid, empty, lack-of-knitting feeling? I just finished the BF socks, and last night I finished the Lotus Blossom Tank. Although it is desperate for blocking and therefore not done, it still qualifies as a finished object: Knitting is complete and ends are woven in. All it needs as a wash and a lay-flat...With perhaps some steam iron manipulation.
In the basket I have several ziplocks and patterns awaiting me:
* 2 skeins of beautiful variegated sock yarns which cry out for lace socks or chevron patterns.
* A bag of gorgeous celedon silks and mohairs which I have envisioned, yet not yet swatched, as fingerless gloves.
* A bag of black cotton for my dear friend's Kyoto sweater that I have been procrastinating from.
* The Interweave Knits opened to the Icarus shawl, and not quite enough Rowan haze to complete it.

I am thinking I should start all four of these projects. Obviously, two projects at once is not enough to fend off the finished-object-blues. I see my error: I was too excited to finish both of the projects. I completed the socks in a flurry of excitement to get them on the feet of my beloved. Left with only the stockinette top of the tank and a bunch of Netflix, I quickly slid that one into home as well.
The above projects offer enough variation in difficulty, materials, portability and pattern to offer enough distraction for a bit, and even if I rush through two of them, I will still have two more!
Is UFO-guilt better than empty-needle-blues?
Is this how people end up with a closet full of UFO's? As emotional insurance?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

You know you knit too much when...

I work as an accountant.
Today, when answering a question about Inventory, I called it Stash.

Curses! Foiled Again!

Update on the BF socks:
He loves them!
I gave them to him last night, and he exploded with thanks and a million hugs, saying they were great, and no one had ever made anything for him before. He listened to and repeated the Superwash Wool washing instructions, and the fit is a tiny bit too large, but passable. Being Irish, he loves the green. I feel relieved and appreciated, and can't wait to find more green yarn and make him some more!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Finished the BF socks!

I finished the socks for my BF last night, even washed and dried them (superwash wool is neat).
They are masculine grey wool with forest green heels, toes and ribbed tops. They are probably just tall enough, but might be too long in the foot. I haven't yet seen him to place them on his feet. One was done on dp bamboos, the other on metal circulars. I made no choices about if I liked working with bamboo/metal or dp/circs, but I did notice that the sock done on circs is about one inch tighter than the dps, and much neater. That is pretty drastic.
In the meantime:
I hope he likes them.
I hope he wears them.
I hope he finds them easy to care for.
(and here is where the curse sets in:)
I hope he knows how I thought of him while I made these, I worried about if he would like them, if we would be cursed by them, and if I was showing my love in wool while he would rather me show my love in other ways. Perhaps I was working on the knitting and ignoring the work on the relationship.
I hope I don't read too much into his reaction, or place too much symbolism into if he wears/likes/washes them, or if they fit correctly.
I find knitting to be a safe, controllable, mathematical escape. Maybe the "curse" is just the escape of the knitter into something she can control, something she has concrete proof of growth and progress with, something that is an act of creation and love in a place where nothing else is working. Perhaps the exact time frame of a project matches the irritation level of her recipient. Perhaps the overwhelming gravity of a knitted piece, and the expectation of an understood meaning is the last straw, the last misunderstanding of a failing relationship. Sure, many have said that the curse is just a retrospective view of an existing problem.
Perhaps I worry about the "curse" because I already feel powerless to deal with our existing problems.
I'm hoping he likes them; I'm hoping they fit.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Lotus Blossom Tank

I began the Lotus Blossom Tank from Interweave Knits summer 2006 last weekend, and I am going to run out of yarn. I have already begun scoping out areas on the pattern that I can complete with a different color (band at the waist, tank straps...). This is the first time I have ever knitted a lace pattern, and I have made a few mistakes so far: I will end a row and realize I am missing a stitch. Sometimes I have been able to work back and find it, other times I have not. Oh well! (Don't look too closely!)
I am using Zara Merino in Green and Grey.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sock Count

Along with knitting in public today, I also completed some laundry (re-blocking, to knitters!), and counted my socks. Missing from the count are 3 pair of gift socks, one for Mom, one purple merino for a friend, and one beige merino for...well, let's just say they were my first example of "curse" socks!

Thank Goodness For Ziplocks!

While awake late at night, I organized the stash. Current system? Fiber content. Tool? Ziplock bags. The idea was to get the yarn out of my living space and into my closet, except for a few ziplocks for current projects and pettables.
Speaking of current project, BF's socks are coming along nicely, with enough heel and calf left for a bit of knitting in public tomorrow! (World Wide Knit in Public Day!)
Besides wrapping my BF in knitted love, these socks are also an experiment in comparative technique: You may have noticed that in the beginning photo, the circulars seemed to be gaining. But in this photo, the bamboos have completed their sock while the circulars are lagging. This is probably more about comfort and speed, as I am used to the bamboos. However, I find the circulars fast, neat, easy to transport, and more likely to yield a tighter gauge. Jury still out on this.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Dishcloths for Mom

My mother's birthday is today, and I have just completed three dishcloths in blues to match her new kitchen. The pattern is from the Mason-Dixon Knitting book, and many, many examples can be found on their website, or at the Knit-Along.
These dishcloths have proven to be prolific, and addicting. I didn't think I would enjoy them as much as I did, and I am not the first to say that. Some reasons why I think this pattern is obsessing knitters everywhere:
1) It is a fast. I am not the fastest knitter, but I have finished three between Thursday and Sunday. That is fast.
2) As patterns go, this one uses several techniques to keep it interesting: Both knit and purl, the slipped stitch, carrying colors up the side or weaving them in, adding new colors... But the pattern is simple enough to memorize, and easy enough to keep the hands busy while TV watching.
3) The pattern uses at least two colors in a simple way that is not so scary as Intarsia or Fair Isle. Variations are endless, and the pattern is small enough to urge the creatively timid into experimentation. The yarn called for in the pattern is apparently widely available (except for here), cheap, and in a multitude of colors.
4) Handknitting a small household item is so mundane. It allows us to use handknits. It allows us to be excused from fiber-snobbery or the challenge of complex patterns. It opens the possibilities of making handknit tools and mundane household items, reminding us that our work can surround us in more ways than clothing.

I hope she likes them, and I hope she uses them. This simple, fast, cheap to knit item is a daily reminder of a knitters craft, and a knitters love.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Felted Handbag

My first attempt at a knitted-felted object is complete. I knit a bag, with no pattern, on size 15 needles (the largest I had in my circular Denise kit) out of black, white and blue Lana Wool found at Ace Hardware (the white was previously used for the baby kimono...Remember when I thought I was going to run out of wool?)
I knit a stockinette square of 30 stitches and 30 rows, picked up stitches circularly, and knit stripes until I figured I was done, cast off every other 30 stitches (for the edge) and reduced the remaining 2 sets of 30 stitches until I made a strap. Finished the strap when I ran out of the black wool.
Felting: Did a hand-felt in hot and cold water, then put through the dryer. It shrunk, but not by much. The knit stitches were still discernible, the bag still stretched when something weighty was placed in it. So yesterday I threw it in a hot/cold wash with my towels and tee-shirts, then in the dryer. It felted fabulously!
Makes me want to move onto felted slippers, felted fedora hats...

Mostly this was an experiment:
-I wanted to have more than one project on the needles. Of course, now that this is done felting, I am back to just the "Buck the Curse" socks. Must cast-on something else now... Of course, I am thinking about a zipper in the bag, so technically it is still an UFO?
-I wanted to try the technique of knitting a square and then turning the corner into knitting in the round, a technique we had discussed at our 2nd Waimea knitting meeting.
-I wanted to deliberately cause felt by abusing the wool. I am wearing 2 pair of socks with accidental felted parts now, and I wanted to use this technique for good!
-I wanted some easy stockinette in leftover wool without a pattern as some easy, stress-free knitting. Seemed I raced through that and need another...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Ripping Out

Sock rip back #1: Put heel on. Sock fit me perfectly. Socks are not for me, but for SO with significantly larger foot. Ripped back to add on length.
Sock rip back #2: Realized that I had done gusset increases all wrong: Had increased at the end of each metal circular, making 4 stitches per round instead of 2. Like a toe increase instead of an instep increase. Ripped back to instep and did it right.
Sock rip back #3: Apparently I am consistent, no matter what needle material I use. Ripped back other sock down to instep as well.

I turned the heel on the first sock, and cornered SO to make him try it on. It is too big now. By like, a half inch. I don't really want to rip back again for a half inch. I keep thinking that it is wool, and maybe I can shrink it a little...But the label says "superwash". Maybe I can block it a little? But I don't want to make him do that every time he does his laundry. I am the one with the wool habit, and therefore I must face the laundry consequences of that, but he should just be able to wash n dry n go this gift. Maybe they will be okay...

Am I worrying too much over the first knitted object I create for the object of my affection? Is the "Curse" self-fulfilling?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Something New

The photo shows two new projects which represent new experiences for me in the following ways:
1) TWO projects on the needles at once! This attempt is to avoid that bereft feeling of loss I experience when finished with one project and yet to begin anew. Hopefully another project will overlap and bridge the gap, and I could continue this pattern indefinitely. I have even made a swatch for project#3, and have purchased and planned projects #4 and #5. I have always been a project monogamist, but must concede that perhaps this is not the wisest method for my emotional health.
2) Note one sock being knit on two circular needles, while one sock is knit on my usual bamboo double points. I figured that I couldn't jump into the circular vs. double-point debate without a bit of research. So far I don't think circulars are too much faster: It cuts out one bamboo needle change, but it takes me a little longer to slide and change over on the circulars anyway, so that speed difference is perhaps made up.
3) While we are in the midst of the above debate, note also evidence being gathered for the metal vs. wood needle debate. As seen below, most of my double points are bamboo, and all of my mothers needles are metal, so I have much opportunity to gather evidence for this debate. (Perhaps unseen in the photo are the plastic Denise circulars being used on the not-yet-felted striped Merino bag. But I already concede that plastic is not as sensually pleasurable as the other materials. But I love the flexibility of my Denise kit.)
4) Neither of these projects have a pattern. The bag I am just knitting out of curiosity, having never (intentionally) felted a knitted project before. I don't know how big to make it, I don't know how big to do a handle or a strap, and I don't much care. The socks are my second attempt at Toe-Up socks (see Mom Socks below) and I am using the notes from that project.
5) Knitting for my Boyfriend, hoping to avoid the "Curse" of knitting for the BF. He does want them, he has seen them, approved the colors, and had his toes fitted several times now. It isn't a huge sweater involving months of labor. He has also said that he would love to wear something I made and spent so much time on. So all bodes well, so far.

We shall see what comes of this very scientific series of new experiments!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Cutest Pattern Ever!

Finished the baby kimono from the Mason Dixon Knitting book. See knitalong here. Made this out of Bernat Lana Merino, and sewed the ribbons on today. This will go off to my College roommate who is expecting any day now. What a cute pattern!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I Don't Have a Problem...

I can quit whenever I want! You have the problem! Seriously! I don't have a problem!
Well, it could be worse...
Really. My stash is really small. And the yarn store is over 75 minutes away. I have only been there once! (She had to turn the lights on in the back corner for me, so I could see all the neglected natural fibers.) I usually blow wads of cash at yarn stores while I am visiting the Mainland... but that isn't often...or sending my credit card to the Websters in Oregon and waiting for the mailman.
It really could be worse...
But today, I wondered:
1) I waited until after the closing date on my credit card to complete my Websters order. This way it won't show on my credit card statement until late June.
2) I deposited my US Tax return. It amounts to about 10% of my Websters bill.
3) In my first act of hiding the evidence, I just completed tidying up (hiding) the strewn balls of yarn from all over my floor before my BF comes over later.
4) Even though the Websters order is (presumably. Should I worry?) winging its way to me right now, I had to stop off at Ace Hardware on the way home for a little Merino to tide me over.
But it could be worse:
You know that baby Kimono? The one I am knitting out of 217 yards when the pattern calls for 244 yards? I have been worrying, measuring, weighing, asking advice, ripping out the swatch... last night I asked Jan her advice, thinking that, since it is white, maybe I could use another dye lot. Her reply? "Oh, No! White is the worst! I have had soooo many problems matching dye lots in white!" I had decided that I would stop at the Hardware store an look for the same dye lot, or find a new dye lot, then Kool-Aid dye the finished sweater. I imagined myself obsessive, caffeine-addled, crazy, sitting in the aisle at Ace, digging through the wool bin in a furious chase... and I admitted maybe I do have a problem.
But it could be worse:
My Ace Hardware, while close to my house, has a limited selection. Specifically, a wall of acrylic Red Heart yarn, a wall of eyelash yarn, and loads of fishing supply. The "bin" of wool at the hardware store is actually one milk crate. It held four skeins of the white. They were all the same dye lot as the yarn I bought a year ago. My only conclusion? I am the only person in my whole town who buys wool.
Not only do I have a problem, but I am all alone with my addiction.
But it could be worse...

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Obvious Answer.

Felt bereft and panicked after completion of last sock. Was completely obsessed with next project, and rushed through all other weekend activities in order to finally score some free time to cast-on. In the meantime, made a swatch, read knitting books, bought yarn online, checked out other knitting Blogs...
Finally, Sunday afternoon was able to cast-on the cute baby kimono from new Mason-Dixon Knitting book. While experiencing pattern questions, checked out their Blog, and then promptly joined the Knit-Along.
The discomfort of having nothing on the needles lasted less than 24 hours, yet it filled every minute of those hours. The obvious answer is this:
Have more than one project going at a time, dummy!
I feel it is in my nature to work on only one thing at a time, and fear that too many UFOs would make me not accomplish any of them. But maybe I need to start a sock, and have it lying around for just such Methodone-Moments. Something to carry me over in the hours while the completed project is blocking and the new project is still in hanks.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Finished Mamluke Socks

Finished the second Mamluke sock today. I love them. They are blocking right now, and it is pouring down rain here, so I suspect it will be awhile before I can wear them.
Some things I learned on this project:
No matter how good my idea to "fix" the pattern, don't just fix the second sock. Now I have an unmatching pair, and am considering ripping out the foot of sock #1.

Knitting in public is fun. Especially when the sock is complex, and people ask all kinds of questions about it.

My fair-isle tension is uneven: Sock #1 is much tighter than sock#2. Relax!

I swear less when knitting the name of God.

And something else I will remember about this pattern. I happened to do alot of knitting on these socks in Doctor's offices. We all know that knitting is calming and meditative, but the meaning of these socks made each stitch like a prayer. I think it will indeed feel different to wear these socks.
For the Fair-Isle knitters out there: This second photo is of the inside.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Around the Corner

Last night we worked on changing from flat knitting to round knitting. We didn't plan it, but luck would have it that J was starting a toe-up sock using my basic pattern (Mom Socks, Below:) and was moving from several rows on straight needles to knitting around the toe. S was doing the same thing but on a larger scale: After knitting a small rectangle, picked up the edges and began knitting a purse in the round.
At one single moment in both processes, the mind suceeds in swinging around the corner from flat back and forth to three-dimensional roundness. In this moment of shift, all things are possible. After stuggling with the concept and the details, suddenly, like a bolt of lightning, we get it: We see it. One wonders what other dimensional breakthroughs lurk just out of reach. I think this is the magic of knitting: that we can sculpt our projects, shape them through each stich, each cell, into a complex and curvy piece.
If we were interested in only flat pieces, we would take up sewing.


Wendi sent me this photo of something that she has that I don't! I have stash issues: I would love to be one of those knitters that owned an impressive, memorable, luxurious stash of yarn. A stash hidden in too many places. A stash that I would have to make excuses for. I would love the luxury of feeling the texture of a new yarn, and before I could stop myself, handing over a credit card.
But no. Besides the wall of acrylic at Ace Hardware (ick. Don't wanna touch it! Don't wanna!) there is a yarn store about 75 minutes away from me (mostly has eyelash yarn for leis, but she has a little corner of wool.) All other yarn must be bought at wild sprees while on the mainland, or with the assistance of emailed photos. Yes, I get yarn porn through the email.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Waimea Knitters

First re-grouping of our small band of well-armed fiber artists met tonight for our first of 6 weeks. Since losing our fearless leader Wendy to the wooly wilds of Oregon we have drifted in knitterly solitude. But no more! We showed off our works-in-progress, caught up with each other's lives, and planned world domination. There was weaving, felting, knitting, and weaving in of intarsia ends:

You are welcome to Join Us!