Saturday, December 31, 2005

Farewell 2005

Good Morning Dear Blog Readers,

This is a farewell to 2005. I have changed the sidebar content to books and progress of 2006. To preserve that information, I am aggregating it here in this post. I am also going to rework the geographical information at the bottom of the blog. Here goes.

In 2005, readers have visited my blog from these countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, Russian Federation Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tawain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Viet Nam, Venezuela

Visitors came from every one of the United States and the District of Columbia; Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan in Canada; and Melbourne, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia in Australia.

Welcome to all blog readers and may 2006 add more flags to the bottom of the blog!

In 2005, I read 147 new books. Wow, this is a personal best for me. Of course, I read the first 100 in the first half of the year before I started knitting and before my county library started closing down for days at a time for construction.

Here's the list of books, sorted alphabetically by author:

Oblivion Peter Abrahams
Knitting: A Novel Anne Bartlett
Wish Melina Gerosa Bellows
Breaker's Reef Terri Blackstock
Coffee & Kung Fu Karen Brichoux
The Chocolate Puppy Puzzle, The Chocolate Mouse Trap JoAnna Carl
The Sugar Camp Quilt Jennifer Chiaverinni
Bound for Murder, Chamomile Mourning Laura Childs
Permed to Death, Hair Raiser, Died Blonde Nancy J Cohen
Artemis Fowl: Opal Deception Eoin Colfer
Polished Off, Maid for Murder, Death Tidies Up, Wiped Out Barbara Colley
Mum's the Word, Slay It with Flowers Kate Collins
Eleventh Hour Catherine Coulter
Through the Grinder, Latte Trouble Cleo Coyle
Levi's Will W Dale Cramer
A Catered Murder, A Catered Wedding Isis Crawford
The Alpine Advocate, The Alpine Betrayal, The Alpine Christmas, The Alpine Decoy, The Alpine Escape, The Alpine Fury, The Alpine Gamble, The Alpine Hero, The Alpine Icon, The Alpine Journey, The Alpine Kindred, The Alpine Legacy, The Alpine Menace, The Alpine Nemesis, The Alpine Obituary, The Alpine Pursuit, The Alpine Quilt, Just Desserts Mary Daheim
Undead and Unwed Mary Janice Davidson
Knitticisms: And Other Purls of Wisdom Michael Dregni
Embroidered Truths Monica Ferris
Killer Stuff, Dead Guy's Stuff, The Wrong Stuff, Buried Stuff Sharon Fiffer
Peach Cobbler Murder Joanne Fluke
Delectable Mountains Earlene Fowler
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem, You Might Be a Redneck If This Is The Biggest Book... Jeff Foxworthy
Inkspell Cornelia Funke
The Incumbent, Beneath the Ice, A Treasure Deep, Before Another Dies Alton Gansky
Flanimals Rick Gervais
Joshua in a Troubled World Joseph F Girzone
A Change of Heart Philip Gulley
Storm Gathering Rene Gutteridge
A Clue for the Puzzle Lady, Last Puzze & Testament, A Puzzle in a Pear Tree, Puzzled to Death, And a Puzzle to Die On Parnell Hall
The Celtic Riddle, The Thai Amulet Lyn Hamilton
Beyond the Shadows Robin Lee Hatcher
A Shred of Evidence Kathy Herman
Dead Man's Island Carolyn G Hart
Hula Done It Maddy Hunter
Shut Up and Sing Laura Ingraham
Add One Dead Critic, Beat a Rotten Egg to the Punch, Carve a Witness to Shreds Cathie John
Mad as the Dickens, Wed and Buried, Country Comes to Town, Down Home Murder, Tight as a Tick, Trouble Looking for a Place to Happen, Death of a Damn Yankee, Dead Ringer Toni LP Kelner
The Mermaid Chair Sue Monk Kidd
Rough Weather Ahead for Water the Farting Dog William Kotzwinkle
Died in the Wool Mary Kruger
Sanctuary Mercedes Lackey
Death at the Table, Recipe for Death, A Deepe Coffyn, A Tasty Way to Die, Hotel Morgue, Death and the Epicure, Diet for Death Janet Laurence
This Pen for Hire Laura Levine
The Preacher's Daughter Beverly Lewis
The Shop on Blossom Street, A Good Yarn Debbie Macomber
Criminal Appetites, Magnolias and Mayhem Jefferey Marks (ed)
What a Girl Wants Liz Maverick
Dragonsblood Todd McCaffrey
Star Spangled Murder Leslie Meier
Amagansett Mark Mills
Wild Rose Rita Axtell Morren
Blue Deep Tom Morrisey
Assault and Pepper, Monet Talks Tamar Myers
At Wick's End, Innkeeping with Murder, Snuffed Out, Reservations for Murder, Murder Checks Inn, Room for Murder, Booked for Murder Tim Myers
Eldest Christopher Paolini
Something's Cooking, Courting Disaster, Too Many Cooks Joanne Pence
Monster Frank Peretti
Southern Fried, Done Gone Wrong Cathy Pickens
KnitLit, KnitLit, too, KnitLit the Third Linda Roghaar, (ed)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince JK Rowling
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, Red Sky in Mourning, A Haunting Refrain, Dying to Kill, When Shadows Fall Patricia H Rushford
Knit One, Kill Two Maggie Sefton
Mew Is for Murder Clea Simon
Bead on Trouble Barbara Burnett Smith
A Walk to Remember Nicholas Sparks
Who Killed the Queen of Clubs? Patricia Sprinkle
World of Pies Karen Stolz
Dead Run PJ Tracy
The Tea-Olive Bird Watching Society Augusta Trobaugh
Life Everlasting Robert Whitlow
Some things that stay Sarah Willis
In the Shadow of a Secret Lance Wubbles

The names of the projects completed in 2005 were:

Very Special Black Beanie with Ears for Wearing While on Vacation in Central Florida, Tharany, Mosaic Sheep Hatlet, Lacy V Wool Scarf, Moonlight Socks, two Mini Pouches, Stockinette Washcloth, three Garter Stitch Washcloths, Box Stitch Washcloth, Basketweave Washcloth, Modified Tychus, Toddler Tassel Top, Illusion Heart Pullover, Breast Cancer Awareness Washcloth, Broad Street Booties, J's Rollbrim Hat, Sea Blue Pattern Socks, Nephew Vest, Cabled Earflap Hat, Tea Cozy Hat, Gemstone Spiral Fibonacci Hat, Starbright Spiral Kiddie Kap, Gemstone Pullover, Purple Pattern Socks, two To Go Cup Cozies, two Ice Cream Pint Cozies, Starbright Pullover, Scarlet Knight Pullover, Turquoise Tank, White Sheep Poncho, Black Sheep Pullover, Pilchard's Blanket, Hoodless Hoodie, Bath Mitt, Little Scarf, C's Hat, Black Lamb Pullover, and Blue Hoodie. Black Vest and Navy Hoodie were scrapped.

Hope to see all of you again in '06.



Friday, December 30, 2005

Yarn socks

Her first socksTo the tune of Perfect Friendship
  (as sung by Lucy and Ethel)

    Yarn socks, yarn socks,
    Just some perfect yarn socks.
    When other socks have been outworn,
    These will still be warm.

Airport Socks complete and on the footsies!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Airport socks

The sockAirport Socks

Top-down socks with contrasting toes and afterthought heels.

Toddler size 9-ish foot

Cascade Fixation
  main color and contrast color (less than one skein total)
size 2 dpns or size to obtain gauge

32 sts over 4" in St st

Cuff and Leg
Cast on 44 sts in main color. Join. Work in k1, p1 rib for 6 rows. Work in St st for 32 rows.

Mark Heel
Knit 22 sts using scrap yarn.

Go back and knit the scrap yarn sts again with the main color yarn.
Work in St st for 35 rows. Place markers at beg of round and halfway around.

Toe Shaping
Using contrast color yarn,
Rnd 1 - [K1, ssk, k to 3 sts before marker, k2tog, k1] twice
Rnd 2 Knit.

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 20 sts remain.
Graft remaining stitches together.

Using contrast color yarn, pick up the stitches just above and just below the scrap yarn (22 sts on needle #1 and 23 sts on needle #2).
Knit across needle #1 then pick up 3 sts.
Knit across needle #2 then pick up 3 sts.

You now have a total of 51 sts. Divide onto three needles.
K1, ssk, k10, k9, k2tog, k1, k1, ssk, k20, k2tog, k1. (47 sts)

Next round: K44, k2tog, k1. (46 sts)

Heel shaping
Round 1 - [K1, ssk, k to 3 sts before marker, k2tog, k1] twice
Round 2 Knit.

Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until 18 sts remain.
Graft remaining stitches together.

Airport sock

Trophy!This is so awesome! Over there on your left is the first one of the Airport Socks. This is the sock that I cast on in Orlando Airport last Friday night. I finished it today and I am so proud of it. One of the reasons that I am proud of it is that it is for my DD - who is quite sick to her tummy today. Another reason that I am proud of it is that I did my first afterthought heel. Yet another reason I am proud of this sock is that DD, despite being sick, told me she needed needles and yarn to knit a yarn sock herself - she's three.

My DH thought that this sock was so cool that the moment it was finished he said, "Quick! Where's the digital? You have some blogging to do." I am so glad that he is proud of me. I don't know what the colors are actually called or numbered but the yarn is Cascade Fixation. The toe and heel are really a mid- to dark purple in real life. Pen's in the picture to give you some perspective.

Oh, and, yes, before you even ask, I will be bringing the sock to knitting night tonight to show it off to my knitting peeps like a trophy. Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Bragging rights

Loom hatThat's right. I earned them. I made two new knitters today.

For Christmas, I gave two nieces Knifty Knitters. When they arrived at our house today, niece #1 had on a hat that she made on Christmas day with her loom! She also had one in tow that she made for my DD while in the car up to our house (long trip). It didn't fit my DD, but it does fit her baby doll. Notice the stripe? Niece #1's idea and implementation all on her own. The stripe is really a wine color not black.

Niece #1So, I suggested that the niece might be interested in learning to knit on real needles - then she could make a scarf. I broke out the size 11 needles and some Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick and away we went. She had a few issues getting started but soon she was moving right along.

Niece #2Of course, niece #2 wanted in on the act then. So, I dug out a 24" size 13 circular needle and more of the Wool-Ease and showed her the knit stitch. Oh, my goodness, she took to it like a natural! She was quickly zipping along faster than niece #1.

#2 on topThis is where they were when I had to leave to go to an appointment. En route, I stopped at the local craft store to pick up some more yarn; enough for each of them to make a long scarf trimmed in Fun Fur - happy birthday presents for the nieces. We met them again tonight for dinner and I brought the new yarns with us. There was much rejoicing from the nieces.

Did I mention that niece #1 is 12 and that niece #2 is 10? Start 'em young!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Unfinished business

Left sleeveSo, after making it home safely from vacation, I picked up the Kepler's sleeve - literally. I picked up the 38 stitches needed on the cuff and worked a bit on it yesterday. I had already grafted the band and am knitting the sleeve in the round, as you can see here. It seems to be going okay, though it feels a little weird. This is the first thing I am knitting continental on my dpns. Bit awkward at first. It is a Christmas present but the recipient was warned that it would be late due to the finger injury the week before vacation. Well, the finger is all healed and on we go.

Orlando airportI haven't touched the airport sock since the flight home, but there it is for you to see. The actual colors are more muted than in this picture, though. I am planning to make the heels in a matching purple. Now, if you will excuse me, we ate pancakes for Christmas dinner because the cupboards were bare and I need to hie my sorry self over to the grocery store. Cheers.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy Christmas

Happy Birthday Baby Jesus.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Black beanie with ears

Guess where I was on vacation!Black Beanie with Ears

Toddler to preschooler sized head

black worsted weight yarn
size 8 circular and dp needles

Cast on 81 sts. Join. Work in p1, k2 rib for 7 rounds. Work in St st for 16 rounds.

*K1, k2tog* rep for one round (54 sts rem). Knit one round.

*K1, k2tog* rep for one round (36 sts rem). Knit two rounds.

*K1, k2tog* rep for one round (27 sts rem). Knit one round.

*K1, k2tog* rep for one round (18 sts rem). Knit one round.

*K1, k2tog* rep for one round (12 sts rem). Cut off yarn leaving about an 18" tail and run this tail through the remaining 12 live stitches. Pull to tighten and weave in the end.

Ears (make two)
Cast on 8 sts.
Kfb, k6, kfb (10 sts). Purl one row.

Kfb, k8, kfb (12 sts). Purl one row. Knit one row. Purl one row.

K2tog, k8, ssk (10 sts). Purl one row.

K2tog, k6, ssk (8 sts). Purl one row.

K2tog, k48, ssk (6 sts). Bind off in purl.

Attach ears to sides of hat, eight rows above the top of the ribbing at the first stitch of the round and at the 41st stitch of the round. Make sure that the knit sides of the ears face forward.


GrazingI bet you have all been wondering what is up with trek this past week. Regular poster goes AWOL. Well, no, this regular poster went to Disney. Packed up and took a week of vacation at the magical land of Mickey and a good time was had by all. DD really loved the Animal Kingdom so these are some of the animals that we saw there. Most of the digital shots didn't come out too well. Of course, this is a six year old digital camera and that is really old in digital camera years.

DrinkingSo what was the knitting upshot of this trip? Two pink garter stitch washcloths (Christmas presents) and one Very Special Black Beanie with Ears for Wearing While on Vacation in Central Florida. I woke up at 4:30 one morning and couldn't get back to sleep so I grabbed my 16" size 8 circular and some black yarn and wandered over to the lobby where I worked on the beanie part of the hat. Finished the ears the next day and the DD got to wear her new yarn hat for half of the vacation. Not too many people noticed that her ears were handknit but those that did were way impressed.

LeavingI also was able to cast on and start a sock for the DD at the airport last night - had plenty of time as the flight was delayed. It is on size 2 needles and is using Cascade Fixation yarn. I am planning to do afterthought heels on this and this is also the first sock that I am doing by the seat of my pants. Wish me luck.

Oh, yeah, we also finally got our Christmas tree. At 6pm tonight. Yep, that's right. Six o'clock on Christmas Eve. On sale. Last one at the store. Manager threw in one gingerbread house and two boxes of candy canes for decorating. It is up and plugged in (it's the prelit kind). DH wants to wait until tomorrow to decorate it so that the DD can help. Well, there is no yummy pine smell since it is an artificial tree - but the allergist says no more real trees in our house. On the plus side, there are no pine needles to vacuum off the floor from now until April.

The gingerbread house isn't nearly as pretty as the ones that we saw at the Disney resorts but it is also way less of a waste of foodstuffs. Did you know that those really beautiful gingerbread houses that the Disney bakers make can use more than 400 pounds of flour and 1000 eggs? That doesn't even take into consideration the butter and sugar. You could feed a third world country village for a week on one of those creations - and no one will ever eat them.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Tharany Mosaic Hat

Size: 3T

bulky weight yarn - MC (used single strand)
worsted weight yarn - CC (used double strand)
size 9 circular needle
set of size 9 dpns

14 sts over 4"

Cast on 64 sts in MC. Join.
Place marker at beginning of round.
Knit 6 rounds in garter stitch.
Knit 4 rounds in St st.

Mosaic Pattern:
Row 1: (CC) *Sl2, k6*, rep
Row 2: (CC) *Yb, sl2, yf, p6*, rep
Row 3: (MC) Knit
Row 4: Rep row 3
Row 5: (CC) *K4, sl2, k2*, rep
Row 6: (CC) *P4, yb, sl2, yf, p2*, rep
Rows 7-10: Rep row 3

Repeat rows 1-10 two times (20 rows).

Place marker at halfway point of round (after 32 sts).
Row 1: *K1, ssk, knit until last 3 sts before marker, k2tog, k1*; rep 2x
Row 2: Knit

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until 32 sts remain.
Place 16 sts on each needle and knit a three needle bind off.

Moonlight madness

Moonlight socksLast night was a full moon and that is when I finished my Moonlight Socks. Okay, I really grafted the toe and wove in the ends this morning.

Doing these socks I learned three new techniques: Fair Isle, intarsia, and the jogless jog. The original pattern called for the moon and stars to be the same color and not to have a different color on the toe, but I like them this way much better - and I got to learn the jogless jog - bonus!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Four unrelated topics

How do you like the new look? I liked the light and solid colored background color that I've used for the past few weeks, but I really wanted the background a little lighter still but not yellowish. Hence the parchment textured background image. Hope you like it. I do and since I am in charge here, it stays. For now.

I got my confirmation for Secret Pal 7. Yay!

I was able to do some work on the Moonlight Socks, but the Kepler is still on hold pending my finger's recovery. I am thinking now about converting the top of the Kepler to a raglan and got some pretty good information from knitty on how to do just that. I'll have to run some numbers, but I think that I can make this work without too much heartache involved.

Public service announcement: Shopping with a preschooler - don't. This has been an unpaid public service announcement.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Secret pal 7
  & shopping

I've never done a secret pal but I saw the Secret Pal 7 information and shot off an email to the hostesses today and am looking forward to this. I have snail mail penpals in South Africa, Ireland, Australia, and Switzerland (formerly of UK) and used to have one in Japan but she fell off the face of the Eastern Hemisphere.

Wow! A penpal that knits! What could be more cool. Not that I don't like my current penpals, I really do!, but it will be so cool to be a secret pal to a fellow knitter.

Fairly fuzzy footiesThis afternoon, I was buying my DD some shirts and pants at a local department store. They has some fun fur-esque socks on the checkout counter for only $2 each. DD liked them and I thought, "What the heck. It's six bucks and she likes the colors." Am I the big spender or what? A woman ahead of me in line was buying the same sort of socks for her DD. Somehow we got to talking (can you tell it is Christmas time? We had plenty of opportunity to chat in line) about the socks. I said that I wouldn't knit them but that for such a good price, I'd get a few pairs for my DD. She said that her DD wants to learn how to knit. So, of course, I had to ask how old. She's ten. Yes, you heard me correctly, ten. Naturally, I invited the two of them to our Monday knitting nights. I really hope that they come. She was very enthusiastic about it and said that her DD is very good with her hands and asked for knitting needles!

PS - I also discovered that a LYS has Firenze on sale. Couldn't wait to get home to email my knitting peep, J.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Button me

Coffee Crazy KnittersYesterday, the cool April asked about a button for my site. Now, trek's blog has a cool sheep in a hatlet button over on her site. Why not go visit April and give her my regards?

Last night, we had a bumper crop of knitters at Borders Café. Eight! Previously, we have maxed out at six or seven. It was such a good night. The time flew. Four people were working on scarfs. E was starting a sweater, T was finishing a blanket, and J was working on a hat to match L's scarf. Me? I wound yarn and worked a little bit on sock #6 and a gauge swatch for some Trampoline by Skacel on size 1 needles. I kept trying to hold the yarn in my left hand - the one with the big chunk of skin missing from the sweater reclamation project. Looks like I am surely converting to a continental only knitter!

The Kepler is temporarily on hold until my finger heals some. I'll be working on socks and swatches English style...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Knitter doon!

Last night, I was recycling some yarn from a thick navy blue sweater in poor lighting. My left middle finger is now sans some tissue. How am I to finish my Christmas knitting?!?!

On the plus side, I made a little button for you to steal and post on your site. Isn't the sheep in the hatlet cute over there?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mosaic knitting

I saw A Beginning Knitter's posting on mosaic knitting and I was so impressed at how pretty it was that I asked her to send me the pattern repeat description. Then I ignored it because, like you, I am up to my ears in Christmas knitting. Actually, that isn't entirely true now, I scrapped a Christmas sweater for "S" in favor of an electronics gift card (he's saving up for the next generation X-box) and told "E" that her Kepler might not be done by the big day. She says that that is okay (she got to see it in progress today because we needed to do a fitting). Anyway, back to the mosaic knitting...

As I said, I really liked how the mosaic knitting looked but I wanted to start with something small, something designed as a learning project. I found this mini bowl/basket pattern on Zibibbo's site. I had a little bit of yarn leftover from the pink Lacy V Scarf and so I decided to give mosaic knitting a try.

J sheepI am using the Blush as the contrast color and the Rose as the main color and I am liking how it looks a whole lot. In texture, it is very reminiscent of the slip stitch pullovers I made for DD, niece, and "J" except that this pattern makes somewhat of a honeycomb effect, too. I opted for using only chart one for all of the pattern repeats instead of alternating between chart one and chart two. The only thing I don't like is that the decreases didn't work out to a flat bottom. So this which began its life with the intent of becoming a little knitted basket is now a yarn hat for a stuffed sheep. He looks good in it, doesn't he?

Mosaic knitting would probably be great on felted items like, say, the top edge of a tote bag. Of course, you would have to take into consideration the amount of shrinkage and need to adjust your mosaic pattern accordingly so as not to allow the mosaic to become mushed into the background like little blobs of color.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Midnight completion

The pink Lacy V Scarf is complete and blocking on the dining room table. It consists of thirteen complete pattern repeats and is 41½" long and 9" wide. This one is supposed to cross on the chest, not wrap back around the neck.

I like how it looks. Very pretty, very soft, and very warm - and I should know: it was very warm on my lap while I was knitting it.

After it dries, it gets packed up and mailed to Rochester in time for Christmas.

This picture really doesn't do the pattern justice but I promise that the lacy vees are there.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Fibers anonymous

The other night, I realized something. I had to admit it to my DH. I think it has something to do with that wonderful alpaca that became half a scarf. There are some wonderful fibers out there and I want to knit them. That's not to say that I will never again knit acrylics - I have a 3 year-old. Acrylic washes and wears like iron. It doesn't stain like cotton. It doesn't felt like wool. It doesn't shrink and it's cheap enough not to feel bad that the kid can't get two winters out of the same sweater.

BUT, acrylic has nothing on the soft beautiful drape of alpaca, nor on the crispy, squishy cables of wool.

Hello, my name is trek and I fear I may be in danger of becoming a yarn snob...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Elann delivers

The alpaca arrived! The alpaca arrived!

As soon as I finish the pink Lacy V Scarf, I can cast on for the Linux Scarf for my DH with this lovely, soft, gorgeous alpaca yarn!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Yarn gremlins

First thing this morning, I received an email from Pegg. Seems like the LB Wool-Ease must come in smaller skeins that in past. I stalled out at nine repeats - almost all of the 125 yards having been incorporated into the scarf. Sigh.

My scarf alternatives included:

  1. Frogging the whole scarf and reknitting as a narrower scarf in a single strand.
  2. Frogging the whole scarf and buying another yarn to strand with it.
  3. Keeping the scarf as is and waiting for the spring shearing.
9 repeatsWell, I didn't like option 1 since I wanted a thick, warm scarf.

Option 2 was a possibility so I brought my scarf over to the craft store right after dropping off the DD at school. They had some 100% alpaca yarn that would work well with what I have but I really didn't want to rip out all of the work I already did.

I decided on option 3. I chose Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Blush Heather and Rose Heather and am knitting two strands held together throughtout the scarf.

Wool-Ease versionAt first, I tried them on a size 11 (circular) needle because the pattern specified a single strand of Wool-Ease on size 10½. I thought that the doubled yarn would be too bulky on the smaller needle. Turns out that wasn't the case. The stitches were just a bit too loose and droopy on the larger needle so I stopped after eight rows and recast on the smaller needle. Much better. It is a little bit heavier than the alpaca but it still has some drape to it; you can see the lace pattern clearly; and it will be toasty warm - well up to Rochester winters.

Well, since I decided not to frog the scarf, the yarn gremlins decided to get me another way today. Apparently, I have not yet reached my frogging quota on my Christmas knitting yet.

While I was knitting on the Kepler today, I noticed that it still seemed a bit narrow in the bust when I had finished the increases. That's when I started measuring. The overall width at the bust was way too small. So I checked the gauge. I had dutifully done my gauge swatches but apparently my gauge is slightly tighter on the sweater than it was on the swatches. So, I had to pull out about ten rows and put in more increases in order to make the bust big enough.

My DH suggested that I take the sweater over to E's house for a fitting. I didn't want to have to do this. I was really anticipating watching her open her present on Christmas and being so surprised. Everyone who knows her and who has seen the picture of Emily wearing hers has agreed with me: this sweater screams "E"!

I told E that she has an appointment with her personal knitter. She said she'd close her eyes. She even said, "We've got a blindfold."


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Alapca blues

Dear Reader,

If you happen to have any of Humdinger Alpaca Farm's sportweight yarn from the alpaca named Kasha and are willing to part with it, please leave me a comment. Seriously.


PS - By the way, someone showed up from South Dakota today. Thank you, whoever you are. Now there has been at least one visitor to trek's blog from every one of the United States and also the District of Columbia. I was starting to think that there were no knitters in South Dakota!

On to the meat of this post...

It has happened to me.

For the longest time, when I saw someone posting that they ran out of yarn before the project was complete, I thought, "Well, why didn't they just buy an extra hank/ball/skein? I always buy more than I think I need."

I had two 2 oz/125 yard hanks of locally grown and spun sportweight alpaca. The scarf pattern claimed that I only needed 99 yards of worsted weight yarn - that leaves an excess of 26 yards in my math book. So, I put two strands together, made gauge, and blithely started knitting. At first, I was not worried, after all, a scarf doesn't have to hang down to your knees like Dr Who's did. Then, as I got further and further along, I started noticing that the source yarn was looking mighty skimpy.

Just a few minutes ago, I measured off exactly one yard of yarn from the needle back towards the balls and tied a knot. Then I knitted the next row. Then I measured how much was left between the needle and the knot. One row ate up 31" of my precious alpaca. Uh oh.

Next, I ran some calculations.

Original amount of yarn available:
125 yards * 36"/yard = 4500"

Beginning garter stitch edge = 6 rows
Each pattern repeat = 14 rows
Ending garter stitch edge = 6 rows

Estimated amount of yarn in 9 pattern repeats:
(9 pattern repeats * 14 rows/repeat) * 31"/row = 3906"

Estimated amount of yarn in edges:
12 rows * 31"/row = 372"

Estimated amount of yarn for a 9 repeat scarf:
3906" + 372" = 4278"

Estimated yarn to spare:
4500" - 4278" = 222" or 6 yards

Unblocked, we are looking at about a 30" scarf! Now, I know I was planning a short, cross-on-your-chest scarf, but who has a pencil neck small enough for this? Maybe my 3 year old.

Did I mention that this was the last of this yarn's fleece from this particular alpaca? Did I mention that this is supposed to be a Christmas present?

Ever the optimist, I immediately shot off an email to the alpaca farm begging them for even a scant ounce of leftover yarn that they might have laying about.

Next question, how brutally can I block this puppy? I know I can't double the length, but maybe I can increase it by, oh, I don't know, maybe 12 inches?

On a happy note, it has been knitting up beautifully. So soft. So pretty. So warm.

Basketweave washcloth

I have noticed a number of hits to the posting of my washcloth pictures so I am putting the directions here for the
#2Basketweave Washcloth

Sugar n Cream Cotton
size 7 needles

Cast on 36 sts.
Work in garter stitch for 4 rows.

Row A: K3, p6, k6, p6, k3.
Row B: K3, k6, p6, k6, k3.

Strips 1, 3, and 5:   Work [A then B] seven times.
Strips 2 and 4:   Work [B then A] seven times.

Work in garter stitch for 4 rows.
Bind off and weave in ends.

Note: If you have holes when switching from knit sections to purl sections, purl the first stitch of the group through the back loop.

Christmas knitting

Last night was a good night knitting: five knitters and our newbie G finished her first scarf and wore it home in the snow!! Way to go, G, we are proud of you. I worked on the Kepler and the Lacy V scarf but they are both well on the way.

I am in the bust section of the sweater and knitting it in the round. The cabled cuffs are also complete. I will be converting it to drop shoulder and lengthening the sleeves on it, too. So, I'd say that this one is nearly one-third done.

The Lacy V now has five complete pattern repeats. It is at least 35% finished. I can't be sure how long it is really going to be since the pattern claims that two scarfs may be done out of 197 yards of yarn but doesn't say how many repeats this makes. I've got 125 yards of alpaca so I will just keep an eye on the yarn and try to estimate when there is too little left to start another pattern repeat.

Monday, December 05, 2005

A decision

Kasha's scarfI have finally settled on a scarf for the alpaca yarn I bought. It came from an alpaca female named Kasha, hence Kasha's yarn. Last night Pegg Thomas' Lacy V Scarf was cast on and 1½ pattern repeats completed. This pattern was recommended to me by knitting peep "D" who has knitted it twice herself. When the scarf is finished, it will be mailed to my old roommate, "E", who now lives in upstate New York. I must say, that although this yarn was supposed to be something for me, I am not at all upset that it isn't going to be. The yarn itself is such a dream to work with that it was worth the yarn cost (high) just to knit this scarf for my friend.

The next alpaca project will probably be the Linux Scarf for the DH. He really likes how soft it is and got such a kick out of visiting the alpacas for Discovering Alpaca Day. KnitPicks' Andean Silk would be perfect, but it doesn't come in the colors he wants. Elann's Peruvian Collection does, so I think that is where I will end up placing an order.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Let it snow

Dear Reader,

Good Morning. The DD awoke at 4:35 this morning to use the bathroom. That's when I looked out the bathroom window and saw the light dusting of snow on the driveway. It is now five hours later and there is about an inch of snow on the ground.Local weather

Happy snow to all.


Saturday, December 03, 2005

First intarsia

This is my first intarsia project. It is coincidentally my first Fair Isle project, too. The little blue stitches in the sock leg are the stars done Fair Isle style. The crescent moon is, of course, the intarsia. So, the heel is turned but the ends need to be woven. See the little yarn bits dangling below the dpn?

I am liking this pattern a lot for several reasons. The first reason is that it is working up quickly with minimal swearing on my part. Second, it involves two new techniques. Third, the colors are so cool.

The only thing I am not liking at this point is that the Cascade Fixation Bulky seems rather stiff. I am hoping that this will go away in the wash. Yes, I did knit gauge swatches. No, I did not wash them before casting on for the sock.

Geeks and scarfs

I've got 250 yards of locally grown and spun alpaca. It was supposed to grow up to become one of these. I even joined the knitalong. I seriously doubt that I have enough yarn and the supplier can't get me more until next spring's shearing.

So, this morning, I started surfing (again!) for a pattern for which I have enough yarn. I came across a couple of them. Like this one. I also came across the Linux illusion scarf again and showed my DH. He said, and I quote, "Now, if you were going to make me a scarf, that would be the one! It is just nerdly enough."

Did I happen to mention that I have an MS in Computer Science and my DH has an MS in Electrical Engineering? And that he uses Linux at work and home? And that we have his and hers computers? And that his computer is a souped-up geek's dream complete with case windows through which you can see the pretty blue lights and reflective cables?

Off to the yarn store!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Moonlight socks

Cast on the Moonlight Socks last night and am right up to the intarsia on the heel flap. Feeling really tired and dragged out tonight, though, so I put it down and will look at it again tomorrow. This is my first Fair Isle project (stars on leg) and my first intarsia project (crescent moons on heel flap). It is also my latest Black Sheep Knitalong project since I chose black for the main color. Rather fitting, don't you think?

Bulky sock yarnFound this pattern by searching the 'Net for a worsted weight pattern. I'm knitting in Cascade Fixation Bulky: black for the main color; blue for the stars; hot pink for the moons. A truly whimsical color scheme.

Knitting peep "D" says I should ask for Birks or clogs for Christmas so as to conveniently show off the socks when complete. That would mean duct taping my orthotics to the shoes, though... I'll get a picture up here later - when the light is good and I can focus on dealing with the camera and photo software.

PS - I was going to use this yarn on the Firefighter Socks but, as you can see, I changed my mind. A knitter's prerogative that.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Little FOs

Leftover cotton washclothOver there on the left is my second continental knit washcloth. The first one was just garter stitch and I handed it over to my knitting peep "D" on Monday without taking a picture of it first. Silly me. True continental this time: the purls as well as the knits. This one will stay home as it is has somewhat unbalanced color blocks. I used up all of my leftover Sugar n Cream to make it.

Leftover LB Purple PatternOver here on the right is a little mini pouch that I whipped up today for my DD. It is made from some Lion Brand Magic Stripes (color: Purple Pattern) leftover from my very first pair of "yarn socks" and the pattern for the pouch itself came from MagKnits. They call it an amulet pouch but I reject such terminology and usage: it is just a tiny little pouch for a child's tiny little stuff.

Beating the band

Whew! Finally. I beat the band. The Kepler band. It is finished. Finito. Complete. Knitted.

After the minor crisis with the C2F instead of the C2B on row 9 in repeat number 9, I started using lifelines. I actually left the lifelines in until I was ready to start repeat number 15 - the last one. I carefully checked each repeat prior to sliding the lifeline out of the work.

How annoyed was I when I discovered that I had made the same mistake again in repeat number 14? Not too annoyed: Regis, I would like to use a lifeline. I simply dropped the stitches, pulled on the wool, and, presto, all the way back to the lifeline! Then I carefully re-knit the 14th repeat and then on to the 15th (last) repeat and I was done. All I need to do with the hip band today is to graft the two ends together. After that, it is on to picking up the stitches for the body. I'm not posting a picture of the finished hip band since it is rather long and there's already a picture of the first five repeats over on the Kepler KAL.

Four cord plaitSome knitters might ask why I was so anal-retentive about one mis-crossed cable. I'll tell you. First, I am making it so I have to make it as well as I possibly can, even if that means pulling it out and doing it properly. Second, it is a cable band that is basically a Celtic knotwork. See how each cord in the image here goes over-under-over? This is a defining feature of Celtic knotwork. A mis-crossed cable in the Kepler band meant there was an over-over-over spot in the fabric. A definite no-no.

Interested in more on Celtic knotwork? The dude over at Thinky Things has some good sketches of the eight basic knots. His other pages have more information on how to draw Celtic knots and images of Celtic crosses. Quintessential Celtic artwork created by the Columban monks at the monastery at Iona (circa A.D. 750) is found in The Book of Kells) which has many illuminations incorporating Celtic knots and zoomorphic images. If you are ever in Dublin, make your way over to Trinity College to see The Book. Well worth your time.