Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Noro I ordered arrived today. Luckily they were able to get the same dye lot I bought at the LYS. Now, I can take Lady E. I out of hibernation. I knit a couple of rectangles. I intended to do 1 row but I'm a little too tired.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Do the math

I took a long hard look at my stash and came to the conclusion that, realistically, there is no way I'm going to knit all this up by the end of December. My goal is to finish the two Lady E. stoles and Frida Poncho hopefully in time for the first Malabrigo Club delivery in January. I'm on a yarn diet.

On my sticks
Frida Poncho
I didn't make the swatch guage sacrifice to the yarn gods and for that I am being punished. I kept wondering why my poncho didn't look like the others on ravelry. It is because I am knitting from the errata where the others knit from the book. The one from the book looks better. The best way I can explain the difference is, on ravelry the lace looks like it is on a center panel; the errata does not make the panel. On top of that, the errata has a stitch that creates a big hole in the lace pattern. At first, I thought I did something wrong but now I see it is happening based on the instructions. Maybe it will work itself out with the blocking. The good news is, I am through the first 24 rows of the panel and I love the color and the yarn.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I have a set of pattern tamers. I first heard about them in a Manic Purl podcast. If you get a chance listen to it, Chrissy is friendly and easy to listen to and one of the reasons I picked up the sticks for good. Back to the pattern tamers. They, get this, make it easy to read a pattern. If you ever have one of those patterns where the chart makes you go cross-eyed or every row is different, you are going to want a set of these. I used it tonight while I was knitting and instead of making a mark with a sharpie each time I completed a row I just moved the tamer. Get it, get it, get it. And, if you do get a set, please, get it from Yarn Sprout. While you're there get some yarn it's 100% naturally dyed, the colors are beautiful and they are having a sale.

Tonight, I was not planning on doing very much due to being tired from being up early this morning with Punkywunks. We had a quick dinner then got the kids in bed as soon as possible.

On my sticks
Frida Poncho
I knit 4 rows on the Frida poncho because I wanted to use the pattern tamer. Between the pattern tamer and the stitch markers I'm becoming a real knitter.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stitch markers are my friend

We did our usual Sunday ritual and went to DH's parents' place so he could watch the game with his dad. I put Punkywunks down for a nap a little bit before half time. She didn't go down easy so I sat beside her crib and knit while she settled down. Instead of going out into the living room with the rest of the family I stayed in the room with her and knit while she napped. That was relaxing. If I was in a rocking chair it would have been a Norman Rockwell painting.

F.I.L. shared that his mother used to knit, do cross-stitch, and sew. She even worked as a seamstress. She regretted that she wasn't able to do any of it once her eyesight went bad. He had a couple of tablecloths on which she cross stitched. They saved two from his sister's storage space. One for each of our children; I hope they have an appreciation for these heirlooms.

My evening was typical. We got the children off to bed then I knit while DH played video games.

On my sticks
Frida Poncho
I started over again today at my parents-in-law's place. This time it is going much better. I am using a bigger needle and instead of wasting time counting and re-counting I am using stitch markers to block off large sections. Much better. I was able to knit up to what I messed up plus a couple of additional rows. The lace panel in the center takes about 16 stitches but because each row is different it slows me down. I should have the first 24 rows done by tomorrow evening.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I had a bad day. First, I went to the mall because DS needs clothes. I hate the mall; it is crowded and noisy. I bought just enough to get him through the week and I will order more online. Second, it's a cold rainy day and I couldn't take the kids out to play. Add to that the play area at the mall is closed. Then a combination of being tired and cooped up all day made Little Bear a beast. All I wanted to do after getting Punkywunks down was knit. That was a disaster.
On my sticks
Frida Poncho
I was going to not knit tonight but thought I could use the relaxation of knitting. A little tip, don't knit angry. My guage changed and I somehow picked up a stitch. Fortunately, I am only on row 11 so frogging this isn't a big deal.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Noro Silk Garden I ordered earlier this month shipped. It should arrive by the middle of next week. I haven't decided if I'm going to buy another set of size 8 tips so I can take Lady Eleanor I out of hibernation or finish Lady Eleanor II.

On my sticks
Ruffles Scarf

The scarf looks better than the picture suggests. Probably because it is laying against a surface while the scarf is meant to drape. I like the color of the yarn but I'm not crazy about working with it. It is 100% alpaca and it seems to be felting at I knit plus the plies separate. Although I'm not crazy about doing short rows, I may knit this again with another yarn like Malabrigo Silk Merino.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Photos of Lady Eleanor Entrelac II

Since I am sick today I don't have much to say about knitting. Here are some photos of Lady E.

I was able to get the base triangles plus 6 rows from 1 skein of Malabrigo worsted. It will take approximately another 5 skeins to finish the stole.

Here is a close-up of the weave pattern. I haven't decided if I'm going to block the stole. The bumps add more texture but blocking will make the stole bigger. I would love a big soft malabrigo stole in which to wrap myself.

Here is that rustic back of the Lady E. that -- to me -- looks as good as the front. I'll never wear this side out but I still like it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And, here comes another stash rationalization. I have been looking at Scout's yarn for the past two weeks. I have been telling myself that I have enough (ha!) yarn and don't need any more. Then I do something really stupid, I look at the FO's in Ravelry. Are you ready for my rationalization, here it is and it's a good one. I'll just buy one skein of fingering and make something like a headband. It's small and a quick knit. I am losing this battle. If she made something in turqoise and deep pink with a smattering of gray I would be all over it. I would have a yarn purchase black out then be surprised when it arrived at my house next week.

On my sticks
Ruffles Scarf
This is out of hibernation. The replacement needles arrived Monday. I did 4 or 5 repeats of the pattern. I have learned that I am not crazy about short rows and a whole scarf of it is going to be painful.

Lady Eleanor Entrelac II - Malabrigo
I did not knit this tonight. I want to take a progress picture before I go any further; I'm almost to the end of the first skein and want a picture of that. I did check out Knitting on the Edge from the library. Instead of doing the fringe in the pattern I want to do a cable trim on either end of the stole.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How does stash happen?

Two weeks ago, I had 2 projects' worth of yarn, as of today I have 6. Make that 8 due to a slight miscalculation I made. I don't remember buying this yarn. I think I had blackout. And, I have a deadline; I have to get most of this used up before January because the Eat.Sleep.Knit malabrigo club starts in January.

Today, after being on back order for over a month, the Knit Picks Gloss Lace in mango finally arrived. It is prettier than the picture. The color is more of a pinky peach. I have decided to make the Muir stole out of it. I will cast on after the Ruffles scarf is finished.

I had dinner with JL tonight. I showed her my new goodie bag. Feel the covet. I also teased her about the thingie I got her that she's going to loooove.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Haiku To-Go Bag

Here is my new knitting bag which I totally love. I sent a request to Scout over at Scout's Swag and she found the bag and had it shipped to me before she left for Rhinebeck. Although this is not designed as a knitting bag it functions perfectly as one. Mainly, it has lots of pockets -- 6 of them -- and one big main compartment. I was able to fit 3 medium projects in the main compartment. I haven't tried it, but I think it is possible to wear the bag messenger style and knit at the same time.

Malabrigo Lace in Cinnabar
This is the Malabrigo my son decided to use as a bouncey ball. My knitting bag has become a source of fun for him. My knitting needles are "scribble sticks". Mover Rich on Playhouse Disney's Imagination Movers uses drumsticks that he calls scribble sticks to draw images in the air which become reality.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac II - Malabrigo
This is moving right along. I have completed 5 rows of rectangles. I started the 6th row but stopped because I felt like I was making simple mistakes. That's what happens when I knit sleepy. I made one slight modification to the pattern. I added 8 stitches to the cast on because I wanted a slightly bigger stole. I'm thinking I should have added 16 stitches instead. I'll have to see when I block it. I haven't had any problems with the Malabrigo felting as I knit.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I knit when I can

This day started when Little Bear decided the whole family should be awake at the crack of dawn. The upside to that is Punkywunks went down for her nap quite easy. Then it was knitting time. I got about two rectangles of the Lady E. II completed when a political campaigner knocked on the door waking her up. (Darn it!)

Since she was up, we went out to brunch, then to Greenberry's for a pumpkin spice latte. All the while I had my knitting bag with me, just in case.

We then went to DH's parents' so he could watch the game and, finally, I could have a chance to knit. MIL kept DS busy with chocolate milk and Disney movies while DD had fun playing with Zayde and being held by DH. She is such a daddy's girl. There was one tense moment when DS reached into my knitting bag and started playing with my yarn. I clenched my jaw a little when he mushed up the Andean Silk. I had to remind myself that he's my child and I love him when he used my balled Malabrigo lace in cinnabar as a bouncey ball. Bonus -- glee and joy -- DD fell asleep. I was able to complete 1.5 rows of Lady E. before we left. I then did another row after the kids went down for the night.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My new knitting bag arrived. I'm happy with it. It has lots of pockets and it is big enough to carry all the projects I would want.

I brought the Malabrigo to daycare so JL could have a look and feel but, alas, she went to drink and be merry at a knitters' gathering while I had dinner with my FIL.

I borrowed Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard from the library. I fell for her work when I first saw the somewhat cowl. This book is definitely on my "Must Buy" list. I want to make every pattern or a variation in this book. This isn't a book of patterns only. It includes advice and tips regarding designing patterns and how to modify patterns to suit one's personal style. This book along with The Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters..., another great technique book, are must-haves for my knitting library.

I would post more about my bag and knitting projects but I want to get further on Lady E. II plus take some more photos before doing that.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I have a yarn yummy

I finally have some Malabrigo worsted. I have the color applewood which is a kettle dyed solid. It is a subtly variegated camel brown with a slight red undertone. The yarn is a rich neutral. It will go with anything. And the texture, oh so soft. As soon as I could I wound, by hand, the hank into a ball. This is the kind of yarn that begs to be wound by hand at least once; just to enjoy the softness. If DH could have seen the look on my face he would have been jealous. The yarn was purchased from Eat.Sleep.Knit, they have great prices, awesome selection and fast shipping; check them out.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac II - Malabrigo
I had to cast-on as soon as I had the yarn balled; this yarn screams, "KNIT ME!" Although this is a popular pattern, I have not seen many in a solid color. The luxurious fiber, neutral yet rich color and entrelac pattern combine to create a luxe but understated piece which can be worn with anything from blue jeans to a business suit.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Props to Knit Picks

I called KP this afternoon to tell them about my faulty Harmony tip. The very nice lady in Customer Service looked up my order, asked me which size tip and shipped another pair out to me. They don't want the broken tip back. No fuss, no muss.

At lunch, I sat in my car and knit. I did a backward loop cast-on. The backward loop is not my favorite method (I am surprised I have an opinion on this). The problem is the first knit row. It takes forever because I have to struggle to get the needle through.

I met JL at Panera to give a little moral support. She had a deadline and was working like crazy to get something finished in time for the VIP's of her company. She was more than a little stressed. But, no probs, she's the best at what she does. I know things turned out perfect. I even got her to giggle a couple of times. I knit while she typed away on her laptop.

On my sticks
Frida Poncho
Since the Noro for Lady E. isn't here and the size 7 tip needed for the Ruffle Scarf is broken I decided to start this project. I'm knitting this in the Knit Picks Andean Silk (yummmmmy). I first cast this in the backward loop. I absolutely hated knitting the first row. Somewhere on the second row I missed some stitches and ended up frogging it any way. When I recast it I did a long tail cast-on instead. Much better. I knit three rows while sitting with JL and knit two more rows after the kids were down. I would have knit more but DH was watching television and I couldn't concentrate on all the counting this pattern requires. I'll post a picture when I get the first 24 rows completed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Best laid plans...

Today was a busy day for the family. We met my parents for brunch, immediately afterwards we had to go to DH's parents' place so DH and his dad could watch a football game together. I made sure we stopped at home before going to his parents because I wanted to grab my knitting. We got there and after finally getting Punkywunks to go down for a nap, I fell asleep in their big comfy arm chair in their nice warm sunroom. Short version, no knitting.

BTW, MIL totally rocks! She bought me some green tea from my favorite tea store, Teavana.

I finally did some knitting after everyone had fallen asleep. While switching the ruffle scarf from the Addi to the Harmony I found that one of the interchangeable needles won't tighten completely. No worries, I heard Knit Picks customer service is the best.

I also knit a swatch of the Andean Silk. Ohhhh.... It is soft and drapey. I was able to get guage but I'm still thinking about going up a size or two.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole

Hibernating Lady E.

Close up of entrelac

This is hibernating. I am at the end of my only skein of Noro and I have no idea when the additional skeins are going to arrive. I love how it is turning. It looks harder than it is. Another great thing about Knit Pick's interchangeables -- the end caps. I took off the needles and replaced with end caps. This also works great if I want to do multiple projects with the same size tips.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Secret lovers...

that's what we are

That is how I feel about my knitting. I have to keep it as some sort of illicit secret from my co-workers. People who have affairs aren't this discrete. I brought my knitting to the office, thinking if my officemate wasn't there I could get a few squares knit at lunch time. He was there. Instead, at lunch, I went down to my car to spend 30 minutes alone with my knitting.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Yarn Goodies

Today was the best knitting day ever (so far).

The Harmony interchangeable needle set and Andean Silk yarn arrived today. I came home at lunch to get the package. I pulled into my parking space and squealed -- yes, squealed -- with delight when I saw the box. I was going to take the box inside, go back to work, and open it when I got home later but, I couldn't wait. I was ripping it open as I walked over the threshold.

First, the Andean Silk. It is so beautiful and soft. I wanted to rub my face in it. I stroked the yarn for a good 5 minutes. I'm not going to cast on until I get through the first ball of yarn for the ruffle scarf.

Second, the interchangeable needles. How did I live before this? They are awesome. I put one size 8 point and an end cap on a 32" cable. I'm planning on moving the Lady Eleanor to the circular when I finish the row.

I sent an email to JL stating that I had knitting goodies to share. Really I just wanted her to be covet. We made plans to meet at her place tonight for some knitting, drinking and coveting.

I brought my son over. He and her daughter watched movies and played in the basement while we drank wine, ate pizza, knit (which is impacted by wine), and looked through knitting books. Does the day get any better?

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole
Because I had a glass of wine and I'm a slow knitter anyway all I accomplished was finishing off the row I was working on and transferring it to the Harmony 32" circular (like buttah). The needles arrived just in time because 10" needles are a tad too small for this project. While I finished the row, I was afraid I was going to drop a stitch.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

In the swing

I have been obsessively checking the status of the Knit Picks order. I should receive the needles and yarn tomorrow. I can't wait. I started a new job last week and it would probably be bad form to take the day off to take delivery of a knitting order.

I'm also getting ideas for making a second Lady Eleanor. I love entrelac and self striping yarn but there are only so many things I would want to wear them. A sweater or cardigan in self striping just looks wrong. Making a Lady E. in a solid color would be nice. I don't see many of them around. I have already chosen the yarn.

I finally looked up "skein" in the dictionary. I didn't know if it is pronounced with a long e, long a, or long i. Drum roll, please. It is prounounced with a long a.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole
I have knit a couple of rectangles on the second row and I like how it is shaping up. I'm happy with the colorway I chose. I have to make this last because my additional yarn won't arrive for a few weeks. When I make this again, I'm going to cast on more stitches. I would like it a couple of inches wider.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Not a good knit night

The one saving grace today is that JL had a crochet hook I could borrow so I could pick up stiches on the entrelac stole. I was feeling hopeful. This was even after my son's little blow up on the car ride home and my husband's foul mood. At least JL understands me.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole

My daughter Punkywunks is still a little sick but not nearly as bad as she was yesterday. I took her upstairs and got her to fall asleep quickly. I was looking forward to some knitting. I settled in, picked up the stitches, sl1 p2tog, then I k8. Something didn't seem right. I looked at the instructions and I followed them correctly. I took a look at Knitty Otter's Entrelac tutorial. TURN, TURN, the freaking instruction in the book are missing one simple freaking instruction: TURN.

Okay, I only knit 7 stitches, it's not going to take anything to rip back. It's just given everything else that happened this evening I wanted this to go smooth.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I must have it!

But, I'm going to be good and resist buying the extra soft Malabrigo worsted in the most gorgeous graphite color ever. I don't even have a project for it, yet. When I am ready I found the perfect source Eat.Sleep.Knit. It looks like they have every color ever made. I could buy one skein of each, lay them on my bed and just roll in them.

Anyway, no knitting today. I have a sick toddler and she is getting all my attention. She's asleep right now but she can wake up at any moment.

Here's a random thought: my friend JL and I should start a knitting\crochet podcast. We could talk about the best way to make an appletini, why our husbands shouldn't irritate us while we are holding the pointy sticks, knitting bags, making lace (for which she has finally caved), and why my ADD keeps me from finishing a project.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I consulted the Vogue Knitting Quick Reference Guide and found a solution to the stitch pick up problem. I can use a crochet hook to pick up the stitches. I wasn't able to try it because between watching the kids during the football game, attending a play, and the lack of a crochet hook I didn't have the time.

No knitting againt today. I picked up my sticks a couple of times to look at the scarf but no stitches were made.

I thought about knitting a lot. I took my iPod with me to the play because it is one I don't particularly like but thought better about it because we sit close to the stage and the actors would have given me the look of death if they saw me placing earbuds during their performance. The production values and implementation and acting of the play was fantastic it is the play itself I have never been fond. We went to Romeo and Juliet. They did an interesting twist to this one. In the fashion of Shakespeare's times all the roles were played by male actors. I probably would have enjoyed the play more if it had been one of the other serious plays like King Lear or MacBeth.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

No knitting today

That doesn't mean something knitting related didn't happen. I chose a knitting bag. It should arrive within the next two weeks. I will take and post pictures when it does.

On my sticks
Ruffles Scarf
This is on hold until the Harmony interchangeables arrive. I want to transfer to them for the rest of the project.

Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole
This was an accidental cast-on. I didn't intend to cast on but the yarn of choice was causing me grief and I wanted to do some practice knitting to determine if I should look for another brand. So far, it looks good. I did the base triangles and the left side triangle of the first row. I'm stuck on picking up the stitches for the first right slanting rectangle. Not really stuck, the stitches are hard to see and I need plently of daylight and few distractions to get this done. I will try it Monday after work when I have some alone time.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Goodies coming

I should have a couple of knitting goodies arriving by the end of next week. The Knit Picks order with the Andean Silk and Harmony interchangeable needles shipped yesterday.

My friend JL has the lace bug. She checked out two lace knitting books from the library which we looked through together last night while eating Milwaukee's Best Custard. Knitting books and ice cream, does it get any better? She just sent me a link to an heirloom lace book. JL, don't fight it, give in to the lace.

I have to laugh at myself

Thank you to Amy and everyone else at Knitting Help who made many useful videos for me to follow whenever I get stuck. You are the best. On the site every stitch is demonstrated in both English and Continental style.

I was browsing these videos last night when I was trying to figure out the backward loop cast-on. I was able to cast-on but for some reason could not get the second row knit. It kept unraveling. I gave up and did a long tail cast-on instead thinking my Lady Eleanor might look a little strange but it works.

Then I came across a stitch I didn't know how to do, k1f&b. Back to Knitting Help to learn. I noticed something odd as I watched the video, Amy (I'll assume Amy) did an English style knit different from mine. I watched the basic knit video. She was definitely doing the knit stitch different. This is where I had a good laugh at myself, after all this time, I've been doing the knit stitch wrong; that would explain my unfortunate knitting ventures.

Again, thank you Amy at Knitting Help. My knitting looks much better now.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

An open letter to Yarn Maker X

Names and swear words have been removed.

Dear Yarn Maker X,

I have to ask, "Is there some joke I'm not getting or do you hate knitters?"

Your yarn is gorgeous. It is soft and warm and pretty. Your colors are outstanding, and your palettes are sophisticated. All that said, your yarn is expensive and it breaks on purpose and for that I hate you.

By design, the yarn has varied thickness because some sections are spun tighter than others. Great for texture, bad for doing something like actually knitting. In the places where it is loose, it breaks. At $11.00 a skein this is unexpected -- some would even say unacceptable -- yarn behavior.

There are yarn snobs who would say this very characteristic is what makes this yarn desirable and it is possibly my Western ideas of what $11.00 yarn should act like that need re-evaluating. They may even go so far as to insinuate that there is something wrong with me because I don't enjoy the challenge presented by my yarn breaking mid-stitch.

I know there is a simple solution to yarn breakage and that is splicing the yarn; but, I don't want to spit on $11 a skein yarn.

I should thank you for one thing. Because of this yarn, I have learned to be a loose knitter.



P.S. Did I mention I hate you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Looking for a knitting bag

I was proud of myself. Instead of going out and buying a new knitting bag I used a diaper bag for carrying around my stuff. But, I hit a road block. The company I work for issued a laptop to me but not a bag to carry it. It fits perfectly in my knitting bag where the changing pad used to be. Plus, with all the pockets it can fit power cords and peripherals, and the big open pocket is great for carrying tech manuals and a Kindle. I guess I'm going to have to buy a knitting bag.

I have it narrowed down to three. The to-go bag by haiku, malibu by namaste and knitter's tote by Eagle Craftstor. They all have their selling points. The haiku bag isn't a knitting bag but it has lots of pockets and could probably hold two medium size projects at once. And, the haiku can go incognito, I could take that to work and noone would know it contains knitting, therefore avoiding the "you're weird" look. The namaste bag is huge. I could probably get an afghan into it. It's somewhat stylish, it could also be on the low down. The knitter's tote, just read the description. My friend JL has one and it rocks. The best parts are the grommets in yarn pockets. She could have two or three projects going and not have to worry about tangled yarn.

Maybe I should buy two bags.

Losing the stash avoidance battle

Last night after I mentioned I placed another Knit Picks order for Andean Silk yarn, JL pointed out that for someone trying to avoid stash I'm not doing a good job. But, I'm still in denial. Although I have enough yarn on order to keep me busy for, at least, the next 6 months, I don't consider this stash, and, of course, I don't plan on buying any more yarn until all that I have is used.

I have also revised the stash management rules:
1. No more than one plastic storage box full of yarn/projects.
2. All yarn must be associated with a project.
3. Lace weight doesn't count as stash.
4. No more than 5 projects may be stashed.
5. Allowances will be made for cashmere on sale.

This is my stash as it stands:
Classic Elite Alpaca
I don't think this counts because it is part of my current stash busting project.

Knit Picks Gloss Lace
Lace weight doesn't count.

Knit Picks Andean Silk
This is celebratory yarn for starting a new job. Plus, given that the gloss has been pushed back twice it will keep me busy until it arrives.

Noro Silk Garden
I admit, this is a yarn-fume-haze-gotta-have-it-now-because-it's-gorgeous purchase. After knitting this I got drunk on the yummy.