Monday, January 29, 2007

What you can do with cable needles

Well, obviously, you can cable with them. They can also come in handy for doing twisted stitches, especially if you're paranoid about dropping stitches. But at the moment, mine are holding my hair up:

I know I'm not the first person to use knitting needles to hold up hair, so I can hardly be the first to use two cable needles for the purpose. I was sitting at me desk knitting and wishing I had a clip handy to pull my hair up with. Then I saw the cable needles and thought, "hmm, those look sort of like giant bobby pins, I bet they'll do." And the result? So much better for the job than straights. (BTW, do you have any idea how difficult it is to photograph the back of your own head?)

On to the actual knitting. I didn't have a productive weekend, at least not the way muggles measure productivity. I didn't clean my apartment or do laundry, I didn't work out, and I didn't run errands. What I did do was knit, watch Cary Grant movies, knit, and listen to audiobooks. For all the time I spent knitting, though, I don't feel like I got a whole lot done.

The weekend production consists of approximately 3-4 inches of purple washcloth, 1.3 baby socks, and 3 inches of a Bayerische sock. I'm particularly liking the Bayerische sock - the twisted stitches are a lot of fun to knit, and I really like the patterns. Unfortunately, it's the baby socks that have a deadline... I figure I need to knit half a baby sock a day to meet my goal of having three pairs to give at the shower. We'll see.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Oh man, what a week this has been... The most non-knitting excitement of the week was this:
It snowed last night. Well, snow blew around in the air, anyway. I don't think it ever actually touched the ground. There certainly wasn't any snow on the ground this morning, which I found terribly disappointing.

In other fields, I've learned a few things this week (part of why I am so very glad that it's Friday). First, never try to cut back on caffeine the same week that you're sleeping two hours less than normal each night - it's just not going to make for a smooth, happy, productive week. Second, late Thursday night of said week is a most inefficient time to try to balance one's checkbook. I got it done, but it took twice as long as it ought to have. Third, it can be dangerous to work too close to a yarn store, especially when that store's having a sale. And finally (although I knew this already), I love getting mail.

Today at lunchtime I walked over to the yarn store near my work. I was looking for some needles - DPNs and small Addi Naturas (for lace knitting). No luck on the Naturas, but I did get a set of DPNs. I also got a skein of Anne by Schaefer, in a completely gorgeous purple/blue/teal/green colorway (it's at the bottom of the picture). I'm trying to find the right sock pattern for it - Pomatomus is a possibility, but I'm not sure yet. Friday was made that much better when I came home to, not one, but two boxes of yarn and needles. I am now well equipped for making oodles of baby socks :-) Today's acquisitions:

And now, if you'll pardon me, this is how I'm spending the rest of my evening:

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Stash Enhancements

I was going to be a good, healthy, responsible adult today. I was going to come home, work out, get groceries, balance my checkbook, and go to bed early. Instead, I came home, worked out, got groceries, opened the box from my mom that I knew had yarn in it, ordered more yarn/patterns/Dale patches, and stayed up late to blog.

The take:
Top: 4 balls of Inca Silk (80% alpaca, 20% silk) by Ram Wools, color 1900. I don't know what it will become, possibly a scarf.
Middle: 4 balls Patons Kroy Socks in Norfolk Blue. Part of this is going to become Bayerische socks. I don't know about the rest.
Bottom: 2 skeins of Hand Maiden Sea Silk in a fantastic purpley color. I don't know what this will become either, but I'm thinking something worn close to the skin, because of the fantastic way it feels. Plus, I love the way it smells. The seacell smell reminds me of a day at the beach or some really good sushi, I can't quite decide which. But I love the yarn. Maybe I'll just keep it on my desk and occasionally fondle/smell it until I decide what to make with it.

I leave you with another confession. A few days ago, I promised a picture of the grey Lopi sweater. I couldn't find a way to make it interesting, but here it is - the body and one sleeve:
The confession is this: This grey Lopi sweater is my Olympic knitting. I've learned a few things from this. Clearly, planning to do a whole sweater was a bit overambitious for someone who was a full-time student with mandatory extracurricular activities and a massive senior design project. Second, I don't like Lopi quite as well as I thought I would. It's kind of a rough wool and knitting with it for too long makes my hands hurt (this happens much sooner with Lopi than anything else I've knit). Third, trust but verify. This includes the size labels on knitting needles. I had swatched on some 6s and 7s borrowed from my mom, decided on 7s and went to buy my own. Except the package that claimed to be a 32-inch, size 7 circular contained a 32-inch, size 6 circular. I didn't realize this until I had finished the body. I'd put it on waste yarn, pulled it on, and was puzzled that it seemed tighter than it ought to have been. At that point, I finally checked the needle size. The stitch count in the sleeves has been adjusted (increased) to account for using 6s, so I'm hoping it'll turn out OK. And if not, there are lots of people smaller than me who could use a good, warm wool sweater, so I'll donate it.

And now, it's past my bedtime. I'm off to dream about Sea Silk and nifty socks and dying self-striping yarn. :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I have frightfully little knitting to share, since most of my time the past two days has been spent doing such adult things as getting a friend to come jump start my car, earning a living, and cleaning my apartment, or at least getting it clean enough that I'm o.k. with complete strangers coming through it. So to make up for the lack of actual knitting, I have knitting-related confessions.

1. I have never knit a sock. I've never even attempted a sock. Despite that, I am completely confident that I will have at least three pairs of baby socks for a baby shower in two weeks. Oh, and the yarn for said socks probably won't be here until Friday or Monday. Here's why I'm confident: a) they're small, so they should go fast, b) they're small, so they're easily portable, c) they're small, so memorizing the instructions should be easy, and d) I know how to turn a heel.
This is the only bit of knitting I've done in two days. It's a heel. It's my first heel. If it were a sock, it probably wouldn't fit anybody, but I just wanted to test drive the instructions. This is a heel following the baby sock instructions from Dale's St. Moritz, except that it's knit out of Falk instead of Baby Ull and on size 4 needles instead of size 2.

2. About two years ago, when my mom first told me that she reads knitting blogs, I laughed in her face. I think I even went so far as to call her a dork, and probably said something about how that was the lamest thing I'd ever heard. Then a couple months later I was back home for a few weeks, and happened to hear my parents (note the plural) at the computer, laughing themselves silly. They were reading Yarn Harlot. I was intrigued - what could possibly be so entertaining? So I read some on my own. In about ten minutes, I was hooked. And clearly the universe was trying to teach me something about not being judgmental. Apparently, I didn't learn my lesson. I thought, "O.k., I can see why people read knitting blogs, but still, who would think their knitting is worth sharing with the world?" Well, two years later, I start a blog and now I get the answer to that, too. There's a lot of fun to be had in sharing a hobby with people, even if you never actually meet them. And the sharing's a lot more fun with a blog than without. So while the universe is teaching me to eat my words, here's to knitbloggers everywhere!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I heart decreases

Until yesterday, everything I've ever finished had either been rectangular, with constant stitch count, or non-rectangular but growing every row. I'd never finished anything that ended by getting smaller. Enter the hat. When I dug it out of the ziplock bags I'd stuffed it and its yarn into last April, I'd left off a row or two before the row of picking up the hem. Picking up the hem was a pain (and made for a really wonky looking row before blocking), but the rest of the hat just flew by, especially the decreases in the crown. I really hadn't expected to finish anything this weekend, but I got the knitting and weaving in of ends done last night, and then this evening I added tassels to the earflaps. My only frustration is that the hat stretched when I blocked it, so it went from fitting perfectly to being a bit lose. I think I'm going to give it a trip through the dryer and see what that does for it. At worst, it will shrink it too much, and I'll have a hat that doesn't fit... as opposed to what I have now, which is a hat that doesn't quite fit.

Pattern: Flaps from Danish Earflap Cap and crown from Norwegian Star, both by Charlene Schurch; colorwork from Dale of Norway's St. Moritz, a combination of two charts.
Yarn: Falk by Dalegarn
On other fronts, the Lopi sweater is coming along, too. The sleeve that had languished since about last March as just half a sleeve is now a full, completed sleeve. So that leaves the other sleeve and the yoke still to do on that sweater. Pictures to come soon if I can think of a way to make heathered grey sleeves interesting.

Finally, a little bit about the Flying Squirrel. It's knit from Nashua Creative Focus Chunky, on size 10.75 needles. Every three balls produced four squares, so the total usage was 9 balls for the squares plus another ball and a half in black for finishing.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Welcome to the Knitting Sanitarium!

This is about the fourth attempt I've made at starting a blog, but it's the first one that I actually like the appearnce of. It's also the first attempt I've made since graduating, so I think that means the chances of its being updated regularly and having interesting content are about 1000 times higher than they were while I was still a student. Real knitting content to start within a few days, I promise.

In the meantime, a little bit about me: My name is Meredith. I live in Arlington, VA and work in Washington, DC. I learned to knit several years ago, but didn't really start seriously knitting until about a year ago (when school quit trying so hard to beat me into the ground). Since then, I've zealously started rather more projects than I've finished, including a sweater, gloves, corset, and hat. Currently, I'm on a mission to maintain a constant number of WIPs, which means finishing one of the neglected projects before I go wantonly casting on for any of the zillions of ideas flitting around my head.

I leave you with a picture of the finished object of which I am proudest: the Flying Squirrel.