Wednesday, May 30, 2007


As far as I'm concerned,
there won't be a Beetles reunion as long as John Lennon remains dead.
-George Harrison

Let's talk about the best weekend ever.
There was talk and laughter and a record turn out for a fifth reunion.
There was Campus Dance, New England's biggest party. And my (afianced) beau all dressed up.There was green space. (This you do not see in California!) And Waterfire.And there were friends. Lots and lots of friends, but two whom you know. Rachel was running the Commencement Procession, and Liz was in it (sorry, no photo).
And also, there were hours on the airplane and lots of knitting on the Chuppah. Those photos to follow.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Re-Sounding Delight

The most basic of all human needs is the need
to understand and be understood.
The best way to understand people is to listen to them.
— Ralph Nichols

I just got back from a great reunion weekend . . . and details to follow. In the meantime, my analysis of the podcast situation . . .

All your podcast suggestions were a re-sounding delight (pun very intended, thankyouverymuch!). Since I spent a goodly amount of iPod time in the past few weeks trying out new ones, I thought I'd share some thoughts on the ones I tested.

First, the successes:
  • Stash and Burn - Talk about talking about knitting . . . and I love the way they measure their stashes.

  • It's A Purl Man - I was totally taken from the first time I heard the theme music.

  • Sticks and String - I might be fooled by the Australian accent, but it's a good kind of fooled. This is a good time.

  • The Knitting Cook - Currently on maternity leave, but plenty of archives to sift through. And should be coming back one of these months.

  • Socks in the City - All sock knitting, all the time. I love it.

  • The News From Lake Wobegone - How did I miss that this was now a podcast? Glad to have remedied that.

And, in the not-for-me category:

  • Lime and Violet - I know this is popular, so I gave it three whole shows before giving up. But it seems like all they do is talk about yarn people sent them. And that laugh! Not for me.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ravenclaw to Ravenclaw

Censure aquits the raven but pursues the dove.

It's time to win some points for my Ravenclaw House - and what better way to do it than to knit socks for my pal, another Ravenclaw. It's unusual in this swap to have a pal in the same house, but I got lucky. These are the Diagonal Rib Socks from Interweave's Favorite Socks in a new-to-me yarn, Regia Stretch. I love the way it's working up on my Lantern Moon Sock Sticks, a gift from my pal in this swap. Sometimes a gal just gets lucky. And with a swap like this? Many gals get lucky.

Labels: ,

More Thoughts on Summer Knits

Summer afternoon - summer afternoon;
to me these have always been
the two most beautiful words in the English language.
-Henry James

Let's ponder some more the paradox of summer knits. Some of us were discussing this at knitting group last week. And we came up with some discussion points:
  1. Who hasn't seen adorable summer knits? (Or Sknitty's list here)
  2. Who isn't drawn to the concept of a top that doesn't take three months (or more) to knit?
  3. Who doesn't envision some kind of alternate universe where they are dancing around in cute skirts and adorable tops and don't have to go to work?
And then there's the reality:
  1. When it is hot enough to wear sleeveless, isn't it really too hot to wear worsted weight, or - worse - bulky?
  2. Why do so many of these adorable and even lightweight tanks have lace all over, thus (in my world, at least) necessitating a camisole underneath? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of a summery little top?
  3. What do the sleeves of short sleeve sweaters really do for anyone? Anything good?
Any thoughts? Please share your successes and failures with summer knits. Those of you who have made Picovoli - was it as good as you thought? And Green Gable - it looks so cute. Is it? And the $60,000 question - how often do you wear your summer knits?

While waiting with baited breath for your thoughts, here's a much better photo of the Rice Stitch Sweater in progress: I think this has great potential as a summer knit given that it is lightweight, 3/4 length sleeves, and a perfectly summery shade of blue. But time will tell.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Evolution of an Evening.

Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close;
Something attemped, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Last night was one of those nights perfect for knitting. The (afianced) beau was on call, I had a new DVD from Netflix, and nothing pressing. Time to knit. But what? The Chuppah is, of course, the biggest priority, but it's actually also portable and will probably be finished on my plane trip East this weekend. So I had the freedom to muddle with some of the other projects.

Last weekend I started, as you may recall, the Ballet T-Shirt from Loop-d-Loop. And last night I tried it on. It's down to the bust, and it actually looks better than I might have thought. But I wondered if I'd ever wear it. -- Brief comment: the pattern in the book actually has only two sizes, the largest of which is a 28" bust, with the comment that it is "stretchy." I'm actually using the pattern for the Ballet Sweater from Interweave Knits (Spring?) 2005 without the sleeves. -- But I'm still thinking that it'll never be a go-to sweater for me, that I'll never pick it up out of all the possibilities in my drawers and closet and actually wear it, except, perhaps, out of a sense of "should" . . .

So I pondered using this purple yarn (which randomly showed up in my mailbox one day and which I now like very much) for it's offshoot, Picovoli. This is a t-shirt that Grumperina designed, inspired by the Ballet T-Shirt, but to actually look good on a real woman. What a concept. And it seems to have worked - check out the gallery, where it's obvious it does look good on many women. But then I got lazy, of a sorts, and really didn't really feel like doing a provisional cast-on for the picot edge. So I contemplated Green Gable. . . so much so that I downloaded it. But somehow I just didn't feel like it either. And I didn't feel like ripping out the Ballet T-Shirt either. It is, after all, about halfway done.

So I then I turned to a completely different project with different yarn and a different pattern and actual sleeves. This is a sweater from an old Family Circle Easy Knitting, back when that magazine existed, written for Cotton-Ease. Ironically, the magazine hit the stands very shortly before Cotton-Ease was discontinued and has several wonderful patterns for the yarn. I've already made the zippered cardigan (which I wear all the time, in spite of the tragic zipper story here) and at the same time had photocopied this 3/4-sleeve sweater pattern and stuck it in a bag with an appropriate amount of Cotton-Ease in a lovely blue that is totally not captured by either photo (it's been very overcast in San Diego lately). I think I had intended to do it two summers ago when I was traveling, but never did. And then I intended to do it last summer. And then . . . last night just seemed like the night. And after a few false starts wherein I proved that I can't count to six, I've already knit about 6 inches of the back in a rice pattern (close up in the completely mis-represented color on the right). And I'm just loving it. Simple, but not boring. Relaxing. It's measuring out to just the right measurements. And Cotton-Ease has such a delightful drape. (I'm knitting this on US7s.) While it won't be the summer tank I was planning, I do like the way my evening evolved. Expect to see this one fly off the needles.

Given my not-inconsiderable number of UFOs - Why the quest for another sweater, you may ask? Rowena is blocking - and drying - and my only other sweater in progress is a Debbie Bliss Aran in denim. Which I can't really start until I'm done the Chuppah, so that the indigo dye doesn't transfer from my hands.

This post seems to have a lot of free-association in it, I realize. But so did my evening.

Labels: ,

Sunday, May 20, 2007

You Are the Guy

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go.
-Dr. Seuss

You all remember my brother Billy, right? You remember how - just about this time last year - he helped me drive all 2742 miles from Pennsylvania to San Diego. How we met Jen and he decided that maybe I wasn't completely crazy (only half) about this blog thing. And how we all wanted him to learn how to knit. Well, he hasn't exactly learned how to knit (yet). But it is time to celebrate anyway.Billy graduated! Congratulations!

There are few people for whom I will take a single day of leave and fly cross-country - and back - to see them walk across a stage, but this guy is definitely one of them. And even if I can never convince him to do his own knitting, he's been developing an appreciation for knitted goods recently. Maybe we'll wear him down with hats and scarves and finally convince him to sign on for a sweater one of these years.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 18, 2007

Been There, Done That

If you hold a cat by the tail you will learn things
you cannot learn any other way.
-Mark Twain

I'm careening across space and time this weekend to go hang out with the family at my brother's graduation, so entertain yourselves with this while I'm gone. I'm not entirely sure where I first saw this, but I like it. The Knitters' "Been Around" Meme.

Key: Bold=done, Italics=Will Do, Normal=No Way

Garter stitch

Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up

Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk

Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns

Knitting with bananafiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting

Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own handspun yarn

Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns

Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)

Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting

Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colours
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies...)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone elses handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting

Teaching a male how to knit

Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars simultaneously

Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO

Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Entrelac Knitting and purling backwards

Machine knitting
Knitting with selfpatterning/selfstriping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere

Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen

Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/armwarmers

Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets

Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public


Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Crafty Weekend

The land of the fairy,
where nobody gets old and godly and grave,
where nobody gets old and crafty and wise,
where nobody gets old and bitter of tongue.

-William Butler Yeats

I am thoroughly enjoying my month on Dermatology for several reasons. The good and noble reasons have to do with how much I'm learning and how this is actually required for my Internal Medicine Residency. The less good and noble reasons involve how there is no call, and I have entire weekends off. For an entire month. And, for the record, these are the first consecutive two-day periods I've had off in about 7 months. It's really nice. And I'm keeping plenty busy . . . which is why I'm getting around to posting about my weekend on, um, Thursday.

So, in addition to all that quality time with my sewing machine (three cheers!), and a birthday party, game night, and a Padres game, I did a whole bunch of work on some long-term knitting projects.

Rowena saw a great deal of fuddly finishing (ruffles!) and is getting very very close to blocking time. (I usually seam before wet blocking.) You know it's been a long-term project when my fiance comments that I've been working on it "for a long time."The Chuppah, of course, got it's due attention and is coming along. The border is now half done, and again I feel so greatly indebted to Victorian Lace Today for their excellent corner-turning instructions. Above and beyond.

I also started the Ballet T-Shirt, with many mods, from Loop-d-Loop. You'd be correct if you guessed that this was a book I owned from which I had not yet knit anything. . . . it's a Book-a-Month thing. (And, between you and me, I'm kind of glad there's only one month left after this one.)

And knitting even found it's way into non-knitting activities. The Retro Ribs saw some action at the Padres game.

And, speaking of baseball, take a good, close-up look at this photo - It caught the ball in mid-pitch, halfway between the pitcher and batter, all the way from the Upper Deck.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


The scientific theory I like most is that the rings of Saturn
are composed entirely of lost airline luggage.
- Mark Russell

I have a couple of plane trips coming up (another one of the joys of Dermatology - I can take leave!). Both are to delightful and exciting events:

  1. My brother Billy is graduating from college. (Maryland)
  2. My fifth college reunion. (Providence, Rhode Island)

And both involve lots of air travel. (The second trip, in particular, due to a particularly busy travel weekend, has multiple stops.) And I've come to a stunning realization. I only listen to one knitting podcast (Cast On, for those who must know). I listen to lots and lots of other podcasts, but I would like some other knitting options, for those times you just want to hear about knitting as you knit your way across the sky.

Let's make a deal, shall we? I'll share a list of my favorite podcasts, and you share yours. Knitting and crafty related ones are highly sought, but any suggestions are welcome.

OK, your turn!

Labels: ,

Monday, May 14, 2007

About Time

Time has no divisions to mark its passage,
there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets
to announce the beginning of a new month or year.
-Thomas Mann

It's only taken me a year . . .

I made a bobbin.
And threaded the sewing machine.
And sewed three seams. To make this very irregularly-shaped pillow insert.
Which I stuffed mostly with yarn scraps, plus a little Fiberfill. (You knew I was saving them for a reason, didn't you?) Because I wanted a very firm pillow.
Because of it's awesome (and rather unusual) shape.The Humbug Pillow is now finished (my UFO Resurrection for May). More importantly, my sewing machine is all threaded up, and I actually sewed something. I'm embarassed to say how easy it was. . . Any thoughts for what my next project should be? This was fun.

The Humbug Pillow
Pattern: from Debbie Bliss' Home
Yarn: Cotton Ease (Old Style) - stash busting!
Needles: US 8 circulars, something metal
Notes: I didn't swatch, so I just knit it to the dimensions and made the pillow as long as they said. I suspect that my gauge was a little tight because the photo is the book is more "square" whereas mine has a distinct oblong-ness - it's longer in one direction. But it's perfect for lying back against. Also, I was worried that the lining fabric might show through, so I picked something complimentary and on sale. Isn't it cute?
Best Thing About This Project: Clearly, using my sewing machine. But a runner up is how much I like the finished project. It's a perfect reading pillow - props your head up at just the right angle.

The weekend was full of all sorts of other crafty goodness (of the knitting variety) as well. It's incredible how long an actual weekend - two whole days off - is.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Rowena Randomness

Rowena: Fame and Joy
- Latinized version of a German name
  • I'm seaming every chance I get, rapidly approaching The Final Ruffle.
  • My raglan shaping modifications look amazing.
  • The sweater is going to fit it's intended recipient (not me). Three cheers!
  • This is one cute cute cute sweater.
  • Seaming the ruffles sure is hard work! (Inside, outside, leaving the space inside to thread a ribbon.)
  • I'm really used to making sweaters with 100g balls of yarn rather than 50g balls. This makes a huge difference in the number of ends to weave in.
  • Oh, wait. There are still button bands to make.
  • And buttons to buy.
  • As well as a ribbon.
  • Hmmmm . . . Maybe it's not as done as I thought.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Hogwarts Express

Differences of habit and language are nothing at all
if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.
-Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

It's arrived. The Hogwarts Express came to my humble muggle home. And while I have not had the time this week to be express-like in blogging about it, I couldn't be more thrilled. My Hogwarts Swap partner was Mikki, and she went above and beyond to send a fabulous package. It's like my questionairre come to life. You can read about all the action in the Hogwarts Sock Swap Official Blog, but the basic gist of it all was to send some socks - themed to the house into which your pal was sorted - and some other goodies. For the Ravenclaws among us, there's a bit of a dilemma - book colors or movie colors? Mikki did both. Don't you love the striping? I think these are Jaywalkers. They sure look like it, and they fit great. Not only that, she made adorable stitch markers from the same yarn. She also sent my first ever skein of Socks That Rock in a gorgeous spring-like colorway - I can hardly wait to get started! And when I do . . . it'll be on my new Lantern Moon sock dpns. How I love me a good set of double-pointed needles. The rest of the goodness you can see for yourself up there. It's just fabulous all around.

Now to start planning out my package (and, um, knitting the socks). The good news? My pal is also a Ravenclaw. And I have plenty of blues around.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sleeve Island

How I wish that somewhere there existed an island
for those who are wise and of good will.
-Albert Einstein

I don't often get to take a trip to the lovely scenic destination commonly known as sleeve island. But occasionally, it happens. I was, at one point, zipping along on this baby sweater. For bonus points, I even did the button band and collar (can't you see the vision of delightful contrasty-ness?). And then I did the worst of all possible things - I thought I'd be clever. I thought I didn't want to seem chenille. (I'd already converted the body into a single piece.) I thought I'd pick up and knit down, changing the increases to decreases and knitting it all in the round. It seemed to make so much sense at the time. . . .

But, boy, it sure is annoying to have the whole sweater dangling off your dpns! And thus, my trip to sleeve island began. Because after this first one? There's a whole second armhole just waiting.

Labels: ,

Sunday, May 06, 2007

So Delightfully Victorian

It is a truth universally acknowledged
that a single man in possession of a great fortune
must be in want of a wife.
-Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

There are opening lines and there are opening lines. And then there are closing lines. And then there are all the lines in between. And then there's the gal who can actually recite the entirety of Pride and Prejudice from memory. (She can also recite most of The Cutting Edge, which is another classic for another time.) So when a gal like this (and I speak, of course, of the flitgirl) pulls out her 45 issues of Martha Stewart Weddings to plan her dream wedding, are you surprised that her bridesmaids' dresses are delightfully Victorian? Empire waist. Shirred bodice. A delicate color of gold. Truely lovely. (In a way that contrasts hideously with my bedspread, hence the partial photos.) The arrival of my bridesmaid gown (for this is an evening, classy affair) inspired a few more progress photos of the Chuppah. The border is flying around the first corner (and may I commend Victorian Lace Today for a fabulous description of how to arrange the stitches on a knitted-on wide lace border!). And it is so delightfully Victorian as well.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Also Off the Radar

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
-Margaret Atwood

I'm frankly not quite sure what I've been blogging about. It seems that so much of my knitting has been off the radar. Do you recognize these socks? They made a brief appearance when we met Nova, but other than that, they seem to have sprung from my purse fully formed. Feather and Fan Socks
Pattern: Feather and Fan Socks from Socks, Socks, Socks! by XRX
Yarn: KnitPicks Memories in . . . something. Gardenia, maybe?
Needles: Brittany Birch US2 dpns
Notes: Not a single change. This is quite the perfect pattern.
Best Thing About This Project: Spring. And the way this pattern is just delightful for very varigated yarn.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Small Changes

Without a hoop, without a ruffle,
One external jig and shuffle.

-Catherine Marie Fanshaw

Thanks to Jenn for pointing out that I've knit nearly all of Rowena (from Knit2Together) without posting. So let me wax poetic for a moment on the joy of knitting plain stockinette. When reading. When studying. When one is too tired to knit lace. When one is riding (not driving, just riding) in a dark car. When waiting for friends at a restaurant. Or really, any time that isn't reserved for knitting of a higher order. That's why so much has gotten done. Each piece of Rowena (1 back, 2 fronts, 2 sleeves) begins with a ruffle and then proceeds merily in stockinette stitch, with a raglan at the top. Easy peasy.

I did make a few small changes to the pattern as written, so I'll share them here now. Because if I wait any longer, it'll be done. Above you can see what I didn't change - how the turning edge looks with the purl turning row and the kfb increase every other stitch. I think the turning row is crucial to letting the ruffle be kind of flat and not too '80s-pouffy. To the left you can see the part of the ruffle that I did change. Although Laura recently had a good experience sewing down hems, I like to knit them up. It makes the sweater seem so much more finished as I knit it.

The pattern didn't clearly account for a place to knit the hem stitches together. There are 11 rows on each side of the hem, and the back has half the stitches of the front (hence the ruffle - following?) On the 12th row, you decrease the number of stitches in the ruffle by half (back to your starting number - still following?). On the 11th row, then, I picked up my hem by knitting one stitch of the cast on (just a regular long-tail cast on) with one stitch from the ruffle - only I used every other ruffle stitch. And it worked great. Because of the pouffiness of the ruffle, I can't really see the hem knit up. Can you?

The only other change I've made involves the raglan decreases. The pattern calls for decreasing the last two stitches of the row together, which makes for rather poor seaming in my experience. Examining the photo in the book, however, it was clear that they wanted to minimize or de-emphasize the raglan lines. It is not, after all, a sporty sweater by any means. Instead, I decided to put the decreases in one stitch from each edge, but to make them fully-fashioned, i.e. angled into the edge rather than away from it. (Like in this pattern.) So far it looks nice in the pieces (and I thought I had a photo somewhere . . .), so let's hope it looks good all sewn together.

Need a refresher on the other sweater details? My early posts about it are here and here.