Monday, April 30, 2007

That Time of the Month

A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature.

Given that it's the last day of the month, I should probably share the new project of the month. I did start early, but the blogging? Somehow that fell behind.

The concept, to bring up to speed those of you who may be newer readers of the blog, is that every month this year I pick a new project from a book that I own, but from which I've never knit anything. I call it My Book-a-Month Plan. And there are 13 months, because I have 13 four-week rotations in my intern year. The original idea was that I should either knit things from the books I own, or clear out the space. The book this month, however, I just bought last month, but that would get us to the second benefit of this plan.

I'm trying to be a focused knitter these days, since The Chuppah is such a big project. But I can't only knit one thing, and I can't never cast on for something new. So this project is my one "out" each month, in addition to my Resurrected UFO and a couple of socks. So far, it's working well. And in the last two months, picking baby sweaters has kept me from getting too many new UFOs.

For this month, Louisa Harding's Natural Knits for Babies and Moms is a wonderful treasury of adorable - and adaptable - patterns. And the one that caught my eye this month? The Adorable Chenille Cardigan is a) adorable and b) uses stash yarn. In the book, the cardigan is monochromic. But as I pulled out the basket with my treasured stash of Cotton Chenille, I saw these two colors sitting together. And I saw that the cardigan had a seed stitch bottom edge, collar, and button band. And I thought an off-white body with a maroon edging would be just perfect. And so far, so good. In fact, so far, so better. Because all it lacks now are two sleeves. And some up-to-date photos.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Random Saturday

In common things that round us lie
Some random truths he can impart, --
The harvest of a quiet eye
That broods and sleeps on his own heart.
-William Wordsworth

Welcome to Random Saturday! (Seals on the beach in La Jolla)

  1. First off, if I owe you an email (and if you're reading my blog, I probably owe you an email), it's coming. It's been a crazy four or so days at work, so hang tight.

  2. Alas, no knitting photos. See #1 above.

  3. Rowena is 80% done? Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, indeed. Maybe even more at this stage. I realize it's just been off the blog radar, but it's kind of incredible how all that stockinette just seems to knit itself. Posts coming soon about the joy of ruffles and also changes I made to the decreases.

  4. Ribby Cardi - Bonne Marie emailed me some helpful hints, one of which was that I had an older version of the pattern and that the new version has a deeper raglan. As a bonus, she sent me a copy of the new version of the pattern. I owe her an email, too (of course), but I'm very impressed with her diligence and unsolicited (but very welcome) pattern support.

  5. This is good because I'm now dying to make Ariann. Have you seen Cara's version?

  6. And about starting Ariann, should I make it in Cotton Ease or Cascade 220? I have some lovely (old-style) blue Cotton Ease in the stash, and it might be lovely for San Diego. But I think I may have enough Red Cascade 220 in the stash. Decisions, decisions.

  7. The Chuppah border is coming along swimmingly. We had a day of lectures on Navy-specific medical stuff, which was a solid five hours of knitting (before we had to run our Physical Readiness Test . . . only in the Navy). I'm now half-way down one side, and there is an anticipated 50-60 hours of knitting on it left. Should be done by early June for an early July wedding. And looking lovely, I might add.
  8. And I did get a Webs order the other day. I'm thinking Regia Silk for my Hogwarts Swap Partner. There was a sale, after all.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Big Foot

It's not about retro or modern.
It's about this note or that note, which sounds better?
-Dan Hicks

While most of my plane-car-and-other vacation knitting was occupied by the Chuppah, I did have a chance to knit a little on the Retro Ribs for my bethrothed. It's a truely lovely pattern, as so many of you had recommended. Easy to knit, but still interesting. Fun. And even though it's shown in a solid-color on the samples, it's really showing off the varigated Koigu very well.

So far the only modification I've had to make is that I did have to add an extra repeat (8 stitches) to accomodate the large feet of a certain someone. The pattern claims that there is much stretchiness within it, and there is, but not quite enough to make a men's large.

In other news, I'm still working on sorting out the sizing thing for Ribby Cardi. But in the meantime, is anyone out there a size 34"-36" and under 5'2" and want a (ever so slightly) fulled Ribby Cardi? Yours for the asking; just email me.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Focus on the Zipper

It is a bad plan that admits no modification.
-Publius Syrius

Talking about Ribby Cardi -

Let's start with the positive. You've all correctly identified all the things I love about this sweater:

- The zipper. I did do a fabulous job, if I say so myself.
- The colors. Aren't they cute?
- Cascade 220. A great yarn.
- The pattern. It's just so functional. . . . if it fit.

But you've also helped me figure out what's wrong:
- It's the raglan shape. It's too steep and probably not long enough. This leads to the sleeves being too short (pulled up too high) and the neck being too open (not enough raglan).
- The sleeves are too tight across the upper arm and shoulders. I'm not the only one with this problem.
- Is it gauge? Specifically, row gauge? Nope, seems to be pretty dead on. (For once.)

It seems like I'm not the only one with fit issues. It's a close-fitting sweater with good schematics (three cheers for good schematics in patterns!), but somehow several of us have had issues with the sizing. And mostly across the raglan/arms/shoulders.

Possible contributing factors:
- None of us can measure. Ourselves or our knitting.
- Gauge lies. And row gauge is big in raglans.
- We aren't very good at accounting for the ribbing and how it would stretch out and then shorter (make sense?).
- If, like me, you were measuring off a store-bought ribbed sweater, you didn't take into account that worsted weight and fingering weight need different amounts of ease.

Possible answer:
- Bonne Marie herself emailed me offering suggestions. How fabulous is that? I'll let you know what she says.

And there's one thing you couldn't have known:

- I'll have to use her advice for my next Ribby Cardi. Why? In an attempt to block it out more, I also used it as a trial run for the handwash function on my front-loading washer. Let's just say that it turns out to not be an actual handwash function.

(See the fuzziness at left? Now it's really too small across the shoulders.) Anyone else worry that this is passive aggressive behavior on my part? Might be. But I'll be back tomorrow with the solution to our problems. And then I just might be starting a new Ribby Cardi once I know how to make it right.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Another Zipper

I fell off the stage and bruised some ribs.
The worst part was that the audience didn't realize I was gone.
-Richard Marx

April. San Diego, California. UFO Resurrection. One knitter. One cardigan. One zipper.

I met the challenge and sewed the zipper into my Ribby Cardi. And the zipper actually came out really well. (The photo? Not so much. The beau likes to take photos before he tells me he's taking them.)

But the sweater? I don't know. Is it possible to be the only person in the world not completely in love with the Ribby Cardi? My issues:
  1. The sleeves are maybe a smidge (1-2 inches) too short.
  2. Is this why the neck is so big?
  3. Is the raglan too long or too short?
  4. Something about it just lays funny - like there's too much fabric in the middle and not enough at the ends. The ribs on the sides don't pull in as much as I was expecting.
I'm endeavoring to wear it a bit and see if it grows on me (perhaps literally, in the case of the sleeves), in the manner that sometimes it takes a little time to lose the newness. And then I may try to reblock it to make the sleeves a bit longer. But barring that, we have a new set of questions.

Question for you all:
  1. Can I fix all of this by adding a few inches to the sleeves?
  2. Or is it a larger problem with the entire sweater? In which case I'll take it as a sign that I don't have any shirts to wear under it.
Please help.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

The Border

There is no remedy for love but to love more.
-Henry David Thoreau

This is the photo you've all been waiting for. (Even if it's a bad night photo.)Meet the border of the Chuppah. It's perfect. Just perfect. I know I can't show you too much yet (or how much work it takes to get it all set up and pick up all 220 stitches from the provisional cast-on), but rest assured that it is the absolute perfect complement to the center pattern. The perfect width (8 inches), the perfect bordering, the perfect diamond-ness, the perfect scale, the perfect edge. Want a close-up? Of course you do. Want more details? It's one of the borders from the wide border chapter from Victorian Lace Today. I'm blanking on the name. It's the prettiest one, though, rest assured.

You may remember when I was trying to come up with my own set of border patterns for the Chuppah . . . and they were all just not exactly right. Then I saw this book. And the rest, as they say, is history. Or history in the making, at least.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

In Photos

No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one.
-Elbert Hubbard

Re-entry is tough! Here's the brief version of my vacation, in some photos.

We did, in fact, go to Madison, Wisconsin, for those of you who wondered. We went from the state capitol to the outlying farms. And everywhere we went, there was yarn. Yarn at a sheep shearing. Yarn in yarn shops. And even yarn in the University of Wisconsin Bookstore. Imagine if I'd been able to buy yarn with my textbooks!

We went to a Norwegian town full of trolls. There were also sweaters, but this photo is for my accordian-playing dad.

And speaking of family . . . Happy Birthday, Mom!

Photos of actual knitting - and there was much - to follow. Not to mention the yarn acquisition . . .

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In Words

No man means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean,
for words are slippery and thought is viscous.
-Henry Brooks Adams

Today, Madison in words. Tomorrow, in pictures. In the meantime, some brilliant vacation reflections.
  1. Plane rides are great for knitting. So great that I've started the border of the Chuppah. (Photos soon, flitgirl!)
  2. And speaking of knitting, men have big feet.
  3. Wearing wool sweaters is fun!
  4. Wool sweaters attract lots of dog hair.
  5. Madison has great yarn shops . . . and their per-capita yarn must be among the highest!
  6. Having a future-mother-in-law who knits? Awesome. Having a future-mother-in-law who quilts? Maybe even better.
  7. Quilt shops are (almost) as much fun as yarn shops. So much so, in fact, that I opened up my sewing machine when I got home.
  8. The best part of my vacation? Spending time with my now-affianced beau. I knew I liked him!

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Flash My Stash

I love the way it feels; part cloak, part fan, part mane, part security blanket.
-Marge Piercy

I'll have lots to share about the wonderful yarn stores in Madison when I get back to San Diego and upload my photos. In the meantime . . .

I hear rumors that April 1st is was the Flash My Stash day. I missed it. I think I was on call (and, yep, that's pretty much my excuse for everything - especially since it's usually true). Rather than putting us all through the embarrassing experience of looking at just how much yarn I have lying around . . . I want to focus on one little area of the stash: My sock yarn leftovers. The reason I'm thinking of this? Have you seen Shelley's blanket? Think I have enough yarn? Not for exactly that, but something . . .


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

By Your Leave

The ant is knowing and wise,
but he doesn't know enough to take a vacation.
-Clarence Dey

First things first - I am now officially on leave! I heartily endorse even the first 15 minutes - very relaxing. And there's plenty of excitement coming - I believe I mentioned last week that the fiance and I are off to Madison early tomorrow morning. We're looking forward to getting away for a bit, but also for home cooking, visiting yarn stores (ok, that would be the royal "we" here), and possibly even snow. I'm bringing lots of sweaters!

. . . And reading. And knitting. Which is probably why you're here, right? You wanted to see the beau's new socks in process. And I'm happy to oblige. The Retro Ribs from Interweave's Favorite Socks in a nice grey mix Koigu. The beau gave his seal of approval to the pattern, so they're coming along for the vacation. . . . for the times I can't be knitting on the Chuppah. For once, choosing the knitting is an easy part of packing!

And now for a completely gratituitous photo from a morning in La Jolla last weekend: If we're this happy on a day off, just think of a whole five days!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Manly Socks

I don't have a photograph, but you can have my footprint.
They're upstairs in my socks.
-Groucho Marx

Thanks for all your patience with waiting for the results of the Manly Socks contest. It took me so long to compile the list that I've actually already started my next pair of manly socks. I'll hold you in suspense on those just a little longer. In the meantime, here are all the great suggestions:


The Clear Winner With 15 Votes:
  • Trekking, Trekking, Trekking

Second Place With 6 Votes:

Third Place(s) With 2-6 Votes:

  • Opal
  • Socks That Rock
  • Regia
  • Jawoll
  • Online Supersocke
  • Austermann Step

And with one vote each:


Most Commonly Mentioned:

  • "just plain rib"
  • "plain vanilla"
  • "nice wide rib"
  • stockinette stitch
  • "anything simple ribbing"
  • "good old traditional top down, heel flap"

Actual Patterns Mentioned More Than Once:

Other Patterns:

"Nancy Bush all the way:"

  • Gentleman's Plain Winter Socks (made here for the beau!)
  • Gentlemen's Half Hose from Knitting Vintage Socks
  • Conway from Knitting on the Road
  • Chalet Socks from Folk Socks
  • Madder Rib Socks from Knitting Vintage Socks

The Winners:

  • Donna - She was the first to suggest the pattern I chose to knit first (shhh . . . it's a surprise!)
  • Stuntmother - Because she just listed so many nice socks and yarn. Plus she's been making beautiful socks lately. Go visit Two Sharp Sticks.

Congratulations to all - now we have a great list of manly socks to knit! And the winners should email me their addresses to collect their prizes. And for the rest of you, stay tuned to see what the beau is getting next.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007


I do love knitting patterns.
-Albus Dumbledore

Have you seen the fun that Rebecca is running? A Harry Potter Sock Swap, all in anticipation of the 7th book coming out in July. It seems like great fun - and there's lots of action over at The Official Knitalong Blog.

Hogwarts Sock Swap Questionnaire

  1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into?

Ravenclaw - at first I thought it was boring, but lots of knitters seem to be there!
  1. Shoe size?
US 7, Eur 37
  1. Foot Length?
9 1/4"

  1. Foot Circumference?


  1. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length:

      a. Brittany Birch, 5", US 1-3

      b. Crystal Palace bamboo, 6", US 1,2

      c. Some 5" bamboo US 1s I picked up in Texas at Jenn's yarn store; forget the name

  1. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length?
I'd love to try the Lantern Moon ones in a good sock size (US 1s or 2s)
  1. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference?

I never noticed they were different.

  1. Are you willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal?

That would be great!

I think there's still time to sign up - head on over and join in!

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Saturday, April 07, 2007


If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?
-Vince Lombardi

It's been a bad week for knitting, as you heard, but a great week for yarn. I believe I mentioned last Friday that I took off and did a little celebratory stash enhancement in honor of my last ICU call. Since then, I've also been the lucky winner of not one but two blog contests. First up, I won Chrissy's contest and won this adorable hand-sewn bag with a drawstring - perfect for carrying around a sock project on the go! And you know what my sewing skills are like . . . Then I got lucky again and won Beth's Blogiversary contest and won this gorgeous yarn in colors that are very "me." She also included some wonderful chocolates with a history. Not only are they yummy, but there's an insert full of details about historical Jackson. Did she know that I'd recently crossed Mississippi off my list of states I've visited (49!) by passing through Jackson on my way to San Diego?

Thanks, ladies! The best part of both of these is having found blogs that are relatively new to me. That's what it's all about, isn't it?

And as far as my own stash enhancement goes . . . Koigu in manly sock colors. Gray mix and eggplant. More sock yarn - Lang JaWoll in manly blues and Sockotta (perfect for TheNewCaliforniaLifestyle!) in non-manly colors. And non-sock yarn. Who could resist these colors?

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

I'm Knitting

When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.
-Henry Kaiser

I haven't knit a stitch in two days. This doctoring this is hard work, and lots of it. And while I do have a little respite tonight (I did *only* work 14 hours today), I'm going to go knit with the knitting gals tonight instead of blogging. I'm sure you'll all agree that's the way to go.

Oh, and speaking of work and knitting, the affianced-beau and I are off to Madison next week to visit his folks and roam his old stomping grounds. We're thrilled to be getting our first vacation of the year (even 5 days looks good from here!) And you'll all be pleased to know that his mom has recently re-taken up knitting and has a long list of yarn stores for us to visit. No one is more excited than the beau! Can you believe he's never been to a yarn store?

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Monday, April 02, 2007

A Little Sunshine

Babies are such a nice way to start people.
-Don Herold

Instead of adding yet another one to my UFO pile, I buckled down and tackled the challenging finishing on this baby sweater. And by challenging, I mean I had to find the absolute cutest possible button to go with my bright orange sweater cape.

Think I succeeded?

Baby Hooded Jacket
Pattern: Debbie Bliss' Simply Baby
Yarn: Cotton-Ease (the vintage, or "old" kind) in something they didn't actually call orange but very obviously is
Needles: US 7s . . . I think. Who needs gauge in a baby sweater?
Notes: Well, see below for thoughts on finishing, and my very particular ideas of just how much finishing a baby garment should require. Otherwise, I also had to tighten up the buttonhole a little to fit my smaller button. But it was a fast and fun pattern. Just make it in fewer pieces, that's all. Oh, and this was entirely made from stash - including the button!
Best Thing About This Project: To come, obviously. The best thing about baby knits is the baby.

Also in finishing news, I wised up after this episode and started reading ahead in the directions. Instead of binding off and picking up stitches for the hood, I just increased. Instead of doing a three-needle bind-off for the hood, I grafted the top together. Looks better, and was probably way faster.And, no, I haven't forgotten about the manly socks. I was trying to distract you by cute baby knits while I'm in recovery mode after the ICU. It's coming.

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