Not What I'd Hoped For

What I had hoped for was that, mid-week, armed with a newly acquired book, I would dash off the rest of the Tilted Duster with panache and style and put up a flashy post by the week's end.

This did not happen.

I am still waiting for said book and so the Tilted Duster waits sadly in the wings while the days grow shorter and colder.

I started (restarted) the Firestarter Socks but have since decided that the yarn is too fine at that gauge. I'm thinking of abandoning that yarn altogether and go with something more substantial for the pattern, maybe the Black Purl I got from a trade with Ginny a while back?

My So Called Scarf inches along. I've just started the second ball. It's so pretty! I'll be sad to see it go.

The Mini Clapotis hasn't seen the light of day since I first picked it up a few weeks ago.

The Endpaper Mitts (yup, that's what that was) are moving along at an ok clip - just 7 more rows to the thumb and then 3 more pattern rows after that, plus the little bit of rib, and one is compete. Thing is, I am not loving the yarn. It is Knitpicks Palette, that I bought in a moment of insanity last year (I bought the sampler, with no intention of knitting the sweater that uses all those balls, and I find I hate most of the colors). I would love these in a nicer yarn I think. I'll have to see how I feel when I finish the first one.

What else? Oh, yes, the Entrelac Scarf is still waiting for a backing. It came out beautifully, by the way, wait until you see!

What have I been doing instead of knitting (and feeling generally crappy and run-down?) I order and received these last week:


I have big plans for the balcony this spring. If I'm gonna be stuck in an apartment I'm gonna try to make the most of it.

And I've been baking. Do go and find the recipe for Pumpkin Bread from the new edition of the Joy of Cooking. It's on page 628. Then substitute allspice for the nutmeg (because you don't have any nutmeg) and leave it in the oven for 10 extra minutes because you suspect your oven thermometer is low. Make the version with the brown sugar. It turns out very dark on top, but surprisingly, shockingly, moist and delicious. No photos now, it is very dark outside.

Cheerio ~


A Little Thought

Hard to believe it, but I don't think anyone on my long, long blogroll (don't let that list in the sidebar fool you) lives in southern California. Well, I used to live in San Diego, and was there during the infamous Cedar Fire. People who have never lived in a fire-prone environment, who have never lived through a "fire season" don't have the first idea what it is like. It was terrifying going to bed at night, wondering if the fire would creep upon you while you slept; terrifying waking up in the morning to a blood-red sun burning though a soot-darkened sky, ash falling like snow, wondering which way the winds were going to blow that day. It was, truly, like something out of Apocalypse Now. So please, please keep the people in the fire zone in your thoughts, because beyond all the media hype as there always is, it really is a very scary thing to live through.

(Oops! Crazy Aunt Purl lives in SoCal - so give her extra hugs today!)


We Interrupt this Fair Isle Knitting...

To bring you chilly kitterns snuggling...


Sort of. Well, anyway, when it gets cold they both like to be on the blanket. I think the trick is to make the blanket smaller and smaller until they are piled on top of each other!

I've not done any further knitting on the fair isle piece since yesterday. Contrary to popular belief, it is actually a lot easier than it looks (to those who have never done it). It is quite a bit bigger since the photo, but no new photos yet. I'm putting that bad boy at about 25% complete. What I have been toiling away at is my Tilted Duster. I realized that in order to participate in NaKnitSweMo in the way in which I would like I will really have to clear my needles of the sweater in progress first. Luckily I am getting close. I have about 6 more rows left on the skirt (about an hours knitting maybe - the rows are quite long) and then I just need to knit the collar and set in the sleeves. Knitter know thyself. This time I will not forget buttons require a certain amount of space to fit through in order to actually, you know, button.

I have also spent some time this weekend being amazed at my parsley and chive patch...

I've never had much luck with parsley in the past, so I thought I would throw the two together and hope for the best with the parsley. What I got was a carpet of parsley such that it has become something of a test to locate the chives. Find the chives and you win the chance to cook with it!

My basil, on the other hand, has not been doing as well...

This is just one of the three really sad specimens that survived to quasi-adulthood. I may have to try again - I was hoping for bushes! Those other little things in there with the basil are chamomile plants, very slow growing I have to say, but seemingly holding their own.


Not Firestarters




A Shot in the Arm (or A Kick in the Pants)


So yes, I joined another KAL with the intention of getting my sock knitting mojo back. If you recall a while back I tried to use the lovely Pagewood Farms Superwash sock yarn on the Dunes of Tinfou socks (pictures over at Raverly) which didn't turn out the way I planned. I then tried it in the Ribbed Lace pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, but I just wasn't feeling the love. Then I saw Yarnissima's beautiful pattern, Firestarter, over at Peaknit's blog. (Stacey is hosting the KAL too, by the way.) The socks look really interesting, and challenging, and I thought that maybe this might be just the thing to pull me out of my sock slump. But as you may have noticed, I have rather a lot of projects all going at the same time right now (at the time, three scarves, two sweaters, and a shawl, albeit in the timeout corner, not to mention the couple of thing that are almost certainly destined for frogland). So I told myself I could not cast on for the Firestarters until at least one of the scarves was off the needles.

Exhibit A.


How's that for a kick in the pants? Entrelac Scarf is, in fact, off the needles. It's having a little soak right now, and of course, it isn't really done yet given I haven't decided what to do about the back side (still toying with the idea of sewing something soft to the back...) but the important point is that the knitting is done. Gentlemen (and women), start your engines.

Speaking of finished items, Mrs. Darcy is also finished! Mrs. Darcy is the brainchild of Mary Weaver and I found her on Ravelry.


Unfortunately I had really poor luck with the photography this time. Trying to take photos on a timer in the middle of the town square while trying to not look like the Town Crazy is harder than you might think. You've seen the other one from yesterday already, and that's pretty much all you're going to get, with one exception. I'll give it another go some other time. I made quite a few modifications, so here we go:

Pattern: Mrs. Darcy by Mary Weaver
Yarn: Beaverslide Dry Goods Fisherman (Aran) Weight 100% wool in Dusty Clover, just under 4 skeins (210 yds/113g per skein)
Needles: US size 8 aluminum straights for the body, Knitpicks Options dpns US size 8 for the sleeves
Size: 36"
Gauge: 16 stitches and 24 rows = 4"
Started: 20 September 2007
Finished: 13 October 2007
Pattern Mods: I wanted a rather more fitted cardigan so I calculated (and recalculated) nearly every aspect of the sweater. I started with the prescribed number of stitches and followed the directions though the ribbing (except I did twisted ribbing on every row instead of every other row as given in the pattern - this meant purling through the back loop on wrong-side rows, a royal pain, but ultimately worth it). I then added some waist decreases to fit me more snugly 10 stitches total), paired with some waist increases, up the back. I mirrored the shaping on the fronts. For all the shaping I used paired increases/decreases. (The pattern only uses only one type, which the perfectionist in me found unacceptibly obvious.) I did not bind off the shoulders but instead did a 3 needle bind off. I decided to knit the sleeves in the round to make the twisted rib easier. I also started the sleeves on only 30 stitches, instead of 40, since I have bird arms and thought that 40 would be too wide. The first sleeve was both far too snug and far, far too long. I reknit the sleeves starting with 36 stitches and made them 2" shorter. I think I also shortened the armscye, and therefore, also the sleeve caps (I had a great deal of anxiety that the sleeves would not set in properly.) I used crab stitch on the back edge of the neck to give it a firmer, more finished look. I used only 2 buttons, and yes, there was some button drama.

The photos above are of the cardigan unblocked, hence the weird wrinkles and folds in the arms. All of the pieces were blocked individually, but not as a whole since being sewn together. I get a nice form fitting fit, and I expect the sweater to relax just a wee bit once blocked, but not in a bad way.

The Good:

Three-needle bind off is my new best friend. I cannot believe I have been binding off and picking up those same stitches for shoulder seams. This pattern does not specify three-needle bind off for the shoulders, I just thought I'd try it out. If you have never done it, quick, knit a sweater so you can. In such a bulky yarn, the shoulder seam could have been really ugly. This sweater had simple shoulder shaping, but next sweater I may try short row shaping for the shoulders as well.

Beaverslide Dry Goods yarn rocks. It is quite squooshy, both in the skein and knitted up, and is soft without feeling delicate. Even against my bare skin it really was not itchy. It almost feels like suede (not kidding), even though it is 100% wool. (They have some other yarns that include some mohair content too.) One thing to note: it does not give really crip stitch definition, so if that's what you're looking for, look elsewhere. The colors are gorgeous though,and vivid, and this one, at least, did not bleed. (Invest in a set of their color cards - they are only $8 and include every single color and type of yarn they produce. They are well worth it.) Did I mention how pretty? The yarn spit-splices really nicely too, and weaving in and securing the ends is a dream, though you'd better mean it because good luck finding the ends again if you need to rip it out for whatever reason.

The Bad:

Knitting sleeves in the round sucks. Actually, knitting sleeves in the round is awesome, no sleeve seam to sew. It's the setting in of said sleeves tha sucks. Royaly. Really. I had a really hard time getting the sleeves to look even ok set into the armscyes. I would rather sew 10 sleeve seams than set in one sleeve already knitted in the round. I really mean it. It's flat sleeves for me from now on.

I am a dork when it comes to making button holes. Or rather, picking buttons that will fit into the button holes in a button band that is not picked up and knitted last but rather knited straight onto the piece. This means that I cannot go back and reknit the button bands without reknitting the entire front side that the button holes are on. This also means that of course the burron holes are too small for the buttons I painstakingly and lovingly picked out. So yeah, since I can easily get into and out of the sweater without unbuttoning it I actually just sewed the button bands together along the entire section that would have otherwise been held closed by the buttons. The buttons are therefore faux. Which is to say, they are real buttons, they just don't do anything. I am such a fake.

The Cool:


Crab stitch makes a really cool firm edging. Who knew? Crab stitch, incidentally, is a type of crochet stitch. It's really easy, but it's been so long since I've done it I had to look it up. I found a great tutorial here. Once you get going there's a rather easier way, but if you have no idea what crab stitch is this is an excellent introduction. Crab stitch is directional, as I found out (the front does not look like the back), so be sure to crochet the single crochet foundation row with the right side of the garment facing you. It almost has the feel and look of piping, or maybe i-cord (although that's speculation since I've never done applied i-cord before).




(Details to follow tomorrow.)


Because I'm a Joiner

I've never done Saturday Sky, but today I just couldn't resist.


And it matched something I recently cast-on.


And file this under Crazy.


Yes, I am the last to join the party.

(Mrs. Darcy is about 30 seconds from being done. Hooray! Photo shoot tomorrow?)



I found the website of the company of the Jo-Ann buttons!

Blumenthal Lansing Company

I am particularly partial to the Vintage line.


ETA: Fixed! (That's what happens when you type html wrong.)