Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Stitching and bitching

A little knitting activism:
My local stitch & bitch group was one of the many that received an order from Yahoo! Groups to change the name of our message board due to an alleged trademark violation. If you click on the button you can read all about the nasty company that claims to have trademarked "Stitch & Bitch" and has been making a fool of itself over the whole situation. We went ahead and changed the name to "snb" - we all know what it means.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Wrist warmers

The cuffs are DONE! The second one went much, much faster - I started on Wednesday and finished on Sunday. The details: Misti Alpaca laceweight, doubled; #8 seed beads, knit on US #1 needles, pattern from Jan/Feb 2006 Piecework. The doubled laceweight is a good weight and makes threading the beads easier, but the two strands were liable to get tangled up when one was full of beads. I'm all set for the next pair: blue beads and charcoal-gray fingering-weight Plassard Alpaga.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Look what came in the mail! Four skeins of Huckleberry Heather from Beaverslide Dry Goods in Montana. The yarn is a soft and silky 90/10 merino/mohair, and it's a darker blue than in this picture, with flecks of pink and turquoise. I can't wait to try it out!

Friday, January 27, 2006

All kinds of good news

It's a good day out here in the mountains!

First, thank you all for the compliments on the beaded wristlet! I re-grafted it and it's much better. Still not quite perfect, but I think that any kind of seam is going to create a little gap in the beading pattern. The second one is already well underway.

Second, I got a job offer today! It's only a short-term (6 months or so?) kind of job, but the work is really interesting (astronomy research) and it'll help pay the bills while I look for something more permanent. I still have a few things to follow up on next week, but now I can relax all weekend without worrying about whether I'm going to be gainfully employed again.

Third, I just saw an enormous American magpie in the tree in front of our house. You can just see it in this picture, though it's black-and-white and the photo isn't great. According to Sibley (the best bird guide in existence, really, you should go buy it right away) magpies are fairly common out here in the western/northern mountain states, but you don't get them at all back east, which is why they're new to me. I also saw a bird this morning that I thought might have been too big to be a crow, which would mean it was a raven, but I couldn't be sure. Ravens are neat.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


The first beaded wrist warmer is done!

There's only one problem...

Yeah, kitchener stitch in garter stitch, my first attempt, not so good. Somehow it's a few stitches off, which means the bead pattern doesn't line up. So, time to pick it out and try again. I only did five repeats of the pattern instead of the six called for by the pattern; it fits my narrow wrist nicely, and the garter stitch is stretchy enough to fit over my hand.

Oh, and it's nice and toasty!


Too much sock yarn? Join Beth's sock-yarn swap!

Technical difficulties

I love trying to post and discovering that there's a scheduled service outage. Which was supposed to end 15 hours ago. Ah, Blogger, you get what you (don't) pay for.

Of course, I don't really have much to report. I've finished 5 repeats on the beaded wristwarmer and it's looking great, and I did a few more rows of the North Sea shawl at Stitch & Bitch last night, when I wasn't eating chocolate-hazelnut gelato. In job news, I have a few more leads and some meetings next week, so keep your fingers crossed and maybe by the end of next week there will be good news.

I'm making up an order list from Seeds of Change and it's growing ever longer. It doesn't help that they have all these interesting and unusual herbs, like borage and hyssop and sixteen kinds of basil, that make me want to grow my own Herbology garden. Be careful of the Venemous Tentacula, it's teething.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Yesterday I went out and bought a snow shovel, and scraped most of the snow off of our sidewalk and steps. Apparently our (rented) house lacks gutters, which means that snowmelt falls straight onto the landing of the front steps and freezes into a 2'-square sheet of ice. Great. Fortunately it's supposed to be well above freezing every day this week, so perhaps even our shaded porch will thaw and dry.

Given all that, is it any surprise that I'm feeling a little obsessed with green plants lately?

My jade plant, which made it safely from California to Maryland a few years ago, lost a few branches on the latest cross-country trip. But look: it's growing new leaves! I'm so proud. New additions to the indoor garden include these six tiny succulents, which are lined up on my craft-room windowsill looking adorable, and this lovely maidenhair fern.

And now for the knitting content, which is what you all come here for:

Not very exciting for anyone else, but it keeps my hands warm: I fixed the gray mittens, which were too big. Instead of the usual star decrease, I worked these like the toe of a sock and grafted the ends, and it fits really well, so I think that'll be my new mitten pattern.

And yes, I did go to the bead store yesterday, and I succumbed to the pulsewarmer pattern in the latest issue of PieceWork (thank you Beth for the subscription!). I'm using leftover laceweight alpaca from my Flower Basket shawl, two strands together, but the beads only on one strand. It's tricky, for sure, but watching the pattern grow is totally addictive. I did a provisional cast-on instead of the long-tail called for in the pattern; we'll soon see if that was knitting hubris or not.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

An assortment

Random things that have caught my attention this week:
  • Tales from Earthsea. I've read the other four books and was delighted to find this, and then the author mentions in the foreword that there's another book coming soon!
  • Draco and the Malfoys. To no one's surprise, they rock way harder than Harry and the Potters, and their lyrics are wicked funny.
  • Beaded wristwarmers. This is like some kind of knitting virus. I am seriously considering a trip to the bead store today.
  • Gardening. I predict that come spring, this blog may be less about knitting, and more about which plants I'm putting in next to the garden to draw off harmful bugs and other animals (catnip, parsley, dill, marigolds) and whether the front yard gets enough sun for poppies. By the way, the "You Grow Girl" book is terrific; it may look like an over-hyped hipster handbook but it's packed with excellent advice, particularly about organic and container gardening.
  • Dulaan. I started making a hat. It's just about impossible to see those pictures without needing to do something.

And now, I'm off to shovel the snow off the steps. This is the problem with a house that faces due north: that stuff is never going to melt, and I'm going to have to find some serious shade-loving plants to put on the porch.

Friday, January 20, 2006


After the expedition on Monday it's been a rather uneventful week here. S&B on Wednesday night was lots of fun as always. We were a large group and we scared off some grumpy lady who had been sitting near us. Sorry, but that's the risk you take when you bring work to a coffee shop. Yesterday was the SNOW DAY, i.e. it snowed all day and was very pretty even though it meant I was covered in snow as soon as I stepped outside. Today we're back to blue skies and potentially warmer temperatures, so it's all melting away. And I had to go outside yesterday because I had a couple of meetings, which were somewhere in between job interviews and networking meetings, so I have some solid leads on actual employment possibilities and I'm hoping something good will happen soon!

Unfortunately, today I woke up with a bad scratchy feeling in my throat. But just yesterday I bought more Throat Soother tea, so I'm drinking that, and planning to spend the day curled up on the couch watching Aussie Open tennis and Star Trek reruns, and finishing up the hat that I needed to have yesterday. I'll post a picture as soon as it's done!

Monday, January 16, 2006

We have returned!

We went to five yarn stores in one day. It was a grand adventure! The stores:

  • The Recycled Lamb. A medium-size store with lots of nice yarns, well-organized, plenty of knitted samples. Unfortunately it's a bit dark and it was freezing cold, and it's sort of hard to find as the sign only says "YARN." But we found it, and they had this nice green Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed for $6, so a couple of skeins had to come home with me.

  • Showers of Flowers. Huge. Vast. More yarn than you can shake a stick at. The organization leaves something to be desired, and there's an ungodly amount of fun fur and yarn with - I couldn't believe it - sequins, and the owner seems to have a big thing for making unspeakably tacky fake flowers out of yarn. However, it's so huge that they have just about every Rowan yarn, plenty of Cascade and Mission Falls wool (!) and fancy mohair and stuff I'd never heard of, and a huge stock of needles. So I found not one but two #1 bamboo circulars, one by Addi Natura (2.5mm) and one by Crystal Palace (2.25mm). Let the sock knitting commence!

  • The Shivering Sheep. A tiny store in a great location right by Cherry Creek, with some really nice yarn, but so disorganized (no prices on anything!) that it's hard to find more than one skein of anything because the rest of the yarn you just picked up could be in a basket across the room, under a pile of Lorna's Laces. Still, I managed to find this nice Katia mohair, which I'm thinking could be carried along with the Silkroad to make a really cushy pair of mittens that'll match my tartan scarf.

  • The Strawberry Tree. I don't think I was just burned out, I think it was really kind of alarming. Tons of Elsebeth Lavold and Rowan and Debbie Bliss yarn, but the yarns are all tangled and bins are overflowing and it's a giant mess and the store smelled like some nasty floral perfume. Oh, and no price tags to be seen anywhere.

  • And last but not least, on the way home we stopped back in at Shuttles, which is nicer than any of them and, happily, right here in our hometown.

    At home I had to test out the new bamboo needles... so I finished the sock! I love it, it fits perfectly (after I decreased the sole by 4 stitches) and it's gorgeous. I'm going to cast on the second sock right about... now. Bye!

    I almost forgot the best find of the day - Viva Burrito, this little fast-food place just past Showers of Flowers. Best veggie burrito I've had since we left Santa Barbara. I'm so happy.
  • Intrepid

    It may be snowing... but that doesn't stop knitters from a yarn-shopping expedition! Some of the cool women from Stitch & Bitch invited me along on a Denver-area yarn-store crawl today. I'm looking forward to checking out all the new shops (not that Shuttles doesn't have just about everything I need), and possibly finding that elusive pair of #1 bamboo circulars for magic loop sock knitting. The stash expansion report will be posted later.

    p.s. and the Elfine sock is almost done!

    Friday, January 13, 2006


    First, a big thank you to Margene for mentioning me on her blog! I've been checking out some of the other blogs she listed too; it's always nice to read new stuff.

    See that? That Elfine sock? It's like crack, man. I couldn't stop knitting it yesterday. And right there you can see my very first short-row heel! It may not be perfect, but I'm going to wait until after I've done the other one to improve my technique, so they'll match in their imperfection.

    And lest you think I've totally forgotten about Paloma, here's a new picture. This was all accomplished over the holidays; it's not a very portable project at the moment due to the many large balls of yarn involved. Also, the color pattern is on my computer. But now that I look at it I'm resolving to work on it more often, to take breaks from this addictive sock stuff and make myself a real sweater! I love the way the colors are turning out so far, despite all the cursing and untangling it requires.

    Sandy asked about the Trekking yarn - it's #76, and is a purple-maroon-brown sort of mix, quite subtle. I love the colorway she's using for these Spey socks, and am trying to decide between Spey Valley or Dublin Bay for mine.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006


       New pictures are up: the Rock Creek/Elfine socks, North Sea shawl, and Misty Garden scarf (which, being a very easy pattern, is getting a lot of my attention during stitch&bitch events). I also got carried away with the excellent natural light in our window seat and took pix of my new sock yarns: Trekking XXL, Mountain Colors Bearfoot, and Koigu KPPPM. So pretty.

    You may not have noticed that I switched the Elfine socks from Magic Loop on #1.5 Addi Turbos to good old bamboo DPNs, but I did. I have learned something: I grip the left needle pretty firmly with my pinky finger, and it gets sore quickly when it has to deal with inflexible tiny metal needles. The bamboo is much better for it, and it's a lot better for working decreases too, possibly because it's less slippery and maybe a little more pointy. So much for my flirtation with Magic Loop, unless I find a set of 40" #1 bamboo circulars at the store.

    Rock Chalk

    We interrupt our regularly scheduled knitting coverage for this breaking basketball news. We went to the KU-CU game tonight - only the second KU game I've ever attended, despite growing up near Lawrence and being a lifelong fan - and it was awesome. Almost half the crowd was cheering for KU so we got to do all the usual cheers and, since we WON, the Rock Chalk chant at the end. GO JAYHAWKS!

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    It's a good day

    I slept until 10, had breakfast, put on my sneakers and headed out for a little hike. Apologies for the poor picture quality; it was taken with my cellphone since I didn't want to haul the camera along. I walked the four blocks from our house to the Dakota Trail trailhead, and spent about 45 minutes walking up over the Dakota Ridge and along the Sanitas Valley. It was beautiful, I got some exercise, and I'm going to do it again in a couple days. (Have to give my knee time to recover.)

    After I got home and had a shower I had some very tasty pad thai at Noodles & Co., just down the street, and now I'm home for the afternoon and trying to decide if I should make cookies or just hang out, watch Pride & Prejudice, and knit. I suspect the latter is going to win, given my lack of energy.

    Monday, January 09, 2006


    I keep neglecting to mention this, but... the socks are done! That's KPPPM #122 knit on #1 needles using this pattern, finished January 4, 2006. They're warm and cozy and extremely bright.

    New knitting spot

    I'm a bit late for the "photograph your knitting space" meme, but now that I have it all cleaned up and most of the boxes are gone, I thought I'd show off my wonderful new craft room. First, we have the view from the door: the couch is a futon, so this is also the guest room. The corner of the couch is right next to the radiator and it's nice and warm and well-lit, and the tree right outside the window occasionally hosts birds and squirrels.

    Across from the couch is my desk, home of my iBook and occasional host to the sewing machine. Note the calendar with the cute sheep. Eventually the bulletin board and some pictures are going to go up on the walls in here.

    Next to the desk is my worktable. We had an extra dining table (the result of having two apartments for a while) and once I put it up on risers, it's the perfect height for cutting out fabric or, at present, storing yarn. Underneath it are my filing cabinet and fabric stash, and next to it, the yarn stash.

    And for a better look at what's on that table... here we have: new purple-blue roving; Kromski 9" niddy noddy; burgundy-ish Trekking XXL; Sunshine Yarns Winterberry; blue KPPPM; purple-green KPPPM from Beth; Douceur et Soie; and a stack of books - Knitting Vintage Socks, Knitting on the Road, the latest IK, Sundays at Moosewood, and Barefoot in Paris (the last two are cookbooks). Two of the sock yarns are stuff I've had for a while, but I had to get it all out so I could decide which socks to make next. Thanks to Beth, Chris, and my parents for all the great stuff!

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    I'm back!

    Now that we finally have a good working wireless DSL connection at home, I'm back on the web... and now I just have to find the camera, which must be around here somewhere. We've unpacked a great many boxes and the new place is really starting to feel like home. I'm still not quite used to the idea that we live here now, that when I'm driving around town I'm not just observing some random city that I'm visiting for a while. I have to actually pay attention so I remember which streets are one-way and where the post office is. It'll happen gradually and in a few months I'll wake up and realize that of course this is home.

    I've been managing some knitting in between the unpacking and all the million errands of setting up house. On Wednesday I went to the local stitch & bitch and met some very nice knitters. It's a weekly event, in addition to other less-frequent knitting events, so there should be plenty of opportunities for knitting and socializing. I also made my first expedition to the local yarn store, which was as fantastic as I remember; I found the three extra skeins of Shetland Spindrift I need for the North Sea shawl, a skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot in "Lodgegrass," and 5 oz. of dreamy purple-blue merino top. The Bearfoot is already becoming a pair of Conwy socks... which I think I'll get back to right about now.