Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Brought to you by the number 10

...because 8 sunflower seedlings plus 2 zinnias equals 10 tiny plants! (The picture isn't great, hence the arrows for your viewing convenience. Perhaps tomorrow they'll be bigger and easier to see, and I'll figure out how to change the camera resolution.) Still waiting on all the other flower seeds, but it's only been four days, so I can give them some time.

It's a good thing I have plant news to post because the knitting was entirely eclipsed by this last night. I did manage a few rows of sock on the bus this morning, and tonight is knitting night so I won't spend all my time reading about adventure and intrigue in Egypt.

I'm also looking forward to an exciting knitting-related package arriving in the mail Friday. What is it? You'll have to wait and see...

Sunday, March 26, 2006


All sorts of things are going on over here! Saturday morning I went to the hardware store and bought gardening supplies, with which I came home and started the garden, seen here. OK, it doesn't look like much at the moment, but I promise that there are sunflower, rudbeckia, shasta daisy, zinnia, four o'clock, and columbine seeds in there, and if we're really lucky, in a few weeks they'll turn into seedlings, and then someday, rumor has it that temperatures will stay above freezing at night and I'll plant them in the yard. We'll see.

After all the planting, I made cookies, pruned the saplings in the back yard (with these, which rule), and cleaned off the back porch. And then? I knit. I knit at Borders all afternoon, and then at Jenifer's all evening. I met several new people, all super-cool, and generally had a really good time.

When I started writing this post last night, I was dissatisfied with all of my knitting: everything seemed to need finishing, or ripping, or something. I'm happy to report that it's all better today. I seamed the first blue-star cuff and started its twin. The Bearfoot sock had somehow ended up with one fewer pattern repeat on the leg than the first sock, so I ripped it back to the ankle and re-knit, and I feel good about it. I even knit several rows on the Bonny sweater, and after much pattern insecurity and measuring, I think it's going to be okay. All of my mindless knitting is back to being mindless and is ready to take on the bus tomorrow. Whew!

Saturday, March 25, 2006


I know everyone's already done this, but in case you're all wildly curious about the real me... it's a meme! I think this is a slightly different version than the one that's been going around the knitting blogs; I saw it on LiveJournal.

-research assistant
-highschool teacher
-tech support
-observatory tour guide

-Pride & Prejudice (Colin Firth version)
-Lord of the Rings
-Harry Potter (all of them)
-The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

-Cambridge, MA
-Santa Barbara, CA
-Oskaloosa, KS
-Apia, Samoa

-Kim Possible

-southern Utah

-Pho Pasteur
-Kelly's Diner (Somerville, MA)
-Andre's Confiserie Suisse (Kansas City)

-Pad thai
-Veggie burritos
-Cadbury Fruit & Nut bars
-Mozzarella sticks


Friday, March 24, 2006


I've been all about Finishing Things lately. I think the Knitting Olympics project was good for me; I finished an entire garment in a ridiculously short time, so now I know that I can actually finish a lot of those things I have just lying around the craft room. Also, see the ever-growing list of things I want to make, over in the sidebar, and I can't start any of them with so many unfinished projects. So! I finished the scarf (and wore it again today). I'm nearly done with the Bearfoot socks; probably another few hours should do it. Then I'll whip up another blue-star beaded cuff and have a pair, and then I'm going to be really, really good and work on the North Sea shawl all the time. I love the pattern, it's just a lot of knitting. And somewhere in there, I'll sit on the couch and mutter pattern directions to myself while working on the Paloma sweater.

Once all that's done maybe I'll admit to having knit about 6 rows of this insanely complicated and totally impractical pale blue lace thing. (The lower edge is knit sideways, so six rows is not much.) And I'll start that summery cotton cardigan that I actually need, but it will not be one of those beautiful Rowan patterns on #2 needles because that would not go well. And then I'll have a nice cup of tea and lie down for a while.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Misty Garden

I finished my Misty Garden scarf! Here you can see the scarf with its matching mittens, which I've been wearing for months now. The pattern is from Scarf Style, and the yarn is Cascade Bollicine Etoile, color #14, knit on #7 needles. The mittens are the same mohair but held with a strand of Stahl Limbo Color, knit on #5 needles so they're very dense. It took me far too long to finish this scarf, considering how easy the pattern is, but I'm glad it's finally done and I can wear it. Of course now I've guaranteed that we won't have cold weather again until November, but that would be okay too.

Monday, March 20, 2006


It's the World's Tiniest Swatch! Check out that shiny nickel included for scale. But this is important: this is my first finished thing knitted from my own handspun. It's this green merino/silk; I suddenly realized that I had a lot of it on the spindle and maybe I should swatch it, so I spun and plied a tiny bit and knit it up on the #1 DPNs I was using for the sock heel. It's really nice! The silk makes it a little shiny, but the wool keeps it soft.

My latest spinning inspiration is Sweetgeorgia and her handspun Lotus Blossom shawl. She just started spinning around this time last year. You can imagine what sorts of grand visions are going through my head... watch out for me at the Wool Market; I'll be the one buying out all the fiber stands.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


It's one of those days where the temperature is just above freezing, and it can't decide whether to rain or snow. Needless to say, I stayed inside; I made cupcakes, did the taxes, sketched out a garden plan, worked on the sock, and spun more green merino-silk. Definitely a good Sunday. But yesterday I did get out, and I went to Shuttles, and I signed up for the Beginning Spinning class! It starts April 6 and runs for six weeks, and we get to try out all of the different wheels in the store and learn how to prepare the fiber and dye and card and, of course, spin. I can't wait!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Green, Western-style

I'll post something green in honor of the holiday: this photo was taken on a walk in the mountains, in mid-April last year, on our first visit here when we were making our decision to move. Right now the mountains still have a fair bit of snow on them but yesterday on my way home I noticed that the snow was melting and the green was starting to dominate the view again.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


(I can't actually knit in my sleep yet.)

Work is taking up all of my brainpower this week so that by 6pm I'm usually capable of little more than staring into space and mumbling. Last night I was late to S&B, and when I sat down with my hot cider and my knitting bag, I realized that turning the heel on the Bearfoot sock was way beyond my capabilities at that point. So I worked on the gray fluff scarf (the pattern requires only the ability to count to 6) all evening, and it's amazing how much progress I made! I worked on it more on the bus this morning and it's starting to reach a length that could be considered a Scarf, rather than a somewhat stretched rectangle. I'm in the home stretch! Tonight, if all the programming doesn't melt my brain completely, I might try turning that heel, but if it goes badly, I'll just go back to the scarf.

I'd post pictures, but in the way of scarf-knitting, it looks pretty much the same as before, only longer.

If you're feeling too awake and sober for your own good, go play Amy's knit-blog drinking game. It'll do you good.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Spring returns!

I missed the bus this morning, but who cares? The sun is out, the sky is the color of blue Peeps yarn, and it's warm enough that I can knit while I'm waiting for the next bus. Heaven.

Monday, March 13, 2006

No knitting content

...because this post is all about the spinning! This is my new roving, which I started spinning last night. It's a merino/tussah silk blend, and it is the softest, finest thing in the world. Pictures don't do it justice. The silk gives it a subtle shine and the colors are blending into a stunning pale green with hints of pink. I suspect the finished yarn will have to become a pair of wristwarmers, just so I can wear them all the time and stare at them.

On the other end of the subtlety spectrum, we have the Blue Peeps Yarn! It was so exciting that it needed to be photographed in a more interesting setting than the usual white window seat, so it gets to hang out in the geranium jungle. There's about 43 yards of it after plying, just enough to make something ornamental, like a stripe on a hat or a flower pin. I may have to wait for inspiration to strike, but the yarn certainly won't have a problem with catching my eye.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Blue Meanies

Well, not really, but I saw one at the sandwich shop yesterday and then I came home and spun all this blue, blue, blue yarn. First, though, I had to finish spinning this bit of alpaca and wind it off the spindle! That's about 200 feet of suri alpaca singles, and it's spinning into a beautiful fine soft yarn with occasional slubs. And then there's the Blue Stuff. This is the kool-aid roving, which I split in two lengthwise so I have two pieces of even length to ply together (one spun last night, one waiting to be spun). Imagine my astonishment: it's not felted, it drafts nicely, and it ended up as remarkably even singles! I seem to be getting much better at drafting all of a sudden. And therein lies my one little piece of advice for new handspinners: Try lots of different fibers. I was scared to try anything too nice when I started out, but after a little time with the Corriedale, I think it helped me a lot to get a lighter spindle and work with merino, then llama and alpaca (and there's a gorgeous merino/tussah blend waiting for me). When I went back to the Corriedale I had a much better feel for it and could draft it much thinner than before.

In case you were worried, I haven't abandoned my knitting just to make more yarn; I've been working exclusively on the second sock since Wednesday or so, and it's coming along nicely! In fact, everything past the toe was accomplished in the past 36 hours, thanks to an afternoon s&b and some TV knitting in the evenings. I should manage to finish the pair just in time for the weather to warm up again. Because as you can see in this sky picture a la Sandy, today is not a nice warm day. Today is one of those days when the fog hides the mountains and looks like it'll be there all day, dropping more snow on us occasionally. A perfect day to stay in and knit.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The post you've all been waiting for

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen... The Olympic gold medal project!

Pattern: Cable-V Vest from Lisa Knits. Yarn: Four skeins of Huckleberry Heather worsted weight from Beaverslide Dry Goods. Needles: Addi Turbo US# 4 and 6. Recipient: My mother, whose birthday is today! Happy birthday, Mom!

Here's a closeup of the cables and buttons. This was my first project with buttonholes; I used the second buttonhole technique in the Knitter's Book of Finishing Technique, and it worked nicely. I also used the book's advice on picking up stitches and it made a big difference, such that I had to rip out the armhole ribbing on one side and re-do it after I learned the correct proportion of rows to stitches.

Margene's comment reminds me that I should say: I LOVE this yarn. It's 90/10 merino/mohair, and it's soft and fuzzy and gets even softer after it's washed (though it does relax a bit - wash those swatches!). It makes a dense, warm fabric and it comes in a wide range of beautiful heathered colors. I'm a sucker for the subtle, heathered wools. It comes in worsted and aran weights, and I'm sure I'll be buying more for myself in the future.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Just a quick little post... I finished the first Bearfoot sock last night thanks to the Handknitting Guild meeting, only to try it on and have the cast-off edge be too tight. Picked it back out on the bus this morning and have a #7 DPN in my bag to re-do it more loosely. Anne asked about the pattern; it's the 8-stitch basketweave rib from Sensational Knitted Socks, a terrific book which has also taught me much about the short-row heel.

It's miserable weather here today so I'm wearing my warm wool Elfine's Socks to work and it makes me cheerful!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Don't drink the kool-aid

We had a lovely weekend, especially yesterday; in the morning we went on a nice hike, in the afternoon I spun some alpaca roving and made chocolate-glazed toffee bars (from Joy), and in the evening I went over to Kate's for an Oscar party and knitting/spinning/dyeing extravaganza. In all, my day yielded this spindleful of alpaca singles, and this extraordinary roving. It's more of the same Corriedale that I've had since September, dyed with "ice blue lemonade" and cherry/strawberry Kool-Aid. I'm afraid I may have felted the roving a little, but since this was my first try and it's cheap roving, I'm not too worried. I love the way the variegation came out - it was accomplished by not using enough liquid to completely cover the roving in the pan, so some of it was out of the dye for a while. I'm definitely going to try it again, probably with some of that super cheap sock yarn from KnitPicks and more of that blue lemonade. I bet mixing it with a smidgen of grape would yield an interesting blue, and it would smell even more alarming...

Friday, March 03, 2006

Interplanetary knits

I'm back! I'm afraid the blog has been a bit neglected this week; three days of working full-time will do that to you. So, I'm working, and it's great! I have plenty to do, and it's all very interesting (and interplanetary, all of it; asteroids and moons and planets) and it's good to get my brain back into gear.

But... it does cut into the knitting time. However, I take the bus to and from work, and even though it's a short trip I can usually manage a few rows of a sock or wristlet. This morning it was nice and warm and I had a few minutes' wait at the bus stop, so I knit while I was standing there waiting. All of this, plus an evening of stitch & bitch on Wednesday, has yielded: two and a half beaded stars on a wristlet, and a short-row heel and an inch of leg on the Bearfoot socks! I made myself work on the wristlets a bit because I've been wearing the first pair every day to work. They keep my wrists warm while I'm doing brilliant scientific work, or more likely, swearing about unreliable FTP connections.

On Sunday there's going to be a little Oscar-watching knitting/dyeing/spinning kind of party, which promises to be all kinds of fun. For now, it's the weekend and I'm ready to get back to my sock!