31 January 2008

New Interweave & Ravelry

I have nothing to post at the moment, but I will very shortly! I just wanted to say that the new Interweave has like 10 things I totally want to make/wear. Check it out. I might just have to pick up a copy.

Also, I'm on Ravelry now . . . and I'm thrilled! I'm sure the novelty will wear off, but I do feel like the catalog of my projects allows me to see what I want to work on next and what I've made. Since I tend to knit for others, I sort of lose sight of what I was working on. Also, I'm obsessed OBSESSED with looking at patterns.

27 January 2008

Progress! Well, A Start

There you have it, kids! I cast-on for the HelloYarn/Spunky Eclectic handspun sweater explosion. And then.....I couldn't stop knitting. This stuff is so soft! I'm knitting this up on US3s. I used a provisional cast on so that I could easily knit those live stitches up with row 6 or so of the body, in order to get a nice tidy hem edge - hem edge done with Jamiesons. I switched to the handspun, which I am working in 1 x 1 rows - it's blending beautifully!

When I swatched for this I worked it in 2 x 2 rows of alternating colors, but it seemed a little bit too stripey for my liking - I would rather have VERY DISTINCT stripes than the semi-stripes these 2 together were giving me. It's a rather loose gauge, but it has a wonderful hand to it. I started some shaping decreases, which will go for a bit. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the top - crewneck, V-neck, etc. But I have plenty of time before I get there.

Meanwhile, I'll be teaching this week - Non-Adhesive Bookbinding. Anyone need a handbound blank book? I'll have about 8 teaching models by the end of the week. This teaching, of course, is cutting into my knitting time - I don't want to put this sweater down!

26 January 2008

I'm Spinning As Fast As I Can! Soon, Knitting.

I finally finished spinning up the "Harvest" colorway from Spunky Eclectic, and I am now well on my way to swatching for a simple pullover. This will use the previously spun-up "Bog" colorway from HelloYarn, and for insurance I'm using a bit of Jamieson's Double Knit Shetland that was given to me. Care to take a look?

Here they are basking on some of the remaining snow - FINALLY some pictures with natural sunlight! I'm loving how these colors work together, and I'm hoping that knit-up they will look just as wonderful together. I've been in need of a basic pull-over for sometime, and I need to take on a good mindless big project - this seems ideal. I'll be following the directions from Elizabeth Zimmermann to make it up as I go along.

I also received my January club installment from Spunky Eclectic - lovely Icelandic wool that I promptly spun-up! Also basking in the sun:

This will probably be a part of my cousin's Glittens - I'll have to combine it with something else - I'm not sure what yet. It seems it'll be incredibly strong and wear well as glittens - strong, warm, TOUGH. Love it.

So there is some knitting on the horizon! After all, it's almost February ;)

19 January 2008

Spinning and...thinking about Knitting.

I've been thinking a lot about knitting, and spinning as well. Reading, researching, investigating. It is January after all - my traditional non-knitting month. I'll think of it as....planning for the future. I've been making lots of lists, and considering what I'd like to accomplish with my stash-busting. All the while making more stash:


This is some HelloYarn fiber (not club stuff) in the "Bog" colorway. I had 8 ounces, which, when spun up, game about 650 yards or so. I haven't washed it yet to set the twist, but the whole batch was perfectly balanced right off the bobbins. I'm making my way through some "Harvest" colorway roving (Spunky Eclectic) in the hopes of working up a striped sweater of some sort - just a simple lazing around pullover, I think, in soft autumnal oranges, browns, ochres, greys, greens. I'm about halfway through that bunch, and hope to be done this weekend.

I haven't *only* been CREATING stash - I've been busting through it like nobody's business. I quick-like-a-bunny completed that handspun Baby Surprise Jacket:


Doesn't look a bit finished there, does it? It's pretty magical, I gotta tell ya. With just a couple of origami folds you end up with this:


I ran out of the handspun with pretty much just the button bands and bottom rows to finish up. I went to the stash and found a bundle of perfectly matching red Wool/Cotton, and it was *justenough* to complete the sweater! I most highly recommend that everryone make one of these - so fast, super fun, super easy. I've got some cute little green buttons to tack on to this, but my interest in sewing on buttons is pretty minimal (see also: Ireland sweater, Amanda's China Sweater, numerous bags, laptop case, etc etc). I'll get to it soon enough. At least in this case I actually HAVE the ideal buttons.

18 January 2008

hey cupcake!

So some of you know about my quiet-but-intense predilection for cupcakes... Visiting Billy's every time I go to NYC, for example, and discovering no fewer than THREE cupcake bakeries in Asheville, N.C. when I was passing through there in August. Imagine my chagrin to discover last summer that Austin had ZERO - count 'em - ZERO cupcake bakeries (unless you count grocery stores, which I don't). But wait, what's this? Last week when I paid a visit to the legendary Hill Country Weavers on a whim, what do I spot RIGHT NEXT DOOR? You guessed it - a cupcake stand!

hey cupcake! is one of many Austin businesses that are run out of these old sno-cone trailers - there's a creperie and a real Sno-Cone place, all within a square mile or so. So guess who's got a cupcake for lunch today, hmm?

17 January 2008

I hate to be coy...

...and cut my face off, because that's one of the blogging tropes I most dislike. You know, I'll tell you strangers everything about my intimate life, but I'll call my husband by his first initial and I'll cut my face off, preserving... what? I don't even know. It's like not hearing the concluding notes of a long symphony. You strain to get there, to get to the wrap-up. I don't want to see your neck without seeing your face. It's just... wrong.

However, I am starting to appreciate how difficult it is to take a photograph of yourself if you can't figure out how the self-timer works. I cut my head off accidentally, not on purpose. So I'm deliberately sparing you, in fact, only my wattles.

Now then. The sweater! First FO of 2008, and a fine, fine pattern from Knitknit, designed by Joelle Hoverson. Didn't bust any stash because I ordered it specially for this project.

The facts:

Started: mid-December 2007
Finished: 17 January 2008
Pattern: Joelle's Favorite Yoke Sweater
Designer: Joelle Hoverson
Yarn: Socks That Rock Lightweight in Brick (3 skeins)
Needles: US2 circular

This was a very easy and pleasurable knit. As predicted, the ribbed waist does not create the illusion of slenderness there, but I don't really mind. It's comfy. The only thing I am not crazy about are the light shades around the yoke. When the yarn arrived, I could see that one of the skeins had a very light pink clump in the middle of the red. I was a little surprised that they'd sent it as part of a larger order - it would be one thing if you had a single skein with some variation, but if you have three skeins, and only one has variation, it's gonna be weird. I would say a good rule might be: if you've got a chunk of yarn that represents less than 15% of the whole, and it's more than 50% different than the other 85%, look for a skein that matches a little better, eh? But as Stacie and I independently decided, the weird part would best be used up top, and I really don't think it could have come out any better than to have a little lightening around the yoke.

Now, for SocKAL 2008! I will attempt to catch up with Stacie on Marie Antoinette, or as I am thinking of them, Jane Seymour.

14 January 2008

Some thoughts on recipes and recipe boxes and oh yeah, some knitting

Lately I have been cooking more, and looking at more food blogs and recipe books, and I have noticed something. Cookbook writers and food bloggers will go on. Gluten-free Girl, for example, who has a really excellent recipe for pasta sauce that runs to a whole page, takes a paragraph to say "heat up some oil in a pan." That's just for example; I see a lot of gooey rhapsodic undisciplined length in food blogging that makes me think about recipe boxes.

Remember them? Our grandmother and mothers used them, because all their recipes fitted on little cards. That's what I'm nostalgic for these days. And about the time I was savaging a stack of food-blog printouts with my red pen, subliminally editing things down to recipe-card size, Kay got a notion to run a recipe-box contest.

If you stayed awake during first semester econ (I know I did, out of sheer terror), you'll know that the day Kay decides to have a vintage recipe-box contest is not a good day to shop eBay for vintage recipe boxes. Kay and Ann have the power to make or break whole economies; everybody knows that. Nevertheless, I was able to secure one I liked for $2.99. Plus shipping, of course; that's how they getcha.

It's actually sort of semi-vintage; it's from the 70s, pretending to be from the 30s. The 70s really had a thing for the 3os, which is why I love the 70s. That and the fact that I'm from the 70s. Anyway, it's got a really nice view of Niagara Falls on the side of the box, which adds class. (Up top is my dad's recipe for bran muffins; it's one of the few examples of his handwriting I own. It's precious, though I prefer how Ed Brown's come out.)

So I hear we're in for a wintry mix this weekend, and I plan to spend it organizing my recipe box. Because I finished my Joelle's Favorite Yoke Sweater. Yay! There wasn't much light today; I'll have to take a picture tomorrow.

12 January 2008

Two Finished Objects or, Due Oggetti Rifiniti

Hello, friends! Here's a very carby new year's greeting for you from Siena, Italy. Yes, that's "happy 2008" written out on a pizza! Scott and I just got back from our honeymoon. It was so wonderful to be away for nearly 2 weeks. 2007--while being a great, eventful year for us (starting a biz, getting married etc.)--was also extremely trying and tiring. So, we really revelled in our time away. We spent nearly a week in Florence, then 2 days in Siena, and nearly a week in Rome. January turns out to be an excellent time to visit the normally tourist-laden Italy. We saw very few tourists (save Italian tourists), never waited in lines, enjoyed all the sights and restaurants we wanted to. I'll be posting our (hundreds!) of pix soon. We had lovely time and we're now just getting adjusted to life back on Cambridge.

On the knitting tip: I think because of the stress of the wedding/job/etc. I haven't had a good knitting spate lately. I was hoping to allow the act of knitting to distract and comfort me, but instead I found myself making error after error and frogging continuously. I found I actually had to give it up for a couple months. But in December, I took up a quick scarf knitting project for Miss Briana (she'll have to post the pic later!) in the lovely Rowan Calmer. Calmer. Total coincidence that the name of the yarn was actually the mood I was striving for in December.

Before we left for Italy I went home to Virginia to care for my mother who was recovering from (to me a scary) surgery. Thankfully, all is well. . . such a relief.
After the hectic autumn and knowing that my mom would be ok, I knit Soulemama's hat yet again. It's a quick, satisfying knit. I wanted to give my mom a little handmade gift to warm her during this winter. I shipped it off to her around Christmas and it seems to have gone the way of Stacie's lacey shawls because it has yet to arrive! I imagine some postmaster somewhere decked out in the most glorious hand-knit items prancing among the mail.

Inspired by Amy, I knit up Smariek's 3AM hat while in Italy. This isn't a very detailed photo of the FO, but I like the way it turned out (except for some whack tension issues). I'm planning to make it again in DK weight Italy-bought yarn without the rolled up brim for Scott. In this photo I'm in Siena's famous and incredibly lovely Piazza del Campo.

I'm inspired reading your stash busting resolutions. I'll also resolve to knit only from my stash. I think I'm going to have to make an appointment for a housecall with Dr. Knitting (Stacie) and all ya'll for some advice. My stash is totally out of control--I can't even remember what projects I had in mind when I bought some of the yarn!

Can't wait to see all of you again for some quality knitting and--but of course!--bitching.

11 January 2008

Inspiration Nation

This morning I was inspired to photograph the part of my stash that's here in Austin. It's now up at Ravelry! So please peruse and feel free to offer suggestions for the stash yarn. In the process I unearthed a couple of WIPs that I'm newly inspired to work to completion: this Pi in the Sky Shawl, and a cutey-patootey moss-and-cable baby coat (no intended recipient yet).

The process of uploading everything to Ravelry also gave me new inspiration for a couple of the yarns. For example, at Stacie's house the other day, we re-discovered some Habu Textiles yarn that I'd almost forgotten about - two skinny silks, one a deep mallard-blue and one a neutral wheat color. I bought those together initially to make a stole or shawl; but today I discovered one skein of Lacey Lamb in a slate blue, and I suspect it will go beautifully with those two: an unintended match! The possibilities of combining those three yarns seem much more interesting than any of the yarns used by themselves.

Here's to a new year full of new ideas!

Better Judgment

Remember snow? Sigh. What a strange thing to have a thunderstorm in January.

I have been so inspired by all the amazing people in my life (both cyber, physical, and fictional) this season. I am determined to no longer accomodate for fear of rejection, but instead to follow Max's lead and do things because I want to, not just because something or someone is pressuring me to, not least the many voices in my head.


To begin I have made some major changes: Instead of ergonomic chairs and conference calls, I am working three -four days a week at a yarn shop I love (Go Woolcott!). Sometimes the day brings amazing people I would never otherwise have met, sometimes challenging customers who desperately need someone to whom they can tell their story. Sometimes the UPS gods smile and we get Possum yarn, sometimes we get less-exciting -but-absolutely-needed needles. And with the other precious precious time, I am clearing brush in the jungle of my mind.

I often feel spoiled rotten by this opportunity to take some space. It is so very easy to feel bad.

If nothing else, knitting has taught me to be patient with my own shortcomings. Somehow I can be open to making mistakes with yarn in a way that is unavailable to me in daily life. My intention this year is to be open to being wrong, and having better judgment about what is actually important.

In that spirit, two situations in which I did what I wanted in the face of other advice, one knitting - one other:

1. I knit these thumbies at the incredibly tight gauge of 9.5 stitches per inch. Sean warned me. Danielle, too. They came out so stiff, they could stop bullets, and unfortunately, I couldn't get them over my hands. Sigh. But the fabric came out pretty cool, right?

2. I recently entirely ignored someone I had known well a few years ago. She is one of those people who is always in need of attention. She stood right behind me in a line. And I was exhausted and didn't want to be her friend again, so despite the persistent screaming of the voice in my head telling me how mean I was, I tucked my chin under and walked right out of the store.

Either of these situations could be defined as a mistake. I think the trick for me is to stop worrying so much about mistakes. But I haven't quite figured out a way not to feel bad. Any thoughts?

10 January 2008

2008: The Year of Keeping it Simple

Recently I read a self-help book (well, skimmed—I never really “read” self-help books, I just skim, mentally editing and extracting the gold, which can typically be stated in a single pithy paragraph, and which I ought to think about sharing with the world, really. Wouldn’t you like that? All the world’s most truly helpful self-help, trimmed of all the stupid, transparently fictional examples, hoary parables, and assorted filler? Anyhow.) on “Goal-free Living”, and despite that, and the fact that I haven’t made resolutions for years, I have done a little planning for 2008, my Year of Keeping it Simple. I have set these goals:

1. To walk daily for one hour
2. To take yoga twice a week
3. To eat sweets a maximum of three times a week
4. To establish and follow a sustainable housework routine that is shared equitably amongst family members
5. To declutter the whole house from top to bottom, big to small
6. To have two weeks worth of healthy menus for each season
7. To recode all my organization’s websites to modern web standards
8. To finish all the insurance beneficiary paperwork I’ve been sitting on a long time
9. To be truly helpful to my son with his schoolwork, and not a taskmistress
10. To knit from stash, unless I run out (unlikely!), or unless I go to Rhinebeck or Taos. (I’m following Stacie’s Rules.)

And I’ve been doing pretty good! Somewhere I turned a corner. I’ve been getting up and meditating every morning—well, that's been true a long time—but then I decide what the day’s three most important things are, and that's all I commit to. Keeping it simple. I’m going to yoga because I want to, not because I should. Same with the healthy menus. The housework and schoolwork routines have been absolutely transformed, just by changing a couple little tiny things (ask me sometime).

Have you all been looking at the Purl Bee? I adore the way they style the knitting photos with a fabric background. Of course, they have plenty to choose from. But so do I! Big ol stash of thrifted vintage fabrics, right here! The one above I found at the Wellfleet thrift this Christmas. Lovely stuff. And Joelle’s Favorite, as you can see, should soon be done.

If only I had finished it yesterday, it would have been seasonally appropriate. I’m sure New England is headed back to the deep freeze any moment, though.

09 January 2008


While I've picked up a new lace project (Muir), I always enjoy having something mindless on the needles:While I originally had some glittens planned for this wool, I opted instead to cast on for a Baby Surprise Jacket. I've wanted to make one of these for ages - they just look like so much fun! And this yarn is a lot of fun, as well. This is about 264 yards of Superwash Corriedale, in the colorway "Party Dress" from the Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club (December). It is navajo-plied in order to maintain the color transitions, and the final product is similar in feel to, say, Cascade 220. I'm quite pleased with it. And I think it will look AMAZING as a BSJ.

That's on US6s, by the way. Straight Single-Point needles! Why? They were the closest and easiest to get to. :)

06 January 2008

Trying to Git Things Done

Back to the wheel I go:

This here is my December selection from the HelloYarn Fiber Club. It's 2 oz. of Soy silk/Wool blend, and man-oh-man was it awesome to spin. It wanted to be laceweight, so I let that happen. I decided to keep it as a single-ply, which yielded me about 600 yards. It is ohsofine, and lovely yo touch, and divine to look at. I had been concerned about it not balancing as a single, but the set seemed to resolve any issues in that arena. Lovely!

As for the knitting. WELL. I started up Muir - and by start, I'm talkin' 3 rows - and I'm looking for something mindless. It being January (the month I don't really knit), it's tough getting my knitting mojo back, but I really really want/need to. So for now, I'm re-evaluating some of the UFOs that are clogging up my life, and making DECISIONS.
The Ugliest Sweater in the World? I'll be frogging that. It appears that it won't have a decent ease to it, so away it goes.
• Fair Isle vest? Still want to do it, though I am re-evaluating where I placed the increases on the original go-round, so I may rip back a bit. Not sure yet....
• Blue Assymetrical Zippy Cardi? Definitely going to complete this - I just need to relocate the pattern :)
• I've got a Kidsilk Haze lace scarf on those awesome kid needles - also need to get the pattern for that one.

Things seem to be fairly under control, no? Until I actually come up with a dedicated plan, a plan involving completing these above items, and knitting things that I am going to WANT to knit in their entirety, I think I'll stick to spinning for a bit. After all, I need to get through a RAW fiber stash, as well.

03 January 2008

Happy New Year and All that Jazz

Not quite the year in review, but an end-of-year wrap-up, and some thoughts on this coming year. My final finished (sort of - they are both halves of pairs....) objects for 2007 are the awesome Snail Mittens from The Book of Yarn, and the first of the Marie Antoinette socks, part of a slow-going KAL with Miss Max.
The Marie Antoinette pattern - well, it's just lovely! the pick-up loopy-bits along the back of the foot and the back of the heel are funfunfun to work, the yarn is wonderful, the color is great. I stupidly misread a portion of the pattern and didn't notice until some 60 rows later, so I've almost knit 2 socks already what with the tearing out and the re-knitting. I finished this lovely with about 5 hours to spare of 2007. While Max is completing Joelle's Favorite Yoke Sweater, I knit up sock number The First. I'll put the other one aside until Max is ready to take a shot at it, and there begin the knit-along portion of this project. Anyone else care to join us?
And because I am so good at procrastinating the proper Christmas projects that I had planned, I started up on these mitts a few days before Christmas. I managed to complete this one (these lovelies will be a gift for Miss Amy) using Baby Ull and US1s - they were a blast! And went so quickly.
Here I am modelling one of them - the only completed one thus far. These puppies are double-thick throughout - the other side looks like a fish belly of red and grey stripes. They are super duper warm and comfy.

But for the New Year! As mentioned in a previous post, Miss Max and I had been toying with the idea of a year of Knitting From the Stash. And here we are in a new year........

With minimal discussion, the following decisions were made concerning this venture:
∙ knit exclusively from our stash for 2008
∙ all bets are off for Rhinebeck (stash re-acquisition) and/or Taos.
∙ should some yarn *need* to be purchased for the completion of a project, the yarn purchased cannot exceed the yarn in the stash, i.e. I cannot purchase 9 balls of yarn to accompany the 1 ball that I already have in order to make a sweater.
∙ gift yarn is fine, as well as gift certificates.
∙ if all stash is eliminated, new stash can then be acquired. (HA!)

I'll also mention that I plan on remaining in my 2 fiber-of-the-month clubs, so I will be slowly creating more stash through the course of the year. When I get my act together - hopefully this week! - I'll have all of this stash business sorted out in my Ravelry, so as to be able to really track this to-do.

Oh! I also plan on rewarding myself a wee bit for a job (jobs?) well done - a little bit of Stash for Cash. For every ball of yarn eliminated from stash, for every finished object, for every ounce of newly spun fiber, I'll throw some money at the knitting kitty. Stash can also be traded or sold - any funds acquired through selling of stash will also go towards future fiber-related ventures. Ultimately for more yarn. Or a new wheel ;)