Monday, January 30, 2006

Not Cashmere Sweater Progress

Here are a couple of progress photos of my “Not Cashmere” Sweater from Weekend Knitting. As I’ve said before, the construction is a little bizarre compared to most sweaters. This photo shows the collar in progress. You knit to the middle, then knit the collar on a smaller circ, then resume knitting the sleeves and back. I had to bind off the collar LOOSELY with sz 17 needles! The first photo is a decent representation of the color.

I worked on this sweater at Last Saturday Knitting last weekend. [There were five of us there, which is a good number to maintain conversation as well as a reasonable amount of concentration. Rebecca was even making a fair isle hat, which was quite impressive.] I’m at the point where I need to start decreasing then casting off the sleeves. Once that’s done it should go pretty quickly since I already have the rectangle done for the mid-back, and once that’s attached, there are just a few inches of easy stockinette to go. I should be done this month.

I realized last night that I had no FO’s for January. I also didn’t get anywhere on making the Baby Uggs for my friends’ baby due February 17th. In a fit of panic, I cast on for the first one last night and got about half way through it. I hope to get them done this weekend.

Jaywalker One

One down, 0.9 to go.

These socks are going to make me happy. The colors are so bright, how can you not have a good day while wearing them?

Friday, January 27, 2006


You know, I had good intentions of actually posting a few pictures for once, but then the picture of my finished Jaywalker was corrupted, so I gave up completely. Maybe tomorrow.

I joined the Jaywalker knitalong today. The idea of having a chance to win free yarn if I complete my pair by the deadline was just too appealing. Hopefully I can finish Sock #2 in time. Good incentive to avoid Second Sock Syndrome.

I had 9 hours of training at work this week. I really wished I could have knitted through it, but it's not appropriate to do that where I work. It was a webcast, not even a real live trainer in the room, so you can bet that was incredibly exciting. I nearly fell asleep on Day 1; if I had been knitting, at least I would have been more alert.

Happy Weekend! Hopefully I'll post something a little more thrilling tomorrow.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

My first meme

I've been tagged! Vicki tagged's nice to know that people are finding their way to my blog. I only know of 3 people who read my blog on a regular basis. It's exciting to get comments from people I don't know.

Instructions: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot.
Purls Beyond Price
Too Many Projects

Select 5 people to tag. Uh...if you are reading this, I guess you're tagged. Play along if you wish. No pressure.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

1996: I was finishing up my senior year of college. I was approaching the one year anniversary (Feb. 10th) of dating the man who is now my husband.

What were you doing 1 year ago?

I was pretty much in the same place I am right now, lifewise. I think I was knitting my first pair of socks!

What were you doing 1 hour ago?

Shredding. I've been on a cleaning streak lately. A couple of weeks ago I broke down and organized DH's file drawer because I just couldn't take it anymore. Tonight I shredded a VERY tall stack of papers.

List five creative things you want to achieve this year:
1. Learn fair isle.
2. Complete a fairly complicated cabled sweater.
3. Write in my neglected diary more than once this year.
4. Take more photos and dust off my photography skills.
5. Sew a garment from a pattern.

List five snacks you enjoy:
1. Popcorn.
2. Popcorn.
3. Popcorn.
4. Homemade cookies, especially chocolate chip.
5. Most kinds of fruit.

List five things you would do if money were no object:
1. Buy a house for my mom.
2. Quit my job and do whatever I wanted all day long.
3. Buy a house for DH and me.
4. Have a pliates studio in my house, complete with a personal trainer to stop by twice a week.
5. Travel.

List five bad habits:
1. I never make the bed.
2. I've started to drink coffee every day. (I quit drinking pop, though.)
3. I'm often TOO scheduled and regimented.
4. I throw my clothes on the floor. Luckily we have a walk in closet now.
5. Slouching.

List five things you like doing:
1. Knitting. Duh.
2. Yarn shopping. Duh.
3. Camping.
4. Cooking/baking.
5. Reading.

List five favorite gadgets:
1. Various cameras (although I don't use them nearly enough)
2. Cookie dough scoop.
3. TiVo.
4. Paper cutter for cardmaking.
5. Knitting row counter.

Name one thing you like about yourself:
I like to think that I am generally a good person.

Monday, January 23, 2006

PDA at the LYS

Question: What would make a couple want to make out at a LYS?
A: "Sure, honey, I'll buy that $100 bag of cashmere for you, it's on sale!
B: "See these books over here? I'll buy you one of each title!"
C: "I can't wait for you to finish your knitted _________ (insert name of your choice of undergarment here)."
D: It was an entry into the Extreme Knitter contest, although there wasn't any knitting going on.

Maybe I just don't get it. Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe it's because I'm married that I find yarn store PDA a little bizarre. This was not a little peck on the cheek, it was a prolonged, passionate kiss.

Saturday was a Knitty meetup. Elizabeth already covered many of the details here. We met at a LYS/coffeeshop, which was buzzing with activity. I spotted a Wavy, (here's mine)

so the owner and I chatted a bit-I figured she was there for the meetup, but she was meeting someone else. She spotted my sock and exclaimed, "Is that a Jaywalker?" Sure was. She pulled her very own Jaywalker out of her bag. I guess we have similar taste in patterns!

I managed to work a quarter round of my Jaywalker before I lost a stitch. Back in the bag it went. Instead, I worked on a scarf with some "problem yarn" Terby destashed to me the last time I saw her. I messed around with it a bit in the morning and decided that it looked pretty good combined with some leftover Lamb's Pride. I managed to screw up the scarf a few times, too. Of course I am going to run out of the Lamb's Pride and have no idea if I can get any more of that color. That was not very smart of me.... I'm tempted to rip it out and start over with a full skein. So the knitting wasn't so great on Saturday. Too many distractions.

My very awesome Holiday SP, Kathy, drove an hour and a half to the meetup. It was great to meet her! She brought me my final package full of wonderful goodies: a skein of Cash Iroha for armwarmers (right now my fingers are freezing, gotta get working on those), 3 skeins of Silk Garden (leftover from the GORGEOUS sweater she was wearing), 2 more balls of the extremely thin mohair she sent in my first package, chocolate, and a nice card! I'll post a picture sometime later this week. Not everyone is so lucky to get a SP package hand delivered!

My Not Cashmere Sweater is coming to come.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Moving on...

No more stuff on work right now. I just want it to go away. Is it the weekend yet?

Here are my somewhat belated craft resolutions for 2006:
  • Learn how to knit fair isle. I want to make one of the bags from Handknit Holidays. If my knitting looks weird, I can just felt it and make it look good! When I saw that someone on the knitalong did this, I knew I had to do a bag as my first project. I made a felted Sophie bag when I switched from English to Continental, which made all mistakes disappear!
  • Knit a cabled sweater. I really want to do something with sort of complex cables, but haven’t decided on the pattern yet.
  • Use my sock yarn stash. I have enough to make 3 pairs of socks (I know, that is hardly a “stash”). I’m not super excited about any of the yarn, so the patterns need to be good. Since sock yarn is so easy to accumulate, I need to be careful that I don’t hoard it. It stresses me out to have too much yarn around.
  • Knit with Lorna’s Laces sock yarn. After hearing so much about it in the blogging world, I must have some for myself. This is my easiest goal this year.
  • Find someone to professionally quilt my twin size and full size quilt tops that have been sitting around for 3 or 4 years. I still need to seam the back piece for one of them. It’s a huge pain. This was a failed resolution from 2005, although I did seam the back for one, so I did make some progress last year.
  • Finish the smaller quilt I have been working on for a couple of years. I’m doing free motion quilting. I got about halfway done, then life got in the way and I didn’t touch my sewing machine for over a year. When I tried to get back into it, the thread kept breaking. I don’t know if my machine got smacked around when we moved, if it needs a good cleaning, if the metallic thread I’m using is starting to disintegrate (is that possible?), or if my technique is horrible from being out of practice.
  • [Side note: I have no illusions that I will use any of my fabric stash or work on any other quilting UFO’s.]
  • Finish some Xmas cross stitch projects that have been sitting around for (yipes!) 6 years or so. The stitching is done. I don’t want to frame them, so I need to figure out an alternative finishing method. Mini pillows?
  • Complete at least 2 scrapbook pages. I have all this scrapbooking stuff and have made a total of 4 pages in my life. This is probably my most unrealistic resolution.

My boss boss was saying today how we need to constantly be improving ourselves and how tomorrow I should be a better Jenny than I am today. I immediately thought of my knitting, rather than applying this to anything work related. (If she only knew...)

May we all be better knitters tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It got worse

You know, after the day I had last week, I thought I had hit rock bottom, work-wise. Not so. I shed tears in my boss boss's office yesterday. It was ugly, oh, so ugly.The unfortunate incident from last week manifested into a Huge Deal. I was not directly responsible, but I am shouldering most of the blame because I am a supervisor. Yes, I am partially (yet indirectly) responsible, but I don't think that they needed to make me cry about it. Although I cry very easily (I bawled during March of the Penguins a couple weeks ago), I have never done it in front of anyone at work, especially not my boss boss. Things were better today, I just wonder if the worst is over. Stay tuned to see if I am still employed in a few days! HA! (If I lose my job, how will I pay for my knitting?)

My previous lowest point in my career occurred during and after my prelimary oral exam my second year of grad school. It was made clear to me that day that I had no desire, skills, or will to get my PhD. I don't have the brain for it. I don't want to be creative. I want someone to tell me what to do and then I'll do it. And I'll do it well.

I think that's why I like knitting. Call me strange, but I LOVE to follow directions. I have little desire at this point to create my own patterns or even stray far from someone else's pattern. Just let me knit according to the directions and I'll be happy.

My Jaywalker is progressing nicely, although I had wanted to be on to the second sock by now. Oh well. I had a moment of panic last weekend when I tried this baby on. Everyone has been talking about how tight they are and I wanted to make sure I was OK before completing the heel. I got it on without too much trouble, but then I realized I had nothing really to grab onto to pull it off. PANIC! Deep breath. Deep breath. Gently wiggle out. It came off and the needles stayed in. Whew.

I can only hope that I get through this tight spot at work without losing my mind. Breathe. Knit. Breathe. Knit.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

This, my friends, is the kind of day I had...

Today was a particularly ugly day at work.

DH and I don't have much alcohol in the house. We have a bottle of vodka and a bottle of amaretto, which are used only for penne alla vodka and chocolate amaretto layer cake, respectively. I do have a bottle of margaritas in the fridge, but it doesn't get much use. I usually only break it out on Friday afternoons in the summer. Nothing like a margarita on the porch after a week of work. However, since it's January, you can infer that the margarita is not a result of the completion of a week of work and a celebration of summer. It's the marker of the survival of a tough day.

As part of my ugly day at work, I had to sit through a 3 1/2 hour meeting. Too bad I couldn't have worked on this...

I was making decent progress on my Jaywalker until last night when I had to watch 2 hours of LOST. I simply cannot knit during that show.

Laura asked what yarn I was using. It's Lana Grossa Meilenweit Multiringel, color 5080. She's also working on some Jaywalkers right now. Isn't everyone? :)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Must. Knit. Faster.

I restarted my Jaywalkers and worked on them for awhile on Sunday. This was my first time knitting socks with a set of 5 needles instead of 4. It was a bit trickier working on the first few rows, but it got easier once I had enough rows to stabilize the needles. I feel like I worked on this for hours and hours, but this is all I have to show for it:

The yarn is from my Holiday SP, who is no longer nameless: Kathy!

I think I need to do some research on knitting socks on 2 circs. I don’t think I want to do two at a time, since I forsee myself getting tangled, tangled, tangled. One at a time just might be faster than using dpns, and I am all about getting faster with sock knitting. I did Magic Loop for a few rows on a sweater sleeve once and it drove me crazy pulling the stitches back on the needles and it broke my rhythm. Using 2 circs could be better, because I think you just keep knitting around, you just have to be careful to select the correct needle. I need to look into this more…

Moving from Size 1 to Size 10.5, here’s the Not Cashmere Sweater progress:

A few people at work know I knit, although no one really knows how MUCH I knit or what an OBSESSION it is and certainly no one at work knows I have a blog. A coworker asked me recently if it was difficult to make a hat and did I have a good pattern. I brought in my latest umbilical cord hat and my copy of SnB for her to look through because that was my first circular project and it went very well. It turns out that she’s made a sweater before (in a class), but for some reason she has a fear of knitting in the round. I hope I gave her enough of a pep talk so she will give it a try-if you can make a sweater you can definitely make a hat! She had never seen SnB before, and I think I convinced her that she needed to have it because of the great instructions.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Saturday Knitting Group

Today was my first time attending the First Saturday knitting group. I'm pretty much a shy person and sometimes I freak out when there are lots of people around, especially ones I don't know. (I don't go to the mall or the grocery store on weekends because it drives me nuts.) Luckily, knitters are usually very nice and welcoming people. There were nine of us there and I had a good time. I didn't talk much, but once I get to know people better, I'll open up. I'll definitely go back next month. We met at a newer LYS. They have a nice selection of yarn and I picked up various sock yarns, but managed to put them back. Maybe next time.

The first time I attended the Last Saturday knitting group, I walked in with a sock in my purse. The meeting was at a coffeeshop, and I figured I could walk in, scope out the place while ordering my coffee, and then bolt if I was too scared and no one would have to know. Well, I stayed and had a great time. I just have to suck it up sometimes and overcome my introversion.

I worked on my Not Cashmere Sweater today. I'm almost ready to start the collar. Once again, I am too lazy to upload any pictures.

I started the popular Jaywalker socks last night using the self-striping yarn from my Still Secret Pal. I decided to make the larger size because lots of people were saying that they come out really small. Well, after some evaluation this morning, I think I'm going to frog and do the smaller size. This sock is MUCH bigger than all of my other handknit socks, and I can easily fit it over my ankle, even with the needles in place. Sigh. I hate starting over.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Trip to the LNS and FO


I can pretend that the weather is nice and wonderful here instead of dark and gray.

I cross stitched this little robin over Christmas. My mom and aunt had a pet robin, Buddy, while they were growing up, so they are both very fond of robin things. I think I’ll end up giving this to my aunt. She has a bathroom dedicated to bird stuff. I really don’t want to spend the money to frame something so little, so I think I will try to do something with it myself, perhaps a little pillow. However, my sewing machine and I aren’t on the greatest of terms right now. Maybe it needs a cleaning? I have no idea.

I’ve been looking for info on ways to finish cross stitch pieces other than framing, but haven’t come up with much. With knitting you can find pretty much any tutorial imaginable on the web, but it’s not so with cross stitch.

I had a bit of Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket and I panicked when I realized that Little Robin was my last cross stitch project in the queue. I had a couple of charts, but no fabric or floss. Off to the LNS I went. I had never been to this particular store before. All of the workers were very nice and offered to help me several times. I wasn’t overly impressed with the layout, however. Most of their charts (more than I have seen in one place before) were in bins, so it wasn’t easy to browse. Luckily I wasn’t really looking for any charts. The floss was all in little drawers. Very organized, but I prefer being able to see at the colors without having to pull out individual drawers.

For the past couple of years I’ve been a Floss Snob. I used to use only the 5 for a dollar (on sale) DMC floss, until I picked up a kit that used overdyed floss. The color variations make stitching much more interesting and give the finished piece much more depth. Plus shopping is more fun when you are looking for “Honeysuckle” rather than “Color 841”. I bought everything to make Little Robin in my pre-Floss Snob days and I was sad to work with boring floss again. HOWEVER, each skein of overdyed floss costs about $2 and I feel really guilty each time I buy it. Most of my previous projects have been done in earth tones, so I blew my $20 in Christmas money in no time by buying every color of floss needed for this springy piece:

I also needed to buy fabric. In the past I have bought precut pieces from the other LNS (I graduated from Aida long ago when I saw how much better linen fabric looks). At the other LNS I inquired about the big pieces of fabric and they said it was $50+ a yard (gasp) and that it was sold by the inch. Whatever that means. Clearly I didn't know what I was doing and they weren't offering to explain, despite the confused look on my face. I couldn't find what I was looking for on my recent trip to the different store, so I asked one of the workers to help. She took the $55 a yard fabric and cut me a $3 piece which will be enough for 2 small projects. I will definitely be going back to this store because their customer service was so much better and I was much more comfortable asking questions.

Happy 2006

I whipped out this little baby hat on the last day of 2005 while knitting with the Last Saturday Knitting Group. There were four of us there this time and once again, the time just flew. Elizabeth even took some pictures this time. I realized that my baby hat stash was getting dangerously low, plus I needed to do a bit of ripping on my Not Cashmere sweater and that couldn't be done in public. This hat completes my first "Hat Trick" for the Cover Your Head Knitalong.
At long last, here is the finished photo of my Flower Petal Washcloth from Weekend Knitting along with the bath fizzers I got for my cousin. I hope she likes it. Even with natural light, it still isn't the greatest picture. Have I mentioned that I only have north facing windows and it's the middle of winter?

I've been back to work for two days now and it's SO HARD. Yesterday my head felt like it was full of cotton, I just couldn't think at all. I guess that's the mark of a good vacation, when you get back to work and can't remember what you were doing a week and a half ago!

I was out of town for a few days and didn't do any knitting during that time, but I did do a small cross stitch project, which I will save for another post.

Happy 2006!