April 2006 Archives

What I'll be doing in late July


Do you ever feel like you have to apologize that people think you are better than you are? I'm seriously not fishing for compliments here but, I've been asked to be on a panel at the BlogHer convention in July.


The topic: "Is the Next Martha Stewart a Blogger?" I'm told that all I have to do is sit there and answer questions when I can. While I can assure you that I am definitely not the next Martha Stewart, I can't help but be flattered by the whole thing.
Did I say yes? Do bears relieve themselves in the woods?

I'm told that one of the rules is that I'll have to answer questions but not give speeches which is fine and dandy by me. If someone said I had to give a speech, I would have definitely turned it down. I don't mind talking to a crowd but I do mind having a script.

Keep going while the going is good


I've been cranking away on Leo's sweater, which I simply must find a name for since it's early stages bare a striking resemblance to someone else's sweater for a Leo. I am happy to report that while my Leo will be wearing a ribbed sweater, I have not accidentally designed a piece that is nearly identical to that one. But I do believe that the two men are cut from the same cloth (or should it be; knit from the same yarn.)

So, for the start of the sweater I cast on of about 120 stitches, and worked in ribbing for about 120 rows. In the world of exciting things to do, this rates at about a -3. But, we are at the early stages of knitting this piece and, like a relationship, the things that may annoy or bore me later, are simply delightful now.

So knowing that the thought of casting a new piece may feel like torture, by the time I finish the back piece, I've decided to leverage my existing enthusiasm and get the most tedious bits out of the way first.

So there is the back, knit up to the armsceye, with the front, cast on and knit for a few rows, sitting on top.
I gently blocked the back so you could see the fabric as it will be when completed. The first inch of each piece is knit on a slightly smaller needle so that the bottom edge won't flip out in some wonky way.

Now, when it comes time to knit the rest of the back, it won't seem quite so dreary. I'm thinking I'll need to knit both sleeves at the same time as well, to rid myself completely of second sleeve syndrome. Some people find knitting the sleeves first to be the best remedy, but in a man's garment which will be knit rather long, I suspect that this portion of the knitting will be the hardest to find motivation for. Time will tell if I'm correct.

I've also been spinning a little. I actually completed this skein several days ago.

It's the Redwood colorway from my Spunky Eclectic haul.

G'day? I'll say!


Last night there was a package for me.

It was from Australia.

It hasn't been light out during any time since I got it, so just know that these pictures don't do the contents justice.
If you would like to see what's inside, it's all after the bump.

Write here, write now


I originally saw this little meme at Six And A Half Stitches and tracked it back to Logtar. It's simple, really, just write any ol' pangram you like, in your own handwriting, and sign it. Post the pic and leave a comment back at Logtar.

So here's my entry. I actually normally prefer black ink to blue. In pen choice, I like a not-too-fine tip. My handwriting is, overall, rather poor, but what I lack in general penmanship, I make up for in flourish. Most of my capital letters have large swoopy bits. This is not something I added for the meme, I write this way all the time, though generally, the lowercase letters are slightly less well formed. When I'm trying to be very very clear, I actually write in small caps.

There's no tagging with this meme, just go ahead and do it yourself.

I took a couple rough photos of the machine knit cardi and cami

The pictures aren't so good because there was only a little daylight left when I took them. And I've been doing housework all day, so the hair; it is in no condition for photographing. But, I think it gives you a general idea of what the pieces look like.

I'm now fully engrossed in Leo's sweater.

This is the back piece. I'm about halfway to the armsceye. It looks thin, but it will block out much wider. So far so good. I got most of it done while watching a movie over at a friend's place. It was a great, relaxing evening.

Leo went out with some friends and brought me home this:

He’s so sweet. Little things like that make knitting miles of ribbing seem fun.

Well, in that case


I don't think I could have gotten a more positive response to good ol' Drake, if I had bribed you guys. So, I've cleaned up the pattern, fixed the typos (I hope) and posted him for sale.

People have made some great suggestions for modifications and variations. One I like in particular was to convert him to a messenger bag. While I no longer have the yarn or even the dyelot numbers to do that, I think it's worth mentioning for anyone who might be considering making one for themselves.


Next up, a possible exercise in futility. I want to knit Leo a sweater. I do this with a great deal of trepidation. Leo is not a fiber artist of any sort. He switches between calling it "sewing," "crocheting," and "knitting." When I wind, spin or knit yarn, his general thought is "Aren't there machines to do that?" I do not begrudge him this. He takes no end of joy in things that bore me to tears.

I have knit Leo a boatload of hats and I've even knit him a sweater before. He is always appreciative, but I have never knit him something he is totally satisfied with. The perfect item will always be lace weight thin and softer than silk, while still being manly in every way. Colors? Sure, as long as it's grey, brown, navy, or black.

So why do I want to knit him a sweater despite the fact that he hasn't asked and I'm pretty sure he won't be entirely content with it? Well, I want to design a few men's garments, to fill out my pattern portfolio, and I think the design is one that marginally less picky men will like, but I also can't help myself. I think he's pretty darned wonderful and knitting is about the most special thing I can do for him, so dammit, he's getting a sweater.

I started with a trip to the LYS where I got 4 skeins of yarn.

All were dubbed "a little thick." But I informed him that it would just have to do and he could wear it when it's colder out. I love him, but I'm not knitting a sweater on needles smaller than US #3.
So he began the feel test.
The top was the finest, but the superwash merino just wasn't soft enough.
The alpaca was soft enough but too thick
The Cathay was dismissed out of hand. No interest there
The last was the Baby Cashmerino. Thin enough to be acceptable, soft enough to pass the test, and if bought in a different color it would do.

So I shopped online for some good colors and prices. I know my LYS doesn't carry the quantity and color selection required. Webs had the best price once the discount was applied and I made my order.

In the mean time, I swatched.

Yup, the whole thing will be in ribbing. May the knitting gods grant me the strength to finish this baby.

Both swatches have been through the washing machine and laid flat to dry so I know the yarn will survive his general MO for washing sweaters. And yesterday, after about a week of waiting, the yarn arrived.

That's 13 skeins of grey/blue Baby Cashmerino.

Almost published


It seems like forever ago.
The talented and wonderful, Shannon Okey, contacting me to ask if I'd design a piece for the second of her KnitGrrl books. I hadn't ever worked with her before but her enthusiasm was enough to sway me. I drafted up a proposal and sent it to her and she accepted the idea. The result is Drake the Dreaded, the Dragon Backpack:

I think he's cute. You see that tongue there? It's functional.

When you open him up, that tongue is the pull cord to cinch the bag shut.

Here's his backside.

Shannon gave me great positive feedback when I finished him and sent him off. I was excited. Unfortunately, he didn't hold nearly as much charm for the editor of the book and he was cut, last minute. It happens and it was definitely not a personal thing. I was offered the choice of having him be a free promotional pattern for the book or just getting him back to use as my own pattern. There was some problem getting any final paperwork from the editor so we decided to cut our losses and Drake is back home with me.

Since I still have my original pattern instructions and I now have my sample back, I was thinking I'd offer the pattern up on my site, for a very small fee, say $3.50. I wanted to feel it out though and see if folks thought that would be of interest to them. So leave me a comment and let me know what you think and if there's a lot of interest, I'll post a pattern this weekend.

In spinning news, I've been spinning up some of my yummy Almost Solid Series Sampler.

This is some BFL in colorway "Redwood." It's my first time spinning BFL and it's a delight. I'm spinning it on my 0.9 ounce Golding. When plied, it should be about a DK weight.

If you've been wondering about the machine knit cardi and cami, they are done, I just need to get them on me and in front of a camera when there is actual daylight.



I know I said I was going to knit a scarf with my sunflower colored Corriedale handspun. I know I said I wouldn't knit a hat because I don't look good in yellow.

I say a lot of things.

So yah, I knit a hat with my handspun and I'm pretty happy with it. The stitch pattern is from a Barbara Walker book and is called "Bleeding Hearts." It doesn't really look like bleeding hearts to me, unless it's some commentary on my political stance, then maybe.

Here's a little close up of the stitch pattern

Panda decided she wanted in on the photo shoot, so I picked her up and gave her a big smooch.

And then I took her picture because after the last post, I felt I needed to prove that I do not condone the humiliation of doggies except inasmuch as I find it funny and post pictures of it which means I sort of do condone it. But let's not dwell on alleged ducky slippers and robes. Instead, let's admire how cute Miss Bear is.


Anyway, I've submitted the hat pattern for consideration in a future edition of Spindlicity. If Janel doesn't want to run it, I'll post the pattern here, so either way, if you want yourself a similar hat, it'll be available somewhere, at sometime.

I would never do this to Panda.


My friend Chrissy is an animal trainer. She also gets a kick out of dressing up dogs.

This is Beowulf

Her parents' Pomeranian. See what she's done to him, after the bump.

I got your pom-pom right here


Several people have requested the pattern to this hat, so I've posted it in the pattern area of my site. You can get the pattern here.
It’s really a very easy hat to knit, and it’s made with chunky yarn so you can bang this baby out in a weekend.

That Cami I mentioned


Here's a preview of the camisole (ok, it's more of a tank, but I think camisole sounds better) that I plan to pair with the cardigan.

There will be no ruffles here, just stockinette and crochet. I think the horizontal lines will play nicely against the sweeping hem of the cardigan and the clean look of the crochet will tone down the effect of the ruffle a bit. The nice thing is that this piece is comfortable and wearable enough to be layered with other pieces. The straps are wide enough to hide a bra strap and the fabric has stretch so it hugs the body without being too constricting.

Here's a detail shot of the neckline. It could do with a bit of blocking. It's just three rows of single crochet, the last row I decrease every 9th and 10th stitch, so that it will sit flat.

Obviously, I still have one arm and the hem left to do, but it’s been a very quick piece to pull together overall.

What have I learned this weekend?


I got so many great comments and even more votes in my little poll. It appears that around 62% of folks that voted like the cardi as it is. However, most commenters leaned more towards softening or modifying the ruffle. I think, based on the feedback, I'll keep the piece as is for now. It seems like most of the people who didn't love the ruffle are not ruffle kinds of people anyway. What can I say? I'm pretty girly sometimes. I'm also working on a matching camisole with no ruffle, to wear with the cardigan. It's a simple square neck, fitted piece with a very simple crochet border that should compliment the cardigan without making the whole thing too busy. Yes, I know, a good blogger would have a picture. Sorry about that.

This weekend, I also learned that Deciduous likes to go out dancing. Want to see pictures? Check 'em out after the bump.



I have finally finished the pattern for Deciduous. After having a few people test knit it, I decided to offer 6 sizes instead of my originally planned 3 sizes and it has a high and low back version in the same pattern.

That pattern is $9.99 and can be purchased here.

Did I exceed my ruffle quotient?


I don't know, I think the ruffle may be too much. I like the ruffle idea, but maybe a little softer. I'm sort of dreading having to rip it out and reknit it, but it may be necessary. What do you think? Try to ignore the fact that I'm wearing my pajamas and that the sleeves are done yet.

After my last post, I got together with a bunch of my girlfriends for dinner at a Tunisian restaurant.

There was wine and, well, belly dancing.

See, here's the thing about me, there's really not much more than a thin veneer of self decency that keeps me from breaking into dance at the drop of a hat (or in this case, drape of a scarf). I love to dance. So when my friends hoisted me, bodily, at the belly dancer who was trying to coax another of the group up to dance, well, I didn't put up much of a struggle. And hey, just because I've never belly danced before, doesn't mean I won't try to fake it.

And if you aren't having an hearty laugh at my expense yet, I will add that while I had had a little bit of wine, I wasn't even buzzed. I act this way sober.

Anyway, enough of that.
I've been knitting some trim onto my cardi.

There are something like 1500 stitches going around the edge of this piece, and it is taking me days to cast off. The saddest part of all is that I'm not sure if I like this treatment. I'll bind off and see, but I'm thinking I might want something a bit softer, less ruffly. I did try it on up to this point and it looks pretty cute, but, it's not quite what I envisioned.

Would you like to see that ruffle a little closer?

It's a completely reversible ruffle that I designed for this piece, though I'm sure others have come up with the same sort of idea. If I do end up ripping this out and trying again, I'll probably try the same thing again but with fewer increases and a wider ruffle. Or, I'll get fed up and try a different style.

And since I'm in a non sequitur kind of a mood, here's a dog in a raincoat that I saw yesterday while walking to Leo's office after work.

I actually knit this hat a while ago but didn't finish it until yesterday. I've been wearing it to walk Panda early in the morning, but I knew it needed a big pom-pom before I could really show it here.

It's made of GGH Aspen, knit on US# 10.5 needles.

This is one of those ridiculously easy hats that can be knit up in a day, if you have nothing else to do. It's a chunky yarn made of merino and microfiber so it's warm but soft enough to wear against the skin. I usually can't wear hats with any wool content, without feeling itchy, but this hat gives me no problems. I think the combination of the simple stranded pattern, funky ribbing and huge pom-pom, make for quite a hat. Panda, however, finds it rather gauche for her taste.

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