Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blogger question

Does anyone know why my blog links on the right suddenly went BOLD? Argh!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jumping the Shark?

My sister's birthday is coming up. Really soon. For several weeks I contemplated a beret using yarn I'd shown her last time she was here. It's Silky Merino from Malabrigo in Bosques (470). She seemed to like it, and it's the the same brand used to make my Fashionable Beret earlier this summer.

beret too small - alt

But lately I've begun tiring of these variegated yarns. And I am nutty about stripes so I'm always looking for ways to incorporate them into my knitting. I figured I could break up the variegated look with a stripe. I also really love the 2 row stripe concept. In the slightly over two years I've been knitting, I'd say stripes are a recurring theme. Here's some evidence.

Girly Girl Hat ii-alt
One of my earliest projects, a hat I still wear. It's striped with Angora to make it Girly but still Sporty. This may be when the stripe bug bit me. These stripes were an impulse. I can still remember knitting this hat on the subway one day and the instinct to add stripes was so overwhelming that I switched trains and got me to a yarn shop fast - I picked up the angora in the nick of time and got to work. The main yarn is Rowan Cashsoft DK, and I love it!

baby stripe hat - alt

baby cardigan - alt

This little ensemble is such a classic it was irresistable. And boy, this yarn is fantastic to knit up. It's Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, and I am a huge fan. I've since learned it pills pretty fast upon wearing, but since this was given away, I'll never know!

baby sox-alt
Striped socks, always a winner. Baby socks using more of the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. There's that two row stripe again!

And of course, we have the now ubiquitous Noro 2 row striped scarves popularized by our own Brooklyn Tweed, Jared Flood. Here we have Hers on top and His below. These got lots of wear last winter. And I will make more of them, they are terrific gifts.

Hers Noro Scarf - alt

His Noro Scarf - alt

Anyway, you get the picture. You can see I am a manic stripe maker. I think about how to incorporate stripes into may work as often as possible. So it was a bit of a disappointment that for whatever reason, I could not make the stripe concept work on this beret for my sister. What I pictured in my mind just wasn't doing it for me upon execution. Maybe the yellow was the wrong choice. I don't know. I do know I futzed around with this for several evenings. In addition to not being thrilled with the stripe effect, I was also having a really tough time getting this thing to knit up to gauge, it was either way too big or way too small. The sample here shows the comparison in size to the Portia Beret I made earlier this summer. That one is perfect. It's the same yarn as the variegated I'm using now, and I counted off every row to ensure I was knitting the exact number of rows, even though I am not knitting a lace pattern. It should have worked. But it didn't. The size, the look, everything was simply wrong.

beret comparison - alt

The clock is ticking on this gift so I abandoned it for another time. And instead I am knitting up a surprise (can't show ya till it's received, sorry).

I don't know if I have "jumped the shark" on two row stripes, but the thought has occurred to me that I may have played this one out for now. I have lots of projects lined up in my Queue, and inevitably something pulls me in a different direction and I end up working on a completely unexpected project. And so even though I think about stripes constantly, I am gravitating to other things. Like knitting with solid colors, and doing projects that involve intricate stitch work (lace!?) rather than stripey stuff. It's an evolution and it may take a few months for this to play out. In the meantime I have a few other projects I need to finish off, and then it starts all over again! You will have to keep coming back for visits to see what transpires.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Flow Seduction

Flow Tank

Design: Flow Top by Norah Gaughan
Yarn: Berroco Seduce;, Verdigris color
Needles: Size 7 and Size 6 for trim
Started: 7/25/08
Finished: 8/24/08

A few weeks ago when updating you all on my works in progress I mentioned the Flow Tank Top. I finally finished it Sunday morning. This one worked out quite nicely thankyouverymuch.

Flow Tank

First, the yarn. Pure seduction. Well named, this stuff. It's also a bit deceptive. In the skein it doesn't look like much. But once you get going with it, you start to see how nice the fabric is. It's drapey. It has these variations in the texture and color that are intriguing. It catches the light. This stuff is pure seduction!

Then there's the pattern. When you have yarn this nice, a simple, minimalist design is perfect. And leave it to Norah (you really ROCK, Norah!) Gaughan to come up with a lovely, simple little tank top that shows the yarn to perfection. This is the type of minimal pattern that reminds me of Calvin Klein or Eileen Fisher.

Flow Tank Top

Then there's the pattern name. Flow. Which is truth in advertising. It flows. It drapes. It moves.

Flow Tank

I am happy with the outcome.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Knitting to Convert the Skeptic

Simple Man Socks

Project: Simple Man Socks - basic stockinette pattern
Yarn: Alpaca Sox by Classic Elite
Needle: size 1 dpns
Started: 7/14/2008
Finsished: 8/19/2008

Well! These socks are finally done. You may have read an earlier post here about the size problem. How I knit the first sock really big because I used size 2 needles (which is what the manufacturer called for). But a little research on Ravelry revealed some concerns about the drapey quality of this yarn and its tendency to felt. Several Ravelers recommended knitting at a tighter gauge. So I ended up taking that advice, which of course meant having to re-knit the first sock.

I wasn't thrilled. Sock knitting is my subway diversion. Each sock takes roughly one week's worth of commuting, especially in an easy stockinette version like this. Well, by reknitting I was into week 3 and then week 4 (thank you, MTA, your trains are more crowded than ever!) So this project dragged on far longer than I wanted.

But in the end, they are great. They fit and they will be worn. This is very warm and lightweight yarn -- the alpaca makes it just a bit hairy, which I like. I reckon they will be worn on the coldest days. Do we ever get really cold days anymore? Seems like they come fewer and fewer with every passing year.

We used our stoop for the photo shoot on Saturday morning. That stoop sure gets lots of use as the backdrop to our lives! It was a tremendous, glorious morning. Perfect for some sock modeling.

Simple Man Socks

Knitters already know that handknit socks are truly one of life's greatest pleasures. There is simply nothing better than that snug wooly feeling wrapped around one's foot. I extolled on these virtues for weeks but DH didn't believe me. He thought I was just being a nutty knitter. Till he tried these on. Now I think he's a convert. He may ask for all his socks to be hand knit. Umm...not gonna happen. But a few choice selections won't hurt.

I just hope this princely feeling doesn't go to his head.

Simple Man Socks

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tree Tops

I have tree tops. Taken from a moving boat. The trees look jittery.

tree tops]

Good for viewing, or painting on sides of barns.

I promise there will be knitting content soon. Really!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mi Manga

I was surfing the Internets at the end of my work day, as usual, and found a Manga making site. So I played around a bit. This is what I gotz.

Knithound Manga

You can make your own Manga by going here:

Dark Days Ahead

Today my horoscope read, "Pace yourself, Capricorn. It's about time you got some balance in the day-to-day routine. The truth is, no matter what age you are, you aren't getting any younger. So living in the here and now is all you have. That doesn't mean you don't plan for the future. But a balance of both is what successful living is all about".

Staying in the here and now is really tough. We all know that. Knowing that darker days are coming means I must practice this with all my available strength. It will make the passage easier. It is the "probable, almost certain outcome" that has me terrified and deeply saddened.

One day I will speak of chronic illness and its debilitating effects. I'm going to need help to get through this.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Did you notice the improvement? I figured out how to make the photographs a bit larger in this blog. Doh!! It's a trial and error process for me, and I am glad I found this little trick. I doubt I will go back and edit the earlier posts to set up the photos in the new format. I hope you won't mind...I am also trying to figure out my little camera so I can get better pictures. Thanks for your patience as I work all this stuff out.

Rome wasn't built in a day either. Speaking of Rome, I am listening to a book that's been out there awhile, it's everywhere, even Costco. As usual, I am a little late to the party, but Sue suggested I check it out so as soon as I returned from the little getaway I pulled it down from

You may have heard of it - Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Anyway, it's quite timely for me as I go about transforming my own life which is what the writer did. I listened to the entire first section today, about her time in Italy - Rome mostly. Pure pleasure.

Cabin Weekend


Another year, another lovely weekend 220 miles from home. It takes forever to get there and back, but OH. HOW. NICE.

The weather was on and off, but it made for some good cloud action.


Sue planted a bunch of vegetables on the deck using a unique self-watering system.
Her Pumpkin sprouted beautiful blossoms.

mountain weekend 010

The tomatoes plants took off and were reaching high as an elephant's eye level. Looks like some of the fruit will ripen over this coming week. Everyone was really excited to see such progress on the veggies.

mountain weekend 012

Despite the crazy weather, it was relaxing. We made a good attempt to check out a wonderful African Violet nursery nearby, but he was closed. Now I ask you. If the catalog says "open on Sundays in the Summer"you would interpret that to be Sunday between Memorial Day and Labor Day, right? Well, when we got to the place, the Nursery definition of Sunday summer hours narrowed down to May and June. A bit disappointing.

I did get some knitting in, progress on the raglan sweater mostly. I'll get around to posting shots this week. In the meantime I just want to savor the time away from home a few minutes longer.

mountain weekend 006

Monday, August 4, 2008

Brownstone Basset

Brownstone Basset

Please forgive the indulgence, but my Rudy is one handsome little man and I couldn't resist.

About four or five years ago I spent an entire summer chipping off the old paint from these cast iron balusters. It was hot, dirty, painstaking work. I used a ball peen hammer, a chisel and then wire disks on my drill to sand down the surface.

Then I hired a cast iron restoration company to remove the hand railings along with the entire fence along the sidewalk. They restored these pieces in their shop and returned everything, all brand spanking beautiful.

I would have done the balusters along the front fence, but I didn't relish the idea of sitting on the sidewalk while people stepped over me on their way down the street. Somehow that didn't appeal to me!

The job cost a small fortune to send out. But Rafael, the Cast Iron guy told me I saved about $5K by doing part of the work myself. Worth it.

Friday, August 1, 2008


I was just surfing around (yea, I know. I should be hard at work but it's Friday afternoon and I'm burnt!). And lo, I happened on a wonderful - I mean REALLY WONDERFUL new online magazine called Twist Collective. I found it by linking through Hello Yarn's blog - she's one of the ingenious designers contributing to the collection. I have to say. WOW. All of the designs are gorgeous. All of them are flattering, all of them are interesting to knit. I think my upcoming project list just grew by a factor of 10.

It's gonna be hard to stick to the current projects with these new ones lurking in my Ravelry queue.

Well. Back to the salt mine for another hour.

Top Down Raglan

Top Down Raglan

I mentioned a few days ago I started a Top Down Raglan Sweater for my Mom. Here is the Yoke section, all 300 stitches crammed onto the longest Size 8 needle in my collection.

I wanted to find a longer cable and stopped by to see Maxcine. She didn't have anything longer than the one I already had. She said, "suck it up." I went home and that's just what I did.

I've moved onto the first sleeve. Flying off the needles. Alot of stockinette stitch these days, and I'm finding it really relaxing.

And my stitches are getting incredibly even. After two years I think I've found exactly the right tension in my work. Very satisfying.

The yarn is Cascade 220, Lake Chelan Heather #9451. This is one of those workhorse yarns that comes in a zillion colors and comes in handy for just about any project on the planet. I bought of ton of this stuff in about 5 colors last year during a blowout Webs sale.

I have a few ideas about how I will finish this with some interesting edges on sleeves, hem and button bands. Since this is a cardigan, I have button bands - that means I get to shop for cool buttons to jazz it up a bit.