29 July 2009

Color on Color Scarf, Sections 1 - 11

The Color on Color scarf from the Scarf Style book. I needed to block these sections because they were curling so much. The fair isle section at right has to be folded over and stitched on three sides. That's going to be a challenge.

This is the fair isle section. Am I theonly person who sees an idea for a quilt in this?

Stitch and Pitch at Rosenblatt Stadium

(Click to enlarge)
Robyn Hubbard and Anne Ginn of String of Purls
are at right. Robyn threw out a ceremonial first pitch.

Robyn (left) and Ann at the String of Purls table
in the entrance to the ball park.

27 July 2009

Bulwer-Lytton Ficton Contest Favorites

I don’t know why I was thinking of these today, but these are some of my favorites and they’re usually good for a laugh:

The double agent looked up from his lunch of Mahi-Mahi and couscous and realized that he must escape from Walla Walla to Bora Bora to come face-to-face with his arch enemy by taking out his 30-30 and shooting off his nemesis' ear-to-ear grin so he could wave bye-bye to this duplicitous life, but the chances of him pulling this off were only so-so, much less than 50-50.
Charles Jaworski • North Pole, AK • (2005 entry)

She'd been strangled with a rosary-not a run-of-the-mill rosary like you might get at a Catholic bookstore where Hail Marys are two for a quarter and indulgences are included on the back flap of the May issue of "Nuns and Roses" magazine, but a fancy heirloom rosary with pearls, rubies, and a solid gold cross, a rosary with attitude, the kind of rosary that said, "Get your Jehovah's Witness butt off my front porch."
Mark Schweizer • Hopkinsville, KY  • (2007 Runner Up in Detective category)

A warning to the reader: Tom dies in the end of the story so don't get too attached to him.
Sam Gerring • Lexington, KY • (2005 entry)

Joanne watched her fellow passengers - a wizened man reading about alchemy; an oversized bearded man-child; a haunted, bespectacled young man with a scar; and a gaggle of private school children who chatted ceaselessly about Latin and flying around the hockey pitch and the two-faced teacher who they thought was a witch - there was a story here, she decided.
Tim Ellis • Haslemere, U.K. • (2008 Winner in Children’s Literature category)

Mike Hummer had been a private detective so long he could remember Preparation A, his hair reminded everyone of a rat who'd bitten into an electrical cord, but he could still run faster than greased owl snot when he was on a bad guy's trail, and they said his friskings were a lot like getting a vasectomy at Sears.
Robert B. Robeson • Lincoln, Nebraska • (2008 Winner in Detective category)





26 July 2009

Cherry Chair

Hmmm.... maybe I should have made the images a bit larger. Well, at any rate, here is a finished chair for a church fund raiser. These are very small chairs -- the seat is about 11.5" square and the whole thing is only about 22" tall. It's the size for a small tot. These were some sort of ugly metal chairs with wooden seats and backrests from a preschool or something. Anyway, people at church were encouraged to take a chair, decorate it, and then bring it back by the first Sunday in September when people would be able to purchase them (I think it's a silent auction process) with the money going to the church.
I pieced the little backrest square and had my mother quilt it. While she did that, I primed and painted the chair white. Today I stitched the seat pad and the ruffle, and I constructed the back and bows. There are two bows that hold the seat part down. The quilted square has loops which hang on the little posts for the backrest but I also ran a swath of fabric through it and tied it in the back. There is red piping at the hem of the ruffle.
So, a little boudoir (sp?) chair for somebody's little princess! :)

24 July 2009

Information Mapping

Dear Mandella,

I'm working on the Color on Color scarf as found in Scarf Style. Maybe I'll get a photo or two posted over the weekend. Anyway, it's amazingly easy in some respects because you just work one section at a time and most of them build on the other. I'm getting a nice bit of practice with stranded knitting on Section 11; there's some intarsia coming up in section 13, I think.

What I'm discovering as I work on it is how unclear and/or incomplete the directions are in some places. This is an easy piece to work; the complexity comes in its construction because there are times when you're working reverse stockinette stitch, times when you have to turn the work, times when you *don't* bind off the stitches, at least one odd place in which you allow the work to curl . . . and all you're given are written instructions. The people who produced the book put in loads of photos of the finished product but only one illustration of the scarf construction, and even then one of the sections is hard to identify because the number of it gets lost on the color illustration.

This irks me on so many levels. I'm a professional graphic designer. That means I know how to anticipate these kinds of problems. It also means I know how to lay out info -- yes, even if it's just words -- in such a way as to help a person get from A to B to C and all the way to Z without losing the path. What burns me is that they actually paid someone to lay out this information so poorly! And, was the editor sleeping through those instructions? Good grief!

Well, I'll come out of this with a fun art-scarf, but I can understand why a number of people on Ravelry have expressed frustration with this, and it's not just because of the I-cord!

Oooh, speaking of I-cord, I was wondering why some people don't like it. I love I-cord. I get into this kind of Zen mindset in which the only thing that exists are the 3 or 4 little stitches making that lovely little tube -- what's not to like? I find I-cord to be calming.

OK, I'm weird that way.

Love you lots!


22 July 2009

18 July 2009

Cyborg Names

Journeying Unit Designed for Infiltration and Thorough Harm

Get Your Cyborg Name

Mechanical Artificial Neohuman Designed for Efficient Learning and Logical Assassination

Get Your Cyborg Name

It was too much fun to pass up! Thanks to Umai for the link.

17 July 2009

Short Tale for a Long Scarf

(Click on photos to see them larger).

Thank you, thank you, to the girls of Village Stationery! They gave me a gift card to String of Purls for my 50th birthday. I used it to purchase three skeins of Misti Alpaca (bulky) from which I knit this lovely scarf.

It's a simple 1 x 1 rib. I cast on 30 sts with a US 11 and I knit until all of the yarn was used up. Laid flat, it measures about 72" long. Hold it up to gravity and it stretches to about 86" long!

I love it! It wraps around my head and neck and it still ties!

Thank you, wonderful friends! I have a scarf that I will wear like a hug from each of you when it's cold outside!

(Yes, I know that the pictures aren't magnificent, but it's the best I could accomplish on my own!)

14 July 2009

Allons enfants . . .

Dear Mandella,

You've seen the film Casablanca at least once or twice, haven't you? It's one of my favorites. Most of the funniest lines are loaded into the beginning and then, when Ingrid Bergmann and Paul Heinreid show up, things settle down and become serious.

I love the scene in which Victor Laszlo (Paul Heinreid) leads everyone in singing Le Marseillaise to quell the sound of the Nazis singing Die Wacht am Rhein. I sing along with it. OK, I forget a lot of the words, but I still sing the beginning and the end.

At any rate, it's a film I love. As today is Bastille Day, I might just pull it out and watch it (for the 154,309,356th time) as I dig into some more knitting.

I finished the first of a pair of socks for my nephew. I need to cast on the 2nd one tonight. In the meantime, I also felted another bag.

I was going to donate a bunch of yarn to my LYS for a felted bag contest, but I realized that I had come up with that idea as a means to avoid the drudgery of tackling the back bedroom project. My house is a pig sty once again. The back room is, I think, the only unclutter space we have and that's only because it's waiting for me to decide whether I'm really going to strip out the wallpaper. (I won't know until Saturday whether I'm going to tackle that.) So, the felted bag thing was a distraction, sort of on the lines of starting up a new project because the current one is driving you crazy.

*sigh* Courage!

Photo: Screenshot (in the Public Domain) of Paul Henreid, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains and Humphrey Bogart from the trailer for the film Casablanca.

12 July 2009

I should be so young!

A nice bit of CGI for your enjoyment:

11 July 2009

I want my mommy!

Dear Mandella,

I've got that small bedroom nearly cleared out. The trouble is that there's almost nowhere to put the stuff that I'm clearing out. It is stacked up in the short hallway, in the front hall, and a few things are in the living room. All of it needs to go to the downstairs. Several of the boxes are very heavy (books). Fortunately, it's easier to bring things to the downstairs than it is to take them to the upstairs. But there's not much room down here for that stuff, either.

Thanks for the lovely post. I remember your post (early on) in which you showed us the pretty fabrics you had dyed for your bargello quilt. And the bargello quilt is beautiful! I know it's hard to go back and forth from the sewing machine with those kinds of quilts -- the ones that are mapped out like a jigsaw puzzle -- but perhaps if you take it a little bit at a time?

And I'm in awe of your hand work on the tumbling blocks quilt. Oh, I understand -- as soon as I sit down I want to knit, not sew. I will tell you that when I've had fussy bits of hand sewing to get done (hems, beading, basting) I've put in a DVD of some period film -- Sense & Sensibility, Emma, Mrs. Miniver, Little Women -- in which it was common for women to be engaged in these kinds of things. Besides, my DH leaves the room when I put those things on the television! :)

I've got most of that back room emptied, as I said. Next step is to move it all downstairs. Can I move all of the laundry and every other messy thing down here? No, because the cats would have too much fun playing in all of it!

Well, back to work.



Dear Judith

Yes, it's me, breaking in to the blog and putting in my two pennies worth. Surprised?

That lovely conversation we had last week really inspired me to take a long, hard look at my quilting projects. Over the course of a couple of evenings I hauled the quilting stash out of the cupboard where it's been languishing since we moved in January and appraised the situation.

There were 7 UFOs - plus an entire half-quilted sampler quilt I can't find - this one:

which is a bit of a bother.

Actually now I only have 6 UFOs. I sucked it up and sewed the binding on my queen size scrap quilt. Now all we need is a sunny weekend so I can wash and dry it and Bob's Your Uncle (or more appropriately David and Mandella will be nice and cosy - it's only taken me 16 years to finish a quilt for our bed!). Well as it's raining that soft, really wet rain that's good for the garden and looks set for the day, the quilt won't get its bath today, so I won't post a picture of it yet.

What I will show you are a couple more of those UFOs. The first is a bargello quilt I stated to make at a workshop last year. It'll be my second bargello, but gosh, is it fiddly. You end up with each strip made up of lots of mini-strips which have to be joined together into one long length and then joined to the whole. This process involves lots of trips to the sewing machine sometimes just to sew a ½" seam. That's probably why the quilt is a UFO and wrapped up in a sheet like an Egyptian Mummy.

Then there's my so-called "take along" project, a hand pieced tumbling block star that I started in America back in 2007:

The problem is that so far it's never been taken anywhere else. If I get the urge to pick up something to do in front of the TV it's usually knitting, not sewing. Working anything by hand also isn't fast enough to satisfy my impatience. That said, these blocks are pretty, and a good way of using up my enormous pile of depression-era reproductions, so I will try and persist.

Making the list made me remember that life is so frenetic at the moment that lists are a really good idea!

I'm sorry about your Mum's sad anniversary. My Dad passed away in 2001 and this year my Mum went out with friends to the venue where they held their wedding reception back in 1960. When we set to and really thought about it, no-one who was at the celebrations that day would be there, most of them sadly long gone, so Mum was going to be the keeper of the memory. We decided that rather than it being a sad occasion the best way for her to mark it was to find a quiet spot and just sit and reminisce for a few minutes, remembering the events of the day that took place in that spot nearly 60 years ago and expecting that some happy echoes of the past would return for her.

And on that philosophical note, I will now go and get on with my rainy day. Have a great weekend.

10 July 2009

Friday, Fried Day

Dear Mandella,

What is it about July that always turns me into a bowl of slop?

Oh, the humidity, of course, along with the heat and all of the allergens that storm the bastille of my sinuses. I've been dead tired nearly all week. At last I have a bit of energy, but only because I allowed myself a nap as soon as I arrived at home. This explains why I'm blogging at 10:45 pm.

In the end, I kept one of the skeins of the Shell Cottage colorway. I just couldn't live without it. It joins a bin full of other sock yarns that are waiting to be transformed into wonderfulness for the feet. On an even more positive note, I did not start a pair of socks yet with it. I've got it wound into a ball, but I haven't started knitting with it. Yet. It is sitting on a shelf beside my knitting nook and it is tempting me as I try to finish up yet another felted bag.

*sigh* Yes, I'm hopeless.

My mum is doing well. I saw her on Thursday evening. That day would have been hers and dad's 64th wedding anniversary (dad died 30 years ago this November). I didn't say anything to her about it when I visited (I was putting the binding on that second quilt); I figured she'd bring it up if she wanted to. As I was leaving, my sister M told me that mom said she didn't want to think about it today. She didn't want flowers and she didn't want to talk about it. OK, good. I played that one well. Oh, and mom beat me in all three games of Cribbage that we played. Sheesh! We were neck-and-neck in all three games, then she gets a last-minute windfall and shoots far ahead of me. Nothing wrong with her mind!

I posted the Irish Chain quilt to my eldest sister and she telephoned last night to say it had arrived. I am relieved and happy. She and her husband won't be doing much traveling this summer (unlike past years) due to some health issues her husband is having. I am hopeful that by next year it will all be cleared up. Perhaps the quilt will bring some healing vibes with it.

Well, tomorrow I plan to take a run at that small back bedroom again. I am hopeful I can get it all cleaned out. Courage!


06 July 2009

Yarn Pix

All of these will be available at String of Purls later this week. They'll be under the Purlie Fat Sock Yarn label. Each skein is 4 oz /113g and has 375 yards/343 m of a slightly-heavier-than-usual fingering weight (but not sport weight) superwash wool. If you don't see them on the web site, just call the store (toll-free phone number on the web page) and they'll be happy to assist you over the phone.

Shell Cottage (2 skeins): Named for the cottage in the 7th Harry Potter book where Fleur and Bill Weasley live. The colors are Ecru, seafoam green, a touch of blue, some pink and salmon colors, and a touch of grey

Angst (4 skeins): Every time I look at these skeins I see a kind of tension between the blues and the violet (which has some red in it). Overall blue/grey/white mix splattered with violet.

Carnival (3 skeins): The bright colors of a happy occaision, these skeins have a medium yellow, fuschia, seafoam green, a touch of orange, and dark blue. There are overlaps of course, so you get a few surprises, too!

Cherry Chocolate (4 skeins): My dad loved the Brach's milk chocolate covered marachino cherries; I like the colors but hated the treat! Space-dyed on the skein are a cinnemon milk chocolate and bright fuschia with white leftover. This will give some interesting stripes!

Sailing (2 skeins): Sunlight and the changing colors of the water. White, yellow, blues, a touch of grey, and seafoam green.

Clam Bake (4 skeins): This is a party with yarn! I was thinking of all of the great foods we'd had at a friend's house with a "low country boil" that included seafood. Yellow, cinnemon, pale pink, salmon, touches of seafoam and grey and wisteria along with some ecru.

Notice to My Secret Pal

OK, presuming you've been assigned to me, I wanted to let you know that I answered the questionnaire days ago. You'll find the title of that post in the blog archive at left. Feel free to look around at everything else, of course.

Could you please send a housekeeper and a cook in the first package? :)

On the Sixth Day, Judith Admitted She Was Human

Dear Mandella,

I'm in a right funk. I'm on the fourth day of a 4-day weekend, and I'm so worn out that I am near to tears.

It started with me making a sort of "map" of all of the weekends starting with June 20-21 and going through the first weekend in September. If I followed the plan I would be able to keep up on laundry, visits to my mum (which includes sewing), getting to church, doing my workouts and regular things like that along with tackling the larger project of re-furbishing the small bedroom from junk room to guest room and, oh, yes, I'd get all kinds of things moved to the storage unit and still be able to dye yarn.

It all fell apart over these four days. On Friday I was so tired that I was mostly inert throughout the day. Saturday was a tour-de-force of moving things, dyeing yarn, and celebrating the holiday. Yesterday I was barely awake as I took my aunt to visit my mum. I arrived home around 2:00 p.m. and I was a vegetable for the remainder of the day. And I'm not talking about one of those nice, firm veggies staying fresh and crisp in the refrigerator; no, I was like one of those nasty cans of green beans that is cooked to within an inch of its life before being preserved for the grocery-shopping public, then boiled to beyond-death on the stove top and finally left to languish as a floppy piece of cellulose on the plate of an obstinate child who is too disgusted by the sight of it to even eat it. I'll bet you could have seen it on Google Earth if you'd looked at the right time.

Obviously, my plans are entirely too ambitious for a fat 50-something who can't stand the heat of summer.

I'm considering giving up dyeing yarn at all. I know I have fun with the colors, but the process is a killer and I'm getting disgusted with the mess of it all. I don't know. It's nice having a few $$$ in my pocket, and the return on investment of time and money is quite reasonable (unlike the ROI on designing patterns which, if you worked it out, would be the equivalent of being paid pennies per hour of work).

But I'm pooped.

And I'm still waiting to hear about my Secret Pal (on the aforementioned Secret Pal 14). We were supposed to have the info by July 1, but that date also coincided with one or two of the moderators being on holiday, so we're behind. And it's only a week or so. Still, the anticipation is making me nuts.

Well, that's one more thing on me: I'm making myself nuts once again.

Time for another cuppa and some knitting, I think. Except I need to run some errands. I want to get that quilt into the mail to my older sister -- their anniversary is this week and I thought it would be fun if it arrived on time for that -- and I need to visit to vet to get a decongestant for Chance. (Have you ever heard a dog try to clear its head of congestion? It sounds like a sneeze in reverse. Poor thing!)

*sigh* OK, time for a cuppa and about 1 hour of nothingness before I have to get to my morning errands. Then I have a workout at the gym at noon, and then I just need to get laundry finished up so that I have clothing to wear to work for the rest of this week.



05 July 2009

Felted Bag

Above is the "before" collage showing the unfelted bag measuring about 12" wide x 7" deep x 12" tall.

The finished size is 11.5" wide, x 6.5" deep, x 8" tall. I wasn't prepared for how much it would shrink downward.

This bag was made with some leftover Wool of the Andes, Araucania Wool (worsted), and a tiny bit of Cascade 220 in light orange. Using a US 15 circular needle, I held three strands (Wool of the Andes Storm, Winter Night, and ... something green, one ball of each) together and cast on 30 sts. I knit back and forth until I had 18 garter ridges, then picked up all around the edges (18 sts on the short sides and 30 on the long sides) for a total of 96 sts. I placed a marker and knit in the round until I didn't have enough yarn to make a full round.

Then I joined three strands of the red blend (Wool of the Andes Hollyberry and ... something that was a bright red, plus the Araucania in a deep orange, just one ball of each) and kept knitting all sts until the the Hollyberry Wool of the Andes ball wouldn't make a full round. That's when I joined in another Araucania orange (a tad brighter). This went about three rounds, I think. Finally I dropped the last Wool of the Andes strand and joined in the light orange Cascade 220. It make it only one round. After that, I held three strands of leftover Cascade 220 & Araucania (one dark blue, one dark aqua and one lavender) and worked 3 rounds of knit and 2 rounds of purl. Then I bound off, worked in the ends, measured the unfelted bag for posterity and tossed it into the washer. And then I tossed it into the dryer.

Tonight I held together two strands of the remaining Araucania oranges and, using US 10.5 dpns, knit a 4-stitch eye cord that was big enough to go around the perimeter of the bag. Instead of just binding off, though, I threaded it through the holes I'd cut into it (on the line between the last of the orange and the top blue sections) and then grafted it together into a continuous loop. The reason for this is that I can pull up the loops to make a carrying handle but, more importantly, when I want the bag open the handle around the top holds the shape at the top so that it doesn't just flop around. That handle is functional in that it provides some stability.

Yarn Dye

Here are two photos of the yarn drying. Left is the view that actually is facing the outdoors. On the right is the view that faces indoors (in the dining room). The colors in the photo aren't perfect. They were kind of washed out from the flash, and then I think I made them a little too intense while trying adjust them in Photoshop. But, I was more interested in getting something to post than in making it perfect. I'll photograph them properly later on.


This quilt (a little more detail above shows the machine quilting pattern) is for one of my older sisters and her beloved. It's a slight variation on a simple wall hanging pattern I found in Thimbleberries Weekend Quilts. I need to stitch on the binding.

This is the one for my oldest sister and her husband. They celebrate 35 years of marriage this month. It's a 3-color double Irish chain. I pieced the top then had it machine-quilted (pattern in the inset). My mom stitched on the binding. It's a king-size quilt.

It was supposed to be a holiday . . .

Dear Mandella,

We don't get terribly involved with celebrating July 4th. We don't dress up in red, white, and blue. We don't go to parades. We don't head out to any of the fireworks displays. We pretty much just try to get some down time before heading back to work in the blazing July heat.

I don't think this weekend really counts as down time. Yesterday I dyed yarn, about 20 skeins. I think the thrill is gone. That thought occurred to me last night as I was soaking wet from rinsing (which means the initial rinse, then the vinegar soak, then a last wash and rinse) yarn over the bath tub last night between 8:00 and 9:00. That was four hours of dyeing yarn and about 1 hour to rinse.

At about 5:00 p.m. (roughly 2 hours after applying the dye) I realized I didn't have any vinegar. I ventured out, hopeful of finding something open. Lo and behold, my local grocery store was open. I placed a call to my DH to ask him whether there was anything else we needed.

"Get a couple of nice steaks," he said. "I'll grill them."

"Maybe some corn on the cob, too?" I asked.


I came home with the steaks, a package of 5 ears of sweet corn, a package of 4 little shortcake rounds, a quart of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, caramel sauce, 2 packages of shredded cheese to go with the bag of Tostitos and, oh, yes, 5 gallons of vinegar. I actually purchased some blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries (you know -- add the whipped cream and you have lovely red-white-blue dessert), but these mysteriously did not make it home with me. I suspect they are still at the grocery store.

We ate our supper around 7 pm. I rinsed yarn around 8 pm. Around 9:30 p.m. we went outdoors to the pervasive scent of gun powder because nearly everyone in the neighborhood was shooting off fireworks. I'm not talking about the little sparklers here. I'm talking about blooming balls of color and screaming spirals of glitter (sort of like what's in the photo above).

Which meant it was time to get out the ones we'd purchased - marvelous boxes that fired wads of paper and gunpowder into the sky that blossomed into a whole rainbow of colors. Oh, that was fun! It was all of about 10 minutes of fun, but we liked it.

So, this year we did our "patriotic duty" and barbecued, made an attempt at a red-white-blue dessert, and shot off a few fireworks. And then we went inside.

I'm still tired.

I have to leave in about 30 minutes to pick up my Aunt Mary to take her over to visit my mom. I hope I'll be able to get some sleep while they talk.



04 July 2009

Listing a Bit, but Still Upright

Dear Mandella,

When I was designing this site initially I made a list at the side of blogs that you had on your Tarty Crafty site and blogs that I had on my old knitting blog site. Since that time a few people have dropped off but others have been added, especially recently.

One of the nice things about being part of the Secret Pal exchange is that I'm discovering some interesting knitters from all around. I went out to the Ravelry link for Secret Pal 14 and started looking at the blogs of various members. A few seemed to be really interesting, so I added them to the list at left in order to be able to remember to check them out regularly.

I need lists. I have so many ideas and so many things to do and people I love that I need lists to keep everything in order. I had to make a master list of things I wanted to accomplish over the weekends of July and August so that I didn't go crazy every Saturday morning when I awoke. Inevitably I wake on Saturday morning feeling miserably overwhelmed by everything I want to do and I often feel as though I have only one day in which to do it.

So, my list for this weekend (which is four days long on account of the Independence Day holiday) includes dyeing sock yarn, moving things out of the back bedroom (the one that needs mucking out so that I can strip the wallpaper and repaint and eventually turn it into a real guest room), attending to laundry, visiting my mother, and a few other things. So far I've moved the dye stuffs to the downstairs (where it will reside from now on), knitted a felted bag (more on that another time), read a book, and slept. A lot.

I've decided that maybe my list for this weekend was a bit ambitious. I've now crossed off going to church on Sunday on account of this is a better day for me to take my Aunt Mary to visit my mom (they are sisters and neither one drives). The best time for Aunt Mary is starting at around 9:30 a.m. (which is when I retrieve her from her apartment and drive her across town to my mother's house). So, I'll probably work on getting some more yarn wound up while my aunt and my mom visit. It won't make sense for me to drive all the way back across town to do something at home, then drive back to mom's to collect my aunt.

I've also decided that perhaps this isn't the weekend in which I should try to haul things over to the storage unit. I should wait until next weekend, especially since I might be able to get the sons of some friends to help. At any rate, it will be enough to empty out that back room. Besides, my husband's vehicle -- which has infinitely more space than my car -- is a pig sty that will need mucking out before I can use it to transport stuff in it. Either that, or I'll need to rent a U-Haul truck, and the latter option just isn't viable for a holiday weekend.

We had quite a thunderstorm last night. Sadly, it meant some of the fireworks displays were canceled, but perhaps tonight will be better. In the meantime, I have quite a bit of work to get to today.

Hugs and good knitting to you!


03 July 2009

My UFO List


  • Pair of socks (2 at the same time) from the toe up (about 3 inches in) on US 1.
  • Pair of red socks for my SIL Deb on US 2. The first sock is near the heel turn.
  • Pair of waffle socks on US 1. First one is done; second one isn't started yet.
  • Pair of socks on US 1 worked in hand-dyed Louet Gems sport weight and a funky honeycomb sort of pattern. I'm losing interest already.
  • Pair of socks from the toe up (just one at a time) in Dream in Color with silver. On US 3. Using a modified "Dead Simple Lace" pattern from Wendy Knits. About 3" along.
  • Pair of socks for a college-bound nephew in Lisa Souza sport Merino superwash in the Mars Quake colorway. Worked in a simple 2 x 2 rib and 2 x 2 garter rib. First sock is at the gusset decreased. Worked on US 2.
  • Second Raindrop Sock needs to be worked from Purlie sock yarn in the Mardi Gras colorway (first sock was knit as a sample; it's about time I get the second one done).
  • Second Swag Sock needs to be worked from Purlie sock yarn (Appassionato colorway). Again, the first one was knit as a sample.
  • Second Swag Sock needs to be worked from a ball of Cash Vero DK. Still again, the first one was knit as a sample.
  • The second of a pair of socks from Cascade 220 Superwash on US 4 that utilizes a stranded rose pattern.


  • A lacy scarf on US 5. I'm about 5" into it.
  • A scarf from Misty Alpaca bulky that is 2/3 done (I'm on the 3rd of 3 skeins). *DONE*
  • Garter Linen scarf on US 9 in Manos del Uruguay silk blend. Nearing the halfway point. I think.
  • Lace scarf (Victorian Lace today Pattern) on US 6 with Jojoland Ballad. I've got about 2" knit.Lace scarf (another Victorian Lace Today pattern) on US 7 with Mini Maiden in colorway Vintage. I have two repeats done of the first end border (see previous posts on this).


  • Diagonally crocheted wrap with leftovers from a Kaffe Fasset kit (long story) that's going to take forever.
  • AB-Fab throw in colorway Misty Morning. Only through the one color repeat (56 rows), plus 8 more.


  • Striped pullover that was to have been for my niece (she's grown out of it) on US 6. I have the back done and I'm slowly working up to the front. There are a zillion ends to work in.
  • A short cardigan in Cascade Venezia worsted on US 7 for my sister Mary. Uses a modification of the Summer Sunner lace pattern. I'm about 2" away from doing the armhole bind-offs, but I'm thinking I really want to work this as a drop sleeve. Oh, well.
  • Magnificent red pullover (mentioned earlier) from hand-dyed Louet Gems sport weight and fashioned with some Melissa Leapman cables. I'm about 6" into the back only which is pathetic because the back is the easiest.
  • Colorful cardigan for a grand-niece made on US 3 with King Tut cotton and worked in intarsia. I'm 1" - 2" away from dividing for the armholes and I'm not sure how I want to work it, so it's in stasis.


  • Washcloth on US 6. About 1.5" done.
  • Pair of gloves on US 3 from Cascade 220 superwash for my DH. In a bright royal blue. First one done, second one barely started (just past the cuff ribbing). The first glove is ... interesting. I think the fingers and thumb are far too big around.
  • A doily I'm crocheting from Austermann Step is about halfway done.

Secret Pal 14 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

My favorite yarns to knit with are wool (regular and/or superwash), alpaca, silk, and blends that include those fibers. In general, I don't enjoy knitting with yarns that have no give, but that's not an absolute because I've knit with mercerized cotton and with silk. I've even got a couple skeins of yarn that are a mix of nylon and some kind of polymide or acrylic but, strangely enough, it's kind of springy. Mainly I *don't* want a whole skein of Red Heart whatever because it just hurts my hands to work with it.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I have roll up pocket cases for my dpns and crochet hooks. I have a whole bunch of straights that I'm going to donate because I rarely use them; the ones I'll keep I have a plastic container for. It's my circulars that are kind of a mess. Right now I collect them in Zip-Loc baggies that have a panel on the outside so that I can write the size on it.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I started knitting when I was in my teens, then gave it up for about 20 or 25 years. I started knitting again around 2003, I think, and I haven't stopped yet. I'm at least an intermediate level knitter, maybe between intermediate and advanced.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Sorry, but no. Well, maybe I have one on Amazon, but I haven't kept it up in ages.

5. What's your favorite scent?

Money. OK, seriously, I like outdoor scents -- that little bit of earthiness just after a rain, the smell of prairie grasses in summer and autumn, the smell of wood and leaves burning in autumn and winter, the gentle fragrance of some trees as they bloom in the springtime.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Me? A sweet tooth? Would my enormous belly be an answer to that question? I like all sorts of candy except for licorice (sp?).

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I dye yarn (mainly superwash), I've been known to crochet a few doilies, I can do embroidery and needlepoint (but not cross stitch), and I sew (both garments and quilt tops). I don't spin, I don't quilt, and I get cross-eyed from counted cross stitch.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I like all kinds of music except for head-banger stuff. Really, three chords and a lot of screaming that's supposed to pass for passionate lyrics? forget it! But I listen to hip-hop, R&B, blues, other jazz, gospel, new age, classical, soft rock, classic rock, and even some country (so long as it isn't too overwrought). I have a generic MP3 player and my computer can play MP3s.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

I like all kinds of colors. I swoon over some fuschia/plum/chestnut/gold combinations as well as those that run into rich blues with lime greens and touches of lavender. I love red and I'm knitting a pullover for myself out of a bright and rich red that I dyed. Intense or pastel doesn't matter, jewel tones or neutrals doesn't matter. What matters to me is that it's interesting.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

My DH and I have been married for 17 years. We have a dog and 2 cats.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Scarves and mittens, yes; hats and ponchos, no.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I love to knit socks. I like knitting mittens, wrist-warmers, hats, scarves, cardigans and pullovers. I've knit one glove so far (it's not great, but it will do), but it hasn't put me off gloves forever. My latest thing is learning to knit lace. I hope never to knit a poncho. I have at least one throw that is a UFO. I think I have no patience for these things.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Oooh, that's kind of embarrassing. I just sorted through my stuff and I have an entire container of UFOs. I'm working on finishing up these things. Right now I'm working on the pair of socks for my nephew. OK, I'm working, too, on a felted bag from some leftovers, but that's another story.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Yes, so long as they're in good taste.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

My absolute favorites are Addi Laci circulars. After that, it's the Addi Turbo circulars. I have a few odd pairs of straights in bamboo and plastic.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Yes to both.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

About 3 years, I think.

18. What is your favorite holiday? What winter holiday do you observe?

My favorite all-time holiday is Christmas, but I'll celebrate anything.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Yarn and UFOs apparently! Other than that, no.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I have about everything I need in this category. I don't get magazine subscriptions because they very rarely design anything in my size.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I'm trying to learn temporary cast-ons for lace.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I have an entire bin of sock yarn. It's embarrassing. My foot is about 9.5" around (at the ball) and about 10" long. (I wear a US 9-1/2 Wide shoe, if that helps.)

23. When is your birthday?

My b-day is June 9. I just turned 50! Yipppeee!!!!!!!

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

On Ravelry my name is Elishka.

(Edited to correct info on #22.)

01 July 2009

Yarn Sorting and other Stories

OK, I've signed up for Secret Pal 14 and that means I've got to post at least once per week here. Thus, a sort of "constitutional" needs to be planned, a sort of regular exercise of the blogging muscles in which I at least mention knitting. Or yarn. Or something like that. God knows I can usually find something to talk about, but does that make it interesting or even readable?

I pulled in the bins of yarn that have collecting throughout my home -- three big ones in the junk room, four reasonably sized ones in the garage, and several odd containers in the living room. All of the UFOs are now sorted into one container, a large one. All of the superwash wool is in its own reasonably-sized container. One of the larger ones is holding all of the sock yarn. Still another larger one plus 2 reasonably-sized ones are holding hand-wash-only wool. A reasonably-sized container is overflowing with cotton and linen types of yarn, and another box contains the silk and lace weight stuff. It's embarrassing.

I talked with a gal at my LYS and I think I'll donate a lot of the hand-wash-only wool for a felted bag contest. It will be on the order of the quilt challenges I've seen in the catalogs. Everyone will pay a small fee (like $5) and get some wool along with a non-felting novelty yarn. From there they can add on as many other yarns or colors as they like. I'm not sure what we'll have for judging criteria, but I've proposed that I along with two other local designers be the judges. In the past the winners have been on the order of popularity contests in which people have told non-knitter (and non-crocheting) friends and family to stop in and vote for their item.

So, this will be getting rid of my stuff as well as doing something useful for my LYS. I really can't donate this yarn. Most places want washable yarns. Nobody seems to want *gasp!* real wool because they don't want the fuss of caring for it. Of course, if you're knitting it for the homeless or another charity, that makes sense. But, for heavens sake, I couldn't even sell it for $1 per skein at a garage sale!

I'm dyeing superwash sock yarn this weekend and taking over a lot of my regular wool yarn to my LYS. Then I'm coming up with the marketing for this contest.

Tomorrow is pool day. I need it now.