Friday, November 30, 2007


Getting things in gear for this next project reminded me of my first Secret Pal (knitting-wise, that is), Lacy. I haven't heard from her in forever, I hope things are going well. Anyone? Anyone? Beuller???

So, this:

Is for Sooper-sekrit, version 2007. There is a need. I must knit.

I'll fill in details as I go along, but gotta keep it a bit sketchy as the recipient reads the blog! And that pretty much narrows it down to immediate family and those participating in the same exchanges and knit-alongs, so who's feelin' lucky?

The yarn is the first installment of Potters Covers from Dharmafey. The colors are from the Sorcerer's Stone cover, and I think it's a fitting choice for who this will go to. "Brilliant", as Ron would say.

First, of course, I must finish up one of the zillion projects I am currently knitting. Which I plan to do now - hopefully I will be wearing my finished Juliet to school Monday morning, and I plan to wear my Tempting on a *gasp* date, tomorrow evening! :O) I love it when a plan comes together.

With luck, I'll be knitting on Sooper-sekrit by Sunday evening. Wish me luck!


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Knittin' Fool

Did somebody loose their knittin' mojo? Cause man, have I been a knitting fool lately, and that's not always how it goes with me.

Exhibit A: I successfully altered a pattern BEYOND BELIEF (Tree Jacket), and had a successful finished product. Really successful. I've worn my finished Tree several times, most recently last night, when the air was 30 degrees colder than it was on Thanksgiving day. Brrr. Definitely needed the warmth of some hand-knits yesterday! (see the previous post for a picture - I'm not posting that one again! No one needs to see the girls up close and personal THAT many times!)

Exhibit B: I found and finished two sweaters I'd nearly finished last year but didn't like the neckline for.

The first is my Greek Pullover, from Interweave Knits.

I loved this sweater, but the finished neckline was made for a size 3x, not a size M/L. It flopped OFF my shoulders all day the one day I wore it.

So, I ripped out the previous finish - a crocheted neck (not too easy with mohair, lemme tell ya!), skipping about every other stitch to bring it in a bit. Then, I did a K3, K2Tog trick, and now, it's simply a sweetheart neckline.

Since I used needles a bit larger than the ones I knit the body with (apparently), it's actually a bit more sheer than the main part of the sweater, and I really like it! It does seem a bit short now - the closer neckline brought the front up some, but I think that just means I need to go back and put the layer of netting/tulle on the sleeves and hem of the sweater like the original pattern called for. In order to make sure that doesn't take another year, I'm checking out JoAnn's online now, for prospects!!

The second sweater I'm really excited about. It's my Tempting II, which now that I "fixed" that neckline, looks much more like an original Tempting. I have no idea how the neckline was EVER going to work the way the pattern was written. It just plain WASN'T - not on me, anyway, and I've got pretty broad shoulders.

Last year when I was originally working on this sweater, I realized the neckline was way, way too big. It actually turned the top of the sweater and sleeves downward! My kind auntie ripped it out for me. It was too painful for me to do myself, because the wrong neckline (picked up and knit sideways around the entire top of the sweater and sleeves) took FOREVER to knit!!! But this time, I just picked up the stitches, did a K3, K2Tog all the way around, knit 3-4 rows, then cast off. It was just enough to do what I wanted, and now it fits fine, and I'm dying to wear it over a white collared blouse out for a special occasion! I've even got the destination in mind! Here's a preview.

And yes, I do realize I need to find a shirt with full length sleeves, not 3/4 length! And forgive the wrinkled PJ's bottoms, but they're comfy and it's a holiday!

In-between all this fixing, I've also been working like a crazy woman knitting on The Boy's Christmas present and my Juliet. I see myself finishing these soon as well, and THEN what will I do?

I don't know who's mojo I've got, but I ain't givin' it back!!!


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Oh Boy.

First, let me say HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone! I really do love this holiday. Mostly. This year, however, The Boy is with his dad, I'm having a crappy school year, and I'm a bit bummed. What I am looking forward to is knitting A BUNCH since the house will be relatively quiet and the "company" I would have - in any form - is out of town! And, of course, holiday shopping tomorrow. I don't plan to leave the house. QVC and Amazon are going to be my best buds this year! After seeing the 4am opening times of different retailers, I'm boycotting the stores in support of all those retail employess (a team I used to be a member of) who will be cursing this day! That's just crazy.

So, The Boy and I did make the most of our Day-Before-Thanksgiving, which we got to spend together thanks to schools being closed! We trekked out to Calvert Cliffs State Park for a hike to the beach. I hadn't been to this park since I was in college at The University of Maryland, and man, did my mind forget a lot of it! This is a great state park way way down in southern Maryland that has trails you can hike, cliffs that used to be open for exploring (now closed due to landslides), and a beach you can walk while pretending NOT to see the nuclear power plant off in the distance! Ack! So glad The Boy didn't ask too many questions about that. I just told him it was a "power plant." End of story. Here's some pics:

You get to have fun on this beach:

After you walk down this trail:

Just to clarify, you have to walk 1.8 miles down that trail. The Boy almost didn't make it. Just when we were getting really weary, we saw the water through the trees, and he perked right up. We played on the beach for a while (on a good day, you can find fossilized sharks teeth - we think we found one. Pics to follow), then decided to head back before either of us had to use the bathroom. Aw, who'm I kidding, The Boy got to use a tree as a potty spot, which he LOVES to do. Boys!

On the way back, we stopped at each bench we saw along the marked trail, and even went out into the marsh/bog pier along the way. I'd have taken pics, but I was afraid of losing my phone in the marsh, seeing as how my camera really DIED just after we hit the trail!

When we got back to the main part of the park, we had fun playing on the recycled tire playground. Excellent idea for used tires, I think! Then, we had a mishap and decided it was time to hit the road for home.

All in all it was a fun day, and man, did we sleep good. Creative sleeping pill for a busy 5-year old? 3 1/2 mile hike on a lovely Fall day. Gotta love the unexpected 70 degree weather to help things out!

So, this year, I'm thankful for the lovely day we got to spend together. I'm really worried about the day when he's too old for the mother/son adventures we love to cook up!

Here's the knitting I plan to do while he's away this weekend:

Surprise "Skater Boy" sweater, inspired by Gay's beautiful present to her grandson.

And Juliet, the second knit-along for the Sexy Knitters club KAL currently going on. I'm hoping to finish by the end of the month and shock even myself!

Happy Turkey Day to all!


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Finally - Photos!

Before we go any further, I am very pleased to announce that my sister now not only knits (!!!!) but has a blog! Please stop by her blog and say "HI." She's named it "Learning to Walk in Stilettos." Cool, huh?

I did get around to cleaning up my desk, which means I also installed the new camera on my computer. Yay! This all means I have photos I've been meaning to share!

First, and most embarassingly, here's my Tree. This is the most awful picture of the wearer (I look like I'm trying to make my boobs stick out more which is COMPLETELY unnecessary - sorry). It is, however, a pretty good picture of the sweater. You can just see a bit of the sleeves. I will try to get a better picture today, since it's cold as heck out right now, and I have to take the boy to an indoor skating rink for the zillionth birthday party of the Fall season!!!

Next are some pictures from Stitches, where I first started using this camera:

We have the bag of rainbow yarn that I want to make a cardigan out of. Pretty, huh? Wouldn't you think this would knit up at a bulky weight? Nope? It's apparently very lofty, and uses a size 6 for a very lovely fabric. I can't wait to use it!

Then there was the class I took during Stitches - Spinning for Knitters. Merike Saarnit taught the class. Here she is teaching us how to ply the wool we'd just spun into a "single."

And here's my very first yarn.
The spinning has gotten a bit better since this attempt, although I do plan to use this first yarn in some sort of creative way. I might just put it all in a big, funky scarf that if I don't particularly like, I can felt! Who knows. I am enjoying spinning, but I'm still nervous that I'm wasting my time, and that the yarn I produce will make an outstandingly fugly garment! EEK!

And lastly, I'd like to share THE RIDE OF DOOM with you.

What, you say? That looks like an innocent ride for kids at a corn maze? Well, yes, that's what they'd like you to believe. Lemme tell you, that thing shook me from tip to toe! I thought it was going to tip over or throw me out. Felt like a bucking bronco. Scariest ride of my life, and my son was in the car right in front of me. I kept thinking - "If we tip over, how can I make sure he's okay???" And, just so you know, I wasn't being too terribly paranoid, apparently. On the ride right after ours? It tipped, and some poor pre-teen was almost dragged to her death! NEVER get on a ride that looks this innocent!


Monday, November 12, 2007

What The. . . .????

Heck is wrong with some people? Please tell me that in a suburb RIGHT outside Washington DC (repeatedly named the Murder Capitol of the nation) the cops have something better to do than give people tickets WHILE THEY ARE SLEEPING for "parking against the flow of traffic." Again, I was SLEEPING at the time this asshole scooted by in his Crown Vic. As in 2:34 AM!!!! I shit you not. Surely there was someone smoking pot on their usual corner in the back of the neighborhood, or maybe the neighbors on the corner were having one of their usual, noise-violating parties? Well then, I wouldn't be sleeping, now would I? But, I would be parked "against the flow of traffic" because that's the way I've parked my car - the last 3 I've owned, by the way (and I don't get a new one every two years - try 10!) FOREVER! Two days later I am still stunned that some rookie corporal would have nothing better to do at 2:34 AM in Upper Marlboro! Get real. I ain't payin.

And while we're on the subject of "what were they thinkin?" - what's the deal with the Lion Brand Cotton-Ease lately? Is it just me, or does all that stuff look like faded thrift store finds? I went to Michael's thinking I could find some black and red for a "skater-boy" sweater for The Boy, but no way! That stuff's gross! I was very disappointed! So, I got Paton's Shetland Chunky instead. In Black and a tweed-y gray. The red, I had to go with a different brand and I'm too exhausted from stupid cop antics to go look it up.

Oh, that and I was too irritated this afternoon to bother with taking a REAL picture of me in my Tree. I wore it today and it was FABULOUS. Thank goodness something in this world can still go right! For now, I'll try to upload the pics my mother took of me last night, but it's just the sweater itself. I told her she couldn't snap all of me cause I was in my pj's, no makeup, and was suffering greatly from Yoga Head. Not pretty.

ETA: It's now Thursday, and I realized I need to upload software on my computer in order to get the pics my mother took of my Tree onto the computer/blog. I know. I suck! I hope to get to it soon, but I have to clean off my desk first! Yuck!


Sunday, November 11, 2007


Well, Tree is still drying. It looks fabulous and inviting, but it's still soaking wet. I've flipped it and the blocking did wonders for making the lace lay flat (love it when that happens). But, it's still wet.

Sooooooooo, I was wondering if my lovely visitors (hopefully there are still a nice stream stopping by from HSS2 and the SKC!) will help me decide what to start next.

Now, of course have two projects (at least) on the needles: socks for The Boy, and a jacket/cardigan from Great Yarns that I'll be wearing as a blazer to work, but a girl needs variety, right? The jacket is a bit of a challenge, and I can't take it anywhere because of the zillion and a half yarn changes throughout, and the sock for the boy will serve nicely as my grab-n-go knitting, so I need another armchair project for when I'm not in the mood for my jacket. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

Here are some links if you aren't sure which items I'm talking about!

Rainbow Cardigan (actually, just a one button cardigan made from this yarn).
Back To School Vest

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Ah, it does feel nice to finish a project. I finished my Tree Jacket (although, it's not a jacket, so the name really bugs me!) I will miss knitting on this a bit - it was a very fun knit. The fabulous yarn didn't hurt much, either. I made a few changes to the pattern, and it actually came out very nicely, I think!

Here's the finished object, blocking. Boy did my cat LOVE the fact that I was using those blocking wires! He had to be kicked out of the room, and the door shut tight!

Here are the changes to the pattern I made:

First, because my yarn was fabulously NOT a solid color, I chose to knit the garter stitch portion in stockinette stitch. I really don't like the jogs of color you get using different colors in garter. Yuck. But this way? YUM!!! I really love drapey, long turlenecks, so I really stretched the 7" measurement for my neck. LOVE it!

The other major change was the way I knit my sleeves. This is what I did:

After picking the sleeve stitches back up, I knit in the round for 3 rounds. Then I decreased two stitches on each decrease row by doing a K1, K2Tog, K to 3 stitches before the end, SSK, K1. I did that decrease row every 5 rows three times, then every 9 rows 3 times, then I knit straight until I wanted to do the lace pattern (which, for me was 27 rows). Once I made sure I had a multiple of 8 to be sure the lace pattern would fit, I knit the lace pattern until I was happy (again, for me, this was 32 rows or 16 sets of the lace pattern). Then I did the K1, P1 ribbing for two rows and bound off like the pattern suggested. This kind of mimics the garter/stockinette combo that the original pattern has, but since I didn't want to do garter with this one, I tried that. I really love it!

I'll post pics of me actually wearing it tomorrow, when it's nice and dry.

Oh, by the way, I used 3 hanks of Brooks Farm Solana. I maybe have 100 yards left? (I see a scarf or hat in my future!) I began this as the size M, but wound up with stitches for the S on the lace pattern - kinda in-between, like many people were finding.

Here's something really funny. At Stitches my mother and I chose some Brooks Farm (see how I love them!?)Rialto to knit my son's teacher and teacher's aide. They have been with my son for 3 years (he's in a Montessori school) so they really deserve a NICE gift this year!!! We chose the orange/melon color for the aide because she's a fiery, hispanic woman who just makes us laugh. Also, she eats habanero peppers straight - to "clean you out." ACK! I think that fact was in our subconscious the whole time we were selecting! The blue is for his teacher. These colors are more muted and calm, but she can be really feisty and funny at times. One image I always have of her is her dressed in her formal African gear (she's 1st generation "American" and still has that lovely accent and everything!) The colors are blues and blacks similar to those here, and she was positively radiant in them, so these seemed to be "her" colors.

The funny part comes in here- the shawl pins I just happened to have lying around. I picked them up at a clearance sale at Hancock fabrics, just in case I might be able to use them some day. And now, we are knitting shawls out of these, perfectly matching colors. Those are the only two shawl pins I have lying around, and they match perfectly! OMG! How funny! Take a look:

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Oh. My. Goodness!

Rani, you are the coolest! I absotive-ly LOVE the socks! You rock, girl!

For the rest of you, I participated in Hogwarts Sock Swap Two, which ended Halloween night. I mailed my package to my pal off the next day. I know, I suck.

So, Rani was my pal this time around, and we knew about each other. Weird, but interesting at the same time. I could "get to know" her a bit more than at other times, in other swaps. She's a great sock knitter, and I watched her knit several socks that would "match" the colorways of this swap (we're both in Gryffindor House). So, how shocked was I to open my package to find these lovelies were for me, me, me:

The package came Halloween night, and I did indeed wear them trick-or-treating with The Boy to keep my toesies warm. They are lovely and not at all itchy - is this Smooshy, too, Rani? How funny!

I love them. Possibly, they are the sexiest socks I've ever seen. Can socks be sexy? These are! The remind me of a pinup girl, for some reason!

She also sent along several other goodies. Plenty of sock yarn, as you can see - I love the Regia - very good, standard yarn. Plus some cotton in a colorway that is too, too fun. I'm dying to try the Cream of Wild Rice Soup - my mom and I are drooling over this, and planning on trying it on Monday when The Boy is having dinner with his daddy (he's not too fond of soup). I also love the magnets and candles, and The Boy will handle up on the Mosquito Eggs and pressed washcloth. He loves those!

In all, this was a very fun swap, and for now, this is my last. I took a break from the Secret Pal exchange this time around, and I'm going to forgo this one as well (if they have another round). I love the interaction, and will probably stalk the blog, but I have a lot of knitting to do, and don't want to let anyone down by missing a deadline (again, sorry, Rani!). I have too many deadlines in my life, so I'll wait until the Summer to do another swap of any kind. I do love participating, but want to take it easy for a while!