Friday, July 30, 2010

An Update

1. The move is progressing well -- we have virtually everything we own in boxes, at this point. I am so thankful for all the help we've had over the last couple of weeks. (Aside: we really need to have less stuff. Thank god I had a self-imposed yarn/fabric destash, this year, or it would be even worse.) I'm pretty sure that the unpacking will go much more slowly, but it will be so nice to be settled into our new place, by this time tomorrow.

2. The knee is slowly getting better -- I am still using a cane when I go out, though I don't usually use it around the house (what with all the boxes to lean on and all.) I am feeling more stable on my feet, and soon I may even be able to walk somewhat normally.

3. Finished my Monkey socks, but lord knows which box my camera is in. I will have photos of them for you sometime next week. They turned out so cute! I am already planning a variation on the theme, possibly in some more of my Socks That Rock, but should be receiving my July Rockin' Sock Club shipment very soon, so that may trump more Monkeys, for the time being.

4. Once we get ourselves moved tomorrow, I won't have internet at home (or phone or tv, for that matter) until it gets hooked up again next week. Fortunately I have a lot of sci-fi TV to watch (both British: Torchwood Season 3, and American: Battlestar Galactica Season 1 (yes, finally)) to try to get my entertainment fix until I am back on this wondrous series of tubes we call the interwebs.

5. Have a good weekend, and let me know, next week, if I miss anything good!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Back when I knit my Clapotis, I mentioned that there were ten thousand on Ravelry (and over 15,000 by now.) Well, Monkey by Cookie A is one of the patterns that is like a Clapotis for sock knitters. There are over 12,000 pairs on Ravelry, man. Somehow, although I have been knitting socks for years, I just never got around to making them, and didn't really get what the big deal was.

Yesterday I started a pair and got part way through the heel flap before I made myself go to bed. I get it. Something about the pattern is very addictive, and it is quite simple: just YOs and decreases in a very pleasing pattern. I had it memorized after the second repeat. I could make a million of these, I think.

If I wasn't hobbling back into the rat race today, I would probably finish the first and start the second. Alas, working and moving house will probably slow my knitting and blogging for the next week or so, but never fear. I shall return.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Worth a Thousand Words

Another completed project, because I have no better way to spend my time, besides knitting. There is only one sock in the photo because it's really a lot more trouble than it's worth, right now, to put the other sock on my other foot. The photo is blurry because it's also hard to pose that one foot for a good photo, when I can't really bend the other leg.

Please note the piles of CDs and DVDs and a pile of empty boxes -- something I would be spending time on, if I could. Yeah, that's just me feeling sorry for myself again.

How about a snack to cheer up?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Cabled Hat

When I was in the mood for a hat, last week, I found a couple of potential patterns that I really liked. One was the Brimmed Hat, which I had stash yarn for, and the other was a little cabled watch cap from Drops, for which I didn't have anything quite suitable.

As you know, I knit the lovely green brimmed hat, but I still couldn't get the Drops hat out of my head. Fortunately I still had one unused gift certificate from my birthday, so I made a trip to the yarn store the other day, and bought a couple of balls of Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK -- it is very nice round yarn, which makes it perfect for cables, and it's super-soft, which makes it perfect for a hat, and what a lovely cool grey colour, yes?

I started it the morning before I blew out my knee, and finished it the morning after. I haven't been out of the house much, so I haven't had much of a chance to wear it, but it feels lovely, and I do like the look of it, too.

The only thing I would change is that I would add two more stitches to the cast on: you can see on the right side of the cable in the photo (that is, if you click for a close-up, you might be able to make it out) that there is a little chunk of 7 purls in a row, without two knit stitches between to break them up. It didn't bother me enough to rip it back and add two stitches, once I'd begun, but if I did it again, I would add two more stitches in, so the ribbing would be balanced in that spot. Or at least recenter the cable so there is one knit on either side of it, instead of two knits on one side and none on the other. Or am I being too much of a perfectionist about this?

Friday, July 16, 2010


Tonight, in a spectacular (and, I should think, rather unforgettable) Mary Katherine Gallagher impression, I actually managed to dislocate my kneecap (for the fourth... or fifth time in my life.) This one was a doozy, too, where I actually had to physically pop it back into place, myself. Urgh. It wasn't until much later, when I recounted the whole ridiculous story to my HLM that he pointed out that I am not, in fact, Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 2 ("Who does that?!?") and that perhaps I should leave such procedures to someone at the hospital. It was really gross. I probably should apologize to my coworkers for putting them through that.

Warning: The preceding story may make you squeamish. Sorry about that.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brimmed Hat

Sometimes when I'm working on a lot of projects at once, it feels like I've been working on them forever. I suppose the solution would be to be monogamous with my knitting, and then they would be done quicker. I prefer to have a lot of options, to suit my moods. It always helps to throw together a little something for instant gratification, once in a while.

A couple of days ago, it was raining (again) and I really felt like making a hat. I found a cool hat pattern on ravelry that I had stash yarn for, and cast on. I finished it the next day and now I have a hat for the rain. Of course, today it's not raining.

This one is made from some Cascade 220 in Como Blue, so it is wooly and warm. The brim didn't quite turn out as expected -- in the original pattern, it stands out more, rather than clinging so close to the head, but I sort of like it. It is like a 1920s cloche and is very comfortable.

I think that blocking the brim might help it to stand out more, or maybe knitting it with another row of increases (or a larger needle size?) to make it wider as it extends further out. Further experimentation is needed...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Poppy Sweater

After the initial frustration of seaming, the neckbands and buttonbands on my sweater went very smoothly. I picked up the perfect number of stitches without really even trying, and they lay flat and tidy. I spaced out nine buttons for the cardigan front -- the pattern called for eight, but I figure I'm tall and also I was afraid of gaping at the buttonband, so I added an extra one. The buttons are so perfect; I really should have taken a closer photo of them to show off how perfectly they match, but I guess you can tell by how much they don't stand out in these photos.

This pattern, if I didn't mention it before, is from one of the recent Interweave Knits magazines. It was called the Marigold sweater, but Marigold isn't a colour that works for me, plus I wanted to be able to wear it to work (with colour limitations for dress code) so I chose red. I got this yarn with some gift certificates from my coworkers for my birthday -- thanks guys! It is wool, which might seem crazy with all the hot weather at this time of year, but like so many others, I am plagued with air conditioning at work, so I need cardigans year-round, really. The wool is a really soft round merino -- I am worried that it will get fuzzy and pill, but only time will tell.

The pattern itself was pretty easy: 2x2 rib, an easy to memorize stitch pattern, no shaping... Even the tucks in the sleeve didn't really take much work. The seaming was really the only fussy part, and it was mostly my own fault that it became a chore.

I think it has a sort of retro cute thing going (hello Mad Men) and I am pretty happy about it. It's also nice and warm -- already wore it to work once. I call that a success!

Friday, July 9, 2010

How Not to Sew up a Sweater

1. Begin sewing first shoulder seam. Halfway through, realize you have somehow managed to put the seam on the outside of the garment.

2. Begin again, but this time decide that it looks like crap, so you have to try a different type of stitch.

3. Begin again, and this time finish successfully. Realize afterwards that you've attached the left side front to the right side back.

4. Successfully finish both shoulder seams and begin setting in the first sleeve, only to realize that there is no way the sleeve cap is going to fit in the sleeve shaping on front/back of the sweater.

5. Put it in a time-out and go to work.

6. Pick it up again the next day and fudge the seams between sleeve and armhole until they fit well enough to work.

7. Sew both sides in no time flat, now that you're in the groove.

8. Thank the gods that you are done the seaming and now just get to knit a neckband and some buttonbands.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Oh Baby

This week, I had an epiphany. I was talking with my coworkers about these cupcakes that my mom used to make -- they were chocolate cupcakes with a delectable cream cheese filling. Someone mentioned carrot cake and the next thing I knew: light bulb. Why not make a carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese hidden inside? And why not use a baby-food-carrot cake recipe, so it will be a lovely smooth texture? Funny thing: last time I made a carrot cake with baby food, I wanted to keep the texture, so I added some shredded carrot. This time I am all about the smooth velvety cake, so I didn't.

Basically I bastardized one baby-food-carrot-cake recipe and one cream-cheese-filled-cupcake recipe into one glorious mutation of the two. Yum.

Oh Baby Cupcakes

Carrot Cake batter:
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup sunflower oil
3 4oz jars carrot baby food

8oz brick cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar

Ok, so you make the batter and the filling (surely you don't need instruction on that) and put about a tablespoon of batter into your cupcake cup, followed by a nice dollop (a teaspoon or so) of filling and then another tablespoon of batter to cover it up. Bake those little lovelies at 350 degrees for 15-20 min (until the top is no longer moist and looks cooked) and then let them cool. They are spectacular out of the fridge and will freeze well, too. This recipe is enough for about 24 cupcakes (with a bit of batter and filling left over for you to enjoy -- don't pretend like you won't) so you can take some to your coworkers and make them ooh and ahh.

What's that? Knitting? Oh yes, I've been doing some of that, too. I have gotten started on the second sock in both pairs that I am plugging away on, and even finished all the pieces of my cardi. There they are, blocked and waiting patiently for me to seam them together and knit the buttonbands. I even found the perfect buttons. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Getting My Groove Back

Last week I did some marathon knitting, and then felt it in my shoulder, after. I had to take a couple of days' hiatus to try to let the discomfort subside again. I think the cure was worse than the illness, in this case -- do you know how hard it is to just sit there and watch tv without knitting something?? How do the muggles do it? I had to keep distracting myself with books and online games and puzzles and chat... I got desperate enough after a couple of days that I convinced myself that crochet wouldn't bother my shoulder like knitting would, so I puttered away at a few more of the little sock yarn hexagons. In the last few days, I finally started to ease back into knitting (with plenty of breaks, of course.) I have managed to finish both fronts of the red cardigan -- only the sleeves are left before blocking it out for assembly, and they are thankfully cute little short sleeves.

I also finally finished off the first of the twisted stitch socks that I designed for myself. It worked out nicely, I think, and fits very comfortably. I used the same rib stitch that I unvented for the cuff to make the heel flap and the toe. I think it looks good, and certainly ties the various parts together. Now I just have to make the second...