Saturday, May 31, 2008



how did this happen?

I blame Heather....I blame MacOban....I blame Beelzebub

Friday, May 30, 2008

Scrap the Snicket

In addition to working on the mittens I’ve been doing some toe up Snicket socks. I was itching to cast on socks for a simple travel project. I received some wonderful suggestions which filled my Ravelry queue. I choose the snicket pattern because I had recently purchased the recommended yarn. It seemed I was destined to make these socks.

I cast on and realize that the pattern is for cuff down socks. Being that I have the tendency to get over anxious and make things too small, in my rush to hurry-up and begin the next part of the pattern, I don’t think cuff down is a good choice for me. I’ll make too short socks and end up with a lot of left over yarn.

No problem, I’ll just switch to a toe-up construction, the patterning should be the same. Cast on two toes and I’m off. Well not quite, upon further inspection it turns out it’s a 19 row repeat for the pattern and on top of that it’s full of cabling stitches to the front, and then back, in such a way that I can not hope to memorize it. I made it through the first 19 rows on one sock and 5 rows on the other with the pattern in hand and intense concentration the entire time. Then I realized, this isn’t any fun, and it isn’t what I had in mind.

Next I pulled out the 19 rows and pulled out the Encyclopedia of Stitchery for a pretty stitch pattern. I believe that using the magic cast on and short row heels, I don’t need a formal pattern to follow. I’ll just improve my own design and if it looks good I’ll share it. Simple enough.

Ha ha, fooled again! The twisted zigzag pattern I select seems straight forward. 10 rows in I realize that it’s not at all looking like a zigzag, just a mass of purl ridges. Oh wait, I’m knitting in the round. "D'oh!" change those purl rounds to knit rounds! Alas, it’s frogged again.

At least it only noon on a Friday and I have the entirety of the weekend to set these socks right. Also the fact that Sydney Carton just “fed” the guillotine in A Tale of Two Cities has set me off down a teary road for the day. If Dickens is to be believed, then the French Revolution was a fearful time with death lurking around every corner. I had not considered the bloody consequences of this liberation. Perhaps my socks are as doomed as Sydney.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mittens in June?

Can Mittens in May be extended to Mittens in June? I'm just having so much fun knitting mittens and although I've finished the 2 pairs required for the challenge I'm not ready to stop my mitten-knitten.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Get off the table Mabel

Yesterday was an ideal vacation day. Dad and The Boyfriend have gone to fishing camp this weekend, which is a whole story unto itself.
So I’ve moved in with Mum and the kittens for almost a week. Thursday night we watched a Rob Lowe miniseries for six hours. We agreed it was not the most spectacularly cast production ever, but yet we continued to watch hour after hour of it. While we watched, I finished up the 2nd pair of Mittens in May. The stitch pattern seemed simple enough but I think stopping and starting caused me to loose my place more than I would’ve liked.

Yesterday, after just 5 hours sleep we got up and got ready. Then it was off for a day of shopping. I got some black strapy sandals and an amazing replica of the Rockland Breakwater. I saw it and knew it was coming home with me. It might be a gift for someone else or we may keep it. I spent a lot of my hour school mornings-afternoons-evenings on The Breakwater.
The car was full by 3pm when we made our last stop at the new pet store and coffee house. Not to say that it was combined into one store, just that those were the last two stops on our shopping trip. More on the pet shop later. We headed home to check on the kittens before going to my Memere’s (grandmother) for dinner.

This is a momentous occasion. Let me explain, I have one of the best cooks in the world for a grandmother. You know, she uses the “real” ingredients, nothing low fat or sugar free (mind you, she’s nearing her eighth decade and fit as a fiddle). Memere loves everyone with food, always has. And we love her for it. Her chicken stew is world renowned. Growing up, every time I saw her, chicken stew was involved. So imagine her dismay 6 years ago when I explained that I wouldn’t eat anything with a face. She kept on cooking great deserts but couldn’t have her oldest granddaughter or grandson (as she calls The Boyfriend) over for a meal. For someone who loves you with food this is a big deal.

Fast forward to last night, my mother, my AP, my Memere and myself had dinner together. Memere planned a fantastic meal, deviled eggs, tomato and rice soup, American chop suey sans hamburger, and a delicious baked eggplant dish. Along with the banana rum and ice tea it couldn’t have been more perfect. We laughed and laughed until we cried. The atmosphere was just right and I felt a wonderful connect to the other women in my family. They tolerated my knitting and I joined in as we sang some of the songs from their childhood, including one about shaking my peaches.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


ahhhh I want to cast on EVERYTHING!

Could it have something to do with all the new yarn?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Knitting Meme

I’ve seen a lot the Book Meme’s on blogs. If you don't know what that is, typically it’s a list of books with formatting to denote the books read, currently reading, on the shelf, or never to be read.
This makes me think it might be fun to do a knitting meme…
1) Bold things you’ve done,
2) Green thing you are currently doing
3) Red out things you’ve abandoned or will never attempt
4) Italicize things you want to try

American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Baby items

Button holes
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Charity knitting
Continental knitting
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Designing knitted garments
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Drop stitch patterns
Dyeing with plant colors
Dyeing yarn

Fair Isle knitting
Freeform knitting
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Hair accessories
Holiday related knitting
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Kitchener BO
Knitting a gift
Knitting and purling backwards
Knitting for a living
Knitting for pets
Knitting for preemies
Knitting in public
Knitting items for a wedding
Knitting socks
Knitting to make money
Lace patterns
Long Tail CO
Machine knitting
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Moebius band knitting
Norwegian knitting

Olympic knitting
Participating in a KAL
Publishing a knitting book
Scarf –and never again if I can help it
Short rows
Slip stitch patterns
Socks: toe-up
Socks: top-down
Stockinette stitch
Stuffed toys
Teaching a child to knit
Teaching a male how to knit
Textured knitting
Thrummed knitting
Toy/doll clothing
Tubular CO
Twisted stitch patterns
Two end knitting
Writing a pattern

Now...who to pass it on to? cusegirlknits, Kara, monkeylovah, Paming About, annieB

Knitting to the Music of Life

Another weekend, another trip to Webs.
We went, we saw, we shopped.
Welcome to Mecca take 2
Whatever I call it, it was another fun filled trip to the yarn capital of New England.

We all piled into Title Pam’s van and hit the road early on Friday. Vans are loud. Did you realize this? We did not. In fact I think it surprised us all how limited the conversation was. Talk to the person next to you or ride in silence since music didn’t seem to be an option. The rain did not make for easy driving and we were all thankful for Pam’s quiet determination to get us to our destination. I did a little knitting on the 3rd pair of Mittens in May.

Upon arrival we did the roommate assignment. The kid in me had been thinking of this a grand adventure including a slumber party. If only we didn’t have to split up into separate rooms. We hit the mall and had a late dinner. Then back to the room for some refreshments and knitting. The atmosphere was not what I had expected. Instead of bonding and giggling we talked and were somewhat subdued. I am not complaining, merely stating the obvious…Miss Obvious here…”it’s hot in here!”

No seriously, it surprised me. The sociologist in me wonders why things did not go as I planned. I know we were all anxious and looking forward to the trip. I know that each of these women has a great personality and I would enjoy an evening with any one of them. But somehow, in a large group, after riding for 3 hours we were less than animated.

The only other group this large that I spend an extended period of time with is my maternal family. I have often seen an afternoon fall flat on its face as everyone gathers together with jubilation which crumbles piece by piece as each individual is forced to make compromises for “the group” sake and their personal preferences are overridden by the social pressure to comply or be left out. And as we are all fairly new friends (having known each other for fewer than 9 months and in some cases less than 2) I think we were all feeling the pressure. Based on family experience I find it’s best if we all have a clear expectation of what’s going to happen and do not deviate too far. That way we’re all prepared to make the necessary concessions and do not feel the disappointment when others do not wish to follow the same game plan we are. But enough scholarly analyzing, let’s talk yarn.

Breakfast was a quick event and then we made our way to Webs via Starbucks, a much appreciated detour on my part.

I’m filled with warmth as I recall the hours spent wondering through the isles of wool, alpaca, wool, cotton, alpaca, and more alpaca. I found a great joy in shopping with my companions as opposed to running off on my own as I typically do since I have very specific interests (alpaca) and limited time (about 3 hours). Heather and I discussed Malibrigo, always a favorite. Pam and I discovered a lovely yarn, Buckingham Baby Alpaca, and that we could easily share some Araucania Limari. I laughed as Kara gorged on sweater yarn (reassuring us that she wouldn’t have to buy yarn again for years), much the same as many of us had on our February trip. And best of all…the highlight of the day…I got to spend someone else’s money on yarn! Who knew this could be so much fun. Lisa and I searched high and low for the perfect content and colored yarns for her next two sweaters. I know I will enjoy watching their creation as if I were knitting them. I helped develop them and would not have made different selections had I been knitting for myself.

On the ride home I took the reins, and everyone’s Ipods. Knowing that we had another 3 hours with limited conversation and quiet a few of us were running on less than ideal quantities of sleep, I decided it would be best if I acted as DJ. I didn’t want Pam to be left driving a van full of sleeping people. Imposing my will and not allowing for any type of compromise may have been irritating to some but I pleased the driver which was my way of thanking her for leading us on our grand adventure. Because in the end it’s about enjoying yourself and knitting to the music of life.

Things I learned from this trip.
  • Have clearly laid plans that everyone is aware of prior to departure

  • Choose transportation that encourages inclusion not isolation

  • Relax and have fun, do not worry too much about other’s happiness.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Where's Waldo?

I thought I should share this cute photo.

It’s like a Where’s Waldo…how many kittens can you find?

These are a few of the finished mice that Mum and I spent the day sewing up on Friday.

We had a few helpers but none of the Curlfect Devons were as excited about their new mice as Linus! Perhaps after watching me knit them all, he was afraid he wouldn't get to keep one.

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Hampshire

I read a lot of Human Resource magazines for work. I also read university publications, tax codes, and other riveting documents. Most recently I looked through BusinessNH and found out some interesting trivia…

· 67 Bald Eagles were sighted in NH during the 2008 National Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey, which is up from the 2006 count of 44. NH Fish and Game Department.

· 1 Million gallons of biodiesel were used throughout NH in 2007, resulting in an 11,000 ton reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. That is equivalent to removing approximately 2,500 cars from NH’s roadways. NH Dept. of Environmental Services.

· Concord NH was ranked #2 in the U.S. News and World Report’s list of the best places to retire. Some desirable traits of the town include a median home price of $211,000 and a population of 42,336. Concord was the only New England city featured in the Top Ten. U.S. News and World Report.

· The unemployment rate in NH in December 2007 fell below the national unemployment rate of 5%. NH’s was 3.6%. NH Employment Security.

· New Hampshire was first named North Virginia and was once under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts.

That is all.

There is only so much wool

There is only so much wool and so many sheep that one person can look at before they all start to look the same. And then they lose all interest. We did enjoy watching the herding demonstration by 5 Border Collies and 8 sheep. They are amazing little dogs.

I did get some lovely green-yellow wool boucle yarn. I had the Clapotis in mind when I picked it up. My color pallet is usually purples and pinks but then I don’t wear purples and pinks so I tried to select a color that matched my wardrobe but was not necessarily the most visually pleasing.

Sunday we decided to take a ride to Mt. Chicora so The Boyfriend could run in the woods while I did some more knitting. From the beginning of the day it was clear to both of us that I belong where civilization is just a shout away. Much of the ten minute ride over dirt roads to the base of the mountain was spent with nervous alpaca impersonations. We are a pair of goofs, driving along with my complaints mixed in with The Boyfriend demonstration of what my last comment would sound like if I were an alpaca. Laughing ensued which made the woods tolerable for a few minutes until I saw another dilapidated cabin or field and resumed my commentary on the distasteful attributes of the woods.

While chilling in the woods, I worked on my mittens of course and listened to Craftlit podcasts. I finished up the Tulips. And you’ll be happy to know I walked through the woods for over an hour. The only wildlife I encountered was a tick which held on to my sock for dear life.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I woke up bright and early this morning. Why can’t this ever happen during the week? Today is the NH Sheep & Wool Festival. I’ve been looking forward to this since last fall when we went to Wool Day at Canterbury Village. So like a kid on Christmas morning I snuck downstairs full of anticipation. I started the coffee, popped two toast into the toaster and then turned to pack the knitting bag. AHHHH! I don’t have any fun projects on the needles. My excitement turned to dread as I envisioned the car ride knitting on a plain stockinet pattern or worse yet, not knitting at all!

Side note: last night we went to see Iron Man and as I did not have any simple portable projects, I didn’t knit. I felt anxious through the whole movie. I couldn’t relax; my foot jiggled the whole time. I don’t know when I last sat still for that long without needles in my hands. Years…at least 2, maybe 3. Most people sneak popcorn into the theater, I sneak my needles.

Subsequently, I did not enjoy the movie. The Boyfriend thought it was the best superhero movie he’d ever seen. This makes me rather sad as I am a big sci-fi fan.
To prevent any sort of knitting withdrawal today, I’ve decided to cast on Tulips which are the Herringbone Mittens by Elli. These colors remind me of the blossoms in my garden. I am aware of the brightness of these mittens, and would probably not wear them myself. I think a little Miss LT should be the recipient. We shall see.
Now that I’ve resolved this knitting crisis I can continue getting ready to go visit the sheep and alpacas! The Boyfriend is slightly less excited to see them but I think it’s his tough exterior. Deep down it’s like Christmas for him too.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Love the floor

I’m a little concerned over how happy a freshly washed floor makes me. I spent the last hour vacuuming and then washing the floors, chores that I typically dread and find somewhat useless as the floors will inevitably get dirty again. But then I look down the hallway as the light is reflected off the wood and marvel at how pretty it is. Am I the only one who ever feels like this? I’ll be content for the next few days sitting on my couch eyeing my floor and wondering why it doesn’t always look this way. While intoxicated off the beauty of my floors my fingers will of course be nibbly working their magic on more yards and yards of yarn. And then my attention will shift to my finished project and I’ll be awed at how beautiful that is. Unlike the floor, the project will not become soiled or require that I retrace my steps thus making it seem more rewarding than washing the floors. And by this time the floors will have cat and boy footprints dulling the surface and causing me to forget how pretty and shinny they can be until some future point in time when I’m feeling motivated to clean up.

Also Mac likes the floors.

The washer is running, yup fixed in about 20 minutes. Turns out felt is not what the doctored ordered. The water pump was jammed solid with “lint” as the repairman put it. I will have to cave and use the mesh bags for nylons or pillowcases next time. The mice are nearly dry and are awaiting their stuffing and bells.

And the 1st mitten of the Mittens in May Challenge is nearing completion. It’s my own Norwegian design, a mix of geometric patterns, hearts and hopefully something that will resemble a Devon Rex. Photos coming soon.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Washer Trouble

The mice are drying. I realized you hadn’t seen any pictures of the mouse army.
They are much cuter and smaller now that they’ve shrunk down.

After the felting was complete I did a final spin through on the jeans that I had used to agitate. And the washer decided that this was the perfect moment to stop working. Thus giving The Boyfriend ammunition with which to blame me for the repair. Clearly it was the work of those mystical pixies again. They are always sneaking around causing havoc. The pixies are also responsible for putting cardboard in with the plastic recycling and leaving the lid of the trash can up. They hide single socks and buy ridiculous obnoxious pop songs on Itunes. It's true!

I’ve taken to referring to Nessa as My Nessa. Do you see where this is going? She’s just so sweet and so cuddly. And as I'm writing this Linus has come to claim him thrown on my lap while purring the whole time. Yes I'm feeling guilty about being a little star struck over Nessa. Although, her incessant cries for attention Saturday night were unnerving. However, I have forgiven her in light of her recent show success. There were more Second Best of Breeds than I’d like, but she did get a 3rd Best Short Hair (clap, and raise eyebrows as though you are incredibly impressed).

Nessa’s 8 pink bullets were the topic of conversation with more than one judge. My Nessa was showing all the signs of being pregnant, a big no-no in the cat show world. I reassured everyone that this could not be the case, while blushing and trying to convince myself that I was not miss representing the truth, that there were many other possible causes for those bright pink bullets. Four days later and she still looks pregers. Since she’s My Nessa, I’m seeing yarny kittens…Malabrigo… Cascade…. Rowan…. Noro….Frog Tree…. Berroco…. Pastaza…. Definitely Frog Tree!

Friday, May 2, 2008


It’s official. Thank you Mice! I hate you!
Are you confused?

First there is success in the fact that did in fact knit 2.11 miles in April.

Second, the mice were the bulk of that knitting. It’s always nice to knit a small project that allows me to express my loud interior. I love the bright colors, the more intense the better.

Third…55 mice is a lot, right? You’re thinking, that’s crazy to knit that many mice. I didn’t feel crazy when they were flying off the needles, I was truly enjoying it. But now the sewing begins. Let me tell you, sewing in that many ends is a miserable process. I’m about half way through sewing them up.

What’s going on now?
I’m alternating the sewing with knitting up a DVD player case for NAZ. It’s army green Lopi yarn with some charcoal black stripes. It should be nice once it’s felted.

Today I cast on Light Fantastic from Knit Simple. I thought this airy looking tunic out of a mohair blend (Kidsilk Haze was recommended, I substituted Sublime for it’s nylon in place of silk) So I thought this would be a lovely light garment. I’ve cast on 37 stitches of the 155 required and am already disenchanted with this yarn. Perhaps it’s better to knit than cast on.

I’m about 5” into Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell with the new yarn. Berroco Nostalgia is a very nice yarn and my tension is much better than the first attempt with Patons Grace.

What’s the future hold?
The rest of May to be exact.

In addition to more knitting, there will of course be more cat showing. Tomorrow Nessa and I head to Concord. Hopefully she’ll get some more points towards her Grand Champion title. It’s funny, I’ve been to enough shows to know that 80% of the time it’s just sitting around talking, eating greasy food and looking for the next caffeine hit, either water downed soda or palatable coffee. 10% of the time it’s grooming and running Nessa from point A to point B. And the other 10% is the excitement of sitting in the ring, watching my girl, and waiting to hear the judges opinions. Hoping to get that coveted Best of breed with the potential to get called back for a Final. Of course I’ll be knitting while I’m waiting for the excitement.

I’m thinking of taking a hint from Mrs. Z and taking on the Mittens in May Challenge. I’m seeing two pairs of Norwegian Mittens something like this or this. One for me and one for? I could use some of my stashed wool. This would also help get me back in the swing of knitting with two colors so that I could some day pick up the Ivy League Vest again with confidence.

I’m also thinking of tackling some lace. I would see this as the Mace Challenge. I could use some of my Peruvian alpaca yarn that came directly from Peru in The Colonel’s suitcase. I’m seeing the Clapotis.

Please help me decide...Mittens in May or Mace?