Thursday, December 28, 2006

Odds and Ends

I've added a new link in the sidebar to my free pattern for Not Really Cable Socks. This used to live at the knitting site, but disappeared from there when the old moderator left.

Mmario finished his test knit of the Progressive Shawl. Here's his pic of the finished results, pre blocking.

Ethereal, no? I will launch the pattern for sale (via this blog and maybe eBay) in January.

I found a new Jane Austen quote, and have added it the the comments in Literary Knit-erary.

Last item finished before Christmas. Wool Ease Thick and Quick, k1, p1 rib. Very fast knit. It's for the Red Scarf Project, of course.
And since yesterday was clip art sample day...

This One's for CatBookMom

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boxing Day

We had a lovely Christmas, the best gift of all was having our daughter home. It was low key and relaxed. I spent the afternoon of Christmas Eve knitting (trying to rise above the "second sock syndrome" for the second half of the Tiger, Tiger). DH & DD watched "White Christmas", then napped and visited a friend respectively. In the evening we had soup and sandwiches. For a number of years, Oyster Stew was traditional with us, until we agreed that none of us are really all that fond of it. So now it's clam chowder for the old folks and vegetable for our non-carnivorous girl. After that, the tree lights on, a fire in the fireplace and time to open family gifts.

Christmas morning: Santa Claus still comes, though we sleep in later, and are more leisurely about unwrapping than we once were. Lounged about in PJs, watched "A Christmas Story", read, just enjoyed being in one another's company. Then to dinner in the afternoon at my brother-in-laws: a livlier scene, especially as nephew had recieved a drum set.....

But back to the presents. Lots of books: some poetry, a beautiful volume with plates of all of Vermeer's paintings (which I could, and already have, poured over for hours), a most fascinating "Bedside Book of Birds", a new Amy Tan novel, and

Victorian Lace Today ! I asked for this one specifically, have been waiting impatiently for the last six weeks without even trying to peek, and I am happy to say that it fully lives up to expectations. The pictures are gorgeous, and utterly inspirational. I love having the history section (only regret there isn't more of it). What I've read of the directions seem clear, and I'm going to enjoy going over them more closely to see what I can add to my repertoire of technique. Did I say extremely inspirational? I love it.

Inspirational in a different way, DD gave me Knitting for Peace by Betty Christiansen, and I love this one, too. As the author acknowledges, no one book could cover all the ways women and men are knitting for the greater good. But she lifts up over twenty projects - ranging from knitting for the troops, to development projects in the third world, to knitting for needs close to home - and tells the stories of how they came into being and grew. Some of these organizations were familiar to me, some I have already been involved with, some were completely new. All are inspiring. There is contact and project guideline information for each, and there are basic knitting patterns for several (simple, but nicely photographed). Interspersed with the text are quotations reflecting the author's understanding of peace as something larger, and more personal, than the absence of war, peace that starts from within. So I'll close with one that I take as a New Year's resolution and offer as a New Year's wish.

I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. - Stephen Grellet, Quaker missionary

Friday, December 22, 2006

Boola Boola Pensacoola Hullabaloo!

It's funny how a passing phrase can bring back a flood of memory. Two words by the Knitting Curmudgeon reminded me of something I hadn't thought of in years, and gave me an aching nostalgia for the work of Walt Kelly, IMHO the best cartoonist of the twentieth century. Sigh! The words alone are like watching a great staging of The Magic Flute with the sound turned off, but for anyone who can visualize the antic mayhem of Pogo, Albert, Grundoon and the rest,
"Deck Us All With Boston Charlie..."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More Than One Way to Skin a Stash

Ribbon? I don't need no stinkin' ribbon.
Sure, it only got rid of a few yards, but I have more packages to go.....

And then there's this

This has been sitting around for about a year. I bought it because I really, really wanted ONE OF EVERY COLOR! But then I didn't do anything with it (except for one ugly yellow and one nice red) partly because I didn't have a project, but mostly because if I did start using it I wouldn't have one of every color any more. (It's not like it's all that hard to re-order from Knit Picks, or anything).

But now I know I want to make something Latvian inspired. Maybe mittens, maybe socks. So it's time to start gauge swatching. So I will take two of the colors that call out to me the least (hell, I don't want to "waste" the ones I really like), get out the dpns (you don't think I would ever work stranded knitting flat?) and get going.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

There Once Was a Union Maid

That title will make sense in a little bit. Basically what we have here is a rundown of what I did on Monday...

1) Slept too late (I won't say how late) due to staying up too late (1:00 am) reading "Busman's Honeymoon." I've been re-reading all of the Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane mysteries.

2) Worked on the Nordic-ish Hat. I was awed and inspired by the Latvian mittens made for the NATO meeting. But it's been a long time since I've done stranded color work, so I'm practicing and using up odds and ends on this...

I started at the top and worked my way down on dpns. Unfortunately, didn't have a circular the right size, so by the bottom I was on six needles that are really too short. PITA. That narrow garter border would flip right up if I cast off now, so I'll work a couple more inches in stockinette and turn it in for a facing.

3) Went to the Post Office and picked up the mail. I was excited to receive two things.

a color sample card for the WEBS 2/14 alpaca silk lace weight.

And my union card. I'm now a member of the United Steelworkers of America! Well, sort of. I'm an Associate Member.

It's the one that says Fight Back America. Shown here with some of the other most important cards in my wallet: my library card, my "yes, I'm a card carrying member" ACLU card, and my Sow's Ear customer loyalty card. "Oh you can't fool me, I'm sticking to the union..."

4) After all this excitement, headed out for my Monday evening shift at the library. I figure I'll want the ACLU card if the FBI ever shows up looking for patron information.

5) Home to a little more knitting and my nightly noodle-around-on-the-Internet time. I am awed to see that Wendy has raised more that $25,000 for the wonderful Heifer Project (and, yes, I have made my contribution.) Knitters are awesome! Equally awesome: the hundreds/thousands of hats, scarves, sweaters, afghans being produced and distributed to everywhere from local shelters to Mongolia. God bless us, every one.

6) Back into bed with Dorothy Sayers and another night of reading too late.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Winding way

Time to wind off another skein of the Tiger, Tiger yarn. (That's a good thing, means I'm making progress.) I have a swift, wouldn't live without it, but no ball winder. I rather like winding by hand. It gives me a chance to start getting acquainted with the yarn. It can be soothing, almost meditative. It can also be slow, especially with lace weight (lotta yardage per skein).

So I like to have a little music while I work. Today it's Mmario's CD By Her Command. The lyrical medieval/renaissance feel seems to suit the season and the task at hand. With days growing shorter, I especially like the "New Year's Toast", which you can hear for yourself. (It's toward the bottom of the linked page).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fa La La La La....

It's nearly time for the decorations to go up in the house. We will bring the tree in and trim it on Sunday, and I'll get all the Santas up on the mantel, and wind the faux pine garland round the stair railing. Some folks, of course, have had this all done since the day after Thanksgiving. Call me old fashioned, but I like to wait. (I also like to leave things up until Epiphany, but practical considerations like vacation schedules have led to compromise on that end.)

This will go up on the tree. If I run across a little silk holly leaf with berries before then, I'll put that in the middle.

So will this. (The pink thing is a teeny little garter st scarf. What you can't see is the seriously cute little skein of what looks like handpaint hiding behind the handle.) la la la!

Monday, December 11, 2006


Yesterday I put the Christmas knitting in the mail, so now it's back to

The first half of the stole is almost done, and I confess I am not satisfied with the arrangement of the patterns. The simpler bit in the middle is just too abrupt and clunky. I have a couple of ideas as to how I want to change it. Sigh! I could either think of this as a very large swatch and start over, or push on and finish the second side to match this one anyway. I'm going to push on, because this is, among other things, a stash reduction project, and I will not buy any of the WEBS alpaca silk lace weight that I am longing for until the stash actually is reduced.

I find myself goofing up on the Tiger Eye pattern more than I would have expected, and have been trying to figure out why. It's a fairly logical pattern, despite the changing stitch count in the first half. The quadruple yarn overs don't phase me. I think it's just logical enough that I get a bit too comfortable and go on semi-autopilot; my mind starts to wander; and then I trip up

"In the forests of the night", indeed!

Completely unrelated: I am standing a bit in awe of my daughter, who, I just found out, performed the Heimlich Maneuver on someone last Thursday, and presumably saved his life. I'm proud of you kiddo! (Always was, but this adds a new dimension.)

Friday, December 08, 2006

a clever looking unvention

In case you haven't run across this already, Fleegle has come up with a new way to work left leaning and centered double decreases without slipping stitches. I haven't tried this out yet, but she has a very good clear tutorial at Fleegle's Blog - No Fault Decreases

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Literary Knit -erary

Forget celebrities who knit. This one is for the bibliophiles. It's not a meme. It's not a contest. It's...(drumroll).... just a list. But it's a challenge, too.

There are three categories: 1) Characters who knit (not on TV, not in the movies, in books), 2) Authors who knit (people who are only known for writing knitting books do not count) and 3) Other: literature about knitted objects? bad knitting inspired puns on book titles? original limericks? (keep it clean, we already know what knitting rhymes with) Haiku and sonnets also accepted. Extra points if it also involves cats (OK dogs, too)

Here's how it works:

I start out with a small list (below)

You add your contributions via comments. Or if you are really shy, email me. The link is at the top of the sidebar. I'll periodically transcribe them to the list, without saying who sent them. (But you really get better bragging rights if you post in comments.)

If you want to see how the list is shaping up, but can't find this post because I have been blathering on in the meantime, click on the "jump to Literary Knit -erary" link, right under the email link.

That's it. Here's the beginning of the list. Don't make me fall flat on my face. Start adding. Don't make me beg.

CHARACTERS WHO KNIT: Madame Defarge (personal role model-except for her bad end), Jo March (also role model), Miss Marple, the shopkeeper/sheep in Through the Looking Glass.

AUTHORS WHO KNIT: Virgina Woolfe, Barbara Walker (yes she does too count because she has also written books that have absolutely nothing to do with knitting)

OTHER: Well darn, Anacleta already has a great collection of knitting related poetry and misc. But you might have something that isn't there, and there's still room for the bad puns, limericks and whatnot.

Fun with Clip Art - Easily Amused

I have always liked cutting out pictures and pasting them onto something else - I mean with real scissors and paste. I expect this started about in kindergarten. I love making valentines with paper doilies and stickers and ribbon. When copy machines came along (yes, I'm dating myself) things got even more fun. So you can bet I signed up right away when Dover Publications offered to send me little weekly samples of clip art for my computer. Woo Hoo! Junk mail I can get excited about.
But seriously, I am also grateful to Dover for keeping a few choice knitting books in print, and at very reasonable prices. These are classics.
  • First and foremost: Mary Thomas's Knitting Book . Sometimes I think that everything published since is just commentary. This is the book that taught me to understand the structure of the knit stitch, the why of a technique as well as the how. OK, some of her history has since been shown to be a little fanciful, and some of the decorative illustrations are, shall we say, culturally insensitive. This is still a great book, as is the follow up Mary Thomas's Book of Knitting Patterns. The title of the second might be a little misleading. It isn't a collection of project patterns. It's a presentation of stitch patterns, again showing how they work, and why.
  • Then there are Sheila McGregor's Traditional Fair Isle Knitting and Traditional Scandinavian Knitting. I fell in love with these books early in my knitting career. I was dismayed when they went out of print. I rejoiced when Dover re-issued them. Both books have good information on history, design and techniques. And tons of pattern charts.
  • And Marion Kinzel's First Book of Modern Lace Knitting and Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting. And Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitters Almanac.
NAYY, but I love Dover! Plus, did I mention all the clip art?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Caps for Newborns Still Needed

CatBookMom has an update on Save the Children's project (Caps to the Capitol) to supply hats to newborns in developing countries. They still need more by January.

I had mailed a couple off in September, but I whipped up two more today.

This is a quick project, and handy for using up bits from the "loose ends" bag.

So how about it Wisconsin knitters? (All others, too, of course.)

You can find a pdf file with complete program information, including pattern, at Save The Children.

Or, my pattern for this simple variation of the basic cap is here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth

No, no knitting content today, either (or not enough to sneeze at, anyway). I have spent much of the last several days wrestling with computer stuff (you know how well I deal with that). But I have updated the Tiny Baxterknits Website (really nothing there that hasn't appeared here - so don't all rush over at once). And I have made the photos in the sidebar here into handy dandy links to pages where (with the push of a button!) anyone so inclined can instantly purchase pdf patterns for the pictured items. Of course, before I could accomplish this I had to: download a program for converting files to pdf (thank you Mmario for suggesting a good one), set up an account with Payloadz, actually use HTML for the picture links (possible only because of Jacquie's excellent instructions), fiddle with layouts (website still needs work) and uploading pictures (easy for you, you don't have to find the pics in my disorganized files)... Along the way stopped to struggle with the format of the Progressive Shawl pattern draft, which suddenly did something weird and unexpected, but I think I've got it licked.

And since I seem to be whining, the "Tiger,Tiger" yarn is behaving in an unexpected fashion. In an earlier post I said it seemed kind of thick for lace weight. That was true then. Now it seems like lace weight. Is it me, or is it the yarn? For a while I assumed it was me: a) I was imagining it, b) I was pulling tighter, or causing it to twist more or c)......? But when I added in the second ball, it was still thinner, right from the start. It isn't a huge difference, but I can discern it, and the question is how much will it show after blocking? (OK, so a little knitting content).

Needless to say, I cannot report that I have finished, or even made progress on, the fluffy eyelash triangle scarf and two hats that need to be mailed out in time to arrive by Christmas.

On the bright side, we did go to a lovely live production of "The Christmas Carol" in Madison yesterday, and we sat in the second row so I got a good view of the excellent costuming, and during intermission daydreamed about "wouldn't it be fun to knit for a theater company?"
(I was probably one of the very few in the audience paying particularly close attention to Bob Cratchit's muffler, and was that shawl on the second daughter hand knit or not?)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Rest Gently Dewey

I've been sort of cat heavy here lately, but I found the story about Dewey the Library Cat awfully touching. There's more about him and his years of service here.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I meant to do that

Grateful for the help

Recently found a new forum called Bloggers' Paradise, "for personal bloggers to share information and get the best out of their blogs." So far the moderator, Jacquie, has been immensely helpful, and it's a real godsend for a non-techie like me. So just thought I would share the link.