Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Moving Along With The Windows

So Dan the Project Manager was here today to take the detail measurements to order the new windows from the factory. I must say, so far it seems that Home Depot has the whole replacement process very well organized and provides clear channels of communication. It looks as if this is going to be a fairly painless process as far as home improvement projects go.

Wish they offered the same service for bathroom re-models.

Tracy mentioned that mice dislike Irish Spring soap. I don't have any of that currently at hand; but her comment reminded me that I had also heard that they dislike dryer sheets. Those I do have, so this morning I went around slipping some behind bookcases and under furniture. What the heck, couldn't hurt.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Well, The Boys Caught Another Mouse

I thought there was one about, because for the last couple of days they have been staring intently under the stove, and under the dishwasher. And this morning as I was going out to do some whacking back of bushes, they were staring intently under the bookcase in the sun room. When I came back in, the cats were nowhere to be seen.

When I called and rattled some dry food in their dish they came running up the basement stairs with what I thought was one of their toys. On closer inspection, it turned out to be the real thing, intact but quite deceased.

I suppose that if we do have mice, it's just as well that the cats should catch them. I just wish the mice would wise up and move out.

On a happier note, I did finish the little shrug. It softened a bit on washing, but still isn't merino. Since I want it to wear over turtlenecks in the winter, that isn't really a problem.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


I completely forgot about Last Saturday Knitting yesterday. I hate it when that happens.

I wouldn't have been able to go anyway, but at least I would have known what I was missing. There were a couple of reasons i needed to stay at home. 1) Dear daughter came down for a visit (though she would have re-scheduled had I asked) and 2) Pete the Home Depot Window Guy came to give me his sales presentation, and an estimate; and to take my order, and my deposit. I didn't really need the sales pitch. I already pretty much knew what I wanted - the same type windows that my sister in law got from them last summer.

I sort of hate to see the old ones go: wood, true multiple lights, original to the house. But they are in terrible shape. So this year we'll replace everything upstairs and the living room picture window - maybe next year the rest of the downstairs. The new ones won't have the same character, but I'm looking forward (big time) to fewer drafts and easier washing.

I've set the wacky socks aside for the moment to work on a little raglan sleeved shrug.

The yarn is Evilla Artyarn 8/2, which is sort of like Kauni, with the same type of long color repeats. I'm using it doubled. It's one of those rather scratchy, lanolin-y with bits of straw yarns that makes you feel almost physically connected to the sheep it came from. Some folks just hate this kind of yarn, but I don't mind, and I fell in love with the color. This picture is about the tenth attempt to capture it. The photos kept coming out purple and pink, which it definitely is not; but this one is close to accurate. I'm on the last row of body ribbing and have the armhole ribbings left to do. At this point, it is highly uncertain whether I have enough yarn to finish. I think I can squeak by without ripping back and eliminating a row from the body. But I'm not sure. Stand by for further developments.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Twisting in The Wind

Well, there's no wind, but I have been twisting away as I progress with the insanely cabled socks.

Visually speaking, these are kind a wackadoodle; but I've been having fun trying out different combinations. Basically, they're tubular sample swatches that I stuck heels in. And they'll be warm enough, come winter.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It Fits the Wig Stand Very Well

I re-knit the Slightly Slanted hat in a smaller size by working only seven horizontal pattern repeats instead of eight and eliminating one vertical repeat.

It fits the small headed wig stand fine. It also stretches to fit big headed me, though it's an extremely close fit; and because it shortens as it's stretched width wise, just covers the tops of my ears.

The yarn is Cascade 220. It took somewhat less than a skein. I knit it on size U.S. 5, which means many would use size 7.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Roccoco Cables

Hmmmmm. It's possible that I got just a little carried away here.

But it's been fun trying out different combinations. I need to throw in some heels at this point. Then we'll see where the insteps take me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Beautiful Daughter is Very Good at Gifts

She has a real skill, based on true thoughtfulness, for picking things that match the taste and interests of the recipient. So I'm pretty sure she knew I would love this little purse for the colors and especially for the wonderful Guatemalan fabric.

But I'm pretty sure that even she did not expect that my very first response on opening the package would be, "Wow, that would be perfect for 6 inch double points!"

It would also be perfect for occasions when I don't want/need my big old clunky purse.

Either way, I love it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Teeny Tiny

Molly Bee says hers took an hour. Mine took more like an hour and a half, but I was conversing and drinking coffee at the same time.

Decreasing to four stitches at the toe was a bit fiddly - the six inch double points felt like those long poles tightrope walkers use to keep their balance.

It's too cute to seriously use to hold keys. I'd be afraid that it would get snagged or messed up in the chaos that is the interior of my purse. I'll have to go see if I can figure out a way to attach it to the outside, like a charm.

Friday, June 18, 2010


For their own safety, we decided that the new cats should be strictly indoor fellows. They enjoy sitting in the windows, and we try to keep them interested with a variety of toys. But Merlin, especially, clearly longs to be outside. He runs to the door every time it opens, and sometimes he sits there even when it doesn't. A couple of times he's slipped out (though fortunately didn't bolt when I went to fetch him back).

So I decided to try a harness and leash.

So far, it's working fairly well. We've been out three times now, exploring around the yard. Of course, it works because I follow his lead rather than trying to make him follow mine. It's not the same for him as running free, but he seems to like it all the same.

Bob watches us from the windows. I hope he doesn't feel left out. So far he seems content as things are.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Two down (one to go?)

I finished the brown version of the Slightly Slanted Hat. This is knit with Paton's Classic Tweed - 100% wool except for the little flecks.

Since I can never leave well enough alone, I made a slight tweak to the double decreases in the last few rows, slipping sts knitwise instead of purlwise. It's nice enough, but I think I like the green version better. Essentially the difference is that the brown hat has centered double decreases, and the green hat has left leaning decreases, which make the whole thing look just a touch swirlier.

Both of these measure 22" around the bottom edge and fit my big old head nicely They would be too loose for some folks, though. So I'm thinking about sizing down. The easiest way I can think of is to just leave out one pattern repeat. I'm not sure if that would make the top too pointy, but I think it's what I'll try first. The other option would be to make each pattern repeat narrower. but that would alter how the decreases fit in and I'm pretty sure I don't want to go there.

Another option would be to knit with DK instead of worsted weight. Still, I want to see what I can do with the worsted.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Slightly Slanted

As I was rummaging around through oldish papers, I came across some (very sketchy) notes for a hat pattern. I vaguely recall actually knitting this, and liking the pattern stitch I had worked out; but being dissatisfied with the way I had worked in the decreases at the crown. I haven't come across the finished item. I think that I either gave it away or ripped it out.

Anyway, I thought I would give it another go, using the same pattern in the body but taking a different approach to the crown.

This time I was much happier.

And this time I took more careful notes, and wrote up line by line directions. I've started a second hat, just to test those out.


When I woke up this morning there was a mouse (or to be more precise, three quarters of a mouse) on the kitchen floor. I thought I heard an awful lot of bumping around downstairs as I was drifting off to sleep last night.

Things to be glad for given the situation:

  • The little corpse was in plain sight, not tucked away somewhere it would start to get gross before I even became aware of it.
  • It was a little corpse, and not a mortally injured but still mobile mouse (much harder and distressing to dispose of).
  • At least one of the cats - I suspect Merlin - got some exercise.

Have to try to look on the bright side in these situations.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Today I was driving home from Madison in a light drizzle, feeling a little blue, with "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and "Early Morning Rain" running through my head. I had just left Mr. S off to catch the bus for O'Hare, the first leg of a nearly month long trip.

So to cheer myself up, I decided to stop off at The Sow's Ear on my way back to B'ville. I had a birthday gift card in my pocket, courtesy of my Thoughtful and Intelligent brother in law. And I had an idea of what I wanted to do with it.

I've had a yarn swift for years - one of those flimsy looking but very functional metal and plastic numbers. But I have never had a ball winder. Hey, I've got two hands, and they've been winding perfectly good balls of yarn for ages. Lately, though, I've been thinking it might be nice to speed up the process a little bit.

So: new winder on the right (and boy howdy it is quicker than the old way), plus I had enough left over on the card to almost cover the cute little sock blocker key chain on the left. Thanks Bill (and family)! I have new toys; and while I'm still going to miss Mr. S, this got me over the hardest part, which is always the drop off.

Think I'll go round up another skein or two and get cranking.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Oh, Just Bind Off and Be Done With It

That's one way to deal with an ageing UFO. Maybe not the best, but ....

Back, oh, three years ago, I started in on a shawl, triangle shaped from the tip up. The center was to be varying combinations of two motifs I got (I think) from Susanna Lewis's book. The kicker is that as I worked up I wasn't going to repeat exactly the same combination of these motifs. I would combine them in different ways. So I was painstakingly charting a few rows, then knitting a few rows, then charting.... Problem is, the charts kept getting wider and wider (and I was taping together more and more pieces of graph paper). And then, about 2/3 through what I had thought would be the finished size, I got kind of stuck on where I wanted the patterning to go. And I was stumped about what to do for along the top side. So I stuffed it in a bag to take some time out while I thought about it.

After a couple of years, I used a couple of the simpler pattern elements for Victorine. But I still didn't have the mojo to deal with continuing that center section.

After about another year (last Monday to be precise) I finally decided "Just bind the damn thing off", and I did. I was tired of having it reproaching me silently from it's corner. I used an I-cord bind off, so at least I learned a new-to-me skill in the process. I have a largish scarf. I'll settle.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Blast From the Past

While rummaging around in the attic, trying to sort things out (and eliminate stuff), I came across the only project I've ever knit from a Vogue Knitting pattern, and I believe the only intarsia I've ever done.

This was quite a popular number in it's day (ca 1986). I believe I made it in 1987, for my daughter who would have been 5 at the time. Oversize was still in, plus I wanted it to be big enough to "grow into").

High Contrast

I finished the blue and white socks, and design wise I should have either continued the the leg pattern stitch down the top of the foot or gone with plain stockinette. That little motif is just not strong enough to stand up to the high contract stripes.

But they are a functional pair of socks, which is a good thing. Several old pairs have worn through (some of them already mended once), so the sock drawer was needing replenishment.

Monday, June 07, 2010

All Done

And I'm quite pleased with the results.

Laura mentioned that there is a certain oddity to working on a winter hat in the rather steamy weather we have been experiencing. Well, yes; yes there is. But I confess to having a hidden agenda. I'm trying to put together a box of things to go to a homeless shelter in the fall, and know that if I don't start now it will be fall in about a week or less and I'll have very little to go into the box.

The yarn here is plain old Wool Ease. It has the benefit of being machine washable; and while it's not as warm as 100% wool, between the cable pattern and the turned up cuff it should be warm enough. The pattern is "Jack's Cabled Hat" by Margaret Schroeder, which I had as part of the 2008 "Pattern A Day" calendar. I checked on Ravelry, and it can also be separately purchased for download there.

Most of the time I like making things up myself, but I must say, it was quite relaxing to just knit from someone else's pattern. No sketching, no calculating, (no ripping back decreases I had miscalculated). Blind following has it's up side. I may start doing it more often.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

In My Ongoing Quest

to use up some of the odd balls, I have started in on a hat. The pattern is one I came across while flipping through an old "Pattern a Day" calendar, and I like it. Very straightforward. Easy to memorize pattern repeat. Unisex in style. Plus I'm using it to practice 3/3 cables without a cable needle.

I'm using my new HiyaHiya convertibles, and so far I'm liking them very much. They are about as slick as Addi's. No problems with the connections coming undone. The stitches slide around the extremely skinny cables with ease. The join is certainly smooth enough for this worsted weight yarn to move over it without catching (haven't tried lace weight, which would be the real test.) I do wish they came with end stoppers, not that I foresee needing them for this project, just a more general observation.

If you look closely, you can see that I am also using a pretty little stitch marker that was part of my Mother's Day gift.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Love It

My Sister-In-Law brought me a little ornamental pepper for a birthday plant. It's adorable. But what really tickles me is lurking just on the other side of the pot. Let me turn that around for you...... See?

It came with it's very own garden gnome.