Thursday, June 30, 2005

Why yes, that's me all curled up like a shrimp whimpering like a baby and I can't move because I did something to my #$@%*!! back, but hey, I can still knit and I can still use the laptop.

Thank GOD. Because, otherwise? I might dieeeeeeee.
So-chan is sitting on the sofa, knitting. I walk past her and mutter "One of us.... one of us...." and she says in a very offended voice, "Uh. No. I may knit but I'm not like you crazy people. I'm not a crazy knitting person. I'm just sitting here, knitting."

one of us.... one of us....

I feel positively smug.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Pope Piglet I

Pope Piglet I
Originally uploaded by yarnpirate.
mawwiage... is what bwings us together todayyyy...."

Monday, June 27, 2005

This weekend I have been very not At One with my knitting. There was much disastrous lacemaking, er, tangling, er lace-attempting. there was a quasi-successful sock attempt which lasted until I got to the (you guessed it) lace bit, and then had to be ripped out. There was a lot of cursing. Some sign language. A few moments of interpretive dance. There was even some sailing, as in, when the ball of yarn went sailing across the room.

What have I learned from all this?

1. Read the pattern all the way through. Read it again. Then, read the notes again. Then you may pick up your needles and attempt to knit.
2. Swatch. It's not just for overpriced watches anymore. Just.... shut up and knit the swatch, okay?
3. Maybe you should think about cotton instead of mohair and alpaca for initial lace attempts. Or even some nice laceweight wool. Hey, you could even use larger yarn and bigger needles, ya bonehead.
4. Trust that you will get the difference between ssk and k2tog eventually, even though, the way you are doing it, it seems like the same darn thing.
5. Just rip the damn sock out, swatch the pattern flat until you get it right and THEN do it on the dpns in the round. Ya daft bonehead.

It's been a valuable weekend of educational knitting for me here, at Casa de Lace Challenged. meh And the problem is, I'd just say to hell with it, but a friend just sent me oodles and oodles of handpainted laceweight yarn that is luscious and I could never afford it on my own and now I think, I must knit some lace with it. Natch.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


did I mention, not so much with the lace thing?
I suck so hard at lace it's not even funny. Three more cast ons, failed attempts, yarn vomit wads... I'm beginning to think maybe soft halo-ey alpaca is not the best choice for my first lace project. I may break out larger needles and possibly DK or sport weight yarn to try Branching Out, and save the laceweight for a time when I'm a little better at this. I've got some easily frogged stuff in the stash that's sport weight, I think maybe I'll give that a go.

The eldest daughter has picked up her knitting needles again, and a book and has taught herself to purl. She is now freestyling a very nice diagonal rib scarf that she designed herself, out of some Artyarns handpainted merino that we got on sale at A Mano last weekend. Very pretty. I'm awfully proud of her, both for teaching herself skills she wants to learn and then coming to me for verification that it's 'right', and also for the creative freestyling. She gets that from my side of the family...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Dear my local beloved yarn store ladies at A Mano,

Forgive me.

See, I was enrolled in your Thursday sockmaking class and then my teenager got up to some unexpected but HILARIOUS hijinks and then I spent the next couple of days dealing with the fallout from said hijinks (did I mention, HILARIOUS??) and then I had the disastrous henna party and all this running around and then I realized that I'd completely flaked on the sockmaking class and hadn't even called. So today, i was totally embarrassed and when I needed to go buy a pair of #8 Brittany needles and some yarn for a birthday present for a friend, I went to the other LYS a few blocks down and got a pair of Takumi needles instead, and the yarn, because I was too chicken to come in and explain what happened because I like you all so much and I'm really embarrassed to be such a pathetic yutz.

Hijinks resulting in extreme flakitude. Have mercy. I will do better next time.

PS: Not really ha ha funny, hilarious. More like, count more grey hairs and try not to lock the little darling in her room till she's 18 kinda hijinks, hilarious.

10 Things I'd Like To Tell My 18 Year Old Self (That My Parents Can Read)

1. Your employers. The people you nanny for? They are not equestrians. The riding gear you found in the closet is not for horses. Oh, never mind. You'll figure it out one day but sweetie girl, I gotta tell you. In this life, there are gonna be some things you just really don't want to understand. Truth.

2. Jerry Garcia is not a bodhisattva and you do not need to make darshan to his shows to be blessed.

3. There really is such a thing as too much tie dye and you've crossed the line. It's like leather. One piece at a time is really sufficient to make a fashion statement.

4. You're beautiful. You are also thin. Stop believing you're fat. You're never going to look this hot again, in your entire life. Have fun with it. When people look at you, they are not thinking "Oh dear god the horror." Believe me.

5. I know you think patchouli is the hottest scent ever but there will come a time when all it will make you think of is unwashed hippies with morning breath living in the back of VW busses. Trust me on this one.

6. It's a bunch of hippies sitting in a circle drumming badly, not a spiritual experience. Also? You're not going out of body and becoming more enlightened, you're just smoking too much pot.

7. Don't date him. No, I don't care who he is - just don't date him. In fact, anyone you want to date for the next 2 years? Don't. You'll regret it.

8. In about 2 years, you're going to find yourself pregnant and single after a particularly weird night at the Ren. Faire. Please don't quit your very stable, very good job and move to Roseville of all places. Have the baby, but stay in Berkeley. We'll work it out. You don't want to date this guy either, so see #7 and make it 3 years.

9. You have college money. Use it to go to college. No, COLLEGE. God, have I mentioned, you're an idiot?

10. It's a mistake to move to a commune in the Oregon countryside, raise llamas, chickens, goats and grind your own flour. You'll be cold, broke and miserable. Your communemates will be wankers. Even the tie dye won't make up for the suckitude. So when someone suggests moving to Oregon? Run.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Yeah, not so much.

I need some shorter Brittany #8's. The ones I have are way too long. Also? That whole lace thing? With the ickle 2 ply Misti Alpaca laceweight yarn?


Two cast ons, two failed attempts, two large tangled masses of yarn vomit snipped off, and way more than two bad words later... I gave up.

maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Rich Are Not Like Us

that was interesting... well, The Rich, they are not like us.

I think that these events have potential. A swanky Beverly Hills venue, women's only party with exotic services, amazing food, and music. Our little troop (consisting of dancers, drummer, tarot card reader, henna artist and two massage therapists) was very well received. If some adjustments can be made to amend various issues, I think it could be a very lucrative monthly gig. If it improves, I'm willing to give it a few more chances. Long story made short - there were over 100+ very happy, bejeweled, cultured, very LA nouveau-riche chic guests at the party last night. I did henna for 4 straight hours without a break. The dancers danced for 2 hours straight. The massage therapists worked nonstop. You'd think we'd be drowning in tips, right? Because the organizer had negotiated with our troupe leader for a guaranteed minimum tips of $10 each, per service. Yeah. No. Not so much. I had a woman wearing shoes that cost more than I pay in rent every month grudgingly throw $2 into my tip jar. Some of them stiffed me entirely. Logistics were a nightmare.

Today I am pretty exhausted and aside from finishing the Pekoe bag, I haven't knit anything else. I'd thought I might cast on for the Kimono Shawl but fell asleep instead. I guess you can't knit all the time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Knit a few more rounds on Tempting today, but I gotta say, the whole ennui of K2P2 for rows and rows and roooooooooowwwwwwws..... zzzzzzzzzzzzzz....... o_O I guess this is why knitters have multiple projects on needles. I have to say though, it'll probably be fall or winter before I finish this one off. I can't seem to muster up any enthusiasm beyond doing more than 5-10 rounds at a go. Zzzzzzzzzzz.....

I have a henna party tonight, my very first one. It's a 'women's party and hafla' at a very upscale BH restaurant and I'm doing the henna. Very excited. SO in light of the commandment "Thou Shalt Not Get Henna Paste Anywhere Near The Yarn" I've got all the knitting stashed in the bedroom. *laugh* It's the magnetic attraction of henna and yarn - if they are anywhere in the same vicinity the yarn will LEAP across the room and drag itself through the paste and get all miscolored and nasty.

It's a complicated life, but I manage to keep everything going.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

It's the Summer of Lace and I've joined the knitalong! Since I had the lace yarn on hand in my stash for making the Japanese Kimono Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's great Folk Shawls book, I decided that I would make that. Puff has inspected the yarn and approves.

This is the Pekoe bag I'm making for Toni - currently on needles. Charlie Bear is right on top of things.

Charlie is also right on top of the Helene wrap I'm freestyling with my gorgeous birthday yarn that the boy got me.

Knitty's Tempting. Bear tries it on for size.

Last but not least? I told you I made a sock! Here it is! The Sock! SQUEEEE!

I am a pathetic fan girl

That's right. I'm a pathetic fan girl. Only instead of squeeeing over pretty gay boys on television, I'm a knitting fan girl. Well, actually, okay, yeah, there is some amount of squeeing over pretty boys, too, I admit it. However. I digress. The point to this is that the Yarn Harlot started this great thing called Knitters Without Borders over at her blog and I think it rocks pretty hard. I haven't donated anything yet, but maybe instead of buying my Kidsilk Haze for Birch next month, I'll donate. Birch can wait a few weeks. Y'all should go read about it. Is a good thing, yo. Zen and groovy.

Knitting fangirl. C'est moi. The Yarn Harlot is not my only daily fix. I also like Booga J's blog and String or Nothing and then there's the Yarnpath and SugarCUBED and oh my, so many good blogs to read. So many knitters to keep up with. It's a wonderful community. I'm glad I've stumbled into it, there is much knowledge to be absorbed. I am currently really excited about Bloglines which I think is a pretty amazing and clever tool for keeping it all sorted out. What will they think of next on the whacky internets?

The one thing about knitting fandom? We don't have any fanfic and I think that's a good thing.
I frogged my sock, the blue one I was knitting up. It was kind of a horrible mess in the end. Particularly because I was knitting it when my inlaws were all over and my little nephews were very cute and I screwed up the entire heel section while being distracted by a very charming 3 year old. Mental note: when nephews visit, knit something simple in the round. Check However, parts of it worked out great, so I'm going to cast back on from the refined pattern in my notes. I gotta say, my other little 5 m/o nephew, that delicious, squishy, squirmy little bao, has made me want to knit some baby socks in the worst way. I love his dimpled little ankles and want to adorn them with yarn.

This morning, I saw a moth. I have considerable moth anxiety now. I keep eyeing the yarn bins and wondering if they are adequately moth-proof. I have no idea. However, Charlie Bear, the little beige wonder cat, caught and ate the moth. I made him some sauteed scallops in butter to say thank you. Hopefully this will fuel his yen for other moths in the future.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Just rewards for the virtuous

Oh man. The Yarn Harlot does it to me every darn time. Drat. She posted about finishing Birch and now? Now I want to knit it. In the worst way. Have determined that I am going to save my allowance up and when I finish the last of the Pekoe bags, I will treat myself to 3 balls of Rowan Kid Silk Haze in #587 (or possibly #585, I can't decide) and knit Birch.

I'll probably try to finish Tempting and my Schaeffer "Helene" wrap while it's en route. After I finish the bags. *cough*

What? I could quit any time I wanted. Really.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

You know what's cool? What is cool is, driving down Venice and seeing a sign in front of your LYS that reads "20% off Yarn" (so of course you come to a screeching halt and go in.) What is even cooler is getting in, finding out that all the yarn in the store is 20% off. What's absolutely chill? Finding the 40% off bins.

40% off yarn = chum in the water. Feeding frenzy at the yarn shop.

Those knitting ladies can get pretty stabby with the jabby elbows and needles when there's 40% off merino at stake, that's all I'm sayin.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Note for sock pattern: decreased to 20 st ea needle #1/#2 and 21 st ea #3/#4 - seems to be a better fit.

Once you complete the toe section, needles 3 - 4 are thus adjusted to:
row 1, needle #3: knit 18 stitches, k2tog, y/o, k1
row 1, needle #4: k1, y/o, k2tog, knit 18 stitches
row 2, knit all stitches
row 3, needle #3: k1, k2tog 3x, (y/o, k1) 6x, k2tog 3x, k1 2x
row 3, needle #4: k1 2x, k2tog 3x, (y/o, k1) 6x, k2tog 3x, k1
row 4, knit all stitches

needles #1/#2 remain plain stockinette.

patterny stuff....

I took some Wildfoote sock yarn in Forget Me Not - intending to make the Pine Tree Toe Up socks (designed by Kim Salazar, c2000) and decided that I wanted to change it. Of course. Because I don't know as I've ever followed a pattern as written, in my life. The blue yarn reminded me of the ocean and the Pine Tree socks are a sorta foresty pattern so I'm going to get some green to do those, eventually. I opted to do a feather and fan thing because that reminds me of waves.

I figured I probably ought to document what I'm doing in case it works and I like it.

I cast on using the no-graft cast on that Kim uses in her pattern (which she got from a knitter named Judy Gibson's pattern) on #0 5" dpns. The original pattern called for 1's, but I wanted a tighter weave. These are a gift and this person lives in a colder climate part of the year. So I wanted something really tight, warm and something zie could wear under boots.

SO, did the no graft toe thing which rocks (you can find it on wiseneedle, or, just google pine tree toe up socks/kim salazar).

C/O according to the instructions, knit 6 stitches onto each dpns (total of 4)
So you've got 6 knit stitches on each needle for a total of 24.
and then just start increasing like this:
Row 1: m1 at the 2nd stitch of each R needle and 2nd to last stitch of each L needle
Row 2: knit around plain
Row 3: m1 at the second stitch of each R needle and the 2nd to last stitch of each L needle
Row 4: knit around
Continue this until you've got the requisite number of stitches on each dpn (which in this case, ended up being 22 per dpn) at which point, your toe is done. That's basically how it works.

I then quickly realized that it was knitting up really small - I was not going to have a large enough toe at 18 stitches per dpn as the original pattern called for, because I was using smaller needles. So I decided to go up to 22 stitches on each needle. It might be too big. I'm not sure. This is sortof a protosock, we'll see.

In the foot section, I'm doing needles #1/#2 in plain stockinette (the bottom of the foot) so straight knit all the way through.

needles #3/#4 as follows

row 1 - knit plain
row 2 - knit plain
row 3 - k1 2x, k2tog 3x, (y/o, k1) 6x, k2tog 3x, k1 2x
row 4 - k plain
next pattern repeat
row 1 - needle#3 - knit plain for 19 stitches. y/o, k2tog, k1 needle #4 - k1, k2tog, y/o, knit 19 stitches plain. The plan is to have eyelets on that center row which was looking rather boring.
row 2 - knit plain
row 3 - k1 2x, k2tog 3x, (y/o, k1) 6x, k2tog 3x, k1 2x
row 4 - k plain

EDIT: after 4 repeats of the pattern, I decided 22 st. per needle was a little too wide, so decreased the bottom needles 2 st. each . Seems to be working better with 20 st. on needles #1/#2 and 22 st on needles #3/#4.

keep repeating. I figure, about 6 + inches for the foot section and then I can decrease for the heel (which is the hourglass heel in Kim Salazar's pattern, and the most rocking sock heel evar.) and then I'll bring the feather and fan pattern onto all 4 needles and have the eyelet columns between each pattern repeat as well.

We'll see.... *fingers crossed* I'll take some pictures after I get a bit more knit up. This is either going to kick butt or it's going to be lame. But I'll learn something either way, right?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

So I gotta wonder... does "winging it" fearlessly mean one is an intermediate sort of knitter, or just insane?

I feel as if I am on the bring of some sort of new knitting level of fully understanding why one does the things one does when one is constructing things, but I'm not quite there yet. But if I read a pattern now, I can sort of nod and think "ah hmmmm, a ha..." to myself wisely and it makes more sense. Or something.

Finishing The Other Sock and getting ice cream appear to be the order of the day. Plus, I've got a couple skeins of Wildefoote handpainted sock yarn and plan to cast on for a pair of socks for my mum's birthday. Only this time? I'm gonna do both at once, since I've got two sets of #1 dpns. Phwoar.

3 weeks till the children leave for summer camp. I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Well... I finished The Sock. Which means, I have cast on for Another Sock. In the same colors of course, so I'll have a matched pair. I'm so proud of myself! My first real sock, made with real sock yarn, in ickle double pointed needles! And did I mention, I figured it all out by myself!

I have learned some Interesting Things. I have learned that when you are increasing, there is a way to do it so that you get a little eyelet, and there is a way to do it so that you don't and you get a nice smooth fabric. Guess which way I did it on the first sock? Yep. You guessed it. I Did It Wrong. However, learning is good and the toe of the second sock has no eyelets where I increased. Go me!

Sock prowess +5

I also apparently have taught myself to do something called a "short row heel" which is different from the way one normally makes heels somehow with flaps and gussets. So I've heard knitters bitch about short rows but since I didn't realize that's what I was doing, I just thought it was a tad fiddly and missed a whole opportunity for ranty drama and yarn angst. Drat.

Intuitive Feng Shui Knitting Fu +5

I really need to get a digital camera. My sock is a work of art. I found a spot where i dropped a @!#$@%@*^& stitch after I'd cast off and was finishing it. Buggery. However, I laddered it up, knotted it inside the sock, wove in the ends and you can't even tell a stitch was ever dropped in that spot.

Yarn Mojo +10

I'm signed up to take a sock making 101 class at A Mano Yarn Center on Thursday morning, but, as is my usual MO, I got impatient, pulled out some yarn and figured it out on my own. So now the quandary is, do I pop for the sock workshop and figure that I'll learn some new tricks and perfect some skills, or do I save the cash? Ah hell, I guess I'll go. For one thing, the ladies at A Mano always have snacks. For another, it is two glorious hours out of my house without my children. And who knows, I'll probably learn something new and knitty. Plus, snacks.

I saw it written once that the way a person knits is the way they approach life. I guess that is somewhat apt. I tend to dive in and get it wrong a lot and keep trying until I get it right. I don't usually follow the directions exactly, I just sort of scan them for a general idea of where I'm supposed to be going and then get creative as the urge strikes me. Feet first, yep. And not quite perfect. Sometimes I get about halfway into something and think "What the HELL was i thinking???" and rip it out and then go in an entirely other direction. I get wild hares and follow them until I've mastered them, then I get bored and have to find a new hare to follow.

Knitting as metaphor for life. It works.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The phone rang today and I had my hands full of The Sock, so Em answered for me. She listened for a few moments, rather intently, and then hung the phone up.

"Who was it?" I asked.

"Oh, nobody," she replied. "They didn't say anything."

I nodded and went back to The Sock. Em returned to her book.

"I hate it when mimes call." she mused absently.

I laughed so hard that I dropped two stitches on The Sock (fortunately, I've gotten really good at laddering them back up.) Speaking of The Sock, I've had to fiddle about with the pattern because I turned the heel and started in on the lace/ankle section, did one repeat of the pattern and hated it. So I tinked it a bit, added a few stitches here and there and am doing a straight old feather and fan and a 2 stitch rib between each "fan" section. It sure looks nice in this yarn.

I really need to get a digital camera, ya know?