Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/(belated) Winter Solstice and New Year!
(I'm pretty sure everyone celebrates that last one in some fashion.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A box! A box!

There was a shiny gold box on my desk on Monday morning. Here's what was inside....

Thank you, Janet, for my big box-o-yarn! There's Paton's Divine in a soft purple, red and green Moda Dea Jai Alai, Bernat Boa in turquoise and Lion Brand Fancy Fur in black and green. I've never worked with the Jai Alai or Fancy Fur before, so I'm starting to scheme little schemes involving more scarves. But I should show restraint and not cast on until after the Christmas knitting is done. They're really only two projects that need to get done. The first is the very end of a striped stocking stitch scarf knit in the round, like the preppie-looking Harry Potter scarves.

And there's one other project that, shhh! (she says in the tiniest whisper) I haven't even cast on for yet.... but I need to keep that one under wraps for now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

It's so cold.....

How cold is it?

No, I didn't knit it. And no, he was not happy to wear it. When will we humans learn?! He would much rather park himself by the heater, or bury himself under some pillows or just about anything except wear clothes!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

On a roll

What can I say? It's been a good week, and here's why:

1. I managed to guess my Secret Pal's name - it is indeed Iris, who, in addition to being an awesome SP, knits and spins and writes and waits patiently (not in the dark, I hope??) for electricians.

2. It's supposed to snow tonight (anywhere from 2-8 inches, depending on elevation, humidity, and which television meteorologist you happen to be watching). This raises the hope, however faint, that I won't have to go to work tomorrow.

3. And yesterday, I got even more gifties! It's a whole plateful of treats from Bethieee and Peacock:

There were some pretty sparkly stich markers and a cute mini potholder (they look really nice together, don't you think?)

not to mention some excellent shortbread

How many pieces are left a day later? Now that would be telling!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

SP Package - and a guess...

Thank you, Secret Pal!

She sent a fantastic package! I absolutely adore the silk yarn! It is so soft and the colorway - it's called "Joker" - is a lovely rainbow that's a bit more muted in real life than in the picture. I'm not sure what to make with it yet, but it's all wound up and ready to go for when I find just the right project. There are also 4 balls of Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky in a pretty deep purple, which I think I'm going to make into some variation on the Irish Hiking scarf. I'm jealously guarding the Smarties - just try and take those away from me! I'm not familiar with the Horlicks drink, but in the Philippines, we have (or at least used to have) Horlicks candy that had a malted center and I think it had a chocolate covering, kinda like Whoppers. Now, the microwavable Christmas pudding is just adorable! I'm saving it for Christmas Day, though I will go for a non-flaming version.

Now here's my guess as to my fabulous Secret Pal 6's true identity: Iris, who has a bone to pick with a certain electrician :) Am I right??? (About the secret identity part, that is. I'm pretty sure about the electrician.)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Decking Halls

The tree is up. The living room's ruined, but the tree is up. Isn't it pretty? Mom and my aunt Dee put all the ornaments on while I made these:

I reprised my annual post-Turkey Day role of crazy baker lady so we (i.e. mom) could get the holiday cookie packages sent to the out-of-town-friends-and-family list. Going clockwise from the top, I had: marbled brownies, white chocolate fudge with cranberries and almonds, chocolate chocolate chip cookies, mini apple muffins, caramel heavelies, fudge with pecans; Center: wedding cookies (a.k.a Christmas cookies or Russian tea cookies).

I have about a million other WIPs on my needles, but of course, I let myself get distracted by the Lion Brand landscape I got at the local Joann store's after-Thanksgiving sale.

This is the "My So-Called Scarf" pattern in the color "Rose Garden." I really like the pattern and the way the piece turned out. Here's a closer look of the scarf as a WIP:

The yarn's pretty nice too. It's handwash so I gotta be careful who I give the scarf to, but on the plus side, it's feltable, or so the label claims. Hmmmm...very interesting.... It would make a pretty bag, don't you think?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mid-Weekend Report

Here was my Saturday:

Sock knittin': Bert is now a bunny!

Computer fixin': the never-ending hard drive problem makes me look forward to getting up at the crack of dawn on Black Friday so I can get a good price on a replacement. $30 for 200 Gig? Totally worth losing sleep over!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Green Goodness

Thank you Bethieee!

You are such a sweetie! Everything's so GREEN - my very favorite color! I think you read my mind because I've been oggling some of the wares on handpaintedyarns for the past week. I'm thinking a shawl or maybe branching out for this pretty grey-green laceweight. And you even knit me a beautiful ruffle scarf! I got complements all day from coworkers, and boy, did this scarf come in handy today, because the temperature's dropped 30 degrees since yesterday. Thank you so much!

Friday, November 11, 2005

It was my mom's birthday over the weekend. We had guests and cake

and more cake

and even more cake

The second was my favorite, with chocolate cake, chocolate cream and plain cheesecake layers covered in chocolate ganache and shaved chocolate. What's not to love?

I gave mom a felted bag made from the Lopi yarn and pattern provided by my lovely SP5 Leah. Here was the bag as a WIP:

And here it was before washing:

I've been working on mostly on knitting holiday gifts lately, but I've also started toe-up socks from knitpicks. Here they are on Bert the kitty, um, I mean, turtle:

The cast-on was not as scary as I thought it would be. Plus, since I'm working on both pieces at once, I might actually finish the pair!

Friday, October 28, 2005

SP Package

Thank you, Secret Pal! Your card cheered me right up! The modular knits book is beautiful and the toffee is truly awesome. I gave it a few good whacks, like the packaging recommended, against the kitchen chopping block and was rewarded with yummy chunks of toffee!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sunday Outing

Here are some pics from DC Knit Out and Crochet Too.

I wasn't there long, but I got a chance to watch Nicky Epstein do a demo. She brought lots of pretty samples of her work too.

I also learned to crochet! Two very nice (and patient!) ladies from the crochet tent were teaching people from scratch how to do a slip knot (this much I could already do at least), single, half double and double (note the cool new jargon!). So even though the vendors at the event weren't allowed to vend (US Park Service rules), I did walk away with some goodies and a new skill:

The crochet needs some work. I'm not really in love with it, but it's bound to come in handy, I'm sure.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ground Floor

I think I've hit bottom, so this is my short self-pity post. There is now only a sliver of floor visible through all the crap strewn around my bedroom. I must clean, very very soon. Plus, my hard drive is in a coma again. It's been like that for several weeks but I just haven't felt like fixing it. So I've been doing everything on my laptop lately. Going from a 21" monitor to a 12" display is a little painful. I get to squint a lot. Poor me! *sniffle*

I also forgot to post this (I've been forgetting things lately):

My mom is getting into the craftiness too. Voila! a newly reupholstered footstool, hiding even more of my bedroom floor :) Wait 'til she sees what I've been working on for her birthday...Hah! it's a hand-made do-it-yourself arms race!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


We went to New Jersey to go apple picking with my cousin and her family. We got two half bushels of apples, two pumpkins....and two munchkins! These guys are members of the Lollipop Guild, if I'm not mistaken. The farm we went to also had interesting yellow eggplants:

While we were in the Garden State, I finished the Vogue diamond scarf (modeled by sideways Bert):

Good thing, too, because Aida (she's on the right in the top picture) so generously gifted me with these:

As you can see, I've started a ruffle scarf, though I haven't decided what to do with the ribbon. Any thoughts?

It was my brother's birthday on Monday. I gave him a scarf (shocker, huh?) and an apple birthday cake (expedient and delicious!). I knit the scarf a long time ago (yes, I am capable of planning ahead) but I forgot to take a picture of it. Doh! Oh well...anyway, it's basically this from Knitty, except in light brown, not pink.

Going back to work on Tuesday was pretty painful after such a nice long weekend. I woke up late, and very grumpy, there was a pile of crap waiting on my desk (figuratively speaking of course; everyone at the office is housebroken), and to top it off, I forgot to bring my violin music with me for my lesson. I did remember my violin, so it wasn't a total loss. So what could redeem such a lack-luster day? Bethieee to the rescue! My SP5 spoilee plots a wicked bit of vengeance and sends me a splendid package:

Yay, fun toys! There are Wizard of Oz magnets - the packaging suggests "recreating favorite scenes" :) - orange Play-Doh with a My Little Pony figurine, and an adorable bouncing bunny keychain. Then there are some more relaxing luxuries: a rosey yellow journal, hand-cut lavender soap, a beautiful green candle, plus, for my knitting pleasure, Blue Moon sock yarn and pretty purple and gold stitch markers. Thank you, Beth! What sweet and thoughtful gifts!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Jack's Sweater

Yup, I did finish it, and just in time for the Lombardi knitting event. Here's the guest of honor sporting his spiffy new outfit. The poor thing has a great "I can't believe they're making me wear this!" look. As a dog person, I can testify that most dogs hate wearing clothes. But as dog person, I can also say that they all look soooo adorable in them!

Now, I'm working on this:

Ahhhh, a scarf. How relaxing and gauge-free!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Secret Pal Goodies!

Check this out:

It's a lovely package with all sorts of treats from my wonderful Secret Pal! There are two balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze in dark pink. I adore this addictive yarn! Even if you didn't knit it, you could always admire it from afar, or, if you're really really lonely, pet it for companionship. There was an assertively self-described "mug mug mug mug" and a box of English breakfast tea...hmm, would the English mug object if I had this for non-English non-breakfasts?? The Hobnobs are so yummy. I'd never had them before, but oatmeal and chocolate are a pretty delicious combination. Thanks a million, Secret Pal!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Proof (this is the one without Gwenyth)

Here's my progress on the sweater for Jack the Bulldog:

Yes, I know, the "G" came out short and fat but it still looks like a "G" so that's close enough for my less-than-exacting standards. Plus, I know what I did wrong (you might want to skip the next paragraph if you don't want the gory details).

**start sweater rant**
When I plotted out the pattern for the sweater back, I used knitters graphing paper and I decided to turn the paper sideways. In a misguided attempt at efficiency, I thought it would be better to have the pattern on one sheet. This was OK for just having the number and color of stitches on hand (yes, I swatched, and washed the swatch, and counted the stitches per row and stitches per inch, and made many calculations on a spreadsheet, and even did some geometry involving pi), but where things went awry was when I traced the "G" shape onto the pattern. It dawned on me at about row 15 or so that since knitting graph paper has rectangles, not squares, if you turn the paper, the proportions change. Anything drawn directly on the paper, like my letter G, would be distorted. Thankfully, the dimensions for the sweater back itself are right, since I calculated the number of stitches I'd need from the swatch.
**end sweater rant**

In other news, here's a purse I was making before I got the yarn for Jack.

It was moving right along, but I lost a stitch and got discouraged (furry yarn + size two needles = temporary blindness). It's back on track now though.

And here are a couple of kerchiefs for the Lombardi knitting event next week:

My aunt asked me if I was knitting a bikini and she looked very relieved when I said no (me + bikini = permanent blindness). In yet another misguided attempt at efficiency (see sweater rant above, if you dare!), I decided to knit two at the same time on long circular needles, using one strand from each end of a ball of King Tut cotton. Apart from the intermittent tangling of strands, this has worked out well... except of course that's it's taking twice as long to finish! For now I'll console myself with the thought that I'll have not one, but two finished objects when I (eventually) finish.

I am so looking forward to Stitches East this weekend! I'm taking a gauge class and spending more than I should on knitterly things. I'm bringing a copy of my SP6 spoilee's questionnaire, so I can do some proper spoiling. Speaking of SP6, my pal is such a dear! She emailed me again to make sure I wasn't feeling neglected. No worries, Secret Pal! I feel very well-cared for :)

Friday, September 16, 2005

SP6 Questionnaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?

Not at all. I use both natural and synthetic. I've found that some acrylic (even 100% acrylic) can be quite nice, very soft and easy to work with. And you can't beat the price and low maintenance (i.e. I can give someone a knitted gift and not worry about seeing them walk around in an accidentally-felted scarf!). On the other hand, I'd never turn down natural fibers, which are so beautiful and comforting.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

Nope, I just knit.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)

No allergies, though I'm kind of sensitive to fragrances. It's kind of hard to explain. For example, I like the smell of roses, but only when it's coming from a rose, and not from somewhere it shouldn't. Ditto for food smells too (*drool*). Lemons smell lovely to me, but lemon-scented cleaners make me want to gag.

4. How long have you been knitting?

I learned to knit about ten years ago, though I didn't really get into it until last year. Now, of course, I'm practically obsessed!!

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes, I do have an Amazon list. It's full of random nonknitting-related books so dunno if that would be of interest.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

(see number 3)

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?

Yes!!! Love love love chocolate! I like to bake and I get a lot of satisfaction sharing what I make. Not a fan of cherries, mint or marzipan, though, so I guess I'll never be a pastry chef (*sigh*).

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

I've dabbled a little in decoupage. It's messy, but kind of therapeutic, in a grade-school art class, tiny bits of paper, and very sticky fingers sort of way.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I like lots of different kinds of music. "Eclectic" might be the right word to describe my taste. I like some of what I think is classified as Modern Rock (Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, Radiohead),folkish/indie things (Patty Griffin, Ben Harper, Billy Bragg) and classical choral works (Rutter, Brahms). My computer does play MP3s and I love mixes.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

I really love green, though since I really started knitting again, I've gained an appreciation for many different colors. They've kind of grown on me.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I live with my parents, a dog and a bird. The latter two shed periodically, but I love them all anyway.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)

Um, I dunno really, maybe joining a choir? Or even just learning music properly. That would be nice.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

I like Debbie Bliss yarns (cashmerino aran is soooo soft) and Noro (the colors are just fabulous!)

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I have issues with ribbon yarn. I like the way they look but it seems to take a lot of effort to keep them from getting all twisted. Maybe I'm doing something wrong?

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

Scarves, since they're fast and fairly easy.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I do a lot of scarves, mostly because I'm impatient and they don't take too long.

17. What are you knitting right now?

I'm working on a dog sweater for a certain famous pooch, along with a bunch of smaller items, like kercheifs and doggie toys, for a knitting event at work. I'd post a link, but the Arts and Humanities program at work doesn't have a web page. But if you right click here, you can download a pretty poster.

18. What do you think about ponchos?

They're nice, though I prefer wraps.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Circular all the way! I find them to be really versatile. More importantly, they're compact and reduce the risk of injury (along with any possible lawsuits) while knitting on the subway. I have two sets of boye needlemasters that pretty much keep me up to my ears in works-in-progress.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I've never used wooden needles before. Of the needles I've knitted with, I prefer aluminum to plastic.

21. Are you a sock knitter?

Um, technically, I've knitted one single sock. I cast on for the other sock and have left the whole bundle, needles and all, in my stash (oh for shame!). My SP5 gave me some lovely sock yarn, too, and I have yet to play with it (again, the shame!).

22. How did you learn to knit?

The first time around, I taught myself from a book. This time around, I get patterns and inspiration from the internet and from a knitting group at work.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

The endless afghan is now about six months old. Is there any hope for this poor blanket??? Plus, I'd like to retrieve the needles it's on ;)

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

I like turtles. A lot.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

The entire stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year's is my favorite time of the year. I'm already looking forward to turkey day!

26. Is there anything that you collect?

I have an embarrassingly large collection of turtle-ware: figurines, stickers, books, keychains, turtle-shaped things of mysterious origin and unknown function, etc. I may get around to documenting them some day.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I did get a copy of the fall interweave knits (I was surprised found it at Walmart, which I love to frequent, despite their being evil and all that) and liked it quite a bit. But I don't subscribe to anything knitterly.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?

Knitting Over the Edge looks really nice (yes, I fall for pretty book covers).

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another??

I've been eyeing Elizabeth I from Knitpicks.

Monday, September 05, 2005

SP goodies

Thank you, Leah! You're the best! What can I say? The sock says it all: I'm just totally spoiled! I love the yarn - and you even wound the sock yarn for me! I can't wait to cast on for both these patterns. My current projects bin is getting pretty crowded, but I don't mind one bit :) I really appreciate the ruler. It'll come in handy when I take the gauge class at Stitches East later this month. I think it's kinda neat to have knitting "homework". Many thanks, Secret Pal, for all the lovely gifts and notes you've sent over the summer!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Playing Tourist and New Yarn

My cousin and her family came to visit this weekend , so we all played tourist at the Smithsonian. And what did I see at the Air and Space Museum, apart from a ridiculously overpriced McDonald's (think $7-$9 "value" meals)? It's a membership card for the Interstellar Association of Turtles. I did a little googling and found that they're still around and still offer memberships (for a fee, of course) to "bright eyed, bushy tailed, fearless and unafraid folk with a fighter pilot attitude." Hmmm, it took me about half and hour to muster the courage to kill the spider in our kitchen this morning, so I guess I don't have the right stuff. We also met these guys, who my cousin's daughter so accurately dubbed "the silver dead people." Oh, from the mouths of babes... The museum wasn't nearly as crowded as I thought it would be. It's a good thing we went this weekend, instead of Labor Day.

Yes, I have been knitting. Here's Bert the Turtle sporting a finished Tychus.

It's 2 strands worked together over short rows and it moved along so quickly, I've started another one in black and red. My brother said the FO was "very Mongolian," not to mention oversized. So, does wearing it make me want to ride around Eurasia and sack a city or two? Sort of, but I pity the horse that has to carry me. I'm also trying to figure out one of the slipped rib patterns from Knitting on the Edge. That's not going so well. There is a pattern emerging, just not the pattern I was looking for (you know, like the one actually pictured in the book). Bummer. But wait, there's more:

A second One-Skein Wonder, with a more accurate gauge this time, and with only the seed stitch edging missing. Thanks again, SP5, for the great pattern. I'm hoping to finish this piece off by tonight. That's a good thing, because there are new additions to my stash:

I made a trip to the LYS on Friday after orientation . They were having a sale (50% off King Tut, plus 15% off Noro) and I couldn't resist (alright, so I would have bought them even without the sale). I've started on a Child's Rainbow Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts:

I've never used Noro before and I think it's interesting that Kureyon somehow manages to be a little rough and a little slick to the touch (is that the lanolin, maybe?). The colors are really nice, though. I'm sure this stuff would make a lovely sweater, though I personally won't be able to test that idea unless I win the lottery, get a bonus, or find some other way to increase my yarn budget!