Saturday, December 30, 2006

Yarn, Interrupted

In preparation for the Spin-to-Knit yarn exchange, I returned to the wheel over the weekend, after a very long hiatus. Guess which holiday inspired this:
I had spun about half of the top before Halloween. The rest had to wait patiently for me to find time to finish it. This is 4 oz of superwash merino, dyed (bright bright bright) orange with koolaid and brown with icing dye. The final yardage is approximately 106 yards. Next up will be the roving for my swap pal. I had a bit of a rough start:
but after much swearing, I think I'm on track. I'd like to show the yarn in progress, but why spoil the surprise?

On the knitting front, I'm working on a Charlotte's Web shawl in Noro Iro (thank you Secret Pal!) Yes, it's lace for the lazy, but pretty none the less:
I'm also working on a Robin Hood Jacket for Jersey Baby:
The pattern is from Adorable Knits for Tots and it's knit in the recommended yarn, Rowan Cork. It's pretty nice stuff, though I don't know how Jersey Mama's going to react to the whole "hand-wash" issue. Oh well, I guess there's always dry cleaning :)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Mad as a Hatter

Ok, here are the hats I've knit....

and here are the guests we have....

and here's the only one getting any sleep....

Monday, December 18, 2006

Year of the Bard?

I'm so excited about Shakespeare in Washington! Six months of plays, lectures, ballets, and other Shakespeare-related stuff. Ok, so it's more like "Half Year of the Bard." I'm hoping to get tickets to the free Twelfth Night performance at the Kennedy Center (on Twelfth Night too, no less!). If I'm not too broke in the spring, maybe I'll splurge and see the Royal Shakespeare Company do Coriolanus.

I finished a scarf:
and I joined the stranded knit along. The plan is to (eventually) knit up the lovely Bea Ellis hat from the kit that my wonderful SP7 Liz sent me. I was too chicken to try it, until now. How did I grow a spine, you ask? Since school is done, I have time to attend the knitting group at work again. Last week, one of the knitters was showing everyone a Fair Isle sweater she was making. Oh my gosh was it beautiful! She showed us pattern books and how to work with a strand in each hand, and I was just smitten. For practice, I made the Center Square hat from the new Knitty:
Here's the inside:
This is a great intro to stranding project, with thick yarn and a short and easy pattern. I'll definately be making more!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Dear Tivo

Tivo, I really want to love you. Really. But it's just not working out. I admit, some of it's my fault. I'm complicated. I have cable and satellite, and that's tough on any DVR. I know you try to accomodate them both, but you get so confused, which makes me confused. I ask you to record something from the satellite, you promise to do it, but end up recording the cable channel instead. Maybe I'm asking too much, but you let me down when it comes to the small stuff too. Take channel changing for instance. No, it's not because you need those IR extension thingies - you know looks don't mean anything to me. You have so much trouble finding my local stations. Yeah, they're all the way in the upper 900s, and that's DirecTV's problem, not yours. But it's not like they're on Mars or something. Plus, there've been plenty of times when you switch to the wrong station and just won't let go. Believe me, it's no picnic having to sit through 5 minutes of the fantabulous jewelry spectavaganza on the home shopping channel while I try to convince you that this is not a good place to be.

You're such a nice box, Tivo. Your onscreen menus and remote are intuitive and well-designed. Don't ever let anyone tell you that your bubbly sounds aren't cute. And you network well too. (I know my computer said some unkind things because your Tivo Desktop software kept making him crash at shutdown, as if he needed a reason to spontaneously reboot.) Anyway, you don't need a wanna-be-techie-geek like me criticizing you for every little thing. You deserve to be happy and I know you'll find someone who'll appreciate your best qualities.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Wrapping Up

To mark the year's end, I present finished objects:
Yes, more stripey scarves in the round! The one on the left is made from 2 balls of Lion Brand Magic Stripes in the color Lumberjack (and I'm OK! I sleep all night and I work all day!). The one on the right is made from two balls of Regia. It's 4-ply I think. I've already forgotten the color.

As soon as those came off the needles, these went on:
It Magic Stripes and Trekking XXL, respectively. I know I've bitched about them before, but now I can't stop making these scarves. Those little Addi Turbos are terrible enablers. They just keep going round and round and round....

Monday, December 04, 2006

Another Box!

'Tis the season for boxes! Not that I'm complaining - I love getting mail, especially yarn-related mail. Jinann sent me a surprise present, with even more individually-wrapped presents inside! Unwrapping revealed these beauties:
Two skeins of Gypsy Girl and a skein of Socks that Rock, all in lovely shades of green! Plus, Jinann included the pattern for the "Pretty Petals" socks she knitted up over the summer. Thanks, Jinann!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Box!

Guess what my Secret Pal sent me? A big box full of my favorite things! First of all, there's the book I've been pining for, Knitting Beyond the Edge, which is just awesome! I've already picked out a few patterns to try. Plus I got three balls of yummy cashmerino aran in pretty shades of green, and there's also a skein of Noro Iro in a beautiful rainbow colorway. And don't you just love the cute little ladybug card? Thank you so much, SP! You totally spoil me!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Season's Eatings

Crazy Baker Lady was here. 11 different recipes made over 5 non-consecutive days (I had to take breaks to eat turkey). This year's cookie fest featured (from top right clockwise):

  1. caramel apple bars
  2. apricot crescents
  3. wedding cookies (followed by more crescents)
  4. cream cheese brownies (with a couple of stray fudge pieces)
  5. caramel heavenlies
  6. white chocolate fudge with raisins and almonds
  7. chocolate fudge with pecans
  8. no-bake peanut butter and chocolate oat cookies
  9. lemon bars
  10. chocolate chip macadamia cookies
  11. (not pictured) pecan bars

We spent a great thanksgiving with my cousin and her sweet but germy children (pass the coldeeze, please). There was lots of eating and laughing and falling asleep on the sofa. Oh, there was knitting too. I even got two projects done and I started a few new ones. I'll post about them soon.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Thoughts as I Inch towards Thursday

A great big thank you to my secret pal! She sent me an Amazon gift certificate, which I promptly blew on electronic toys!

This might have carried over into my knitting. I have a bazillion (ok maybe that's a slight exaggeration) projects on my needles, but I can't seem to stay with any one for long. Over the weekend, I bought a copy of Knit Simple at Joanns (hooray coupons!) and they had a bunch of scarf patterns, of which the leafy lace one was my favorite. I tried out the pattern using an aran weight (way too big) and a worsted weight (still too big). I looked through the more accessible parts of my stash and only found cottons at the dk weight. Now I just know I have something warm that'll work (and not yeild a scarf 12 inches wide!), but "the right yarn" is probably hidden away in a closet somewhere. Long story short, I'm going stash diving tonight :)

Anyhoo, I have no finished objects or newly started objects to share with you. But I did do doodling (slow day at work), so here's the doodly doodle I did:

Monday, November 06, 2006

Stitches East

I took a class at Stitches East on Saturday. It was on finishing, which I sorely needed help with! Up to this point, I'd just been sewing pieces together like fabric - it's effective but not very tidy. The class went on all day, but it's amazing how quickly the time went!

Anyway, what would Stitches be without the Stitches Marketplace? Not to toot my own horn, but I was extremely good and refrained from buying everything in sight. I got some interesting 100% corn yarn:
Some hemp fiber:
and some hemp/merino fiber:
The lady at the hemp booth gave me some helpful advice on spinning the hemp, which feels very stiff, much like euroflax linen. She also said I could dye the hemp/merino using acid dyes. The merino will take the dye, but the hemp will resist it, yielding a muted, flecked, kind of tweedy colored yarn.

I also snagged some short Addi circs and a (not-so-little) something for my SP spoilee. On the whole, it was a great day!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Photo Op

My camera has come home so I got to take photos of my recent WIPs. Here's the sock yarn in the round scarf:
and the Paton's soy wool scarf:
and a cabled scarf made with woolease:
They all need blocking (especially the cabled one). I've got a bunch of other holiday gifts on the needles too, like these two:

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Thank You Judy!

I got a package from my International Scarf Exchange Pal, Judy! (Sorry for the delayed post, Judy. Just think of it as creating suspense!). Here's my gorgeous new scarf:
It's a lovely dark green triangular scarf made with Elann alpaca. It even came with an extra ball of this yummy yarn! That's so thoughtful! But wait, there's much much more...There was this cool ladybug bag:
Plus all these amazing goodies:

That's handmade vanilla soap, folks! How incredibly lucky am I to have such a talented and generous pal? Thank you, Judy! Oh, oh and guess what? She loves BSG too! I tell you, those ISE hostesses are totally psychic :)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Green Light

After a 5 hour install and a lot of furniture moving, the FIOS connection is up and running. I've had cable internet for a few years, and I was pretty happy with the 6Mb download speed. But holy crap, fiber blows that right out of the water, and it's cheaper too! So I have a new pet router (I'd show you a picture, but still no camera). It's pretty big as home/soho routers go. Maybe I'll get a chance to tinker with it.

I finished another long stripey scarf:
Yarn: Patons SWS (alternating strands of Natural Geranium and Natural Earth)
Needles: Boye aluminum straights, size 8
Pattern: Broken 2x2 rib (aka Child's Rainbow Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts)
Alterations: I made it narrower by a few repeats.

I really love the colors and silky feel of this yarn. It is pretty loosely spun, so splitting was a bit of a problem. Michaels sells it, and (though I don't think the the bricks and mortar Joanns carry it). On the whole, very nice, and I've heard it felts like crazy. Now there's an idea...must felt stuff!

Next post: some seriously spectacular scarfage (I'm stalling until I can post pictures - words just wouldn't do it justice!)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Day Off

Verizon is coming to the house tomorrow to install fiber, so I'm taking the day off. I'm so looking forward to having a great day: no commute, lots of knitting time and, oh yeah, fiber optic internet by the end of the day! That's 15Mb down/2Mb up, assuming all goes well of course (this is Ma Bell's offspring, so what could possibly go wrong??)

I'm still working on the striped Paton's bag, plus I've got a bunch of holiday scarves to work on during the installation.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More About Me

Since I can't resist opportunities to talk about myself, this is my response to YarnYenta's blog contest:
1. Where is your favorite knitting spot?
The right-hand window seat of the last row of the last car of the red line train to Glenmont. I look something like this, only much fatter:
I've found that I can prop my bag on my feet to keep it off the possibly gunky floor.
2. If you suddenly could never knit again (shudder) - what would you do instead?
If I could still use my hands, I'd probably start spinning in earnest (sadly not a practical train activity). If I couldn't use my hands, I guess I could read more.
3. If you could travel anywhere in the world - where would you go and why?
Venice - before it sinks.
4. When you were little - What did you want to do "when you grew up?" Are you doing it?
I wanted to be an astronomer. A year of high school trig got that out of my system. In college I studied medieval English lit, then switched to computer info science (I really wanted to be gainfully employed). Now I'm a secretary. The better question might be, "Have you grown up yet?!"
5. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Rocky Road, preferably either Baskin & Robbins or Edys (aka Dreyers). I like the kind with whole mini marshmallows. Marshmallow ribbon just isn't the same.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

More Finished Things

Another skein of homespun, woohoo! Pardon the camera phone pic. My camera is still missing in action.

I've also finished knitting up the Shibori scarf. I'm having some trouble actually shibori-ing the darn thing because I can't find enough rubber bands to make the little bumps. Argh! Maybe a trip to staples is in order?

In non-knitting news, I'm now addicted to Battlestar Galactica. I'm curious to see how far they take the Iraqi insurgency-esque premise.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

In the Midst

I've been spinning some more. I'm trying to get a more even single. Not that uneven yarn looks bad to my eyes - I like the stuff I've made so far. It's just that I want to have a little more control while spinning, so it doesn't always feel like I'm fighting with either the wheel or the fiber or both!

Oh, oh, I finally finished a WIP! Behold the Amazingly Long Circular Sock Yarn Scarf, which has been part of my backpack knitting for who knows how long:
(Well, you would be beholding it right now except my brother swiped my camera when he came by last weekend. Take my word for it, the scarf is long and stripey looking.)
Size: 60" long
Yarn: Regia 4 fadig Brasil Color (2 balls)
Needles: 12" Addi Turbo circs in Size 3

Go ahead and laugh - that's about 900 yards of sock yarn! I started it after getting my hands on a copy of Not Just Socks. I clearly wasn't thinking, 'cuz that's a hell of a lot of knitting with thin yarn on small needles!

In other knitting news, I'm still plugging away at the Paton's Merino bag. I'm also at the tail end of the the Shibori scarf. I have to find some really tiny rubber bands to make the bumps before I felt it.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


For my dear secret pal:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I like Knitpicks and Debbie Bliss yarns (cashmerino aran is soooo soft). I also like Noro (the colors are just fabulous!). In general, I’m not a yarn snob. I do 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?

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

I have two Boye Needlemaster sets, which make up most of the needles I use. The rest are Addi Turbos and assorted metal and plastic straights. I have an Artbin Hook & Needle Folio which contain (most) of my non-needlemaster needles and notions. The really gigantic needles live in a tall decorative tin.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I learned to knit about ten years ago, though I didn't really get into it until about two years ago. Now, of course, I'm practically obsessed!! I would consider myself an intermediate knitter.

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

Yes, I do have an Amazon list. It's full of non-knitting books, though, so that might not be terribly interesting to anyone else, but let me know if you want to see it.

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

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 gag.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

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*). My favorite candies are Twix and Cadbury Fruit & Nut.

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

I've dabbled a little in decoupage and polymer clay. I’m a novice spinner.

8. 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, Coldplay), folkish/indie things (Patty Griffin, Ben Harper, Billy Bragg) and classical choral works (Rutter, Brahms). My computer does play MP3s and I love mixes.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? 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.

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

I live with my parents and my aunt Dee, a Scottie dog and a nutty and long-lived cockatiel. The latter two shed periodically, but I love them all anyway.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

I wear scarves and hats, though not mittens or ponchos.

12. 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. I also love knitting and felting bags.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Assorted scarves and baby things (for all the babies appearing out of nowhere).

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Yes, absolutely!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

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 used wooden needles once and didn’t like them (way too sloooooooow!). Of the needles I've knitted with, I much prefer aluminum to plastic.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Yes to both.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

Hmmmmm, I recently went through the mound of UFOs and as far as I can tell, it’s the Knitty Baseball sweater I started in November of last year.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

The entire stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year's is my favorite time of the year.

19. 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.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Knitting Beyond the Edge and Inspired Cables. I subscribe to Interweave and Vogue Knitting.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I’d like to be a better finisher. I detest weaving in ends and seam kind of haphazardly. My seams ain’t pretty but they usually stay together.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I’ve knit one sock. Ever. Not a pair of socks, but one sock. And it was even a tube sock, with no fiddly heel to mess with and I still couldn’t finish it. I do love sock yarn, though, for baby things.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Wheel of WIPs!

I played with my new-to-me wheel this week, with interesting results. Here's some underspun 2-ply made from overspun singles:

My second attempt produced a chunky version:I'm still having trouble with overspinning. I need to work on the feeding motion, rather then letting all that extra twist build up on the yarn.

Alright, so I gave up on the whole WIPs only diet. It was sooooo boring!! It's one thing to be so enamored of a project you just can't put it down. It's something else entirely when you're not feeling the love. I felt like I was going to scream if I couldn't cast on for something new soon. I swear my stash was taunting, "Knit me! Knit me!" the whole time. So what's the damage? This new projects (along with my excuse):It's a felted bag with Paton's Classic Merino and Bernat Bling as a carry-along yarn. I can proudly say that this knit is going to be for charity. Doesn't that mean I'm morally obligated to cast on?
I'll also need to get started on a Shetland Chunky scarf for my cousin who is emigrating to Canada (the Philippines is empty now, eh?). Again, this is for a good cause, 'cuz it ain't easy moving from the tropics to the great white north.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Too Cute

An action shot of the sheepy blanket with it's brand new owner. This is just too sweet...I think I've got a toothache!

Here endeth the knitting content for this post. Techno phobes, avert your eyes.

Now on to something less cuddly, but to my geeky eyes, still quite adorable: I got me one of these:
No, it isn't a toaster. It's a Netgear Storage Central (SC101). Once upon a time when I was working on getting tech certifications, I built a little server to practice putting hardware together and installing software and other fun stuff like that. After the exams were all taken, I used the box as an all purpose file/print/DHCP server. Sadly, my mighty little server didn't make it through our recent electrical crisis. I'm not sure whether it's just the OS partition that's bad or the whole drive or if it's something else. A day's worth of troubleshooting yielded lots of different (and conflicting!) error messages, and fickle creature that I am, I gave up on it pretty easily. I turned on the DHCP service in my router and got this little e-toaster thing for data sharing:
( front, back and inside views) The front has a weird little twist latch attaching the bezel to the case. There's even a little drawing that says to use a coin to untwist it. The back has ports for ethernet port (10/100) and power, plus a reset slot for paperclipping. On the inside, there's (just barely enough) room for 2 IDE drives. There's no fan, just passive cooling via two big heatsinks:
1. Simplicity.
2. Small footprint.
3. Low noise. You hear the drives spinning but that's about it.
4. Price. It's about $90-120, without a drive, though there are deals with bundled drives.
5. Extensive features. I haven't tried any of these, but apparently the SC101 can mirror disks, and also span volumes across disks, and even span across multiple SC101s.

1. Non-standard disk format. If this device dies, I can't just pop the disk into my desktop to retrieve data.
2. Proprietary software required. You need to install Netgear's software to get to your data. You can't just browse through network in Windows Explorer.
3. Heat. Passive cooling is silent but less effective at heat dissipation. I'm worried this might be a problem in the summer.
4. Fewer security options. From what I can tell, it's either on or off. Having a full-fledged server offered more granular security options.
Conclusions: It's good for what I'm using it for: file serving. For data backup, I'm less convinced. The non-standard format really bothers me. What if it breaks? How do I get my stuff off of there? I'm sticking to optical media for now.

Now, if I can only find a way to network an unnetworkable printer, everything will be back to normal.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Reconstruction Ramblings

I am not a tidy person. I'm a pack rat and a yarn pig and a receipt saver and a whole bunch of other things that tend to make my personal space an absolute mess. Now that the electrical problems are fixed, I'm in the midst of putting all my stuff back where it was. I would kill for the managable mess that it was before! Especially since I was extremely naughty on Ebay last month and I now need room for this:
It's a used Louet S10 (or possibly S15) that took the slow boat from Holland and arrived at my house last weekend. I'm a neophyte spinner so putting it together was an interesting little puzzle. I think I got it right...mostly. It's making all the right spinning movements without any creaks or squeaks. If anyone sees anything wrong, please tell me! Maybe next weekend, I'll have time to try it out.

I finished the Inner Truth scarf for ISE3! Here's blocking pic:
I completely forgot about my blocking wires. The thought of sticking a few dozen pins into this thing should have jogged my memory. And here's the finished pic:
Pattern: Inner Truth (Magknits Sept. '06)
Yarn: Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, dyed with food dye
Needles: Size 8 Boye 10" straights (from my very first knitting set, Awwwww!)
I blocked it to 6" wide. It grew way more in length than I anticipated: from 48" to 58". I hope my ISE3 spoilee doesn't mind it being almost 5 feet long, especially since she said she wanted a 4 foot scarf. The pattern is a nice, fairly easy cable. I really want to knit this scarf again, maybe with an LT on one side to balance the RT on the other. Whether I tweak the pattern or now, I'm excited about any chance to use hand dyes! Yay! Speaking of which, what should I do with the leftover yarn? There was also way more of that than I anticipated - about 70g worth.