Tuesday, January 30, 2007

We Interrupt This Blog!

For a special News Update! [important newscaster voice]

There's a new community knitting project in the Knitblogville! Every knitter knows that Barbara Walker's Treasuries are indispensable. We use them constantly for designing, for help with a difficult pattern, and for pure inspiration. Sometimes, though, the mostly black-and-white and small pictures keep us from seeing the full potential of a pattern. That's where the Walker Treasury Project comes in. We're gathering high-quality, color photos of all the patterns in all the Treasury books and putting them on the internet as a visual aide to this wonderful collection. Help your fellow knitter by choosing a pattern from a particular book, working up a nice big swatch in a light-colored yarn, and posting it to our blog. We can help you label and categorize everything. Also, keep in mind that we're not posting the pattern (no violations of copyright here), just the picture!

This was all Nicole's idea (kudos, girl!), but it's up to the rest of the commuknitty (ha! that has never been used before!) to make it work. Nicole, Alison, and I are moderators (and we could use a few more if anyone is interested) and we can steer you through the process if you should need steering. Check out the About page and the FAQ page and help knitters 'round the world get a better look at the Walker Treasuries.

Want to contact us? Email walkertreasuryproject ATTYatATTY gmail DOTTYdotDOTTY com.

(Next time: Birthday present run-down!)

Friday, January 26, 2007


To commemorate today, the anniversary of my birth, I am going to have my annual exam and hear those words that make women everywhere shudder: "Scoot your bottom down to the end of the table" and "relax your knees" and "this may pinch a little."

Oh, and "speculum." That one's a total bastard.

I believe I have mentioned my reasons for going, even though it's my birthday and I should by rights be having a lovely day at a spa somewhere drinking a mango-starfruit-wheatgrass smoothie and getting a massage from a man with the slow hands named Sven. Oh well.

Because it's what I do to make sure I go to my annual exams, I treat myself to something nice or fun or tasty after every year's appointment. Today I'm going to eat lovely Indian food with my husband at our favorite restaurant, possibly get a massage with a $10 off certificate (though Sven isn't on the agenda, more's the pity), and visit a LYS hitherto unknown to me. (I get all three nice and fun and tasty things because today is also my birthday. So there.)

No, I haven't fallen off the KFYS wagon -- perish the thought. Perish it, right now. I got a gift certificate from my FIL and step-MIL for belated Christmas. See:

And I have to use it soon, or it shall expire (perish, even) and I shan't have the bounty due to me. Shan't.

Anyway, this particular LYS called Yarn Sellar doesn't have a website. There is a website for a store called Yarn Sellar but that's in Maine. Obviously my in-laws didn't hoof it to Maine to get me a gift certificate. Obviously, especially if you know them. Wanda knows them. Hi Wanda! (My sister-in-law)

Okay, what now? (perhaps this would be a good time to tell you all that I've been drinking throughout the entire time of my birthday so far (it's 12:30am now) and started YESTERDAY for I am a monster at the drinking. There may be a little loss of point and also of typing ability.) Yes. The LYS. I'm going and I'm going to spend the entire thing on yarn which will not count against me. Because it is my birthday, and because I will have experienced the Speculum Of Doom.

And thank you to my Mom for the flowers she sent to my place of work today, as tomorrow is my day off. You livened up my day, you sweet and also sneaky lady. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I sing of garter stitch, glad and big.

I realize that I am probably the very last knitter on the planet to discover the beauty, wisdom, and sheer genius that is Mason-Dixon Knitting (the book). Such is my fate, to be the last person to know about anything new, be it a book or a movie or a war or a technological advancement.

Overall, I'm pretty okay with finding my way to new things in my own time. Part of that is due to a reduction in fun funds (not that we're not making any money, just that we're trying to not spend the money we make in a frivolous manner), and part of that is due to working in a library, at least when it comes to books and movies: "Oh, I'll just look at that when the library buys it." In the case of this book, however, the library didn't buy it until 2 weeks ago and I couldn't wait that long.

I'm making a bag for my good friend Christine, who I've known for -- holy crap -- almost 22 years (I had to call my mom to check how old I was when I started kindegarten). It's going to be a felted bag, and I'm kind of basing it on the Felted Diaper Tote in Knitting For Baby by Melanie Falick & Kristin Nicholas, but with a few changes.

Change #1: I'm using Cascade 220 instead of Classic Elite Montera, because Cascade is plentiful at my LYS and also inexpensive.

Change #2: I'm knitting it all in garter stitch, not seed stitch. Because I value my time on this earth.

Change #3: I knit the big front pocket in the Log Cabin pattern from Mason-Dixon, and the bag very nearly became a Log Cabin Blanket because I am so addicted to this pattern oh my god.

It's so amazingly easy! See these stitches? I picked them up while drunk. THAT'S HOW EASY THIS IS, PEOPLE. Drunken knitting that doesn't require frogging and regret in the morning! I have found my muse!

Behold my brilliance.

Behold the brilliance of the Knit-Lite! These were a Christmas gift from the lovely Femiknitter, who has a pair herself and decided to share the goodness. They are perfect for knitting in the dark, mystifying non-knitters, and entrancing cats. And for pretend light-saber fights. Oh yes.

The finished pocket, with a small border. The front and back of the bag will be the dark purple, so the grey border will help make the pocket stand out, I hope. The bottom picture shows the colors more accurately.

I am in love with Log Cabin and garter stitch, which kind of surprises me. I used to think that garter stitch was boring and "beginner" and unattractive. Obviously, I just hadn't knit much with it. It's so lofty and snuggly, and you can do it while not looking (and also while drunk!). I forsee this pattern/stitch combination being a great baby blanket down the road (in superwash, of course). For now, though, it will be a bag.

And now I have to go rip out the base, because it is three inches too wide. A fact I neatly discovered after knitting five-and-a-half inches into the damn thing.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007

What A Heel

You know those secret socks I've not been telling you about, and which are nowhere to be found in the "current projects" part of the sidebar?

I'm still working on them.

First pair of socks worked together, first toe-up socks, first provisional cast-on, first short-row heel (short-rows made much easier with Wendy's new Very Detailed Toe-Up Pattern (.pdf), because I am new to such things), first use of Koigu. I'm a bit pleased with myself.

But this Koigu is kind of pissing me off.

In one skein (and only one, thank goodness) I have found two knots (so far), and five places where the plies are uneven or look like they've been ravelled somehow. I've cut the knots out and spit-spliced, and it's okay, but I'm kind of feeling snarky about this one skein of Koigu. Has anyone else had trouble with inconsistencies in this yarn? I mean, I love it and it's beautiful, and it was a gift from Heather lo these many months ago, and it means a lot to me because of that -- but I'm really not fond of knots in any yarn, and particularly in sock yarn.

And I am a heel, because I forgot to mention my sister's birthday here yesterday. (Not that I forgot it entirely -- Nick and I took her out for dinner on Friday, and we gave her a card and I promised her still more knitted gifts that will take donkey's years to fulfill. Such is life.) Anyhow, she is now 24 years old, which boggles my mind a lot, and she just got back from Italy (well, about two weeks ago) so go look at her pictures and read the tales she has to tell. They boggle my mind, too.

Happy Birthday, Laura!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My-graine, Mee-graine

It's all the same stabby pain. It's like I've got a whole set of metal size 0 double-pointed needles stuck behind my right eye. But without the fun yarn possibilities.

My family is prone to migraines (except the middle sister and my mother, curse them) and I got my first migraine at the tender age of one year, and pretty regularly throughout my (almost) 27 years. Thanks go to my Dad, who realized that I was having a migraine before I could say "Dear god, why does it hurt so freaking much!!!" in actual words. Dad gets migraines too, and my sisters and I grew up knowing that "Your father has a headache" means "Shut up and don't make noise" or "Go outside, preferably to your Grandma's house" or "We're all going on a car trip to let Dad sleep." Happily, Dad got his headaches mostly under control by the time I was 12 years old, and has been a lot more involved ever since.

Today I got a migraine at work and tried to deal with it by taking the sort-of-effective painkillers I have here, and by putting on sunglasses. That threw off my co-workers a lot, but it makes the little kids at the library look all bug-eyed and giggle when I make faces at them. What cracks me up about this migraine is that it's making my language skills go completely to hell. I can't think of simple words (more than usual, I mean) and my typing is damned funny. Really, if there was no backspace key (which apparently I think is spelled "qackspage") this post would be ... something. Something I just can't think of.

I don't know what to blame this one on. I have some food allergies, but I ... wait, I ate some peanuts last night. Huh. Okay, maybe I do know what to blame this headache on. Or it's the fact that the vision in my right eye is getting worse. Or it's the weather. Or it's my ghastly hormones (what with the period and all). Or it's divine retribution for not posting any knitting content here in such a long time.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Really, I Cannot Be Trusted

It's been a while since my last post, and I'll tell you why. It's been a while because last week was highly annoying and I couldn't adequately put my mind to wearing matching socks, much less turning out a semi-coherent (or even quasi-coherent ... does that mean the same thing?) post.

Work was more demanding of my brain than usual, I forgot appointments, and I double-booked myself for the weekend which was painful beyond belief (Heather? I'm still sorry). It was like my brain just evaporated and my body was left to deal with everything.

And on Wednesday I dumped a 10 oz. glass of water into my knitting bag.

Of course I immediately turned into a swearing tornado of crazy and flung the contents about the room. And then I got the camera. What? Like you wouldn't.

As it turns out, my past self was extraordinarily cautious and smart, and kept most of the wool and alpaca in plastic bags, and the patterns in plastic sheet protectors. I was one smart cookie, once upon a time. The only casualty was my notebook -- just a cardboard cover, spiral bound thingy -- which got some water damage on the bottom, but the notes are all safe. So that was exciting.

I have more to talk about (actual knitting pictures! of more than one project!), but it'll have to be later because my brain still has not solidified enough to be called "present." I think I'm getting my period soon. Neat!

And if you click here, you'll understand why being busy elsewhere on Sunday was tough.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

It's amazing what you can find under your bed

Being the annoyingly organized (about some things) person that I am, I've started to make an inventory of my yarn and needles. Seriously. I made a spreadsheet and everything. (Stop laughing.)

(yarn waiting to be assessed, categorized, and digitized.)

This effort may be seen by some as pure folly, or a waste of time, or just absolutely batshit crazy. Whatever. I prefer to see it as an effort to gain control over my stash (god, who keeps laughing?) and keep myself (a) focused on the projects for which I purchased the yarn in the first place, and (b) aware of how much yarn I actually own.

Just how much yarn do I own?

Well, for starters, I own 4 miles (7744.6 yards) of sock yarn. Not as much as some, maybe, but it definitely is cause for action Chez HookOn.

And I'm really not sure how much I own of the rest of the yarn (haven't gotten everything entered yet) but it astonishes me how much I've forgotten. When Femiknitter was visiting she asked to see my stash, and I pulled everything out. Everything (except the Red Heart) was a lot. I kept remembering little places in my apartment where I've randomly shoved yarn away, and I really surprised myself with what I found ("Huh, I've got 8 balls of a discontinued Patons superwash merino! I wonder where those came from.").

To sum up: the yarn/needle (oh god, the needles) inventory is a good way to make sure I shop for yarn only in my stash, and is a lovely time- and money-saving device. Lovely.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


For the last forty-five minutes I've been tooling around on my blog, adding new bits to the sidebar, cleaning it up, and trying to find a way to say what I was thinking.

Part of the problem was that I couldn't figure it out until just now -- I'm content. Things are going pretty well in my life, and I'm pleased with it. Oh, there are definite ways to improve it, and I do want to pursue a forward path, but I am not uneasy where I am.

This isn't my usual state -- I've always been thinking of what comes next, what's better than this and how do I get there, let's pretend I'm 7 instead of 5 (I actually said this to my Mom once). Always moving ahead of myself, or feeling stuck and unhappy where I was. Not now, though.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Hapy New Year, everyone! I'm a bit late in saying that, but yesterday saw me in Michigan visiting a bunch of sweet people, then participating in a 4.5 hour drive home.

I did think about New Year's resolutions -- something I don't usually do because I think I set myself up for failure and disappointment if I don't accomplish said resolutions. This year I realized that if I don't give myself goals, I definitely don't reach them, so why the heck not? Why not, indeed. So here are a few off my list:

Physical activity is no longer optional.

Figure out (then TAKE) the next step, career-wise.


Challenge myself, knit-wise.

Seriouly, knit more.

Take control of the stash.

I took a mental inventory the other day and am horrified at (or idiotically proud of) myself.
  • I have my sock yarn stashed on top of bookshelves in the part of our living room where lives my cozy knitting chair,
  • I have yarn stashed between the knitting chair and the wall,
  • I have yarn stashed under the end table next to my knitting spot on the couch,
  • I have yarn stashed under the bed in a plastic box that threatens to burst open,
  • I have yarn stashed in a 4-drawer dresser unit in the computer room,
  • I have yarn stashed ON TOP OF the 4-drawer dresser unit in baskets,
  • I have yarn stashed in giant plastic bags SURROUNDING the 4-drawer dresser unit,
  • I have yarn stashed under my desk at work -- AT WORK, PEOPLE!
  • And I have yarn stashed on the third floor of the library (again, MY PLACE OF WORK) which I call my "teaching stash" for when I next teach crochet or knitting classes. I have no plans as yet to teach crochet or knitting classes.
And I realize that this may be nothing to those master hoarders (you know who you are) who use yarn in place of fiberglass insulation to reduce their winter heating costs, but it's a lot of yarn for me, and A LOT of yarn for this tiny two-bedroom apartment. And certainly A LOT for my place of work. Plus, it's rather stupid of me to continue purchasing yarn when that money could go toward debt repayment or saving for a house or other responsible-adult-type things.

After realizing this for myself, I decided to join in on this little thing that you may have heard of.

(Evidence of long hours learning to use The Gimp, culminating in this, my first sucess at making a button! Feel free to snag it, but please save it to your own server. Because that's what nice bloggers do.)

I've stolen from Wendy, raided Rabbitch, and come up with my own rules for this game:

1. This game starts on January 1st (which means my yarn purchases from Femiknitter's visit snuck in just under the radar) and runs through September.

2. I get a bye for Stitches Midwest in August (what? Like I'm going to give that up), but will impose a monetary limit on my purchases.

3. I can buy sock yarn, but only after actually completing 2 pairs of socks.

4. Gifts of yarn are not my fault and are entirely acceptable.

5. The "I've run out of yarn for this specific project and must finish it" excuse is entirely acceptable.

6. I can succumb to the temptation of sexy sexy yarn ONCE AND ONLY ONCE outside of the other exceptions, so it better be well worth it.

I don't think this will be hard. At the rate I'm knitting, I won't even make a dent in the stash (which currently holds enough yarn to make (roughly) 5 shawls, 4 sleeveless tops, 3 me-sized sweaters, 2 baby-sized sweaters, 16 pairs of socks, 4 large crocheted afghans, 1 pair of mittens, 1 Christmas tree skirt, and assorted scarves, hats, and random randomness). I think I'll be okay.

2007 in going to rock!