Tuesday, December 26, 2006


There has been much knitting and gnashing of teeth going on the past week. I'm in the home stretch now and as soon as all of the gifts have been given, a multitude of pics will come.

I leave you with the words of a commercial that we saw the other night....

...(product name)!

It's new, revolutionary, and patented!

Off to finish dinner!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Manos, the Yarn of Fate

I am so in love. I bought some Manos del Uruguay Yarn in a beautiful red and actually knit something for myself out of it, which unfortunately I can't show because others are getting similar items for Christmas. It's wonderful.

Manos - Yarn of Fate

For those not in the know, the title of this post is a MST3K reference to the movie, "Manos, the Hands of Fate"

Monday, December 11, 2006

Oh but to be an engineer...

Michael and train in window

Michael - close-up

You can just picture the tears that came when we told him we had to leave.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Me, obsessive?

Here's what's been doing in the land of knitting (a.k.a. the land of avoidance or the land of trying not to think about smoking - which has unfortunately revoked my visa but I have the state department working on that).

Linen Stitch Hand Towel

Linen Stitch Hand Towel

This has been on the needles for at least two months, maybe longer. It's a simple linen-stitch towel knit from Sugar and Cream cotton yarn with an I-cord loop. I love the way the variagated yarn colors pooled on this. Here's a detail of the stitching:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I will get the pattern written up soon and posted over on Knitty Keen, probably this weekend.

Ball Band Mop Covers

Ball Band Mop Covers - bottom

Ball Band Mop Covers - top

I finally managed to make a few of these, after finishing one and frogging it all in the same night back in September. You can check out the pattern yourself here. Here are the changes I made from the original pattern:
  • I cast-on 49 sts, adding a 2 st garter border on either side
  • I picked up 25 sts on each side and rearranged the rest of the stitches using markers so it was 47-27-47-27
  • I worked two rounds in stockinette before begining the decreases.
  • Worked decreases until there were 35-15-35-15 sts left
  • Worked [K2, P2] rib for three rounds, then [K2, P2tog, yo] for a round, then 3 more rounds of [K2, P2] ribbing.
Contrary to what I said back in September, I did end up working it on Size 8 needles. I'll be using them tonight so I'll give an update on how my own modifications worked.

Cable Hat

Cabled Hat Band
The whole band waiting to be kitchnered.

Cable Detail
Rather fuzzy cable detail

Truth be told, the hat is actually finished, but I'm not happy with it. The cable looks bad where it was kitchnered - which means that nobody else but me would really notice it. On top of the cable I added a purl band, a moss stitch band, a purl band, and then a flat top using decreases in a spiral pattern (I love the way this looks). Below the cable, I have a purl band, a moss stitch band, a purl band and just over an inch of K1P1 rib. The ribbing has to be reworked on smaller needles - it's just too loose. The hat as a whole looks pretty good, but becsaue the cable band has stuff above and below it, it does not seem to be the main focus of the hat. I'm going to get some other opinions before I go in and frog.

The GameBoy beckons....

There's nothing quite like it

Picture if you will - your two year-old happilly singing, "Sleep, sleep, sleep" for about thirty minutes at one in the morning when you both know that is the last thing that's going to happen, at least not for another couple of hours.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Food for thought...

I finally got around to finish reading Stephanie Knaak's paper Breast-Feeding, Bottle-Feeding and Dr. Spock: The Shifting Context of Choice and it definitely is worth the read. Here's the abstract:

In today's environment, breast-feeding represents both a medical gold standard for infant feeding and a moral gold standard for mothering. The morally charged character of this discourse makes the notion of choice in infant feeding particularly problematic and fraught with difficulty. From an historical content analysis of selected editions from 1946 to 1998 of Dr. Spock's famous child-care manual, this paper explicates the process through which the breast versus bottle discourse has shifted over the last half-century, and how these shifts have shaped the context of choice within which mothers must make their infant-feeding decisions.

Here's a link to the whole paper. Thoughtfull discourse to follow soon...

The Devil and Philip Morris

I am working on what is probably the hardest thing I've ever done, and that's saying something considering the mental health roller-coaster that has been my life. That oh so wonderful thing is smoking. I've been on and off the wagon so many times these past few months it's not even funny. I started smoking back when I was seventeen for those oh so wonderful reasons - because my friends smoked and it would piss-off my mom (the driving force behing many of my late teenage decisions).

Aside from the insidious nature of nicotine addiction, the psychological reasons for my smoking are very hard to shake. One, I am a nervous smoker. Whenever I am feeling anxious, its the first thing I want. Secondly, and this is one of the hardest to find a way around, it's five minutes at a time when I can't be a mom. I've been working on finding substitutes for both of these but it's been very hard work. The withdrawal symptoms add a wonderful dimension to all of this. Cravings I can cope with, the short-temperedness (I'm not even sure that's a word) and what nicotine detoxification does to my mental state are very, very nasty. It gets to the point that I want to smoke just so I can feel better which of course sends me back to square one.

I haven't given nicotine replacement a good go yet, prefering in my mind to go cold turkey and get it all over with, but the time for reconsideration is now. Michael and I are going to walk down to our local wholesale club and pick up some gum or the patch tomorrow. Again, wish me luck because I sure as hell can use it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My version of Panta

Here is a link to the original pattern on Drops Design.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This is what I did and your mileage may vary greatly - try out the first half see how it goes and then tweak it from there. I've included instructions for placing row markers after each section - this is purely optional and just something I like to do for myself as I am usually being interrupted often while knitting and my row counter is way too attractive to my toddler to be of any use.

US Size 8 (5.0mm) Needles
Lion Brand Suede Yarn
Waste yarn
Tapestry Needle
Row Markers (optional)

CO 13 using a provisional cast-on

Row 1 (RS): K1,*[K2, P1], rep from * until 3 sts rem, K3
Row 2 (WS): K1,*[P2, K1], rep from * until 3 st rem, P2, K1

Rep rows 1 and 2 6 times for a total of 14 rows, place row marker (optional)

Row 3: K1, *[K1, K1fb, P1], rep from * until 3 sts rem, K3 (16 sts)
Row 4: K1, *[P2, K2], rep from * until 3 sts rem, P2, K1
Row 5: K1, *[K2, P2], rep from * until 3 sts rem, K3
Row 6: K1, *[P2, K2], rep from * until 3 sts rem, P2, K1

Rep rows 5 and 6 two times for a total of 8 rows from marker, place row marker

Row 7: K1, *[K1, K1fb, P2], rep from marker until 3 sts rem, K3 (19 sts)
Row 8: K1, *[P2, K3], rep from * until 3 sts rem, P2, K1
Row 9: K1, *[K2, P3], rep from * until 3 sts rem, K3
Row 10: K1, *[P2, K3], rep from * until 3 sts rem, P2, K1

Rep Rows 9 and 10 two times for a total of 8 rows from marker, place row marker

Row 11: K1, *[K1, K1f&b, P3], rep from * until 3 sts rem, K3 (22 sts)
Row 12: K1, *[P2, K4], rep from * until 3 sts rem, P2, K1
Row 13: K1, *[K2, P4], rep from * until 3 sts rem, K3
Row 14: K1, *[P2, K4], rep from * until 3 sts rem, P2, K1

Rep Rows 13 and 14 6 times for a total of 16 rows from marker, place row marker

Row 15: K1, *[K2, P2, P2tog], rep from * until 3 sts rem, K3 (19 sts)
Row 16: K2, *[P2, K3], rep from * until 3 sts rem, P2, K1
Row 17: K1, *[K2, P3], rep from * until 3 sts rem, K3
Row 18: K2, *[P2, K3], rep from * until 3 sts rem, P2, K1

Rep Rows 17 and 18 two times for a total of 8 rows from marker, place row marker

Row 19: K1, *[K2, P1, P2tog], rep from * until 3 sts rem, K3 (16 sts)
Row 20: K1, *[P2, K2], rep from * until 3 sts rem, P2, K1
Row 21: K1, *[K2, P2], rep from * until 3 sts rem, K3
Row 22: K1, *[P2, K2], rep from * until 3 sts rem, P2, K1

Rep Rows 21 and 22 two times for a total of 8 rows from marker, place row marker

Row 23: K1, *[K2, P2tog], rep from * until 3 sts rem, K3 (13 sts)
Row 24: K1,*[P2, K1], rep from * until 3 st rem, P2, K1
Row 25: K1,*[K2, P1], rep from * until 3 sts rem, K3
Row 26: K1,*[P2, K1], rep from * until 3 st rem, P2, K1

Rep rows 25 and 26 5 times for a total of 14 rows from marker.

Remove provisional cast-on from start and graft/kitchner stitch the sides together. Weave in yarn ends.

I don't have any actuall measurements handy right now, but I'll get some up tomorrow. Let me know what you think or if you run into any problems.

Happy Knitting!

Idle hands...

Trying desperately not to think about cigarettes. I finished a hand towel today and finally knit a ball-band mop cover, the one I said I was going to make 3 months ago. I'm heading back down to start dinner and cast on for another.

Wish me luck because man do I ever need it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The long awaited crafts update...

With lots of pictures, no less....

From the Dye Pot

Louet Gems Opal Yarn - hand dyed
Louet Gems Opal, Cream
1/2 tsp Red paste coloring, 1/2 tsp Orange paste coloring, 1 c vinegar

I went to one of my LYS's to pick up some sock yarn. I wanted something bright but in a solid color. the Louet gems yarns looked great but none of the colors sung to me so I picked up a skein of the Opal sport-weight in cream and decided to dye it myself. This was a first for me, superwash wool and mixing colors. I am very happy with the results. Next time I decide to do this, I am going to have them ball the skein for me and then wind it onto my niddy-noddy myself since the skein was tied a bit tightly and I ended up with some small areas that didn't take the dye.

Debbie Bliss Soho - Color 15

I bought three balls of this color of Debbie Bliss Soho (its a variagted with purples and a very bright pink) on sale from my favorite LYS for a felting project. The colors aren't really me and with a shocking amount of selfishness, I decided that I was going to make my first felted project for me and I wanted it to be a color that I liked. Into the crock pot it went with some fisherman's and 1.5 tsp of Wilton's Copper (one of my favorite colors). Several hours later, I got this...

Overdyed yarn

These are so my colors - the purple and pink still sparkle through in some places but there is a lovely burnt orange glow to it. here it is on the needles...

Felted bag on the needles

I cast-on 126 stitches on my 29" size 10 circulars. I'm doing wide bands of stockinette in the fisherman's and then two rows of the Ball Band Pattern from the Mason Dixon book. Since I know the yarns will felt at different rates, I should end up with a neat horizontal corregated effect. I've been wanting a felted bag of some sort for ages so I'm really looking forward to this project being completed.

On the needles

Knee Sock in progress

This is the first of my pair of knee socks in a wonderfully hideous yarn I bought on a whim from one of my LYS's. It's an acrylic/nylon blend somewhere between sport and DK weight and I'm knitting it using magic loop on size 4 circulars. The first sock is done and I'm about half way through the instep on it's mate. I did overdo the calf increases so while it looks fantastic on my huge legs, it's pooling around my ankles after about a half a block. I'll be heading out to AC Moore's later this week to pick up some elastic thread to fix it.

Toddler Mitts

These are a pair of thumbless mitts I'm knitting up for my friend K's son to match his hat. I love this colorway. I'm hoping Santa will be bringing me a big stainless steel pot so I can dye up enough yarn at once for a sweater in this color. I'll get the pattern written up later this week and posted over on Knitty Keen. I knit them top down at a pretty tight gauge for worsted - 5 sts/inch, but they should be all the warmer for it.

Top-down raglan sweater in progress

This is Michael's top-down raglan tunic that I've been battling for the past month. It has a k2p2 ribbed funnel neck with button closures on the side with a k3p1 rib in the body. After frogging it at least four times, I think it's going well at this point. I decided that I was going to do the button holes as a separate facing and I finally worked out how the k3p1 rib would work with the should increases. It's bugging me a bit, but I put in a purl band to separate the neck ribbing from the body ribbing and I should have knit a round before and after to give it extra definition. It doesn't look bad, but it's not a crisp as it could be. At this point thought I just have to let it go.

I only have a few more rounds to get to the bottom of the arm holes. I'm going to steal the technique for doing the afterthought heel once I get there so I can just continue to knit the body without dealing with a provisional cast-on for the under-arms. I'm still not sure if I'm going to bother with underarm gussets. The ease on this is pretty generous and the arm holes are very deep so I think they may be overkill. When I'm ready I think I'm going to transfer it to waste yarn and try it on him to see if that extra the gussets provide is necessary.

Cable Swatch

This is my first real foray into cables. I'm going to be using it for a horizontal band for a hat for my mom for Christmas. I love celtic knotwork and once you get into the swing of it the cables go very quickly. It will be a 6 stranded braid alternating between all six strands in the braid and then only four strands with the extras framing it (the patter on the left-side of the swatch). I'm knitting it up in Lion Brand Wool Ease on size 8 needles.

This is getting long and I need to eat lunch so I'll leave you with this...

Lion Suede Panta

This is my take on Panta from Drops Design. I altered the pattern a bit to accomodate the chunky yarn. I'll post the pattern I used later tonight or tomorrow.