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October 14, 2010

No Christmas knitting.

That subject line probably made some of you gasp in horror, I know. But it's true. I've decided to try something crazy this year - not knitting any holiday gifts. I'm hoping that it will mean that I am less stressed and generally more pleasant to be around, and really, I think the people in my life would rather have that than another scarf. Also? I missed Christmas shopping. I know, this sounds crazy, but I'm having a great time looking at books and DVDs and stuff for my family. (Okay, I AM making one gift, but it's more DIY than crafty. You'll see.)

And this reminds me - I will definitely be doing more gift guide reviews this year. Can't wait.

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

July 16, 2010

Fall Interweave Knits Preview!

I am eagerly seeking out any sign of impending autumn right now, so I was overjoyed to see that the preview of the fall issue of Interweave Knits is up. And . . . it's good! Really good! IK has had a few iffy years, so I'm happy to see that they're back on track. First impressions:

Brattleboro Hat (from New England Knits book excerpt): Adorable, and I obviously will need this book.

Carved in Wool: Accessories with fun cables! I love them all! Especially the hat. But really, I'd happily knit any of these.

Pied de Grue: I don't know what "pied de grue" means, but I looooove the Hawthorn Pullover and the Plein Air Tote. And the other sweaters are fine; just not sure I'd really wear them.

Pure and Simple: I remain deeply skeptical of any and all knitted skirts. The Pizzicato Scarf looks, uh, ribbed? It's nice and all, but really? The shrug is cute but shrugs always seem awkward and uncomfortable to me.

Check and Stripe: Knitted plaid! I love plaid stuff, but I'm not as into knitted plaid as you'd think I would be. That said, the Brecan Swing Coat is cute, and I would totally knit the Elementary Vest and Slanting Plaid Stole. And maybe the Peavey Jacket, if I knew any men who would wear it.

The Architect Knits: I am general suspicious of "creative constructions." That Chiral Cardigan is doing some gathering thing that cannot possibly be flattering. The Tamarix Quilt is adorable, though! And I'm intrigued by the stainless steel in the Hoarfrost Mobius.

Posted by Kat at 04:00 PM | Comments (1)

July 08, 2010

Autumn in July? Yes please.

Here's a sign that this horrid heat wave might not last forever: Knitty has decided that fall begins in July (I wish!) and put out a First Fall issue. (Deep Fall will follow in October.) THANK GOODNESS. On first, quick look, I am particularly excited about Victoria, Ms. Clarke, Coquille, and Winnow. What do you like?

Posted by Kat at 01:00 PM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2010

Interweave Knits Summer Preview!

It's here, if you're interested. On first glance, my favorites are Lacy Leaf Satchel, Teacup Pinafore, Essential Cardigan, and Picnic Cardigan. Overall, I'm not wildly in love with it, but for a summer issue isn't not bad.

Posted by Kat at 01:30 PM | Comments (1)

February 11, 2010

Knitting Olympics Sign-Up

Want to sign up for the Knitting Olympics? Go here. I think I'm actually going to sit this one out. I have a lot of self-imposed stress and commitments right now, and I'm trying to be reasonable. But I will be cheering you all on!

Posted by Kat at 11:00 AM | Comments (2)

January 28, 2010

Sweater Shortage

I woke up today wanting to wear a certain kind of sweater - something thick and warm but slightly oversized, almost to the point of baggy. Like a security blanket in the form of a sweater, because it's been that kind of week. Alas, I have no such sweater. I've realized over the past few weeks that I seem to have some sort of sweater shortage in general. Everyone at the office is wearing all these great sweaters, and I feel left out and slightly ridiculous - I'm a knitter, after all! I think the problem is that I don't buy sweaters because I think I'm going to knit them, and then I just don't. So. I think after I finish a few gifts I'm already committed to in the next month or so, I'm going to make sweaters for myself my knitting focus this year. It would be great to be able to wear handknits every day next winter if I wanted to.

Posted by Kat at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2010


I successfully knit a few inches of sock in the dark at the movie theater last night. To be fair, it was plain stockinette and a movie I'd seen before, but STILL. I didn't drop any stitches or lose any DPNs or ANYTHING. I am proud.

Posted by Kat at 08:46 AM | Comments (0)

January 06, 2010

Knitting for a raffle?

I'm on the committee at church that plans our annual Mardi Gras dance, and because of the economic situation, it's pretty much impossible to get enough local businesses to donate things to have the usual variety of prizes we have for the shoebox raffle. So I offered to knit something for one of the prizes. Now . . . what to make? Have any of you knit things for raffles before? What types of items seemed particularly popular or unpopular? Or - if you were going to a raffle, what sort of knitted thing would you enter to win?

Posted by Kat at 07:09 AM | Comments (7)

November 19, 2008

Once again...

... it's getting to be properly cold out and I seem to have no warm scarf. What is wrong with me?

I think I'm headed to AC Moore at lunch for something bulky that will work up in a day or two...

Posted by Kat at 10:57 AM | Comments (1)

October 10, 2008

Opinions needed!

Should I knit an Obama sweater? Or would that be some sort of jinx?

(And don't you agree that the back should be blue, not beige?)

UPDATE: I consulted with fellow knitters in my office and we decided that it would be okay. I am thinking of it as a vessel for positive thoughts for Obama rather than a jinx. And it will be really really cool to wear while volunteering on Election Day (or sooner, if I get it done sooner).

So, um, I'd better learn about this intarsia thing now, huh?

I'll keep you updated.

Posted by Kat at 01:15 PM | Comments (3)

September 22, 2008

WIP Madness

I'm listening to the most recent Lime and Violet in which... someone... (Violet, I think? I get confused)... talks about counting up her projects on the needles, and stopping counting when she gets to 40. Now, I don't think I have that many, but I have more than I'd like. And I'm not sure how to deal with that right now. If you haven't noticed, I haven't exactly finished a lot of projects recently. (Although I do have one or two that are waiting to be given as gifts before I post pictures.) I don't know what's wrong with me. I've been knitting, but just not actually making any progress on anything. Or so it feels. So I kind of want to make some deal with myself to finish a bunch of WIPs, but I don't know how effective that would be. Hmm. Thoughts? Am I alone in this? Anyone have any new and revolutionary strategies for dealing with this?

Posted by Kat at 04:25 PM | Comments (3)

September 10, 2008

New Knitty!

Fall Knitty is up.

Posted by Kat at 06:38 PM | Comments (2)

August 15, 2008

Yarn Diet (ish)

Okay. I have all this yarn. And all these projects for myself that I've started but not gotten very far on. So. For this rest of this calendar year, the only yarn I buy will be for gifts. Hopefully, that will make me finish up some things, and also make me get a larger percentage of my holiday gifts actually done than I usually do, as well. I am Determined.

(Yes, I'm making my holiday crafting spreadsheet right now.)

Posted by Kat at 02:19 PM | Comments (1)

August 11, 2008

Knitting for Fall

It's pretty much mid-August now, so it finally occurred to me that if I want some new knitted items to wear this fall, I should probably get on that. There are three things I really want to get done...

One already started is A Cardigan for Arwen. You can see my Ravelry page for it here. (If you're not on Ravelry, you can see the pattern picture here.) I have the back done, and I'm almost to the sleeve of the first side. My goal is to have it done by this year's Wool Arts Tour. (Of course, if I finish, that means it will be unseasonably warm that day and I won't be able to wear it, but whatever. Goals are good.)

As I mentioned last week, I've also become obsessed with the Big Ivy Scarf. (Non-Ravelry link here. I bought Cotton Fleece for it, and I'm thinking it will be very cuddly and perfect for wearing over a shirt or light jacket when it's getting cool out but not yet coat-weather. Which, of course, means I need to finish it. Which means I need to start it. Soon.

And the third item I'd like to wear this fall is JoJoLand's Autumn shawl. (Non-Ravelry here.) I bought this yarn and pattern as my reward for finishing my move. I got color M24 - good for Autumn, both the season and the pattern. So, again, must get going on this. It will actually be my first entrelac, I think. Any tips before I get started?

What are you making for fall?

Posted by Kat at 04:53 PM | Comments (3)

August 08, 2008

Darn it!

It is raining. I have seen a few sightings of the fall Interweave Knits around the blogs today. I hope this does not mean that my copy is currently in my faulty mailbox being rained upon.

Posted by Kat at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2008

Do the Twist!

The Twist Collective is up! I'm about to head to CT so don't have time to really look right now, but it looks like there are some amazing patterns in there.

Posted by Kat at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

July 31, 2008

Birthday Card! With Sheep!

My coworkers gave me this sort of knitting-related birthday card. And I pretty much think it is the funniest thing I have ever seen. Go read it. Really.

Posted by Kat at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2008

Oooh, look at the fall Rowan!

Here's a preview of the fall Rowan magazine, which is the thirtieth anniversary issue and looks HUGE. And really really nice. As usual, I want to knit practically everything in it. (Thanks for the link, Chappysmom!)

Posted by Kat at 11:12 AM | Comments (1)

July 28, 2008

Help! Must Have Cardigan yardage?

Does anyone have the Must Have Cardigan pattern handy? I want to order the yarn but I forgot to bring the pattern with me. I'd like to know the yardage required for sizes from, say, 36" to 40 or 42". (Or the number of skeins of the called-for yarn, if that's easier.) Thanks!

Update: Got an answer on Ravelry. Yay!

Posted by Kat at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2008

Fall Previews - Interweave and Vogue Knitting

Yay, it's a sign that summer must end sometime - the fall knitting magazine previews are here!

Here's Interweave. On first glance, my favorites are the Dumpling Bags, Knotty or Knice Socks, Fresco Fair Isle Mitts, Sidelines Top, Estes Vest, Neapolitan Cardigan, Whisper Stripe Pullover, Abigail Tee, Winter Twilight Mitts, and... well, I really like pretty much everything. But those are the ones that particularly jumped out at me. Wheee! I love Interweave, and it looks like this issue will not disappoint. I'm looking forward to the Kate Gilbert feature too.

And here's Vogue Knitting. Wow, it's looking surprisingly wearable this season. I find Vogue to be sort of hit or miss in the "high fashion vs. things I'd actually want to knit and wear" department, but this issue looks great. Unfortunately, they don't give names for all the designs, so it's harder to point out my favorites. Let's see... the ones I want to knit NOW are:
Made in Canada: Green sweater on row 1, snowflake bag on row 2, both sweaters on row 3
An English Garden: Purple sweater on row 1, tan on row 2. And they all look promising, but kind of hard to see in those pictures.
Thumbs Up!: Green cables on row 1, Let it Snow on row 2, colorwork on row 3

Almost time to start haunting the bookstores to find all these nice fall issues...

Posted by Kat at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

Knitty Summer Extras!

Yay, they're up!
Tank Girl - cute, although I've never actually made a tank top, since I prefer to knit with wool. But someday...
Hey, Teach! - love it!
Sea Tangles - Huh. Fascinating. Not sure I'd wear it, though. Must contemplate.

Posted by Kat at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)

July 08, 2008

Review: Karen Stern Original Wristlet

I love love love my GoKnit pouch, and I carry it around pretty much all the time. Soon after getting it, I realized that what would really make it perfect would be a smaller zippered pouch to carry within it, for small notions and accessories. Soon after, I found this adorable wristlet from Karen Stern Original at a craft fair, and it fit the bill perfectly. (Disclaimer: Karen is a friend of my cousin, and I've met her a few times, so I'm not a totally unbiased stranger.)

Citrus Pouch

Isn't it cute? She had a whole bunch of great fabrics, so it was very hard to choose, but this was the most unusual one, and I'm very happy with it.

With Dewey, for scale:

Pouch with Kitten

And here it is open, so you can see all the pockets and how much it fits:

Citrus Pouch - Open

Mine is currently holding, in the four interior pockets:

A plastic packet of stitch holders

Embroidery scissors

A Chibi with needles

A measuring tape

And in the main section:
Two index cards of pattern notes

A crochet hook

A pen

A Knit Picks View Sizer

And it's not by any means full - it holds a lot in a very compact way. I love it!

Posted by Kat at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

June 30, 2008

Knitscene preview!

There's a preview of the Fall Knitscene here. It's always hard to tell from such small pictures, but there are definitely a few things I like. Yay!

Posted by Kat at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)


(Hi! I'm back! What happened while I was gone?)

My recent baby blanket finish is much cuter with baby included. You can see it here.

Posted by Kat at 08:51 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2008


A perfect way to spend a rain Sunday afternoon:

Rainy Sunday Afternoon at the Pub

My knitting group meets at my favorite local pub on Sunday afternoons, but it's kind of hit-or-miss in the summer, because everyone has family plans and cook-outs to attend and what have you. So I ended up being there alone this Sunday, but since I was there, I figured I'd stay for a while - I had my sock, the Sunday Times, a Magners, and delicious sweet potato fries with the pub's own homemade chunky ketchup. I got lots done - finished the first Seeley sock and started the second - and it was a lovely afternoon.

Posted by Kat at 09:19 AM | Comments (1)

June 23, 2008

Ah, cats...

A few weeks ago, I got a shiny new phone. I immediately knit it a sock. You haven't seen this yet because I'm planning to write up the pattern and put it on Ravelry, and I just haven't gotten around to it yet. But this morning, I discovered that one of the cats (*cough* Penguin *cough*) seems to have made off with the phone sock. Sigh. I guess I'll write out the pattern and then test knit it by making myself a replacement...

Posted by Kat at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2008

Day one progress!

This morning, Caitlin and I had our own little Summer of Socks kick-off party. First, we had a celebratory breakfast at what immediately became my new favorite breakfast place. Then we got started on some socks! I started two:

Poseidon Socks, 6/21

This is Poseidon. It's my first toe-up, and I'm a bit nervous, but the directions are great. As you see, I didn't get very far today, because I also wanted to start this...

Mad Color Weave, 6/21

Mad Color Weave in Socks that Rock Chapman Springs. It's my first Socks that Rock, and I am completely besotted. Besotted. It's going to be hard to make myself finish the Socks for Seeley, and if something is distracting me from David Boreanaz... well, that's saying something.

Posted by Kat at 08:41 PM | Comments (2)

June 15, 2008

Sock progress

Here's what my first Sock for Seeley looked like yesterday morning:

Socks for Seeley, 6/14

It's bigger now. I'm hoping to finish these by Friday so I don't have to worry about them during the start of the Summer of Socks, but I sort of doubt I'll make it.

Posted by Kat at 08:56 PM | Comments (2)

June 11, 2008

New Summer Knitty!

The new Knitty is up! Frankly, I'm shocked by how much of it I like, because I've been somewhat lukewarm on Knitty recently and because I usually don't like summer knitting magazines anyway. On first look, I like Shetland Shorty, Inverness, Thira, Seascape, Helena, Muscari, Spring Forward, Ziggy, Couvercle, and BYOB. Which is most of it. And I haven't even looked at the articles yet.

Favorites, anyone?

Posted by Kat at 02:13 PM | Comments (1)

May 30, 2008

Okay, 49.

I promise this is the last new yarn for a while, though. (Well, um, until a few days from now. I need some things for specific gifts. But they're big-box craft store type things. Not sock yarn.) My first Loopy Ewe order:

Go Knit pouch and Lorna's Laces

The yarn is my very first Lorna's Laces. It's Shepherd Sock in Edgewater. Between that and the STR Chapman Springs, I'm really feeling the water-based colors recently, huh? It's gorgeous.

But the real reason for my Loopy Ewe order was to get a GoKnit pouch. (You can see it under the yarn. It's a lovely dark purple.) I had looked at them online before, and thought that they might be kind of neat, but I wanted to see one in person first. Caitlin gave me a tour of hers on Sunday, and I was convinced. I've only had it for a day, but I love it already! The needles really don't poke through! It's amazing! I even made a few of my (non-knitting) coworkers admire it.

Speaking of coworkers, the flourless chocolate cake was a big hit. Yay!

Posted by Kat at 05:36 PM | Comments (3)

May 28, 2008

Sock-Ease, anyone?

We've known for a while that Lion Brand was coming out with new sock yarn, and I realized today that it's up on their site: Sock-Ease. I've heard a lot of complaining about the colors, but I think several of them look interesting and I'll definitely give it a try. Anyone seen it in person yet? Opinions?

Posted by Kat at 01:40 PM | Comments (1)

May 27, 2008

What I Want to be Knitting

I'm having one of those days when really all I want to do is knit, and maybe bake something. Of course, these moods have to strike when I have ABSOLUTELY NO TIME. (That's probably why the mood strikes, actually.) And I specifically want to be knitting things with interesting patterns that I have to pay attention to. It's been all baby blanket all the time around here, and my purse sock is mindless too, of course, and it's starting to drive me crazy. I spent a few big chunks of the long weekend knitting with Caitlin, and she was knitting things with actual patterns, and I was so so jealous. I did pull Arwen out and do about half a row and put it back in my "active WIPs" knitting bag. I'm getting very excited about Arwen again - if I can ever finish the baby blanket. I want to finish it by fall.

But, of course, most of the summer will be devoted to socks. I just got my first Socks that Rock (pictures soon, I promise) and I've decided on the Mad Color Weave pattern for it. And I can't wait to start the Poseidon socks. But I'm also dying to start some sort of really complicated lace shawl. And... I don't know... anything with a pattern that I actually need to read. Please? (I think the goal is to have the blanket done by the end of the week. I hope I hope I hope.)

Posted by Kat at 04:01 PM | Comments (2)

May 23, 2008

Emergency Knitting Bag

This is great in general, and will be particularly great for anyone who has heard the Yarn Harlot's most recent talk: an Emergency Knitting bag. Love it! They're sold out at the moment, but I definitely want one.

Posted by Kat at 05:21 PM | Comments (2)

May 21, 2008

The Sock Yarn Stash

Enough for 47 pairs:

Sock Stash

Posted by Kat at 09:03 PM | Comments (4)

May 10, 2008

NH Sheep & Wool Festival, Part II: The Haul

I think I did remarkably well at following my self-imposed spending restrictions. Instead of one knitting project and two spinning projects, I got two knitting things and one spinning, but Caitlin gave me permission to make the substitution. And I went over by $2 in the "non-stash stuff" category. But really, considering that the weather was gorgeous and conducive to hours of shopping, and that, come on, it was a wool festival and therefore practically immune to feelings of restraint, I'm quite proud of how well I did.

Merino/tussah blend from the Sheep Shed:
Merino/tussah from Sheep Shed

Poseidon sock kit from Tsock Tsarina:
Poseidon sock kit

I finally found a new bumper sticker! (Read about my bumper sticker issue here.) Behind it, you can see the Poseidon sock yarn.
Wear Wool bumper sticker

Persephone Scarf kit from Ball and Skein:
Persephone scarf kit

Sheep creamer, also from the Sheep Shed:
Sheep Creamer

Dangly yarn holder thing from HodgePodge (I can't get their site to load right now):
Yarn Holder

Posted by Kat at 10:45 PM | Comments (5)

NH Sheep & Wool Festival, Part I

It didn't rain! That was really the big news today. The weather was ridiculously beautiful - the best I can remember it being for this festival. Erica and I headed up pretty early this morning and got there around ten. We actually managed to be fairly organized this year - we looked at everything and took notes on the vendors we wanted to revisit. I think it was a good strategy, because I managed to stick to my spending guidelines. (I'll write another post about what I got.) We met up with some old friends (including Cheryl and Sara) and made some new ones (hi Caitlin!). We ate the perhaps-now-traditional apple crisp for lunch. It was a great day.

A few pictures:

Cute alpacas:

Rocking alpaca. Isn't it cute?
Rocking Alpaca

Pretty bags of fiber:

And we realized while leaving that we had no pictures of sheep, so we made these guys be models on the way out:

Posted by Kat at 10:15 PM | Comments (3)

May 08, 2008

NH Sheep and Wool Plans

So who's going on Saturday? Erica and I will be getting there around ten or so, I think. I was considering going back on Sunday, but it turns out that I'll be home waiting for the cable people to come hook up the cable at the new house. Anyway, if you're there on Saturday, say hi! We'll both be wearing bright red patent leather Doc Martens, so we should be fairly easy to spot.

I am going with the following shopping guidelines:

1. I really need some sort of new bumper sticker.
2. I am allowed to buy materials for one knitting project.
3. I am allowed to buy materials for two spinning and/or needle felting projects.
4. I have a $25 budget for miscellaneous other stuff - small tools, goat milk soap, etc.

Sounds reasonable enough, right? And my other big goal is to take pictures and actually post them this year. Really.

Posted by Kat at 02:03 PM | Comments (5)

May 04, 2008

Baby blanket race progress

Here's my progress so far in the "race" my friend and I are having:

T's Blanket, 5/4

It's folded over width-wise, so there's actually more there than it looks like. :) I'd say it's about 30-35% done. The pattern is Yarn Harlot's Sam's Blanket, and so I took it with me to Stephanie's event at Webs last weekend. She graced it with some guest knitting:

Stephanie guest knitting

There were also a few pictures of us together, but they didn't come out very well, so I'm going to do both of us a favor and not post them.

Posted by Kat at 09:10 AM | Comments (2)

April 25, 2008

How Not to Keep a Customer

A few years ago, a new yarn store opened near where I was living at the time. I was a regular customer for a while, but I'm not anymore, partially because I live farther away (and closer to other stores) now, and partially because I'm not thrilled with some of the store's business practices. But I still go there occasionally, because I happen to be walking by or because I urgently need something when I'm in that town or whatever. Every time, the owner puts on a big show of being thrilled to see me, but it always includes a lot of "I haven't seen you in so long! Why haven't you been here?" Every time, I politely tell her that I've moved, so I'm not in the area as much. Every time, she makes a huge issue of it anyway. I end up feeling even less inclined to shop there, because it means I'll be interrogated about why I apparently don't spend enough money there as she wants me to.

Today, I met a friend who works in that town for lunch. We went to a cafe a few blocks from the yarn store - and there she was. The yarn store owner. And what does she say? "I haven't seen you in so long! Why haven't you been in to the store?" Sigh. Can't we just leave it at "Hi, nice to see you"?

Posted by Kat at 04:36 PM | Comments (2)

Yarn Harlot at Webs?

Anyone else going on Sunday?

Posted by Kat at 09:32 AM | Comments (1)

April 24, 2008

Better late than never?

I took this picture of the scarf I'm working on a week or so ago, and it's a lot bigger now. Oh well.

Trellis Scarf

As always, Dewey is very helpful:

Dewey Helping
Posted by Kat at 09:33 AM | Comments (1)

April 09, 2008

Spring ennui?

When I got up this morning, I noticed that I had apparently left my knitting bag unzipped and open all night. Uh-oh. But - shockingly, it seems nothing was disturbed. I think this means that even Dewey is bored with my knitting. Sigh.

It's not that I don't like the things I'm knitting. I do. Really. But I'm just feeling rather blah about most of them right now. I think part of the issue might be that I keep starting things (because I'm bored with the other things) and then I feel like I'm not making any progress on anything. And it's finally feeling like spring, which means I have a dozen lace projects, and then when I don't feel like knitting lace... yeah. But at the same time, I'm really wanting to knit, which actually makes it harder. If I was feeling "eh" about knitting in general, I'd just read more for a few weeks and wait it out. But I want to knit! I think what I'm going to do is pick the project I like the most right now (a simple lace scarf in yellow Silky Wool) and try to just knit that (except for the sock in my purse, for when I'm out). Until it's done. Really.

Of course, you all know I've said that before. We'll see how long it lasts.

Posted by Kat at 09:29 AM | Comments (1)

April 08, 2008


You know how sometimes you look around and you're completely uninspired by any of your knitting projects?

Yeah. Hate that.

Posted by Kat at 08:21 PM | Comments (1)

Perfect for Spring

Here's my Rock Creek Yarn Simply Sock in Cherry Blossom. Look at the pretty packaging it came in!

Rock Creek Yarns Simply Sock Cherry Blossom

And unwrapped:

Rock Creek Yarns Simply Sock Cherry Blossom

It's beautiful! I wish I could show it to you knitted up, but I'm trying to finish a few things before starting anything new. Soon!

Posted by Kat at 07:58 PM | Comments (1)

March 24, 2008

Rock Creek Yarn is open!

Check out the new Rock Creek Yarn! There's some lovely hand-dyed sock yarn and handmade stitch markers - I just ordered some Cherry Blossom sock yarn. (Disclosure: the proprietress is the wife of a dear friend from high school. I was thrilled to reconnect with him recently and discover that he had married a knitter!)

Posted by Kat at 11:53 AM | Comments (2)

March 11, 2008

Spring Knitty!

Spring Knitty is up!

My favorites, on first look: Jaden, Yosemite, Honeycomb, Laminaria, Brighton.

Posted by Kat at 04:37 PM | Comments (3)

Sock blockers?

I've seen some nice wooden sock blockers around the blogs, with various shapes cut out of the top - cats, or whatever. I seem to remember that someone said they come from eBay, but I'm not sure of the seller's name or anything. Help?

Posted by Kat at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)

March 04, 2008

A few works in progress...

Here are pictures taken on Saturday of the things I worked on last week other than the two finishes I already posted.

River stole:

River Stole as of 3/1

Arugula socks:

Arugula sock as of 3/1

Posted by Kat at 02:59 PM | Comments (1)

March 03, 2008

February socks done!

I was falling asleep on the couch on the 29th while weaving in ends, but I finished them in February! Yay!

Slytherin Socks

Yarn: Dye-namics Slythern Stripe, sport weight
Needles: US 2
Pattern: I thought the cuff pattern was from Sensational Knitted Socks, but I can't find it. Hmm. The rest of it is just a basic sock.
For: A friend who really likes Slytherin stuff.

I love love love this yarn, and I'm happy with the way these came out.

Posted by Kat at 10:46 AM | Comments (1)

February 27, 2008

You wouldn't know to look at me...

It struck me the other day that, even this cold time of year, you'd never know I was a knitter by looking at me. I'm usually wearing $1 "magic gloves" and sometimes a storebought scarf that was a gift a few years ago. I still haven't made myself a sweater. Basically, other than one pair of socks, I don't actually have any knitted items I wear regularly. That's obviously not acceptable. I have a few hats and scarves I've made, but they seem to clash with my winter coats. Poor planning, there. I must do something about this by next fall/winter.

Posted by Kat at 02:35 PM | Comments (2)

February 25, 2008

Socks in Progress

Remember I said I had too many socks going at the moment? Yeah. How about some pictures?

Slytherin Socks 2/9

Swizzle Socks 2/9

Roza's Socks 2/9

Pink Mistake Rib Sock 2/9

Candy Sock 2/9

Arugula Sock 2/9

Posted by Kat at 04:24 PM | Comments (6)

February 24, 2008

Shrug - Done!


Kate's Shrug - Done!

It's done! Yay! I'm very excited. Pattern is I Do, yarn is Tahki Cotton Classic. This is for a friend to wear at her wedding next month. I'll try to get a picture of her wearing it with her dress.

Posted by Kat at 09:45 PM | Comments (2)

February 05, 2008

First finish of 2008!

I finished Mom's Christmas socks on January 27, and finally got a decent picture. Since I finished them in January, I'm on track with my "finish a pair of socks a month" goal! Yay!

Mom's Christmas Socks

They're plain socks in Dye-namics Small Stripes, "mystery" colorway, sport weight. Love love love this yarn.

P.S. Mom, they'll be in the mail soon!

Posted by Kat at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2008

Sock issues

I seem to be having sock issues. I keep starting plain socks because I'm going to an event for which I need mindless knitting. But then, right when I get to the heel, I have another such event, so I have to start another sock. It's nuts. But I never think of knitting those heels, because when I'm home I have bigger projects (often on a deadline) that take up the time I have for more complicated knitting. Apparently I need to take a weekend or something to just knit heels.

But tonight? I'm going to the movies, and I'm starting another sock. Sigh.

Posted by Kat at 02:22 PM | Comments (1)

January 13, 2008

New sock yarn!

I was going to show you some more pictures of Christmas gifts, but I can't find the... thingy. You know. The CompactFlash card adapter. So those will have to wait. Instead, how about some new sock yarn? Any interest in seeing that? Yeah, I thought so. I got these all 60% off! They're all Claudia Hand Painted.

Blue Terra Cotta:

Claudia Hand Painted Blue Terra Cotta

Bearded Iris:

Claudia Hand Painted Bearded Iris


Claudia Hand Painted Plumicious
Posted by Kat at 09:51 PM | Comments (2)

January 03, 2008


A Christmas gift:


Pattern: Tychus
Yarn: Patons Classic Merino
Changes: I only did four sections, not five, and it was big enough. And I used a provisional cast-on and then grafted the ends together, instead of seaming.
Comments: Fun, quick, and looks great. My main problem was that I spent more time untangling yarn than actually knitting, since I was working from both ends of two balls of yarn.

Posted by Kat at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2008

2008 Goals: Knitting

1. Finish an adult sweater. I've finished a few baby sweaters, but never an adult-sized one.

2. Finish at least one pair of socks each month. I love sock yarn. (Don't we all?) And I have a lot of it. And I need socks, actually. So I should knit a bunch of it up.

3. Knit at least one thing for charity each month. This way I'll have a decent box of things to donate next winter.

4. Felt something. I'm thinking maybe the ever-popular clogs.

5. Post knitting pictures at least once a week. With my new camera, I doubt this will be much of a problem.

6. Put all finished items on Ravelry. I'll enter stash and works in progress as I have time, but I want to make sure I definitely at least enter all my finished projects.

Posted by Kat at 02:05 PM | Comments (3)

December 12, 2007


Look, it's a knitting encoding schema! My little knitterly librariany heart is racing with the excitement.

Posted by Kat at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

December 05, 2007

New Knitty!

The new Knitty is up! I haven't looked all the way through yet, but I'm very impressed so far.

Posted by Kat at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2007

Sleepy Wednesday Randoms

1. Blah, sleepy. Oh well. This week is crazy busy and it's not going to get better any time soon. My big dream for the day is that I might have time to stop for milk on my way home tonight. Yeah.

2. Speaking of sleepy: I got a surprise transcription job last night. The good news is that it will about cover the tires I had to buy last week. The bad news is that there goes most of my knitting time (and a bit of my sleeping time) for the next week or so.

3. My Christmas knitting list is scaring me. My goal is that by the end of this coming weekend I will have fewer projects to finish than days left. We'll see.

4. I have at least finally purchased all of the supplies and tools I need for holiday gifts. I think. Of course, as soon as I post this I will realize that I need another set of needles or something.

5. I want to make fudge. (Because obviously I don't have enough to do.) Anyone have a favorite recipe?

Posted by Kat at 09:56 AM | Comments (1)

November 12, 2007

This Year's Department Store Knitwear

I was at Macy's the other day waiting to meet a friend, so I decided to see what was "in" as far as scarves and things. I was very pleased - there were virtually none of the long skinny boring scarves of the past few years, and lots of fair isle and wonderful cables. A few of my favorites:

Charter Club Vintage Cabled Hat, Muffler & Glove
Calvin Klein Basket Weave Muffler, Hat & Glove
Lauren by Ralph Lauren Fairisle Scarf, Hat & Glove
Charter Club Fairisle Scarf
Ralph Lauren Cashmere Cable Beret

Alas, I couldn't find my favorite - a Ralph Lauren scarf that was basically like a sampler, with a bunch of different complex cable and lace patterns.

Posted by Kat at 08:44 AM | Comments (1)

September 26, 2007

This is wrong.

It should not be too hot to knit on September 26.

Posted by Kat at 08:19 PM | Comments (3)

September 16, 2007

Crafting Miscellany

I'm not sure I mentioned that last week I went to a sale at A.C. Moore and got the yarn I needed for about half of the Christmas presents on my list. Wheee. Yes, I am trying, again, to give all handmade gifts (although not necessarily all knitted). I think I may have a better shot this year, since I am not a) in school, b) working retail around the holidays, or c) doing NaNoWriMo. Therefore, my November and December are looking much less stressful this year.

I am afraid that some sort of crafting alien possession or something has happened this week. Because you know what I've been doing? First of all, I've been crocheting. This is for a Christmas gift, and after I bought the yarn it suddenly came to me that this particularly item needed to be crocheted, and um, okay, who am I to argue with the yarn? (Even though it's really awful cheap acrylic, I have to admit. You'll understand when you see what this object is. Which probably won't be until after Christmas, because way too many of my gift recipients read this blog so I have to be really careful this year.)

And the other thing? I woke up the other day actually thinking "I feel like knitting a fun fur scarf." There is at least one of those on my gift list (because I try to give what the recipient will like/use, not necessarily what I will enjoy knitting), so I dove right in, because seriously, this feeling happens to me, um, never. And yeah, my enthusiasm began ebbing after, oh, three rows. But I've stuck with it, because boy, is fun fur on size 15 needles quick! Sheesh. In about three episodes of Bones, I had half a scarf. And that half only took one skein of yarn, and I bought four (on clearance, even), so I'll probably make two: one for the original recipient I had in mind and another for the Long-Range Planning Box, because you never know when you're going to need to give someone a fun fur scarf.

I did actually start and finish another project this week, and it even used respectable wool yarn and decent-sized needles, but it was a test knit for a pattern a friend is submitting somewhere, so I can't show you yet.

Attn. Cate and anyone else on whom I inflicted my "What should I do with this green laceweight?" angst at Fiber Revival: this will be pretty much perfect, huh?

Query: Does anyone know of a source for small amounts of roving, suitable for needle felting? I want to make some ornaments and/or pins as small Christmas gifts. I have a bag of assorted colors I bought when I took the needle felting class, but I'm going to need some more of specific colors and I'm not sure where to get that.

Posted by Kat at 07:44 AM | Comments (9)

September 04, 2007


Okay, time for a Resolution. It's not really that I've been spending too much on yarn, but more that a) I'm trying to save up for a new car and b) I'm trying to clear out some stash. So. I will not buy any more yarn in 2007, with the following exceptions:

1. Gifts. This will likely end up being quite a lot, but I'd be spending money on gifts regardless, so it's fine.
2. Materials for classes or workshops. As of now, there are none I'm planning to attend, but it's not outside of the realm of possibility, so I want to have that option in there.
3. Work. I'm going to be writing craft articles for a local paper, and will likely need yarn for things related to some of those.

We'll see how it goes...

Posted by Kat at 03:29 PM | Comments (1)

July 14, 2007

Take me out to the ballgame...

Last Wednesday, I went to a Lowell Spinners game with my SnB group:

Baseball with Knitters

I'll admit that a few of us didn't exactly pay tons of attention to the game... we were more of the "hey, an excuse to drink beer and knit!" mindset. But we had fun.

This is what 1 outdoor concert + 1 ballgame =, in sock:

Swizzle Sock
Posted by Kat at 10:10 PM | Comments (2)

July 13, 2007

Christmas (Planning) in July

Well, it's all sunny and warm out, which means that I'm dreaming of cool weather... and Christmas knitting. I'm at the point at which I'm thinking "Well, I'm not in school anymore, and I won't be working retail around the holidays, and I'm not even going to do NaNoWriMo in November... so I'll have plenty of time!" Yeah. We'll see how that works out. Although I have been finishing more projects recently, so I suppose there's a chance. I will soon have my very own Long-Range Planning Box (thanks to Steph for the term) for storing up generic gifts, like hats and scarves and baby things. (I have a few things just laying around in my WIP box or storage room now, so it will be nice to have them in one place.) So that should help.

There are a bunch of things I'm currently trying to decide about, in this pre-planning stage. Opinions?

1. How much to do at once? Do I start a bunch of things and switch around so as not to get bored, or should I try to focus on one gift project at a time (rotating with other non-holiday stuff, of course) so I don't end up with everything half-finished on Christmas Eve? The answer to this is probably some sort of happy medium...
2. Is it okay to give more complicated/larger projects to some people, even if those who got smaller/simpler things will be receiving their gifts at the same gathering? This happens because a) even I am not crazy enough to think I can knit sweaters or afghans for everyone and b) my Official Gift Recipient Vetting Process*.
3. What about people who just aren't crazy about knitted things? I'd like to knit for those I love most, of course, but my dad and brother, say, just don't wear the kinds of things one knits. They never wear sweaters and only rarely scarves. Hats are possible, but they'd both tend more toward fleece or something than wool, I think. My brother liked the school-color scarf I made him last year, but by this Christmas he will be done with high school football and I'm not sure we'll know yet which college he'll be attending. Hmm. Ideas? (I'm leaning toward hats at the moment, because I think even they wear hats when it's really cold.) Strategies for their conversion? Or should I just buy them something they actually want?
4. How to blog it? Many of my gift recipients at least stop by the blog occasionally. Should I just call everything "Holiday Project #whatever" and not post any pictures until the gifts have been given? Or can I post the more generic things and just say they're going into the Long-Range Planning Box and not who they're for? Other options?

I'll probably have more questions later, but that's all for the moment...

* Official Gift Recipient Vetting Process: People to whom I have never before given a knitted gift get something small and quick first. A bulky-yarn scarf, a hat, a dishcloth. Something like that. If and only if they express an appropriate amount of appreciation, they may receive a sweater or shawl or afghan in the future. If not, they will get a book or CD or something else that they will like more. I think it saves everyone involved a lot of angst and possibly heartache.

Posted by Kat at 12:13 PM | Comments (7)

April 20, 2007

Summer 2007 IK Preview

Right here. I have to say that I'm not overly impressed on first glance - there are a few things that look great, but several that just look bizarre. Hmm.

Posted by Kat at 11:07 AM | Comments (5)

April 04, 2007

Need opinions! Quick!

I need to decide what needles to use with Tahki Cotton Classic (II? Maybe it's II.) Bamboo or metal? Bamboo is generally my favorite, but I have it in my head that bamboo + cotton = not so happy. Opinions?

(Although, actually, I'll get whatever I can find, as apparently size 7 16" circs are weirdly hard to find.)

If lots of you vote, I'll give you a picture of a finished knitted item and a picture of Dewey tonight.

Posted by Kat at 08:02 AM | Comments (20)

February 01, 2007

Spring IK preview!

The spring Interweave Knits preview is up! Looks good, at least mostly...

Posted by Kat at 11:15 AM | Comments (5)

January 28, 2007


I feel like I've asked this before. But. If you were my copy of Mason Dixon Knitting, where would you be? Because I am in the mood to knit bibs, and I cannot. Find. It. ARGH.

Posted by Kat at 08:53 AM | Comments (11)

January 03, 2007

Look, I've actually been knitting!

There's even photographic proof! I've been mostly working on Arwen, and it's coming along nicely, although it's not that thrilling to look at at the moment:

I pulled out the aforementioned baby blanket, although I haven't actually resumed work on it yet. See, I told you it was almost done:

And this will be something secret. Actually, I'm not sure if it's secret - must check whether it's okay to blog about.

I have kitten pictures too, but I think I'll save those for tomorrow.

Posted by Kat at 09:51 PM | Comments (5)

November 28, 2006


It seems that when I said that I only had three things on the needles, several of you thought that I meant, you know, that I only had three things on the needles. Which was quite reasonable of you, really, given that that's what I said. But I need to clarify. What I meant was that I only have those three projects that's I'm currently working on and considering to be "active." I probably have a few dozen things on the needles, either on hold or abandoned. And at some point I need to figure out what to do with them all. The vague plan is to gradually add them in among new projects and get them finished. Or rip them out, if I'm just not interested anymore. I'm not really sure when this is going to happen, though. I'm really enjoying only working on a few things at a time.

Maybe in 2007 I'll plan to find one UFO per month and either work on it or rip it out. Hmm. That could help. My other big knitting goal for 2007 will be keeping track of exactly what I finish. I was going to try to make a gallery or something, but it is occurring to me that it might be easier to make a "2007 Finishes" category here and do a post with pictures and specs for each project, and then just have a link to that category. I think I'd be more likely to keep up with that than a separate gallery. I'll probably also make a spreadsheet so I can easily sort and see how many of each type of item, etc., I've done.

Posted by Kat at 08:28 AM | Comments (11)

November 27, 2006

WIP Round-Up and Self-Bribery

Well, I'm not exactly on the one-at-a-time plan anymore. But I'm still keeping things nicely under control, I think.

1. Knit Unto Others I showed you the first scarf I finished yesterday. Today I started another: ribbed again, in Baby Clouds from the stash. It's driving me crazy - too many little loops and fiber bits getting stuck on the needles, too plasticky. But it's going quickly, sort of. Will try to finish by the third. I have D&D tomorrow night so I'm hoping a big chunk of it will get done then.

2. Shedir I love love love this project, but it's going soooo slowly. I'm on row 31 of 83. My friend is having surgery on the twelfth, so I want to get it in the mail by early next week.

3. A Cardigan for Arwen Self-bribery #1: I told myself I could start this when I finished my homework tonight. Just finished casting on, and now I'm alternating between it and Shedir. Pictures once there's something to see.

4. Wine and Roses Mitts No, I haven't started these, but I bought a skein of Seascoast Handpainted in Cherry Fizz the other night. I'll be starting them when I finish Shedir.

5. Victorian Lace Self-bribery #2: When I finish my work for the semester (December 13 at the latest), I get to start something from Victorian Lace Today. I'm leaning toward "Large rectangle with center diamond pattern" (p. 20) or "Melon pattern" (p. 146) because I have the KidSilk Haze in stash, but laceweight is reasonably cheap, as decent yarn goes, so I might just decide on a whim and get something else when I'm ready.

In summary, I only actually have three things on the needles, which isn't bad at all. And, perhaps most importantly, I am not stressing myself out over any holiday knitting this year. It just seemed like a better idea for all involved.

Posted by Kat at 09:03 PM | Comments (4)

October 09, 2006

Wool Arts Tour

Captions later.

Posted by Kat at 08:17 PM | Comments (5)

October 07, 2006

One at a time.

Hey, look! A knitting picture! I bet you thought you'd never see one of those here again!

This is all I've been knitting for... oh, two weeks or so? I go through the cycle like clockwork: school, work, everything starts feeling overwhelming, so I make a wild stab at getting back in control. Or at least feeling like it. So I resolve that I'm going to be less scattered, more focused, get things done. Knitting seems like an easy way tto do this. Pick one project, stick with it, get it done, feel accomplished. Easy, right? (Hah. Who's taking bets on how long it will last?)

Anyway, the above is a Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf in Knit One, Crochet Too's Paint Box. The label says it's color 8, Painted Desert, but I swear mine is more brown and less blue than that picture looks. I got it in Texas in February, and realized a few weeks ago that it would look great with my new fall jacket. And since it's October, I should, you know, get going on it before I have to put away the jacket and take out the parka. So. I am knitting. One thing. For now.

The other place where the "one at a time" rule applies, of course, is books. I'm trying. We'll see. Expect a "Why I love Nick Hornby" post soon.

Posted by Kat at 05:37 PM | Comments (3)

July 30, 2006

Don't die of shock...

But I actually knit a swatch this morning!

Hey, I didn't say it was a big swatch. But it was enough to confirm that I'm getting six stitches to an inch on 2.75mm. Which means that the sock I'm making is... 48 stitches. Which seems an absurdly small number. Hmm. After looking through all my sock books, I ended up deciding to use a stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks with the short row heel and toe from "Priscilla's Dream Socks" (on the IK subscriber-only site, alas). I sure you're just shocked.

During this search, I concluded that knitting books, or at least those dedicated to one item, like socks, should have an index by gauge. So that you can see all the patterns written for 6 st/in, say. Or if there even are any. Instead of, you know, flipping through the whole book. Grr.

Oh, and how I said Trekking was my favorite sock yarn? That may be changing...

Posted by Kat at 05:52 PM | Comments (3)

July 09, 2006

Bless me, knitters, for I have sinned...

I know, I know, I just changed the rules and I'm breaking them already. But I realized I had no plain vanilla sock to knit at the movies, and that simply will not be borne. I decided I wanted to try Claudia's popular picot-edged stockinette virus, as Cate gives it high praise and, as we've discussed, I generally find obeying Cate to be a reasonable method of action when I don't feel I can make decisions for myself.

Of course, I was in paper-writing mode this morning and not quite thinking clearly, so figuring out how to do the picot edge was rather a challenge. Frantic Googling and panicked e-mails to Cate ensued before I finally noticed that Claudia has "HOW TO KNIT A PICOT EDGE" in big letters on her sidebar. Right. So I started, and then went and watched The Da Vinci Code (which wasn't as bad as I'd expected/heard), and then here's what I found when the lights came on:

Yes, I took the sock to the new Ben & Jerry's scoop shop in Manchester. SO exciting to finally have one nearby! Of course, today, the day I got to go there for the first time, was also basically the only day in my entire life so far when I was not really in the mood for ice cream. qw21? So I got the Sorbet Splash, pictured on the right; the exciting-looking sundae belonged to my companion.

Oh, and Claudia, just in case you happen to see this: the reason why the edge of the sock is flailing up there to be tacked down later is not because I am a wuss, but rather because the lights went off around row ten and I didn't think it sounded like a very good idea to try the "knit the cast on edge together with the live stitches" thing for the very first time when I couldn't see it. So this is an experiment: the edge will be sewn down on this sock and knitted down on the mate, and I'll see what I like better.

(Trekking XXL, Color 126, in case anyone was curious. Am I correct that Trekking doesn't name their colors? My companion this evening saw the pink/white/brown colorway and decided that the color should be "Neapolitan" [also perhaps because we were sitting at the ice cream shop at the time], but then he noticed the tan and reconsidered. I suggested that the name be amended to "Neapolitan in a cone.")

Posted by Kat at 10:55 PM | Comments (2)

July 08, 2006

Baby Blanket, One Week In

Again shown with a skein from the Trekking Collection for scale:

Posted by Kat at 10:33 PM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2006

Rules: Made to be broken?

So I've been using my Rule of Ten for several months now, and it's been going well. So, um, clearly now is the time to change it. This is the dilemma: I have something I really want to start, and it's for a mid-August deadline. And there are a few wool projects on the current list that I probably won't have much interest in knitting until the temperature drops a few dozen degrees - especially the Baby Aran, because while I still love the pattern, I don't have a baby in mind for it anymore (because, you know, he grew more quickly than the sweater did...), and it's a pretty involved sweater, so not for the baby of a casual acquaintance. Although it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep working on it at some point so that when a very special baby does come along, I'd have a chance of finishing the sweater in a reasonable amount of time.

But anyway. I think I'm going to amend the rules so that a project can be bumped off the list in order to make room for a new project with a deadline. But this can't happen twice in a row: the next new project has to be added when something is finished. I think this will be a reasonable addition to the method. And, of course, it means that tonight I can start the thing I've been dying to knit...

Posted by Kat at 10:43 AM | Comments (6)

July 03, 2006

Baby Blanket Watch: Day 1

I'm kind of amazed by how quickly this got started:

That's what I knit yesterday. (Skein of Trekking included for scale.) It has continued to progress tonight, although not quite as dramatically. I have high hopes for tomorrow, as it seems that D&D will provide optimal knitting time. I'm hoping to get this to the baby by the end of the month... we'll see.

Posted by Kat at 10:51 PM | Comments (3)

May 18, 2006

Knitting! Pictures!

I told you I was still knitting! I even finished Birch!

Not blocked yet, obviously. And, um, apparently all the ends didn't get woven in, either. Oops. Detail:

I've also started a chevron sock in lovely, very bright Trekking:

But my current obsession is the French Fleurette Scarf in coral Zephyr:

I started this a few months ago, but I must have been tired or something, because I just couldn't wrap my head around the pattern. It is written a bit unclearly, but once I went back with a clear head, I managed to get it. Mostly. I'm still getting confused by it more often than I'd like, but I'm getting there.

Posted by Kat at 07:03 PM | Comments (8)

April 26, 2006


Birch is on hold for the moment, because... my hand hurts. My right hand. I don't know why. I'm mostly blaming it on excessive mouse usage at work the past two days, but just to be safe, I decided to use different needles for a while. And you know what? Apparently I'm knitting a heck of a lot of stuff on fives and sixes at the moment. Huh. Who knew? So I pulled out my long-neglected Trekking sock. I have about two inches of the foot left, and then the toe. And I've been meaning to get back to socks, anyway, because apparently they will keep me sane:


Cate says so. I find Cate is usually right about these things.

And apparently my return to socks came none too soon, because, um, I picked the sock up and knit from the wrong needle. I just... skipped one. Big honking loop of yarn going around the inside of the sock. Oops.

Posted by Kat at 06:55 PM | Comments (4)

April 20, 2006

Pretty please let me have enough yarn!

I've been working on Birch a lot in the past week or so, and I'm almost done with the second of three skeins of KidSilk Haze. And I'm suddenly absurdly afraid of running out of yarn. I mean, it's not totally absurd, because I have heard of people running out of yarn with this pattern. But I have no actual evidence that I'm about to run out. I haven't done any calculations or anything. My solution seems to be to knit as much as possible, as quickly as possible, because then at least I'll know. Right?

Posted by Kat at 06:05 PM | Comments (5)

April 14, 2006

From March to April

Well, at least I finished one of the red scarves before Easter:

That's Dave's Scarf, in sort of wonky colors. The close-up:

After all my complaining at the beginning, I think I actually like the way it looks all done. Let's hope my brother likes it too.

Since I finished that, I moved on to April's Project Spectrum color: orange. The Asymmetrical Cable Hat from One Skein:

Well, that's the beginning of it, at least. It's going astonishingly quickly. As much as I generally prefer small needles, I must admit that it's kind of fun to see this hat appear so quickly on size 11s.

Posted by Kat at 07:59 PM | Comments (6)

April 01, 2006

Hey, this blocking thing works!

I've been knitting for several years, but somehow, I'd gotten away with not blocking anything. I made mostly scarves and stuff, anyway. And on some level, I think I thought the whole blocking concept was an elaborate joke being played on me by all the other knitters in the universe. Or, um, something. Because really, you do what? Wet it? And pin it to something? How does that make sense?

But then I finished Branching Out, and it was lace, and everyone said that lace had to be blocked. So I figured, what the heck, I'd give it a try. I came home from work on Thursday and gave it a little bath and pinned it to the couch:

And look! It actually worked!

I believe you all now. I'm sorry I ever doubted you. (But I still think steeking must be a joke.)

Posted by Kat at 07:11 PM | Comments (7)

March 30, 2006

If I blog it, I have to do it.

I'm feeling vaguely out of it today, and have been for most of this week, actually. Part of it, certainly, is a need for just a bit more sleep than I have been getting. And I just have no focus. I don't know. Maybe it's because of spring. And actually being fairly happy sort of leaves me at loose ends. I can't decide whether I want to go run around crazily in the sunshine or take a road trip or hide under the covers and read obscure British novels. So. Um, anyway, where was I? Oh, lack of focus, right. I think I've made my point.

SO. Anyway. My plan for the evening is to go home, get some stuff done, RELAX a little, and SLEEP. Early. Theoretically. And because we've seen how scattered I am today, I'm going to put my to do list right here so that you all can harass me about it tomorrow. Okay? Okay.

1. Clean a bit. Honestly, my main point with this one is to find my copy of Last Minute Knitted Gifts and my missing Netflix envelope, but I'm planning to look for them in a way that makes the room look tidier rather than messier.

2. Finish translating Lauren's diploma. Yay Latin!

3. Block Branching Out.

4. E-mail my professor about my final paper topic.

5. Work on the Call for Submissions for the new online magazine I mentioned yesterday. (Thanks for all the enthusiasm about that! More details soon!)

6. (Finally) finish knitting the second ball of Dave's Scarf. I think it has entered the black hole phase - I've been knitting and knitting and nothing has been happening. At least if I finish a freaking ball of yarn I'll feel like I'm making some progress.

7. Start a grocery list. I'm out of hummus and pita. This can't be good.

8. Finish reading Knitting Rules and Bad Kitty.

Okay. That's totally doable for an evening, right? And theoretically it will result in pictures of a blocked Branching Out for you tomorrow.

Posted by Kat at 04:40 PM | Comments (5)

March 29, 2006

Quick Randoms

Because I was supposed to go to bed on time tonight, darn it! Argh.

1. Operation: Harlot was successful last night. I arrived at the store at 10:30, unpacked boxes for the first 15 minutes, and then realized that I had 15 minutes and about 25 boxes left and I had to go more quickly. So then I started just opening boxes. Blood was drawn. (Boxes are sharp!) But I found it. Wheeeee. It's wonderful. Better review after I finish reading it.

2. Clapotis = fun. And I haven't even started dropping stitches yet.

3. Watched the fourth Harry Potter movie tonight. Some of the exterior shots seemed oddly cartoony, but I thought it was good overall. Hermione is still my favorite, of course. As always, I found myself sort of wishing that they'd hurry up through the dragon/battle/whatever scenes and get back to the academics and interpersonal relationships and lovely boarding-schoolness. Maybe I should just go find some school stories to read.

4. Don't you hate it when something disappears right after you discover it? Last week, I discovered the green tea lattes at the coffee stand on campus. Now, I don't normally like green tea much, but these were all milky and melony and yum. Yesterday? They were gone. Bah.

5. Interested in reading or contributing to a free online knitting lifestyle magazine? Sort of Glamour meets Knitty, with a little Bust thrown in? Let me know.

I'm sure there was more, but I really, really should be asleep. Good night!

Posted by Kat at 11:06 PM | Comments (7)

March 28, 2006

Oh, look. A Plan.

So I'm loving the Rule of Ten idea (well, except for this weekend when I was chomping at the bit to start Clapotis), but I'm apparently feeling the need to prioritize a bit more. Basically, what happened was that at some point last night I realized that I had all these vague ideas floating around in my head. Ideas like "You know, it was be awfully nifty if Birch was noticeably bigger when I bring it to Steph's next signing than it was at the last" and "If I wore Clapotis to NH Sheep & Wool, it would be easy for people to recognize me because it's so freaking bright." (Because you're all coming to Sheep & Wool and want to meet up, right? Right?)

So it seems as though it could be beneficial to write up a list of when I'd sort of like to have various things finished. None of these are hard and fast deadlines, per se - they're more just... goals. A Plan. I seem to attract Plans. Anyway:

April 16 (Easter/next time I'll see my family) - Dave's Scarf and Irish Hiking Scarf
April 21 (Steph's signing in Grafton) - Birch
May 13 (NH Sheep & Wool) - Clapotis and Salina
June 16 (roommate's birthday, so it would be nice if his Christmas present were done) - Campus Scarf
August 5 (family reunion) - Baby Aran
October 14 (Rhinebeck) - Rogue

I've been averaging three finishes a month of late, so that's all totally doable, even with my usual lack of focus. Well, April and May look a little cramped, but... we'll see. The main challenge will be convincing myself to knit anything but Clapotis. It's rather addictive. But today I left it at home and so I have high hopes of getting well into the third ball of yarn for Dave's Scarf at class tonight.

In other news, we're on Harlot Watch around here. The book is on the truck. On its way to my store. The shipment should get there this afternoon; they may or may not have time to unpack it. (I may or may not go unpack it for them after class.) Erica is supposed to call me with any news, but I'll be driving more or less by the store on the way to class (around 3:30) and on the way back (around 10:30). So. Unless Erica calls and tells me not to, I'll stop on the way down this afternoon - heck, I wouldn't mind a latte for the car anyway - and if there's no sighting by then I'll go back after class. And if for some reason that shipment doesn't make it there today, I'll go back after work tomorrow. Because, you know, what better to do on my night off than go to work? (Don't answer that.)

Posted by Kat at 01:22 PM | Comments (8)

March 27, 2006

Things About Which I Am Happy

It's Monday, so it's time for Participation Positives!

1. Spring! It's finally feeling like spring out. It's going to be in the fifties all week, perhaps even getting up to the sixties on Thursday and Friday. I do know that we are pretty likely to get another snow before it's all over, but I'm enjoying it for now.

2. Comments! Wow, lots of you commented on the socks yesterday. Thanks! Just to clarify, I never thought that that socks themselves were ugly, but the first picture I posted of them was all dark and made them look oddly shaped. I think the pictures yesterday show them off to much better advantage.

3. Branching Out! It's done. I even just about memorized the pattern by, oh, the last two or three repeats. Yeah. It's nice, though. It's currently deciding where it wants to hang out while blocking, and then we'll have a picture for you.

4. Clapotis! It's started. The yarn is behaving a bit better than it was while winding, thank goodness, although it is a bit splitty. But OH so soft. It is also looking less pink than I expected, but not necessarily in a bad way. Pictures soon. I'm on repeat increase 2 or 3 or 4 or something. I'm just looking forward to getting to the straight rows so I can see what it looks like when the stitches start dropping.

5. Dr. Who! Are you all watching this? It's wonderful. I can't recommend it highly enough. Hilarious and snarky and British. And boy, is the doctor cute. Too bad he won't be there next season.

6. Taxes! Well, not taxes themselves. But I finally did my taxes this weekend and it was extremely painless, and I'm getting lots back. Wheee. And yes, I'm already negotiating with myself about how much I get to spend on yarn.

Posted by Kat at 04:08 PM | Comments (5)

March 25, 2006

Just because you're pretty...

Dear Silk Noir,

You seem to be laboring (laboring? Hah. Lounging is more like it.) under the misapprehension that just because everyone has told you how pretty you are your whole life, this somehow means that you do not have to conform to the standards of decent behavior expected of other yarn. Let me just say that I hope your behavior during our (several) hours with the ballwinder and swift are not an indication of what is to come when I am actually knitting with you. That was deplorable. I am not supposed to have to wind half of you by hand in order to get the other half to wind onto the ballwinder. You are not supposed to constantly wind yourself around everything in range EXCEPT for the ballwinder. Just no.

I know how you pretty yarns are. And it's not even your fault, not entirely. You've always been able to get by just based on your looks. You don't think you have to be nice to the other girl yarns, because they'll want to be friends with you just because you're pretty and popular, so why treat them well? You don't say thank you when the boy yarns hold doors for you or pay you compliments, because you just think you deserve it. You just don't think about how the other yarns feel, because if they're not as pretty as you are, they might as well just not exist, right? No. Wrong.

And you know what? There are plenty of other yarns in this house that would be more than happy to be knitted next, missy. (Did you see those five projects' worth of yarn I brought home today? Did you?) Sure, most of them aren't as flashy as you are, but I'll take a plain, decent, good wool who cooperates with me over an obnoxious silk prima donna any day.

I'm going to go work on something else while you think about this a bit. And I'd advise you to think hard: I'm afraid that if your behavior doesn't improve, my next step will have to be to send you to stay with Vickie for a while. And trust me, she is not taken in by your shiny rainbowy ways.

Hoping we can work together here,
Your Knitter

P.S. Have you seen the last yarn that went to stay with Vickie? Has anyone? Just think about that for a minute.

Posted by Kat at 06:15 PM | Comments (1)

March 21, 2006

I spy with my little eye...

From JenLa:

1. A blog which you think people have not discovered: The Magpi
2. A blog whose author lives close to you physically. Just get as close as you can, it’s all relative: The Stitch Witch
3. An unusual or weird animal picture: Many of Chaos
4. An entry that made you laugh and got you strange looks from family or co-workers: Oh, so many. Recently: Peukalo is thumb. by Steph
5. An idea you wish you’d thought of: Buy More Yarn. I mean, really. 'nough said.
6. Something you’d like to knit: Rogue
7. A picture of something you consider beautiful: Juno's Highland Triangle
8. A blog whose author you’d like to one day meet in person: FemiKnit Mafia
9. A blog of someone you have already met in person: mamacate

P.S. 10 Reasons Why Liberal Men are Better in Bed

Posted by Kat at 10:55 PM | Comments (3)

March 19, 2006

Let there be light!

So. Dave's Two-Sided Scarf is Not Done. Not even close. But I had to go march in a parade with a giant purple hippo:

Yes, I was serious. In case you missed it, a giant purple hippo:

So I think that's a pretty good excuse, don't you? The hippo is the mascot of, well, The Hippo, a local newspaper for which one of my best friends is a reporter. I went along with my friend, planning to say hi to his coworkers and then go watch the parade, but someone handed me an official Hippo 2006 St. Patrick's Day Parade t-shirt and, well, there I was. It was fun, if a bit cold.

But oh, you want fiber pictures? Right. First, look at the belated Christmas present I got last night! (It's a long story.)

It's one of those nifty natural light lamps, and as anyone who has tried to knit in my living room would tell you, it will certainly come in handy. In addition to using it for knitting and reading, I'm hoping that it will help me take better pictures for the blog at night, because pictures during actual real daylight are pretty hard to come by. Let's test it out on my haul from my visit to the Woolery with Erica yesterday, shall we?

First, the find of the day:

Really bright silk

Yes, it's really, really bright. It's silk, from Great Adirondack Yarn Co., which does not seem to have a Web site. It's going to be Clapotis. I am rather taken with this yarn. The colors! The texture! I may or may not have worn it around my neck while walking around the bookstore yesterday. (Not while working. Just on my breaks.)

Less, colorful, but still nifty:

A whole bag of Jo Sharp's Desert Garden Aran Cotton in color 201, Parakeet. And, um, wait. Ack. It was supposed to be for Chaise from The Holiday Island, instead of the Hourglass Sweater (because it would serve basically the same purpose) but apparently I can't read, because that is not in fact the yarn called for in that pattern. (My wonderful yarn store owner said "Here's the book that goes with that yarn" and I stupidly assumed the whole book went with the yarn. Oops.) So. Any suggestions for 600 yards of this yarn?

And last but not least:


Because really, who has enough sock yarn? It's Trekking XXL, of course. The orange (it's more orange in real life) will be for Project Spectrum next month, and I think the other might be for Jaywalkers.

Now I just have to finish something so I can start all these things.

Posted by Kat at 08:27 PM | Comments (3)

March 17, 2006

Lá Fhéile Pádraig

I am (part) Irish, but I'm not really doing anything to celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year. Had I been clever about it, I would have arranged things so I could start my blue-green Rogue today.

Alas, I was not. There is currently no room on my List of Ten, so no starting for me. Nope nope nope. I'm still pushing for Sunday. But I did wind up a few pretty blue-green yarn cakes, just to tide me over:

And that is it; I must finish Dave's Two-Sided Scarf before I can think about anything else. Must must must. Oh, but before I go, look at my cute new lantern!

And really, the combination of a candle, some yummy tea, knitting, and Mediaeval Baebes makes for a darn good way to relax after a long week.

Posted by Kat at 08:01 PM | Comments (3)

March 15, 2006

Random, with Pictures!

Wow, it's already Wednesday again! And I'm still in a good mood. Yay.

1. I knew the recent springlike weather was just a tease. We had some bizarre fits of snow this afternoon. At least we know who to blame.

2. I'm liking the scarf better as it gets longer, so that's good, I guess:

As you can see, it's not exactly reversible, but rather two-sided. I'm hoping to knit a ball of yarn every two days, so I finish on Sunday and can start Rogue. The picture has about half a ball knit up, mostly from lunch yesterday, subway and class last night, and lunch today.

3. On Sunday night, I realized that, improbably enough, I didn't seem to have any plain decaffeinated black tea in the house. I picked up some Red Rose at the store today, and they have new figurines! I've been sort of collecting them since I was very young, so it's always exciting to get a new one. I got the cute little bunny.

4. I saw Match Point over the weekend. Whoa. I think I've decided that it was very good, and you should see, but I probably do not ever want to see it again. But ahhh, Jonathan. Even in this rather, shall we say, questionable role, he was gorgeous. Oh! And according to IMDB he's going to be Henry VIII! That's one of the most exciting things I've seen in a while.

5. I'm doing some reorganizing of my Bloglines feeds. I've realized that I have a hard time getting into new-to-me blogs without reading all the archives, so now I have a separate category for blogs I think I'll want to read regularly but that I have to catch up with first. It's making it all much easier to navigate.

6. Last night for dinner I tried an Odwalla Strawberry C Monster smoothie and Super Protein bar. It was filling and surprisingly satisfying. Hmm. This may have to become my default quick dinner for nights when I have class or work. If I can find them, of course. I found the smoothies at the grocery store tonight, but I couldn't find the bars, even though the cashier told me they sold them. I got a few Luna bars, since they seemed to be the closest, but they don't have as much protein. Ah well.

7. And another for Project Spectrum: (blurry) strawberries!

Posted by Kat at 09:05 PM | Comments (1)

March 14, 2006


I haven't had much time to knit in the past few days, so of course that is All. I. Want. To. Do. So let's just talk about knitting for a while instead, shall we? I will actually get to knit in class tonight, so that's something. And on the subway. And tomorrow night I should have a few hours. Hurrah.

I ripped out my brother's scarf ("Dave's scarf" in the Ten) because it was too fiddly and I wasn't enjoying knitting it and couldn't imagine that he'd much like wearing it. So now I'm doing a ribbed thing with a few cables in the middle. I think it will work better. The yarn - Classic Elite Princess - is wonderfully soft but a little too smushy for this, I think. It's not very crisp. Not great stitch definition. Perhaps TOO soft. Why did I get this, again? I don't remember. Oh, right: I was afraid he'd turn down anything that could possibly be construed as "scratchy." Well, scratchy it certainly isn't. I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about this project, but I'm going to keep going, and hope that the cables will look a bit better after blocking. It's funny - I love the yarn and I love my new pattern. It's just the combination thereof that makes me nervous. We'll see. If the pattern works as it should I'll post it. Along with the baby hat pattern. I'd like to get a little "Free Patterns" section going.

I pulled out Branching Out for the first time in months and worked on it for a while on Sunday. The chart seemed much easier to deal with this time around, and it was going along pretty quickly until I realized that I was short a stitch. I was too tired/distracted to figure out what had gone wrong right then, but maybe tomorrow night. That one should be quite quick if/when I manage to actually memorize the pattern.

Salina is moving along as well: I'm in the increase part of the waist shaping now. I was rather proud of the waist shaping and showed a friend, and the look on his face was marvelous: I hadn't mentioned that this was just the back of the sweater, and he was trying to figure out a polite way of saying "That wouldn't possibly fit all the way around you." Hah.

Erica and I are doing a bit of yarn shopping on Saturday, so I'll continue my quest for a cotton blend for the Hourglass Sweater. We'll see. I'm also hoping to finish something so I can start Rogue this weekend. Right now, nothing sounds so appealing as spending the entire day in my apartment on Sunday, knitting and watching DVDs and maybe cleaning a bit. So I think that will be the plan.

Posted by Kat at 03:21 PM | Comments (3)

March 07, 2006

This is the blanket that never ends...

It just goes on and on, my friends... um, anyway. I think I like this Rule of Ten thing: here's finish number eight for 2006 so far!

A hat, to match the Boring Baby Blanket. I had extra yarn, and Princess Aaralyn likes to be matching. (Well, honestly, I'm not sure she's quite up to such complex fashion decisions yet, but her mommy sure likes it when she's matching. Which isn't hard, because 90% of the child's clothes are pink. And super-adorable. But I digress.) I made up the pattern as I went along - the lace at the top (i.e. where I got bored of stockinette) is supposed to more or less correspond with the lace on the blanket. And that ruffle? Cute, but casting on 240 stitches for a baby hat? Can we say "counter-intuitive"? Anyway, if people like the pattern I'll write it up. Let me know.

Since I finished that, I got to start something new! I decided it was time for something pink for Project Spectrum. This is French Fleurette scarf in coral Zephyr. Because really, what says "spring" like pretty little pink French flowers?

This is my first time working with Zephyr. I'm liking it, but it is splitting a bit. Let's hope that stops as I get used to it. My goal is to have this done by Easter. But I'd better finish something else sooner than that, because I want to start Rogue SOON.

Posted by Kat at 09:57 PM | Comments (6)

March 06, 2006

Why didn't I figure this out before?

My job isn't so big on the motivation to actually work bit, so this week I decided to try some internal motivation - or really just out-and-out self-bribery - to spice things up a bit. If I get to my self-imposed goal for the week, I can get the pattern for Rogue.

I was past Monday's portion of said goal by 1:00. Huh. This system just might work.

Let's back up a little and have a bit of an update on the sweater lust from last week. Lovely Salina is still coming along nicely, if slowly - I've been concentrating on the baby hat the past few days because I got something very exciting yesterday that I want to start. (More on that tomorrow.) And I'm still planning to order the yarn for Starsky when I finish a sweater. But. The whole hourglass-like sweater in some sort of cotton something issue? It's not going so well. I haven't been able to find a yarn I like in the right gauge at the right price. And then, well, I was flipping through the L.L. Bean catalog and saw this. Which is almost what I wanted. So I might just order that for now, and wait until the perfect yarn/pattern combination for the ideal spring sweater in my head jumps out at me.

So. I crossed that sweater off my "To be done very soon" mental list, and then Tracy came into the bookstore and we started talking knitting (I'm sure you're shocked! Shocked!) and she mentioned Rogue. And I had one of those "Oh, I meant to knit that three years ago. What happened?" moments. And I looked it up when I got home to refresh my memory and fell in love with it all over again. Yesterday I made my first trip up to the Elegant Ewe and got the yarn (as well as other exciting things you'll see tomorrow). I ended up with Cascade 220 in a lovely Celtic green with a bit of blue in it - color 9451, maybe?

And THEN I came home and saw that Cate is starting Rogue too, and Kristen just pulled hers out and Juno is talking about it and so is vm and then of course there's Tracy, who got me back into this mess in the first place and hey! We practically have a knitalong going here! Actually, I'll host if anyone wants to make it official. The Really Late Rogues. Let me know if you're interested.

Posted by Kat at 01:25 PM | Comments (10)

March 02, 2006

Meet Watson.

Remember Aloysius? This is his brother Watson.

He wanted a scarf too. And it's red(dish), so it's my first entry for Project Spectrum. I have two red scarves and a red shawl on my list right now - it's almost like I knew about this before today and didn't join at the last minute! Hah! The other color of the month is pink, which is one of my favorites. But, oddly, I don't have anything pink on the go, I don't think. Oh, yes I do! There's that sock I abandoned back in, oh, May or so. Hmm.

I don't think I want to add that to the list right now, though. (I get to add something because I finished the Teddy Bear Scarf!) Just not in the mood. I think I'm going to put Branching Out back into rotation instead. And that means I'll have to finish something else in the next, oh, ten days, because I want to start Danica during the first F1 race of the season. (Yes, I know Danica isn't in F1. It's going to be my general watching-races project.)

Oh, and Watson's scarf is my seventh finished item for 2006 so far! Woohoo!

Posted by Kat at 10:35 PM | Comments (2)

March 01, 2006

Oh hey, it's Wednesday!

I finally went to work today, after being out sick, so it felt like Monday, so I'm totally confused. Anyway, it's Wednesday, so that means randomness!

1. FIRST of all, do you like the new layout? It's March 1 (Happy March!) so I decided something bright and springlike was in order. It's a very slightly tweaked version of a template that the lovely and generous Becky made for us Pretty Posies members. Let me know if anything seems to be working incorrectly.

2. Based on the comments I got yesterday and what I've seen at other blogs, I think Post-Olympic Startitis should be declared an official disease. I've managed to stick to my ten, though. Aren't you proud of me? (Birch was added to the ten when I finished the Olympic socks. The first ten were in basically random order, but I'll be adding new items to the bottom as I finish things.)

3. I decided to add my LibraryThing widget to the sidebar even though only a fraction of my books have been entered so far. (All the cool kids are doing it.) I'm going to try to add a few each day.

4. I was on Morning Edition on NHPR yesterday, talking about the Knitting Olympics. Want to hear me?

5. It has been brought to my attention (thanks Chris!) that an all-cotton sweater, as I was discussing last entry, might not work so well. So that project is on the back burner for the moment, and I'm open to yarn suggestions for a DK cotton blend.

6. I am SO ready for spring. So why is it in the twenties out? Not fair.

7. I'm still sick. Sleeping plenty but exhausted all the time. What's with this?

8. Okay, enough complaining. Let's end with something positive. Umm... oh yeah! Have you seen The Daily Kitten? Say it with me... Awwwwww.

Posted by Kat at 08:05 PM | Comments (7)

February 28, 2006

Sweater lust

Since the Olympics ended, I've been basically wanting to knit everything in sight. Boy, did I start my Rule of Ten at the right time. I think it's a combination of suddenly having the freedom to knit things other than the socks and of the Olympics getting me even more excited about knitting and, oh, finishing things.

So far I've managed to stick with the lovely Salina, but that doesn't mean I haven't been looking. First of all, have you seen the Knitty surprises? I love Starsky. Love love love. I think the yarn for it will be my prize for finishing my first sweater - probably Salina, or maybe the baby Aran, or maybe, um, the other one I'm about to talk about. In any case, as soon as I have a sweater, any sweater, totally done, seamed, blocked, everything, I am allowed to order the yarn for Starsky.

The other one is something I've been thinking about for a while - a light cotton sweater, oversized, with a wide neck (to be taken on and off easily), for use on cool spring and summer Sunday mornings when driving around going to yard sales and parks and stuff. (Well, that's what I do on such mornings, at least.) I was almost ready to start designing this sweater myself when I found it - the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, except in sturdier cotton. Probably Knitpicks Crayon. And that would only be about $16, so I'll probably be ordering it soon, along with a few other smaller things I've been wanting from Knitpicks to get up to the free shipping limit. I'd like to have that sweater done by, say, April. Eeek. I'd better start clearing some things off of my list...

P.S. This just in - my gold medal!

Posted by Kat at 02:43 PM | Comments (6)

February 22, 2006

Random Wednesday

1. This is really the first down time I've had since my trip, and... I'm tired. Really tired. Even the combination of caffeine and Franz Ferdinand was barely keeping me awake at work this afternoon. But tonight I did not have work or class. So I came home, took a quick nap, went to a nice dinner with friends, and am now home, in my pajamas, watching the Olympics and drinking chai. Yay.

2. Meet my cute little avatar:

Yahoo! Avatars

3. Have you seen BlogShares yet? I haven't had time to totally figure it out, but it seems to be a fantasy stock market game - with blogs as the companies! Don't you want to know how much your blog is worth, and even who "owns" shares of your blog? Yeah, I thought you did. Click on the link and get sucked in like I have. :-)

4. Olympic knitting is... going, I guess. I'm a bit stalled, still on the cuff of the second sock. I just haven't had any time. But I'm determined to finish.

5. Speaking of which, I have a few media links to add to the KO links list. I'll get them on there soon. I promise.

6. I used to laugh at my mother and her "power naps." I insisted that the idea of just closing your eyes for 5 or 15 minutes was preposterous. Couldn't actually help. Um, apparently I just wasn't tired enough then. Because now I get it. Totally. It's a lifesaver. And man, does the "not quite asleep" state produce some funky dreams. (Including those involving kissing people about whom I generally do not think in that manner. Weird.) But yeah, I'm totally behind this concept now. Thanks Mom!

7. Like many knitters, I'm often torn between knitting/starting whatever I want and trying to actually finish things. I recognize that I'm a process knitter, and that knitting is supposed to be fun and there are enough deadlines and stressors in the rest of my life. But on the other hand, finishing is kind of fun. And my unfinished projects are numbering, well, in the dozens by now. And just knowing that they're there adds to my general guilt level.

So I'm going to try a compromise. A new system, of a sort. It's pretty simple: ten projects are allowed to be on the "actively knitting" list at a time. If I want to knit something not on the list - either something new or an unfinished item - then I have to finish one of the list items first. I think this actually has a chance of working. Ten is a reasonable number, I think, to keep track of, but it is large enough to allow for plenty of variation. And maybe by the end of the year, all my projects will fit on that list of ten. (But don't hold your breath.)

Posted by Kat at 10:45 PM | Comments (6)

February 21, 2006

Knitting Book Essentials

Thanks for all the input! It was interesting to see what everyone said. I decided that the most interesting list to compile, for me, would be the "What ten knitting-related books would I keep if I knew I could only have those ten for the rest of my life?" list. And, to make it more difficult, I assumed I would not have access to ANY knitting patterns other than the books and what I made up. Patterns aren't enough, though: some knitting books are mainly for inspiration, and that is essential too. (Sorry for the lack of links; I'll try to go back and add them later.) So. In no particular order:

Stitch 'n Bitch by Debbie Stoller
Knitting without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch
Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick
Latvian Mittens by Lizbeth Upitis
Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle
The Harmony Guide to Aran and Fair Isle Knitting edited by Debra Mountford
At Knit's End and Yarn Harlot by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Heirloom Knitting by Sharon Miller

Posted by Kat at 11:56 PM | Comments (2)

February 20, 2006

Vroom vroom vroom

I think Danica is going to be my official knitting-while-watching project for the upcoming race (IRL, CART, F1) season. Would doing it in black and white with pink accents be too blatant? Hmm. And yes, I am excited about the racing season already and it doesn't start for 19 days. Oh well.

In other news, a question from a librarian friend has led me to compile (well, work on compiling) a list of "essential" knitting books - I think it will end up being my top ten. What are your top ten (or two or five or twenty)?

Posted by Kat at 04:22 PM | Comments (9)

February 10, 2006

And we're off!

I started casting on right at two, and had a bit of a rocky start. The cast on seemed a bit wonky, but I decided to trust Nancy Bush and keep going. Here's the cast on and three rounds:

Unfortunately, any more progress will have to wait until after at least most of the things on my 15-item to do list are done. And after I nap, because the Opening Ceremonies are until midnight and then I need to be at the airport at 5:30 am.

And in a quick break from all-Olympics-all-the-time, here's the game of "One of These Things Is Not Like the Other" I mentioned:

Um. Huh? Those are my mother's Cool Little Mittlets (belated Christmas gift). They are indeed knit from the same skein of yarn. Does Noro Kureyon usually do this?

They're actually less similar in person than they are in the picture. The colors never repeat. None of them. Ever. I swear the last thing I knit with Kureyon didn't do this. Are some of the colorways just like this? What's going on?

P.S. To the person who found my site searching for "Evan Lysacek gay," if that's a question, I don't know the answer. But cheer for him either way, will ya?

Posted by Kat at 03:13 PM | Comments (4)

February 05, 2006

Yarn on sale doesn't count.

That's one of the rules of stash reduction, right? That yarn bought at a discount doesn't really count as buying yarn? Well, it should be, anyway. Today my roommate and I headed to not one but two Superbowl sales. We headed to Ewe'll Love It first, because all the yarn was 40% off and I had a feeling it would be busier. It was. We got there about five minutes before it opened, and there was already a big line. Luckily, it wasn't too crazy, and I managed to find a few things for which I was looking.

First, the Rowan Felted Tweed for "Salina," the cover sweater from Vintage Knits. My roommate and I will be working on sweaters from this book together: he got the yarn for "Beau" today.

I also picked up a few more hits of yarn crack, seen below masquerading under its street names of KidSilk Haze and its close cousin Kid Seta. They're both for projects from Wrap Style: the garnet for "Guinevere" and forest green for "Wrapped in Tradition." Except I can't start either until I finish Birch. Or at least that's the idea.

I also picked up a hank of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, because my sock yarn stash is woefully small, as well as the Knit Bits calendar that I had been eyeing.

Then we headed to the Woolery, where I bought the entire stock of Bearfoot and Trekking XXL. No, seriously. Of course, by the time I got there, there were only a few skeins left:

Take special notice of the one on the right. That's our Olympic contender, so you'll be seeing a lot of it in the next few weeks. I also picked up some needles - DPNs for the Olympics, and the needles for Salina, which I'm not starting until I finish a few other things. Nope, I'm not. Right.

Posted by Kat at 08:16 PM | Comments (4)

February 01, 2006

Random Wednesday

1. New hair again, in its natural (i.e. not blow-dried straight) state:

I think I like it. More pictures here, here, here, here, and here.

2. I'm actually feeling remarkably focused about knitting recently. I'm re-enamoured with my Trekking socks and they're coming along nicely. Tonight I'm making myself work on the Clove Stitch Shawl I want to bring to Florida. Next week. Yeah.

3. One of the reasons for my focus is that the roommate has decided to try a sweater: he's chosen Beau from Vintage Knits. In a show of, um, moral support or something, I've promised I'll start a sweater from the book as well. Contenders at the moment are Fleur, Bridget, Faye, Oriel, and Salina. Opinions?

4. Right before midnight last night, I finished Guns, Germs, and Steel. More about it in the upcoming January Reads post, but I am veyr proud of myself for managing to make it the whole way through this time. My new lunch reading is Elaine Showalter. Yeah, I'm a dork.

5. My semester started last night. My class - Literacy and Service to the Underserved - seems like it will be really interesting, and the professor actually encouraged me to knit in class.

6. I just ordered my luggage for my trip. Which is next week. Yeah. Good thing L.L. Bean delivers so quickly. I should probably start thinking about what I'm putting in said luggage, eh?

7. Ugh. My favorites were voted off of Skating with Celebrities. How can anyone not adore Kurt Browning? Does not compute. qw21?

Posted by Kat at 10:17 PM | Comments (2)

January 31, 2006

Okay, I get it now.

So maybe there's something to be said for rote learning after all. I've never hated the Kitchener stitch as much as many knitters seem to - in fact, I think it's kind of fun. But I haven't made enough socks to be totally comfortable with it yet, so I've always looked it up, just to be sure.

Apparently the knitting gods decided that it was high time I learned. I had thought, after Saturday night, that there was nothing that would make the Kitchener sequence sink in more thoroughly than reading it aloud for over an hour. I was wrong. After last night, I know that picking out the grafting so that the stitches could happily climb back up on their needles has put me on far more intimate terms with Lord Kitchener than I'd ever dreamed possible.

Someone in a library-related e-mail group just asked if anyone would be willing to teach her to knit at an upcoming group event. I may have volunteered. I mean, it seems I have the patience for it, right? ;-)

Posted by Kat at 01:09 PM | Comments (2)

January 22, 2006

Huh, I kinda like this finishing idea.

First, the promised picture:

Yup, I finished three things this weekend. Three! Now, granted, two of those scarves had just needed their ends woven in for quite some time, but still. I am proud of myself, and have three fewer things to feel guilty about.

I did almost as well with the other finishing projects. I only finished one book, but I realized that the closest to the end I was in any of them was 150 pages, so that's not bad. I'll make some more reading progress before bed. And I didn't write a whole draft of my story, but that might have been an overzealous goal for a day in which I also wanted to accomplish other things. I wrote an outline and about 1000 words of story, so I'm satisfied. My goal is to have a draft before my trip/the Olympics, and then revise it afterwards.

I did watch two Netflix DVDs. Apparently it was a weekend for historical epics, although now that I think about it, most weekends would fall into that category for me, especially if the epics in question involve pretty clothes and questionable historicity. Anyway. Last night I watched the first two episodes of Into the West. It started slowly, but ended up being captivating in that Oh-God-I-cannot-believe-another-horrible-thing-is-going-to-happen-to-these-people way. And every time blankets appeared, I had to restrain myself from yelling "No! Smallpox! Don't take them!" at the screen.

Tonight I watched part one of Henry VIII. I spent the first half hour or so trying to decide whether I'd seen it before; I eventually decided that I had, but figured at that point I might as well just keep watching. I'm planning a post about it after I watch part two (which I am quite sure I have not seen before), so I'll just say a few things for now. First of all, it prompted the declaration in my household that the beheading of Helena Bonham Carter is the hallmark of a good movie. (Don't tell me you haven't seen Lady Jane.) Also, the people who made both this movie and Into the West seem to be rather confused about the whole birth idea. Um, people, there's this thing called the umbilical cord. I really don't think you can pull a baby out of a mother and immediately walk across the room with it. Right? Someone with more experience (Ais? Erica? Kristen?) want to back me up on this?

Posted by Kat at 10:38 PM | Comments (1)

January 21, 2006

Go Team!

I never thought I'd say this, but thank goodness for the Superbowl. No, really. Thanks to its Superbowl sale, my LYS will be open on a Sunday, so I can go get yarn for my Knitting Olympics project. Between the two jobs, I am at work for all of my preferred yarn store's regular hours of business, so this is quite a treat. Anyway. (As long as I can find the magazine with the pattern in it,) I've decided on Nancy Bush's Cable and Rib Socks from the Fall 2005 IK. I hope to find some of the Bearfoot the pattern calls for - I know they carry it, but it tends to sell out quickly. If there's none of that, I'll probably go with either Weaver's Wool (same brand) or, um, that stuff from that other company that is basically the same. Yeah. Oh, Cherry Tree Hill. Right.

That said, here are my Olympic buttons:
knittingolympics-1.jpg USsockteam.gif
I'm getting rather excited about this.

I've been having some... control issues, or "WTF is going on with my life??" issues, or something, which is one of the reasons I haven't been blogging much. We don't have to get into how this manifests itself, but it's not fun. So. I've decided that this is one of those weekends during which getting things done will actually make me more "relaxed" for the coming week than actually relaxing would. Or something. I've found a self-imposed writing assigment - a call for submissions for a short story anthology, 5000 words max, due March 16. I'm not terribly optimistic about my chances, but at least it is a manageable goal and will (I hope) get me into the swing of writing. So tomorrow I'm going to go to my favorite local cafe, to which I haven't been in months, and bang out a draft.

I also need to finish something, if only to help with the control issues above. I have three Netflix discs, several books I'm reading, and, well, dozens of knitting WIPs, but a few that are awfully close to being done. I'm feeling... scattered. So. By tomorrow evening, I hope to have accomplished the following:

Watch at least two DVDs
Finish at least three knitting projects
Finish at least two books
Write a short story draft
Various housework (won't bore you with the details)
Various paperwork (ditto)
Blog about it. WITH PICTURES. (To get back toward my daily blogging goal.)

Wish me luck!

Posted by Kat at 07:28 PM | Comments (2)

December 20, 2005

To whom it may concern:

Dear knitting,
Thank you for being reasonably cooperative thus far. Might I suggest that we step up the pace a bit?
the knitter

Dear stupid coworkers in the neighboring department,
I don't think the word "gay" means what you seem to think it means. You might want to look it up before you yell something like "You all must think we sound really gay" over the row of cubes again, because at least two of us over here are about ready to throw big cans of soup at you.
Just a thought,
P.S. Boss, that goes for you too. Also? Stop with the jokes about women. Thanks.

Dear Chris Botti,
"Hallelujah" (yeah, the Leonard Cohen one) is not a Christmas song. Just no. I don't care if it has the same name as the Handel chorus. No. Have you heard the words? I know you don't sing them in your version, but please tell me you at least know what the song is about. Your muzak version really has no reason to exist, especially not on a Christmas album.
No love,
Jeff Buckley fan

Dear customers,
I know you for some reason think the online reserve thing saves you time, but it really doesn't. And here's a little secret: it just makes us really, really annoyed with you, although I do understand that it's not your fault that the system's so screwed up. But please. Call and ask us to hold your book. It works just as well, if not better. I promise.
The girl with the pager

Dear out-of-it teacher lady,
30% of $30 is not $10. It is $9. I promise. I'm not sure how many different ways I can explain this to you. You're a teacher. Aren't you supposed to understand things like that?
Your cashier
P.S. I was nice. Next time find your darn educator's discount card. Preferably before you get up to the register and start holding up the line.

Dear reading public,
No, The Da Vinci Code is not out in paperback. Neither is virtually any book published in hardcover in the past year. That's just not the way it works, and I promise, it's not my fault. It is also not my fault that you didn't decide until December 19 that you need to order an obscure book for brother-in-law. I can't magically make it appear. I know that you are probably angry at yourself and just taking it out on me. The holidays are stressful. I know. Please try to remember that it's stressful for me too.
Let's all smile and try to get through the next few days.
Your friendly neighborhood bookseller

Dear salespeople,
I know this may come as a shock, but when you send a request to my department that includes direct insults to my department, that does not make me feel especially inclined to hurry up and get it done for you right away. Just in case that hadn't occurred to you.
No love,
The data corrections girl

Dear Mr. Ledger,
Well done. Couldn't you have played both roles?
Much love,
P.S. Casanova looks cute too, if a bit historically debatable.

Dear readers,
Thank you to anyone who waded through all that. Something coherent (like a review of Brokeback Mountain) will be coming one of these days, but, honestly, it might not be until after Christmas. I will try to at least get some Christmas knitting pictures up soon.
Much love,

Posted by Kat at 04:41 PM | Comments (4)

December 18, 2005

Christmas Knitting Dos and Don'ts

It's... going. Not quite as well as I'd wanted, but I figured that would happen. So to distract you from my lack of pretty pictures or actual content, here are a few pointers for you based one what I've picked up over the past few days.

* DO just keep knitting, and avoid thinking about any of it too much.

* DON'T use yarn or needles you hate. Metal 15s? Ribbon? Eyelash? The end results are pretty, but what was I thinking?

* DO take advantage of the lovely technique that involves doing some extra wraps before each stitch one row and dropping them the next and stretching it out. (I'm sure it has a name but I don't have time to look it up.) My God, does that make a scarf go quickly.

* DON'T take a break to argue with your mother. Or at least put her on speakerphone or something so you can keep knitting. (At least I won.)

* DO "carpool," i.e. get people to drive you places so you can knit in the car.

* DON'T just keep adding things to your list. My list went from 12 to 14 before it got down to, um, 13 at the moment, but two of those are almost done, I swear.

* DO cut back on sleep and housework. 5 hours a night. Laundry and dishes. Everything else can wait.

* DON'T watch anything too enthralling or complicated while knitting. I'm finding that Simon Schama's History of Britain works well - it keeps me interested but, well, I know the plot, so it's okay if I don't give it my full attention.

* If you are making anything that comes in pairs like socks or mittens, DO knit one of each pair first. It will keep things interesting, and it's better to give each recipient one mitten and some yarn instead of two mittens to half of them and just yarn to the rest.

* DON'T let yourself get dehydrated. Dehydration does not increase knitting speed. I've been going with mostly Tab and various kinds of tea.

* DO keep the house stocked with easy-to-make, non-messy food. You don't have time to cook or to take food breaks. Knitting while eating is possible. I've been concentrating on canned soup, chips and dip, baby carrots, Twizzlers, and chocolate.

* DON'T develop a new addiction to an online game. (I'll give you the link after Christmas. I promise. It's for your own good.)

* DO remember the twelve days of Christmas. Nothing is technically late until January 6. Especially if you're Catholic.

* DON'T let yourself feel too much envy or resentment when you walk by your roommate's open door and notice the neat stack of books and CDs that he's giving people for Christmas. So what if they come already assembled? You're putting in way more effort.

* DO resolve to drag him into the madness next year. It's not like you forced him to start knitting.

Posted by Kat at 10:35 AM | Comments (4)

December 15, 2005

The Plan

Okay. Trying not to panic. Plans solve everything, right? I'm a good planner. I like to make lists. So. I just need some lists and a plan.

First, knitting hours as calculated last night:

Coworker scarves (2): 5 hours each
Dad's and brother's scarves: 10 hours each
Roommate's scarf: 20 hours
Nosewarmer: 1 hour
Cousin scarves (3): 3 hours each
Pairs of mittlets (3): 5 hours each

Total: 75 hours. KHPD: 7.5. Um, right. That's another full time job. I have one of those already. Huh. This might be a little difficult, you think? So.

The Plan

1. This weekend will be the big marathon knitting. Friday night: finish at least one cousin scarf. Saturday night (since I'm working all day): finish at least one coworker scarf. Sunday: Knit all day. Finish other coworker scarf and nosewarmer (and hopefully something else, but let's let that be a pleasant surprise). Those three scarves are the things I really need done before Christmas, so I will breathe a bit easier then.

2. The next focus will be the mittlets, since those are harder to knit while out and about. Monday and Tuesday I will work on the mittlets at home and scarves while out (in line, on lunch break, etc.).

3. The three cousin scarves? I'm going to go with these. Two hours each. Steph promised. And did you see how I budgeted three hours for each above, since I know I can't possibly knit as fast as she does?

4. I am leaving work early tomorrow to go to the yarn store to get the yarn for the cousin scarves, mittlets, and nosewarmer. Oh, but there's supposed to be an ice storm. Please God, don't let the yarn store close. That would totally mess up the plan.

5. Basic schedule for next week: work 8-5 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Probably other work Monday and Thursday evenings. Wednesday I'm taking the day off to go Christmas shopping with my cousin in Boston. I'll carry a scarf around to knit while we shop. I'm sure she'll love that. Wednesday night I need to make something for the work potluck on Thursday, but I can knit while I make meatballs, right? Wednesday night is probably around when I'll cut down on sleep, as well. Don't want to do that too early, or the adrenaline will run out.

6. Tuesday evening I have agreed to see a friend. The conversation went something like this:
Friend: We should hang out before Christmas. I have presents and I miss you.
Me: Is hanging out something that can be done while knitting?
Him: Of course. I figured as much.
So hopefully that won't cut into the knitting time too badly.

7. Friday evening is free. Thank goodness. Oh, except for packing for CT. Saturday (Christmas Eve) I'll be working and leaving for CT right from work. Sunday is Christmas and there will be lots of people at my parents' house. Nevertheless, I seem to think I will have a fair amount of knitting time both days.

8. On Christmas, I will be knitting my roommate's scarf, since Christmas Day is one of the very few days on which we won't see each other (as we'll be with our respective families). And he's okay with it being a Boxing Day or New Year's or Epiphany present if necessary.

9. And really, I'm not above giving a few things on the needles and having them done when I see everyone again at New Year's.

10. But. That's only an extra week. This is still quite a lot of knitting, even with the extra week.

Progress reports will appear when possible. Let's hope I can get lots done over the weekend so I don't get too discouraged. Send caffeine and chocolate.

P.S. I was vaguely thinking of a few more nosewarmers for other relatives, "if I have some extra time." The delusion runs deep.

Posted by Kat at 03:41 PM | Comments (2)

December 14, 2005

Random Wednesday ('cause I can)

Yeah, I know, twice in one day. But I had stuff I felt like saying and liked the idea of posting Random Wednesday on Wednesday for once. (It is Wednesday, right? I think?)

1. First, because Lauren asked for it:

The five scarves-in-progress, albeit a bit blurry. The stray needle and brown yarn coming in from the left belong to another scarf-in-progress, but that one is my roommate's, not mine (thank goodness).

2. Tonight was my last class of the semester. We had pizza and wine and cookies and then left early. Really, all classes should be like that.

3. During class, my professor asked me: "Could you make your life any more difficult?" Hah. He doesn't know the half of it.

4. I also discovered that when I e-mailed my final paper to my professor yesterday, I didn't actually, you know, attach the paper. I am so smart.

5. While walking to the train after class I started calculating my Knitting Hours Per Day for the next ten days or so. Let's just say that it's looking rather appalling. Details, and hopefully a Plan, will be forthcoming. Tomorrow. When I'm bored at work.

6. I have decided that Green Day's "Holiday" is what I wanted Franz Ferdinand's second album to be. Not necessarily politically (because Franz Ferdinand is/are British [Scottish?], for one thing), but musically.

7. Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the fatal shooting incident that occurred at my alma mater. Although I was there long afterward and didn't know anyone involved, the reverberations are still felt throughout the tiny community, and I felt I should mention it and that everyone affected is in my thoughts today.

8. On a happier note, it is also my dad's birthday.

9. New Dunkin' Donuts favorite: Vanilla Spice coffee. Yum.

10. I'm dreaming, not of a white Christmas (well that too), but of all the things I will have time to knit after Christmas: the baby Aran, Birch (which was going along swimmingly until I finally had to admit that I should stop on it until after Christmas), Trekking XXL socks, and some sort of freaking head covering, already. I am in New Hampshire. It is cold. I do not seem to own a hat. What I really want is a hooded scarf, but I'm not letting myself think about it yet.

11. It sounds weird, but I have discovered that sleeping in hoodies (yes, with the hood on) is SO cozy. Another thing for which I can blame my roommate. Caffeine, Auden, alcohol, Michael Nava, Six Feet Under, cilantro, sleeping in hoods... what will be next?

12. Since I am home in time to go to bed on time, I should really do so, huh? 'night.

Posted by Kat at 10:35 PM | Comments (3)

Ack ack ack ack ack

See? Told you I'd be panicking soon enough. Christmas is in 11 days. ELEVEN. How did that happen? How? I have several presents started, at least. The majority of them are some variation of "red scarf." I am sick of red. And scarves. And I've thought of several more people for whom I need gifts. And decided that no, if I'm knitting for my dad and brother, I need to knit for my mom too. Especially since she doesn't much like scarves. So. How about a new list?

Projects in Progress
1. Irish Hiking Scarf for Dad. Red. Maybe... 1/6 done? Ish? I haven't even looked at it in weeks.
2. Ribbed scarf for brother. Red. Several inches done.
3. Ribbed scarf for random semi-coworker. Red. About 1/3 done. (Yes, the project on which I have made the most progress is for the person I don't really know. Not that I sabotage myself or anything.)
4. Fun fur scarf for secret santa person. Pink. (Not quite red!) Several inches done.
5. Campus Scarf for roommate. Not red! About 10% done.

Now, you'd think I'd be able to say "enough already" and just concentrate on getting those things done. But, um, apparently not. I am taking 1/4 of a vacation day on Friday to get to the yarn store before it closes to get yarn for the following:

Projects I Have Not Even Started
1. Three pairs of mittlets. (Mom, aunt, other aunt.) None of them will be red.
4. Three scarves. (Cousin, other cousin, godmother/cousin.) Think big needles, novelty yarn, quick quick quick. Also not red.
7. A nosewarmer. Also for godmother/cousin, because she was complaining about her nose being cold the other day. And because it won't take very long, so I can have a feeling of accomplishment.

And, um, yeah, if you look at my creative numbering scheme up there, you will see that I have More. Projects. Than. Days. I just figured that out as I was typing it. And there's no chance I will finish anything today or tomorrow because I won't be home until midnight-ish either night. So. Um. Basically, I need to barricade myself in my apartment this weekend (except that I'm working Saturday 8:45-5) and drink lots of tea and watch lots of DVDs and knit. Oh, except if my roommate wants to go see Brokeback Mountain. That's worth leaving the apartment for. But otherwise... not so much, I'm thinking.

And, of course, I am stuck here at my desk and cannot knit. Torture. If I think about knitting enough, eventually something will start knitting itself, right?

Posted by Kat at 02:10 PM | Comments (1)

December 13, 2005

Don't worry, I'll be panicking soon.

I feel like I'm crawling out from under a rock. I've been MIA for a few days. First, I survived three days with my family with no Internet access (a temporary problem in their neighborhood) or cell phone service (a permanent one). And no knitting, due mostly to a large dog who likes yarn. A lot. Sooo... aaah. Aren't you proud of me for not yelling at anyone or even crying? I know I am.

And then yesterday I got back home and had to finish my final project for my class this semester. It. Is. Done. I mean, I'm not totally satisfied, of course, but it is done enough and I have e-mailed it to my professor so I'm not allowed to think about it anymore. Right? I finished it this morning while making Death by Chocolate for a coworker's birthday. It was sort of a nice combination. I'll have to remember the "assemble elaborate dessert while typing madly" trick for next time.

So... it's done. I have no homework. I barely know what to do with myself. Other than go to work in a few minutes. (I took a half vacation day for the aforementioned baking/typing festival.) And clean my house. And, you know, think about the Christmas knitting I've been ignoring. I need to reread the "It" chapter of Yarn Harlot. But... later. When I get home from work. I'm going to try to focus on the "relief" for a few hours before "panicpanicpanic12daysleftPANICalready" sets in.

Posted by Kat at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)

December 08, 2005

Indisputable Evidence

I've been making a good show of the "oh, there's plenty of time until Christmas" thing. But I can't do it anymore. Because look what has taken up residence in my living room?

Isn't it pretty?

Oh. What's that on the top, you ask? Well. I had no tree topper, and it was looking a little bare. Plus, it's COLD in my apartment. So what do you do when you have someone bareheaded and cold in your house? Think about it for a minute.

Yeah. I thought so. You knit it a hat. It's really only logical.

Posted by Kat at 08:15 PM | Comments (3)

November 25, 2005

Giving thanks

Things I am thankful for this year...

* My family. They may drive me crazy, but I love them and I know they love me and that means a lot.
* My roommate. Not to be overdramatic, but the past year would have been much harder without him.
* My "real life" friends. I seem to have more of them than I think. It's nice.
* Especially the friend I spent Thanksgiving with... she's actually an online friend who seems to be crossing into "real life" territory.
* Which brings me to online friends/bloggers/e-mail lists/etc. Quite thankful for you all as well. (And then of course there's Erica, who also manages to straddle the real/online barrier, to sometimes interesting results...)
* Knitting. It has also done its part in saving my sanity.
* Books/music/movies. In all the relationship drama, I'd sort of... forgotten. Not had the mental energy to read/watch "hard" stuff. And I'd felt like I shouldn't, for various convoluted reasons. But I'm loving getting back to it.
* My job at the bookstore, because I love it.
* My other job, because it provides financial security.
* My lovely apartment, even with the bizarre shower.
* And now we get to the hard-to-define part... it has been an incredibly hard few months, and I can't really say I'm thankful for getting my heart ripped into a million pieces, but I am thankful for how it has made me take stock and think about who I am and what I want and how everything in my life was wrong. Um, I seem to be failing with the "positive spin" concept here. Sorry. But... I guess I'm trying to say that, even though I'm still fairly miserable a lot of the time, at least I'm getting better at letting me be myself. And that deserves thanksgiving.

Posted by Kat at 12:14 AM | Comments (1)

November 21, 2005

Things I Have Learned in the Past Few Days

1. Six Feet Under + Birch = up until almost two am. Yeah. Bad combination. By which I mean "extremely fun and wonderful." At least I didn't have to be up early the next morning.

2. When my apartment is 49 degrees, it is pretty difficult to get out of bed.

3. Knit.1 seems to have a gift for writing simple patterns in the Most Confusing Way Possible.

4. On Friday afternoon, my roommate had to go to a meeting that might have coincided with our free snacks here at work, so I was to grab a snack for him. I realized that I'd be more confident in ordering for him at a decent restaurant than I was picking out a candy bar for him. Does this make us snobs, or just adults? I'm not sure.

5. It is, in fact, possible to talk on the phone while rolling very hot cookies in powdered sugar. Just in case you were wondering.

6. Sometimes those "Oh yeah, this IS my real life" moments actually help. Yesterday I was trying to simultaneously bake cookies and write my novel, and feeling vaguely annoyed at the situation. And then I realized that, if all goes according to plan, I will be writing novels while baking cookies for the rest of my life. (Well, eventually it would be nice if I didn't also have two jobs and school to keep up with while writing novels and baking cookies, and then maybe I could have enough time to give the writing a break and concentrate on baking for a few hours. But really, no guarantees.) And, somehow, once I realized that this was it, the writing got much easier.

7. A radio station that replaces its DJs with recorded messages about how they no longer have DJs to talk too much is, in fact, more annoying than the stations that actually do have DJs that talk too much.

8. I want to be Meg Cabot when I grow up.

Posted by Kat at 01:41 PM

November 14, 2005

Welcome to the fold...

Let's have a round of applause! The roommate has finished his first knitting project:

Adorable, no? I have concluded that my bear needs a scarf too.

(By the way, Aloysius is the name of the roommate's bear, not the roommate himself. And my bear, nee Snowflake, has become Watson. It seems to fit him better.)

So really, I think someone should sell learn to knit kits that include this bear. (With, perhaps, a storybook involving the bear himself knitting? Oh, the possibilities for cuteness are overwhelming...) Because the roommate had been working on a scarf for himself (that will, by the way, match the bear's scarf) on and off for a month now with interest but no particular enthusiasm. And then he got Aloysius and needed to knit him a scarf RIGHT NOW. And he's already talking about his next project. I'm telling you, it's a surefire method.

Posted by Kat at 04:53 PM | Comments (3)

November 13, 2005

Just to keep me humble

So many of you have commented on the loveliness of the pictures my roommate took of the cider/yarn incident last weekend. Well, we have now determined that he can also take better pictures of his own hand than I can take of him. Yeah. It's great for my self-esteem, really it is.

Anyway, here are the mittlets I made him in my ongoing effort to avoid turning on the heat in our apartment:

You can see the nifty thumb shaping in that one. The pattern is the one from the Elegant Ewe. There are lots of variations, and it's quite fun. A few more:

Yeah, we thought that one looked a bit odd, but I figured I'd post it anyway.

And, just because it's totally adorable:

The roommate with his new best friend. And, yes, wearing his mittlets. I introduced them and it was love at first sight. Of course, I wasn't willing to give up my adorable bear, so we now have two of these bears in the house1. Mine is named Snowflake, which is the name he came with; the roommate's is Aloysius. He is currently knitting Aloysius a scarf, because Aloysius is cold. Really, you have not seen cuteness until you have seen a grown man knitting a scarf for his teddy bear.

1 You, too, can have a Snowflake bear of your very own: he's from Borders/Borders Express, $7.99 with a $30 purchase. And his is THE VERY BEST SOFTEST bear I have ever met. I love these bears. You need one. Really.

Posted by Kat at 04:32 PM | Comments (1)

November 09, 2005

Random Wednesday

(Yes, we had Random Kat Facts just last night, but that's a different kind of randomness. This is the "Here are twenty things I've been meaning to tell you but didn't have the time/energy/inspiration to write a whole post on" sort of randomness.)

1. If you would like a link to get a coupon for "Friends and Family Weekend" at Borders - 20% off now through Monday, I believe - let me know.

2. I'm feeling cautiously optimistic about the election results. Yay New Jersey and Virginia and Maine. Boo Texas.

3. Whoever decided to play "Saturday in the Park" (you know, the "every day's the fourth of July" one) right when the majority of listeners would be headed to work on one of the coldest days yet this autumn really should not be a DJ. (Or computers shouldn't be picking out music. Whatever.) That said, it did make me smile and it's a good one to sing along with. Can you dig it? Yes I can! (Of course, listening to "My Immortal" next didn't exactly do wonders for my mood, but who can resist the line "Your voice, it chased away all the sanity in me"? Yeah, I'll be listening to that the rest of the day...)

4. I finally finished the school assignment that had been hanging over my head being impossible for two weeks. Turns out I was making it far harder than it actually should have been. (What, you, Kat? Making something hard for yourself? Really? Shut up.) I'm ridiculously excited about it being done.

5. I'm also ridiculously excited about the fact that I'm wearing my "skinny jeans" that haven't fit in about a year. Whee!

6. Novel? What novel? No, really, it's... coming. I'm a bit behind but not irreparably so. As I said to my roommate this morning, I have nothing planned this weekend other than working all day Saturday (yes, he laughed), so I'm hoping to get a few good sessions in and get ahead.

7. Meg Cabot blogs! I somehow just learned this last night. Happiness ensued. (I know what I'll be doing during my down time at work today...)

8. I took a vacation day yesterday and Erica and I headed out for a day of excitement involving Harrisville, the Woolery, and crazy fundamentalist pizza. I'll let her tell you her big news herself, but let's just say that she picked me up at nine and by noon we'd managed to spend about $500 between us. And that was before the Woolery.

9. At Harrisville, I found a copy of Knitting Fair Isle Mittens & Gloves: 40 Great-Looking Designs by Carole Rasmussen Noble. A friend, with whom I had never before discussed porn of any sort (I don't think), recently told me that this was one of his "favorite books of knitting porn." It's out of print, and I didn't want to order an expensive used copy sight unseen, but there it was in the bookcase at Harrisville! And - yes. My friend was absolutely right. (And yes, I have started a glove.)

10. I may have also started the Irish Diamond Shawl from Folk Shawls: 25 Knitting Patterns and Tales from Around the World1 in Harrisville Shetland in Evergreen2. I bought the "weaving" version of the yarn, on the cone, because it was a fraction of the price (and it's what the pattern called for, technically). I'll let you know how it goes.

12. I finally went to an orchard and got local apples, unpasteurized cider, and cider doughnuts yesterday. Yum.

13. Okay, my computer here at work is freaking out, so I think it's time for some quality time with AdAware.

14. But I don't want to jinx my bad mood by leaving off on number 13, so let me just mention how annoyed I am that my online registration for next semester is at 5 pm on Saturday. Because that is clearly the best time for everyone to be at their computers. (I get out of work at five, so I'll be at least a half hour late and probably not get my first choice of classes. Bah.)

1 Am I going crazy, or does my copy have a different cover than the one Amazon shows? Hmm. Check your copy. What's on the cover?
2 They have three million about ten shades of green, so I'm not sure if the picture of Wendy's I linked above is in the same color, but it's close.

Posted by Kat at 09:42 AM | Comments (3)

November 07, 2005

Dear readers: Need advice.

So. Humor me for a minute and imagine a hypothetical scenario, okay?

You are a manager at one of a big chain of stores. Someone who works at the sister store up the street stops by to see your new paint job, and you end up talking for a while. (You've met her once before, briefly, at the other store.) Somehow the conversation turns to Christmas shopping and she mentions that she's planning to knit most of the gifts she gives this year. (Shut UP. I said this was hypothetical.) You jokingly describe a scarf you'd been wanting.

If said scarf were to actually appear sometime around Christmas, would this be a fun surprise or just creepy? (Erica? Would interstore mail be a possibility, a la the socks? We could start a trend...)

Yes, I know I'm skewing the sample a bit by asking a group primarily composed of knitters. But I asked a group of non-knitters (yes, I do know a few) and, while they concluded that no, it was not creepy, they also all said things like "So are you trying to hit on this guy?" and "Is he cute?" And no, that hadn't even occurred to me. But yes, I guess he is cute, although I wasn't really paying attention to that at the time. He did seem nice and smart and fun to talk to.

So, basically, the non-knitters said to go for it, but be aware that it could come across as flirtatious. I suppose my question for you, dear readers, is threefold.
1. Good idea or bad idea in general?
2. Are random acts of knitting inherently flirtatious?1
3. If it looks like a go... any suggestions on a reasonably priced yarn that comes close to the L.L. Bean color claret red?2

(Yes, I realize Erica, who also works at my store, will now undoubtedly proceed to tell me that she knows this guy and he's married or obnoxious or a psychopath or something. But psychopaths need scarves too, right?)

1 And after reading Juno's post today, I sort of also have to wonder whether that would necessarily have to be a bad thing.
2 It will probably show you a blue coat, but you can click the little "claret red" box to see the color bigger.

Posted by Kat at 01:33 PM | Comments (7)

November 05, 2005

Warning: Harder than it looks.

The warning label on the bottle of cider my roommate and I split last night:

In case you can't read it, it warns against "operating machinery" in conjunction with this product.

Now, would you think that "umbrella swift" would count as "machinery" in this context? It does! Who knew?

Yeah. I was rather impressed with myself, really. "Winding yarn" has been added to the list of things I'm not allowed to do when there's been any alcohol involved in the evening. My roommate, of his own volition, took the pictures for the blog before he sent me to bed. He clearly understands the priorities around here. A few more, because they're actually kind of pretty:

I especially like that last one. (As always, click to make big.) He has potential as a wool porn photographer, don't you think?

For the record, I really didn't drink that much. It was a 750ml bottle (7.5% alcohol; less than wine has) split between two people - the cork wouldn't go back in, so obviously we had to finish it. It's just that my body isn't exactly used to, well, any alcohol at all. My roommate, for whom the cider was "like soda," was rather amused by my reaction. (I was pretty dizzy.)

The culprit, if you're curious:

You can learn about it here. It was very good - the alcoholic beverage I have liked the best, by far, of the half dozen or so that I've tried. It looks like it's only available locally, but I highly recommend it to you NH/MA/ME people. Just not when you have urgent ball-winding to do.

Posted by Kat at 10:06 PM | Comments (5)

October 30, 2005

Random Sunday

Because randomness can happen any day of the week, right?

1. Something strikes me a bit wrong about Weight Watchers sponsoring a figure skating event. Let's see, how many ways can they find to screw up American women's body image all at once? It's multi-tasking!
2. That said, boy, are there some pretty boys in skating. I've decided that Evan Lysacek is my new favorite. (And when I was finding his Web site, I realized how young he is. Eek.) But no, I like him for reasons other than his looks... he's one of the few skaters I've seen recently who really seems like he is a) paying attention to his music and b) having fun. Whee. Can't wait for the Olympics!
3. You know the "shoemakers' wives go barefoot, and doctors' wives die young" proverb? (No? Well, honestly, I only know of it through Anne's House of Dreams, but I figure Gilbert is a decent authority for this sort of thing.) In any case, it seems that a little-known corollary, at least in this house, is that knitters get hypothermia. At college, I was known for always walking around knitting things in the dead of winter but never actually wearing any of the hats or scarves or anything I made. Apparently the habit has stuck with me; when the cold weather hit last week, I couldn't find a single hat or scarf or mitten. All I found were my leather driving gloves. So. This must be remedied, especially as my roommate and I are playing the "heat game"; I seem to feel that if I can knit us enough warm stuff, we can keep the heat off indefinitely. His fingerless mitts will be done tonight and then I'll start on a hat for myself. Pictures soon.
4. I tried to make myself a grilled cheese sandwich and failed rather spectacularly. A freaking grilled cheese sandwich. Since I am, in general, considered to be a darned decent cook, I have logically concluded that the cause of my sudden culinary failure is the fact that I seem to be considering an advanced degree1 and maybe even a career in academia. (Yeah, I was surprised too.) The fates are reminding me that no, in fact, I can't have it all! Didn't they notice how I kindly conformed to traditional gender roles and let my roommate take out the trash the other day? (He said he needed to assert his manliness somehow.)
5. Have you read Michael Nava? No? What are you waiting for? I started with the last of the series, Rag and Bone, and absolutely loved it; I'm now tearing through the series from the beginning. Fascinating main character, insteresting mysteries, bittersweet romance. What more could you want?
6. Thanks to everyone who answered my questions (especially Cate, who has gone above and beyond) and expressed their support for my novel. I can start writing in 27 hours and 24 minutes! Not that I'm counting...

1 In this context, an "advanced degree" means a Ph.D. in something more strictly academic; I am currently in an MLS program but I see that more as professional training. (And really, it's about the most ladylike degree you can get, so the fates aren't interfering. They realize that spinsters need a way to support themselves. Isn't that why libraries were invented, anyway?)

Posted by Kat at 08:37 PM

October 26, 2005


The baby blanket! The mind-numbing, soul-sucking, endless gorram baby blanket1 is done. And it's pretty, too. (No pictures at the moment, because my ISP was down last night and so I'm writing this from my work computer.)

I finished the border and cast off while watching the pilot of Six Feet Under on DVD from Netflix.2 So now all that needs to happen is weaving in the ends, packing it up, and sending it to Texas. If anyone talks to Princess Aaralyn, tell her it's almost there.

1 My feelings about the blanket are not in any way reflective of my feelings about the baby (who is adorable) or her mommy (who is a great friend). Just so that's clear.
2 I watched the whole disc (three episodes) because I was that quickly addicted. I highly recommend it, if you ever have the chance to see it. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but it was very different from and much better than whatever I had anticipated.

Posted by Kat at 11:02 AM | Comments (3)

October 24, 2005

So close.

So I had a very "almost" sort of day yesterday. Shall we review the day's goals?

1. Sleep late. Sort of. I woke up right at seven but managed to doze for a few hours. So... almost.

2. Clean room. More or less. I cleaned, which is not to say that the room is clean. But it is firmly in the "better" category. I got a bunch of boxes and such moved, so it's probably cleaner than it's been since I moved all my stuff in. But it's far, far from done. And I still have not found the heating vents... think they might be in the corner with all the yarn? Yeah, I thought you might.

3. Do homework. Mostly. I did my whole big project due Wednesday. I also have to read and respond to an article - I read about half the article. So I have a bit more to do. But the big thing I was worried about was done. So... almost.

And finally...

4. Finish the baby blanket. Almost. I am so, so very close. I have to knit about four rows, cast off, weave in the ends, and send it to Texas. So so close. I won't be getting home until midnight tonight, but I should be able to finish it tomorrow. Finally. And then I can knit, you know, something else. Really, at this point... anything else would do.

Posted by Kat at 04:34 PM | Comments (2)

October 22, 2005

The bad place.

One of my new blog addictions, a little pregnant, has a category of entries that she calls "Welcome to the bad place. Population: You." I have been, um, rather enamored of this category name recently, because it seems to fit how I've been feeling so very very well. (I am also wishing I had some more interesting category names, especially now that I'm writing more personal stuff. Hmm. Perhaps a project for tomorrow. Because I have, you know, so much time.)

Anyway. The bad place. I feel like I've been getting rather familiar with it the past week or so. Let's just say that, if I were to take one of those "Which Serenity character are you?" quizzes, I would not be the least bit surprised to get a resounding answer of "River." Why? That's not so clear. I mean, I'm not the most happy-go-lucky person to start with, certainly. And a lot of it is the break up. Yes, it's been two months or so, but you don't get over five years in two months. And yes, I was doing very well for a while. But now I'm doing not so well, which is probably good, because it means I'm not suppressing my emotions as much. It's not that I'm pining and wanting him back (most of the time), so that's good, at least. I'm just still dealing with the fallout.

The fallout, more particularly, is a sort of identity crisis. An old college friend recently said, mostly joking (I think), "I don't even know who you are anymore." It sort of hurt. But. There it is.

I don't even know who the heck I am anymore.

Welcome to the bad place, indeed.

Now that I'm here, though, and I've recognized I'm here, it's sort of comforting. The eye of the storm, perhaps. I am letting myself be sad, happy, insane, miserable, euphoric, distracted, scattered, and obsessed as I need - or all at once. I am not doing the "la la la it's all great" thing because, well, it isn't. I am letting myself think about who I am, what I want, and what I don't want. I am letting myself think about the past, and the future. (And, of course, Thanksgiving.) I am, periodically, trying as hard as I can to Just Stop Thinking. Oh yeah, it's been fun.

At the moment, though, I'm feeling pretty stable. I spent the evening eating Indian food at a new (to me) restaurant and then sitting around the living room drinking wine and listening to music with my roommate. I'm actually feeling slightly relaxed for once. (Don't worry, I'm sure I'll wake up stressed.) My aunt was supposed to visit this weekend, but she wasn't feeling well and decided to stay home. Now, I am sorry that I won't get to see her, but I am not terribly upset about the prospect of an unexpected free day.

So, my new and improved plan for tomorrow:
1. Sleep as late as possible.
2. Madly clean room.
3. Do homework.
4. Finish the gorram baby blanket.

I have made a deal with myself that as soon as I finish the blanket, I can knit whatever I darn well please. For a while, at least. So watch for a severe case of knitting ADD with a side order of existential angst, coming soon to a blog near you!

Posted by Kat at 11:10 PM | Comments (2)

October 18, 2005

Books and knitting and cake, oh my!

So who's going to Willow Books tonight for the book launch party? I'll be watching for Kristen... anyone else? I'll be the short girl with long brown hair wearing a burgundy velour dress (um, it's not as fancy as it sounds, really) and kitty shoes. Perhaps a better distinguishing characteristic for this particular event is that I'll be with my roommate, who will most likely be one of the relatively few men there. Tallish, dark blond hair and beard, burgundy sweater. (No, we didn't plan the matching color thing.) If you see us, say hi! And leave a comment so I know to look for you.

Posted by Kat at 10:15 AM | Comments (2)

October 14, 2005

I lost.

So remember the baby blanket I've been working on? The endless one? A while ago (last week maybe?) the intended recipient suggested that we race to see who could accomplish her objective first: me to finish the blanket, her to have the baby. Well, I lost. A gorgeous baby girl came into the world last night. Congratulations to her parents and brothers and whole family!

So, well, this means I have to hurry up already with the blanket. It's about 75% done. I think. I'm fighting the urge to just call it "done enough" at the end of the next repeat and do the border and cast off and send it along. But I think it will be better if I keep going. Right?

At this point, I am very much looking forward to finishing the blanket because I have so many other things I want to be working on. I have realized that, honestly, one of the things causing stress in my life is my number of WIPs and the size of my stash. I feel like my knitting, along with everything else, is out of control. I also feel guilty whenever I buy yarn because I have so much. So... yeah. I'm not proposing a yarn diet or anything crazy like that, but I think that once Christmas knitting is under control, I will start focusing on finishing up some old stuff. Anyone want to join me?

Posted by Kat at 04:55 PM | Comments (3)

October 10, 2005

Ta-da List

I discovered a fun little service this morning (thanks Ais!): Ta-da List. I have five lists so far: a running shopping list, a To Do list, books I'm in the middle of, books I've finished this month (so I remember them all for my "October Books" post), and current knitting WIPs. One nifty feature is that you can choose to make any or all of your lists public, so, if you'd like, take a look at my Knitting WIPs. (I'll probably get the link in the sidebar here eventually.) I must say, though, that those are certainly not ALL the projects I have in progress. They're just the ones that came to mind. I'll add other things as I come across/work on them.

Posted by Kat at 01:26 PM | Comments (1)

October 09, 2005

Crazy idea

Plans are in the works (as of about two minutes ago, honestly) for Kat's First Annual Pre-Holiday Knitting Slumber Party. The idea is that we all (er, most of us) go crazy with the holiday knitting, so why not make a party out of it? If you're going to be pulling knitting all-nighters, wouldn't it be better with friends? The basic idea is to take just a quick break from family and holiday craziness in early to mid-December and have a night of knitting, talking, watching movies, and eating junk food (or healthy food if you prefer).

If you're in the area (southern NH, but there's no reason you couldn't drive here from MA or even the greater New England area), would you be interested? (I can't guarantee a completely open invitation because my apartment isn't huge, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.) If you're not in the area, do you have any suggestions for such a party? And would you be interested in some sort of virtual component (a chat, or all picking a night and blogging about it, or something)? I'm still at the brainstorming stage here, so let me know any thoughts/ideas.

Posted by Kat at 11:18 PM | Comments (3)

September 30, 2005

Boston Knit-Out

(I know, I know. Two entries in one day. What can I say; it's Friday and I'm at work and bored.)

So who's going to the Boston Knit-Out on Sunday? Carole and Folkcat, I know, and maybe Julia? Anyway. I am looking forward to it; I'll be there with Erica, who is, in fact, going. (I'm not above bribing her with a vanilla latte and a Sunday Times to read in the car if she tries to back out.)

If you're there, come say hi. I'll be the short girl with long brown hair and glasses, wearing Kitty Shoes. If you say hi and mention my blog, I might even give you a little present.

Posted by Kat at 03:24 PM | Comments (3)

September 28, 2005

88 Days

88. That's how many Knitting Days Until Christmas remain. (Just for clarity: I did count today and did not count Christmas Day.) Is it just me, or does that seem like a ridiculously small number? And I think I have eleven people to knit for (three immediate family, five other family, two friends... hm, that's ten. Oh, wait, I have yarn for a scarf for another friend, so that's eleven), coincidentally enough. That means that, in order to finish the last project on Christmas Eve, I should be finishing one thing every eight days. Um, yeah. Right.

I am getting just a wee bit alarmed here. Partially because in my every-eight-days thing, the unending baby blanket (for a rather imminent little princess) and Birch (for me, but I want it done by November 1) were not even counted at all. Ack ack ack.

Okay, let's be sensible here. Let's break this down into a few subsets. With different levels of goals. And rewards. All that good stuff. As always, read on if you're not a member of my family or a close offline friend.

I think I'm going to randomly assign some goals, just to have them there. I'll try to somewhat alternate easy and hard, but leave the most complex things for toward the end as I'll be working on them in bits the whole time. And I think "most complex" at this point is the Campus Scarf, Orenburg-Style Scarf, and Baltic Sea Stole. I think I will set goals for Sundays, as I tend to get most of my knitting time on the weekends. The most mindless projects will be set for November, as I'll be doing my knitting while writing.

October: Finish non-holiday projects and get some easy stuff out of the way.
10/2: Boring Baby Blanket
10/9: Irish Hiking Scarf
10/16: State Dishcloths
10/23: Jayne Hat
10/30: Birch

November: It's all about scarves, baby.
11/6: Scarf for Godmother
11/13: Scarf for Godmother's Sister
11/20: Pink Ribbon Scarf
11/27: Red Ribbed Scarf

December: Insanity sets in.
12/4: Hat for Aunt
12/11: Campus Scarf
12/18: Orenburg-Style Scarf
12/24: Baltic Sea Stole

Ummmm. May I go running in the other direction now? No, really, this is doable... right?

Posted by Kat at 01:09 PM | Comments (4)

September 26, 2005

Go dial this number, and tell me how to get to Rhinebeck. Please.

877-SOS-KNIT. No, really. (It's toll free, so you have no excuse.) I'll wait.

Now, didn't that just make your evening? And it's quite appropriate after my post yesterday... sigh. I think I may appreciate it more having met Stephanie a few times. It's just so... her. In that wonderfully dorky way. Hah. You have no idea how much better I am feeling now. (Not that I was feeling particularly bad, just a bit... blah.)

The blanket is eking along. We won't discuss the few stabbing pains in my wrist today; they must be from typing at work and not from knitting or typing at home, right?

At the moment I'm waffling about Rhinebeck. Should I go? Where should I stay? Can I afford it? Et cetera. At the moment, the best (i.e. least amount of insane driving and no paying for accomodations) plan I've come up with it to drive to my parents' house in CT after work Friday (3 hours), go to Rhinebeck for the day from there on Saturday (2 hours each way), and drive back to NH on Sunday (3 hours). Doable, but lots of driving. And I'd only have the one day at Rhinebeck, which might be enough, but then... enough? What does that mean in this context? Anyway, back to the plan. Anyone have any better ideas? (Or if anyone closer had a couch or space for a sleeping bag, I'd be happy to barter some fiber or NH maple syrup or a homemade genuine Italian meal or something for a place to crash...) I haven't been to a festival since I started spinning. Also, let me know if you're going and want to meet up (if I end up getting there). It would be sad to go all that way only to feel like a lonely dork with no friends (which is, admittedly, how I feel much of the time).

Umm, didn't mean to make that into a downer. Next time I have to knit all day to finish an endless baby blanket, remind me not to watch eight hours right in a row of movies about people dying of AIDS, okay? It was a little much for one day.

Posted by Kat at 09:40 PM | Comments (2)

September 25, 2005

Phase Two

So I feel I am making sufficient progress on the endless baby blanket to start thinking about other things, if not actually knitting them. (Want to see? Click here if you're not Aaralyn's mommy.) I knit all day today, which watching Angels in America and In America. Both were very good, and I'd definitely recommend them. Anyway, the blanket is going decently, and if I finish this ball of yarn tonight I get to start the RCP (roommate Christmas present).

Now that I have time to think about other projects, I believe I have moved into Phase Two of holiday knitting, according to the schema presented in Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter. I'm going to put my list here... read on if you're not expecting to be in, say, the top ten people on my Christmas list. (And no online friends are on the knitted gifts list at this point, if that makes it easier. It's basically all family with two exceptions.)

I'm concentrating on close family and roommate first, then maybe a few friends. So, the list so far:

1. Mom: Orenburg-Style Scarf. Started it last fall but didn't get very far.
2. Dad: Irish Hiking Scarf in red Harrisville New England Highland. I think I'm going to make four cables across instead of three, though.
3. Brother: Bright red scarf. (That and the Dad one are what I've been calling the Stupid Bright Red Scarves. The reason for them is that red is my brother's football team's color.) I have the yarn (Classic Elite Princess), but I'm not totally sure of the pattern yet... ribbed? Hmm. What would a 15-year-old boy find sufficiently cool?
4. Aunt: Baltic Sea Stole, started a few months ago. You can see my last post on it here - it hasn't gotten much farther than that yet.
5. Godmother: probably a scarf. No further plan yet.
6. Grandparents: State Dishcloths for the states where they, their kids, and grandkids live. (FL, CT, OH, NH) Yes, I planned to do this last year, but didn't get there.
7. Roommate: Campus Scarf
8. Friend (ex-boyfriend, actually): not sure, but thinking a hat. Was planning a vest, but he's, um, dropped a bit on my Christmas gift priority list. I assume that's understandable.

So. That's all, um, sane and reasonable and doable, right?

Posted by Kat at 09:10 PM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2005

Joining the Trek.

So at the Sheep Shack on Thursday I did not buy any Trekking. Just for the record. I did, however, hold some so I would not be the odd one out in the picture. And I liked it. A lot. But I put it back on the shelf like a good girl, as I was already buying ridiculous amounts of bright red yarn for the Stupid Bright Red Scarves. (I think it's a very good sign that I started calling them that the day I bought the yarn, don't you?)

But then... Stephanie posted the picture on her blog. (I know, really. What did I think she was going to do with it?) And I started feeling a little guilty. And remorseful. There I was, holding the lovely Trekking for everyone to see, but I didn't really have any. I felt like a fraud. A Trekking-less fraud. By the time I happened to stop by my LYS today, it was just about unbearable. So.

Isn't it pretty? I, um, justified it with the fact that it looks like it will be cute with my new kitty shoes. So now . . . what do I do with it? I mean, I know: knit socks. I understand that much. But . . . patterns? (I'm thinking I want to use size 1 needles.) Help? Steph? Cate? Anyone?

The real reason I went to the yarn store is because my roommate is away for the week, so it seemed like a good time to start on his Christmas present. (Yes, I have to finish the baby blanket first. Shush.) Click here if you don't live with me. I am not particularly looking forward to weaving in all those ends, but he's a pretty amazing guy, and he deserves it. (By the way, there were at least six total strangers [and a dog] standing in my driveway while I carefully posed the yarn and took the pictures. That should get me some Real Knitter points, right? Of course, because this is New Hampshire, they didn't say anything, but I'm sure they thought I was totally insane.)

At the store, I ran into Folkcat. Here's the obligatory blogging-you-blogging-me photo:

And one of us together, taken by her husband Gryphon:

He also took one of us knitting together, but apparently we both had rather unfortunate facial expressions at that moment, so you don't need to see it. Really. Anyway, it was great running into them - such fun encountering a blogger around town!

Posted by Kat at 10:55 PM | Comments (1)

September 23, 2005

Exactly What I Needed

First of all, my sky for Sandy, taken when I got home from work today. (I see the winner has already been picked, but I'm going to post it anyway because I like the picture.)

Last night I headed to the Sheep Shack for Stephanie's book signing:

It was great. A lovely store - I'd never been there before. I had been to one other of Steph's events, but this one was smaller and more fun. I got my book signed, got yarn for my dad's and brother's Christmas presents, and hung out with some fun bloggers - and Steph herself, after most of the crowd had dissipated. Here she is after the event, blogging us as we blogged her:

(We discovered that Steph and I have the same dorky camera. It was rather exciting.)

That picture was taken shortly after Steph and the other bloggers linked above performed a yarn exorcism for me. I can now return to work on Birch - Steph, Cate, Julie, and Carole touching the WIP has gotten rid of the ex-boyfriend taint. (Oh yeah, ex-boyfriend. I guess I didn't really mention that here. That's the personal yuckiness I wasn't wanting to talk about. E-mail me or leave a comment if you want details - I don't mind talking about it, just don't want to do so in a public setting.) Anyway. He picked the color of the yarn crack Kid Silk Haze about two hours before what amounted to the "let's just be friends" conversation, so I was feeling an emotional block about knitting it. But now, really, it has been exorcised and I can knit it.

Anyway, I was thrilled to be included in the group (I'm afraid I sort of latched on to Cate because we share a rather unusual alma mater), as I tend to feel really awkward in social situations like that. But I got over my shyness and had a great time, and I think a night out with knitting and new friends was exactly what I needed in my difficult week.

Posted by Kat at 07:24 PM | Comments (3)

September 14, 2005

September 23, my foot.

So I placed an order with Amazon on Sunday for my textbook this semester (the justification) and, more interestingly, Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter. Because I am cheap frugal, I chose their "We'll ship it for free but it'll be by horseback and take three months" shipping. It shipped yesterday, and they told me it would probably be here on September 23.

Guess what was here when I got home from class tonight?

Not that I'm complaining, of course. I am quite excited. (I am trying to convince myself not to stay up all night reading.) But really. Why tell me it will take 12 days when in fact it will take three? They had me all worried, since I'm going to one of Stephanie's book signings on the 22nd, and according to Amazon, my book would not be here for her to sign. (Yes, I know I could have bought another, but that's not the point.) Anyway. Free three-day shipping. Yipeee!

Okay, off to read sleep.

Posted by Kat at 11:18 PM | Comments (2)

August 24, 2005

Must knit.

You know that whole "Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises" thing? It seems to actually work. I mean, not that I didn't believe it, but I hadn't really tested it out in quite this way. But it works. I can barely eat or sleep; I can't seem to concentrate on books or magazines or even long Web sites. But I can knit. So I am knitting. Lots. Some random knitting observations:

1. I am still infatuated with Birch, although I am considering ripping out and restarting on smaller needles. It's kinda loose, and I have heard rumors of people running out of yarn. Ack. Opinions?

2. Small shoes. Stephanie's right; they're the answer to everything. I bought yarn yesterday and will start some from the magical small shoes book.

3. The boring baby blanket. I want to make one, but am having trouble finding machine washable light worsted cotton that will not cost $100 to get 840m of the stuff. I love the baby (and, more to the point, the mother) but can't justify spending that much. I was thinking more in the $30 range. Maybe $50. Suggestions? I got an acrylic somethingerother but am not thrilled with it. (Although it will make fine hats/mittens for generic holiday gifts.)

4. Given the three items above, I must say: am I the only one who thinks that Stephanie's next book should be some sort of lifetime knitting plan? You know, like those "what to read to be well read" books. With much more room for scatterbrainedness. Wouldn't that be fun?

5. What is with companies stopping putting yardage on yarn labels? This seems to be an alarming trend. How am I supposed to know how many skeins I need?

Posted by Kat at 03:29 PM | Comments (3)

August 20, 2005

Well, at least I have knitting...

Some personal stuff has come up that I can't/don't want to write about here. I'm not sure how much energy/inclination I'm going to have for posting here in the foreseeable future--I'm doing a lot of writing in my personal diary, etc. I'll make sure to at least still post an interesting link or snippet of something every few days, but I'm not sure how much of me will be in my posts, if that makes sense.

I do have one decent weapon for dealing with the current crisis. I visited my former LYS today to check on yarn I'd ordered about a year ago. It was here, finally! Of course, I no longer work for the person I'd intended to knit the sweater for, so I'm not sure what to do. Any ideas for six skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky in dark charcoal?

In any case, I figured I might as well ask, you know, since I was there...

Kat: You don't have any Kid Silk Haze, do you?
LYSO: Of course. It's in the baby buggy.
(Of course! A whole baby buggy of it. How silly of me.)
Kat: And, um, Rowan books? The ones with the numbers?
LYSO: Right over here. Which one did you want?
Kat: Um. 34, I think?

So. I'm going to go cast on 299 stitches in an effort to retain my sanity. Um, right.

Posted by Kat at 04:03 PM | Comments (3)

August 04, 2005

I'll stick with pen and paper, thanks.

The various fiber lists seem to be in ecstasy over the "KnitWit" automatic stitch/row counter featured on CNN.com. And, apparently, "knitting enthusiast Web loggers from all over the world, including in the U.S., France and Japan, have given her idea the thumbs up." Well, um, sorry, not this one.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love gadgets and little electronic things. I do geeky stuff for a living, more or less. And I recognize that it's a nifty idea. Fun. Cute, even.

But would I want to actually knit with it? No way. Several reasons:

1. I am skeptical as to its accuracy, especially for things like lace and cables. And what about when you put your knitting down and pick it up again? I don't know. It seems sort of like a pedometer--lots of room for error. I'm not sure I'd trust it, and then I'd be double counting all the time, and that wouldn't save much time.

2. It's built into the needles. That means you'd have to buy all new needles. And like whatever needle they happened to use. Which doesn't look like bamboo or wood. Nope, it doesn't.

3. What about DPNs? Circulars? Not sure how it would work with those.

4. Honestly? While I love gadgets in general, I'm not so big on knitting gadgets. I think it's a kind of balance--I spend all day on the computer, so when I'm knitting, I'll take real wool and wooden needles, thanks. I don't even like the clicky row counters. I find I do better marking rows off on a piece of paper.

So. Nothing against it at all, I just feel like the enthusiasm of knitters is being overestimated and I wanted to temper it a bit. Nifty, if perhaps impractical, school project idea, but certainly not the best thing since sliced bread. This is one bandwagon I don't expect to be jumping on any time soon.

Posted by Kat at 01:59 PM | Comments (3)

August 03, 2005

Fear of Finishing

(The New York entry will be coming, I promise. It's just rather long and labor-instensive and I'm tired. And besides, I felt like writing this tonight instead.)

I knit a lot. Not as much as many bloggers, perhaps, but still. A lot. And the amount has been increasing, I believe. But there's something odd going on. Even as I'm knitting more, I'm not coming up with any more finished projects. What's going on?

Basically, the problem is this: I seem to be afraid of finishing things. I also think there are two aspects to this. On the more obvious level, it's the actual finishing process itself. I've gotten better at seams, but they're still far from my favorite thing in the world. And blocking? I've never done it. It terrifies me. I finally have some space, though, so I'm willing to learn. Basically, I think I could get past the technical issues if I could get past the pyschological ones.

I've realized that I've somehow gotten it into my head that I should make projects last as long as possible. I think this is a holdover from when I first really got into knitting, in college. For the first few years, I had little money and no regular transportation to yarn sources. This meant that I tried to make sure projects stretched out long enough so that I wouldn't run out before I could buy more yarn. And I think, on some level, the feeling stuck.

Even now, I find myself thinking things like "I'd better slow down so I don't finish this too soon." Ummm, what? I have way too many projects started. I have tons of yarn waiting to be knitted. I have (mostly) reliable transportation and enough money to buy yarn more or less whenever I want. (Within moderation, of course.) I clearly have no reason to want to prolong projects, and every reason to want to finish them.

So. Now that I've realized all this, will I be able to do anything about it? I'm certainly going to try. And Alison says fall is for finishing, so maybe there's hope.

Posted by Kat at 06:32 PM | Comments (3)

July 26, 2005

Flashback bandwagon

As I was reading Stephanie's flashback post about her trip to NYC, I realized I'd never posted pictures of meeting her in Boston. And it's a busy week with little knitting or photography time, so it's a good time for a flashback post. (Thanks to Jessica for the photo.)

It was a lovely evening; I'd love to go back to Circles some time with a few hundred fewer people so I can see more of the yarn. Stephanie was great, as you'd expect. Almost exactly how I expected, at least. (Not less great, just a bit different.) I met Jessica and Kat and lots of other lovely people whose URLs I didn't catch. (We should all get t-shirts with our names and URLs, I think.) Oh, and there was yummy food, too!

Posted by Kat at 04:52 PM

July 23, 2005

Feeling wavy

There's not much to see yet, but here's the Baltic Sea Stole:

I've done the border and half a repeat (although the picture was taken a few rows ago). Yes, my stash/WIPs have finally caught on to the fact that some people's projects get their pictures taken outside, with foliage. I have been threatened with tangles and dropped stitches if I do not do likewise.

I don't mind, though, because . . . this project. I love it. The yarn. Oh my goodness. It's raw silk from Blue Heron Yarns. It is amazing. Lucious, but great stitch definition. The yarn is a wee bit stiff/scratchy on its own, but as soon as it's knit up . . . it's the softest thing ever. Really. And the pattern. Interesting but not so difficult that I have to stare at the chart all the time. And oh, they work together so nicely. Heh. Can you tell that I am loving this? I've already promised myself that I can knit another to keep in an even oceany-er colorway when this is done, because otherwise I don't think there's much chance that this one would actually get to my aunt.

I was feeling a bit melancholy tonight, for no particular reason, but luckily it was nothing that some Gilmore Girls, knitting, and good company couldn't fix. And now I'm blogging and eating leftover pizza. Then I think I'll go map out some places for our New York trip and read some Nick Hornby. Sounds like a good evening, eh?

Posted by Kat at 10:33 PM | Comments (2)

July 22, 2005

The travelling knitter

I'm usually a pretty stay-at-home kind of girl, but more or less on a whim I'm finding myself with a few trips coming up in the next few weeks. (Of course, my "whims" are what other people might call "something they'd thought about for months." I'm trying to be less neurotic, really.) Trip #1 is a weekend in New York City with my boyfriend, celebrating my birthday. Trip #2 is a week at the Jersey Shore with my parents and brother. I'm realizing that there are several things to consider in planning these trips:

1. The obvious: what projects to bring? I'll want a variety: different sizes, difficulty levels, required concentration, etc. For New York, it'll probably be socks for the train/lines/etc. and probably one other thing... Branching Out, maybe? The week at the beach is harder. For concentration-heavy, relaxing in the hotel knitting, I'm thinking the Baltic Sea Stole and Leaf Lace Shawl. Socks for on the go, certainly. Perhaps the Ruffles scarf for the car on the way there and back? (Not too big, interesting but not too hard.) Maybe a baby blanket for mindless TV/reading knitting? Hmmmm. Suggestions? How much is enough? Imagine running out of knitting during the one week I have all the free time I want!

2. Knitting on the beach: the ultimate in relaxation or Just Stupid? I'm picturing sand in my knitting. But it sounds kind of fun, and other people have mentioned doing so, so... let's have a vote. Arguments for and against?

3. Where are the yarn stores? The other obvious one. I have a whole list of stores in NYC, but I'll have to plot everything out on a map and see what's near the hotel or other places we're going. Anyone have shop recommendations in NYC or the Jersey Shore (specifically the Wildwood area)?
3a. Getting to the yarn stores. This is complicated by the fact that we'll all be sharing a car. How best to bribe convince a 15-year-old boy that he wants to spend the afternoon looking at yarn? Maybe it would be easier to send him to the beach and take the car for the afternoon. Hmmm.

4. To blog or not to blog? Should I try to post while away, or just wait? The NYC trip is just overnight so I won't worry about that. But the beach trip is for a week. Perhaps I'll try to find a local cyber cafe. Should I bring my laptop? Hmmm. (Yes, I'm saying "Hmm" a lot. Sorry.)

5. Preparing for every eventuality. What should I put in my knitting kit to be ready for any and all knitting emergencies/new projects to start? Tape measure, stitch markers, needle for weaving in ends, crochet hook for catching stitches... what else?

Posted by Kat at 04:52 PM

July 21, 2005

Harlot alert!

Looklooklook! A new bookbookbook!

(Hmph. There was supposed to be a picture here, but it does not seem to be working.)

I hope this means another tour, Stephanie! Not that it seems you've exactly finished the last one...

Posted by Kat at 04:12 PM | Comments (1)

July 19, 2005

Socks on circs: I don't get it.

These days, it seems like everyone is knitting their socks on circular needles. Some say two; some say one. But still. Circs are definitely in vogue. And I have to say, what is up with that? What am I missing? What's the attraction? DPNs are so small and neat and portable. It seems like circs would be flailing about impaling things. I don't know. I guess I'm missing something. But please note, I don't have anything against circs or those who use them. I'm not trying to start a fight or anything. I'm just . . . confused. What's the advantage?

Posted by Kat at 04:37 PM | Comments (5)

July 12, 2005

A remarkable feat of engineering

Look what joined the family today (and please overlook the rest of my messy kitchen):

My very own umbrella swift and ball winder. It's so cool. I'd used them before but never much, and I never really had a chance to see how impressive they are as tools. It just seems like magic. I am beyond excited. It has already become a "how did I ever live without this?" sort of thing. And, as I told my boyfriend, I'm sure it will do wonders for our relationship--no more making him hold yarn, making him wait while I finish winding something, etc. So between that and the interesting construction, he is happy about this too.

I was too excited to find a memory card for the camera before the first ball I wound, but here it is:

I was a little calmer by the second one, so here are some action shots:

ready to go

in the middle

all done

And here's what I did tonight, in about two hours, while doing homework and laundry and cooking dinner:

Seriously. How did I ever manage without this?

Posted by Kat at 11:43 PM | Comments (3)

July 10, 2005

Well, I'll be busy...

So the projects you saw last time are coming along. They're all a little bigger than they were then. I promise. But there's really not enough done on any one of them to really make an interesting picture. So let's look at some new stuff, eh?

Friday night I went to Borders:

You can see I was in a knitting frame of mind. I came home with Scarf Style, Folk Vests, The Knitting Way, and the new issue of Piecework. (See? Everything's all about lace this summer.) And yes, that's Gilmore Girls - The Complete Second Season you see there (something to watch while knitting, of course) as well as Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home because I clearly need more cookbooks.

Then on Saturday I went to the yarn store. Scarf Style inspired me, so we have some Classic Elite Attitude for Ruffles, because Lauren's was just so cute. Not the yarn called for, but I liked the colors of this one better, plus it was on sale!

And also some Berroco Glace for Blue Collar (although, obviously, mine will be Purple Collar).

And I saw Cascade Fixation for the first time, so of course I had to pick some up for Broadripple Socks.

But the big exciting find of the day was this handpainted raw silk from Blue Heron Yarns, destined to become a Baltic Sea Stole for my aunt for Christmas.

Gorgeous, no?

Posted by Kat at 07:48 PM | Comments (2)

July 07, 2005

A gnat, I tell you.

So recently I seem to have about the attention span of a gnat. This has been happening in most areas of my life, but the results seem to be most pronounced in my knitting. (Because at work, say, I just get less work done when I can't focus.) Startitis barely begins to describe it.

Let's ignore for the moment the fact that I have at least a dozen UFOs around. I've been sucked into the Summer of Lace, and I'm planning to start a Leaf Lace Shawl ASAP, but the yarn is taking forever to wind into a ball. (I'm really bad at that. I always end up with tangles.) So in the meantime, as I'd mentioned earlier, I had an extra hank of Silky Wool, so I started Branching Out:

Fun pattern, although I'm not memorizing it quite as quickly as I'd expected. It's great to see how quickly it shapes up, though.

But apparently working on one scarf in the middle of summer wasn't enough. I was reading various archives, and mamacate mentioned (and, more importantly, pictured) the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf. The idea seemed so intriguing that I had to find stash yarn and start it immediately:

But by today I was getting into a more socklike mood, and Lauren mentioned (again, in archives) the Blueberry Waffle Socks. I thought they'd make great slipper sock sort of things to wear around the house in the winter. So of course I had to cast on as soon as I got home:

Mine are more grape than blueberry, though, and made out of Sirdar Snuggly. Not sure how it'll hold up, but it's been sitting in the stash for years so even if they don't last forever, it's all good.

And then, of course, there's the Clove Stitch Shawl that's been languishing half-done for a while. I am under the delusion that I'll finish this to wear to SolarFest next weekend. Here's how it is so far:

And we won't even discuss the baby blanket or the placemats or...

Posted by Kat at 09:58 PM | Comments (2)

July 06, 2005

Christmas in July

(I know, I know, I should stop with the weird holiday subject lines. Sorry.)

So I've been catching up on the archives of some new-to-me knitblogs (mamacate is a new favorite), and seeing all the lovely things they made for the holidays last year, and of course it's starting. I'm thinking, "Hmm, maybe this can be the year when I give everyone handmade gifts." Argh. We all know where this road leads. I guess it's better than the alternative, though: for the past few years I've told myself "No Christmas deadlines!" and then been powerless to resist later on, waaay too late to actually get things done. So. This year, I will plan.

Note: If you are expecting a holiday gift from me, you might not want to read any further.

1. Immediate family: Mom's the easiest (as she, you know, actually wears things made out of wool on a regular basis). Last year, I started the Orenburg-style Scarf from the Interweave Staff Scarves Fall 2004 feature (found here--scroll down for a link to the PDF). It's the pink lacy one, although I'm doing it in a dark red as that's more my mom's color. If I remember correctly, I did the start/border and one pattern repeat. I'll have to pull it out and check.

For my brother, I'm planning a hat and scarf in his school football colors. Hopefully it won't be too embarrassing and he'll actually be able to wear it. (He's 15, so this sort of thing seems rather hit-or-miss.) Dad is the hardest of this group. He doesn't really wear sweaters or scarves, nothing but plain cotton socks, and would rather have insulated L.L. Bean type gloves. He does like those warm headband things that go over the ears, so maybe I'll try that, but it seems small. Hmm. Maybe fingerless mitts to match; they could even go under regular gloves to keep his wrists warm.

2. Boyfriend: Here we get into dangerous sweater curse territory. Hmm. We usually exchange a few gifts, so I'll probably knit his main gift and also buy a few things. I've already done socks and a few scarves, so I'm thinking a vest. (That's, um, not quite a sweater, right?) He really likes vests, anyway. Next time I'm at the bookstore I'll take a look through Folk Vests and see if I can find something more "him" than the traditional argyle or cables.

3. Less immediate family: grandparents, aunt, godmother and her mother and sister. (There are others, of course, but those are the ones I definitely want things for.) Grandparents live in Florida, which is a bit tough. I'm thinking a light lacy wrap for my grandmother for when air conditioning is too cold, but I have NO ideas for my grandfather. He's in a motorized chair thing (not quite a wheelchair... you know what I mean) so maybe some sort of bag or something for that? Help??

Aunt: maybe a shawl--I love to knit them, and she's one of the few people I know who actually wears them. Godmother: I'm picturing big fuzzy mittens with some sort of snowman motif (she collects snowmen). Hmm. Her mom: I gave her a scarf last year, so hmm, maybe a lap/couch blanket if I have time. (I was thinking slipper socks, but I realized I have no idea how big her feet are.) Her sister: I'm picturing a "fashion" scarf, maybe something silver and shiny, but soft.

4. Other important people. Boyfriend's parents: for Mom I'm thinking maybe a horseshoe (also known as fishtail) lace scarf, because she likes horses. Hmm. She knits a lot but I've never seen her knit lace. Not sure if that's because she doesn't like knitting it or doesn't like wearing it. For Dad... argh. Dads are hard. Probably the same sort of headband/fingerless mitt set as for my dad. For my roommate: some sort of gray cabled hat/scarf set. Have yet to find a pattern.

5. Important non-people: I figure I'll make a bunch of toys for the cats and dogs in the family. Patterns appreciated, especially for dogs. I'd also like to make something for my boyfriend's new car, but... hmm. What do you knit for a car?

6. Others: I'll make up a bunch of hats and scarves of various sorts to be given as necessary (more distant relatives, friends, gift swaps, etc.).

Whew! I think that covers it! Sorry so long. We'll see how much I actually manage to do... At least I'm starting the madness early this year, and confining it to mostly small projects. That's theoretically an improvement.

Posted by Kat at 09:53 AM | Comments (2)

July 04, 2005

Happy . . . Valentine's Day?

Thanks to various July 4th weekend car trips, family gatherings, and drive-in movies, I've finally finished the scarf that was supposed to be my boyfriend's Valentine's Day gift. He kindly volunteered to model it even though it was about eighty degrees in my apartment at the time:


I wanted to get a close up as well, but the camera batteries gave out after that first one. Maybe later. (That's also why it isn't necessarily the most flattering picture in the universe--no opportunity for retakes.) For the curious: two skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in a warm slightly purply brown. I picked it because my boyfriend requested a scarf that would not get little fuzzy hairs in his nose and mouth. This yarn had about the smallest halo I could find in something still somewhat wooly. I love love love this yarn. It's so soft and such a joy to work with. The pattern is a simple farrow rib (multiple of three, k2p1 on each row)--interesting texture but sufficiently "manly."

I bought three skeins to be sure I'd have enough, but the scarf only took two. And guess what happens to call for one skein of Silky Wool? So, um, guess what I'm knitting now?

Posted by Kat at 10:57 PM | Comments (1)

May 04, 2005

Dear sock,

I thought we were friends. I've been carrying you around with me all the time and introducing you to everyone. I took you to two movies. (Okay, Trainspotting was kinda weird, but don't take it personally.) I even was very careful to thoroughly wipe my hands after each bit of popcorn to make sure you didn't get dirty. You made friends on the T. I took you to class, where you impressed everyone with your style and charm. Basically, I feel like you've had a pretty good life so far.

So. Tell me. What is UP with the pooling thing? You were fine through the cuff and heel, but as soon as we hit the picking-up-stitches bit (I know, I hate that part too), you freaked out. What's going on? Anything you'd like to talk about? You know, I have it on pretty good authority that the back of the linen closet is a perfectly reasonable home for projects who do what you're doing. That doesn't sound like much fun, does it?

Now, since we've had such a good relationship so far, I'll give you a chance. But. I have some conditions:

1. I don't know how you got yourself into this pooling mess or how you're planning to get out of it, but whatever you come up with must look at least reasonably unstupid.
2. You must convince your mate to do something correspondingly unstupid when his/her time comes.

That's not too hard, right? Just do that, and we'll be back to our healthy loving relationship.

Thank you for your attention.


Posted by Kat at 05:36 PM | TrackBack

April 29, 2005


Went to Stephanie's signing today. Very exciting. More details when I can post the pictures Jessica took for me.

But for now... a revelation I had on the way home.

When knitting seems to be too stressful or painful or I just don't feel like it, this is a sign that THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG IN MY LIFE.

Posted by Kat at 11:03 PM | Comments (3)

April 26, 2005

What was I thinking?

I did something very foolish today.

As a reward for finishing the paper due tonight (let's not talk about the one due tomorrow, eh?), I brought Stephanie's book to read on the T, which is like the subway for you non-Boston people. (No, this was not the foolish thing. Of course not.) Now, the book made delightful T reading--nice little snippets, so no getting annoyed at having to stop in the middle of the chapter to do something silly like change trains. Plus I want to finish it before I meet her (!!!) on Friday.

Now, here's the foolish thing: I didn't bring any knitting with me. I know. How could I be so stupid? I had thought about throwing some in my bag this morning, but then thought, "Why?" (That I even thought that is a testament to how ill and sleep-deprived my allergies have made me.) What did I mean, why? When did I ever need a reason to bring knitting anywhere? What is in this allergy medicine that is making me so insane?

So now I am reading along in the delightful book, la di da, and my hands are practically itching to knit. How could I not have realized this would happen? It's a book about knitting. By Stephanie. What did I think it would make me want to do, go bowling? Worse, there is someone in my Tuesday night class who generally knits during class. (I have stopped doing this, as many teachers somehow saw it as a sign of disrespect.) Wish me luck with not grabbing it out of her hands.

Posted by Kat at 05:34 PM

January 22, 2005

I am so ready for this.

As you may have heard, we're in the midst of a nice big snowstorm here in New Hampshire. And I am so set.

I have flashlights and candles. I have plenty of supplies for tea and cocoa. I have everything I need to bake whole wheat bread and make vegetable soup tomorrow. (And, yes, I have plenty of housework if I'm so inclined.) I have a new computer game. I have several books--well, no, I have several hundred books--but I have several books I'm particularly excited to read. I have plenty of movies to watch and a good dozen knitting projects I really want to finish soon.

And if all that weren't enough... I have five brand new knitting books. Count 'em, five. I joined Crafter's Choice and got my first shipment today. Here's the haul:

Knitting on the Edge by Nicky Epstein
The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd
Simple Socks, Plain and Fancy by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts
Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts and Deborah Robson
The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie M. Wiseman

I think I'll be able to keep busy for a few days, don't you?

Posted by Kat at 09:21 PM | TrackBack

January 20, 2005

Let's make up for the lack of pictures recently.

The first of my gauntlets from Knit.1 is coming along marvelously:

And the carry-around preemie blanket is eking along:

I've even pulled out the smoke ring again. I'll finish it one of these winters. Really.

And guess what? I bought the yarn for my super-secret Valentine's Day project. Click here if you're not my boyfriend.

Tonight, though, it's all about the gansey. Oooh, so much fun. Pictures as soon as there's enough to look interesting, I promise.

Posted by Kat at 10:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 19, 2005

Well, there's good news and there's bad news.

The good news: I found my Aran! The other night I was at Barnes and Noble browsing through The Harmony Guide to Aran and Fair Isle Knitting and found myself staring longingly at the His and Her Aran Sweater, thinking "If only it didn't have the stupid diamond things!" (No offense to anyone who likes diamond patterns like that. I just think they would make me look like I was wearing my dad's sweater or something. Not that my dad wears sweaters much. But you get the idea.)

Well, it took a few minutes, but I finally realized that this was an Aran stitch guide I was reading, so I could probably find a similarly-sized pattern to substitute in those panels. And yes, there was a lovely Celticy braid thingy that will do nicely. I finished my chai, bought the book, and hurried home all excited to start. I found the correct needles, even, and pulled out some yarn. Then, in a rare and now-much-regretted moment of rationality, I counted up the yarn to see how much I had.

The bad news: I do not have enough yarn. I have eight four-ounce skeins from Bartlett Yarns. The pattern calls for thirty-six ounces. I did the math several times, but there is just not enough. I resisted the urge to "just try it" anyway, because as satisfying as it would be to start, it would be very upsetting to run out of yarn on the last sleeve. So. There is nothing for it. I need to buy new yarn for my Aran.

I was all into my Bartlett yarn now, though, so I tore through all the magazines and books I could find trying to determine what it wanted to be. I finally found the Old Way Gansey from the Winter 2004 Interweave Knits. And I love it. I must have seen it before, when I first got the magazine, but I didn't really notice it. Now, though, I am just itching to start it. And I did the math a bunch of times and I'm quite sure I have enough yarn. So tomorrow after work I will go get needles so I can get knitting away. The Aran will have to wait a bit.

(Yes, I know that the Old Way Gansey is shown as a man's sweater. For some reason, the majority of the sweaters I was considering last night were men's sweaters. I'm not sure why that is. Something to ponder.)

Posted by Kat at 09:15 PM | Comments (1)

January 16, 2005

Aren't they cute?

Preemie socks! I wanted to make a normal sock pattern instead of booties because, well, I'm not big on seaming. So I took a baby sock pattern and made it with smaller yarn and needles, and hopefully they'll be a reasonable size. They went really quickly--about 2-3 hours for each sock. And they're cute. Yay!

Posted by Kat at 05:03 PM

January 15, 2005

At long last...

This pillow has been knit and in pieces for over a year. This morning it got sewn up and stuffed. Whew.

Posted by Kat at 02:06 PM

January 14, 2005

So excited I can hardly breathe.

So someone on an e-mail list asked a question about the book Knitting Counterpanes, and I went to Amazon to make sure I was thinking of the right book. And there it was--for $37.20. I couldn't believe it. I've been looking for this book for a few years now, and I've only ever seen it for $100 or so. But now there was a copy for $37.20. I bought it, of course. I am so very excited. There are counterpanes in my future.

While I was there, I looked at At Knit's End. It's 320 pages long! 320 pages of Harlotty goodness! Oh, I just cannot get over it. The excitement, the excitement. Must take some deep breaths here.

Posted by Kat at 04:49 PM

January 11, 2005

Are you my Aran?

(Congratulations to Jessie for being visitor 500!)

Today I feel like the little guy in Are You My Mother? I'm looking for an Aran pattern. I have a bunch of Bartlett's Fisherman Yarn in Natural that I'd like to use, and I'd like to make a fairly traditional pattern. I want a slightly oversized pullover I can wear sort of instead of a jacket in the fall. I love cables and complicated stitch patterns, and I like Celtic-looking things (but that's not an absolute requirement). I'm fine with buying a pattern or finding a free one online, or even buying a book if there are other things I like. (I'd particularly like a good resource book about Aran knitting, actually, if anyone has suggestions.) Ideas, anyone?

One thing I'm loving is this one from Clan Arans. It seems like a sign or something that I really love the one attached to my name. Of course, it's a kit, not just a pattern, and it's slightly expensive (although not too bad, really) and it would have to be shipped from Ireland so who knows how much shipping and all would end up costing. Has anyone ordered from this company? Impressions?

I also like a few from Abbey Yarns, especially Celtic Dreams and Halcyon Aran. I'm also considering the following books:
220 Aran Stitches and Patterns (Harmony Guide)
Patterns for Guernseys, Jerseys, and Arans by Gladys Thompson
Opinions on either of those?

Posted by Kat at 11:02 PM | Comments (5)

January 09, 2005

Two finishes!

The booties, finished so late Friday night as to really be Saturday morning:

And, finally, the interminable baby blanket. It's done! I'm so excited.

In case you missed it, there's a record of my 2005 knitting finishes here.

Posted by Kat at 10:52 PM

January 06, 2005

Well, it's not exactly an FO...

It's half an FO, to be precise. But at least it's cute:

It's my first bootie for Project Angel Kisses. I'd meant to knit its mate tonight too, but I didn't end up getting home until after ten. Which means that it's now almost 11:30 and I really should be in bed. Good night!

Posted by Kat at 11:27 PM

January 05, 2005

I'll take this as a compliment. :-)

Granny knitter
You may not be a granny, but you've got the
mentality. Hard work and artistic vision lead
to your beautiful knitted results.

Are you a knitter?
brought to you by Quizilla
Posted by Kat at 05:22 PM

January 04, 2005

If you're looking for a place to donate...

Go check out Stephanie's idea.

Posted by Kat at 11:16 AM

January 02, 2005

2005 Goals Part 1: Knitting

This year, I decided not to make resolutions, exactly, but to set goals for myself for the coming year. So. My knitting goals for 2005:

1. Finish a sweater already, darn it! Yes, this is the third or fourth year I've said that. I've started plenty. This year I will finish one. I promise.

2. Get rid of the UFOs. I'm afraid to count. But there are a lot. Just trust me on that. By this time next year, I want to have everything except for current projects DONE.

3. Knit fifty items for charity. That's one a week, with two weeks off for holidays or exams or something. I should come up with some sort of progress marker for this to put on the side of the blog. Hmm. Anyway, the two main beneficiaries I'm planning will be Project Angel Kisses for preemies (as I was one myself) and the kids who are my mother's patients at an inner city clinic. I'm open to other suggestions, though, so feel free.

4. Keep track of what I finish. Again, I've resolved this before but failed to keep it up. This year I'll do it. Really.

Well, this should be an adventure, eh? What are your knitting goals this year?

Posted by Kat at 10:21 PM | Comments (1)

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