Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Moving Day!

I've moved my ramblings to another platform.

Please come on over here and check it out, hope to see you there.

Friday, June 25, 2010


It usually strikes me in late spring or early summer. After a long wet winter, suddenly I just can’t stand the same routines anymore. Everything looks the same, feels the same, tastes the same, sounds the same…

Eventually I can’t take it anymore, I simply have to get out of town!

So I start poking around on the internet for interesting things to see, or begging friends to let my husband and me impose ourselves on them. Last year we went up to Victoria BC, and had a simply fabulous time.

This year, we headed east, out to John Day and Canyon City . I had visited John Day with my family when I was young, and it made enough of an impression on me that I wanted to go back. Always game for a road trip, my husband got an oil change on the truck, and we were off.

We always seem to road-trip well together, and this journey was no exception. We went up and down mountains, swooping around curves, with me singing along to my iPod at the top of my lungs and him occasionally rolling his eyes to make me skip a song he didn’t like. We talked and laughed and did our best to solve all the world’s problems. I’m pretty sure we got most of the big ones worked out; we just need to iron out a few details.

We had a lovely long weekend, staying up late and sleeping in, eating far too much, driving hither and yon to see sights and explore. We spent an entire day at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, but for some reason I haven’t uploaded those pictures yet, so I’ll save it for another day.

By far my favorite part of the trip was the day we went museum hopping. And the best part of that day was spent in the Grant County Historical Museum. Oh, what a wonderful place it is! Not only is it filled with all the things you expect to find in a place like that, from mining equipment to two-headed calves (no, really!), but the curator actually encourages you to pick things up. So very many things to see!

Hey Chandler, check out this old printing press!


Not surprisingly, I found myself most drawn to the handwork. I could appreciate the work that went into those things, picture my hands doing some of the same things.

This area rug caught my eye and made me think of some rug-hooking friends at home.


This crazy quilt is one of the best examples of using everything you have I’ve ever seen.


These pieces were made of cotton, and I can just imagine the work that went into them.


These socks really caught my attention with their very fine yarn and their very tight gauge, which I’m guessing is around 12 stitches to the inch. There’s absolutely no way they were knit with those needles!


The wool’s scratchy as all get-out, but I could see that they’d been well worn and mended several times. They’re faded from being displayed in a sunny spot, I’ll bet that they were a much more vibrant shade when they were new.

Someday, if I get terribly ambitious and find myself with a load of spare time (hah), I may try to reverse engineer this lace pattern.


I’m going to try getting my life a little more organized over the weekend. I’ve got photos to take, yarn to put away (if I can find where “away” is), and clutter to sort through.

Up next: I fall down the rabbit hole into another hobby.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Two Hundred Ten

This is what you lot get up to when I leave home for five days.


Looks like I've got some reading to do...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Once More With Shoulders

I knit lots of baby things. You all know this. Mostly sweaters, with the occasional hat and a couple pairs of booties thrown in.

Every baby should have something hand-made to grow into. Something made with them in mind. Something full of hope and promise.

Pretty buttons are good, and so is lace. If you can work them both into a single garment, you’re golden.

My darling Paddington bear gets lots of face-time here. He’s the only thing in the house that is vaguely baby-shaped, and he’s just as cute as can be.

He does have one small drawback, however, which I believe I’ve mentioned. He’s got no shoulders.

So I’m always delighted to get e-mail attachments like this one:


That’s the February Baby Sweater I gave away in January, being shown off to great effect by its new owner. Will you just look at the shoulders on that wee girl! Not to mention those long elegant fingers.

What a beauty.

Just in case the feelings get lost in my sarcasm, pictures like that are why I knit for the babies around me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gauge Bites

Especially when you completely fail to check it.

Remember the too short cabled sock?

I bit the bullet and frogged it all the way back. I knit it again; giving myself the extra length I needed in the foot, and got ready to start the gusset. I decided to try it on first, and noticed something I’d ignored the first time.

Even with 72 stitches in a round, it felt too snug going around the ball of my foot. Not to mention that the toe was so short it ended before my small toe even started.


I went and looked on Ravelry, and there were all kinds of gorgeous versions of this pattern. None of them had that over-stretched look I can see in my work. What had I done wrong?

I remembered how tightly I was knitting the sock. I called it “wrist-aching” in my last blog post, and boy was that ever the truth. If I knit for more than about 25 minutes I had to shake the tension out of my wrists and stretch my fingers out to loosen them up.

So I took out my tape measure, laid it across the sole stitches and, for the very first time since starting the sock, actually counted how many stitches there were in an inch. The pattern calls for nine… I was working at ten.

I’m pretty sure that when I saw the gauge in the pattern, I just went straight for my US 0 (2.0 mm) needles. Never, not once until this morning, did I actually measure my stitches per inch.

And that, dear readers, brings us to the moral of the story:

If you’re knitting at such a tight gauge that your hands hurt, you might consider that you are, in fact, knitting too tight. Way too tight. You might even consider checking your gauge before your hands start hurting you.

Excuse me, won’t you? I’ve got a sock to frog.

Friday, May 14, 2010

She Came To Me

You may remember that I knit Helena a few months ago. OK, OK, it was actually several months ago. Many several.

I knit it, I wove in the ends, I washed it and I posed it on Paddington bear.


I even wrapped it and wrote a card.

And there it sat on my desk, waiting (and waiting and waiting) for me to take it to the baby it had been made for.

Well, yesterday the baby in question got tired of waiting, and she came to me. She even brought her mom with her!



Plenty of room for her to grow into it!


Do you think she likes it?


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Turned the Corner

Is it possible to turn the corner on a round shawl? It's been an awfully long time since those geometry classes in junior high, but I'm pretty sure circles don't have corners.

I’ll just call it a term of art.

I’m halfway through the border of Centrino… check it out:


I’ve done 18 repeats out of 36, and it feels like the finish is actually in sight. If I keep going at this rate, I may be able to finish two shawls in a month!

Monday, May 10, 2010

It’s Magic

Blocking, that is.

I knit a piece of lace. Knit and knit and knit and knit. I’ll spread it out over my knee or on a table, trying to see what it will look like when it’s done. I get hints, I have dreams and visions, but trying to picture the whole completed piece just eludes me most of the time.

So, Wisteria Garden was all done and looking like a skate (thanks for the image, KnitGeekery!). I gave it a nice long bath in lukewarm water, wrapped it up in a towel and had my husband stomp the excess water out of it (this is his favorite part).

We hunkered down on the floor and threaded the blocking wires through the edges. Then we smoothed and stretched and pinned and fussed and measured and stretched some more.

And then finally there it was, the vision I’d been trying to conjure:

All the wobbly stitches smoothed out, the yarn-overs aligned themselves, and any resemblance to a sea life just disappeared.

The border, which seemed tedious when I started it, really ties things together.



Everything seems to grow out of the center stitch, which marches bravely along from the point to the neck.


It looks nothing like a skate now. It looks like a shawl.


It’s magic, and it never gets old.

Project Details:
Pattern: Wisteria Garden Shawl, by Amy Swenson
Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden Sea Lace, colorway Tyrian, nearly 1200 yards
Needles: US 2 (2.75 mm) for the knitting, US 0 (2.0 mm) for disaster recovery
Final Size: 70 inches along the long edge, 36 inches along the center line.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

As I Said

No problem.

Piece of cake.

Never a doubt in my mind.

Well, except for a terrifying 45 minutes on Sunday afternoon.

I was shifting around on the couch, and the shawl got wedged under my knee. Somehow I managed to pull the whole thing off of the needles. Don't ask me how I got it all back on, the whole incident is a bit of a blur. Let's hear it for 2.0 mm needles and crochet hooks. And for the large Scotch I calmed my nerves with when it was all back in place.

Tragedy averted, Wisteria Garden is done in plenty of time, with a week to spare before the press arrives!

After lunch on Tuesday:


After dinner on Tuesday:


Needs blocking, no?


Friday, April 30, 2010


Let's say, just hypothetically, that you found out the local paper was going to send a reporter/photographer team to your Wednesday SnB in a couple of weeks.

That they might be putting together a story about hand spinning and other crafts for one of the weekly inserts.

What would your first thought be?

Well, mine was "A photographer? I've got to finish Wisteria Garden!"

It looked like this on Wednesday:


Two weeks to finish about six inches of edging? No problem!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Work of a Different Color

Back in November, I wrote a post about how everything in my bag that day was red. A shawl, a baby sweater, and something super secret (which is still a secret, by the way).

It was interesting to me, because red isn’t one of those colors I find myself drawn to, yet there it was, bright and cheerful all over the place.

Taking photos for this post, I realized that I’d done it again, only with another color this time. Allow me to present… pink.

My Geodesic Cardigan has been getting quite a bit of attention since last I showed it to you.


This Malabrigo Lace is just about the softest thing I’ve ever felt in my life. And the pattern, oh goodness but this is fun. I knit so much lace work, I’d nearly forgotten the soothing qualities inherent in miles and miles of stockinette.

I’ve gotten through the waist decreases, started the increases, and I made my first tuck the other day.


I’ll admit that working the first one gave me a few head-scratching moments, but once I got the hang of the folding it went quite well.

Pretty soon things will get very interesting indeed, what with dividing for the sides, shaping the armholes and neck, and remembering to work the tucks in the midst of all that shaping. Must remember to take good notes, this yarn is not over-fond of being ripped out!

When the stockinette of this project gets to be less soothing than tedious, I put it aside and take out Wisteria Garden.



I’ve turned the corner around the point of the triangle, and it really feels like I’m in the homestretch with it. Only this much left to do!


Many many thanks for all the kind words about my front yard. Full credit for the design goes to a very good friend. She had the ability to look at a bunch of scraggly grass and see what it could become. She’s a visionary and a slave driver… and she should leave a comment here now and then!

Monday, April 26, 2010

What It Has Become

It started with a small front yard which looked simply awful.

From Porch

We did a lot of digging and hauling… things looked much worse for a while.


Then they started to look better.


We added plants and water.


Then, and really this is the most important thing, I added time.

This is what it has become in just under two years:





has become this:




has turned into this:



A leftover chunk of Creeping Jenny has become a lush carpet.


One lone maroon columbine and a couple of pots of violas have naturalized and spread with great abandon.


And there is this smiling face to watch it all.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Public Service Announcement

Remember this shawl?



It’s Ancient Woodland, by Miriam Felton, the first pattern for Year of Lace 2009.

Well, it’s available for purchase to the general public at last, which means you can make one of your very own.

Here’s the link to Miriam’s pattern store. And it’s also available through Ravelry, right here.

One more picture, I just can’t resist!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Home Work Leads to Homework.

First, I must thank you all for sharing the lessons that knitting has taught you. It’s hard to know how an introspective piece of writing will go over, and you’ve once again warmed my heart. To those of you who found your way to me through Bridget’s link (thank you!), a very warm welcome.

The weather here in the valley has been typical for the geography and the time of year, which is another way of saying that we just never know what we’re going to get from day to day. Or from minute to minute. Rain, wind, sun, breezes, slushy snow, sprinkles, rainbows, hail… we’ve been seeing just about everything this spring.

This weekend the weather gods smiled down upon me. Presented with two glorious days of sun in a row, I couldn’t wait to get outside and do some home work.

The daffodils and tulips were done blooming for the year, so I trimmed them all down. Since I was down on my knees anyway, I also pulled up a small forest of seedlings from the overenthusiastic ash trees behind the house. Then I rained down havoc upon weeds and grass that had dared to show their faces in the wrong places. That oughta show ‘em!

My husband was a great help, using the big shovel to dig down and break the roots of the grass that had encroached into the rose bed in the back yard. We got up chunks of sod, and I could swear I heard the roses heave great sighs of relief. They’ll be much happier without the competition for water and nutrients come blooming season.

We hauled out so many wheelbarrow loads of weeds and junk that my composter is full to the very top. Which means that my next garden task is to dig out and distribute the compost from the bottom of the container. The roses and other bushes will get their first feed of the season, there will be room in the container for things to settle and all those wonderful worms can get to work on the next layer.

Later this week, if I get a few sunny moments after work, I can do my homework. It’s been a while since I showed pictures of the front yard. All the hard labor of two years ago is really starting to pay off, and I’m looking forward to showing it to you.

All that, and I’ll have some knitting progress to show!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Didn’t Know

There were so many things I didn’t know when I took up knitting.

I didn’t know I was going to need umpteen-million needles, or notions, or project bags.

I didn’t know I was going to need a digital camera.

I didn’t know I was going to buy so much yarn I’d have to stop teasing my mother about her fabric habit.

I didn’t know that I’d find myself surrounded by expectant mothers, who would cry over hand knit baby sweaters.

I didn’t know that knitting could make me laugh, or cry.

I didn’t know that lifelong friends could be found on the internet, when the only things we had in common to begin with were computers and a yarn habit.

I didn’t know that knitting makes an overbooked doctor’s office seem like a wonderful opportunity to get a few rounds in on a sock.

I didn’t know that it’s possible to take longer to decide which projects to take with me on vacation than it is to decide about the clothes I’m going to wear when I get there.

I didn’t know I could lose yarn in my own house. (Yeah, still looking for that darned stuff)

I didn’t know that I’d go shoe shopping one day with the express purpose of finding shoes to show off my hand knit socks.


Anybody else? What didn’t you know when you took up knitting?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Beginning Of The End

At long long last, I have actual progress to report on another Year of Lace project.

Behold Centrino, aka The Big Red Blob.


I finally finished the last bit of around-and-around knitting, and have embarked on a long journey of back-and-forth-and-back-and-forth knitting.


That little pink-ish squiggle you see there is the provisional cast-on for the beginning of the border. When I finish the border, all 36 repeats of it, there will be just those few stitches to graft together.

Six down, thirty to go.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Is this thing still on?

Well, I’m back. I’m tired but happy, after the successful launch of a volunteer project, which ate up most of my free time and a goodly chunk of my (virtually non-existent) energy. It went well, and we’re all quite pleased about it.

In the meantime, there has been knitting going on around here. Progress is being made on the borders of not one but two lace shawls, another shawl is growing by leaps and bounds and getting quite unruly, and there’s a cardigan in my knitting bag to go to knit night with me tonight.

But I have been humbled. I have been brought low. I have been shown to be a bear of very little brain. Or perhaps I am just a knitter who cannot read a tape measure.

I’ve been working on a sock. A rather lovely sock.

Bag by Celestial Fiber Arts

Knit at a wrist-aching 9 stitches to the inch, the lovely soft and smooth yarn shows off this massive cable on the front just perfectly.


But it's too short, by at least half an inch.


See how the heel flap curves like that? Yeah, it's too short. My toes are scrunched down in there, and I just know that they’d be uncomfortable. Not to mention how fast they'd wear out.

I’m going to have to rip out all the way down to where the gusset starts, add some length and do it all over again.

Oh well, I wasn’t entirely happy with the increases I used for the gusset anyway, so now instead of wishing I’d picked something different, I can just go ahead and change them

But still… piffle.