Friday Alpaca Shawl.

The color is similar to Saturday Mohair, but you can see here that it's not. The pink towel distorts it.

I have been experimenting with needle size and yardage to see if I what I have will make a complete Flower Basket Shawl. So far this one is the closest. The current one are on needles of a smaller size. Looks like I will be able to fully complete the pattern this time. I'm also looking through Barbara Walker's book to get ideas for different patterns that would work for a shawl. The Flower Basket pattern is pretty basic, so I think a different yarn-over stitch would work as well.


Sucked in

I finally saw an episode of Lost. Ooh, it's good. It's my highly improbable drama of the week to replace Alias, which is not on until the next year. So much mystery unfolding so slowly, but still so captivating. Who are these people? What is this island they are on? What's with the dead people? Dominic Monaghan is great as Charlie. Aah, then there is Naveen Andrews.

Looks like there will be a Friday Alpaca shawl. I couldn't get it done last night. The book sucked me in for several hours. Too funny, I tell you. Also, The New Yorker has a great portrait/photo essay, "Democracy", by the late Richard Avedon. There's a portrait of a West Point cadet, and on his shiny buckle you can see the entire photography crew reflected on it. I found it mesmerizing.

Another trip down memory lane.

soy sauce dispenser and plate


I am expecting long lines at the polls next Tuesday. There better be long lines! No excuses for not going!! It will be one line I won't mind waiting in. I could bring my knitting or I could read this. Not since Naked have I laughed so hard. Where do they come up with this stuff? Fucking geniuses!

There may be a Thursday Alpaca shawl. Need to get off internet now.


Woo hoo!

Woo hoo! I cranked out another shawl last night. Ummm...alpaca. This bodes well for getting gifts done for Christmas. I'm always in danger getting bored of knitting the same thing over and over again. Good thing the alpaca is so nice and soft to work with. The cooler weather is also another good excuse to curl up on the couch and knit. This means lots of time with your friend and mine, the TV. I haven't seen the show, but the commercial for Big Fat Loser is really annoying. That inspirational-tear-jerker music is too much for reality TV.

I think I will name the shawls based on the day I bind off.

Saturday Mohair

Monday Alpaca



All I want is to go home, shower, get into my pjs, and knit. Four balls of
Aristocrat wool/mohair turned into a lovely shawl this weekend. I think
this will the Christmas gift this year. If I can churn out one a week I
should be good to go with the presents. As back up I have those Kureyon
mittens. The men will have to settle for store bought gifts unless they
prefer the shawl. I'd be more than happy to knit one for them.



The weather has been consistent all day: grey and wet! I feel like I'm
frozen in time. It looks the same at seven this morning as it does right
now. It is Friday, the day should not drag on this long. At least I have
Oprah to look forward to tonight. The cast of the new Bridget Jones movie
will be on. Colin Firth...enough said.

A third of the way done on the scarf I started thinking about the Flower
Basket Shawl, and decided to knit that instead. I'll see how it works with
the mohair before digging into my alpaca stash. So soft, that alpaca.

I'm getting really annoyed that the new Phildar freebie, pull col drape, is
not displaying correctly. Acrobat opens to blank screen.


I'm digging through the stash to get the creative juices flowing. Found some wool/mohair from Heirloom. I was thinking capelet, but don't think there is enough to finish. What to do? Barbara Walker to the rescue. I really need to get all her books! Mohair + a lovely new stitch pattern = scarf! Need to start on the Christmas gifts.

Is there enough time to make Hallowig?

I fucking love this. I'm thinking "Bite Me" in crewel stitches surrounded by a floral border.


in and out

I just read this about the
poncho. I have a feeling that a wave of backlash is here. Very
similar to the time I saw trucker hats at Old Navy. I had a sense of relief
because I knew this fashion item had tipped over the apex of cultural
saturation and was on its way out. However, I really like this. It's the next big thing, don't you know. ;-)

Move over skinny pants, make room for gaucho pants!


Aye, she's a bonnie lass.

The rows really do line up, I just need to pin more carefully.

Well, she's all done. Love it when projects don't require button holes/buttons. I can see this baby fuzzing up like crazy in a short amount of time. She left my carpet a lovely shade of pink. The vacuum cleaner was a full of red/pink lint. Oh, and now the weather is wet, wet, wet, so wearing her without any covering will give me a lovely wet dog smell! Still, I love this jacket. Makes me want to go hike the Highlands or sit by the fire and sing songs by the Corries, not to be mistaken for The Corrs. If you've ever been to Scotland and done the Haggis Tour you definitely know who the Corries are. After three days on the bus "Flower of Scotland" is burned forever into your mind. It's a requirement that you know every verse before they let you leave the tour!


more details

I did have to do some adjustments. One, I had to use needle size 15 to get close to the correct gauge. Two, I had to add more rows to the second horizontal main color block to get the body to correct length. Three, I had to increase a couple more sleeve stitches to make the upper arm a little wider. And finally, I had to do my
own creative increase in the collar because I couldn't make sense of the instructions in the pattern. Keeping all the yarn from being a tangled mess was not as difficult as you may think. Be sure to be consistent with your intarsia twist on both rows and it should detangle on its own after the second row. Run your fingers through and it will separate, no problem. Also, when turning to knit the next row remember to turn the opposite way after the end of the row so you don't continue to twist all the yarn together.

I really like this stitch pattern. So many things you could do with it: bags, pillows, scarves, and more. The pillows would be a fun project.


Back? Check. Right and left front? Check. Sleeves? Check. Collar? Check. Cuffs? Check. Yup, all the pieces are accounted for and ready for seaming. Turns out I had enough of the main color left to make the cuffs. The pattern calls for light blocking. You could go without blocking if you wanted. Takes forever to dry, even with the light blocking.

Honest to goodness the ends have been weaved. I am a little commitment phobe when it comes to snipping off the ends. I wait until all the pieces are in place, test out the fit, and then snip like I'm Edward Scissorhands.

If I'm not the world's best aunt then the world just isn't right...

click to see the inside

On a whim at the fabric store, while waiting in line to buy my giant safety pin for the tartan jacket, I see Halloween fabric for sale and decide to make the nephews trick or treat bags. All the other kids will have those plastic pumpkins to carry around, but my nephews will be rockin' with these bags.


to the core...

Knitting Purist
You appear to be a Knitting Purist.

You are an accomplished knitter producing beautiful pieces with a classic feel. You sometimes lament losing half of your local yarn shop to garish novelty yarns. Perhaps you consider fun fur scarves the bane of knitting society and prefer to steer new knitters towards the wooland cotton blends. Some might call you a bit of an elitist but you know that you've been doing this craft long enough to respect the history behind it and honor it with beautiful piece
that can last a lifetime.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

I really like that picture in picture function thing on Windows Media Player. It's perfect for watching Gilmore Girls while I blog.

My attempt at redoing the collar for the tartan jacket.



I finally hit the wall with the tartan jacket. It's been problem free up
'til now. It's the increase in the collar. How does one increase three
stitches in a two-stitch, two-row pattern (similar to the seed stitch
pattern) so that the stitch order does not get messed up? This is an
example of the stitch pattern in number format. The numbers represents a
different type of stitch.


How can you insert three stitches in the middle of the pattern and not mess
up the continuity? No, you can't add at the beginning or end of the rows.
I think I will have to do an even number increase more frequently so that I
end up with the same number of stitches and rows as the instructions indicate. I've got the Excel cranked up.


What's wrong with Kerry? He's looking a little haggard. It must be that Arizona sun: his face is has a leathery look to it. George, we're all watching your back tonight!!
I didn't have too many problems with the tartan jacket to make me want to pull my hair out. This thing knits up so quickly. Always a plus for me. First issue was quantity of skeins. I'm making the smallest size and may need one more MC (spice) skein to complete the collar and cuff-- it's a real close call. I still haven't use my second skein of teal, and may not need it. Second issue for me was gauge, I had to go up to size 15 because the 13s weren't cutting it. I should know better than to knit without first gauging!!! It gets me everytime. With the 15s I still had to knit loosely. Still I had some difficulty getting the rows to gauge as indicate in the pattern, but increasing the MC sections by a row or two did the trick.

With the sleeves I had to add a total of four increase stitches: that's two more on each side, which gave me more room in the upper arm. This must be the cause of the MC shortage. The additional stitches were helpful because without additional stitches to decrease the sleeve cap came out too short and did not fit the armhole. Instead of knitting 19 inches to the sleeve cap shaping I went for 18 inches, and still the sleeves seem really long.

Lastly, how to keep yourself from getting all tangled up. After having established the vertical color pattern for the intarsia knitting you'll want to avoid creating a hole between the between the two stitches by securing (twisting) the yarn as you knit; it takes two rows to get secure/twist the yarn. Being consistent will help keep the yarn from tangling up. At the end of one color and at the start of the next take the yarn of the next color from underneath the just knitting yarn to knit. For example, you establish the color pattern this way: MC, rust, MC, teal, MC, etc. Knit MC; take rust yarn from underneatch MC and knit rust; take MC yarn from underneath rust yarn and knit MC; do this to the end of the row. Turn the piece to knit the next row. Remember to note which direction you turn: On the next row do the same thing as the first row. It is important to take the next color from underneath, and knit to the end of the row. Turn your piece in the opposite direction, so if you did it clockwise turn back counter clockwise. Comb your fingers through the trail of yarn and the twisting is gone!!


Sleeves are done! More on the adjustmests I had to make later.

Wool + Dupont = Big fat hole in the heel.

I envy those who have hardwood floors.
Oh another day done. Don't you hate it when you talk about someone and it turns out they are right behind you. Knowing the whole time you were talking you should scope your surroundings on the off chance that the person might be around. Technically I wasn't talking behind this person's back. I relayed what the two of us discussed in very general terms, in a manner that illustrates what I have to deal with day to day. It wasn't them I was complaining about, but the situation I hear too often. I'm hoping that the noise level on the street was to loud for them to hear anything significant.


Protein and yarn

The past several days I've had this insatiable craving for protein! Friday night I made some yummy chicken sausage pizza using left of Trader Joe's Vodka Spaghetti sauce sans cheese, by the way, this is an excellent combinations. I picked at the sausage, and greedily snagged more sausage pieces to top off my slices. The next day I woke up craving eggs. As soon as I was conscious all I could think about was frying up some eggs over easy. That night I scarfed down some veggie and tofu stir fry, again, greedily taking a lot more tofu than veggies. Still not satisfied after the meal, I popped a chicken sausage into the microwave. Sunday morning I resisted having eggs again, so was left with only having coffee to read with the paper. The entire time all I wanted was a big juicy Red Mill Burger. I convinced my sweetie that we needed to go get some. We got the Phinney Ridge location at 11:30, a whole half hour before they opened. I was coaxed into strolling around the neighborhood until it opened. Good thing I gave in because we walked by Fiber Gallery, or is it Fiber Art Gallery? We perused the store for about ten minutes seeing what they offered in way of yarn. Lots of nice stuff: the usual Cascade, Brown Sheep supplies, and some other fancy stuff. They carried something called recycled silk from Tibet. The texture was like burlap, not smooth and sensual like silk at ll. The store is very spacious and bright, I like that. A good location with plenty of parking.

Okay, back to the meat (ha ha) of my story. We got back to the burger joint right at noon and alreay a line had formed. This queue extended out the front door: the burgers are that good. Hubby graciously volunteered to stand in line and do the ordering so I could snag one of the few in door tables. Twenty minutes later I had in front of me the Verde Burger, a grilled burger topped with roasted Anaheim peppers. I took my time to savor every bite because we try to limit our burger outings to once a month. It's taken us a while to go through the whole menu and I can recommend almost everything on the menu except for the veggie burger. Come on, it's a burger joint after all. Finally, I satisfied my weekend long craving. We went home and I took a long nap. Perfect weekend ending.


What a crock...

crockpot, that is. I just acquired a crockpot. It's all the rage these days. Well, at least in my neck of the woods. Bring back the seventies! This will save me lots of time during the week, which I can spend knitting. Throw in your ingredients, close the lid, turn it on, and go to work. What ingenuity! I want to test it out this weekend with a Beef Bourgogne recipe. I'm sure you've seen those "crockpot helpers" in stores, but really isn't the whole idea of crockpot cooking is that you leave it to slow cook for half the day? It sounds like an oxymoron to have a crockpot helper.


The tartan sleeve needs a little bit of tweaking. It calls for knitting up to 19 1/2 inches before the sleeve cap shaping. Last time I checked, only monkeys had arms that long! And the cap is too short, it will need to be altered to fit the armhole. I plan put more rows in between the decreases. This should elongate the sleeve cap to fit the armhole. Usually my patience would wear thin with having to make alterations to the sleeves, and to the body pieces that I haven't mentioned before, but the stitches are so large it's not all that inconvenient to frog and reknit.


What I did before I took knitting seriously.

I got to the point where I was experimenting with mixing my own glaze color. It's hard these days to keep up with two hobbies that are so time consuming. Throwing pottery, if you've never tried it, is very therapeutic. Focusing all your energy into centering the clay is a form of meditation. Mentally and physically you must toss everything out to concentrate solely on what is in front of you. On the other hand, pulling a handle can be quite embarrassing if you are doing it for the first time, or if your instructor is showing you how to do it...you just have to see to understand. I know, I know, I have a filthy mind.


The instructions for the sleeves of the tartan jacket says to make the two exactly the same. Normally this is fine, but the vertical part of the tartan pattern is intentionally off center. When worn it will look different, as noted in the directions. I'm thinking of knitting the sleeves so that it will look symmetrical when worn. Since their is only one vertical color on the sleeve and it's the same color I don't think it would look bad at all. Why did she do this? I'm not following. With the two front pieces I see why she would design the vertical color combination differently. Hmmm?


They will let any idiot manage people, but it takes a genius realize it. Ha ha.
Ich eine Fahrkarte wurde kaufen

I don't think that is the proper German grammar structure, but what do I know. I bought my ticket to Germany. Now I'll have to go no matter how my friend's employment situation shakes out. We've delayed the purchase all Summer and now I just bought it. She promises me that she will be there no matter what her situation. This is how it works: I hesitate on purchasing my ticket because she had a few potentials opportunities lined up, and as soon as I buy the ticket she gets an interview. After an initial call about a really good job right up her alley the potential employer promises to call back with answers to some of her questions. She waits for days and days and hear nothing from them but as soon as I confirm my flight, after waiting and waiting for her to hear something, she gets the call to interview later this week. I told her I should have bought the ticket earlier and way she wouldn't have had to wait so long to hear back! It'll be the Christmas Market in Bonn and New Year's celebration in Frankfurt!! Plus trips in between to visit her friends and family. Also, it's an opportunity to load up on giant size Milka bars, Ritter Sport, Kinder Surprise, and Haribo! Yeah, it's all about the candy.


The other night I was too tired to prepare a real meal so I broke out the insta-soup to fill my stomach. Usually I don't buy this stuff because it is load with sodium, but this one had less than 10% of the daily value. Plus, the packaging touted that it has only 5.5 grams of carbs. Not that I'm into the whole low carb thing.

And this is why it's only 5.5 grams...ain't nothin' there.

Ha! This is the "vegetable" packet.


Lookie, another piece done.


Good Weekend

Haven't been able to say that in a while. Usually the weekends are pissed away by my indolence and lack of motivation. However, this weekend I got out and I spent money (spending money on oneself is always fun!!) like a good little conspicuous consumer that I am, and I made tons of progress on the tartan jacket. Also, I came to the conclusion that the Vittadini Eyelet Sweater is a complete failure. I can't fit into the sleeves/armholes; the pattern design is not the typical raglan sleeve design making it a little bit complicated to piece together. The sweater will have to be frogged and reworked completely, or I can just give up, but like they say third time is a charm.



I spent more than several hours at the mall making myself feel better. Ponchos, ponchos, and more ponchos everywhere you look. You couldn't get away from them. And let's not forget about the capelets next to all those ponchos. Yes, it's been a while since I've been to the mall. At Nordstrom I saw this capelet that looks way too easy to make, so spending $88 for it is not justifiable! For my size I would say that it's 40" wide, knit in garter stitch for 10" or 12", then decrease every 3" or so inches, knit for another 2" or 3" and decrease at every 3" interval again, continue to knit an inch, and then do the rib knitting for 2" and cast off. Those mongo buttons are crotcheted, not sure if they are stuffed on the inside or not. I imagine ties, i-cords or satiny ribbons, would look just as nice.

The stairs regimen is going well, though I should be doing them more often during the week. My record is seven times up and down about 120 steps. Today I went up and down six times plus a few extra steps. I hate that dreaded feeling after work where you know you should go and exercise, but love that high you get after a good work out. It's a combination of exhaustion and euphoria. Exercise: good for what ails ya'.

Good news for some in the science world today. I suppose it's okay to have a bit of reflect glory even if the assocation is a very minor one. Hey, you can't rise to the top without a good foundation, and I consider myself part of that foundation. Good excuse to pop the champagne cork and throw a party.

*I take really shitty pictures. I only have myself to blame because my camera is very snazzy and has lots of fancy professional photog settings that I am not utilizing. Er, in other words, I don't know how to use my camera. The instruction manual is too dang thick to read through!


Letting off some steam

She's not mad, she's just letting off some steam. People have been waiting all week for this to happen. It's more like a sigh compared to two decades ago. I wasn't here when she blew her top. We missed it by six months. I think we were in Malaysia waiting to come here. My brother was here and he remembers that it was like a snow storm that covered the entire state. Schools were close; kids ran around outside as grey ashy flakes fell from the sky. They played in the stuff like it was snow.