Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Because you asked...

Pacey actually told me where he got his shoes, though it took him a while to recall the name of the store. That either means that he had someone else go out and shop for him, or he was under the influence at the time he purchased them. Okay, I guess it could be a host of other things as well. Then he went on and on about how they weren't exactly what he'd thought they'd be yada yada yada. It was somewhere in this diatribe that I realized, Pacey isn't really a climber. I probably could have told you that before meeting him, but this just confirmed it.

I also wanted to give a shout out to all of the lovely ladies I met on Sunday at Lauren's SoCal KnitBloggers KnitOut. I named that of course because I like for things to have names. It fits into nice categories that way. I thought it was way cool that a girl from New Haven, CT could bring all of us local bloggers together when we usually wouldn't. Thanks Lauren!

I got to meet up with Jillian again, which makes me happy because she's just such a great sounding board. Wendy was in attendance and I felt bad because I hadn't been keeping up with my blogreading to realize that Girlfriend had been sick for almost a week. I was psyched that she could make it anyway! The post I'm linking to discusses the 6 types of knitter. What type are you? For lack of a better category, I think I'm a garment knitter...

I didn't get the nerve up to talk to Marnie and Julia though I stalk their blogs on an almost daily basis. I keep hoping that Marnie's test knitters will finish their work soon so I can buy the Deciduous pattern!

New people I met: Kathy whose blog you must check out because you'll be wishing that the internet could bring you food, MJ who's also a rock climbing knitter, Kris who was wearing a beautiful FO and as far as I can tell scores jealousy points from me for being all-around crafty (check her post and you'll get a glimpse of my unobstructed face!), Allison whom I was happy enough to have a sweater deconstruction conversation over her store-bought sweater (I WILL be making a larger than required gauge stockinette fuzzy sweater just like the one she was wearing!), Lori who gave me a lesson on Canadian geography, and so many more that I just can't list everyone here!

And really, next time: projects for 2006!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Panic time!

Okay, less than a week until Christmas, and FREAKING A I'M NOT DONE KNITTING!

It's not off my chest yet. Is this Christmas knitting ever going to be over?!?!

I watched 8 episodes of Desperate Housewives hoping to get some serious knitting done and went to a Knit Out with many fellow SoCal (and even a knitter from 3000 miles away!) knitbloggers yesterday (bloglines is down, so I can't tell you who right now) and managed to only finish the upper right and half of the upper left of my grandmother's hoodie. EEK! I blame it all on the discovery of this game.

*deep breath*

I've decided that even if I don't finish by Christmas, it's okay. The sari silk Unbiased redux (which I'm slowly starting to think should be scrapped in favor of just doing it in Kureyon instead) is a bonus gift for my SIL and I think my Grandmother would get a real kick out of opening a box with her in progress hoodie with the needles still in.

In case anyone was wondering where I've disappeared to, I had a cross-continental work trip last week, another work trip to somewhere where it's really cold right now, and then I get to finally go home for the holidays this Saturday. So I'm sorry I've been so MIA, but as you can see, it's the same panic as ever.

The good news is, the slow death of my blog due to lack of pictures and not posting enough (stupid deadlines!) is coming to a close after this Saturday. Maybe this won't cure the latter, but at least I'll have access to a camera again! Yay!

Also, I finally got to see the pictures from my brother's wedding. There's a great picture I MUST share. It'll have to wait until I get the DVD from my brother this weekend. See this post for clues.

On a random other note, I've decided that starting my blog has somehow increased my chances of celebrity spotting. Really, I mean it! Back in July when my best friend from college came out to visit me, she was shocked, SHOCKED that living in LA for almost a year, I still hadn't managed a single celebrity spotting. She on the other hand, had even managed a Lindsay Lohan run in living in New Orleans. Not long afterwards, there was the You Knit Too Much incident at Long's. Then there was the anniversary edition. Now this. Pacey Witter at my gym. Okay that's not his real name, but that's the only name I'll ever know him by. Yes, I'll admit it. I watched Dawson's Creek. Can't help it. It was the OC of its time. What did I manage to do this time? Well, in true spaz fashion, I managed to blurt out, "Dude, where'd you get your shoes?"

Okay, so I'm sorry for the randomness of my post today, but I really truly feel all over the place, literally! If I don't manage to post this week, I hope everybody who celebrates it has a very Merry Christmas and Happy Channukah!

Next post: my list of projects for 2006!

Friday, December 09, 2005

The scanner is my friend

Being a blogger without a camera sucks. But the scanner is my friend. I haven't been able to show off my recent Christmas related FO's becuase they just haven't fit on the scanner! I finished my grandfather's Hoodie Boogie Rock and cast on for the last of the trio on Wednesday. I also cast on Wednesday for Unbiased Redux. I wasn't going to show it because I don't think you can make out much from the scan, but oh well, you twisted my arm.

See? Can't tell a bit from that, right? It's not everything I hope it to be, but I think it might be too early to tell just yet. I've decided that this would be perfect for a felted Kureyon version too. Just have to finish this first, and then I can experiment!

On the DF knitting front, he finished the knitting on our friend DL's (those are his initials) Bones hat. It just needs a bit of seaming for the hem and the back where DF had to work back and forth. Not a bad attempt at intarsia, huh? Actually, it's stranded, so it's more Fair Isle, I guess. Anyway, project number 5 under his belt now, and 3 (including this one) without a pattern! I wonder, is this a man trait to just fly by the seat of your pants and knit with an idea of what you want but no directions? He's not bad, huh?

In non-knitting news, I managed to send off a secret santa package today! I'm notoriously bad about sending gifts that I already have to their intended recipients, so this is amazing for me. Which reminds me of a story my cousin told me earlier this week about his adventures in Christmas shopping.

So he went into a dollar store to pick up some stuff for our family's secret santa exchange. Only it's not secret since we all know who drew who. I guess that's more of a gift exchange. Anyway. When he walks into the store:

Clerk: You're back!
Cousin: Um, no, not exactly.
Clerk: Yes you are, you're the guy who likes to collect the Chinese figurines!
Cousin: Um, no!! What kind of pansy do you take me for exactly?
Clerk: Sorry about that, let me ring you up.
Clerk: Um... yeah. Do you need a bag for your items? *holding up the girls' opaque tights*

So what would you think if you were a 19 year old boy and you open up your Christmas present only to find: one pair girls' tights, a block of chalk, and leather work gloves? Looking to get him arrested, is what I think!

Actually, it's all for climbing. You cut up the tights and fill it with chalk so your hands don't get sweaty, and the work gloves are to help manage the rope if you so desire. I guess you could probably use trouser socks, but I think the tights might be cheaper.

On the wedding front, still nothing has been decided. A new wrench was thrown into the mix this week: we found out that DF's grandfather's cancer hasn't gone away, it's spread to distant organs. We're thinking about whether it would increase the chances of him attending if we move the date up from the fall. I don't know.

BTW, has anyone else noticed some strange behavior of Bloglines and people's blogs who are hosted on blogger? I haven't seen blogs light up in bold for the past couple of days, but if I click on the feed, there are unread posts in it. Did I do something weird?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


I absolutely love the word Haul. As in stuff I got. Or as in what I have to do in order to get the stuff I got home. I just love that I no longer look at blog posts weird when they say that they just LOVE all of the jumpers in the new Knitty. I don't immediately wonder if some sort of catastrophe in the knitting word was being reported on Amy's blog resulting in many pictures of people needing to be step back from that ledge (my friend). Speaking of the new Knitty, I have to say that I think I'm in the minority about not being uber-thrilled with the issue. Yes, it's a great stashbusting issue full of toys and quick gift ideas, but the only project that made me want to cast on right away was... well Tempting II but, that was really only because I was planning on casting on for Tempting anyway.

Oh yeah, the HAUL. It all started (or should I say continued since I made it public that I could actually line up my yarn end on end and make it anywhere in the country - if of course I only needed to get to a plane at LAX) over Thanksgiving with the early Christmas swag. My future in-laws were nice enough to grace me with (because I love making lists):

1. Odd Ball Knitting by Barbara Albright: The OBK book is nice because it gives you ideas for small items and while it makes liberal use of stripes, they're nice enough to tell you just how many YARDS of yarn you'll need instead of balls. I often wonder if it wouldn't be better practice to state yarn requirements in yards anyway leaving the reader to round up to the nearest ball and add more if they want the extra insurance. Nothing earth shattering, but a good addition to the library I think.

2. The Knitters Bible by Claire Compton: The Knitters Bible is handy for a few ideas on stitch patterns as well as a quick reference for various techniques. It's a whole lot more convenient than looking it up on the web, that's for sure.

3. Knitting Magazine (UK) - November 2005: Knitting Magazine from the UK is probably not a magazine I'd subscribe to. Browsing through it, it seemed to lean a bit more towards the Family Circle kind of fashion rather than Interweave fashion. This particular issue is all about the super-chunky yarn, and well, let's face it, Miss McSpazzitron would be swallowed alive if she ever attempted to wear a FUN FUR floor length coat. And then sent straight to hell for wearing the fun fur.

4. Pattern A Day Desk Calendar

5. Addi Turbos! Sizes 2, 3, and 4 in 24" cords

I haven't had much of a chance to look through the calendar or use the Addis yet, but I'm really looking forward to the latter! I've had my eye on the Union Square Market Pullover sweater from the Fall IK for quite some time, but didn't have the needles to do it. Yes, I know, I must be crazy for wanting to do an entire sweater in FINGERING weight yarn, but Eunny's and Stephanie's sweaters are SO beautiful, I can't help but covet.

And then there was more...

I went to the Yarn Lady Bag Sale on Saturday with Teresa and Sara from the Santa Monica Stitch n Bitch. Let's just take a moment to savor the idea of entire bags of yarn for 50% off!!!

And my stash screamed in unison at the idea of trying to shove more sardines into that can.

I think I behaved relatively well. I mean, I only came home with 20% more balls of yarn than I left at home. I picked up some GGH Goa in Spruce and Salmon and the following from a manufacturer that I'm not familiar with, Fare Baruffa:

Gorgeous tweedy stuff. The Settembre is a superwash DK weight yarn and it's actually this magical iridescent navy wrapped in a strand of tobacco brown. A touch rougher than Cascade 220 in the ball, but I'm hoping that it won't be scratchy once knit up. The Aerobic is a superfine merino sport weight yarn. The picture (like that for Settembre) belies the true color of the yarn, more like a heathered plum color.

As if that weren't enough, Wendy was so kind as to send me the Freestyler's Raw as F**k CD since I had asked her what the music was in her hard to forget happy dance music video. It's not what I usually listen to, but it just caught my ear for some reason (maybe it was the crazy lady and her daughter in the video). To illustrate just how cool we already know Wendy is, she even knows the DJ on the CD. Thanks Wendy for sending the CD!

The apartment is bursting at the seams. Amazing that there's any space left for me to actually knit in. The weekend was a slow knitting weekend, but DF is almost done with the Bones hat and I have 20 rows of the hood on Hoodie Boogie Rock 2 left. Oh yeah, and the idea for Unbiased Redux is refining itself more and more as I find myself thinking in the shower. I keep having these daydreams that I'll write up the pattern and somehow everyone on blogland will find the FO picture and it will become the next Clapotis. Uh-huh. Keep dreaming.

I leave not-quite-a-progress-report Tuesday is Knitalong day post today with the following question: Does anybody else have strange places where they like to do their creative thinking?

I hate haloscan

As I stalk myself to see if there are any comments that I need to respond to (I do read all your comments and am very appreciative you take the time to do so!) I note that the haloscan commenting link doesn't always work. It seems to have done this intermittently over the last few weeks. Has anybody else noticed this?

Friday, December 02, 2005

That's going on your permanent record...

I'll admit it. I was an angel throughout school. The mere threat of, "Be quiet, or you're going to sit in the corner!" was more than enough to get me to sit politely for 12 years of schooling. But as time wore on, and the repetitive threats of "Mister, you'd better not act up again in my classroom or that'll go on your permanent record!" came again and again (directed at my classmates, of course!) I did wonder where this permanent record was kept. Perhaps at the FBI? I mean, who else would be able to track you down when you're 38 and remind you that you once disrupted class by falling off an airconditioner and had to ask the teacher to let you go home to change so you wouldn't have to flash your underpants to the rest of the school through that now present gaping hole in the butt of your skirt? Umm, no, that never happened to anybody I knew.

Misdemeanors on my permanent record aside, I didn't really ever believe that I'd need to know anything they taught me in high school anyway. Sheer fear is what drove me at the time to do my homework. I mean, what would I do if I didn't get a perfect score on my tests?

Except that sometimes, those teachers were right. You might just need to prove that a right triangle has the dimensions of a^2 + b^2 = c^2. Like today for example.

So if you've been following along, yesterday I showed a horrible attempt at a swatch to fix my unbiased bag's tendency to dump it's contents out of the too shallow middle. It looked something like this. Eek I say. But there isn't anything fundamentally wrong with the construction, I think. The original just looked like the diagonal edge was too stretched out to make those perfect little squares that make my heart soar. (yes, I get turned on when things all fall neatly within straight lines at right angles to each other. sue me.)

*thinking all morning*


It's a triangle, stupid! The diagonal edge has to be LONGER than the sides, so unless you're expecting your gauge to magically change by a factor of 0.7 when you change the direction of your knitting from diagonal to horizontal, there's some adjusting to be made, dumb a$$.

Second try:

This time, I fudged my stitch count on the short rows to get 0.7 times the number of stitches along the diagonal by just K2tog here and there when I knit the stitches from the diagonal. Looks, better, no? Okay, still not a square, but rectangular I can live with. And at least now I don't have to worry about the FBI coming to my house to question my geometry grade from my permanent record.

Big mahalo goes out to Keohinani! She was kind enough to obssess over my design dilemma and send me 4 bmp of diagrams of her ideas. I think she fixed my problem of having to seam the piece together, and now that I have the target stitch count for bag, this is looking like a real possibility! Now the only question is, do I add a gusset or just make it a flat bag?

In other news, I've been having recurring You Knit Too Much dreams. For the past two nights, I've been fantasizing about going to my computer, going to my Knitty bookmark, and hitting reload, reload, reload.. until the winter 2005 issue magically appeared. Yes, that was really ONLY in my dreams. *ahem*

And, it's looking like the Christmas mad dash to finish may come in under the wire. Perhaps even with a day or so to spare! I'm 80% done with Hoodie Boogie Rock 2 and designs for Unbiased Redux are coming along for my ghost knitter, who incidentally is 75% done with the Bones hat for our friend DL. Thanks again DF!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Help please?

Ok, so after my rant about how much I didn't like the unbiased pattern, I thought, well heck, I just need to fill in that little bit of space in the middle of the bag where things are likely to fall out. Here's what I'm thinking is the key: shortrows! Here's a sketch (sorry for the poor handwriting) of what I had in mind. Think of a handbag with a flap closure:

So I swatched to see if I could figure out how to get this to work. My discovery? Stitches are little buggers! Why can't they be perfect little squares so that your row guage matches your stitch gauge? Here's my deformed mess:

Clearly, I have far too many rows to stitches along that diagonal to make a perfect little square that I was hoping for. Does anyone have any suggestions to fix this problem? I was thinking of alternating between knitting one more stitch and two more stitches on each subsequent short row, but am afraid that I'll get an even weirder looking swatch.

So back to the drawing board. I think I may just want to finish the square all on the bias by decreasing on either end and sewing all 4 squares together as planned and just knit the flap in the same way. The only difference to the original plan would be that the back view would just look like two squares knit on the bias instead of the neat V panel in the middle with the horizontal garter stitch. I think I can live with that, but what do y'all think?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Light Petrol

Pattern modified from Knitty: Petrol

Gauge: 20 sts x 29 rounds/ 4” in pattern

Materials: TLC Cotton Plus (51% cotton, 49% acrylic. 186 yds) <4 skeins in color navy (MC), 1 in moss (CC1) and 0.5 in aran (CC2). Circular needles 29” size US7 and size US8 Denise circulars.
Started: November 1, 2005
Frogged: November 4, 2005
Finished: November 26, 2005

Finished measurements after blocking:
Chest: 46”
Length: 24”

Stitch pattern – k4, p2 on RS. P all on WS. K last stitch of every row and sl1 purlwise at beginning of every row.

Cast on 116 sts. Purl row 1. Work in stitch pattern to row 67 in MC. Begin chest stripe section on WS as below. At the SAME TIME, begin armhole shaping.

Work chest stripe as follows:
13 rows CC1
8 rows CC2
4 rows CC1
2 rows CC2
4 rows CC1
8 rows CC2
13 rows CC1 (begins on row 107)

Begin armhole shaping on RS row 108 (2nd row of last stripe of CC1, work measures 15”) as follows: Cast off 5 sts at beginning of next two rows (96 sts). Decrease 1 st at both ends of every RS row 10 times (86 sts). Work even to 24”. Bind off with RS facing (row 172, row 51 of MC).

Work as for front up to armhole shaping. AT THE SAME TIME, begin neckline shaping when piece measures 17” as follows. (This will be after 3 rows in the MC, working on the WS). Purl 45 sts. Transfer 2 sts to safety pin and leave remaining 45 sts to be worked later. Working on right front of vest only (left side of RS), slip 1, SSK, work in pattern to end and continue armhole shaping. Repeat decreases for neckline shaping a total of 18 times. 24 sts remain. Continue without further shaping until work measures 24”. Bind off with RS facing (row 172). Repeat on left front of vest. Break yarn leaving enough to sew shoulder seams. Sew shoulder seams. Measure out a length sufficient to sew side seams but do not break yarn as this will be used for armhole finishing. Sew side seams.

With yarn used for side seams, pick up and knit 5 stitches every 8 rows. K2, p2 for 5 rounds and bind off in k2, p2 ribbing with larger needles.

Pick up and knit 5 stitches every 8 rows along neck sides knitting two stitches from safety pins as you get to them and pick up 1 stitch for every bound off stitch across back neck. K2, p2 for 5 rounds and bind off in k2, p2 ribbing with larger needles.

Well, according to Wendy, I’m a designer too. I call this Light Petrol, because it’s so loosely based on Petrol. I don’t necessarily believe that this is a design of my own, since how many original designs for a sweater vest can you actually get? They’re all basically the same shape, right?

I will say that I was not impressed with the directions on the original pattern. Let me start off by saying that I don't really count stitches most of the time because I'm usually off on my own with number of stitches because I never make a size that's actually calculated out in the pattern itself. But this one was glaring. The directions say to start armhole shaping, and then when the piece measured x", start neckline shaping. Great, except then the pattern goes on to give specific stitch counts to shape the neck and the count did not take the decreases for the armhole shaping into consideration at all. I'm sure it was just a typo, but I'm surprised it got past the tech editors over at Knitty.

Of course, I have stitch AND row counts in my notes above, so I should probably be slapped. I'll have to remember the things I complain about if I ever do decide to write a real pattern someday.

This project absolutely flew except for the armhole and neckline finishing. In true knittingspaz fashion, I did each armhole three times and the neckline twice and am still not 100% happy with the finished product since I still think it pulls a bit around the neck. But it’s good enough and I think my grandpa will enjoy it enough so that I can move on to other Christmas projects!

Previous posts about this project:
Yes that’s my binary girlfriend on the floor on 11/8/2005
Vegas style on 11/15/2005
A picture, a picture!!! on 11/16/2005
I come by it honest on 11/22/2005
Tuesday is pictureless knitalong day on 11/29/2005

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Pattern: Unbiased on Knitty

Materials: LACIS NP 29 Sari yarn(100% silk, 100g), 3 skeins. Size 8 circulars.
Finished size: 12.5” tall on long edge, 5” tall at middle, and 15” wide.

Started: September 29, 2005
Completed: November 22, 2005

Followed pattern exactly!

For anyone interested in making unbiased, the pattern SUCKS, imho. Sorry, did I say that out loud? Maybe it was just my execution, but the pattern diagram doesn't at all look like how it comes out. The diagram conveniently was not drawn to scale. Looking at the diagram, you'd think that the middle of the bag would be about 8 inches tall (only if you got out your ruler and did a little math would you probably arrive at this number. It really looks like it's about half as tall as it is wide). That's reasonable.

But then read the pattern. If you start in the lower left hand corner and increase on either end in garter stitch until your edge measures 7.5 inches you get a 45-45-90 triangle. Then you’re supposed to maintain the bias and knit up the piece until the long side measures 12.5 inches. If we’re not changing the angle of the hypoteneuse, what do you think the short edge should measure? A measly 5 inches I tell you.

Five inches wouldn’t be all that bad, except there's no gusset. So if you put anything in there that's not a flat sheet of paper, the bottom flattens out so that the middle of the bag measures more like 3 inches. What's the use of a bag whose length is 15 inches and is only 3 inches tall?

Previous posts about this project:
She-Ra on 10/4/2005
Shout out on 10/11/2005
Lost on 10/31/2005
I come by it honest on 11/22/2005
Tuesday is pictureless knitalong day on 11/29/2005

Tuesday is pictureless knitalong day

Yes yes, I've been MIA. I blame it on the frenzied knitting and eating and family visiting and flying and... I'll just shut up now.

This post will be short since I have more frenzied knitting to get back to, but in an effort to stay on my promised knitalong updates on Tuesdays (it's 10pm PST, it still counts!) here's the lowdown:
1. DF finished the strap on Unbiased and it was given to future SIL over the weekend. I had to beg DF not to give it to her because it just didn't measure up to spaz standards. I wanted to hide behind DF when future SIL opened the gift. I was too ashamed. Her suggestion was to add a zipper or some other closure to make it a bit functional. I thought it might work well as a trashcan liner myself.
2. I finished Light Petrol. Only a minor amount of spazzing on the neckline and armhole openings for this one. Amazing, ain't it?
3. I cast on for Hoodie Boogie Rock 2 for my grandfather. It's flying this time since I've already worked out most of the pattern details and changed the cable border to garter stitch border. I think this border is significantly more masculine.

No pictures still since the camera is with my parents. I'll post summary posts at some point to clear out my sidebar I swear, but they'll have to be pictureless.

BTW, has anyone noticed that since announcing my engagement early on in the life of this blog, not a peep has been mentioned about the W word? Honestly, it's because I'm SCARED SHITLESS of the planning process. Could it be my perfectionist, OCD tendencies? Or maybe my need to please everyone? Or perhaps I'm afraid of the Catholic church refusing to marry us pagans (okay, it's just me)? Or even, by some wild stretch of the imagination, maybe I could be afraid of offending every family member we have and just elope. Anyone have a paper bag so I don't pass out?

Also, I noticed that haloscan has been slowly eating my early comments. Do they delete comments after a certain number, or do they just delete them after a certain period of time? Thinking more and more about just paying for a blog...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I come by it honest

That's what DF's dad usually says when I complain about something that DF does that annoys me. Usually it's something that his dad also does, hence DF "comes by it honest" and didn't just come up with that all on his own. So I swear, my stashing tendencies are in that category of things that I come by honestly.

My dad used to change the oil in his cars all on his own. He used to have a thing where you always put the same oil in the car so it runs better. We're not talking about just always using 10W-40 here. We're not even talking about just always using Pennzoil 10W-40 here. He means the same lot number of the same product. He should be a knitter. The concept of dyelotting wouldn't even phase him. Anyway, my dad would wait for a sale on motor oil, and then just buy cases upon cases of motor oil. It's not like it has an expiration date on it, right? You can walk into the garage and open up the storage closet and see it crammed floor to ceiling with cases of the stuff. When we sold a car that we'd had for almost 10 years, my dad put the motor oil in the trunk because that's the only lot of motor oil that car had ever seen and of course the next owner would want the original motor oil to come with it, right? He had no further use for that lot of motor oil after all.

The same goes for food stashing. My parents are in a constant state of preparedness. When Hurricane Rita was bearing down on the gulf coast and everyone else was panicking, my parents sat back and watched the mayhem on TV. They didn't need to raid the grocery store for bottled water or canned food items. They have enough to last through 3 hurricanes and the earthquake that might hit in 2065.

I myself only have enough canned food to make it through 1 earthquake. Square footage issues are quite limiting.

I know I said that Tuesday is Knitalong Day. So here's the progress.

Wait, isn't that the same as it was previously? No, it's a different picture, I swear. This is the front, really. So I guess this makes me 75% of the way done with Holiday gift number #4. Technically, the last picture I flashed isn't really the way it is anymore. I realized that when recalculating my gauge i didn't recalculate the number of stitches to bind off and decrease for the armhole shaping. I just followed the numbers blindly from the pattern. Holding it up to DF for sizing, the armholes just weren't wide enough, so I recalculated based on the number of inches that were decreased out so the armhole dimensions are about the same. I have to do the same thing for the neckline shaping now, and well, I'm just tired. Maybe on the plane when we take YET ANOTHER RED EYE flight on the worst travel day of the year. Yay.

DF is done seaming the Unbiased bag for my future SIL and is slowly working on the straps. We're hoping that this will be done for the Thanksgiving Christmas exchange to occur this weekend at his family's house. *holding breath and turning blue*

Friday, November 18, 2005

The envelope please...

First off, I'd like to thank Laura for the mention on her Three Blog Thursday post this week. I've never thought of myself as a rolling on the floor laughing my ass off kind of writer (usually I'm the one people worry about when I'm doubled over in laughter that sounds strangely like hiccups and hyperventilating to the point where I'm blue and clutching at my sides complaining of kidney pain), so I'm flattered. I like Laura's weekly feature, so go by and check out her blog if you haven't already.

The guesses are in and the balls (tee-hee!) have been counted. And the winner is…

Chrissy with 201!

Since I asked for your guesses of balls, including partials, Chrissy was the closest to my actual count of *looking around to see if anyone else is listening, especially DF* 208 (Strike that, 210. I got MORE yarn today and I apparently didn't remember how many balls of Jaeger Luxury Tweed I had ordered. *hiding*). Granted, 20 of those are partial balls, so if you only count those that are full balls, it’s considerably less. And mind you, 29 of those full balls are for works actually in progress to be included in Christmas knitting. Oh forget it. I'm just rationalizing. I’m coming out of hiding now. Hello, my name is Jen, and I am a yarnaholic. There, I said it. Too bad I have no intention of completing the other 11 steps.

Like Keohinani, I did a spreadsheet to catalog my stash. I’m hoping that it will help me resist buying new yarn when I see a pattern I like since it’s organized by weight and remaining yardage. I have no idea how to link to an excel file, so here’s a picture of the page 1 of 3. I shamelessly filtered out the acrylic yarns… Anyway, if you actually do want to see the excel file itself, I’d be happy to share if you leave a comment.

Lastly, I just wanted to vouch for Laurie's assertion that Angelenos are obsessed with sushi. There's a sushi restaurant on every corner. Within walking distance of my place, I can count 5 restaurants. Realize also that walking distance in LA is no further than a block, despite the fact that you might walk further than that if you drive because there's never parking that close to where you want to go. There are sushi restaurants next to sushi restaurants. I don't get it.

But I will say that I've had the best sushi of my life just last night. The place we went to is something of a sushi nazi kind of place. The waitresses bring you whatever the chef wants to make for you and says, "No Soy Sauce!". Most telling of the 'tude this place carries, the sign at the front door says, "We do not serve California Rolls or Spicy Tuna Rolls." Whatever. It was still worth it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A picture, a picture!!!!

Lookee here!! I thought it'd be something like 6 weeks before I could post a picture again. Wonder of wonders I realized, hey, wait a minute, I have a scanner! Exclamation points!!!

Anyway, this is the progress I have on Light Petrol. I'm a few inches away from finishing the back, so I guess I'll call it 40% done. That's the chest striping. I looked up suggestions on how wide to make my chest stripes, and all I got was Fibonacci numbers. So you know how on every single IQ test or other standardized test they ask you, what's the next number in this sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21... Well, yeah. Every time I have to figure it out. And no, I didn't realize that there was a name for this particular sequence. Now I know.

Anyway, the problem with using Fibonacci numbers to dictate the width of your stripes is that most of the smaller numbers are odd. Not great for knitting and carrying your yarn up the side of the work. So I cheated and used 4 instead of 5. But that bleed through you see between the green stripe and the blue main color, yeah, that's because I changed colors incorrectly and didn't realize until I was to change colors again that you can prevent the color bleed through if you're careful about choosing a side to change on. If anyone's interested, in this case, I changed on the wrong side of the work to prevent bleed through because that side is where I purl all the way across and on the right side it looks like all knits.

In case anyone was paying attention, of course I'm not following the pattern as written. Most obviously, I changed the gauge altogether and substituted yarns. As you can see, I also changed the chest striping. And amazingly enough for one who hates finishing, I also converted this to a flat piece. I originally did this because I don't like the armhole shaping procedure when knit in the round, and I didn't like the idea of having to keep track of whether I was on an odd round where I needed to knit in pattern, or an even round where I needed to knit around. As a bonus, I did get to avoid the color jog this way. Of course, if I hadn't decided to do this flat, I wouldn't have worried so much about the odd numbers and carrying the yarn up the side. You win some, you lose some.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Anyone want to hazard a guess on the total number of unused balls (partials included) in my stash???

Answers later this week...

Two posts!

Okay, this shouldn't really count as a post, but in honor of this coming Friday...

You scored 8% Slytherin, 36% Ravenclaw, 64% Gryffindor, and 40% Hufflepuff!

You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart.

Gryffindors are known for their courage, audacity, and devotion to what is good and honest.

My test tracked 4 variables. How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 4% on Slytherin
You scored higher than 63% on Ravenclaw
You scored higher than 81% on Gryffindor
You scored higher than 81% on Hufflepuff

Link: The Sorting Hat Test written by leeannslytherin on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Also, Keohinani did a quasi Flash Your Stash today. Or maybe it's not really today because I'm so behind in my blog reading. Anyway, I've never seen anyone with QUITE so much sock yarn... I'm jealous I tell you. But also, I've been meaning to flash mine as well because it's just downright ridiculous and my credit card is about to spontaneously combust. But I swear, almost every last bit is earmarked for a specific project. You'll see...

Vegas style

So I have a doppelganger. My brother Bryan married a Jen over the weekend in Las Vegas. People are still creeped out by that, but I don't really understand why. I think it's kind of funny that my brother married a Jen and I plan to marry a Ryan. There's a bit of discussion on what to call Mrs. Jen and what to call me. My dad is pushing for my childhood nickname to carry over to differentiate between us: Jumbo Jen vs. just Jen. I don't think I understood the oxymoron when my dad first coined that nickname as a child. BTW, I wanted to use the word "Ironic" here to describe my nickname, but ever since that Alanis Morisette song, I've never been able to remember the correct use of the word again...

Back to my point, the wedding was a wedding IN Vegas, not a Vegas Wedding. The wedding planners there are trying hard to make a distinction between the two. For my brother's part, he had elements of both. No Little White Chapel, but definitely Elvis and the magic disappearing, reappearing box to make a grand entrance.

The highlight of the weekend went something like this:
SIL: So I had to get special shoes to go with this dress.
Me: Why's that?
SIL: Well, the dress is a bit too big for my height, so I had to get really tall shoes. They're 7 inches.
Me: 7 inches? Should I refrain from touching you lest you topple over?
SIL: Actually they're surprisingly comfortable.
Me: I have to see these. Show me your shoes!
SIL: Well, a lot of brides are doing it these days... *flashing 4 inch clear acrylic platform shoes with clear acrylic heels and clear plastic straps*
Mom: And how would you know that?

As for knitting content, I don't really have anything to show since my camera is being held hostage by my parents until Christmas. DRATS! So there will be many FO pictures after Christmas, and I'll just have to do the summary without the pictures until then. At least that way, you'll be able to see the finished product on the recipient instead of on the carpet. For now, I have the chest stripe section almost done on the back of Light Petrol. Miles and miles of garter/stockinette columns is getting a bit tedious...

Edited to add: I also joined the Who Wouldn't Love a Handknitted Gift KAL. I think I'll do the Blue Blog classic, Tuesday is Knitalong Day update. Hoping to get my butt in gear as it appears I still have 6 gifts out of 9 left! 39 days and counting...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

When monkeys fly out of your butt...

So apparently I've been drinking too much wine lately because I'm just not making any sense at all anymore. I think I am starting to take ex rectum to a whole new level. I blame the following exchange on Kim for planting the seed in my head.

Me: Hey what was that wine you were talking about earlier with your dad?
DF: Which one?
Me: You know, THAT one.
DF: No, I don't know.
Me: I don't remember the name of it. Just someone else recommended the same wine on my blog today. I think it was something like Obscuratum or something similar.
DF: Obscuratum? No, I don't know that one...
Me: Yeah, something like that. Maybe Offenbach Obscuratum?
DF: Well what did we say about the wine?
Me: I don't know. It was white?
DF: Oh, I mentioned it was the bottle with the screw top instead of a cork. That was Camus Conundrum! Offenbach Obscuratum?
Me: Well, the alliteration was sort of there...
DF: Offenbach Obscuratum!?!
... (20 minutes) ...
DF: Offenbach Obscuratum!

Sorry I've been such a bad blogger lately. Not much to see here, and I have about 100 posts to read still. I'm taking a long weekend starting tomorrow, so I'm afraid of seeing how many posts I'll be behind after I get back! EEK!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I don't do this near enough, but I just thought that this particular post warranted special attention. If anyone is interested in a very detailed breakdown on how to chart out a cable pattern by looking at an existing design, go to Eunny's post here. She's very good at showing step by step how you'd break down a cable pattern you see somewhere but can't find in a stitch dictionary. This is great for all of you aspiring designers, especially you cable fans. Thanks Eunny for sharing your technical and designing expertise!

Yes that’s my binary girlfriend on the floor

I have no new knitting content today except to mention that I finished #1 on my Christmas knitting list on Halloween.  YAY!  Except that Hoodie Boogie Rock v1.0 won’t fit my grandmother.  BOO!  My mother tried it on and it fits her perfectly.  Being an enviable size 6 at her perpetual age of 29 (she started counting backwards years ago, but she has just stopped de-aging altogether now that she’s younger than both of her children), we decided that the hoodie just wouldn’t be large enough for my very “hearty” grandmother.  Think Polish build but compacted down into average Chinese height.  I hope I didn’t offend anyone there.  So I get to start over on #1 of my list.  Good news is, my mom actually wanted to keep the vest, so it wasn’t a completely loss.  I’m just not going to block and add the zipper in until after the rest of the Christmas knitting is done.

So I cast on for #3 (light worsted gauge version of Petrol) over the weekend.  Nothing exciting to show… just a few rows of 4x2 ribbing.  BTW, TLC cotton plus is a moderately splitty yarn, but it’s actually reasonably nice to work with.  Feels more like cotton than acrylic.  Definitely nicer than the Patons Shetland Chunky I was working with on Hoodie Boogie Rock.

So I don’t really drink.  You name it, and I don’t drink it.  Water, coffee, tea, wine, beer, and liquor are all on my non-preferred fluids list.  Sugar in liquid format is different though.  DF, on the other hand is a huge fan of just about everything I just listed.  In an effort to better understand him, I’ve been trying to find a wine that I can stomach.  I’ve gotten to a point where smelling wine doesn’t make my nose wrinkle 100% of the time.  It’s more like 95% now, but I consider that progress.

DF and I went to a wine tasting a few weeks ago.  No, it probably didn’t make much sense to bring me along to the tasting where some 30 different wines were available for consumption, but I rationalized it by saying that a designated driver was worth the extra cash.  Anyway, DF handed me glass after glass of wine to smell and asked so what do you think?  My answers varied from “Ick” to “eww”.  Except one: Il Falchetto Brachetto d’Acqui.  Asked to describe: “Good!”

So we decided to branch out and try something else.  We picked out a moscato but were wondering what the difference was between two vineyards’ versions.  So I told DF to ask.  The conversation went something like this:
DF: So what do you think of XXX moscato vs. YYY moscato?
Store owner:  blah blah blah acidic blah blah blah rounder blah floral
Me: *blankstare*
Store owner: How would you describe the *Italian mumbling*
Me: I liked it.
Store owner: What did you think of this other *Italian doohickey name*
Me: I didn’t like it
Store owner:  Well what are you going to serve this moscato with?
Me:  *blink*
Store owner: So what was it that you didn’t like about *Italian doohickey name*
Me: *blink*
Store owner: Well, what do you like?
Me: Does Welch’s grape soda count?
Store owner: C’mon.  You can’t say that you like Welch’s grape soda better than *more Italian mumbo jumbo*.
Me: *ducking behind counter*
Store owner to DF: What’s she doing?
DF: She’s hiding.  Don’t worry, it’s normal for her.  

But I’m working on getting better answers than “Like” and “don’t like”.  Although I definitely think that the binary wine scale is much easier to follow than that absurd 100 point scale that the wine magazines will have you believe in.  I even added a third dimension to my wine descriptions: pear.  Just try Cascina Fonda moscato d’Asti.  

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

If you haven't...

seen this already. You must GO HERE NOW! These guys just crack me up.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Me too, me too!

Okay, so I was incredibly dorky and thinking of tagging myself for this meme ever since seeing it on Carolyn's blog. Thankfully, I didn't have to feel quite so dorky since it's managed to make its way to me. Thanks Chrissy!

1. What is your all-time favorite yarn to knit with?

Gee, I don't think I actually have one. I've only knit with a few things and I can't exactly say that I loved one over another. The only thing that I know for certain is that I have become something of a yarn snob and I don't really like knitting with cheap acrylic. Sometimes it's a necessity, but I don't really like the feel of shag carpet running through my fingers. The Malabrigo DF is using right now, however, feels like heaven and is about the only thing I've actually purchased that I would prefer to knit with over other things I have used. I can't say however, that I actually like the end product any more than other garments I've made, but I certainly like the process a whole lot more.

2. Favorite needles?

Again, I haven't used a whole lot of different ones, but I definitely prefer circulars over straights. I've all but abandoned my straight needles (all Susan Bates). I have a tendency to reach for my Denise Needles more than anything else, but I think this has more to do with the fact that I don't own other circulars in sizes except for 5 and 8 with hat length cords (not very useful for sweaters) and 7, 10, and 10.5 in man sized sweater lengths (also not very useful if I'm making a sweater in the round for myself). I should start seaming sweaters, huh?

3. What's the worst thing you ever knit?

Hmm, does it have to be something I've actually finished? I'd say the abandoned Needful Yarns poncho. As I had mentioned in my UFO report, it got ripped out and is now languishing in another format. I didn't make gauge, and the gauge I had for the majority of the project didn't match my cast on or bind off rows at all, so getting the pieces to lay flat in nice rectangles for seaming was NOT going to happen. And worst of all, the yarn I was using. I'm sure that given the right pattern, it would have been fine, but the novelty yarn thing doesn't appeal to me much.

4. Favorite knitting pattern? The most fun to knit?

Believe it or not, I'd say my favorite pattern was actually Hopeful. Despite the angst that went into that project, it's a top that seems to flatter me. It was however, not fun. The fun award goes to Lelah. The lace was great for my first project and it went fast. Fashion, not function is what Christine says, and I totally agree. I made it in a subtly glittery yarn, so it's not the best next to skin wear, hence, I don't wear it much. Only for going out!

5. Most valuable knitting technique?

Hmm, I'm loving kitchener stitch and 3 needle bind off right now since I seem to be joining pieces vertically a lot right now. Otherwise, I'd just say knitting in the round in general since that's what I seem to do the most of lately.

6. Best knit book or magazine?

I just stocked up on a few Rebecca mags and IK. I subscribe to VK, but I was sorely disappointed with the most recent issue. As for books, I only own Knitting without Tears, so I guess that one's my favorite! I'm coveting a ridiculous number of reference books right now though like Knitting on the Edge, BW Treasury of Knitting Patterns all volumes and Knitting from the Top, Nancy Wiseman's Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques, and the Knitter's Companion.

7. Favorite knitalong?

Hmm, my only knitalong has been the Hopeful KAL. I guess, like the book, that's my default favorite.

8. Favorite knitblogs?

Well, I did a shout out to all of the blogs that I read regularly not so long ago. Of that long list however, I always check Kim, Keohinani, Chris, Chrissy, Karen and Jillian immediately when I see them highlighted on bloglines and because in that weird I've never met you (except Jillian) sort of way, I definitely consider them to be at least blog friends.

9. Favorite knitwear designer?

I'm not sure that I want to commit to this one, but I like the classic look of Debbie Bliss and the fun stuff in the Rebecca magazines (not a specific designer, I know) though the patterns are horrible to interpret. Also, I like Jenna Adorno since she appears to hate seaming as much as I do and is built similarly to me.

10. The knit item you wear the most?

Actually, don't wear my knitting that much, but I carry around my Buttonhole Bag an awful lot!

Whew! I could have been a bit less wordy, right? I'm not going to tag anyone with this since this one has been going like wildfire and pretty much everyone's blogs I read seems to have already been tagged. But if you're reading this and you haven't been tagged yet, please play along!

Monday, October 31, 2005


So I got an email this weekend from Karen over at Yarn is my Metier. What the heck does metier mean, btw? Dictionary.com says: an activity for which one is particularly suited; forte. Wow, that didn't make it onto my GRE word list... Gotta learn something every once in a while. Anyway, she's just made up a very lovely sleeveless mock turtleneck top that she's in the process of writing up into a pattern and is looking for test knitters. I had to turn her down though I felt honored being asked to test knit... that's definitely a first, so thanks for thinking of me Karen! Anyway, my guilt is kicking in, so I just thought I'd point people in her direction in case she still needs volunteers.

So the reason why I turned her down is because I have a bit of a project list that's due by Christmas. Here's my project role call through the end of the year:

  1. Finish Hoodie Boogie Rock v1.0 for my grandmother
  2. Modify Hoodie Boogie Rock to get v2.0 for my grandfather - no cables, probably just a seed stitch or garter stitch border and big chest stripe
  3. Modify Petrol for my other grandfather to get a different gauge because for some reason 20/4=4 to me and I ended up buying a light worsted yarn when the pattern asks for heavy worsted
  4. Finish designing an intarsia in the round hat for our friend DL. It's gonna be in GGH Samoa in dark pink (#99) with a chocolate brown (#95) skull and cross bones design on the front and DL RAWKS duplicate stitched onto the inside hem. This is DL and yes he's single, and no he doesn't usually look like someone's taken a smudge tool over his face... just respecting his privacy:
  5. Have to finish unbiased 1 and make unbiased 2 for my future SILs.
  6. Take a few valium because I'm starting to feel a panick attack come on already as there are fewer than 60 days left to complete this!
Speaking of La Cabeza Grande, here's a progress pic on Hoodie Boogie Rock v1.0. The hood isn't really that large, it's just a poorly photographed perspective issue. I still have to weave in ends and do the armhole and pocket edgings, but the main part of the knitting is done I'd say. Surprisingly, no major spaz attacks on this one, though I'm not entirely convinced it'll fit my grandma. It's zippered, so she can wear it open and I'm taking measurements this year to do better next year!

I did learn something on this project though. There's a good reason why hooded garments still have neckline shaping and pick up stitches around the shaping:

Those massive holes? Yeah, I think that's why. I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that when weaving in ends it won't look nearly as funky and my grandmother will love my effort anyway.

But I saw that Wendy was doing a hooded vest as well over at Knit and Tonic and was having problems with her hood. This next shot is for Wendy:

No, I didn't just let out a big one, I'm just camera shy, and thank goodness for the hood because it's definitely a bad hair day. Anyway, I think that the hood came out ok, despite the little bit of a nipple or something at my crown. The trick to avoiding the sand people look is something I found in Vogue Knitting Fall 2005 issue: matched decreases at the middle back of the hood. I graduated my decreases since the back of my head isn't a continuous slope.

I just wish that I had seen one of the comments on Wendy's post above before I started all of this. There's apparently a free pattern that's not much different from what I came up with and I wouldn't have had to bastardize 3 patterns to get there. Oh well. I guess mix and match knitting can be rewarding.

Oh and the title of the post? Well, that's because of my weekend. I went for a walk on Saturday at Joshua Tree. It started out leisurely enough, but then we apparently made a wrong turn and ended up bushwhacking for the next five hours. After 12 miles, we finally found the car again and I lost my appetite from not eating all day and, according to my heart rate monitor, burning 2900 calories. I also lost the desire to hike in the desert again where the guidebook instructs you to follow the wash for a mile or so and shortly thereafter find the unmarked hard to follow trail until you reach what used to be a burn area. If that's the best description they could come up with, we should have known better! Anyway, here's the view of Fan Canyon, and the only picture we managed to take during 7.5 hours of hiking.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was DF and my two year anniversary (what’s the correct way of phrasing this possessive?). We met on a Thursday at the climbing gym in LA where we now climb together fairly regularly, and if it weren’t for a smarmy older guy hitting on me at the time, I probably never would have gotten up the guts to ask DF to ask me out. Thanks Tad!

So in a way of celebrating without really planning it that way, we actually got dressed as something other than dirtbag climbing bums and had a nice dinner. The most amusing thing about the place we went to was the “calorie free fortune cookie” they give you after your meal:
I’m pretty sure that’s one person I never would have imagined showing up on a fortune cookie.

Also on hand for anniversary dinner: the soon-to-be-former-Mr. Jessica Simpson apparently on the prowl for another dumb starlet. Yes, he was kind enough to NOT sing us an anniversary song.

In other ramblings, I will try to get around to showing how to pick up and purl for pocket linings and probably even for attaching patch pockets anywhere on stockinette stitch. Also, I’ve made reasonable progress on Hoodie Boogie Rock, and haven’t even frogged once! Granted, I haven’t gotten to the hard part of attaching a hood yet, so that’s not saying much. I’m putting in lifelines now for every major shaping section so when, no really I’m going to be optimistic here, IF I end up frogging, it’ll be a bit easier.
Sarah at SNB asked if I had managed to knit ALL THAT since last week. Yes, but it’s bulky yarn! That was the first time I had ever heard anyone imply that I made quick progress on anything, so I actually blushed. So that got me to thinking about an exercise I did last weekend. I actually timed myself knitting. So maybe it’s a bit high since the number of stitches per row is abundant (150), but here’s my SPM over stockinette stitch: 35. Actually, it’s more like 40 for knitting and 33 for purling. So am I obsessive, or has anyone else done this too?

Oh yeah, and since a really bad case of WEBSitis seems to be going around, I'll fess up. I just put in an order for 31 balls of yarn!!!! Gulp. At least DF approved the purchase and I won't have to find nonexistent room underneath the bed to hide my addiction. On the plus side, each of these balls of yarn is earmarked for a project, and I have even earmarked the remainder of the Silky Wool for something else. I won't get to this until well after Christmas (2006) but I'm already coveting this sweater. Now be honest, is it as ugly as DF claims it is? Have I stepped into the realm of You Knit What??

Monday, October 24, 2005

I'm a DF

So apparently I'm not able to look up dates on a calendar. Stitches West is still February 16-19, but the organizers aren't DFs and didn't in fact schedule an event mid-week like some might lead you to believe. It's more like Thursday-Sunday. Given the new and improved information, anyone interested?

Classes I'm curious about: Keeping Trim (Lily Chin), fully Fashioned and fabulous (Melissa Leapman), darting the issue (Lily Chin), the perfect sleeve (I wonder why), and joy of finishing (Chris Bylsma).

Unfortunately that would put me in 18 hours of classes for a whopping $340. Even if I cut back on classes, there's still room and transport, so this could be a REALLY expensive event. BUT I WANT TO GO!

Anyone up for carpooling up and/or sharing a room? It would be a LONG drive so I'm not sure if driving would even be a good idea, but I'd definitely be in for crashing with one or two or three people (wow this feels like college) to cut rooming costs. I promise I don't kick.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Ram Wools

Okay, I don't usually post yarn p*rn, and this clearly isn't because you can't see the yarn that clearly. But anyway, I just had to laugh when I opened up my order from Ram Wools. I could NOT believe that they actually wrapped my yarn in a ZIPPERED plastic bag and then put it in a box. I guess I didn't have to worry about the box getting soaked and ruining my 6 skeins of Araucania Nature Wool (think Cascade 220 but hand dyed so it's subtly variegated... for $4.10) and Koigu KPPPM in a lovely fall foliage pallette (for $8!). Now if only I didn't have all those pesky Christmas presents to make I could start on Blackberry and socks to play along with the Socktoberfest. Sigh.

So now what?

Well, I guess now that I’m done with the OCD, I should move on to something more productive. After my mother told me that my grandmother probably wouldn’t wear a shawl and talking over what she probably would wear, we decided on a hooded zip front vest with pockets. No sleeves because with my sleeve track record, she may not even get it next Christmas.

So now that leaves me with the problem of locating such a pattern. I was pretty lucky… there are patterns for a zip up vest with pockets and a cabled vest on knitty, and to get the hood on, I’m consulting a pattern from Vogue Knitting Fall 2005 that Jillian was nice enough to lend to me last time we went yarn store crawling. Hence, the Hoodie Boogie Rock Vest you see on the sidebar.

Not sure if this counts as an original design so much as a hybrid of about 3. But it’s fun nonetheless and not too taxing just yet. So far, I’ve just got the pocket fronts and about a couple of inches from the bottom band.
Here’s a close up of the cables, which I did without a cable needle and I didn’t even stress one iota of a second about dropping those stitches that were precariously hanging out in mid-air. Thanks to Jillian again for showing me this technique.
But the cool thing so far is the pockets! I’ve never done this before, but you work back and forth for the section that’s going to be the pocket front, and then pick up stitches on the back of that piece to knit behind it. If the pockets were to be square, I’m sure you could probably do this with a double-knitting technique so you don’t have to do the pockets separately from the body, but eh, it works just fine this way. I discovered that if you pick up stitches on the purl side and want to purl with them, this is done differently than picking up and knitting. Since it’s the back of the piece, I don’t care so much, but now I’m dying to know how to pick up and purl. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Pattern by Jenna Adorno: http://www.thisgirlknits.com/tgbb.html
Materials: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (65% wool, 35% silk, 175m). <3 skeins in color #13, light blue. Size US5 Denise. US5 DPN.
Gauge: 20 sts and 32 rounds = 4x4”
Finished Size: bust 29"- waist 23.5"- length 20"(yes, that's a lot of negative ease!)

Started: September 18, 2005
Frogged: September 22, 2005
Finished: October 19, 2005

Cast on 12 fewer stitches than bust measurement and incorporated eyelet row of K2tog, YO for picot hem after 0.5". Started waist shaping 2" after eyelet row and worked shaping gradually over next 6.5". Worked neck shaping on front with the back to eliminate side seams then worked back, left front, and right front separately but simultaneously. Worked neckline with short row shaping at shoulder seams. Worked sleeves by picking up 3 stitches for every 5 rows and completing short row shaping 2 stitches earlier on either side of armhole than pattern calls for. Decreased evenly by 2 more stitches than pattern calls for before bind off.

Well, I do believe that this one has been discussed to death, so I'm not going to get into it. I absolutely love the design and would do it all again. Hmm, sounds like childbirth. There are definitely signs of it being "homemade", but overall, I'm pretty happy with the results.

Next time, I would probably lengthen the top a bit and go ahead and do the banded bottom since whipstitching the hem up was a royal pain. The bottom flares a bit as my gauge seems to have expanded on bottom only as the bust and hip measurements are equal after blocking despite the 12 fewer stitches at the hip. Ah the magic of selective gauge expansion. I just don't get it. Anyway, I would probably also shrink down the circumference to avoid the slight flaring (is that what bottom ribbing is for?!?!) which while barely noticeable, doesn't seem to match the fit of the rest of the top. Don't give me any ideas about cutting off the bottom and reknitting it to fit better...

Thanks Jenna for the brilliantly understated but flattering design, and I wish you all the best with your fundraising efforts.

Previous posts about this project:
Excited on 8/18/2005
Weekend knitting on 9/19/2005
Silky Wool on 9/21/2005
Just once on 9/22/2005
Back in the Saddle on 9/23/2005
I'm not a Spaz! on 9/28/2005
She-Ra on 10/4/2005
Opinion Poll on 10/5/2005
Shout Out on 10/11/2005
It's not the OCD on 10/19/2005

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

It's not the OCD

So it’s amazing what you can learn from a session of SNB. As a corollary to #30 on my 100 things list, I have never used any other recreational substances either. Like I said, square. Anyway, at last week's SNB there was a long story involving Faith’s neighbor that ended with, no joke:

*knock, knock knock*
Occupant: What do you want?
Police: It’s the police. We need to talk.
Occupant: Go away!


*knock, knock knock*
Occupant: Who’s there?
Police: Police sir, please open up.

Another pause

*knock, knock knock*
Occupant: WHAAT!!?!?
Police: Land Shark!

Hmmm, so it seems that said neighbor was displaying suspicious behavior involving broken plate glass windows. But the conversation naturally turned to other signs of recreational drug use that made me somewhat suspicious of myself. One of the side effects mentioned was super-productivity in a non-productive way. What's that mean? Well, it's like taking apart your Jeep bolt for bolt and neatly organizing all of the bolts by size in boxes in your garage. OR knitting and re-knitting the same sleeve 10 times. It's not the OCD, really, it's the crystal meth that DF has been secretly pumping me up with in my sleep!

But the exercise in frustration has FINALLY ended (I hear a collective sigh of relief from the audience). I bound off the latest incarnation of sleeve v4.2 last night at SNB and modelled it for the ladies. I still haven't turned the picot hem up, so the picure is forthcoming.

Oh, and in case anyone was wondering what rock I've been hiding under for the past WEEK, DF and I went to a wedding in Sarasota, FL. It was at 10:00 AM on FRIDAY. My head's still not screwed on correctly from the red eye flight we took out there and the 3 days in a row of 4 hours of sleep. Amazingly, no knitting the entire trip, but I did finally finish HP5. No, not Half Blood Prince, it was Order of the Phoenix. Yes I know, most 12 yo children finished that one 2 years ago, but I'm not like most 12 year olds. Not sure if that's a good thing when comparing reading speeds...

Also, I got an email from KnittingUniverse announcing the registration opening up today for Stitches West Feb 16-19. Is anyone going to this event? I've heard so many people talking about it on their blogs and mentioning the classes that they offer, I'm curious, but it falls on a Wednesday to Saturday. If it weren't for the vacation I'm hoarding to take a 3 week honeymoon in New Zealand (!), I'd be all over going to Stitches West. Hmm... what to do?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Shout out

Ah-hah! No pictures today, so that means I can use Word to write my post, and Blogger CAN’T EAT IT. HA! Take that.

Why no pictures? Well, honestly, it’s because I have absolutely nothing to show. I’ve been stuck in this knitting Groundhog’s Day for almost two weeks. I think I’ve finished the sleeves on Hopeful, and then my OCD kicks in and the sleeve gets frogged and reknit. I think I’ve knit about 5 sleeves now. So instead of torturing you with yet more pictures of the same thing, or at least mostly the same, I’m just going to wait until the end. Thanks everyone for your comments on tourniquet sleeve vs. flaring sleeve.

Unbiased is almost done. It’s in the process of being pieced together and then the straps need to go on. Note that I didn’t say that I was in the process of piecing it together. Turns out I have a conveniently located finishing service at my disposal. And I don’t mean Jennifer Knits. The DF! Thanks DF for seaming the bag…

On to the meat of what I have been thinking about saying for a while. Like a lot of you, I really enjoy blogging. I don’t think I mention other people’s blogs near enough though I read them almost every day. Well, except on weekends. Mondays are therefore scary days when I wonder how I’m going to read 50 posts over lunch. I digress. So I wanted to take a small detour and out my bloglines list here. I really like clicking on the links to other blogs that people show on their sidebars to see what other people are talking about. Unfortunately, I think I might have a bit of a commitment phobia to actually show these as permalinks on my sidebar. Yes, need more therapy.

Anyway, I wanted to give a shout out to all of the people whom I read regularly, whether they know it or not. In order of appearance on my bloglines account:
Kim at A Knitted Frenzy
Laura at Affiknitty
Keohinani at Aloha and Oreos
Lizzi at Amimono
Chris at Bits of Knits
Alison at the Blue Blog
Laurie at CrazyAuntPurl
Carrie at Every Word’s a Purl
Stephanie at Glampyre Knits
Kathy at Grumperina goes to local yarn shops and Home Depot
Jessimuhka at Jessimuhka Knits
Theresa at The Keyboard Biologist Knits
Wendy at Knit and Tonic
Chrissy at Knittin’ Mom
Winnie at Knitting Escapism
Lucia at the Knitting Fiend
Christine at Knitting for Boozehags
Caitlyn at Knot without my Knitting
Marnie at Marnie Talks
Julia at Mind of Winter
Karen at Musings of a Mostly Self-Taught Knitter
Nona at Nonaknits
Jess at Penelope’s got Nothing on me
Jillian at Sknitty
Kym at Stix and the City
Wendy at Wendyknits
Stephanie at Yarn Harlot
Karen at Yarn is my Metier

Whew! I know that a lot of these are on everyone’s must read list or appear in various knitting magazines, so these are actually on the bottom of my list to check when there are too many posts to sift through. For all the others you don’t recognize, go by there and check them out.

So who do you check in with on a regular basis?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Opinion Poll

OMG, I hate Blogger! Blogger ate my post AGAIN. Is it time yet to start paying for my blog habit?

Anyway, thanks to everyone who commented on my post yesterday about my one-armed Hopeful. It’s nice to hear praise even if I’m not completely happy with it and continuously banging my head against the wall trying to make everything just so. I’m a perfectionist, I can’t help it. I just hope that being a perfectionist at least yields things done well. I do wonder if this Type A thing I’ve got going on is bad for me. The October 3 Newsweek has a little article on Type D personalities and how it increases your risk for heart disease. Type D, in case you’re wndering as I was, is a person who worries all the time and is socially inhibited. Hello?? Over here!!! Type D is a follow on to the definitions of Type A (perfectionist), Type B (laid back), and the little known Type C (outwardly pleasant, but avoids confrontation by bottling up emotions). Wait, all those are me. I guess you can’t really put people in a box.

Digress much?

So I did make the second sleeve and I did it a bit larger this time. I picked up 2 stitches for every 3 rows, and as luck would have it, I managed to come up with a stitch count that matched one of the sizes in the pattern. Which is good because if I had to recalculate… whoo boy! So, what do y’all think? Does the second sleeve look good as is?
I realized that I could at least get rid of the tourniquet effect on the original smaller sleeve edge if the second sleeve looks wonky. I’d omit the final round of evenly spaced decreases since I can’t figure out what these decrease do anyway then bind off on larger needles. However, I don’t think this approach would fix the overall snugness. It certainly won’t fix the armpit creep either. I realized the pit creep is pulling the body up so that the waist shaping doesn’t fall along my natural waist anymore. The mismatch would nag at me after all of the time I spent calculating. So unless the second sleeve looks like hell, I think I’ll rip the first.

Of course, I didn’t knit the larger sleeve just once. That just wouldn't be me. I followed the directions exactly as written for the number of sleeve stitches I had, but the picture at the left showed the final result of that effort. The sleeve edge flaring just plain annoyed me, so I ripped back to just after the short row shaping and threw in some more decreases there. I think that took away some of the flaring, as seen in the first picture. I’m contemplating a few more decreases to get rid of more flaring, but…

Quick, distract me before I frog some more!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


She may not be the master of the universe, but she does kick ass as far as I can remember. Seeing however as she never wore sleeves, she probably didn't run into the problem I'm currently having as a result of weekends spent doing this:

What problem might that be? Well, apparently my BIG HONKING DELTS (BHDs) don't fit into regular sleeves. Much to my surprise, I followed the directions exactly as Jenna had written them to add the set in sleeve onto a sleeveless sweater. I had a lot of fun with the short rows and not having to seam and everything until I went to try it on. The sleeves are quite abbreviated, so I had to tug and pull and stretch those suckers to get them over my upper arms. And my arms barely fit through there. Unfortunately, picking up one stitch for every two rows, while standard, apparenty doesn't accomodate my BHDs. Note to self, bind off with a larger needle next time. Oh yeah, and pick up more stitches.

The other thing I noticed was that it seemed that the seams for this style of sleeve don't appear to be that secure. It looks like the sleeve pulls away from the body a bit and looks just plain weird. I'm not sure if that will go away with a larger sleeve or what, but I'm sure hoping.

I'm betting that most people who read this are probably saying to themselves, anal much? First the wonky hip thing, then the neckline issue, and now this. Does she like to knit things up just to rip them out again? Well, I admit it. I do have serious anal retentive tendencies. I just like to think I hold myself to a high standard. There's nothing wrong with that. Really.

Oh wait, I just realized that I never mentioned the neckline issue because I was on blog strike towards the end of last week out of sheer depression due to this project. So I showed the body being done and mentioned that it was blocking, but that's the last of it since now. Well, I spazzed a bit between then and now. I started off doing the neckline as instructed using a K2Tog decrease to attach the ribbed neckband to the picked up stitches around the neckline shaping. I got halfway done and decided that I didn't like the right slanting decrease there because the left leg of the picked up stitches shows prominently. I had read that someone else substituted SSK here and tried it. Wow, the picked up stitch is hidden entirely underneath the neckband stitch. I like that better. RIP! I started over and again got halfway around the neckband and inspected my work. Eww, the last stitch on the neckband is slanting to the left (duh!) and so now the ribbing looks all broken there and just plain funky.

I took it to the WeHo SNB for a second opinion. I met Jillian for the first time (it's weird meeting people you already "know"!) and she also thought it looked a bit weird. Mostly because it was just loose, but I didn't think I could salvage it and still be happy with the end product. Thankfully, Jillian gave me the little push I needed to rip it out for the second time. Anyway, I was too depressed to deal with the neckline for a third time that night, but I did finally get to it this weekend. Now, I am actually happy with the fit and can finally show it without the IBTs making an appearance.

No, the sleeve is not staying on as is, or at least I don't think it is. I'm going to try it with more stitches on the other side just to make sure that I don't go overboard, then I'll rip this side out. Aha! Planning things out for once. Imagine that.

So what did I do at SNB if I didn't have the heart to work on Hopeful? Well, I did cast on for Unbiased finally. Man oh man, is recycled silk a pain to knit with. So much fuzzy stuff to navigate, but the end product is just gorgeous! One caveat, if you ever buy a ball of recycled silk and you have a chance to choose from many, make sure you inspect the thickness and try and find the ones that are fairly consistent throughout. The picture shows the panel where I changed balls right in the middle and while you can't tell from the picture, if you pick it up, it feels like I changed gauge or something when I changed balls. It's actually because the second ball is seriously thin in places and makes the fabric feel wimpy. Just a warning.

I finished one ball over the weekend and started a second ball. The entire second panel is getting frogged, but the third panel looks like it'll be fine. I'm keeping the two on the left. Vastly different colors in these two panels, huh? I hope that looks okay...

Monday, October 03, 2005

One hundred things

Because all the cool kids are doing it and because I don’t have any knitting content to show you…  100 things in no particular order.

  1. I used to go around saying “Hi, my name is Jennifer.  My nickname is Jen.  But you can call me Jen-Jen!”

  2. I had a panic attack in 3 feet of water wearing arm floaties and swallowed a lot of water when I was 5.

  3. I had a panic attack in 42 feet of water wearing a waist floaty and clinging to a foam noodle when I was 30.

  4. I guess I can’t swim.

  5. I have a mutant short middle toe on my left foot.

  6. I have a not-so-Cindy Crawfordesque mole just to the left of my nose.

  7. My best time for a 5k race was ~37 min.

  8. I was not walking.  I was running at top speed.

  9. I took piano lessons for 12 years.

  10. I enjoyed about 7 years of it.

  11. I can’t remember how to play anything now.

  12. I played flute in the marching band in middle school.

  13. We did not march.

  14. I took voice lessons and joined the choral group in college.

  15. I sing horribly off key.

  16. I went postal on my stuffed elephant Cindy for telling lies when I was 5.

  17. I was later told that Cindy the elephant was a Republican commemorative toy.

  18. I took my first plane ride when I was 8.

  19. My parents did not accompany me.

  20. I screamed bloody murder for the entire length of the runway during landing.

  21. The sound of the wind rushing over the wings made me think the engines were on fire.

  22. The pilot had to apologize for the, uh, rough landing.

  23. I learned to ski when I was 22.

  24. I now prefer hard snow to powder.

  25. I tried jeet kun do for a year, but it never took.

  26. I’ve been rock climbing for 4 years.

  27. I never went to summer camp.

  28. I never had an alcoholic drink before I turned 21.

  29. I can’t really describe what being drunk feels like.

  30. I have never smoked anything.

  31. I am square.

  32. The first car I drove had a whopping 48 hp.

  33. It was diesel.

  34. It mulched leaves when you turned on the fan for the air conditioner or heater.

  35. The speedometer only worked once you got over 25 mph.

  36. I had to manually turn the turn signal on and off to get it to blink.

  37. Strong flavors and smells make me sneeze.

  38. Peppermint is the worst.

  39. Followed closely by alcohol.

  40. I have to tell people I’m allergic to alcohol to avoid being looked at funny when I don’t drink at a bar.

  41. Bartenders look at me cockeyed when I order my favorite drink: cranberry juice and Red Bull.  No, I don’t want the vodka thank you.

  42. I have the amazing ability to sleep anywhere anytime.

  43. Conversely, I can’t stay awake in cars.  Even when driving.

  44. I blame it on getting motion sick easily.

  45. I’ve felt queasy on a ferry before.

  46. I’m an Aries.

  47. I was born in the year of the Rabbit.

  48. I spent many summers hanging out at a liquor store during my elementary school days.

  49. My grandparents owned and ran that liquor store.

  50. I can’t speak a word of Chinese.

  51. I can’t speak to my grandmother or my great-grandmother.

  52. Up until last year, I had a full set of grandparents and one great grandmother.

  53. I told my grandfather that he was hopelessly lost when I was 2.

  54. He didn’t know it yet, but I was right.

  55. I used to call my friend Joe to drive over and pick me up from my house when I wanted to hang out with him in high school.

  56. Joe lived a block away.

  57. I majored in chemistry in college.

  58. I can’t remember how to balance a chemical equation anymore.

  59. I practically failed biochemistry, thermodynamics, physics, and vector calculus.

  60. English was my worst subject throughout school.

  61. I was my school’s spelling bee champ in the 5th grade.

  62. I dislike reading.

  63. I still have nightmares about not having read the book and having to take a test on it.

  64. My record for longest time to read a book from start to finish was 4 years.

  65. The book was And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts.

  66. I played in my friend’s church bell choir.

  67. But, I never attended church.

  68. I thought my brother was lying to me when he told me the Challenger exploded.

  69. I was annoyed that they interrupted the Rockets finals game to show OJ’s low speed chase.

  70. I never saw a minute of the OJ case on TV.

  71. I couldn’t even recognize a picture of Nicole Brown Simpson in 1996.

  72. I’ve never had a cat or a dog.

  73. I had a couple of hamsters for a while.

  74. Then it turned into a dozen hamsters.

  75. I was horrified when I found out that it was because of the mamma hamster that it went back to only a couple of hamsters.

  76. I am a loud talker.

  77. I’ve lived in only 4 states.

  78. I’ve visited 40 of 50 states.

  79. I’ve only been to Canada, Mexico, UK, Austria, Germany and a few Caribbean islands.

  80. The first concert I attended was a dual headlining Tiffany and New Kids on the Block concert.

  81. The last concert I attended was a Royksopp/Basement Jaxx event at the Hollywood Bowl.

  82. Ryan and I met almost two years ago.

  83. We credit the Santa Ana winds causing unusually bad wildfires that year and a creepy older guy hitting on me for getting us together.

  84. My great-grandmother gets confused when people refer to Ryan because she expects to see my brother Bryan.

  85. She also gets confused when people refer to my future SIL Jennifer because she expects to see me.

  86. I am the #9 (out of 30) grandchild on my father’s side and #2 (of 2) on my mother’s side.

  87. My grandfather tells all his grandchildren “This one’s my favorite.”

  88. I still believe that I am.

  89. I never learned how to put on makeup.

  90. I wear jeans and flip flops almost 7 days a week.

  91. It takes me an hour to chop up vegetables for dinner.

  92. My longest time to prepare dinner was 3 hours.

  93. It was a beef and vegetable stir fry.

  94. The longest my hair has ever been is to the end of my shoulder blades.

  95. The shortest it’s ever been is 1 inch all over.

  96. I looked like a pre-pubescent boy.

  97. Or a communist.

  98. I am right handed.

  99. I am left brained.

  100. I am done!

This was really hard to do!  I must not be all that interesting…