Archive for the ‘WIP Wednesday’ Category

One stitch short

I have returned from the delightful cabin trip to Michigan (we were in this general area), and I am happy.

We didn’t spend a lot of time up there, but the time we spent was awesome. We arrived late on Friday, having survived an hour of bumper-to-bumper sitting (during which we saw four teen-ish-age kids running along the shoulder of the highway oh my god. Idiots.). We went to Wick’s Apple House (and I fully expected them not to have a website) while it rained a bit and bought tasty delicious Vidalia onion-tomato-basil salad dressing, and “Bluebarb” preserves. When we got back to the cabin the weather had cleared up so we went canoeing around the lake, which was beautiful and fun. I love canoeing. I got only a little bit of sun, because it was about 5:00pm when we went out, and because I wore my (handmade) floppy sunhat.

There are no pictures of the canoeing. Some of you may remember the wine-glass incident; there is no way I am bringing my camera into a canoe.

I did, however, take pictures of the campfire because I came over all abstracty.


fire 13

On Sunday we all slept in until after 1:00pm. Maybe after 2:00pm. It was all overcast every time I woke up so I thought it was very early instead of very late, and there were no clocks. I had turned off my cell phone because I couldn’t get service, I didn’t know where other cell phones were, and there were seriously no clocks in the cabin. And it was LOVELY. I woke up first, ate some leftovers for breakfast, read my escapist fiction novel (the third book in this series), and just sat. I didn’t even knit, though I brought two knitting projects. It was lovely to be still, to be quiet, to not think of the many things that have been making me crazy in the past few weeks, and to just look outside and see green trees and a gentle lake.

I think part of my uptightness has to do with a lack of green space where I live. We are in one of four apartments on the second floor of a multi-business building close to downtown, surrounded on all sides by concrete, streets, and other buildings. We’ve been sleeping with our windows open since the weather got nicer — we hear everything, especially the very loud garbage truck that comes TWICE A WEEK OH MY GOD to pick up the trash in the dumpster (by which I mean “smash the dumpster into the ground a lot, very loudly, at 6:00am”) directly outside our bedroom window. This doesn’t make for a peaceful calm. I find that I breathe easier when I go to my parents’ house on seven acres in the middle of farmland, full of trees and green where it is very quiet. The noises there consist of bullfrogs, cattle, and the occasional coyote. It’s amazing.

Of course, another part of my uptightness is that when I do actually get around to knitting, I screw up.

I skipped one
Click through and see the explanatory and highly sarcastic notes

I forgot to knit a stitch on the Chosen-by-Blog sock, thanks to beer and good conversation, and didn’t realize it until about 9 rounds later.

rip rip rip

So I had to rip it back to where I had ignored that one stitch. And that made me a little uptight. As you might have guessed.

Anyhow, I’m back from the Land of Calm and am determined to bring Calm with me. So far (all of three days) it’s been working out pretty well. Deep breaths and forward thinking.

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I’m going to give you a WIP Wednesday-type post. Because who knows what kind of time I’ll have tomorrow.

Currently, I have two pairs of socks on the needles. Okay, not really. I have one pair of socks and one single sock on the needles.

The pair of socks:
greenish socks
is the greeny Koigu KPPPM purchased I don’t know how long ago (probably a year?) at Wool & Company. The color number is lost forever, and we are sad. 2.5mm needles, 61-stitch sock, Wendy’s Toe-Up with Gusset & Slip Stitch Heel (that’s a .pdf)

Like a meadow of tiny stitches

These aren’t really my colors, but I like them just fine and the yarn was what I had already balled up in two bits ready to start work. It’s just a mindless stockinette sock, which is a perfect foil to this sock…

… which is the Synesthesia Sock from Bella Knitting in Cherry Tree Hill (one of their potluck colors, “jewels”) on 2.0mm needles. And let me state that if you knit this sock it will probably look TONS better than my sock, because the pattern is lovely and simple and the chart is clear as day. It’s just the knitter that’s causing the problem.

Not part of the plan

I’m having a really hard time with this project. It started out as a top-down sock, per the pattern, but I couldn’t hack it. I screwed up the pattern on THE SECOND ROUND and had to tink back, which pissed me off, so I ripped it and started it over, toe-up.

I’m knitting it on 2.0mm needles (new for me, and holy hell is there a steep learning curve!) because the pattern is 68 stitches, and my normal stitch count for socks (for me) on 2.5mm needles is 60. (Did I swatch and find that 2.0mm needles were the best tool for the job? Of course I didn’t. That would involve planning and forethought.) And can I just say that performing an innocent k2tog on wee bitty yarn and 2.0mm needles has become the bane of my entire existence.

I have completed one pattern repeat (length-wise, 2 repeats width-wise), and I’m really not sure about it. That bulgy part in the middle is where the 2 repeats meet, and initially I was knitting them on two needles. I’ve switched it to one needle now, but I’m not sure if that’s the answer.

My options are:
1. Keep going, hoping it will work itself out
2. Rip it and start over, this time making an actual swatch
3. Rip it and start an entirely different sock pattern, because this one and I clearly do not have an understanding at all.

Who knows what I’ll actually come up with.

In Other News:
I learned on Sunday night that one of my very best friends, the friend I’ve known the longest (since kindergarten [which I almost typed as “knitergarten”, how cool would that be?]), a non-knitter, is PREGNANT! I get to be an honorary auntie! Now I just have to find patterns that will be appropriate for a California baby in September.


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Yes, I know it’s Friday. My self-control does not extend to getting blog posts out on time.

In my resolve to knit only Christmas gifts until Christmas (which isn’t that hard… I’m only knitting gifts for four five people this year and most of them aren’t even big gifts), with the exception of the purple socks, I’ve been getting a little stir-crazy.

I know, everyone’s astonished.

Every time I hit the blogs or the new IK or The Rav (I am keeping that) I see 47 new patterns I want to make, for me. Pullovers, cardigans, jackets, mittens, another hat & scarf set (because I need one more?) … I want to make wintery stuff for me now. Last year I bailed on knitting Christmas gifts for several reasons, but didn’t knit myself anything (or did I?). I didn’t feel as confident in my knitting then as I do now. Now I feel like I can take on the entire gamut of knitting! Bring on the seamed lace! Bring on intricate cables! Colorwork? YES!

Instead, of course, I’ve decided to knit Christmas gifts and put my stuff on hold. The fates laugh at me.

A look at the progress I’m making:

The Cotton Fair Isle Project (which shall not be named): I mentioned that it was a bit tight. It was also a bit small. I ripped it out, weeping, and started again. Now I’m working over more stitches and larger needles, and it feels much better so far. At round #5.

Cotton Fair Isle, take two

The Blue Malabrigo Project: Still working on the first piece. 2×2 ribbing is maddening, and I seem to have fallen into the black hole of knitting in which I knit and knit and knit for a hundred years and get 1/4 of an inch of fabric to show for it, despite the fact that I’m using worsted weight yarn and 5.5mm needles. This is the project that makes me want to abandon gift knitting in favor of something for me, but I’m staying strong.


The Unstarted Project: Is not yet started. I justify this with the project’s bulky yarn (Oh, it’ll go so fast!) and large needles. I could start this on December 21st and be fine. I won’t, but I could. It’ll use Catalina Yarns Painted Lady, in what is possibly the “Romance” colorway.

The Newly-Added Unstarted Project: Is also not yet started, but is something I’ll be able to fully blog about when I do start. A friend of mine, who doesn’t read this blog, is going to share Christmas eve & morning with my family because she can’t make it to Michigan where her family lives now. I’m going to knit her up something (quick) fabulious and lime green (her favorite color) and I can show you every detail of the whole project. (Thank gourd, because this blog was going to be very monotonous.)

This doesn’t count as non-self-control casting on, because it’s a gift. That I have to finish by Christmas eve. Never mind that it’s new and fun and exciting, dammit.

The Purple Socks: Are in the same place they were the last time I talked about them. I’m still on the fence about staying with top-down or going toe-up. I have heard all the arguments and I’m in recess so I can make my decision.

Projects of Non-Knitting Origin:

Cleaning the Apartment: We cleaned last night, in preparation for a possible visit by friends. And also because the place was a wreck. It’s better now, though.

Clean! It looks nice

Even with the cleaning and rearranging of stuff into denser piles, we have officially run out of room and I’m going to have to start sleeping on the balcony. We need a basement, which often come attached to houses. We are looking.

The Doula Project: I had my first childbirth education class (a requirement) this past Wednesday and it was awesome. I’m the only non-pregnant woman (aside from the instructor) in the class of 4 pregnant couples, so I felt a little out of place at first, but I’m totally excited about learning more about birth.

And last night I completed my registration for the workshop in January, which was, in addition to my basic information, an essay about myself and my interest in birth. (I was a Psych major in college, and my writing style tended toward the clinical and terse by the end of my degree… I hope that’s not off-putting.) And as I was writing out the (somewhat large) check to add to the registration, I turned to NinjaHusband and said, “Holy balls, dude, I’m actually doing it.”

Holy balls, indeed.

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Things have been a weird combination of hectic and happy here at House of HookOn (… a little alliteration never killed anyone, c’mon) lately, and I’m delighted to report that some of the uncertainty is finding its way to resolution with a bit of “Oh yes, that’s what it’s supposed to be like” thrown in. Not everything, of course, but some bits and that feels like quite a lot right now.

1. I’ve joined the Log Cabin strips all up and now it’s a big ol’ rectangle of bright shiny love.

four corners


All it needs is a border, and that’s one of the things still up in the air. I know I’m going to have to buy more Cascade EcoWool for the border in any case, but I don’t know if I want to make the border 9 garter ridges wide (1.5 times the width of the “interior” sashing) or 12 garter ridges wide (2 times the interior sashing). Anyone with an opinion is welcome to weigh in. I’d show you a picture of the border as it is now (at the 9-ridge stage), but it’s all scrunched up on a 24″ circular and you wouldn’t be able to see what it was anyway.

2. Speaking of pictures…

The return of the camera!

I GOT MY CAMERA BACK!!! In fact, it’s better than my camera (perhaps you remember its vampire-like tendencies?) it’s a replacement camera. It takes great pictures! Without lines! Holy damn hell, people, I am so excited about this. I can return my friend’s camera…

The stand-in

… and rekindle my love affair — after 7 weeks apart — with my sweet sweet camera. BUT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL THERE BE WINE. And because there must be balance in the universe, this is the kind of light I have on the day I get my camera back…

And this is what I get


3. I’ve had this weird rash on my torso for a bit and was trying to treat it myself using old prescriptions (DO NOT DO THIS, IT’S QUITE STUPID) and it wasn’t really going away. This morning I made a list of all the things in my life that were a bit different (a new detergent, higher-than-usual stress levels, excessive hugging of woolly blankets-in-progress) and went off to the doctor. Turns out I have this, it’s a virus that just shows up for unexplained reasons, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. (Nothing. That kind of boggles my mind.) It’s not communicable, it’s not going to cause bits to fall off, and it’s not going to go away for another 6 weeks, probably. AWESOME.

On the plus side, it’s good to know what it is so I can just quit freaking out. It’s also good to know its other symptoms (headache, fatigue, nausea) because for a week or so there I thought I was pregnant. So now I can just quit freaking out. (Edit: Because I’m NOT.)

(I’m not going to show pictures of the rash. Sorry to disappoint.)

4. I finished shopping for my vegan secret pal this morning and I’m going to get the package out tomorrow or the next day, so I can cross that off my list. Not that it was onerous or anything — I had a really fun time learning about her through her blog, and it was fun to shop for someone whose preferences in color and scents were so different from mine. The swap also involves sending vegan recipes, so I am putting in two of my favorites that are the most approachable — meaning, there’s no tofu and all the ingredients can be found in your local grocery store. That was the biggest put-off for me when I first went vegan — the one cookbook I could find (The Voluptuous Vegan, which I can appreciate now) was so full of strange ingredients and complicated preparation that I think I panicked and ate boxed rice for 18 months as a result.


So yes, things are … if not slowing down, at least bringing it down to a 2. I’m getting there.

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Morning light
Valley Yarns Alpaca/Silk laceweight (Stitches Midwest 2006) and KnitPicks classic circulars, size US 3)

It’s Icarus. Well, it’s Icarus in its larval stage no, musn’t use that word around the wool — infancy. It’s the eight setup rows that you do before you actually start to knit lace. I got this far and I got all scared. Because I’m twenty-seven and tiny yarn freaks me out.

No, to be fair to myself, life got extra busy in the past few weeks. Big projects at work, minor melt-downs, and that beautiful Kureyon quilt have really eaten my brain lately. Concentration (necessary for lace knitting) is thin on the ground around here.

Plus nature went and got all autumnal, and I’m busy soaking that in.

Autumn approaches


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You may remember that my camera became posessed by demons, that I had to send it away for an exorcism, and that I’ve been borrowing digital cameras both from cheerfully helpful people and from people who don’t even know about it. Because blogging is amazingly dull when one doesn’t have a digital camera.

I called the camera repair place the other day, and it turns out my camera is still “in the repair process” and isn’t likely to be done until next Friday or the Friday after that (Sep. 21st or 28th). No matter how hard I beg, and despite the fact that they’ve had it for a month already. I even offered them mohair in an offhand, under-the-table way (“Hey buddy, if you move me up in the queue I’ll send some great yarn your way”), but they remained unmoved. I know, I’m baffled too.

With that in mind, I’m going to show you pictures of old WIPs (and yes, they are still WIPs) that have been neglected in favor of more exciting projects, or less exciting projects, or abandoned by my capricious and small span of knitting attention. My hope is this will shame me into picking them back up (I’m not going to hold my breath, though). (Click the pictures for stats on yarn and needles, and for bigger images.)

First Example
The ultimate WIP — the first sock I ever started. It’s still in this state. The heel flap is done, the turn is made, but I didn’t have the guts to pick up the gusset stitches and fled to the realm of toe-up socks (of which I have still only made one and one-half pairs, more on that below). Why are gusset stitches intimidating? I have no idea. Well, I do, but I don’t want to go into it now. If I ever finish these, they’ll make great house socks.

Second Example
I know I’ve posted this picture on this blog before, but remember the lack of camera and indulge me a bit. Thank you. This is one of the second pair of socks, which I abandoned in June when they just weren’t speaking to me anymore. These might get picked up pretty soon, as the weather is getting chilly (it’s supposed to frost tonight! Wow!) and the colors sing a lot more now in autumn than they did in spring.

Third Example
Stripey swatch
Back and front
These are bits of a toddler-sized cardigan which I started when the intended recipient was mere months old. She is now approaching her 2nd birthday and the cardigan is rapidly becoming obsolete. I might finish this one and give it to another deserving baby, or I might repurpose the yarn for a baby blanket. The pattern is not interesting at all, so I find myself leaning toward the repurpose-to-blanket scenario.

Fourth Example
This is the cuff of the second sock I ever started and never finished. I only started one, as if that makes me less of an awful knitter. I did get pretty far (farther than the top picture indicates), but when the deer hit Nick’s car and he (Nick, not the deer) had to go to the emergency room, this was the only knitting I had with me and I couldn’t remember the pattern. Full story in that link there. This is one sock I really don’t think I’ll be keeping. I’m going to rip it out and maybe make a scarf of it, or wristies. Some projects have too much weird juju about them and they just won’t work.

Fifth (and final) Example
Like a spider web
small point
This is the big one. When I was planning my wedding and reading knit blogs while I was supposed to be choosing invitations or flatware, I read lots about wedding shawls. “That’s exactly what I need,” I exclaimed in a flurry of knitterly passion, “a shawl for my wedding! In July! And I’ll make the pattern up as I go! And do wedding planning at the same time!” Right. Well, I had just started knitting and didn’t really get it (when trying to make a lace pattern: “Why do I keep getting these huge HOLES in my knitting?!”) so I switched to crochet pretty early on. And I did make up the pattern entirely on my own. One problem with this oh-so-well-thought-out plan was that I got married in July and didn’t really need a shawl because July in Northern Illinois is a sweaty bastard. Another problem was that I got to a sort-of finishing point on the shawl before it was big enough to go over my shoulders. Now it’s languishing somewhere in my knitting corner. It might become a table-topper for the holidays, what with the silver-sparkly and all. Or I might keep going on it and just see how damn big it can get. Either way, I’m sure I’ll share the pattern so you too can enjoy your own white elephant of a crochet project. I know you want to.

And if you’re wondering what’s going on with my actual WIPs, I will tell you. The Log Cabin blocks have all been knit together (4 strips of 5 blocks each), and I’m sorting out how I’m going to pick up stitches on the long edge. Tomato top is coming along slowly, and more slowly now that the weather has cooled off and I’m thinking more about woolen long-sleeved pullovers and less about cotton-blend short-sleeved tops. I did cast on for Icarus and got all of 8 rows done before life got completely insane and I couldn’t concentrate (and the tiny tiny laceweight yarn scared the hell out of me). And yesterday I made a warshrag for a friend.

It only looks like I’ve been slacking.

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Twenty Kureyon blocks! Ah ah ah!

count von count

I know it’s Friday, but better a late WIP Wednesday than never right? Right.

Kureyon 207
Kureyon 207, purchased at Stitches Midwest 2007, the 18th block

Kureyon 126
Kureyon 126, from KillerDaisy (on Ravelry) (THANK YOU!), the 19th block

Kureyon Mishmash
Kureyon Mishmash, from previous block leftovers. The 20th and final block!

Woohoo! They’re done! I acutally finished the last one a week ago, but with the surreptitious camera-borrowing I am reduced to posting ultra late. I hope my own camera returns to me soon because good lord, blogging is hard when you don’t have a digital camera.

Anyway. Not the point. The point is: all my blocks for this afghan are done, and now I just need to knit them together (note for purists: this is already happening, but I don’t like to talk about it because I can’t show you pictures, but hey I just did. Dammit.). Cascade Eco Wool colorway 8095 is my chosen medium for that part of the process, because the yardage is so fantastic for the price. Fun fact: on the Cascade website the colorway 8095 looks black, but when you get it home it’s actually a superdark brown. It’s fine for my purposes, but just FYI.

This project has had the best timing its whole life. I started the first block when I needed something to take a break from the bastardy of cleaning, and I’m putting everything together just as the weather is starting to turn a little cooler. The days are clear and sunny and 70s (F), temperatures are getting into the 50s (F) here at night, and I’m beginning to think of stews and cider and being curled up in a lovely colorful blanket at night. Mmmmm.

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Like a hot knife through butter, I move through the pile of Kureyon.

kureyon 180
Kureyon 180, the 14th block

Like grass in the wind, it bends to my will.

kureyon 170
Kureyon 170, the 15th block

The colors dance under my hands. Like puppets.

kureyon 154
Kureyon 154, the 16th block

Kureyon, you fascinate me even as I devour you.

kureyon 215
Kureyon 215, the 17th block

(I bought all these colors at Stitches Midwest this year.)

I don’t think I’ve ever been this continuously excited about one project. I’ve never been this driven to keep knitting on a project, to actually rush to the finish to see how it turns out when it’s all done, and to do it without any boredom! This is awesome! Knitting log cabin squares is the very best knitterly thing ever, in my distracted opinion. I think I’m going to have my students make some of these when my classes start up again.

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I was going to post this yesterday, but I got distracted.

Nick left last night for a four-day trip away with guys, and I took advantage of his absence by scattering my knitting all over the living room. I may have left a project in the bathroom… I’m not sure. I love having the apartment to myself, because I can let my inner Completely Insane Knitter out. Tonight I plan to pull the entire stash out of its dresser and just roll around in it.

Anyway, I have knitting to report. I’ve been absolutely flying through the Kureyon lately…

Kureyon 3
Kureyon 3, from Kimberly of SomeBunnysLove. The 11th block.

Kureyon unknown
Kureyon unknkown, also from Kimberly. The 12th block.

Kureyon 78
Kureyon 78, also from Kimberly. The 13th block.

And I finished the 14th block last night, and cast on for the 15th.

I am so excited about this project. While I was hanging out with Femiknitter this weekend (and I promise I’ll do a proper recap soon!), we talked about this project and I gushed on and on about how easy it is and how huge the payoff is (or will be) for not a lot of work. Why is this project so much more appealing than a sweater or socks right now? It’s blocks (small and portable); it’s different colors (exciting and not repetitious in that way); the pattern is simple (mindless for movie watching, easily memorized); and I’m getting a blanket out of it. It’s perfect for my flighty-knitterly ways — I can feel a huge sense of accomplishment after only 2 hours of knitting and move on to the next skein of yarn, but still be working on the same project. I hope my huge enthusiasm for this project won’t be sucked away by the piecing-together time. I’m going to knit everything together, not sew it, so that should help.

To force myself to be more of a knitter and less of a person who sits around reading knit blogs and thinking about knitting, I’m introducing a new feature: the WIP Wednesday. Even if it’s on a Thursday. Once a week I have to show off what I’m doing, and hopefully this will make me have something to show off. Motivating via shame. It’s a time-honored tradition.

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