27 February 2007

IMOnday: Interweave Knits

[Back to our regular topic: Knitting! And I know it's Tuesday. Big whoop.]

Wink asked what I thought about the new Interweave Knits layout. As an art director, of course I have an opinion! I understand that they're trying to freshen things up, lots of fresh patterns with some blogger action and all. And the idea of little editorial themes for the patterns is interesting. But separating the photos from the patterns seems wrong-headed. IK should be a leader, not a follower. They're following the tired Vogue Knitting setup. BTW, have you noticed the VK models? Yikes. I'm sure they're pretty girls. But if you slather them in eye makeup and ask them to pose like bad '50s mannequins, it's just bad. Only highlighted the '80s agony of the Bed of Roses set for me.

Back to IK. What I want to see is a page or three with all the featured items. Sort of like the yarn requirements page on the website. But in print form. Why do I have to leaf through every page of the magazine to see if the pattern I'm thinking of is in this issue? And I only have a few issues, since I'm rarely overwhelmed by the wonderfulness of one. And for gawd's sake, people, they call it an editorial well for a reason. Don't put ads opposite every editorial page. If the advertisers' pages are compelling enough, we'll read them. Put the onus on the advertisers to make appealing ads and leave the editorial content in its own space. I've heard people say they can't tell the difference between the ads and the "front of book" pictures of the patterns. Bah.

You Can't Fill a Hole in Your Heart with Yarn*

*But you can try.

[I started this blog to keep track of all the wonderful knitting things I've found online and to keep track of my projects. But sometimes life intrudes. Apologies for the paucity of knitting content in this post.]

I've suddenly gone full-on SABLE (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy):

-a sweater's worth of 100purewool in Sky
-a minisweater's worth of 100purewool in Pasionaria
-a skein of 100purewool merino laceweight in Blue Knots for something
-a few (five?) skeins of 100purewool Corriedale for hats in various colors
-an order of Schaeffer Nancy in Jane Addams for a sweater
-the Mermaid (Hourglass variation) Sweater's Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk, which I'm going to have to start again, since the body is twisted (sigh)
-Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn
-Mountain Colors Bearfoot sock yarn
-Kidsilk Haze in Candy Girl for a neckwarmer
-Misti Alpaca laceweight from a destash
-Sheep #3, which is turning into a top-down raglan shrug thing

Yes, all the 100purewool was from a group buy, and the Blue Sky Alpacas and Cherry Tree Hill were bought on sale at YITF, and the destash was, well, someone's destash, so the only full-retail yarns are the KSH and Bearfoot. And the Sheep 3 is a sample for YITF. But still.

That's a LOT of yarn.

The past year has been the most difficult in my life, especially the past few weeks. My husband has gone in to rehab for alcohol in Maryland, and my world has gone to pieces. Luckily, my family has been there for me, my LYS and knitting groups are full of wonderful people, and Isobel is my sunshine every day.

I've had to take care of my daughter, my pets (yes, even the dog I "whispered" back from the woods for his sake), my house, and my job alone for the past three weeks. I've had to consider hiring a lawyer. I've had to try to focus at work and be functional at home. I've had to drive 115 miles a day to get Isobel to daycare and me to work and home again. And there's another week to go. I've learned that I am capable of more than I ever thought. I only wish I was writing about my knitting abilities.

And then he'll be back, and my world will change again. Doubtless his world will change, too, but I can't do anything about that. Yes, I've figured out detachment. With love, even, thanks to the Family Wellness program this past weekend.

My mother suffers from clinical depression. She went through years of talk therapy and sorted out all her issues, and she was still depressed. Living in a tunnel with no light at the end depressed. Drug therapy and ECT had to intervene before things got better depressed. And I always thought that the worst thing in the world would be to be depressed. To be so helpless against the dark. But the worst thing is to love that helpless person. To have a grip on the world and have them not take your hand because they can't even see it.

I bought the Bearfoot to make him a pair of socks.

22 February 2007


I've cast on for the body of the Mermaid Sweater again. Bollocks. I count and count, and it's still wrong. It may need a time out for a few days here, while my personal life goes further awry.

I'll take it down to Maryland, but it may stay in the bag. Other projects are coming, too, including the KSH cowl and the sample skein of Sheep 3. Still trying to figure out what it wants to be. Some sort of shrug item, I think. May just have to wing it.

Unfortunately, I missed Knit Night yesterday due to packing. Hopefully I'll be able to go next week, perhaps with some Sheep 3 item to display.

20 February 2007

I have to get organized

With all the yarn and book stash enhancement lately, I need to get organized. Not so much the actual items, since I have bookcases and a closet to hold the yarn. But sometimes I can't lay my mind on something, so I need some sort of list. For instance, that Sheep #3 sample skein is burning a hole in my project bag; I need to find a DK-weight project that only calls for 300-some yards. I was thinking of Glampyre's Minisweater, but that calls for 400 yards of heavy worsted. Perhaps a One Skein Wonder, to stay on the Glampyre bandwagon. Or just a little shawl something, like the Clementine Shawlette from the new Interweave Knits.

Speaking of IK, yes, I bought a copy on Saturday at YITF. And that afternoon I bought a copy of Vogue Knitting - the one with the Norah Gaughan bolero on the cover. That's probably the only thing I'll make out of the magazine, but it is stunning, and people who've made it seem to like the process.

So, I need to keep track of projects I want to do in the future, which is one of the reasons I started this blog (to collect all those delicious links). And it would be good to know yarn requirements. I think I see a database in my future, which would make things easier to view in different ways (by item, by yarn weight, by gauge, etc.). I could do it as a spreadsheet, I guess, but databases are more elegant, don't you think?

OK, back to IK for a minute. What's with some of those projects? The bandeau? That halter from Wenlan Chia? And the Bauhaus Fairisle, though nice, seems a little out of place. And six skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere for the little bobble capelet? It looks pretty, at first glance. OK, it is pretty (especially the color). But then you start to think about it (and realize you'll wear it once), and then you start to do the math: $90!

I do like Kate Gilbert's Keyhole Top. Lurve Stephanie Japel's Cable-Down Raglan. And the socks from Grumperina and Eunny Jang are nice (first time I've seen the appeal of Entrelac). The Swan Lake Cardigan is pretty, especially the tulle detail, which is why I'll never actually make it. But I will make that lace shrug in the Staff Projects section. I've downloaded it twice already. And they have the yarn in some very me colors at YITF. And I have two gift certificates burning a hole in my tool bag!

The Mermaid Hourglass Sweater is progressing, slowly. I am on my third start to the body, I think. I sort of stopped counting. Had some issues with ... counting, I guess. As in I can't always. I've been distracted. But we're back on track and on the second round of the lace. I ended up increasing the stitch count to 90 for front and back so that I could do the pattern evenly, then, since I want it to be longer than my last one anyway, I'll do an extra decrease round. And then I'll have to decrease two stitches. My overall stitch count is up six from the pattern, and the decrease round takes away four. Or I could work those decreases into princess seams in the front. Things to ponder as we work our way through this next round of lace. And I have to figure out where to include extra lace repeats going up. On the sleeves I switched to every other repeat after the first two rounds, but I'm not sure I want to do that on the body. It may just be the two rounds around the bottom and that's it, since we have to consider what's underneath the sweater (my tum) as we progress up the torso.

16 February 2007

Why block a piece?

Jill asked why I would block the sleeve before attaching it to the body. I've started to look at a single sleeve as a good gauge swatch when experimenting with a pattern, so my new preferred order for knitting up sweaters is sleeve/body/sleeve. I think this also helps with the dreaded Second Sleeve Syndrome (also known as Second Sock Syndrome), since the first sleeve becomes all about figuring out this new sweater, and then the second sleeve is the home stretch after spending all that time with the body.

So, blocking. I wanted to make sure that the lace section wouldn't grow enormously when blocked, since lace has a tendency to open up, and I hadn't worked with this lace stitch before. And people are always telling you to wash your swatches before knitting the piece in question, since the yarn can bloom (see Clara's reviews of yarns at Knitter's Review), which will affect gauge.

Now I have a better idea of how my sweater will knit up.

I cast on for the body and did one lace repeat last night. The pattern has you cast on 87 stitches each for front and back at my size, so I am doing the first three and last four as stockinette, and the remaining 80 per side in Fish Tail II. Not sure how many repeats I want at the bottom and how often to extend fishtails up into the higher parts of the body. That should sort itself out this weekend.

The best thing about knitted lace (as opposed to lace knitting, which has pattern stitches in every round and is not for me at this stage of my life) in the round is that the even rounds are just knit. No purling! Not that I really have anything against purling, being Purly, but the knit rounds are a little faster for me.

14 February 2007

One skein oh-need-er*

Sleeve One is complete up to the joining, and just in time. That's the end of the first skein there on the right. After transferring to stitch holders last night, I washed and blocked. Well, tugged a little, but no pins. If I pin the lace out now, I'll have to repeat every time the sweater needs a bath. I hope to be happy with a basic wash and stretch on a towel. We'll see in a bit, as we all know blocked sweaters never dry! I have to wind up the next skein to start the body, which means I have to figure out what I'm doing there.

Hey, it's dry (enough)! What do you think?

Only a teensy bit of bleeding into the wash water. This yarn is just great.

*Name that movie!

Cute bag pattern

Found this on moonlightstitches's blog. Isn't it cute? I have spent time perusing Berocco's free patterns before, but I'm not sure this would have registered, even if I saw it before. Funny how you have to be in the right place and time (literally and figuratively) to appreciate something. I could do this with the yarn left over from my Alpaca Cardi (I have three skeins left). Not sure what I'd do for a handle, but that will sort itself out later.

What have I done?

I just joined the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club. Thank goodness I just picked up some freelance work. But, really, how could I not accept the invitation after all those folks went through with their dunderheaded bank? And they're in Illinois, land of Lincoln and birthplace of Kathleen. Socks are in my future, I guess. And it's a good thing that Sheep #3 won't be in my LYS for a month or so.

13 February 2007

Can't. Stop.

Just found a new (to me, anyway) sweater pattern at WEBS. The Calvin Turtleneck (scroll down to #153) in their Stockbridge yarn. Think it's named for Calvin Klein? The ribbing on the sides looks super-flattering.

I checked in with the lovely Customer Service people there on yardage for the pattern, and it sounds like the second size (38"), which would work for me, calls for 11 hanks of the yarn. Which is $3.99 per. Must control myself.

Think it would look good in the deep red? I wish they had a nice, chocolate-y brown. The camel is nice, too.

In Hourglass news, I've done the increases on the sleeve and am just doing some straight knitting until it's the proper length. Though I'm doing the second size, same as last time, I'm increasing the arm length, same as last time, since my limbs go on for days, same as last time. I should be able to put the whole shebang on a holder/some waste yarn tonight and wash to see how the lace blocks out. Then it will be time to figure out the body, how much lace, perhaps a few stacked up repeats in some interesting place a la Teva Durham's Lace Leaf Pullover (check out the first sweater after the book cover image). I'm saving the second sleeve for after I get the body up to the join.

12 February 2007

Alpaca Sweater Picture (finally!)

Hey, that's me! What do you think of the mostly finished product? I still would like to find a more permanent closure than the funky rhinestone pin from my great aunt, as it tends to pull the knitting. But I'm quite happy with this.

I'm getting the hang of the picture stuff.

Shhhh (Sheep 3)

I have a skein of Sheep 3 from Sheep Shop Yarn Company at home. I tried smuggling it out of Yarns in the Farms a couple of weeks back when they got the sample in, especially since it was in this new, gorgeous, turquoise colorway. I think it's a new color or else they've really changed their light blue.

I'm going to knit up a sample something or other for the shop. Just have to figure out what the right thing is for one skein of this stuff. 70% merino wool and 30% silk. 325 yds. Scrummy. No idea on price. Ultimately, I want to do the Slouchy Cardi from Greetings from Knit Cafe in this yarn, but that will have to wait for a few more skeins. Some time in March is the word on the street.

I'll post a picture soon.

Etsy: LuLu

Have you seen LuLu's Sock Yarn? Oh. My. Goodness. <-as Isobel said upon seeing a spinning, lit up, Christmas tree one night

Gorgeous. My heart beat a little faster when I saw Lamponi. And I love her Italian names for her colorways. She is Italian, after all.

I'm trying not to order. I'm going to check in on Isobel at daycare (she has a cold) and see if I can resist. Wish me luck!

Fishtail (with pictures!!!)

Ooh! I cast on for the sleeve of my severely modified Hourglass Sweater this weekend, after a bunch of swatching, and I've done something quite lovely, if I do say so myself. I found a ten-stitch lace pattern called Fishtail II in Mon Tricot. Since the sleeves in my size start out with 60 stitches, I did six repeats of the pattern, twice. (Sorry for the blurry photo - I'm using the old camera, since it can travel safely in my knitting bag.)

At that point I decided I'd need to deal with the upcoming decreases, so switched to stockinette for every other repeat. This allowed me to do the decreases in the stockinette portions, so I wouldn't mess up the lace. I did two more repeats of the lace in those panels and then switched to all stockinette. I can't wait to see how this blocks out but at this point am happy with some mindless stockinette in front of the telly. I think I will wash and block this sleeve before I start the body just to make sure this is working.

My friend Tanya in New Zealand is also planning an Hourglass Sweater variation, according to her comment last week. So, the question is: At what point is a variation different enough to be its own thing? I've heard 30% bandied about, but how do you calculate 30%? I've changed the yarn, needle size, cuffs, hem, and probably neckline, though not the gauge, which means I think I'll be able to use all the same numbers as the original pattern, except for knitting longer at the neckline. So, I don't really know. I wouldn't be comfortable (at this point) publishing this variation as my own without an OK from Joelle. But I may find I have to change things more as I get further into the sweater. I would be happy (obviously, or I wouldn't be blogging about it) to share my alteration adventures. What do you think? Interesting comments here from the girl from auntie, which confirms my gut feeling that this will be my variation on the pattern but nothing I could claim as my own.

Stash Enhancement: Mom and Dad bought me a copy of Vogue Stitchionary 1: Knit & Purl this weekend at Yarns in the Farms. The possibilities of what to do with "simple" knit and purl stitches are endless! When you click over to my LYS, be sure to check out the new blog, In the Loop.

P.S. I still owe "you" an IMOnday for Yarns in the Farms. I'll see if I can get my act together (maybe Wednesday, when we're supposed to get whalloped with snow) this week.

09 February 2007

Hourglass Ideas

Now I'm thinking lace is my best option. Lace edges, particularly on the cuffs, would really take advantage of the belled sleeves. But what lace? I have a few ideas, so I just have to start swatching, I guess.

Um, I just tried taking pictures of the first five rows of a sleeve so you could see the mini cable idea I was trying out, but the old camera (which can safely travel in my knitting bag, as opposed to the new, very fahncy, digital SLR) was pretty useless that close up. And the flash blew out any detail, while the non-flash version of the shot had far too long an exposure time to be steady. I'll get pictures sorted out for this ol' blog someday.

So, lace, yes. Now I need something that will work in the round over 60 stitches for the sleeves. There could be a few odd stitches left at the underside, I suppose.

I'm starting to think that I might just do a provisional cast-on and figure out the edgings later. But that's not nearly as much fun!

08 February 2007

New sweater!

Last night I swatched for a new Hourglass Sweater with some Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk in Blue. I started out with US8s (Bryspuns, natch) and quickly decided that they would make for a slightly too revealing fabric. Next swatch was with US6s, and I think we're good to go, since I got very close to the gauge called for. Which is kind of wacky, considering BSA calls this a sport weight yarn, and Last-Minute Knitted Gifts calls for a worsted with 19st/28r over 4". Whatever.

Now, I'm trying to decide whether to incorporate any decorative stitches into the mix, perhaps a baby cable somewhere (running up the top-of-the-sleeve line and as princess seams on the front and back?).

I don't want to do the turned hems again, since they just don't float my boat. There's a sample Hourglass at Yarns in the Farms with seed stitch borders, so that's a possibility. Or I could just barrel along with straight stockinette and go for the rolled edges look. 'Nother idea is to do some lacey something at the hem and sleeve edges like the silk tank from LMKG.

This yarn is so yummy! The gleam of the silk is divine.

06 February 2007

I know her!

Check out the Crochet winner in this year's Excellence in Needle Arts Awards from PieceWork Magazine (an Interweave Press publication). Elena is a high school student in Beverly and a Knit Night regular. Can you believe she designed and crocheted this? Amazing. She's very talented.

I cast on and bound off a pair of Fetchings over the weekend, which was fun, though I ran out of yarn (#201, a flinty blue, for those interested). Glad I didn't do the thumb on the first one before starting the second. I ended up just picking up the thumb on each and then binding off, rather than doing four rounds. I have some more DB Cashmerino Aran in other colors, so if I make more of these, I think I might go down a needle size to see if that makes a difference. They're very nice. And I did the picot bindoff, which not everyone likes, but I like the little points mirroring the cable bumps. Looking at the pattern again on Knitty, I guess I should steam them to straighten out the roll at the top a little. They're very helpful since it's frigid here in Massachusetts.

Yarns In the Farms had a Super Bowl Weekend sale, and I scored some Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca & Silk (eight skeins in the dark blue colorway) to make a variation on an Hourglass Sweater. And I grabbed a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in the Blues colorway (I think - it's at home). I could have gone much crazier, but it's probably best that I didn't buy out the store :)

On a less exciting note, I've got some personal stuff going on right now, so I may not be blogging regularly.

02 February 2007


I got him! A day and a half looping around the woods back to where he'd been spotted finally paid off! He's home, laying next to me on the couch, and we'll take him to the vet later this afternoon. He is subdued, and was very scared, but with no other dogs around to scare him off, he finally recognized "Mommy" and came to me. Thank you for your wishes/prayers/thoughts/positive energy. Love, Kathleen, Peter, Isobel, Riley (who's not sure it's such a good thing the dog is back, but he'll get over it), and Spenser

01 February 2007

I'm going to get my dog back

I spent all day calling for him in the woods and saw him, but he ran away (there was another dog in the vicinity). He's clearly very spooked. I'm going back out there with more food and a lot of patience. Keep praying for him. Thank goodness he's made it this far. He's there; I just have to lure him back.