Thursday, January 31, 2008

Razor Shell Turtleneck

So I've been wanting a neck warmer. I had something pretty specific in mind. I really liked the stitch pattern in the Razor Shell Neckwarmer from Knitology but I really wanted something nice and tight. Something I could pull up over my chin, because the very tip of my chin is always the coldest part of me outside. I also wanted it to flare out over so slightly at the bottom of the neck, to cover the opening of a crew-necked tshirt. So I started with the stitch pattern and just made up the rest.

The yarn is "Ballet" by Fiesta Yarns (one of the yarns I bought with my gift certificate, thanks, Eej!). It's a blend of Alpaca and Tencel and has delightful drape. It's also nice and soft, and not the tiniest bit itchy - a must in neck warmer yarn. I'm wearing it now to keep my sore throat nice and cozy. I'll let you know how it keeps its shape.

So: modifications. Start with the Razor Shell stitch pattern. CO 84 stitches. I did not do the 4 rows of stockinette the original pattern specifies, but jumped right into the stitch pattern. After 5 inches I did all of the YO increases, but none of the decreases for one row. I did a few more rows in pattern, then one row of YO, k2tog around, then a simple bind off.

It's simple as pie, but oh-so-beautiful. And the fanciest thing I own (I'm a super plain-jane type). And it happens to match my hair color.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Go Ahead.

Tiennie says, on her blog, that the idea behind this is "Give the award to people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on." I was touched and shocked that such a talented woman thought to mention me. And hoo-boy did it lift my spirits.

We're back in the house of sick. I spent last week barely able to drag myself out of bed with yet another cold, and my husband has the same horrid cold this week. I started to get over mine on Monday, just in time for a trip to the doctor to discover that both kids have ear infections. The Squid's strep is back (and it brought the pukies with it). And my husband has the same horrid cold. And what's today, Wednesday? That "feeling better" I had for all of 48 hours is waning and I'm getting sick AGAIN.

But, sneaking away to read some knitting blogs is what makes MY day, and Tiennie's is right up there among my favorites.

And here are some more:

b r o o k l y n t w e e d 's designs and photography always fill me with such calm. His yarn and color choices inspire me and reading his blog is like a brief visit to a tropical island. In the shade. With a cocktail.

Pamelamama is one of my favorite people in the world. Her blog is part yarn, part kids, and all pamelamama. I adore her.

Crossroad Knits: knitblogging reconnected me with high school friend LizK. I love the glimpses of her life now, some unspecified number of years later. And meeting her good friends through the bolg has been wonderful, too.

Machin-truc: what does that even mean? I have no idea. This is my sister's blog. It's brand new; she started it while she takes a semester's sabbatical from her professordom in Kansas, of all places.

Through The Loops never ceases to inspire and delight me. I found her blog when I started to knit one of her designs: Tahoe, from

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: I don't know her. I don't have a kitchen to speak of. I don't cook. But I read her blog every day and pretend that I do know her, do have a kitchen to speak of, and that I cook all of her delicious looking treats every single day.

Brainylady: brainy indeed. And charming. And talented.

Ok, back to my world of disease-ridden kidlets. Thanks to all of these bloggers and more who give me my little daily escape.

Monday, January 21, 2008


So, it's a horrible cell phone photo but I wanted to show this scarf. I made it from Henry's Attic Andromeda (silk/merino) and my simple dropped yarnover pattern. I really liked the pattern when I first made it years ago, and then every time since I've thought about making one I felt it was a little cheesy and unexciting. But with this yarn it really turned out beautifully and I like it all over again. I made this scarf during a weekend of homeopathy classes and wrapped it up to give to my teacher as a new year's present. I need all the help I can get since I haven't done a single assignment all year. My midterms are next week. Should be interesting.

I also made myself these socks in class. This yarn is some (non-superwash) Merino I bought years ago in Milan. I dyed it in my one and only dyeing experiment using acid dyes. I made a single sock about 4 years ago, hated it, and never made the other. So I frogged evil first sock ever and made 2 new ones.

Added a cable up the back to alleviate the boredom.

I then continued my mitten extravaganza by making these for my friend Martha who was visiting. See the blue Ikea bag in the background? It's a sign of things yet to come. I'll get to that part later.

In the meantime, The Mole learned how to play peekaboo. He lives for peekaboo. Epecially when played with a bowl of Pirate Booty.

Then things went to hell. Remember the blue Ikea bag? We brought back more than just some wooden bowls and a string of star-shaped lights on clearance. My little Squid brought back a nasty case of Scarlet Fever which she picked up in the ball pen. Never, ever ever again.

I was trying to figure out which was the worst part of the Scarlet Fever. The fact that she came down with it the day my husband left for a week in Europe? So she was sick, out of school, and I had no co-parent? Or the fact that she and the Mole perfected their synchronized of waking up and wailing "mamma!" in the middle of the night while sleeping in separate bedrooms, so I needed to constantly choose which kid to leave screaming for me while I cared for the other.

But eventually with the help of some antibiotics which made the Squid a Squid-on-Speed, the Scarlet Fever passed. The Squid went back to school. For one day. because the next day she woke with a rash. I gave her benadryl immediately upon seeing the rash, by the doctor's orders. Guess what? she's allergic to that, too. A reaction to the antibiotics and then to the Benadryl has lasted longer than the Scarlet Fever they were treating and led us down the road to anaphylaxis, and, thankfully, back again. Hideous doesn't describe it. Nothing can tell of the fear that coldy gripped my heart as i sat next to my girl's bed watching her chest rise and fall - waiting for it to stop. Willing it not to. Nothing can come close to the look on her face or the sound in her voice as she screamed "IT ITCHES!" at 3 am. And it's still not really gone. Not yet.

Maybe the worst part is that I wore a hole in the bottoms of both of my brand-new green socks within a week of completing them. I just never took them off and shuffled from kid to kid on wool carpets for a week. When I finally took them off (and showered) I noticed the holes. boo. I patched them with some leftover yarn from the Donnie Osmond socks. There's enough Nylon in that yarn to hold anything together.

Here she is today, the Divine Miss M, playing with her baby brother. She just looks sunburned now. That will go away eventually.

Shall we talk about knitting again and banish evil thoughts of sick kids from our hearts? Check out the Mole's sweater. I finally finished it. I had intended to make the sleeves really long so he could wear it for a long time. But really I just ended up making the body too short.

I really need to go back and add a few inches but I just can't bear the thought of more stripes. And yes, he's rummaging through my yarn stash.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Stitch n Bitch!

Well, apparently today's pattern in the Stitch n Bitch 2008 page-a-day calendar is my Urban Urchin. I don't actually have a copy of the calendar, it's apparently on its way to me. So I didn't know it was today. Whoops!

And apparently there's an error in the pattern. Several people have written to me asking me to explain the odd abbreviations in the pattern. They are not odd abbreviations - they are typos. Whoops!

Wherever you see "s2s" in the decrease rounds, the pattern *should* read "sl 2, k1, psso" meaning “slip 2 stitches knitwise at the same time, knit the next stitch, then pass the two slipped stitches over the knitted stitch and off the needles. ”

This is essentially the same double decrease as sl1 k2tog, psso, but the sl2 k1 psso version lies flatter and is more invisible.

Sorry for the trouble!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

What do i make from this yarn?

Remember my Clapotis? I love the yarn. I adore the yarn. I still want to make myself something, probably a scarf. The Clapotis showed off the yarn beautifully but the pattern bored me to tears. I tried "Branching Out" and the pattern was more interesting but made the yarn look muddy. Or the yarn made the pattern look muddy. Or something.

So what can I make? looking for some of your favorite patten suggestions to show off an alpaca-silk blend fingering weight yarn, of which I have 333 yards. Beautiful colors, short repeats.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008!

Well, it's two full years since I started this blog. So crazy crazy much has happened in the past two years that I can hardly think of it all without my brain exploding.

For one, I've made and kept two resolutions in a row, now. In 2006 I resolved to keep a blog. Check. And then last year I made the whole stash resolution which I managed to keep, for an entire year. And yet I still have a ridiculous amount of yarn.

However, it's time to buy yarn. I just can't take it any more.

So I have two questions: What would you buy if your incredibly wonderful sister gave you a gift certificate for $50 at Yarnmarket? I'm thinking socks. I know. I know. I KNOW. I hate knitting socks. But I love wearing hand-knit socks. And I think they'd be great school-knitting projects. So which sock yarn might make me not hate knitting socks? Or do you have a better idea?

Second question. My husband wants a black sweater. Either another Seamless Hybrid or a Cobblestone. He wants it black. Solid black. Not a tweed, not charcoal. Black. Solid Black. So will a Cobblestone look horrid in a solid color? Will I lose everything if I don't use a tweed? and which black yarn should I use? He's extremely hard on sweaters. Elbows wear out in months. When he likes a sweater he wears it every single day until it expires. Think of him as a two year old. But large. I was thinking perhaps Blackberry Ridge?

And now I'll leave you with a few photos.

Here's our tree topper. I made Elizabeth Zimmermann's Christmas Fiddle Faddle stars using Malabrigo held double on size 13s. I made two stars and sewed them together, leaving an opening at the bottom. I stuffed the points with a little wool roving to make it puffy. This was our first tree and the squid decorated it with scraps of yarn and candy canes. She also put random balls of yarn under the tree in lieu of a tree skirt. All of this yarn love with utterly without prompting, by the way.

Then I made these slippers for my sister. I used the Little Turtle Knits felted moc pattern (no longer available) which I've owned for years and never tried.

I used Mosaic Moon's one-ply merino, which feels just like the Malabrigo I used for the star. I knit the womens size 8+ on 11s and felted them for 8 minutes and they felted so beautifully, but they shrank a LOT. They do perfectly fit my sister's 6.5 feet, luckily.