Monday, October 30, 2006

SAFF play-by-play!

My first Fibre fair. Oh heavens.

Miss Kate was supposed to join me, but couldn't at the last minute. Since I couldn't get in touch with MattAndJulie to see if I could stay with them on Friday night (because I'm a chicken and didn't call them but rather sent emails) and hotels = expensive, I decided to head out on Saturday morning.

Stupid early on Saturday my alarm went off (getting up at work hours on the weekend?! Sinful!) and I showered, pulled on my Lace Leaf Pullover for her debut, forgot to get breakfast, packed my camera, checkbook, and two (why two?) notebooks. Into the car, off to the gas station for brekkie (pound cake... it's almost nutritious!), and then!

A million miles to Asheville. Meaning 180. Which is plenty, thank you.

Some bad mapquest directions later (apparently "right" means "left") I found a parking spot and walked up to building number one! To my left was a building that had a sign saying "ALPACAS." Heep! Omg.

I walked in, and saw this:

And I believe my heart exploded just then. Two! It-- two floors! Of YARN! And FIBRE! I've never seen so much yarn in one place at one time. I've never seen so many knitters in one place! And spinners! My stash runneth over!

I started walking around the top section in a daze, fondling fibres and yarns as I went. How, I wondered, does anyone ever decide what to buy? There's just so much that the thought of settling on any one thing is completely flabbergasting. I'd set a basic budget, but was willing to overlook it if need be (how many fibre fairs do I go to? None. Well, one).

Clearly the best course of action was to wander the whole place, get an idea of what's around, then go back.


Oh BABY...

And I made it through the whole top floor and about 3/4 of the bottom floor before my hand fell upon some merino/silk. I squoze. I loved. My checkbook quivered in fear. A round rack of the softest, squoziest, most buttery, delicious yarn that I've ever felt. My knees went weak and I wrapped my arms around the rack and hugged the yarn.

Dignity? Overrated.

But this! This place! They understood. The vendors giggled at me and got it. Oh. Heaven! I eventually settled on a skein of fingering-weight variegated red/black/pink/gray yarn ("Power colors," the seller called it). "I don't care how much it costs," I declared to myself. "Wait, how much is it? Yeep! Um. Well. Whatever! Fibre fair! Gimmie gimmie gimmie!"


A few booths down I spotted some batting. Purple mixed with hot pink. Oh, it was sexy. Yes it was. I touched it. Soft! I picked it up and hugged it, ready to growl and snap at anyone who came near me. The vendor -- she and I chatted every time I made a lap around the bottom floor -- asked if I was ready. Oh! I'm just going to look around. I settled on just the batting. While I haven't, um, had much success with spinning yet I think proper motivation will really help. So pretty!

I ended up watching someone spin on an Ashford Joy -- the very wheel I've been thinking about getting. As I stood, mesmerised, the spinner's friend, Grace, started chatting with me. And hoo boy she was cool! Elizabeth spun away as Grace told me that she'd decided she was going home with either a rabbit or a spinning wheel.

Of course! I love it.

Then she let me know that there was a knitblogger meet-up.


I knew I started this for a reason. I tagged along and oh!

Oh. It -- oh. I have found my people! (well, my fibre-related people). They get me! They're just as obsessive as me and they speak my language!

Someone said "flash your stash" and my heart skipped a beat.

And I learned that apparently people read my blog! That is really exciting.

Hello, people! Leave comments!

And the Lace Leaf debut?

It shed all over my bag and bunched around my chest, but I've never been so proud of something I've knit. And that picture makes me so happy!

I ended up being very reasonable with my purchases. I got two more skeins of the merino/silk in a slightly heavier gauge in a stunning antique rose color.

I tried to find little gifts for my two local knitters, Kate and Andrea, but I just couldn't find anything. "Ah!," I'd say, "a little skein! ...of $20 silk. Right." I love them both, but in this instance it's not $20 worth of love.

There was a blogger meet-up at a pub at 7:30, but I was done by 4:45 and had nowhere to hang out before the meet-up, so with a heavy heart I went home. Good thing, too, because 8:45 rolled around and I went to bed. And slept for 13 hours. Heh.

More to follow!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Dear Cobalt,
I feel like I need to be honest with you, and I hate having to write this letter. We've had some good times -- some really good times. From the first time I saw your cousin phosphor, to the time I saw you -- yes you -- on Savvy Minx's Etsy shop and knew I had to have you. And how fast you arrived! And your softness!

It was love. Deep, fast, wonderful love.

But there were problems almost immediately. You're thin. Really thin. And there's nothing wrong with that! I'm just... not used to it. I had to buy special needles for you. But still there were issues. I knit a swatch, I accounted for you and your incredible spi number. And I started, Cobalt, and you was too big. Way too big. And I've tried again -- two other times, which is no small feat with your, well, splitty nature.

No offense.

And I know this last disaster was my fault. I accidentally knit two different lengths on your picot edge and made it all lopsided, and when I tried to fix it -- it just didn't work.

Cobalt: I'm tired. I've tried so hard to make this work but I just can't right now. I've spent too many hours for no product, and I've... well, I've met someone new. She's new and squishy and -- she doesn't require size 000 needles.

Cobalt, I need some space. And I need socks more than I need a challenge right now.

I'll be back, I promise. And I'll be thinking about you until then.


*Soon, SAFF report!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oh yes, and--

I cast on for my cobalt socks which -- even a glance makes me nervous, because -- oh... 10 spi. Size 0 needles. I feel faint.

So, with that gauge I decided to CO 80 for the picot edge because I have no imagination and couldn't find anything new/better than picot which would then be increased to 88 for the ankle. Ankle = 9" at 10spi gives me 90, minus 2 for snugability and easy division by 4 = 88 stitches! Right? (If you already know this is stupid then congratulations! You're smarter than me!).

Right! 88 stitches away! I knit maybe two rounds and... oh. It's kind of... big. This seems... wrong.

It was frogilated and now I'm giving up and have cast on something like 15 stitches per needle, which is my standard (and I'll increase a bit after the edge is done) and it'll be a nice Surprise as to whether or not it fits.


#36. Gauge in the round can be different from gauge knit flat. (Thanks to Stephanie I knew that too, but knitting a swatch in the round is too annoying to even consider).


You know what would be clever? Checking cold meds to find out if they're "daytime" or "nighttime" before I take them. Sure would be clever, that... So if I sound a little... off... then... it means something.

Because I'm a dreamer (sometimes) I entered another contest. A Name this Cardigan contest run by Brigitte of Wrapped Around My Finger. It's a lovely Norwegian sweater with red and white fair isle. I offered "Sunrise Cardigan," because with the zig-zags and all... you know... kind of sunrise-evocative, even though, you know, tbthh, boring.

And then I clicked on the picture from the patternmaker's website to get an idea of the finished project. Check it out:

Boy, I thought, she looks pissed! And so I added a name to my contest entry:

The Surly Norwegian.

I thought it was the peachy keenest. And apparently so did Brigette!

Okay, I wasn't the winner, but I'm a runner-up, which I think is just the coolest. I get a prize! I like prizes!

Aw, yey.

What else. Oh, so much else.

I tried on the Sizzle last night, and first of all:

#35. If you want to try on something that's on circular needles it's easier to put it on two circular needles (ideally the same size or smaller) so you can try it on instead of threading the whole thing onto waste yarn and then putting it all back onto the needles when you're done.


1. Oh... it's... oh, kind of loose... and a little... huggy of curves that don't want to be hugged... Oh... Well! Um... maybe it will improve when finished?
2. ITCHY ITCHY, OMG ITCHY! With the little bits of poke-y yarn! That wasn't supposed to happen!
3. Um, a wee bit short... I like longer torso'd shirts, and this one... well, it needs a bunch of inches to get it where I want it, but that puts the V neck at below the center of my bra... Oh dear... And I don't want to go back AGAIN...


1. Waste bin. Deny any knowledge of project. Sizzle? What sizzle? I make socks!
2. Frog, knit in a smaller size (and, I don't know, follow the directions this time?)(I'm concerned that this would hug the wrong curves. You know, the belly-curves, or the right-above-the-waistband-curves).
3. Knit an inch taller to get a length that just might pass and pray like crazy that the attached neckband will cover my bra.

I'm going for option 3. Wish me luck.

In other news, the jerks at Webs are having a beastly sale on Debbie Bliss Merino DK.

$2.75 per ball!

Holy shit! How can they do this to me?!

I debated briefly -- it's nearly perfect for the Classic Slant Cardigan (one spi larger, but easily adaptable), which I'd been planning to make for my mom. I'd been searching for months for yarn for the sweater, but it was all more than I wanted to spend or the wrong color and so I'd given up to work on the mittens (hahaha!).

BUT! Will I ever get to the project? What about the big makeup purchase yesterday? And the fiber festival this weekend? I need moneys for that!

So I asked one of my co-workers. She's a crafter too. Buy it! She said.

And I agreed. I have the project laid out, it'll never be on this big a sale again, and even if it doesn't work for this it'll be good for something else. If I don't get it now I'll likely just get it later and I may as well get it while it's cheap. So I did. Hee!

Finally: fiber festival! Eeee!

Query: is it geekier to geek out about yarn than it is about, say, comic books? Discuss.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I have decided that the mittens can wait until I finish at least the body of sizzle (never mind that October's almost over and I need to figure out some kind of knitted project for dad)("Look! I got you a movie!"). How far am I?

This far:

Mistakes and concerns galore: will it be long enough? Is the v-neck going to be too deep? Is it too wide? It looks too wide. Do I really have to weave in all those ends? Stupid ends. Am I going to roast? Is it going to look like a vest and therefore look ridiculous on me?

#34. The problem with knitting a garment is that you can't try it on beforehand. You never know if you just spent a few weeks to a few months (or years) on something that, in the end, makes you look like you just cut some holes in a delightfully colorful potato sack and chose to wear it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


A few days ago I checked on the mail status of the gifted "halloween" socks. After an hour or so of "What do you mean the package is being returned? What happened??" My sister-in-law heard back from the recipient who said:

Anyways, I did received a super, yummy, delicious pair of socks in the mail from ya today! Maybe the post office screwed up and didn't update correctly??? So thank you soooooooo much!!! Did you make these??? WOW!!!! They fit perfectly and you can see them on my tootsies in the swap thread!!! Feel great on my feet....I had to go to my podiatrist this morning and had another rather painful shot in my foot for a bunion/neuroma and it was great to have these to slip into when I came home!!!!!! I think they are about the prettiest pair of socks I've seen in a long time and with great autumn colors, too!!!!! Fabulous stalking!!!!

Thank YOU!!!!!

Boy did I turn red! I could've heated the office with my cheeks.

Her picture (probably the best representation of the color yet):

#33. Knitting rules.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Oh, expletive

It really helps to read the directions.

#32. "Every 6th row an additional 6 times" is very different from "every other row an additional 6 times" and would probably explain why the body seems so short.

Andean silk

*update* Can you spot the big, honkin' mistake that will warrant frogging about 15 rows? I can!

I just love this yarn. Smooth, next-to-skin soft, with just a hint of wool.

I am a little concerned that two balls of yarn have garnered me just this:

I'm notorious for buying too little yarn, and I should have way too much of this (according to the pattern, anyway), but I can't help but be a little nervous...

Sizzle pains

I managed to work, oh, fifteen or so rows of the back (though at the time I thought it was the front) before deciding that 1. I preferred ribbing over the seed stitch (indeed, I thought it was ribbing which didn't occur to me while I was working the seed stitch), 2. I didn't much care for the side slits, and 3. It would be way better knit in the round (hello, no seaming!).

Ripped it out, planned for working in the round, and started going. And going. And going. She says in the pattern that it can be whipped out in three days, and to that I respectfully respond, "LIES!" I've been working... a while on it, and even AFTER the frogging and reworking it's been two(ish) days and I'm only about a third through the waist shaping darts. The lower waist shaping darts.

It's a whole whole lot of stockinette (which I should get used to -- the tweed sweater-to-be is going to have the same) and the rows are loooong. On the other hand, I did want some fairly brainless knitting.

#30. Be careful what you wish for.

And, unrelatedly,
#31. When working a hem/picot edge you should cast on ten percent less than your total cast on and work the hem/picot edge, and then increase back when it's done. I could've used that information several weeks ago, kthx.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


The cobalt is is really splitty and runs about 10spi on size 0 needles.

These socks are going to kick my ass. *whimper!*

Friday, October 13, 2006

And like magic...

Linda of The Yarn Tree wrote me back. She's facing a book deadline and is in fact in Canada at the moment, so yarn will be ordered upon her return to Brooklyn.

I could be snarky about this whole ordeal, but you know, life's too short.

Also, I'm all aglow with my love for cobalt. Mmm, cobalt...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Stores and the act of lightening one's wallet

Y'all, the Yarn Tree (yarn shop in NY) is really disappointing me. I ordered some yarn and roving, and put in an order for some Schaefer Anne yarn. They said they'd send it out when it arrived. That was back in August. It's now October, and I am Schaefer-yarn-free (they haven't charged me for it yet). I've written them twice and haven't heard back. That = all kinds of no good. Alas. I guess I'll call them tonight. Man.

In good news! I bought some sock yarn (since I can't be bothered to wait around for the Yarn Tree anymore)! Guys. It = unreasonably pretty. Will post a pic soon. Seriously, though, you will die with the pretty. And it arrived wicked fast! But is way small. Possibly too small for my size 1 dpns. Oh dear.


Cobalt from Savvy Minx! I'm in love.

Also, I've recently become directed to Little Knits where, hello, deep discounts! Oh my god!

You know, I've never been fond of tweed. Like, ever. And then I saw Brooklyn Tweed's Seamless hybrid, and y'all, I felt a Deep and Wild Lust rising from the Fibre-ous Core of my body.

And so 12 skeins of (discontinued?!?!) Dale of Norway Sisik in navy blue is winging its way towards me. Right now. Mmm, sweater materials...

BUT -- can I figure out waist shaping? And arm decreases? Only time will tell.

New new new new new!

After finishing the purple socks and declaring the Hateful Green Sweater close enough for government work (and waiting on finding the perfect bead -- how hard is it to make a nice wooden toggle, people? Honestly!) I spent, oh, two evenings on the couch occasionally looking around in bewilderment that I didn't have anything to work on, really.

(The mitten may need to be tinked back a row and... I'm just not feeling that kind of enthusiasm right now, what with the stupid thing maybe being too SMALL now, stupid mitten; the long-denied baudelaire sox? Too complicated and may be frogged since I'm not convinced that yarn is going to stand up to sock wear; tubey? Scott's hat? Baby hat?

...right. Well. Um. Look! A diversion!).

So I finally ordered Knit and Tonic's Sizzle pattern. I've been good about waiting until things were finished before starting it but I have a pile of Knitpicks' Andean Silk with Sizzle's name on it.

Can you stand another gauge story?

Pattern requires 5spi. Andean Silk on size 5 needles gets me 6spi. No problem! I will just cast on for a slightly bigger size because bigger size = more stitches, and with more stitches to the inch, all will be as it should be.

Cast on for the back! Seed stitch! So pretty, and so slow!

I went about four rows before thinking that hey, this looks a little long. I'm by no means tiny, but this seemed... excessive. I pinned it out and measured it: 25". I measured my back: 20". Ah. Yes. But... wait.

I'd cast on 122 stitches, divided by 6spi = 20.3".

How... how did I get 25"? Is... does seed stitch have a totally different gauge than stockinette? Is every calculator I've used broken?

Well. I cast on for the smaller size and it seems to be going better. My brow is still squozed together in confusion, though. How?

#29. Gauge is a cruel, cruel mistress.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Finished things?!

Yesterday I decided it was Finally The Day I was going to work on the green sweater. Finally get those extra stitches worked out.

Plan 1:
Drop the stitches down, combine two right above the ribbing, pick up the stitches, re-graft. Again. Oh, grafting.

The drop:

The pick-up:


Plan 2-50:
Ungraft a bit, move the k2togs to under the arm aways, re-graft (ARG).

Something weird had happened with the beginning of the graft (AGAIN), and so finally ended up with this:


Close enough.


Not ideal, but yay socks!

Friday, October 06, 2006

From Grumperina:

10 knitterly things you might not know about me:

1. I love to knit in public and really, really hope that people will ask me about it.

2. I could talk about knitting for DAYS. Which is why I have this blog. My knitting friends aren't quite at the "yammering non-stop" stage of knitting. Yet.

3. It's very rare that I follow a patten exactly. I'm always changing lengths, yarns, stitch patterns. One of my first projects was an elaborate scarf for a friend of mine: it involved an intarsia biohazard symbol (representative of our college's Ultimate team) and his name, it was going to be lined and there were going to be pockets... Well, this was before I knew about gauge (it's huge), about how stockinette curls, about weaving in ends... I made it, oh, a solid 5/8 of the way through before he annoyed me and I didn't want to make him a scarf anymore. Also, that damn thing was HUGE.

4. I don't think I've ever used the recommended yarn for a project. In fact, I don't even bother to check what a project would cost: I just start looking around for my ideal project-fibre.

5. I hate paying full price for yarn and will shop around for an eternity, filling up post-it notes with comparitive prices. HOWEVER, I don't have a problem paying more for something good. Sounds contradictory, doesn't it? Like this: I would be more likely to pay $135 for a sweater's worth of silk cashmere on sale than I would be for $77 worth of baby cashmerino. Make sense? Not so much to me either. But who needs rules anyway?

6. I don't like the way that ball-winder balls of yarn look. I wrap my own centre-pull balls around a folded toilet paper tube. And soon around my own nostepinde, thanks to Elia! Yee haw.

7. No itchy yarn! I have sensitive skin and so I get really picky about the yarn I use. (Also never with the acrylic because -- OH the squeaking! *shudder shudder twitch*). (I've mentioned that before).

8. I huh-ate bobbles. I just do.

9. My grandma taught me to knit when I was in that vague haze of ages between 7 and 12. When she went back home I forgot what I was doing. I picked it up periodically, but couldn't figure it out. It wasn't until I worked at a summer camp and saw one of the cooks knitting that I re-learned and it stuck. I didn't finish much of anything then, as I recall. But when I started working here and had all sorts of time to read knitblogs I became... well, a ravenous knitter.

10. I'm, um, thinking about getting a spinning wheel. I have a drop spindle on long-term loan, but I just don't like it. I'm going to a fibre fair (heep! My first!!) in three weeks and I'll check them out then. I start thinking maybe not (esp. what with the taking away from knitting time and all), but then I start looking at roving, and... oh... so pretty! And besides, if I don't like it there's always eBay.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Just desserts

hu‧bris  [hyoo-bris, hoo-]
–noun excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance.

Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear.

The mitten was frogged, and the pattern totally reworked with 8 fewer stitches, keeping in consideration the 6spi gauge, so sayeth Knitpicks, which I recalled was what I'd gotten when I did a swatch at some point, giving me a solid 8.6" circumference. Peachy keen!

Knitting recommenced, making sure to give a decent tug at the gaps between needles so as to avoid ladders. (Things that I know now were a tip-off to trouble #1: it took me an entire evening to cast on in an attractive and fully functional manner. Twice I'd get the cast on, start knitting, and then drop a stitch. I don't know how to re-cast-on a dropped cast-on stitch. Magic loop was attempted and failed). And even still the cast on doesn't look as good as the first one. Arg. Anyway, no ladders!

In fact, all the stitches were tighter. But still, pattern confidence! (Can you hear the chorus warning me yet?). Worked through the cuff and started the mitt. Felt smug at the speed of knitting. Worked the first bit of the thumb, which I'm fairly sure I'm doing correctly. Even tried it on, and felt only mild concern that it might be too tight now. It's not snug, but it's... tighter.

Put aside worry! Barrelled on with confidence! 6 spi! The Chorus moved into their dance number!

In the bleary, bleary morning I took a picture of the mitten progression in all its glory as I started flying closer to the sun showing how it was, indeed, smaller! Tape measure added for scale!1 Observe!

(I apologize for the blur -- it's impossible to focus at 8am).

And then this morning, as my brain cells started to wake up a bit I realized that something seemed off about the measuring tape and the mitten configuration.

On a whim, I pulled up the picture and -- just for fun! -- counted my spi. You know, to confirm my inherent knitterly clever-itude. With the 6 spi. Beware the ides of pattern-making.

Count count count! And -- HEY!

It-- it... 7.5-8 spi? But that's WAY more than 6! And according to the tape measure it's a 6.5" circumference!

Oh, expletives and rage and SAD.

Well, it fits over my hand and mom's hands are smaller, so maybe it'll work... I hope... I guess I'll find out. I won't frog just yet.

Dear gods of knitting: I am sufficiently humbled, thank you. Never again, with the ego.

If you need me from now on I'll be the one rolling the giant ball of itchy, itchy wool up the mountain, or on alternate weekends I'll be strapped to a rock having my insides pecked out by addi turbos.

#27. Hubris isn't exclusive to the ancient Greeks.

#28. Don't base a whole pattern on the yarn band's spi. Caveat swatch-free knitter. (And the worst part? I knew that).

1 Har!

Sunday, October 01, 2006