Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Ohhh...I don't feel so good. It feels like I'm gonna...I'm gonna...

HORRRFFFF!!! GAG...COUGH...cough...huff...

I feel better. Oof, it's all over my desk. Man. I guess sometimes yarn takes almost a violent exception to being knit up into a stupid-looking hat Now, it wasn't exactly the pattern's fault. Nor was it the yarn. It was the combination of the two that provided for a violent (urp) reaction.

But, y'know, that's about all the knitting that has been going on around here. Knitting and frogging (or ripping it out) then knitting again, frogging again, trying to ignore the clash of knitting vs. writing muses who are struggling for supremacy. After all, National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow and I have all the intention in the world to write the next bestseller. *snerk*

We'll see what November holds for us. October was good, it was very good. But I'm ready for November.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My thoughts behind the Sweater Curse

She had worked seven long months on that sweater in secret. She had stolen articles of clothing, she had frogged, she had cried bitter, passionate tears (though not while knitting the blasted thing in case it felted), sweated, lost sleep, drank too much coffee and admired it once done. It was her albatross. It was her Lover's Sweater. He had accepted that sweater with hesitant grace and he wore it on their next date and the one after that. And then...then it was over. He left her an email explaining that he didn't really 'feel' the love and that he was sorry that it couldn't work but assured her that she would find a better man who deserved her better and that was it. And he didn't even bother giving that sweater back! For all she knew, it was lining the bottom of his dog's carrier! Oh why had she not listened to her knitting group? Why did she not believe in The Sweater Curse?

Most cultures are endowed with a certain bit of mythology. But I would never dream that knitting would have one until I heard of the Sweater Curse, whispered like one would talk about some neighbor who had come down with the plague or lice. A Sweater Curse? But then I heard the stories, not unlike the one that I pulled out of my...nose. But I have to wonder, what's the truth behind the Sweater Curse?

I have a few theories. The one that makes the most sense is the Aunt Myrtle theory aka the Repressed Childhood theory. Here's how I think it goes: So you've found yourself a new beau. He's smart, he's sensitive, and he thinks it's really cute that you knit. Or, at least, he's never objected to when you whipped out your half-finished sock when you were both waiting in line to pay for that frozen pizza (so romantic!) or when you were both snuggling (please say that you didn't, I have a strong opinion on how snuggling is far more enjoyable than yarn pushing. Perhaps this makes me a heretic) while watching anything but football or a chick flick (which ends up being unexpectedly gorey and stupid on the SciFi Channel). He may have even requested a skull cap which you merrily knit up for him in a fortnight.

Fine, awesome, he seems to be alright with your knitting here and there. But then again, the magic is in the air, he can accept your knitting like you can accept his odd habit of eating a whole orange, rind and all. And you think that he is a wonderful man and worthy of--dun dun Dun--a sweater! You work hard and have it done right in time for his birthday or Christmas or Samhain. And as he unwraps the paper and pulls out the physical manifestation of all your hard work, love, and devotion, he's taken back to that one day when he was five and Aunt Myrtle made him that awful thing of browns and oranges and puce that was three sizes too small that his mother made him wear every single time this colorblind, deviant old aunt visited, which somehow suddenly seemed to increase exponentially! And your love looks up at you and tries to hide the aghast feeling that mysteriously, you've turned into Aunt Myrtle! It doesn't matter that the sweater is beautiful, just his size, and in all his favorite colors. No, now he's feeling the noose of Obligation tighten around his neck like a Fun Fur scarf. There is foreboding that feels as bad as the beginning of The Grudge. He knows that you'll be hurt and upset if you don't see him wearing that sweater. And he doesn't know if he can take that kind of pressure!

So...he leaves. And he takes the sweater with him because he doesn't REALLY want to hurt your feelings and figures that it would be a swift and brutal blow to just give it back.

Now, I act like I know aaalll about it. Trust me, I don't. I haven't had a boyfriend for over 7 years. And if I did knit for that one, I'd feel even stupider about the relationship than I already do.

So, perhaps you should save that sweater for after marriage and a child or two. Then he's already snared and if he leaves, he's gotta pay child support and really, he'd feel pretty dang stupid to divorce on grounds of a sweater, though heaven knows divorces have happened for sillier reasons. For now, divulge your love in humble scarves and hats. It'll be easier on your pocketbook, yarn stash, and heart.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

My History of the Knit (because I'm not at Rhinebeck, boo)

It was the loudest bit of muppet pelt I had ever seen lying around her neck. But it was also the dead of winter in more ways than one and returning to a new semester of sitting in a halogen-lit classroom was not a promising start. The scarf, however, was. Somehow over winter break, my nursing class president had found a little time to knit herself up a Crystal Palace eyelash-yarn scarf. As opposed to the 'Fun Fur' garbage you can find at any Walmart today, this stuff was soft, had a beautiful sheen, and I wanted one.

I begged her to tell me where she found the yarn. "Oh, I went to the Yarn Barn to get it." and that cinched it. I had little money but that afternoon I shelled out cash for a pair of size 17 bamboo needles and a skein of amethyst shaded novelty yarn heaven.

It didn't go very well. I could barely remember how to cast on from when I had learned in sixth grade after school, my little sister not too far. I had liked it then, enough to raid my mother's knitting needles for some circulars and find and lose the matching sibling of almost all her straights. But my memory was rusty, the yarn was terribly slippery, and the bamboo needles were about as elegant as a pair of broom handles. I had enough. But instead of giving up, I went to my resource, the one place that knew nearly every answer to every question I had. Admittedly, I didn't do this until after I was pinned as an LPN, which is probably a blessing because there were one or two of the three professors that I had who would have been graciously greeted on-stage with a size 2 DPN in the eye if I had the option. As it was, they got a cold-fish handshake and a silent "may our paths never cross again, foul nemesis" instead. Except for Ginny, the pumpkin-headed fireball with a marvelous sense of humor. I love Ginny and her wise words still accompany me into almost all situations in life.

After the fiasco with the Crystal Palace yarn (that is still sitting in my stash to this very day), I turned to what I figured was 'better' stuff. Which meant Lion Bran Homespun. I embarassed myself unwittingly by asking for it at the Yarn Barn. The dears gave me a blank look and said that they didn't even know what that was, let alone carry it. That should've been a hint. I finally found some at Hobby Lobby, made some scarves, even made a friend a stole out of some and then I found a group of online friends with a sharp edge to their humor and a decent head on their shoulders.

I also moved to Utah then where my aunt kept the thermostat at a chilling 70 degrees no matter the weather. My first Rogue was born through the late summer months as I shivered at my desk and pursued my RN. It was made out of Cascade 220. I've since sold or given away all my acrylic save for a ball of blue Red Heart that I keep for stitch-holding.

I've followed a lot of fads since then, and I've realized that though nothing is impossible when it comes to knitting, to life, there is always something left to learn. This following year, as I my 3rd year as an official knitstress, I hope to tackle intarsia and fair isle. I also want to try Continental knitting, though I've gotten really fast with the English (I once got a giggle out of people when they asked me what kind of knitting I do and I replied that I was a 'tosser'. There's a double meaning in that, so to speak). I don't knit everywhere I go but I do always have a project with me, just in case I end up stuck in a line somewhere, waiting for someone (Godot? I bet that book would be far more interesting if the characters in it took up knitting--not that I've actually read it).

And finally I have learned that as much as I want to do, as much yarn as I want to (and do, sometimes) buy, the limit lies in my speed and in my skill. Too bad, I did want to make a few more hats for myself this year.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

It disappeared! Where did it go? They're sorcerors!!!

(Name the quote and get a pat on the back!)

I wrote out a little something yesterday and then all hell broke loose. So I'll attempt this again and hit ctrl-a, ctrl-c so that if it does fall into the annals of internetdom, at least I can just paste and try again.

Dear Bloglandia,

I've not been utterly absent. Several things have been keeping me busy such as studying, playing Gwenog Jones and Fenrir Greyback on a delightful Harry Potter Roleplay over on GreatestJournal.com, spinning, knitting, swimming, sleeping, eating, breathing, voiding, indulging in a 10-day trial of World of Warcrack *ahem*, you know, life. Life gets in the way like an old geezer driving 30 on a one lane highway where the speed limit is 70. And all you can do is pop in some soothing Enya and hope that she and the scenery can keep you from having an aneurysm.

Anyways, for starters, I found a fun little survey over on JenLa's blog. A little bit more that you may or may not know about me (I'll spare you the 48-question survey going around, heaven only knows you don't need to know THAT much about me).

1. Where is your favorite knitting spot?
I'm sure I've already blogged about this. It's a particular desk in front of a computer with everything in arm's reach. And not just knitting! Obviously.

2. If you suddenly could never knit again (shudder) - what would you do instead?
Goodness, I don't know what would happen but I'm hoping I would still have the use of my hands and it would be some sort of alter-Midas touch where everything knitting I touch turns into chocolate which would be wonderful and heartbreaking all at the same time. But I think what I would do is go into online gaming again. I was on Final Fantasy XI for a little but that got so terribly dull very quickly (I knitted my first Rogue in between waiting for parties to get together just so I could NOT level up yet another day). But just recently, my dearest friend Briana sent me an offer for a free 10 day trial on World of Warcraft. So, figuring that my evenings, at least, are free from too much interference, I have decided to give it a try.

And so, allow me to introduce the Night Elf Malackar. He's as sharp as a bag of bricks, fond of harrassing Briana's character, Wynne, sitting in bodies of water as if they were hot tubs, and chasing after 'HORSEYS' otherwise known as the delicate and fiery horses that the human warlock characters can ride if at a high enough level. Funny how sometimes these characters just communicate what and who they are to you. Anyways, I won't actually subscribe to World of Warcraft until I have a job and a bit more time but for now it's pretty fun to play with Briana as she shows me around.

3. If you could travel anywhere in the world - where would you go and why?
Venice, Italy before it turns into another Atlanta. After all, what's cooler than a city where the streets need to be navigated by canoe or gondolla? And, of course, it's Italy. I have a special little spot in my heart for Italy since my family and I used to spend summers there when we lived in Germany, camping at the military base and going to the beach almost every day.

For those who thought I'd say Japan...it's cold there now. I'll wait for the spring before going and go during the cherry blossom festival, if I can avoid the drunken masses.

4. When you were little - What did you want to do “when you grew up?” Are you doing it?
It seems that I knew I would always be a nurse somehow. I've always wanted to be one.

5. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
I adore Bluebell's Homemade Vanilla. If my sister's reading, she'll understand what I mean when I say it tastes like the dutch Fla. It's a very rich, smooth vanilla and if you wanted to, I suppose you could dress it up with syrups and fruits and nuts and whipped cream but I like it straight. It's good just as it is.

:::ctrl-a, ctrl-c...just in case, y'know:::

So, anyways, I thought I should mention that I have also been knitting. Honestly I have, I promise. Don't believe me? Take a look:

I'm sure you recognize the pattern as being the same as the Swedish Fish socks. It's knit with Gedifra's Sportivo sock yarn that I bought on sale over at WEBS. I love it, it's very squishy and there is a sock-ton of yarn. I'm getting tired of knitting this (shh! don't tell it so!) and the idea of having to knit its mate is giving me grey hairs. So I may have to knit me some Christmas presents once this guy is done just so I don't end up doing something drastic like chewing on my aluminum DPNs.

And that's about it for now. Everyone have a lovely week, I'm going to go...kill spiders and goblins and things now.

ctrl-a, ctrl-c, take THAT, Blogspot!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Finished! Monster socks & Sockapalooza Questionare

*I have no clue what yarn this was. I received it in a swap without a ball band.
*I knit them using the toe-up method because I wanted to use the whole ball.
*I knitted them on size 1 Susan Bates DPNs.
*They were 66 stitches around until I hit the ribbing where I went up to 72 stitches and then halfway up increased another 4 stitches.
*The socks come up to just under my knee but they do not stay up. Elastic is considered or just to wear them slack around my ankles like all the cool japanese kids do.
*Oh yes, and they took about a month or so to casually knit up whenever I felt like doing straight stockinette whilst studying or watching the telly or something.

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I started socks while I lived in Utah (so about two years ago). I taught myself though really it was just carefully following a pattern. I had to learn THAT after checking out all sorts of sock-knitting books over in Borders and pouring over Google. Y'know, sometimes mental blocks are really quite funny.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
My first 'pair', if you can call them that, was made from one skein of KnitPicks Garden colors in Zinnia. I made one cuff down and with the remainder, squeezed out a toe-up. The toe-up fits so much more snugly but I have not worn them since I tried them on. They're just an experimental set.

What would you have done differently?
I wouldn't have wasted all that time fussing over how to turn a heel. All patterns give pretty decent instructions about such things. Of course, sometimes I just need an excuse to visit Borders.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
So far, I'm in most love with Moutain Colors Bearfoot. So soft! However, the skeins I owned turned into a scarf. And a lovely thing it is, too. I've yet to make actual socks out of the stuff.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I use DPNs. They do not frighten me and they impress everyone else. I have never tried two circulars or the Magic Loop method but that's due to the fact that I find those methods to seem awfully fiddly to me.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
Short row heels are more snug to me and actually hug the heel and make them stay on better in my opinion.

How many pairs have you made?
Not enough, I still have sock yarn left!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Finished! The Baltic Sea Stole

This would be the very first stole I had ever finished. It is not the first lace object I have ever made, but it is the only lace object (other than socks) that survived the mass migration from Utah to Kansas.

  • Pattern published by Fiber Trends and available at your local yarn store.

  • Started February 09 and finished September 14.

  • Yarn used was KnitPicks' Shadow in the colorway of Vineyard. 3 skeins were used.

  • Needles used were size 4 Addis.

  • Modifications: I added two repeats of column to the stole to make this a little wider and added extra repeats of the pattern to use up all of the skein.

Before blocking | Post blocking

The pattern is very easy to follow and the laceweight yarn was so soft that it made the lengthy process of knitting the whole thing very pleasant. I especially enjoy the very subtle variagations of color within the yarn itself that gives the stole the appearance of flecked shadows. The entire length of the stole is approximately six feet after blocking and drapes beautifully across my shoulders.

Wingspan | Length

In future, I will block this using actual blocking wires, the pins made for a very ragged and sloppy edge. This is the perfect project for someone who is a beginner to lace. The stitches used were knit, purl, yarn-overs (on both sides), p2tog, k2tog, and ssk. Nothing too complex. I do suggest that a pattern marking system of some sort be used. I used a magnet board such as those you can get at any local craft store or Walmart for about $5.

It looks better on Zoe

Monday, October 02, 2006

It's just a show, I should breathe and just relax.

Revenge of the Rogue did not tesser like it did the week before and I grew frustrated with her. So she's in time out while I celebrate Socks!

This week is the week I wrap up the Monster Socks:

I'm nearly done. After all, ribbing flies almost as fast as stockinette and it moves along the study time. And now for the fun artsy pictures:

I'm sure that those of you who have been following this blog since January might happen to recognize this yarn. I had attempted to start something then but ended up frogging it out. Clearly this yarn calls for a straight-up stockinette attempt and as you can see, one of them flashes pretty badly.

And for added content, here are the top ten knitterly things you may not know about me.

1. I long to design something, anything, but I can't actually come up with anything, not that this stops me from staring at people's knits and charting up their lacey parts.

2. I always have a project on me, even if I might not have it out. I never know when I might end up in some line at Walmart (or waiting for long-winded parents to finish talking with a guy they've professed extreme dislike for beforehand and then profess how much they like him after. Inconsistency!).

3. I have had dreams where I've knitted.

4. I am not attracted to men that knit. Not that I'm unattracted, but I don't find them any more droolworthy than women who knit. And no, I do not believe that men invented knitting. I believe that men more than likely used knitting in a commerce setting and that women had been doing it for a little longer.

5. I want to go fiber anorexic. Just knit it all up till it's gone. I think I have about a year or so to do that.

6. Which means I'll end up with about ten socks at the end and perhaps some felted bags.

7. I've never actually felted anything (on purpose) before. I'm about ready to fix that.

8. Before I started knitting, I crocheted and did counted cross-stitch. I learned to crochet just from watching my grandma, actually. And my mom and oma taught me to do counted cross-stitch.

9. I love lace knitting but I really don't get the appeal of triangular shawls. And I don't think they're coming back any time soon at all. It's stoles all the way for me, baby!

10. Other than a hat and scarf for my niece, I've never done knitting for children. They just grow too fast!

By the way, Katydid Knits has helped me with the blog layout. It's so awesome of her to help me out. Now I need to make it 'pretty'. I have a good idea of how to do it.

And I think I should give a shout out to another awesome knit-blogger. Ms. Knitingale is a marvelous nurse who knits. She's sharp and clever and incredibly interesting. I just can't help but really admire anyone who is a nurse, particularly one going through school. Talk about trial by fire!

Have a good week all!