Wednesday, January 31, 2007


The tiny amount of knitting I accomplish each day is frustrating to me. I know, just the other day I was excited about progress on the wallaby. Today, I'm frustrated. Can you say Mood Swing?

There are so many projects that I want to start. I want to start them all now. Right now. Like a petulant child, I wanna start them now, now, Now! (imagine spoiled brat foot stomp on each "now") Except I should finish what I'm working on first. That's what an adult would do, right?

Since I'm stashing along, I mustn't add to the stash. The trouble is that adding to the stash is fun, and usually relieves the boredom/frustration of moving along so slowly with the knitting. I've been fantasizing about Koigu. Piles of Koigu. Must. not. Buy. Koigu. Sigh!

Margene writes "Stash is full of potential, full of promise and good things to come." So very true, it's ridiculous. Go check out her sock yarn p0rn. You know you want to. On a similar vein, Kate Antonova wrote this article about looking at your stash in a new way on Knitty: Go, read!

Sorry for the picture-less post, there isn't any real progress to report. I'm going to go rearrange my collection. I'm hoping it will inspire me to be a good girl and finish my WIPs.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


It was cold in the house today. (How can 70 degrees feel so different between summer and winter?) I started a nice fire in the fireplace and made some progress on the wallaby:

The pic makes the sleeve look like it's a different color than the sweater, but it's not, I swear!

It's nice to see a project move along, especially with the shawls crawling along at a snail's place.

I had a dream the other night. The very talented Lia was teaching me how to knit a new stitch pattern. While she was teaching me, I coulda swore it was an eyelet pattern, but when I turned it out to show it, it was a color pattern. It was the most beautiful pattern I've ever seen. Wouldn't ya know, I couldn't remember it once I woke up. Dang!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Small Fuzzy Animals with Pouches

I'm working on yet another Wallaby for the Monkey, (he has three) who just turned one! (gratuitous icing-covered baby shots available here) Here's a progress pic of the wallaby, taken on the patio in the newly fallen snow.
I've knit the body up to the arms, including the totally cool pocket, and next to the body is one sleeve, partially worked. After the sleeves are knit, everything goes on one needle in order to do the raglan shaping. Have I mentioned that I LOVE this pattern? Can't knit enough of these. The yarn is a Red Heart variagated, I love how the striping is turning out!

I think the thing I like best is how little finishing there is to this pattern. It's not that I hate finishing, I just tend not to. It's sad to have an almost complete project living in a basket or knitting bag, when all that needs to be done is seams. Sigh! With the Wallaby, once the knitting is done, it is so close to being done. I just can't help myself but sew up the hood. So cute!

Still detemined not to buy any yarn until at least March. Not even considering a free day at all. I must be sick! I am trying to stick to the projects I picked out, but new projects keep inserting themselves into the lineup. My nephews, who are big cheerleaders for the handknit gifts their Auntie foists on them, requested socks. A friend requested helmet liners to send to US service persons in Korea. Can't deny either of those! I can even knit these from the Stash, so no shopping required.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Knots, Stash, and a Birthday Bash

The rayon shawls are progressing nicely, thanks to the wonderful Lia, who put aside her knitting for an entire evening to untangle a very ugly mess of Rick-Rack yarn. The yarn is gorgeous, but sooo very tangly! It was not the first time the yarn had snarled, which is not surprising considering it is a big project stuffed repeatedly into a little bag. Thank you Lia, it was very kind of you!

The shawls are now taller than me, which was my goal, but I just can't stop. Since I started to Stash Along, I want to use up as much yarn as possible. I don't want to leave a small ball of yarn without mates, or a project. I'm trying to use as much of it as possible. RickRack comes in one big ball, which is great, because I haven't had to weave in any ends yet, but it means that whatever is left, is, well, leftover. I figure that an extra few inches on the shawl is more preferable to a sad little ball of leftover yarn. I'm gonna see how close I can cut it...

The Stash Along is having side-effects. I started reading my stash of knitting books! They aren't just picture books! There's writing in them! Pretty interesting writing, as it turns out. Currently reading Wendy Knits, which is Wendy's knitting adventures interspiced with knitting patterns in increasing difficulty. Lia, Margie and I met Wendy, who was very friendly and lovely and signed my book before her talk so I could sneak out with the baby if I needed to, at her book signing at Loop in Philadelphia sometime last year. (I don't remember exactly when, because last year is still mostly a baby-induced blur.) I do remember eating some darn good Dim Sum beforehand in Chinatown, then a nice walk to the store.

We celebrated the Monkey's first birthday yesterday, with a mess of family and lots of noise. He was a little overwhelmed, and fell asleep instead of digging in to his birthday cake. A few hours later, we tried again. Success! His Grandmother made, not one, not two, but FOUR birthday cakes. One vanilla in the shape of a tractor, one chocolate Mickey Mouse, and two very beautifully decorated applesauce cakes with no eggs, as the Monkey has issues with eggs right now. He's working on the little applesauce cake (with blue icing) in the photo.

He was very tired from all the excitement, and slept, well, like a baby last night. That wouldn't be a big deal except this kid is not a sleeper. I think it was at least two months after he was born that he slept more than a couple hours at a time, and he had to be cuddled on his Daddy's chest to accomplish that. Currently, It is still the majority of nights that he sleeps awhile then is up to eat or play. Right now, he's on his second nap of the day, which most likely means we'll be eating more cake at midnight...

Well, I can't top a cute pic like that with talk of after-party cleaning (ugh!) so I just won't.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Feel the Burn

Why did I ever put those shawls down? I remember now! Pain!

One row in this pattern is almost 200 stitches, times two shawls = about 400 stitches. Add in rayon yarn, and the weight of these (they're as tall as me right now) and that comes to... a very numb middle finger on my right hand about halfway through the second row. I could be knitting more in one sitting, but I really like it when my hands can grab stuff. It's something I've grown accustomed to. But where's the pain, you ask? Yes, numbness is pretty much the opposite of pain, I admit. Remember what happens when numbness goes away? That pins and needles feeling? Not pleasant.

Now that I've been working on these again, and figured out why I put them down in the first place, I can forgive myself for taking so freaking long, and limit myself to one row at a sitting. It is frustrating, but I'm determined.

On the home front, The Monkey is almost one! One whole year. Hard to believe he's that old, even though he's walking, and making sounds that could (if the listener has enough imagination) sound like words. Preparations are under way for a family birthday party. Just cake and ice cream, nothing fancy. Unfortunately, even though I've started a new cleaning regimen and the house was clean and orderly for company at Christmas, the house is now a wreck. And I notice that when there's only one week till the party to do something about it...

Hmmm, saying "new cleaning regimen" makes it sound like there was an old regimen, which isn't exactly true unless you count shoving everything into the guest room and master bedroom 15 minutes before company arrives. It's a great system, as long as you know when company is coming in advance, and you're not adverse to digging through the piles to find the overdue bills that accidentally got shoved into the armoire with the "leftover" section of the yarn stash. I'm not very organized, but I'm getting into a routine where 2 or 3 rooms are kept relatively useable more than 50% of the time. Pretty proud of that. We'll worry about the other 7 rooms later. Good guests let you know they're coming anyway, right?

Cleaning, organizing, finishing difficult projects... I think that kind of dedication deserves a treat, don't you? Darn right! I got these in the mail today:


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Man the Oars!

dol*drums ^pl.n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)

1. A period of stagnation or slump.
2. A period of depression or unhappy listlessness.
3. A region of the ocean near the equator, characterized by calms, light winds, or squalls.
4. The weather conditions characteristic of these regions of the ocean.

Ever get to the middle of a large project and get stuck there? Seems like forever since you cast on, and yet, you don't seem to be nearing completion, no matter how much you knit. You've hit the knitting doldrums. Hours and hours of knitting don't convince the tape measure to show even a little progress. Put it away and let some time pass. Work on something else. Chances are, when you pick the large project back up, after a couple of rows, you'll be right back where you started. Hoping against hope that sometime soon you will. finally. be. done.

I am stalled on these shawls. They are being knit in Interlacements "Rick Rack" yarn, using Interlacements "Feather and Fan" pattern. Great pattern, lovely yarn, not difficult to knit at all. They joined the stash in the summer of 2005, and I started them right away. That's a year and a half, folks! Yes, I'm working on two at one time. No, I would NOT recommend you attempt this. I picked them back up as part of my commitment to StashAlong, and finish my UFO's. I still love them, just wish they were done.

When your ship is stuck in the doldrums, it is only a matter of time until you get pretty darn cranky. With the knitting doldrums, shopping for new projects helps. Unfortunately, I am de-stashing right now, so that outlet is closed to me.

When your ship is stuck in the doldrums, there's only way to get out. Keep rowing (sorry for the totally unintentional knitting pun) until you catch some wind and can sail out. So, no matter what happens, I am determined to keep knitting on them until the shawls are done, and I can steer my knitting to more exciting seas.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Stash or Trash?

The knitting is going so slowly that I think I'll have to approach the de-Stashing from more than one direction. There is some legacy yarn (hand-me-downs) hiding in my stash that could be considered trash by some knitters . In fact, it arrived in a trash bag, and it might just leave that way, too. The monkey is asleep, so I'm off to sort.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Got Stash?

If you have a ball of yarn, you have a stash. If you have a room full of yarn, perhaps the guest room, and you can't find a large piece of furniture, such as the bed, because the yarn has enveloped it, you have a problem. I have a problem. A big one. "Hi, my name is Jenn..." The amazing, always helpful Lia suggested that I join this StashAlong in order to try to get my habit under control. I signed right up. The first step is abstinence. I chose to quit for a two month period. After that, we'll see how anxious I get for a hit. I'm trying not to think about it as losing a stash so much as regaining about 80 square feet of guest room.

Here's what I'll be working on.

  1. Philosopher's cardigan kit "Trillium" in autumn colors
  2. Feather and Fan shawls from Interlacements in "Rick Rack" by Interlacements
  3. Cardigan (my design) in purple "Muskoka" by Berella
  4. Pullover (my design) in green heather "Amawalk" by Filofin (Italian)
  5. "Wonderful Wallaby" by Cottage Creations in purple acrylic Red Heart

From the Stash

  1. Philosopher's cardigan kit "Colour your own" in pastel colors
  2. Socks for The Baby out of leftover/orphaned sock yarn
  3. "Nantucket Jacket" from IK Winter 2006 in blue "Muskoka" by Berella
  4. "Children's Cotton Hats" from Last Minute Knitted Gifts in 1824 cotton by Mission Falls
  5. "Lizard Ridge" from in "Kureyon" by Noro

Don't expect that I'll finish them all in two months, but we'll see...

Saturday, January 6, 2007

A time to blog

Did you ever write a letter in your head? You rewrite it over and over to get it to where it sounds great. Then, by the time you find paper and a pen, that letter is long gone. It has been replaced by a short, dull, to the point letter that takes about five words.

That's what happened to this post. I've been trying to convince myself to write this first entry for a few years, convinced myself that, like the imaginary letters I write, it would be a wonderful, easily creative experience. Yeah, right! Nothing like an empty page staring at you to scare the ideas away! So, pride be damned, this is my first post, even though it isn't the perfect prose that I dreamed it would be.

Outside my head, I am not a good writer. I tend to leave the important bits unsaid, so it is difficult to know what the hell I'm talking about. I'll fill in the blanks with lots and lots of pictures. Getting to the point is also a problem for me. (Look! Third paragraph, and she still hasn't told you what the darn blog is gonna be about!) So now that I've explained all the reasons this blog will be absolutely terrible, and I'm amazed that you're still reading...

This blog will mostly be about knitting, with a few other crafts thrown in just to mix it up. I like to make stuff. Mostly, I love to knit, but I also spin, dye, bead, quilt, sew, paint, draw, and fold. (paper, not laundry.) Knitting is the easiest to find time to do, and the craft I'm most comfy doing. Also, I can get more time to knit because it is (except for double pointed needles) one-year-old friendly. I can sit on the floor with my son while I knit, and he loves to play with the yarn. He loves moving yarn around. Takes all the yarn out of a bag, chooses a ball, puts that one back in the bag, then scatters the other balls around the house. Does that with laundry too. That's the reason I don't fold it. Complete waste of time. Pictures soon, of son and what's on the needles too!