Monday, November 27, 2006

Scarf for Fox

So, at some point this weekend I saw a scarf. It was lovely, and had those holes you get when you stagger stacked yarnovers, which I can't really describe verbally, but it was lovely.

So, of course, this is the scarf I want to knit for Fox. I figure I start with 24 sts, and work into a chart something like this:

III|IIIOOOIII -> Foundation row

So this is my idea. Three repeats across, plus the three edge stitches on the left of the chart. I'm wondering if purling the center stitch in each column would be a good idea - it might stop it from curling some. Or I could do 4 sts of 1x1 rib. I guess it's time to swatch!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Another Project Down - Eleventy Million Requested!

Do you remember that skein of pumpkin orange alpaca that went home with me when it shouldn't have? Well, as it turns out it made a mighty fine hat - albeit a touch on the large side, but I wasn't about to rip the decreases again and shorten it up, so it was okay. I used the ribbed lace pattern from A Gathering of Lace, so it's cables and faggoting and goodness all around. I finished it last week, and since it hadn't been part of my stash when I started the challenge, I wasn't going to count it as one of my projects. Hastur let me know that if I gave it away as a gift, that was okay, since you can buy materials for gifts - but my hat? My beautiful pumpkin spice hat? Why would I ever give THAT away?

So I go to thanksgiving with my family. My most favorite aunt hosts it every year, and her son is my most favorite cousin (we grew up together, he's like the triplet I never had). I pull out the Emma scarf and the pumpkin hat to show off, and FavCousin is astounded - a beanie with no seams! He excitedly puts it on, proclaiming loudly that this is THE perfect beanie, and he can't believe why textile companies would seam them when they can be made this wonderful. So I give it to him (he mentions a few other colors he likes in beanies, in case I want to make him some for christmas), and now it gets to count for Hastur's Challenge :)

Of course, TwinSister saw the Emma scarf (you know, the one I agonized over whether or not to give her, and decided to keep for myself?), and declared that it is also the Perfect Scarf - exactly the length, color, and thickness that she would love in a scarf, and the design is just right, and I'll be making one for her for christmas, right? So I said sure. She's my twin and I love her. I'll get to unraveling the rest of that sweater as soon as I get home. I'm thinking I might just take apart this camel-colored cashmere sweater and make another Emma out of that, and give her the original. A true appreciation of handknits should be well-rewarded, after all.

So the holidays have been wonderful. I'm hoping to sneak over to Yarntopia sometime today and pick up some Malabrigio or Fleece Artist, which I can't get in BCS. It would make this weekend complete.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I realized today that I haven't really given any details about my current projects. Sure, there's the jacket (which is waiting to be given a good eulacan soak, since the colors run), the sunshine socks knit two-at-once on a set of five size 0 DPNs. These are the "need something to do with my hands and less so my brain" knitting. But this is lacevember, and I am knitting lace. Enter, Icarus.

See, I like Icarus. It's a good pattern with awesome design elements, it uses just as much yarn as is in one ball of's laceweight (and lucky me, I've got an extra ball in Cadmium), and I've got the magazine with the pattern. Right?

Now wait a tick. It seems I can't find my copy of that issue. I know I have it. I have all the interweave knits issues since two summers ago, when I started knitting. Blast! Was it lost in the move? Could I replace it from the LYS? Would that be violating Hastur's Challenge, and count as pattern-buying, or would it merely be replacing what I know I somewhere have? Is it maybe in Sweetie's room somewhere, well-gnawed-upon by the cats?

So I look at some pictures. Triangle shawl, knit from the top, increases at the top and down the center line. Okay, easy peesy there. More increase lines radiating from the top, no bulky stitch between the yarnovers, so it must decrease into the solid blocks. That's... that's doable. Give it ten stitches between yarnovers? Oh, wait, there's an extra stitch on this first one, then. Eleven will work just as well, right? Sure. Oh, what's this? The first diagonal ray in Icarus comes from the start of the shawl? Huh, mine's got a solid bar there. Ah well.

So it's not Icarus. I tried, and it's close, and when I get the pattern (and will count it towards my reward for the Challenge, I promise) I'll figure out how to work with what I've got to make her edging fit my shawl. Icarus it ain't, but it's damned close.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lacevember Questionaire

I thought I'd join up with Lacevember (since, you know, lace is what I seem to be knitting recently), so I made a button and sent in my request to join. (hint: the pic in the button? It's a portion of the Anya scarf!)

The knitting questions, or the usual suspects

How long have you been knitting?

I've been knitting for about a year and a half now. I've been blogginb about knitting for almost as long.

How did you learn to knit?

My then-roommate's then-fiancee (now wife) was a knitter, and she asked if I wanted to go to the yarn shop and sit in on a sock-knitting class with her. I tatted and crocheted at the time, and had tried unsuccessfully to learn to knit before, but watching her learn how to do heels, I became determined to learn for good. Soon after, she sat me down and taught me one cast-on and the knit and purl stitches. I forgot how to purl when I picked it up at home, so moved my hands so I could watch the knit stitch from the back of the work, and figured it out from there. Turns out, that's all that kept me from learning to twist my purl stitches, which she had a habit of doing :) Thanks again, K-the-knitter!

Favorite thing about knitting?

Not only to you get to play with string, you get something usefull at the end of it! Honestly, just having an excuse to buy all that yarn would be enough for me. The FOs are an added bonus.

How long have you been knitting lace?

Goodness... about half a year. The first serious (i.e. not a swatch) piece of lace I finished was K-the-knitter's wedding shawl, then I cast on for Frost Flowers, then Anya, then Emma, and now Icar-ish and a few other doodles.

Favorite thing about knitting lace?

I like the manipulation of positive and negative space possible with lace - it the holes can be the foreground or the background, the stitches can frame the design or pop with texture. That's amazing to me.

The yarn questions, or flash your stash

Favorite lace yarn?

I love KnitPicks with the passion of a thousand burning suns, but my favorites right now are a 2200yd skein of alpaca gossamerweight I got off Etsy ($20!) and some hand-dyed wool/silk laceweight in EnchantedForest by chewyspaghetty (also from etsy). And I have a special, special lust for the one skein of Fleece Artist mohair I was able to get in Houston (they had more, and one day, oh yes, I shall return for it).

variegated or solids for shawls?

Probably the semi-solid colors, where there's just enough variation to draw your eyes into it.

Favorite lace color?

Wine red. Hands down.

Technique, or show us your skillz

Circs or straights?

I prefer circs, if only because they're easier on my wrists and I can sharpen the hell out of them (usually).

Favorite lace knitting trick?

Splicing, and the stretchy (russian?) bind-off. As soon as I figure out turning corners in-pattern, I'm sure it'll be that.

Lifelines? If so with what?

Every vertical repeat, on non-scarf items. Usually with cheap-ass crochet cotton.

Fancy blocking wires, or just sewing pins stuck in your carpet?

Pfft! Save that money for yarn! Stick some pins in the carpet!

Pattern, or can you follow directions

Shawls or lacey items?

Shawls so far, if only because I haven't found lacy items I fancy.

Triangle, rectangle, or circular shawls?


Charts or printed instructions?

CHARTS. CHARTS CHARTS CHARTS. If you give me written instructions, I will chart them.

Favorite lace you've knit?

I'm pretty damn fond of Emma, but I think it'll be the Wings of the Moth shawl when it's all said and done.

Favorite lace you want to knit?

I want to design, spin and knit (or just design and knit) an honest-to-goodness wedding ring shawl. Until then, I just want to shrink Wings of the Moth down a scootch, so I can finish with 800 yards.

Just Fun, yup that's right, just for fun

Favorite jelly belly flavor?

Marshmellow and buttered popcorn. Together.

Tell me everything you know about Eric the Red.....

Great fun at parties, tried to invite the cool kids from America.

Coke, classic or with lime?

I actually like both, but I prefer Dr. Pepper.

Holiday carols, sing along, or wish they would be banned from all public airwaves?

I hate carols. I hate that they start playing them before halloween, that they play the same kitchy ones over and over again, and that you can't get away from them if you decide to leave your house and buy food.

What is the definition of irony?

When the cat won't eat the soup you made, then goes and drinks out of the toilet.

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?

All of them.

Why is my cat always puking in front of my son's bedroom door?

Military coup in his stomach - they have to put the old dictators somewhere.

What is your superhero power?

I've actually thought about this one before. I want the power to make things teleport to where I am. "Damn, forgot my keys." "Oh, no! We're out of milk!" ZOT.

If the laundry is 9 foot by 11 foot (just dreaming, that's a big laundry room), and the walls are 8 feet tall, and you are going to tile the entire room in tiles that are 3 inches by 5 inches, what color should those tiles be?

Blue and green. Make an undersea adventure of the place!

What's for dinner tonight?

Grilled cheese and tomato soup with milk.

What is clogging my children's bathtub drain?

Nothing. The water's just claustrophobic.

I Voted My Uterus (But My Uterus Lost)

Well, except for Chet Edwards.

Saturday, November 04, 2006



It's been an interesting week down here in Aggieland. And by "interesting", I mean "holy crap".

First, the boring stuff. I'm teaching myself to cook, as you might have noticed, and I've tried a few good recipes lately. And by "tried", I mean "consulted a few, tried to see the similarities, and jury-rigged something that looked like it fit the pattern". So far, this has resulted in one seriously ass-kicking cream of mushroom soup. I could eat it for days. Sweetie, however, seems physically incapable of eating the same thing two nights in a row, regardless of whether or not I actually made it myself, so I've become resigned to the fact that he'll have one bowl on the first night and the rest I'll have to finish. Incentive to learn if ever I've seen it).

Anyway, one super-delicious cream of mushroom soup (seriously, ask Hastur, it's freaking fantastic), one... good but not spectacular chicken noodle soup. It needed spices of some kind. I'm not sure which ones, but I know that somewhere there are spices that I would recognize the taste of, and that this soup would benefit from. I only work with pre-cooked chicken right now, as I am not yet strong enough in the force to combat chicken cooties, and I only own the spices I need for the things I've cooked so far. I think I have maybe seven, eight?

So, tonight I wanted to make a lemony chicken soup (you might notice the continuing soup theme - my early success encourages me down this route, plus, the chicken cooties). I looked at a bunch of recipes, decided on something that sounded pretty straightforward: Broth. Meat. Lemon. Eggs (I don't understand the eggs, but I was willing to go on faith). And barley.

See, I like barley. I've never prepared it before, myself, but I've had it in things, and it always reminds me of those popped-rice cereals I ate as a kid, aside from just being plain delicious. What I didn't know about barley is that it's some form of grain-based sponge. Since my last two soups ended up pretty damn solid, I wanted to have a mostly-broth soup to drink at work. Therefore, I tripled (that's right, tripled) the amount of water in the simplest recipe, substituted a couple cups of barley for the same amount of rice called for, and read the package with dismay to discover I'd need to wait a damn hour to proceed, with the barley cooking on lowish heat.

So, I wait. Hell, it's National Novel Writing Month, and I made a bet with Sweetie and a friend of ours that I would finish before they did (so far, I am, and I'm still crazy behind where I should be), so I sat and worked on that for an hour (still behind). Tra la la, soon there would be delicious lemony soupy goodness.

An hour later? There was no soupy goodness. There was a pot full of barley and spices, puffed up to crazy proportions (Mind you, it was a damn tasty potfull, but still). So I added more water. And more. Lemon juice and egg, again tripling the proportions, since I was evidently making enough soup to feed the neighborhood. The chicken! Blast, I didn't have enough chicken, did I? Well, I had most of a pound, that would have to do. Add more boullion and hope it works out.

In a sense, this recipe was a learning experience. I learned that, in the future, I will lay out a bowl of water and barley in the morning, and collect what I need when I get home. I learned that adding more water will mean the barley will absorb more water. I'm hoping that adding even more will at some point result in a soup with broth, instead of lemony chickeny barley squishes, however delightful those squishes might be. Seriously, though, they were allright. Good tasting, even. Next time, I try this recipe with rice, maybe I even get a soup. But all in all I'm still taking it to work with no complaints.

So, thus, the boring of my week. Now on to the adrenaline-inducing.

I saw a little girl get hit by a truck on tuesday night. Let me just say right now, she's okay. Completely unharmed, save for a scratch on one knee.

Sweetie and I were driving down to get some jack in the box, we're stopped at a light, girl on bike is crossing. See, there are no crosswalks down the main street of College Station. NONE. The only way to get from one side of the city to another is to drive or jaywalk. Therefore, you see a lot of people jaywalking at the lights. And a lot of them get hit, especially at night. Go whereever it it they have the statistics for that sort of thing and look us up - it's very distressing.

So this little girl (she was fourteen, only two years older than LittlerBrother) is crossing, our light is red, she's good to go. There are two white trucks, a big one on the left, a small one on the right, as the first cars at the light. The big truck is blocking the view of the girl and the small truck, and you know, she's booking it, because that's how you cross Texas, you book it and hope to not get hit. So she's riding her bike at a reasonable-for-the-circumstances speed, the light turns green, smalltruck guy starts to go forward and hits the girl square in the middle of the bike. She, thankfully, fell to the side and not UNDER the truck. Sweetie and I called 911, pulled into a parking lot and with a bunch of other people helped get her out of the road. The ambulance folk and police arrived quickly, her mom was found, hell, even her chinese take-out was all okay (which, incidentally, was the first thing she asked about). But GODDAMN.

One thing I noticed with all this. When she was hit, like six or seven cars of people stopped and helped her. But when it was clear that she was not seriously hurt, and that the EMTs and police were on their way, everybody scrammed. I think Sweetie and I were the only ones to give statements, and I know for a fact we were the only ones to wait with her until her mom arrived, and see if there was anything else we could do to help. It just... I don't understand that. Even though there weren't any big injuries, you don't leave a kid like that. That'll shake you up. Her damn shoes flew off! It blows my mind.

I guess some knitting stuff has been going on, too. I've worked more on the jacket, only to notice while splicing on the knee of my jeans that the dye is running big time. I'll be soaking the remaining hanks in some eulacan tonight, then splicing them together (may as well get it all done) and soaking the work I've done so far. I'm feeling pretty good about it, all in all. Hey, maybe it'll even grow some, and I'll have less to do, eh? Hastur came home with a skein of the most delicious alpaca fingering-weight in a kind of pearly-grey, that I'm almost paralyzed with love for. I want to make something that'll really highlight the awesomenicity of this yarn, but I can't find anything that suits it just right. I can wait, though. I know by now I've just got to let it simmer before it starts to talk to me. I've also split some sock yarn of unknown origin into two balls, so I can make some happy-sunshine-yellow socks during this beautifull fall weather. I've got matching-ish laceweight (I'm sure you all remember dear Cadmium) that I'm dying to make into something. So far I was thinking of the flowering eucalyptus shawl that Margaret Stove wrote up - you know the edging from that? Maybe that, mirrored, as a scarf. Or that, on a rectangle, as a scarf. I don't know. All I know is that I need something happy. Something squishy and warm. Something yellow.