Do I have to send it?

I finished the écharpe for my mom. When I put it on for the final photo, it was so soft and cozy that I didn't want to take it off.

Marie Claire Idees, December 2004
Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, Off White
Birch and bamboo dpn, 4.5 & 3.5 mm (US 7 & 4)


Halfway there

Halfway there on the first sock, at least. I think it's turning out quite nicely.

To keep my place on the lace chart I finally gave in and started using a post-it note. I've always been very anti-bookmark, anti-reminder note, anti-pattern placemarker. Before I would just remember where I'd left off in a book or on a project, even if it had been months. Apparently this is the concession my brain has had to make to deal with the lack of sleep. If that's the worst motherhood can do to me, I'm more than glad.


Help, I'm stuck starting projects!

At least this one was quick so I started and finished it. It's the bunny designed by Kate. I knit it during John's morning nap -- he woke up just as I was about to take a photo of it. Since babies don't really understand when you say "Mommy needs to take a picture of this for her blog," he tried to grab it.

Bunny (Baby size)
A Kate Gilbert pattern
TLC Amore
Brittany birch dpn, 3.5 mm (US 4)

The bunny gets John's seal of approval and it will most likely gain some family members soon, since there are Mama and Papa bunnies in the pattern, too.


Early Fixing

Although the February Fixathon has yet to begin, I'm fixing a project I abandoned long ago. If you've ever poked around my archives, you may have seen the Debbie Bliss Alphabet Blanket, which I affectionately named the Alphablankie.

Click to see it bigger!

I knit it while I was pregnant and it was to be John's special blanket. I took it with to his baptism and used it a lot. Then we moved to our new apartment. In the hurry of moving, it was put on the floor of our linen closet along with some duvet covers and sheets. Linen closets are usually safe places. Ours was not. Our dishwasher was somehow leaking into the wall and I didn't notice this until a persistent wet spot developed on the carpet outside the linen closet, two weeks after we moved in. I opened the closet and to my horror, found a soaking wet pile of sheets and the alphablankie. I actually started crying when I saw the mildew on it. Despite numerous washings, hydrogen peroxide and some bizarre mildew stain treatment I tried, there was widespread staining. Since it's 80% cotton/20% wool, I couldn't use straight up chlorine bleach. I sadly put the blanket away until I could face it again.

I'm not big into dyeing things and I hadn't heard the best things about Rit. All of my giant pots and kettles are reserved for food anyway. When I found some Dylon cold water dye at Denver Fabrics, I figured I the blanket couldn't get any worse and bought some dye in French Navy. While I briefly pondered dyeing a swatch first, I quickly got over that notion, soaked the blanket in water and tossed the whole thing into a trash can full of dye.

The blanket weighs about 12 oz. and I had enough dye for 8 oz. of fabric, but I figured a lighter color would be prettier. For a while I really thought it was going to turn out purple and I'd have to save this blanket for some future daughter. Fortunately it started looking much more blue after about twenty minutes.

I thought the soaking in the dye would be the longest part. I was so wrong. After the hour spent soaking, the instructions direct you to rinse until the water runs clear. I shudder to think how many gallons of water this took, filling my trash can up, sloshing the blanket around, dumping the water. Although I never got to the point where it was entirely clear, it was a very pale crystal blue when I gave up. A few times through the washing machine and the rinse water was clear! I tossed it in the dryer and it's now this lovely shade of demin blue.

I think that between the attempted stain removal and the dyeing I did some damage to the wool part of the yarn. Little tufts of soft white fiber gathered up on the blanket in the washing machine, but I'm really okay with that. I know Cotton Fleece isn't really a machine wash and dry yarn, but this is a baby blanket for goodness sake and it's holding up just fine! The mildew stains are still visible if you look closely, but they're nowhere near as noticeable as they were against the original ivory color. I rescued John's alphablankie!

Sockapalooza News

After several false starts on other sock patterns, I have finally made up my mind. Here is the beginning of one of the New England socks from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush. Although I'm sometimes all about boldly colored sock yarn, this time I decided on a plain yarn to show off the intricate patterning on this sock.


Knitter's Block

Actually, I'm speeding along on projects. I just love my blocking board so much! Here's the écharpe pattern up close.

Tomorrow will be sewing day for the ends of the scarf. I bought some incredible little snowflake charms yesterday to go with the mother of pearl buttons. It's going to be beautiful!


Fancy French Scarf

Meet my écharpe. I love languages that I don't really know, since basic words can become exciting names for projects. I'd never call a project "scarf" but the word just sounds so nice in French.

It's basically a razor shell type lace with a lovely two row repeat. Even my sleep deprived brain can remember it without a problem. I'm going to one more bead store this weekend in search of the perfect trim for the ends. I really like this scarf and I'm glad I've already planned another for myself.


Two new knit alongs

First up is the February Fix along over at Alison's blog.

I'm also joining the Scarf Style knit along as I have four scarves planned from this book.

Here's my progress on the ruffle scarf so far. It's a very simple pattern to memorize, which is perfect for me right now.


The more I see Scoop...

... the more I want to rip ii out and fix a million things about it. The shoulders kind of slump, the back neck is a little low, the scoop is too scoopy. After seeing how brave Alison is being about ripping, I'm going to take the plunge myself. Too bad I sewed all those ends in...

To soothe my knitting pain I have three brand spanking new small projects going. One is a gift and one is a pattern I'm going to write, so I'll keep those in hiding for a little while. The third one is the ruffled scarf from Scarf Style. I know I need to finish up everything else I'm working on, but lace patterns and my sleepy brain don't get along so well these days. My son has also turned into a cat napper, so my knitting needs to be of the quick to pick up and put down variety.

Finally, I'm embarking on a stash inventory project. I may now figure out exactly how many years I could go without buying yarn and still have something to knit.


Noro Scoop Neck Cardigan

I finished it! Click to see it bigger!

Noro Scoop Neck Cardigan
Debbie Bliss Noro Collection
Noro Silk Garden, 86 E
Denise Interchangeables, 5 mm (US 8)

The only problem is I don't really have a shirt to wear under it. I saw a woman wearing it at A Knitted Peace the other day. She wore it with a turtleneck, which might be easier (and warmer) than finding a scoop neck t-shirt.

I like the sweater, but I think I picked up too many stitches for the edging. I'm not about to redo all that crochet, though, so I'll deal with a slight ruffling at the edge. I also think mine scoops much lower than the one on the model in the book. Still, I love the yarn and the colors and the fit. Once I find something remotely modest to wear it with (I don't think anyone wants to see nursing bra straps!) I'll have a photo shoot.



The sweater is all one piece now! Click on the image to see a bigger version.

I also got this little lavender heart at my grocery store's floral department today. It makes my kitchen so pretty!


Thou shalt not covet...

...thy European neighbor's craft shops.

I love Marie Claire Idees. It's a beautiful fantasy of some sort of perfect craft-filled existence. And there's this scarf in the winter 2004 issue that my mom and I just love.

There are these great beads/sequins on the ends of the scarf. They use them in another project in this issue, too, providing a great up close shot.

I am convinced these do not exist in the US. They are from what must be some sort of craft paradise, La Droguerie. This is now the sole reason I want to visit France. Food, culture, clothing -- they all pale in comparison to my imagination's view of what this store must be like. Alas, an expired passport and a lack of funds for overseas yarn jaunts prevents me from finding out any time soon.

I did, however, come up with some okay substitutes at A Knitted Peace and Denver Fabrics. This will be a gray version of this scarf for me. I'm still searching for the perfect yarn and buttons/beads/sequins/what have you to make an ivory version for my mom.

I also got some Inca Alpaca to make the Backyard Leaves scarf from Scarf Style. I've never seen such a strange lace chart, but the scarf is so pretty that I'll try to make it even though I knit in two-minute spurts ever since John's become a much more active baby.

Thanks to my mother-in-law for some incredible yarn!


Gift yarn, part one

I went to A Knitted Peace today to spend my gift certificate from my mother-in-law. Armed with a small knitting library of potential patterns, I went in search of yarn.

I bought yarn for three projects, the first of which was two skeins of Kureyon. I was already feverishly casting on when I decided to take an acquisition picture.

And I just couldn't stop knitting. Simple projects are good sometimes.

Rainbow Scarf
Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Noro Kureyon, 115 and 92
Denise Interchangeables, 5.5 mm (US 9)

I'll have to get some action photos of the scarf in the sunlight -- the colors are just incredible.


Blocking is fun!

I'm finally using the blocking board I got back in October. Four out of the five pieces for the Noro Scoop sweater fit on it. Blocking is really much easier with a grid board instead of towels draped over the kitchen table. I think I'm entering a new era in knitting, where my sweaters will all look professional due to their actually being blocked.



I had such a great time meeting everyone at the knitting meetup! I got to meet Stacey and Libby in real life and met a bunch of other people whose names I will probably remember next time. It's always fun to see other people's projects and talk knitting. Since nothing I was working on was a talk and knit at the same time type project, I started and finished an entire project this evening. Since I was so busy talking, I didn't notice the pattern error on the first hand warmer so there's a little jog in the spiral rib. I think I may just leave it in since -- a) they're just hand warmers, b) I've already sewn in the ends and c) the reason I didn't catch the mistake is because I was having fun talking with other knitters.

Women's Hand Warmers
Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Classic Elite Waterspun, Navy
Brittany birch dpn, 3.5 mm (US 5)

Oh no!

My iBook has fallen prey to the dreaded logic board failure. Good thing Apple extended the warranty, huh? I'm going to keep trying to blog on my husband's computer, but that computer is sort of in the midst of a comprehensive exam paper, so blogging will have to take a back seat. Sigh...


Can't Fight It

I tried so hard, but when there would have been two bright fuschia stripes right next to each other due to a knot, I gave in. I broke the yarn and joined a new ball. The front of the cardigan looks so much better than it would have.

I also got my swap match for Alison's Sockapalooza. Since I decided that doing SP4 would be the equivalent of spending money on yarn (thereby breaking my resolution), I was glad to find this sock swap. I got lucky -- my swap pal is open to any sort of design and color, so I'm pulling from my sizeable sock stash. I think the design I've chosen is a pretty one. Hopefully I'll have a repeat finished soon so I can show it!


Better than knitting

Well, not really, but I'm incredibly proud of this! I finished my first 5k (3.1 mile) race since John was born. Really, I finished!

I used to race triathlons, so I'm used to seeing all sorts of bizarre pre-race rituals. I've never seen anyone do this before a race, though. It's fun being a mom.

And I knit on the drive to and from the race -- what could be better? Here's one of the cardigan fronts. It's interesting knitting sideways as the pieces seem to go very quickly. One more front piece and the back to go!


Under the Wire

This may look like a new project, but it's not. I started this at my parents' house over the holidays and just never got a photo. So I'm not breaking my knitting resolution! These are the sleeves of the scoop neck cardigan in the Debbie Bliss Noro book. It's knit with Silk Garden, a yarn that's really growing on me. Although I'm trying to not be controlling about color placement, I was happy that there's a slight portion that matches on the sleeve cap.

The sleeves are knit normally, but the body pieces are knit side to side. I've never made a sweater with anything but traditional construction, so this should be fun.


Tiny menagerie

Well, I guess two doesn't quite qualify as a menagerie, but I do have a growing collection of knitted animals. The Noro Bear and the Noro Bunny are posing here in John's crib. I figure it might as well get some use since he won't sleep in it. He'll play in it, but forget sleeping.

Noro Bear and Noro Bunny
Debbie Bliss Noro Book
Noro Kureyon
Boye aluminum dpn, 3.25 mm (US 3)

Here are their sweet little faces. Embroidery is not my strongest suit but it does give them some personality.

Two projects off the unfinished list and a complete knit along! Only a few scarves and sweaters to finish before I can start a new project. Mmm, new project...



I finished the Spey Valley socks and my husband really likes them. Apparently they're very cozy, since he fell asleep right after he put them on.

Spey Valley Socks
Knitting on the Road
Kroy sock yarn, Hickory
Inox metal dpn's, 2.25 mm (US 1)


Gritty true life reporting

This picture is meant to illustrate the lack of sock knitting economy in our household. The unfinished sock is how far I can get on my husband's foot with one skein of sock yarn. Maybe now that we have John, I can get a pair of baby socks out of the leftovers on the third skein.


Cleaning my slate

I'm not making real life resolutions this year, but I am making two knitting resolutions.

1. I will finish up everything I've started before I start anything new this year.
2. I will not buy any yarn, needles or ANYTHING this year. If I'm given yarn, I do get to keep it.

The exception to this rule is Alison's Sockapalooza. If there's nothing in the stash that's suitable for my sock swap pal, I'll just have to get something now won't I?

To start off the year, I'm finishing up the Spey Valley socks I started last June just before John was born. This is the first time I've knit two socks at the same time and I think it's what I need to do to end up with pairs of socks instead of single sock-shaped swatches.

Two Thousand Five

Two Thousand Four

A partial archive of my knitting in 2004.