False start

Like many participating in the Ravellenic Games this year, I eagerly cast on as soon as opening ceremonies started. I loved watching the ceremonies and thought London did a beautiful job. The cauldron lighting was amazing. I knit like a fiend and in less than 24 hours I had this:


That’s about 12 inches of the back of a sweater. About that time, a little voice in the back of my head started saying “Gee, this looks pretty small.” I fought it for a while then decided to check my gauge. It was way off. That can’t be, I thought to myself, I actually knit a good sized swatch this time and dutifully measured it. Back to my swatch I went. You guessed it. I had mis-measured the swatch in the first place. Ouch. In a matter of seconds my lovely half-done sweater back turned into this:
Not to be deterred in my quest for Ravellenic gold, I cast back on and dutifully re-knit. It feels so good, when, after ripping back, you finally hit that place where you’re knitting with “fresh” yarn again. After several volleyball matches, a little swimming, a little rowing, and a lot of gymnastics (all viewing of course) I finished the back of the sweater.
Only two sleeves, two fronts, piecing, and a zipper to install in the next 13 days. What do you think? Can I do it?

Expanding my skills

Last March when the Spring 2011 issue of Interweave Crochet came out I could not wait to make the Bluebell Cardigan by Edie Eckman. I began (cast on?) the same day the magazine arrived.  I quickly worked through the flowered border, then…


I have no idea.  Something sent it to the basket and it stayed there for over a year.  Recently, I’ve been in a “get sh*t done” mood so I’ve been pulling out old projects left and right and finishing them up.

I picked it back up and I’ve been seriously trucking through it.


In two days I’ve finished about 10 inches of the body.  Thats insane!  I could never bust through a knitting pattern that fast.

The cardi is made in one piece up to the armpits then split and knit separately to the shoulders.  Most of the cardigan is this all-over mesh pattern.

The flower details at the bottom look a little crummy right now, but it looks like they will block out pretty nicely.
I love reading blogs where people talk about what they’re reading along with what they’re knitting, so I figured I’d start sharing as well.  Recently, I’ve been reading an excellent book–The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murderer and the Birth of Forensic Medecine in Jazz Age New York (why oh why do academics feel the need for long subtitles?) by Deborah Blum.


It’s so good! Prior to the late 1800s it was basically impossible to prove if someone had been poisoned–needless to say, it became a pretty popular way to get rid of people.  As scientists started to come up with ways of detecting poisons, poisoners switched to poisons that were harder to detect.  When the industiral era was in full swing in the ’20s industrialists were constantly inventing new chemicals to facilitate their industries but there was little investigation into what the side effects of the chemical exposure might be.
The book chronicles the cat-and-mouse between murderers and scientists and the development of the science of detecting poison. The book reads like a story and even though it talks about scientific development it doesn’t get overly technical.  Fair warning though, it does describe the effects of various poisons on the body, sometimes in detail.  I found the descriptions of radium poisoning especially disturbing.  Seriously though, I’m loving this book.  Read it!

Cabled Scarf: a history

Have you ever looked down at your knitting project and thought: why am I knitting this?  I don’t remember ever wanting to knit this.  I don’t know how this ever made it on the needles.  I was thinking that this evening as I was working on my creatively named #08 Cabled Scarf.  I started wondering how I ever came to be knitting it in the first place.  As far as I remember, this is what happened.


A long long time ago (December 2008) I got my hands on the Holiday issue of Vogue Knitting and must have added the pattern to my Ravelry queue.  I must not have loved it too much, because it stayed in my queue mostly forgotten until late 2010.  At that point, Knit Picks decided to close out the Robot color of it’s Gloss DK yarn.  I decided that I had to have some of it before it disappeared, but felt like I needed a “reason” to buy it.
Turning to my Ravelry Queue, I discovered this scarf pattern which would “allow” me to buy six balls. Into the cart went the yarn.  When it arrived, I oohed and ahhed and squished and squooshed and then put the balls in the stash where they marinated for almost another year.
Then, this last December, I decided that the one type of project I wasn’t currently working on was a cabled project (never mind the 12 others I had going at the time.)  Deciding I had to have a cable pattern on top of all my others, I turned to my queue for inspiration.  Imagine my surprised delight when I realized that I had both the pattern and the yarn to make this scarf.
It curls like mad right now, hopefully blocking will straighten that out a bit.
I cast on immediately after the discovery and happily knit half the scarf very quickly feeling extremely satisfied working the 32-row cable chart.  After about 30 inches, the charm wore off.  In my excitement over the cables, I must have forgotten that I actually hate knitting scarves.  Scarves are basically never ending swatches.  They get boring.  This project went in a bin, and was pretty much ignored from January until now.
Now that I’m trying to whittle down the number of WIPs I’ve got going, it’s come out of the bin and progress is being made once again.  Next time I get the urge to use a particular technique, remind me to do it on a project with some shaping, will ya?
Check out the other projects over at Tami’s.


I know I’ve mentioned several times that I’m in the process of studying for the bar exam. It’s a pretty soul sucking process. The review class I’m in seems to think I need to spend 10 hours a day studying. The only upside is that many of those hours are lectures and review videos, which, to me, translates into knitting time. There’s plenty of research that suggests that engaging your hands while taking in information (like by doodling, playing with a bean bag, etc.) actually helps you retain and recall the information better. I’m convinced knitting is the same… Which is great because even if it were bad for retention, I’d still probably knit through the boring videos.

Recently, my project of choice has been Spectra by Stephen West. It’s fantastically addicting, and after you’ve made about 2 wedges you’ve got the pattern memorized (which is good because there are 85 wedges total.)

The yarn for the wedges is Zauberball (lost the tag so I don’t know the colorway) and the border is done with Cascade Heritage Silk. Both were purchased this March during the Portland yarn crawl. Ryan was kind enough to surprise me with the Zauberball in Twisted when I gushed over a store sample of Spectra in the same colorway. He’s awesome like that.

I love the colors this yarn transitions through, red to purple to red to orange to red to purple. Basically all my favorite colors. I’m 57 wedges in so I’m hoping to be done in the next week or so. Project free-the-needles continues apace.

The warm and fuzzies

I’ve been working on a project this week that’s been giving me the warm and fuzzies.  It’s a charity quilt for Quilts for Kids.  The give quilts to kids stuck in hospitals for all manner of sad reasons.  You can sign up on their website here and they will send you all the fabric you need to make your own charity quilt FOR FREE. I got my package Saturday

Why yes, that is Tinkerbell fabric you see.  So adorable.
The kit comes with all the instructions you need to put the quilt together but I think having some sewing experience would be good because some of the descriptions are a little sparse.  If you have a rotary cutter and mat, the project will fly by.
The only blocks that require any assembly are the four-square blocks.  The trick is to sew the two colors together in one long strip, then use the rotary cutter to cut the long strips into little rectangles.  Once you’ve got your rectangles you can just flip one upside-down and sew one seam.  The other blocks are solid, so no assembly at all there.
Here is what my blocks looked like all laid out before I sewed the blocks together.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t accidentally sew a block in upside-down.  I sewed the block together by sewing all the sides of the block together to make strips then sewing the strips together one on top of the other.  After the blocks are together it’s a simple matter of adding the border.
Seriously, from opening the package to finished quilt top took less than 4 hours.  The only step that remains is to lay it out with batting and the backing fabric and do the actual quilting.  I’m guessing it will be done by Sunday.  Compared to knitting sewing feels like instant gratification.  Do you sew too?
If you came here for a knitting project and are now disappointed, check out what all the other awesome bloggers are doing over at Tami’s Amis blog.

So close

I’m so close to being done with law school folks!  I can taste it.  Only one final exam stands between me and a JD.  I just finished a hellish exam in partnership taxation today and I’m rewarding myself with an evening of knitting before I hit the books again tomorrow.  This is what’s currently grabbing my attention at home:


This is the last installment from the Stephen West Westknits Shawl Club.  The pattern is called Cumulonimbus.  I’ve been making nice progress on it because it’s pure and simple garter stitch and that is all my brain can handle during finals season.
I’m going to hunker back down with my garter stitch for the rest of the night and revel in the fact that I can now forget everything I know about Subchapter K.  Only 4 more days until I’m no longer a student.  I will not miss taking finals one bit.

Lost and Found Girl

Are you a fan of Seinfeld? You should be.  It’s funny.  Trust me.  There is an episode where Elaine becomes obsessed with the idea that Jerry is “Even Steven.”  Whenever something bad happens to him, something good happens to balance it out and vice-versa.  Elaine tosses one of Jerry’s $20 bills out the window, 5 minutes later Jerry finds a $20 in the pocket of an old coat.  I have a similar sort of super power–I am Lost and Found girl.

I am constantly losing misplacing my stuff, but it always comes back to me.  My purse has been left in innumerable dressing rooms, or draped over the back of restaurant chairs.  Traveling there’s 50/50 chance that something will be left in a hotel room.  Every time I’ve called and either been able to get the item shipped to me, or I was close enough that I could swing back and get it.  One time, I even lost misplaced my iPod for 3 weeks before it turned up in a bar.  I walked in (after having not been there for three weeks) and the bartender, who I didn’t know, looked at me and said “I have your iPod here.”  It helped that there was a photo of me set as the wallpaper.

I think that there are people in the world with certain types of luck.  My grandma wins things in her church raffel all. the. time.  Way, way, way more than probability should allow for.  My father can always always find a good parking spot.  Even if the lot is completely full, someone in the front row will back out just as he’s driving by.  And, for whatever reason, I misplace things, but they’re never lost for good.

Such was the case recently with my Lissajous Socks.  I have one sock finished and am doggedly working on the second.  After knit-night several of the knitters get together for dinner.  One week, we went to Red Robbin.  The next week as I’m putting my knitting bag together to get ready for knit-night my socks are nowhere to be found.  I check at the knitting shop that night and they’re not there.  I call Red Robbin and the man who answers the phone tells me that there is absolutely nothing matching my description in the lost and found at all.  Liar.  I drive over to the Red Robbin and low and behold, my socks are sitting at the bottom of the lost and found where they have probably been all week.

They were wet (I think they were probably found when the floor was being mopped) and dirty but they were certainly there.  If they had really been lost I would have been out about $27 in yarn as well more than 30 hours of work.  I’m a bit steamed that the lying-liar-McJerk who answered the phone straight up told me that my socks weren’t there when they clearly were.  If I were a more trusting sort of person, I’d be screwed and my socks likely would have been tossed out after laying lonely an unclaimed for weeks.

These socks are too awesome for that.


Now what?

I’ve been working on my Dahlia Cardigan every week at Knit Chat for quite a while (Since September) and now I’m not sure where to go.  I’ve known all along that I don’t care for front of the cardigan as written so the plan has always been to change it.

The cardigan is constructed in a strange way.  First, you knit a lace medallion in the round.

Then you knit two long strips that border the top and bottom of the medallion.  The strips are knit out from the center, so that you have live stitches on the left and right sides.

As written, after knitting the strips, you take the left and right side stitches all onto one needle and knit flat for a long time creating the draped rectangular fronts.  The sleeves are done as afterthought sleeves.  Meaning that as you knit, you put waste yarn in where the sleeve opening will be and later pull the waste yarn out and knit the sleeves from the live stitches.
Because I wanted to be able to try it on as a worked the fronts, I put the sides on waste yarn and knit the sleeves on first.  That way I would know how the fronts hang.
Now I’ve got both sleeves done (and the seams across the back have been sewn since the picture was taken) so it’s time to get serious and decide what to do about the fronts.  Since it’s knit sideways I can’t just steal the front of another cardigan that I like.  I’m thinking some combination of strategic short rows and decreases can get me to a more traditional cardigan look.  I think I’m just going to “try stuff” and see what happens.


Earlier this month I showed you the little boo boo I made on my Dahlia Cardigan.  Basically, I attached on of the back panels 180 degrees from how I should have.

Today was the day I decided to fix it.  To create the back strips you use a provisional cast on at the center and knit out in both directions.  To fix my boo boo, I started by unpicking one of the ends from the center so that I had two sets of live stitches.
I rotated the sides until there was no longer a mobius in the middle of my back.  Then I kitchner-ed the live stitches back together.
All in all, it took about an hour.  Not as much lost time as if I had to frog back to my original incorrect join.  I completed the right sleeve today and have just started the left.  Currently my fronts are on holders because I don’t like the original shaping of the front and I’m brainstorming how to fix it.  Suggestions?

For Cathie and Patt

Pictures of Lissajous.


I finished the first one at knit chat tonight.  These (I say “these” even though the second one is not cast on yet) have been worked on exclusively at sock hour since July.  There are several reasons (besides the fact that they only get one hour a week of attention) that these are taking so long.  Reason one: big-ass chart on the cuff.
Reason two: same big ass chart on the heel, only this time worked back and forth.
Reason three: calf shaping leading to over 100 stitches at the widest part.
Just for fun, try taking a picture of the back of your calf in a pencil skirt.  I couldn’t be bothered to change outfits before my photo shoot.  Luckily, I live alone so no one was here to mock my strange gymnastic poses.
Reason four: um, hello, they’re KNEE socks.  Knees are many inches away from toes.  25 inches.
I came home a put the sock on in a display of knitterly pride.  (Oh come on, you’ve worn a single sock just off the needles, you have. Admit it.)  Ryan came over for some pasta and I started cooking with the sock still on.  Then I had a heart-stopping moment when a drip of bright red pasta sauce dripped off the serving spoon toward the floor.  It missed the sock, but I kid you not, I gasped out loud.  The sock came off and got put away somewhere safe.  Disaster averted.