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March 2005
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June 2005

May 2005

Secret Pals 5 Questionnaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?

Kinda. If I'm doing something for a child or for an animal, then something washable is appropriate. I hate weaving ends, so 100% wool with a spit join is bliss, but I've been doing some things with silk blends lately that won't do that. So...kinda, but in a good way.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

I don't spin. I learned to crochet at around 7, and did it a lot until I started knitting. It really taught me how to control tension, so I think I had a good start at knitting to gauge. I love knitting right now, though, and haven't looked back.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)

No allergies.

4. How long have you been knitting?

I started my first project last Halloween.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes, the Amazon wishlist is on my blog.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

Lemongrass or Verbena - something fresh. I avoid anything that smells like food. I have enough cravings as it is.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?

See #6.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

I've started making stitchmarkers and would like to move on to jewelry. I cross-stitched for a while. I love to put furniture together but I'm out of room in my apartment. I've loved photography for as long as I could hold a camera.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I really don't listen to much music. I listen to NPR in the car. I like everything from Fiona Apple to Bossa Nova to the Black Crowes. OK, I really love the Black Crowes, but I've listened to everything they've recorded so many times during their "break-up" that I'm taking a break now that they're back together until the new album comes out.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

I'm not a big fan of yellow or magenta, but everything else is cool. I like muted, natural shades of greens, creams and browns the best.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Single, never married, hence the "Spinster" nome de plume. 2 cats.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)

I've stopped dreaming. Nothing has turned out like I wanted it to, so I'm just seeing where I end up.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

Knitpicks Elegance was dreamy. Manos is awesome too. Mission Falls 1824 has some great colors if I need to make something washable. Anything soft is great.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I'm not a big fan of some of Noro's blends - they're scratchy.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

The Dulaan Project has consumed all of my knitting energies. The Boyfriend Hoodie that I started months ago is nagging at me, though. I really want to make a twin set next but I don't know what with yet. I'm a 43" bust too, so finding a pattern is difficult.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Baby sweaters lately. Scarves are fun for about 2 feet, then get old. I haven't done much else yet.

17. What are you knitting right now?

See #15 and #16.

18. What do you think about ponchos?

By the time I got around to doing one they'd be out again.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Both. It really depends on the yarn. Lantern Moons are great, but Addi Turbos are my true favorite.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

All depends on the yarn.

21. Are you a sock knitter?

Not yet.

22. How did you learn to knit?

Out of book, initially, then with my local group.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

Hmmm...I'm not sure. 6 months?

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

Animated character would be someone from Mucha Lucha or Shaolin Showdown. I like otters too.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

I don't have one. Any day I don't have to go to work is a holiday. I'm a buddhist in a catholic family, so some holidays are just for me and some I participate in out of duty.

26. Is there anything that you collect?

Yes, but I have to stop all of that. I'm collecting too much stuff in my apartment and I need to purge. I have some depression glass and cocktail shaker collections that are in storage, but now the only things I keep copious amounts of are books.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I don't subscribe to any - I prefer the elation of seeing a new issue at the bookstore.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?

Always. See #5.

I Can't Knit Fast Enough

Dscn0624I can't do enough. I can't knit enough little sweaters for those kids. So I went shopping. I can't find coats or warm clothes in St. Louis in May anywhere other than Goodwill, so that's where I went. Here's the haul. Coats. polar vests, warmish baby outfits, and a couple of toys that looked new. But I'm still knitting as fast as I can.

Dscn0628My karma must be good, because the same day I found Noro 30% off. At an art supply store, of all places. There wasn't enough of any one colorway or fiber to do anything with, but the idea of walking away from Noro on sale was too reprehensible for my mind to grasp. And there was one hank of Manos too. Mine! Any ideas for what I could do with 140 yards of yarn? 5 times?

More Wool than London, I Hope

I booked my vacation for this November. I'm going to a place that I hope has lots and lots and lots of beautiful yarns for sale. I'm not getting my hopes up that the tour I'm taking will take me anywhere near a LYS, but surely there's at least one in Lima, right? Or Cusco?

Yep, this Spinster is heading out again, this time South. I'm going to Peru!

Star Struck

I'm a little giddy this morning. The Harlot linked to me in her blog. Wow. Really. Wow.

Last night I finished a sleeve for the turquoise cardi, and instead of starting a new ball and a new piece (all I have left is the front with the button holes that I need to do some math for and the other sleeve) Dscn0587I picked up the Bernat CottonTots and started the boatneck pullover from the same DB book. It's an illness. This KADD should be listed in the DSM IV-TR.

Trouble in Turquoise

As I blogged yesterday, I'm following Debbie Bliss' pattern for the Jacket with Seed Stitch Bands (JSSB) from Baby Knits for Beginners. I'm using a slightly larger yarn, and therefore slightly larger needles. Not sure what would happen, I cast on the number of stitches for the smallest size, assuming that I would just follow the pattern and end up with a slightly larger sweater. Half-way through the back I read through the entire pattern. (Yeah, I'm one of those.) And it occured to me....if the sweater is wider it should also be longer than the measurements for the smallest size, right?

I measured the back and doubled it, compared it to the chest sizes listed in the pattern, and it turns out the the sweater is the next size up width-wise. So, I figure, I'll just make it the length specified for the next size up. That part seemed pretty clear. For this sweater the back is pretty much a big rectangle - no decreases for the armholes, which helps a lot.

But when it comes time to start the left front, the pattern doesn't specify where to begin the neckband decreases in inches from the cast-on edge - it specifies by how many ROWS from the cast-on edge. Uh-oh.

I think I can do the algebra to figure out from the pattern specified gauge vs. my gauge of rows/inch and wing it. I think. We'll see. But then the other front piece has buttonholes. It even has a buttonhole in the seed stitch border at the bottom, which means that they are going to have to be evenly spaced and come out correctly at the top, with one buttonhole in the neckband. This is gonna be tricky. If I do the left front piece first and get it the same length as the back, then I guess I could count the rows and divide them up to put the button holes where they would fall evenly spaced and just not worry about the pattern.

Words that sound quite fool-hardy coming from someone who has only been knitting for 6 months - "just not worry about the pattern." Encouraging comments would be really appreciated about now.

Dulaan Fever

Sundays are for charity. And Mondays. And…the rest of the week. Probably the rest of the month if my new yarn purchases are anything to judge by. Dscn0567
I finished Haiku and went to my local Joann’s for buttons, and came away with this lot. There are 3 more little sweaters in my future. Dscn0573
I’ve already started with the blue micro-spun on Debbie Bliss’ “Jacket with Seed Stitch Bands” from Baby Knits for Beginners. That’s where I got the pattern for the “Two Needle Socks” as well. Dscn0575
I did the first one in a day, and still haven’t started the second because…well…I’ve done that and there’s new stuff to try. I promise it will have a mate and will be going along in the Dulaan box with all the other goodies I can accomplish between now and the end of June.

I have a hat to send too – the Onion Hat.Dscn0571 I kinda started a pattern with the wrong gauge yarn and kinda played with it and kinda screwed up at one point by picking up and using a sz 3 needle for 6 rows instead of the 7 (how did I not notice????) and now I have this. I like it. It was a happy, warm, pastel accident that will hopefully keep someone’s precious child nice and toasty this winter.

There is a casualty in all of this charity knitting for Mongolian children. Poor monk. Dscn0467
The fact that it is already over 100 degrees in Arizona is no excuse – I started on an afghan for the monk who almost cut his hand off and has had 6 surgeries already and I haven’t touched it for almost 2 weeks. I did a couple rows after I finished Haiku, and it was a pleasure to slide those soft silky stitches across the needles after the struggle with the fisherman yarn, but then my KADD (Knitting Attention and Dedication Deficiency) kicked in and there are new soft pretty things on more needles and I just don’t know what to do. As a monk I hope he feels that the children’s items should be finished and packed and sent off before July 1st and he can wait a little longer to wrap himself up in my expression of affection that is meant only for him. Yeah, right.

Also on the charity horizon,Dscn0578 I am collecting any and all scraps of Lion Brand Homespun for an afghan (I can't say project yet - it's only one so far) that I'm calling Homespun for Homeless. I think I'm doing 9x9 seed stitch squares, but it's been a while since I did one so I should check on that. If anyone wants to donate their Homespun leftovers, leave me a comment and I'll get in touch with you.

Just please, no one remind me that Christmas is only 7 months away. I'm trying really, really hard not to think about that yet (except wondering if all the women (4) would want wraps and what would I do for the men (2) this year.....)

Sundays are for Charity

I've been avoiding my charity knitting. It's not that I don't want to do it - I want to do LOTS of charity knitting. I just keep putting it off in favor of something else. The monk's afghan is a big project, and there are just so many WIPs that are calling to me. A double-layered seed stitch kennel pad sounds like a wonderful idea, but is very, very boring to do. Who wants to knit acrylic when there's alpaca and silk to run through your fingers? But, since my job is becoming a lot less "right livelihood" and a lot more "do it right now" I've felt a longing to do something constructive to benefit other people (or animals.) A lot of knitting bloggers who also spin have declared "Tuesdays are for Spinning" but I don't spin and I don't have enough time to do a lot of anything on Tuesdays, so Sundays are for Charity.

I went to the Knitorious sale on Saturday with C. and N. from the Saturday Urban Knitters group. We all declared we were not going to buy yarn, but before we were there we had each conceived of a loophole just in case. Mine was to find something for hats for the Dulaan project. Take a look at Mossy Cottage Knits for some pictures that could just break your heart. Seems there are lots of freezing orphans in Mongolia. Gotta fix that.

I ended up with some Bartlett Yarns Fisherman Yarn in Gold Heather for less than $5 a hank. I bought 5, hoping that would be enough for a sweater and a hat. I thought the gold was a good non-gender-specific color.

Sunday morning I swatched on some sz 8 Clover bamboo circs, and wow was it a struggle. This yarn doesn't want to slide for anything. So back to Knitorious I went, to get Addi Turbos in 10.5. They're much better, but it's still not a smooth knit. I think these are signs that this is a very warm wool, though, so it's worth it.

I looked at some hooded sweater patterns, but decided on Haiku because it looked easy to do. I'd started the adult version, Sonnet, a while back, but never got enough yarn in one dye lot to do it. It's a great pattern because it's all in one piece except for the sleeves. I'm doing the 1-2 size, just to see how far I can stretch the yarn.

Turns out it's going to go pretty far. I've done almost the entire body on from one hank. Yep, all but the last 3 inches. It could have gone a little farther, but I wanted to weave in the ends where the pattern breaks to hide them a little better. So, if I can get both sleeves and a hat out of another ball, I can do the whole thing again and send two sets. AND, I did the body in one day - less, actually, because time was devoted to lavishing love on my mom.

So, though it's no longer Sunday, I'm still knitting for charity. I'm starting on the sleeves at lunch today.

Yet another creative outlet

There's a great tutorial on how to make stitch markers over at Sheep in the City (dated 4/28/05). I was so inpired that I actually gave up knitting during lunch today to go to Glasshopper to see what the materials were going to cost. $27 later, I've got the makings for 10 markers (with a lot of seed beads left over), and the pliers and wire cutters to make lots more. The markers are actually less than $2 each to make, it was the tools that cost so much. I got 7.5mm rings - what size needles is that in US? I really should know these things if I'm going to consider myself a serious knitter. I'll post a pic when I've got a couple of them finished.