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September 2007

August 2007


In the craziness of the last couple weeks, I haven't been able to keep up with my blog reading. In fact, my Google Reader says I have "100+" posts to read. Since it stops counting at 100, I could have 347 to read. I don't know. During a brief respite from a client's office today I started to randomly pick some to read, and came across this link. Unfortunately by the time I'd opened the other window to see what this link led to, I had forgetten where I'd found it in the first place.

Anyway, they're knitting badges and they're cute. I can only lay claim to this one:



I know. I'm not posting. And secret pal started and I know how annoying it is to start something like that and your secret pal not help the situation AT ALL by suddenly disappearing from blogland. But this week is really, really, REALLY crazy at work. My manager is of the "magic wand" style - as in she promises stuff and assigns me deadlines with no regard to what she's already tasked me with. Basically I'm training docs all day and writing templates all night.

On the knitting front - I did rip out that boatneck baby sweater and do the cardigan instead. All the pieces have been finished and waiting to be sewn together for over two weeks now. I'm half-way through the drops cardigan - other people who've done it weren't kidding when they said it takes forever. Uh....I think that's all. Not a lot of knitting going on.

So, to stay sane, I've been escaping to my favorite place in the world - that of the Japanese pop idol. This DVD arrived yesterday, (208 minutes of kakkoi goodness) and some other people have put bits of it on the internet, so here is a sample. It's the last song of the last show of the tour, so pardon the sappiness. I think it, and each of them, are adorable. God bless those pretty Japanese men. They make the world a better place.

More SP11 Questions

1. What is the one knitting accessory you could not live without?
Well, I'm not sure. You need all of them at some point, right? Uh...scissors?

2. If you're heading on vacation, do you take knitting with you? If so, how much and what type of project?
Yes, since I've started knitting I always take a project. For my first trip, which was to London, I took a small lace scarf made with crystal palace kid mohair. It was small and weighed almost nothing and fit in my bag. London is different from home, in that you can sit in a museum with sharp implements in your hand and knit peacefully in front of the paintings and are trusted not to jump up and stab one. At home they are sure that you will. Second trip was to Peru and I took the beginnings of a wrap for an xmas present. I took plastic needles for that one because I wasn't sure how South Americans felt about needles at airports. That was the last time I knit with plastic needles.

3. Where have you travelled to that you'd consider your favorite spot?
Well, it's a little hard to pick between London and Lima. I guess Peru was my favorite, in that there is more diversity - that I saw anyway.

4. What is your favorite knitting book at the moment? Do you own it?
Right now it is Jane Sowerby's "Victorian Lace Today." I have yet to knit anything from it, but I like it because I met her at Stitches Midwest last year and spoke with her a couple times. She's a darling and I'd buy anything she wrote, even her grocery list, if she'd talk to me about it in that accent.

5. Do you listen to podcasts? Which is your favorite(s)?
I am very hard to please when it comes to podcasts. Right now I only listen to Lime and Violet. I've tried others, but either they stopped after just a couple (great) episodes or they go on and on about stuff that has nothing to do with knitting, or they are just idiots. L&V I like.

Secret Pal 11 - the questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I rarely like 100% wool. I like alpaca and silk blends and sock yarn that's 75%wool, 25% nylon (especially Lime & Violet yarn). I've used just about everything except soy and bamboo - and would really like to try those. My favorite by far is Sea Silk.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a vase that I stand all of my needles and spindles in. I like to look at them. My dpns are in a zippered pencil case and the circs are in a woven box.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I started knitting about 4 years ago. I've known how to crochet for as long as I can remember, but I rarely do it anymore. I'd say that I'm an intermediate knitter. Nothing really scares me off, but I don't know how to adjust patterns to fit better or "designer" type stuff. I'm still learning new ways to cast on.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
I do but I don't think it's very accurate right now. There are some books that I need for my Ravelry queue.

5. What's your favorite scent?
Lemongrass or verbena - I like fresh natural scents like that. I avoid anything that smells like food or coffee - gives me the munchies.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I like dark chocolate, but really have to ration it. I'm on a serious diet in preparation for a trip to Japan next year.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I have done some beaded jewelry and enjoyed that. I got a sewing machine last winter but haven't taken it out of the box yet. I'd like to do some tote bags and quilts. I don't see myself making clothes with it. I have a drop spindle that I practice with every couple months.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Lately I've been listening to a lot of Japanese stuff. I rarely listen to the radio so I'm not familiar with the top 40 of anything. My ipod is loaded with more podcasts than music.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
This year my favorite colors are in the teal, aqua, robins egg range. I'm not a big fan of yellow.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I'm single and share my home with two cats, Mitsy and Maggie.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I don't wear ponchos, but do wear the rest.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Lace shawls are my favorite.

13. What are you knitting right now?
I'm knitting a couple baby sweaters and a couple of baby afghans for charity. I've got a clapotis going as well as a couple scarves. I'm deciding which shawl I want to do next.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Who wouldn't?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
It all depends on what I'm knitting. I don't really like plastic needles, and use aluminum ones only during the summer when knitting with cotton. I use Addis most of the time. I love my Lantern Moons the most.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes and yes.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
Years. It's a blue scarf that I could probably finish in a day if I really tried. But for some reason I never do.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
I don't think I have one. I like them all.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Not really. I'm trying to de-stuff.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I don't have any subscriptions - I buy them from my LYS. I can't think of anything that I'm dying to get. Anything Japanese is interesting to me, and I've wanted to learn how to make Norwegian and Latvian style mittens for a while.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I'm just beginning to learn color stranding. I started a pair of Anemoi mittens.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Only during the summer. I wear a size 11 shoe, so I only make a pair or two a year. I only wear them to sleep in during the winter, so I make them pretty loose and comfy. For some reason, though, this year I have amassed an obscene amount of sock yarn.

23. When is your birthday?
Sept. 30th.

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?
Yes, and I'm "Jenn".

Pointless Knitting

Thanks so much to everyone who shared my joy at my prognosis. You guys are awesome!

On a much more depressing note, I have been knitting almost daily and have very little to show for it. And there is other stuff related to pointless or almost-pointless knitting. Here's a review:

Anemoi Mittens


I learned the Tubular Cast-on, after much googling. Much, much googling, because though there are many tutorials, not all of them have great pictures or say exactly what to do at the point where I was confused, or even told you how to do it the same way as somebody else. Finally I got through it. I did the set-up rows and a few rows of ribbing and realized that this cuff was never going over my hand. In fact, it fit two of my fingers stretched apart. That was on the pattern-recommended size 0 needles. So I tried again on size ones. This time at it's most stretched out (this is just the cast-on - there was no way I was doing as two-color ribbing again unless I was sure) it was 6 1/4 inches. My wrist is 7 inches. And frankly, I don't think my wrist is abnormally large. I'm a plus-sized girl, but I wouldn't say my wrists have that child-like chubbiness. They're pretty normal. Soooooo, I tried again last night on size twos. This time I think they will just fit. However, I'm now using the needle size that I was supposed to use for the mitten body, so should I go up 2 needle sizes for the mitten body, or keep going with the twos? (The first person who says what did your gauge swatch tell you is getting smacked with a silly stick. The gauge recommendation was for "in pattern" as in - knitting in the round with color stranding. If I'm going to go through all that, I'm just going to start the friggin' mitten.) So, there were hours of pointless knitting devoted to mittens that I'm not sure are ever going to fit and the colors of which I don't think I even like.

Mystery Stole
I completed clue 2 last weekend and have not touched it since. And I am so glad. I am sooooo very happy that I'm not one of those knitters that race along to be one of the first to complete each clue, or perhaps to keep it from hanging over them like a 2oz monkey on their backs. Why? Well, I don't want to give anything away, but I would be one of those people ripping out 48 rows of knitting right now, salty tears dripping on my hours and hours (and for me even more hours) of knitting to get a product that I would be happy with. I'm just saying. I like lace, but not so much with an asymetrical wing. OK, I told you. But 5.999 other people will today too. And I don't think I'm ever going to finish it anyway. Monkey? What monkey?

Mitsy's Monkey
So I stared at what was left of my Tomato Vine sock yarn from my Monkey Socks, and contemplated how to make a mini-mini-monkey sock as a cat toy for Mitsy, who seems so enamored with them. But there are holes. Holes that would let out the stuffing. If I knit them really, really tight, maybe the yarn overs would be so tiny that the stuffing wouldn't come out, but that's not a risk I'm willing to take. So this wasn't pointless kniting, but pointless knitting contemplation.

Odyssey Scarf


The yarn, for those of you still wondering, is Reynold's Odyssey in the browns and wines colorways. I followed the same pattern as the Kureyon Scarf. I showed my dad and asked if a guy would like it, since it would probably be a gift for my BIL, and he said it was great but should be wider. So I widened it. I didn't even get through the first two balls of yarn before it became evident that this scarf was going to cost $20/foot. I love my BIL a lot, but not that much. So it will soon be frogged and made into something else. I have two balls of each color, so feel free to run off to Knitorious and buy the rest. I won't be needing it.

Baby Sweater
When I picked up the metal dpns for the third attempt at the mittens, I also picked up a couple skeins of cotton tots for a boatneck baby sweater for Dulaan. It's easy subtitle knitting to replace the now defunct Odyssey Scarf, and I can pretty much do it without looking. However, if you haven't read about the Dulaan shake-up at Mossy Cottage Knits, go read all about it. Basically there will still be a Dulaan effort, but not by the same people (that being the people who created it.) Not being a fan of revisionists, I think my little sweater will go elsewhere. So it's not at all pointless, but it was almost-pointless. I'm hoping someone responds to my conment there about North Korea. Someone had said that they are in desperate need of the same kind of efforts that Dulaan was doing for Mongolia, so I'm hoping to find a connection. I'm frequently torn between doing what I can for my home country or doing what I can for those who have no programs or infrastructure to help them at all. I usually side with the truly helpless. And as I'm writing this, I'm remembering Little Purl of the Orient is contributing to an organization in Africa (Knitting for Kisiizi). Since it's a cotton sweater, maybe that would be the best place for it. But they want cardigans, so that won't work either. I'll let you know when I finish it. I'll have decided by then. Although, I'm thinking that my gauge is off enough that maybe I should frog it and start over....