Saturday, September 30, 2006


I usually notice the change of light in mid-August, don't you? That's when Autumn begins to whisper in with that bluer, clearer light. It's just a whiff, barely noticeable at first. So is the twinge of dread I feel when I discern the change.

I am fond of Autumn. Of course, I love the foliage. The colors, in their late-summer deep maturity even before the miraculous change, are more vivid in this new sunlight. I enjoy the cool evenings, the picture-perfect crops ready for harvest, and the birds forming flocks for migration. Even the long knots of school buses seem perfectly matched for fall.

But fall it is, and with it comes the fall of my mood, the foreboding that winter is almost here. While I'm pleased that the yellowjackets are gone for the year, the butterflies are also no more. Only a few tree frogs still sing into the night. I hold my breath, hoping to see the hummingbirds just once more before they begin their long dangerous trip south. I miss them almost before they go. The summer plants languish at the end of their season, and I steel myself for the first killing frost.

I prepare for the long winter by taking stock of all my hand knits, lightly blocking the winter things - mostly to fluff them and prepare them for use. I wash and block the summer shawls and wraps one at a time, and put them away. I console myself with a survey of the warm wools in my wee knitting studio downstairs. Projects for the season's knitting are considered and refined in my head. I mentally stack the soft skeins against Winter's giant drafty door. Moodiness lifts at the thought of knitting through the winter in front of the fire, or spinning in the library accompanied by an audio book on the iPod.

Winter's icy fingers beckon. Give me wool.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Aran Dance

I had a wonderful evening knitting on Tuesday knitting with my new friend Michelle at the local coffee shop. I met Michelle in cyberspace through blogland, and then discovered that she practically lives within walking distance. She is new to this area, and I'm so glad she's here!
Michelle thought I should downsize the sweater for Baby L, so I redesigned the pattern. It's now about 2-1/2 inches smaller in circumference. Here's the progress, having started over.

It's a little slow-going because I lost my favorite gull-wing cable needle (again) and am using a toothpick as a (poor) substitute. I tried a dpn, but even the short ones are too long. Hoping to pick up a new gull-wing soon.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Last Knit

Ready for laughs? My friend Vicki alerted our guild members to this gem, an animation called The Last Knit. You've got to see this!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Its the little things.

It's high time that I started a baby jacket for the new kid on the block. My neighbor had Baby L last spring, and I've kept putting off making something for him because, well, it was summer, and, selfishly, lace was a more appetizing knit. I haven't given up on lace projects, but the kid should have a jacket before he gets old enough (a) to refuse to wear it, or (b) gets big enough that the acerage seems too much work.

So here it is: a wee start, begun last Wednesday evening from a nice washable DK wool, and not knitted at much since. This is the ribbing for the back of the sweater. I've been wasting time charting the aran cable design, when I should just be knitting the darn thing so the kid has a chance to wear it while it's still nippy outside.

Here's the rub: there is some trepidation here. I knit two of these sweaters for twin nephews in the one-year-old size, but I had only been knitting for a few months when I completed those. They were so large that the twins still wore them at five years old (a bit of the bolero look by then). I don't know if my gauge was that off then, but the pattern is really, really, huge.

The pattern's smallest size is written for a one-year-old with a 28-1/4 inch circumference. Now Baby L is only 7 months old, and I don't know from babies, but he appears to be a BIG baby. So far, so good. He can grow into it, right?

But here's the math. The pattern calls for the back at 118 stitches - at a gauge of 22sts/4 in. If my calculations are correct, this makes the back 21-1/2 inches - or a 43 inch circumference. Deducting a full 20% for the compression in an aran pattern, that puts the circumference at 34-1/2 inches. That, dear Knitterati, is still a helluva lot of ease.

Here's the question: Do I slog along, knitting a w-i-i-i-d-e sweater? Do babies need that 6-inch wiggle room? Or do I mess with redesigning the pattern for pattern with say, a 32-inch circumference? Comments, please...
(e-mail here)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Two down

At our knitting meeting at the coffee shop on Wednesday, Elizabeth brought her gorgeous sweater made from her own handspun. I am in awe! It is breathtaking on her - she modeled it for us. I would love to be that talented a spinner and knitter. We were also joined at Bella Vita by Birgit, Carol, Margel, and Mary. It was a lovely night. I really enjoy being in the company of these women.

Elizabeth also brought her Mystery Stole 2, which inspired me to finally block mine. This one is of knit of navy-almost-black KSH ("Night") with a US 4. It turned out pretty large - seven feet long and nearly two feet wide. I couldn't figure out how to photograph it well. After having draped it on a chair and not getting a picture that showed it well, I dusted off the old raggedy dress form. This shot isn't any great shakes, either, what with the old white T-shirt and the bad lighting in the basement, but at least you can see it (sort of).

I finished the Lacey Shrug, too, (pattern from Lisa Souza) but have not been able to get DD to stand still for a few minutes to model it. I draped it on the dress form, too, with the same lousy T-shirt and bad lighting, and took some shots to at least show you the idea. Looks better on her, I promise! When I can nail the kid down, I'll take better pics for Lisa and Brenda Patipa who is the pattern's designer. I've ordered more yarn (different colorway) - I want to eventually knit one for me, too. I shall promise DD that I won't wear it at the same time or place as she wears hers.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Okay, it's not knitting, but I was trying to knit with these two (count 'em, two) cats on my lap. It's my favorite picture of the week. Afer the trials and trubulations of a new kitten in the house - the hissing, the spitting, the swishing of tails - Oliver (the newbie) is giving Dylan a bath. Peace.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Button, button...

I found the dang buttons! Where, might you ask?

In my dang button box, that's where. I didn't think I actually put them away where they belonged, because (a) I was knitting the sweater so I expected to use them relatively soon, and (b) I'm not that efficient.

I did actually have a cursory look in the button box a few days ago when the earnest search for them began, but they were in a little plastic sleeve and they'd slid from the top of the button pile.

Now they're sewed onto the front of my sweater (can't see 'em in this photo - oh well - ) and I truly have a Finished Object! It's warm and cozy and smells of lavender Eucalan. I blocked the sleeves a little too long, but I'm prone to doing that after years of the bracelet-sleeve look in store-bought tops because of my long monkey arms.

Good thing it's done, too. The temperature is going to drop like a rock in the next few days. The Sideways Sweater - just right for a walk in the neighborhood, or raking leaves (there will be a whole lot of them soon) or an emergency trip to the store for milk for the morning coffee.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Posting has been on my mind but not at my fingertips. DD is now settled in school. The major bumps she has endured as a result of having a new family, new home, new school, new expectations, new rules, new routine and new friends have finally pretty much simmered down for the short term, but it was a spirited coupla weeks, let me tell you.

DH has been at a convention for the last two weeks, and is due back tomorrow. Besides navigating the waters described above, there was actually a little more to do than usual around here (chores and such). Only a little, though. Hrrrmmmmph!

The new kitten, Oliver, above, gave all the humans in the family a bout of ringworm, missed at the vet where DH took him before he brought him home. (This maneuver was an attempt to avoid such pitfalls, a fact I explained to the vet last week.) We are all now virtually spot-free, including Oliver. I am glad to know that ringworm is not really a worm. But still, doesn't it make you itch just to read this?

Oliver also had a respiratory infection. I have never known a cat to struggle to avoid medications like he can. The little sucker does not run away - given a fleeting chance, he scrambles up to my shoulders and sits at the back of my neck. I look like I'm playing "Twister" to unattach him. The antibiotic was about an eighth the size of a tic-tac. I would open his mouth, drop the pill back by his tonsils, hold his mouth closed, and stroke his throat. He would glare, and then calm down and relax. I let him go and - Pi-TOO-ey! He would spit the little speck out, and I would have to hunt for some glasses to retrieve it. And try, try again...

Okay, enough about the cat, already. I am glad to get back to knitting, though it's mostly in snatches in the middle of the night when I'm up worrying about the kid...

I have an almost FO - a sideways sweater, which is knitted, washed, and blocked, even - here it is, resting on the sweater mesh - I just can't find the dang buttons to sew on it. They're nice ones, too - glass with ribbons of color in them. I hope they turn up before winter sets in. You might be able to see in the picture that the shawl collar is rolling a bit, and I was about to rip it back and substitute a little ribbing when - hold the phone - I like it this way! There are those who might sniff at the color pooling, but I like it, too (though it looks nicer in person). I thought about knitting to avoid it, but decided to just let the yarn do it's thing. After all the recent regimented lace knitting that required so much concentration, it was a refreshing, do-it-in-your-sleep knit. This is a knockabout sweater, and I am tickled the way it came out.

I also started a shrug for DD, which is progressing right along. Here's the lace ribbing that starts the 3/4 sleeve:

The yarn and pattern are both from Lisa Souza (see links). The pattern is called "Lacey Shrug", designed by Brenda Patipa. The yarn is "Fatima", color "Oil Slick". The picture does not do it justice. How Lisa actually captured that rainbow you see in motor oil is magic, and that's exactly what it looks like!