Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pink Overload

You know that I love pink. I love red even more, but I seem to knit with pink more than I knit with red. But I think that I finally hit the pink limit.

Image hosting by PhotobucketExhibit 1: Barbie pink Dayflower Daydream shawl. I like this pattern a lot. It's not very repetitive, so working on it doesn't get boring. Can you believe that I considered frogging the whole thing this weekend? Ever since I started knitting I kept thinking that the "solid" bits were too airy and that the flowers didn't show up well. But I plowed through because I'm stubborn I wanted to finish enough of the pattern to truly see what was going on. So, after finishing two repeats of the pattern I pinned out a section. Thankfully, I think I like what I see! Do you? Can you see the flowers clearly?

Edit to and random babblering a la Rachel to push down the text below the photo. Is this enough yet? How about this? When I was little I had a dog named Winnie. I also had a rabbit named Fiddle, a hamster named Fuffy (not Fluffy!), and a nameless baby chick that was hatched in my mother's lab. I think that's enough now.

Image hosting by PhotobucketExhibit 2: Raw materials for the Lotus Cardigan. I can't believe I bought this. I have been eyeing it for half a year. But it has steeks! stEEKs! I considered buying the magenta colorway, but Peter said that pink was better and I now know to trust his tastes in clothes for me.

I read through the pattern last night and it was a little unnerving. This pattern is very intimidating to me. I expected more hand-holding and coddling. Of course, that was an naive expectation. The Dale of Norway people have been churning out patterns like this for ages. They can assume that knitters know what they are doing. Perhaps I need to find a fair-isle expert to do the hand-holding and coddling.

I'm not sure when I'll start Lotus. Curlicue needs to be finished and then the Dragon Hoodie for Eva. Also, depending on what the swatch gods say, I may need to wait until my US size 3 Addis are freed from the Barbie shawl.

More Meme-age
I can't decided whether or not I like memes. Some of them are fun, but I worry about boring people and I'm a little wary of tagging others. But this meme came to me via Cordelia and I know that I tagged her before, so I should be nice and play along.

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they aren't very good. But the songs must be ones that you're enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then, tag seven other people to see what they are listening to.

1. The Brady Bunch theme song (I received the 1st season on DVD as a Christmas gift)
2. "Last Midnight" from Into the Woods (I'm particularly fond of the "boom, squish" part)
3. Elgar's Cello Concerto in e minor (There's never a time that I'm not into this "song.")
4. "Oh What a Circus" from Evita (I like musicals)
5. "Popular" from Wicked (Did I mention that I like musicals?)
6. The Firebird Suite by Stravinsky
7. "New Horizons in Music Appreciation" by PDQ Bach (I don't listen to it often, but it is too funny. Scroll down for a link to an audio clip.)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Happy New Year!

It's the Year of the Dog! What great things happened in past years of the dog? My father was born in the year of the dog. I was born in the year of the dog. (Those of you with not so advanced math skills and some knowledge about me can now figure out how old I will be this year.)

Niecephew will be born in the year of the dog. Three generations of dogs in one family. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Dad is thrilled out of his mind.

Though I don't care much for astrology, I always find it amusing to read about the traits that I supposedly have. I think at least some of those traits are correct. (Can you say, "stubborn?") One good thing about being a dog: I could get a job here if I wanted one.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Cure for the Knitting Blues (or Purples as the case may be)

Thank you everyone for your advice and sympathy on my machine washable two-toned purple sheepie problems. As I said, I'm waiting to see what Chester Farms can do for me before doing anything rash. No matter what happens, I'm going to reknit the two-toned sleeve. It is insanely obvious. Peter could see it without me even telling him what he was supposed to be looking for.

So to banish this case of the knitting purples, I've started a new project!

My brother and SIL are expecting their second child in May. As with their first child (the adorable Eva), they are not finding out the gender of the child before it's born. I don't understand this behavior. I couldn't stand the suspense.

Anyway, I've decided to call this baby-to-be my Niecephew until it's born. Clever, huh? Like dear Eva, Niecephew is getting a baby blanket. Eva got a purple and white blanket and Niecephew is getting a teal one.

Curli and the CatsThis is the start of Oat Couture's Curlicue Coverlet. Before you all start leaving comments about Grumperina's problems with this pattern, let me say, "I know." I also know that Betty and Christy have made flat Curlicues. And I also know that Grumperina never attempted to block her Curlicue into submission because she didn't want to force the baby's parents into blocking the blanket after every wash.

This blanket is staying in my family. If it doesn't lay flat after washing, my brother can just ship it back to me and I will block it. Or we can all just live with an imperfect blanket. Niecephew will be getting other handknit stuff for the rest of his/her life. Who cares if this blanket isn't flat? Niecephew won't be flat either.

You'll note that I managed to get Elly into this photo. Some people at my SnB actually thought that I had only one cat because Scout is such a camera ham. But I do have other cats. Elly (on the right of the photo) and Cleo. Scout just gets most of the blog time because she follows me around like a puppy and is always handy when I'm ready for a photo shoot and because she's very good at sitting where I place her and behaving herself during the photo shoots. Elly and Cleo tend to wander off or attack the knitting props.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


It gets worse. The other sleeve does not match the body of the sweater. It matches the lighter part of the two-toned sleeve. The body matches the darker part of the two-toned sleeve. SIGH!

I called Chester Farms today and explained what happened. They don't have any more of the dye lot. (Not that getting more of the same dye lot would insure I had matching colors. The yarn that I have supposedly came from the same dye lot.) The nice woman on the phone asked me to send a sample of the yarn that I wanted matched and that they would do their best to match it.

So, I sent of my scrap of yarn with a polite, yet sternly-worded letter. We will see what happens next.

Until then, Rogue will wait unfinished.

Monday, January 23, 2006

From Whew to Grrr

Do you see what I see?

I'm drawing the line here!

About 4 inches above the cuff? Where I changed to a new skein of yarn? Don't tell me I'm imagining things or that it doesn't look as bad as I think. It doesn't show up very well in this photo. I could easily see it in my dimly lit guest room.

Immediately checked the ball bands. All the same dye lot. Checked the body/hood. No distinct line, but the top of the hood is definitely lighter than the body.

What should I do???!!!!


I finished the sleeves for Rogue in a knitting frenzy over the weekend. I was very paranoid about running out of yarn despite PumpkinMama's assurance that I wouldn't. Thankfully, she was right! But it was close:

'I'm bigger than the yarn!' says Scout

In this photo you see: the front/back/hood of Rogue blocking, what's left of my yarn, and Scout (for scale). According to my pre-yarn order calculations, I should have had 170 "extra" yards of yarn to play with. That's why I didn't bother to order and extra skein of yarn. However, that little ball of yarn is only 0.75 oz--less than 40 yards! Not much left and I still have to use some of that yarn for the seams.

The truly scary part is that I did a couple modifications that significantly reduced the amount of yarn that I needed. Had I knit the pattern exactly as written I would have definitely run out of yarn. Instead of reading about my relief, you would be reading about my panicked phone call to Chester Farms in which I begged for another skein from the same dye lot as the order that I placed in mid-December.

I'm pretty surprised that I cut it so close with the yarn. Usually, I never have problems using more than the required amount of yarn for a project. I doubt the yardage estimates on Rogue are off because so many people have knit the sweater. However, I won't try to speculate what happened this time because everything worked out in the end!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Progress and a meme

I finally did something significant! I finished the hood of Rogue. I even grafted the cables at the top instead of cheating and doing a 3-needle bind off. I'm very, very bad at grafting. My typical grafting process: Find several different grafting instructions. Pick one set of instructions. Start grafting. Pull out. Start grafting. Pull out. Grab second set of instructions. Start grafting. Pull out. Start grafting. Pull out. Throw second set of directions across the room. Pick up third set of directions. Start grafting. Pull out. Start grafting. Pull out. Get second set of instructions from across the room. Spread all three sets of directions in front of me. Pick the one with the best pictures. Study pictures. Start grafting. Ignore mistakes. Keep going. Declare grafting done.

Little Purple Riding Hood

I tried to get a cute photo of Scout in the hood, but the photos didn't show the cables well. By the second photo shoot, Scout didn't want to sit patiently inside the hood any more.

I also cast on for the sleeves and allowed paranoia to attack me. I have just over two skeins of yarn to use for the sleeves. According to my calculations when I bought the yarn, I need only 6.19 skeins to finish the entire sweater. So, I ordered 7 skeins breaking my normal habit of always buying an extra ball/skein/hank. Now, of course, I'm convinced that I'm going to run out. Is 420+ yards enough for two sleeves? Brain says "yes." Panicky voice inside me says "heck no!"

Meme, courtesy of Helen who just made the CUTEST kitty latch hook rug.

4 jobs that you have had in your lifetime (in order, but leaving out many, many jobs)
* waitress and ice cream counter clerk at Happy Joe's
* research associate and lab manager in a molecular biology lab
* camp counselor
* high school chemistry teacher

4 movies that you could watch over and over
* Singin' in the Rain
* Hoosiers
* E.T.
* any other movie that involves singing and dancing

4 places that you have lived (in order, omitting most current places of residence)
* Hiawatha, Iowa (why I'm interested in knitting the Song of Hiawatha Stole)
* Williamstown, Massachusetts
* Oxford, England
* Chicago, Illinois

4 TV shows that you love to watch
* Lost
* The Amazing Race
* ??
* do re-runs count?

4 places that you have been on vacation
* The Philippines
* San Francisco
* all over Western Europe
* Jamaica

4 websites that you visit daily
* Gmail
* Knittyboard
* Bloglines
* Yahoo

4 of your favorite foods
* Butterkase (umlaut over that a)
* Plain chocolate Hob Nobs (the ones in the red container)
* Crab
* Pad Thai

4 places that you would rather be right now
* on a beach in the Caribbean
* someplace with fluffy white snow that I don't have to shovel or drive in
* in the mountains
* any place where Peter is

4 bloggers who you are tagging
* Valerie
* Mer
* Amy
* anyone else who's interested!

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Can you believe that I haven't finished Rogue yet? I started way back in December and now it's the middle of January and I haven't finished the hood yet. And I still need to make the sleeves. Don't I knit faster than that? Well, truthfully, my knitting time has be much more limited recently because of my job and my desire to quit my job.

On top of the nonknitting distractions, I have had a few knitting distractions. First, I needed to reknit the Dad Hat. I thought that it was huge when I made it, but I was counting on Dad's unusually large head to fill it. Silly me, I should have trusted my instincts on the hat size. Mom sent the hat back to me and (much to the delight of Scout and Cleo) I frogged the whole thing. I reknit the hat using one less pattern repeat. The hat now fits me and Peter, so I think it will fit Dad.

Barbie! Pink!But wait there's more! More distractions, that is. Monkee gave me some Barbie Rose laceweight for Festivus. Thank goodness I didn't have to perform any Feats of Strength to get my present. It's very pink. I wonder how she knew that I liked pink? Naturally, I couldn't let this lovely (pink!) yarn sit around for too long. I started working on the Dayflower Daydream shawl from Knitter's Magazine Shawls and Scarves book. Monkee's present couldn't have been better timed--I have been itching to do some lace and was thinking a circular shawl would be a good challenge. Like all lace shawls it doesn't look like anything right now.

See the dayflower?
Pink Flower! (Are dayflowers pink?)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Contest Winners!

Thank you to everyone who sent in poems for the Ugly Ball of Yarn Contest! I received a lot of good poems and selecting winners was tough. Members of my SnB helped with the judging.(Prior to judging, there was some discussion about the "political correctness" of calling yarn ugly. An ugly ball of yarn was compared to an ugly baby: It isn't nice to call the yarn or the baby ugly and no yarn and no baby is truly ugly. I can't say that I agree with the second half of that sentiment. I think yarn can be ugly and I once knew an obstetrician who said that every baby is ugly when it's born.) I'll admit that I was mostly attracted to the very silly poems but some SnB members were not. I wish I had more prizes, because there were many more deserving poems!

Congratulations to the winners. Ladies, your prizes will be sent soon!

The winners are:

First Place: Tabby Tuxedo
I’m an Ugly Ball of Yarn

I’m an ugly ball of yarn.
I don’t know who planned my color.
My ball band calls me oxidized copper,
But in my opinion I could not be duller.

I’m an ugly ball of yarn.
Although “novelty” is more politically correct.
I’m a little eyelash and a little ribbon,
And a whole lot more than you’d expect.

I’m an ugly ball of yarn.
I’ll squeak as I run across any needle.
Acrylic, modal, plasticey
I may also be made of mashed beetle.

I’m an ugly ball of yarn.
Don’t even try to frog me.
I’ll make a tangle so big and so fast,
You’ll get discouraged and shout, “I’ll be…”

I’m an ugly ball of yarn.
I could be super cheap or pricey.
Lionbrand, Red Heart, Gedifra or Berrocco,
My future production is rather dicey.

I’m an ugly ball of yarn,
And yet I’ve found a place in your stash.
What you were thinking when you bought me, I don’t know,
But Ack, what a waste of cash.

Second Place: Stariel
I'm an ugly ball of yarn

I sit here, in the corner
of the darkened closet

Finally I spy
a crack of light.
Could she really
be coming for me?

But alas, no.
The hand reaches into the box,
brushing lightly along my outermost strands,
and passes me by for another.

One more colorful,
or soft
or beautiful
than I.

But still, I wait patiently for my day to come.

Third Place: Cindy
I'm An Ugly Ball of Yarn

I'm an ugly ball of yarn
And I don't know what to do.
I want to make a pretty scarf
To look so nice on you.

I know that you can help me.
You'll find a better way
To make me look more beautiful
For you to wear each day

Maybe you could mix me
With something from your stash
Then I'll look much better
And won't go in the trash.

I've heard about this felting
Would you consider that?
And then when you're done knitting
I could make a lovely hat!

Or maybe make a sweater
For a little dog to wear
And then before you know it
I'll be covered with his hair.

My warmness is an asset
Forgive me if I'm bold.
So even if I'm ugly
I'll make sure you won't be cold.

So think some more about me
Come up with something great!
I know you'll be creative
When you decide my fate!

Fourth Place: dkswife
I’m an Ugly Ball of Yarn

I’m an ugly ball of yarn
I have no natural charm
And live within the depths of my madam’s stash

When I work my way up to the top
She always drops jaw and gawks
And states “What the heck was I thinking?”

I’m an ugly ball of yarn
Would never cause hands any harm
But still no one wants to hold me.

My inner beauty, well, it’s inside
Sandwiched between those smooth 6 plies
Just waiting for someone to see it.

I’m an ugly ball of yarn
Was raised in a barn
One day someone will need me.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Random Things

Secret Partially Revealed
Did you see? Yes, that's the secret project that I was working on in December. A camisole for Annie Modesitt herself. When I was knitting the piece for her I also thought that it was much too long, but I knit it as directed. I assumed that I didn't know exactly what Annie had in mind. Would I have been out-of-bounds as a sample knitter if I had mentioned to a designer that I didn't think a pattern was working out? Obviously, I communicate pattern errors to the designer, but commenting on the look of a piece seems like something I shouldn't do.

Not So Selfish Anymore
I submitted my bunny yarn sweater to Magknits for publication and it was accepted. Quite honestly, I'm terrified! But my terror is not going to stop me. I have the Laura-size of the pattern written up and I will work on writing up a range of sizes. Then, I have to figure out how to estimate yarn requirements for the other sizes. And I suppose I need some guinea pigs test knitters. So much to do!

Becky over at Knits & Bits had a guess-my-age contest on her blog and I was one of the winners. I will never disclose the sneaky tactics that I used to find the correct answer. As a prize, she sent me two hanks of Knit Picks Sock Garden. Perhaps they will become mittens? Who knows.

Ugly Ball of Yarn Contest
The entries are rolling in! Thank you to everyone who has entered so far. Judging will be tough. I wish I had more ugly balls of yarn to hand out. If you still want to enter, remember the deadline is midnight CST on January 10th (or thereabouts. I don't plan to be up at midnight to determine the last eligible poem.)

The front and back are complete. Scout says, "hi!"

I'm the cutest cat in the world!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Blog Birthday Contest

I'm not exactly sure when my blog birthday is. I signed up with blogger in November of 2004, but didn't do much with it until Jan 2005. So, I'm saying that sometime this month is my blog birthday. Let's celebrate!

Contest Background
I like to amuse myself by looking up the search phrases that have led people to my blog. The three most common search phrases are "stream of consciousness," "reversible rib shawl," and now "lady eleanor." But the funniest search phrases have been "hated knitted sweater," "it's huge laura," and "I'm an ugly ball of yarn poem." I'm not kidding.

After much laughing and inspiration from Monkee, here are the
Contest Rules:
1. Write a poem titled "I'm an Ugly Ball of Yarn"
2. Email the poem to me at MiniLaura(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject line "Ugly Ball of Yarn"
3. You may submit only one poem.
4. Poems must be G or PG rated. I don't like naughty words and I don't want to read about any sexual activity involving a ball of yarn. (I wonder how using the word "sexual" will affect my search engine traffic?)
5. Entries will be accepted until midnight CST on 1/10/06. (Unless I extend the deadline)
6. I will do the judging, but may enlist the help of friends. So yes, the judging will be subjective.
7.The winner or winners will be announced when I'm ready but will be announced before the end of January. Winning poems will be posted on this blog.
8. The winner or winners will get their choice of the prizes shown below.

Naturally, a contest about an Ugly Ball of Yarn has to have Ugly Balls of Yarn as prizes. The prizes are some yarn from my stash that were acquired in different ways. I actually don't think any of this yarn is inherently ugly, just different.
Beauty is only ball-band deep

From the top left, going clockwise:
* Austermann High Collection Opera This is a chenille and sorta eyelash yarn. I looked up Austermann on Yarndex and their yarn definitely falls in the "not cheap" category. If you aren't into the eyelash-bit, you can easily separate the chenille ply from the eyelash ply. 10 balls!
* Ilse Wolle Carola Cotton/viscose/linen blend. Black, white, tan, and pink plys. I thought this would grow on me but it didn't. I think it will knit up to produce a tweed-looking fabric. 14 balls!
* Schoeller Esslinger Coruelia mit Silberfaden Acrylic/viscose. Those German words mean "with silver thread." It doesn't really have a silver thread, but it does have one shiny ply. The yarn is soft and would make good baby stuff. 4 balls.
* Regia Sock 4-ply sock yarn Left over from the stripy baby sweater. One full ball of the jacquard and a partial ball of the gray (34 g of the original 50 g). I thought the gray ball was a whole ball until I pulled it out for the photo. I know one ball of Regia isn't enough for a pair of socks (unless they are small or short socks), so perhaps someone could use the gray for contrasting toes, heels, and/or cuffs.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Pinwheel Afghan for Kelly's Baby

Pinkish pinwheel

Pattern: Pinwheel Afghan by Oat Couture
Yarn: Plymouth Encore Colorspun (75% acrylic, 25% wool) in color 7115, 5 balls
Needles: US size 8
Final dimensions: about 41" in diameter
Recipient: Kelly baby #2
1. Blocking makes the points lie flat, but I think they are destined to be curly. I'm not sure why. They are garter stitch so they should be flat. I think the points curl and stay curl after they are folded over when handling the blanket. They don't curl spontaneously. Perhaps a different mix of fibers would produce points that didn't stay curled after folding.
2. I made a mistake and didn't correct it even though I probably should have. I was LIVID when I discovered that I had made the mistake. I wasn't mad about the mistake, I was mad at something completely different. But I couldn't concentrate enough to figure out what was wrong. So I kept going. Lesson learned: don't knit while you're mad.
all sewn up3. I half grafted the seam by joining the live stitches of the last wedge to the cast on edge. I think the seam looks ok, but probably would have looked better if I had taken the time to do a provisional cast on and grafted the seam.

Overall a great pattern and a fun knit. I can definitely see more Pinwheels in my future. Perhaps I will try the multicolored version--but that version is not reversible.