Friday, November 23, 2007

We had a lovely Thanksgiving here - we drove down to see my parents in CT. Miraculously, there was nearly no traffic either way (and if you're familiar with the Mass Pike to I-84 holiday route, you know that that really IS a miracle). Food was delicious, even if there were turnips on the table (Ick! Ptooooie!) and the company was delightful.

I had to work Wednesday and today, and even actually had stuff that I had to do, so there was little slacking in my week. There's less in next week, and then's it's the holiday season in earnest. Yikes!

One the thought of things to be thankful for, I want to make a shout-out to some good customer service from Simply Socks Yarn Company. I ordered some yarn from them - a couple of skeins for my Secret Pal, and then a couple of skeins for Christmas presents. Did a happy dance when my box came super quick, but then was completely puzzled when I opened the box to find that what I had was totally not at all what I'd ordered. hmmmmm.

I e-mailed them back Sunday night, and had a response back from them before noon on Monday - with an apology and a promise to have the right stuff in the mail that day - with a postage paid mailer to send the incorrect yarn back. I've already gotten my replacement yarn, and I am a happy customer. For me, the true test of customer service is how well a company reacts when there's a problem, and these folks definitely win on this one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I got my second and final box from my SP 11 Secret Pal over the weekend. (Thank goodness I had a friend coming over to feed the fish, and the box didn't have to live outside over the weekend.)

She's been ill, and had asked if I minded getting two boxes in one, instead of two smaller boxes. I did not care, so I got one big box full of all kinds of fantabulous goodies.

She wrapped things in green and in white to denote which "package" they were from, which I thought was a really cute touch. Now, I think I got things grouped in their right groups, but I have to admit, I opened ALL the packages before worrying about the picture taking, so I might have mixed them up.

First, we have the "green box"
Green Package

Truffled Walnuts (amazingly, I've not torn into them yet), Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac and a copy of the Baby Surprise sweater pattern and three balls of KnitPicks Palette in white and two fabulous shades of green. I love the Baby Surprise, and had totally lost my copy of the pattern - this one is nicer by FAR, and it's already safely tucked in my pattern book, never to be lost. I've been dying to make one of the wee baby sweaters from the pattern in Almanac, and since there's at least 4 more babies coming into my life this spring, it's going to get put to very good use.

After that, we still had the "white box" to unwrap. (If I'd been smart, I'd have spaced them out for more presents over more days - wait, who am I KIDDING? There's no way I could have waited.)
White Package

We have two big skeins of lovely natural Brown Sheep - the type of yarn isn't labelled, but it's a single and it's soft and snuggly. It's lovely. A skein of Noro Cash Iroha in the most divine purple (there was no way I could get the color right in the pictures) and a printout of the Calorimetry pattern from Knitty, which WOULD be a great use of the Iroha, I agree.

The best treat of the whole box, though? Those needles. Handmade knitting needles. They are divine, and have such a great pointy tip on them. I can't wait to use them for some lace.

Overall, an excellent (two) packages, and a wonderful awesome pal.

Thanks, Frances!

Monday, November 19, 2007


The husband and I drove down to DC this past weekend for a wedding. We drove after work on Thursday (a traffic avoidance strategy that worked rather well) and had most of Friday to goof off in the city.

We decided to go down and wander the Mall and visit the various monuments and memorials.

I mostly decided to get in Wiley's way.



We visited the WWII, Korean and Vietnam Memorials. They were all amazing. There was no goofing off.

We visited Mr. Lincoln, which was awesome. I simply love that building.

After that, we visited Mr Einstein. He's an awesome statue tucked away in a little corner near the Mall. My sock decided it wanted to sit on his lap.


einstein and the sock

After that, we wandered down towards the White House and found some really good lunch at this restaurant called Teaism. I had something called Ochazuke.



It was delicious and perfect after walking around a very wind-blown DC.

After that, we headed for wedding rehearsal stuff, and then had the wedding on Saturday, and it was truly lovely.

A long drive home on Sunday, but I got almost all the peppers for the ristra knitted up. Sadly, I didn't take a picture of them.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sock needles and gauge

Quickie post tonight, since I'm trying to get packed up for traveling tomorrow night.

I mentioned using size 0 needles for my monkey socks a couple posts ago, and Ariel sounded kind of aghast at the idea. That seems to be my "standard" for socks - and I usually get anywhere between 8.5 and 10 stitches to the inch. Makes it tough to knit sock patterns, since I never get their gauge and I have wide feet and pudgy ankles, making me double cursed.

But it gives me the kind of sock fabric that I like, so it's what I do. WHat's your "standard"?

And a moment of ranting about that sock pattern thing, if I may? What the HECK is up with the million sock patterns that simply have you change needle sizes to increase size? That drives me INSANE.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Christmas knitting

After many years of refusing to do Christmas knitting, this year, I'm feeling inspired.

Don't ask me why, and I realize that it probably means I'm insane. I do have two round trips to the DC area coming up this month - since we're driving, that's more than 30 hours of knitting time in 4 days, so provided I can stay awake, I'm going to have lots more knitting time than usual.

Here's the current plan, and list.

Me-mere - Mountain Stream Scarf that I've already posted about. It's a little less than 20% done now.

Brother 1 - CounterPoint scarf He's a music teacher, so I think this'll be perfect. Totally unstarted, but I have the yarn.

Brother 2 - Totally stumped, but we may be joint gifting him with a laptop so he can keep in touch while out on the road (he's a newly-minted truck driver), so it may not matter. If not, anyone have any suggestions for a 25 year old Metallica-loving truck driver?

Dad - grey and black boot socks, my own design. Totally unstarted, but I have the yarn.

Mom and Sister - Chapeau Marnier, one in chocolate brown, the other in raspberry. They're getting the same, because they look a lot alike, and I think it'll be really flattering on both of them. Yarn is inbound, since I've decided I don't like the yarn I settled for at Webs last weekend.

Sister-in-Law - if I still have time, Odessa in a lovely charcoal silk alpaca I have marinating in my stash.

Mother-in-Law - I found a nifty knitted chile pepper ristra that I think she would just love. Not started, I have the yarn.

That's a totally achievable list, right?

Hey. Stop laughing!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I wanna be a Monkey!

Every time I think about these socks, that song (if you can call it a song) pops into my head.

Monkey, monkey monkey, I wanna be a monkey!

Ahem. Darned earworms.

Anyway, like everyone else in the entire knitting universe, I am knitting myself a pair of Monkeys. They're the companion to the fancy lace scarf, for when I need easy knitting that takes no braining. And I love 'em. Can't wait to get to wear 'em.

Wanna see?


It's not the best picture, but it'll do, right? The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill, colorway Sugar Maple, knitting on size 0 needles.

The picture is from last week, so imagine that I'm about a half repeat away from starting the toe decreases.

And one advantage of being a product knitter? I almost never get second sock syndrome, because I want the damn socks too much to delay.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


What a lovely and relaxing weekend we had here.

Dropped Ms. Widget off at my Dad's on Friday night, stayed down in CT for the overnight, then drove up to Northampton for the day on Saturday. Breakfast at Sylvester's (good, but not worth the absurd wait), then shopping at Webs for a bit (all buying for holiday presents, I was good) where Wiley very much appreciated the comfy chairs where he could read his book instead of being terribly bored.

After Webs we went to an open studios exhibit in Florence, where I pre-ordered the new Rhymes with Orange book and go postcards of my most favorite cartoons of hers, ever. Didn't really find much else to buy. After that we went to East Heaven hot tubs and soaked, and then indulged in massages at the new adjacent spa. Highly recommended as a relaxing afternoon diversion.

We met up with some friends who live out that away for a little while, then drove back to Boston and had a giant late night sushi dinner.

This morning was brunch at Suzanne's, which Wiley decided to tag along to with me.

By the time I got home, Widget had arrived home with my Dad, and we spent the evening hanging out together.

I've gotten another repeat knit on the scarf, so I'm back to where I was, so just use that picture to imagine it, without the mistake this time. Wooo! And with all the car knitting, I'm most of the way through my first Monkey sock. Double woo!

This week, must wind lots of yarn so I have all the yarn I'll need for the round trip to DC in the car this coming weekend.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A trip to the Frog Pond.

Now that I've finished the Knit-a-Thon squares, I'm heading straight into Christmas knitting. I've avoided holiday knitting in the past, but this year, I am somewhat inspired. Most of my immediate family is going to get a small-medium sized knitted gift paired with a donation to an appropriate charity, as long as I can stay on task.

(I get to go to Webs this weekend to get all the rest of the yarn I need for this task. I have to get my list written up, so that I don't go insane once I get inside, since that is far, far too easy to do once one gets there, I find.)

The first project, since I have everything for it, is a Mountain Stream scarf for my Me-mere.

This is what it looked like on Wednesday morning.

Do you see what's wrong with it?

Knitterly denial was in full force, until I held it up for Wiley Wednesday night, and before I could say "How bad does this really look?", he asked "Wow, what happened to that?"

Alrighty then. There it is.

Somehow I had double yarn-overed on the border, and I'd knitted about ten more rows before I realized it. I tried just knitting the extra stitch together with it's neighbor, but the extra stitch and the sudden decrease seemed to be making the border shaping weird. I'm not exactly sure why I thought that I could drop the stitch and have it work out better, but I did. I fiddled around for a bit, trying to get the surrounding stitches to absorb the extra yarn, but there was no saving it.

Of course, I'm all cocky about lace these days, and hadn't bothered with a lifeline or three (this is EASY lace! I won't mess it up! Yeah, right!), so I had to rip it with no lifeline.

Somehow, I managed it, got all the stitches picked back up properly. I'd had to rip out about a repeat and a half of the pattern, so I worked back up to the end of the repeat (my goal for this baby is one repeat a night until it's finished. If I can stay on pace, it'll be done around Thanksgiving.)

Last night got taken up by knitting a last minute gift for one of Widget's teachers who is departing, so I'm sadly still at negative progress on the scarf.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A lovely gift

First off, THANK YOU for the wonderful comments about my new hat. I can't even TELL you how happy and excited I am with it. I feel a little like a whole new world of knitting has opened up for me now - silly, in a way, but it is what it is.

I'm not going to talk about my own knitting today, but instead about a lovely gift I received for my birthday this past spring.

Suzanne made this for me. Isn't it gorgeous?
DH_Scarf 2

You can't really see from the picture, but it is also huuuuuge! Longer than I am tall, and incredibly cuddly warm. Now that the temperature is finally dropping, I actually got to wear it today, and it is perfect to keep me snug warm with a light jacket, and I bet it'll be even more delicious when it's cold enough to really need bundling.

The best part about it though, is that when I put it on, it feels like I'm wearing a big hug from Suzanne.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Conquering a fear

Generally, I like to think of myself as a fearless knitter. I knit, I try stuff, I rip it if it doesn't work. I don't generally decide to do stuff that's out there on the edges of wild, and I'm not really a designer like many of my knitting friends are, but I'm not afraid to just wing it and hope for the best.

The exception? Colorwork. Intarsia, fair isle, all of it, completely irrationally you-can't-make-me, horrified at the thought of it.

But the end results are so beautiful. And that makes me want want want. Yet, somehow, I've never gotten over myself to dive into it. Until now.

I present to you Knitwhits Siena hat in the Fiesta colorway.

Here's the whole hat.
Siena Hat 2

This is my favorite part - the braided edge
Siena Hat Edge

And me, modeling my creation
Siena Hat 1

I'm so freaking pleased with myself. Maybe now I can work up the nerve to tackle the Ladybug sweater.

Monday, November 05, 2007


I'm very pleased to report that the Knit-a-Thon was a success.

On a personal level - I finished nearly all my squares. I did have 50, but largely only because Suzanne and Allison chipped in and knit a few squares for me. I might have finished all fifty, but the breathing room I gained from the squares they knit gave me the time to fully finish all of the, ends woven in and everything.

Here's a picture of the second batch of squares, all pinned out and blocking
Squares Batch2

This is all the squares, packed up and ready to travel to the seaming party
Travelling Squares

I also raised about half of my goal - $250 dollars, so far (note, though, that my giving page stays active until December 31st, so if you should have a stray few dollars, I'm happy to accept anything you're willing to give). It isn't as much as I wanted, but I'm still pleased.

On an event level, it was definitely a success.

I spent nearly the entire day at the seaming party - we finished 16 blankets on Sunday, and many of us brought home a blanket's worth of squares to finish over the next month or so. About 100 knitters contributed squares to the event, and 63 people came to help finish blankets.

There's a few pictures of the event on my flickr page if you want to take a peek.

The event raised nearly $16,000 for the Pine St. Inn, which is a pretty big sum for a first time event.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed and helped me with this project.