Sunday, September 13, 2009

How to ignore a sprained ankle:

Spend a good chunk of the day on a yarn crawl with Tracybird!

Friday, I was at Providence doing pre-op stuff and somehow managed to ignore (crossed legs, complex cable pattern) that my left foot went to asleep. When my name was called, I leaped up, gathered knitting and paperwork, took a step, another step, and then realized that my foot wasn't working and the floor was getting close.

Y'know, if you crumple in a hospital waiting room, you're suddenly surrounded by a LOT of people...

I tried to collect my knitting, paperwork, and dignity (managed the first two!), and carried on. (Spent the evening with my ankle wrapped and elevated, though.)

Saturday, Tracy and I met at The Knitting Bee. She'd made a Sideways Spencer out of BMFA's LLS, and wondered about the fit. (Fit was fine, and the yarn -- and Tracy's knitting! -- is gorgeous).

I'd been intending to stop by the Knitting Bee to pick up the yarn for a Hive Hat for my niece, so it was a good place to meet. And somehow, yarn for a scarf for said niece also found its way into my hands...

But apparently not enough. Tracy and I tromped off to see Cindy at All About Yarn where I bought the IK Weekend mag -- which I hadn't intended to, but dang!, there are some fun patterns.

Lunch, a wander through Powell's, and I realized (reluctantly) that my ankle had had enough and it was time to quit.

It may have been Tracy's charming company, it may have been yarn fumes, but it was a fun day, in spite of the ouchy ankle!

Thanks, Tracy!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lovely weather for tea and knitting

We've gotten the first hints that fall is on its way in PDXville: it's a cool, rainy weekend. No excuses needed to stay indoors and knit. The back of Kingscot is coming right along:

The yarn is knitting into fabric that's lovely and oh! so soft. But it's not so soft that the cables get lost:

I wonder why I thought a wool-bamboo combination was going to be difficult to knit!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I went spelunking in the sewing loft today, trying to find the pedal and power cord to my serger. I didn't find 'em. But I did find the box of dpns and circs that has been missing since the move.

I'm puzzled by the missing serger bits, though. I usually leave myself Really Obvious Clues when I pack parts of items separately -- and clearly I packed them separately because the serger is on the counter and the power cord (with attached pedal) isn't.

Good news: I'm running out of places to look.
Bad news: I'm running out of places to look.

Progress on other fronts: After working on nothing but socks for the past month (two pairs of RPMs for the Sock Summit museum and thank-you socks for the Guinness World Record attempt judges), I'm finally back to working on the Woobu Kingscot. There's even visible progress!

(Well, fine. I'll post a progress pic later, when Blogger's gnomes wake up.)

... time passes... look!

And now that I can upload the image, I'm going to add that that was taken 20 row ago. Gotta love knitting progress, even if my inability to locate the serger's foot pedal and power chord has impeded sewing progress.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


(if I may be so rude...)

It's entirely too hot to think -- never mind type, never mind think coherently -- but I'm still managing to knit. Excuse me?!? 101*F/38*C a 8 p.m.?!? Great. Another record-setting day.

rpm#3 finished, and #4 is past the heel and at the decreasing-the-gusset stage.

A week from this moment, I'll be finishing my first shift as a Sock Summit volunteer. This is, frankly, so awesome that I have no words. Even in this heat.

Monday, July 20, 2009

rpm, rev 2

Lost two days driving from Portland to Monterey Bay and back, but there's progress...
More stitches on the needles (size large, with heel flap) this time, so the striping is entirely different.

Friday, July 17, 2009


First variation. Done, and done, for the Sock Museum at Sock Summit:

Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Socks That Rock mediumweight, in Tigers Eye.
(now casting on the second pattern variation, in Blarney Stone)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Woo Hoo, Woobu!

The next project:

Norah Gaughan's Kingscot[e] in BMFA Woobu. I groveled, begged, pleaded with Tina to let me buy some Woobu in a Raven color (Haida) for this sweater. She's stopped dyeing Ravens in Woobu because the colorways turn out silver-y, not black. Apparently some people didn't read the warnings about how Woobu dyes up differently than all-wool fiber (duh, bambu and wool? plant and animal? there's a difference...) and were disappointed.

Huh. Their loss, frankly! I am SO loving the way that the pattern highlights the color and yarn.

(Here's what a poor, abused, formerly lovely cake of yarn looks like, after a day stuffed into a backpack:

All of this is about to be set aside because I've just received the yarn needed to make RPMs for the Sock Summit Sock Museum.

Woo hoo!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Button, button, who's got the button?

That's what's next on this beauty. (What a difference a week makes!)

I'm quite pleased, frankly. This pic is a bit gappy, but that's 'cause there's ten stitches in the center front that will be lost to steaking. Call me twitchy, but I'm not going to steak until I'm ready to work the button band, and I'm not going to work the front bands until I have buttons.

The end is in sight! (Please ignore that it was 103*F (according to the thermometer on the south side of my house) yesterday, and I'm finishing a wool sweater. Okay?)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Third Thoughts

After thinking about it for a couple of days (and muttering a lot), I decided to take a deep breath and decide what, exactly, the Bohus needed to make it right. So I tried it on again.

I think it's okay. Seriously, I think the problem is me, not the sweater. I think I'm still in the I'm-not-skinny-anymore-so-clothes-have-to-be-huge mindset, and ignoring the doc saying I'm back down to "normal" weight. (Yeah, okay, the high end of "normal", but "normal". )

, Terry, Bobbie, Valerie... you gave good knitterly advice in the face of my earlier Bohus discouragement... am I nuts?

The sleeves aren't tight, the cuffs are snug -- which is what I was aiming for.

I think a shirt sleeve will comfortably fit inside the sleeve. I think the Bohus is okay.

(Now, if only I believed that the neck shaping is really going to work out when it starts this soon...)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yes, well, I know...

It's one thing to say "more soon!" and entirely another thing to actually do it.

Seriously? I'm not the first person to type that?

I can't promise to do better, but I'll try. Right now, the main issue is this:

The Bohus. I've joined sleeves and body, knit the charts, done decreases, and... now I start the neck decreases? Seems a bit early, to me...

I've done enough decreases that I tried it on. I like the length and width of the body, even after squirshing out the 10 stitches for steek facings. I'm less sure about the sleeves. If this really is the width at which the neck is supposed to begin, the sleeves might be an inch long... and the forearms may be snugger than I'd like. (Hey, I was making it up as I went!)

Right now, Bohus is sitting quietly on the corner of the couch while I think about all of this. I'm trying very hard to ignore the "FINISH! You want to start the next sweater!" calls and listen to the "You'd totally wear this, if it fit nicely -- and you have the skills to make it right." voice.

Too bad "fit nicely" probably means re-knitting the sleeves and, therefore, the yoke...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sock Camp

It's Tuesday -- the first full day -- at camp. If the connection wasn't frighteningly, painfully slow, I'd be posting pictures. That'll have to wait until I get home simply because the bandwidth (and my patience for low bandwidth) is minute.

That said, DANG! it's been an amazing day. If you are ever, ever in the fortunate position to hear Tina Newton talk about color -- what you see when you glance, and what you see when you *look* -- take that opportunity. And when she talks about translating what you see onto yarn and into dye? Pay very close attention.

On the first day of classes, my group got to dye yarn with Tina. Someone else said it, but I feel the same way. I could take that class every day this week and learn something entirely new.

Afternoon and evening involved making Joe's Crab Sack (a clever, no-sew ditty bag by Cockeyed) and a knit-based answer-and-question -- which, I should add, was won by the Fiddler Crabs. There are some smart people on that team. Fortunately, they let me tag along.

Tomorrow: cast offs with JC Briar. (Last year she taught cast ons. Gotta love symmetry!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oh, honestly!

Wednesday night, knit night, knitting away on Bohus (which has received exactly zero attention from me in the past two weeks), when it occurs to me that maybe I should check length. Fumble around for tape measure, check... and it seems that I've knit about an inch more than I'd intended.

On the up side, I'm tall, and I'm not about to argue with a Long Enough Sweater. On the down side... I really do try to pay attention...

I need to do some arithmetic about the above-armpit length, and decide if I've now put the waist shaping on my hipbones (and need to rip that inch back) or if I'm going to be smugly pleased at the accidental length.

In the meantime, I've done exactly what any self-respecting knitter would do: cast on something else.

Here's Gardiner Yarn Works's "Toe The Line Shawl", by Chrissy Gardiner (and purchased at Twisted), in Blue Moon Fiber Arts's Geisha in Atomic #6.

(If you're puzzled by this logic, I suspect that you're not a knitter!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday Nights

Wednesday nights are supposed to be for spending time with my knitsibs (I warned Duffy that I was stealing "knitsibs").

Wednesday nights are for listening to Bobbie grump about the smell of the silk she's spinning (I love the smell of silk, but that's just me!)

Wednesday nights are for checking out what Cindy has going on, and trying to remember the bacon-based recipe for Kerin, and asking Tracy about the interview.

Wednesday nights are about seeing progress, including Judy's book, including knitting, including babies.

It's Wednesday night... and instead of catching up with folks, I've just finished replacing yet another set of headlights on my much-loved Subaru.


p.s. The "grown up" part of me is glad that a) I can change my own headlights and b) that's my biggest grumble about tonight. Still, it does seem odd that I've had to replace both headlights in less than a year...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lost in Translation

My German is pretty good. I'm not sure if it's this good...

A skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Geisha in Atomic 6 is suggesting that, if I exert a little brain power, it might just be possible.

It's "suggesting" rather loudly too. The Geisha is upstairs at the other end of the house, and I can hear it down here in the kitchen.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dare I say it?

I think, think, think that there may be actual progress on the Bohus.

(funny how "think" looks misspelled...)

Saturday was a spur-of-the-moment, let's go! day with TracyBird. The original plan was to meet at the Beaverton Powell's for coffee and some knitting after I went looking for a book I needed.

Bought the book, decided that it was feeling lunch-ish, remembered that Abundant had a lovely lunch counter, and headed to the East Side... where we serendipitously ran into Duffy working on her Queen Anne's Lace shawl. Chicken chili and, dang!, what was it called? Mocha coffee with cinnamon and chili? 'Twas good! Lunch, and yarny goodness? I can see why people like this store so much!

Several pleasant hours passed (at the risk of sounding like Jane Austen). What fun to just chat and knit with folks who Get It!

Then Tracy and I headed north to Twisted. Great people, lots of tea varieties when you need a moment to think, yarny goodness... I can see why people like this store so much!

More pleasant hours passed and, as a result, I can see Serious Progress on the Bohus. Even better, it's close enough to gauge that I think (there's that word again) that I may let it live.

Friday, February 27, 2009

I am mindful of the honor...

... of being a Sockateer, in more ways than I can put in words.

I spent today "bundling" yarn with Tammy, who tried to teach me how to tell (without actually picking up the yarn) how to tell lightweight from mediumweight from heavyweight STR.

Okay, heavyweight is simple: it feels heavier when you twist it into bundles. (I may be slow, but I'm not completely clueless!)

I'm struggling with feeling the difference between lightweight and mediumweight. Yes, yes, there are different "ties" on the skeins before they're bundled (lightweight has "fluffy" ties, mediumweight has ties that don't take dye so look more-or-less white) -- but once they're on the table, tie-less, I struggle.

So what, that today was my first day bundling yarn? Cut myself some slack? Learning curve?!?

SOMEone is going to knit the yarn that I (wait, what? ME?!?) bundled today. (Thank $WhomEver that I have nothing to do with dyeing or design!)

SOMEone is going to assume that it's the correct yarn, with the correct label, and (I hope!) looks like a proper skein of BMFA Socks That Rock! when they see it.

If you purchase Tina's yarn any time within the next, oh six months, and think anything negative, please have a second thought before you blast BMFA.

It's probably my fault, made on my first day as an official Sockateer.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Gauge? What's that?

The Bohus sweater, frogged because (in spite of swatching) gauge was too small and I need to go up a needle size:

The Climbing Vines Pullover, frogged because (in spite of swatching) gauge was too large and I need to go down a needle size:

Some days it's hard to see progress!

Or, maybe not. Here's where I was a year ago, finally leaving New York to move home:

On Wednesday, I…
drove through:
… 2 1/3 tanks of gas,
… 4 states (NY, NJ, PA, OH) and have landed in a fifth (IN),
… (over) the highest point on I-80 east of the Mississippi (2550′, I think. whee.)
… multiple snow flurries, though nothing worth bothering to flinch,
… 12 hours, and
… waved at Linda and Ellen as I passed through…
and I’m still in the same flippin’ time zone! SHEESH!
Tomorrow I’ll drive s’more and won’t wait until 9:30 before I eat my dinner sammich (yay, Panera!)

All best,
asleep! (aka Jen)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wait, WHAT?!?

(I seem to be saying that a lot, recently...)

I knit. I sometimes forget how much of "me" is a knitter.

My (German immigrant) grandmother taught me to knit long ago. My first project was a "potholder" -- if trapezoids can be considered "square". My second project was a blanket for my Barbie doll's horse -- if a stuffed animal can be considered relevant to Barbie.

My third project was mittens for my sister. Four needles, knit-in-the-round, and (because I lied) she thought they were for our adopted-into-the-family cousin. To this day, I remember the look on her face when she opened them at Christmas. The mittens were hers, and knit with love.

Time passed, sweaters are knit, socks are knit (bless you Joanne Marron, wherever you are, for reminding me about socks!), quilts were pieced and quilted, other crafts were crafted, and more time passed. Knitting was always there... not always the foremost craft, but there.

Eventually sanity returned -- and knitable yarn returned -- and life improved. I frankly don't remember what caused me to splurge on my first skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock, though I suspect that it was the Yarn Harlot's rant about the epic Tina-and-the-bank struggle (which Tina-the-incredible won, lest you had any doubt).

Y'know that saying about, "if you try this, you'll never settle for anything less"? BMFA STR. I'm the prime example. There have been times (I freely admit it, and have told Tina, so it's not a surprise) when I've had serious doubts about colorways and patterns. And every blasted time (I'm so NOT a pond scum fan) I've been impressed.

More time passes, I move home to the Pacific Northwest to a job I love, and (because I work odd hours) end up volunteering to help Tina, her staff, and the Sockateers with the de-stash sale, and eventually, sock club shipments. There may have been EEEvil brownies involved, but they were an honest "thank you" to the folks who produce my favorite yarn and intriguing and interesting colorways.

Side note: I'm JustJen on Ravelry. Several weeks ago, there was a thread speculating on the January Rockin' Sock Club shipment. Some posters seemed to assume that the pattern was by Sivia Harding and would involve beads because beads weren't an expensive treat. Being the subtle sort (stop it!) I posted:
- - -

True, they’re not expensive. Frankly, that’s not the point. The beads would get weighed. And then… what?

Poured into teeny zipper baggies? Hugely time-intensive. (The moo cards were so fiddly that the Sockateers convinced Tina that they were a Very Bad Idea.)

Poured into the bag that contains the yarn? People will complain because they have to catch the beads as they’re flung across the room whilst winding yarn from their swift.

Poured into the pattern package? The whole point of that package is that the pattern stays flat.

Poured into the shipping bag/box? Complaints because the pattern calls for 230 beads and I only got 317!?!

Nope. I agree with Nartian and tapmouse2. Some things are reasonable for a small business. Some aren’t.

And, parenthetically, all of this – as far as I’ve seen – is pure speculation. No one promised a beaded pattern. Heck, I don’t think anyone actually promised which designer came with the January yarn!

- - -

And so it amused Tina hugely when I showed up to help with the January shipment and Sockateer Tammy showed me that there are teeny beads that need to be scooped into 2000 teeny baggies. Cat Bordhi showed up to work on Sock Summit, and bagged for a while, too. Tina took pictures, and said her amusement would end up on the RSC blog after everyone had their yarn.

A couple of days later, I got to work again with Tammy, Hot Flash, and the BMFA folks. It should be noted that, when I saw the January shipment yarn, I had to swear on the head of the chicken that I would keep RSC secrets, and then dance to make it Truly True. Embarrassed? Nah. Frankly, I was just hoping that I'd do a good-enough job that Tina would let me come back!

ALL of that leads up to the point of this very long post: I'm thrilled beyond words to be a new Sockateer. I'm seriously amused to disover this by reading the RSC blog -- which led, yes, to me emailing Tina with "Wait, WHAT?!?" email.

Seriously. How weird is it, that I'm excited to volunteer to work without pay to spread the yarny goodness of BMFA! (Apparently, it's not all that weird. I called my sister (she of the third-project mittens and multiple sweaters, socks, and mitts since) and, half-way through the build-up, she exploded, "You're a Sockateer?!? Wow!!" Thanks, Sis!)

p.s. I was at the Knit Night / Sip-n-Stitch / knitters who meet in Haggen's food court / PDX bloggers / whatever it's called last night. Tammy-the-Sockateer was there. Apparently she (and the others) voted (unanimously, according to Tina's response to my panicked email) me in. I hadn't read the blog yet, so had no clue. Seems appropriate, somehow, since Tammy was involved with the surprise! beads! episode :-)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Swatches Lie!

I was just grumping at the PDX-Knit-Bloggers about lying swatches when the "why" clobbered me.

I started a navy blue Bohus cardigan last Wednesday at Knit Night, and commented that it was going to be my first adventure in steeking. Several gracious people offered support and, frankly, I figure I'll deal with it when I get there.

The cardi starts with cabled ribbing -- 3.5" of it -- so I was going on faith in my accurate swatch that I was getting gauge. Eventually (thanks to waiting four hours for new tires on Friday) I had enough above the ribbing to actually measure... and found that instead of getting 4" to 20 stitches, I'm only getting 3.5". This sweater is going to be way too small if I continue on.

And I suspect that the reason why is because I knit the swatch flat, and I'm knitting round. Sigh.

So, pictures for posterity before I rip this out and start over:
(I do like that ribbing!)

And the CPH that I should be seaming up? I actually started to do it today, but then realized that I'd better block the button bands while the body was still flat -- so that's where that project is:

(color not even close to accurate!)

Shall we try this again?

I'm beginning to feel guilty. I read about other people's projects, get ideas, try new things and, although I'm not at all confident that I've got anything of value to contribute, give nothing back. So I'm going to try this "blogging about knitting" thing again.

That said, I did re-learn (for the umpteenth time) something today: when you use the kitchen sink to soak hand-knit socks, it's wise to use the correct plug so that the water actually stays in the sink. Yes, it's true. After 20-ish minutes, I returned to a sink containing socks with a light froth of bubbles on top -- but no water. (Hard to "soak" with no water...)

I finished two pairs of socks this week (don't be impressed -- I didn't start them this week!): the January club socks and a pair of my "stupid" socks (the socks aren't stupid; I can knit them when I'm feeling stupid) in STR Smokey Blue.

I pretty much followed the instructions for the club socks, and am thoroughly delighted with the cast on. JC Briar taught us the tubular cast on at camp last year, but she taught us so many brilliant cast ons that I forgot how much I liked this one. I added an extra repeat to the leg, and stopped the beads just above the heel. Very, very pretty!

I seem to have started a new sweater before sewing up the CPH (perhaps declaring it here will prompt me to actually do it?), which is pretty dumb 'cause I'd like to actually wear the sweater.