Sunday, December 30, 2007

Glove Love

I started my first Selbuvotter glove...heck, it is even my first glove ever! There was something so inherently pleasing in working this pattern that I just couldn't put the darn thing down since Christmas Day. Here it is up to the division for fingers:

The pattern is Annemor #8 and it is simply lovely in Louet Gems Merino. I had to stop last night, nearly in tears, 'cause I just couldn't make sense of the directions going forward dividing for the fingers. It just didn't seem to make sense and I tried it a couple of different ways - adding to my general confusion was that the instructions were different in the two places referencing the finger division. I joined the Selbuvotter group on Ravelry and posted my questions. It is moderated by the author, so I'm hoping she'll be able to shed some light on the matter!

I hope someone responds soon.

It's been about 12 hours.

Yes, I'm watching the clock. I do have a sweater project in the works but my heart really wants to get back to my glove.

We had a great snow on Friday that started at 9 am and went until about 6 pm, falling gently but steadily the whole time. Not too cold, no wind, just beautiful, wet snow...some 6" or so. It clung to everything, and with no wind overnight, it was still there Saturday morning. Here's the view from our living room (DH's first real pictures! Not bad, eh?)

Even this morning, the snow was still perched on branches and telephone wires.

Monday, December 24, 2007

God jul

that is, "Merry Christmas" in Norwegian.

That reminds me, I have a new goal or two this year. Now, I'm totally anti-New Year's Resolutions - I firmly believe that if you want to change something, there's no need to wait until New Year's. Plus, I think they are jinxed and doomed to failure. I've never known anyone's New Year's Resolutions that were kept, not to mention seen through for over a month. When I quit smoking, it was actually on January 6th (the anniversary of my Dad's birthday. Not sure why I picked that date...he didn't ever smoke, but I'm sure he didn't like that I did. I guess it was my own little way of making him proud of me, even though he had passed away many years before.) I've been smoke-free ever since. It was actually a gloomy March day that I made the decision to put down the meatball sandwich with sides of cheetos and mashed potatoes that I was having for lunch and to get in shape. As I've gotten to know myself, I've figured out that when I decide to change something in my life, the date on the calendar means very little. So, today, Christmas Eve, I'm making some new goals:

1. Learn Norwegian - this should be great fun, given my academic background in German and various Germanic languages, both currently spoken and those preserved only in writing some 1,200 years ago.

There are some others, but they aren't exactly bloggable. (bloggable? is that a word? yikes...I hope I'm not slipping down the Troy Aikman-slippery-slope-of-language-misuse.)

I've wanted to learn Norwegian for a number of years, and there is no time like the present. I've regretted that, during all my various trips to Europe, I never once went to Norway. I wish, in fact I did this very morning, that I could just pack up and go live in Bergen or Trondheim. When I was 7 or 8, I left a note on my parents' bed that I wanted to runaway and live in Norway. It's about time I learn the language, and definitely time that I set myself to visiting there. Wouldn't it be wonderful to bike through mountains overlooking the fjords?

As a little Christmas gift to myself, I bought Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition by Terri Shea.
One search through Ravelry's pattern and project library for mittens and this gem shows up everywhere. The mitten and glove designs are inspired by actual pieces knit in the 19th century in the Selbu region of Norway. Sounds divine. The patterning is exquisite and will be a great way to hone my stranded knitting skills. In fact, now that my pre-Christmas chores and last present is wrapped, I think I'll go wind up some yarn and dive right in.

Speaking of diving right in, here's my darling Maddie-girl, knowing just what to do on a chilly winter's afternoon:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

FO Parade

Yesterday, amid the wonderful surprise of an additional 7 inches of snow, was spent listening to some of my favorite Christmas CDs while sitting next to the tree, with an assorted cat or two coming to snuggle up next to me, and finishing a few projects.

First, was last week's early a.m. knitting project, the Gansey Watch Cap from Charlene Schurch's Hat's On! I used some Cascade 220 purchased at Lakeside Fibers several years ago...good to dip into the stash archive that far back plus the color matches the trim on my new coat/Christmas present perfectly.

A little wonky with the math on the body and crown charts, but I tried not to worry about it too much. It is, afterall, my "everyday" hat and it is quite warm and fits just fine. I'm particularly fond of the brim design.

I think Charlene Schurch is brilliant and I hope to make a few more hats from this book. Her sock books, Sensational Socks and More Sensational Socks are - in my opinion - the best sock books...heck, some of the best knitting books on the planet.

Next up, the High Neck Cable sweater knit in Blue Sky's Suri Merino. Here it is, on the blocking table:

I'm still fudging with the placement of the buttons and have a few little ends to weave in. I ended up not doing actual buttonholes since I'll never be wearing it any other way but completely buttoned up. So, I simply tacked down the front plackets and simply sewed the buttons in place.
Love the buttons!

I tried it on yesterday over a very large turtleneck and without blocking and was, sadly, a little underwhelmed. I hope that once it is done on the table and after finalizing the buttons/placket, all will be well. This is intended to be my Christmas sweater this year.

Speaking of Christmas, I just wanted to share some of my most treasured decorations/heirlooms. This is the stocking my mom made for me the year I was born:

And the ceramic ornament she made, also during the year I appeared:

This funny Humpty Dumpty ornament was purchased by my parents shortly after they were married. I figure it is about 40 years old!
It just wouldn't be Christmas without seeing these.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

What did you just say?

Sorry, but I just have to get this off my chest. This offends me not so much as an ex-linguist, but as a reasonably intelligent and literate human being.

I'm minding my own business, knitting blissfully away on the High Neck Cable and watching the Giants/Bears game. Troy Aikman is commentating. He has the annoying habit of not being able to pronounce a participle or gerund -ing ending if his life depended on it, e.g. saying "kickin'", "puntin'", "runnin'", etc. Additionally, he'll consistently use the very informal shoulda, woulda, coulda triumvirate.

Just a few minutes ago, he said something that I could hardly believe. These actual words were issued by someone who - having played quarterback masterfully - must have some functioning gray matter:

"Archuleta actually probably shoulda been satten down a while ago."

Doesn't he realize that his voice and gross language misuse is being broadcast nationally, perhaps even internationally? Doesn't he realize how downright stupid that makes him seem? Reminds of me someone I know who will pronounce pumpkin as punkin and picture as pitcher. She's not trying to sound informal or cute...this is actually how she pronounces it.

No comment.


No, I'm not channeling my inner Harry Potter. But, I swear, the Internets can act like a magic wand for us knitters.
First things first. A photo of December 1, 2006:

And of photo of December 1, 2007:

If memory serves, we got some 8-10 inches of snowfall on 12/1 last year. This year, we ended up with just a few, with a thin coating of ice on top. But, heck, snow is snow and I'll take whatever Mother Nature gives me.
Now, on the magic of the Internets and how Ewe Little Dickens apparently angered, and then made peace with, the knitting gods.
I've been making slowish progress on the High Neck Cable now that the sleeves are on the body as there are over 250 stitches on a round before the neck decreasing kicks in. Last night, right before I retired to bed, I made the extremely sad realization that one of my cables, some 18 rows below, was twisted in the wrong direction. Since there are only 3 ropes of cables and smack dab in the front of the sweater, there was no hiding it. And, worst of all, I knew it was's a wonder I even got to sleep last night knowing this mistake was just sitting there, taunting me. Too tired and exasperated to deal with it, I decided to leave it until this morning when my fresh fingers and brain could re-evaluate the situation.
With a vague sense of dread, I woke early. I was prepared to rip back a good 3" of knitting (which, given that this is knit in the round with the sleeves attached is a lot!) and it would be a bit tricky as there are 8 decreases positioned ever-so-carefully on each RS row. But, maybe..just maybe, I was too tired last night to get a good look at the cable and maybe, just maybe it wasn't really twisting the wrong way?
Nope. It was going the wrong way. Damn.

Well, there's got to be a way to fix it and the worst that could happen, again, was my original plan of action of spending my precious pre-dawn knitting time at the ol' Frog Pond. So, I proceeded to whip out the Knitter's Magic Wand (aka the Internet) and search for "fixing cables" and there was a glimmer of hope.

I didn't snap a photo of my wrongly twisted cable, but - thanks to the Yarn Harlot - here's a shot of what it sorta looked like:
Now, the trick is to purposely drop just the cable stitches down to where the cable goes awry, re-twist in the proper direction and then pick up each of the stitches all the way up. In theory, this is pretty straightforward...putzy, to be sure, and I certainly wouldn't recommend it for the timid knitter. But, hey, I'm a professional, right? I can do this (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...)
The pattern calls for a 6-stitch cable with the first three held to the back every 6 rows. But, in my sorry case, 18 rows below I had for some bizarre reason decided to mix things up and hold those first 3 stitches to the front. So, braced on very early a.m. courage (we're talking 3:30 am here), down those stitches went. Witness Cable Carnage:

Here's the front of my lovely sweater with the offending stitches unmercifully destroyed [insert evil laughter here].

I re-twisted the stitches in the proper direction and proceed to pick up the six stitches up through 18 rows. Tricky thing was repeating the cable every 6 rows. I had one glitch of an attempt, just about ready to say, "heck with it...I'll just rip it", but I took a slug of the Elixir of Life (coffee) and gave it another, steadily patient go.

Well, wha'd'ya know? FIXED!

Thank you, Yarn Harlot and the Internets. You rock my world! To read her most amusing and complete explanation on how to do this, visit her archive here.
In the 2 hours I had to knit before proceeding to the gym this morning, I only knit 4 rows. But, I salvaged a whole day's worth of knitting.
In other news, the Diamond Patch mittens are complete and wearable. After a little scare yesterday thinking that I actually made two of the same hand (the pattern is just a wee bit ambiguous on exactly where to place the thumb. And that's an understatement if I ever heard one), they work:

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Our first winter storm watch of the season is here! Right now, the forecast calls for 6 inches of snow on Saturday, changing over to sleet and freezing rain. Cool. Even better? I don't have to work this Saturday. The first Saturday since the beginning of November (which, due to Washington's health problems and one cranky Ewe Little Dickens made for a truly, for-lack-of-a-better-word yucky weekend)

Snow showers are in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow, too. I'll take it.

My new camera arrived the other day and I had a chance today to set it up. So far so good. Here's my first few shots, taken of our wee beasties:

Now is that an exciting post, or what?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm dreaming

of a White Thanksgiving, and I got one.

Instead of going to the gym on Thanksgiving morning (a very rare decision these last 3-4 rare, in fact, that I can probably count the days not at the gym during this time frame on one hand and a decision I always regret. You'd think I'd learn...), DH and I went for a brisk and chilly (28 degrees with a stiff NW wind) 1 hour tromp through Shorewood.

I love the snow on top of the Halloween decorations:

And, while I think it is way too early to have Christmas decorations up, you have to admit it is pretty:
Sorry for the blur, but my big woolly mittens really prevented me from getting these shots in focus!

This photo doesn't do the snow on these beautiful burgundy leaves justice:

I certainly hope this early snow is a harbinger of our winter to come!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What I can accomplish in 20 minutes

After making fine progress on sleeve #2 of the High Neck Cable and of the last diamond patch mitten this week, I thought I'd move poor, neglected Stevie along. I thought that finishing the back was absolutely within the realm of possibility this afternoon. So, I picked it up, worked a few rows and decided I just wanted to check the armhole and overall measurement:

A mere 20 minutes later, in the hands of this fickle knitter, the nearly complete back of poor Stevie was reduced to this:

I just didn't love it. The fact that over a week would go by without me wanting to knit it should have told me something. Don't get me wrong, I love the yarn...heck, I love the pattern. I just didn't love the two of them together. So, out it's too short to knit things you just don't love, right?

I feel better now, a little sad, but better - like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I'll just focus all of my energies (like I should have all along...drat those knitting muses striking me down again after breaking my own "one project at a time" mantra) on cranking out the High Neck Cable and - finally - the last mitten. I'm actually getting the needlepoint bug again - perhaps I'll do a canvas during my early a.m. time for a change of pace??? But, all of my lovely sock yarn is still calling my name!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What a difference a week makes

A complete 180 degree turn-around from how things are going and how I feel about the's all good. As I'm rather anxious to get back to my weekend of knitting, cuddling, and watching football, just a shortie update on the knitting progress.

The High Neck Cable sweater is chugging right along. The body (knit in the round) up to the armholes and one sleeve awaiting joining to said body are complete:

I'm really looking forward to wearing this as it is going to go very well with just about everything in my fall/winter wardrobe!

I've also completed one of the diamond patch mittens and gotten over 1/2 done with the second. No photos to wait 'til they are both done for maximum impact! The first one, though, is pretty neat to look at and it won't be long until I'll need to wear them.

After a taking a bit of a pause, I've picked up the new sweater project today: Stevie from Rowan's Cork collection, knit in their new and ultimately snuggly yarn, Coccoon:

This is the project I finally settled on after my brief, but albeit unsuccessful attempt at copying the Audrey cable sweater from Athleta a few weeks back! Knit on size 10.5 needles, this is going so quickly! And I thought knitting the High Neck Cable on size 7 needles was speedy...but then again, my mittens are done on size 0!

Ok...I'm done...back to my chair, and football, and knitting!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Accentuate the positive

In light of our recent feline health crises, the lack of a working camera (mistaken as a cat toy with the result of the lens getting banged out of alignment), and a nasty case of the mean reds this morning, I thought it best to list out the things for which I am happy:

1. The time change is finally here. I will save ripping on Bushie for enacting the stupid legislation which delays "fall back" (aren't there more important issues than this?) and just be grateful that it is here at last. I love me that extra hour of weekend, no matter how I get it.

2. This weekend was the first in over two months that I
a) didn't have to work and
b) didn't have to teach

3. There are flurries in the forecast

4. The Colts/Patriots game begins shortly. I love the Colts and the Pats are a close second. I want them both to win. I'll hope for a tie.

5. There are flurries in the forecast. Sorry, but I'm really happy about that.

6. It's just early afternoon, and most of my lunch for tomorrow is packed up already (I HATE packing up my lunch for the next day).

7. Today's the first day chilly enough to wear my favorite cuddly at-home outfit: what is now an absolutely huge loden corduroy dress from J Jill. It's so big now it's just downright silly, but I can't bring myself to donate it.

8. There are flurries in the forecast and the time change. Well, at least I combined them this time.

9. Washington seems to be finally making an improvement.

10. I do indeed have a thoughtful husband.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Moving on...

Well, I'm not 100% thrilled with the Tangled Yoke Cardigan, but I'm much happier with it now that it has been blocked again:

It fits a better and, while the button bands don't lie completely flat, I can live with it as shown here in the ubiquitously bad bathroom mirror shot, slapped on over pjs:

I'm still going to re-do it. I really enjoyed the pattern and I love Rowan Felted Tweed (I've got lots in the stash). I just have to be honest with myself: I don't like making cardigans and I should just not do them! I'm going to attempt the henley version on The Rainey Sisters as noted below in a very divine ginger color.

I think I'll give it a whirl in the new year, after I finish the two projects I'm working on now and after I take a little mental health break from the pattern :-)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I can't get no satisfaction

I have become a terrible perfectionist. I've always had such tendencies, but - I must admit - they've intensified the last few years. Especially as it pertains to my completed knitting projects. The Tangled Yoke Cardigan is their latest victim.

As mentioned in the last post, I wasn't happy with the neck and the button bands. I felt that they ruffled out a bit too much, so I took them out and knit them with fewer stitches. Fresh off the needles, I was much happier with the result...until I donned it on Saturday for its debut. They still ruffled out. Truly, not nearly as obvious as before, but I just wasn't comfortable with the sweater all day, despite appreciated assurances by the DH, friends, customers, and customers who are becoming friends. Sadly, though, as soon as they left the store, so did my feeling good about the Tangled Yoke.

The bands and the yoke itself are going in for a more intense blocking tomorrow and my truly wonderful boss thinks that that will do the trick. I hope so. At this point, I am very seriously considering redoing the whole sweater, this time as a pullover a la The Rainey Sisters (can we say "brilliant!"). I should just not do cardigans. I am rarely satisfied with the bands and do reach for pullovers more often, anyway. We'll see...

I'm feeling pretty down on myself as a knitter yesterday and today. I had high hopes for this project and I'm so awfully sad that I'm not thrilled with it.

In other knitting news, I'm making slowish progress on the High Neck Cable sweater. The body is complete up to the armholes. Just like the Tangled Yoke Cardigan, the sleeves are knit, then attached to the body and the whole sweater then knit in the round to the end. I LOVE not having to set in sleeves. I can't tell you how often I have to deal with those Terrible Perfectionist Tendencies when setting in sleeves!

Washington and Madison came to live with us yesterday. This is Washington - watching me type this post. Apologies for the blurry photo...he doesn't sit still for long!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Almost there...

Sorry, but I haven't had a chance yet to personalize the new blog, but I wanted to start posting to it so that I have less to eventually migrate from the old one.

With forecast highs in the 50s this week, I thought it a good time for the Tangled Yoke Cardigan to make its official debut and that meant sewing on the buttons and weaving the ends. I picked up the specified number of stitches on the button bands but had a sneaking suspicion that there were just too many and I would end up with some puckering. I shoulda listened to the damned knitting instincts!

Do pardon the weird angle of the ubiquitous bathroom mirror shot. It fits and looks a heckuva lot better in the real world. Even DH was effusive in the praise saying that, of all my sweaters, this is one of his favorites. Yeah!

I took back the bands and instead of 136 stitches, I picked up just 120 and already I can tell that it's going to be much better. I think I'll wear it on Saturday after it has had a good last steaming to settle in the new bands.

I did break one of my knitting rules this week. I casted on a second project, because I just had to. More on that in the next post!

In my blog reading this week, I'm simply amazed by how many go to the NY Sheep & Wool festival in Rhinebeck, including a knitter from the Appleton area. I haven't read anything but amazing things about it. I think I'll make it one of my goals to be able to attend it next year, but that does mean finding a better paying job. Where oh where should I go?

A warm but blustery day allowed DH another 30 mile ride today, which brings my season mileage to 2080. Perhaps, with a few commutes to work, I could potentially crack 2100 but I'm not going to get my hopes up. It is, after all, getting on towards the end of October and it is certainly time for it to get downright chilly. I'm ready and waiting...