Monday, July 31, 2006

Misaligned Stars

This was my horoscope today in the Daily News:

CANCER (June 22-July 22). The gap between you and your financial freedom seems to widen with every trip to the mall. The remedy may be as simple as adding a new hobby to your life that keeps you from shopping quite so often.

A new hobby? This hobby is already bankrupting me!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Happiness Happens Here

So I decided that turning my knitting needles into weapons of mass destruction is definitely not a good idea, and I began thinking - what would make me happy, if slaying my fellow knitters with my size zero needles wasn't going to do the trick? Finishing my own knitting, and keeping it - that would make me happy (ok, ok, I do have a few unfinished projects in the cue that are earmarked for gifts) - strangely enough - Knitty D had the same idea at the same time (gee, I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that we're both going bankrupt buying yarn???). Anyway, I googled "August" to see if I could come up with a clever, pithy Knit-A-Long Name, and low and behold, did you know that the Secret Society of Happy People has dubbed August "Happiness Happens" Month (it used to be called Admit You're Happy Month, but I guess that was too optimistic?). I read their website, and well, it's all a bit too touchy feely for me (especially the part about August 8th being all about Silver, i.e., look for the silver lining, and when you find it, pass it off to the guy selling pencils in front of the train station), but I do think that for me, for Happiness to Happen Here this August, I must clean the cue, and make room for my fall projects. Therefore, I am starting the August Happiness Happens Here Half of a Half Marathon, in which I complete at least 6.5 projects - one project for every mile of half of a half marathon. And, in furtherance of my pursuit of happiness, I pledge the following:

1. I will not cast on during the month of August
2. I will not buy any new yarn in August (unless it's a one of a kind skein, that will cause me to lose sleep, and therefore the necessary stamina to reach my goal, or, could cause long term, permanent unhappiness, which would defeat the intended purpose of the Half of a Half Marathon of Happiness)
3. I will not cast on during the month of August.

Easy, right? If you'd like to join me - leave me a comment, and maybe we'll open up a blog - whatever makes you happy!

Of course, I had to cast on something before I started the Cast-On Freeze (less calories than a real Freeze, and we could use an iceberg here in Philly). Knitty D and I roadtripped to Kennett Square and Chadds Ford this weekend (for our adventures, the podcast should be up tomorrow), and I picked up Katia to make Lisa Mason's Tulip.Knit in the round, until the arm hole, it's going very quickly - of course, it would have gone even quicker if I hadn't created a moebius last nght after knitting about an inch. Oops. And, when the pattern switched from ribbing to reverse stockinette, I kind of forgot how to do that in the round, and I knit a bit of garter - that was quite a bit of unknitting - but, all is well know - and I'm happy happy!

Pics tomorrow!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Has anyone seen this? Or should I say, has everyone seen this, and I'm the last to know? It's only 8:00 a.m., I'm a little hungover, and I'm in serious need of rehydration - but something strikes me as odd about a game where the winner does all of the work and gets bupkiss. If I've got it straight, on the day the war begins, the Sock Master sends you a dossier with your intended target, and a sock pattern. You knit like the wind to save your "sole" and mail the completed pair of socks off to your intended victim. If before completion, you receive a sock in the mail, you're dead, and you send you're noncompleted socks to the person that killed you, who completes them, and kills your intended target. The winner is the Jedi Sock Knitter still standing, glowing double points in hand, barefoot, but victorious.

I read the comments to the post to see if people were going to embrace this slayfest like the big O, the Knitting Olympics, and it's a little early to tell. One comment did say the whole thing was a mockery of our soldiers overseas, and that anyone who participates should be ashamed of themselves. My brain is too shrunken to even begin to comment on that one, and the enormity of the irony involved there -

So, am I going to take up my needles in the name of assassination? I don't know - I don't know how this could possibly be mastered without training in mass destruction - i.e., knitting 2 socks at a time on circs. If I can't master Magic Loop 101 by the sign up deadline (sometime during the first week of September), I'm certainly going to have to give myself a mental health deferrment.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Give that Anne a Ticket for Jaywalking!

Ta da! Doesn't Anne look fabulous? I knew as soon as I saw that red/black/grey/green/purple skein it would make the perfect Jaywalkers. I started out on 1's, but unfortunately, I didn't like the way the fabric looked, and I dropped down to zero's. These are about the same size, maybe a tad bigger, than my Pomatomous sock, and Anne is stretchier than Cherry Tree Hill. Also, I'm making these for someone who could have been the inspiration for the phrase, "skinny legs and all."

Speaking of phrases, I realized just how pedestrian I am the other night in knitting circle when Merrill and Beverly started hurtling insults (in jest of course) at each other - that is so jejune! and I thought they were complimenting each other. Just goes to show how puerile I am!

And, here is my progress on the Print of the Wave -
in person, it's mind blowingly beautiful - I can't recommend this yarn enough - it's beautiful, its soft, it's beautiful, it doesn't split, it's beautiful, it's not too slippery - oh, and by the way, it's beautiful. You can't tell from the picture, but I guess it's about 2 ft long at this point, so I have a ways to go. For some reason, the complete frenzy to cast on is over, and I'm calmly knitting the Jaywalkers and the stole. I think it may be because I had a vision in my head about what a particular yarn was going to look like knit in a particular pattern, and now that my vision is realized, I've reached an inner piece.

Of course, that may all go up in smoke when I have a vision about the Anne that I bought on Wednesday . . . oh yes, it's clearly a sickness, but not at all jejune.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Watch Out Internet, Here She Comes!

As she so sheepishly admits, Courtney has finally been pulled kicking and screaming into the Internet age, and has set up her website to sell her pattterns. She has even mastered Paypal and that seductive "Buy Now" button. Named after the remote little island she fled Philadelphia for, her company appears to be called Smith Island Pattern Factory, as opposed to the Agnes Pattern Company, the name I had previously mentioned when I was talking about test knitting her pattern. If you click on the wistful looking woman to the left, it will take you to her cyberhome -

And, speaking of the pattern I test knit, named Parthenhope, Courtney and I have been emailing about upping the gauge (right now we're both at about 4.5-5 stitches to the inch), and perhaps the needle size (I knit mine on a 5 beccause I'm loose, she knit hers on a 6), to make the thing bigger. While it does look lovely with a shawl pin (thanks Knitty D for my birthday present!!!), it could use a bit more length. The other solution, of course, is to add more repeats of the tile pattern, which I easily could have done, since I ended up with about a half a skein, perhaps a little less, of Anne. Anyway, it's really beautiful, and once the pattern is finished, I will certainly give everyone a shout- out, and I don't know, maybe I'll knit it again, and host a knit-a-long.

But, while you're waiting for Parthenhope, you can knit Courtney's Koigu baby jacket, the only pattern she has up for sale at this point (but there are more coming!).
Beatrix is knit in Koigu, and depending on the size, takes between 3-5 skeins. I've seen the finished jacket in person, and it's, as Courtney would say, really good looking.

And, while I'm on the topic of online knitting patterns, I've finally jumped onto the Jaywalker bandwagon, and have cast-on my first (because everyone says they're so addictive you end up knitting it again) pair of Jaywalkers in this fabulous skein of Anne (but is there a skein of Anne that is not fabulous in it's own way?). I'm at work, so I'll have to post a picture tomorrow, but what I thought was a mild mannered skein of red, black and grey, is not only red, black and grey, it's also green and purple, and the zigzags look awesome.

And, more online sharing - my Print O' the Wave stole is coming out even more beautiful than expected - I'm about 12 repeats into the first panel, and have decided there will be only one center panel - no grafting for me. Based on advice I got from Laura (thanks Laura, for enabling my inherent laziness), posted on one of my blog entries, she assured me it would work out just fine without the grafting, and I'm all for that! Considering I still have to follow Knitty's online picture tutorial on grafting for every single stitch, I was not looking forward to it.

And, on a side note - WELCOME HOME ROBIN! We were all a bit worried about you, and I'm certainly glad you're home safely. Hopefully, will see you at Rosie's tonight!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Second Sock Syndrome Conquered!

Even with all of my Aunt Wendy duties of the weekend - coloring, having a Barbie Festival, going to the farm to see the cows, blowing bubbles, naming the flowers, having a sleepover - uch! - I still managed to finish my Socks that Rock - and if I do say so myself, Rock they do!

As I mentioned before, I was pretty concerned about the yarddage. These Feather and Fan Socks, from Socks, Socks, Socks, called for 375 yards, 15 yards over what I suppossedly had in my skein. I decided to risk it - I've never made a pair of socks yet that I didn't have yarn leftover. I cast on, and patterned on, not really looking at the pattern until I was ready to turn the heel. Oops - I had made the leg 1.5 inches longer than what the pattern called for (5 inches), so I was already cutting it close on yarddage, and, I had knit a bigger sock. I could have ripped back, but I decided to be wild and crazy and continue on. When I finished the first sock, I weighed it, along with the remainder of the ball, and I was good to go -- deep sigh of relief!

See that little ball of yarn - that's what I had left - glad I didn't do Pomatomus. I don't think I would have made it. In the future, I'm definitely going to invest in either the 2d lightweight skein, or the midweight. But, for now, I'm out of socks that rock, and I think it's time for the Jaywalkers - in Anne! And, what's to become of these sherbety-like socks - they're to be gifted tonight to my friend Ruth, who is permanently relocating to Florida - because what else does a girl need in Florida but a good pair of merino wool socks!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Anne Squared

So, the Summer of Lace hasn't been kind to poor Icarus, but I have laced on - here is my finished Anne Shawl - a Courtney Kelly design.

This was my first experience with test knitting, and I have to say, it was much easier than knitting say, a pattern written by Noro for Noro - I will never do that again.

There were some blips in the pattern, but we'll fix them. I kind of guessed my way through the edging chart, and because she didn't put a gauge on the pattern (not that I ever get gauge anyway), mine turned out a little smaller than hers - I think. Her pattern says 60" inch square, but I'm not sure what measurement she took. From corner to corner, my square measures 57", but from edge to edge, it's only 40" - and from what I remember about her shawl, and from the picture that accompanied the pattern, I really don't think mine is a whole 20" shorter on each side than hers. I don't know - we'll have to compare when she comes back to town (which is September for all of you Philly Courtney fans!).
So here are a couple of close-ups of the pattern - the center is a tile stitch (similar to the one in Knitty's Ella, but since it's knit in the round, there's no nasty k2tbl's), and the edging pattern is a lotus. I didn't do a great job blocking the lotus points, but that may have been because I cast off a bit tight.

If anyone is interested in this pattern, once it's fixed, it will probably be available at Rosie's. Courtney already has a few patterns that you can find on the Rosie racks - some are published as Rosie's patterns, the newer ones are coming out under her own line, Agnes Pattern Co. There's
an awesome baby jacket in Koigu, the 1/2 pi shawl that I yadda yadda yadda on about on the podcast, a new sock pattern, and I'm sure there's more to come.

Because it turned out a bit small, I'm having a hard time figuring out how to wear it - although
that problem might be solved with some mighty airconditioning - I can't even stand the thought of touching the thing right now, let alone wrapping myself in any kind of wool in this 90 billion degree weather - and my airconditioner is busted.

So - what's a girl to do - switch to silk of course! Last Thursday, Rosie's kicked off it's huge Hand-dye Extravaganza. I knew what I wanted, and I was going to get it - so I was on Rosie's doorstep about a half hour after the store opened (camping out also occurred to me). Sherry was already there, and of course, had been the first to snag the Anne. I headed straight for the Handmaiden Sea Silk, 70% silk, 30% sea cell, 100% beautiful! Not that I should be in the market for anything, but I was looking for something completely off the beaten path from my usual color pallet - I was looking for something to do Eunny Knit's Print o' the Wave Stole, and I found it -- I snatched it off the shelf, and it was mine mine mine! The only other 2 blue skeins had gone seconds before I walked in the door (to another lawyer, go figure). I'm 8 repeats into the pattern (17 repeats per 1/2 - then they are, ugh, grafted together), and I just love love love this yarn. It's so soft, and it definitely solves the wool problem . . .

Hmm, yes, there is wool in my little hand-dyed stash - but I needed it I really did. I had to try Carol's new sock yarn from her labor of love, Black Bunny Fibers. Carol is living out my spinning fantasy. Remember when I bought my wheel - how I carried it across town, how I tweaked it, and got it to run - how I slowly began to get the hang of it - and I was starting to make something that somewhat resembled yarn - and then it all came crashing down, literally, when my shoe-stealing cleaning lady knocked my wheel over, busting the flyer. Had my spinning career not been derailed, I envisioned myself spinning my own sock yarn - not necessarily selling it, but dyeing it, naming it, etc. But, so far, that is not to be (because to fix the wheel would be a distraction from the knitting - maybe when I go to Rhinebeck I'll get a new flyer). This skein is called Poodle, and it was named for Lisa's daughter, Eva. First, I thought I was going to do the new RPM socks in this month's Knitty in this, but I'm not sure . . . it needs to be something special. If anyone is interested in Carol's Black Bunny Fibers - it's available at Rosie's, and at Carol's Etsy shop.

And, truly - I did need that Anne you see in the pile. I had purchased a skein of Anne online at Little Knits, and it was being sold in a lot of 2 - but by the time it got in my check-out cart, someone had already snatched up the matching skein. But, miracle of miracles, there was the twin in Rosie's latest shipment of Anne - I couldn't pass that up, could I?

I mean it was my birthday and everything . . .

And, speaking of birthday's, what could be a better birthday present than more Anne??? That's exactly what Merrill thought when she bought me one of the skeins of this green Anne - ok, so I had to buy the matching one, but when you find 2 identical skeins, you can't split them up, can you?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Once upon a time, if I was down, and I needed a little pick me up, I would just buy myself a new lipstick. Those days are over my friend -- the $24 Channel lipstick has been replaced by the $24 skein of Anne - 560 yards of luscious, vibrant color.

With my Channel Lipstick, I could get instant gratification - a few swipes, and voila! My world was now filled with color, and I felt pretty. And I could share the thrill of my new lipstick - leaving a bit on someone's cheek, or collar, or perhaps a pillow case . . .

But with Anne, while I do experience a quick rush on purchase, I am then tortured with - what is it going to become - and I just can't knit it up fast enough. As you can see, I'm starting to accumulate quite a stash (it doesn't quite add up to my Channel lipstick stash - but that's also because I tend to lose my lipsticks in my house, in my handbag, etc., and a new one must be purchased until the old one resurfaces) - and it's really bothering me - because I want to buy more, and I can't buy more if I can't even figure out what to do with what I have.

The red, black, grey, silver skein is earmarked for Jaywalkers. The gold/yellow/pink combo is already in progress as Courtney's shawl. But the 2 pretty pretty skeins of pink? I have any idea in my head, but I'm afraid it will look like crap, and I would be very upset if I blew 2 skeins of beautiful Anne. And the other 2? Please . . . my head hurts.

You can never have too many lipsticks . . . but too many Annes?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Yep, so this was a great plan. Great plan. A perfect match. Well, at least they're pretty . . .

Actually, I've overcome second sock syndrome, at least with the STR Feather and Fan sock - the second sock is not only cast on, it's progressing nicely down the cuff, and depending on which of my 20 billion cast-on projects I choose to knit during the Wimbledon final tomorrow, I may even turn the heel and head towards home . . . the fate of Pomatomus is another story.

So, while I haven't been blogging (because the pool, alas, has not gone wireless, although it does have an open bar), I have been knitting. Along with the perfect pool knitting (socks), I recast on Courtney's shawl.

For those of you who don't know Courtney, she is the co-author/creator of the famous Rosie's Half Pi Shawl, and formerly (and soon to be again), Rosie's staffer. When she moved down to some farm on some island somewhere south of Pennsylvania, we all knew (hoped) she'd be back. And, about a month ago, like magic, there she was in Rosie's, working on a Saturday, with plans to permanently return sometime in the fall. While she chatted about her plans, I kept staring at that oh so good looking shawl she had on. I snatched it right off her, is this Anne? Our lady Anne? Of course, an Agnes original. See Courtney is starting her own line of patterns, Agnes Designs, or something like that, and I would totally be enouraging all of you to run out and buy her patterns (I know there's a Koigu baby jacket and a fab sock coming soon), however, I don't know where she's selling them or how, so I'll let you know as the Agnes line develops.

But, I begged, pleaded, cajoled her to give me the pattern. So, she agreed that I could test knit it for her - and then, when she went back home to the island, I nagged nagged her to mail it to me.

I already blogged about the day it arrived in the mail, and the perfect timing to try my new circular cast on. Originally, I cast on in Andrea.

Andrea Andrea, Andy . . . you just don't know what you want to be when you grow up. You didn't want to be a lace cardigan, and after one repeat of Courtney's Shawl (which does have a name, I just can't read it in the font that she printed the pattern in - Palenthrope maybe?), you clearly rebelled against being a square shawl. Sigh, out would come again, and back in the stash you would go. Someday we'll find you.

Anyway, I recast on in Anne - which was no easy feat, because finding 2 identical skeins of Anne is not always the easiest thing. Luckily for me, Christina purchased 2 skeins on line (well, because I told her Little Knits was having a sale . . . but with the postage I think the sale saved her a dollar) that she ended up not liking, so I bought one from her, and traded my skein that I had gotten in the 'burbs for the other one.

So, this squished up thing is a beanie -- no, really, it's a square shawl. You can kind of see in the picture at least one of the four triangles, sort off. Well the pattern does call for lots of blocking pins.

Here's a close-up. Believe it our not, that would be a tile stitch. Blocking is magic. The edging is some kind of lotus, I think. Anyway, I'm almost done this center part - I need 19 tiles across a triangle, and I have 13, six more to go.

Hopefully, tomorrow's match will go five sets . . . so much for turning that heel.