Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Oh, Knitting

I want everyone to know that Bryspun circulars may soon be back in my best good graces. I called the company (located in Eugene, OR, right down the road from Portland) and explained the breakage problem, and the wonderful woman I spoke to apologized profusely, explained the problem (a heat-sensitive bonding agent on the first generation that, in prototype form, appeared not to be an issue), and is sending me a replacement set. I am still a bit leery about casting a complex lace project on any of the other sets that I have, because I am not sure what "generation" the needles are. (The problem is not a universal one; it seems to happen once in a while and not all the time, and only with the first of the circulars to hit the stores). In true knitting company form, Bryspun is very amenable to helping a knitting sista out, and even suggested I go to a store that sells the needles and exchange mine for a newer model.

Which brings me to the reason I have such a big smile on my face right now:

Do we have the best hobby ever, or what?

You order something from a small crafty company, and receive a handwritten note of thanks, sometimes a small something extra; you call a company up to complain about their product, and before all of the words are even out of your mouth, apologies are flying and offers to make it right are crossing the block. When so much of the world we live in has become big-boxified and impersonal, when the customer service number you dial is much more likely to cross an ocean than it is to ring down the street from you, being a part of a community like this really brings you home, you know?

I'm in Love!!!!

So, I've decided that I'm in love with socks, and I have to ask myself, how did this happen? I struggled with socks for the longest time, over a year, only finishing 1 sock and half of another, and really couldn't bring myself to finish the second sock. I just wasn't "in love" with the pattern or the yarn I used, frankly, and wasn't doing well with the "ankle" down approach. So, I tucked them away in some lonely drawer, amongst the other "misfit" yarn projects I didn't have the heart to complete, and today, a year or so later, I'm still left with those 1 and 1/2 socks. What to do with 1.5 socks? Hmmm, I will have to think on that one and post about it later. I don't think I will ever have the heart to finish them. But, and this is the great part, I don't care! Because I've actually fallen in love with socks, and this time it's here to stick! S and NK introduced me to the toe up pattern, and I've decided that I just can't get enough! The socks are knitting up beatifully, and I'm having dreams about them at night! (I'm taking that as a good sign:) Now if only I had more time to knit them! I need to do something about that, as there never seems to be enough time in a day.

Here are the Marbles JayWalker socks I started last week..... I'm ready to turn the heel!

And, I decided to work on another pair of Jaywalkers simultaneously, (I am that addicted!) so started a pair for my lovely sis in Socks that Rock Neptunite, which has some gorgeous striping also! Will post more on these socks as they increase in size....

Monday, January 30, 2006


S, you are a woman on a mission. Those socks have made some serious progress. Yowza. Plus, your stripes kick butt. My stripes on the 1s are okay, but yours on 2s rock.

I only made a little Rogue progress since my last post. I'm at the same point you are, S. I agree we can finish the hood soon. I have a lot of writing work to do in the next week, though, so I may not be able to keep up with your pace 'til my deadline is past. Here are some picks:

I spent this weekend working on my own website for writing. I'm still working out the kinks, but you can see it at www.emilyewilliams.com.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Rogue Update and a Corner Turned

I have made a full recovery from yesterday's not-so-happy accident. The FBS is back on track, but she's not much farther along than she was when the mishap occurred. I do believe she will survive, however. (thanks for the supportive comments, NK).

When I was at my worst yesterday, when curses were flying outta my mouth faster than I could catch 'em, I turned to what has become my old faithful, socks. The particular socks that helped me through this trying time? Prickly Pear Jaywalkers. They did not let me down. Not at all. I hung out with them for a good portion of yesterday, and used them to help me calm down and figure out how to fix fbs, and they really did help. I got to the heel turn on both socks, hence the corner turned. I have loved them from the first, before they were even toes, but now love them even more, for being there for me in my time of deep, deep need.

In other happy and productive knitting news, Rogue is completed through row 63. She just gets purtier and purtier. E, whattaya think about finishing the hood by next Sunday? Shouldn't be a problem, and we can get together next week to knit and figure out that last part, if it proves to be difficult.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

danger, will robinson, danger

the worst has happened.

i was happily knitting away on my fbs, the mystery project i am working on, which is up to about 230 stitches; halfway through the 7th row of the second-to-last repeat, and something didn't feel right. i looked back, along all those stitches, and something REALLY didn't look right. the bryspun circ (yeah, i THOUGHT i loved those oregon-made bryspuns. now the jury is definitely OUT) i was using had, now brace yourselves, ladies, BROKEN. just out of the blue, no advance notice, one minute it was fully joined, and the next, a clean break between needle and cord. there were about 40 live stitches, including all manner of lace manuevers: yarn overs, double decreases, k2tog, ssk, just hanging there, getting pulled all kinds of out of whack. because, i didn't realize it right away. why would i even entertain the thought that my needle would just up and quit? no, i continued to knit, and it wasn't until i reached the center of the project that things began to feel...yucky.

wtf??? shit. sfpd (this is a special curse taught to me by my dear mom. it does make one feel better at times like this).

i am soooo not happy right now. i am sooooo close to completing this, so close, in fact, that my knitting was almost automatic, and i was losing myself in the daydream of all the knitting i was going to get done this weekend. shoot, i had this baby done, off the needles, washed, and blocked by mid-afternoon, in my mind. i had even packed it nice and purty-like, to mail to the recipient.

and now this.

and now this.

so much for automatic knitting. maybe i need to spend a little down-time with the prickly pear jaywalkers, just to get my head back in the game

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Must-See Knitting

This is Rogue at row 37 (the bottom photo is closer to the actual color)

Alright, E, I decided to step it up tonight, and spent all evening with dear sweet Rogue and her beautiful hood. Now, I consider myself to be a fairly fast knitter, but these "advanced cables," oh, man. They really take something outta me. I get all tense, and my tongue snakes out and gets itself lodged between my teeth, and I only hear about 2/3 of anything said to me...yeah, I am a sloooow cabler.

I began at row 37, and made it to row 50. Aside from eating, and talking on the phone to S's sister for quite a while, what I did most of the evening was knit. Cables. On Rogue. And I got 13 rows done. The good news is, in order to make our mark, I only need to knit 10 more rows (only, hee, hee). The bad news is, you, E, are already there, which means we may just step up the goal for the week (which would be nice, because I have been entertaining the idea of joining the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics, trying to do Fair Isle socks, so getting Rogue done will free me up for that). Whew!

Tomorrow is another night, though, and another dozen or so rows at least. The cabling is getting more gorgeous by the second - when I do a few rows, and then kind of take a step back to look at the whole thing, I get proud, and amazed. What a pattern!

And this is Rogue at row 50

JayWalkin and more....

First things first...I received a package in the mail yesterday, I think from my Secret Pal 7 (as it arrived anonymously), and much to my joyous suprise, it was a set of Bamboo double pointed needles! Secret Pal, if you're reading this, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! These are much appreciated and will be loved over and over, I can assure you!

OK, so I have finally committed to starting my JayWalkers......here's a brief snapshot, as I've not gotten too far, but all that is going to change this weekend when I actually have the time to devote to these beauties (the time they actually deserve)! These are in Socks that Rock Marbles colorway, which is too awesome for words....I just love it! I think it's my favorite!

On another note, I just had to show off a new colorway of Socks that Rock that I recieved yesterday (I say recieved, as it was more like a trade/purchase/exhange sort of thing from a fellow knitter - I won't go into details, but S knows all about it), but just the same, I was so excited to receive this and can't stop looking at it! The colors are so different from anything I would typically use, but it's just fabulous, isn't it? It's the Peridot & Periwinkle colorway~can't wait to knit with it....

I'll try to take some stash photos this weekend....


Giddyup, indeed, E. After seeing your post, I am embarrassed to admit that cables were not on my knitting agenda (KA) last night. What was on my KA, you might ask? Wedding Crashers and Prickly Pear Jaywalkers. I couldn’t even THINK about something requiring the three C’s of Rogue: Concentration, Cable needles, or Charts. I am, however, pretty pleased that I am at the point in the patchwork version of toe-up Jaywalkers I have cobbled together from the patterns of knitters far more inventive and talented than I, that I am almost completely self-sufficient. I need no pattern, just needles and yarn. This is a liberating feeling, being able to create a sock without a pattern. I remember seeing NK do it, time after time, and thinking – how can she remember all of those steps? She can do the heel, just out of the blue, without sweating over a pattern?!?! Without demanding complete and utter silence?!?!?! No one is more surprised than I that I am just about there myself, at least with this pattern. Which is so nice. So refreshing. So fresh and so clean-clean.

But tonight, oh, tonight is for Rogue. She and I will hang out, we will cross cables correctly, we will spit-splice if need be, and we will begin the hood decreases, just like E and her Rogue. I will give her my concentration, my care. I will cross out charted rows, I will cross cables like crazy, I will make progress.

Oh, and E, I love your helpful hints! The sock thing for pulling from two ends of one skein, geez, I dig that – much better than my sour cream container idea! I will have to scour my sock drawer for oldies that are wearing out. I have already woven a pretty tangled web just by doing a few inches on Prickly Pair Jaywalkers.


Rogue chart C row 55 is done! That is cooler than it sounds. After this the hood is getting smaller instead of larger. Okay, still cooler than it sounds... I almost had to take her out back and shoot her at one point due to an unfortunate confluence of TV induced inattention and cable work, but better sense prevailed. Giddyup!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Skills to pay the bills

Hey Yarn Heart-ers, Neuro Knitter's bottle blocking photo a while back got me thinking about how every knitter has some clever trick to share with the rest of us. (NK has dozens!) So, let's share them! Mine, you'll notice, reveal two things about me. First, I am a penny-pinching pack rat. Second, I just got married and have lots of packaging from lots of new household items.

One trick I'm fond of is saving the plastic zippered bags that sheets and pillows and such come in. They are nice sturdy little storage containers and come in infinitely varied sizes. Smaller ones for a sweater's worth of yarn; bigger ones for your sub-stash of a certain fiber. They can be easily put in out of the way corners without getting tangled or musty. A penny saved is a penny more toward yarn...

Here's my stash, all bagged up in the basement, and my "in progress" basket that stays upstairs.

Similarly, a lot of sheets these days come in drawstring bags of the same fabric. These make the perfect bag to felt things in. Unlike pillowcases, which many patterns recommend, these bags have draw strings already built in. Awesome.

Oops - this project shrunk way too much!

I save card board toliet paper rolls to use as the base for winding my own center-pull balls. They're just the perfect size. And what a good feeling to do something useful with something so banal. You don't need a photo of that.

Finally, S gave me a great idea the other day. We've been doing our socks toe-up, two-at-once, on two circular needles lately. This is the bomb, except that if you're working from one ball of yarn (one string from the center, one string from the outside) the two strings get tangled. By coincidence, I found a hole in the heel of a pair of really stretchy slipper socks that evening. So, off with it's foot! And voila - the old sock becomes a yarn ball keeper.

Here's a closeup of jaywalker... a project that some of us are more fond of than others...

I know for a fact that S has some really good tricks she's shared with me... but I'll let her post on those.

Many thanks to my lovely assistant today, Carat.

The Rogue of the Week (or month, or months)

E and I had a sit-down, and decided that we are going to renew our Rogue-along with the gusto such a super-fantastic sweater deserves. No more of this f-ing around, especially by yours truly. This sweater is such a gorgeous design, and winter actually seems to be waning here in the Pacific Northwest (I am one hell of a wishful thinker sometimes), AND we are at least half-way done with it, so we have laid out some ground rules for the Rogue-along:

1. We will set realistic goals each week AND actually complete these goals.

2. Sunday will be our Rogue Day, which means that we will EACH post a Rogue update, complete with photos and description of knitting trials, tribulations, and victories.

3. Rogue will be finished soon.

We are working our way through the hood right now – I have no progress photos, but the first chart page is finished, and we are aiming to get through half of the second chart page by Sunday night.

Oh, and I finished Tigersocks last night – S has them on right now (he actually wanted to sleep in them, but I put the kibosh on that), and casted on Prickly Pair Jaywalkers before work this morning! Yee-hawww!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

What I Know I MUST Be.....

"A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be."
- Abraham H. Maslow

I, my friends, must be a knitter, as I can't get it out of m
y mind! Literally! We all met yesterday for a little 3 hour stitch n bitch session, and I couldn't drive home fast enough so that I could knit some more! I must learn to knit and drive...anyone master that yet?

In any case, thought I would post my latest project...the Conceptual Shawl, which is a free little pattern I picked up fr
om Abundant Yarn last week. Yes, last week. This shawl literally only took 3 days to complete...a very quick knit if you're looking for a gift to make and you need to complete it by this weekend! The only complaint I would have is that it's not large enough....the pattern called for two skeins of diVe Mohair Kiss Ombre, which is equal to about 200 yards. Looking back, I would have made it 3 skeins and would use more of a contrasting blend. I'm thinking about starting another one in a completely different type of yarn, just to see the differences. BTW, this is my daughter modeling the shawl for me...I couldn't get her to take her DQ shirt off, so not the most appealing combination, but you get the idea.

Also started a pair of JayWalkers in Marbles Socks that Rock, toe up, so will post those soon also...

More later...WG

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Can I Get a What-What?

Extra, extra, read all about it!! I finally have a complete finished object!! (Since I took the photos tonight when I got home, they are a tad...dark. The colorway is uber-vibrant, not at all dull, as they may appear in these photos).


Jaywalker pattern, by Grumperina
STR yarn in Alina colorway
Mods: toe-up using the Rockin' Socks toe-up pattern (a Blue Moon Fiber Arts pattern), written by our own NeuroKnitter

Heart them, so happy to be done! Thanks for the support, weheartyarners, and for the fun times at our own little stitch and bitch - so glad J could join us, too.

So, weheartyarners, whow about a challenge, of sorts. (I'm kind of on a high for finishing a project - I feel like I have just been plugging away at all of my WIPs, without having much to show for it! Finishing projects is really, really good for the soul.):
Where are you on your projects? I propose that we all post project updates - for everything we are working on. I will try to post mine later this weekend. And, we cannot forget about our stash challenge, can we?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday Jaywalker Update

Real quick - here is my Friday update for the Alina Jaywalkers. Foot done, no more shaping, no more short rows, no more calculations, no more size one needles, just straight up jaywalking. I will admit that I am jealous jealous JEALOUS of NeuroKnitter for finishing hers, but I still heart her and her socks...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Four More Rows

So, E, this one's for you. I plugged away all evening on Rogue, poor, sweet Rogue, that beautiful young thang that I have been neglecting for waaaay too long now, and - ooh, girl, those cables!! More lovely than any we have done before. MMMM... I have 4 rows to go on the first cable chart. Four rows. Can I finish at our knitting group tomorrow? Hopefully.

And, to Rogue: I am truly sorry for the lackadaisical attitude these last few weeks - I will not neglect you again. I was blinded my multi-projects, by Jaywalkers and tiger socks, by the possibility of casting on something brand new. The itchy fingers. But you, my dear, are so damned gorgeous (if you overlook all of the...happy accidents infused in you). You will hug me before the winter ends, and I will hug you back.