A Knit Decision

Knitting in Oregon, with other stuff, too, such as crochet, cats, dogs, history, fashion, highly opiniated rants, reading, diabetes, church, life in general, etc. I like circular needles, prefer natural yarns, don't spin, choose small projects, and don't have any one favorite yarn store. I love them all.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Do I have enough knitting projects for this trip?

Well, I finished the green & pink BSJ jacket, the one on which Snickers forced me to change needles unexpectedly. (The dog is just fine.) It is very nice.

I love how the stripes came out, so I will try to post a decent photo of it in the next week or so. Using the Knit-Along Notes from the KnitBabySurprise Group at Yahoo! Groups, I planned a border of 4 ridges (8 rows) green, then a striping of 4 ridges (8 rows) of the variegated yarn plus 1 ridge (2 rows) of the green, and finished with exactly 4 ridges (8 rows) on the other end in the green for a matching border. Quite a switch from the randomized, bold colors in the first one I did.

My only issue is size. This one came out LARGER than the blue & purple striped one. I used needles at least two sizes smaller(size 5 vs. size 8, I think), and I believed this yarn(Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece & Cascade Sierra Quattro) was slightly smaller than the Cascade 220 Superwash. I shall have to put them both down and measure for guage. It's a good thing that even though the sweater is going to be enormous for the baby girl as she is now, that in all likelihood, she'll grow enough in the next 24 months or so, that, at some point, it will fit her. Perhaps it is the stretchiness of the cotton-wool blend yarn.

I love the buttons that I found, for both jackets. Neither is really a classic baby or kid button, but I like them both. I need to sew them both up and get them ready to present to their respective recipients.

I've cast on another one, using Lion Brand Magic Stripe sock yarn, in the 'jellybean' colorway, on size 3 needles. This one is going to be smaller than the earlier ones. I am certain already.

One problem: I hate this colorway. It is striping nicely on the sleeves, but the alternating colors on the garter stitch rows in the back look far too random to me right now. I'm calling it the Hippy Baby Sweater. So, anyone in need of a Hippy baby sweater in about a 3-6 month size, in a nice mostly-wool, definitely washable? (In other words, I think I'm going to hate it so much that I won't be able to give it to anyone I know.)

I received word on Friday that my paternal grandmother had died. Joan had been ill for many years, with dementia of some sort, so the real good-byes had already been said. My aunt, who worked so hard as Joan's primary caregiver for many, many years, put together a nice 90th birthday celebration in February, which we were able to attend. It was a lovely day for all, despite Joan's persistence in trying to figure out who the guests were every two minutes or so. Her death means a three-day trip to Seattle for the service.

So, I have to figure out, do I have enough knitting projects for this trip? Do I have a good variety of projects to take with me? Are my projects small enough to travel with me.

On Saturday, I got to spend a few hours with Becci, who is a blogger in Portland, chronicaling her experiences on bedrest during her pregnancy. She has begun to crochet as part of her defense against the twin demons of boreom and anxiety that all such bedresting moms must fight. Becci showed me a few things about blogging and posting, and I watched her figure out how to edge her beautiful green baby blanket with nice even picots. It is a lovely piece and I hope she posts a photo soon. She's at-see I still don't know how to do this part- http://miraclebabyb.blogspot.com. My prayers are with her and with baby Dorothy, and husband/dad, Dave. Such nice folks.

I'll let you know how I progressed on this funeral roadtrip.

And no, I'm not actually going to knit during the service. Maybe if Joan had been a knitter that would have been OK, but she was more of a sewer and a cook, and one who would sing in the kitchen as she cleaned up.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bad Dog! Bad Human!

Here is a photo of our bad dog, Snickers.

Snickers is a bad dog today because, while we were out to dinner last night, she chewed on the needles I was working the current baby surprise jacket on. She likes bamboo. She also likes bamboo that I touch. I am a bad human today, because I did not totally close up the knitting project, with the tempting bamboo needles, safely it its knitting bag, nor did I remove the bag from the couch to a counter or tabletop.

Snickers is a 27-lb mixed-breed dog, who has lived with me since the fall of 2001. She is a good dog, but not a fan of knitting. Knitting means not going for a walk. Knitting means not going to the dog park. Knitting means not driving in the car with the window down. Knitting means not snacking.

I snapped off the damaged part of the needle and sanded it down, so it wouldn't snag the yarn when I worked it off. I had to wait until 9 am for a store to open that had 24" size 5 (US) needles. (Did you hear that? I had to wait until 9 am! Why are there no overnight knitting supply stores? There ought to be, for emergencies like this.)

The project is now moved onto metal, non-tempting needles, and ready for the next row. I also got cute buttons while I was at it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I'm about halfway done on my second EZ BabySurprise Jacket. It's coming along nicely. My only fretting is about how the striping pattern will work through the body of the jacket and the extension for length. I'm still uncertain how I'm going to handle the button & finishing options for this one. I'm using a variegated Cascade Sierra, plus a Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in solid green. It reminds me of a flower garden getting ready to bloom. Perhaps I'll find little flower buttons, although I saw some faceted green ones that might look great on this.

(Sorry-again-about the lousy photo.)

I've got a dental appointment today, yuck. I've got a foot appointment on Thursday. DH is also under the weather. It's raining in Portland. Hmm. It must be a good day to knit. My anxiety level always rises before my dental appointments.

On the bright side, I met with my knitting coach & buddy Nancy over the weekend and that went well. She is a very nice person, with lots of good insights and ideas. Once I get this foot pain under control, perhaps we'll go for a walk.

Monday, May 22, 2006

One BabySurprise complete

I've finished my first EZ Baby Surprise Jacket. I've cast on and am about one-third complete with my second.

These two garments are for my husband's co-workers. I think I have three more babies to knit for, one church friend, one of my co-workers, and a friend of my brother's.

I'm thinking of making the church friend's and the co-workers in a much smaller size and in a much more practical acrylic yarn. I shall have to think about nice trim, etc.

I'm also thinking that I would like to revive the chunky shell for myself, the one where I've finished one half of the sweater, but quit the second side after finding several flaws in this superbulky, handpainted yarn. Joining this yarn in the middle of a row is problematic for me. I'm not sure I can make the join invisible. So, I'll have to rip it out and re-start the second side of the sweater. The good news is, I'm much more confident in my technique than I was a year ago, so it should go quickly and I'm sure I'll be very happy with the results.

This yarn, for the sweater, is a blue-to-green colorway. It might felt nicely. Perhaps I could make a felted bowl from Leigh Radford's One Skein book. I love that project!

I'm working on more photos for the blog. I promise.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Knitting Coach

Nancy, my knitting coach and buddy, has solved my problem brilliantly.

Hooray to wiser, more experienced friends who help out. I may be able finish this little sweater in the next few days. Dontchya just love a finished product?

Perhaps I'll be able to post my (awful) picture of my WIP. There it is! The darker stripes are a deep purple and the others are a nice medium gray. The metal flashes on the sides are my stitchholders.

Now I can obsess about the buttons and buttonholes.....

Monday, May 15, 2006

Pick up or pick up and knit?

I'm proceeding nicely with the boy's Baby Surprise Jacket, by Elizabeth Zimmermann. My target baby was born in February (or March?) but weighed over 10 lbs. DH, who works with baby's father, keeps saying how remarkably large the boy is. I finished the increases & back extension, so the next row I'll knit is the row where one has to pick up the stitches on the side of the extension for the back length of the jacket (otherwise it would be a baby surprise bolero). I have picked up stitches before but am nervous about this one. Mostly I think I'm nervous because it's looking so nice and I am eager to produce a lovely wearable product for this family of whom I am fond.

I have thought ahead enough that I am going to be picking up in purple, so I planned a purple row as the bottom of the back section, and all my stitches on holders are also purple. But I'm troubled by the 'pick up and knit' instruction. Let's see if I can talk about it and show you what I'm worried about (since I cannot yet post photos).

A - - - - - - - - - - B

If that ^little graphic represents the edge of my garment, I'll be picking up from A to B, and the little dashes reprent the 10 stitches I have to pick up.

Now the question: is my complete action to draw the working yarn through the edge of the fabric, creating a working loop to use the next time I knit that row? Or, do I have to draw the working yarn through, creating that loop AND knit into the loop that I created?

If I have to do the 2nd (pick and knit), do I do it one stitch at a time? (Otherwise, I'm thinking that my working yarn will end up at B and I won't be able to work the stitches closer to A. Is that right?)

I'm thinking that the correct answer is the first one: to just pick up the stitches and knit into them the next time I come to them on the needles. I know, from the KnitBabySurprise group at Yahoo! Groups that I should turn the work over and pick up from the right side -to place the bumps on the wrong side. I was just going to try a few stitches and then look at it to see how I liked it.

Any ideas or insights? The last time I had to pick up and knit, it was to turn a rectangular piece of fabric into the bottom of a tote bag, which was to be fulled (felted) after it was knit. So it didn't really matter how it looked.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

One Skein Exchange

I'm SO EXCITED about participating in Interweave's One Skein Secret Pal Exchange. I just got my pal and hopefully the pal who got me will be sending me mail soon. I started this blog mostly for that exchange.

Obvious, isn't it, since I have no idea what I'm doing. But hey, at least I can type with some accuracy.

Here are my get-to-know-me answers!

1. Which yarn is most like your personality? 100% wool. Sometimes scratchy, easy to work with at the beginning, but watch out, she might felt up on you if you're not careful, and then she'll stiffen right up on you.

2. What is your favorite color yarn to knit/crochet with? I like blues and greens, often variegated, in cooler shades, like you'd see in rivers, lakes or the ocean, or a northwest forest.

3. Have you ever used variegated or magic yarns? Yes, I adore variegated yarns. I like them mostly within one color group or two closely related colors (such as blue and green).

4. Do you tend to favor certain fibers when choosing yarns? Yes, I have a decided fondness for soft merino wool. I like cotton and other naturals, too. I hate Red Heart, sorry.

5. Do you prefer center-pull or traditionally wound balls of yarn? I think I like center-pull. I thought someone told me that they were supposed to be pulled from the center. Are there more options?

6. Organic yarns? I've tried Blue Sky Organic Cotton, as shown in the Cable scarfs in the One Skein book. That's a fine yarn and I like it a lot (although I hope it stops shedding sometime in the next year). I'd say I'm neutral on the organic yarn thing. Give me organic strawberries anytime, though.

7. Projects in the last year? I started a bulky sweater, had some yarn problems, have to re-do the back of that one. I've made a scarf & hat for step-dau, using Blue Moon Lil Loops + Socks That Rock. That was a cool project and she liked it!! I'm nearly done with a double-cable scarf in Blue Sky Organic Cotton, started a few weeks ago at a class at Lint lead by Leigh Radford herself (how cool!). I've made a seed stitch hat in soft ivory wool for my Nana (she hated it-I have the hat now-it may be donated for charity). I also made her the Coronet hat (from Knitty.com) in white Caron acrylic (she liked that one pretty well). I've made a few watch caps. I'm now working on the EZ Baby Surprise Jacket in Cascade 220 Superwash. I may make a second EZ Baby Surprise Jacket using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece-that yarn looks lovely. I've also made a set of mother-daughter scarves using Crystal Palace Waikiki in Code Pink for North Neighbor & North Kiddo. Oooh, yeah, used that same yarn to jazz up a cheap set of flip-flops with a crocheted ruffle.

8. Will you be knitting any gifts this year? I'm not sure...maybe lots and lots of scarves & hats for Christmas gifts. Oh, yeah, and my gift for my One-Skein secret pal-what will it be?? This year I am planning on knitting socks for the first time ever. I've never knit a sweater (including arms, that is), either.

9. What is your favorite One Skein project? From the book, I'm excited about doing the beaded wristlets. Leigh brought some to class and, although they're a smaller scale than I've ever attempted, I'm swatching now to start them! I also want to try the baby hats & bibs, and the felted bowls. I'm loving the double-cable scarf, although I'll admit to using a 2nd skein, a la the example blue scarf at Lint, and practically doubling the length.

10. How much yarn in the stash? Not much. Probably 12 skeins...I have it all in a clear plastic tote sitting in the living room so I can get at it. There is not much stash-dom at our house. I try to buy for projects, and then, to finish the projects. But then, I'm just starting.

11. Do you have a favorite stash yarn, so beloved that you can never use or part with it? No. Yarn is to be used and transformed into beautiful or useful objects, not stashed for the sake of stashing.

12. Do you knit less or differently in the summer? Uuhhh...I'm not sure how to answer. I started knitting again a couple of years ago when DH's mother was diagnosed with ALS. We were spending hours and hours every weekend providing respite care for her husband and I was bored stiff. So I started knitting. I knit several felted bags and was starting on some other felted projects when she died in June 2005. With her death, we had our weekends back again, so I didn't knit much last summer, but I'm not sure what's going to happen this summer. I know for sure I won't want a lapful of wool spread out over my legs in the summer heat. Maybe I'll be trying those cotton yarns again in the summer or those nice little projects out of Rowans Kidsilk Haze.

13. Do you belong to any knitting groups (online or inperson)? No, not officially, not yet. I have joined a couple of Yahoo! Groups with knitting themes, but I usually lurk. I also have knit in public at my LYS, the Naked Sheep in North Portland, once. I'm planning on knitting in public later this month at Knit-Purl, another great LYS, in downtown Portland. I'm thinking about finding out about the kntting guild's Master Knitter's program. Hmm....

Am I in danger of burning out? Too much knitting too soon? I hope not. Small projects. Finish them often. Perfect for One Skein knitting!

Still gotta figure out how to blog well, though.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Another new blogger

So, who am I and why am I blogging?

I'm Lori. I live in Portland. I'm 40-something. I work. I knit. I serve the animals. I go to church. I have diabetes (type 2). I'm married. No kids. Right now, our household has 3 cats, 1 dog, and 6 guest cats, fosters from the Oregon Humane Society, a mama with 5 month-old kittens. I feel completely unworthy to blog. There are so many fabulous knitting blogs. But hey, why not blog?

I've been knitting for about 4 years now. I taught myself to crochet back in my mid-twenties, during a period of unemployment. I taught myself to knit using Maggie Righetti's marvelous book, Knitting in Plain English. I knit a triangular scarf, using lousy acrylic yarn, to learn the stitch and started on a blue afghan, using Red Heart-yeccch. The scarf disappeared years ago, and I'm going to toss out the blue afghan in the next two weeks.

Then, about a year ago, I took a class from a LYS-Portland has great LYS, btw-where I was breezily informed by my instructor that I was twisting my stitches, and I was going to have to learn to correct that before I could knit a sweater or anything else following a real pattern. How discouraging. It's taken me about a year to re-learn how to knit and purl correctly to get the yarn to lay at the correct angle on the needles.

Today's WIPs:
Pink scarf for my north neighbor. (3x3 rib in Crystal Palace Waikiki color Code Pink) This is a lovely little project and I'm liking it very well.

White Crocheted Nana Hat. I've been producing a series of white and near-white hats for my nana. I'm seeing her this weekend to give her the first two and see how she likes them.

Beaded Wristlets from Leigh Radford's One Skein book. I'm using Wildfoote sock yarn, and still swatching. I had to go from size 1 to size 0! I've never done a project on size zeros or done a project using beads.

Double Cable scarf from Leigh Radford's One Skein book. I took a class at Lint, a great LYS, from Leigh (may I call her Leigh?) and bought a second skein of yarn-oh my. I'm making the double-cable scarf in the Blue Sky Organic Cotton, as specified in the book. She made a scarf using that pattern, but in 10.5 needles, and with 16 cables on each end, making it about 5 feet long. I'm doing that. I'm on the second end of the scarf, have joined the second ball, and have, I think, about 5 more cabling rows to do, then the few inches at the end. It's lovely and my only regret is that it's probably going to be too heavy to wear in the summer months.

I am participating in the Interweave Press One Skein exchange-what fun-and eagerly awaiting the info for the person to whom I get to send skeins & a small project.

I just signed up for a class in the Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Sweater, at Knit-Purl, another LYS, fabulous. I chose some Cascade 220 Superwash. That ought to be interesting.

I'll work on posting some photos & links in the next few weeks.