Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Glad to Have a Garage

Here's what I have been working on today:

Her name is Polly and she needed a shine.

So I gave it to her! One headlight was burned out. I replaced both of them with brighter bulbs because Iowans don't believe in streetlights. ;) I also Rain-Xed all the windows because,'s raining out and I haven't done it for a couple years. Fun fact: after you've used Rain-X on your windows and the water repellent wears off (it takes a loooong time), water smears worse than if you hadn't ever used Rain-X on your windows! Actually, maybe that's not's been so long since I put on the first coat of Rain-X that I probably just don't remember what a plain, wet windshield looks like....

Sorry, I went infomercial on you there! Rain-X really is great if you live in a wetish climate, though.

I'm knitting and seaming(!), too. I just haven't done any today (yet)! I'll have some knitting for you Friday.

What are you working on (knitting or non-knitting related :D)? Are you excited for Halloween?! I am! Tell me what you or your loved ones are dressing up as!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Just in Time for Halloween

At the Cauldron's Edge

Pattern: By the Seine River by Dona Knits
Yarn: Candy Skein Yummy Fingering Superwash Sock in Witch's Brew
Needles: US 1
Project page

These socks took me far too long to knit! They were a between-projects/traveling project and just kept getting shoved aside for things I really wanted to work on. I love all of Tami's monthly colorways, but this one screamed at me to buy it! I really had jump on it because I was also a bit sore about not buying September 2012's (the previous month's) monthly color, Honey Crisp Apple (bottom of this page), which was also stunning.

I knew I didn't want a heavy pattern to obscure the color or so light a pattern that the color would obscure it, so when I saw all the lovely versions of this pattern in subtly variegated yarns, I knew it would match the yarn perfectly. I literally started knitting them in the dark one night in Idaho, so I didn't have a clue what they looked like until the next morning. Needless to say, I was very pleasantly surprised!

Another reason they took so long was because the feather and fan and twisted ribbing (ick...) on such small needles was not fun for my hands. I don't think I changed the pattern much except to lengthen the cuffs (didn't want to waste any of this beautiful yarn!), change the heel flap to eye of partridge, and change the toe decreases. I basically stopped looking at the pattern after I had the feather and fan part down, so I made it up as I went along. :) I think I detailed my modifications on the Ravelry page, however.

I had envisioned these as spring socks, actually, so I could wear them tall with bare legs and boots. It's too cold to do that now, but they will be fun to bum around the house in until spring rolls 'round again.

I really had fun pairing the perfect sock pattern with yarn I couldn't live without. I have done the process again with another gorgeous skein that I hope to "sockify" in November. I'm the sort that usually finds yarn for the pattern, so the opposite approach is new and fun for me. Which way do you pair yarn and pattern? Do you find it easier or harder to do it one way over the other?

For more FO Friday posts (and great yarn!) visit Tami's Amis!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Slump

I've been knitting like crazy on Frontenac. It looks more like a scarf right now than anything else, so I'll just save you the progress shot until it's done next week. It better be done next week!

I had to cut so many roots off this guy!
Today, I worked on my repotting and watering my orchids and now that I'm thoroughly worn out, I'm debating whether to restart my boot sock or move on to a dog sweater. The dog sweater sounds pretty good because I haven't started it, and so, haven't messed it up yet!

A red dog sweater! So cute! Should I start?
Last week was just an epic knitting failure week for me. To begin, I had the gauge trouble with Hayward. I still haven't restarted it. Then, I ran out of yarn halfway through the foot of my boot sock. I had to frog the whole sock so I can modify it to be shorter and fit my foot a little more snugly. Then, I ran out of black yarn on my Frontenac three rows too soon (if I hadn't done the long-tail cast-on, I would have had just enough! Curse you, long-tail cast-on!) and now I'm worrying whether I have enough of the white to finish the sweater. I'm trucking on. One of my LYSes should have a white skein if I need it.

But there is good knitting news, too! I finished two projects this week: a months-old pair of socks and the test knit I've been slogging away on for a month and a half. I'll show you the socks Friday. They are probably my favorite!

How do you get through knitting nightmares? Just keep going or give it a rest for a bit? Do you have a no-fail pattern that helps you through when nothing else seems to be working? I'm totally at a loss and would love some advice!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Winter Prep

It's supposed to snow tomorrow. That means it's time to organize my highly unorganized winter accessories bin. Right now it works on a messy system of shove in, dig out. I can't find pairs of anything unless I keep them in my coat pocket.

With a cold week ahead, I had better bring some sort of order to this mess. It's actually fun to lay out the piles of accessories and think about knitting them.

Most are leftovers from sweaters. Some are from friends. Others, I knit so quickly that I haven't thought about them. How can you dig for something you forgot exists? Above is my meager pile of mitts. I may grow it a bit this season.

These are the cowls. I typically wear one a season. I have a spring one, a fall one, and a holy-crap-it-is-freezing-outside one. There are a few more in there. They see action at my whim.

My hats pile is the biggest. Here's a prime example of things I forgot I had knit! I have a running hat and a red hat I just didn't remember. I love hats! Winter hats make me sort of like winter. But only sort of. Fall and spring are also acceptable hat seasons. Who needs winter, really?

There! That's more like it! Now if I have to go anywhere in the snow (aaagh!) tomorrow, I'll be ready to grab a hat, mitts, cowl, or scarf (they weren't interesting enough to photograph, trust me. I'm a cowl convert) and brave the chill.

Which are your favorite seasonal (not just winter!) accessories? Do you have a bin by the door too? I borrowed the idea from Thea Colman, who has a basket by her front door. I don't know where I kept all this stuff before then!

I'm going to cozy up under my coziest work-in-progress and stare at the Weather Channel now. See you soon!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Set Backs

I'm not usually bothered by having to rip out hours of work, but this one is going to sting a bit. It's not that I didn't check my gauge (I did that obsessively as I knitted), but that I didn't account for the obvious: I'm using dk to knit a pattern written for fingering weight yarn. My gauge matches the written finished gauge. I figured, if it grew at all, no biggy, it's a baggy sweater anyway. My mistake was not paying attention to the row gauge earlier, which is a full stitch off.

I bet you don't usually pay much mind to row gauge either (and if you do, you rock!). Usually, you don't need to. There are times when you should, though. Making raglan sweaters is one of those times because your armholes will be too long or too short if you don't have the row gauge just right. My armhole will be two inches too long if I continue. It might not make a difference due to the nature of this sweater's odd shape, but I don't want to mess with a good thing!

So, sometime this weekend, I'm going to tear out this lovely lump of fabric and try again. Good thing I have a million other projects in the works. :)

I wish you lots of happy knitting and a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Small Things

I've had a crick in my neck since Friday that finally went away today, but was replaced by a back pain I've never felt before. It feels like one achy vertebrae in the center of my back. It hurts to breathe and move. I've also managed to misplace something I've always been exceedingly careful to keep track of. It took me four hours to grade one assignment stack and I have two more to grade by Friday. It was also really cold today and I don't like the cold. All in all, not a great day (not necessarily a bad one either), but one fun thing did happen: knitting!

I was elated to pass a few minutes here and there with this gem. It will become Frontenac eventually. It has only taken me a few days to get it this far. My gauge is perfect and the yarn is an absolute dream.

It's the color I really love, but it's also incredibly soft. It is the Fibre Company Canopy Worsted and it gleams like a precious stone. I got it at a substantial discount from WEBS a few months ago by pure luck. It's going to be so cozy this fall! Tomorrow is going to be a crazy long day, so I'll get loads of knitting (and grading :P) done. I can't wait to spend the day with this thing!

In other news, the frost touched John this morning and inspired him to dig out our winter clothes from the back of the storage closet. I pulled a few things out for donation and the trash as I moved them between the tub and the closet or vice versa. I expected I'd be able to part with a few more things than I have. :/ Things fit much more easily in the tub now, but I think that's because a lot of my spring/summer clothes transfer to fall/winter with an added layer or two, not because I got rid of any substantial amount of clothing. I have so many pajamas! Where did they all come from?! Fuzzy socks, too. I never wear fuzzy socks! Mysteries of the universe....

Have you pulled out your winter wardrobe? What are you looking forward to wearing this season? Is it spring where you are? I still want to know what you're looking forward to wearing. :)

For more WIP Wednesday posts, visit Tami's Amis!

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Relaxing Weekend

Nope. Still couldn't get my FO together for you Friday. :) I'll get to it eventually. My excuse:

John and I took a quick (too quick, maybe) trip to Tampa over the weekend for a wedding. It was a lot of fun with a lot of family! I did some knitting, too, of course (despite the heat!). I can't wait to show it to you Wednesday.

It was refreshing to get off the plane in 60 degree weather after suffering heat in the 90s down there. I love fall. A jaunt to the warmer climes (and the beach, of course!) was a nice break, but the crispness of fall felt like home.

I wish I had carried my camera around with me more. I think beach pics are about all we took! That was only a few hours of one day. :P

I hope you all had a great weekend, too, whether at home or off in some exotic locale.

Happy Monday! See you soon!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I did a naughty and cast-on two projects this week when I should have been finishing a test knit and works-in-progress. My bad.

This alone is worth documentation: a long-tail cast-on I did perfectly on the first try! I don't do the long-tail as a rule. I can never guess how much yarn I'll need to do it. The knit cast-on or cable cast-on are much more sturdy and reliable. The pattern called for it, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Just one, though. I lucked out! Which cast-on do you usually use? I'm always looking to expand my cast-on and bind-off knowledge.

Also, do you know if Rowan Felted Tweed is prone to rolling in stockinette or does it block out? I'm not sure if I should do a purl row first or just start with the stockinette....

I also started this boot sock in cashmere(!). The weather has been screaming at me for the last couple of weeks: "Autumn is coming! You are not knit-ready!" Socks for my boots and a new sweater on the needles = getting there, Autumn. I'll have to start knitting faster, though because I'm certain my fall and winter clothes are irretrievably buried in the storage closet. Yarn is my only hope for surviving this winter.

I would also cast on a second sweater tonight, but since I'm not sure which project my 9s are in or how close that project is to being finished, I'll just have to wait until I have done a thorough investigation. I have big plans for the weekend (that involve as much knitting as possible, if you couldn't tell ;]), do you?

For more WIP Wednesday posts, hop on over to Tami's Amis! I'll see you soon!

Monday, October 7, 2013

I'm Exhausted

I don't know about you, but for me, the last few weeks have been unrelenting. I was up until 4:30 this morning finishing the exam grading I had spent all day on. I felt tired, but on top of the game today, until I returned to my office with more stacks of grading to do and already behind in my Greek. I need to get it all done--the grading and the Greek--in two days for my sanity, my students, and my big plans for the weekend (during which I won't get shit done anyway).

"Play, Mom?"
On top of that, my messy house is driving me nuts. John is a housework workhorse and keeps up on cleaning impeccably. It's my turn to do my cleaning in my little corners and cubbies. I'm lazy and messy and lack stamina, so cleaning just isn't my thing. It used to take me a week to clean my small apartment because I had to do it in steps. I just didn't have the energy to do it all at once. Now that we have much more space, it takes me longer to tidy up even my own little portions of it. And there's always that pile of crap I don't know what to do with, so I just leave it. I hate that stupid pile!

Anyway, this rant is just to tell you that if it's been that kind of week for you already, too, I'm with you and I'm sorry. If you took the time to read my rant, I am sorry, but I'm also really thankful that you did. You readers of mine are mysterious, yet wonderful, amazing, and under-appreciated people whom I really do count as friends and care about a lot, though I don't say it enough. I'm glad you keep reading the crap I post. :)

Sweetpea understands
I'm sorry I never posted the promised FO. If I can get my shit together this week, I'll post it this Friday. I'm sorry I haven't been getting around to posting anything on time or anything interesting. Most days I'm lucky if I remember it's a blogging day! I'm sorry I haven't had any knits to share! That's infuriating! It's fixed this week. Right now, the only thing that makes me feel better is casting on a bunch of knits I've been dying to knit and throwing my WIPs aside. It's a temporary fix that will actually probably make me feel worse when I have increased my WIP pile to mountainous, but they'll all be bound-off eventually, right?

Okay, I feel a little better. I'm sorry I dumped it on you. I hope I didn't make your day as icky as mine! Knitting is one remedy, but here's the favorite in our house:

Bunny love!
Way too much about me. How are YOU? Please tell me you are knitting something fabulous. You deserve it!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Oh man, I wish I had some new knitting to show you! I'm working on a test/sample knit that I'm not allowed to share. I will as soon as I am able! That means I've been tearing apart sweaters and picking up an old work-in-progress here and there. I'll share a couple I have finished on Friday (though they really aren't that old...).

I've also been busy cultivating my green thumb. John redecorated my corner, so I've moved all my plants to the empty spots in my bigger bookshelf. Now that I see them daily, I realize they need a little attention! Remember my terrarium? Still going strong! Our Ben Franklin is closing and I scored a couple cheap LED lights that happen to fit perfectly in the top of my terrarium jar! It brightens up my dark shelf at night as I slave over grading and Greek. :)

I'm also trying to revive an orchid John gave me for Valentine's day this year. It's just thirsty, but I'm not sure how many of the roots are still viable, so I'm sprouting new ones. Trying to, anyway. I'll give it a couple of weeks, then put it in a proper pot.

My other orchid, which John gave me on our first date (awwww!), is doing well! I discovered yesterday that it needs to be repotted and to have some of its roots trimmed too. It's going to be a busy month for the plants.

What are you working on that's not knitting-related? Getting any late (or early, depending where in the world you are) gardening done? Of course, I want to hear about the knitting too! I'm ready to cast on five projects as soon as this test knit is in the mail. Inspire me! :)

I'll get back on this blogging horse slowly but surely. Thanks for not completely abandoning me last month. :)

For more WIP Wednesday posts, visit Tami's Amis!