Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Glove Love

Knitting has made me a mitten maven. Mittens, even flip-top mittens, keep fingers and hands warmer. Flip-top mittens allow you to free your fingers when needed. Moreover, fingerless gloves can keep off the chill and be a fashion statement at the same time.

A couple of weeks ago, I reread Deborah Newton’s article the December 1987/January 1988 issue of Threads on knitting gloves. That inspired me to knit another pair of gloves. Applying the KISS principle, I went to Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns and her basic glove pattern. No, I didn’t swatch (shame, shame). Using a skein of Knit Picks overspun Wool of the Andes and size 2.5mm needles I cast on 56 stitches. I paid very close attention to the thumb increases, marking each one with a coiless pin. In knitting the fingers, I switched to 4” dpns leaving the waiting stitches on the six-inch dpns and only moved the stitches in waiting to thread now that I’m knitting the last two fingers.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside

This is just funny, especially in a week where the local football franchise’s tickets are reselling for as low as $11.00. I had a convo with a co-worker who is going to tomorrow’s game (she’s not happy about the cold weather). The antipathy towards the local NFL franchise has two loci: the owner and the consistently poor performance of the team in recent decades. I can remember the days—before the Super Bowl rich 1980’s—when we may not have been winners, but we were contenders. In the last 20 years, we only seem slowly to descend the ladder of also-rans.

Knitting has been fun this week. I’ve finished the first glove of the September Fingerless Gloves using Knit Picks Telemark in the Cork colorway. What a fun, well-written pattern. My only despair is that it is too cold outside to go fingerless.

Yes, we have freezing temps. The outlook for the coming week doesn’t bode well for those who don’t like the cold. I wore the Little Things hat yesterday and it was toasty.

On the needles are the second September Fingerless, the She’s Electric Skirt and a pair of gloves from Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Book of Patterns in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes overspun yarn sport-weight yarn in the Forest Heather colorway.

Another mad Friday night with Toupie. I really should try to capture on video the look of wild determination on his face when he sprints from one end of the apartment to the other. There was lots of that last night and some wild playing with a ball by the front door. When I made up the bed and turned on the electric blanket, he curled up, head on pillow and didn’t budge till this morning.
Too cold for the tweet tweets

Sunday, November 9, 2014

When the Ordinary Becomes the Extraordinary


Now that I no longer work in Adams Morgan, I only see Romo once or twice a week. I was surprised to see this BBC article a couple of months ago. Unaware of his fame, Romo was just the doggie in the window by the bus stop. What I’ve always liked about him is attitude. Traffic, passersby, people waiting at the bus stop, Romo ignores them all most times and focuses on whatever he chooses. He’s in the window because that’s where he wants to be.

Speaking of pets with attitude, Toupie had a spate of mischief of Friday night that has left enervated most of yesterday and this morning. Near midnight Friday, after playing with toys, repeatedly running the length of the apartment, furious play with a stack of post-it arrows, we got into over the trash bin near the computer table. Several times, he knocked it over and dived in with head and paws looking for something he could turn into a toy. I finally solved the problem by removing the trash bag. In between his hijinks, I made progress on the She’s Electric Skirt. The rounds are long, but it is an enjoyable knit.

Finished: OdessII in Blackstone Tweed's Ancient Mariner colorway

Time to Workout
Action Shot: Clawing Mummy's housecoat when she's in it 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


You know those corrections in printed knitting pattern instructions. I’ve learned. I’ve been checking for errata before knitting.

Was told in the automatic checkout line—with the concurrence (both verbal and non-verbal) of others behind me—that I was the fastest person they’d ever seen use the checkout. I thanked the speaker and told him that I hate the automatic check out. For starters, they are too loud and too impersonal. They seem to break or get cranky leaving you waiting for store personnel to help or move you to another machine. People are dreadfully slow using them—even the ones that aren’t on their mobiles. I won’t post how I feel about people on mobiles in grocery stores. They are actually worse than people walking, pacing or coming to a dead stop in the middle of the pavement to make a point to the person on the other end of the line. GRRR

Actually going grocery shopping at most stores is a cross between and three-ring circus and being a lab rat in a maze with a trolley or basket. You barely get in the door before you are confronted with a wall of whatever is on special. The Giant in Silver Spring is notorious for its 10 foot high displays near the Starbucks outlet. These hog the main aisle from the veg to the checkout lanes creating bottlenecks even when the store isn’t crowded.

I’m making good progress on my second Odessa. I a knitting it with Blackstone Tweed which is a denser yarn than the Rowan Felted Tweed. The yarn doesn’t have much give and feels slightly artificial. It will be interesting to see how it responds after a good soaking.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Starting More Like March

November has come in like a lion. Yesterday was wet, windy and closer to cold than cool. This morning there is a wind advisory. At least there is sunshine, so later today I can take and add piccy's of my completed Little Things hat knit in Knit Picks Palette in the Fairy Tale colorway.
Little Things Hat

Also on the needles is a pair of convertible fingerless knit in Knit Picks Gloss and another Knit Picks yarn whose ball band I've misplaced. Another Odessa hat in Blackstone Tweed in the Ancient Mariner colorway and work continues on the She's Electric skirt.

The best Halloween costume at work this week was a sword wielding bear. No luck in persuading Toupie to go roam the corridors and do the black cat thing Halloween night.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cheesed Off and some knitting

I’ve neglected blogging. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been a’ swatching. Mostly in the round to get gauge for garments, I want to knit. 

It is frustrating and relaxing at the same time. Frustrating because I’d rather be knitting the garment. Relaxing…well it is knitting after all.

I’ve been a bit cheesed off, lately. I’ve been keeping a tally of the number of emails I receive from Interweaves Knitting Daily, Knitting Traditions. It averages between three to five emails a day. More when there is a sale or special on. Almost all our shilling magazines, patterns, kits, classes or offerings from their “sister” whatever. When Sandi was producing the Knitting Daily emails I actually looked forward to them because at least once a week there was tip or trick that I found helpful and educational. What I really enjoyed was emails where members of the staff all modeled the same sweater sometimes with notes about modifications made. In the past year and half most of these emails just get their boxes ticked and deleted.

What put me over the edge was an email announcing the release of a book of 30 patterns by an author I’d never heard of and can’t find on the web. Worse, the book’s web page only shows four patterns. Four!! I’m used to going to Ravelry to look up all the patterns in an Interweave magazine or book because their previews are so stingy. Unlike Vogue, that not only shows you pictures but for the magazine, you get video of each garment on a live model. So on the strength of four measly photos, Interweave expects that I and thousands of others will plunk down $16.99…not!

I’ve also gotten in touch with the fact that I haven’t nearly knitted down as much stash as I set out to this year. Hence the swatching. I have started knitting the She’s Electric skirt. I used Ysolda’s provisional cast on. I frogged and restarted twice and then went to Mon Tricot knitting patterns book and discovered what I was doing wrong. Third time the charm on size 10 needles. I did a k1p1 instead of the k2p2 ribbing, but I now know how to do a k2p2 with this cast on. It makes a lovely edge for the skirt. Not fears of rolling or curling. I repeated the garter squares chart twice to lengthen the skirt from 16” to 20”. I am using Knit Picks Telemark in the Carnation colorway. I bought 10 skeins when KP discontinued this lovely to knit with yarn.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dignity and Serenity....not

Don't be fooled
If there is one area in which I am a bad pet parent, it is in remembering Toupie's age. I remember is birthday, October 27. Just can't ever remember if the year is 2005 or 2006.

In honor of his upcoming date of birth, I purchased some organic catnip (or nip as it is known around here) last night.

What constantly amazes me is that Toupie recognizes shopping bags (totes, plastic or paper) as containing items which he can either try to retrieve or rearrange for a bed. Most amazing is that he immediately recognizes the pet store plastic bag. So last night when I put down the tote containing the bag from the pet store, the usual welcoming trills, purring and leg rubbing came to an immediate halt and his entire attention was given to getting the bag out of the tote. I intervened securing the bag and it's contents. The sample box of pet food (which I use for treats) I put on the floor near his food bowls. A period of total ecstasy followed. He trilled and pawed the box. Then rolled back an forth on the floor his eyes glazed with pleasure. I opened a can of wet food, but there was not response from him to the sound. Nip secured briefly in the fruit stand, I stepped over his prone form to put the bowl down. A few minutes later he went over to check the bowl and its contents. Then he marched into the dining room and began to meow. I was going that way to start my dinner. When I emerged from the kitchen he was sitting by the small three draw plastic cabinet. Then he was on his hind legs. Paws on the cabinet. Next he tried to jump up. That didn't work. Then he tried climbing, but fell before reaching the top. I quickly removed the nip from the fruit stand (which is on a table next to the cabinet). I quickly walked through the living and into the closet leading to the bathroom (closing the closet door behind me) and put the nip in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

After dinner I took the plastic jar (used for marinating toys in nip) to the bathroom and put a little nip in, shook the toys and emerged. At my feet, Toupie cavorted, jumped, circumnavigated, rubbed against my ankles alternating vocalizations. Finally I put a nip encrusted white fluffy toy on the crocheted rug. Twenty minutes of heaven ensued. A nap, some dinner and he was back pawing my ankles as I sat at the computer. Two nip marinated toys later, he was finally ready for bed.