Friday, January 30, 2009

When You Have To Fly

Times they have changed since 9-11. Used to be a person could carry all manner of things on a commercial aircraft, but no longer. At least they've gotten past the initial hysteria when a person wasn't even allowed to take toothpaste or Chapstick in their carry-on. For a while there, knitting needles were a no-no. As my Mom wondered, "What do they think I'm going to do, knit an Afghan?" Needles are acceptable now - I always make sure to carry bamboo or wood instead of metal because you can never tell when they might go hyper vigilant on you. (Beware the Detroit Airport; TSA employees there tend to be excitable.) The security folks are still a little weird about anything with a blade, though.

So what's a knitter to do if she needs to cut her yarn (besides buy a heavy and kinda homely Clover yarn cutter pendant or gnaw it off like a wild animal taking care of the umbilical cord?)

The answer, my friends, can be found at local office and card stores.

Yep, the Scotch Gift Wrap Cutter. I got this two pack at Sam's Club for under $4.00. It looks like a toothbrush, but instead of bristles, it has a sharp little blade hidden behind an underslung jaw. It won't cut your fingers or your yarn flush with the fabric, but it does a great job of cutting while leaving a bit of a tail.

If you get a two pack, save one for Christmas. It works way better than scissors on gift wrap and it's safe for the kiddies.

(And, no, 3M is not paying me to advertise this, I just like to share things that work for me.)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Initial Sockitude Achieved

Sock one finished (with all of 5 yards left of the skein after grafting the toe - had me worried, you betcha.)
Sage two in progress!

If I'm lucky and knit fast like the wind (the wind knits?!) I may get both done in time. Cross your fingers for me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

But It Was On Clearance Sale!

I have to work on my self control, but who could resist Manos on clearance?

Monday, January 26, 2009

My First Heel

The things I like to knit best are things for the people I care about. The Engineer, my BelovedSpousalUnit, is one of the people I care most about (as it should be!)

The Engineer, however, is not one of the easier people in the universe to knit for. Here's the saga of the first thing I knit for him, a ski headband: and

He has yet to wear it because I gave him a ski helmet to protect his tender parts when he's on the slopes and the headband won't fit under it, nor does he need it for warmth with the helmet. (So I tell myself for consolation.)

He grumped a lot this fall about not having any good warm socks, so I decided that would be my next, hopefully not futile, project for him.

These are undoubtedly the world's most expensive socks. I bought three (just in case two weren't enough) skeins of Shibui superwash worsted merino and did test swatches on several different size needles. I presented the test swatches to the sock expert at Blazing Needles and was told to knit the socks on the size 2. Worsted, on size 2! These socks are going to be able to stand up on their own! Since I don't like dpn's, I had to buy an Adi circular needle in size 2. I really need the Adi slipperiness to be able to work the worsted on size 2 needles. Also bought a sock book so that I wouldn't have to return it to the library before the socks were done.

I started knitting on my Carolina trip back in November, but hibernated the socks after returning home to work on Christmas stuff. Then I had to knit thank you scarves for Mr. & Mrs. Good Neighbor. As soon as I was done with all that (last Thursday), I dove back into knitting on the socks.

And did not understand the directions on turning a heel. Went to Friday morning knit group at Blazing Needles where SockLady and a nice fellow knitter gave me some tips on heel turning.

Got that done, then came to the gusset instructions...


Off to the library to get a more profusely illustrated sock book. Got the gusset done -- Yay! Hurray!

Now I'm working on the foot. I have no worry about the toe decrease, nor the Kitchener stitch to close the toe -- I can do that.

The one remaining problem is that the Engineer's birthday is Saturday. I hope he likes getting a sock and a half (maybe) for a present.

Meme Whacked

Thank you so much Kate, just what every blogger wants is to be whacked with a meme.

The 6th Folder Meme Rules:
1) Go to the 6th folder on your computer.
2) Select the 6th picture in that folder.
3) Write about it.

Kate's difficulty with this is that she claims only to have two folders on her computer: Good Ideas and Bad Ideas, She selected the 6th image (a quaint Irish cottage) from the Good Ideas folder.

My problem is just the opposite. I have eleven drives on my computer and multiple (multiple) nested folders on each drive. Ewww.

So I selected drive #6, which serendipitously happens to be H:\Images2, then folder #6 on the drive which is 11-8-06 and image #6, _MG_3587.CR2.

Here it is turned into a .jpg and ready for viewing.
Absolutely has nothing to do with knitting because I didn't learn how to knit until 15 months after the photo was taken. I think it does, however, show that I've always had a love of color. The crabapple tree with the lovely yellow fruit is outside the library. I had a great time at the library with my camera that day. I'll need to think about whom I can whack in my turn with this meme...

Friday, January 23, 2009


My big present at Christmas was a bitty baby laptop computer, a Dell Mini. At 9" x 6.75", it's way too small for a regular notebook case (and a wee bit of a strain on the eyes, but that's another story.) I've decided what I need to do is to knit and felt a case for it. This will be the first thing I'll knit for myself. I want yarn with beauty, character and dignity. If I'm going to use it for business at all, it can't be pink or ruffledee. (Not that I've ever tolerated pink or ruffles in my life, but one must occasionally exaggerate a bit to make a point.)

Enter Manos del Uruguay in colorway 101, Jungle. Ooh, yarn lust! It's dark enough to look businesslike, but has strong green tones with an occasional turquoise glint. Perfect.

I knit a sample with a single strand of yarn, size 10 needles, 20 stitches wide, 20 rows of garter stitch, 20 of seed stitch and 20 of stockinet. Unfelted, I think the stockinet shows off the colors best, but I shall not make a choice until after felting. A double strand swatch will also be knit and felted -- I must have multiple options. Must measure carefully both before and after felting. And time the felting process too. I'll need to watch that like a hawk because the Engineer just turned the water heater temperature up to the point it's dangerous if one is not careful.

Now comes the needs assessment: Do I want a simple envelope to keep my baby Dell from getting scratched in transport, or do I want a case that can carry the charger, mouse and maybe other accessories as well? Do I want a strap? Hand or shoulder? Knit or leather? What kind of fastening?

Better line it, I don't want fuzz getting into the fan and causing problems.

I'm sure the Engineer would have me drawing up a spreadsheet at this point, but I'm going to do concept sketches instead. I do like plotting and planning....

Watch this space for further developments.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Set up the swift, oops, sorry, Yarn Twaddler and baller this afternoon and twaddled my first skein of yarn. It was the Manos del Uruguay I bought today to make a carrying case for my new baby laptop.

I didn't guess the right end of the yarn on the first try, but since there were only two choices, the second try was golden.
Ta-dah, here's the end product.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Saga of the Yarn Twaddler

The Engineer's family requires a Christmas list be submitted by no later than Thanksgiving evening each year. Should one miss the deadline or fail entirely to send his list, dire fates such as receiving Chia Pets or nose hair trimmers are considered suitable punishment. This is definitely incentive.

Among the items on my list this year were a yarn swift and a yarn baller. Didn't really expect to get them, but, what the heck, a list was required.

Christmas was spent in Michigan. When the family gathered on the 23rd, Twin'sWife began asking EldestNiece if she had received a particular shipment yet. The answer was no. At the traditional Christmas Eve Opening of the Presents, it turned out that the missing package was a yarn swift for me.

Of course, no one else in the family had the faintest idea what the heck that thing was, so it was quickly dubbed "The Yarn Twaddler."

Seems that Twin'sWife, who lives in Texas, had ordered the Yarn Twaddler immediately after Thanksgiving to be sent to EldestNiece, who lives in Michigan. Instead, the box arrived on the doorstep in Texas. Probably a good thing, as it was not what she had ordered. So the beginning of December, after much time on the phone with the owner of the company, she sent it back to the place she'd ordered it from with their promise that as soon as they received the returned merchandise, they would send the proper item to Michigan in plenty of time for Christmas.

Murphy rules in all things. We left Michigan on the morning of December 26th. The Yarn Twaddler arrived at EldestNiece's house the afternoon of... December 26th.

This caused great excitement with the Engineer, his Twin and Twin'sWife. They tasked EldestNiece with sending it ASAP to Utah so I could begin twaddling my yarn immediately. My attitude was more along the line of "whenever you can get to it." EldestNiece works full time, has a sports crazy teenager that she chauffeurs constantly from game to practice to game, and her Dad's been in the hospital since August. Just a wee bit of stress on her.

We were informed that the Twaddler had been mailed on January 5th. It had not yet arrived by the 9th, when the Engineer and I had to go out of town for the weekend. I had hired the 10-year-old next door neighbor to pick up the mail. When the Twaddler wasn't with our stockpiled mail and newspapers when we got home, the real hoohah commenced. I kinda figured they don't call it snail mail for nothing.

Friday, the Yarn Twaddler finally arrived. In the bottom of the slightly battered box was a yarn baller as well.

Thanks so much to my sister-in-law for giving it to me and my niece for sending it to me. I appreciate both of you. (Though if I'd known it was going to be so much trouble, I'd have asked for a nice toaster instead.)

Guess I'd better set it up and get my yarn a-twaddlin'.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You Don't Want to See My Ugly Mug

So far my knitting has mostly encompassed things to go on the head and neck - scarves and hats. I want to post pictures of my works of art, but I'm sure as heck not going to use myself as a model (I think there might be some kind of an aesthetic law about it.) What to do, what to do?

I bought a glass head at Pier 1 Imports, which was fine for hats (and does dual duty for blocking hats as well), but it simply didn't cut the mustard for displaying scarves or fancier gewgaws. Yeah, I could keep on using the back of my recliner, but that just feels a little... two dimensional.
I put on my thinking cap and devised an elegant solution.

First you get a four pack of toilet paper (can you tell how truly sophisticated I am?) and place it in the bathroom where there's good illumination from the skylight and a mirror to reflect the back of the item. Then you cover the toilet paper with a high quality bath towel. Next, place the glass head atop the draped paper. Artistically arrange the FO (finished object for non knit nerds), and snap away.Does this presentation not simply ooze class? (Especially now that you know the secrets behind the magic?)

Hmm, I think maybe I need to get a wig for the glass head so you can't see clear through it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Never Volunteer

That's what I've been told.

Have I ever paid attention to the things those older and wiser than myself have told me to try to save me from finding out the hard way?

Nope. What fun would that be?

Last Thursday I was at the "Stitch Effect", the once a month Library knitting group. Knitbasket, the usual group leader, had her baby early (It's a boy!) so she wasn't there. None of the other regular knitting librarians were either, which left bgulley, who's pretty much a newbie to the group, in charge. She was looking a little stressed, said she didn't think knitbasket would be back by the February meeting and that she didn't know what to do.

That's when my mouth opened itself and said, "Would you like me to teach Magic Loop knitting?"

So now, on my one year learning to knitiversary, I get to teach a group how to do Magic Loop.

Courage, I have. Sense, I suspect I lack.

Ah well, it should be fun. Or at least entertaining for the attendees.

Now to get to work assembling material list, samples, handouts... I'll post up some pictures when I have them.

(All names have been Ravelryized to protect the innocent.)

Friday, January 9, 2009

How True, How True

Ended up on Lindsay Dayton's web site due to a reference from Iron Needles and saw this.
ROFLMAO! Sounds like an excellent motto to me.

P.S. First post made on the road from my new baby 'puter.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

When Neighbors Go Good

I have the best across the street neighbors imaginable, they are good and kind and thoughtful. Don't believe me, check out the other blog... down towards the bottom of the entry.

So what, I asked myself, can I do to show my appreciation?

Bet you've already guessed the answer.

Knit them tokens of my esteem.

Here is the Mrs. Good Neighbor Scarf.

It was serendipity. I had one skein of Stacy Charles Ritratto that I'd purchased on clearance sale several months ago. When I saw it, I thought, this looks like Mrs. Good Neighbor, but I hadn't gotten around to knitting it up. Guess what, her favorite color is red. And the yarn worked perfectly with the stitch pattern I decided on. Best of all, she loves it.

Now to finish the one I'm knitting for her husband, Mr. Good Neighbor.