Sunday, May 28, 2006


I've become obsessed with the Wobbly Circles Tote. In its pursuit I have neglected second socks, Level I swatches, and yarn destined for community project hats. I have been driven the last few days despite the fact that it's fiddly and cumbersome. I was delighted a day or two back when I figured out this solution:

By placing the two chairs facing one another, I was able to move me as I rotated between knit and purl rows, rather than turn the knitted fabric. While not totally eliminating the need to detangle every row or so, it greatly minimized the mess and confusion.

Here it is today, a few rows from the finish:

But there's a catch: Even though I said it was going to be a nice stress free project because I wouldn't have to worry about gauge or fit, I've found something else to worry about. I'm more of a shoulder bag person. Yes, I knew this going into the project, but I thought it had such lovely handles I'd just go with it and maybe make a modification for a future project. However, it's knitting up bigger than expected (of course, I substituted yarn and knew it wouldn't be the same) and now I'm thinking I'll really want it to fit over my shoulder. Here's what I'm thinking:

  1. Follow the pattern and since everything is already bigger, maybe the handles will be big enough to slip over my shoulders.
  2. Bind off several extra stitches and make the opening a little bigger and hope for the best.
  3. Knit and felt a swatch/sample and see how long the handles really have to be, to be perfect.
OK knitters, let's face it, no way am I doing number 3, obsessive or not. Besides, on top of everything else I'm worried about having enough yarn. 2 seems the likely choice to me, it's just that the handles are such a lovely shape and wouldn't it be a shame if I ended up with some that were too short to slip over my shoulder and too long and loose to hold comfortably?

At the top, the tote is 66 stitches across. The pattern calls for binding off the center 20 stitches for the handles. I could increase that to maybe 30? I really don't know because I don't know how much length and width I'm going to lose when I felt this. (Back to option 3, but please don't vote for option 3.) I can keep a close watch on it during felting, of course, and stop if the handles are getting too short, but I am partial to a really well felted fabric and that's what I envision for this.

My nearly-finished dimensions are actually only slightly larger then the pattern calls for, pre-felted. I get approximately 23 1/2 " wide at the top and 25 1/2" tall to their 20 1/4" wide at the top and 25 1/4" tall. Finished measurements are supposed to be 13" wide at opening and 13" tall .

Oh, what to do? What to do?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Maybe they won't notice

that I don't have any fabulous knitting photos to post, if I distract them with a photo of Juneau on a rare and PERFECT spring day.

That's the Mt. Roberts Tram station, off to the right. My husband and I rode it up to treeline this morning along with a carload of cruise ship tourists. Temps around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, blue skies, eagles soaring - it really doesn't get much better than that. (Because this is a knitter's blog, after all, that's the second Socks That Rock sock in the foreground.)

And as if that wasn't enough (dayenu), look what was waiting in the mailbox upon our return:

An ebay purchase of Koigu (I'm thinking scarf for ME, but it's really not a day to be thinking about wool scarves), new Patternworks catalog, latest Cast on that, while fun to receive, reminds me that I've been neglecting my Level I Master Knitter's knitting, two movies from Netflix (admittedly, these are for my son, but hey, if he's happy, I'm happy) and a box of vacuum cleaner bags. If you lived in my house, you'd be excited about these too.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Colors For A Grey Day

I spent a little time with the Wobbly Circles Tote today. It's fun to work on something a little bit flashy. It's a relief not to worry about achieving an exact gauge, or getting a perfect fit. I'm 41 rows into the 103 rows that make up the front. Then I'll have to turn around and do it again for the back.

The colors on the screen aren't true. The green is less blue, the orange is more gold, the purples have a little more red, I think. And there's a darker green that hasn't even made an appearance yet.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

False Alarm

For a fraction of a nanosecond this morning, I thought I had made the Big Time. Lovely visions of fame and fortune flashed before my eyes. I imagined knocking the Yarn Harlot off the charts. I worried about what I could possible knit up in time for my first Letterman appearance. In my mind's eye, I engaged in witty repartee with Marie Irshad.

And then I discovered the reality of Spam Comments. 30 of 'em waiting to taunt and humiliate me. So dear readers (all 4 of you), I've enabled Word Verification. Please don't let it dampen your spirits. Comment. Comment early and comment often. I'll be waiting.


Only partly cloudy and dry all weekend. Temps hit the low 60's yesterday. I don't think Nick will be needing this scarf again for at least a few months.

Nick's Scarf
Yarn: Blue Sky sport weight Alpaca (3 skeins)
Needles: US 3
Pattern: Ann Norling Lace Scarf Pattern
Finished size: 6" x 70"

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Bit O' Stash

I've had some attention deficit regarding my knitting lately. I think it's partly due to finishing a big project. I feel so free to start something new that I just want to keep starting something new. Then there's the whole blog thing. I'm having so much fun with this, but as a fretter, it also gives me something new to fret about. I worry: Do I have enough knitting going on to satisfy anyone who might drop by?

So I'm knitting a few rounds here and a few rows there and there's just not much new to show today. So it might be time for a Stash Picture. Lately I've been thinking about this Noro: I bought it right before our move with a vest in mind. I'm still thinking vest. Maybe something with cables and a deep V neck?? The benefit of being a knitter in Juneau is that one can think about a wool vest in any season.

In other news, Hilary asked where I got the idea to dye grey yarn. I wish I could tell you "I'm just that clever," but I can't take the credit. I found a wonderful Kool-Aid dyeing guide here and realized the colors on the right were much more ME. I also recalled a wonderful class I took with Sally Melville. She's big on overdyeing and showed us inspiring samples, many of which can be seen here. Eunny Jang has a great Kool-Aid dyeing tutorial in which she started with a colored yarn and that also got the gears turning. And finally I went to this book and looked at the color wheels. BINGO. My favorite colors all have grey undertones.

And that's lucky for me 'cause it's grey again in Juneau.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Home Grown Stripes

Or: How I Spent My Mother's Day.

Let's back up a minute. Some of you might recall my first foray into Kool-Aid dyed yarn, which I then knit into Olympic Socks.

I love them, because I loved being part of the Knitting Olympics . But let's be honest, THESE are not "my colors." Are they anyone's colors?

Yesterday I ventured again into the wonderful world of Kool-Aid dyeing. I started with this:

Two 50 gram balls of Dale Baby Ull superwash in Mid Grey

Three Kool-aid flavors later (Lemon-Lime, Berry Blue and Grape)

I ended up with this:

Something magical happened. Overdyeing the grey yarn produced just what I wanted. This yarn has a silky sheen and the colors are rich and deep. My colors. Working with two separate skeins was a little fussy (Read: Tangled mess, much profanity and skein rewinding) and I'm pretty sure my stripes aren't going to line up perfectly. But I don't care. I adore this yarn!

Sun is shining (yes, those are shadows you see). Temps in the mid 50's.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


I spent a few horrible minutes (of ~30 horrible hours) wondering if somehow I'd gotten the attention of malevolent knitting gods who were just giving me the knitting time for which I'd wished. (see previous post) I came around though. Malevolent knitting gods? That's gotta be an oxymoron.

My 12 year old, Max, took a spleen-rupturing blow during his second soccer game last Saturday. Emergency surgery to remove his spleen was performed a few hours later. The surgery went smoothly and after one long night in the CCU he was moved to a regular room. We were all comforted by his room's proximity to two big locked doors that led to the Mental Health Unit. For several days I wasn't sure on which side of those doors I belonged. I finished my first "Socks That Rock" sock at his bedside and he graciously agreed to pose with it.

(You're probably all wondering why I didn't take the opportunity to cut his hair while he was still in a post-surgery stupor. Believe me, I considered it.)

Sock Specs
Yarn: "Socks That Rock" in Carbon
Needles: US 1, dpns
Pattern: "Oak Ribbed Sock" by Nancy Bush from Here. My only modification was to do a standard toe shaping rather than the "round toe shaping" the pattern called for.

This is wonderful yarn and I dutifully cast on the second sock right away, to try and stave off "Second Sock Syndrome."

The weather is still wet and way too cold for May, even by Juneau standards. But things are much sunnier at our house.

Healthy, strong 12 year olds recover with amazing speed and Max was discharged from the hospital last evening.

Friday, May 05, 2006

100% Chance of Rain

You would think, with the near perfect knitting weather (temps in the mid 40s, rain and more rain), I would have lots of knitting to show off. Not so. My life is now totally dictated by the sporting events of my two sons. You might further think that spending many, MANY hours a week at a soccer pitch or baseball field or track meet would provide ample knitting time for such a devoted knitter. Again, not so. See weather conditions described above. With my body rigid with cold and rain dripping off my glasses, knitting is impossible.

So I'm sleeping too little and working on this at night. It's definitely stay-at-home knitting with it's chart and many colored, easily tangled strands.

It's a safe expedition into intarsia. Safe because the whole thing will be felted when I'm done and that should hide any joining indescretions. Those of you who know me (heh,heh, aren't I cute to pretend that strangers - in fact, anyone not related by blood or marriage - actually reads this blog?) might be surprised at my choice of colors. Do they seem out of character? Do you like them? I think I do, but it's a bit too early to tell. They just called out to me.

Pattern: Wobbley Circles Tote by Leigh Radforf/Spring 2006 Interweave Knits
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Bulky
Needles: Addi Turbo circs/US 10

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Two Hats and a Spoon

I knit the green hat first. Then I fretted that it was too small and knit the purple hat. Now I'm afraid the purple hat is too big. (Welcome to my world.) They're destined for tiny babies in Ketchikan and I'm trusting that they will find their way to appropriately sized heads.

This is a Team Alaska community project. After the Knitting Olympics we decided to rotate through our towns and provide some needed knitwear to each of our communities. Preemies in Ketchikan are up first.

Rainy and grey today.

Hat Specs
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine
Needles: US 3 dpns
Pattern: I just winged it, though I did borrow the lovely "raglan" shaping from Here

Monday, May 01, 2006

Blog Day

It's May Day and my birthday and now it's also Blog Day. Time for me to enter the wonderful world of blogging knitters.

After a 17 year hiatus, I returned to Juneau last July with my family. This is the sweater that I began knitting when we decided to embark on this adventure. It was my talisman. I knit when I couldn't face packing. I knit on rest stops during our 1800 mile car trip from California to Prince Rupert, BC. I knit on the ferry ride to Juneau.

I wasn't a monogamous knitter, however. Other things got knit along the way (stay tuned for future posts about them). But I always returned to The Sweater and it finally got finished a few weeks ago.

Sweater Specs
Pattern: Northern Lights Jacket
Designed by Arnhild Hillesland for Mostly Merino
Yarn: Mostly Merino worsted weight
Hand-dyed by the wonderful Margaret Klein Wilson
Needles: Addi Turbo US 6 and US 7

44.1 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun is peeking out. Time for a walk.