Friday, November 30, 2007

What is It?

No, it's not a red elephant mask. It's a Squatty Sidekick, knitted from almost one skein of Malabrigo in Amoroso and woven in but not yet a FO. Here it is blocking:

And yes, I'm still working on the tomten, not to worry. I just had to give in and cast on something else. And now that this is done, I'm also working on one of these. And some smaller stuff will have to follow in rapid succession, because starting tomorrow, it's 12 Days of Presents, baby.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sleevage in Progress

Normally I don't show photos of my works in progress. I prefer the big bang of a FO at the end, a fait accompli if you will. But the tomten wasn't built in one day, so a WIP you will witness. I did consider casting on a small project just to have blog fodder but I'm resisting.

So there you see how the Unikat looks next to the Malabrigo on the sleeve - it's really wonderful. I'm using the technique suggested in The Opinionated Knitter, so I didn't bind off the underarm sts; I placed them on scrap yarn and now that it's time to knit the sleeves I've got them on a dpn. As I work the sleeve back and forth in garter, I consume an underarm stitch at the end of each row by k-ing2tog so I won't have to go back and seam that portion. The added bonus? When those sts are gone, I will have knitted the appropriate number of ridges before I have to start the sleeve decreases so hopefully I won't forget.

Coming up: Do I knit the sleeve in the round, necessitating purling? Or do I knit flat, necessitating seaming? Shall I edge with sideways garter ridges, or knitted-on i-cord? Which is the right side, because I actually like the "wrong" side of that sleeve stripe quite a bit? Decisions, decisions.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Glad I Waited

We had a lovely post-Thanksgiving day yesterday. Coffee at Rebecca's, a little browse at the Grove, and an afternoon movie before getting together for leftovers.

Look what I found at the Grove: the most perfect yarn to edge that Tomten! I knew all the holdups that kept me from finishing the hood were for a reason. If I'd finished sooner, I would've used something else.

This is Unikat Merino in the Peach & Purple colorway, and it is scrumptious. I think the Grove has less yarn inventory now than they used to, but what they have is primo. Interesting yarns and textures, and the whole place is full of inspiring objects and books.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is not my Thanksgiving dinner. We're eating the real thing, along with stuffing, cranberry-orange relish, mashed potatoes, Sharman's Yummy Yams, peas, Jackie's Brussels Sprouts, corn pudding, creamed onions with gruyere, and four kinds of pie from the ovens of chez Windansea. My sister Betty and I split the cooking: she's the turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberries; I'm the yams, corn, onions, pies (apple, pumpkin, pecan, mince); our friend Jackie brings some very awesome Brussels sprouts; my sister Nancy brings frozen peas (that's middle child syndrome for you) and maybe this year some cauliflower, I think she said.

Saturday John and I had a know how other couples have date night? We have date groceries. But that's not John in the photo, of course! That's my local friendly Trader Joe's manager. Isn't he great? Right after John snapped that shot, Turkey Man plunked that hat on my head. Maybe I need one of these next year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Woman on the Edge

Remember how I'm thinking about what I'm going to edge the Tomten in? I'm about halfway through the hoodie portion, so the question of a contrasting yarn is going to come up very soon - probably today - because I'd like to start the sleeves in a few rows of the contrast.

I've already looked at the available Malabrigo in my neighborhood, and I've looked through my stash - nada. So yesterday I took myself over to Knitting in La Jolla and wandered through the yarn with the Tomten-on-Needles held out before me like a divining rod.

I came up with two possibilities: the Manos you see above in a beautiful orange-yellow hue, and the jewel-like colorway here (which I've used before and really like):

Later today, if I get through the hood, I will add a few rows of the jewel-toned Manos to the beginning edge of the sleeves to see how it goes with the body color. If it works, voila. If not, I'll frog and try the yellow-orange.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Miles to Go Before I Sleep

It's a long stretch of garter stitch, that Tomten. I'm combating the boredom by imagining what I will edge with. The Kureyon? Or will that be too, um...colorful?

I'm past the sleeve holes and getting ready to join the shoulders back onto one needle again...then it's the hood, then the sleeves. The second skein of Malabrigo, in Bergamota, by the way, will take me through the body. I'll have to join yarn for the hood, and will hopefully have enough for the sleeves. I consulted with Mary about the hood versus collar option, but she likes a hoodie.

Friday, November 16, 2007


It's Norovember, and who can resist a reason to stock up? A little Kureyon is the perfect way to end the week. I have no idea what I'll do with it yet - perhaps a scarf, for a change. All I know is I've got the garter stitch blues right now. I'm on ridge 32 of the tomten, and I'd be super excited about getting past the halfway mark on the body if it weren't for the prospect of knitting the sleeves. I love how the garter stitch looks, but it's a little dry.

So dry, in fact, that last night I cast on some Cascade Eco-Wool in black for a 3-spiral hat. And when that didn't help too much, there was nothing to do but go yarn shopping. Luckily I have two LYS very nearby, including the wonderful Knitting in La Jolla.

The Berroco Ultra Alpaca above and below will probably become some gift knitting. So see? I was super productive today...really.

And as for the Kureyon, even Snoopy thinks it was a good idea.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

November in Paradise

This happened last year too - right when I should be in the thick of knitting, we're hit with a heatwave right around Thanksgiving. Not to mention - I ask you...who feels like baking pie and roasting turkey when it's 80 degrees out?

On the other hand, look where Mary and I got to spend the afternoon.

Plus I'm even knitting:

The crummy cellphone photo depicts me working away on a tomten, round about ridge 28. It's taking a loooong time to get through those ridges, too, because my apparent inability to count caused me to cast on 128 sts rather than the recommended 112. What does that matter, you ask? EZ says you can cast on any number divisible by 8....but then, all the proportions have to change, too - so instead of knitting to ridge 40 and starting the sleeve areas, I'm going to have to go to 48 ridges. Oy. I had to get a spreadsheet out and enter formulas and draw diagrams and everything just to figure out my knitting.

Stay tuned to see if it works. Until then, I'm shaking the sand out of my wool and knitting on with confdence.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Well Worth It!

Okie dokie, so I haven't started any holiday knitting yet...but I have finished the February Baby Sweater, and I recommend it wholeheartedly as a great project and satisfying FO. I especially love that garter stitch yoke.

Because I don't want to seam unless I have to, I worked down the yoke to the spot where the directions ask you to start the sleeves, which are worked flat. Instead, I popped the sleeve stitches on some waste yarn and finished the body, then came back, picked up the 28 live sleeve sts knit up 14 more under the arms and motored on down the sleeves on dpns.

A word of caution if you decide to do this yourself - knit up 16 sts under the arm if you decide to do this, and on the first round of the sleeve, which I suggest be one of the knit rounds rather than a pattern round, k2tog & ssk the first and last of the 16 sts along with the first and last live sleeve sts to get a nice round with no gaps where you added the underarms. Also - give some forethought to where the end of your round is going to land, so you don't have a jog on the front of the sleeve when you get to the garter stitch cuffs. I'm sure knitting into the stitch below or something like that would eliminate the problem, but I'm lazy.

I am on an EZ jag, too - I am planning on ignoring my exploding stash of doom and heading over to Knitting in La Jolla today to acquire some more wool of some sort to start a Tomten. I don't even know who will get it - I'm just going to knit me up one anyhow. Somewhere, some baby will fit.

This weekend I am suffering two major holiday slaps in the face. Last night Fiona and I attended the Nutcracker Gala benefiting City Ballet. Can't get much more Christmasy than the Nutcracker, can you (and by the way, if you are in San Diego in the early part of December, I highly recommend City's production at the Spreckels Theatre...intimate, opulent, elegant...)? But then today we are heading over to hear Fiona sing at Adelaide's for their holiday open house! Maybe hearing Over the River will scare me enough to prompt some gift can only hope.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Festivus Freakout

I interrupt this regularly scheduled blog posting for an important public service announcement.

The holdays are tomorrow. Not literally, but if the rate at which October disappeared was any indication, I have roughly 23.5 hours before Christmas Eve. Gifts and decorations are waiting to be started, or at least thought of.

Dear readers, t's time to get off our collective lazy knitting asses. And if this doesn't apply to you, I apologize for assuming and you're free to go on your efficient and timely way. I myself need a cold slap and a kick in the rear.

In knitting news, I am done with the body and halfway through the first sleeve of my February Baby Sweater. And Sarah-Hope sent me a link to the English directions (with charts here) of the Revontuli, which is a definite to-do. I wonder if I could get one done by Festivus, or if it will just be one more topic for the Airing of Grievances.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

32 Stitches

32 start a cuff? K4P4 ribbing perhaps? Nope! The other kind - the kind you get in the ER when your hobby involves lots of RPMs and sharp propellers. John sliced his hand open but good last night working on one of his planes when his sleeve caught the throttle by accident, and 32 stitches later he's bandaged up and pretty darn sad.

In fact, he was in such bad shape today, mostly from the hangover he got from the pain meds, that he missed the homecoming preparations completely. There's Anna up there with her date...her first date to a formal! You get to see her without a handknitted hat on!

And here's Fiona with hers. I missed Fiona & her date completely because Anna's date's mom and I went and had dinner while the young couple ate at a different restaurant, so Mary took pictures for me. Not bad for a nine-year-old. Maybe I'll let her write for the blog pretty soon.

I have to say, both these boys are so nice and polite. I'm off to sit down on the couch and start the night of waiting up. I hope they're having fun.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Yarn in the Landscape

I was at Knitting in La Jolla earlier this week and picked up some beautiful fall yarn. It fits right in with the succulents adorning my courtyard.

This Cascade 220 Heather in color 9459 pictured at left is being turned into the February Baby Sweater I spoke of earlier. It's very soft, and I love the muted olive-y green. I've finally gotten a handle on the gull pattern and the sweater is coming along; I hope to have the body done in the next day or so and the sleeves shortly after that, and then I'll have to find some earthy buttons.

The best part is I'm knitting in the evenings while watching the Knitter's Workshop DVD I ordered. Even though I thought I'd skip straight to the more advanced parts, I've been watching the early episodes and learning plenty For example, I skipped EZ's way of starting a long-tail cast-on (with no slip knot - this might be it here) when looking at the book, but I happened to catch it on the video and was fascinated! What a great trick.

I also love how EZ describes herself as a slow knitter, and how absent-minded and awkward she can be. It's very endearing, and the homespun video makes you feel like she's there with you, having a conversation about knitting.

This Red Rocks Fiber Works superwash merino in a colorway aptly named Fall Back.

Which reminds me...if you're in the US, this is the weekend. What will you do with your extra hour?