Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WiP Wednesday

There’s been one thing on the needles all week, and this is it.


It’s my Cranford Shawl test knit. I’ve been knitting on this whenever I have time, and I’ve gotten at least a few rows done every day. The middle section felt a bit like a slog, but now that I’m into the decrease section it’s going much faster. The biggest trick is going to be that I will need to get into my third skein of Ecological Wool, and that’s not wound yet.

First world problems. I has them.

There will be a new project by the end of the week, if only because the Hubster and I are going to the Pops concert on Friday night, and I’ll need something small to keep me occupied while I take the trolley downtown.

Meanwhile, I have interviews to transcribe, laundry to move and stories to write. Zoom.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dawn Gnot

Dawn Gnot reportedly works for a yarn company specializing in acrylic yarn, but was captured by CSI Purl City Police Detective Moss Stitch for the crime of putting knots in skeins of yarn.
-from pattern description

It was snowing in big puffy flakes that were sticking. I had to take a picture!

These socks were designed by my friend Heather Zoppetti. I like her, and this sock pattern, enough to suffer through a standard toe-up toe, which is annoying, but do-able when necesary.


I did make one small alteration to the pattern. I took the 35 stitches on the back of the sock (oh yeah. I also took the 68-stitch pattern to 70 stitches) and executed a mistake rib pattern on the back of the leg. It made the leg plenty stretchy to compensate for the tightness of the cable in front.

Plus, I kind of love mistake rib. I got addicted when I did Cristi’s Calvin & Ripple Socks.


I also added one column of stockingette stitches to each edge of the cable pattern to set off the mistake rib. I still can’t table without a needle on socks (my gauge is tight for socks. If those bad boys get “into the wind,” they are off to the races.) but by the time I finished the second sock, I hardly noticed.


The socks fit perfectly. I love them, they’re great. So is the yarn I used, dyed by my friend Sairy, who runs the Stitches ‘n Rows Etsy site.

Oh, and I thought this last photo was crucial. After seeing Heather’s Dansko Marah shoes at Bloomin Yarns’ Black Friday sale, I had to have a pair. I love them tons, just like my awesome new socks. Thanks, Heather!


Dawn Gnot Socks

Pattern: Dawn Gnot by Heather Zoppetti
Yarn: Stitches ‘n Rows luxe soles
Color: Royalty
Quanity: 1 skein (430 yds, racquetball-sized leftover cake)
Needles: US 2.5mm 16” ChiaoGoo red lace circs
Started: 1 January 2012
Finished: 16 January 2012
Mods: Knit over 70 sts instead of 68.
Subbed mistake rib for the stockingette on the back of the leg.
Pair #1 for “12 socks in 2012” Ravelry group

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WiP Wednesday

The Dawn Gnots are done, and have gotten their FO-to shoot already. You’ll see them probably tomorrow.

After a two-day finishing marathon on the socks, I started a test knit for my friend PAKnitWit. Her Cranford Shawl!


I cast on last night with Cascade Ecological Wool and it’s zipping right along. Huzzah! Oh! I picked up the Eco on a yarny field trip at the end of last week. I have pictures and will hopefully blog that this week as well.

I did have a bit of an issue last night. Apparently, I was not paying attention and messed up the slip-stitch edge, so I frogged about 2” and fixed it.

No time was spent on the Koolhaas hat this week. I’ll pick it up again soon and get that sucker finished. Meanwhile, it’s all shawl, all the time!

Because I think that the SOPA and PIPA bills are the rough equivalent of handling a mouse problem by blowing up your house, I’ve dimmed several of my pictures today. I kept this one “normal” because it didn’t make sense to dim a picture on a brand new post.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WiP Wednesday

There hasn’t been a whole lot of work on the Koolhaas hat, but believe it nor not, I actually did finish the third of the five suggested repeats.

And since someone asked last week, yes, that is a row-counting stitch marker. My very most favorite kind, and it’s from Hide and Sheep.


Most of my knitting time has gone into my Dawn Gnot socks. The first sock is finished, and last night I knit the second toe (geez, I hate standard toes!) and one repeat of the pattern. And, yes, that’s another Hide and Sheep row-counter on the sock toe!


The first sock is practically perfect in every way, just needs the ends woven in. I’m really excited for this finished pair of socks. Not to mention that I’m all ready to get started on the next pair for my 12 in 12 project. Zoom!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2011 In Review

Ahh, yes. Time to look back at the year that was.

As I created this photo-mosaic, it became very clear very quickly that I didn’t get much done during the first half of the year. Really, only those first four pictures are of things that were finished before July 4. And if the blanket hadn’t been done in a class, there would have only been three things finished during the first six months.

The first six months of the year saw me really and truly buried with freelance writing assignments. And colds. I was sick four times last winter, with the last bout in early April forcing me to call in sick for my shift at the yarn store. You know you’re really sick when you can’t get out of bed to go play with yarn.

When you live in Freelance Land, lots of work is good. But too much work isn't great either. I had far too many days where I woke up in the morning, wrote like a madwoman, took a few breaks for meals and went to bed. Weeks went by without me having any time to touch my crafts, and that's not good for anybody.

The summer months were less productive than I would have liked thanks to the the ongoing renovations at my house. The sewing area was boxed up and moved out of the way to accommodate the installation of a new air conditioner, new ductwork to go along with it, and various and assorted electrical work to accommodate the changes we made to our house. It was a disruptive summer, but we still adore our contractor (and architect!) and are beyond happy with the finished project, so there is absolutely no question that all the upset was worth it.

The finished list of projects include three pairs of socks, three quilts, five weaving projects, a pair of mittens, three toys, two shawls, two sweaters, a hat, and a cowl. Oh, and a house.

Enjoy this little trip down memory lane:


1. Northman Mittens II, 2. Bunny Rabbit, 3, Cleopatra’s Socks, 4. Double Weave Blanket,
5. Margarethe, 6. Oakland Shawl, 7. Softball Socks 2011, 8. Bagstopper #5, 9. Rep Weave Mug Rugs, 10. Dishtowels, 11. Rep Weave Placemats, 12. Copper Collage, 13. Squares Quilt,
14. Penn State Fibonacci Stripes Blanket, 15. Kogarashi Sweater, 16. McHenry,
17. Annabella’s Cowl, 18. Jerry, the Musical Monkey, 19. Steelers Hat, 20. Holidazed III,
21 & 22. Mary’s Quilts, 23. House Renovation.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Home Sweet Home

When my parents were deciding where they wanted to live for the foreseeable future, this house had two big negatives: a yard and the fact that it needed some significant upgrades.

They chose to move to a condo roughly a mile away. The Hubster and I chose to purchase this house.

Way back at the end of 2008, we had an indoor waterfall that led to a full remodel of the master bathroom with some minor improvements to the master bedroom in the spring of 2009. It went well, we are still very happy with the resulting master suite.

So when we decided to go ahead with the last of the significant changes we wanted to make to this house, there was no question that we’d use the same contractor. And the family-friend architect who designed the house at the Lake.

We started with this.


Enclosed back porch. If it was warm enough to be out there, the air circulation was so bad that it was too hot to be out there. The space was claustrophobic. And those stairs? They were scary. You can’t tell from the picture, but they were all pitched differently. You were never comfortable going up or down the stairs because they were all different heights and widths. Not to mention the fact that nobody is quite certain how they stayed up. When it was time for them to be demoed, Jim and Pete basically used their pinky fingers to push them over. Scary. And GONE.

The finished deck is a composite surface. It’s very comfortable in my bare feet and will be maintenance-free, which was a high priority for us. If you want to picture the old porch in the following pictures, it was enclosed by the roof that we kept (great decision!) and that is still visible in most of the pictures.

Oh, yeah! I have a natural gas grill again. Love it SO much!

We now have a large open area underneath the deck. The part under the roof stays pretty dry, which is nice. At some point in the future, we hope to add a hot tub to the space under that deck.


The chunk of space that was added with the deck is substantial. Plenty of space for the table and chairs that we had and used in California, but that we hadn’t touched since we moved here in 2007. (why didn’t I put the cushions on the chairs for these pictures? I have no idea…)


See? Tons of new space. It’s awesome. And the space under the roof is wonderful. You really can sit on that part during a rainstorm and stay dry. I can’t wait to have a full three-seasons of use in 2012.

And behind that three-panel sliding door? That used to be a formal dining room. Now? It’s our TV room.


Jim and Pete built us a completely custom full-wall entertainment center that faces the sliding door. Lots of shelves, drawers on the bottom-left for blankets, and storage on the bottom right and above the TV.


The great hardwood floors? Were sitting there under the carpet. We didn’t touch them. No refinishing. They didn’t need it! We did spend about $200 on an area rug from Ikea to cover the floor, just to give us a little warmth in the winter. But even then, this room is above the laundry room, not the garage (like the old TV room and kitchen), so it’s warmer in the winter.

Once the TV that my mother won at a Rotary Club fundraiser worked, it was put in place and we were ready to move in to our new space.


We love it. I’d have to say that most mornings I still come downstairs, turn on the electric kettle for my morning cup of tea, then look either out the kitchen door to the deck or into the new TV room, and I’m happy. I love everything, the workmanship is great, and I can’t wait to spend the next 20-30 years enjoying the changes that we’ve made to this house.


Yeah, we have a few minor tweaks we need to handle. A sprinkler head to move, a tiny bit of landscaping. But I think it’s already pretty awesome.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

WiP Wednesday

There has been some knitting going on around here, and it’s Wednesday, so you get a look!

The Hubster left town last week for football, so of course I had some knitters over. I needed some hostess-friendly knitting, so I busted out the Shokay I got on sale a few months ago and got started on my Koolhaas hat.


Getting through the cast-on and ribbing was no problem at all, but I managed to mess up the first round of the pattern. However, nobody but me is ever going to know or notice, so screw it. It’s staying.

In other news, I have several enabling friends who pushed me into doing the “12 in 2012” sock-knitting challenge. I cast on my friend digitalnabi’s Dawn Gnot socks in yarn dyed by my friend Sairy on Sunday. The first full day of knitting was a little rocky, but it’s going like gangbusters now. Much fun!


Sadly, the crafting news is not all wonderful and happy. Marianne’s socks boomeranged on me. I haven’t gotten detailed information, but I’m betting the cuffs are too tight. I’ll confirm before I rip and re-knit the cuffs (yay toe up!) on a far larger needle. Here’s hoping it’s a pretty quick process.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Fabric is Fiber Too

Well, hello there! Sorry about the radio silence. I had lots of little things going on last week, and … brace yourself … I didn’t have one single thing actively on the needles last Wednesday, so there was nothing to show you for WiP Wednesday.

I do have two more things to show you that fit under 2011 projects, then I’ll do my annual year-in-review archive. Yeah, I’m a little late, but it’s my blog so I can do whatever I want, right?

I wasn’t sure whether or not to include this project, but then I decided I was working on it for over a year (off and on … mostly off), so I’d include it on things that I finished in 2011.

A knitting friend of mine had been given a pile of cones of Rowan yarns. Wool and cotton, all 4-ply or thinner. She is not the kind of knitter that will eagerly tackle the challenge of these minimally-labeled very thin yarns. So we made a deal.

I’d take this pile of her mother’s tablecloths …


… and turn it into a pair of twin-size-ish quilts. One for Mary, one for her sister.

I got one top finished for last Christmas. I had intended to have both tops done by then, but the first of last winter’s debilitating colds hit at an inopportune time, and I managed to sew a strip wrong-side-out on one top, so I focused on finishing the absolutely-required lone top.

Because I am a bad friend, was overloaded with writing assignments and barely had time to breathe the first six months of 2011 … and because nearly all of my crafting spaces were out of commission for nearly all of the summer months … the tops weren’t finished until September. At which point I high-tailed it up to the Lake to drop them off with my fabulous and wonderful machine quilter.


Mary (different Mary … the quilter and owner of these quilts are both named Mary) did a fabulous job with the quilting, as always. This was not the time to try someone new. I wanted a quilter that I was sure would do a great job. Which she did. The backs of these quilts are extra-wide bleached muslin, so they are seamless. The backs look like wonderful whole-cloth quilts.

I picked the quilts up at the Lake in mid-December. When I bought the backing, I was lucky enough to find a pre-made bias binding at The Quilt Company that matched the green damask on the long sides. Two evenings of hand-sewing and they were finally finished. The fronts?

If I remember correctly, the more-scrappy quilt is going to be Mary’s


and the less-scrappy quilt will go to Mary’s sister.


I hope both sisters are pleased with the final products. I handed both quilts off to Mary’s husband on Christmas Eve, and haven’t seen her since delivery. Here’s hoping they will be enjoyed for years to come.

Me? I’m just happy they’re finished.