on knitting and healing and other stuff

Archive for November, 2007


Posted by Janis on November 21, 2007

cornuyarn.jpg It’s been a better year, so I’m feeling pretty thankful. I always try to count my blessings, but this time of year — I get all misty about it. I’ll spare you most of the mush, but here are a few knitty things I’m grateful for:

1) Great cyber-knitting pals.

2) The Knittyboard.

3) Ravelry.

4) Wonderful LYS’s here in St. Louis: Knitorious, The Weaving Dept., Hearthstone Knits, Kirkwood Knittery. (There are more, but these are the ones I know and love.)

5) A husband who understands my obsession with yarn and needles — and even enables me.

6) Time to knit. Yes, I work, but I have time to knit.

7) My stash. There, I said it.

8) The best reason in the world not to leave the house on Black Friday — there’s knitting to do! Have a great Thanksgiving.

* YIKES – where did that weird little emoticon come from??? I typed an “8”, people! OK – how come I could type “8” just then and it didn’t turn into a smiley? Is my blog haunted?

9) Knitting Daily  – I love Knitting Daily and everything Interweave Press does.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

“Hello, My Baby…”

Posted by Janis on November 20, 2007

180px-michigan_j_frog.pngSay hello to Michigan J. Frog, that fabulous Warner Brothers creation — a singing, dancing show biz frog. FROG is the key word here, friends — I’ve been doing a lot of it lately! First there was Dad’s sweater-beginning. OK, my bad — no way to fix that one but start over. I’m now nearly up to the armpits in the right color and it’s moving right along, looking good. I really think I’ll have it ready in time, and even BLOCKED properly, for once! ( Y’know, it’s always nice not to snatch a present back the second the recipient opens it, shrieking, “OK – now I’ve got to take it back home and block it! It’s really not finished yet!” I had to do that last Christmas with my niece Rachel’s socks and she almost started crying. “But I want to WEAR them, Aunt Jannie! They’re so comfy!”)

Since I’m feeling pretty good about the big Christmas knitting project, I figured I could cast on for a little one, too, just to give myself some options. Plus, we’ll be at Dad’s for Thanksgiving and I can’t be working on his sweater there, so I needed something. You understand. So I decided to be the last person on the planet to make a pair of Fetching fingerless mitts from Knitty. My niece-in-law (? Is that really a term for a family relationship? My sister-in-law’s adult daughter by her first marriage, anyway.) is an avid photographer and I thought these would be so handy for her. (Oh, and I really, really like this young woman.) I bought some Debbie Bliss Rialto (my LYS didn’t have the Cashmerino Aran in a color I wanted for her) and decided to spice it up with a skein of Ritratto. The pattern is written for aran weight, but knitted up tight at 4 stitches per inch on a US 6. So I figured using a DK + a fingering (light fingering weight at most) would give me about the equivalent of the aran/worsted.

WELL — au contraire, as my French friends say, au contraire. I went down one needle size automatically, knowing I’m a loose knitter. I was still way off. OK, down to a #4 – that oughta do it. NO. (Luckily at this point I’m still swatching. Lazily – on the same piece – changing needle sizes – but swatching.) So I figure, gotta be a 3. Yup, a 3’s gotta be the one. So I cast on with size 3 DPN’s. And knit the bottom ribbing, and one repeat of the cable pattern, and a couple of ribbing rows to truly be able to admire my pretty little cables…   fetchingprefrog.jpg

And started to think – huh! This looks kinda big. I mean, I have small wrists (it’s the only thing on my body that IS small, go figure.), but still… this puppy looked big. So I slipped it on. Let’s just say, the ribbing didn’t have to do any work at all. I could slip it on with no stretching required and it rolled around on my wrist with an inch to spare. Enter Michigan J. Frog…

So now I am faced with a dilemma: do I start over with even smaller needles or do I just start over on the 3’s and leave out one repeat of the pattern? Of course, what I should do is to swatch again, using #2’s or even #1’s, finding the accurate gauge and starting over absolutely properly. But that would take some of the thrill out of it, wouldn’t it? I mean, then I’d be sure to have the right gauge… * Sigh * And besides, these are supposed to be a quick knit and they won’t be if I have to do them on #1’s. (Uh oh, this project has just gone from an amusing alternative to sweater-knitting to “have to do them” … Maybe I’d better just start over on the 3’s and leave out a repeat.)

PS – Someone stumbled onto my blog by a search for “Race Bannon,” and another by Googling “Jonny Quest” – how great is that? (And how disappointed those seekers must have been…)

Posted in On the Needles | 3 Comments »

I Need to Have A Yarn Sale

Posted by Janis on November 16, 2007

Well, I’ve just spent the better part of my free time the past week or so photoing my stash for Ravelry. I know, I know, I was one of the original scoffers at this endeavor, oh yes, I admit that. But then, when my school schedule went haywire this month, I looked around Ravelry a bit and thought, “Hmmmmmm…. that might not be a bad idea after all.” I think what clinched the deal was the feature that translates the stash into Excel. I have a stash spreadsheet, but I haven’t updated it since January, so I just figured, “What the hell — I’ll photo it, too.” It really wasn’t bad once I got started, and I feel I have a firm grip on what I have.

Which is TOO MUCH YARN. Really. There is yarn bought for projects I’m no longer infatuated with, yarn bought just for the sake of retail therapy, yarn in amounts too small for a project, as I refuse to knit dishcloths. This process has been a sobering one, my friends. It reminds me very much of my dear sister Paula, who was bi-polar and, when in a manic phase, would buy things, squirrel them away and forget she’d ever bought them. She once called me to ask if I was with her when she bought a dozen or more greeting cards she’d just found in a dresser drawer. No, I said, if I’d been with you, you’d only have come away with 3 or 4. It’s times like these that make me miss her even more – if I could just call her and say, “HEY! Were you with me when I bought the fuschia yarn – the 5th batch of fuschia yarn?” and she’d laugh and say, “If I’d have been with you, I would have made you buy the purple stuff I liked.”

So what I really need to do is have a yarn sale. I traded a bunch and gave away some on the Knittyboard over the summer, but this time I’m going for the cash. I’m all registered and ready to go on the “Destash for Cash” blog (, my photos are on Flickr ready to upload or download or go sideways, whatever it takes. I just need to let go.

And I must confess that I’ve spent the morning looking at Rowan Felted Tweed online and WEBS and Knit Picks, counting my chickens before they’re hatched. Hatched? Hell, they’re not even LAID yet. Better get to work.

Posted in In the Stash | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Janis on November 6, 2007

All right, my friends, here’s my question for you: WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? tweedmixup.jpg

If your answer is, “Those are two completely different shades of yarn!”, then you are correct! If your answer goes on to say, “Gosh, I hope she’s knitting a two-toned sweater…,” then I’m afraid you’re wrong.

I have just suffered a rather serious stash smackdown. My beloved stash — carefully stored in plastic bins and painstakingly recorded in Excel spreadsheets — sold me out last night. I had just knit up the first ball of the Yorkshire Tweed Aran for my Dad’s Christmas sweater – 175 yards of glory, minus the part I swatched. I knew that, despite the fact I had purchased this yarn well over a year ago, that I had 11 balls in the stash. I knew this because it was written on the spread sheet. See?


There it is — #115: Yorkshire Tweed Aran – blue – 11 balls. (Plus one of cream and one of plum, because I was going to design this fancy little Fair Isle portion across the chest, but I chickened out.)

So last night when I went downstairs to the stash (with a song in my heart and a spring in my step) to get Ball #2, I opened the full bag of blue yarn and gasped — (and worse, but I leave that to your imaginations): Even in the dim light of the basement, I could see that what was in that bag was NOT the same as what was on my needles at that very moment. And not to put too fine a point on it, but I had 6 inches x 41 inches of cardigan there — that’s 246 square inches of knitting — and about 8 hours of my life I’d never get back.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I raced to the computer and looked to see if Jannette’s on eBay had any more bags of the color I’d (OK, OK — mistakenly) cast-on — no dice. A quick Google offered me a few choices from $13.95 a ball to $15. Could I afford to blow a hundred bucks plus shipping to avoid frogging and starting over? I considered it. I even pondered it for at least five minutes before heaving a great sigh, getting out the ballwinder, and kissing the beginning of my Charcoal Ribbed Cardigan good-bye.

It wasn’t quite as painful as I expected, but it did register somewhere between the time I wiped out on my Rollerblades and took all the skin off one thigh and the time I missed out on a Kidsilk Haze sale.

Apparently, the rogue ball of teal-ish blue was part of that original Fair Isle plan. The bag of blue I bought was plenty for a man’s cardigan, and I must have ordered 3 balls of contrasting colors, not 2. When I was faithfully entering all of this into the spreadsheet in January, I had already forgotten this and didn’t look closely at the yarn to see the difference. (Try opening the bag next time, Doofus.)

I didn’t listen to my inner knitter when I thought the yarn seemed to have much more green in it than I remembered and wondered why I’d chosen something with so many yellow flecks in it. No, I just knit on, blithely ignoring those flashing red lights in the periphery. Thank God it was just wool and not a train.

Hey – anybody want a ball of Yorkshire Tweed Aran? The shade is #415 – Maze – missing about 25 yards, frogged, and rewound. Maybe this happened for a reason. Maybe this humble *&^%$! ball of yarn will save another knitter’s a$@. Or maybe it was just another visit from the Imp of the Perverse.

Posted in Impish, In the Stash, On the Needles | 6 Comments »

A Wallaby for Hannah

Posted by Janis on November 3, 2007

On the knitting front, I finished my niece’s “Wonderful Wallaby” this week — washed, blocked, dry, and in its bag till Christmas. So many people have knit this pattern, I hope I don’t repeat all previous comments. Bear with me…

Specs first: This is a size 8 – finished chest about 30″, knit in Noro Kureyon 102, took just a smidge less than 7 skeins to finish. Knit on #6’s for the ribbing and #8’s for the body. wallaby.jpg

1) There’s a reason this is a such a popular pattern — it’s well-written and very easy & quick to knit up. I love knitting sweaters in the round and avoiding all that finishing whenever possible, and this is a perfect example of that kind of knitting.

2) Picking up the stitches and knitting the pouch on is quite satisfying.

3) I really like the raglan decreases on this sweater.

4) Making it in a self-striping yarn did not work out as well as I had anticipated. Why? Because dumbass that I am, I didn’t take into account that the stripes would be different widths on the body, sleeves, pouch, and hood. I knew I could match up stripes from knitting self-striping socks, but didn’t even stop to think about the different circumferences of the pieces affecting the width of the stripes. DUH! So it’s kind of a Wonky Wallaby instead of a Wonderful one, alas!

5) I switched the hood finishing from the prescribed Kitchener (which I also love) to a three-needle bind-off and am very pleased with that little modification. I’m pretty sure I must have read about someone else doing this before me, but I can’t seem to find it to cite the source.

6) The underarm seaming was a bit, well, unseemly. (Pun intended.) I think the stitches are so tight when you join the sleeves and body that the stitches adjacent to those grafted together have been stretched. I sewed it up fairly neatly with yarn and a tapestry needle, but ugh – wonder if this can be avoided next time?

Here’s a close-up of the shoulder seam and hood, my favorite parts:

wallabydetail.jpgIn other knitting news, I cast on a sweater for my Dad for Christmas. I was working on an original design, but chickened out at the last minute and decided to do the Charcoal Rib Cardigan by Kate Kuckro in last year’s IK Holiday Knits. I’m doing it in Rowan Yorkshire Tweed (worsted), and I think it’ll be very nice. No stripes to match.

Other than that project, my Hanami has been on hold for a month now, after an auspicious start. I haven’t had the kind of quiet, focused time necessary to work on a lace project, but I miss it. (Hear that, little shawl-in-progress? You are missed.) I may not get back to it till after the holidays. I’m trying to sort out who gets knitting this year, but I can’t really share those musings here, as someone might be snooping reading…

Posted in On the Needles | 4 Comments »