Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm slipper-curious

Have you made pocketbook slippers, by any chance? Do they work for long feet (say, 10.5 inches/ladies' size 9.5-ish)? Or would they be too tight? Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Anastasia socks: done

No sooner had I cast off the tops of my Anastasia socks with a tubular k1p1 bind-off than I found them lounging on the couch, in all their spirally glory.

I'm glad these are finally done. I like them, but I'm not head over heels, so to speak. I knit them toe-up, as called for in the pattern, and since I'm sick of having small amounts of leftover yarn, I decided to knit the pair from opposite ends of the skein and just keep going until I'd used it all. I wish I'd done more spiralling before starting the ribbing. (Why yes, I am too lazy to rip out the ribbing and knit more spiralling, thank you for asking.) I'm also not in love with the 1-by-1 ribbing, but I haven't yet found a way to bind off 2-by-2 ribbing in a pleasing way. Anyhoo, I'm just reminded that I'm not really fond of toe-up socks. No biggie. I do like these, and I did use all the yarn -- and I really like the yarn: wool/nylon sock yarn in "Fall Fire" from LuLu's Yarns. Plus these socks are taller than most, which is good for boot-wearing. So, overall, I give the pattern a big thumbs up, the yarn a thumbs up, and some of my choices a meh.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Plain mitten perfection

Mittens are finished! It just took a few evenings of TV watching to complete the pair. They are thick and sturdy -- I wore them out today, but it wasn't cold enough and I ended up taking them off. These are mid-winter snowman-building mittens. Have a closer look at one:

That photo alone makes me want to go outside and make a snowball. I used most of a 100g ball of worsted-weight 100% wool; there's probably enough left over for a through-the-sleeves i-cord, if one were so inclined.

It's tricky at best to photograph mittens on one's own hands (Dear Santa: A tiny tripod, please!), so instead I have a perspective-challenging shot for you:

This is now my default mitten pattern. They may have had less yarn to work with in the postwar years, but they knew it was worth using a little more for a sturdy mitten that will probably outlive its knitter.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Back (60 years) to basics

On the first or second snow day this week, I cast on for a plain pair of mittens. At first I was using the Easy Striped Mittens pattern, but I wasn't happy with the worsted-weight gauge of 4.5 sts./inch -- too loose to keep out the cold. So I turned to The Complete Book of Knitting, a hardcover published in 1947 that my mom bought me last year at a church sale. Chapter 1 -- "Learn How Steps" -- explains basic techniques and includes patterns for simple scarves, hats, sweaters, socks, gloves, and mittens. The "Four Needle Mittens" pattern uses worsted-weight wool at a gauge of 6 sts./inch -- that's more like it.

This Georga 100% Wool is a Wal-Mart mystery: made in China, mercerized (?), no yardage given for the 100-gram ball, no info to be found online. But I like it -- it's a good, solid worsted weight. Sturdy. Perfect for winter accessories, and not at all scratchy.

Also on the mitten front, I have some sad news: my Double-Thick Mittens are no more. I was just using the wrong yarn. When the first version was at too tight a gauge for the pattern, I liked the resulting fabric; when I went up to bigger needles to fit the pattern, the knitted fabric was too loose. So it was just a bad match. (Scheepjes Invicta, which I was using, is on the thin side of fingering sock yarns.) I'll try again when I find the proper yarn for the pattern. And in the meantime, my hands will be toasty in my plain Four Needle Mittens.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Chez Mooky: Now serving catnip taco

Last night as I headed out to buy some groceries, Bill said, "See if they have pet things -- we should get Mooky some kind of catnip toy now that he's inside so much." Excuse me? Buy my cat a catnip toy? No, I don't think so. Not this crafty lady.

This morning I got to work with some of my adorable scraps from lilybug. I cut two triangles and one long inch-wide strip from the heavy cotton (almost denim, really) fabric and sewed them all together like half a sandwich. Then I used some thin muslin to make a little bag; I put 2 teaspoons of Cosmic Catnip into the bag and sewed it up. I stuffed the three corners of the half-a-sandwich with fiberfill, pushed the bag o' catnip into the half-a-sandwich, stuffed a little more fiberfill in, and sewed up the opening.

It probably took me an hour to make this from start to finish. I presented it to Mooky, and he had a whale of a time with it. For about 45 seconds. It was during that time that it came to be called the catnip taco. It was just easier. Compare: (a) "Well, hallo there, Mooky. Are you enjoying your new catnip-scented item that is shaped like half a sandwich?" (b) "Mooky! Catnip tacooooo!!"

I have to admit that I don't even remember buying that catnip, so it's not the strongest-smelling stuff. But he did play with it again later, and then when he was napping on the bed this afternoon I put it next to him, and when I went back in there a little later, one corner of the taco was soggy. I think he likes it. I liked making it -- it was certainly more fun than an hour of Baudrillard.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


1. I've been back in Montreal for a few days -- woke up to snow this morning! Yikes!

2. I'm very glad I broke down and paid the $42 (!!) to see Me, Mom & Morgentaler play on Sunday night -- it was really fun. (Anyone else out there know/remember this band? I don't know if they ever played outside Quebec.)

3. I really, really love Cosmicpluto Laura's new Rayne Wrap Cardigan.

4. I'm still working away on my scrap-X quilt, having bought more fabric scraps from Robyn at lilybug. Planning to make it queen-sized. Why not?

5. The November holiday-themed market at Poppytalk Handmade is making me all wanty (so click at your own risk).

6. Kate asked for a picture of Mooky, so here he is, loving his crocheted blankie.

7. I need more coffee now. Bye!

Friday, November 16, 2007

One for the knitters

After a couple of hours in front of a microfilm reader in the windowless archives at Buffalo State College on Wednesday, I needed to stretch my legs and get some fresh air. I went out to the rooftop courtyard to have a look at the "Pot-Bellied Buffalo," created by ceramics students at the school:

Then I noticed a brick wall that had been partially covered in writing -- words had been written on individual bricks, in white chalk. I finally noticed a title at the top: "The Greats of Life."

Many were inspiring, positive words, like simplicity, knowledge, acceptance, and spontaneity; others were concrete nouns like sky, castles, and honey. Aside from the obvious "greats," there were some that were less obvious, like exits and speckles (?). Anyway, I knew right away what I had to do, and fortunately there were a few little chalk stubs on the ground.

My work there was done, and I headed back inside.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What the...?

I love looking at old newspapers on microfilm -- even though I'm looking for specific stories, I'm scrolling through hundreds of pages with fabulous ads and other, unrelated content. Sometimes a particular headline will catch my eye, and I'll read the story. The following is by far the most bizarre item I've come across in the Buffalo Evening News in the last two days:


       CHICAGO, Jan. 29 [1947] -- Mrs. Eleanor Webster, 41, sees red when she sees a pink hat, she said Tuesday.
       Mrs. Webster was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge on the complaint of Mrs. Sarah Warsaw, 46. Mrs. Warsaw said she was walking down a street Tuesday -- wearing a pink hat -- when Mrs. Webster, a total stranger, screamed her dislike for pink hats, knocked her down and began beating her.
       "I just don't like pink hats," Mrs. Webster told police.
       She was released under $75 bond pending a hearing.

Monday, November 12, 2007

On the road again

I'm sitting in a motel room on the outskirts of Buffalo, NY. (Glamorous, I know.) I'm on a little research trip, looking at old issues of the Buffalo Evening News and the Courier Express on microfilm at the library at the local college. (Remember Evelyn and the torso murder? I'm back on that at the moment. If I can't get motivated to read for comps, I'm going to work on something else.)

While I'm here, I figured I'd do a little cross-border shopping. I went to my very first Target, and ... it's just like Zellers! Maybe I'll do some yarn shopping and get something fancy I can't get at home, like (seriously) Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride. The problem with googling "Buffalo yarn" or "Buffalo knitting" is that you end up with results about knitting with buffalo. This amuses me. Or you have to figure out whether, say, Williamsville is actually in Buffalo. (Yes, it appears to be.) Why are there so many different "towns" here?

OK, I'm just rambling now. Maybe it's time to venture out and eat beef on weck. If you don't hear from me again in a few days, send help...

Friday, November 09, 2007


A quick trip to the Value Village today yielded a sweet yarn score: three balls (plus about a third of another ball) of Scheepjes Invicta Extra sock yarn for a total of $3.99! This is enough yarn to make tall and/or very-cabled socks. Yay! Plus, just for its fun super-saturated colour photos, another Beehive booklet: "Children's Choice for 2 to 6 Years."

Have a good weekend! If you get a chance to see Lars and the Real Girl, you should take it -- it's getting mixed reviews, but I really enjoyed it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Knitting round-up

While I wait for my winter 2008 (!) 2007 IK to arrive in the mail, I'll tell you where I'm at with WIPs and what's next on the list.

1. Double-Thick Mittens. In progress once again. I've gone up from 2.25mm needles to 3.0mm needles, and at the moment I'm just a few rounds away from the solid-gray hand. I want to knit these quickly because it's getting cold and I'm dying to wear them. (Oh, I hope I'm knitting a real mitten this time and not another swatch!)

2. Anastasia Socks. I've just about finished one Anastasia sock with the Fall Fire yarn I got from Robyn. Such fast socks! I'm copying Twinknit Jennie and just doing single-eyelet spirals. I can't remember my last toe-up sock. This one has a short-row toe and heel. (Since this photo, I've nearly finished the whole sock. I don't feel like taking another photo right now, but I wanted to show you how this awesome yarn is knitting up.)

3. Next in the sock line: DROPS cabled socks. When the Anastasias are done, I'm planning to cast on for these lovelies in solid cream Scheepjes Invicta Color yarn.

4. Eskimo Jacket. If Lori can knit such a beautiful one from Briggs & Little Heritage, then I can too -- I've got enough Heritage (brown heather) in my stash for this. (For extra inspiration, see also the version by FlintKnits Pam.)

5. Tussie Mussie. A possibility. I have enough Knit Picks Merino Style to knit a nutmeg T-Muss, which I think would look very nice indeed with little red buttons.

6. Beret Gaufre. I've never been one for berets (on my own head, that is -- no problem with them in principle), but Véronik has gone ahead and come up with a beret using the very yarn she convinced me that I should buy for a hat (Greenwood Hill Farm merino). So it's pretty much a foregone conclusion.

7. Palisel Alpaca Hat. I have some bright grass-green alpaca, and this is a cute hat.

OK, those are the highlights -- I have 58 patterns in my Ravelry queue, so obviously this isn't everything I'm hoping to knit. How many items are in your Ravelry queue? Be honest, now.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Just a quickie

One skein of really gorgeous handspun merino from Green Apple Yarn (colour: Peacock Plume) -- thanks again, Pam! -- plus a free pattern called Quickie Cowl by f. pea and a 6.5mm needle. Tricky to photograph. I may have gotten a little frustrated trying to get a good shot, actually.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Alas, an elaborate swatch

See the photo in the second-to-last post there? The photo of what looks like the cuff of a mitten? This photo? Well, it's actually not a mitten in progress -- it's an elaborate gauge swatch! And boy, it's a good thing I made a swatch; otherwise, I might have just gone ahead and started my mittens for real, not bothering to notice until I was four or five inches into the first one that my gauge was too tight. That sure would have been embarrassing. I might have even considered just carrying on with my too-small mitten, had I not knit this elaborate gauge swatch, since I would have already spent hours knitting the real mitten. Yep, good thing I didn't just go ahead without swatching, especially since Adrian told me explicitly before I'd even cast on that she knits loosely, and I tend to knit tightly; I may have just gone up 0.25 millimetres in needle size and forged ahead. That sure would have been silly.

Now, please excuse me and talk amongst yourselves while I rip out my, ahem, elaborage gauge swatch....

Friday, November 02, 2007


The "Baby Styles by Beehive" pattern booklet will be going to gtr. (Full disclosure: I didn't draw a name this time. When Bill was still half asleep in bed a little while ago, I went in and asked him to pick a number between 1 and 45.) (How do you "draw names" in random blog giveaways? For the Romantic Hand Knits giveaway, I actually wrote names on pieces of paper and had Bill choose one, but it took forever!)