In all the moving craziness you would think that knitting would fall by the wayside.  But there has actually been a wee bit of progress.  I finally managed to finish my Kleio, with three days to spare, and so I turned to some lingering WIPs to keep me busy until August when I can cast on my Camp Loopy 3 project.

Remember Prana?  I was addicted to it back in June but then determined not to risk taking such sharp metal needles on the plane with me to my cousin's wedding and it has been languishing in my knitting basket ever since.  When I picked it back up I discovered that I was almost to the heel bind off, which for toeless socks is like being almost done (this is what I tell myself but in reality that final ribbing stretched to eternity).

I had to reknit the heel opening twice because it kept ending up too floppy.  The pattern says to "Bind off loosely" which in reality meant just that.  Don't go up a needle size, don't use a stretchy bind off, just bind off loosely.  When it comes to my feet I find myself thinking things are larger than they actually are.  I blame my sixth and seventh grade class.  Everyone gets made of for something when they are in middle school, mine was that my feet were bigger than the rest of the girls.  What I tend to forget is that now I've grown into them and as long as I have not been attacked by any bees they are proportional to my leg.

Please ignore all the stuff on our carpet.  We're working on unpacking and cleaning here.

I'm really loving this pattern, but they will probably fall by the wayside again until after Camp Loopy.  I may or may not be casting on another pair of legwarmers for that tomorrow.

To see more works in progress from people I'm sure are less self-conscious about their feet than I am, check out Tami's Amis.


My Own Little Chair

I have a confession to make.  As much as I believe in thwarting the stereotypes of traditional knitters by knitting the cutest and most wearable, sometimes fashion forward items I possibly can, as much as I rage when someone says knitters are boring, don't have enough to do, or can't possibly have a feminist bone in their body because knitting is so traditionally feminine, in my heart of hearts I am that stereotype.  My dream is to be a little old lady, sitting in my rocker with my cup of coffee (still not decaf, I'm not that crazy), with a beautiful blanket spilling off of my needles.  In my head there might even be a cat curled up at my feet.  And of course my hair has gone blue.  I know!  How specifically lame can I get.  But it's such a beautiful vision in my mind that I may or may not have started on it early.

There's no blanket on my needles and we don't have a cat.  My hair is still purple, though at one time it was blue and I kind of pulled it off.  But I do have my rocking chair sitting in the corner where I can have a cup of coffee and knit my heart out.  One of the things we were so excited about when we moved was how much more space we have -- over 200 more square feet!  I know we don't *need* much space and in many parts of the world and the United States people make do with much smaller living quarters, but the opportunity came along and we just could not resist.  Our old apartment had something along every wall and we did not have space for a lot of seating, so one of the things we wanted in the new apartment was additional seating.  This wicker rocker has been sitting in my parents garage for quite some time.  It came from my grandparent's house and they just really did not have the space for it.  So when my mom called to ask if we wanted it I did not even stop to ask Chris, I just said yes.

I'm planning to recover the cushions, and I still need to find a standing lamp that I like at the thrift store, but my little corner is finally becoming a reality.  I have one of my bookcases next to it, so a good book is always within easy reach, and once we find a better place for the tv antenna I will have a little table on which I can put a basket for a knitting project or two.  I find myself humming "In My Own Little Corner" whenever I look at it.  Maybe I'll find my copy of the record and get it framed to hang next to it.  Then the madness will truly be complete.


Living with Bees

Well that was a long and unexpected hiatus.  You would not believe the ten days that I have had.  First of all, we moved!  We have wanted to get out of our old place and to a more affordable and locationally appropriate for quite some time and it finally came through.  On Monday we rented a truck, crammed everything we could into the back, and begged our families to help us move just this one last time.  Once again they have all vowed never to help us again and we have promised to hire movers for when we eventually leave this place.  Hopefully we can make it last for more than a year this time.

But before even that happened, things had gotten rather complicated.  Last Friday night I was packing up some stuff and went out on the back porch to clean off some baskets.  I found a bag out there with some of the boxes we use for moving and went back inside to ask Chris if he wanted to keep it.  He came out, looked inside it, and found some interesting items that made us want to investigate more.  I mean, how did that webcam end up out there anyway?  And what else could be in that bag.

So we investigated further.  He pulled out more stuff when something flew out and startled him, causing him to knock off his glasses.  I bent down to pick them up, laughing a little at the image of him jumping, dropping the bag, and swatting at his ear as it replayed in my head.  Then, like a scene out of a horror movie, I turned ever so slowly as I stood up and saw it -- dozens of yellow jackets rising out of the bag and heading towards me like a strike force.

I screamed.  Chris yelled.  We both dove through the door, slamming it shut as fast as possible.  We weren't fast enough. Chris had a sting on his leg and I had a gotten stung in the foot.  But then as we tore through the door some more got inside.  We ran to the bathroom, hurriedly closing both exit doors.  Standing still I realized that there were bees in my jeans, which I ripped off as fast as possible, getting stung on the leg for my trouble.

So there we sat.  Trapped in our own bathroom.  Him with one sting in the leg, me with one to match plus four or five in my foot.  Now, I'm not allergic to bees, but the one sting on my hand that I got at the beginning of the week was still having a topical reaction after five days.  It seemed that as we watched my foot swelled up in front of us, all shiny and painful.  And here we sat, afraid to leave our bathroom and face the bees beyond the door.

The rest is a blur of pain and tears.  We managed to get out of the bathroom, grab phones and my purse and left for the emergency room with a quick call to my sister to assure that it was the right course of action.  (Don't worry, I did not go pantsless, though that might have made me more popular with the drunks we met that night).  When we got to the car we realized we only had the keys to Chris' which was full of things we were packing.  Amidst more panic on my part and haste on his we finally realized we  had not idea where my keys were and had to unpack the car so that he could run the boxes back into the apartment and through them to the mercy of the bees.

We arrived safely at the hospital despite our many close calls and traffic violations.  We almost missed the turn into the hospital but I saw the sign at the last minute and Chris managed to cross three lanes of traffic at an intersection and then back into the turning lane so that we were not hit by oncoming traffic.  It was a stroke of genius, I tell you, the kind only given to those driving pregnant women to the hospital as they start labor.  Only later did he tell me that he had to wear his old glasses with the bad prescription because in the commotion we broke the good ones.

The lovely doctor at the ER examined my foot and determined that it would go back to normal (I didn't believe him) and gave me medicine for the pain which I took without question.  I would have taken rat poison if he told me it was the only way to stop the pain.  I was able to go to work the next day, on crutches, but I was not allowed to drive, which made packing and moving much more difficult.  On Monday when we moved I was next to useless.  I limped around putting things in boxes and tried to stay out of everyone's way.  (I did become everyone's hero when we arrived to find that our power and water had not been turned on as we'd asked.  I am quite good with a phone and a switchboard when I need to be. I think I was a telephone operator in a previous life)

So here we sit.  Mostly unpacked and enjoying our new home.  The swelling in my foot has finally gone down and so far there have been no more attacks by bees.  Though Chris tells me he found a wasp nest outside our door, so one really never knows.


FO: Riding on the Metro

A lot of times in my knitting I try to follow patterns as closely as possible.  I've even been known to use the exact yarn down to the exact colors in the pattern photos.  Sometimes in knitting you just need to go with what has been proven to work.  And then sometimes you have to challenge everything.  Take this sweater for example.  Alex Tinsley's Northern Line is a gorgeous sweater with a contrast hem knit in yummy Malabrigo.  While I absolutely love it, it is not necessarily a good idea to wear a wool short sleeved sweater in 95 degree heat with crazy high humidity.  So instead I substituted a cotton blend and ended up changing almost the entire pattern.

I don't know what made me think that using a cotton and plant fiber blend (Knit Picks Shine Worsted) would knit up the same as the Malabrigo, but at first I actually cast on for a larger size.  After realizing the neckline could fall almost completely off of my body I ripped back and cast on a smaller size.  Then I tried it on when I split for sleeves and it was still way too big.  The sleeves started essentially at the waist line.  So I ripped it back again and took off the sleeves where it felt natural.  And it worked!

And then, high on my sleeve success I decreased for the waist at a much faster rate but only until it felt like the right place.  And it worked again!  Clearly I was on to something so I continued to go with what felt natural.  My last modification came when I realized that the turned neckline did not work as well as the rolled eyelet band that was its setup, so I left it and knit the hem to look the same as the sleeves.

I am thrilled with my success, and have determined to never knit a heavily modified sweater again.  I think I'll go back to knitting replicas of pattern photos.  It's far less stressful.

For more less stressful FOs, check out the gang at Tami's Amis.


Bee Stings and Ribbing

I was hoping to have some significant progress to share with you today.  Actually, I had been hoping that I would be able to share a lot with you all week but my plans were thwarted by an evil entity.  Monday morning as I did some cleaning and plotted my blog posts for the week I was attacked by a bee.  Now I've been stung before.  You don't grow up playing outside as much as we did and not get stung occasionally.  But man did this thing hurt.  It stung me on my thumb and within minutes that entire side of my hand had swelled up in this shiny red mess.  I was in pain all day and as of this morning it is still swollen.  This means I did not get much if any knitting done because I could barely use that hand for over 24 hours.   But before that happened I did make a little progress that I can share with you.

For some reason Blogger is insisting that this picture must be loaded upside down.

Over the weekend I swatched for and cast on the Rosemary Cardigan from the newest Knitscene out of this gorgeous Cascade 220.  The heathered lime just sings to me, especially now that I am past the twisted ribbing.  Because of the way I knit I never understood why people hate twisted ribbing.  My stitches naturally twist when knitting in the round and it took me several garments to realize that my flat stitches were different from my circular knitting.  But it seems I just never had to knit twisted ribbing flat as now I completely understand.  I hate it.  It was awkward and made a weird part of my arm twinge a bit.  I guess there is a muscle there I've never used.

But now I am past that and it should be smooth sailing as the rest of the body is stockinette.  Wish me luck!

To see more lovely works in progress, check out the gang over at Tami's Amis.


FO: Nasturtium

As you guys have probably noticed, I've knit a lot of socks.  Not so much that I would consider myself to be primarily a sock knitter, but enough that I have established what construction I like and am comfortable plugging a stitch pattern into it.  Yet my favorite pair of socks has consistently been the second pair I ever knit (my first pair went to live with my aunt).  Knit in Knit Picks Imagination, these basic toe-up anklets have stood up to years of wear, possibly because of the alpaca content.  So recently I decided to try to duplicate my success.  I bought more Imagination and found an actual pattern because you know I could not make it through another pair of stockinette socks.

Kristen Kapur's Nasturtium is a killer pattern.  This is an easy to memorize chevron pattern knit top-down with an eye of partridge heel.  It was absolutely perfect for all the time I spent in cars and on airplanes last week and a very fast knit.

And the Knit Picks Imagination is just as lovely as I remember.  I bought two skeins of Fairy Princess, but I actually only used one, with mere yards left over.  The colors are bright and vibrant and the alpaca is soft and comforting.  Paired with the pattern it is such a lovely result.

For more FOs, probably not photographed on yet another stormy evening in North Carolina, check out the gang over at Tami's Amis!


The Trouble with Garter

I don't know about you guys, but when life gets crazy sometimes all I think I can concentrate on is garter stitch.  Knit row after knit row after knit row.  There's got to be something soothing in that, right?  In a word?  No.  Right now all I can think about are charts and colorwork and cables.  Maybe a sweater like Aidez?  But no, I'm knitting garter.  Lots and lots of garter.

It's not that I don't like my garter stitch.  This Madelinetosh in Molly Ringwald is gorgeous.  I'm knitting this for the second month of Camp Loopy.  The challenge was to knit a popular pattern you have yet to knit.  At least 500 yards with either 1000 projects, queues, or both.  For this challenge I picked Kleio by Romi Hill, a gorgeous shawl knit with short rows.  I tell you what, I cannot wait to get to the lace section.

The other issue I'm having with garter stitch?  It's really hard to photograph in a way that looks interesting.  You have to get pretty creative and a little kooky.

See what I mean?

For more works in progress, check out Tami's Amis!


There and Back Again: An Abbreviated Tale

Once upon a time a girl got on a plane.  She brought nothing more than an unknit pair of socks and a fun summer novel.  Four days later she stumbled back out into the airport, book nearly read, socks nearly completed, and immediately returned to work exhausted and airsick.  The next week followed in a whirlwind of catch up and late nights and way too little sleep. 

The wedding was an absolute blast.  I do tend to forget that my family can party so hard.  People see how out there I can be and don't always realize that I come by that honestly.  We love hard, and loud, and we take over the entire hotel lobby for breakfast.  Seriously, there was some soccer tournament in town and we boxed them out of all the chairs.  Personally I blame these four ladies.

My mom and her sisters are the current matriarchs of our little clan.  They've all had at least two children, many of whom have children of their own.  And let's not forget their brothers.  It is not often that we all get together in one place, but when we do it is a sight to behold.

And there was some yarn tourism while we were about.  My mom and Aunt Mary Ann made a detour with me to Spin a Yarn in Binghamton, NY.  If you are ever in the area it is definitely worth stopping by.  Nothing spoke to my heart that day, but it wasn't for lack of trying.  It really is a lovely shop.

Oh, and those socks?  More on those later.