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Real Travel

Happy Memorial Day, everybody!

I'm headed to northern Maine today to attend my niece's committal service. Coming back on Wednesday, so probably no new post til at least Thursday. I'm taking my knitting. I have the back of Santa Fe half done, and I'd love to be able to move onto the sleeves by the weekend.

Then, my trip to Ohio for TNNA's Fall Yarn Show (it's not in the Fall; they show the new Fall yarns) is coming up fast -- Kristin & I are flying outta Bangor on June 9 for that. But I'll be bringing my laptop so maybe can blog the show. I don't think I'll be allowed to take pictures, but we'll see. The show is not open to the general public; it's for yarn shops, designers, people who sell yarn. You have to jump through hoops to get a show badge and get into the place. But it is fun, and very valuable in that you get to see all the newest, not even released yet products, and you can network with yarn shop people from all over the country. I've gotten a lot of good feedback and ideas at TNNA shows.

But I'll miss Fiber Frolic!

Virtual Travel

Every now and then, I go on a virtual traveling expedition. I looked ahead at my schedule for this summer, and I already feel tired! (But excited; summer on Maine's coast is always like one big carnival, from about now to Labor Day and beyond.) So I am thinking ahead to what would be fun to do in October, after things slow down enough to let me get away for a little fun.

In reality, I know I would never be able to really find the time or the money to go on this fantasy trip. But it's fun to dream....

I'd start on October 1 & 2, with the Wool Festival at Taos. I loved New Mexico when I was there earlier this year (even though I was sick as a dog, New Mexico was still gorgeous!), and the Taos region is known for art of all kinds. The wool festival would be a great way for me to be completely immersed in wool and exotic fibers for a couple of days. How lovely...

Then I'd skip down to Albuquerque for the 2005 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta -- it starts on September 30, but since I'd be at the Taos Wool Festival October 1 and 2, I'd join the balloon festival already underway on October 3 through 6. This fiesta has nothing to do with fiber, but I've always loved hot air balloons (must be a throw back to my early love of the Wizard of Oz), so one of my lifetime ambitions is to get to Albuquerque for this fiesta sometime. The fiesta actually lasts through October 9, but I'd leave on October 6 and fly back east to ......

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia for the Celtic Colours International Festival, October 7 through 15. I don't believe I have a drop of Irish or Scottish blood in me (well, maybe a little Scottish, since there were Herricks in my ancestry), but I've always loved Celtic music. Probably, because I grew up in far northern Maine, and Canadian television formed my earlier memories way more than American television did. My childhood tv friends were The Friendly Giant, Miss Ann, Mr. Dress-up and Suzanne (? I think that was her name; she taught French on tv). Later there was The Beachcombers. Ahh.. Anyway, the Maritimes and their Celtic culture takes me back to my beginnings, and I'd love to get up to Cape Breton (a fabulous place to visit any time, because it is gorgeous) and listen to some hot fiddle music, some plaintive bagpipes, and some blood-stirring drums.

Then, back home to knit and spin and design and chat with lovely customers and help people with their knitting. It's a good life. And it's been a fun virtual trip. :)

Rainy Day Scarf


It's another rainy day.

I knit this scarf way back in January & February. I love the yarn; it's a wool/silk blend from The Purled Llama . The yarn is called "Melena" and the color is called "Beth" (yes, it's named after me!)

I had the scarf on display at the NETA knit and spin weekend in February, and several people asked for the pattern to knit it. I assured them I'd write down the pattern, but I never did get around to it. But this morning the rain reminded me of the scarf's wavy pattern stitch, so I finally wrote down the pattern. And here 'tis:

Rainy Day Scarf

1 skein “Melena” or a couple hundred yards of any wool/silk heavy worsted weight yarn*(see note below)
size 5.5 mm (US size 9) needles
tapestry needle

Finished measurements: 55 inches long, 4 inches wide (unblocked).

Cast on 28 sts.

Work in Wavy Pattern
Rows 1 - 4: (K 2, P 2) 7 times.
Row 5 & 7: P 1, (K 2, P 2) 6 times, K 2, P 1.
Row 6 & 8: K1, P 2, (K 2, P 2) 6 time, K 1
Rows 9 - 12: (P 2, K 2) 7 times
Row 13 & 15: K 1, (P 2, K 2) 6 times, P 2, K 1.
Row 14 & 16: P 1, K 2, (P 2, K 2) 6 times, P 1.
Rows 17 - 20: (K 2, P 2) 7 times
Rows 21 & 23: K 1, (P 2, K 2) 6 times, P 2, K 1.
Rows 22 & 24: P 1, K 2, (P 2, K 2) 6 times, P 1.
Rows 25 -28: (P 2, K 2) 7 times
Rows 29 & 31: P 1, (K 2, P 2) 6 times, K 2, P 1.
Rows 30 & 32: K1, P 2, (K 2, P 2), K 1

Repeat these 32 rows until you rund out of yarn; bind off; weave in ends.

*note: The Wavy Pattern could be adapted to suit any gauge yarn; it is a multiple of 4 sts/32rows. Just increase or decrease the number of times the K 2, P 2 (or P 2, K 2) is repeated in the middle. Actually, I guess you could even use it to make a baby blanket or an afghan. Or a pillow. Hmmm.....

I hope the sun comes out soon! The silk in this Melena yarn really looks lovely in sunlight.

(thinking: I bet this scarf would also be gorgeous in Alchemy Yarn's "Synchronicity" or "Bamboo").

Thanks, gentle readers

Once upon a time there was a crabby old English teacher (secretly, a knitter) who thought she ought to be a highly successful writer. So she wrote a little. But when it came right down to it, she discovered she was better at other stuff than she was at writing. Later, in an effort to tie up some of her life's loose ends, she found some old writing files and decided to just give them to the masses via her blog.

Thanks everyone, for your incredibly kind words about my story!!!! I truly appreciate it. I'm really not a writer; I'm a yarn shop owner. But if that ever falls through, it's nice to know some people like my writing, in case I have to fall back on it to make a living.....

Knitting Fiction

Here's a little story I wrote a couple years ago; enjoy!

The Collection

It was a chance comment over the lunch table at work that got Margot and Sharon thinking about taking the trip.
“This canned crabmeat tastes like salty cardboard. I don’t know why I bother,” Margot sighed.
“Mmmm, no problem. Let’s just run up to Maine and grab a couple of fresh lobsters,” said Sharon, around a mouthful of salad. “And while we’re at it, let’s browse through a few antique stores up and down the coast.”
“Right,” Margot laughed. She and Sharon pulled out some knitting and occupied two of several comfy chairs in the employee’s lounge. Five more women joined them, and the room filled with talk of patterns, yarn, and needles. Margot was shy and didn’t make friends easily, but in this knitting group she felt comfortable. Several women looked to her for help and guidance, and she was pleased to give them a hand.
“Margot, maybe that Maine idea isn’t such a bad one. There’s a long weekend coming up. Let’s go!” Sharon exclaimed. “We’ll dig for treasure in the antique shops. We’ll luxuriate in the old-fashioned luxury of the bed-and-breakfasts in the picturesque villages --”
“You’ll stare at the hunky lobstermen, you mean!” giggled one of the younger women. For a moment, each woman’s mind was filled with the image of young men, stripped to the waist, muscles rippling, skin glistening in the sun.....a collective sigh filled the room.
Margot’s brow wrinkled, though she smiled. “Well. I can’t really think of any reason not to....okay, let’s go!”


The drive up was beautiful. They took the scenic route, taking turns driving after every pitstop so the other woman could knit.
“Sharon, I hate to admit it, but this was a great idea. That lobster we ate for lunch was out of this world!” Margot said.
“Absolutely. And the blueberry cheesecake was yummy, too,” Sharon sighed. She squinted a bit at the sock she was working on. It was just plain stockinette stitch, boring, but excellent for a car ride. The variegated colors of the soft merino and cashmere blend yarn made the simple knit more interesting.
“What’s that up ahead? Does that sign say ‘Antiques’?” Sharon asked, excited.
“I believe it does, right under ‘Homemade Fudge’ and ‘Bait’. We’re stopping!” Margot replied, and pulled into the parking lot.
The shop was small and a bit shabby, but some attempts had been made to spruce it up for the tourist season. Inside, it took a while for one’s eyes to adjust from bright sunlight to the somewhat dim lighting of the store. The refrigerated cases of soda, beer and sandwiches were new, as was the gaudy lottery-ticket display with its flashing lights. But the penny-candy counter, woodstove, pressed tin ceiling, and uneven wood floor were all original, Margot thought.
As they went in, they smiled at the woman behind the counter, inquired about antiques, and were shown to the back of the store. Sharon eagerly went to a large and dangerously tilted set of shelves and began scanning the old books. Margot was drawn to a big table in the corner, labeled “Flea Market”. It was piled high with junk.
She was smiling to herself at one of the treasures here, an avocado fondue pot circa 1978; turning to get Sharon’s attention, she noticed in the far corner of the table a lumpy, dusty bag with wooden handles. The handles looked hand-carved, and the textile used for the bag was possibly hand-woven, in an unusual pattern. She reached out and pulled the bag toward the front of the table.
“Like old stuff, do ya?” a querulous voice said behind her. Margot turned quickly, and faced an elderly gentleman holding a folded newspaper in one hand and a pencil in the other. He’d been working on the crossword puzzle. He wore an eye patch over his left eye, and a sleepy cat was draped around his neck. Margot thought about pointing out that a parrot would create a better pirate effect, but kept the thought to herself.
“Um, yes. This bag just caught my eye,”she said, nervously. He had surprised her. Cautiously, she opened the bag and gasped as she saw its contents: a treasure of old knitting needles! She pulled them out on the table. There were a lot of the typical aluminum needles found in every knitter’s collection. These she could share with her knitting group at work -- the younger girls, especially, were always needing to “borrow” needle sizes they didn’t have. But the collection also included other finds: handcrafted wooden needles, plastic needles with brightly colored knobs, sets of steel double pointed needles so fine they looked dangerous to knit with. There were several sets of needles whose brands she didn’t recognize, and she thought she knew them all.
As she gently examined them, stroking them lovingly, she thought, I wish I could know the knitters who used these needles over the years. What did they create with them? Whom did they knit for? What were they feeling as they employed these tools, and did knitting help them get through unhappiness? or celebrate joy?
“Okay, if that’s what you want,” the old man chuckled, which was odd, since she hadn’t said anything. She turned to ask what he meant, but he wasn’t there. Her scalp prickled, and a feeling she recognized from years ago crept and hissed around the edges of her consciousness. Silly, she thought, and shook it off. Don’t be alone....
“Sharon!” Margot cried, and heard a loud sneeze from the book shelf area.
“Okay! I’m ready to go!” Sharon said, sure that’s what was on Margot’s mind. Sharon tended to lose track of time while looking at old books.
“All right,” Margot replied, curious that Sharon was ready to go so soon, but glad, because the old man’s disappearance had unnerved her. She stuffed the needles back in the bag and took it up to the counter.
“Let’s see,”the woman who had smiled when they came in fumbled with the bag and found a faded, handwritten price tag dangling off the handle, “that’ll be $7.00.”
Margot paid, thinking the woman would have gotten a lot more for it at an online auction site. The bag itself was gorgeous. Feeling guilty about getting such a good deal, she wanted to give the woman a compliment, at least.
“That’s a beautiful cat you have back there. Is it a Maine coon cat?” she asked. “The man carrying the cat disappeared before I could ask him.”
The woman looked puzzled.
“The elderly man with the eye patch, with the cat around his neck,” Margot tried to clarify it for her.
“Dunno. Got no cat, and no man, neither. Sorry!” The woman looked at Margot in a less than approving manner, reserved for tourists who ask ridiculous questions.
“My mistake, sorry...” Margot mumbled, and walked quickly to the car as Sharon paid for the books she had chosen.


The rest of the trip passed too quickly. They ate lots of lobster, reveled in the beauty of the sea, pawed through innumerable antique stores and flea markets, and finally returned to daily life back home. Margot found that her septic system had experienced “problems” while she was away. In the hectic rush to get the problems fixed, it was a couple of weeks before she thought again of the bag with its needle collection, and the mystery of the one-eyed man.
The next Saturday afternoon she dug out the bag, emptied it of the needles, and carefully hand washed it. No mystery there; it was just a beautiful but dirty bag, now significantly cleaner. She lightly sanded the wooden handles, well-worn but sturdy, and gave them a coat of tung oil. Then she turned to the needles and washed each of them. They were all in pretty good condition, actually. Some of the plastic needles had slightly discolored spots, but that wouldn’t interfere with their use. She had expected to find rust on the metal needles, and the steel needle sets did in fact need a little work with steel wool. As she worked, a joke fermented in her mind, about using steel wool on steel needles, but didn’t form completely.
After she fortified herself with a fresh cup of tea, she laid out the needles on the coffee table as a prelude to deciding which sets to keep in her collection, and which to offer to the knitting group. Several wooden and plastic needles were bent slightly, from use. That got her thinking again about the previous owners of the needles. What kind of people were they? What had they knit with these needles? She picked up one set of wooden needles that were surely hand made, with cleverly carved knobs. They felt warm, as if someone had just set them down before she picked them up. She stroked them gently. Tell me what you know, she thought......

.....and suddenly, she was there. But not there. She was the woman holding the needles, not Margot, but she was Margot too. She was in a small, dark room, lit by oil lamps and a soft glow from the door of the woodstove. She sat in a large, comfortable rocking chair, and through the window she saw snow falling thickly and silently. Her son, a toddler now, played with his wooden toys on a braided rug next to her. An newly-baked apple pie scented the air. A man, back turned to her, was tuning a fiddle. He turned, and his eyes were filled with love. She knew her eyes reflected the same feeling. Her mind filled with memories of hours upon hours of winter evenings, knitting away as the snow fell and her Irish carpenter husband played lively jigs to amuse his little family. She always told him she could knit a hundred times faster when he fiddled a wild tune. The soft brown wool, hand spun on the wheel in the corner, danced along in time with the music. It was so comfortable, and happy, this memory....

.....smiling, Margot came to her senses and shook herself. Not again, she thought. These visions had stopped when she grew out of her teens; she hated them. They made her different. When she was very young, and didn’t know better, she tried to talk about them, tell people what she had seen. But her father just slapped her, and when she tried to ask her mother what the visions were, all she got was tears in reply. But now it was happening again.

Margot gazed at the needle collection again, though with some trepidation. She knew darn well she should stop now, put everything away. That first vision had been short, and happy, and she knew that what she might see could just as easily tear her apart, but those fine steel needles intrigued her. They looked very old, and one of them was curved from the tight or long-term grip of a knitter. She picked up this needle, which was cold..... was dark, dark, with bright flashes of light and loud, terrifying noise, so loud she screamed. Artillery! and the popping sound was gunfire! And fear was all around her, men screamed and scrambled and swore. The explosions and screams went on and on and she couldn’t tell if the warm wetness in her eyes and on her face was rain, or tears, or smelled like blood. Her hands, scrambled in the mud, encountered a hand, but horrified her as she felt it end abruptly halfway up the forearm. As she half-stood, flinging it away from her, a sharp, fiery pain sliced through her hip, and something hit her head, hard. Then all was dark, and quiet, for a long time, until slowly, slowly, light filtered in, sunlight in a quiet white room. A pretty nurse stood near her.
“How’s the knitting going, honey?” she asked.
Margot was surprised by the deepness of her own voice as she replied her knitting was fine, but she was even more disturbed by the second part of the reply, “I guess I could knit better if you came over here and gave me a little kiss, darlin’.”
Then she realized she was a man......and despite her confusion, her head filled with a stranger’s memories again. There had been a battle, and he was badly wounded. Margot felt his desperation of knowing he wasn’t going back to the fight, but knowing also his buddies were there. There was no way to get back, to help them, to make a difference in this damned war. Laid up, useless. Frustration, depression ... dark hours that didn’t help the healing process much. And then that pushed-to-the-edge pretty nurse taught him to knit.
“You wanna help the war, soldier? Want to make yourself useful? Here. You’re gonna knit bandages. Lord knows we need ‘em....” Memories followed, hours of knitting, and other guys that were wounded too joined him in knitting bandages. At least it was something.....he thought how happy his mother would be to see him knitting, after all the years he played with his little wooden toys on the braided rug at her side. Knitting was therapy, and he and the other guys could talk, eyes on their needles. Sometimes it’s just easier to talk about stuff that is too much of a nightmare to see reflected in another man’s eyes, but you gotta talk about it. You gotta get it out.....

......Margot shivered. That poignant vision took longer to leave her mind. Why, she thought. Why these visions? Why now? It all went back to that old man in the store. Enough, she thought. Time to get these needles sorted and set the keepers aside, to put back in the bag when it was dry. She found a box to be their temporary home, and started wrapping each set in tissue and laying them carefully in the box.
The last set were a pair of bamboo needles, about a size 3 or 4, she guessed. There was really nothing very unusual about them, but she just liked them, with their smooth, polished shafts that belied lots of use, and the perky round wooden knobs on the ends. And when she picked them up, she felt such joy, she knew she had to keep them. I wonder, she thought, and tickled a spot under her chin with the knob of one needle...

...instantly, in her mind, she was knitting, quickly and joyously. Quickly, because time was running out, and joyously, because the garment was nearly done! She held it up to examine it, and realized it was an intricate, full-length lace bridal veil....for..for her daughter. Ah yes, and it was special, for the wool had been hand spun from the fleece of island sheep, renowned for the lustrous purity of their clean, white coats. Her own mother, the bride’s grandmother, had spun the cobweb weight yarn, the finest yarn that you would ever see. She thought of the veil she’d worn at her own wedding, hand knit like this one. She hadn’t planned to give up nursing, but it was during the war, and there was this one handsome soldier...her mother had been so pleased. Her daughter’s veil, she knew, would pass the knitter’s test and easily slide through the bride’s wedding ring. The lace pattern she had devised incorporated motifs that wished the couple happiness: hearts, for love; eggs, for fertility; ships, for wealth; mountains, for longevity; oak trees, for patience, and one she added on a whimsy: cats, for curiosity. Every good married couple should have a sense of curiosity, about each other and the world they lived in, she thought.....

....Margot laughed out loud, and the vision left her. She finished wrapping the bamboo needles and set them in the box. Then she took a sip of tea, leaned back on the couch, and put her feet up. Sometime, she thought, I’ll see what the needles say about the rest of that family. What will my needles show of me, she reflected, when some traveler finds them on the flea market table? She closed her eyes, and an elderly man’s voice, chuckling softly, filled her dreams.

A Dicey Proposition

 Some knitters find math to be scary; others find it fun. I'm of the "find it fun" camp. I have always viewed math problems as puzzles to solve or as riddles to answer. And lately, I've been exulting in the use of math as a creative tool in knitting.

Once Lucy Neatby gave a workshop in the area, which one of the people in my knitting group attended. This knitter then brought all the excitement from the workshop into our knitting circle. Her enthusiasm had the effect of a stone dropped into a pond; the creative ripples spread farther and farther out among the knitting network. As a result, Lucy's beautiful "Cables After Whiskey" pattern came up in conversation. This adventurous sweater pattern uses random number generation to create a unique sequence of cable twists. I think you could knit it a million times and never get the same sweater twice.

 I got to thinking about random numbers, how they could be generated, and how they could be used in knitting. I'm a little geeky; I dabble in computers a bit due to my fascination with puzzles, and you could use a computer to create random numbers that could then apply to knitting. In the absence of a computer program, you could use sets of dice. (Actually, if you’re on a Mac and have Tiger, there’s a rilly, rilly cool Widget that will flip coins or roll dice for ya.) Most game or toy shops offer sets of dice that have different numbers of sides. For example, you might have a traditional 6-sided die as well as a 4-sided die, an 8-sided die, and a 12-sided die in a set of gaming dice.

 You can use these dice to generate random numbers, and these random numbers can create a scarf pattern to help you get rid of some of those odds and ends of yarn that we all tend to accumulate. Or, maybe you tend to buy individual skeins that appeal to you, without really knowing what you’ll use them for, and before you know it, you’ve got a lot of them. Most knitters yearn for projects that not only reduce one's yarn stash, but also are quick and mindless, yet interesting. Use a set of dice to throw a bit of mystery into a really simple pattern, and this random number scarf project might just fascinate you until you realize – all the yarn is gone!

 Here's what you do: pick a 16" circular needle in a size that works pretty well with the yarns in your leftover-yarn bin. Gauge isn’t important for a scarf. Pick a yarn, and cast on enough stitches to enable you to join the stitches into a circle. Now, divide your leftover yarn into a number of little piles, based on some aspect: color, texture, weight, the years in which you purchased them, the people for whom you originally knit the garments, whatever. You decide what the categories are. Don’t worry about how the yarns will look together; the whole point is that they don’t go together. The stranger the combinations, the better. The number of categories is up to you, but you need to have a die with a number of sides equal to the number of categories you create; or, create the number of categories equal to the number of sides on your die. For example, if you have a 6-sided die, then create six little piles of yarn. Finally, assign a number to each category of yarn. Thus, if your little piles of yarn are arranged by texture, then perhaps  smooth yarn is 1; nubby yarn is 2, fuzzy yarn is 3, and so on.

 Now comes the mystery! Roll the die to see what category of yarn will be used next. Let's say you roll a 3, so you'll use fuzzy yarn, based on our example. Then roll the die again to see how many rounds to knit before changing to another yarn. If you roll a 6, then knit merrily along for six rounds. Roll the die again to see what yarn category to pick from next, and roll again to see how many rounds to knit. If you want to maintain control over some aspect of the pattern, you may want to knit each color the same number of rounds each time, or you may make up a pattern sequence that you repeat forever, like 2 rounds, 4 rounds, 2 rounds, 6 rounds, repeat. It's totally up to you! Continue until you either run out of yarn leftovers or lose interest in the project; bind off, sew up the ends (or just fringe them) and voilá, a tube scarf in a bunch of groovy colors! No need to weave in the ends, just tie them securely and leave them safely hidden inside the tube.

 Perhaps you have had enough of scarf-knitting. You're in luck! This random number knitting could easily be adapted to any tubular knit, such as bags, socks, hats, mittens, or sweaters knit in the round. Knit a baby blanket in the round, steek it, and crochet a pretty edging. You can, of course, knit random numbers back and forth on two needles, but knitting in the round appeals to those of us trying to focus on mindless knitting-with-no-purling. Go nuts, knit whatever you want! If you're truly adventurous, take your dice and your knitting out in public somewhere and start rolling and stitching. Even better, get a whole group of knitters to sit around in a bar or on the beach, taking turns rolling the dice and knitting the resulting colors and rounds. To non-knitters, it will look like a great game, or some esoteric rite. Make up a good story about gambling, or ancient Celtic fortunetelling practices. Who knows, maybe you'll start a new knitting rumor that will become "fact" fifty years from now. And maybe, just maybe, you'll get a few more non-knitters hooked on knitting, 'cause it looks like so darned much fun!

Quick & Easy

Lin is done. :) Definitely a quick & easy knit. Here's a picture:


She definitely hangs better on a live person than on a hanger. Oh well. It was a fun project, and though I am not a big fan of either cotton or linen yarns, this one was pretty nice to work with. Very strong, NO splitting. It did tend to twist up on itself a lot, but that didn't bother me. If I were doing a sweater that was mostly stockinette, though, the twist in the yarn would probably result in quite twisted stitches. For that reason, I'd recommend Lingarn for items that have a textured pattern stitch or are knit in garter stitch. Lin's ribbed stitch was fine.

I have the back of Santa Fe nearly done. Here are pics of the back and a close-up of the stitches (I'm using a US size 4 (3.5 mm) needle:

Santafeback_1 Diasantafests_1

Please note that the yarn is not biasing, as the photo of the stitches implies; I just can't seem to hold a camera straight.

This morning I followed a link from Woman of Many Faces to Threadbared. If you sew, knit or crochet, you'll get a kick out of it!

Lin's Next Step

I finished knitting Lin over the weekend, so now she's a full-blown adolescent. I think she's going to skip the young twenty-something phase, though, because I'm blocking the pieces before sewing her together, so she'll look quite comely immediately upon completion. I'll post pics when she's done.

I planned to block the pieces yesterday at the store (we have a nifty steamer for blocking sweaters), but when I got there I found I had only sleeves in my bag. Somewhere, Lin's body is lying around. I'll take the rest of her to work today and block it; then all that's left is seaming, a crocheted neck trim (simple crab stitch), and weaving in the ends.

I went north to see my very sweet great- & great-great- nieces perform in their dance recital. It was great. I visited with family on Saturday, and it gave me a chance to do some knitting. That's how I finished Lin, and I also finished a pair of socks which I immediately gave to my niece. They were made of gorgeous purply-blue wool that I got from Linda Diak. I spun it quite fine; I three-plyed it and it came out a fingering/sock weight, and the socks were indeed beautiful. That three-ply yarn is also very strong, so the socks should last a long time. Saturday night and Sunday I worked some more on the sweater I'm making from Diakeito's "Diasantafe". It's really simple, Penny Straker's "Italian Shirt". Lately, I need mindless knitting. But after Santa Fe is finished, I'll finish the Snowdrift Stole (started in September (!) and all that's left is the lace edging) and the Dale of Norway model, "Osterdalen" (which I started in January). Finally, I'll make Vivian Hoxbro's "Rainbow Jacket" shadow-knitting kit. All of this stuff is store models. Geez. I feel tired already.


Stupidity Slows You Down

Well. Lin would be done by now if I hadn't miscalculated the rate of increase by either a) not being able to use a tape measure correctly -- a device that doesn't even have any moving parts, for Heaven's sake; or b) not being able to count to a number that only has one digit. Lin's pattern for the sleeves says to increase every 3 cm; for some stupid reason I decided this is every 8th row, when it is clearly every 6th row. So I got to the mandated length to the underarm and didn't have enough stitches. Had to rip out the sleeve (down to the initial 2 cm, anyway) and start over. So now Lin's first sleeve is nearly done to the point where I had to rip it out.

There is one error in the pattern, though: the number of stitches one is supposed to achieve after X number of increases is actually 4 stitches fewer than is stated in the pattern. In my case, I start with 52 stitches at the cuff, establish the ribbing pattern, increase 2 stitches (one on each side) which gives me 54 stitches. Then there are 15 more such increases -- 2 times 15 is 30, right? So 30 + 54 = 84, right? But the pattern says I should have 88. I checked the math on all the other sizes, and each of them is 4 stitches off, given the number they start out with and the number of increases each size is given.

This from a girl who cannot reliably count to 6 or correctly use a tape measure. But I think I'm right about those sleeve stitches.

Anyway, Lin will be done in a few days. I'm heading up to Aroostook County (northern Maine) to visit family this coming weekend, and I'll finish Lin up there if she's not already done. Then on to work on another simple store model: Penny Straker's "French Shirt" done in a slinky Diakeito yarn, Diasantafe. I have the back half done already. Will post pictures tomorrow -- have to run now, off to the store.

Time Is Relative

How long does it take for me to knit a pretty basic worsted weight pullover on 5mm needles? About 300 songs on my iPod. That's what I figure, anyway. I further contend that a pair of fingering weight women's socks without any fancy pattern would probably require a 150-song playlist, or thereabouts. A bulky weight roll hat? About 30 songs, or a couple of CDs.

I need to throw together a 300-song playlist and test this theory out.

And in knitting news.....

Once Pinky was done, I started "Lin", named by virtue of the fact that she's made from Swedish Yarn Imports "Lingarn", a 60% cotton, 40% linen worsted weight yarn. It's a new yarn for Unique One; I picked it up at the yarn show in California, for delivery in the spring. Well, the yarn is here, and like a lot of rather bland (umm, I mean natural) colored yarn, it doesn't exactly jump off the shelf at you. So it really needs a model to sell it. There was a great sweater that was on display at the show -- actually, it was the model that sold me the yarn. It's a great looking sweater, very easy and quick to knit. So it is in a pre-adolescent stage at the moment, on my needles. The back and 90% of the front are done, so I've pretty much just got the sleeves to do and it will be a young adult! I rushed through Lin, to have her done for summer. Plus it's a bonus if I can tell people I knit it in a week and a half. :)

Here's the picture of the desired result (the pattern is available at Unique One):

And here's Lin in her current state:

Pinky update

Pinky is done. Almost. All I have to do is weave in ends, block it, and sew on one terribly cute button which I have yet to choose. (The thing about buttons is, they're attention hogs. No matter how many hours you put into a sweater, if it has even one button on it, the first comment you'll get on the sweater is "What a great button!". Just smile politely and cut them out of your will.)

Sweaters are like children. While they're young, freshly-cast-on and new, we ooh over them and take pictures and show them off to our friends. Then after a while we get tired of them. If they make it through a certain period of neglect or, at best, perfunctory attention, they get to the "adolescent" stage where they are pretty much all knit, but lying there in ugly, twisted pieces, waiting for final assembly. We hate the pieces, and they hate us. It seems these pieces will never become something beautiful and worthy of admiration. Then we sew the pieces together and stand back to take a look. This is their "late teens/early adulthood" period. This is where Pinky is right now. She's physically complete, but she hasn't quite pulled it together. There are still loose ends, and details to pat into place. But when she's done, she'll be pretty and comfortable and pleasant to be around. And everyone will want to have a sweater just like her.

Pictures of front and back: