around n round she goes

A blog for my knitting, spinning, quilting, violin-playing, or whatever else floats my boat

My Photo
Location: Texas

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Random kitty picture


See....I'm all the way to the decreases on the sleeves. It's actually starting to move a little faster now. I have 30 more rows left on each sleeve to finish....

At least I can see progress.

The shell sock is growing too!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

While I'm waiting....

Since various things are percolating/running around here at work, and I'm just sitting and waiting for them to finish I thought I'd give a quick update on the Shell socks.

It's another Nancy Bush - Knitting Vintage Socks pattern - absolutely adorable.

I was worried that this would be more complicated than the French socks but it's actually easier for me to keep track of this pattern than the other.

My only question....she provided a chart for the French sock's simple little lace & diaper knitting....she didn't do a chart for this one? There are row-by-row instructions instead. I wouldn't mind so much but white print on a pea-green colored background is hell to read when your vision is a bit tentative. The shell pattern is the only part of the instructions she did that on and that's the most important part for me....

Nancy - you are a knitting goddess - but not all your readers are twenty-somethings with perfect vision. Black print on white paper is great for us with more mature sight (bigger print would be even better!)

I had to copy it in high contrast, then printed some big knitters graph paper and charted the shell pattern myself. Much easier to read and follow.

I love a lot of the patterns in this book, but it's going to be something of a pain if I'm going to have to do that for each pattern. Oh well, at least I'll get practice at charting....

Friday, February 24, 2006

Jumping up and down for joy! & winning gold!

Lookee! A whole pair of socks finished! I didn't have this one included in the UFOlympics but I'm sure glad I finished it before the ending ceremonies.

Pattern: Child's French Sock (in adult size)

Source: Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush

Yarn: Fortissima Socka in color 1004 (teal blue)

Needles: Brittany dpns size one

As I mentioned in my post after I finished the first sock, I've made a few changes to the pattern. I left off doing the Citron pattern when I reached the heel and then left off doing the diaper knitting after the gusset. Just couldn't see having all that texture inside my shoes. Otherwise, I love this pattern. It's well written and cute, too!

I've already cast on for a second pair of socks (of course). The next pattern in the book is the Child's First Sock in Shell Pattern (again, she's re-written this for adults). I'm doing it in more Fortissima Socka in color 1005 - a pretty pale blue.

Gold Medal! Natalie has me on the list for gold for finishing my Einstein 'Not-so-warm' Coat......(see me doing handsprings?) Thanks again for inspiring me to finish this project. It has proved to be the perfect office sweater. It's loose-fitting, so will fit over just about anything, and warm enough to keep the air-conditioning from being overwhelming. It has been a lot of fun watching everyone progress on their projects - I've added a bunch of blogs to my daily read.

Congratulations on Samantha Jane! Coming from a family with two girls and no boys I tend to be a bit biased towards the girls (grin). They'll have their daddy wrapped around their little fingers in no time.

And do we think we can have these finished by the closing ceremonies, too?

I lack another inch of sleeve before starting the decreases for the shaped sleeve caps. Of course, then I'd also have to knit in the button placket and the collar and all the sewing of pieces. Plus I need to work this weekend.

Making no promises here, but I may give it try. (and yes, that's Emy in the corner, trying to eat my Addi Turbos).

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

lazy blogger

I was going to post a picture of sock progress - but I'm lazy today....

Another past project instead!

Pattern: Kells Twinset
Source: Irresistible Knits by Kirsten Cowan
Yarn: Rowan Wool Cotton Color 941 (Clear)
Needles: Size 6 Clover Bamboo
Buttons: from Benno's Button Store in Dallas (yes, there is a store that specializes in buttons)
Completed: Summer 2004

This baby has a 40 row pattern repeat for the 'wandering' cables. It has button loops that are knit as you go. It has a neat little cable that you have to remember to do as you're decreasing for the raglan. It's not one but two sweaters - the mock turtleneck you can see in the photo is really part of the sleeveless shell underneath. The whole thing is much prettier than the picture.

I've worn it maybe five times since I finished it. You just don't need two layers of heavy sweater (even if it is only 50% wool) in north central Texas very often.

It's beautiful and I love it. I take it out and admire it occasionally, even if I don't wear it very often.

It is the second and third sweater that I ever knit (I'm counting the shell as #2, the cardigan as #3).

Oh my gosh! Just realized today that my spam blocker was blocking some of the comments being emailed to me from my blog. If I haven't responded to you yet - thanks for all the great comments! I think I've fixed it now (plus I know to go and check for that now).

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


As a distraction from the total lack of progress on my second French sock, I am instead presenting another past project.

Pattern: Aran Pullover
Source: Two Sticks and a String by Kerry Ferguson
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in color 300205 (denim blue)
Completed: Winter 2005

I made this sweater for my husband last winter. He wanted a traditional Aran sweater and I searched long and hard for an appropriate pattern. I finally came across this - David documented his journey of knitting this pattern so well that I was compelled to find the out-of-print book and make it myself.

It hasn't been cold enough for my husband to wear it very often but it is already showing signs of wear. The Cashmerino yarn is wonderfully soft, but that's the problem. It's so soft that it doesn't take much to make it pill. Still, I think it is a good trade-off - Cashmerino is definitely yummy! I love Kerry Ferguson's 'wind-blown' cables (my pictures of said cables did not come out very well).

BTW - I'm actually wearing my UFOlympic challenge coat today!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Crossing the finish line


Pattern: Not-so-warm Einstein Coat
Book: The Knit Stitch by Sally Melville
Yarn: Paton Katrina in color Chocolate
Needles: Denise Interchangeable circs in Size 9 & 7
Started: Fall 2004
Finished: February 19, 2006

Things to remember if I ever do this again: It took about 4-5 more skeins than called for in the pattern. Sally used a Size 6 needle - it took a Size 9 for me to get gauge (which I noticed is the suggested needle size for the yarn - I almost always need to go down a needle size). Definitely don't attempt this project on straight needles.

This thing is HEAVY. The rayon yarn is very stretchy and HEAVY. (Did I mention that it is heavy?)

I doubt I'll ever make it again. It's a clever pattern and requires very little finishing but I can't stand that much garter stitch.

It will be a nice office cardigan. You never know what the temperature is going to be in my office.

Thanks, Natalie for starting this UFOlympics! It's probably the only way I would have finished this monster.

Rounded the turn (the heel turn of course!) and heading towards the finish on my second French sock also! Although this wasn't part of my UFOlympic challenge I'd like to have it finished by the ending ceremonies.

Then there are the sleeves of Mom's sweater, the Fearless Fair Isle, the Tina shawl............. a woman's work is never done!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Icky weather

As my beautiful assistant Emy is demonstrating, much knitting took place Friday night and Saturday. With the promise of much nasty weather yesterday, I stayed home and did not work. I knit instead!

The nasty weather is happening today instead and I'm working anyway. DH just told me that it's getting worse out there, so I think I'll just go home and try to work from there.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Progress report

Natalie's wanting a progress report. Poor thing, it doesn't sound like she's had much time to knit yet. Go, girl!

On my Einstein 'Not so warm' Coat - the second sleeve now looks like the first sleeve did when I started this challenge. (and, yes, that's Emy trying to eat my Denise needles again!) I'm about 30 rows into sleeve two. Not so worried about finishing on time, as there is very little finishing to this thing - seams on the tops of the shoulders and sleeves, weaving in ends, and sewing on buttons.

On my continuing mission to present past projects (OK, I like bragging....) - here's the Nantucket Brocade short sleeve sweater by Kristin Nicholas' Knitting the New Classics. I used more of my stash of Mission Falls 1824 cotton. Although the pattern is shown as all one color, I didn't have enough to do that - I kind of like the contrasting color on the neck and arms, though. It made the neat cabled rib stand out. (Emy is fascinated any time I put anything on the floor - she's assumes it is a new toy for her.)

I've made a fair number of sweaters so far - but of those I've made for myself, this one probably gets more wear than any of the others.

Child's French Sock - Part Two -

Hubris - n : overbearing pride or presumption

Oh, I don't need to look at that chart again - after all, I did a whole sock in this pattern just a few days ago. Ha!

Yes, I started the Citron pattern just fine - gloating as I did so that the yarn-over mistakes of the first sock were not being repeated. Started the second repeat of the Citron and noticed that I had ignored the diaper knitting altogether! I had three nice, neat sections of k1p1 ribbing instead. Do not attempt to fix these kinds of mistakes at 11pm after a long day of work. It can be done, but my karma is probably permanently damaged by all the swearing.

I am however past all that....if I can keep Emy from eating my dps (I had just pulled one of them out of her mouth when I took this picture.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I wish I looked like this

No, I don't look like this, but it does have a few of my favorite things - the library, the black & white kitty, the knitting bag. I notice that doesn't have an option for graying hair (oops, that's silver hair). Of course, if it really did look like me it would probably be too scary to put into a public blog.

Speaking of photos! Everyone must go over to Lene's blog and see her adorable twin niece & nephew (aka the Tinks).

Posted by Picasa

Not much progress on my UFOlympic challenge last night. I picked up the stitches for the second sleeve and worked a few rows.

Instead, I'm showing off past works.......this is Cozy, my first lace project. I did this in the winter of 2005, using the silk yarn called for in the pattern - Reynolds Mandalay.

Has anyone else used this yarn? I love how it came out except for one thing - the smell. Does silk yarn usually have an unusual smell? I've used silk blends and haven't noticed anything. It isn't necessarily unpleasant, just there. My husband will tell you that my sense of smell is lousy (I blame it on years of allergies). If I can smell it, it must be fairly strong. I've washed it twice - love my blocking wires, btw. But the smell is still there. Think I'll douse it with Febreze and see if that helps.

Last night was violin lesson - yes, there is life besides knitting and working. My instructor is great; I've been going to him for (gasp!) 7 years. He no longer has high expectations of me actually practicing (he knows me too well now). My practice is the one hour a week we sit down and play duets.

I first learned to play in 4th grade and played until high school. They didn't have enough people to have an orchestra in our high school, so I changed to flute and joined the band. Didn't touch the violin again until 7 years ago, when I got the itch to make music. It's very satisfying to be able to pick up a musical instrument and make it sing.

Monday, February 13, 2006

And now for something completely different

As a relief from the UFOlympics - Here's the argyle sweater vest I designed & knit for my dad last fall. This was my first intarsia - nothing like leaping into a new technique with both feet, needles. I used Mission Falls 1824 cotton - I panicked when they stopped production and bought a little bit of it (ok, I bought a lot of it - but I am using it, so that's alright). Dad likes it - he gets hot easily so a sleeveless cotton sweater is about right for him.

And sleeve one is done! Like the Flying Tomato, I too can accomplish miraculous feats! Frankly, this is the easiest project I've got on the needles - it's just keeping awake through rows and rows of garter stitch that is the challenge. That was also why it was a UFO....

I'm having fun looking at the projects/progress of my fellow contestants.
TresJ's got sleeves to finish also!
NessieNoodle has already finished one of her UFOs - go girl!
Marina's got some awesome projects - Can't wait to see Baltic.
Stephanie's got some darling ladybugs going - I've got a friend that would go ballistic for that, she's a real fiend for ladybugs.

Needle crisis! I broke one of my Brittany size one dps today. Not sure what happened - I looked down in my bag and there was the jagged stump. Thank goodness I only need four needles for my French socks, but it's still a bummer. Gives me an excuse to go to the knitting store, though!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Pushing her luck!

Emy is taking her life in her paws...she has taken a great liking for my Denise interchangeable needles, drat! I already have tooth marks in some of my Brittany double points.

She also is irresistibly drawn to the Patons yarn I'm using for the Einstein coat. I've already had to fix a couple of snags. (rayon yarn doesn't like to be snagged - it pulls out incredibly long strands and then doesn't want to pull back into place)

Lesson learned: this goes into the zipup bag as soon as I put it down.

Like the men's 5000 meter speed skaters, I'm trying to pace myself - 40 more rows done last night.

I'm no longer worried about having enough yarn - I started the last skein of the original yarn last night and should have plenty of that to finish sleeve one. Sleeve two will have three skeins of the same dye lot I think (I'll have to check - I was just taking what I could find). They won't be the same dye lot as the rest of the coat, but hopefully won't be too noticeable.

Thanks for your comments, Marina! I love your projects. Can't wait to see how they turn out.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

...and the flame was lit

It's a start anyway.

I managed 26 rows on the first sleeve last night (there were already about that many there). This pattern has you pick up stitches along the body and knit down to the cuff. You work flat - the shoulders and top of sleeve are seamed at the end and are the only finishing necessary.

My only concern now is yarn - besides the skein I'm working with I only have 5 skeins left. This is taking way more yarn than called for in the pattern. Four of those skeins were picked up at two different times than the original batch (after I realized that I was going to have a sleeveless vest if I didn't do something). They're not even close to the same dye lot, but I've decided I don't care as long as it gets finished.

Thanks, Nessie Noodle! You are the very first commenter on my blog! I wasn't sure anyone was looking at this thing except Mom and Dad.

I hope everyone got started OK on their UFOlympic challenges last night. It was interesting watching - I particularly liked the synchronized bit where all the people on the main floor gathered together and made a giant ski-jumper silhouette- he crouched, he swooped down the slope, he flew in the air. Pretty neat.

Don't know that we'll watch all that much of the actual events - my husband likes some of the skiing events, I like the skating - who knows, we may watch some.....

I still hope to complete the other French Sock and Mom's sweater during this period. It may be tough since I'm also working over 50 hrs a week until the auditors get here. Speaking of....I better get back at it.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

And they're off!

Ok, so it doesn't look too appetizing right now, but just wait......It will be beautiful and warm and perfect to keep at the office when the a/c goes crazy.

I don't get to start on it 'til tomorrow night when the UFOlympics start.

Then I have 16 days to finish them sleeves.....

Of course, I still have one blue sock to finish and red sleeves to finish, too. (hmmmm) I'd kind of like to have them done in the next couple of weeks.

Do you think my boss would mind if I took the next 16 days off? It doesn't matter that the auditors will be here the 1st of March does it?

(mumble, mumble, sigh...) I guess I'll just do the best I can.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

One sock, Two sock, Red sock, Blue sock

Sorry about that sister got me started on a Dr Seuss trend the other day. One sock down, one sock to go. I made a few changes to the Child's French Sock pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks. The patterned portion of the sock was supposed to continue down the instep of the sock almost to the toe. I'm not too keen on having something with that much texture inside my shoe so I discontinued the Citron pattern when I started the heel, then discontinued the diaper knitting when I finished the gusset. Really happy with the way it turned out. I've already started the cuff of the second sock.

Sleeves! and more Sleeves! I'm through the increases for Mom's sweater sleeves (finally). Of course, I need a little more length then need to do the decreases & cap shaping, but at least the end is visible.

We're almost there- In the next day or two I'll be posting my 'starting position' picture for the Einstein coat I'm finishing for the UFOlympics . I'm doing the 'not-so-warm' version which is also known as the coat without an end. All I have left on this is... (drum-roll, please!)... Sleeves!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mr Bear - Before and after

This is my husband's bear. He was given to my husband when my husband was about 9 months old. My MIL gave it to me last September when we were visiting.

He had no eyes, no nose, some awkward repairs, a few missing claws and a non-working growler. He came with a nice little baby cardigan with some repair issues and stains(sorry, no picture of that right now - I think my MIL knit it. It's really cute) and a baby nightgown. He had been living in the attic for many years and in a smoking household before that.

After a careful clean and brush, replacement glass eyes consistent with the era, a re-stitched nose and claws and a re-do of that strange repair that was keeping his leg joint from working he looks and feels much better. I'm still waiting on a new growler - they're on indefinite backorder apparently.

The little rocking chair is compliments of my parents - he's a perfect fit, no? I whipped up the red sweater for him - baby stuff didn't seem to fit his personality. I washed and fixed the little cardigan and dress - they'll go well on a doll - maybe Mother has a doll about the same age as Mr Bear that needs some clothes.

I'll probably do one more clean and brush after I've put the new growler in - you should have seen the state of the tea towel I was using after the first time around (icky). Everything I've read about restoring teddy bears says less is more - I won't be trying to do anything else to him. He looks much more comfortable now and his personality shines through.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Blogger's (Silent) Poetry Reading

Grace's Poppies has initiated a poetry reading to celebrate St Brigid's day - a lovely idea. Here's an exerpt from one of my favorites (just the last two verses) - it has always stayed with me from the time I first read it in high school.

The Highwayman, copyrighted 1906, 1913 By Alfred Noyes

And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding-
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard,
And he taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

I'm finally a teacher!

I come from a line of teachers - both grandmothers were teachers (one taught 2nd grade for a gazillion years at Limestone Elementary in Oklahoma - the other was a substitute teacher in Texas and Florida). Mom was studying to be a teacher and had even completed her student teaching when she changed course - she ended up being a teacher with a class of two; my sister and I. Now it's finally my turn.....

I taught my first knitting class yesterday at lunchtime. Four eager sets of eyes watching as I demonstrated a backwards loop cast on and the knit stitch. Everyone had a great time and got at least two rows completed by the time our class was over. I've never been so tired in my life.....

It was loads of fun - everyone had their own way of holding the needles and the yarn and making their stitches. Like I told them, as long as you end up with a piece of knitted fabric that you like, there is no one way to get there. Some were knitting continental, some English - one was holding her needles like pencils, from underneath, others were holding them overhand (the way I do it). One was knitting English but wrapping with her left hand instead of her right (she used to be a crocheter and that felt better).

Four people - four completely different ways of producing similar pieces - it's great.

The only problem now - there are at least five other people wanting to start - I'm going to die trying to keep up with them all.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Knitter ADD

Lunch - knit two rows of Mom's sweater sleeves

Dinner - knit part of one round of Child's French Sock(really fast service at the local Chinese resturant, otherwise I'd've got more done)

After dinner - knit four rows of Mom's sweater sleeves

Early evening - knit four rows of Einstein coat sleeve (UFOlympic training - I had to get this puppy onto circulars and figure out where I was on the pattern) Thanks for the Denise needles Mom & Dad!

Late evening - knit French sock until I get to the heel flap.

Do we see a lack of concentration here?