Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Welcome Tiny Human

Word on the street is these projects have reached their recipient and so here they are...
Lucy Neatby's Domino Baby Bonnet in Shelridge Farms yarn was a total blast to knit. The little squares were very fun. Weaving in all the ends, not so much, but still worth it. I'm envisioning a throw blanket with leftover sock yarn.
Also a basic little sweater in Rowan Cashsoft.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Where, oh where, has my little Jenn gone?

Yes, I’ve been a lousy blogger. Where have I been?

1. Florida – For my cousin’s wedding. Bill and I had a relaxing little getaway. We combed the beach, collecting shells and watching dolphins and seabirds. Lovely.

2. Battling a miserable demon cold. – When we hopped the plane to come home last Monday, I had a tickle in my throat and a slightly runny nose. I’m still fighting off the last of it.

3. Planning my wedding. – So it turns out that planning a wedding is an even bigger time suck than Ravelry. Who knew? A good time suck, of course, but still it doesn’t leave me with a lot of time for knitting or blogging at the moment.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Baby Steps

I just witnessed a truly gorgeous sunset. I love fall.

Creative endeavors are moving at a snail’s pace around here so I haven’t had much to talk about. I’ve got a few things coming along though. Be patient with me.

I have been working on my quilt. All the little squares are done. They need to be trimmed, pressed and pieced together into bigger squares.

(gratuitous dog picture)

Monday, October 15, 2007

For the Record

I am incredibly jealous of anyone and everyone who will be at Rhinebeck. Bill and I are planning a fall wedding next year so I have been thinking Rhinebeck wasn’t in my stars for a couple years yet. Then we started considering NYC and the Hudson River valley for our honeymoon. My wheels are turning…

Monday, October 8, 2007

Does this count as stash enhancement?

I know I've been a little lean on craft content lately but I am making up for it today. Freshly dyed yarn! Previously I've done all my dyeing at the KIA. (I liked making my mess in someone else's house.) Doing it at home, I have more control over the colors and the dye set better than it has in the past. There was hardly any excess to rinse out, not even the saturated halloween black. I think because I wasn't sharing the steamer, the yarn cooked more thoroughly. I'm very happy with the way everything turned out. There was one lonely exception (not photographed). What was supposed to be melon and bubble gum with a few splashes of pale blue turned out a knotted mess of muddy pumpkin. Yuck. They can't all be winners.

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Comedy of Errors

You may recall I bought a new purse when I was in New York. They only had a display in the color I wanted so mine would ship from the warehouse. Last weekend, a big box arrived, which I excitedly opened. I extract the bag and think to myself, “This is bigger than I remember. And where’s the cute lock hardware on the front?” They sent the wrong bag.

I call the store and the saleswoman explains that two numbers were transposed in my order. She tells me that they will set up a UPS pickup for the wrong bag and send the right one.

So Wednesday morning, I set out the wrong purse for the arranged pickup. Wednesday evening I come home from work to find the old package gone and a new package in its place. But there are also two UPS notices. One notice saying they tried to deliver a package that requires my signature. A second notice informing me that they made a pickup attempt. What?! Uh, if UPS didn’t pick up the bag, where is it?

I call UPS and the automated system tells me they have no information regarding either of the notice numbers. I speak to a human. She tells me she has no information and that I need to speak with someone at the local delivery hub, which is closed. She assures me that someone will be in touch by 10 am the next morning.

Someone is not in touch by 10 am. To make matters worse, the right bag is damaged. I am okay with the damage that I will inevitably inflict through normal wear and tear but I am not okay with one that is already wonky right out of the gate. I call the store again to explain that the right bag is here, but is unacceptable. The saleswoman offers to set up another pickup (great…) and is having a new bag sent from an actual store (versus warehouse) so it can be inspected first.

After several hours and many irritating phone conversations with UPS, I finally get the whole picture. It goes like this.

Morning – Driver 1 comes to the house, leaves the new purse (no signature) and picks up the old purse. Why she took the package, no one knows. That’s Driver 2’s job because he has the appropriate shipping labels and pickup request.

Afternoon – Driver 2 comes to the house to pick up the old purse. It is not there. He leaves a notice to that effect.

Later that afternoon – Driver 1 returns to the house to redeliver the old purse that she picked up from my house that same morning but will not leave it without a signature. Mind you, the package didn’t require a signature the first time around. Why she needed a signature to put the box back where she found it, I’m not really sure.

All’s well that ends well. My new handbag arrived today, beautifully packaged and in pristine condition. That’s better.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I don't know why I was so surprised by this story. (Click the link to listen, the text doesn't do the story justice.) I know that violence against women is scary common so it stands to reason that female military overseas don't get a free pass but seriously? Isn't the experience of war trauma enough for one person? I am so incredibly horrified by the capacity some people have to hurt.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Project Roundup

Happy October! I hope your weather is as nice as ours today. This is sort of a weak project roundup. Where does all the time go? Oh yes, ravelry, gym, work, soccer, trying not to live in filth…


Socks That Rock Charades – Pair one is finished. I hope Christine wears then in good health. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month folks. Wear some pink. Find a way to give.


Wispy Jacket – Currently in limbo. I fixed the offending decreases and liked the new decreases so well that I wanted to rip and reknit the whole darned thing. I thought some time for reflection would be best. The summer tweed is a little hard on the hands and I have more exciting things on the needles at the moment so I just haven’t picked this back up.

Baby Surprise Jacket – Speaking of more exciting things… I can barely put this down. It’s super easy but the construction is so unusual that the project holds my interest. And Sarah’s very soft yarn certainly doesn’t hurt.


Lavender Stripe Socks – I haven’t done much with these since NYC. Finishing the Charades was my first priority but in the name of packing light while not wanting to risk running out of project, I grabbed these for my travels.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The time suck that is Ravelry.

I received my Ravelry invite this weekend. (Eeeee!!!!) And I am in love. It is the obsessively organized knitter's dream come true. Even if you aren't obsessively organized, it's an awesome resource. I've barely scratched the surface but I have seen enough to know that all the wonderful things people are saying are true. Get on the waiting list now.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Tempting Fate

Bill tells me I am obsessively practical. While I do not always appreciate this assessment, he’s totally right. (Last weekend is a very poor indication of my usual behavior.) So I have these jeans. The top fly button loosened to the point that I could remove it entirely. Since I could wiggle it back on securely enough, the jeans stayed in my drawer. Granted, they were taken out of the normal rotation but not discarded entirely. I will admit to wearing them on occasion. (They are still cute and you can’t see the falling off button!)

So this morning, it was raining hard when my alarm went off. I am a sucker for morning rain. It makes me want to curl up in bed with some tea and knitting. When I rule the world, people will not have to leave the house when it is raining. People will also not have to leave the house when it is snowing and will not have to work when it is nice outside, so my economy might be in for collapse but I digress. I was running late this morning and those jeans were the only pair in my drawer.

This afternoon I visited the ladies room and when I pulled my pants back up, the button was gone. It was there when I came in and unbuttoned my pants. It did not fall off in my hand. I did not hear it hit the tile floor. It was just gone. I looked on the floor as carefully as one can without actually getting down on the icky work bathroom floor and the button was nowhere to be seen. I stood there in disbelief, hoping to avoid pants related catastrophe for just a few short hours.

An entirely foreseeable and preventable pants related catastrophe, that is. Since I am fortunate enough to own multiple pairs of pants, there are really only two reasonable actions when one encounters an “oh, I can wiggle this critical pants-holding-up button out of its home” situation. 1. Throw the pants away. 2. Repair the pants in a more permanent fashion than simply wiggling the button back on.

Later that afternoon, I had a creepy crawly feeling down my right leg. I shook my leg and out fell the button. I went to the bathroom and wiggled it back on. When I got home, I promptly threw the pants in the trash.

Stupid button. Stupid inability to throw cute jeans away.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cardcarrying Jetsetter

I'm off to Chicago for my cousin's bridal shower. I'll leave you with a picture of the socks I started during my travels last weekend. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Spinning Jenny goes to Gotham

I’m back from an impromptu long weekend in New York City! To make a long story short, I needed a break and the opportunity presented itself. I really do love the city.

First off, let me clear something up. My travel companions are non-knitters so I did not make it to any yarn shops. This is sort of a good thing because I am trying to work from the stash at the moment. I’m not disappointed because I’ve been before and I’ll be back. These women were there to shop, and not for fiber.

Highlights include…

1. A Magnolia Bakery cupcake. I know you must be thinking, it is only a cupcake but I swear to you they are so good it’s like they put crack cocaine in the icing.

2. Vynl. An extremely fun and kitschy restaurant. Each table is a different mosaic and there were four themed bathrooms: Cher, Dolly, Nelly and Elvis. Each complete with a mosaic, Barbie diorama and music. The food was crowd pleasing, there were sandwiches and comfort food for the less adventurous and crispy asian tofu and butternut squash chowder for me. The food was well prepared and reasonably priced. (My Pearis Hilton martinis were a mere $8. Not bad for the big apple.)

3. Dirt cheap designer goods. Like I care it’s last season?

4. Dean and Deluca. Be still my heart.

5. A new purse. Handbags are my weakness.

6. Zara. I had never heard of this store before. The cloths were stylish, well made and not outrageously priced. They did not have very many of any one item though so it was a bit of a crapshoot as to whether or not they would have your size in the desired item.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Details of Life

I am in a very creative period right now. I have so many ideas and I'm feeling very inspired. I am very thankful for that. But I also feel frustrated that there simply aren't enough hours in the day. I'm excited by all of my projects right now and I have ideas for so many more. I just want to settle in and craft non-stop. But then there are these pesky details of life. Namely gainful employment. Weekends and evenings have been busy lately so that isn't helping matters.

Enough whining. I don't know what it is but I know it's super soft and very subtle shades of green.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Random Monday

1. I am starting the baby surprise jacket for Sarah.
2. I love halloween.

3. The weekend in Chicago was nice but I'm ready for some quiet time at home. I met my dear friend Sam for brunch and shopping on Saturday. I had an extremely tasty ricotta and roasted tomato sandwich and a very delicious dark hot chocolate. Saturday night Bill and I ate Gino's and Sunday my mom and I wandered the Chicago Botanic Gardens.

4. After the hot chocolate at brunch and a stop at the Chocolate Garden, I am very spoiled and the hot chocolate out of the cabinet is not cutting it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fourth Sock? Ouch.

Bill and I just got back from Chicago. Apparently this is how much I can knit in a weekend. Cast on in the car on Friday, stopped in the car on the way home today. (There was a lot of downtime/public transportation in between.) But Jenn, didn’t you already have two socks started? Yes dear reader, I did. Even though I bought the two skeins at the same time, they really don’t match. I didn’t realize this until I had them in the sunlight. One sock is finished, this is the mate and the third sock from the other skein is about as far along. I don’t really suffer from second sock syndrome but fourth sock syndrome? This is going to be a problem.

I'm not bothered by the fact that the skeins don’t match because I’d already decided I wasn't knitting them for myself after all. It’s not that I don’t love them, I do. I just realized that they are a perfect gift for a very dear person surviving breast cancer. Pink. (Almost) October. It was fated. So the not matching thing was just further proof that one pair was to be for me and the other for my friend.

That said, I am Making Strides Against Breast Cancer on October 13th and accepting pledges.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I am a geek.

I am on the market for a balance to weigh yarn, fiber and dye. Since I work in a lab, I have been turning my nose up at the kitchen scales I've seen. Couldn't I buy an entry level, bottom of the line lab balance? Then I started thinking about all the potential fiber uses for lab supplies and compiled a lengthy list of items I need. I went to VWR but I was getting confused by pricing and couldn't easily compare similar items. Wouldn't it be nice if I just had a catalog?

They sent little old me a catalog! A huge hardcovered catalog of my very own! This excites me more than is reasonable. I can't afford much of anything but it's still fun to look through. Bill thinks I'm probably on a federal watchlist now. (For the record, the lab balance is utterly out of the question. I'll have to settle for the kitchen scale variety. Sigh.)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sundays are for Sewing?

I woke up this morning inspired to sew. I started this quilt a very long time ago. Before my love affair with knitting long ago. The reproduction prints are so fun and girly, I will finish.

There's something else I've been putting off for nearly as long. I finally ordered a whole whack of dyes. Exciting!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Project Roundup

I’m bachin’ it again. We’re getting ready for this school weekend and I think, “Piece of cake! I can totally amuse myself for a couple days.” And I can. But every time I’m surprised by how much I miss him too. I’m happy and fully functional while he’s gone but it makes me very aware of the fact that it really is better when he’s around.

No need to worry. I don’t feel too bad because I’m so pleased with my stellar performance at soccer tonight! I had a great time and I’m getting so much better.

I almost forgot Project Roundup. Here we are a week into September already.


Dolly Bag – Finished! Love it! I do need to go back and reinforce the handle attachments because she saw a lot of use this labor day weekend.


Charade Socks – This iteration of the charade socks is moving right along. I really love the STR. The colors are so subtle and beautiful. I’m a breath away from turning the heels.

Wispy Jacket – Both sleeves are essentially done. I’m planning to rip out the offending portions of the raglan shaping but that should be a quick fix.

Dead to Me…

Monkey Socks – Perhaps we’ll give those another try sometime in the future.

Waiting in the Wings…

EZ Baby Surprise Jacket – Some test knitting for Sarah. I can’t wait! I get to work with some of her lovely yarn and I’ve been wanting to try one of these for a while.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Proceed with Caution

I finished working the raglan decreases for the wispy jacket sleeves. The pattern doesn't indicate how to work the decreases but this did not concern me. I'm a smart girl. I can decrease one stitch at each end of a row and keep double moss stitch correct, right?

Well, sort of. I had a plan. All the decreases are on the right side of the work. I would simply move the decrease in or out one stitch as necessary so that I always worked paired k2tog/ssk decreases and I always worked K1P1 across a row. This meant that the pattern in the 2 or 3 stitch outer border was off for a couple rows before it corrected itself but it was hardly noticeable.

Hardly noticeable, that is, until the rate of decreases changes to every other row. The outer border stops correcting itself on the no-decrease-right-side rows and instead of a little hiccup in the pattern, I have a K1P1 rib running alongside the upper half of my raglan decreases. It might be fine, but I have a growing concern that the little valley is going to look really crummy once the pieces are seamed together. Of course there is no way I will know for sure until I finish at least one front or the back and can see an actual finished seam. (We will not speak at this time about the forethought required to ensure the shaping on fronts and back exactly matches the sleeves.) Grrrr.

(I was really irritated that the pattern does not provide any guidance on the subject. Then I authored this post and realized how impossible it is to explain what is going coherently and concisely. It would have been a confusing mess. I'm still not sure any of this will make sense to anyone besides me. I will figure this out without hand holding and be a better knitter for it in the end. In all fairness, if I'd given the matter a little more thought before plowing ahead, I would have seen this coming.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back to Normal

I seem to have regained my sock mojo with the new charade socks. I usually spend my lunch hour listening to an audiobook and knitting. It's been a while since I've had a pair of socks that I was excited to work on. Maybe it's fall but all the knitting seems to be coming together. There are my first Socks that Rock, heavyweight in Rose Quartz. The yarn is much thicker than I am used to and I am knitting them up on size 3s. They're going to be very cushy and warm. If I'd had my choice, I would have gone for the mid or lightweight but only heavyweight was left in this colourway. It's good for me to try new things and they are knitting up quickly.

An aside - I seem to be experiencing some operator error with my swift and ball winder. There is too much tension and the first pass balls are too tight. I need to rewind them from a center pull ball, tensioning between my fingers to get them right. Ideas anyone?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Random Wednesday

1. Today’s pictures are a little weak. I was hoping to have more of them to show you. Sophie’s cuteness transcends lousy photography so I thought we’d start with her. What a good puppy.

2. The dolly bag is finished! I’m really pleased with the way this project turned out. It’s just the right size for a wallet and keys and fits nicely at my elbow. Perfect for grocery shopping and other quick errands. I wish I had made the handles a little longer so I could have secured them a little farther in but otherwise I wouldn't change a thing. (Except perhaps the fact that she’s finished just in time for Labor Day and Autumn…)

3. I’ve started a new pair of charade socks. I’m pretty sure these are keepers.

4. I washed the yarn from the first charade attempt. It bled. Copious amounts of red dye. It looked like Kool-Aid running off the yarn. I am not happy. It’s going to be a while before this yarn makes it out of the stash again.

5. I am almost to the raglan shaping on the wispy jacket sleeves.

6. I did observe tuesdays are for spinning. The merino bamboo from MI fiber fest is spinning up nicely. Spinning bamboo is a different but pleasant.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lights Out

A big time nasty storm rolled through town last Thursday. While we were lucky enough to get our power back quite promptly, we'd been without phone, cable and *gasp* internet until today. I am definitely not complaining though. We were originally told we wouldn't have power back until Monday and I was so worried for my freezer full of Michigan blueberries. I have so much to show you but all in due time. I promise a proper post tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Change of Plans

Remember the charade socks? I kept stabbing my finger to help the stitches across the join in the short circular needle. It was unpleasant. I learned to knit socks on a 12 inch circular. As I tend toward obsessive compulsive, I like to do things the same way every time. DPNs, two circulars, magic loop. I found reasons to discredit them all and stick to what I know. I thought maybe that I hadn’t given two circulars a fair shake and decided to try again. I loved it. I was a convert. Then I noticed this.

See that? My gauge changed. And the dark bit that was pleasingly swirling around the leg now pools. The yarn is Schaefer Anne and while the colorway is not named on my label, it looks exactly like Clara Barton. Some people have been having trouble with bleeding and fading with the Clara Barton colorway. In other yarns, yes, but with my luck at the moment, I’m not taking any chances. I’m ripping out and washing. I must have offended the sock knitting gods because I am striking out big time. The monkey socks became jaywalkers which are also getting ripped out and returned to the stash. Boo.

(I did observe Tuesdays are for Spinning. I’ve started with the merino bamboo and it is coming along nicely.)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Michigan Fiber Festival 2007

Last year I went a little wild. This year, I had a plan. I went early and cased the whole joint before making my purchases. I only made two non spinning fiber purchases. Some Socks that Rock Silkie in Spring Fling from the Fold and two handwoven kitchen towels from Pat Tirrell at Centennial Farm Wools.

Angora/Silk/Merino in Summer Bunny (tell me that name isn’t cute) from Anne Tullett at Luxury Natural Fibers

Merino/Bamboo from Bonkers

Cormo/Mohair from Foxhill Farm

Lincoln/Corriedale from Victoria Station

Now I just need to decide what I want to spin up first!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Communication Breakdown

We’ve been doing some cleaning/purging around here. A couple weekends ago, Bill was sorting through the basement closet and we had this exchange…

Bill: What do you want me to do with your sewing machine?
Jenn: Put it somewhere accessible. I’m going to need it and when I am done, I will find a home for it in my craft room.

This evening I came home from the gym ready to tackle the Dolly Bag lining and faced this.

Do you see a sewing machine? I do not. That’s because it was accessibly placed at the absolute very back, behind all the tubs, underneath some shopping bags. I love you baby. Since Bill is at school this week, I get to revert to single girl mode and in retaliation I am leaving the kitchen table looking like this.

Lining, check! The dolly bag should be ready to go in time for fibre fest this weekend.