You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2007.

Now clink me links lest I give ye a keel-haulin’

I be readin’

I be watchin’ again, cuz that Cary Elwes makes a sexy pirate, he does. Ramming speed!

In me earholes


I’m thinkin’ that some scurvy dog slipped into me mornin’ grog

Have ye a nice day.

I wish to offer this up in my own self defense: it was not my fault.

Yes, well. Likely story, I know. But as you read my sordid tale, please keep it in your mind. It was not my fault.

This past Saturday, I made my way to the LYS. I wish to make Scandinavian-type mittens, such as these in black and white. As I mentioned, it being Saturday, the store was quite crowded. No matter. I wended my way past knots of happy knitters towards the Dale of Norway Baby Ull. Much to my chagrin, they had white but no black. Alas. However, though slightly disappointed but not defeated, I went to look at the sock yarn to see if there was a comparable weight black lurking there.

So I squatted innocently on the floor, and began to excavate my way through the mounds of sock yarn. As I was pulling out a couple of contenders, I heard a small sort of growling from about three feet above my head. Alarmed, I glanced up quickly, only to spy a basket of Mountain Colors Bearfoot perched up on a shelf, a few colorful skeins dangling over the edge. I stood, and peered into the basket.

Now, I’ve never knitted with this particular yarn in the past. I have an aversion to mohair in general, as it gives me the itchies like nobody’s business. Mohair in sock yarn, then, is completely out of the question. Besides, this yarn has always seemed, well, a bit wild for me. Too hairy. Too scratchy. Too bestial.

As almost to confirm my opinion, the growl came again from the bottom of the basket.

I squinted, leaning closer. I was definitely hearing it, yes, but what exactly was making it?

And then, with a streak of scarlet, it was upon me. The beast had leapt with deadly accuracy and gotten me around the throat. I gasped as the treacherous sock yarn hit me in the neck and I fell to the ground, writhing and twisting and trying to throw it off. It was no use. Its growling was fierce now, and it managed to get around my head and sink its needle-like teeth into my earlobe.

I froze, breathless, lest it rip off my ear.

It stayed like this for a minute or two, snarling and grunting, until it noticed my bag. It had fallen over in the struggle and was lying next to my feet, quite open to the world. In an instant the yarn released me and made a flying leap, diving expertly past my everyday flotsam and jetsam and landing in the bottom. It wiggled a bit, as if it were making itself at home, then was still. Soft growling was still audible.

The sales clerk of course had come rushing over to see what the scuffle was about. I sat up and dazedly looked up at her.

“Nancy!” I cried. “Do something!

“I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do,” she answered, distressed. “Once they get in your bag, there’s no getting them out again. This happens all the time!”

All the time?!?!

“Well,” she said, “you can’t possibly think that you’re the first!”


So I took the yarn home. The car trip seemed to calm it a bit, but the relative peace was not to last.

Upon entering my house, I immediately put it in the sock yarn bin. However, as soon as I closed the lid and turned my back, an outrageous cacophony erupted from behind me. I wrenched the lid off again to find the Bearfoot ripping a yarn label to pieces, and a naked skein of Lorna’s Laces cowering in the corner.

So I took it out and put it in my knitting basket, only to have it escape and chase the cats around the room.

“What is it that you want from me?” I bellowed at it, cornering it behind the woodstove.

It scuttled around me then, and I heard a crash from the rear of the house that sounded suspiciously like my dpns all hitting the floor at once. It came skidding back, my KnitPicks size threes stuck into its posterior. It whined slightly as it nudged my foot.

“Fine!” I roared. “Fine! If that’s what’ll shut you up, then fine!”

So I sat down and cast on for a sock.


Nels' red socks and ball 1

I even had to bring it to work and waft ether in its face for it to stop moving long enough to get a picture. Other that that, the only way to calm it (besides car rides) is to knit it.

Nels's red toe up sock

In my haste I screwed up the toe. Doesn’t it look funny? This is my first pair of toe up socks, and I must have read the directions wrong. No matter. I’ll just unravel a few rows then kitchener the ends back together later.

These are for the blub. As I said, I can’t abide mohair. Hopefully I can finish these before Valentine’s day, as they will make a nice gift for my sweetie.

So yes, I have cast on for yet another project. And also yes, again I’m knitting something in secret that has a deadline. And also also yes, it’s yet another pair of socks!

It wasn’t my fault. I’m telling you, it was not my fault.

It keeps happening, doesn’t it? Strange…

Here’s what I’ve been

Listening to,



Really starting to miss,


Wondering where I can find.

I want color 94. Anybody know who carries this?

Oh, by the way, the socks I’m knitting from Knitting on the Road are called the Friday Harbor socks. I must be smoking six kinds of crack, because I don’t know where the river thing came from.

Well, you might. But you don’t have mine! Neener neener!

Gracious, I’m being unkind, aren’t I? I have to gloat a little, though. Please forgive me. You know that if I had my way, you would all be able to reach through your computer screen and pet my cashmere.

Hmm. That sounds slightly dirty, doesn’t it?

Maybe I should stop blathering and just get right down to it…

Here’s my latest dyeing project—DK weight cashmere from Sarah’s Yarns, purchased at the outrageous (Alert! Sarcasm!) price of $13.75 each. It’s not quite that cheap anymore—I think it’s up to $14.50 each now. Well worth either price, and quite a bit more in my opinion. 200 yards you get for that. Nice.

I bought three skeins of white. I hadn’t really intended on dyeing them when I ordered them, but I couldn’t resist. White yarn is like a blank canvas. It must be filled! So I filled it with purple.

Yes, I know. Me, dye something purple?

I tried to be all clever this time around. I didn’t want just any purple. I wanted a greyish purple. You know, like purple, but grey? Right. So first I dyed it grey. Then I overdyed it purple. Then I decided it was too purple, so I dyed it grey again. The result?

dyed cashmere 1

Pretty much purple.

dyed cashmere 4dyed cashmere 3

But kind of grey! Some spots are definitely grey.

dyed cashmere 6dyed cashmere 5

Aren’t they? Don’t you see them? Please, tell me you see them.

dyed cashmere 2

Well, I do like it nonetheless. It’s purple, but with subtlety. It’s purple with sophistication! It’s purple with pizzazz!

Another result of the thrice dyeing process was a complete. Tangled. Mess. I did not even dry the yarn between the first two dyeing jobs, and then just dunked the hanks back into the third dyebath. All that stirring. Oy. It took me two hours to wind the three balls of this yarn. That’s with a swift and winder, by the way. After that, there was no way I was putting them back into nice pretty little skeins. In balls they are, and in balls they will stay.

Until their transformation is complete, that is.

Shetland shawl start

Miss Lambert’s Shetland shawl, from Victorian Lace Today

And of course, since I just finished one pair of socks I had to start another.

Vera socks

The River, um, something, socks from Knitting on the Road, in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport, color Vera. I do love me some Lorna’s Laces.

The red Fleece Artist socks? They’re being punished. Do not speak their name.

Well, first of all I want to apologize for the craptastic pictures you are about to see. But this is why:

house with snow Jan 07

It snowed! Finally! After missing all the yicky crap that has been hitting the rest of the country, we Southern Indiana folks belatedly got ours last night. From the piles on the porch, it looks like about 3 inches. Yay! I’ve been missing the white stuff. Doesn’t the house look so warm and cozy in the snow? However, it has made it uncomfortable to take my usual outside knitting pics. So you’re going to have to deal with desk lamp photos today. My apologies.

Anyway, here’s the real news. I have finished the Milanese Lace socks.

perwinkle socksright sock 1


Pattern: none really–lace pattern from Barbara Walker Treas. #2 + standard sock recipe*
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport, periwinkle
Started: Jan 5
Finished: Jan 20
Notes: I reversed the chart on the second sock so they swirl in opposite directions. I think I like it. :)

Okay, that’s hardly the “Stop the presses” kind of news, but I’m happy about it. BUT! This is what I’m really really excited about.

perwinkle sock yarn left

That’s the remaining yarn (battery included for scale). Yeah, so what, you’re thinking (yes, I can hear you). Well, the so what is that this is the total remaining yarn:

leftovers total

Yup. That’s right. This pair of socks is knit with only one skein of yarn!

I’ll repeat myself in case some of you were not paying attention.

One skein of yarn!

And that’s not one of those giganto skeins that contain 400 yards or anything. This was only 70 g, 200 yds! Woot! I think I’m still in shock. Granted, it’s lace so it’s holey and all, but still! And it’s not like I have teeny feet. I wear a size 7 to 7.5. Can you believe it? Well, I’m excited, if I hadn’t made that obvious yet.

So what should I do with the other skein? Decisions, decisions…

*my standard sock recipe is as follows: measure foot of intended recipient. Subtract 10% from this number. Determine correct # of stitches to cast on for this size (either by gauge or by guessing) and cast on. Work ribbing for about 1-2”, or until you are sick of it. Work leg in pattern of choice until long enough, then divide for heel as follows: take half of the stitches and put on one dpn. Work slip stitch heel pattern until heel flap is as long as it is wide. Turn heel. Pick up gusset stitches, one half of total # heel stitches on each side of heel flap. Decrease every other row until you are back down to the total number of stitches you started with. Knit foot until 2” shorter than total foot length. Work standard wedge toe, until you have 16-20 stitches left, depending on yarn weight. Kitchener toe together. Put sock on and dance around kitchen.

I hope this is not a shock.

I have decided to take a page (entry?) out of my favorite shoeblogger’s book and make Wednesdays the official “What the chemgrrl is…” day.

Okay. Here goes.

(I’ll just go out and come in again)

It is Wednesday! Here’s what the chemgrrl is…


Listening to


Drooling over


Thinking maybe about knitting

In other news…

I dyed me up some cashmere over the weekend. Maybe if I see sunlight soon I’ll get some nice piccies.

7 pm on a Tuesday night. Look where I am.



It’s not so bad that I’m here. It’s just annoying that I’ve been here since 7 am and I’m going to be here for another 2 hours at least.


My dad said to me the other day, “Well, it’s not like you have a real job.”

No, Dad. In a real job, I wouldn’t work as much, wouldn’t be as stressed out, and I’d get paid a heck of a lot more.

Okay, I’m done complaining. Really!


Want a tour?

Here’s my hood:


(where I do all my chemical nasties)

And here’s my muse:

mean kitty

She loves me.

So I’ve been doing some sock knitting lately. I got this Fleece Artist sock yarn awhile back.

fleece artist red sock yarn

Isn’t it purty? I heart it. Anyway, I wanted to make it into lacy socks. I saw this very pretty scarf with this very pretty stitch and though, “Ooh! That would make nice socks!” So I went for it. Yay me.

Then a few weeks later, I saw these.

They are exactly the same as the ones I’m making. Exactly.

So I’m of two minds here.

First mind: do I care? It’s not like this girl and I live in the same neighborhood or anything. So what if we have the same socks? They look very nice. She did a beautiful job knitting them. Mine will look equally as nice.

Second mind: Hey! Those are MY SOCKS! That was my idea, mine mine mine! (stamp!) Just because she knit it first doesn’t mean they’re not mine! I don’t want to do the same thing that someone else did. I want to be the only one!

Well, at least I was right. That stitch pattern DOES look really nice as socks.

Here they are as of about two weeks ago:

red swirl sock start

And an added tidbit–I did do a gauge swatch, but these are so tight that I can barely get them over my heel. So I really need to rip them out and do them over on bigger needles anyway. BUT should I continue with this stitch pattern, or should I make something else entirely? The more I look at Domesticat’s socks, the more I like them. Like all of the beautiful things she makes, she did a lovely job. My inner brat, however, is wanting to do something else. So these have been sitting in the knitting bag of indecision for a little while.

This brings up another point, though. Domesticat (sorry, I don’t know her name) has these listed as her pattern, and has copyrighted it. So what exactly makes something your own pattern? Insert stitch pattern A into sock recipe B? That’s what I did. But I didn’t write the stitch pattern, I saw it on Ysolda’s blog. I also saw it later in my copy of Stitchionary I. Could I take any stitch pattern, make it into socks, and call it mine? I dunno. That just doesn’t seem original enough to me.

(I just want to say that I’m not disparaging Domesticat in anyway–she saw a similar pattern and altered it to the pattern she copyrighted. That’s totally legit, to me. But can what I did be considered original? That’s all I’m asking.)

So I guess if the answer to above question is yes, then here is a pattern of mine that I’m working on:


Sorry to subject you to a picture of my alien feet, but the lace pattern doesn’t show otherwise. It’s the Milan lace pattern from A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns by the nice and wonderful Barbara Walker. I’m using Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in periwinkle. The picture really doesn’t do the color justice. It’s so pretty! About the color of my bathroom actually. I’m sure you wanted to know that.

At only 48 stitches around, these are really going fast. And if I don’t have to work late any other days this week, maybe I’ll even get this sock done before the weekend.

Okay, NMR time. Bye bye.

Okay, so. There are a few projects that have slipped through the cracks lately, that I haven’t put up yet. This post serves to get them up here and out of that place in my mind that naggles and niggles and won’t let me sleep at 3 am. Begone foul knitting demons!

Here they are in no particular order:

The Monster Hat

monster hat 2

Eric and Nels xmas


For: nephew Eric
Pattern: um…from New Knits on the Block, kind of
Yarn: Lamb’s Pride Burly spun, dyed monster colors by me, held together with evil icky fun fur.
Notes: The white things at the bottom are supposed to be fangs. Do they look like fangs?

And next, tap dancing her way into your heart is Elizabeth in the Super Stripy Legwarmers!

Elizabeth in legwarmers

Da da, da da da da! Dum!

For: niece Elizabeth
Pattern: Yeah. Right.
Yarn: Paton’s SWS, 2 skeins (color? what color?)


zee close up…

hypotenuse finished

…and zee manly shot.

hypotenuse finished on tractor

What’s more manly than lace on a rusted-out lawnmower, I ask you? Lovely, darlink. Lovely.

This was lovely. Lovely to knit, that is.

For: the blub
Pattern: Hypoteneuse, by anne.
Yarn: DK weight cashmere from colourmartUK (ebay)
Notes: Loved the pattern! I made the scarf size, but did 19 pattern repeats instead of 14. This put the scarf at over 7 feet long. Finished measurements: 92″ x 11″. It was supposed to be about 12″ wide, but for some reason I got this idea in my head that the gauge was supposed to be 5 sts/in, not the 4 sts/in very clearly marked on the pattern. Oopsie! Oh well. It’s still nice.

Random hat

big cables hat

For: my head
Yarn: Lamb’s Pride Burly Spun
Pattern: No
Notes: Yes, it’s boring. I made this a few months ago when I was teaching my friend Sunni how to knit (Hi Sunni! Hi! You made two awesome hats so far!). It keeps my head warm, though. Yay for that.

The cat sock

Buster with stockingBuster with stocking 2

What can I say? Buster was the only one who didn’t have a Christmas stocking. So I made him one out of scrap yarn. What else would I put his catnip mouse in on Christmas morning? Besides, it fits pretty nice, don’t you think?

Okay, I think that was it. Whew! Maybe now I can get some sleep…

P.S. Guess who signed up for her first clogging class today? Heh heh heh.

Ah yes, the obligatory New Year’s post. In which we sum up the year past and make our resolutions for the year to come.

Well, I’ll make it quick.

In my knitterly world, this past year has really been a huge learning experience for me. I’ve made my first socks, my first lace, and begun dyeing. I’ve also, of course, begun this blog. Yay me!

What lies in the year ahead? Well, I want to learn at least two new skills: colorwork and entrelac. I also find myself severely lacking in mittens, so I’ll probably learn how to do those as well. Maybe also make some toe-up socks? I don’t want to get too crazy here. Okay, so I’ll keep it to those four, the last one with a big maybe in the margin.

In my non-knitting world, I want to get a wicked-cool haircut and learn how to clog dance. No, I’m not kidding.

What are your goals (knitterly or otherwise) for the new year? Enquiring minds want to know!

Contact me

thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do with the extras)
January 2007