You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2007.

That’s right kiddos—I’m outta here. I’ll be in Chicago for the next week, doing the Chemistry conference thang. Hopefully I won’t be too busy to visit a couple of yarn stores (especially Loopy!). I don’t expect to get much knitting done—I think my research adviser would blow a gasket if he caught me knitting through a seminar. It’s too bad, really—what a great way to spend idle sitting time! I don’t know how much internet access I’ll have, so I probably won’t be checking in until I’m back. Be good while I’m gone! No make-out parties! I’m locking the liquor cabinet…

See you in a week!

Hello again, and welcome to Wednesday.

Here’s what I’ve been

Reading (yes, another one)

Listening to


Watching . I managed to find a copy for $2 at the local Goodwill. Score!

Random cute picture!

Buster wants in

First of all, I want to thank everybody for your nice and wonderful comments on the Hourglass Sweater. I did wear it out in public, and I must admit it is kind of growing on me (no pun intended). The sleeves are still a bit short, which seems to me a screaming irony since my biggest fear was that the sleeves would be too long, but all in all, it’s good. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it, and most people have made them to my face, and not another part of my anatomy.

So, because I finished one sweater, I let myself cast on for another. Here is the start of Ariann:

Ariann start

Doesn’t look like much, does it? It’s not–yet. I have an inkling that’s about to change. I feel myself getting slowly addicted to this project. I didn’t think I’d like knitting with the Cotton Fleece, as I have an aversion to non-stretchy yarn. But, man! This yarn knits up so crisply, and the fabric is so soft. I have mass forebodings about some major yarn love coming on. Fortunately, I found a place to get this really cheap. I mean really cheap–I priced this project out both in the Cotton Fleece, and in KnitPicks Main Line (which seems like a most unusual choice for a yarn name–overdose, anyone?). The Cotton Fleece proved to be cheaper, but only if you buy it from here. They have Cotton Fleece for $5.75 a skein! That’s about $2 cheaper per skein than anywhere else I’d looked. It took a little longer for them to get it to me, since they order it from the company when you place your order, but it was worth the wait in my opinion.

Ariann start 2

Don’t you think?

I had just a bit of trouble with the cast on. This was my fault, not the pattern’s. It did not specify a cast on, so I used my old standby, the long tail cast on. (as well as all other sensible references) suggest pulling out about 1/2 to 1 inch of yarn for every stitch that you wish to cast on. Of course, being me, (motto: “guidelines, shmidelines”), I usually pull out what looks like “enough” and go for it. The first time I cast on, I ran out of yarn at about stitch number 123 (out of 176). I made up a few new swearwords (a favorite hobby of mine) then pulled out my cast on edge. I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice, so I pulled out a “couple more lengths” and cast on again. I had plenty of yarn the second time. Plenty.

Ariann cast on tail

See that blue thing way off in the background there? That’s my knitting. See that blue line coming towards you? That’s the yarn. The distance between them? Oh, about eight feet.

Heh heh. Oops.

At least I didn’t run out again!

In other knitting news, the Pomatomus socks are coming along nicely.

pot sock heel done

I’ve turned the heel, and I’m now into the gusset.

These socks are so photogenic–I can’t stop taking pictures of them!

pot sock close

That’s just one of about 1600 that I took this morning. I didn’t even post them all to flickr–it would be too embarrassing. Plus I would probably have used up my quota for the month all in one go.

But it’s so pretty, though! I find myself gazing at this sock more than I’m knitting it, which is probably why I haven’t gotten very far on it. But I love it. I! Love! It! Please do yourself a favor and run, do not walk, to get yourself some of this yarn. Colinette Jitterbug. Here I did a google search for you. Go on. I’ll wait.

Are you back? What color did you get? Can I have it?

One more thing before I sign off today–the new Yarnival is up. Guess who got included this time?

To answer this question, please write your guess on the label of a skein of Colinette Jitterbug. For the address to post entries to, write to leighly AT lycos DOT com. Entries will only be accepted by mail–no email entries will be eligible. Winner gets a really big thank you!

P.S. Look! It really is spring.

purple crocus twins

Well, first of all it’s Wednesday, so let’s get that stuff out of the way.

Here’s what I’ve been


Listening to



This was the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. I would highly recommend.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that done with we can move along to more important things.

Like the Hourglass Sweater!

HG sweater 1

Yup, there it is.

The Hourglass Sweater
Pattern: from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, size 32
Yarn: Noro Cash Iroha, plum, 8.5 skeins
Needle: KnitPicks circs, size 5
Begun: February 10
Finished: March 8
Modifications: did three extra decrease repeats at neckline. That’s it.

HG sweater 3HG sweater 2

Looks pretty good, no? I liked the pattern, but not necessarily knitting it (more on that below). It is beautiful in its simplicity, and showcases this yarn very nicely. But, if I had to do it over again, I would use a different yarn.

I did my homework before knitting this sweater. I mean really—I read practically every blog between here and kingdom come if it happened to mention an Hourglass Sweater done in Noro Cash Iroha. I learned two important things from this:

1) The neckline tends to be a bit large. Done according to the pattern directions, it will barely stay up on your shoulders. I did not desire the flashdance look, so I added some repeats before the purl round for turning the hem.

2) This yarn tends to grow. A lot.

In order to combat this problem, I did what any dutiful knitter would do. I swatched. And I swatched and I swatched. In fact, I think this is why I used 8.5 skeins instead of the required 8—a half a skein was taken up by swatching. Not only did I swatch, I washed. I washed every stinking swatch and let it dry completely before measuring my gauge. The swatch knitting with size 5 needles was spot on after watching: 19 stitches and 28 rows per 4 inches. Horray! The needle size printed in the pattern was a 7. I thought it a bit odd that I had to go down two needle sizes to get gauge, especially since I tend to be a tight knitter and usually have to go UP a needle size. Well, whatever, I thought. After washing the gauge matches, so we’re good to go.

Well. Knitting this yarn on a size 5 needle was not pleasant. The knitted fabric was so tight and it kind of hurt. I had to take breaks. I also tend to be a “pusher” if the knitting is somewhat tight. That is, I sometimes use the index finger of my right hand to push the stitch off the left needle after it’s been worked. I had to do it in this case, which is very sad because those KnitPicks needles are friggin sharp! Ouch. I had a big callous on my finger for awhile. It’s gone now, but I’m still bitter at the memory. One should not have to suffer for the sake of one’s knitting, in my opinion. I had placated myself with the thought of how my sweater would just fit perfectly after all of this was over, and wouldn’t I just be so happy that I had gone through this. Famous last words. Or, in this case, thoughts. Grr.

So here’s a modeling shot:

HG sweater model

Sorry for both the blurriness of the picture and the goofy look on my face. The blub took this for me, so of course he was trying to make me laugh. Plus it was cloudy so there wasn’t a lot of light.

ANYway, this sweater makes me look like Chesty LaRue. It’s tight! Even after blocking it twice! I checked the gauge on it after it dried the second time, and just guess what I got.

20 stitches/4 inches. It’s supposed to be 19 stitches! So that means that, over the girth of the chest, I’m missing approximately 1.6 inches.

1.6 inches! That’s a lot! I want my inches back! I feel like I can’t even wear this sweater in public! It’s a bit…revealing. I’m a modest person; I don’t really want to give the world an excuse to stare at my boobies. This sweater sure puts them out there, though.

Grr. Grr. Big GRR!

Sigh. I guess I could try to block it out AGAIN. I didn’t actually pin it out last time—maybe I should try that. But pinning is what you do to lace! I shouldn’t have to do that to a sweater.

Oh swatches, why have you forsaken me? I trusted you! I put my never-ending faith in you! Why have you treated me this way?

I thought about this for awhile. I have an inkling on why this might be so…

Either the knitting gods hate me,


my swatches were too small. They were a bit dinky, about 4 x 3 in. Have I received a gentle slap on the wrist from the knitting gods? Perhaps. I say gentle here because it’s not like I absolutely can’t wear the thing—it’s just a bit tight. Maybe with a bit more work, I can make it bigger. Le sigh.

Well, it was my first sweater. Whaddya think?

Look at your calendar.

Mine says that it’s March 12, 2007. Is this right? My calendar hasn’t decided to revolt, has it? Is it staging a protest against time as we know it, and elected to operate on its own, more imaginative, time?

No, I didn’t think so. It really is halfway through March. Dangit!

I’ve finally started my first Project Spectrum project.

For those of you not in the know, Project Spectrum was begun by Miss Lolly of Lolly Knitting Around. The general idea is that for each two months of the year, three colors are chosen. Participators then think, act, and create with these colors in mind. That’s it! No stress, no pressure, just fun. I thought it was a great idea, so I joined up. The colors assigned to February and March are blue, grey, and white. Thus far this year, I have done no knitting with blue, grey, or white.

Until recently, that is.

Behold! For your Project Spectrum pleasure, I present

pot sock 2


I’m really loving this yarn, this pattern, and these colors. Every color from Project Spectrum this month is in there! Blue! White! Grey! They play off each other like flowers in a meadow, like birds in the trees, like knitted stitches in a sock!

pot sock 1

Look at the texture—don’t you just love the texture? It comes from the twisted stitches, created by knitting all of the knitted stitches through the back loop. This comes very naturally to me, as I learned to knit Combination style. The stitch pattern is also quite easy, once you get the hang of it. It just flows so organically that I’m not even using the chart anymore—you can just tell what should come next. Props to Cookie for that.

Also for Project Spectrum, I have received this beautiful yarn in this beautiful blue for this beautiful pattern.

cotton fleece on trellis 2

I am in love with this color, called Columbine Blossom. It’s the perfect springtime blue. It also perfectly matches my vintage blue glass buttons, which I just happen to need four of to make Ariann. They’re smaller than what the pattern calls for, but buttonholes are very easy to knit smaller, aren’t they?

So I’ve started two projects, a pair of socks and a sweater, for Project Spectrum. I’m only a month and a half behind.

Better late than never.

Ready for the big sweater reveal?

No, I’m not either. Here it is as of this morning:

blocking sweater under basket

It’s still blocking. I blocked it once, and it didn’t fit right, so I had to do it again. Sorry! No nice shots! It’s underneath that outlandish looking apparatus because of this butthead.

oscar sleeping

Oscar looks all cute and innocent, doesn’t he? Looks are truly deceiving in this case, because the second a knitted garment hits flat surface, this cat is on it like a gaggle of 12 year old girls on a copy of Tiger Beat. I even caught him last night curled up next to the basket, almost falling off the side of the table. True loyalty, that. Loyalty to screwing up my nicely blocking knits, that is. Hmph.

However, in much better news, look what’s springing up around here.

yellow crocus 1iris 1

At left, a yellow crocus, and at right, the beginning of an iris. It’s spring! Officially! Guess what other green things have sprung up in my mailbox?

color swap goodies 1

It’s my Favorite Color Swap 2 package! And just guess who was my secret pal? None other than our very gracious and wonderful swap host, Nicole! I felt slightly gobsmacked when I opened the card, like I had touched celebrity or something. Tee hee! I am most tickled by the contents of my happy springtime green package. They are:

Two skeins of KnitPicks Essential in grass green (love it! so soft–much nicer than the old essential);
A set of KnitPicks dpns in size 0 (the only sock size I’ve been missing);
My very own copy of Spin To Knit! Oh boy oh boy! I’m stoked about this one.
Some very lucious dark chocolatey goodness Lindor balls;
A very nice green and blue stripy card (it got bleached out by the bright early morning sun, but trust me, it’s very pretty);
And some very cute green stitch markers! Nicole, did you make them? I love them! Here’s a better picture:

green stitch markers 2

All of this came in a wonderful package, with all the goodies wrapped so prettily in green and yellow tissue paper. Of course, I didn’t get a picture of it because I ripped everything open with a fiendish ferocity only seen on the faces of five year olds on Christmas morning. Thank you, Nicole! Thank you so much! I’ve actually been craving green yarn lately, wouldn’t ya know it? You are the best Secret Pal ever!

It’sdoneit’sdoneit’sdoneit’sdoneit’sdoneit’sdoneit’sdone! Oh yay! I’m so excited!

Could you tell?

The Hourglass sweater is DONE. Right now it’s blocking happily on my back table. I’ll post pics and details on Sunday.

It’s DONE!

…but nonetheless, here we are.

Here’s what I’ve been:


Listening to



In case there’s any speculation out there on whether or not I actually read all of these books I list here on Wednesdays, let me clear it up: yes, I do. I usually have three going at one time—a book I keep on my nightstand, a book I listen to in the car, and a book I listen to when I’m knitting. I suppose you can argue about if I can call the books I’m listening to “reading,” but in my way of seeing it, I’m getting the same information that I would if I actually physically read the book, so what’s the difference? Besides, I like that I can “read” and do something else at the same time—like knit or drive. I’m a complete fiction junkie, and if I don’t get my fix I am not a nice person. Listening to the books allows me to get that fix, AND do other necessary things. I also have a bit of a problem with reading too fast sometimes. I’ll just breeze right through a book, mostly because I want to see what happens, and then I won’t remember the finer points of the plot later. Having someone else read to me slows me down, and lets me savor both the story and the language.

That being said, I have to gush about Lemony Snicket for a minute. I love these books! Not really for the plot lines, which are predictable, but for the way that he tells the stories. They are very tongue in cheek, and also very funny. The way that he uses phrasing and words really tickles my imagination. He also will throw in random plot elements that are both absurd and hilarious. For example, in one of the books he has the baby, Sunni, get into a sword fight with an evil optometrist. That is, the optometrist has a sword. Sunni uses her four sharp teeth to riposte and parry. Seeing this sequence in my head reduced me to tears, I was laughing so hard (the blub didn’t seem to think it as funny as I did, though). Tim Curry is the reader for a lot of the later books, and he is predictably very good and very funny. Anyway, I recommend checking them out, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Have a happy story and yarn-filled day!

Hello once again.

Okay, I’ll break it to you first off that (again!) there’s not much knitting content today. Man, I never thought knitting an all stockinette sweater could be so technically boring! I haven’t even made any changes in the pattern. Well, I haven’t made any changes yet. I’m getting very near to finishing–both sleeves are done and attached, and I’m doing the raglan decreases at the neck. As of this morning, I was done with 10 out of 15 rows. Not long now!

So in lieu of exciting knitting content, today I have to offer exciting yarn content! Wahoo! Here are some goodies that I’ve picked up recently:

red buttonsblue buttons

Hey! Those aren’t yarn! No, they are very beautiful vintage buttons that I got from Vintage Necessities on Etsy. Aren’t they gorgeous? I have plans for these. Oh yes, I have plans…

KidLin 1

Now, I normally don’t do mohair, but this I couldn’t resist. It’s KidLin pixie, which is a mohair/linen blend. I couldn’t get over the weirdness/beauty of it. Good think the yarn store only had one skein. The color is called Woodland, which made the photo setting apt. The texture of this yarn is just amazing. See?

KidLin 2

On the sock knitting front, I also couldn’t resist this:


Hiding demurely there behind a log is Colinette Jitterbug in bright charcoal. I know I said I wouldn’t cast on for anything else before I finished the sweater, but can you blame me? This yarn is pure squisheriffic joy. It is in the process of being transformed into Pomatomi. All hail Cookie.

Last, but certainly not least, is the coup de grace, the ultimate yarn score, the stuff that dreams are made of..

I have managed to get my hands on a skein of

appletini on birdhouse

Yarntini. Self-striping, fingering weight, in appletini.

All hail me.

According to the USPS, the cat should be out of the bag…

gift stitch markers

Gifted stitch markers, for Jennifer.

Aren’t I a sneaky vixen? Heh heh heh…

Contact me

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