December 2005 Archives

This page is an archive of entries from December 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

To see all archives, visit the Archive Index.

November 2005 is the previous archive.

January 2006 is the next archive.

FUBAR

The frustration level over at subwayknitter.com is very, very high.

I'll tell you that have little to no experience with Movable Type.  This, of course, didn't stop me.  I eagerly began to learn the basics, change things here and there, and prepare to move my little internet self over to my very own domain.  There were snags here and there, things that I would fix later, but all in all, I felt pretty good.

That was the case until it came time to add my links.  While it's easy to add your own links--Movable Type has an article all about doing just that--I had to get cocky.  Instead of one huge list of blogs, I wanted one clean and simple link on the main page that would generate my Newsgator blogroll.

Easy peasy, according to Newsgator.  Indeed, I got the script copied and pasted into my Main Index template.  And that, my friends, is where things started to go horribly, miserably wrong.

I republished my site (if that is even the right term for what I did) and instantly noticed that the few test entries I published would no longer display.  What the...

I decided that it must have been the script that I added.  I took it and everything else which I added earler out of the template, and republished it.  Nope, no dice.

Apparently I have done something so devastatingly wrong to my Main Index template that I can't undo it.  The entries won't display.  I don't know what to do, where to look, or how to even begin to know what went wrong.

I feel doomed.

Hat Blocking

As promised, here is a photo of my hat on the blocking board:

Hatblocking

I'm trying to enforce a boxier shape on top, while keeping the band snug.  A few of you left some blocking questions in my comments earlier this week.  I always wet block my wool things.  A ten-minute soak in a warm-ish water (just because it's nicer on my hands if the water is not icy) to which I have added some wool wash or (if I think that the yarn might need a stronger soap) dish detergent.  My current brand is Dawn, but I don't think that the brand matters.  Maybe I swish the knit around in the water (gently, no felting needed here), maybe I don't.

The drawback to dish detergent is that it must be rinsed.   If I rinse, I drain the sink, squeeze out as much of the water as possible, and then refill the sink with cold water.  I make sure that the stream of water does not run onto the yarn to prevent felting.  I let the knit soak for about ten minutes.  Again, maybe I swish it around the sink, maybe I don't.

There's not much to it.  When I'm satisfied that the yarn is rinsed, I once again squeeze out as much moisture as possible.  Then, I lay out the knit on my blocking board t0 let it dry.

I don't find that my knits block smaller (as someone asked).  If anything they bloom and stretch. 

Yoo-Whooo!

It still surprises me a little bit that anyone reads my little blog.  It surprises greatly that non-knitters read it, specifically my family (hi everyone!)

Two weeks ago Kathy asked us about the people outside of our knitting circles who read our blogs.  Two weeks ago I would have thought that the list would be quite small.  When I started my blog I think that I told only my co-workers, a couple of friends, and my parents (one of whom thought that it was called a "blob").  I didn't expect word to get around.  It's not that I hide the blog, I simply don't bother non-knitters about it.  I mean, it's a knitting blog.  Why would it be interesting to anyone who doesn't knit?  And yet, my family reads it.  Awww....

No knitting update today.  I apologize to those of you who left comments over the weekend to which you have not received a response.  Between the holiday and the time suck of setting up a new blog I am behind in emails and commenting (but I am reading).  I spent a good part of the day yesterday wresting boxes into a Toyota (oh, how I miss my hatchback!) hauling them up to the second floor and assembling a bookcase.  I'm beat!

Hat blocking pictures tomorrow. 

More Surprises

My knitting library is filling up quickly:

Treasuries

The first two volumes of Barbara G. Walker's four-volume stitch-pattern treasury.  Only the first two appealed to me, and I dropped hints mercilessly (the ladies at A Good Yarn can attest to this) in the days leading up to Christmas.  Lucky for me, those hints didn't fall on deaf ears, and lucky for Matt, the people at AGY can keep a secret.

I won't even try to fit these books into my knitting-book cabinet.  It's full!  That means that I have the perfect excuse to go to IKEA

Bye!

A Knitty Surprise

This season seems all about the small project for Subway Knitter.  I forgot, however, that Knitting Grandma is the queen of the small project.

Here is one of the things that KG gifted to me on Christmas:

Washcloth

What struck me about this was how pleased I was with this.  Look at those swirly pastels!  Those are going to make me happy when I see them in the shower.  Actually, Knitting Grandma often gives me these hand-knit washcloths and I love 'em.  The cotton yarn feels nice on my skin, I think that they work better than the terry-cloth versions, and they're very colorful.

It's a gift idea which often slips my mind.   Imagine a swatch of Peaches n' Cream knit in a pretty stitch pattern.  Wrap it around a bar of frou-frou soap, tie it with a coordinating ribbon, and you have a fantastic gift.

Martha could not do any better.

Crisis Over

I expected to have a hat in progress to show you this morning.

I didn't expect to have the finished object:

Meandmyhat

I suppose that's what you get when given a weekend of knitting time.  Family celebrations were relaxed and informal, and I was even able to get in a few rows after Christmas Eve dinner.  By late on Christmas Eve, this hat was complete.

I think that I want to block this about a half an inch bigger on top, to give my hair a little extra room.  Other than that, a complete success.

The details:

Pattern: from a Leisure Arts leaflet, copyright 1981.  I modified it for gauge, and instead of the stripe sequence suggested in the pattern, I fudged something different.  Really, this is just a garter-stitch tube gradually decreased and closed at one end.

Needles: US8s and 6s.

Yarn: Cascade 220, colorway 8012.  I used slightly less than one hank.

Hearing the Song....

Merry Christmas everyone!

I know I wrote on Friday that I was taking the weekend off.  Clearly, I need help, because I just can't stay away from the blog!  Here's a bonus post for those of you who are roaming around blogland after (or before) your holiday dinners.

I managed one more holiday knit before I left home:

Sneakyhat

Here's a sneaky hat that I made from the Wool Ease left over from my dad's mittens.  He loves the set.  I'm sure that he's pining away for the next blizzard when he can use them while he uses the snowblower.

As I was knitting away on my hat (update tomorrow, I promise) I noticed that I had forgotten my US6 needle at home.  Being out in Western Massachusetts means that I could easily succumb to the siren song of WEBS.  In all honesty, I wasn't planning to go up there this weekend (do I need more yarn? answer: no), but a US 6 is required for the hat's middle section.  A trip to the yarn store was in order! 

Maybe deep down I forgot the needle on purpose.  I hopped in the car (no subway out here, people) and twenty minutes later I found myself in Northampton.  There I was, with a pair of Addis in my hand, standing in front of the Cascade 220.

Cascade

That's Cascade 220, colorway 9411.  Claudia's version of Celtic Harbor Hat is coming out very well.  She has inspired me to tackle Fair Isle when I knit mine.  The actual color is a much darker green, but this photo does a great job of picking up all of the other colors in these hanks.  This yarn will coordinate perfectly with my winter coat.

With my newly purchased needles, my current hat is looking good.  Stay tuned!

Holiday Checklist

I have so much to blog about today, but my bags are packed and there's no time to joke around.

First, the holiday update:

The knitting:

Threescarves

Dadsmittens_1

(and something else that must stay off blog for the near future)

Done!

The yarn: packed!

Pattern:

Myfavoritehat_1

Chosen!  It's Old Blue II.  The more that I thought about it, the more that I knew that this weekend, with all its promised craziness, would not be suitable for learning new techniques, nor did I think a felting project was a good idea.  I know that I will be listening to "Oooh, why is it so big?  Oooh, it shrinks?  Oooh, will it work?" over and over and OVER, until I want to use my knitting needles for other purposes.

Whew!

Meanwhile, I recently won a contest over at The Project.  It was very kind of Jackie to offer the prizes for simply suggesting that mistake rib is THE stitch pattern to use for a manly scarf.  For very little effort on my part, here's what I received.

Thanks_jkc

Steadfast Fibers fingering weight and some matching stitch markers.  Look, one of the stitch markers has a special "mini marker"

Startmarker

Do you see it on the left?  Would you believe that before now I had no stitch markers like this?  I have no excuse.

As I was looking at the yarn, I realized that it matches my spring jacket perfectly:

Springscarf

I'm seeing a spring stole happening.  Remember Cozy?  It would be fabulous knit in fingering weight. Wouldn't a gray felted bucket hat be the perfect addition to this ensemble?  Thanks a lot Jackie! The yarn and markers were a very nice package to receive in my mailbox, and I'm very excited that it already has a project connected to it.

Have a great weekend everyone!  Merry Christmas if you're celebrating, and enjoy the peace and quiet if you are not.  I'll see you all on Monday with a hat update!

Research update: lots of hosting companies were recommended to me.  Within a couple of days I have narrowed down my hosting choices to two companies LivingDot.com and pair.com (based on such things as cost, bandwidth, disk space, and response to my inquiries.)  Let me say that there seem to be many, many great companies out there.  These two are by no means the best or the only ones.  LivingDot.com and pair. com are both MT hosting partners, and will install and maintain Movable Type for me.  This seemed like a nice way for me (someone with limited technical knowledge, and limited resources to dig myself out of a hole if I have problems) to start out on my own.  All I need to do is to learn how to use the application :-). 

STOP!

Simply put: if I continue knitting, this will become the world's ugliest hat:

Ohno

My swatch should have tipped me off before I got this far.  The yarn is a cacophany of color!  "Loud" doesn't begin to describe it, and I'm not sure that the colorway doesn't look like something which I would rather not mention here.  For those of you who are thinking "it doesn't look that bad" I will agree.  Somehow this photo balances the colors, toning down the red/orange glow of this yarn.  But trust me, in real life it's a big fashion "no!" for Subway Knitter.

For now, the hat crisis continues.  At least I have new yarn:

8012

Oh yes, dear readers, that is none other than Cascade 220 in the elusive 8012 colorway.  These two hanks (there are six total) are resting on my favorite scarf (incidentally, one of the very first things to came off of my needles.)  I'm relieved that the colorway has not drifted too far in the four years since I purchased this yarn. 

There's enough yarn here for at least two hats and a pair of double-knit mittens.  A big shout to the ladies at A Good Yarn who convinced the owner to add this colorway to the Cascade order she was about to fax as I made my inquiry.  I'm not sure that the owner likes to do special orders, so I was pleased with the assistance.  Thanks!

And, speaking of hats:

Patterns_1

Yup, we have both the Celtic Harbor hat pattern and the Fiber Trends leaflet AC-23.  Both arrived on the same day.  [Seriously, this must be the WORST photo I have ever taken.  Photgraphing sheet protectors under artificial light is not a good idea.  Sure, sure, I could have removed the patterns from the sleeves, but who has time for that these days?]

This is all coming together nicely.  Which should I begin first?  Claudia has alreay begun her Celtic Harbor version, and she's already spotted some necessary pattern alterations.  Maybe I'll let her get a little further along before I cast on for mine.  That leaves Old Blue II, or the felted pillbox hat.  You know what?  Maybe I'll surprise you.

Go Figure

The label was right!

Swatch

When I'm swatching with a nubly yarn like this Artful Yarns Legend, I don't measure a four-inch square for gauge.  Instead, I remember how many stitches I cast on (20, in this case) and I keep track of my rows (40).  Knit with US8s, this swatch measures six inches wide by eight inches long, in garter stitch.  Therefore my gauge is 3.3 stitches per inch and 5.75 rows per inch in garter stitch.  Very close to the label: 3-3.5 stiches and 5-5.75 rows per inch.

Time for a little math before I begin my hat.

Bulky? This?!

Putting aside the serious problems that many New Yorkers must be encountering this morning, what would Subway Knitter do during a transit strike?

According to the label on my Artful Yarns Legend, this is a bulky-weight yarn.  I don't buy it.  Look, here is the Legend next to my old standby, Cascade 220.

Thisbulky

I don't see how it's going to knit at 3 to 3.5 stitches per inch with a US 8 to 10 without looking very lacy.  Cascade knits 5 stitches per inch on a US 7.  Remember, I'm using the yarn to knit a hat.  While lacy hats might be fine for some, I can already tell that I'm going to have little patience for the cold this winter.

There's only one solution: swatching.

Research update: I am knee-deep in researching hosting companies, software, and domain registrars.  A few of you (and I won't out you here to avoid your being deluged by other curious bloggers) have been very generous in sharing your opinions, experiences, and knowledge about this stuff.    I think that I'll do just as much work to find my virtual home as I did to find my real one (i.e. my mortgage), and I suspect that I will find numerous solutions, each equally good.  Personal preference will probably make the final call for me.

After receiving a few leads from other bloggers, I began to contact hosting services.  It seems as if people are passionate about their hosting companies.  This is good news, it means that there are quite a few good options from which to choose.

I developed a list of questions based on my blog's needs, my knowledge level, and the amount of time and energy which I can commit to this project.  I have emailed the sales departments of a few hosting providers.

Software: there appear to be three major blogging software applications.  Movable Type, WordPress, and Textpattern.  Again, each has its pros and cons.  For a good review and comparison of each, go here (thanks S, for that link).  MT seems to come with options for a lot of outside support.  That's perfect for where I am right now.  Then there is the whole closed-source/open-source thing with these applications, which I don't understand well enough to be able to explain here.  And, from a strictly personal standpoint, I like the MT blog format.  But, that's just me.

Mitten Monday

Before I launch into a series of posts about my hat, let me give you a mitten update.  Dad's mittens are done:

Dadsmittens

The details:

Pattern: from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd

Yarn: Wool Ease Denim

Needles: DPNs, US7

Time to knit: almost no time.  A few subway rides, and evening here and there, and we're done.

Would I knit mittens again?  And again, and again, and again.

Hat Crisis

With Dad's mittens well under control, I must face the looming hat crisis chez Subway Knitter.  My blue hat, while lovely, simply does not go with my coat.  Something must be done, and that something must involve yarn.

I have blogged recently about potential hat projects.  I have the yarn for one, and I have another in the queue.

"What is it?" you ask.

Besides the Celtic Harbor Hat, I discovered this one on the Fiber Trends website:

Ac24

Ah!  Here is the felted hat for which I have searched!  If you can't tell, I'm looking for a boxy hat which will cover my ears.  The bucket hat patterns, while great, will be more suited to early spring weather.

A pattern search began.  Phone call to two local stores (A Good Yarn and Wild & Woolly) proved fruitless--not in stock.  I sent an email to WEBS; it's not there either.  I finally found the pattern online at Purlple Kitty Yarns, in New York (state, not city).  I hope to have it soon.

Dad's Mittens

...are getting there.  One is done:

Onemitten

Say what you want, but this Wool Ease is pretty good stuff.  And, mittens might just be the perfect gift-knitting, subway projects.  They're small, a good way to use up stash, and don't take too long to knit.  You could have several pairs on your gift knitting list with no problem.

Thank you, thank you for all of your advice and encouragement about setting out on my own, blog-wise.  I'm going to give myself a month to research my options.  Lists and spreadsheets might be involved.  I guess the first question is to decide on my software.  MT or Wordpress?

MT appeals to me because, due to my Typepad experience,  it's something with which I am already (somewhat) familiar.  Overall, I'm happy with Typepad.  I'm not happy with the current bandwidth limits (I blow through my bandwidth every month; luckily Typepad has yet to shut me down or charge me for overages), and I haven't been happy with the slow and unreliable access over the past few months.

The idea of going with one of Typepad's hosting "partners" also appeals, because it seems like the transition might be smooth, and I might even be able to export my existing format.  I don't know about that.  Research is in order!

My Mittens

...are Red Heart:

Mymittens

Yarn snob?  Me?!  No way!  I love these Red Heart mittens from Knitting Grandma.  Why?  First and foremost, my mittens are machine washable AND dryable.  After about a week of subway riding these mittens are filthy.  Believe me, somebody is going to find some virus that puts the bird flu to shame, and it will be discovered on the MBTA.  Ewww!

Now, the last thing that I want to do with a pair of filthy mittens is to touch them more than I must.  They're tossed in the wash with my super-duper extra-strength germ-destroying detergent.   Just in case any of the little buggers survive that, I toss the mittens in the dryer where the heat cooks those germies nice and dead.

Germophobe?  Who, me?

Red Heart is not the softest of acrylics.  But the first week of cold weather really got me to think about what I need in a mitten.  And, honestly, ease of care is a criterion.

I am planning to knit one pair of mittens in the Cascade 220 to match my scarf (oh, what we do for fashion).  I am knitting my father's mittens in Wool Ease.  Why not use it for at least one pair of my own mittens?  Or a hat?  Why not indeed?

I can sense that my DPNs are going to be very, very busy this season.

We're Sorry for any Inconvenience...

...this may have caused.

[Thanks Deb for that link.]

After today, I'm seriously considering striking out on my own.  People, level with me: how difficult would it be?

I await Norma's take on the "issue".

And this?  Too little too late.

More Thoughts On Hats

Last weekend, Claudia pointed me toward this site:

Fabbyhat

It's fabby, no?  This is the Celtic Harbor Hat from Blackberry Ridge.  I love the shape and that design in the band, but I'm not completely sold on the high-contrast, black-and-white color combo.  I'm more of a low-contrast girl.

Here's the pattern description from the website:

This hat pattern is knit from medium weight 100% wool in two natural colors: Brown and Gray. Designed to put three layers over the ears, this pattern is adapted from a hat style that has kept shepherds warm for years.

Did you read that?  "[T]hree layers over the ears..."  I'm sold.  My ears need nothing if not many layers this time of the year.

Because I would be breaking with long-standing tradition if I were not to alter this pattern, what if I converted the entarsia pattern to purls, and knit the entire hat in one colorway (say Cascade 220, 8012)?

Or, what if I got totally brave and attempted the entarsia?  I could do the entarsia in a very, very similar colorway.  Would it be worth it?  Would I like the look?

So many hats, so little time.  First, the gift knits.  Then it's memememememe (How much fun was typing mememememe?  Lots!)

Debriefing....

On Sunday afternoon I, and half the population of metro Boston, went to the Bazaar Bizarre at the Cyclorama.  Somehow word got around Boston blogland that this was the place to be on Sunday afternoon.

I was pleased to see so many creative types there.  A few of them I knew, and a lot of them I didn't.

First, let's drop some names: standing in line waiting to get in I saw Ashley.  It was great to meet Ashley in person because I often lurk on her blog.  Then, there were these lovely folks.  I love hangin' with my peeps, whom I don't see enough.  We just missed Julia.  She was coming in as we were leaving.

Based on what I remember reading about last year's BB, I was prepared for a crowd.  I was not prepared, however, for the sheer sensory overload once inside.  There was a lot of amazing, handcrafted stuff from very fine craftspeople.  I love events like this, because I always discover new artisans.

Luckily, I got in early.  When I arrived at 1:30pm on Tremont Street, the line was already down the block and I knew that I shouldn't hesitate to get inside the Cyclorama.  I'm glad that I didn't.  Two hours later, people were being let in only as other people left.  Yes folks, it was *that* popular.

I bought a few other non-knitting things, but mostly I collected business cards.  After an hour in that environment I seriously doubted my judgement.  If these items still appeal after a week or two, I will be in touch with the vendors.

My picks:

Yankee Girl Designs:  beautiful unusual silver jewelry
annabuilt: striking fused-glass jewelry (really, I would have bought a necklace if there were any in wardrobe-friendly colors)
Woolarina Handmade:  Yummy yarns, and popular, too.  I had to fight my way into the booth.
Plain Mabel: Go and have a look at the tape-measure belts.  Want.  One.
Jill Killjoy: Handmade clothing for real (i.e. not anorexic super-model) bodies.  She had really cute stuff.
baddins design: ditto on the clothing.
Miss Hawklet:  Cute handmade journals, and amazing handspun yarns (scarves, anyone?)

I'm sure that I missed loads.

Will I go back next year?  I don't know.  When I write "crowded and overwhelming" I mean that the Cyclorama was seriously crowded and overwhelming.  Things that I could have done without:

1.  My stupid backpack!  Yes, I was that annoying person constantly bumping into people with her giant LLBean bookpack.  That was a mistake.

2.  That music!  There was enough to occupy our senses without that crazy loud techno beat shaking our innards.  The music also made talking to vendors very difficult.  Had I not been meeting people inside, I might have stayed for 45 minutes and beat a hasty retreat.  Of course, that might have been the plan all long.  Next year, turn it down!!

3.  The people!  Geez Louise, could the organizers maybe hold this for TWO days instead of one afternoon?  Obviously, there's an interest level to sustain two full days.  If that means that they charge us $2 admission instead of $1, then so be it.  Do what it takes to cut down on the crowds!  I know that there were booths which I missed because the backpack and I could not get anywhere close.

All was not lost.  As I mentioned above, Woolarina (is this a subsidiary of Grumperina :-) ?) and Misshawklet were selling yarns.  I bought some, then I resold them.  Sorry, no pics.

In  knitting news, I cast on for my Dad's mittens.  These things are flying.  The pictures came out too blurry to post.  Just imagine mitten cuffs, and you're right there.

Meanwhile, these images make everything clearer.  If only I could zip down to DC!

Tuesday Tech

The idea for this post evolved from a series of emails with Vicki.  Ihis won't be a regular Tuesday feature, or repeated, as the amount of worthwhile technical information that I can share with you right now will likely be exhausted in one post.

It occurs to me that many of us stick with Bloglines (or in my case stuck with Bloglines) because of the daunting task of recreating all of those subscriptions.  So, in an effort to encourage all of my fellow knitbloggers to vote with their (digital) feet, here's how I imported my Bloglines subscriptions into Newsgator.  I use Windows XP and Firefox, version 1.0.7.  The instructions might be oh-so-slightly different if you're using a different browser.  Or not.  Really, I don't know.

Here goes:

1.  Make sure that you have two browsers open, one with bloglines and one with Newsgator (log in to Newgator and click the URL & Import tab. Make sure that you then click on the "Import" options once you're in that menu.)  You don't have to do this, just makes it easier.
 
  1.  Go to your Bloglines blogroll and click the "edit" option.
 
  2.  Make all of your feeds public (if they aren't already).
 
  3.  Now, look over on the right hand side (the larger frame).  See the tab that reads "Share"?  Click on it.
 
  4.  Look down at the bottom of the larger frame.  See the  section reading "/public"?  There should be a URL there. Copy and past that URL into the address line of this browser (we haven't used the Newsgator browser yet, other than to open the window).
 
5.  Your blogroll appears on the left hand side. Go down to the bottom and select "Export Subscriptions" beneath your blogroll.
 
6.  Now, Bloglines will open up some type of code on the right hand side.  Mostly ignore that.  Move your mouse arrow into that frame and right click on it.  From the menu that appears, select the "This Frame" option.
 
  7.  From the menu that appears from the "This Frame" option select "Frame Info".
 
8.  Another window opens.  At the top will be a line entitled "URL" with an address after it.
 
  9.  Copy that URL (highlight and use Ctrl+C)
 
  NOW, open up that other browser, the one with Newsgator.
 
  10.  In the Newsgator browser, scroll down until you see this:

To import feeds from an OPML URL, enter that URL             using this form.
 
OPML file URL:
                     
Paste that URL (using Ctrl+V) into the box and click "Import".

11.  Scroll down to the bottom of your blogroll and click "Subscribe"    That's it!
 
   
It's not difficult when you know where to go and what to do.  Feel free to share these instructions with one and all.
 

I Need To Share This

Last week, in the middle of that freak mid-afternoon blizzard, I popped into Windsor Button to pick up some Wool-Ease for my Dad's mittens.  At the same time, I also perused the Cascade 220 section hoping against hope that there would be some yarn to match my scarf.  There wasn't.

At the checkout, I inquired about the Cascade 220 color card, explaining my desire to find some yarn to match my scarf.

Windsor Button Manager:  No, I know that we don't have any of that color.  But let's
check the card to see if the color is still available.   

Windsor Button Employee:  Look!  Isn't this it?  [Points toward colorway 8012.]

Subway Knitter:  [Holding scarf to colorcard]  Yes, it is.  That's wonderful!  Can you order it?

WBM: Well, unfortunately no.  I would have to order a bag of 10 skeins, and we don't carry this color right now.  The yarn would take a while to arrive, and you probably want the hat pretty soon.  But, I could give you the color number and you could check at another store or online.  [Hands me a pen and a piece of paper.]  You would have to pay shipping, but you would have your yarn sooner.  Have you tried Hello Knitty?  They have pretty good prices.

WBE: Or, Littleknits.com?

Now, based on my last experience with yarn research, you can imagine my surprise.  Here was a store which didn't have exactly what I needed, a store that knew I probably wasn't going to buy my Cascade 220 there (but also knew that I was about to purchase some other yarn and a pair of needles), which was volunteering to give me the necessary information so that I could buy the yarn somewhere else, and was, in fact, making recommendations about online yarn stores with decent prices.

Maybe it wasn't the best business decision in the moment, but it certainly was the best business decision in the long term.  Why?  Because, I am completely confident that I can go into Windsor Button, shop for what I need, and be comfortable that I will never get a hard sell.

What Windsor Button didn't know what that I would tell all of you about the experience.  So, next time you're downtown, please stop by Windsor Button.  It has a very nice yarn selection, and very nice staff people to boot.

As it turned out, neither online retailer stocks that colorway (has anyone else noticed that Hello Knitty has cut back on its Cascade 220 selection?).  So, when I'm ready to buy I will also check other LYSs in the Boston area.  I don't like to shop online if I can get the yarn locally.

Thinking Hats, Thinking Mittens

Last week, when I blogged about felted hats, I had completely forgotten about some yarns that were recently added to the Subway stash:

Legendary_1

It's good stuff, this Artyarns Legend.  Better still, the colorway (Don Juan--love that name!) goes with my new coat.  This can be hat number one, until I get around to buying some felting yarns.

The ball label has a beret pattern, but I think that I have enough yarn to use my favorite hat pattern:

Myfavoritehat

I'll tell you why I like this hat so much.   It's warm, it's comfortable, and it fits snuggly around my ears without completely crushing my hair.  It was knit by none other than Knitting Grandma.  The pattern is from Leisure Arts, "Hats, Mittens, and Scarves to Knit and Crochet", leaflet number 186, from 1981.  Although the patterns are 24 years old, the designs are pretty classic, and I was surprised to find that LA no longer lists this collection on its website. There are also several scarves which are knit worthy.

Meanwhile, Dad wants some mittens.  Not a problem.  Since Dad will be using them when he's outside with the snowblower, he'll want ones that can be machine washed and probably machine dried.  Enter Wool Ease.  It's durable, and it comes in some interesting colorways.

Woolease

Double meanwhile, I also need some new mittens.  To be specific, I need some new, extremely warm mittens.  Do you know how cold my hands can get when I walk to the train?  There's only one solution: double knitting.  Of course, I'll first need to learn how to double knit.

Mystery Subway Knitter of the Week

Yesss!

Just as I began to worry about the lack of fellow subway KIPers, who was riding the train with me last night?

Kipingconcentration_1

Now, usually, I don't publish faces.  But what a face that is!  Look at the intensity, the level of concentration.  Ladies and gentlemen, this here is a knitter on a mission.

Go mystery subway knitter, go!

Block!

I gave Midwest Moonlight a long soak in the sink, squeezed out the excess water, and now it's drying on my incredibly clean dining room rug:

Moonlightblocking

A word to the wise: Midwest Moonlight will open and stretch when it's blocked.  I loved the scarf in its pre-blocked state, and I love it even more now.  The lace opens and becomes more visible when contrasted with the garter-stitch panels.  Dani (or was it Shireen?), do you remember our discussion about the recommended number of pattern repeats (25)?  That doesn't seem nearly enough before you block, but believe me, it is.

The Details:

Pattern: Midwest Moonlight from Scarf Style (do I really need to link?)

Yarn: Cascade 220, three skeins

Needles: US7s

Size after blocking (for Theresa): 78 inches (6.5 feet) and 9.5 inches wide. (Forgot to measure the scarf before blocking--sorry!)

Would I knit this again: Yes!

What would I change: I would love to have the option of making this scarf longer and or wider.  Next time, I would buy three skeins of Cascade.

Of course, this type of scarf could never be long enough.  I could easily imagine this pattern doubled in width.  It would make a wonderful stole.  In fact...

No!  It must wait until the after gift knits are finished.

Newsgator Update:  It's now day three.   Simply put, Newsgator updates faster than Bloglines.  I'll give it another week or so, but I'm pretty sure that I can consider myself to be done with Bloglines.

Ready!

Whew!  Midwest Moonlight is ready to be blocked.

Moonlightdone

All things being equal, I would like to have about a half a skein more of the Cascade 220 to add some length.  I'm not going back to buy more yarn.  This scarf had a two skein limit and I am sticking to it.  Still, I'm happy with the result, and I would definitely knit this pattern again (in spite of its fiddly-ness).  The plan is to block the scarf for its maximum length without overstretching it.

Now that these scarves are done, I have lots of time to knit a few more gifts.  I thought that I would be able to get a few more in before the big day, but I didn't want to count on it.  Now that I'm sure that more knits can follow in time, why am I waiting?

Thank you to everyone who pitched in a solution to my feed validation/Bloglines issues.  I imported all of my Bloglines subs into Newsgator yesterday.  Bloglines doesn't make it easy for you to do that (you need to right click in a certain frame, and cut and paste that URL into Newsgator), but it can be done.  As of yesterday afternoon, Newsgator's updates were way, way, way out of date for me.  I emailed them and had a response within a few hours (hear that Bloglines?)  I think that the problem, if one ever existed, will fix itself.

We Interrupt Scarf Week...

to bring you more yarn.

Artyarnsyummm

One half of my yarn for the feather-and-fan cardigan has arrived!

Artyarns Supermerino, colorway 39.  I had forgotten how deep and denim-y this colorway is.  It's not quite violet, but not completely blue either.  You can see the slight varigations in the colorway. 

Big props to Knitsmith Lisa B, who very, very generously took the time to buzz by The Point, pick up my yarn (and deal with a bookkeeping snafu), schlep it all around Manhattan, and ferry it back to Boston.  It arrived safe and sound.  Now I'm just waiting on my Claudia's Handpainted, and I can get started.

On another, more complex note (for me anyway), I noticed that Bloglines is once again taking for-ev-er to update me.  Sometimes this delay is due to feed-validation issues, so I ran both my axom.xml and index.rdf feeds through a feed validator.  First, let me say that I'm not exactly sure what it means when my feed "validates", other than to think that the link is working properly (for what or whom, I don't know).  Second, I am truly mystified by this message I received when I checked the axom.xml feed:

Warning

This feed is valid, but may cause problems for some users. We recommend fixing these problems.

  • line 3, column 0: This feed is an obsolete version [help]

    <feed version="0.3" xmlns="http://purl.org/atom/ns#" xmlns:dc="http://purl.o ...
  • Non-Atom 1.0 feeds should not be served with the "application/atom+xml" media type [help]

I clicked on the help links, and they are really no help to me at all.  I suspect that this is a Typepad problem and not something that I can fix on my own.  But, I'm truly a moron when it comes to stuff like this.  Any suggestions from you technical people?

Theories Anyone?

Why did the designer choose this name?

The question occupies my thoughts as the Midwest Moonlight scarf grows on my needles.  What about this pattern reminded the designer of moonlight?

When I last laid out the scarf to photograph it,  I noticed that the off-kilter squares and grids reminded me of window sashes.  Perhaps one night the designer noticed that the moonlight cast strange shadows of windows on a wall, and a pattern was born.

Windows_1

Or, perhaps it was a different situation all together.  Who knows?  I just know that I like the way that this pattern looks.

That photo is for Catherine, who wondered what the back of the scarf looks like.  Although I am happy to oblige Ms. Lives in a Shoe, I didn't realize until after I took the photo that it's a photo of the scarf's wrong side.

Welcome to Scarf Week!

Things being what they are, I have to get moving on Midwest Moonlight.  I want this done! done! done! so that I can move on to other (sorta kinda secret) gifty things.

Scarfonamission

That's where you all come in.  Welcome to Scarf Week!  I'm not sure how much one can write about a scarf-in-progress, but I guarantee that we'll all find out this week.  I am a knitter on a mission.

This photo does not reflect the true nature of this Cascade 22o colorway (number 4148, I think).  It's really a very soft, light pink.  Here it looks almost white.

I Feel Some Felting Coming On

Ah, it's another snowy morning in Boston.  It's just beginning to stick on the sidewalk, and seeing snow makes me think that I'm better off knitting in my PJs and slippers than I am running around doing my share of the housekeeping.  Of course, it usually doesn't take too much to make me think that.

I digress...

The latest issue of MagKnits arrived in my browser last week.  This edition's theme is bags, and (no lies here) I love all of them.  Knowing that I will never, ever have time enough to knit all of these patterns I must pick and choose.  Being the practical knitter that I am this one caught my eye immediately:

Swatchbag

Swatch and Block by Jorun Boklöv.  It's a smaller version of my very serviceable but slightly boring messenger bag (a Manhattan Portage number in gray) which I use all the time.  Sometimes you want a little splash of color, you know?

And, because you also know that I cannot knit a pattern as written, I'm already thinking about how I can change this.  Instead of a heart (too girly) how about a star or a couple of funky flowers in one corner?  Instead of the open top, let's substitute (okay, that wasn't really my idea--Jorun suggests that in the pattern).

In addition to the felted messenger bag, I have been thinking lately that I need a new hat for my new winter coat (here, in Mountain Pine).  Since I have a scarf that matches the coat, and gloves that match the scarf (perfectly), I think that I also need a hat to complete the ensemble.  The gloves will soon be replaced by mittens.  Knitted mittens, plus a handknit scarf, plus a handknit hat equals too much knitting for one wearing.

Enter the felted hat.  Felted hats are knit, and they're nice and warm (very important around here), but they don't necessarily scream "handknit".  My plan is to knit something like Bow hat from Pick Up Sticks!  [To clarify, the exclamation point is part of the company's name, it's not a way to express my surprise at the pattern selection.]  I'm a little bit unclear on the hat's shape.  Has anyone knit this?  One photo makes it look like a bucket hat (good).  Another makes the hat look like a helmet (bad).  It's probably a sizing issue.  There is always Bonne Marie's felted bucket hat, but I have heard that some knitters have had problems with the pattern.  Would anyone care to weigh in on that?

These will will wait until after the holidays, because before I can even swatch for a hat or a bag for me, I must finish my gift knits.  Back to my scarf I go!

Remember Knitsmiths: time change, 2-5 today not 4-7.  For those of you who can't make it at that time, do check our Google group.

Scarf Progress

Safe travels to my Boston knitting pals who are (as I write) on their way to NYC for a day of serious yarn shopping.  Have fun!  I look forward to reading all about it.

Meanwhile, all of you can read about Midwest Moonlight, which is working up nicely.  Even thought the pattern is quite easy to memorize, I still manage to miscount my knits and purls, or to skip a yarn over.  Unfortunately, most of these mistakes happen during subway knitting, which these days could often be called subway tinking.

Normally, this much tinking would indicate to me that it's time to cast on for a separate subway project, leaving the scarf for after-dinner or morning-coffee knitting.  In this case, however, I need to stay on top of this scarf so that it gets done.  So far, the subway knitting is still productive.  In fact, I have already knit to the end of a skein.

Theendofaskein

Here's the Funny Thing

Before now, if you had shown me the patterns for Backyard Leaves and Midwest Moonlight, and asked me which one would be trickier to knit, I would have answered "Backyard Leaves" without a second thought.  Those increases and decreases, the shaping, and the stitch-count changes all indicated "fiddly pattern" to this knitter.

Of course, it's turned out to be exactly the opposite.  Neither pattern requires superior knitting skills.  The difference is that a mistake in Backyard Leaves shows itself immediately, whereas in Midwest Moonlight you don't notice a counting mistake until you get to the end of the row and find yourself with too many or too few stitches.  I now know how Dani felt when she knitted hers.

Including Dani's, I have seen quite a few Midwest Moonlights in blogland, and they all look great.  The yarn makes a difference and can change the overall look of the project.  Nikki's variegated MM really looks lovely.  Most of the time I dislike variegated colorways, but this pattern would look fabulous with a variegated yarn.  Shireen's Midwest Moonlight turned out wonderfully, and that bold red gives the pattern a sophisticated look.

Midwestmoonlight

I can't wait to see how my version looks.

Now for a different funny thing.  Are your inboxes getting inundated with spam about new email addresses and photos of a certain celebrity whom I shall not name (to save on Google hits)?  [The second one I don't understand at all because, speaking for myself, the less I see of Ms. H, the better.]  It's been non-stop spam at my Yahoo! address.  Luckily all the emails get shunted to my "Bulk" folder, but I wonder if they are crowding out legitimate messages here and in my other accounts.

Laid Out

Oh, boy, here we are.   It's December 1st.  T-minus 24 days!  Good thing that there's one more holiday knit in the "done" pile.  Here's Backyard Leaves laid out after its soak in the sink:

Scarfblocking

I love how Cascade 220 blocks.  It's wool putty in my hands.

I'm very pleased with this scarf, and the pattern was a lot of fun to follow.  I thought that the chart's complexity might make knitting on the go difficult, but that wasn't the case at all.  If something went wrong, it was visible immediately, and I could tink back to fix it.

The details:

Pattern: Backyard Leaves by Annie Modesitt in Scarf Style

Yarn: Cascade 220, 2 skeins

Needles: US8s

Should you knit this:  Yes!!

Thank you for mentioning that the seam in the middle of the scarf is barely noticeable.  I guess that you're right.  I think that I did an okay job matching leaf to leaf, but the feel of the knitted fabric changes at that point.  Maybe I should focus less on the feel and more on the look.

Next up, Midwest Moonlight!


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