April 2006 Archives

This page is an archive of entries from April 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

To see all archives, visit the Archive Index.

March 2006 is the previous archive.

May 2006 is the next archive.

We Have a Cuff(f)!

Sockapaloooza Twoooza's sock is rolling along. Progress hasn't been exactly as I had hoped. But when I'm knitting this at night and briefly in the morning, what can I expect?

CuffOneSockThree.jpg

Still, I can't complain. Sock one now has a cuff, and I'm about to begin the heel flap. The yarn (merino-tencel sock yarn from Mind's Eye Yarns, in case your're curious) still captivates me with its swirling stripes and soft sheen.

StripeySwirlsCuff.jpg

Other Projects

I thought that you all would like to see what's been happening to that other project on my needles, George. Progress has been good. George has been with me on every subway ride this week.

GeorgieFront.jpg

We now have a back and two fronts. Sleeves to begin soon.

Dear Sockpal,

Dear Sockpal One,

I packed your socks with care.

SockPackage.jpg

At this point, it's out of my hands.

PostOfficeReceipt.jpg

Hope that you like them. I certainly enjoyed knitting them.

Sincerely,

Subway Knitter

Interesting

Another blog entry and photo courtesy of the New York Times

pulse.4.jpg

The caption reads:
ATTENTION, KNITTERS. There you are in a theater watching the promos, when, if only you could see, you could be finishing that adorable little sweater you've been working on. Monica Dremann, the wife of Michael Rosenberg, the president of Imagine Entertainment, mentioned this sad state of affairs to Edith Eig, an owner of La Knitterie Parisienne in Los Angeles, and Mrs. Eig's husband, Merrill, a retired engineer, got on the case. The resulting partnership yielded Knit Lite: knitting needles with glowing L.E.D tips, which allow you to purl away not only in the movies, but also at night on the lawn under a starless sky or maybe even in an amusement park tunnel of love. "The best part," said Mrs. Eig, an actual Parisienne who has a Chanel-style suit emerging from her No. 10½ needles, "is there is no problem knitting with the beautiful black yarns." Available next month, Knit Lite needles in various sizes will cost about $20 a pair at laknitterieparisienne.com.

Am I the only one to think that this would be absolutely, completely, and totally annoying to those around you? Not to mention impractical. But hey, at $20 a pair they're not much more costly than a pair of Addis. Someone try these and let me know, 'kay?

Sockapaloooza Twoooza!

So, once I had Alison's request I was on a mission. I had three days to find a lovely sock yarn and a great pattern to use for my Sockapaloooza Twoza socks.

These socks have to be a little bit unusual. After all, my poor sockpal's going to be left high and dry while everyone else is opening their mailboxes to find special packages from all over. I was pushing my luck to hope that I could find as beautiful a colorway for these socks as I did for my first pair, but I was hoping.

Knitter's luck was on my side. Not only is Circles is on my way home from work but also Allison remembered that she had two special skeins of some absolutely wonderful merino-tencel, hand-dyed sock yarn.

The yarn was dyed by Lucy up at Mind's Eye Yarns. Apparently Allison has been trying to convince Lucy to wholesale the stuff and for that reason she had a few skeins lying around.

Lucy, I have two words for you: do it! I hear that you're worried about keeping up with demand. You're right to be concerned. The yarn is wonderful! It's soft, it has a beautiful sheen, and the colorway is amazing. Think pomegranates and cherry blossoms and you won't be far off.

With the yarn purchased and safely stowed in my bag, it was time to select a pattern. The bold colorway called for a bold stitch pattern. Dainty lace need not apply. I hemmed and hawed, but it soon became apparent what I had to do: Pomatomus!

I must confess: I was intimidated by all the twisted knit stitches in the pattern. I thought that the knitting would get awfully fiddly awfully fast. Indeed, after a few rows of a test repeat I was one unhappy knitter. The stitches were tight, the yarn was splitting, and my hands were beginning to hurt.

Then I remembered what Reese said a couple of weeks ago when we were ooohing and ahhing over her finshed pair: it's not absolutely necessary to twist the stitches. Reese's pair, incidentally, had the twisted stitches. I don't know how she did it.

Let's try the repeat again, sans the knit TBLs. Eureka! The knitting became so much easier. My hands relaxed, and I began to enjoy the pattern.

SockapalooozaTwoza.jpg

Fun, fun, fun! Hang on Sockapaloooza Pal II, your socks are coming.

Win-Win!

So, if you haven't already noticed, my last post contained the beginnings of a sock project: another Sockapaloooza project. I'll bet you're wondering why I have two sock pals.

Apparently one of the sock pals got hurt, or an old injury acted up. Whatever the case, it became obvious to the sockpal that she wouldn't be able to continue knitting until she healed. She did the only responsible thing: she emailed Alison with an update on her situation.

Wouldn't you know it, but just the day before I had mentioned to Alison that my knitting services were available to be a Sock Savior, should any of the pals "disappear" without delivering their pairs. (I have one word for someone who does that: loser!)

So, it was the perfect scenario for both of us. Alison found a knitter, and I found a sock project for my trip. Win-win.

Pictures tomorrow, when I can take advantage of better light to showcase my AMAZING sock yarn find for this project.

How to Pack

How to pack for a trip to New York.

The key is to pack light.

Sock project, good:

SockProjectGood.jpg

(All the details next week.)

Baseball cap, bad:

NoRedSoxCap.jpg

Better leave that at home.

I'll see you all on Tuesday!

Home Décor of Knitters

The latest addition to the prints collection chez Subway Knitter:

KnittingMachineFrame.jpg

Poster drawn and printed by Jean Cozzens, secret door press, Providence, Rhode Island. Afghan by Knitting Grandma, Springfield, Massachusetts.

Frogging, Frogging, Frogging

So, I commenced knitting George, and something didn't seem right. Now, I'm no expert. In fact I don't have the slightest clue about babies, but the finished chest dimension of the 1-to-2-year size (the smallest size given) seemed much too tiny. The pattern indicated that the size should fit a child with an 18-inch chest circumference.

That seemed too small. But again, what do I know? So, I emailed a mom to do some research. As I suspected, the sweater would just fit Squeaky, who seems to be a bit petite for her age. I better plan for extra room, just in case the niece or nephew is a bruiser.

To the frog pond we go!

NewBackGeorge.jpg

To everyone going to see The Harlot this evening, have fun. I have professional engagements that will prevent me from getting to any of her appearances in Massachusetts this time. Phooey!

Knitting Grandma to the Rescue!

So, as I become Aunt Subway Knitter, Knitting Grandma (KG to you and me) could become known as Knitting Great Grandma (or, KGG). For simplicity's sake, we'll continue with KG on this blog.

Anyway, KG and I were talking knitting recently. I shared how I was on my way to WEBS to pick up some Plymouth Encore for a sweater and blanket. That's when she said those magic words, "I already made a blanket. Actually I crocheted two, one for the crib and one for the carriage."

"Oh, did you, KG?!" I exclaimed. Cancel baby-blanket knitting for Subway Knitter!

Does Knitting Grandma rock, or what? (Acceptable answers: "yes" and "of course".) With two blankets at the ready, this means that I'm off the hook. Literally, I suppose, because the blankets are crocheted. While I'm happy to knit blankets for new arrivals, and I think that every baby needs a blanket, I find baby-blanket knitting to be a bit of a slog. As the blanket gets bigger the project gets less portable, and its end seems further and further away.

Still, as projects go, nothing says "welcome" better than a handmade blanket, so I was gearing up for the distance-knitting event. I had the pattern, and I was on my way to get the yarn. Thanks to KG, I'm able to turn my attentions to other things.

Rock on, KG. Rock on!

Got Your Back

I'm liking George so far:

Baby knits are instant gratification. Oh sure they have all the little twists and turns of adult-sized sweaters (sometimes even more) but they're small, very portable, and progress shows almost immediately.

Look! Without trying too hard I finished the back yesterday.

GeorgeBack.jpg

Next: left front.

Aunt Subway Knitter

I have big news to share with all of you. I'm going to be an aunt in August!

Of course, I'm quite tickled by this. And, what's a good aunt to do? Knit!

Let the baby-knitting marathon begin:

JaegerBabySwatch.jpg

Yes, I'm swatching. Nothing's too good for my niece or nephew! I plan to knit George from Jaeger JB29. This idea, of course, is totally swiped from Shireen, whose baby knits for her own nieces and nephews are the cutest.

Speaking of marathons: good luck to all you runners. Better you than me. Happy Patriots' Day!

Woolcott Revisited

Woolcott.

It's a store which I don't visit frequently. Why? I don't go mainly because it's out of my way. I'm in Harvard Square (say it with me: Hah-vid Squay-ah) once every couple of months, and then only for a haircut. I also don't go because in the past I have received less-than-helpful service there. I know others have as well. There was the time I overheard part of a phone conversation in which an employee was apologizing for underestimating sweater yardage for a customer. Instead of offering to call everywhere on the planet to secure more yarn in the same dye lot, or offering a store credit in return for the yarn, all the clerk could do was stammer a whimpy apology. Not a way to encourage repeat business, let me tell you.

I'm sure that someone will comment here that Woolcott is more expensive than other yarn stores or catalogues. No argument here. I am, however, a city girl. Along with the many benefits of urban living comes the drawback of slightly higher prices. I don't even consider subtle price differences when evaluating yarn stores.

I recently found myself in Harvard Square with about 20 minutes to kill before my haircut appointment. I decided to go into Woolcott for a browse. I was immediately greeted warmly, and when I began to finger some yarn a woman told me "There is GREAT pattern support for this yarn. Want to see?"

Long story short, for the first time I felt comfortable and welcomed in that store environment. I happily browsed patterns and found one which I couldn't resist:

TwoPatternsFromWoolcott.jpg

I also remembered that I was seeking the Winter 02/03 edition of IK. Did Woolcott have it in stock? Yes, there it was.

Score and score!

Rumor has it that there's a new store manager who is working hard to improve customer service. It's shows.

Out, damned spot! Out!

It was time for the blocking.

I filled my sink with warm water and Eucalan, and let Cozy soak for about 15 minutes. I think that I'm happy with the results.

CozyAfterBlocking.jpg

The stitches flattened and separated, and the contrast between the solids and voids in the pattern is much more pronounced than before. The width expanded to that of a wide scarf. This will be perfect for blustery spring days.

The details:

Pattern: Cozy

Yarn: Sheldridge Farm Soft Touch Ultra in the "Opal" colorway. It came from Circles via Jackie over at The Project.

Would I knit this again? I really liked this this stitch pattern, and I think that Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, in perhaps the 03 colorway, would make a perfect stole. And it's available at A Good Yarn. Just saying...

Catch Up II

Knitsmiths last weekend was a finishing frenzy.

First, I grafted the toe of my second Sockapaloooza sock. I am indebted to Laurie who provided me with a sheet of instructions for the kitchener stitch. I have found this sheet to be extremely helpful with finishing this pair of socks, and I can't graft without it.

ToeGrafting.jpg

I give you finished Sockapaloooza socks:

SockapalooozaPair.jpg

The details:

Pattern: Priscilla's Dream Socks for the short-row heel numbers. Otherwise I used a very simple K3P1 rib for the cuff and top of the sock.

Yarn: Dani's Sunshine Yarns, Colorway Dusk. I used one skein to create socks with a 10-inch cuff, and had quite a bit remaining. This was my first knit with this yarn, and I highly recommend it--especially now that she's introduced some superwash into her selections.

Needles: DPNs, US2. I love my DPNs.

Catch Up

Because I was blogging about Philadelphia last week, I need to update all of you on my current knitting progress.

First, Cosy.

UnblockedCozy.jpg

Yay, it's done but not blocked. You almost can't see the coffee stains in this picture.

CoffeeCozy.jpg

Yes, I wrote "coffee stains." Looking out at the chilly rain, I suddenly got a chill myself. To warm myself I got a cup of coffee and continued knitting. Of course, you know what happened next. The train lurched, the cup tipped, and before I knew it, there was coffee pouring itself all over me and my knitting.

Who cares about me? There was coffee all over the scarf! What could I do? I grabbed some paper napkins and blotted out as much of the coffee as I could. I recently began to take my afternoon coffee black, so lucky for me that it was just coffee on the scarf and not coffee and milk.

I thought about taking the scarf into the bathroom and rinsing out the stain, but quickly remembered how wet wool smells. Not a good idea.

I'm confident that I can soak out much of the coffee during the blocking process so as to make the stain unnoticeable. We'll see.

And, about catching up with blog commenting, it's almost hopeless. My blog-reading time is extremely limited, due to some server issues. I know that I have been scarce with my comments, but please know that I'm reading.

Mystery Subway Knitter of the Week

I was in my seat before I noticed her:

1stAprilSubway.jpg

A fellow subway knitter, right next to me. How perfect! For about a second I thought about not knitting on this journey. But then I asked myself why. Why could I not knit because my seat neighbor is doing the same? No answers came.

On The Way Back to Boston

On the train journey back to Boston I worked on Cozy. It was a rather cozy journey--perfect for knitting lace. Rain was spotting the windows as we traveled north, and the landscape gradually lost its green tinge of spring and regained the dull winter gray to which I have become accustomed.

As the miles ticked by, Cozy grew.

CozyCloseUp.jpg

I was enjoying myself. I had a weird fantasy that I would finish this scarf during the return journey. No such luck. As with the sock on the way to Philadelphia, I grew tired after a few hours and spent the last couple of hours doing little else but dozing in my chair.

Yarn Stores I Have Known

On my last full day in Philadelphia, I had the pleasure of meeting with Jody and Christy for a wee yarn crawl. They took me to their two favorite stores: Rosie's Yarn Cellar and Loop. Not a lot of pictures. It was one of those occasions when it didn't seem appropriate to be whipping out the camera every ten minutes.

I must say that "Rosie's Yarn Cellar" is a very appropriate name for the shop. It's literally a cellar full of yummy yarns. Lots of unusual stuff, and I was tempted. But, without a specific project in mind, I am hesitant to buy randomly. In Boston, I would compare it to a compact version of A Good Yarn.

Then we headed south to Loop. Ooooh, how many wonderful things can I say about Loop? Do you live in Philadelphia, or nearby (you know, within 100 miles or so)? Do you knit? Listen to me: drop whatever you're doing and go to Loop. You heard me. Go!

I thought both the inventory and the environment were great. Craig sure runs a nice shop. I'm still thinking about that Debbie Bliss silk (which, funnily enough, isn't up for sale on the website). Locally, I would consider it on par with Circles (where I have not been in ages, loser that I am). It's a comfortable store, with a well-rounded inventory.

If I were a Philadelphian, I could easily imagine myself making those two stores my LYSs.

Earlier in my visit I tripped upon Sophie's Yarns, on Fourth Street just off of South. At first, I hadn't noticed that it was a yarn store, what caught my eye was this sweater:

TevaCables.jpg

Must have! And, upon further inspection I changed that to "Must knit!" According to the store's owner it's an Interweave Pattern, but she didn't have the pattern in stock, and she wasn't able to remember from which edition the pattern came. [It's in IK Winter 02/03, more about this in another post].

Apparently, the store recently moved to this location, so I don't feel that I got the full effect. I look forward to returning when I'm back in the city, and seeing how the inventory develops.

SophiesYarns.jpg

Okay...

Who has the New Hampshire registration "I Knit"? Whoever you are: you were spotted yesterday. I won't say where or when, just in case you were supposed to be at the "grocery store". Because you know where you were, and I know where you were, and we both know that you can't buy cereal there.

Philler Post

By now, I'm sure that you're approaching your fill of Philadelphia posts. Don't worry, it wasn't a very long trip.

TuscanyKIP.jpg

Philly has its fair share of cafes in which to take a break and knit (of course). Here's the sock at Tuscany Café on Rittenhouse Square.

If you're thinking "Why isn't she at La Colombe?" let me assure you that I did go there later. I just don't have pictures of it.

Mystery SEPTA Crocheter of the Week

The Harlot's got Toronto covered, and I don't worry a bit about New York, but you Philadelphians have got some work to do with regards to public-transportation knitting.

I was alone in a sea of commuters. The woman next to me (with pink hair, but nevermind) was sneaking glances every few seconds. It was as if she couldn't quite grasp the idea that I was knitting aboard a commuter train.

Then I saw her: the crocheter two rows ahead of me. The shawl was suddenly lifted high, the hook glistened in the light, and the string of red yarn trailed back to her bag.

I whipped out my camera and managed to capture this shot:

SEPTACrochet.jpg

At this point pink-hair woman had gone from merely staring to a full out smirk. Not only was I knitting, but I was also snapping random photos of train passengers! Why anyone would do this was clearly beyond her comprehension. Clearly she was sitting next to the crazy person in this car.

A few seconds later we pulled into 30th Street Station. The Mystery SEPTA Crocheter was off on her way, and I had a blog entry. Too bad that I didn't get a shot of Ms. Pink Hair.

A Heel so Nice I Knit it Twice

The title says it all.

I was making great strides on my second Sockapaloooza sock. I had finished the cuff just as the train sped by Rocky Neck State Park. I completed the ankle rounds as we pulled out of New Haven, and the first set of short-row wraps were done as the train curved through Queens.

TrainHeel.jpg

As I say, I was making great strides. While waiting underground at Penn Station, I began to pick up the wraps and finish the heel. That's when things went wrong. I noticed that I hadn't completely knit a stitch on the row below. Rather than tink back to that row, undo the P3Tog TBL, and then redo it (making sure that I had every bit of all three loops in my needle) I decided to unravel the stitch.

Why I did this, I'll never know. Those three stitches popped out of their loop and suddenly there were live stitches and wraps everywhere. Refusing to panic (Because really, what good would that have done?) and knowing that I was on my own here ("Um, excuse me! Can anyone tell me how to fix a dropped stitch in a short-row heel?") I did what any knitter would do: bravely forged ahead.

I grabbed those loops with a DPN, pulled a strand of yarn through them, positioned what I thought was a wrap in the proper place, and kept on going. When the train emerged in New Jersey I emerged victorious from this knitting battle.

Or, so I thought. Knit, knit, knit, wrap, purl, purl...wait a minute, there's an extra loop here. Let's try this again. Tink, tink, tink, loop, pull, turn. Okay, all good.

Things went back and forth like this for a while. I couldn't decide if I had fixed the stitch properly. As I passed by Cara all was well, but as we approached Newark, I admitted defeat. It all had to go.

This gave me the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the remainder of the ride. Good thing, too! Can anyone tell me what's up with the giant tooth sculpture near Hamilton, New Jersey? Please? Anyone?

FinishedHeel.jpg

Having recovered from my journey, I finished the heel later that day, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Oh THERE You Are

Go away for a couple of days, and my entire routine falls apart. I can't do much subway knitting when my project has been left behind at work:

KnittingLeftBehind.jpg

There you are! Whew!

As you know, this project has had a dubious beginning. Let's hope that things get better from here.

Amtrak Knitting

It was a sunny morning when my knitting and I boarded the train at South Station:

Acela.jpg

KIPing doesn't get much better than this. Especially when I see this sign:

QuietCar.jpg

Ah, Acela Quiet Car, how I love thee. Just me, my yarn, and five hours of peace and quiet to work on my sock:

SockCuff.jpg

And, look out the window. Marinas in Rhode Island:

MarinaInRI.jpg

Coastline in Connecticut:

CTShore.jpg

Ahh, knitting bliss.

It was about then that I realized that the constant buzz, click, whirr, BEEP of my digital camera was probably annoying the bejeezus out of the people sitting around me (because I know that my own bejeezus would have been long gone if the tables had been turned). So, I returned (silently) to my knitting.

NEXT: Heel update.


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