Freitag, März 30, 2007

Pomatomus Quest

I have a lot of weird stuff. Some of it follows me home. People give me some of it. Where else but my office would you find pre-movie Galadriel hanging out with Mad Max and his dog (and wind-up, jumping Totoro, but he didn't fit in the frame)?

Legolas resenting Hagrid?

Fainting Barbie and Fabio Ken

next to Talking Yodeling Jesse

and an autographed baseball?

I'm a collector. That's "collector," lower case. A "Collector," upper case, would have left Barbie and Ken in their box. I couldn't leave them in their box. I had to take Fabio Ken to a church supper that my husband couldn't attend, since I didn't want to go alone. Fainting Barbie stayed home and fainted.

I have a yarn collection, too, but it's less random. For example, I had to get BMFA colors "Harlotty" and "Lucy" because they are named after famous people. Person. Cat. Whatever. I may have to keep those in their skeins with the ballbands on to appease the Collector in me. You can't really take yarn out as a date anyway.

Recently I experienced . . . (ta-ta-TA)

Pomatomus Quest!

I had knitted this pattern for my mother for Christmas, and wanted just the right yarn to knit a pair for myself. Since Pomatomus is named after a fish, I thought it would be nice if the yarn had a little bit of sheen and was modestly fish-colored.

I thought I might use Fleece Artist. Sadly this yarn is not available at any of my LYS, so I ordered some online. Somehow none of the colors was quite right when I saw them in person, even though they did have both sheen and a degree of fishiness.

From left: Nemo, Gill, Dory

I finally ended up with BMFA Seduction in Lagoon. It's shiny, and the color works for a fish, running from New Orleans Canal Moss Green through deep steely blue and some grey in between.

Does anybody know whether Tencel wears well in socks? Are these going to be Art Objects rather than Footwear?

Incipient Pomatomi.

This pattern is kind of hypnotic. A little addictive. A person could just keep on knitting Pomatomi. Hey, I could collect Pomatomus socks. No you can't. Go to bed. You're starting to hallucinate. OK, OK, I'm going.

Donnerstag, März 29, 2007

Another Reason I Shouldn't Keep a Crochet Hook in the House

AAACK! This is not what I had in mind for this edging. I swear I did exactly what the pattern said, but it was just too much for a worsted weight cotton. Maybe an actual crocheter could have gotten this to work. I finished at about 2:00 a.m. and sleep-deprivation made me toy with the idea of giving the dress to my niece as is, and suggesting her mother fix it.

Fortunately this idea did not stick, and even more fortunately, crochet comes out easily. I like this a lot better.

The new, improved edging involved picking up stitches along the edge with the right side of the work facing, then turning the work and casting off all the stitches with the wrong side of the work facing.

Minnowknits "Brittany Jumper, #130"; knitted in Marks & Kattens "Higgin's," 45% cotton, 45% acrylic, 10% rayon; 90 m / 50 g ball; I used 3 balls light green, 1 ball dark green, and 1 ball red on US #6 needles.

I need to pick up buttons before I can call this project truly finished. A trip to the Needlepoint Joint! Yee Haw!

The intended wee victim is out of the hospital now, after a 12-day stay that started with a helicopter ride to Primary Children's Medical Center when she was only a couple of hours old. I think I'll give her exhausted mom and dad a week or so to recover before I go for a visit. That will give me a chance to find some tops to go with the dress; the colors are my niece's favorites, but I'm having trouble finding coordinates in what Laurel refers to as my Provençal color scheme.

Mittwoch, März 28, 2007

Before . . .

And After . . .

So that's Utah weather for you. However, after worrying about my peach blossoms all day yesterday, now I think it may not freeze hard enough to kill them. The snow is actually kind of protective.

Some Yarn

I decided the best use for my Rockin' Sock Club discount coupon would be to buy one each of all their yarns that I don't have yet. From left: Silkmo in Terra Firma; Geisha in Obsidian; Seduction in Lagoon; Twisted in Rolling Stone.

True, I already had Geisha and Seduction. But I needed that colorway of Seduction to knit Pomatomus for myself, and that colorway of Geisha to knit a Hug-Me-Tight from Knit 2 Together. The Hug-Me-Tight will have to weight wait until I diet down to one of its sizes, but I can start Pomatomus pretty soon.

But first . . . practicing . . . I really have been practicing all along, but the rehearsal on Monday scared me pretty bad . . .

Dienstag, März 27, 2007

Practice first, then knit.

Click the picture for a slightly larger image

Donnerstag, März 22, 2007

Knitting in Church

Yes. My name is Tan and I knit in church.

But it's getting harder.

I belong to a demonination that lets most people just sit there. No kneeling, standing, looking things up in prayer books, turning to others to share love: just sitting there and listening while other members of the congregation stand at the pulpit and pontificate. My husband and I pick a spot to sit where he blocks me from view of the speaker and other congregation members. This is a great setup for knitting.

And I have permission. A few years ago our bishop (pastor) asked why I DIDN'T knit in church. I told him I thought it might be inappropriate. He said, "I sit up front and I see what people do in church. Some sleep, some play video games on their phones, and some read books. At least I would know that if you are knitting, you're listening."

Such a nice man. I knitted him a Dale of Norway Salt Lake Olympics Sweater.

When that bishop died unexpectedly, the new bishop asked if anyone had any questions. I said, "Bishop D. let me knit in church. Is that OK with you?" He said, "Some people need Cheerios, some people need Quiet Books. Whatever it takes."

There you go. Blanket approbation.

But now I'm the organist. I tried sitting by Paul and knitting, then dashing up to the organ when it was time to play. It's not very professional, and seems to distract people. So last week I parked my purse in the choir seats right behind the organ so no one would grab that seat, the only one that's hidden from the congregation, and sat there and knitted. But that's where the chorister sits. She talked to me all through the meeting. And that distracted me. Why even go if I'm not going to listen to the other members pontificate?

Still working on that one.

I know I'm not the only church knitter out there. A friend of mine who sings in choir at her Catholic church had a bad moment when she dropped a double point out of the choir loft during a quiet moment during Mass. But on the whole, knitting is a very peaceful occupation, meditative and appropriate for religious contemplation.

I say go for it.

I do think it's important to be subtle about it, though. Find a place to sit where your knitting won't distract others. Pick a knitting project that's unobtrusive (maybe not the fire engine red Fun Fur afghan that takes up the whole sofa when you're working on it at home). Leave your Kacha-Kacha at home.

After all, we don't want anyone to think knitters are rude.

Dienstag, März 20, 2007

Monogamous Knitting

Why do I feel compelled to make Utah jokes after typing that title?

Obviously I am not going to be a monogamous knitter. My lifestyle requires me to have more than one project on the needles.

For example, I have to have a church sock. In fact, I have to have two church socks because I am emotionally unable to work on the brown one right now

so I have to work on the pastel, spring-colored one instead.

I have to have a knit-in-the-dark sock for movies, SnB, and other low-visibility events.

Blue Moon Fiber Arts G-Rocks Mediumweight

I have the diet sweater, recently frogged back to the ribbing because of a (no-doubt stress-induced) mistake I made back in November.
Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 40

I have more UFOs in the closet than Bluebeard had wives: a Vivian Hoxbro modular sweater/poncho thingie; lined Latvian mittens I started for Howard eight years ago; Lucy Neatby's Sunset Vest, which only needs about 2" of knitting to be ready for edgings; Alice Starmore's Marina Cardigan, for which some of the yarn may have disappeared in the Vault incident last year; a Koigu scarf my friend Lisa gave me a couple of years ago; a lacy baby sweater that keeps appearing and disappearing at random; a number of pairs of socks. I don't remember how many wives were in Bluebeard's closets, but I have enough UFO socks to beat Bluebeard any day.

However, I am thinking about reducing the number of active projects I have going. You know, the ones where you sit under the good light on the comfy couch in front of the TV when you work on them.

I am trying to reduce my stress level by being more efficient at the things I have to do, so I listened to Eat That Frog! on my iPod last week. One of the concepts the author recommends is working on one project at a time, all the way to completion. His reasons include that when you start a project after some downtime, you lose time remembering where you were in the project and it takes a while to get going again. Too true. It takes me anywhere from an hour to two days to figure out where I am in a complicated project, find all the materials, and get organized again.

Before I got into a kind of sock madness recently, I was alternating days knitting on three projects. But I wonder if I could just finish one project at a time, and alternate what I start next: a small, non-sock project; then a sock; then a big project?

I think I would get tired of the big project and need a break. But I could try it.

In that case, the first few projects would be:

  • Dress for Baby Aeowyn, who is currently 52 hours old and still in NICU at children's hospital due to infection

  • Hidcote Garden shawl, the last of the three rotating projects

  • Either the cover sock from Favorite Socks or Pomatomus

  • Since I just bought all of Cookie A.'s sock patterns, maybe there would be a couple of socks in there before another big project materialized. I would kind of like to finish up those UFO's, though. And they could count as big projects even though they are partly (or even mostly) done.

    OK, maybe the new project rotation order should be:
  • small, non-sock project
  • sock
  • big project, hopefully a UFO
  • sock

  • I think I would have to stop everything for the BMFA club sock when it arrives every other month.

    February kit finished early this a.m.

    Oh well. If this great idea goes anything like my other great ideas, such as stash reduction, don't expect it to last long. So far I haven't knitted ONE THING thing from stash yet this year.

    Montag, März 19, 2007

    Week at a Glance


    Joanne (right, with flowers) and I go to Salt Lake Stitch 'n' Bitch

    Also in this picture are yarn and pattern designer Karen of Sleeping Dragon Yarns (left) and Miriam of MimKnits (center).

    Karen had brought some of her hand-dyed yarns, so I bought one (not pictured).

    It was Margene's birthday.


    I finish the first Inside Out sock (shown inside out) from Blue Moon's sock club.

    It's a toe-up sock, so I use another weird cast-off.

    Setup Row: Knit 4
    Row 1: sl 1, KBB 3(knit back backwards or turn and purl)
    Row 2: sl 1, k2 (knitting forwards on right side of work)
    Row 3: sl 1, KBB 2
    Row 4: sl 1, k 1
    Row 5: sl 1, KBB 1
    Row 6: Cast off 4, k 3
    Repeate rows 1-6 until all stitches are cast off


    I practice the harpsichord (more about this here)


    Spring comes.

    This tree and her rootlings appear to be the only feminine trees in our little woods. I have named her Sheila.

    Monday (today):

    I go with Laurel to buy fabrics for a Kaffe Fassett quilting class we've registered for. It was important to go with Laurel because she is an actual quilter and I am only a wannabe. The colors overwhelm me. They don't bother grandson Q, who had picked out 214 fabrics that he liked before I had come up with my little pile.

    Coming up this week: I decide to become a more monogamous knitter and eat more frogs.

    Figure it out

    Last semester I played the harpsichord for the first time ever. It was an assignment for the Early Music Ensemble at U of Utah.

    Unfortunately, being able to play the piano does not guarantee that you can play the harpsichord in a graceful and artistic way, so I have managed to bully various people into giving me lessons.

    At the first lesson, with one of the U's finest instructors and accompanists, Jeffrey Price, I learned how the harpsichord works. All I knew out of the gate was that the strings are plucked rather than struck by a hammer (as in the piano) when you press a key. Here you see a plectrum in action (circled).

    This instrument has two keyboards, which can be played separately for a quieter sound, or linked for a bigger sound. This is the only volume control available on the harpsichord, other than playing more or fewer notes in a chord.

    This instrument has three ranks of strings. One 8-foot rank of strings is accessible only from the upper keyboard. The lower keyboard has access to its own rank of 8-foot strings, and a rank of 4-foot strings (sounding an octave higher). A lever lets you decide whether these strings will be plucked or not when you press a key.

    Another lever lets you place small felts against the strings of either of the keyboards to create a lute-like, less-ringing sound.

    The second lesson was with Diana Page, an expert in Baroque music who lives in Ogden, Utah (the home of the Needlepoint Joint). I studied piano with Diana while she taught at Weber State University (she has recently retired). I learned a lot about how to actually play the harpsichord correctly and interpret the music.

    The sad thing is, that's it for the lessons, and I have only a few practice sessions on the instrument. Will this concert be better than the last one? We can only hope. It's on April 2nd.

    Dienstag, März 13, 2007

    Cookie A patterns online!

    Did everyone notice you can now order Cookie A's new patterns online? They're at

    I think I'll start my Christmas knitting now . . .

    Montag, März 12, 2007

    An Arboreal Question

    It looks as if spring is finally here, and the pussy willow in bloom. The oddity is that these buds are not growing on pussy willow, but on quaking aspens. Apparently aspens have flowers! Who knew?

    I found out the other night that I can knit when I am completely asleep. Unfortunately I can't follow my pattern while asleep. I was working on the heel of my STR club sock

    when I dozed off. I know I was completely asleep because I was watching TV and had to run the program back to catch what I had missed. It has a short-row heel, and at some point I had stopped short rowing and knitted around to the instep side where I knitted about five rows of perfect garter stitch. I didn't drop a stitch. It was perfect. Of course it was also pretty weird.

    As usual Che has put a paw, or rather a tooth, into my project. He sneaks up and chews on the yarn. Whether he bites it all the way off or not, there's always a section so damaged it has to come out, which ruins the pattern. I have decided that it must be a trademark that makes my socks unique even though there are 2000 people in the club. My socks have a Che Line.

    I started a new church sock, since the Trekking sock disappeared a few weeks ago.

    Originally I was going to knit this yarn, Fleece Artist "Seashore," into Pomatomus socks for myself. A few rows into the project it was clear that this colorway just wasn't me. The new sock looks as if it will fit Mikayla. I still want to use Fleece Artist for Pomatomus, because I like its soft sheen. I've ordered a couple of other colors.

    A few days ago I unloaded my early music bag and found the Trekking sock at the bottom, squashed under the recorders. I'm glad it showed up, since there are two sets of needles and one and a half socks in a cute little bag that I got for my birthday. However, I'm not sure I can knit a brown sock in spring. I'm giving it a rest.

    Donnerstag, März 08, 2007

    Finished Socks

    I finished my Foofaraw socks last night, so the new STR club sock can have its own bag. I even got a cat-free photo:

    More bizarre things to do to your toe up sock:

    This is the one where you cast on 2 out of your first stitch, using the cable cast on (knit into the stitch, put the new stitch back on the LH needle, repeat); then cast off 3 (when knitting the newly cast on stitches, knit through the back loop; then knit or purl the existing sock edge stitches as they appear); then put the stitch that remains on the right needle back onto the left needle, and bind off from left to right, i.e. pass the 2nd stitch on the LH needle over the stitch you just put there and off. It should work out so that the stitch you pass over is a knit stitch if you're doing it on a 1x1 rib as I did here. Then you repeat this whole process until you've done the whole edge.

    OK, I'm off to my harpsichord lesson. Ta.

    Dienstag, März 06, 2007

    Today's Shopping

    I just got this in the mail from The Bellwether:

    Crosspatch Creations Signature Blend, Wool, Vixcose, Tussah Silk, Cut Bombyx silk, and Tussah silk noil. The color is Plum Loco.

    I don't know if cats are supposed to be able to see pinks and purples, but Turbo definitely preferred something about this batt over the following one.

    Crosspatch Creations Signature Blend, including Wool, Tussah and Bombyx silk, and Viscose. The color is Black Hills Gold.

    These batts are blended once through the carder so layers are still discrete. They suggest tearing the batt lengthwise, then separating these into smaller sections of 3-6 inches. You mix these in a basket so that you get more random variegation, and spin a thin single to bring out the colors and silk. My previous experience with blends is they work best spun from the fold, because if you spin from the end of the fiber the longest fibers get sucked out first, and all the noil and shorter fibers end up in your hand.

    I have something else I need to finish before I can work on these; maybe it will be motivation to finish the other project!

    Montag, März 05, 2007

    Waiting for Blue Moon

    Knitters all over America received their first Rockin' Sock Club kit of 2007 over the weekend. I was one of the large number of club members who did not. I suspected that my kit was in one of the boxes still piled up in the studio on Friday due to power outages. In an effort to remain calm in the face of disappointment, I kept myself busy with my Foofaraw Monkey socks.

    This colorway surprised me (as they often do) when I saw how it knitted up compared to how it looked in the skein. I expected more red and green, but in fact the pink and beige are more prominent. In fact as I knitted, my socks began to look like a shrimp salad. And so I present to you:

    Foofaraw Salad

    This salad would be lovely served in an avocado half. It's both Southbeach and Weight Watchers Core legal.

    When I taught my most recent toe-up sock class, Beth asked if you could knit short-row toe-up socks two at a time on circular needles. I said yes, sure, but I hadn't tried it. I tried it on these (the Monkey Sock pattern is not toe-up; I am just knitting them that way) and found that while you certainly can, it is really annoying and time consuming. Beth's suggestion of knitting the toes separately and then putting them on the same needles is more sensible.

    As I began knitting the two toes, at first I slipped the unworked stitches and ignored them. By the time I was slipping five pairs of unworked stitches and yarnovers on EACH toe, I decided that was a bad idea. I tried putting the extra stitches on a spare double point, but it was too rigid. I tried a third circular, but it still got in the way. Finally I just finished one of the toes, and then finished the other. This is also how I did the heels when I got to that point.

    For anyone curious about short-row, toe-up socks, the method I use is found in Priscilla Gibson-Roberts's Simple Socks Plain and Fancy. A good pattern available online is Wendy's Toe Up Sock, which uses a slightly different method for preventing holes in the short row fabric.

    Paul gets more brownie points for his increasing sock consciousness. He noticed and commented on my Marble Arches socks, which he had not seen because he was on call four nights out of five and I ripped through them so fast that they didn't exist the one night he was at home.

    And all the waiting finally paid off! My Blue Moon kit did finally come last night, and I started the toe. Lots of people have posted about this kit, so I'm not blogging mine until I have a little more knitting to show for it.
    No tickers