My current work in progress:

Tawney Sweater,by Jenni Barrett, knit from MadelineTosh Tosh Sock, using 3.25mm and 3.5mm needles.

Archives for September 2006

Dragon Moth

Here is the yarn I’m using for the Wing-o’-the-Moth shawl, Alchemy Haiku.


It’s 40% silk and 60% mohair and each 25 gram skein is 325 yards. I have a total of three skeins for a total of 975 yards. The shawl pattern calls for 900 – 1,000 yards, so I ought to be fine.

Here is the shawl in progress:


And a close-up:


The first section is very easy to memorize, so it’s very pleasant, almost mindless, knitting. There’s a boatload of it, though, so I’m not even half done with this section. I thought having two days off from work would cause huge knitting progress, but I seem to have spent large chunks of time occupied with non-knitting tasks. But there’s always the weekend.

The truly observant among you may have noticed that I removed Keelan from my Works in Progress list. I decided the yarn I was using was not right — it was too fine and I didn’t like how it knitted up. So progress thus far has been scrapped. I did some swatching last night in another yarn, and plan to rework the pattern in dk weight wool.

What Lucy did all day:


She is lying on my side of the couch.

The Best Day Ever

I had the greatest day today.

Didn’t go to work today — had a dental appointment for teeth cleaning. No, that’s not the great part of the day, although I love having nice clean teeth, even if the process of getting there isn’t the most fun.

I got together with Phyl for lunch — that’s what made it such a great day! I haven’t seen her for ages, so we went out to lunch and had a wonderful, long chat, scrutinized each other’s socks in progress, fondled yarn, laughed, and generally had a great time.

Look what Phyl brought me:


I am beside myself with joy. This bag is perfect. It’s a carpetbag, from The Carpetbagger. It could not be more perfect. As you probably have noticed, I am a bag and purse ho. This bag meets all my requirements for the ultimate purse/knitting bag. It has handles and a detachable shoulder strap. It’s exactly the right size to carry to the office because it holds all my purse stuff along with a small wip. It has several pockets inside. And there’s even a tiny lock on the clasp with a little brass key.

And Speaking of Awesome Stuff

Remember when I was in search of the perfect button for the kimono jacket a little while back? One of the links sent to me was to Christine’s awesome handcrafted jewelry. While scrolling through her available jewelry, this piece caught my eye. I emailed Christine and asked if she could do a custom pendant for me, of my dear little Lucy. I emailed her my favorite photo of Lucy, and yesterday I got this in the mail:


A close-up of the pendant:


The back side of the pendant:


And the wee tag hanging from the bottom of the pendant:


Is that not perfect? Christine did a beautiful job of this — it’s exactly what I wanted. She was lovely to work with — the process of creating my custom piece was great fun from start to finish. Just a heads up — if you’re looking for something special, check out Jewelry by Christine. She has some lovely things available and does beautiful custom work. No affiliation, I’m just a hugely satisfied customer!

You can see some lovely clear photos of my Lucy pendant on her site here.

Yes, There Is Knitting Content

Here’s my new work in progress:


As some of you guessed, it’s Anne’s lovely Wing-o’-the-Moth pattern, being knitted in Alchemy Haiku (as some others of you guessed!) in the “dragon” colorway. The yarn has been in my stash for nearly a year and for some reason I thought it was a tobacco brown (even though I just looked at it last week in the great home clean-up project). Rather, it’s a lovely shade of pea green with some subtle brownish tinges here and there. Perfect for the Wing-o’-the-Moth, I think!

Even though I was off work today, I did very little knitting. Must buckle down to it tonight. I’m off work tomorrow, too, as I have a plumber coming to replace a couple of faucets. Hopefully more progress will be made then.

What Lucy did all day:


The Vortex of Doom

Getting into beads is like being sucked into the vortex of doom.

Thank-you, Susan, for putting it so eloquently.

For those of you who are willing to be sucked into the vortex of doom, check out Purse Paradise, a source Susan recommended on her blog for supplies for making beaded purses. They have patterns, kits, beads, threads, purse frames, needles, etc. In short, everything you need to make a beaded purse.

In a rare fit of self-restraint, I did not order anything when I checked out the website. Must be something wrong with me. Maybe I’d better take my temperature and see if I have a fever.

Seriously, though, I went through a bead and jewellry-making period a number of years ago, and a few years ago gave away all my supplies and tools to a friend who was just embarking on the obsession. I am doing my best to resist the temptation to start all that up again.

Questions from the comments:

Alysa asked:
Does the pattern actually have the beads in (-like curves, or is it just the angle of the photograph?

The beads curve a little because at some points in the pattern you are slipping several beads between stitches — so the weight of the beads make the curve. Very clever, I thought.

Knittingnurse pointed me to another website where you can buy kits for beaded purses:
Ho boy! If you enjoyed THAT one, you really need to check out They have some really nice beaded bag pattern/kits. These are big enough to use as actual evening bags, etc. Most are just big enough to carry a girls “MILK” – Money, Identification, Lipstick and Keys!

Thank you. I’m averting my eyes from that site as well.

Shirley offered a link to a site with beaded fish for Lucy. 🙂

Lucy sez:


Now you’re talking!

TeriP asked:
Do you like knitting with that fine stuff?

I do. I’ve always liked very fine work and miniatures. Now I’m not sure I’d want to knit a 15 by 15-inch purse on size 000 needles with seed beads, but the tiny amulet bag was a quick and satisfying project. And really quite easy to make — honest! Not as fiddly as you might think.

Dave commented:
What I liked the most about the one and only beaded knit piece I’ve seen — a bookmark — was the feel of it. Very slinky. I totally didn’t expect that, and it was totally cool.

Excellent observation, and that’s exactly how this little bag feels — slinky. Because the beads can move slightly, it gives it a slinky feel when you handle it. And the little bag is surprisingly heavier than it looks — the weight of the beads.

Ellen commented:
I have a suggestion: if you’re picturing something small, could you please include a familiar object — a quarter or a business card, for instance, to give an idea of scale.

I photographed it on my laptop computer, so you could see the size next to the keys on the keyboard. But just for you, here’s a pic of the bag with a quarter! 🙂


State of the Sock In Progress

The first sock in Opal Handpainted is coming along nicely — see?


Getting Serious for a Moment

A reader emailed me last night, chastizing me for not “remembering” the 5th anniversary of 9/11, telling me it was my “duty” as a blogger to mention it. I was going to ignore the email (as I often do with thoughtless and/or idiotic emails), but I find that this time I can’t.

Five years ago, as I do today, I worked in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol and lived in the shadow of the Pentagon. Not a single day has passed since then that I have not thought about the events of 9/11 and the people murdered that day. Life changed that day. Forever.

Every day as the subway stops at the Pentagon, I think about the kind-looking Army officer I used to see get off there every morning, who I last saw on the morning of 9/11.

Every time someone who acts nervous gets on a train I wonder if it’s a terrorist.

Every time I pull my knitting out on a train I wonder (possibly irrationally) if I’m making anyone else nervous by wielding sharp pointy sticks.

Every morning as I go through airport-like security to enter the federal building where I work, I wonder if someone with a weapon will slip through the screening process. (It has happened once that I know of.)

Every time a plane flies through the no-fly zone over my office, my heart sinks.

Every time our evacuation alarm goes off, my heart sinks.

Et cetera. Dear reader, rest assured that I do remember. I don’t see how I could ever forget.

So no, I watched no memorials or 9/11 “specials” on television. I did not watch the news. I did not feel the need to do anything to mark a five year anniversary (apart from feeling horrendously sad all day), because it is something that is with me every single day.

This is just me. I am in no way trying to tell people how to feel, what to say, or when, or where to say it. And I respectfully ask that people extend me the same courtesy.

My blog is predominantly about knitting and I will keep it that way.

There. End of rant. Let’s not speak of this again. 🙂

But lookie here. Can you guess what this is?


A Wee F.O.

Yesterday afternoon I got out my size 000 needles and hunkered down to knit the beaded amulet bag kit that Susan gave me on Friday.

The first step was to string all the beads onto the working yarn (which is DMC perle cotton, by the way).

Note to myself: Cats love to help you string beads. If I plan to do any beaded knitting in the future, I must distract Lucy with some really potent catnip before starting.

Lucy sez:


“I’m innocent! I never touched those beads!”

The beads were strung on thread, so it was just a matter of tying the end of a strand of beads onto the working yarn and push them onto the yarn. As Susan pointed out in the instructions, sometimes you’ll run up against a bead that has a hole too small to go over the knot. You can crush this bead with a pair of pliers to get it off the thread and move on from there.

I think in the 6 strands of beads I had less than 10 beads with holes too small, so there was very little crushing of beads performed. A bit of a pity, because I sorta enjoyed it.


I started.


I knitted.


I finished.


The flip side:


And I gotta say, I’m quite pleased with the results.

Book Event

Just a quick heads up — I’ll be at the Martha Washington Library in Alexandria VA on September 18, 2006, 1:00pm. If you’re in the area, stop by and bring your knitting!

Random Sunday

Check out High Country Knitwear — a source for some extremely cute patterns. For example, the Bison Scarf, which is in my possession. It was pointed out to me that with some slight modifications, it could be turned into a Lucy scarf. Awwwwwwww!

This pattern is well-written with clear pictures and charts, so I’m betting all of Pat’s patterns are. I think all the scarves available for sale at High Country Knitwear are adorable and perfect for relatively quick holiday gifts. And there’s a free pattern available — an extremely cute polar bear scarf!

New Book Alert

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book, Arctic Lace.


My one-line review? “Everything you ever wanted to know about qiviut but were afraid to ask.”

There’s a wealth of information about qiviut and its history, along with lace projects to knit. There are also “templates” for people who would like to design their own projects, and lots of lace charts to put together with the samples.

It reminds me, in a way, of Poems of Color, another book I loved. I think this book is to qiviut as Poems of Color is to Bohus.

More on Skein Dividing

With regard to weighing a skein of yarn before dividing it, in the comments someone pointed out that the the skein weight is printed on the label. This is true, but I always weigh my skein before dividing it. The actual weight of the skein will vary, depending on humidity, altitude, and no doubt phase of the moon. 😉 I very often find (particularly with small operations who sell one-of-a-kind handpaints) that the skein is a little larger than the weight on the label. I really appreciate a generously-sized skein! So if you want the actual, true weight at the time you are dividing your skein, weigh it first!

Guess Who?

Do you know who these lovely ladies are?


They are the Rainey Sisters, of course!

I had lunch with Susan and Sally last Friday and could barely tear myself away to trudge back to the office. What fun we had! And look what Susan gave me:


A teeny amulet bag, knitted from her pattern of course. And a little kit for me to make one myself — which of course I am going to do almost immediately.


Susan teaches a class at her LYS in beaded knitting and this is the pattern and materials she uses for her class.

Lucky I just did a major housecleaning — I know exactly where my size 000 needles are!

Lucy was impressed with the little bag that Susan gave me:


I was impressed that in finishing the Vague Stripes with Blue Zits socks, the two socks more or less match:


Teddy was impressed that I immediately cast on for a sock using more Opal.


This is Opal Handpainted in color #22 — it’s fingering weight, so I’m knitting it on a 2mm needle. So far, so good!