My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Archives for February 2007

Let’s Do Lunch

Thanks for all the interesting lunch ideas you guys left in the comments yesterday. I was particularly charmed by this Flickr set of photos of lunches that Mama Cat posted about — what fun to look through the photos!

A lot of you offered cool ideas for ways to transport a lunch to work, which I don’t really need — I am the self-proclaimed queen of bags and totes, after all. ๐Ÿ™‚ But it was certainly fun looking at the different options that are out there.

And a lot of you gave great ideas for incorporating leftovers and suchlike into lunches. If I actually cooked at home, that would be great. But my dinner usually consists of an Amy’s Kitchen frozen entree nuked in the microwave. Wish I could do something like that for lunch! (Nope, it’s verboten to have a personal-size microwave or fridge in the office.)

And I’m not gonna be having any salads anytime soon, even ones I make myself. After last week, my thought processes are such that I can’t even consider it. Eeeeeek!

Picky, ain’t I?

Thank you to those of you who suggested hummus — yum. I love hummus and may have to get some and some pita bread. Added bonus: if I get some with a lot of garlic, my coworkers will stay away from me after lunch.

Rest assured that anything I bring to work is kept very securely wrapped up and sits on top of my desk until lunchtime, not hidden away in a dark drawer, in an attempt to discourage wee creatures from sampling. I notice that they rarely make an appearance under the glare of my fluorescent desk lamp. I never store food in my office — that’s just asking for trouble. I think that’s a big part of the problem in this building. A lot of people habitually store a supermarket’s worth of food in their office, which only encourages the beasties.

But enough about vermin. Here’s today’s Still Life With Sock in Progress and Emu Egg.


That’s the second sock — I finished the first one last night.


Yep, I finished a sock at home. While I am still slogging along on the first Cromarty sleeve, I wasn’t feeling the cable love last night so I worked on my sock. But the first Cromarty sleeve is nearing completion.


Just a few more rows and then I cast off for the shoulder strap. I’m on the 10th skein of Kersti, and I’m still not certain I’ll be able to finish half the sweater in 10 skeins. While I have long been aware of the “1/3 for the front, 1/3 for the back, and 1/3 for the sleeves” rule of thumb, the fact that the sleeves extend into a wide shoulder strap makes this estimate less reliable. It’s just a matter of “wait and see.” So I will. Wait and see. First sleeve should be done in the next couple of days if I don’t flake out and take to knitting socks 24/7.

Clearly, I just like the drama and am dragging it out as long as possible.


Why does Lucy have this look on her face?


Because she’s listening to “Meow, Meow,” the new single from Rap Cat, of course.

Did I Ever Tell You the One About the Flat Rat?

Vermin. Oy.

One of the “joys” of working in a large building in a city is the ever-present vermin. This morning when I came into work I surprised a mouse in the hallway. And further down the same hall I passed a squashed cockroach that was a good inch and a half long. (Now I know that being in a squashed state rendered said cockroach longer than if it were in a three-dimensional state, but still.)

I had a brief encounter last week that so skeeved me out that it is likely I will never recover. I went down to the snack bar in my building to get a pre-packaged salad that they keep in a refrigerated case, and brought it back to my desk. I popped the lid on the plastic container. And watched in horror as a cockroach crawled out from under a lettuce leave and started to saunter across the cucumbers, slowly waving his antennae at me in a jaunty manner.

Needless to say, I popped the lid back on and threw the whole thing into the trash can out in the hall. Ew! Ew! Ew!

I know that stuff like this happens. I know that if I could see the place where the salads are made I might run screaming into the night. Ditto for plants where stuff I buy in the grocery store is processed. But it’s a lot easier to ignore when you don’t have Mister Cockroach smiling and waving to you from your salad.

So I’ve been bringing my lunch since then. This is a challenge because I don’t have access to a refrigerator or a microwave. And I detest making lunches. Today I had a peanut butter sandwich (reduced fat Jiff peanut butter on low-carb whole wheat) and an apple. I am not a fan of sandwiches. Anyone have any brilliant ideas for healthful lunches that don’t take a lot of at-home preparation and don’t need to be refrigerated or microwaved?

I don’t ask for much, huh?

Okay. Enough with the self-pity. On to some Q&A.

Cathy-Cate commented:
I scored some ‘lace weight’ yarn on eBay – 1760 yards of gorgeous slowly changing shades of orange, meant for a shawl for a friend who’s getting married and whose favorite color is orange. However, I think it’s what might be called ‘cobweb’? — it’s finer than the ‘lace weight’ I previously used, which I think I knitted on size 2-ish Addi Turbos and did fine with. (I guess I need to keep track when I’m making things up as I go along….)

I have tried swatching this very fine yarn, and the Addi needle tips are too big & blunt to pick up the stitches readily, the yarn skitters all over the place, and the stitches look sloppy big on even size 2 needles. Halp, halp! So: along with Siouxz, I am interested in what kind of needle is your personal favorite for very fine lace yarn, and also, are you aware of any books/pattern resources for this extremely fine yarn? I’ve found a couple shawl patterns that call for ‘jumper weight’ and ‘Shetland’, but being ignorant of this particular area of the knitting world, I don’t know exactly what that translates to; my guess is that weight is rather heavier (?more like fingering weight?).

A couple of you asked about needles for lace. My favorites so far are the Knitpicks Options. I read about the Addi lace needles last week, but likely will not get any, because the Knitpicks needles work so nicely for me. Back in the Summer of ’05 (the Summer of Lace) I yapped about needles for lace a lot, and as I recall, liked the old Boye metal needles and Inox and Aero needles for lace. But I do like the Knitpicks needles better. They are slippery, so you have to remain vigilant. Wooden needles work better at grabbing the stitches, but I’ve yet to find a wooden needle with a cord and join I like quite as much as the Knitpicks needles.

Now about that laceweight yarn you got . . .

There is quite a range of weights in what is considered laceweight, I think. From yarn that feels like a sewing thread to almost-fingering weight. The only thing I’ve knitted in “true” shetland cobweb weight is a lace handkerchief that I’ve blogged about before. And I knitted that on size 0000 needles. I know Jamieson & Smith has a laceweight shetland (finger than the fingering weight jumperweight wool), and then the cobweb weight that is finer still.

DeeAnn commented:
Kidsilk haze makes me itch fiercely, but there are so many beautiful patterns that are enhanced dramatically by the halo. Would you consider alpaca laceweight to be an acceptable substitution or have any other recommendations for the “mohair challenged”?

That would definitely work for me. I used the Cherry Tree Hill suri alpaca for the Inky Dinky Spider Stole and it had a slight halo and was lovely to knit with. Ditto for the Misti Alpaca for the Tina Shawl.

Count Sassy asked:
I have a (possibly stupid) blocking question. I have a scarf with Crystal Palace Kid Mohair I need to block. Did the iron actually touch the shawl? Or was there a towel between the two?

It may be wrong of me, but yeah, the iron touched the shawl. But I was pretty freaking careful, and had no mishaps.

And in my continuing series of Still Life With Sock in Progress . . .


Emma, do you recognize this scarf? ๐Ÿ™‚



Lucy thanks you for all your good wishes and would like you to know that she does get off her Cozy Cushion from time to time.

A Day in the Life


Still life, with sock in progress and gala apple.

Saturday morning, the fluorescent light in my kitchen started flickering out. Now, I bought my condo in 1994 and since that time have had to change the fluorescent bulbs in the kitchen exactly twice, the last time being December 25, 2000.

This involves standing on a step-stool, swearing, while fiddling with the bulbs until the pop out, then fiddling with the new bulbs until they pop in. Swearing.

So Saturday morning, the KOARC and I spent a bit of time figuring out how to get the plastic cover off the light fixture, and commenced fiddling with the bulbs. After a few minutes of fiddling, the KOARC did a Google search on how to change a fluorescent bulb, and getting the bulbs out was pretty easy after that. Amazing what some instructions can do for you. Gotta love a guy who Googles.

While we had the bulbs out, the KOARC checked out the ballast:


A couple of wires were loose, so he tightened them up. After a trip to Home Despot for new bulbs . . . there was light!


Of course, with these nice new bulbs, I can see all the dirt in the kitchen.

But Wait! There’s More!

I got the skein of Kidsilk Haze I needed to complete the Maltese Shawl in the mail on Thursday. I had about one quarter of the edging left to do. So Friday night and Saturday afternoon, I sucked it up and knit shawl edging.



This is the shawl without blocking. Looking at it pre-blocking, it really seemed as though it did not need a full wet block. So I ran a steam iron over it.


I do think that’s all it needs.


So I folded it up and set it aside until the time it will be presented to its new owner.


Can you believe Lucy slept through all that excitement?


Get Back

Cromarty now has a back.


Except that it may be a front. The back and the front are identical on this baby.

Does it look like an awfully shallow square neck there? Yeah, that’s because this design has shoulder straps, which will add a lot of depth to the neck.

I have cast on for a sleeve.

I opted to start a sleeve because at the end of the first sleeve I will have knit half the sweater (apart from the edgings one knits for the neck), and I will be able to tell if I have enough yarn. I’ve been having nagging worries about 21 skeins of Kersti being enough because everyone who has knit this design seems to have used way more yarn than the pattern claims you need.

But I am cautiously optimistic. The back (or the front) took about 6.25 skeins and I have a total of 21 skeins. If the sleeve takes 4 skeins or less (and it really should, I’m thinking), I’ll be fine, as that will add up to 20.5 skeins and the neck edging will not take more than half a skein. I think.

I really suck at estimating how much yarn the sleeves will take. Sure, they start out narrow. But you increase so that they get awfully wide at the top. And then there’s the whole shoulder strap thing one has to take into consideration. It’s a wide shoulder strap.

It’s a thrill ride, I tell you.

The New Sock in Progress

What yarn is it? Several of you got it and Adrienne got it first:
“That yarn looks very much like some Claudia Handpainted Blue Terra Cotta that I have (from the Loopy Ewe, no less!), so that’s my guess. =) ”

That’s exactly what it is — and I got my yarn from The Loopy Ewe as well.



The ice storm ended during the day yesterday and my street was more or less clear, so I headed into work today. The temperature dropped quite a bit overnight so all the ice in place is as solid as concrete. It’s supposed to stay below freezing for a couple of days, so I guess we’ll have the ice around for a while. I’m feeling very lucky that I have power, unlike a lot of people in my area!

Because I wouldn’t want my little princess to get chilly!


The little princess would like to thank everyone for their wonderful birthday wishes for her!

Happy Lucy Day

I know it’s Valentine’s Day, but more importantly, today is Lucy’s official birthday.

Lucy was a rescue cat when she came to live with me in 2003, and all I knew about her birthday was that it was in February 2001. We decided to make her official birthday halfway through the month. What could be more appropriate than Valentine’s Day?

And I got to stay home today because of the ice storm, so the birthday girl has had plenty of attention.

Here’s the state of my street after the plow came:


And here’s the state of Cromarty after some extra knitting time:


I started a new sock — can you guess the yarn?


My favorite length for sock needles is 6″, by the way.

The little Coke bottle from yesterday’s blog? It’s a flash drive, as several of you guessed/knew:


I got it by saving up points in Coke caps and redeeming them at the My Coke Rewards website. Hey, everybody needs a hobby.

Here is Lucy opening her gift from her Auntie L-B. What can it be?


It’s a little knitted catnip ball!


Lucy sez:


It’s my birthday! Catnip for everyone!