Life as I Know It

I love my job.


It’s a very entertaining moment when your boss tells you that you do not blog often enough, and that he knows this because his Mom told him.  It’s also rather entertaining when you try to explain to a group of your co-workers as you all gaze at calendars and try to hash out the schedule for the year that you’d really like to move a large weekend to a different weekend because that day also has a knitting convention in Frederic, WI and you happened to mention to your boss’ mom that perhaps you could get that event date changed this year.  Somehow my boss wasn’t willing to rearrange his weekend away for a knitting thing.  Go figure.  I’m not sure that the poor man knew what he was getting into when he hired me!  Perhaps I wasn’t clear that I was a Knitter with a capital K.

Today at lunch with several members of the staff I tried to explain what I had done with my July sweater last night.  It was around 11pm when I realized that I had put in an extra yarn over in several rows down.  I was tempted to rip back to the offending section, put everything back on the needles and then re-knit the whole thing.  However, making decisions at 11pm when you’ve had a long week is generally a bad idea.  Wisely I stopped myself from throwing it across the room and set it aside to go to bed.

This morning I looked at the sweater again.  The offending section was still there.  Darn!  I double checked to make sure tthe only mistake I had was the one extra yarn over.  I dropped the 5 stitches that comprised that repeat down several rows and started re-knitting the repeat.  I’ve got one row that seemed a little loose, but I think as I block the sweater it will blend in.

As I was explaining this to my co-workers, I realized they had no idea how tricky this was.  What to compare it to? Wine making?  No, not really any way to adjust that as you go.  Thinking on your feet when a key volunteer doesn’t show up at one of our biggest events?  Close, but knitting doesn’t involve quite the same amount of stress and adrendaline that running an event does.  Cooking…. maybe.  So I compare it to when you’re part way into a recipe and you realize that you don’t have enough of a key ingredient to make the recipe.  You’ve already put sugar and eggs into the mixer and all of a sudden you realize that you need self-rising flour and all you have is all purpose.  So you whip out the cookbooks and search the internet until you find that all you need to do is add baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Recipe Saved!


I’m not sure that my co-workers bought it.  But hey, the let me knit at lunch with them without being too embarassed by me, so they’re pretty cool.  And they really tried to understand my story.  Yeah, I love my job.

I leave you with a random picture of a baby hat I knit for a friend’s new baby.  Lily agreed to model the hat since she has the smallest head in the family.  She insisted upon having the picture taken while sitting on her bike on our front porch.  On one of the hotest days of the year.


I bet you’re kind of wondering what ever happened to photos of my April sweater…. Hey, whatever happened to that sweater anyway.  It’s the February Lady sweater downsized (or a Sweater on Two Needles upsized) to fit my 7 year old.  It’s coming along, but slowly.  Through no fault of the sweater’s, I have been sidetracked.

I discovered a sweet little sock pattern, the Turkish Bed Socks by Churchmouse Creations.  It’s fast, it’s easy, and it’s very satisfying.  I knit two of these sets of socks.  The first is out of some very old Koigu that I had used scraps of for something.  Then the dog found it and decided that it would make a very sweet sheepy chew toy.  There were some breaks in the yarn, but nothing that I couldn’t live without.  The second pair is from Suibui sock yarn in screaming pink with acid green.  They’re very fun and very girly.  Both sets of socks work great with clogs.  The only problem (slight, slight problem) is that my ankles get a bit chilly in this cool spring air.  I’m now on the lookout for an anklet pattern that will be just as sweet and fast.

I did modify the Turkish Bed Sock pattern slightly.  The pattern calls for you to knit a long rectangle that goes around your ankle, then knit the heel flap and bottom of the foot.  You’re supposed to seam the rectangle together with the bottom of the foot after you are finished knitting that portion.  However, I’m not a huge fan of seaming.  I really don’t think it should be necessary in something as small as a sock.  So…. I left the rectangle stitches on the needle while I knit the heel.  As I knit the foot bottom I joined the bottom to a live stitch left on the needle with either a SSK or a P2tog.  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.



I confess, I am not the world’s most dedicated swatcher.

Most knitters know what a swatch is (it’s a sample size of how your yarn will behave with a certain size needle), but just in case here’s a little explanation of how to swatch correctly.

Back to the confession, because confession is good for the soul, right?  I tend to swatch for an inch or so, maybe as much as three, to make sure that I get the right gauge.  If my gauge isn’t coming out right, and it usually isn’t, I switch to a small size needle.  With me, I almost always know I need to go smaller.  I keep going smaller until I get to the correct gauge.  If I’m really feeling sassy lucky, I do the gauge swatch as part of the garment.  This works especially “well” with sleeves and sock cuffs.  Just cast on the number of stitches for the sleeve and away I go.  I measure after a few inches and then rip and redo if need be.

There’s just one teeny tiny problem.  Knitting tends to behave differently once it’s been washed.  Yarn blooms, the fibers stretch out, sometimes it acts completely differently from the yarn you think you had.  All of a sudden that perfect gauge swatch is big and floppy.  The sock cuff that fit perfectly is now sagging down around your ankles.  Not to mention what happens to a perfectly good sweater.  To get a completely accurate gauge swatch, you really need to wash and block your swatch first.

And that’s where I tend to cut corners.

As in I don’t do it at all.  Or at least I didn’t.  After my last two sweaters haven’t fit as well as I’d like, I am trying to turn over a new leaf.  I have swatched for my April sweater – the February Lady Sweater/Sweater on Two Needles sized for an almost 8 year old girl.  I’m also proactively swatching for my May sweater, done in fingering weight alpaca.

Wish me luck in turning over this new leaf.  I’m a little nervous about the sizing for the April sweater, but I figure if my gauge still leads me wrong at least this time it will fit my 6 year old instead of being given away to a much taller person.

It’s Good Y’all

Lily Times 2

I’ve managed to go an entire month without posting about my March sweater. It is moving right along, just as a good sweater ought to.  (It’s a good thing when a sweater behaves itself during the knitting.)  I do have to admit that I got a little nervous as I skeined up the last 110 yds. of hand painted yarn. I had Kool-aide dyed this years ago, so there was no hope of matching the yarn.  (and I tried to match it by doing some serious stash diving) I knew I’d have to knit fast to make sure I had enough yarn to get through.  I put the body of the sweater off to the side while I finished the cap sleeves.

There was enough yarn to finish the bottom of the sweater and there should be plenty to finish the neckline.  It’s currently soaking in my bathroom sink.  I have to block it to get the cute front pocket portion to lay correctly before I do the neckline edging.  In the meantime I’m swatching for April’s sweater.  For the first time I will be wet blocking my swatch.  I think experience is showing me that I need to wet block my swatches for accuracy.

There are no good pictures to show of the sweater in progress.  One of the pitfalls of Superior in March is that we have very few sunny days.  It’s tough to get a good picture on a grey foggy day.  Especially when I don’t normally have a moment to take a photo until 10pm.  So instead, I give you adventures in iPad’s Photobooth.


The kids were having a ball with this yesterday.  As we drove home from my parents house I had one kid on the iPad reading books and the other on the Nook.  We’re such a techy family all of a sudden.  When Addie discovered the Photobooth icon it was clearly a new toy!  All I heard from the backseat was, “click, click, click.  Here take a picture of this.  Click, click, click.”  Addie’s favorite for herself was the twirl function, which just made her look like she had a sad birth defect.  I really prefer my children looking like themselves.



All the News That’s Fit to Print

There’s nothing like a new baby coming to kick your knitting into high gear.  I became a proud Auntie once again last week.  Our new nephew was born on Friday afternoon, healthy and happy with a full head of hair All the babies in our family are born with more hair than most adult men.

In the past week, I have finished

Professor X Sweater

A 6 month size sweater for Professor X (what we’ve nicknamed the baby).  Made from Sanguine Gryphon yarn in Abu Dhabi colorway.  Sorry for the crummy iPhone picture, it was the only one I took last night that was remotely OK to use.  This would be my official February Sweater for the 12 in 12 challenge.

A pair of baby booties, also for Professor X.

My January Sweater.  Yes, it’s actually done.  I do need to sew on buttons still.  I think I’m going to do the ribbon button band from the Knitmore Girls to give the button band more stability.  I’ll show pictures and talk about it more when it’s all done.

And I started a new baby sweater, just to see if I can get it done in the remaining days.  Have I mentioned I’m crazy?


Less Than a 2 Minute Update

I finished the sleeve on my January Cardigan.  I wound up the last ball of yarn so that all of the button band and collar would be from the same skein and packed everything up to take to my parents house for the weekend.

I packed everything except for the smaller size needles that I need for the button band.  (*&%#$ %#$  I packed extra yarn (force of habit) and a pattern for my February sweater.  I didn’t pack the needles for this pattern either.  I didn’t pack my back up scarf just in case.

My mom, sister and I had some errands to run this morning so we went to Walmart.  Normally I stay as far away from Walmart as I possibly can.  However, knowing that they had some knitting needles I decided that it would be fine.  They have No. Needles. Under. Size. 6.  None.  (Well except for a set of size 3 double points that would not help me.) Not even straight needles in a 4 or 5.  It wasn’t as thought they were just out either.  They don’t stock them.  I think I just stared forlornly while my sister patted my back.  Someone really needs to open up a knitting store in this town.  Seriously.

2 Minute Update

Velynda Cardi in Progress

I sure wish I had a finished sweater to show you.  It’s almost the end of the first week in February and I don’t have a finished January sweater.  However, I am close.  Thanks to two classes I took last week I am very close.  I’m finishing the ribbing on the second sleeve and just have the button band and collar left to do.  Not too bad considering that I started on January 5.

The great thing about the 12 Sweaters in 12 Months challenge that I laid out for myself is that it is MY challenge.  If I don’t get a sweater done every month the world will not end.  I will not get fired and my children will not care either way.  My husband will only notice because I’ll shove it in his face to admire and then take up most of the hallway with blocking the sweater.  It’s ok.  I make my own rules when it comes to knitting and the number one rule is that there are no rules.  Knitting. Is. Fun.

I’m debating what I’ll do for February, but considering that I’m not done with this one and that I’ll have a new little nephew any day now, I think he deserves some new knits.  Probably something in the newborn size so that I can get back on a semblance of a schedule.

Does anyone have suggestions on a cute newborn sweater for a boy?