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Ms. Knits: September 2005

Thursday, September 29


It is a good thing you all gave me such good ideas for beginner projects - turns out 3 more of my friends from law school want to learn to knit. So, next Wednesday five of us are going to get together and I'm going to attempt to show three of them the basics of casting on and the knit stitch (keyword = attempt). I'm going to try to remember to bring some of my mid-size straight needles and some leftover cascade 220 with me next week so they don't have to go out and buy anything to get started.

Tonight was my weekly after class girl's night out, and eventually our conversation got around to knitting (thus the upcoming knit night). My friend who I mentioned before who is a beginning knitter asked me if I used "the turbo needles." Apparently she uses Addis and loves them. One of the non-knitters was a bit confused by the turbo needle reference, and said "whoa - I thought knitting was supposed to be relaxing - why would you want to use something called a 'turbo' needle - sounds a little intense!" Ha! It is much more intense when you're trying to scoot dozens of tight stitches across a bamboo (or otherwise high friction) needle. I'm guessing she'll understand after trying it out next week!

If you have any other tips for teaching people how to knit, please let me know! This will be a first for me.

Wednesday, September 28

Brief update

Thanks for all of your wonderful compliments on Frieda - I can't wait to finish her up soon! I'll have another Frieda update after the weekend.

Not much new in knitting this week. I finished two more repeats of the long-overdue baby blanket, and am now officially half done. (note that the blanket is overdue, not the baby - the baby, at two months old, is well on his way to becoming a toddler already!)

[yawn] I'm super tired - drove up to San Francisco after work for a business dinner thing, and now I need to get some sleep... goodnight!

Monday, September 26


As promised, here are some pictures of Frieda. This weekend I managed to finish the front of the sweater. I also started on the first sleeve (not shown - I stayed up kind of late last night, and didn't take any pictures of it). I cannot believe how fast this sweater is knitting up! I'm guessing that I'll have both sleeves finished next weekend (and maybe the collar), and will plan to seam everything together the following weekend.

The front looks tiny compared to the back. But, the edges are rolled under a fair amount (on both pieces), and when gently stretched, it is the perfect size.

The back neck is rolling quite a bit - I didn't bind off because I'm going to use a 3-needle bindoff at the shoulder seams.

When I finished the front, I forgot about the 3-needle bindoff that I was planning, and accidentally bound off the shoulder stitches - oops! Luckily the bindoff will be easy to undo.

Check out these cables - I'm so amazed that *I* knit these!

I decided to knit the sleeves (not pictured) all in one piece, rather than following the pattern. The overwhelming consensus is that knitting the sleeves as directed will lead to a drafty sweater. For those of you who are working on Frieda (or will be shortly), here's how I'm knitting the sleeves:

Cast on 42 (per instructions)
Knit ribbing as directed
Row 1: Knit 14, Purl 2, Knit 10, Purl 2, Knit 14 (right side)
Row 2: Knit and purl stitches as they lie
Row 3: Knit 14, Purl 2, Slip 2 st to cable needle (hold behind knitting), Knit 4; from cable needle: K1, M1, K1, M1; Knit 4, P2, K14
Continue per pattern instructions. Cable follows sweater cable pattern, increases/decreases follow sleeve instructions. (don't forget to increase on both sides of the sleeve!) Don't knit the first stitch on the wrong side like the directions say - that stitch is on the edge that would be sewed to the cable, if you were sewing the cable in last.

Also, I discovered that I'm going to have to lengthen the sleeves. The pattern says the sleeves are only 17 3/4" long - for ALL sizes of this sweater. My arms are closer to 20" long! I'm not sure who wears a size M sweater and has arms that short - certainly not me! When I get to the knit even section of the pattern, I'm going to add a couple of inches before decreasing. I'll figure out the math for the exact number of rows when I get there!

Sunday, September 25

Discovering the joy that is Cotton Ease

Thanks to my Secret Pal, I finally get to knit with the famed and elusive Cotton Ease! Check out the latest package she sent me:

6 skeins of pretty blue Cotton Ease (one of the only CE colors that I think I would actually wear), some cute kniterly notecards, AND the best part - she sent the pattern for Knitty's Sitcom Chic, and the perfect amount of yarn to knit the sweater! I love Sitcom Chic - it is definitely my style of sweater. I'm picturing the sweater with a pair of black slacks and a white tank or camisole underneath. Cute!

This will be the next project on my list after I finish Frieda and the Rebecca sweater. I probably won't get to it until March, but it will be perfect springtime knitting.

I bet you're wondering where my pictures of Frieda are... well, I've gotten a lot of knitting done this weekend (not as much as I'd like, but still a decent amount), and have taken some pictures. I'll post them tomorrow.

Friday, September 23

The perfect second project?

Last night after class, I got together with some of my girlfriends from school - one of whom was inspired to take up knitting after she saw me wearing "My So Called Scarf" to class last winter. She and I spent a few minutes talking about knitting, and she mentioned that all she knows how to knit right now is a rectangle, and she's tired of making scarves. Sounds like me about a year ago!

I'm going to look through all of my "beginner" knitting materials (books, etc) and see if there's anything that would be good to give to her to get her started on increases and decreases. I'd like to recommend an interesting (but straightforward) project to her so she can learn some other basic knitting skills.

My second project (after many scarves) was a ribbed hat from the Yarn Girl's Guide to Simple Knits, and my third project was the felted sheep tote. These were both good projects to learn new techniques, and weren't overwhelming to me.

What was your second project? Your third?

Wednesday, September 21

A brief history of me

Tagged by Lynette:

TEN YEARS AGO: Sophomore year of college – took lots of fun classes like Statics, Calculus III, Physics II Electricity & Magnetism, Intro to Engineering, and Engineering Practices. Lived in the sorority house with a girl who was a good friend, but a bad roommate (and consequently, not so much of a good friend after a while). Worked two jobs: Subway sandwich artist and circulation desk assistant at the university library. Strangely, I don’t remember much of anything fun from 10 years ago – I was too busy either working or studying.

FIVE YEARS AGO: Newly married and a new homeowner. Worked as an applications engineer for the same company I'm with now, and traveled all over the world for work (Tawain, Japan, China, Israel). Started thinking that I didn’t want to be an engineer for the rest of my life. Had a cat (who I miss a lot), and really wanted to get a dog.

ONE YEAR AGO: Just coming off of my Kauai vacation high – the first “real” vacation that we’ve been on since we got married. [by “real vacation” I mean we actually got on an airplane together and flew somewhere other than to see family] Starting my third part-time year of law school and beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I was a super newbie knitter, and soon would discover the wonders of the LYS and non-acrylic yarn.

Anything chocolate
Sour cream & onion potato chips
Kettle Corn style popcorn at the local movie theater
Chips & salsa
Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream

Not sure there are any. I love music, but am NOT a singer (in public or private), and therefore rarely commit the words from songs I like to memory. The only songs I can think of lyrics for are “Manic Monday” by The Bangles and “I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tiffany – and I haven’t heard these songs for 15+ years. Embarrassing.

Buy an acreage somewhere rural - in the mountains or near the ocean - and build a house.
Take a year long trip around the world
Start a business
Donate to charity

Bali, Indonesia
Kauai, Hawaii
Aspen (or actually, anywhere in the Colorado Rockies)
Mendocino, California
Mt. Shasta/McCloud, California

Midriff baring shirts
Leather pants
A poncho
Sweatpants in public (especially those hideous velour tracksuit-type outfits that are so popular now)
Blue eyeshadow/eyeliner

Desperate Housewives
Prison Break
Anything on HGTV

Newton & Mac
Achieving a goal that I’ve set for myself
Having time to myself to relax and do whatever I want – knit, read, nap, exercise, whatever.
Knowing that in three months I’ll be done with school and my crazy commuting life, and will actually get to live in and enjoy my house for the first time in three and a half years

my iPod(s)
my TSX (ok, it’s a car and not a toy – but it is so much fun to drive!)
the DVR (wish it was a Tivo though, but alas, Tivo can't record HD)
my long neglected sewing machine
my mountain bike (also much neglected)

I think I've seen this just about everywhere... Stephanie and Ruth, if you haven't done it yet, consider yourselves tagged! I'll also tag my SP5 pal, Susan, and the person to whom I was a pal, Gabrielle.

Monday, September 19

Quick update

1. I remembered to bring my knitting to school/work with me this week - yay me! (that doesn't mean that I have time to knit, but somehow I'm comforted just having it here... you know, in case I get a free minute at some point)

2. I'm moving right along on Frieda - finished the back and worked the first cable repeat on the front over the weekend. I tried to cable without a cable needle, but it didn't work out very well with a 4 stitch wide cable (the cables are 12 stitches wide, with 4 stitches crossing over at a time). The stitches even seemed a little tight to knit off of the cable needle. The cables look good, but they feel awkward to knit. Any cable experts out there have cabling tips?

3. We finally picked a paint color for the dining room last weekend. I had a color custom mixed by Kelly Moore to get a flat finish in a color I picked out at Lowe's that was only available in satin finish. Next weekend: painting! (hopefully...)

4. I'm on call tomorrow in class. And I haven't read the assignment yet. And it is almost 9:30 pm. And I've been up since 4:45 AM. [yawn! I sure hope the cases are interesting!]

5. Fred (my iPod) has a new companion... Wilma - a Shuffle that I won from LexisNexis. Wilma was waiting for me when I got home from work last Friday. She will be great for taking on my runs when I have to do laps around the track and for when I go to the gym. I'm still lusting after a new nano, but how many iPods does a girl need?

That is all. Have a good week!

Monday, September 12

Oops, I did it again!

I forgot my knitting bag at home this morning. For the second week in a row. I didn't realize it until it was too late to turn around and get it. Maybe someone is trying to send me a message that I should be studying more (or knitting less?).

Sunday, September 11

The weekend in knitting

I had a very knitty weekend this weekend (and amazingly did a lot of other things too!). Saturday morning I met up with Catilyn to knit. She was working on a beautiful purple short row scarf, and I managed to finish up the toe of my stripey socks.

Ta da!
And here are the socks being modeled - they fit really well! These socks are my own pattern - nothing special really... just cast on 64 stitches, knit an inch and a half of 1x1 ribbing, then knit the rest of the sock. The only thing that bugs me is that even though both socks are exactly the same size, one sock has a bit of green and white at the toe, and the other one is tan at the toe. Caitlyn pointed out that it won't matter, because my toes will be in shoes anyway... good point!
Friday night after I got home, I picked up my yarn for Frieda. I knit and blocked my swatch on Friday, and my gauge was right on, so I cast on for Frieda on Saturday afternoon. I've already knitted the back of the sweater up to the armhole shaping. I really haven't spent that much time knitting this weekend either - this project is going to go really fast!
A couple of notes on this project so far: First, I love this yarn. It is so soft, and gets a nice, fuzzy sheen after blocking. Second, I need to learn to follow directions. When I cast on, I thought "Hmmm, that's odd, the pattern says the first row is a right side row, but the back of the cast on is ugly for the right side - I'd better fix that." Yeah, not so much. Turns out for 2x2 ribbing, the back of the cast on looks much more finished. I ripped back about 6 rows and started over. When I finished the ribbing, I was so happy to be done that I just kept right on going in stockinette. With size 6 needles. Doh! I was supposed to switch to 8s. Time to rip back 6 more rows. On to the armhole shaping (not shown in the picture)... I miscounted and did one decrease too few. You guessed it... 6 more rows of ripping back. Now I've got 39 simple rows of stockinette to finish for the back. I'm leaving that until next weekend though. Frieda is going to be my weekend project from now on. (yes, it will be hard to leave her tomorrow!)

This afternoon, we cleaned out our closet and unpacked a few more boxes from our move a year and a half ago. In one of the boxes, we found 3 scarves that I knitted when I started knitting about two years ago. I'll have to take pictures of them and post them to share the horror with you. They are all knit from Lion Homespun in plain garter stitch. I must have knit 6 or 8 Homespun scarves during the first year I knit. Wow - has my taste in yarn changed! I'm not sure what to do with these scarves... I think I'll see if I can donate them somewhere.

Thursday, September 8

A sad school story...

Background: One of the classes I am taking this semester is Criminal Procedure. It's kind of an interesting class, but not an area of law that particularly fascinates me.

Sad story: Since I left my knitting at home this week (and I'm down at school - still kicking myself for not grabbing my knitting bag on Tuesday morning), I don't have any way to decompress after 4 hours of class in the evening. When I got home after class tonight (not home-home, but to the place I stay while I'm at school), I sat down to eat and turned on the Tivo. There was an episode of Law & Order on, so I decided to watch it. [this is only the THIRD episode of law & order that I've watched in my life... hard to believe, isn't it?] Anyway, at one point during the show, the detectives had a valid search warrant to search a woman's house and also to search a gray Mercedes that a parking attendant saw her driving the day of the crime. As it turned out, the car at the woman's home was actually a silver BMW - not the same kind of car specified on the warrant. One detective (older guy) wanted to search the car immediately anyway, and his partner (younger guy) was on the phone to get the judge to approve a search for the silver BMW instead of the gray Mercedes. I was practically shouting at the TV - "No, don't do the search without getting the warrant fixed - if you do, the evidence can't be used in the prosecution's case in chief under the exclusionary rule!" The detective on the phone was saying basically the same thing to the senior detective, and the response of the senior detective was: "So that's what they teach you when you go to law school at night?" HA!

Ok, my life is sad. Sad, sad, sad. The upside is that I am actually learning stuff. The downside is that I'm yelling at fictional characters on a fictional TV show trying to explain the exclusionary rule to them. This is not a good way to relax in the evening. I really must remember to bring my knitting next week!

Wednesday, September 7

Nothing new this week

I've really got nothing knit-related to say this week... The only knitting I've done in the last week is a few more rounds on my stripey sock. I'm now at the toe, so should have them finished up by this weekend, and will post pictures then. I didn't make it to the LYS to pick up my Frieda yarn over the weekend, because I got the store hours confused. Oops! I'll be heading over there next weekend for sure!

We made slight painting progress over the weekend. The two green blobs are now gone, and now there is a pretty red blob instead. I think I'm getting close to finding the color for my wall, BUT this particular paint is only available in satin finish and not flat. The windows in the room reflect too much light off the wall to use a satin finish, so next weekend we'll be visiting a few more paint stores to find a similar color that comes in interior flat.

The post-holiday week started out somewhat badly for me, with a dentist appointment (two replacement fillings, ugh), a not-so-good really long drive to the south bay including a run-in with one of California's finest, and 4 hours of class. After yesterday, I really needed to sit and knit. BUT, I left my knitting at home on Tuesday morning, so no knitting until the weekend for me. Grrrr. I was thinking that it would be good to leave my knitting home so I could focus on school for the week, but I'm not going to be doing that again. Now, back to the books.

Thursday, September 1


Just got a message from the LYS... the Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk I ordered several months ago to make Frieda came in today. Woohoo! Now I just have to find some time to go pick it up and start knitting my first sweater.

On a more somber note, please do what you can to help out the people who have been affected by the hurricane and subsequent tragedies - donate, pray, etc. A couple of knit bloggers have started a blog to facilitate donations from fellow knitters.