Saturday, December 29, 2007

They Call This Walking?

I have what my doctor calls "walking pneumonia."

I call it the "sleep 16 hours a day, wheeze the other 8, barely stagger around the house while coughing up a lung" thing.

On the positive side, I need to sit absolutely still in order to avoid coughing, which affords me lots of knitting time.

On the negative side, I'm exhausted, coughing, and the house-cleaning I had planned to do this week is absolutely not happening.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Loving the colourwork

Yes, I spell like a Brit.

I adore-adore-adore working in two colors. I have a bad case of second-mitten syndrome: I decided that it's better to give everyone ONE finished mitten with a promise of a second, rather than having two finished pairs and two empty boxes-with-promises.

I also have to finish the socks (or at least the first sock!) for my mother.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

When patterns don't give enough info

Right now, I feel like an idiot.

I started "Matrix" from the latest Knitty. I modified the cast-on to be tubular and made it one size larger than the largest given in the pattern, but otherwise followed the directions as stated.

The first 3 inches look terrific.

Then I hit the increases for the thumb, and that's when my troubles started: because the increases happen on every other row, and each row is a different color, so the standard "picking up the running yarn" to Make1 didn't work at all. After much fiddling around, I changed it so that I increased on the dark colored rows (not light) so that I could increase from the line of dark stitches running up each side.

It's still not great,but at least it doesn't look like heck. Fortunately, my DH isn't the picky type when it comes to handknits.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Playing with Gauge

This is why I love being a math teacher:

When I want to knit "Matrix" but my already-purchased and husband-approved yarn is giving me a gauge of 6 stitches per inch (and it look really good like that so I don't want to try bigger needles), instead of the recommended 5 stitches per inch, I know how to fix it! Since the palm pattern is a repeat of 2, and the back pattern is a repeat of 4, if I go up 8 stitches from the largest size, then take those 56 stitches and divide by 6 = yup, a circumference of just over 9 inches.

The fact that I cannot spell "gauge" correctly to save my life is probably part of why I'm not an English teacher.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Why I'm not paying it forward

Seems like all the cool kids of the knit-blog world are Paying it Forward this year. I love the idea, and nearly signed up twice... but in the end, I didn't. Why not? I love to get gifts, and I love to knit for other people; what's to lose?

Well, here's the thing. I'm surrounded by teenagers (very nice ones), many of whom have been asking me for the past year or more when I will knit them something. Last year I only knit for four of them. This year I'm working on mittens for another three, but then may try to do a few more. And it makes me so happy to knit for people I know and care about. When you add in all the knitting I do for my own family, I just don't see myself living up to my Pay it Forward obligations.

Best thing I cooked recently: pecan-cranberry bars, but now I can't remember whose blog originally featured the recipe. I'll post the link when I do find it. My department loved them and sucked down a double recipe in two days.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

In which I love the new Knitty

Actually, I always love Knitty.

Even though I would only knit about 25% of the patterns they publish, the fact that it's free, always available, and contains a huge number of patterns by different designers makes it a fave.

In this issue, I'm adoring Jeanie (cables with dropped stitches? Wow... and I love the Dream in Color yarn), Tudora (for those days when I would just lose a scarf), Matrix (except for those long floats on the thumb... got to do something about those), and all the sock patterns.

I wonder if Tudora is fast enough to be a good Christmas knit?

Thursday, November 29, 2007


The last great thing I cooked: pasta with cheese sauce, nuts, and sage. Sort of a grown-up mac-n-cheese.

1/2 cup heavy cream, heated slowly in a saucepot with
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
a few torn up sage leaves

After sauce is done, mix with 1/2 pound pasta, cooked and tossed with a little butter
Sprinkle with toasted pecans and freshly ground pepper.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Still no photos

but I've finally finished the red knee socks for Son #1!

Next up: a couple of baby socks from Cat Bordhi's new book. Plus huge orders from Knitpicks and Blue Moon. (I told my husband I was either going to eat to deal with the stress, or shop. Bless him: he told me to shop. So I did.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

it's been a month already?

Yeah, about that.

Everyone else in the blog-o-sphere is blogging every day of this month, and I can't even manage to do one post in a month?

Let's just say that coaching volleyball was crazy, that I love my classes but they keep me busy. Now that volleyball season is done, i should have a little more time to knit and post.

Maybe even learn to take and post pictures? Now that would be radical!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Lost in sock-land

I'm up to the heel on my green cotton sock (knitted toe-up) and it's about 1/2 inch too short for my foot. Am I knitting tighter than I did on the first sock? Probably. Do I just keep going, ignoring the mismatched patterns? Probably.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Black bra, white T

Yeah, that's what I wear when I get sick.

If only I would remember to change before I walk the dog, and run into all my neighbors. They now think (they already thought, but have had it further confirmed) that I'm a fashion nut-case.

I've been sleeping every free minute, trying to hurry this cold along so I can return to health.

My green cotton sock is a great knitting project when suffering medicine head.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

So tired I'm floating

Not really. But it feels that way: I'm moving very slowly and gravity seems to pull very effectively on dropped items, so that they plummet just out of my reach.

My red-socks-on-2-circs have been stalled at the calf shaping for almost a week. I added an extra purl stitch between each of the ribs, so that a "K3P1" became a "K3P2" on the back half. But this didn't seem to do enough. Last night, I had another idea: larger needles! So the back half of the sock is going onto a larger needle for a few rows, and then the front half will also go onto bigger needles. Thus, I will have

1) calf shaping
2) my size 2's free to knit my second green cotton sock!

Now if only I were sufficiently awake to have some confidence in this plan...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Now I Understand...

Now I understand why some bloggers miss an entire week at a time: it's called Real Life and it does get in the way.

For me: start of school. One class unexpectedly gets three more students. Coaching eats up tons of time. New students need coddling, attention, support.

No knitting time, either.

However, I did get a swift and ball-winder for my birthday!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Missing them

For the third time this year, a blogger I adored is shutting her doors and sealing all the windows... saying goodbye, in other words.

It's always a nasty shock to me when this happens. I guess I could understand why MedStudentWhoKnits needed to change things up when she ceased to be a med student. I'd always wondered how Miss Snark kept up her business while also posting thousands of words (intelligent, well-thought-out words) each day. And now, one of my daily favorites, GoldPoppy, has announced that she is through, at least for now.

I loved her posts. She always had fantastic photos. She sometimes shared poetry by authors I'd never discovered before, but now count as favorites. She could be outrageous, whimsical, and devout, all in the same paragraph. She shared a lot of herself in her daily blog entries - very brave, that woman.

I will miss her.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Not dead, just gearing up for the start of school. I foolishly decided to knit my grandmother a scarf for her birthday, which is in 11 days. Good thing I've got bulky yarn and size 13 needles.

The last great thing I cooked: cold poached salmon and roasted vegetables (potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes) with remoulade sauce. By substituting soy sauce for the Worcestershire sauce, I even made the sauce vegetarian! (Yes, I realize that anchovies and salmon fall in the same category of "not-so-vegetarian." The vegetarian did not eat the salmon, but he did enjoy the vegetables and sauce very much.)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Whining has its uses

Having spent the last post whining about my troubles with the "two-socks-at-once" concept, I was inspired to think about what was causing these problems. And - why didn't I do this earlier? - a little thought was able to solve several of the biggies.

1) Every time you flip the needles over, check which way both free ends of yarn are going before you start to knit. This mostly takes care of the "why is my yarn wrapped around the needles twice?" problem. If you alternate which way you flip the needles over, you can also solve a lot of the "tangled yarn" problems.

2) Before you start to knit, tug gently on the needles you're holding. You should feel tension. If you don't, you aren't holding ends that belong to the same needles. Correct this.

3) It turns out that you don't have to remove one sock to knit the other heel.

4) Laddering is hidden much better if you place it along one of the knit-purl interchanges.

Now I'm past both heels, and cruising up the leg!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Why NOT to do both socks at once...

I have a bad habit: I get bored after one sock. Right now I have three single socks waiting for their mates to arrive.

Thus, I decided that knitting both socks at once (on two circular needles) would be a great idea: get them both done, take no notes in the process... what could go wrong?

Well, a couple of things. Six, to be precise.
1) Using the wrong ball of yarn on the wrong sock. Happens more easily than you'd think.
2) Knitting onto the wrong needle. (I couldn't even figure out how to transfer the stitches to the correct needles, and had to tink back 24 stitches.)
3) Increased laddering problems. Probably due to all the wiggling around the needle does when knitting the "other" sock.
4) Problems #1 and #2 seriously slow things down.
5) Yarn tangles. 'nuff said.
6) Can't knit in the dark, can't knit while talking... in short, this sock is no longer "casual transportable knitting" but has turned into "heavy concentration, only when sober and awake" knitting.

I think that when need to focus on one sock at a time to turn the heel, I'll just put the "other sock" onto stitch holders and finish them one at a time.

Adding to my pain is the fact that I foolishly used the same needles I will need to knit the second cotton sock- and right now, it's really cotton-sock-wearing weather. Maybe both socks need to go into hibernation for a while until the second green cotton sock is done...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Seven Random Things

I read enough blogs that said, "I'm not naming any names, but consider yourself tagged if you want to..." that I will consider myself tagged.

1) I spent about a decade thinking I was allergic to pine nuts. I'm not. (Long story short: in college, my roommates and I made a dish that involved roasted eggplant and toasted pine nuts. It made my mouth itch horribly. Since I "knew" I wasn't allergic to eggplant because I ate it in stir-fries every week, I blamed it on the new ingredient: the pine nuts. Much later, my father-in-law pointed out that old eggplant, when roasted, can be quite bitter and itch-inducing.)

2) I met my husband when I was 24, but I spent the previous decade just missing him. To wit: I went to a math camp at Hampshire College when I was 14; my husband's father guest-lectured there, and my husband debated attending it that summer, but chose music camp instead. Also, in college, I lived downstairs from his best friend. And our first year in grad school, he wrote me out of the blue to ask me to join a pick-up Ultimate team, but I had to decline because we had lab meetings at the same time.

3) The longest I've ever lived somewhere is 8 years.

4) I'm half-Asian but I have hazel eyes and dark blond hair. Various students of genetics have told me that I'm a "one-in-ten-thousand" since those are the odds of the black hair and brown eyes not being dominant.

5) My husband is also half-Asian.

6) So are our children (duh!) although some people prefer to call them "two-quarters Asian" to distinguish how the lines of inheritance go.

7) People have been trying to teach me to knit since I was about 12. It didn't stick until I was 32. The key was that I am, apparently, born to knit Continental (yarn-in-left-hand) style. Once my colleague Allison (who learned to knit in France) taught me, I was off and running...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bad blogger... no biscuit!

Still no action with the camera.

I'm almost finished with the first red sock for my son. Sadly, I turned the heel too early. So now the sock is destined for my younger son instead of my older one - I bought enough Regia to make socks for the whole family, so this just means a slight rearrangement in the queue.

Still coughing. So annoying. I got sick 16 days ago... shouldn't I be symptom-free by now?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Long time no post...

Felled by a nasty summer cold, I spent the past nine days snurgling, sniffling, and attempting to sleep.

In the midst of all this, I did manage to graft my first Sidewinder sock... and it fits! and looks lovely! (No pictures yet. I still haven't had time to work out the camera-download-uplink sequence.)

I also ordered some 16" circular needles from Knitpicks and two balls of their new cotton sock yarn, Risata, in green. I started a sock from Sensational Knitted Socks (the 5-stitch repeat, toe-up Yarn-Over Cable.)

Nothing exciting has been cooked recently.
I haven't finished any books, either.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Ungrafting or degrafting?

Yesterday I realized I was making excuses about why I hadn't picked out the messed-up grafting on my Sidewinders.

You see, while grafting is tedious and time-consuming, I neither hate it nor fear it. I reserve those emotions for its close cousin: picking out grafting. I had some experience with this when I made my second sock. The first toe turned out fine (I was just blindly following directions), but something went wrong on the second toe and I had a nasty mess to pick out. If I look really closely at those toes, I can still tell which came first and which came second!

And then yesterday I had an unexpected hour of freedom: no children, no urgent errands, nothing to occupy me but the men's quarterfinals of Wimbledon and my Sidewinder. So I very slowly and carefully unstitched my stitches during each commercial and change-over. It took me the entire hour to undo five grafted stitches. (Federer won. So did Djokovic.)

I'm off for a weekend at Mystic, where no complicated knitting will occur.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Early Morning Knitting

I had high hopes of showing you a finished Sidewinder; alas, my enthusiasm for the sock overcame my common sense and I tried to graft the long seam late at night. I was about 5 arduous stitches into the process when I realized I had the right sides together, rather than the wrong sides. At this point I abandoned the poor sock and went to bed.

At 5:30 this morning, I was awakened to handle an overflowing diaper.

Since I do, occasionally, learn from my prior mistakes, I did not attempt to unpick my grafting this morning. Instead, I put another 20 rows on my son's blanket, which is in garter stitch and therefore requires fewer brain cells.

I think it's all blanket knitting for me today: even two mugs of tea can't shake the fog out of my brain.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Why a blog?
Well, the short answer is that I got sick of being called "sadly blogless" by everyone around me.

What will I post about?
My three current passions in life: knitting, reading, and cooking. (My other passions include math and my family, but those aren't likely to make the blog.)

Currently reading: "Blood and Iron" by Elizabeth Bear and "Rainbows End" by Vernor Vinge.
Currently knitting: a Sidewinder sock, a blanket for my older son, and a Little Leaf Lace Scarf
Most recently cooked: a lovely salad with arugula, toasted pine nuts, roasted beets, a few cherry tomatoes, and a little blue cheese crumbled on top. Dressed it with a homemade dressing of olive oil, rice wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.