Knitting by Judy @ 8:58 AM

A new Springfield resident?
A new Springfield resident?

Thanks to Duffy at FiberQat, who thoughtfully provided this link, I’ve been Simpsonized.

I’ve never thought that yellow was my best color.

Matt Groening grew up in our lovely metro area, and it’s common knowledge around here that Springfield is actually . . .


Yeah. I know. You thought I was going to say Springfield, Oregon. But I saw an interview with Mr. Groening where he admitted that a lot of the inspiration for Springfield was a little closer to home. But I do believe that Springfield, OR should have won the rights to host the opening night. I mean, really!

So, go thou gentle reader and get Simpsonized. It’s a lovely and fun little time sucker. 😆

Knitting by Judy @ 10:50 AM

Little Cow Bag with Little Cow
Little Cow Bag with Little Cow

Check out this little Posy Sock Sack I received in the mail Friday from Knitnana at Nana Sadie Rose. Isn’t this just the cutest thing?

I don’t live in Vermont or Wisconsin, but I do love cows. Which is maybe a little strange, now that I think about it, because my Mama was terrified of cows. She told me once that when she was a little girl she used to have nightmares about her neighbor’s cow, Bossy. In Mama’s dreams, Bossy, with gnashing teeth and flared nostrils, was chasing her across the field. And Mama knew, in her dream, that if Bossy caught her she would be eaten. Some cow, eh? Wonder if Bossy’s milk was pre-curdled? But I digress.

I love cows. And so when I saw this bag over on Knitnana’s blog I immediately emailed and asked for one just like it. And doesn’t one of my mini-herd of little cow tape measures look just perfect with this bag?

In the picture, you can just see the interior fabric of the bag. Yep. It’s cow spots! And flannel, so it’s soft on needles and accessories. Inside there are four slim pockets for DPNs or crochet hooks, and a larger pocket that’s perfect for Little Cow.

The Posy Sock Sack is just the right size for any small project — socks or mittens or a hat. It has one strap that can be slung over your shoulder like a backpack. And it’s washable. What more could you ask for?

Sheryl asks:

I would love to knit a shawl for my mother in law. Could you suggest a pattern and yarn for a first time lace knitter. Simple as possible, please.

I would suggest something like Wendy Johnson’s Fir Cone Wrap pattern. This pattern uses the most common laces stitches, so you will get a feel for knitting lace. But it’s a relatively uncomplicated, over-all pattern, so it will be easier to see how the lace is actually constructed. It has a very nice garter-stitch border that is knit at the same time as the lace.

Wendy knit hers from Seasilk, a lovely yarn to work with. But I would suggest substituting a wool or wool-blend for a first-time lace knit. Wool, because it’s has more give, is a little more forgiving than silk. It’s also not as slick and stays on the needles better.

The blocked dimensions of this wrap are 25″ x 66″ — a pretty decent size for a wrap. But you could make a larger one by adding more pattern repeats. Go look at the chart included in the pattern (I’ll wait right here while you look). See how the middle section of the chart is a 10-stitch pattern repeat? To make your wrap wider, cast on more stitches. Just make sure that the extra stitches cast on are in multiples of 10 — 10 or 20 or 30. Then knit the 10-stitch repeat over those extra stitches every row. To make your wrap longer, repeat the 16 rows of the chart a few extra times until your wrap is as long as you want it. Remember that it will grow when you block it! Check the unblocked vs. blocked dimensions given in the pattern to see this in action. And wool will block out larger than the Seasilk did.

Also remember that if you make your wrap bigger, you will need more yarn. Plan accordingly. 😉

For a really wonderful how to reference, it’s hard to beat Eunny Jang’s Majoring In Lace tutorial. It’s very comprehensive and covers lace from how to match needles to yarn, to how shawls are constructed.

And now a tiny bit of own-horn tooting. 😳

New Pathways for Sock Knitter: Book One

Cat Bordhi’s new book New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One, is being released on August 1st. Finally!

I had the privilege of exploring a couple of Cat’s new sock architectures at the Magical Moebius Workshop I attended last spring. They are marvelous and wonderful and magical. I can’t wait to see this book and the two volumes that follow. Cat’s brain works in strange and mysterious ways, and I know that she has come up with wonders and adventures for sock knitters everywhere.

Cat Bordhi’s Portland book signing
Cat Bordhi’s Portland book signing

Blue Moon Fiber Arts is hosting a little book reception for Cat at the World Forestry Center (over by the Zoo) on August 17th, 7-11 PM. That’s a Friday, but if you want to check your calendar, I’ll wait right here.

If you are anywhere within striking distance, please plan on attending. I think it’s going to be loads of fun. Cat will be talking about her knitting adventures, and will have samples of socks from the new book. Cat is a hoot, and I have seen her socks and they are wonders to behold. Come and show Cat how enthusiastic Northwest knitters are!

Isn’t it perfect that Blue Moon, the lovely ladies that bring us Socks That Rock and other marvelous yarns, is hosting? Perfect!

And now, the tiny little bit of self-horn-tooting: It might be that a blogger you know has a wee mention in Cat’s new book. Something about a Magic Cast-On. 😉 (It’s as close to fame as I am ever likely to get!)

Knitting |Sockapaloooza by Judy @ 8:16 AM

Sockapalooza 4 commemorative bag
Sockapalooza 4 commemorative bag

Look! A commemorative Sockapalooza 4 bag! I ordered this one (for my Sockapalooza pal) here from Allena at Knitting Ewe On The Go. OK… I ordered a second one for myself, because isn’t this just the cutest thing?

Allena has several different fabrics in different colors and the completely-reversible bags can be ordered in any of the choices. You can even have the inside different from the outside and the tops different from the bottoms. I ordered my pal’s bag with the spotted fabric on one side, just in case someone isn’t wild about little monkeys. My bag is three different monkey fabrics, because I’m a monkey lover.

There’s not a lot of time until Sockapalooza Mail Date, but Allena was great about getting mine out really quickly.

And… you can always order one just for you! Heck… order one even if you’re not a Sockapaloozer, because they’re just so dang cute!

Daisy (who was gypped out of an entire hour of her birthday and thus legitimately gets to forgo aging this year) asks:

I am looking to try knitting a shawl this winter, do you think the “Great Green Glob” would be a good pattern to try as a first lace shawl project? Yours is looking wonderful.

Thank you, Daisy!

I had to think about this one for awhile. But I think I would not recommend this particular project for a first lace shawl project unless you already had at least some lace under your belt (so to speak).

Except for the plain garter rows between motifs, every single row in this pattern is different. That means that I always have to haul the charts around with me because there’s no way to memorize the pattern. And because the pattern can’t be memorized, it’s hard to get into the rhythm. It doesn’t make a very good traveling companion. Also, there is a knit-on border, and that’s tougher than having the border part of the shawl pattern itself. And when you finish that, there’s still the I-cord edging to do. A lot of it, because it’s a fairly big shawl.

All that being said, however, the stitches themselves aren’t terribly difficult. The motifs are mostly YO’s for increases (with a few M1s), and SSK and K2tog for the decreases. There’s also a Slip 2, K1, psso that the pattern abbreviates sskp. And that’s as tough as it gets.

But if all that doesn’t scare you off, I’d say go for it!

not so globby, but still green

Last weekend wasn’t all Harry Potter. I did take a little time out now and again to work on the Great Green Glob. I finished the pine trees and the sand dollars. Next up is the water. Then bubbles. Then fish. Then one border. Then another one. Then some I-cord. And it keeps on getting bigger and bigger.

Some of it looks a little wonky in the picture. In person, the seagulls are flying straight and the trees line up and the sand dollars are round. I didn’t do that great a job pinning it out for this picture. I really need blocking wires to keep it straight. But, it’s really not nearly as wonky as it looks.

Since birth, the Great Green Glob has lived on a variety of needles. It’s currently on an Addi Lace needle. I really, really, really love those needles. I can’t imagine a better needle for lace — and that include the Knitpicks needle that the Great Green Glob was on previously.

Knitting bouts were but brief interludes. UPS (do those guys have great legs, or what?) delivered my preordered copy of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows at about 11:00 AM on Saturday.

In grade school I used to drive my reading teachers nuts. My reading habits used to drive my Mama nuts, for that matter. As I child, I always had my nose stuck in a book, no matter what else I might be doing at the time. But… confessions, now… I rarely read a book from front to back. I read them back to front. I read them front, then back, then middle. I start randomly in the middle and read towards both ends at the same time. I skip around. If the author skips from character to character, letting one rest for several chapters, I will skip ahead to find out what happens to that character and then go back to catch up to the others.

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

So… I will admit it. I read the last part first because I didn’t want to wade through 750 pages to find out. Then I started back at the beginning, with a resolve to read it cover to cover, no cheating. And I kept my resolve.

Risking being branded a heretic, I will say that I think the beginning was a bit of a slog. But somewhere around the middle, the action picks up considerably. I don’t think that knowing parts of the ending made the middle part any less exciting. I was turning pages quickly and reading fast and I couldn’t wait to get to the next part. The last 1/2 of the book was definitely a good read.

I will not give anything away here, never fear. If you want to start at the end of the book… you’re on your own. I found the ending satisfying. For one who cut her teeth on fantasy, it wasn’t all that surprising (again, this does not imply I don’t think it was a fun read). But it was satisfying. Ends were tied up, questions were answered, etc. I give it star.gifstar.gifstar.gifstar.gifstar-half.gif

Now… on to other things.

What do you think you would get, gentle reader, if you crossed Yahoo Groups, My Space and Widipedia, then added yarn? Well, I’m not sure exactly either, but I’m betting it would look a whole lot like Ravelry. I know you’ve probably heard enough about this already. But, no matter if you don’t plan on organizing yourself, this is a terrific tool. If you haven’t already, go and get yourself in line for an invitation. And there’s a new feature where you can look yourself up and see where you are in the list. I know that people are being sent invitations just as quickly as possible. I waited 3 months for mine. It’s so worth it!

If you’re already on Ravelry, add me to your friends list, or look me up. I’m there as jabecker (I’m so incredibly creative with names — I’ve used this screen name various places for 15 years).

In other news, #1 Son returned from his travels. His first bit of business, I thought, was to find gainful employment. He would, he told me, but not during his birthday week.

Excuse me? Birthday week??? Since when does anyone get a week off just because it’s their birthday? 🙄 Welcome to the real world, my child.

I expressed my displeasure.

#1 Son starts his new job tomorrow. 😉

Knitting by Judy @ 10:11 PM

My last post certainly stirred up some interesting discussion!

I really wish that I could have come up with a snarky reply. But I was literally speechless. And that is odd, because usually I’m pretty good with a quick come-back.

But I will have the last laugh (sort of). The person who asked if knitting was a nervous habit is the wife of a colleague. They are expecting a baby in November. I will be kitting for them — they’re having a girl, and girl’s things are so fun. And I have quite awhile to come up with something snarky to say when they open the present.

Maybe… It can be a productive nervious habit, can’t it?

Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments. 😈

dragon scales and lace
dragon scales and lace

The Dragon Scale socks are progressing. You can see that I’m almost up to the gussets and there’s a couple of rows of overlapping scales now.

Sheila asks: What’s driven me to (finally) comment is that perfectly round toe on the dragon scales sock!! OMG. Is that a virtue of knitting on circulars?

Ah, yes, gentle reader. That can be attributed to my Mad Knitting Skilz. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain the sock blocker with the very round toe that the sock is stretched over. Mad skilz. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😆

The picture shows the socks not stretched over a blocker. Still a fairly nice roundish toe. But maybe not quite as round as the picture from the last post.

Also getting a little love from yours truly is the Great Green Glob (aka the Pacific Northwest Shawl) — mostly because I’m insanely jealous as I watch all of the lovely MS3 samples springing up all over the knitosphere. And I didn’t sign up. Because I knew I needed to get this done first. (See… I have a little discipline – one lace project at a time.)

But not a lot of knitting is getting done this week because…

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows

Last weekend I went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix I liked it. A lot. I thought it an excellent example of how to condense a weighty and wordy tomb into the most germane portions for film. There were a few things left out that I thought should have been included. But on the whole it was a good job. Dark. Very dark. Maybe too scary for really small kids.

And then I started looking around the house for my copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I can’t find it. It has disappeared into the black hole that is my house. I looked in all of the likely places. So obviously it’s either in an unlikely place or I loaned it out and have forgotten. At any rate, tonight I stopped by a bookstore and picked up a new copy, which I will now read quickly, because…


My copy is already on order. Guess what I will be doing this weekend?

Knitting |Sockapaloooza by Judy @ 10:24 PM

dragon scales
dragon scales

The Koigu and I had words.

After it practically crawled out of the stash bin, insisting that it must be knit, I wasn’t going to let it get away with not telling me what it wanted to be. Several swatches later, I forced it to cough up its secret.

It had delusions of dragon-ness.

The stitch pattern is Dragon Skin, from one of the Barbara Walker Treasuries. The stitch pattern, as written, didn’t fit into the gauge I got going around my foot with the Koigu. I had two choices: I could make the pattern smaller, fitting more repetitions in one round. Or, I could make the stitch pattern larger, with fewer reps in a round. I opted for the latter because I thought that the larger scales would play with the colorway better. I love the way that the yarn is mostly grays, with little blings of gold and orange and green and blue.

If I were a dragon, I wouldn’t mind being gray if I could wear multi-colored sparkles.

keychain sock blocker
keychain sock blocker

And this is a little keychain sock-blocker that I knit a little sock for. It will be going to my Sockapalooza pal along with the Java Leaf Socks.

The yarn is a tiny bit of leftover Seasilk from another project. When going through the stash looking for the last of the Cherry Tree Hill so the little sock would match the bigger socks, I ran across the Seasilk. Since the colors are reasonably from the same family, I thought it would be fun for my Sock Pal to have an almost-matching but slightly swankier keychain.

There may be a few other things coming my Sock Pal’s way, too. 😀

Now… I have a question for you, gentle reader.

Saturday I went to a muggle party. It was a fun party and I had a great time. As we all sat around the back yard (perfect BBQ weather), sipping on beverages-of-our-choice and such, I whipped out the dragon scale socks and started knitting.

Is that a nervous habit that you have? one of the other guests asked me.

Nervous habit? I replied. I have to admit I was sort of speechless — and you know, gentle reader, how rare that is! But I really wasn’t quite sure how to respond when my chosen craft was relegated to the level of… I don’t know… a twitch or foot tap or something.

I knit because I really enjoy it and it’s relaxing, I finally said.

The other guest nodded. But I could see that I had just validated for her that what I did was… A Nervous Habit – capitalized, but nervous nonetheless.

I was a bit put out. But after I thought about it… I knit when I’m waiting in line, or I have a quiet moment, or I want to keep my hands busy, or I want to relax.

What do you think? Is there a tiny grain of truth in that question? Is knitting nothing more than A Nervous Habit, or should all nervous habits somehow be raised to the level of craft?

P.S. For those who commented on the Brioche stitch on the Java Leaf Socks. I wasn’t sure if that’s what I should really call it. The first round is worked as YO, K1, P1, repeat. In the second round, the YO and K1 are knit together, and the P1 is purled. So, while the knit stitches are, I guess, technically Brioche, there’s the purl stitches there that make it… something else. Brioche rib?

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