Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowed in and happy

I guess that being snowed in has its advantages. I'm finally getting around to posting to this blog. Sorry for the long silence! First things first: SP13 Question #2 was about holiday knitting. I wasn't going to do any (yeah, right). My daughter decided just last week to go to Buffalo NY over winter break. I hadn't gotten her any Hanukkah presents yet, so I had to get busy.

She had been asking for a hat from my handspun yarn for a few months. I have only been spinning for a few months and felt that my handspun was both poor in quality and precious at the same time, since I haven't done much spinning at all yet. So I have kind of been hoarding the yarn, fondling and criticizing it.
Then I saw Stephanie Pearl McPhee's "Unoriginal Hat" and thought it would be perfect for my bulky, uneven yarn. Here's the result:
I must admit that I'm pretty pleased! This was my first spinning with dyed roving. It's from Reflection Farm, and I really love the way the colors came out. Total serendipity, since I had no idea what I was doing in either the spinning or the plying. I hope my daughter wears it and likes it. The really good news is there's enough yarn left over that I can make a second hat for myself, thus continuing the fondling/criticizing cycle for a while longer.

That is the sum total of my holiday knitting.

The weather! Yikes, it's been scary here. Now, if I still lived in Massachusetts or Vermont or even New York, this wouldn't be such a big deal. But here in the Puget Sound area, we just don't get snow. It rarely gets below freezing, and if it does, it doesn't last long. I won't give you a rerun of this story; there is much weather to be had everywhere now. I do, however, live on an island. There are many, many large old evergreens all over the island, and the power lines are NOT buried. We lose power frequently. During the last wind storm, we lost part of the roof and were without power for a week. With the temperatures hovering in the teens and lower and with winds predicted upwards of 50 mph, the kids and I had a family meeting and decided to get out of Dodge. We are fortunate to have a dear friend in Tacoma with whom we are now camped out. Here are a couple of views this morning:
Since I started this post, the sky has gotten even darker. I think there is more snow on the way. In the meantime, my kids have been knitting as well. Dalya made a hat based on a character from South Park:

She also has crocheted Kenny, and is moving on to Kyle or Cartman, I'm not sure which :Please don't ask me why the test is suddenly underlined I don't know and I can't seem to change it. This is not a link!
Finally, my son Ben has started knitting a hat. Black, of course, since he is nineteen and very cool. I'm trying to convince him that colors are fun (and a lot easier to see when you're knitting!). Here is his first knitting in the round. I'm impressed. Of course, I'm his Mom:

Well, that is it for now. I have some essays to write that I MUST finish today. I have some very dark chocolate to help me with the process. Stay warm!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Hair Day

I've been a bit promiscuous with the hair color lately.I've gone from blonde to less blonde to red/pink/yellow/orange to this, which I really, really like. Thanks, Aura for the photo, which I lifted from your blog. This woman is a color genius and she is well worth a trip to Tacoma WA from just about anywhere. So what do you think?

Meanwhile, I did, in fact, teach my son to knit and he has really taken to it! I didn't want him to learn with crummy needles and cheapo yarn, so we went and got him Addis and I let him pick the yarn. When he said "This one just leaped out at me," I knew we had another member of the club. I'll try to get a picture of him in the act.

Life has been quite challenging lately, and I really don't want to say any more than that right now. Suffice it to say, I am working very, very hard to keep things positive. To Secret Sock Knitter: I will try to be more communicative!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Now Hear This

All of us must raise our voices against the armies of hate and fear.

Monday, November 17, 2008

It really has been of the worst days ever. Not in a dramatic like I totalled the car sense, but in a "I'm so stressed that my head is going to explode" way. Nevertheless, I look on the bright side, at least when I can. And perhaps I should, as one piece of news I received is that I have a severe vitamin D deficiency. Now, I saw my mother experience the excrutiating pain of SURVIVING malignant melanoma. I have worn sunscreen religiously ever since. And where did it get me? Vitamin D deficiency! Which, apparently, is not such a small deal. OK, enough. Here's something to look at:
This sock is made from Blue Moon's socks that rock mediumweight in a colorway called Titania. I think it is no longer available. It's been fun knitting this Cat Bordhi "sockitecture" so far, but I'm not yet in love with the sock. We'll see when I have a pair.

This yarn is from the first roving I tried dyeing. I rather like it! The yellow yarn is merino and was a challenge to spin, as it was the first merino I ever tried to spin! I found that spinning "from the fold" really made a difference, and I "learned" it from Abby Franquemont on youtube. She is a fabulous teacher, and I hope to get some actual instruction from her some day, to augment the "virtual" instruction online.

I also finished something, but since it is a gift, I can't post a photo right now. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 10, 2008

SSShhhhhhhhhhh-----don't tell!

If you are a knitter, you will get this. If you are not, just forget it. Don't spread it around, but imagine how I feel: my 18 year old son wants to learn to knit! I want to scream, but please, let's keept this quiet. We don't want to scare him. Here's the item I made him that seems to have sparked his desire:
I will report here on progress. Now please, please, don't tell anyone!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Here I am back for more of Secret Pal. This was so much fun last time, I just have to play again. Here are my answers to the questionnaire. I'm answering them again because maybe I have changed a bit since the last go-round.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I like so many yarns, it's hard to answer this. I love natural fibers; I haven't met one yet that I didn't like. I'm not fond of scratchy wools, and I don't really like the feel of acrylic, although in some blends it is quite practical, like things the kids will throw in the washer and dryer. I lust after Malabrigo, which I haven't used, and other soft hand dyed yarns.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I recently acquired a nifty little binder style case for my circulars. I don't use straights very often, but have some lovely wood ones in my Bagsmith knitting bag, not really stored, I guess, just there. I have yet to find good storage for my double points, which I guess is why I'm always losing at least one.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I started knitting when I was 7 or 8. My mother taught me, but she taught me to knit into the back of the stitches, so my knitting was twisted. I re-learned from a book, and I've been learning things from books ever since. I would consider myself an advanced intermediate. There isn't much knitting that can scare me, but I think my technique is not great, especially when it comes to altering patterns and some finishing techniques. I did pass Level 1 of the Knitting Guild's Master Handknitter program, but I have balked at attempting Level 2. It's more fun to knit things than swatches.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I do have an amazon wish list, and my username is AbbyC

5. What's your favorite scent? Philosophy Pure Grace, which smells like soap and water, fresh baked bread, lilac, lavender, stargazer lily, night blooming jasmine, vanilla.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I like cheesecake and ice cream, but I don't like candy much. I do eat small amounts of very dark chocolate -- strictly for health reasons, of course ;D

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I do spin, and I LOVE it. I'm a beginning spinner and not very skilled, but it is like meditation therapy to me. I make lampwork glass beads (on a torch) and that is a fun and somewhat dangerous addiction. I also sew, and have been making clothes since I was 8 years old. I do a little quilting. I used to make cloth dolls obsessively, but haven't done that in a while.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) What kind of music do I not like would be an easier question to answer. And that answer would be "country and western". I'm also not a huge fan of free form jazz. That said, I like many kinds of music. My 160 GB ipod is almost full! On it you will find, for example: The Decemberists, Girl Talk, Mozart, Elvis Costello, David Bowie, The Who, Vampire Weekend, Chris Thile, Bob Dylan, Of Montreal and on and on...

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? Purple is my favorite. I also like red, pink, periwinkle, deep yellow, pumpkin, browns, black, some greens. No color I don't like, but there are colors, such as pale blue, that don't like me.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? Two teenagers, one siamese mix cat.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? I like scarves but don't wear them much. I like hats and do wear them, I love mittens and hate ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Socks, lace, hats, gloves. I have yet to make a sweater that I am crazy about wearing, although I am fond of my tilted duster. I prefer wearing cardigans to pullovers because I often feel too warm, but my hands and feet get cold, thus the love of socks and mitts.

13. What are you knitting right now? "We Call the Pirates" hat for my son, Whisper cuff cardigan from "Inspired to Knit", Coriolus socks from Cat Bordhi's latest book, and I am about to start the irtfa'a faroese shawl by Anne Hanson.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Sure.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Depends on what I'm knitting. I mostly use addi turbos for everything, but occasionally I stray to wood needles, straight or double points.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes to both.

17. How old is your oldest UFO? I have one ghastly sweater that I started about three years ago, DaCapo by hanne Falkenberg. I will never finish it. I don't like the colors, and it is the size of a small city, for some reason (garter stitch, I assume).

18. What is your favorite holiday? What winter holiday do you observe? My favorite holiday is Purim, a Jewish holiday that falls in February or March, usually. In winter I observe Hanukkah. My second favorite holiday is a tie between Passover and Yom Kippur. Really.

19. Is there anything that you collect? Books, music, yarn, fiber, glass. I aspire to collect those amazing figures like the ones at They are very spendy!

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I would like to get Franklin Habit's book. I don't think I need any needles. I mentioned malabrigo. Of course, I love Socks that Rock and anything from Blue Moon. I reserve the right to add to this list!

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Lots of spinning techniques. I'd like to get better at intarsia and learn to do cables without a cable needle. As mentioned above, my finishing techniques could be better, and I still need to learn proper fitting. Robin gave me a great book to help with that, but I haven't had time to take advantage of it yet.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I love knitting socks because: my feet are small (size 5 1/2), the yarns are gorgeous, they are quick to make, they need no blocking (as far as I can tell) and they always fit. Wearing hand knitted socks is a little heavenly.

23. When is your birthday? February 24

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID? Yes, Abbyknitz (big surprise there, huh?)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I can't help myself

I simply must share the voice of reason, and outrage, here, once again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We are in grave danger

I must take a break from the joys of knitting, spinning and other creative endeavors to share this video with you. This is from Keith Olbermann's show on MSNBC. He rightly calls out a phenomenon so serious, so dangerous, and so extreme, that everyone who calls her or himself an American MUST pay attention. Watch, and then do what you can to ensure the safety of ALL Americans. Educate yourself. Think for yourself. And please vote.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Glad you're not incognito, Robin

So, due to circumstances beyond somebody's control, my Secret Pal was not able to play. But lucky me! I get to be spoiled by the wonderful SP Hostess with the Mostess (?) Robin! I came home from work the other day tired and a bit cranky. There were two packages awaiting me from, or so I thought. I opened the first one and "Huh? I didn't order this! What is this book?" Well, that book is Custom Knits, and I had never seen it. And I thought I had seen just about every knitting book out there that was worth seeing. So I looked at the cover. Hmm, I'm not crazy about that sweater and I don't surf. I leafed through the pages. Hmm, some nice sweaters, but nothing is knocking my hand-knitted socks off. I checked the mailing label to see who was supposed to get this book that had been delivered to me by mistake. Well, no mistake, and not from amazon, either! It was from Robin! Wow! A gift! I don't get too many gifts, being a single parent of two teenagers. Well, I decided to look at the book a bit more. I have no idea who reads this blog, but FYI, I have ADD. So when I looked at the Custom Knits, I did just that, I looked. Then, oh, then I sat down and READ the thing. It is simply AMAZING! This is the book I have needed since forever, and THANKs to Robin, who obviously carefully read the answer to question number 12, I now have this incredible tool at my disposal. You see, this is not a book about finding pretty sweaters or even more, pretty pictures to knit. This is a book about knitting garments that you love to wear; that fit. I am absolutely in love with this book. If, like me, you have knit one too many sweaters that look good on anyone but YOU, run and get this book. Well, just go to your computer and order this book. It is a treasure trove of information and wisdom. Not only does this amazing woman Wendy Bernard show you how to knit with nary a seam to sew up, she gets down to the knitty gritty (pun intended) of figureing out what the heck you SHOULD knit that you will actually wear. Also included here are instructions for making your very own, custom dress form with a t-shirt and duct tape. I remember years ago seeing this technique in Stitches magazine and I always wanted to do it. Now I am inspired to actually make the thing. I know it will be a shock to see my actual, real shape hanging next to me, but a dress form is a marvelous thing -- trust me, I went to F.I.T. way back when. Robin, this was the absolute most perfect surprise. Thank you so very much.

Now, if that wasn't enough to make my week, the next day this little package appears, and inside were the loveliest stitch markers ever. They are fimo and in my favorite colors. Again, Miss Robin is an astute reader. I know this is true. Look, aren't they cute?
Thanks again, my not-so-secret pal. You rock!

I have much more to blog and blather about, but right now, pizza calls. I've made some from scratch for my son's last dinner at home before leaving for college. Yikes! How did this happen? Seems like he was just a baby yesterday. Well, he's a magnificent, sweet and smart young man now.

Pizza time. Back later.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Do the Puyallup!

I'm not the biggest fan of the Puyallup Fair. Usually I go and end up spending too much time looking at things that simply don't interest me. Or, I get sucked into someone's sales pitch and buy some widget or other that I neither need nor want, and it ends up not working as promised anyway. But this year was different! I made a day of it with my friend Robin, and saw and did exactly what we wanted to see and do. Of course, the fiber-bearing animals were at the top of my list. Here are some of my favorites. Aren't their faces just heart-melting? I asked someone last week what really distinguished sheep from goats. He ridiculed me, but from the sign below, I'm obviously not the only (city girl) one to be confused! Oh, and yes, I know none of these is a sheep! Sheep photos and a special thanks to Robin Martin SP Angel in my next post.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

SP12 Question 12

I’m sure most of us have a proudest moment when it comes to knitting. A project or technique that you’ve tackled and completed beautifully. What is your proudest knitting moment??

And on the flip side? What is the one thing that you can’t get right? What is that one project that you’ve never been able to complete? Or that you did complete but then hid away instantly because it was too embarrassing?

These two questions have provided me with much food for thought. I don't have two distinct answers, but here is what I realize about my knitting from contemplating them: When I select something to knit, I almost always make my choice based on the knitting experience I want to have. So I guess that makes me what is called a process knitter. A long time ago, I knit an Aran sweater out of hideous, cheap navy blue acrylic yarn for a (long ago) boyfriend. I obviously had no idea how to select quality yarn (I was VERY young), and I had no understanding that navy blue would not show up my patterns very well. But I wanted to knit Aran, and knit Aran I did. I enjoyed following the various patterns and completing each piece of the sweater. I think the guy did wear it, but it was a pretty sorry, saggy mess. Still, in some ways, I am STILL proud of my effort, and yet embarrassed at the result. See? It fits both questions.

Another time I decided I wanted to to knit some argyle socks. I had never knit ANY sock before, and again, I enjoyed the challenge. This time, because the materials were high quality and the color choices sound, the finished product was quite wonderful. I was very proud! The only embarassing aspect to this project is that I knitted them for a very undeserving (yup) boyfriend. He had no idea what kind of work went into the socks, and I don't know if they were ever worn. Still, I do think back on them with pride, because I learned how to make socks!

Another long-ago project was an intricate Patricia Roberts design. I think this was about 20 years ago (I've been knitting since I was seven). The sweater was knit entirely of a mohair/silk blend. It had a "background" design of repeating, large bobbles, and the front AND BACK were an elaborate intarsia scene featuring dogs, curtains with 3 dimensional ribbon ties, a clock, and a pot of (also 3 dimensional) flowers. I think that is a correct description. The main color was a beautiful cranberry. The bobbles were pink, and I can't remember what the dogs were. I worked like crazy on that sweater, and it was a true work of art. Only problem: I do not have the kind of body that looks good in a large, patterned, fuzzy mohair sweater. (Does anyone other than a model?) I also tend to be warm, and therefore I almost never wear sweaters unless they are cardigans. So I wore this fuzzy thing maybe once or twice. Believe it or not, I ended up selling it on ebay, probably for far less than the cost of the yarn. So here again, I was proud; I had created what I still consider a minor masterpiece, but the choice of sweater, for me, was quite embarrassing, and just plain wrong!

I have certainly made knitted items that I or the recipient both love and wear, but I have yet to make a sweater that I have ever worn more than once. If you check my ravelry queue, you will see that I do plan to make some sweaters. I hope I wear them!

Sorry for the lack of photos, but these relics from my past were never documented. Well, the fuzzy mohair was when I sold it on ebay, but I think that photo is long gone....

I have some yarn waiting for me when I get home from California for two sweaters. Stay tuned to see their fate!

On being a Vagina-American

This is too funny:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

SP Question and My New Do

This week's question is "What is the best thing you ever got in the mail?" I've had several answers come to mind,but the one that sticks out most was my college acceptance letter. That was a pretty big deal, and going to Bennington College certainly had a huge influence on my life. So yeah, that's my answer.

My big news this week is that I am DONE with blonde! Wasn't born to it, sort of liked it, but it didn't express me. So, without further "ado", here's my new "do"!
This wondrous, permanent color is courtesy of the brilliant Aura Mae, of Azarra Salon. You can read Aura's blog here, and find out about Azarra here.

What else is new? I'm still spinning! I am trying to learn what to do with this cute little Ladybug. Here are my second and third yarns. The second is the same Corriedale mix as the first yarn, posted earlier, I just dyed the yarn. The third yarn is from a dyed roving that I got at Reflection Farm in Eatonville . I have some more yarn, but I will post it another time. The interface with blogger is really frustrating me right now, so I am going to go learn some things about it and be back to post later.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

SP Question: Olympic Style?

This week's question is: Which Olympic event best describes my knitting/knitting style? First, I have to admit that, although I love the Olympics, I haven't watched them much this time around. I HATE the way the American network presents the games, and luckily, we get Canadian TV here as well, but I simply haven't had the time to watch. That said, I will share one of my favorite, yet little-known events: Track bike racing! This is an amazing mind game. You have two strong, fast cyclists on a very banked track. They are in a race, but each one is trying to be LAST for as long as possible. Why? Because this is a race of strategy as much as a race of speed, maybe more so. The cyclist behind is in control in that at any moment he/she can swoop up the bank and down in front of the other cyclist to win the race. The cyclist in front has to constantly worry about what is going on behind him/her, and has to decide when to "jump" or speed up as much as possible to (hopefully) avoid getting caught/passed. If the second cyclist moves too soon, then the advantage of surprise is switched to the NEW second. If the second cyclist waits too long, the chance to grab the victory is lost. It's amazing. They go around the track so SLOWLY, just waiting for that moment. I hope someone has seen this event and enjoyed it. OK, so what does all this have to do with my knitting style? I don't know, I just think it's cool!

But now that I think about it, I sometimes do start a knitting project slowly and then race to the finish line. I think about it, plan it, purchase my supplies, copy the pattern and get everything all together, so I'm not hunting around for, say, a cable needle. Then I go nuts knitting. So I hope you buy that analogy. I really just wanted to write about track bike racing.

Now, long ago, in the 80's, I lived in New York City, and I used to ride my bike around Central Park every day. Once, while I was tooling along (not fast) a handsome young man rode up beside me and struck up a conversation. He, too, rode in the park every day. I'm not sure why I didn't see him before, but it was probably because he was riding so FAST. That young man was none other than Nelson Vails, who was the world champion bike racer in the 1984 Olympics. Here he is now:
Nelson got his start as a bike messenger in New York City and now lives in Colorado, where he's still riding!

Come to think of it, so am I, except I cycle mostly in spinning class at the gym. Have a great weekend! Spinning post(s) coming soon...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

No Fair!

I have been to the Puyallup Fair a number of times and frequently thought I should enter something, but I never have. I think the entries need to be in around now for the fall and I just never have my head wrapped around the fair at this time of the year. So, no. Nope. Won't do it anytime soon.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Duster Redux

Just in case you were waiting with bated breath, here is the finished Tilted Duster. I call it a success, especially considering the disaster it almost became.

SP12 Again!

The new question is: "What is your favorite supper for a hot summer evening?" I guess my favorite is one I don't have to cook! But really, for summer? I love fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, vine ripened tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil. A cold plum soup or mango gazpacho beforehand would be lovely, too.

Unfortunately, it's not hot here! Not at all!

Now, on to more important things, like my new spinning wheel! Here she is:

I have never spun on a wheel before, so I just jumped in with both feet (pun intended) and spun some really bad yarn! But amazingly enough, I love it anyway. It is soft and smells nice and I like looking at it. Here is the first 65 yards or so of very bulky corriedale:

And one more thing, a fun one, for fans of Firefly -- or not -- Ben's Jayne hat!
This was so much fun and such a quick knit, that I already made another one. Not sure who's going to get it, either Dalya or me. Photo to follow soon....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

SP More Questions!

What is your favorite type of project to take along on holiday/
vacation? Well, I never seem to pick just one project! Of course, socks are a must. They are probably my favorite things to knit on planes because they'll fit into any carry on bag, even my laptop bag. Then I usually pack something in my checked luggage that I can work on for a longer time, because I'll probably finish the socks. Maybe a sweater or a complicated pair of gloves or mittens. I might bring lace, but if I do, I'll be sure to bring something else really easy to knit in case I mess up the lace and have to really concentrate to fix a mistake. I also pack my interchangeable needles because I will almost certainly buy some yarn and want to start a new, unanticipated project and I'm tired of buying needles I already have. (At last count I found I had seven Addi turbos in size 5.) Crazy!!!

If you'd like to share a story…Tell us about a time that you packed too much knitting or were stranded without knitting.Well, I always pack too much knitting, in that I almost never finish everything I bring along. Ok, here's a story. I wanted to knit the Leaf Lace sweater (I think that's what it's called) from Loop d Loop. I ordered some pretty celery green yarn from Knit Picks and packed it up to go on a trip. When I took out the pattern, yarn and needles, I discovered that I had somehow stupidly bought the wrong weight of yarn, so I could not start the sweater! Of course, I rushed out to a lys and bought yarn in the correct weight. You can see the sweater on ravelry; I think it's entitled "I must be crazy".

I guess that's enough for now. Tomorrow I will try to post the finished Tilted Duster.
Good night!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fessing Up! For SP12

I have been remiss, and I apologize! Here are answers to both last week's and this week's questions:

Yarn that would make my stash complete: Well, I don't know if it could ever be complete, but I have never used and would like to try Socks that Rock and Malabrigo sock or other Malabrigo yarn. I think the flat feet look really fun, too!

The yarn I never want to be without is Cascade 220, which I'm sure I use more than any other non-sock yarn. I'm just finishing up that tilted duster, and of course, I used Cascade 220.

This week's questions:

Favorite place to vacation: either New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago. I love big cities more than anything. Little ones, too, like Boston ;)

Where I'd like to go: Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, Africa. And Herrang for Swing Dance camp, even though the mosquitoes are rumored to be the size of pigeons.

Hey, I made Ben a hat from Wooly Wormhead's book "Going Straight" It was so fun and easy to make! All these hats are made on straight needles with short rows. Brilliant!
I also made Ben a cute washcloth with a skull on it. I found the pattern on ravelry and I'll post a link when I photo the washcloth. He likes it!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Duster Disaster/Miracle

I hardly know where to begin, so let me start by saying that Norah Gaughan is divine. I'm a huge fan, as the drool stains on my copy of "Knitting Nature" can attest. We've had a very cool spring here in the Pacific Northwest so I got a jump on making her Tilted Duster so I'd have it for autumn. I was thrilled to finish the skirt and even though it was supposed to be 90 degrees yesterday, I decided to knit the collar.

Oops. That's when I saw the unbelievably stupid
and huge mistake. Take a look:

Do you see it?


Have a closer look:

Yes, I had carefully attached the left and right front bodice pieces to the wrong sides. Now, I have been knitting since I was seven and sewing since I was eight. I know how garments go together, so how did this happen? Well, I have ADD, and I didn't read one little phrase in the pattern carefully enough. When making the right front, just prior to binding off for the armhole, it says "Mark beg of last RS row completed with removable m or scrap yarn (to mark armhole)."

Italics mine. Yup, I saw that marker when I was putting my my pieces together, and figured it had to be there for a reason. To mark the armhole! So, against my initial instinct I sewed it up as you see above, picked up the stitches and knit the entire skirt.

When I realized my gigantic mistake, the first thing I did was go on ravelry, to the Norah
Gaughan group and share my tale of woe. I swear that within five minutes, the amazing Ms. Gaughan herself responded! Here's what she told me:

I think I understand what you are saying. I’ve had to face a lot of these kinds of emergencies in my career.
I think you should bravely clip a thread of the pick up row on each front and, stitch by stitch, pull out just as much of that row as you need to in order to free the fronts from the skirt. If you’ve used peruvia or another wooly yarn, the loops of the skirt won’t be going anywhere. After switching the fronts You then can graft the skirt back onto the fronts - or join yarn, bind off and sew them back on.

You can do it!

With words of wisdom and encouragement like that from the Divine Miss G, I had to push through and do it.

I never cut a piece of knitting before.

Avoided steeking all these years.

I had to do this, not because I couldn't frog the whole skirt and knit it again, but because frogging would have been the easy way out. I know how to frog! Done it many, many times. But this "surgery" was a knitting challenge. I wanted to prove that I'm smart enough to cut and reattach pieces of knitting.

So, I did it. The first "cut" was not great, and had to reknit the right front, but the second cut
was right on. Have a look:

Here's the one that I "goofed" on, but still, the skirt is saved, so far!

I cried only once. Well, maybe a few times. I yelled at my kids a couple of times when they had the audacity to try and talk to me. I played with these circular needles again and again until I knew where and what to cut, and what to do next.

Deep breath.

Here's the skirt, liberated:

And here is the left front, ready to reattach.

And finally, here are the photos of he deed, done.
Today I knit the collar, tomorrow I block.

When everything is smooth and dry, I'll attach the sleeves. Stay tuned for final photos. Oh, and I still need to find the perfect buttons. Maybe I'll hunt them down later today. I hope this encourages anyone who makes a mistake to take the plunge and fix it. And frogging isn't the only way.I still can't believe I did this. Stay tuned for the finished photos here and on ravelry. And again, Thank You, Norah!!!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

the "Perfect" Stash?

First of all, please forgive my recent silence.

When I was a little girl and I was feeling sad, my mother would say "You look like you lost your best friend." That phrase rang in my ears again and again this week upon hearing that my dear friend, who I've known since high school, Robin lost her long battle with breast cancer. So I've been sad, and quiet, but I have many, many warm memories.

Just last month, I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of Robin's daughter Jessie Here is a picture of Robin and me at the wedding.

I have learned much from my dear friend, and she has always been an inspiration and role model for me. Robin lived life better than most; I always felt she had a better handle on being a grown up then I ever would. I miss her so much. In the coming weeks, I will post some more photos and share more memories.

Now, as to the question of a "perfect stash". Well, if it were perfect, it would be like this:

  • Take up no more space than I could fit comfortably in my yarn bin system.
  • Hold yarns of every hue, value and tint, organized according to the color wheel.
  • Each yarn would come in lace, sock, dk, worsted, aran and bulky weight.
  • The fiber content of each yarn would magically change with the seasons as well as my mood. On hot summer days, I could find a lace weight, or cool bamboo, silk or rayon yarn, but as the days draw closer to fall, I'd find wool, alpaca and maybe even cashmere (hey this is perfection, right?)
  • There would be no acrylic yarns or ugly colors.
  • Each yarn would have the exact yardage (plus a little extra) for whatever I felt like knitting at any given time.
  • Each skein would have it's label intact and legible.
  • My stash would automatically repel moths and dust.
  • If I had to move, my stash would pack itself up, compress into portable dimensions and teleport to my new destination.
Perfect enough?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer! ???

It hasn't been anything like summer here this year. In fact, it hasn't been anything like spring, either. Apparently, this is the worst "sprummer" weather the Puget Sound region has seen in a long time. It's June 18th and the temperature is now 49 degrees.

SP12 wants to know: As a kid, what did you look forward to most about summer vacation/break/holiday?

I was never much of an outdoor kid, so what I looked forward most to was having unlimited time to read, knit and crochet. When I was outdoors, I was usually riding my bike, making sidewalk art with chalk or playing elaborate games of hopscotch. (Anybody remember hopscotch?)

Friday, June 13, 2008

My Favorite Summertime Drink w/Recipe

My favorite summertime drink is: venti decaf sugar-free cinnamon dolce latte with light ice. The recipe is:

Drive, walk or bike to nearest Starbuck's, add order and money. Enjoy!

On another subject, Sock Wars iii, about which I MUST talk (Rule number One) has apparently devolved into an Irish sweepstakes. Yup, it's a lottery, and you have to send your name (if still alive) to Ireland to be drawn out of a hat. I hope it is a BIG hat, since there are over 300 of us left standing.

Actually, I got the news yesterday and my socks arrived today. I guess that means I can still play the game, but I do feel a bit cheesy about it.

Kudos to the folks at South West Trading Company for being such mensches about this whole debacle.

I'll post my very cute socks as soon as I find my camera.....

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Secret Pal 12, I'm Ready!

Here are my responses to the questionnaire:
1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I love the classic yarns; wool, cotton, alpaca. I like lace weight up to aran, but I don't have much use for heavy yarns. I also like bamboo, tofutsies and "new" fibers. I dislike acrylic, chenille and anything scratchy.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I mostly use circulars and got a "second" of The Circular Solution a while back, which is where most of my needles are when not in use. I have been vaguely lusting after a more portable system for circulars. As for straights, I have a few prized pairs of Lantern Moon and other exotic wood needles which I do not have a really good place for storing. BTW, I prefer pointy to blunt on all my needles.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I have been knitting since I was seven and would consider myself somewhere between intermediate and advanced. Not many patterns would scare me off, but I do not enjoy intarsia as much as I think I should.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I do have an wish lists and my username is AbbyC

5. What's your favorite scent?
Stargazer lilies and lilacs. I also love lavender. My least favorite scent is cigarette smoke.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? Not much of a sweet tooth. I do love really dark chocolate, but one bar can last me a month or more.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I make lampwork glass beads and I sew. My bead website is I have done a little spinning on a spindle but don't know how to spin on a wheel -- yet. It's definitely in the plan.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
My musical tastes are eclectic. Some frequently played examples from my ipod: Vampire Weekend, Of Montreal, The Clash, Elvis Costello, The Decemberists, North Mississippi All Stars, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Chris Thile, The Who, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie. I could go on and on.... I also recently started playing the mandolin.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
Purple would be my favorite, but I like most colors.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Two teenagers! No other pets, but I keep threatening.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves: rarely, hats: occasionally, ponchos: NEVER.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I love to knit socks and lace, but I am trying hard to get myself to make more sweaters. I love to wear cardigans. Pullovers usually make me too hot. I like making hats, gloves and mittens also. I also like to knit tank tops and summery lightweight feminine things.

13. What are you knitting right now?
I am in the middle of my third pair of Detonators for Sock Wars iii, Norah Gaughan's Tilted Duster, that beautiful cable and lace top from the latest Vogue knitting, a pair of Monkeys (sock pattern from and I am sort of trying to make the Lotus Blossom tank.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Of course!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I love Addi turbos and want to try their lace turbos soon. In straights, I like the exotic (read expensive) woods like rosewood. As I mentioned above, I like my points pointy!

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
About three years. It's a Hanne Falkenberg Da Capo that just got way out of control. And I don't like the colors anymore.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Just one? I'd have to pick Purim. Close runners-up are Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving and Halloween. The Summer Solstice is particularly fun in Seattle ;)

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Besides dust bunnies? Yes, BOOKS, beads, glass (for beadmaking), jewelry findings and tools, music. Looking at my closet, I think I also collect shoes and bags.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Oh, man. See my wish list. I always lust after the Rowan magazine, but since I've never knit anything from it, I have trouble justifying the expense. I subscribe to: Interweave Knits, Knitter's, Vogue Knitting and Cast On (TKGA mag).

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I would like to learn spinning on a wheel, get better at drop spindle spinning and learn the secrets of intarsia.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Oh, yeah! My foot is small; I wear 5 1/2 or 6 in shoes, depending on how they're made. I have a very high instep.

23. When is your birthday?
February 24. Pisces.

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID? My Ravelry ID is Abbyknitz.

More about me: I have ADD, I love to read, I am short. I love the ocean and snow.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Greetings from the Garden State

That's New Jersey to you! I've been back here for five days having a fabulous time with friends and family old and new. While here, I finished my second pair of Detonators, but so did my second victim, so it appears the next phase of this game for me is in the hands of the postal workers. My weapons have to get all the way to Winnipeg, so this may be the end of the line for me, but who knows?
Since I am currently in Sock Wars limbo, I started a pair of Monkeys for myself out of Tofutsies. It's a very pretty yarn, not quite as easy to knit with as wool, but a good weight for summer. Photos of them soon, but here are the Detonators.

Tomorrow I fly back to soggy Seattle.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Random thoughts and stuff

I will make this brief because the sun is shining and that doesn't happen too often here. I finished my Detonators and they have done their work, so I can post a photo.

I also finished the Retrorib socks I'd been working on. I finished them while I waited for my next weapon to arrive. Here they are:

I love this yarn, and can't for the life of me remember what it was. If you have any ideas, please let me know!

I have a bumper crop of traumatic and stressful events in my life just now and they are of the nature that I can't write about them quite yet. But I'm experiencing panic attacks and that is very, very scary. Heart racing, chest tightening. The only things that help are exercise and knitting. Even playing my mandolin doesn't seem to calm me down, which is weird. I guess I need to practice more!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I love the Lotus Blossom Tank. I REALLY love the Lotus Blossom Tank. I knitted the Lotus Blossom Tank. I was about 45 pounds heavier than I am now, and even at that weight the thing kept growing like an invasive weed. I never finished it, but I still LOVE the Lotus Blossom Tank. So tonight I am going to frog the whole danged thing. Here's what it looks like now. I really do like the yarn. And the pattern. Oh yeah, I said that already. Well, it's about 95 degrees today and we have no air conditioning so I'm going downstairs where it's cool and watch TV and frog.

And sock wars! Ha! My weapon is en route. I expect to be killed any day now, however. I'll post a photo of the finished socks when my victim has capitulated.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Yup, War is Hell

Just in case you doubt it, I am knitting for a large footed person 3000 miles away. Lesson I should have learned from history: do NOT attempt an untried weapon in the heat of battle. I have never tried knitting two socks at a time (in any method) but deployed this questionable strategy yesterday.

I cast on and ripped. I attempted to rib and ripped. The frogs had a field day. Assassin: you may rest easy, here's all I actually did yesterday (and now I'm wasting time writing about it):

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thirsty for Blood....

Well, maybe not exactly, but Sock Wars III is about to break out and I AM READY!!!!!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

My how the time does fly

This is going to be a wimpy post because I have no photos or anything, but I gotta, I just gotta get back to this blog! As a very proud new member of ravelry (Abbyknitz is my handle), I do feel the need to publish or perish :)

That said, what's on the needles right now (photos to come, promise): Tilted Duster in Cascade 220 heathers in a teal color; some gorgeous wool I can't remember the name of for Retro Rib socks, to be completed soon, really!!!!

I have finished the last socks I photo'ed and when I find them I will post a photo. They are very pretty but the yarn fights the lace a bit and they both suffer for it.

Anxiously (in every sense of the word) waiting for my "dossier" and the first salvo in Sock Wars III. This is one of the craziest things I've ever heard of and seems like one of the most fun.

Languishing on needles: hanna falkenburg Da Capo sweater. This thing just grows and grows, even when I'm not knitting it. I think it is breeding, actually. I'll do a photo, blah, blah, blah.

Started those cute hedgehogs from Fibertrends (I think) and got about ten rows done before I lost interest.

That's it for now, except to say that I really am BACK!!!! Who knows, maybe I'll even start working on Level II of the Master Knitter's program from TKGA. Well, maybe......

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Time for a Fresh Start

In celebration of my FINALLY joining ravelry, I am starting a brand new knitting blog. In the next few days, I'll post some photos of finished objects and works in progress.

Right now, I'm on vacation in Southern California, enjoying a welcome sunny hiatus from the endless rain of Puget Sound. It's a little hot for knitting, but I have begun Nora Gaughan's Tilted Duster. I'm also trying to finish up the Retro Rib Socks I began about a year ago so that I can try out the "2 socks at a time" on one long circular. I brought some beautiful red yarn to get started, but so far, nada.

Photos to come. Welcome to my blog! You can view my "old" blog, Knuts4Knitting, by clicking here: