A Little Blob (Blog?) of Ketchup!

Wow, has work kept me either busy or comatose! For the past few weeks, I find myself coming home with nothing left to say or give to anyone, and the knitting, well, it jes' weren't happening. If I didn't have to be working (grading, emailing colleagues, etc.), I just went to bed to get ready for the next day's demands.

I did take some photos last weekend of a few things I forgot to post, and last night I finally got going on my tank again.

Alas, the camera went with DH on a camping trip yesterday, so . . . I'll post them Monday. But I haven't fallen off the edge of the world, at least not yet. [Obviously she needs a basic geography course!]

Keep knitting--for mental health! ~Stacie

Angelina's blanket and Katrina back panel DONE!

The back panel of the Katrina tank is officially done! You may note that it is two slightly different shades--that would be one of those beginner mistakes.

I desperately sought and located some extra Katrina in this color, and the kind woman who had already balled it up sent them to me (for cash, of course) and I immediately commenced with her stuff when I ran out of the first skein, conveniently just after the middle row of lace. So the top is a bit more "glacier" than the bottom.

Fortunately, I can start at the bottom on the front panel the same way, with my skein, and switch to her yarn for the top portion, and end up with a slightly two-toned front as well. Somehow I just can't imagine it will turn out BAD. I'll just do what people always say you should do, call it a design element.

And here are two views of the blanket for Angelina (due 4/2/07) that I finally sewed together this weekend: knitted on one side and ivory polar fleece on the other; add a satin edge and it looks like it would keep a baby PRET-ty warm.

Tale of the Frog (with happy ending)

Work on my Katrina shell progresses, but I reached the midpoint of the back, where I repeat the lace stitch I had done at the bottom edge. Alas, my harried brain did not retain the new information, so I found myself doing it wrong, wrong, wrong. I lost count of how many times I did some or all of those five rows, frogged them, repositioned stitches, and tried again. The Katrina was starting to show the wear because while it's not a really "splitty" yarn, my lovely straights have great points, and sometimes I snagged the fibers a bit. I was actually considering cutting the yarn, throwing out the yards that were done and redone ragged, when I got a Brilliant Idea.

I don't get them often, so bear with me.

I would use different needles and different yarn to attempt the pattern as many times as needed until, voila, I figured. it. out.

So I grabbed a smaller set, some sport weight wool, and the instructions. Cast on ten stitches, started the pattern and got the same mistake--but wait! I'm not supposed to let the YOs go when I reach them, I'm supposed to knit them so that I regain the stitches I lost when I P2TOG the row before! [Picture light bulb coming to life with a faint gleam, which is all I give myself credit for at this point.] So I redid the little swatch and it started to actually work, and finally I was recreating the pattern I had so successfully done on the bottom edge of my tank just a week before.

[choirs of angels sing majestically; shafts of light slant downward from the storm clouds and wash over Stacie's face]

So I took up the real work and began to rework those rows, talking out loud to myself the whole time, and finally it worked.

Lessons learned:
1. Break away to a swatch when I'm struggling, rather than shred the real yarn and have to re-orient the stitches correctly time after time. I can't tell you how many times I "lost" a stitch in trying to rethread them on my needle and had to do emergency measures to catch it and reclaim it.
2. Follow the pattern directions. I skipped the part where it said, in plain English, Rows 3,4,5 purl across. I just purled once on Row 3 and then moved on to the pattern again. DUH. I can hear my mother saying, "Stacy, slow down and think about what you're doing."

Now I'm well into the last rows of the regular back, getting ready to begin decreases for the arm holes. I'll post a pic when I have the back done.

~Happy knitting!


Let's start with the downside. It sounds like this--"ah-HHHHHuh HHHHuh HHHHuh, ahem Mmmmmm." Repeat ad infinitum. Yep, I am coughing my brains out. (Why is "Aqualung" running through my head? I wonder.) Excessive coughing means a headache is ensuing, and I have the Advil at the ready. Just need some lunch in my stomach first.

But the upside is this:

A bit of time to post on my blog! The Katrina shell I've started is coming along, slowly (too much grading to do, and too much sickness that has left me napping whenever I can). My friend Monica, fascinated and grateful for the knitted things that come her way due to my obsession, but also a little dubious that her friend Stacie, the young-middle-aged person she knows who strangely enough LIKES knitting and wants to knit at the least provocation, seemed to REALLY admire this one, and that's lovely. But it's pour moi!! However I may take orders for future sleeveless shells. :^)

I've also been working on my friend Deanna's felted purse, with teal as the dominant color, per her request. As you can see, purse still needs a bit of a haircut. Didn't the striping/patterning come out really interesting? I used a more solid Malabrigo that was mostly dark teal and then alternated with another of that line that was more greeny-blue, and this was the result given each one's natural striping tendencies.

What do you think about these I-cord handles, y'all? Should I use any of 'em for the purse handles? None of 'em?

I love the way the Malabrigo ones turned out like little watercolor snakes. But the fuzzy stuff is not doing it for me. I should probably ask Deanna, no?

After lunch and a nap (why do I feel like a kindergartner?) I will grade exams and then perhaps get some time for knitting again. Adieu until I have much more progress to report!

George models his new hat

I hear that George liked his hat a bunch! (I didn't see him as DH left at some horrible pre-5 a.m. hour to meet him for their snow-shoeing adventures.) Here's a pic of him--I want to block those ear flaps and flatten them out for him. (Note to self: one k stitch at each end of the row is NOT enough to stop curling of stockinette stitch.) I'm pretty proud of the I-cord ties and their ends, which I twisted and knotted just like the book told me to. I think I'm getting pretty good at this stuff.

I am still working on the last rows of that baby blanket, but I'm also in the middle of the last part (handle I-cords) for a felted purse I'm going to give to my friend Deanna, and I started the "Same But Different" tank in The Yarn Girls' Guide to Beyond the Basics, which my DM gave me for my birthday LAST year. Guess it takes me a bit longer to move beyond the basics to the point of trying a real sweater. But I'm excited--the bottom edge is done in a simple lace stitch that I have previously been to intimidated to try. But the model version was so pretty that I stretched myself and found after frogging it four times that I could do it, and I wasn't even fazed by the need to start over four times! I'm using Katrina (Paton's) and found that it's been discontinued, so I'm now scrambling for one more skein (found 1-1/2 on Destash--luckily) and realizing that the days of buying a few skeins of something to use "someday" are probably gone. I need to purchase yarn with a specific project/pattern in mind now.

Ain't that lacy stitch purdy? Katrina is a bit stretchy, made mostly of rayon, so it has a lovely sheen.

I'm going to make DD3 a kitty hat which she has requested, but I can't remember where I saw/had the pattern for this--pretty simple--hat. I remember that it is a rectangle, basically, with ears. If anyone knows, I'd love to hear your source for this cute quick project.

Happy knitting!

Here's the hat!

Here's the hat I made for my friend George. He and DH are going snow-shoeing tomorrow.

DD3 is very sleepy but agreed to model it for me, with ear flaps added. It's been a long day, and knitting has left my fingers achy. But in a good way. ;^)


I received a kind thank-you letter from Kathy and Kathryn at the Interim House (to acknowledge receipt of my yarn contribution--I had found a bunch of great yarn from someone's stash at Goodwill, skeins of alpaca, mohair, and wool, not moth-eaten, and with "vintage" labels--what a find!) and I also have checked the latest on their website. This yarn is going to a great cause, people! and the knitting gospel is being spread far and wide, among all kinds of people with all sorts of occupations, interests, and hobbies. I think I'd better stop before I start the "come-to-Jesus" speech. :^}

I also was contacted by our winner, Lis, whose email had gone to my spam folder. Talk about overkill! I had 500 spam emails, of which one was a REAL letter, and it had to be Lis's. Geez. Murphy never rests. Anyway, Lis turns out to be a fairly recent convert to knitting, which is so exciting. I'm mailing off the prizes on Monday, and they will make it virtually impossible for Lis to say, "Honey, I need to head to Joann's for a darning needle" or etc. because she will have ALL the accoutrements. Sorry Lis, you can probably think up another excuse--"Honey, I'm headed over to Joann's because I need yarn." It will take him a few months to realize that this is hilariously out of whack with the reality of your stash. However, speaking of stash, Lis will have a bit more now, because part of her prize package includes some skeins of PeaceFleece, a few interesting navy skeins flecked with primary colors, and some things I have in green, her favorite color.

I'd like to have posted my latest work on the baby blanket (it's almost ready to sew to the backing and finish up) and a hat I'm making for my friend George in SWS "natural earth" but the camera is NOT OPERATIONAL due to DD2 not having put the batteries in the charger. Ahem! But I have to forgive DD2 because in a few hours, I am going to see her perform in the Battle of the Bands, with her band Pizookies, and she's singing "I Want You Back." How could I be annoyed with someone so cool that she recognizes a Jackson Five song as perfect for her band???