aswim in knits

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

pup-tacular Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We ate turkey. Mashed potatoes. Cookies and pies. Roasted brussel sprouts. Plum pudding. Lasagne. Most, but not all, at the same meal.

We slept in -- until 9:00 or later! -- four days in a row.

We played with nieces, watched TV, and hung out with family.

We also measured dogs for sweaters ...

That's Aza Boo, the 5-pound pomapoo (pomeranian/poodle cross), and my mother in law. Boo is wearing a teddy bear sweater that doesn't cover her backside. So, my knittin'-MIL decided that we need to outfit the pup with some new handknit duds that are designed for dogs. Would it be wrong to use Baby Cashmerino for a dog?

And welcomed a new dog into the family.

This is Amber, a purebred Golden Retriever, who is now living with my in-laws. She was formerly a show dog, but apparently is just too laid back to be a good show dog. But, that makes her a great family dog! My MIL is also planning to train her to be a therapy dog -- Mim is the director of health care for an order of nuns.

Thanks to a box of Milk Bones, Amber is my new buddy. She might just get some of Ace's Favorite Cheesy Dog Biscuits for Christmas! (And, if I find time, her very own pooch blankie...)

Monday, November 27, 2006


Subtitle: I feel like procrastinating blogging but I haven't uploaded the photos yet.

Borrowed from every other blogger out there ...

It's a New Meme


1. Yourself: unsettled
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse): understanding
3. Your hair: good
4. Your mother: goofy
5. Your Father: retired
6. Your Favorite Item: ring
7. Your dream last night: swimming
8. Your Favorite drink: g&t
9. Your Dream Car: Volvo
10. The room you are in: office
11. Your Ex: needy
12. Your fear: heights
13. What you want to be in 10 years? mommy
14. Who you hung out with last night? husband
15. What You're Not? fit
16. Muffins: eh
17. One of Your Wish List Items: time
18. Time: more!
19. The Last Thing You Did: meeting
20. What You Are Wearing: sweater
21. Your Favorite Weather: springlike
22. Your Favorite Book: engaging
23. The Last Thing You Ate: Maalox
24. Your Life: busy
25. Your Mood: bummed
26. Your best friend: husband
27. What are you thinking about right now? practice
28. Your car: dinged
29. What are you doing at the moment? procrastinating
30. Your summer: distant
31. Your relationship status: married
32. What is on your TV? TNT
33. What is the weather like? unseasonal
34. When is the last time you laughed? yesterday

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

chugging along

Good lord, this BBPBP* is taking a long time...

Here's where I was as of yesterday. I was home sick, so I did a little knitting, but not much. (That's how yucky I felt! Much better today, thank goodness, as we are about to spend the weekend with the fam-damn-ily.)

I think this needs about another 3-4", and then it will be done! I swatched for the edging on the commute in to work today, and I think I am going to go with an i-cord bind off. I think it will match the slightly rolled neck edge nicely, and from what I can see on my swatch, it is firm enough to keep the bottom edge from rolling too much.

Hopefully, by the end of the weekend, including a couple of 2+ hour car trips, it will be done!!!!!

* Big Brown Paper Bag Poncho

Monday, November 20, 2006

BBPBP* progress

*BBPBP = Big Brown Paper Bag Poncho

Chugging along ... here is a photo from last week.

It looks about the same now, but another couple inches longer. It's at 18" now, and I am aiming for 22", I think. I'm going to put it on waste yarn later today and try it on.

Any suggestions for how to finish the bottom edge? I want it to be pretty and I want it to lay flat. I don't like the look of garter stitch. I think a hem will be too thick in this yarn (18 sts/4in), and keep the bottom edge from draping properly. An applied i-cord probably won't keep it from rolling up (but correct me now if you know diffferently...).

Ribbing will pull in too much, I think. Right? Or could I do something like a 3x1 rib and get away with it?

I'm thinking that the 2 best options are either several rows of seed stitch or a couple of rows of single crochet, finished perhaps with a row of crab stitch.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

completed bed socks for Boss Lady

I finished these a couple of weeks ago, but never took a photo. So, here they are -- the completed "Bed Socks for Boss Lady".

Project Specs:

Yarn: Debbie Biss Baby Cashmerino
Color: 204? sky blue
Gauge: 6 sts/in
Needles: size 3 Addi Turbo
Pattern: Friday Harbor Socks from KOTR
Modifications: Added a row of eyelets between the cuff and the leg to run ribbon through (per Boss Lady's specifications that bed socks are always be-ribboned)

These looked pretty scrunchy until I blocked them on some homemade sock blockers ... you can see that the ribbing is still pulling in a bit, which is fine. I'm sure that between now and Christmas, it will relax even more. The cuff flattened out nicely. I probably could have blocked them out a bit better, but they are ok the way they are.

Back to the big, boring, brown poncho. Yawn.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

new house, we hope

Thank you for crossing your fingers for us. I think it worked.

If all else goes well, here is where I will be living come February ...

This is a lovely mid-century ranch house, spacious but not too big. (Ms. 1890, meet Ms. 1954). And yes, it will have a craft room!

The kicker? It's bigger than the house that we walked away from, with a bigger yard, better decorated, with a new kitchen and updated bath, and room for both cars in the garage Oh yeah, and it was less expensive too!!

Now for the boring stuff ... legal paperwork, financing, blah blah blah. Then, we close in January and get to paint, decorate, and buy furniture.

Decorating scares me -- I know what I like, but I don't know how to make it happen in my own house. Here are a few homes that inspire me ...

In Massachusetts

Family Room

light and airy, with piano

casual and comfy

colorful and cozy

this house -- whole thing :)

HELP! Where do I start? We have a budget to buy new furniture for the main living area (family room) and lots of paint, etc. So much to think about...

Monday, November 13, 2006

bitch slapped by the knitting goddess

Remember all my blathering about finishing up some WIPs so that I could start my Nantucket Jacket with a clean conscience?

I was working on Grandma's poncho using the classic poncho pattern from Blue Sky Alpacas and some beige yarn. I started the pattern, which is pretty easy, skillwise. However, I could not keep track of the increases and decreases. The pattern just wasn't intuitive for me. I ended up with the wrong # of stitches, and it looked weird.

So, I started again. Right number of stitches, still looked like crap.
It rolled along the bottom. Yuck. Plus, look at the weird edging. It's a kind of slipped stitch edge, but because of the way the decreases worked, it just looked uneven and not very "finished" looking.

So, I ripped and abandoned the pattern. I'm now making up a pattern as I go, with a slightly rolled neck and increases similar to a raglan sweater. Can you see the raglan lines in the photo? The back is the exact same thing. I increased every other row to get over my shoulders, then every three rows, and will taper down to every four rows, five rows, etc. until the poncho is about waist length.

(please ignore the toothpaste spatters on the mirror)

So far so good. Except that I am bored to tears. Stockinette in the round, with only a few increases for amusement, and yarn that is the color of a brown paper bag.

As I may have mentioned, I've been in the midst of house-buying, with all its drama and uncertainty. I really wanted to ENJOY my knitting, especially since it's what I use to destress from the above-mentioned house-buying. So, I cast on for the Nantucket Jacket.

I swatched. Got gauge on the first try!

I made some pattern mods, as I wanted a sweater directly in between two of the pattern sizes. In a fit of responsibility, I made all the modifications for the back, instead of figuring out as I go.

I cast on, and knit almost the whole first ball. And damn it if that sucker isn't HUUUUUGE! Like, 3 inches bigger than it should be. I measured again, and my gauge is way off. (In fairness, I swatched and got gauge in stockinette, but never did the second recommended swatch, which is in pattern.

Perhaps I should go down a needle size and swatch in pattern. Dig, dig, dig. ... where is my size 8 Addi???

Oh yeah, it's being used for the poncho.

Now, if that wasn't a clear sign from the knitting goddesses that I had better FINISH UP that damn poncho for Grandma's birthday which was last APRIL, then I don't know what is!

Knitting goddesses and poncho, 1
Danielle and Nantucket Jacket (NJ), 0

The poncho is now about two inches longer than in the photo above. Yawn.

NJ to be resumed once poncho is DONE and MAILED to Grandma :)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

fingers crossed

Lovely bloggy buddies, please keep your fingers crossed for me. We made an offer on another house this morning. So far, so good. Let's see what happens next.

Thank you all for your wonderful comments. Especially those who said "you'll find something even better," or something like that. We think we found something as good for us, if not better. Not too many details yet ... I don't want to jinx it!

Ummm, if you're feeling particularly dexterous, would you mind crossing your toes for us too? Crossing eyes? Crossing cables? Whatever it takes!!

Edited to add: Woo hoo! They countered, we counter-countered, and we reached an accepted offer two hours ago! And they threw in a fridge and a snowblower to boot! On to the home inspection. We know a good inspector :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

scarf for Da

Well, the last of my Christmas knitting is complete. (Yeah, yeah, you can all hate me now.)

Pattern: Intertwined Cables Scarf from the 2006 "Knitting Pattern A Day" calendar, March 14-15
Yarn: Cascade 220, a heathery team with hints of navy and cool purple.
Gauge: 19 sts/4 in, I believe
Needles: Addi Turbo, size 8
Techniques: cabling w/o a cable needle
Male Model: Thom (my fabulous husband)

This is for Thom's dad. Two years ago, pre-blog, he got a hat for Christmas. A year ago, he got mittens. He's hinted that he's aiting for a scarf this year, so far be it from me to disappoint!

This was a fun knit -- the cables were pretty intuitive, yet varied the knitting enough to keep me interested. I've blocked it, and it's ready to be wrapped!

Now, on to finishing a poncho for Grandma's birthday (back in April!) and then I can go snuggle up with the object of my affection. And my husband, if he wants to join us!

damn it ...

So, remember that house that we were buying? We're not buying it anymore.

We found out that the house has asbestos in the attic insulation. The owners refuse to do anything about it, and also refuse to lower the price of the house. Thom and I decided to walk away from it -- the asbestos removal and reinsulation would be a $10,000 job, maybe $8,000 if we do the reinsulation ourselves. And leaving the asbestos there is just not an option, although the homeowners think it is.

So, we are back to square one, and have started looking at other houses. Wish us luck!

Edited to add:
Double damn it! We looked at another house that we liked this weekend, and were going back to see again it tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, someone else just made an offer on it, so now it's also off the list.

This is getting stressful. It was OK until last week, but now it feels like the fates are conspiring against us. I just need to keep rreminding myself that we are in a buyer's market, and that we WILL find something we like.

Thank you all for your comments. It's nice to open my email and have little notes of encouragement.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

the object of my affection

This is the Nantucket Jacket from the upcoming winter issue of Interweave Knits.

I covet this sweater. Normally, I don't get obsessive about designs ... but this one has been on my mind since I saw the preview on line.

I love the moss stitch triangles. Are they gussets?

I *heart* Norah Gaughan. I'll be buying the mag when it hits the street on November 14. (I just got my last issue of the subscription my mom got me for Christmas, and I'm not sure if she will be renewing it or not. I guess I should ask her!)

Did I mention that 2 bags of Berroco Pure Merino came home with me last weekend? The Fabric Place was having a sale on Pure Merino during October -- $5.95/skein. Then, wandering into the store for something unrelated, I saw that there was another unadvertised sale -- 25% off of everything in the store, including items that were already on sale!

So, I bought 20 balls of the Bordeaux color. For $4.50/skein, I wasn't sure that I could find a better deal on any other yarn. And, it's sometimes just easier to knit a pattern with the yarn it was designed for.

The pattern calls for 18 skeins for the largest size, but I think I want to make full length sleeves, so I got a couple extra. I'm not sure what the largest size is, but I would probably want a 42" sweater (I'll have to measure some that are already in my closet!), and that's usually near the top of the size range.

I want to start this sweater with a "clean conscience", which explains yesterday's posting about finishing up things that are in process! So, once the scarf and poncho are done, it will be Nantucket season here at Aswim in Knits...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

stuff, Christmas knitting, and an update to the list of 5

Well, house buying continues.
This week's chapter: "A Very Long Addendum to Last Week's Brief Tutorial in Asbestos Testing and Remediation".
Subtitle: "HVAC Design Flaws: Do Not Lay Airconditioning Ductwork Directly on top of Insulation Which Contains Asbestos".
Additional considerations: "Why husbands should not be permitted to take week-long business trips to the opposite coast while trying to buy a house."

Coaching teenagers continues. This week's lesson: "Think before speaking. If in doubt, keep mouth closed." A good one for all of us to remember.

And the knitting ... that continues too, so that I can hopefully remain sane in light of the above items!

I am getting close to finishing my FIL's Christmas scarf. Hmm, I don't think I've showed this one before. I started it last spring, in April or May. I knit maybe 5" or so, and put it aside. I resurrected it recently, and it's moving right along.

I'm using a pattern from the 2006 "Knitting Pattern A Day" calendar (March 14-15, Intertwined Cables Scarf), and Cascade 220 in a heathery greenish-blue-purple. It's a seaman style scarf, with two wider tails joined by ribbing behind the neck. I've done the ribbing and one "tail" and almost half of the second tail. It will need a good blocking when it's done, as it's looking quite rumpled right now!


Where does that leave me on my list of 5?

I'm doing a DAMN good job of finishing off WIPs and UFO's since I started keeping this list on August 11th. I finished the following items since then:
Technically, the ones with the **s were not WIPs as they were both started and finished after August 11, but still -- NOT BAD!!! (And, many of those non-WIPs were "mental WIPs" as I had already planned the projects...)

I did a bit of storage exploration this weekend. Here's what's left for WIP's and UFO's:
  1. The scarf shown above.
  2. The poncho for grandma. I started it, but there is a mistake somewhere, and my stitch counts are off. I'll probably frog and restart, as I've not done too much yet.
  3. A loooong time ago (2 years?) my mom bought some yarn for me to make her a Must Have Cardigan. I knit part of one sleeve and put it down. I'll need to restart this one entirely, as my gauge will be a lot different now. I now use Addi Turbos (not the bamboo ones I started with) and knit a bit looser. I'm counting this as a WIP, even though I'll need to restart the whole thing.
  4. A single sock that needs a mate. It's the green/blue one shown here, but it's now finished. I guess I never took a picture of the finished sock.
  5. A fair isle mitten kit that I barely started. If I frog it, I can take it off the WIP list, right?
  6. A red cardigan I started for me -- sizing is not right, and I have a different idea how to use the yarn now. If I frog it, I can take it off the WIP list too, right?
Once I take care of these 6 items, I will not have ANY knitting or sewing UFO's or WIP's (just stash, which is another story entirely). I cannot WAIT until I get to that point!!!

So, here's the plan:
  1. Frog the mitten
  2. Frog the red cardi
  3. Finish the scarf
  4. Make the poncho
  5. Add new WIP to list on or about November 14 (more details soon)
  6. Once the poncho is done, cast on for the sock as my "on the go" project, as new WIP (#5) may not be a good carry-around project
  7. Finish unidentified new WIP (#5) and then cast on for the Must Have Cardi.
Wow. Typing up this post made me realize that I've done a lot in the past 3 months, and that I have been pretty disciplined in sticking to my plan. Yay me!

When everything else in my life seems out of control, it's nice to know that I can still BOSS MY KNITTING AROUND! (Control freak? Me? Not at all!!)