Monday, January 31, 2011


This is a knitter's morning. The sky is dark and gloomy, sending down intermittent but steady showers of rain, and the air is cold. Not cold by the standards of anyone in the part of the country getting slammed with winter storms, but cold by the standards of those of us in a metropolitan area whose temperatures hovered in the low seventies all last week.


I am snuggled on the couch with the dog, and any minute now, the water will boil for coffee. Of course, my knitting is out too. I very intentionally went stash diving for my last two projects: combine a stash tote that won't stay closed with paying tuition and it's no wonder I'm feeling the need to be frugal. Unintentionally, I also ended up knitting patterns I've done before.

Already off the needles is a Mousie (modeled with Stella, who was too simply exhausted to protest). This is my fourth Mousie to date (the most famous being my own international traveler Mousie), and I can't say enough about the pattern. Ysolda is known for her all-in-one knits, and she extends this philosophy to her toys as well as sweaters. Mousie's turnip-y body extends right out of the tail, and then the feet are knitted right on to the body (which makes for some stares if you do that part on the bus), ditto the ears, and by the time you're that far, the whole little thing is so cute, even I am not put off by having to seam up the sides of the ears.

(Yes, this is a substandard picture. Dark, rainy mornings are not conducive to photography indoors or out.)

Still on the needles, inching towards completion, is a hedgie to match Mousie. The hedgie (Smith) is another Ysolda pattern, so it follows her all-one-piece ethos, but as the designer herself said, anything with spikes is a little fiddly to knit. Even the second time around, this is true. I knit my first Smith a year ago, to accompany a sweater for a little cousin. Remembering the gist of the pattern has come in handy while knitting spikes, but it didn't save me from committing two classic beginner's mistakes: running out of the house without my instructions for the disappearing cast-on that begins the body one morning, and then running out of the house without the larger size needles needed for the spikes the next morning.

I would be tempted to lay the hedgie aside in favor of a little spike-free knitting, but the duo is a baby-big sister gift pair for one of the children's librarians at work, and today begins her last week at work before the arrival of the little one. Nothing for it but to keep knitting with an eye on some nice, flat, spine-free lace.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


All winter, my bus stop (that's it above) is in complete shadow. Although today's high will be 70ยบ, the forecast also tells me it will be in the low 40s when I go out to wait for my bus. Add the shade and a morning breeze, and I'm in for a brisk wait.

But--come summer, that selfsame bus stop will be bathed in full sun from morning until night.

I can assure you, the irony will not be lost on me as I stand, shivering, under those trees.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Getting Rolling

(Jolty view from the bus window)

After the snuggly, bakery-filled stasis of the holiday season, the year is getting rolling again. I have started the year with some volunteering at ASU. Traveling to ASU can only mean riding the bus, and that can only mean knitting on the bus.


I'm coming out of a bonnet jag.

The pattern, as you may have guessed, is HelloYarn's Top-Down Bonnet with Anime Character, aka the Totoro bonnet. I had downloaded this pattern ages ago, but put off making it because I was intimidated by the figure 8 cast on. I shouldn't have worried--Adrian put together a tutorial for that, and I can attest that it comes out ok even if you forget to untwist the stitches on the second needle.

Notes--the Yoda bonnet is knitted with the discontinued Silk Road Aran, which is a little too hefty. The Totoro version, knit with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK, has more give, which is ideal for a bonnet that stretches to fit snugly around the wearer's head. Having worked the back of neck decreases as written for the Yoda bonnet and been unhappy with the fit, I adjusted the rate of decreases for the Totoro Bonnet for a gentler slope. Full list of mods Ravelled here.

Digging the Silk Road out of my stash has reminded me of all the yarn I own--and like!--so I do believe the next jag will be a Stash-knitting jag.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Now I Remember Why I Dislike Sewing

I was bent on having a tablecloth for my graduation party. Finding some cute (inexpensive!) Ikea fabric was no problem, and thank Gawd it was just wide enough for the selvedges to serve as seams (our table is really long).

But then there's arranging everything on the ironing board correctly so the weight of the fabric doesn't pull the tablecloth-in-progress out from under one as one attempts to iron the seam. And ironing the fold out of three yards without re-wrinkling what's just been pressed smooth. And then there's the Funstyler. It's a machine, right? But every time I get that thing out, something goes wrong. This time, the thread would not tension properly. Just adjust the tension wheel, right? No, not unless you're Mum, who had fiddle here, fiddle there to appease the beast.

Well, joke's on you, Funstyler--the tablecloth is done, and you're back in the closet while I cozy up with some knitting.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cold Snap!

No series of unfortunate events diverted graduation, Christmas went by without a hitch, and New Year's has already zipped by--all of which is very hard for me to believe.

The Powers that Be were feeling extra benevolent this season, though, because we even got several days of Serious Cold. Not just anything-below-70-feels-freezing cold, actual cold, with overnight frosts. Need I say I was in heaven? That's me above, warm and cozy and thrilled to death in my vintage Pendleton jumper, Purl Beret, Flower Basket Shawl, and Knucks.

(Those of you who live places where Real Cold is nothing to get excited about may be perplexed by all the greenery in the background. I kid you not, that's how the scenery looks year round.)

Past years' knitting vindicated, I am raring to finish up the last trailing UFOs from 2010 and leap into some new projects for 2011. What's on your knit list for the new year?