Monday, January 31, 2005

Art imitates life

One of my work friends dropped this comic strip on my desk earlier today. It appears to be about my yoga of knitting workshop this weekend. She subtitled it "A comic about you!"

I googled to see if I could find any other knitbloggers going to this, but only found people who, like me, were commenting on Karen Allen's acting career.

Not much progress on projects this weekend. I started my sister's wedding gift afghan (Great American Aran Afghan) three times, and each time ripped out the entire thing again. I'm not used to reading cable charts yet, but I think I've got it down. If I don't opt for yoga class tonight, I may camp out at a coffee shop and work on that.

Also started a pair of legwarmers out of bright pink Cascade 220 and a jewel tone varigated Ironstone yarn. They're k1, p1 the whole way, so I don't think I'll finish them before going to Kripalu like I'd hoped.

The knitty submission is plugging along. I'll hopefully get the first major increase row done tonight, and from then on the back and forth shouldn't be so tedious, because there will be fewer stitches per row.

I started a toe-up sock last week too, but I think it's being ripped out. The engineering of it made no sense to me so I'm going to look for a pattern with a non-short row toe.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Another something finished!

I'm trying to get my Jaeger Chamonix stuff knitted before I go to Kripalu, especially since the Northeast just got 2 feet of snow dumped on them. The armwarmers were first, and now I've finished the hat:

Yarn: Jaeger Chamonix
Needles: US 10.5
Pattern: Free Online Pattern from headhuggers

I'm not totally thrilled with that pattern. You can tell in the second photo that it kind of goes to a point. It may have been me, as I did finish this one up over a pint of Bass Friday night at Mac's, so I wasn't paying perfect attention. But it's also quite a bit shallower than what it looks like in the photo, despite the fact I followed the measurements. It's better than the tiny thing I freehanded before though!!

I also made some significant progress on my knitty submission tonight. All the math is complete until I get to the neckline. Now is just the boring rows and rows of stockinette. Hopefully this will yield success once it's done.

Next up, the cowl from my remaining 2.5 balls of Chamonix (the yardage on that is better than I would have guessed) and Sitcom Chic. I'm putting off Bad Penny until it's closer to warmer weather, especially since I'll likely be starting a big intricate wool thing at Kripalu.

Monday, January 24, 2005

For my secret pal!

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer high- and/natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?

I am a bit of a yarn snob, but will use Lion Brand when appropriate. I don't generally like 100% artificial fibers though.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
Smoke, and I'm sensitive to perfume, air freshner, etc.

4. How long have you been knitting?
I taught myself about 3-1/2 years ago.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yep, it's here.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Lavender or Peppermint

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Yep. I love Lindt (and other) chocolates.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I do a little beadwork--am just learning really. I also sew, but not nearly as much as I'd like.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Yep, I can play MP3s. My main genre is "chickrock" or alternative rock, or alt-country. I like Tori Amos, Radiohead, Lucinda Williams, Neko Case, Ani Difranco, Coldplay, etc. And I love weird cover songs.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer?
I love pink, but have also been getting into autumn type pallettes lately.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I'm solo now. I don't have pets, and am not really into them.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
To be able to pay the bills with a knitting related business.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Kureyon, Naturwolle, Silk Garden, Lamb's Pride

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Colorwork--I'm not sure why, and I'm not sure I'm good at it. And socks.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Hats, because they are quick and satisfying.

17. What are you knitting right now?
Bad Penny from knitty.com. A lace shawl that is not going well and a design I want to submit to knitty.

18. What do you think about ponchos?
I don't need a whole wardrobe full, but I like them.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Bamboo, or inox

21. Are you a sock knitter?

22. How did you learn to knit?
I taught myself with Knitting for Dummies.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
I started Zeeby's bag from Stitch n' Bitch about 2.5 years ago, and have only got one panel done.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I don't think I have one. I do like origami cranes though and may get a tattoo of some soon.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Yarn. :-) Also purses and shoes.

Friday, January 21, 2005


So now I've combined my abilities and had my writing and knitting rejected at once. ;-)

I had submitted a short piece for KnitLit 3 a while back. It was about knitting while watching movies (specifically Fight Club) and drinking beer at Studio 35. I wasn't sure whether to be hopeful or despondent over how long it took to get a response, but today this was in my inbox:

We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your submission
to KnitLit the Third: We Spin More Yarns. We really liked your
submission; it's just that we don't have room to include all the
pieces we liked, and yours, sadly, couldn't be squeezed in. We're up
against both space and thematic constraints and had to make some
difficult choices.

Nonetheless, we hope that you will consider yourself part of the
KnitLit family, and that you'll enjoy
the book when it comes out in September.

We hope that you go on writing, and we wish you all the best --

At least they make it sound like I had a shot. Now, the email had quote marks which leads me to believe they cut and pasted this hundreds of times, but at least they did go to the trouble to type my name in.

Honestly, it was far from the best piece I've ever written, so I'm not really all that disappointed. Must keep plugging on Cricket this weekend to get myself published eventually!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

One more project done

I finished my armwarmers tonight!

You can knit these up in about 3 hours or so. The pattern is Nearly Gloves but I used 10.5 needles and Jaeger Chamonix, which is a bulky angora/merino/synthetic blend. Yummy soft. I think I would use ssk instead of k2tog on one side of the eyelets that form the diamonds if I did this again. I also find it odd that the right one is so much looser fitting than the left. I somehow "lost" 2 stitches on the left while knitting it last night, but my gauge was such that I didn't think it would make much difference. Oh well.

I made a hat out of these yarns a few months ago, but I freehanded it while riding in a car, and it turned out much too small. I think I will try to remake that this week, and switch from the eyelet pattern I had been doing, to something more like the diamond pattern of these.

I'm also going to have about 1 ball of plum, and about 1.75 balls of the olive left over after that. What on earth can I make out of those? The world's skinniest bulky yarn scarf? Maybe a cowl with the diamond pattern. That would actually probably be pretty cool. And yummy warm.

The word of the day, apparently, is "yummy."

The socks

Project number two of 2005 is complete!

Magic Stripes socks!

More photos are here

The yarn is Lion Brand Magic Stripes in Jelly Bean, the pattern is the generic Lion Brand pattern out of an old issue of Knit It! and I knit them up on the most luscious of needles, size 2 Brittany Birch dpns. Yum.

I should have armwarmers out of Jaeger Chamoinix to show off tonight or tomorrow. And my replacement needles arrived today, so I once again own a sweater length size 8 circ, and can cast on Bad Penny tonight. Ok, ok, I should be working on my knitty.com submission, so I'll get some stuff done on that first, then start on that. Hooray!

Yay! Substitution!

So, I was fretting about yarn a while back, and finding a substitution for some fingering/sport weight rowan yarns for a very expensive yet experimental intarsia project.

I think I found a substitution!!!!

Brown Sheep Naturspun comes in both fingering and sportweight, is a bit cheaper, and comes in many many colors that could substitute for those in the floral design.

I'm going to go in search of some for swatching tonight just to make sure I can get gauge. Then I'm gonna find the cheapest place to order and do it.

For my reference:
The Yarn Exchange

Monday, January 17, 2005

I had an awesome customer service experience earlier today.

When I was working on my Rosedale II, I had 2 brand new Crystal Palace circulars break on me within days of each other. I've heard CP had a bad batch of needles go out for a while, but I decided to try calling Yarnmarket.com, where I'd ordered them originally.

They are sending me new needles, along with a prepaid envelope to return the broken ones. Awesome! That's all I wanted anyway.

Plus, they said they'd be opening a showroom soon. Yay!

So, there was some stashing going on

Ended up doing some stash enhancement this weekend, though with purpose, so it was mostly ok.

First, I knew Wolfe Fiber Arts had the yarn I needed for Knitty's Bad Penny on their back shelf, which is 40% off. So before trekking to Cleveland for an awesome Neko Case and the Sadies show, I dropped by there and spent part of the gift certificate my friend Julie got me for Christmas on this yarn:

OOOPS. I deleted the photo.

The maroon is Lana Grossa Rotunda and the beige/white varigated is Lana Grossa Binario.

I was disappointed that their needle selection seems to have dwindled. I wanted some 5" size 1 Brittanies for the sock making binge I'm plannign later this year, but they didn't have any. I still have about $20 on the gift certificate though, so that's cool.

Sunday, on the way back from Cleveland, we stopped off at my fave yarn store in the state, Fine Points. They have a fantastic selection. I need a variety of textures and colors in a similar weight yarn to take with me to Kripalu, so I got some coordinating stripey stuff.

OOOPS. I deleted the photo.

The top is Mango Moon recycled silk, which will likely not go in the project, but that I just felt I needed for a bag or something. On the left is Debbie Bliss SoHo and on the right is Muensch Naturwolle in Rosenholz. Not exactly a cheap haul, but I'm thinking they'll coordinate well with some brown and light blue/grey solids in a final product. Fun.

I'm hoping to have my Magic stripes socks done by the end of today or tomorrow, so I can get back into the knitty submission in a more focused way. I think I'll be knitting on that this afternoon in the coffee shop, to try to make some headway and start shaping the thing. Engineering is hard to get motivated to do sometimes.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Okay, I tried to get fancy and redo my template, but I haven't had time to really get into blogger's styles yet, so something weird is going on. And until I get home, I can't determine if it's IE only or not. So sorry guys--I will fix it soon!

A knitting vacation!

I'm going to do the Yoga of Knitting workshop at Kripalu with Karen Allen next month. I have three weeks to figure out what all I'm taking with me--there's a fairly long list of knitting supplies she wants us to bring for the classes. We'll be designing colorwork sweaters--eek! I think I know where my Wolfe Fiber Arts gift certificate is going--supplies, supplies, supplies!

I took the dorm option to make it a bit cheaper. So I'll be bunking down with 6-22 other women. Hopefully some will be other knitters in the group. The lights out at 9:30 thing will kill me. I think I'll be going up to the solarium and knitting there, then sneaking in later. But it feels terribly grown up to be picked up by a man in a car with a sign at the airport. No one there will know I'm staying in the dorm. :-)

I liked the private room thing last time, but I also wasn't there for a specific program. I think being more social this time around is a good thing.

The only bad thing about this is that it gives me one less weekend to work on my knitty submission, which is due 2/15 and is currently only about 10% done. In fact, the pattern isn't really even engineered yet, I've just got the bottom bit of colorwork plotted out. But I have Monday off from work, so I'm deeming it Cricket day (Cricket is the tentative name for the pattern, sounding all springy and feminine.)

Thursday, January 06, 2005


I want to make Carlotta from Rowan #36. I have priced out the yarn, and it looks like it's going to cost me around $160.00. Now, that's a bit much for a sweater like that, in my opinion. I love Rowan Yarns, and I love this pattern, but I think I'm going to need to find some ways to cut corners.

We're basically looking at this:

3 Balls Kidsilk Haze (1 each of 3 colors) at approx $12.80 each $38.40

16 balls of Yorkshire Tweed 4 ply (12 of main color; 1 each of 4 others) @$5.95 each


3 balls 4 ply soft (1 each of 3 colors) @ $8.35 each $25.05

Grand Total (not including shipping, or the beads or ribbon) $158.65

Now, I'm thinking that a total of 22 balls of yarn for a sweater is a lot, so obviously, a lot of those colors won't use an entire ball. Leading me to believe that I'll likely have a lot of the colors on the intarsia piece left over, and could get a scarf or such out of that price too.

And, it's not like I can't avoid shipping by getting some of the yarns locally. And I have a gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket. But I also question why I need to be using Kidsilk Haze for intarsia--is the mohair really going to add a lot to that pattern? Or could I substitute something a lot cheaper? I think I could.

Of course, if I really wanted to do the work, I could substitute the entire color chart. The yorkshire tweed isn't that expensive, and I don't think that $70 for the bulk of the sweater's body is bad at all.

Substitution ideas for 4 ply soft and kidsilk haze and flower colors in any of those yarns? I'm open for ideas.

I'm also open for discounted Rowan suppliers. I've checked froogle, ebay, Jimmy Beans Wool and yarnmarket.com so far, and those prices up there reflect the best I've found so far.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


I think it's the rainy weather, but it's in the back of my head that the way my hands are aching is slightly psychosomatic. Like they decided it's okay to cramp up now that the gifts are done or something.

Got the cast on and one row of ribbing done tonight on my second Magic Stripe sock. Doesn't sound like much I know, but that's the absolute hardest thing for me on tiny (size 2) needles.

Didn't get any further on the lace shawl. I realized last night before falling asleep that I made a mistake in counting, but I don't think it will matter too much because I'm not too far in. I plan on taking progress photos of that one as soon as I get my camera back from my friend who I loaned it too.

Tonight's major accomplishment was some design work on my next knitty submission. I've been swatching and charting the colorwork, and tonight worked more on the engineering of the shape, sizing, etc. and actually cast on and got about six rows done. I like the colorwork pattern--it's very springy so I hope that means it has a good shot of getting in. If not, you'll see photos here after I receive my rejection email. :-)

Sunday, January 02, 2005

First Finished Object of 2005

I finished Rosedale II from knitty tonight. That's Noro Kureyon 124. I made the necklace and earrings to go with it too.

This project started off remarkably simply. I decided not to do the corrugated ribbing, and just stuck with K3, P2. Once I got up to the raglan shaping though, all hell broke loose. I broke a needle, which caused me to lose a stitch marker, which meant I failed to do my decreases all the way up one seam. So I ripped back about 40 rows. The intarsia rectangle on the back is still not pretty, as I can't seem to strand or float without causing the fabric to bunch. I did, however, make it a lot better during that ripping out process.

I did the classic "oh my god, I cannot get my head in this sweater" thing too. So I undid the bind off and added a row or two on much larger needles, then bound off much more loosely while adding some increases. It's still not quite right in the front, but it's pretty good as a first attempt I think.

Overall, a good pattern (though it doesn't ever tell you to sew up the underarms) and a quick knit, especially if you are actually paying attention while doing it!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

So what is a Witty Knit anyway?

I set up this blog a few months back, and it's been empty as of yet. I've been busy finishing up the knitting of holiday gifts and such, and doing other web projects, so I promised myself I would start this blog once 2005 arrived.

Well, it's here.

So I'm here too. The plan for Witty Knits is eventually to have a pattern-selling business. I have many many many ideas for original patterns and this year will be devoted to swatching them out and engineering them and getting them written up so that other people can understand them. And when I have enough done, a website will be born so you can all have at them.

For now, though, there's just this blog. I'll be getting it into shape in the next few weeks, probably adding some photos of recently finished objects, etc.

Currently on needles:
Rosedale II in Noro Kureyon #124
Magic Stripes socks
Zeeby's bag from Stitch n' Bitch in Rowan Aranspun (the yarn was discontinued two years ago I think--that's how long I've been working on that.)

Need to start soon:
One last holiday related hatMy faroese shawl for the
shawl-a-long that starts today.
My submission for spring knitty, due 2/15, out of Mission Falls 1825 cotton.

And stash re-organization. The mass on the fly scarf designing projects meant I carried half of it into my living room. Gotta get that remedied today.