knitter next door

How I became a girl who can't say no to knitting (and other musings on obsession) esimnitt (at) yahoo (dot) com

Monday, January 30, 2006


When knitting projects fail, when life gets scary, when it rains and rains even though you live in the desert, then it's time to make cupcakes and make it all better. These are my version of the Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe from the January Martha. The recipe didn't call for frosting, but I added frosting (and pink frosting at that) because a cupcake just isn't a cupcake unless it's slathered in rich, buttery frosting. True to their name, these cupcakes are very cookie-ish and almost have the texture of a light bar cookie. I don't know if it's the recipe or my geriatric baking powder, but they didn't raise as much as I like. Still, their very cupcake nature made me feel better in what has been a topsy-turvy, upside down kind of month (with no end in sight). Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 27, 2006

A little prayer

A friend of mine (who is in her 20s) had brain surgery this week and found out the tumor is cancerous. Having stuff like this happen to someone you know is like getting sucker punched over and over again. I'm still breathless.

I'm sending all the positive thoughts I can her way as the doctors poke around at the sample cells they took from the tumor to determine what stage the cancer is at. If it's stage one, they go back in and take out the rest of the tumor. If it's stage two, she has to have radiation. In her brain.

Since I am but one small person, I thought I'd enlist the positive thoughts of anyweb folk out there willing to take a moment or two to send out some of their own. You obviously don't know this person, but she might be the most remarkable, funny, kind, best human being I've ever met. She certainly deserves some good news next week.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Panta interrupted

I started a Panta and ran out of yarn. So here's a picture of the Mister's latest creative endeavor. Being a state employee, he doesn't have to work on any day with a whiff of holiday about it (meaning he was off on MLK Day). I, getting no holidays between Jan. 1 and Memorial Day (not that I'm bitter), headed off to work. When I came home, I found him painting our boring, cream-painted fireplace bright red. It totally rocks! Have I mentioned lately how cool my hubby is? Are you gagging?  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


So I'm putting off delving into the Rachael Ray for tonight's dinner, and what better way to do that then to talk about memememememe.

A coworker of mine recently quit his account in disgust with what he sees as everyone's boring, blatant self-promotion. "It's all vanity," he says.

Being a woman, I know a little about vanity and a lot about self-reflection, especially the type achieved after long hours in front of the mirror wondering if I could will my hair curly. That adolescent exercise was accompanied by my woeful practicing witty and clever responses to the cute young man I kept wishing I'd meet at the Roller Skating rink (hey, I grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho). Combine these practices with the typical mother-daughter exchanges that start with the mother figure asking: "Are you really going to wear your hair out like that?" and I've got a strong helping of neurotic vanity.

(To read more about the mother-daughter thing, check out a linguist's perspective).

These days, instead of talking to the mirror, I talk to the nethersphere of blog land. And I'm not looking for a cute guy anymore (already found that) (oh, how sweet). Instead, I'm looking for approval, acknowledgement that maybe, buried somewhere deep, I might be sort of cool. Or maybe have cool ideas. Or at least have good taste in what yarn I buy and what patterns I choose to knit. Or what awesome bags I'd buy (if I weren't too cheap to buy a purse from anywhere but a thrift story).

With that preamble, here's an unsolicited meme. You didn't ask for it, but your getting is anyway:

Four jobs I've had:
Census taker

4 movies to watch over and over
High Fidelity
13 Going on 30
The Matrix
Pride and Prejudice

4 TV shows
Buffy (on DVD)
America's Next Top Model
Veronica Mars

4 places I've vacationed
New Orleans
Key West

4 website I visit daily

4 favorite foods
rice&peas&cheese (a combo I've been eating since college)
No. 911 sushi rolls (super spicy)

4 places I'd rather be
Treasure Garden (favorite thrift store)
a b&b in stowe, vermont
at the movies

On Feet

Since this post is about feet, a visual for you of the felted version of the Mister's slippers (they go quite nicely with his favorite pjs, which, surprisingly, is important to him). And now for the meat of the post: I just signed up for Sockapaloooza! It's my first knitting exchange thingy and I'm super psyched. This should at least temporary quell the end-of-project fear I'm about to feel about what I should knit next from the black hole of my stash after I soon finish my Chocolate Dipped Drop Top Mitts (of which you can expect a picture and details any day...). Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A note about the pin at the shoulder. This butterfly pin I picked up at a local second hand store is a temporary stand in for an actual button, one, if I continue my streak, I'll never sew on. Posted by Picasa

Lace Leaf Revealed

Here you have it, in all its Lotus Pinkness. I present to you my brand spankin' new Lace Leaf Pullover. And none too soon. When I left to go to my weekly Saturday knit-and-coffee-along, my car was covered in snow. Since this might be the warmest sweater I have ever worn, it definitely needs to be saved for super cold January days.

This sweater was the quickest knit ever, and a lot of fun. I loved, loved, loved the little leafy lace pattern. And I loved using my size 13s (I doubled Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted). I struggled a bit with the grafting. I bound off the top section like the pattern said, and the resulting grafting looked awful. I ripped that out and did the kitchener thing with live stitches on both the bottom and the top section. It still doesn't look super, but I'm hoping it will block out.

The thing I'm really kicking myself about: After all that effort of grafting it, ripping it out, undoing the bind off and grafting again, it's about an inch or two shorter than I'd like (my bellybutton got chilly today). Some people would have had the sense to try it on and think about length once they started the initial grafting. Some people also might have measured the sweater then measured themselves to figure out how it would fit. Not this person. This person looks at the picture in the book, reads that it is shown in the smallest size, then happily casts on for the smallest size not realizing that the model must be smaller than the knitter's 5'9" self.

Oh well. The rest of it fits. It looks cute enough. And I am far, far too lazy to even attempt to rip out that grafting one more time and try again. Plus, that would make it the more-than-a-week sweater instead of less-than-a-week.
 Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Taste of Lace Leaf

I'll shoot to have picture of my lovely, finished, less-than-a-week (almost-in-a-weekend) Lace Leaf Pullover up this weekend. My work schedule has kept me from being home during daylight hours and I really want to capture the glorious, bright pink color. For now, you'll have to use your imagination with this hat as a prompt. (Or look take a gander at other knitter's lovely versions). The sweater is in Brown Sheep Lotus Pink, the same as the more obnoxious pink in this hat (which is why you get to see the snowshoe get up).

While you're waiting, check out mine and my coworkers catty jab at the stars of the Golden Globes earlier this week. I usually try to keep my work life completely separate from the creative, but as the Globes provided plenty of creative faux pas, I'm crossing the border.

And while I'm at it, an exchange in our mostly female corner of the office in response to a wire story on getting the perfect for a bra:

"Sure, you can find a bra that fits well...for $50!"

(Getting louder and more passionate).

"I'll use an Ace bandage before I'll spend $50 for a bra!"

"We shouldn't even have to buy bras! The government should issue them. Isn't that what we pay taxes for?"

Then, a glance over at our two, poor stunned male colleagues (the manly men who write about hunting and fishing).

 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


In addition to my annual "this year I really will knit down the stash and not acquire pounds of new yar" resolution, I've also vowed to cook a little bit better. The cooking duties in our house fall to me on pretty much any night that I don't want to eat cereal. If the mister were left to his own devices, it would be Lucky Charms for dinner every night. I need a little more variety and, well, nutrition than that, so I've enlisted the help of Rachel Ray and her 365 30-minute meals cookbook. I'm plowing as straight through the book as I can stomach (omitting the burger recipes because I have been turning my nose up at burgers since I was three) since it's organized somewhat randomly.

So far, I give the taste and ease of the recipes a pretty high rating. But, Rachel, who are these people that can eat an entire serving of your food? And do they weigh 300 pounds? I squeezed six servings out of a curry dish and still felt like I ate too much. A recipe coming up (for turkey chili smothered turkey burgers, so I won't be making it anyway) calls for 2.5 pounds of meat. It serves four. Yikes! I'm afraid. Very, very afraid....

Monday, January 16, 2006


No pictures today, but just you wait to see what I've been working on. I've had this humongous pile of Lotus Pink worsted Brown Sheep languishing in the stash almost since the stash began. In fact, this bulk of yarn might have initiated my stashing. Before the pink, I immediately knit up everything I bought.

And now, after several false starts, most of that heap o' pink has been pulled and tugged into a Loop d Loop Lace Leaf Pullover (details about what worked well and what didn't when I finish and post a picture of its pinkness).

As I near completion of the sweater (I've got a sleeve and a half to go), I'm feeling that same anxiety I always feel when I near completion of a large project. It's like being cut adrift, without a focus, without a plan of what I'm going to knit next, even though I have several "to knit" lists in several of the knitting journals I seem to constantly start and abandon. My creativity seems to come in fits and starts and I'm always afraid that each burst will be the last.

I recently read an article about how to be one of those uber productive people with way to much energy to sit in front of the television and watch an entire season of Alias in a weekend. Occasionally, I think I want to be one of these people. Think of all the knitting-baking-sewing-creating I could be doing! But one of the secrets, according to the article, is to cut the stewing period before making a decision. Productive people, apparently, make decisions about what to knit, how to cut their hair, where to go on vacation, what kind of job to try for, and never look back.

If I lived like that, there surely wouldn't be an almost-finished Lace Leaf Pullover neatly folded on my dining room table awaiting sleeves. I bought that yarn originally to make a garter stitch sweater in Stitch N Bitch. A garter stitch sweater!

The yarn then became targeted for a top down raglan sleeve sweater with a cable up the front, a plan which eventually morphed into the Big Sack Pullover (also from Stitch N Bitch). Then came Samus. Oh, how I wanted to make a bright pink cardigan ala Brynne. But the zipper did (and still does) scare the bejeebers out of me. So I went back to the big sack plan, even going so far as to cast on.

Then I read a new post on the long dormant Dirty Purls blog and saw the Lace Leaf Pullover. Ding-ding-ding-ding, went the creativity bell. "I bet I could double the Lotus into that!"

And so it goes. I'm still not sure whether the Lace Leaf is the best use for the yarn. But it's got to be better than the garter stitch plan. To hell with being productive.

Friday, January 13, 2006

More excuses

Here's another peek into what kept me so busy during December that I could only manage to eke out one blog entry.

The big flower pins are made out of scraps of felted thrift sweaters (more on what they were felted for later). The round-ie pins are using the online pattern from my beloved Knit Scene magazine. And the cell phone cozies are a mix of my not-so-secret formula and scraps from felted sweaters.

My surefire technocozy formula? Grab scraps of DK or light worsted weight yarn (like Noro Cash Iroha [the purple] and Cascade 220 [the light green and yellow]). Cast on 34 stitches on double points or one long circular for magic loop method. Knit until your iPod or cellphone can get cozy (these are about 5.5 inches long by 3.5 inches wide). Turn inside out and perform the blessed three needle bind-off.

Then pick up three stitches at one of the top corners with matching or contrasting yarn. Make an i-cord that's about 6 inches long (or however long you want). Bind that off and, using a crochet hook, chain 10 to 15 at the end of the i-cord and fasten into a big loop. Sew a button on the top side opposite the i-cord. Add any embroidery, buttons or beads you desire. And, voila! You've got a great little gift that you just made while watching one episode of Alias.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the Chicken Button version (and the story behind the Chicken Button).

 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 12, 2006

See, I told you I'd show you photos of holiday knitting. (Pardon the Christmas tree in the background). I made my nephew Dylan a pair of monster mittens from Stitch N Bitch Nation using purple and green scraps. It's one of my most favorite things I've ever made. It just goes to show you that gluing googly eyes on anything makes it better. Posted by Picasa

And Miss Olivia in her new organic cotton hat. Posted by Picasa

The Mister and his yet-to-be-felted slippers (stay tuned for a post felting pic. I've been having trouble taking it because the slippers are always on his feet). Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Why is this page so barren? Why must any visitors continue to revisit all the stuff I made for my holiday bazaar?

Is it because I'm lazy? Not knitting? Uninspired?

Nein, nein, Fraulein.

I have been knitting: I finished a sweater for the Mister, a gazzillon more Christmas presents and my very first right-handed mitten (it's on to the left, now). And, for part of my absence, I've never felt so inspired. Following the spirit of Brynne and Larissa, I branched out from knits and purls and made funky things with felted sweaters, crocheted pins, earrings (with matching knitted earring pouches, of course) and a whole lot of cookies. I have enough ideas left over to last me the rest of the year. Hopefully, in the coming days, I'll be detailing some of those ideas (and some of the projects I've already finished). I keep feeling if I'm not documenting it somewhere (like here), than it's not real.

Now to the excuses: Well, the holidays. We went to IF for Christmas then spent the remainder of the holiday visiting with D's various brothers.

Also, snowshoeing. I can knit in the car to and from the hills, but bringing the laptop is problematic (and causes car sickness).

And Alias. This is my latest TV-on-DVD fixation. We're only five episodes from the end of season one, so maybe after we knock those off tonight (because I know we will), I'll get in gear, post some knitting pictures, and start seriously focusing on documenting my creative life.