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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Substitute knitting

I'm still a little sore about the whole failed Clap thing, so I think I'm going to take a few days off from knitting. I know, I know, it's an almost sacreligious act, but my bruised ego will be the better for it. It's not like I'm going to give it up for Lent or anything. Four days without the needles I can handle. Forty days? Impossible. (Just watch, I'll be knitting tonight anyway. We all know I have absolutely no willpower, as is evidenced by the mounting pile of clearance clothes in my closet. Two weeks ago, I said no more shopping. So how, last Friday, did I end up with five new shirts, a pair of boots and a pair of shoes? And what about those shoes being UPSed to me as I write?).

Anyway, about the picture: As I replace one creative endeavor with another, I bring you the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Cupcakes from the January Martha Stewart Living. Pretty, they ain't, and I can't tell you how the finished product tastes because I'm still feeling ill from all the batter I ate. Which says, at least, the batter is mighty tasty. Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 27, 2006

Done, But Not Well Done

Here it is the finished (but failed) Clapotis with its silly stiff point at the end caused by my emergency substitute yarn not being the right gauge afterall. As for so many other Americans my (knitting) Olympics ends in disappointment. I think I'll go punch somebody now.

For a few more sad details, check out Team ClapotisPosted by Picasa

Saturday, February 25, 2006

This little patty of yarn (Cascade 220) may just be the savior of my Clapotis. I've still got a teensy bit of the variegated yarn left which I'm planning to use for the very tippy tip so it looks more intentional. We'll see. Posted by Picasa

Disappointments, the Third

Oh, Speedy! What the heck! I can't believe Idaho's own ended his Olympics in a brawl that had nothing to do with speed skating. Shameful. Shameful!

And speaking of poop, check out this, a story about San Francisco collecting dog poop and turning it into energy. Pure genius, if you ask me. Judging from the amount of dog poop I've encountered walking in the Foothills here, we in Boise could generate plenty of energy to heat our houses and cook our food (now isn't that a disturbing thought: Poop-fried steak, anyone?).

And hats off to the headline writer for "Behold the Power of Poop." To write "poop" in a headline is cool. To use alliteration, even better.

Speaking of recycling, check out The Idaho Statesman on Sunday for my primer on paper recycling from one of my personal heroes. Craft alert: There are
instructions on how to make your own paper without going to the store. Reduce, reuse, recycle, baby! (It helps assuage the guilt brought on with all this
wasteful yarn buying).

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Big Decrease

So I've finally made it to the decrease section of the Clap. And none too soon. The hours left in the Olympics are ticking away, just like all the failed US attempts at gold. My once fat patty is becoming thin at an alarming rate, and I'm quite sure a "design feature" color change is inevitable.

But I knit on. And as I do so, I think about the things I read online today (all in a day's work, you know?):

-- I think about how I wish we had a peeps diorama contest at the Idaho Statesman here in Boise like they do in the Twin Cities. I’d totally enter, if only to torment the Mister. He’s

-- This makes me glad I’ve vowed to forgo the whole highlighting/hair coloring thing. Yes, I’m a blonde (okay, so I’m less and less of a blond every year), but I can tell you this, I’m definitely not willing to stay this way through the help of chemicals. I had my hair highlighted once, just before I was married. It was torture (but then, I equate hair salons with dental offices). It was stinky. It took a long time. I could hardly tell the difference.

Maybe I’ll feel different when I go from brownish blond to gray. I hope not.

-- The “A Smart Girl’s Guide to Money”sent to me at work by the American Girl people makes me realize that any girl who reads this will already be better at having a little side business than me. I sell a few knitted things now and then and know I
really, really should do the math to figure out how much profit I make (paying myself nothing per hour, of course). But see, then I’d have to come face-to-face
with how much money I actually spend on yarn when children are starving in Africa and the whole world is sort of a big, bad messed up place, in part due to my
own rampant consumerism.

-- The only thing that can quell that kind of thinking? This line from "Saturday" by Ian McEwan:

"It isn't rationalism that will overcome the religious zealots, but ordinary shopping and all that it entails-jobs for a start, and peace, and some commitment to realizable pleasures, the promise of appetites sated in this world, not the next. Rather shop than pray."

Disappointments Part II

Oh, Speedy! Why couldn't you have landed your jump just a little bit better?

Since I've spent the last 20 minutes looking over a coworkers shoulder as he compulsively hit the refresh button on the Olympic aerial results, I figured I might as well spend a few more mourning Speedy's loss of a medal.

I normally don't let myself get so caught up in the results. But Speedy seems like such a nice kid and since he's got Boise roots and all, I pinned all my hopes on him.

I hope this isn't a bad sign for my Clapotis...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


1. The CK jacket I just bought on clearance at Dillards was only 50 percent off, even though it was on the 75 percent off rack. The Mister said that out of principle, I should have huffed off, muttering under my breath about how they should put it on the right rack.

2. "Love Monkey," or as I like to think of it "Ed II" is on permanent hiatus. The show had a quirky sort of charm and I loved the way Ed's sexy coworker dress. A few weeks ago, she had me on the hunt for a wraparound jersey dress.

3. I'm still not to the decrease rows on the Clap. Even after shamelessly knitting through an hour long meeting at work today.

4. The Milquetoast president on "24" still hasn't been sacked, blown to bits or publicly humiliated like he deserves.

5. And, going back to the Oscar nominations, neither "Pride and Prejudice," nor any other movie about women or with really meaty women roles got nominated for best picture. Again. Some day those that give out awards will come to realize that women's stories can be "universal" and "important," too.

Monday, February 20, 2006

After the weekend

My Clap, with ten stitches dropped. Over halfway there, baby! Posted by Picasa

Before the weekend

The Clap on Saturday morning in its last moments as a triangle. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 18, 2006

If I had a million $

The newspaper was full of all sorts of breaking news this morning. But what's the one article the Mister read aloud to me as I frantically dropped stitches on my Clapotis?

This one, the one about what good (and selfish) things the good people of the Treasure Valley would do if they made like Brad Duke and won the obscenely large Powerball lottery prize (about $119 million AFTER taxes).

This, of course, led to a discussion about what we'd do with the loot. Here's our (always changing) list:

1. Add on a master suite to our house (a sunroom and lux bathroom). I don't feel like I need any more space in the room (except maybe in the closet), but, oh, a bathroom! What a dream!

2. Add on a library loft above our garage opening up into our living room, which would also get a higher ceiling.

3. Hire a landscaper to come and get rid of all the blankety blank grass and rose bushes and replace them with native vegetation and lots more lavendar bushes.

4. Finally put the slate floors in the kitchen and the bathroom.

5. Buy a sheep farm in Emmett.

That's about as far as we got. Note that we didn't, even for a second, consider moving (we would pay people to farm our sheep). Winning the lottery is no reason to get greedy and give up a perfectly good house in the best location of all of Boise.

(You may also note that not one of our top 5 includes any charitable work. Well, I never said we were perfect).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

V-Day Redux

I'll spare you the clapotis recap today (yep, it looks pretty much the same as yesterday, only a little bigger).

But since I love a good recap, here's mine for V-Day: Take out Thai and a movie, as planned. But instead of "Amelie," as we had discussed, the mister surprised me with a copy of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," my pick for best romantic movies in an article I did at work. Also, the sweetie made a card (watch out, Martha!) using a picture of a campfire we shared last summer. And, speaking of Martha, he gave me a subscription to her mag. How sweet!

As for me an my contribution, you're looking at it. A pair of socks out of the blessed Koigu in a distinctly manly color. The details: I cast on 66 and used the irregular rib pattern for the unisex sweater in Loop-d-Loop (k3, p3, k1, p2, k2,p3,k4,p4). Then I followed basic sock protocol (cuff, reinforced heel flap, cute little heel cup, gussetts, foot and rounded toe). In honor of the holiday, I finished it off with a little pink heart out of the same yarn as my Lace Leaf Pullover and Chocolate Dipped Pop Top Mitts. Now if that ain't romantic, I don't know what is. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Getting my game on

From this (a mysterious patty of yarn missing its tag that I'm guessing is light worsted weight and therefore suitable for my No. 7 needles)... Posted by Picasa

To this, the very baby beginnings of clapotis (or as the mister calls it, "crap-o-tee," which I'm going to hope refers to my lackluster start and not the beautiful finished object I have in mind).

Not so impressive, really, especially when compared with my Team Clapotis mates. But I'm going to say it's akin to being in 32nd place after the downhill going into the slalom or picking myself up after crashing hard on the ice. My Olympics has been plagued with issues -- and a few injuries. To begin with, I didn't finish knitting Mr. Knitter's Valentine's socks before Feb. 10 as planned. No. The last end for those was woven in at 2 p.m. on Valentine's Day, a full four days into the knitting Olympics. And while I don't have to contend with it being the anniversary of my grandmother's death, I have had to deal with major upheaval at work (I'll have a new position at the paper starting in March. More details to come). And then there's the chronic dry skin from which me and my father suffer. (Take a close look at my poor thumb and index finger knuckles in the picture. If you dare).

Do I have a lot to overcome in the next 11 days? You bet. But overcoming adversity (if you buy into the newscasts of the Games) is what the Olympics is all about. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Me and my Valentine send V-Day greetings!

On tap to celebrate: Probably take out Thai and a movie (the tradition). After that, maybe we'll go all Chinese and get matching plastic surgery. Or I'll go Japanese and treat myself to a box of $200 chocolates so I can get a leg up on the Swiss who consume almost 25 pounds of the food of the gods each year.

But first, before all of that, there's the 10 percent off red and pink yarn sale at my favorite LYS to consider. Now that's something to love.
 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 09, 2006


First, my oops: I dropped about three stitches on my second cable rib sock last night while watching Bones (which I only watch, of course, as a exercise in nostalgia for Angel and Buffy). I say about because I can clearly find two of the stitches making their way down the cuff, but the third seems to have completely vanished. My stitch count tells me three must have wriggled off the needle. But where is it? Do I need to call in a team of unusually attractive forensic anthropologists to ferret this mystery out?

Second oops (of which I bare no blame): A local news station recently aired a story about how the Idaho House voted yes on a proposal to ban gay marriage in the state constitution. The local newscaster announced this in a voice over as the station aired national stock footage of gay couples rejoicing because they were getting married. Are these gay couples celebrating because Idaho is moving to strengthen its ban on gay marriage? Very curious.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Oh, Martha!

Now, you know I'm a big fan of all things crafting (otherwise, would I be spending my precious time off work knitting, writing about knitting, knitting while I'm writing about knitting, etc.). But I do have my limits.

I've found a couple in the February issue of "Martha Stewart Living."

First is a "Good Thing" that involves slipping slices of fruit and flower petals between sheets of translucent paper, photocopying the combo, then using the resulting paper to wrap gifts. Now, I'm aware that some people do have copiers in their homes. But I can't get the image out of my mind of surreptitiously photocopying fruit at work. Or hauling in produce and flower clippings to Kinkos. It really seems going above and beyond the call of crafting.

Second, also a "Good Thing," is instructions on how to make your accordion file folders pretty. This is not the craft for me. Yes, I own file folders. But I first need to learn how to use them before I go pasting them up with fabric.


I'm feeling a little defeated today.

As expected, the library bond failed. I felt that inevitability all day, but especially at my polling place. Usually when I go to cast my vote, there's excitement in the air and a feeling of carmarderie amongst us voters. Not so yesterday. Besides me and the mister, the voting contingent consisted of a woman shrilly, defensively declaring "Of course I voted. I'm a librarian."

The grim faces of the rest of the much older voters didn't bode well for the measure that would raise taxes just a month before we'll be asked to raise our taxes for a school bond measure. I can't really blame them. Why should they be forced to pay for the new libraries we need due to all this growth? They probably haven't benefitted a whole lot from all these people flooding into the valley.

And a continuing note of defeat: I'm getting a little concerned about the tube top. I can't quite tell, but it seems it might fit around a much more robust person than me. The last thing a person wants is a saggy tube top.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What the!?!

Nestled inside my mailbox, right next to a San Francisco postcard from a traveling friend, behind my insanely large GAP card bill, an invitation to join AARP. I won't tell you how much I weigh, but I will say this: I AM 31-YEARS-OLD! The AARP people can't touch me for another 19 years!

Unless, of course, 30 is the new 50....


If you live in Boise, then get your behind to the polls and vote on the library bond issue. As an unbiased journalist, I can't tell you how to vote. But as someone who credits the Idaho Falls Public Library with a good half of her pre-college education, I will say that I think libraries are one of the most important cornerstones of a Democracy. All information, free for the taking. All those books, ready to open minds. All that public space for kids to come and learn that reading is exciting and good. And to that argument that people don't use the library? There's been a rare day in my entire life that I didn't have something checked out of the library. Right now, my card is holding a stack of books on travel in Japan, a CD version of Zadie Smith's "On Beauty" and several books on famous love letters (think Brownings). I have a "Lemony Snicket" DVD on hold to pick up. I can't tell you how many library knitting books that have passed through my house.

If there's one thing I feel more passionate about than knitting, it's libraries.

Jumping off

This week, I'm stretching my wings and jumping off. For starters, behold the tube top I'm knitting. Yes, a tube top. I'm not sure that I've ever even worn a tube top. And here I am, all cast on and almost a couple of inches in. This ring of green represents my Super Bowl knitting (I had started before, but made the rookie mistake of twisting the stitches and didn't realize it until I was an inch in).

It's from my beloved (and now well-worn) Knitscene magazine. I'm making it alongside my friend Jillian. It's her first tube top, too.

And it's a fair isle first for the both of us.

As if planning to knit a tube top isn't enough of a stretch, I may be changing jobs at work. I mean really changing jobs at work. The new job -- a job yet unheld by any soul -- would involve posting breaking news online in the wee hours of the morning. Like 6 a.m. But then, the work day would end at 3 p.m., leaving at least two hours to do any stealth knitting/yarn store shopping I might desire. I won't know until tomorrow whether the job is mine. It's very, very scary because I really do love what I'm doing now. But, as they say, you never know how great you'll look in a handknit wool tube top until you try it on.
 Posted by Picasa

Another view of the ring of green.... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Charitable knitting

"Chocolate Dipped Pop Top Mittens" in wool/mohair. Photo by the fabulous Shawn Raecke. Posted by Picasa

I finally, finally, finally made something for Valentines for AIDS, a silent auction at Flying M (my favorite Boise coffee house) wherein artists donate Valentines-themed pieces which are then part of a 10-day silent auction to raise money for a local program that helps local folks who have AIDS. It's always been one of my most favorite-ist things about Boise, even before I moved here. I love how so many people in the community -- both professional artists and people like me who just like to create stuff -- brainstorm and make something for a good cause. (To read more about it, check out The Idaho Statesman article).

My entry: "Chocolate Dipped Pop Top Mittens." I used a basic mitten pattern then winged a pop top by knitting a basic fingerless glove then picking up stitches just above the thumbhole, across the back. I cast on over the palm. Really, I had no idea what I was doing, but it seemed to work.

I also designed a very subtle heart using yos, which is the absolute first time I've tried to design an actual motif. I didn't want it to be too heart-y, in honor of Judi who is at war with all things heart-ish. I used leftover Lamb's Pride Worsted Yarn from my Lace Leaf Pullover and some mysterious brown stuff from the stash for the chocolate dipped part. If I'm not totally crushed by my employer tomorrow (major reorg employee chart announced), I'll post the actual pattern.