Tuesday, November 29, 2005

More Random Thoughts

Thanks everyone for the nice encouragement on Kepler, or as Kim put it, the KepLaura. (Love it!) It's moving along, since I'm only working on that.

Thanks Mariko for the nice compliment about my cable skills. But I have to 'fess up! My cables have holes and tight/loose stitches too! As you may know, I started Kepler many moons ago. I did a bit of the cable band and then, like the kids in the Seuss story, it sat and sat and sat. And, lo and behold, when I picked it up again, the cables were all even and the holes were gone! Amazing! Moral of the story: Time Heals All Wonky Stitches.

Kathy mentioned that she, too, had picked up some Cascade 220 in color #9341, which is what I am using for Kepler. May we gush for a moment? It is gorgeous. It is so deliciously winey, but also has these intriguing little bits of teal. Or at least mine does.

Sooo, in the Stupid Celebrity Crush Department...the Rob Thomas mention garnered enthusiasm, at least from some quarters. Hmmm. I don't know. He's not tall, dark, and British or Australian enough for me. You know, I think it all started with The Sound of Music. I mean, there are probably American Catholic girls who didn't have their first crush on this guy, but I sure don't know them.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Woman, A Plan, A Raglan

...Nalgara ... nope. No way I can make that a palindrome. So, I have a completed, lightly blocked cable band and a sleeve and a bit (three-quarters length). But, more importantly, I have a plan.

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Without Tears provided the key to converting Emily's pattern to a raglan. I have basically redesigned the entire sweater, keeping only the cable band from the original. The sizing wasn't really right for me, either. And after knitting The Cable Band That Ate Cleveland, I want the sweater to fit properly.

So, what I shall do is to finish the other sleeve, pick up the appropriate number of stitches around the cable band, and knit the body up to the armholes. Then, I will join the body and sleeves on one needle, leaving some stitches on the inner sleeves and sides of the body (these stitches will be grafted later). Finally, I'll knit up to the neck, concentrating the decreases at the front and back shoulders. I decided on plain hemmed sleeves, but I'm thinking of adding a Little Something at the decrease lines.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Ours was lovely, and we had fun with the Parents at the Anna Nalick/Rob Thomas concert. G and I noticed as we were leaving that there seemed to be an abundance of minivans in the parking lot, and my mom and I had also noted at intermission that there seemed to be few people there under thirty. Anyway, Mr. Thomas put on quite a show for the Soccer Moms!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Three Blog Thursday is taking a brief holiday hiatus. Come back next week for Three Blog Thursday: The International Edition!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Crazed, Deadline-Driven Knitting Abandoned

One of these days I will post pictures again. It's just that all I have to show is a (slightly) longer cable band. I'm encountering that knitting phenomenon where you knit and knit and knit and then you measure and it's only half an inch longer than it was when you picked it up. Waah. It's about as likely that I'll get this sweater done by tomorrow as it is my young commenter will get a prom date. (Sorry. That was mean.) Anyway, I'm going to keep plugging along. I was hoping to have lots of knitting time this weekend, but G says that he will almost certainly have to work a lot this weekend. Ah, the law is a jealous mistress, as they say. So we'll see how much knitting gets done.

Various other business: Miss McSpazz, I am going to the Coldplay concert with my husband. Unless he has to work or something (see above), and then I'll have to find someone else. Glaistig wants to go, but she would have to fly in. Today is Minty's birthday, so go wish her a Happy Day! New Affiknitty banner above, thanks to Kim! She told me (the HTML idiot) exactly what to do. She has a cool blog, so drop by.

Also, I've been meaning to do this for a while. The earthquake in Pakistan and India left devastation on a scale that is enormous, yet there has been little media attention given to the disaster. Winter is coming and millions of people are homeless. Sadly, relief efforts have received only a fraction of the aid that is needed. Maybe it's "empathy fatigue" but people have not responded in the way that they did for the tsunami last December, or for Katrina. A kind knitblogger, Jessica, has set up a blog to raise money for the earthquake victims. If you can, please stop by and make a donation. Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I'll be thinking of you knitting sisters while I'm counting my blessings.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

To My Young Commenter


You sound like a reasonably normal young 15 year old boy. If you are stalking the knitblogs of thirtysomething-stay-at-home moms and actually COMMENTING, then I suppose you are the one who needs to get a life. I mean, it's not as though you have kids to take care of. You could be doing something fun!

And by the way, where did all this vitriol come from? As a matter of fact, I am NOT overweight around the middle, I don't talk in babyspeak, and I get plenty of attention from people other than my kids. Sheesh.

Now, quit wasting your youth reading knitblogs. Unless, of course, you knit. Which would be cool.

Love, Laura

Monday, November 21, 2005

Potter Day, and Coldplay

So, I didn't get much knitting done yesterday. We took the boys to the Natural History Museum, and then down to Grandma and Grandpa's so that we could see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was so, so, so good. Each movie gets better than the last. Although, I have to say, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint are starting to look noticeably older than Harry and Ron. Too many muscles for 14-year-olds. Hope that didn't sound too weird in a Nicole Kidman movie sort of way.

In other big entertainment news, ask me what I'm doing the day after my birthday. Come on, ask me. Ok, ok, Laura, what are you doing? I'm going to see Coldplay in concert!!! (Barely containing excitement.) We got the tickets yesterday, and as G says, I'm liable to perseverate about it for the next four months.

Anyhoo... Amanda asked how I would knit Kepler as a raglan completely in the round. Well, in true Affiknitty fashion, I'm not really sure. But I think I can knit the sleeves in the round to the armholes, join it with the body, and knit the top sort of like an Elizabeth Zimmermann seamless yoke sweater. Only I would concentrate the decreases at the arms, rather than spacing them evenly around the yoke. Does that make sense? We'll see if it works.

I really doubt it will be done for Thanksgiving dinner. But, G and I are going to another concert with my parents on Friday night. My aunt's mate is Anna Nalick's drummer, and they'll be in town Friday opening for Rob Thomas. So we're all going to see Ronny. That should be fun, and perhaps I'll be wearing my Kepler then!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Decisions, and a Challenge

So not much knitting done, at least nothing worth a picture. But I did have a conversation with Mr. Affiknitty last night that I had to share.

I have several decisions to make about Kepler. I'm definitely going to do it at least partially in the round instead of flat. That will save me the trouble of doing some seaming. But I can't decide if I want to make it a raglan, and do it completely in the round, or keep the set-in sleeves (gulp) and just knit in the round to the armhole shaping. I think I want to keep the ballet neck (so pretty!) but I'm not sure. And I definitely cannot decide about the cable bands on the sleeves. On the one hand, that's a very distinctive detail. On the other hand, the whole knit would be cleaner and quicker without them. Opinions are welcome. By the time I get done with this, my Kepler is going to be about as much a Kepler as, say, this.

Anyway, so I was discussing these issues with Mr. A. He had a few opinions about them. Then he dropped this little bombshell.

"So, when are you going to take on more challenging projects, like Eunny's?"

Excuse me?! Well.

Correct answer: When we hire a housekeeper.

Friday, November 18, 2005


I've been really impressed by all the holiday knitting going on. I mean, FOs are a-flyin' around everywhere! After the Mini-OSW experience, I decided that I would take a pass on holiday knitting this year. My hands hurt for about three weeks after those shrugettes were done.

I am dying to start something new. But I'm trying to be good about my finishing things up project. So, I was thinking, What do those Holiday Knitters have that I don't, that helps them crank out the knits? What they have, dear readers, is a deadline.

So last night, I thought to myself, It would be nice to wear Kepler for Thanksgiving dinner. Yep. Delusional.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Three More Blogs

Today, the ROFLMAO version of Three Blog Thursday. You might wonder, what does Laura look for in a knitblog? Well, occasional WIPs and FOs are good. Detailed tutorials impress me. But if you can make Diet Cherry Coke come out of my nose, well then, you're sure to end up on my blogroll. Here are three that never fail to amuse.

1. Adventures with a Knitting Spaz. Miss McSpazzitron, what can I say? Your adventures in wine tasting left me nearly breathless with laughter. You spot celebrities. You offer knitted beer cozies. As a knitter, you possess amazing OCD, er, attention to detail. Of course, none of this was as funny as your last comment here, in which you ask if my fellow spectators at the Cavs game gave me funny looks as I KIP'ed. No, being the mother of small children, I (sadly) "watched" the game on my couch.

2. Ackery. Now, admittedly, part of the appeal for me with Erica's blog is that we have very similar politics. And, we both hate Halloween. But it is also fun to read her posts/rants about yarn shopping, unlikely catastrophes, naplessness, and sacramental bread.

3. Bits of Knits. Ok, I know I plugged Chris's blog in my answers to the meme. But she's so funny! I could not fail to mention her blog in the ROFLMAO edition. You really must read about her former occupation, watching scary movies, and showing proof.

And now, back to the cable bands.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Believe the Hype

Here's how dedicated I am to finishing things. I worked on Fair Isle while "watching" the Cavs game. Everything you may have heard about LeBron James is true -- he's astounding. His abilities on the court are superhuman. It was not as fun to watch all his basketball pyrotechnics as replays. While I may someday be able to do color knitting with two hands, I doubt I could do it without my eyes. (Sorry for the lousy picture quality, but I couldn't resist.)

I wish the title of this post were also referring to two-handed Fair Isle technique, but alas, no. I was so impatient to finish this hat, I just did it one-handed. Thanks for all your great tips, though! I plan to take a look at those tutorials and put them to use sometime soon for the Norwegian Stockings.

So, I finished something and promptly got all excited about starting something new. Right now, my WIPs are down to two sweaters. I thought, Portable knitting! I need portable knitting! I can start socks! Then I remembered that I have just barely started Kepler, and the first step are the highly portable cable bands. Sigh.

So I've been working on that today, and actually I'm really enjoying it. Cabling without a cable needle is always a thrill, and it's been so long since I picked it up it feels like a new project. I'm thinking about skipping the cable bands for the sleeves, though. Plain sleeves would be less fussy. And, of course, I could finish the sweater faster. Then (to answer your question Glaistig), I could cast on for Forbes Forest! Or Backyard Leaves!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Two-Handed Knitting

I really don't have much to post about. I have been doing some knitting, but I don't have anything at a picture-worthy stage. Yesterday, I worked on the pink and brown sweater while watching Birth on DVD (while John was napping). Birth stars Nicole Kidman, playing a woman whose plans to remarry are put on hold when a 10-year old boy claims to be the reincarnation of her dead husband. There were one or two scenes that, especially as the mother of little boys, made me really uncomfortable. It was just a weird movie in general. Not recommended.

I'm also working on another fair isle hat. I have tried to knit with one color in each hand, but I can't seem to get the hang of it. Anyone know of a good web tutorial on this? I should check the Knitty index. Any and all tips on learning how to do this are appreciated!

I am also battling an incipient case of startitis. I really, really, really want to cast on for a Scarf Style project, or some socks, or both. But I am trying very hard not to have four or five things going at once. (Minty, you're a good influence!) Right now, I'm down to three WIPs -- the hat, the pink and brown sweater, and (barely) Kepler. My goal is to finish these first, before starting anything new. We'll see how long this resolve lasts.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lady of Spain

The identity of the mysterious Spanish reader has been discovered! Sure enough, there on her sidebar, are links to Affiknitty, Pepperknit, and Yo La Tejo. It amuses me to no end to know that halfway across the world, another knitter is not only reading my blog, but is also regularly reading the same blogs I do. It is highly likely that she found one of us, and then found the other two from links on the first blog, so it's not as though this is some amazing coincidence. But still. I love the idea that, without our even really knowing it, the four of us were spread across the planet, knitting together.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Three Blog Thursday

For some reason(s), I haven't actually done that much knitting lately. But I've been thinking about Carolyn's meme, and I have followed it with great interest around Knitblogland. Some people have said that they didn't want to say what their favorite blogs were, for fear of leaving someone out, etc. That made me feel a little bad -- I have visited many blogs lately and thought, I should have mentioned this one.

Also, I've started reading so many blogs via Bloglines, that I decided just to link to my blogroll rather than list 60 blogs on my sidebar. But that made me feel a little bad, too, because it is (1) fun to see your blog on someone's sidebar and (2) fun to promote other people's blogs. Hence, Three Blog Thursday. Every Thursday, I am going to give a shout out to three blogs that I read and love. I am going to try to stick to ones that aren't terribly well-known. You don't need me to tell you Aunt Purl is funny, but doesn't apparently knit much. So, without further ado...

1. See Eunny Knit. Eunny's blog has everything you would want in a knitblog: beautiful photos, great writing, many FOs. Her blog also appeals to me because she knits the sort of thing that I would like to knit, or would if there were any point. If that's not enough, I just have two words for you: Norwegian Stockings.

2. Pepperknit. First of all, Minty's banner is just too darn cute. Second, being one of those monogamous-to-one-project kind of knitters, she inspires Affiknitty to be a More Committed Knitter. Third, she is an amazingly skilled knitter, unafraid of all-over cables or knitting endless stockinette on very small needles. Also, we have figured out that we apparently have a common regular reader in Madrid. If you are that person, could you leave one of us a comment? We would love to know who you are! And see your blog!

3. Yo La Tejo. I don't remember how I first found Olga's blog. But I knew right away, I had found a kindred soul. A literature grad student (which I wish I had been) who also went through a sort-of-Goth-Depeche-Mode-Black-Celebration phase, a fellow lefty who nonetheless loves beautiful shoes, she is a fantastic knitter whom I am glad to have met in Knitblogland. (Is that right, whom? She could tell me.) We started blogging at about the same time, so I feel as if I've been in this with her from the start. In addition to knitting content, on Yo La Tejo, you also get dispatches from West Texas and social commentary on such travesties as Katrina (see lefty link above) and Prada Marfa. What more could you want? Well, she could post more often. Love ya, chica! ::wink::

So, check 'em out. Say Laura sent you. Hope you find another "must-read!"

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Alone Time

J has been with his grandma for the last couple of nights, so I've had some alone time while S is busy at school and with his therapy. For me, that means two things: a matinee and a yarn crawl. Woo-hoo!

Yesterday afternoon, I went to see Shopgirl. It was fabulous. Granted, I think Steve Martin is a flippin' genius, so I was bound to like it. It was a little funny, a little romantic, a lot sad. Very good.

I also went to an LYS that is conveniently located near the theatre, and got this: it's called Truffles, by The SRK Collection. Eighty percent merino and twenty yummy percent cashmere. It is so soft, it is not to be believed. It's basically the same as Baby Cashmerino, but it only cost $6.99 a ball. Not bad! I have some BC in the stash too, so after I've tried both I'll give you a road test comparison.

Then, this morning I went to an LYS out in the suburbs that is new to me, Knitting on the Square in Chardon. Such a nice shop -- everything was really well-organized and it was easy to see and find things. They carry a really nice variety of stuff, from pricey Noro to plain ole Plymouth Encore. And very friendly and helpful! So, while I was there, I picked up this Karaoke. Meet Jennifer. She's my PUSHER. I went to this LYS and bought this yarn on her recommendation and I can see the downward spiral of addiction swirling before my eyes. Once I finish a few hats, I think this Karaoke will be my Clapotis. But here's the thing. I bought 500 meters and the pattern calls for 552 meters. It seems to me that I have heard people say that they used the suggested Lorna's Laces and had just enough. Maybe I've imagined that. Anyway, I'd rather make it narrower than shorter, so I need to know before I start what modifications I should make. Thanks to Courtney's tip, I should get all the help I need at the Clapotis Knitalong!

I've also been knitting hats, as you might have guessed. I have one finished, one almost finished, and one just started. But I'll post all hat related business here. There's no deadline to sign up for Cover Your Head, so if you're interested email me!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The To-Knit List

First of all, thanks everyone for the nice comments about both the Weasley and the Boy. It turned out pretty well, though I learned a few things for the next one. The Boy has turned out exceptionally well so far, if I don't say so myself! And yes Olga, he does look like me. Well, like a red-haired baby boy version of me. (As I have said before, J's red hair is from God, and mine is from Nick at the salon.)

I have been knitting hats this weekend, and am pretty close to having two designs done! I need to iron out a few things and then I am going to post the details at Cover Your Head, and the patterns on my patterns blog.

Carla posted a knitting to-do list for this weekend. I had to laugh, because I recently made a little to-do list of my own. It included my current WIPs, some of which have since been finished, and some things which I really needed to knit, like hats for the boys and sweaters for S, including his Weasley. But the fun part of the list was what I called "Want to Knit." Carla inspired me to share it. In no particular order...

1. Various Scarf Style projects: Vintage Velvet (not in Touch Me), Forbes Forest (here's Grumperina's), Backyard Leaves (Carolyn's gorgeous one).
2. Jaywalker socks in Koigu
3. Elfine socks
4. River in KidSilk Haze
5. Flower Basket Shawl from IK (here's Olga's lovely one!)
6. Clapotis (need to find a good yarn substitute)
7. More Log Cabin socks for my mom and dad, and me
8. Socks from Knitting on the Road: Friday Harbor, Conwy
9. Fingerless gloves from Last Minute Knitted Gifts
10. Knitted flowers from Handknit Holidays (inspired by Carolyn!)

There are plenty of other things as well, but this is more than enough to keep me busy for awhile. If you have knit any of these patterns, and have good or bad things to say about them, I'd love to hear about it. Any advice about what I should start first?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Cover Your Head!

I've been talking about it and talking about it, so I finally did it. I set up a blog for a hats Knitalong!

Hats are fun to knit. If cold weather is coming to your corner of the world, you really ought to be wearing one. And they make an awesome holiday gift. So if you'll be knitting hats at all over the next few months, join!

This is a low-pressure, no-rules type KAL. Just send me an email at knitterlaura at yahoo dot com or comment here and I will send you a blog invite.

Also needed ... buttons for the KAL and more links to hat patterns. Send 'em along!

Hope to see you knitting hats!

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I have a book on my shelf entitled 100 One-Night Reads, edited by the venerable bibliophile Clifton Fadiman. The idea is, of course, that all the books featured within could be finished in an evening of dedicated reading. Sure. Obviously, Mr. Fadiman had no small children when he compiled this list.

I'm even more skeptical of "two-hour" knitting projects. I am a slow knitter, for starters, plus these claims always strike me as cynical marketing. But Ann Budd said that you could finish these mitts in an evening, and wouldn't you know it, even I could do it.

Diana is right. These are so comfy. I may never, ever take them off. I will very likely make more, so I can coordinate with all possible outfits and moods.

Pattern: Fingerless Mitts by Ann Budd, in Weekend Knitting
Yarn: Less than one skein of Sirdar Snuggly Chunky, a surprisingly nice but discontinued 45% acrylic-55% nylon yarn that's been lying around in my stash forever
Gauge and Needles: 4 sts per inch on size 8 Clover bamboo circs

No Magic Here

...but the Weasley is done. Here it is, being modeled by J, who is charmingly scratching his nose and has a lovely bruise on his eyebrow from tripping and hitting some piece of furniture. It's times like these I wish I had Photoshop.

Erica assured me that other knitters were finding their Weasleys to be ginormous. No doubt those knitters were using the Rowan pattern. Pas moi. No, no...I had to have a knit-in-the-round-to-the-armholes pattern, and used Sweater Wizard. I entered his actual chest measurement, as instructed, and my gauge, and chose "oversize" for fit -- and this is what I got. D$%* Sweater Wizard!

As you can see, it just fits. Anyhow, it's fine for now, but I have lots of Felted Tweed left over, so I may at some point pick up stitches at the bottom and make it longer. But the good news is, he likes it and didn't fuss at all when I put it on for the photo shoot. Here are the details, for those who like to have them:

Pattern: My own/Sweater Wizard Knit-in-the-Round Weasley
Yarn: About 2.5 balls of Rowan Felted Tweed in Midnight, plus a little bit of Coffee to make the initial
Gauge: 5 sts per inch, using various size 6 needles

A really good mommy would have started on S's Weasley. But I'm really just a "good enough" mommy, so I'm going to work on a few other things first. S and J both need hats, as I mentioned yesterday. I recently acquired this book and now visions of Fair Isle hats dance in my head. Amanda also found this kid's chullo hat -- cute! Anyone else interested in hats?

Also, I've been thinking about the fingerless mitts in Weekend Knitting for quite some time now. I saw glowing reviews of these mitts on Diana's blog, so I can wait no longer. The fingerless mitts are under way!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Well, in knitting news, I am finishing up J's Weasley. I am knitting the sleeves down from the armholes, and have one done. I also have done the neck, because I am dying to be finished with this. I am fairly certain that this sweater has soaked up all sorts of bad juju. Big fear: it will be too small. Attempts to try the sweater on the recipient have been a total failure. J will not touch this garment for love or money. I am hoping against hope that when it is finished, he will fall in love with it and it will be big enough for him to wear through this winter. Keep your fingers crossed for me, or if you're the sort, send charms this way.

Once I get my name in red on Alison's blog, I'm thinking of joining another KAL. Maybe Warm Hands. But my boys really need hats. I'm thinking hat-along.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Not Really a Narcissist

Well, although I have already told you 100 things about me, Chrissy has tagged me with that "20 things about me" meme. This is going to be difficult for me and very possibly boring for you.

1. I hate Halloween, and I can't remember a time when I didn't. Sorry for that lack of holiday cheer.
2. My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. It's all about the food, people.
3. Serious phobia: drowning. More specifically, being stuck in a car that is sinking. I have wasted hours of my life worrying about what I would do if this happened to me.
4. I can remember exactly what I was wearing on my first day of junior high school. It was a white t-shirt with lace on the neckline, a pastel plaid skirt with knife pleats, white sandals, unshaven legs, and no makeup. Most of the girls in my class were wearing tight Gloria Vanderbilts and copious amounts of Bonne Bell cosmetics. I also remember what I thought -- I am in way over my head.
5. I have lived in Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Brazil. But not in that order.
6. I have a theory that my undergraduate studies in English were the perfect preparation for being a tax lawyer, because there are many similarities between reading 16th century poetry and interpreting the tax code.
7. The first book I can remember reading that was an influence on me was a kids' biography of the social reformer Jane Addams. I checked it out about a hundred times from my school library when I was in second grade. I think that's why I'm such a quasi-socialist pacifist lefty.
8. My high school graduating class had 9 students in it, including me.
9. Embarrassing true fact: When I was a senior, I was voted the first homecoming queen my school ever had. (It was an American school in Brazil.)
10. I did not win a Socktoberfest prize, and I am bummed. I never win anything.
11. A favorite indulgence: Cointreau on ice with dark chocolate on the side.
12. When I was little, I thought the Beatles' song "Let It Be" was about the second letter of the alphabet.
13. I let my little sister push me around pretty much from the day she was born. She will be the first to agree with this statement. But I love her to bits and always have!
14. The first apartment I lived in alone, after college, has since been torn down. It was such a hovel, it almost made my dad cry to see it. No kidding.
15. I once was in the studio audience on Oprah, and they showed my face on camera two or three times. My aunt was one of the guests.
16. My name was published in the Wall Street Journal once, as someone working on health care reform during the first Clinton administration. This sums up my fifteen minutes of fame!
17. I do not know what I will be fixing for dinner, and I rarely do.
18. I am certain that I am one of those moms that make other moms feel better about themselves. In the sense that they compare themselves favorably to me!
19. I am a wimp when it comes to scary/intense movies.
20. My confirmation name is Catherine, and I was confirmed on the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena.

If you want to play along, consider yourself tagged!