August 2005 Archives

lace requires faith

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I'm finding that knitting lace requires some faith. And lace socks, like concateknit and the nipper have noted, are not stress free. There should be a disclaimer on these things.

Here is my sock, beaten into submission and in a tinking phase.


I put it on my arm so you could see how the eyelets are working out. Faith I tell you, faith. These socks are going to need some blocking. I think I might have saved myself some agony by picking a merino yarn, just as the pattern called for. Louet's spin migt be a bit less tight than I'd prefer, but that's because I'm tinking so much.

And at least it isn't one ply like this Malabrigio is.


This is the lace pattern by Meg Swansen and can you believe the color of this yarn?! OOOOH. I did get the color card from Schoolhouse Press but found the Icelandic laceweight to be a bit harsher than I liked. So a quick pop-in to Full Thread Ahead- go ahead, read the big news and I had two gigantor skeins of laceweight Malabrigio. What's the other color? You'll just have to wait until I wind that one up.

What's that? You noticed it was wound? YES! Your best friends know you when they give you a ballwinder, even lugging it back from Oregon in a tiny carry-on (with partial fiscal sponsorship from a broke grad student in Montana) . The skein is gigantor. I mean, dude, people compare these to "pancakes" but this is more a cow pie. I thought my winder was going to burp it all off. Instead of using a non-existent swift, I just clamped the winder to my desk and held the skein below the edge of my desk by draping one end of the skein over my hand. This seemed to give the best tension all around for smooth winding. Occasionally I'd pull out the skein, still keeping it low, and lengthen the skein just letting the circle of yarn run around my hand. The trick is to keep the yarn winder going fast enough to keep the skein flowing around (similar to a spinning wheel's action) quickly.

Ok. Maybe I should vlog how I do this for next time. And yes, it was a lot of winding. I suddenly know why wendy has a machine ball winder.

And lastly, in an attempt to keep the wrinkles around my eyes from getting bigger (well not really, it was bad for my posture), there's a new addition to my desk.


A Dell 1905FP LCD. My office chair has gotten some more cushioning, too.

testing the new install


Well, the major remodel is over. Some smaller things and layouts will be tweaked here and there. The sidebars need to be brought up to speed.
Have a poke around. My favorite mod so far is the updated archive index

In case you'd like to update your MT archives to something similar, here's the pertinent code which you slot into your archive template:
<MTArchiveList archive_type="Monthly">
<th class="archive-list"><MTArchiveTitle></th>
<MTEntries> <tr> <td>- <a href="<MTEntryLink archive_type="Individual">"><MTEntryTitle></a></td><td><$MTEntryDate format="(%m/%d/%y)"$></td><td><MTEntryCategories glue=", "><a href="<$MTCategoryArchiveLink$>"><$MTCategoryLabel$></a></MTEntryCategories> </td></tr>

Please excuse the dust. MT 3.2 was such a major upgrade from the way I used former versions of MT, with all these localization features and abundance of new tags, that you can clearly see some changes here (and possibly not for the better. Sorry).

There seem to be a few things that aren't working. Like uhm. Listing the date. So the short and long is that I hope you read this via RSS/atom 'cause this site is going to be a bit less pretty for a while. There's a great little template generator written for the template, though I'm going to have to try this again after I get the %% kinks smoothed out and MT-Paginate installed.

Six Apart claims that all their styles released for 3.2 are updated for two column, left and right, and three column formats. Ah well, maybe on their internal servers. I found a few while surfing around and trying out new styles that no, certain things don't seem to have the two-column-right? implemented. I happen to like my sidebar on the right and think it is a good user-interface. If you disagree with me, please, leave a comment. The comment boxes are hideous right now. Ayee-yah.

In any case, the directory structure in this release has totally changed, which I'm okay with, except that my install was getting unweildy to maintain, so a "fresh" install of MT was due.

MT 3.2 out- oooooooh.

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It is finally an official release. Get your MT 3.2 upgrade

And check out the licensing discount, tons of new features, and the one thing I'm really jazzed about, standardized templating for all of six apart's blogging platforms. This mean we can now use typepad templates and they can use MT templates. Oooh.

And the backend? Oh gosh, big changes. I've been reading their blog and have been drumming my fingers in anticipation. They've really made it an integrated workspace in the backend. Nice to see them improving it after all this time.

To: My Louet Gems Merino yarn.

Okay, so our first attempt at lace was a bit of a trial. Thanks for putting up with my knuckle headed questions. Then you decided to look all ratty and insisted I start you again. I figured you, the fiber, would know best and followed your suggestion, snipping off the used bit and casting on again.

You were patient while I kinked up a circular trying to pick up the stitches at the bottom so I could create the picot edge just a bit better. And then you told me it was far too much for you to tolerate. Thank You.

There was that point where I felt like a genius when I used Vogue Knitting Fall 2005's Turkish cast on as a provisional cast on, seeing as it creates two rows of knitting and the (treacherous, deceitful) petticoat pattern called for that. You seemed immensely patient. Then when I did the yo, k2tog successfully, knit four more rows, and based on good faith, got through two laborious repeats of the lace pattern, decided to reveal to me the two stitches that were dropped AND not knit together. Thank you, ever so much, for pointing out the error of my ways. Yet again, I listened to your sage advice and ripped you back. You tolerated my abuse with careworn sighs and a slight fuss. Nonetheless, you rallied.

I cast on again. At some point, I have come to realize that this is a joint effort and you are sabotaging this, you perfidious yarn in cahoots with the pattern. By this point we have lopped off two cuffs and cast on more than a handful of times. If it wasn't a problem with the cast on, it was a problem with the picot (last time), or a problem joining the edging with the temporary cast on (a few times before that).

Perhaps you are silently protesting my decision to migrate from lovely Brittany Birch 2.75mm (US #2.5) short dpns to Prym 2.5 mm #2's which were pointier and a full inch longer. It didn't seem you objected to splitting less. I certainly wasn't complaining of cramped hands anymore, but you could have let your displeasure be known. Do you not like being jabbed with 5 pointy dpns, one circ, and a tapestry needle wedged along your outer bands?

Your anecdotes were shared with my boyfriend who suggested I not do a fancy cuff. I resisted. The time you've consumed during the weekend which could have been better (and possibly even more enjoyably) spent on homework in this last leg of a frantic summer quarter.

Yet you do not agree. Just WHAT do I have to bribe you with? These silent protests are getting to me, you hear? Do you just hate the Petticoat socks pattern? Are you trying not to hurt my feelings? Because, my dear Louet Gems Merino, I really would like us to be upfront with each other. I'd really like us to be friends. Bosom friends, as Anne of Green Gables would say.

Your perfidious treachery has been noticed. There are plenty of patterns other sock knitters are enjoyably and quickly knitting along. I would not want to give my sock pal a substandard sock. You do know there's a ball of Plymouth Sockotta in the most glorious purple riding your tail, desperately wanting to be knit in all of its self patterning glory. It is more qualified than you are. It is more suited for the California Climate, being cotton, and requires only the most basic sock pattern. It has proved itself to work up in a aesthetically pleasing manner, despite requiring some extra work. However, it is nowhere NEAR as high-maintenance as you are.

I strongly recommend you reconsider your stance. We'll give this one last try, yes? Because I can sympathize if you're having a bad week. I ask you to try and show some effort, yes? Perhaps it is not you (is it the pattern? You can tell me if it is. Really). Perhaps you want to go rest in the stash? I didn't mean it as a threat. You'll still get knit up. Eventually. Perhaps when you're an old maid. And your mate is separated from you as a return.

Really, Louet, I know this is an issue with both of us. Don't you go pointing your woolly tinked fuzziness at me and deny all semblances of responsibility. I can knit cables. I can even tolerably knit eyelash. There is a record of a mostly successful sock. I, as the manipulator, do hold some responsibility, but it is not. all. my. fault. I resent my perception of you saying this, even if you aren't. It is ticking me off. But, let us make peace with each other. Conflict is so tiring and hurtful.

With Regards (as to what type, you may infer),
Your Knitter, Freecia.

Mathematics of Yarn Overs

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Yarn Overs the action of bringing the yarn to the front if you are going to knit, or to the back if you are going to purl, counts as a yarn over. Aren't they little sneaky things.

I thought the yarn over was a combo move, in which it counted the completion of knitting/purling and how knitting/purling moves the stitch from the left needle to the right. Ohh noo. Yarn overs really only involve bringing the yarn to the front or the back in preparation to knit or purl, and that is what you should count.

Duh. Can you tell I don't do a lot of yarn overs?

Silly me

There we go. Knit math learned.

Falling off the Edge, the top edge

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Why Yes, I do have a college degree which required an emphasis in Mathematics. Counting yarn overs is simpler than Vector Calculus? So you say.

The Petticoat Socks1 have been started. Did I mention this is the first time I've done any lace and these yarnovers are making me barmy? Well, rather, it is the increases and decreases in combo, conspiring against me as it sat next to my head while I slept last night. I woke up, turned over, and stared again at the simple lace pattern and wondered why I couldn't seem to come out with 26 stitches.

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Someone. Please. Set. Me. Straight. The yarn is starting to look a little fuzzy from being tinked.

But wait! Not all my ponderings are so sad. Okay, maybe there was a bit which was terribly tragic. Yes, a Koigu incident. (This is a sock yarn, for the non-knitters, and is wildly in demand.)

Ate, slept, and shopped

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Smattering of photos are in the Carmel Gallery

First, the hotel verdict? 3.25*'s

Olympia "Motor" Lodge1
Much nicer than the name implies.
- Pillowtop mattress, very comfy
- Nice Duvet- I'm all about the blanket
- Comfy armchairs good for sitting in for prolonged time
- Cable tv with food network and such
- cushy new carpet
- decor wasn't bad at all. New stuff all around except the bathtub.
- Toiletries were scanty and low quality
- thin ceilings. Ask for an upper floor room
- noisy wooden walkway. Ask for an upper floor end unit
- Advertised continental breakfast was orange juice, bananas, and a few pastries. Had some coffee and tea (lipton)
- Your door may be a sliding glass door, depending on where you are situated. You could probably make your room demand very specific and ask for an upper floor end unit with a patio (those have a little table outside) facing Lighthouse.
- At check-out time, 11 am, the receptionist was nowhere to be found, nor was there a note indicating that we should just leave our keys, wait 10 minutes, or call a number. That was a bit remiss.
- Driving on 68 at night when it is misty and being tailgated is not very fun. Take a different route into Pacific Grove.

Ate. Where did we finally decide to eat dinner? Forge in the Forest where I can honestly say, just AWESOME. I know people rave about the fine dining at Passionfish but we wanted something a little less fancy. We got great food at Forge, where we sat outside on the patio without reservations. Simply walked in a bit before 6 pm. On a Sat. night. Score!
- Steamer Bucket. Great mussels with no seafood taste at all. The sauce was so good we soaked it up with our hot rolls (delivered steaming to the table)
- Gnocchi with Pesto - Pasta of the Night. Creamy gnocci with tender chicken.
- Angel hair with garlic meatballs- Very yum yum
^^ were all delivered hot and in large quantities. Normally you don't see big plates in Carmel, but we had to take half of our entrees home, even though we were hungry.
- Creme Brulee. Good, though not earth shattering. Big enough for two to share, which is what we did. Is Creme Brulee always cold? Ours was served cold.

And yes, we hit Ghiradelli for the Brownie Sundae (this one is a good one, not too sweet with a moist brownie) and the Clam Chowder stand for Clam Chowder Bread Bowls.

Heh. Of course! I got a small black leather Coach3 handbag which doubles as a wristlet.

And no trip would be complete without a visit to a yarn store.
Knitting by the Sea2 which carries the KFI/Knitting Fever line. Lots of alpaca, cotton, and some novelty. Also has Curious Creek. Sock yarns were Regia Opal and Sockotta. Needles carried are Clover and Addi Turbo.
The shop is well lighted and the salespeople are really nice. They had some interesting huuuuge skeins on the table but they were too big to fit in my stash box so they stayed there. Check out the carmel photo album for a photo of the shop's interior.

Last stop- Gilroy Premium Outlets. We decided we had enough time to stop here and wandered through Gap, Banana Republic (with the most solicitous sales people award from us), J.Crew, Coach (again) and etc.

Final Verdict- Wonderful!

1 Olympia Motor Lodge | 1140 Lighthouse Ave. |Pacific Grove CA 93950 | (831) 373-2777

2 Knitting by the Sea | On 5th between Mission & Junipero (across from Forge in the Forest) | (831) 624-3189

3 Coach at Carmel | San Carlos St & Ocean Ave Carmel, CA 93923| (831) 626-1777

What products are you impressed with?


37Signals had a post about what products you were impressed with recently.

My answer was a good pen, the Gap Stretch T, and Jasmine Downey Pearl Tea from Peet's.

Of course, if I could add a yarn, I'd have a few at the top of my list. Right now nothing beats Rowan Cashsoft yarn. No other yarn comes close for smoothness, softness, and easy care. And addi turbo needles. Hype aside, they're well constructed and each part does exactly what it should without hassle. That's more than I can say for some other needles.

What about you? Do you have a "best" anything? A "smart" something?

last minute getaway

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Mariko isn't the only one to getaway this week. I'll be heading for a quick trip to Monterey for the weekend with my best pal Melissa for a quick "run away run away!!!"

Slow Socks

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Since I'm a beginner at socks, I guess I'm naive. And inexperienced. For all those who claim socks are quick knits and whiz by... You must impart the wisdom of exactly how this miracle occurs because I want in on the secret.


This is my practice sock done toe-up on two circulars with Sockotta yarn and really, I gotta say, it feels like it took forever. Not sweater forever, but I also feel that perhaps using #1 needles and this yarn was about as slow as knitting up at least the fronts of a cardigan, or perhaps the sleeves. Counting the stitches, I think I could have knit a sweater backing. This is not to say that socks aren't good knits, but I find that I knit slower with this tiny needle gauge, plodding along like Frankenstein.

Lessons learned?
- Use larger needles and bigger gauged yarn. I'm thinking maybe 4-ply.
- Break up the knit monotony by doing a fancy topped sock.
- Consider using dpns since you are beginning to resent moving the stitches off the circ cord and shoving them onto the needle.
- Watch out for big gaping stitches at the ankles where you join in the heel back to knitting in the round for the entire ankle. The gusset? I think this is the gusset.

Yet, this was really about 20-ish hours of work, so it wasn't all that bad.

Once I finish the ankle on this sock, it is off to start my Sockapal2za socks. I think one month should be just about enough time for me to finish them. The pattern I'm kicking about and considering is Petticoat socks from Weekend Knitting but I'll be surfing through the sockapal2za pool in search of other patterns. And oh yeah, shopping :) Probably looking for a wool blend instead of cotton.