YO! ZMK Knits!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Second Sock Syndrome? Never Hoid of It!

Send me my sock knitters' club card, because I have knit a pair of socks!!!

Please pardon me while I take all kinds of sock porn pictures!

I really had to take a picture while wearing a pair of shoes, just to show that I *can* wear these with shoes!

The yarn used is Lion Brand Magic Stripes in Color #203 "Purple Pattern". It's 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon. I knit some navy blue polyester thread in with the toe shaping for an extra strong toe. Toes and heels are what wear out really fast on commercially-bought socks on me. The heel is probably because most of my shoes are too wide and they rub on my heel. The shoes I'm wearing in the pic are an example of a pair that are normally a bit too big for me, but they fit quite well with these socks!

The socks are a little itchy, but I'm not used to wearing wool socks. I think I'll get used to them. Please pardon my gushing, but everyone should remember their elation at their first pair of perfectly fitting socks that they knit themselves!


We have an office pet now. His name is Charlie.

He looks ridiculous in this picture on purpose. I love how turtle faces look straight on!

Charlie is a red-eared slider, bought by a coworker in NYC's Chinatown. I gave her a very gentle lecture about proper turtle care and the importance of washing one's hands after handling, feeding, or cleaning the cage of a turtle (and any animal, really, because you can get salmonella from any animal, not just turtles).

Charlie is very, very small -- too small to have been sold legally. Yes, I could have lectured the purchaser on impulse-buying of pets (and the fact that he was bought for a little girl who was terrified of him), but I instead offered to help her take care of him and send her links to red-eared slider care sheets, and let her know that Charlie will need a tank with a filter and a reptile light, and more to eat than the turtle chow that was sold with him. I told her I would feed him the icky stuff like bloodworms and mealworms, because he needs it or he will because malnourished and die.

I hoping for the best for Charlie, and that someday we will look at these pictures and say, "Wow, remember when Charlie was THAT SMALL?"

The little guy can sure tork when he's out of his vase, though -- I put him on the desk and he ran off like a toddler!

The Guest

We had a guest sleeping on the roof of the downstairs addition the other day.

We think he/she (let's just say he, okay?) slept there all day, and we didn't notice until we (ZMrK) were making dinner that night. Yeah, we just woke him up.

He looked especially cute when he stretched. I don't think he was sick; I just think he was sleeping there for the day. At least I HOPE that was the case, all we need is a rabid raccoon in the neighborhood. That's the only tree we have with leaves, btw.

This was a definite "threat" posture. He's trying to make himself look as big as possible so we will leave him alone. Don't worry, kiddo -- we don't intend to get any closer to you. At this point I suggested we close the window.

He went to sleep in another spot on the roof and was gone after it got dark, presumably off to do what raccoons do.

Cute as he is, I hope he doesn't sleep on our roof again. Our landlord's don't like animals hanging around. This morning our landlady was seen chasing a neighborhood cat out of the yard.


Friday during my lunch break, I took my camera to the NE Aquarium and took some pictures of the seal tank outside the Aquarium. One of these days I am going to just use my membership to go inside for 45 minutes and see some more cute things.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Found a new Avatar

I just switched my Craftster avatar to this:
This is Galen's mom, from the Planet of the Apes TV show (circa 1973). I'm a life-long PotA fan, and love the thought of a knitting ape. ZMrK was nice and technical enough to get a screencap for me.

The other best knitting reference in popular culture was a line in the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version of. . . maybe The Black Cat (have to check with ZMrK of this). An old woman comes after someone with a knitting needle, and one of the 'bots exclaimed "Knit One Purl DIE!". Hee hee hee.


Friday, April 28, 2006

Knitting Pattern a Day Week 17 Review!

Here's the Week 17 Review of the Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calendar patterns.

Monday, April 24 -- Small Simple Flower. Another cute, creative use for leftover sock yarn! (Although I'm thinking I may use my leftover sock yarn for accents in future socks).

Tuesday, April 25 -- Opal Kid's Socks. The description says the sock colors scream "KIDS!". I think they scream "ME!". It's a pretty basic pattern, and the sock yarn (Opal Brasil, #5001), will be purchased by me in the future.

Wednesday, April 26 and Thursday, April 27 -- Asymmetrical Jacket in 3 Colors. This is a simple, elegant jacket, but I'm not sure if I would ever make it. I've been looking at the pattern to the past two days (it's Thursday as I write this), and the most I can think about it is, "That Deco Ribbon stuff sure is a pain in the ass to work with, isn't it?". Suffice to say, it isn't screaming out at me to knit it.

Friday, April 28-- Waldron Island Hat. Okay, first off, the name "Waldron Island" strikes me as a place that would house a prison, possibly because our maximum security prison is in Walpole (there's that "Wal"), and an island in the PNW makes me think of Alcatraz. . .but, I know I am wrong, and Waldron Island is probably a really pleasant place. This is another nice pattern using lovely alpaca yarn from Honey Lane Farms . This hat has bobbles on it (which I've never made, but I like saying the word. Bobble. Maybe I'll make a huge cashmere wrap with bobbles and have a bobble bath (dork!).

Saturday/Sunday, April 29 and 30 -- Arches & Pillars. Another stitch pattern, and a really lovely one. Lots of SSKs and YOs. Makes me want to say, "YO! ZMK KNITS!" (ummmm . . . This is supposed to come out sounding like the intro to "Yo! MTV Raps!" circa 1991, but maybe I'm just a bigger dork than I realize. I may have just thought up a new tagline for my blog though.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bad Habits and Good Purses

I have a horrible, disgusting habit of biting my lower lip. Not in a cute, Lolita-ish sort of way either (although I don't think a 37-year-old woman can ever be Lolita-ish, however short I may be). The kind of biting I do results in lots of dead, dry skin on my lips and cancre-type sores on the inside of them. This is too much information, isn't it? I decided that I must stop doing this, so last night I told ZMrK two things:

1. Whenever I get the urge to bite my lip, I need to put chapstick on. One of the reasons I keep doing it is because they are dry!

2. Whenever ZMrK sees me biting my lip, I owe him $1.

I haven't had to fork over any money yet, but I have caught myself doing it a couple of times. Stupid lip. Stupid teeth.

It doesn't help that I feel like caa-caa lately. Just when winter is truly over and I am getting over my Seasonal Affective Disorder (this year's was a real doozy, kids), the pollen shows up. I'm still tired, but it's not the same kind of tired as the tired I get from SAD. I am sniffly, though, my eyes itch, my throat is scratchy and my throat glands are swollen and sore, and I am always thirsty. But I have more energy and I feel less depressed. Maybe in a few weeks the pollen will be gone and I'll be back to normal, whatever that is.

I wanted to post more about purses. The other night, Blogger was down for maintenance so I posted several things to Craftster. Among them was a close-up short of the turtle appliques from the red corduroy bag I posted yesterday. . . this is to make Catherine even more jealous than she already is. ;-)

I have other plans for this turtle fabric . . . ZMrK wants one for an applique to cover the Stussy logo on a thrift-store jacket he bought. It's a great jacket, but he hates logos! I also want to combine it with denim for more purses, and maybe some zippered pouches and wallets. Hopefully they will come out good and sellable, because I really don't need more purses and wallets.

I also posted a purse I made in MassArt's Imaging on Fabric class back around 2000:

The fabric is some sort of crushed-velvet that I believe I got at North End Fabrics (which was not in the North End, but in Chinatown) before they closed (I'm still sore about that one). It's thicker, so i think it is upholstery fabric. The picture is a great technique I learned that I would love to start doing again called Polaroid Transfer. My dad has about 4,000 slides from the 1950s - 1980s. This is from a picture he took of my mom in the late 1950s, when they were dating (she was about 19 or 20 years old here). I have a Polaroid printer that belonged to my dad that can turn slides into prints -- the trick is to open up the print before it develops, put it face down on a piece of fabric (white cotton preferably), go over it several times with a roller (a braiser? Something like that. . . I used a rubber roller with a handle that i've used to flatten polymer clay), and you have an image right onto the fabric. I put the image on the front of the purse (probably using fusible interfacing, but I don't know how knowledable I was back then), and hand-beaded the border.

Here's a detailed picture of the image with the beading. It's not crooked on the purse; the purse was hanging at an angle when I took the picture, so it came out crooked.

The beading took me about 10 hours to do. I watched a lot of movies while working on it, one cold winter. Each corner has about a dozen cobalt blue larger seed beads, and the rest are these irridescent, multi-colored seed beads. All in all, I'm quite happy with how it turned out. The purse is on the smallish size, but I still use it on nights out when I only need to carry a few things.

I know everyone is waiting to read that I made myself a Tokay purse just like the one I made for the Reptile Lovers swap. And I did!!! I used it a couple of Saturdays ago at the reptile show in Manchester, NH, but didn't get the reaction I had hoped for to it. A milk snake tried to crawl into it, however. . . at least someone liked it!! Without furthe adieu, here are some pics of it:

I made little pockets on the size (big enough for the chapstick I need to apply every 5 minutes or so!), and put my Zanti Miss Knit label on the pocket that would face the world. . . good technique, right??? I really love the bug fabric I used for the lining. I used the last yard I had of this for one of the pillowcases I made the other day. . . the remaining scraps I have may become appliques.

The purse is HUGE. More of a tote bag than a purse, I must say! It sure comes in handy while knitting socks -- I was able to carry all my usual purse-stuff in it, along with my project AND my notions bag! Woo hoo!!!

I'm sure you've noticed the time of this post -- I'm covering reception at work. For some strange reason my profile will not load up here, so I can't access my work email or iManage (the system we keep our documents on). I usually browse Craigslist for homes in Central Florida (where we hope to move soon), or browse eBay for vintage patterns, yarn, or vintage clothes, but today I decided to be productive (at least for my own means), and blog. I've been up here for 40 minutes and the phone has not run ONCE.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Weekend Wind-Down!

In which ZantiMissKnit takes a day off of work to craft, realizes she just may be a little bit insane, and ZantiMisterKnit gets a surprise!

I got a little silly over the weekend, and decided, what are cats for, if not to force into silly pictures? The idea came to me because dear sweet little Solvie *hates* being picked up and held (I have the scars to prove it), but once in a while I just have to do it.

She looks sooooo thrilled, doesn't she? Not only is mommy holding her up, but mommy is also flashing that bright light in her face! Damn mommy! Mommy BAAAAAAAAD!!!!!!!

Later on, while enjoying my post-shower Queen Helene Mint clay mask, I realized that I could not leave dear Zelia out of the picture.

Especially if it gives me the opportunity to play Zombie-Mom!!!

Zelia is much more tolerant and easy-going than Solvie; in fact, I think she would have enjoyed this if it weren't for the mint smell.

Monday was my (scheduled) day off to CRAFT! Yes, I decided to take a day just to craft -- I am such a geek!!! I was hoping to have a finished object to post yesterday, but more than halfway through my project, I ran out of thread. Luckily for me, it was a little after 9 a.m., and the fabric store (Sew-Low Discount Fabrics on Cambridge Street -- great place! They also carry a small supply of knitting needles, Red Heart yarn, and embroidery floss) about four blocks away was just about to open! While I was out, I stopped by Sally Beauty Supply to get some hair dye, and went to Sew-fisticated Discount Fabrics in Twin City Plaza (near Sally) to see what they had to offer. . . I came home shortly before 11 a.m., with about $30 worth of fabrics, thread, and notions in my bag, including the red thread I had gone out for.

This is what I was so diligently working on at such an early hour:

The second in my series of turtle purses! I wanted to make one to sell, but I kind of fugged up the inside zipper, and it looks kind of gross. I could not in my right mind sell this to anyone.

The bag is made of red corduroy, with two layers of interfacing between the cord and the lining. I didn't interface the strap, however, but I wish I had -- it's a little floppy. This is bigger than the turtle purse I made Sunday.

I am especially proud of the three turtles applique. I keep trying to upload a closeup of the little fuckers, but Blogger won't let me.

So, I may be a little insane. I received my latest eBay win in the mail yesterday -- 43 patterns from the 1960s! I didn't take a picture of them in the box they came in, but it weighs about 6 lbs. ZMrK thinks I should "bag 'em and board 'em", comic-book style, and keep them (along with all the other millions of patterns I owe) in comic boxes with dividers for the type of garment. Geeky? Yes, quite -- but I like it! I've already done something similar with my knitting magazines (they're in a comic box, in chron order).

So, I bet that by now you are wondering what ZantiMisterKnit's surprise was? No, it wasn't THAT, you preverts -- get yer minds out of the gutter!!!

When we turned in for bed last night, ZMrK discovered that I had made us some pillowcases!!! Not just any pillowcases, but pillowcases with reptiles and bugs on them!!!

I told you I may be a little bit insane. ZMrK and I are also very, very easily amused. For example, this is our favorite part of the reptile fabric -- the green anole with the dewlap!

That's it for today!!!

Sometime in the near future, I'm going to look into jazzing up my blog a bit -- this template kind of sucks, plus I want neat little progress bars, links to the blogs I read, and all kinds of shiznit like that! (Did I tell you my Mom said "shiznit" at Easter? I'm so proud of her! She's a hip grandma!)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

If at First You Don't Sock-Ceed, Knit, Knit Again!

ZantiMissKnit's (Miss)Adventures in Sock Knitting

Chapter 2, Ann Budd is my Co-Pilot

I did it!!!!! I made a sock that fits me perfectly!!!!

I used the directions from Ann Budd's "The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns: Basic Designs in Multiple Sizes and Gauges" for socks for a foot with an 8" finished foot circumference and LOOK! It's perfect!!!

(Picture shows "good" sock - on my left foot -- next to my first sock attempt, which is huge, baggy, and sad.)

I hope that I can merge these directions in with all sock patterns, and this will help me resize them for my own skinny little feet. I recommend this book for everyone. I bought it from Amazon last summer, and didn't use it until now because the multiple size instructions looked more intimidating than they are. Now, I think I will use it for everything.

I used so little yarn on these, that I'll probably be able to knit most of the cuff of the second sock (yes, I have started the second sock) from the rest of this skein before I frog the "bad" sock. I started the cuff on 3 size 3 dpns, and switch to 3 size 2 dpns about 3.5 inches down and knit the rest of the sock on the size 2s.

I knit most of this sock in the car. ZMrK and I went to lovely and scenic Camden/Rome, NY, on Friday, stayed overnight at my FIL's house, which is a beautiful house with lots of nature around. They practically have a bird sanctuary in the backyard. We saw tons of robins, mourning doves, black-capped chickadees, 2 kinds of woodpeckers, flickers, red-wing blackbirds, cowbirds, juncos, sparrows and blue jays. I know I forgot some. We also saw a young deer wandering about, a woodchuck that keep popping out of its hole, and, at the pond across the street, leopard and pickeral frogs, spotted salamanders (newts), small fish (of course), and a really ambitious garter snake sunning itself in the 68-degree weather. ZMrK did catch the snake after its attempts to swim away (it swam along the shore). It had some really pretty blue-ish spots down its side, and tried to bite ZMrK's nose. He put it back and it swam away, this time towards the center of the pond.

But, back to me -- I made a sock!!!

A really pretty, self-striping, ribby, warm and comfy sock!

I can't get into the sock knitters' club until I make a pair of socks, however. I have heard of the Second Sock Syndrome.

Today was an ucky rainy Sunday. I used the Jordy tutorial on Craftster to make this awesome purse.

The turtle fabric is from an old hospital johnny I found at Savers. The handle is some red corduroy fabric I had (also from a thrift store, I think). I cut the fabric 10x10, so the purse is pretty small.

I think it would be a good "I don't have to carry much" weekend purse, don't you?

I love the cartoon 70s turtles! I still have small amounts of this, and plan to make some appliques with them, and maybe combine the fabric will denim for other purses (for which to sell from a future Etsy shop).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Week 16 Review!!!

Here's the Week 16 Review of the Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calendar patterns.

Tuesday, April 18 -- Colored Baby Booties. These are meant to be made with leftover sock yarn -- not a bad idea, if you have leftover sock yarn. I may have to try these.

Wednesday, April 19 -- Contemporary Ascot Scarf. This doesn't do much for me, but it doesn't offend me either. I wouldn't diss anyone for knitting or wearing this, but I wouldn't knit it for myself. How's that for diplomatic?

Thursday, April 20 -- Dishcloth Duo. I made a dishcloth last year with Sugar n' Cream, and I really like it. My favorite thing about it is throwing it in the washing machine instead of throwing it out. Well, this is not only a dishcloth, but a SCRUBBY, which I'm pretty excited about, in my domestic geekiness.

Friday, April 21 -- Hannah's Poncho. You all know how I feel about ponchos, but for those just tuning in I'll reiterate: I don't think ponchos should be worn by anyone over the age of 12. This is being modeled by a child, so I'll let it go and say it's really cute, and the colors used really flatter the model's red hair. So there!

Saturday/Sunday, April 22 and 23 -- Hannah's Poncho continued. . . A chart for the poncho! YIKES!

That's it for this week's review. . . I know I've been promising/threatening a sock story, and I posted it! Because I started a draft on April 17, it is treated as an April 17 post, and can be found here

Monday, April 17, 2006

Swap Goodness and First Nature Walk in NE

I was in a bummer of a mood this morning. . . I probably had a sugar hangover from yesterday (cake, pie, AND cookies), I slept later than I planned, my sock sucked, and our day off (Patriot's Day) was 49 degrees and cloudy. We decided to try out our first nature walk of 2006 anyway. Granted, we did get some nature walks in Puerto Rico, but every day is a nature walk there. . . New England is quite different. It takes a long time to warm up.

We were leaving for our walk when the postman came, with a cute little box for me from the U.K. It was my swap package from Tuatara!!! Here's an overall view of what she sent me:

She indicated in her note that she was afraid the iPod cozy (with a snake embroidery!) may not fit, but it does, everso perfectly!!! The lizard is a stuffy, and the box is a fabric covered trinket box with an image of my snake, Sunny, on it. Here are some closer images:

I really love these! All three have embroidery, and the Sunny box is appliqued. Cool stuff!

She also included some sour gummy snakes. Usually I don't go in for the super-tart things, but I really like these. They're nice and chewy, too. . . chewy-tart, yum!

Then we went Nature Walking. We're the only people I know who get excited about walking through woods and fields, turning over rotted logs to see what lives beneath them. I really didn't think we'd find anything today, but ZMrK bet me a Coke that we would. Turns out, I found the first one and still owe him a Coke:

A cute, really small red backed salamander! We found five of these today, of various sizes. One was even small with a little nub of a tail. Sallies are usually the first herps we see in the year; they're tolerant of colder weather and love the dampness.

Keeping on the "red" theme, we also saw this little guy:

We weren't sure if we would see any turtles today, but sure enough, we saw this red-eared slider, and, later, four little shells on the bank of the island in the middle of the aptly-named Turtle Pond.

We saw a red squirrel, too, but didn't get a picture. We couldn't get pictures of any birds either, but we saw several robins, a pair of cardinals, a few black-capped chickadees, a goldfinch (I think . . . may have been a vireo though), and something else. . . but I don't remember what we thought it might be.

We also walked up a trail and found out we probably shouldn't have:


We went to another pond in Belmont that usually has a lot of water fowl. We have some dry chow mein noodles and stale bread to unload. We weren't disappointed . . . we saw several Canadian geese, about 5 pairs of mallards, some sort of goose that we call "deese" (because they look like a duck/goose hybrid), and my personal favorites, wood ducks: As cute as the males are, I think the females may be even cuter, with their white eyeliner! Awwww!!!

The cuteness doesn't end when we get home. A swatch of fuzzy Target yarn made a nice headdress for Zelia:

I'm starting another sock, this time using Ann Budd's "Book of Handy Patterns" as a guide. I still need to finish writing my post about my (mis)Adventures in Sock Knitting. It was tre disappointing, but I'm over it. It just means I need to knit an extra socks. Ooooh nooooo. . . .

ZantiMissKnit's (Miss)Adventures in Sock Knitting!

Chapter One: The Sock That Mocked Me

Socks are not my best friend.

I have been obsessed for at least a year with making socks. In fact, a year ago, I took a class on the Magic Loop method of making socks, my first foray into The Wonderful World of Sock Knitting. I made a miniature sock, which is ever-so-cute and keeps the tip of one of our Sharpies warm. . . it also fits on the tip of my nose, thanks to the little ball I have on the end of my nose, but I probably shouldn't be admitting to being so bored/easily amused that I will see if a mini sock fits on my nose, should I? But I digress. . . A few weeks later, I decided to try it out. . . my 40" size 3 Addis turbo, a skein of Lion Brand Magic Stripes, and I was off!

The leg of The Sock worked well. The Magic Loop was a little fiddly for someone inexperienced with circular knitting, but I got used to it. Then came the heel flap, or HELL FLAPS as I have come to call them. Somewhere while doing this "slip one, knit one" method of creating a nice sturdy heel flap, I managed to get my yarn stuck. On my needles. In a big knot. So tightly that I could not even slide the yarn off to frog it. (To this day, I'm still not sure how it did it.) The Sock got put into the bottom of my knitting basket, and later inside one of my stash cupboards so I would not hear it mocking me any longer.

A few weeks ago, I got the urge to try again. I was sick of seeing all these gorgeous sock patterns with the knowledge that I had a partially knit, abadoned sock in my stash cupboard. So, I got out some size 3 dpns, took The Sock out of the cupboard and took a look at it.

I decided surgery was necessary.

I cut the yarn, and was able to unknot it.

Then -- and I am still proud of myself for this -- I frogged the heel flap, and managed to get all of my stitches onto the dpns/stitch holders without dropping a single stitch. Impossible? No way! I was determined, man!

Then it was off into heel flap HELL. My hands hurt thinking about it. It is so hard to NOT knit super-tightly on the heel flap, but I think the dpns were much more managable than the super-long circular needle.

I did make it through the heel flap. I also picked up the necessary stitches and they only looked a little like poo-poo, not a lot like poo-poo like my Hopeful sweater's picked up stitches.

I finished The Sock, last Saturday, if I remember correctly. As I was knitting the foot, I thought it looked a little wide, but I hoped that I could make that up by making it a little shorter in the toe, which would pull it a bit (or some crazy rationalizing like that).

I tried the sock on. I took pictures.

I realize it is hard to tell here, because I am holding my foot up in the air, and gravity and pulling the sock down so it looks normal. But it's not.

It is Way. Too. Big.

I guess that a gal who was nicknamed "midget hands* and baby feet" by a metalhead in high school should know that one size does NOT fit all. I guess that when you wear a size 6.5 shoe and the average woman wears -- what? -- size 8.5 or 9.5 , sock patterns may need to be altered a tad.

I tried The Sock on with a pair of shoes that are a little wide on me, and the big-ness just bunched up over the top and looked like pudding spilling over.

Even worse, The Sock is too small for ZantiMisterKnit's feet. Which is a blessing, really, because I want to make a pair of socks Just For Him, and I don't want him to be the recipient of "my mistakes".

Have I frogged The Sock?

Not yet.

But I have started another sock. This time, I am using Ann Budd's "Book of Handy Knitting Patterns" (I think that's the title, but I keep getting it wrong), which gives specific instructions depending on the circumferance of your foot and your gauge. I think I may be on to
something good here.

I hope!!!

I leave you with another image of my too-big-but-looks-fine-in-this-picture-sock.

*apologies to all little people out there, but he did say "midget".

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Knitting Pattern-A-Day Week 15 Review

Here's the Week 15 Review of the Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calendar patterns.

Monday, April 10 -- Party Merino Shawlette. I'm neither moved nor offended by this pattern. If I decided I needed a shawlette, I'd dig this one out, but I don't really have a need for it. ZMrK thinks it's cute, thugh.

Tuesday, April 11 -- Bit of Lace Magic Stripe Socks. I really really really want to conquer socks, and I almost have. I picked up a pair I had started last May and put down in June in disgust when my yarn was notted on the needle about 9 rows into the heel flap. Heel flaps should be called "Hell Flaps". I finished one sock, but it is way too big (and too small for ZMrK). More on that in another post.

Wednesday, April 12 -- FLiP, the Fun Little Purse. Cute, and versatile! The object is to create a "firm fabric" (but it's not felted). It would be a fun stash-buster for some of those random bulky skeins I have lying about.

Thursday, April 13 -- Light as Air Scarf. Pretty easy-looking, pretty lacy (but not) scarf. One of those things I hope I could whip up for someone's gift and have them be really impressed. . . Of course, I say that so smugly but it would probably get my ASS handed to me while knitting it. Would I make this? Why, yes, I would.

Friday, April 14 -- Spring Shell. Not bad, but it doesn't really move me either. It's pretty "classic" looking; very sedate and non-obtrusive. I like that one of the yarn colors is "frog green", however.

Saturday/Sunday, April 15 and 16 -- Spring Cardigan. To go with the Spring Shell, presumably. Again, cute and classic; if my mom was in love with this I'd make it for her. Otherwise, I don't know. . .

Monday, April 17 -- Spring Cardigan Continued . . .Because of the long weekend (Patriot's Day here in Beantown, the annual Boston Marathon), I'm adding Monday's to this week's. And also because it's a continuation of the Sat/Sun pattern and I'm a completist.

I'll post about the sock later!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Not to brag, but. . .

Last night I won an auction of FORTY-THREE patterns from the 1960s, all in (or near) my size!

I think I shall be busy this summer. I should get Betty serviced at the local Singer shop. She deserves it.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Opening Night, Baby Stuff and Swap Goodness!

I'm going to run the risk of Mommabear1963 seeing her Reptile Swap goodies before she receives them. . . I will trust her not to look when I say not to, however!

First up . . . Opening Night! The April 4 Knitting Pattern A Day calendar entry, in the flesh -- err, fiber!

Yarn: leftover Makalu from my Odessa hat. I had to use less than a yard of the 2nd skein. Thank goodness I *had* a second skein!

Needles: Clover US4 circulars. These aren't knit in the round, but I used the circ 4s because (a) it's easier to use for something this size than long straight needles and (b) I had the circ 4s downstairs and was too lazy to go upstairs, remove the straights from my needle case (also made my me, so I whored myself and linked to it).

Start Date: somewhere between March 27 and April 1. . . probably March 28.
End Date: April 7

The pattern is really easy. Knitting lace takes more attention than lots of other knitting, but it is so worthwhile for the end results. I think the "star" of this pattern is the "French Edging" (the little pointy bits at the tips of these wristlets). I want to put French edging on everything now! I think that French edged cuffs on sleeves with this lace pattern would be a great detail on a sweater. Just sayin'. . .

And now on to . . .

I broke my baby-knitting cherry last week!

Don't get excited folks, it's not for me. I got invited to a baby shower for an ex-coworker, Megan, who was due on May 1st and didn't know what she was having.

I found out today that she had a baby boy last Saturday. I hope this gender-neutral baby yarn will fly. So, there is no shower, but another co-worker is going to bring her the gifts.

Baby stuff is fast and easy, y'all, but this yarn (Bernat CottonTots) made my fingers hurt! Maybe it's because I got spoiled knitting with first Malabrigo (soft as a kitten!) and 100% cashmere (soft as . . . cashmere), but I found the CottonTots really kind of stiff. It keeps its shape nicely, though -- see how the hat stands up by itself!

The hat is a modified free pattern I got on the web, knit flat on 3s and then 6s, and seamed up the back. The booties are "Cute as Can Be Baby Booties" from the book Knitting Pretty, by Kris Percival. They are knit flat on #7s and seamed up. There's also eyelets that I threaded a braid of the matching yarn (as opposed to ribbon) through. Oh, and braiding yarn WILL make your eyes cross. Really.

I'll probably make more baby stuff when given the opportunity. I was going to do some charity knitting, but heard that many charities specifically ask you not to donate anything if you had dander-bearing pets. Allergies, right. I hadn't thought about that. I'll look into a few, but if I get denied, looks like I'll just be Knittin' for Kittens.

This is the point where Mommabear1963 has to stop reading!

So, I organized my first swap on, the "Reptile Lovers Swap". Only two people joined me! (sniffs armpits, checks to see if there's something green in my teeth) Well, with less people to organize, there was more time to craft!

This is what I made (I know, I'm such a fucking little kid at Christmas; I can't wait until she receives to show off my stuff):

This is the first of its kind!!! A genuine, real-deal, ZantiMissKnit copyrighted Tokay Gecko Purse! And yes, I am making my own right now (started yesterday, right after finishing Mommabear's)! I drafted the pattern, used a nice stiff dark blue twill for the purse with felt for the eyes, mouth, and teeth. . . .

Because what is a tokay gecko without his teeth!!!

(Tokays are beautiful geckos; they're usually various shades of blue with orange spots, but they are known for their nasty temperament and are large enough to deliver a nasty bite.)

I forgot to include a picture of the lining, but I'll do that when I finish my own purse. I used a lining with bugs on it! Because what do tokays eat? Bugs!!!

I would have done cockroach fabric if I could find it. . .

Here's her other swap goodies, then it's off to dinner:

Reptile magnets made from Sculpey!!!

From top to bottom:

Green anole, complete with "anole-itude" (if you knew green anoles you would know what I mean).

Sea turtle!

Coral snake -- red touches yellow! Dangerous fellow!

I think ZmrK is finished recording, so he's gonna make dinner for me because he loves me more than everything!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calendar Week 14 Review

Here's the Week 14 Review of the Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calendar patterns.

Monday, April 3 -- Spring Melody Child's Socks. I would love to resize these as adult socks! But this direction scares me: "String 450 glass beads onto yarn." I had a heck of a hard time keeping track of the 150 beads strung onto the yarn for my Odessa hat; I went a bit googly eyed after a while. But these are SO. CUTE.

Tuesday, April 4 -- Opening Night. Look for a finished pair of these on this blog very, very soon!!!!

Wednesday, April 5 -- Indulgence Pullover. This is a pretty nice, simple sweater accented with novelty yarn at the cuffs, collar and waistband. I think it could benefit from some shaping, however -- the model is very slender, but I think the sweater could become box-like on someone with hips (that's always been my problem, at least).

Thursday, April 6 -- Absolutely, Positively Reversible Scarf. The chart for this is pretty intimidating (yeah, yeah, I know. . . I need to just make something with a scarf and face my fear!), but I am really intrigued that it uses only ONE 220 yard skein of yarn. The yarn used is alpaca, and is available from I checked out the site, and they have some lovely colors, but their yarn is a little pricey. I'd probably buy one skein from them to make this scarf though.

Friday, April 7 -- Absolutely, Positively Reversible Scarf continued . . . More scarf charts here. I just took a good look, and there is a chart for a narrow scarf and one for a wide scarf. So it's a two-scarf pattern!

Saturday/Sunday, April 8 and 9 -- Adult Bonnet with Angora Trim. I don't think I'd wear angora this close to my eyes -- I get some serious eye-itching from bunny fur. I don't know if I'd get made fun of or if people would just think it's cute, but I'd still wear it (with something substituting the angora).

That's it for this week! BTW, Opening Night is DONE. . . they just seriously need blocking and then, photos!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Happy April! And Week 13?? Review

Happy April! I try to not think of it as April Fools' Day, due to some bad childhood memories (I was a pretty gullible kid). I also remember only too painfully the 2+ feet of snow dumped on us March 31/April 1, 1997 -- the only part of that storm that didn't suck was that I got a day or two off work. What did suck is that I wasn't exactly stocked up on groceries (milk and cat food, for the most part), but I only had to trudge a few blocks down Western Ave to the 7-Eleven for that, and it was really surreal seeing Central Square, Cambridge, completely devoid of cars. That's normally a pretty hopping place.

Anyway, here is Week 13 (I think) revew from the Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calendar. I usually take a quick break a work to draft a review each day (if anyone from work is reading this, it literally only takes about 2 minutes!), but I was so busy this week I sometimes forgot to change the calendar! So here goes. . .

Monday, March 27 -- Arches & Columns Lace Scarf. I have only recently been experimenting with lace knitting, and I dig it. I think I would love making something like this; I just have to figure out who the recipient would be. This is something that would probably impress my sisters, but not really be very hard to make (shhhhhh!!!!) or costly either (shhhhhh!!!!!). I'll put this one aside for a possible later!

Tuesday, March 28 -- Blue Sky Bulky Earflap Hat. Luckily, I don't need to think about wearing anything this warm right now, but this is something I'd wear. It's knit on size 13 US needles, so it's probably nice and fast. I bet as soon as the temperature hits 40 (hopefully not until about November!), I'll be scrambling for this pattern. But I hope to not have to think about bulky warm hats for about 6 months. It is a cute pattern.

Wednesday, March 29 -- Silk Tweed Sweater. I'd make this except for one thing: the smallest finished measurement is 39 inches, and my bust is about 35-36. I know, I know. . . .ease and whatnot, but I've made two sweaters that came out a bit too big (well, in the case of my To Dye For sweater from Stitch n' Bitch, it came out HUGE -- and I made the small!). It would account for a nice comfy sweater, but I don't want to be swimming in it. It's a lovely, simple design, though.

Thurday, March 30 -- Silk Tweed Sweater continued. . . Still like it.

Friday, March 31 -- Basket Weave Eyelet. This is one of those "all over patterns" to use for a "cardigan, baby blanket, or carriage cover". I think it's pretty nice, and I'm grateful for these "all over patterns" included in here. I can do swatches of them to learn new techniques, and can make blankets (cat blankets, perhaps?) using them.

Saturday/Sunday, April 1 and 2 -- Sweet Caroline Bonnet. Cute little old-fashioned newborn bonnet with a lacy brim and a ribbon tie. I think I may make one for my stepdaughter to put on her cat. Her cat Daisy lets her do anything -- she's even got pictures of Daisy in a diaper! The bonnet would be icing on the cake.

That's it for this week's patterns! Feel free to comment!!

In other news:

Thank you to everyone who gave me feedback on Odessa! I am proud to say that I have prompted other people to start Odessa or put her on their to-knit list! I am glad to be of service!

On the needles: The April 4 pattern "Opening Night". I'm almost done with the left wristlet, and guess what? The April '06 MagKnits has a similar pattern called Lucky K8 -- well, it's similar in the sense that it is a fingerless glove and has the same lace pattern, but there are some differences. I like those a lot too, and maybe someday when I finish my Rock Star scarf I will see if Lucy at Mind's Eye Yarns had the same sock yarn I'm using for Rock Star to make some matching Lucky K8s.

Other Projects: Super-secret Reptile Swap stuff for Mommabear1963! It's gonna be good! (and yes, this time I am making almost everything in duplicate; one for me, and one for Mommabear1963!).

Future Projects: I am dying to venture into my World of Knitted Toys book and make some knitted cats! Plus I got a Japanese craft book of "felt mascots" (using craft felt, not felted wool), that I would love to sink my teeth into. I also plan on giving socks another shot (still have last year's Magic Loop attempt on my needles; I'm hoping that now that I am more experienced with knitting in the round I can untangle the huge knot that is keeping the yarn stuck to my needles and pick those up again, as I am dying for hand-knit socks!) I got invited to a baby shower for an ex-co-worker on April 12, so I'd love to whip up something for that (probably booties and a hat; in such short notice I should keep it simple), and a friend of mine is having a baby boy in May and my hairdresser is having one in September (there's plenty of time there!). I think my fingers will be busy for a while.

The Sheep and Wool Festivals will be starting soon!!!! Yippee!!! We'll miss the first one because we're going to exotic Rome, NY, to visit ZMrK's dad that weekend, but I'm hoping to hit the rest and increase my stash (which I'm supposed to be decreasing, but. . . .umm. . . . yeah).

That's it for this LONG post!!!

xoxo. . . ZantiMissKnit