Just some photos today.  Time I was off being productive.


so warm!

EZ mitered mittens from Knitter’s Almanac
Lana Grossa Mega Stoppino (217), three-quarters of a skein for each mitten (approx. 38g each)
KnitPicks Options #8 US, magic loop

I altered the thumb placement using EZ’s "thumb trick" method, as I wasn’t quite brave enough to snip a stitch.  Instead of snipping and picking up stitches at the back, which seemed like it could result in a strange-fitting mitten (cf. Fig and Plum and Blue Garter), I centered my "thumb trick" around an increase seam — no gusset.  This resulted in a larger thumb (19 stitches as opposed to the directed 15-stitch thumb); I threw in two decrease rounds before finishing off.

Although I purposely made the mittens too large (my hands have many issues, one of which is exacerbated by too-close contact with wool), they kept my fingers toasty on a cool evening trip to the grocery store.  Yay!

Next up: the bane of my existence.  This time with 100% more correctness!


#36 wrap sweater with eyelets from Rebecca no. 29 in ggh soft kid (lilac)

I have started and frogged and cast on and despaired with this sweater so many times, I don’t even know why I continue to try.  Except that I will not be defeated by yarn and eyelets.   This time, armed with the knowledge of how to correctly make yarn-overs and an intimate familiarity with the pattern, I am smugly proclaiming victory after only one pattern repeat.  Hasty, perhaps; foolhardy, unquestionably.  I am simply over the moon that the pattern is working, that correctly knitting yarn-overs results in a correct stitch-count, that soft kid no longer has the power to vanquish me.  I am also willing to admit that perhaps this wasn’t the smartest of projects for a novice knitter to cast on as her third-ever project.  That would be December of, yes, 2005 2006.  My sister is very patient.

And then the doorbell rang, bringing with it more yarn!  For a pair of EZ very warm hats.


yummy malabrigo!

From left to right: frost gray (606), black (195), pearl (36), dark earth (140) from J├╝rgen Weidner

The very warm hat pattern is found in both Knitting Workshop and The Opinionated Knitter, both of which I already own but which find themselves in a storage locker in New Jersey.  They are a bit too expensive to justify purchasing again (as I did with Knitter’s Almanac), so I hope my memory will serve me well.  As these are intended for gifts, I’ll say no more.

And finally, a little cat blogging to end this wordy post.


my sweet Alice

Everyone loves hand-knits. 

FO parade

I finished the Drops 103-1 last night.  This is only my third sweater and I am quite pleased with the results.


Drops jacket (103-1) from Drops Garnstudio
yarn: Belday Home Schnellstrickgarn mit Schurwolle (20% wool, 80% acrylic), 3 skeins with a bit of a fourth for seaming (approx. 840 m)
needles: KnitPicks Options #10.5
buttons: Union Knopf, brown leather (or faux)
total cost: Euro 9,99 (yarn) + Euro 6,00 (buttons) = Euro 15,99!

The pattern was easy to follow (after I got the hang of what the finished piece would look like) and overall, it was a pretty quick knit.  The first sleeve caused a number of problems: first, a length miscalculation that required an almost total frogging, then various problems with my ability to count and/or keep stitches on the needles that necessitated two more rip backs.  And even after all of this, there was still a dropped edge stitch when I was seaming.  My seaming is a bit messy — especially at the shoulders and the underarms — but not too bad.  I decided it was neat enough that I could live with it and sturdy enough that I could actually wear the sweater, so no do-overs. 

Here’s a close up:


I really love the double moss stitch — it creates such a great texture and is visually interesting with the sections of pointed purl stitches.  A perfect fall sweater, which will be debuted today with a trip to the pet store.

Although I have some Christmas gifts to knit and a few baby things in the queue, I’m hearing the siren song of the tree jacket.  I’m pretty sure I have enough cheap-o yarn.  If not, I know where to find Woolworth.

another day older. you know the rest.

Well, my slight cold turned into a bacteria fiesta.  After two weeks of off-and-on misery, I decided to brave the uncertainties — and vocabulary-related trials — of going to a German doctor.  Surprisingly painless — and cheap! — I managed to anticipate a lot of communication problems, but, of course, forgot the most basic of things: converting my height and weight into metric measurements.  Oh well.  With a course of antibiotics now in my medicine cabinet, I hope to be well on my way to renewed health. 

Which is a good thing because the semester started on Monday.  So strange after a rather long academic hiatus to again have classes and meetings and that kind of thing.  I am still searching for some kind of schedule that both reduces anxiety and produces work.  A surprisingly difficult combination.  Especially when I am continually questioning my own commitment to academe and the pursuit of the PhD.  It’s a chicken-and-egg kind of problem: which came first, my dissatisfaction with academia or my seeming inability to be truly productive? 

Until I have an answer, I knit.


Drops 103-1 collar

I’ve made it to the collar!  As has happened before, the number of stitches I picked up bore no relation to the number suggested.  It seems that while I went for a 1:1 approach, the pattern required something more like a 2:3 ratio (of picked-up stitches to neckline stitches).  Oh well.  I just left out the first set of increases and figured all will work out.  I’d like to get the collar finished and the pieces seamed up today; a reasonable goal on a gray day when one has a cold.  I’m not convinced about how the cheap-o yarn will wear, but hopefully the generous amount of acrylic will make it somewhat durable. 

And look what I found at the department store (yes, the department store!):


Regia Kaffe Fassett sock yarn

I might have a problem, but I don’t want to talk about it.  So stripy!

I also received my Rowan free gift:


all seasons cotton (framboise)

At first, I was disappointed with the color — a little too pinkter sphincter for my taste.  But it’s been growing on me, especially after I saw a woman on the bus to the University with a scarf in a similar color, which she managed to make look not like an impending trip to the dentist because of tooth rot, but a reasonable garment worn by a woman in full control of her faculties.   So we’ll see.  I really like the yarn itself and am contemplating making another of the free project shawls in a lilac color for my mom (she-who-cannot-tolerate-wool). 

Yarn aside, though, I have been disappointed with the Rowan international subscription/sign-up thing.  I did it last year and only ever received one magazine (instead of the two paid for) and $55 is a bit steep for some kidsilk haze and one magazine.   I tried again this year, hoping that the service in Europe might be a bit more reliable.  Has anyone else had problems with this?   

on the bandwagon.

After a few days of a cold and an obscene amount of CSI, here’s my progress on the Drops 103-1:


Almost there.  And I’ve got lots of CSI to keep me going … not to mention classes starting next week and dissertation reading and writing and … all that.  The weather is getting chilly and I’m anxious to get this finished up.  Those of you with eagle eyes will notice that the left front has slightly fewer rows of the double moss stitch pattern.  Oops.  Pesky counting.  I decided not to worry about it and just kept going instead of frogging. 

I’m kind of amazed — I don’t know why I should be, but there you are — about how much I still have to learn about knitting.  Attempting the copycat cardigan demonstrated all the details I don’t think about while knitting: shaping, size, etc.  The Drops jacket is the first knit I’ve done with actual shaping and it’s good experience, just having to think about direction of decreases, stitch counts, matching sides and backs and arms — stuff which is probably totally obvious to more experienced sweater knitters. 

One thing that I *did* do this time, after the trouble of matching up, picking up, and seaming my mom’s cardigan, was to keep notes.

so organized.

This small step has been a big improvement on my former method of attempting to correctly count the stitches in finished pieces, which always and inevitably led to confusion and slightly wonky cardigan(s).

Now I think it’s time for a little CSI.  (Why is it that crappy television is always so much more appealing in foreign countries?)


Instant organization, thanks to Ikea.  (And the very brawny men who carried said Ikea up four flights of stairs.)

yarn storage before:


yarn storage after:


Much nicer, eh?  And all the woolly goodness is so nice to look at.  The only question remaining for me — aside from: Why does Typepad insist on blurring my photos and what can I do about it? — is: How did I end up with so much yarn?  I really *did* try to keep the stash petite.  And it’s not huge by any means, but still.  Even though "Knit from Your Stash 2007" is over, I’m going to keep the dream alive.  Because not only am I on a budget, I’m also supposed to be, you know, developing and writing a dissertation.  Not knitting.  Tragic.

And speaking of things tragic, my copycat cardigan is a bit of disaster.  As in a 52-inch-bust disaster.  Had I a 52" bust, things would be fine.  Unfortunately, my measurements are more in the 36" department.  Hence the tragic.


the hugeness might not be apparent, but trust me

Anyway, time to regroup.  I don’t know if I’m just going to frog and start over or if I’ll rip back to a more reasonable stitch count and keep going.  Just glad I did a bit of math before knitting much more.  I was struck down by a positive fit of startitis yesterday, which led to all of the math in the first place, as I tried — and failed — to match gauges with the cheap-o Woolworth yarn and various appealing patterns.  I’ve decided to go ahead with the ubiquitous (another kind of copycat) Drops 103-1, making the small size in the finer gauge (17 sts x 22 r); hopefully, with the Schnellstrickgarn (14 sts x 22 r on #10.5 needles) I can get something that will fit. 

Unfortunately, the startitis didn’t actually lead me to start anything, so for now, it’s all daydreaming.  I’ve got a couple of baby things (e.g., this, this, these, and these <ravelry links>) I’d like to make for various babies of my acquaintance.  As well as some Christmas gifts that need to get started.  Including my yearly bout with the wrap sweater with eyelets and ggh soft kid.  <shudder>

On a happier note: some Socktoberfest progress.


almost ready to turn the heel

you know what this means.


Yep.  Furniture!! 

Ikea came through with an apartment full of furniture on Monday.  After the delivery guys schlepped it all up 4 flights of stairs (who needs an elevator?) with surprising speed, it took me quite a while to get everything put together — a couple of days, anyway.  At least all of the hardware and pieces were on hand and undamaged, and I got to bid a not-so-fond farewell to my air mattresses.   Needless to say, Alice and I are very happy with our newly accoutered living space.

In between assembly and enjoyment of the newly assembled pieces, I’ve even managed a bit of knitting. 

A little something for Socktoberfest:


Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch (color 507)

I’m using the universal toe-up formula by Amy Swenson, which in combination with Judy’s magic cast-on for toe-up socks, has become my favorite way to make socks (for the admittedly few socks I have made, or at least started, anyway).  I threw in some K2, P2 ribbing just for a bit of interest, if K2, P2 ribbing counts as interesting.  The Mega Boots Stretch, although it does seem a bit splitty, is otherwise a heavy, solid sock yarn (hence the boots) with really lovely color variegation.  Thanks to iTunes, CSI, and a slight head cold, I’ve been able to make quite a bit of progress on the sock.

My copy-cat cardigan is also coming along:


The Woolworth yarn continues to please and is living up to its schnellstrick title: I’ve already separated the sleeves and joined the body.  So far, it even seems to fit, although I’m sure it will feature my signature you-don’t-actually-have-a-40"-bust styling. 

why I love Woolworth

There are still Woolworth stores in Germany.  Maybe other places in Europe too.  Go figure.  And they have *amazing* sale bins.  Really, really great, cheap stuff in big ol’ bins right by the doors.  Since I’m putatively on a budget, I do a lot of shopping in these bins.  Like yesterday.  Look what I found, just lingering in a wooly-ish heap in the 3,33 Euro bin:


Mmmm … cheap yarn.

Huge amounts of yarn for very, very cheap.  Each ball is 200g/280m, 20% wool, 80% acrylic.  Okay, not a great blend, but it’s soft and smooshy and not at all slick and slimy like acrylic yarn tends to be.  And did I mention: cheap! 

I got enough for a sweater.

I’ve been contemplating replacing my favorite cardigan — a cheap-o Old Navy find (it might even have been on sale) of many years ago.  It has been mended numerous times but is beginning to show its age.  This wool (sic) seemed perfect for the job, the cardigan itself being a beguiling mostly-acrylic wool blend.  There were some contenders in the pattern sweepstakes — most notably Sesame (and check out Lolly’s rockin’ version); however, none were quite right. 

What I really wanted was to copy my favorite sweater.  So after some extensive measuring and math, I starting the interminable project of a wide collar in K2, P2 ribbing.  It is, though, my first foray into knitting without a pattern — it’s just a basic top-down raglan, so "designing" seems a bit of an overstatement — and knock-on-wood, cross-your-fingers nothing has gone wrong yet.  Granted, I’m only 6 inches and two button holes in, but it still feels like the tiniest of victories that I’ve only had to frog once.   

Pictures when things are a bit more advanced.

please don’t tell me it could be worse.

Yes.  I could be blind in both eyes, lame in both legs, and be missing all of my teeth.  I know it could be worse.  It can usually always be worse.  And really, for whom in a position with enough disposable income and leisure time to purchase yarn and then knit lovely fripperies can things not become just an eensy bit worse? 

So.  Long story short.  I deleted my yahoo account.  Then I deleted my cookies.  Can anyone see where this is leading?  Yep.  I can’t access my flickr account.  This is obviously not an event of any importance on a global scale.  Not even on a top five worst things that have happened to me in my life kind of scale.  Maybe on the worse things that have happened today (and today was a pretty good day) scale.  But really.  I’m living in an empty apartment in a foreign country with a cat, no boyfriend, two air mattresses, and a camp table and sometimes I feel just a bit close to the edge. 

End. Of. Rant.  I promise.

But isn’t it pretty here?


Rhine River and Lake Constance
blurry because … typepad declares it shall be so

looky …

Nope, no new knitting.  The Clapotis is pretty much where it was last time I took a photo of it.  So nothing to see there.

But look!  New shoes!


eject (last pair in size 38!!)

Sorry for the exclamation points, but I really like these shoes.  They are red and orange and bit too expensive … and I love them.

And a new bag to go with them (without even meaning to):


freitag bonanza

I’ve wanted a freitag bag for years — since the first time I lived in Germany in 2000 — but they’re expensive and really, well, a bit too hipster chic for my geeky ways.  And then my housemate and friend from grad school had a couple and I didn’t want to infringe on her freitag territory (it’s a small department, after all).  This time, however, I decided say: fuck everything, I’m doing five blades and got out the credit card.  Perhaps not the most fiscally responsible move, but I’m really happy with the bag.  Although it does smell kind of funny.

Thanks for the nice comments about my Ravelry awkwardness … I haven’t added any friends yet, but I’m working up to it.