Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I've become a disappointing blogger. No, my love for knitting has not at all waned. I have been juggling work and a new semester of school on top of my knitting addiction! Where to begin...

A friend of mine saw me wearing my calico scarf and asked what store it came from. When I told her that I made it, she could not believe how quickly my knitting skills have improved! What a great compliment. :)

Knitting in the round is proving to be a more difficult task than I'd originally thought. I cast on a simple sweater pattern from Knit Scene magazine using Patons Shetland Chunky in a beige/blue tweed colorway. Alas, I ended up having to frog it three times. What's more, I'm not accustomed to using circulars or checking my gauge; this only prolonged the time it took for me to make way with the pattern, only to discover hours later that I made several huge mistakes. Might I say, even though I've failed at this sweater multiple times, I've learned the beauty of knitting with wool. The experience is so much more different than when I knit with acrylic (typically Caron Simply Soft). I will cast on this sweater again, but I'm currently working on a simple k1p1 pink scarf for my mother's birthday. I think she'll like it. However, this is the last scarf I'll be working on for a long time. Scarves require much patience, and the patterns I use are mind-numbingly repetitive.

My addiction for yarn is unhealthy! A few days ago, I placed an order for oodles of skeins of yarn from WEBS. I had it figured in my head that I'd receive my order by either the end of this week or the beginning of next week. Ironically, as I was browsing through the Knitting Help forum, a decent amount of knitters posted complaints about WEBS' slow shipping. Damnit. As I try to look on the bright side, I realize that this gives me a better chance of finishing my mother's scarf before I become obsessed with my new yarn purchases and succumb to casting on another project.

Alright, back to the mundane task of k1 ... p1 ... k1 ... p1 ... and so on.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Much to catch up on

Yes! I successfully finished Deanna's scarf, fringe and all. She loved it! This was the first knitted gift I've given anyone, and boy, it is a rewarding feeling.

I received some great presents this year, including tweed yarn and a few skeins of alpaca (SO soft!) I also have a $50 Michael's gift card. Yep, I'll be heading out there to take advantage of their sales!

Some other gifts I received (not knitting related):

Black t-shirt with glow-in-the-dark message "Pluto...Never Forget"
Grizzly Bears CD (good music!)
$100 visa gift card (spent at Aeropostale/Fossil outlets)
History of Mythology book (I'm a myth buff)
Abercrombie belt
Publix gift card (hey, I'm a poor college kid)

Deanna and her husband didn't forget about my pup, either. He received homemade peanut butter treats, stuffed animals, and bones to chew on!

During the break I ventured to Hobby Lobby, since we don't have one in Gainesville. I bought three skeins of Yarn Bee, 100% polyamide yarn. I knitted a "Calico" scarf for myself, and I love it! This leads to my next topic: the need to expand my knitting horizons. It's New Years Eve, and it's about time that I come up with some New Years knitting resolutions. My next project is not allowed to be a scarf. It has to be something more complex. I am planning on taking Silver's Sock Class (she's a moderator at, and I conveniently still have that hank of Sweet Feet sock yarn. In a thread I recently read at KH, a knitter learned how to make socks and concluded that sock-making was an addiction. I'm all for it!

I wonder where this New Year will take me...

Friday, December 21, 2007

One scarf for three people

Ahh, it's so funny how plans can change. I was supposed to spend my holiday in PA with the 'rents, siblings, and the friends who I grew up with. Because of loose ends I had to tie up at school, I needed extra time there and had to cancel my trip back home. My oldest brother invited me to spend the holiday with him in the panhandle, so I'll have family, but this crazy break has NOT given me any extra knitting time. I'm knitting a scarf for my BIL's mother Deanna, who will be hosting/housing us for the holidays. This scarf was first intended for my mother, then considered as an "emergency" secret Santa gift, and is now ready to be bound off and fringed for Deanna! I don't knit THAT slowly, but because of school, travelling, and a few too many glasses of wine at night, I just haven't had the time.

The other night I sat on the second-floor balcony of Barnes & Noble with a hot cup of coffee, a copy of Vogue Knitting, and the scarf that I've had OTN forever. I knitted peacefully and watched the sun set. I could not have asked for more at that point!

Oh, and..................... I FINALLY got my new pair of GLASSES! No more headaches.

Dear puppy is currently curled up next to me, snoring like a little hibernating bear cub. Oh, how I love him. In fact, the beauty of his slumber makes me feel quite tired myself. 'Nite!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mission Failed

Operation Talisman was a raving ... failure. The time I needed in order to feel confident going into my final exams was, well, quite a lot. By the time I finished the last test my brain was fried, my eyes hurt (no glasses), and the thought of putting on PJs, lying in bed, ruffling the pillow, adjusting the comforter, making "spooning" space for the puppy, and falling asleep to the sound of his little breaths was one that I could not pass up.

I woke up late on Wednesday, giving myself about 12 hours to be able to finish the purse. No way, Jose. It simply could not get finished in time. So, I figured I could cheat. I grabbed a scarf I had OTN for my mother, and figured I could finish it and give it to Katie well before I'd ever be able to finish the purse. I knitted at my typical pace (fairly slow) for a few hours.

I took a break by going to the mall and buying other little odds and ends to complete my new "winter-themed" present. It started with a coffee mug I found that was so perfect for her, I yelled, "YES!" quite loudly in the store. I never find good gifts like that; I may have lost face with my untamed exclamation, but I found a good gift nonetheless. I then bought a bag of ground coffee and a French vanilla scented candle to go with it. After I left the mall, I realized that I kind of went overboard on the "coffee" idea after I found the mug. Great; how is the scarf going to look stuffed in a gift bag with those things? Whatever.

I came home and showed my roommate what I had gotten for her (he is a coworker of ours as well). He smirked and asked how the purse was coming along, I'm assuming because I would not have needed all of this stuff to go with it (essentially revealing the truth that Operation Talisman had indeed failed). I scolded him and deemed him a "non-knitter" by saying things like, "well, why don't you pick up some freaking needles and make her a purse? Oh, wait, you don't know how!"

Immediately I ran upstairs, even more determined to finish the damned scarf. My roommate did not know that I'd been working on it, so I still had a chance to get the last laugh by waving the finished project in his face and bragging about how it was "just a little something I whipped up for her real quick." I began knitting, a little faster than usual. When I looked at the clock, I decided that I should have a beer in order to get me through this stressful time crunch. Just a nice, carbonated muscle relaxer. So, I grabbed a beer and told myself that I could take a sip after every five rows I finished. The task of knitting and sipping continued for a good while. In fact, it was working so nicely that I decided to have a second beer. Then a third. I maintained my 5 knit per 1 sip rule, obviously putting a decent amount of length onto the scarf.

I woke up to the sound of my roommate knocking on my bedroom door. It was 11:00 P.M; time to go to the party. He opened the door to see me, nuzzled in bed, tangled in purple yarn and surrounded by empty beer bottles. I don't remember when I fell asleep. I don't remember telling myself that it would be ok to shut my eyes for "just one minute". I don't remember why I rationalized to myself that I could knit a scarf, take a shower, get ready, and arrive at a party after having three beers. All I knew was that I had failed both plan A and plan B of Operation Talisman. I was so mad at myself; the amount of time I'd collectively worked to knit for Katie would mean NOTHING that night. I bit the bullet, went to the party, and gave Katie her coffee, mug, and candle (real original, buddy). She absolutely loved the mug (yes, the gift that was already MADE and took a total of about 5 minutes of my time to purchase).

Operation Talisman II is now underway. Katie is getting a knitted gift from me, even if I have to trade my sanity for the success of this mission.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


It is a Sunday evening, December 9th, 2007. I'm freaking out.

The holiday work party, oh yes, the one requiring that my Talisman bag be finished in time for, is on Wednesday evening. This would not be an issue for me at all, except for the fact that I have two final exams on Tuesday. Therefore, any knitting done before then would just be an excuse for me to procrastinate from studying. What's more, I'm altering the original pattern in order to increase the size of the purse. This calls for a few extra stripes, and on size 5 needles, adding length to this WIP takes a lonnnnnng time. Not to mention I have to teach myself how to sew the sides together. I've already decided to make it a tote bag instead of using a clasp (in order to cut a bit of time).

And clearly, as I write this, I am procrastinating from studying. Sheesh, if it's not knitting, it's writing about knitting, or checking out knitting forums, or leafing through knitting books. I must study soon as I finish browsing purse patterns. =)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

My Darling Doggie

I have yet to unmask the mystery that is my darling puppy. Alright...he's not actually a puppy (turned two in September), but he might as well be one. I will always remember the day that I adopted him, too....

One Sunday afternoon, I paid visit to the Humane Society. Now, as I've been to the HS many, many times before, I know how things work in this place. Men, women and children alike are first drawn to the two-pound mewing kittens and four-pound cooing puppies. They decide that these kittens/puppies are cute enough, and they instantly adopt them. Mind you, they never actually made it past the lobby into the dog room. After viewing this phenomenon a few times, I vowed to myself that I would adopt an adult dog. That day, I walked into the building, petted and spoke some rather embarrassing motherese to the puppies and kittens, and then walked straight into the dog room. Shortly thereafter, I spotted a 1.5 year old beagle mix in the corner. His coloring was completely a-symmetrical, and he had big, sad brown eyes. I put my hand into his cage, and he rested his chin on top of it. Sold.

I took him home, let him inspect the place, and then he and I snuggled up for a nap together. Yes, a nap. Not only was he adorably cute, but he was a cuddler. My first week with him taught me many, many more good things. He was house trained. He didn't chew on things. He could sleep just as long as I would. He didn't bark. He was...perfect.

He finally felt comfortable in my house. He became a little less shy, and a little more independent. He began to wake up earlier and earlier than me during our naps. He inspected my trash can whenever I wasn't looking( just showing me that I do not need to buy a paper shredder, for sure). He barked (a deafening, squeally pitch), at the sight or sound of other dogs. He demonstrated his love for chewing on chapstick, hairbrushes, and eventually, my glasses (see earlier post). Months and months of this activity have occurred, and none of my training methods to date have proven successful.

Of course, if he weren't so cute, I may have had a tougher time handling all of his shortcomings and his absolute refusal to learn. I by no means would have taken him back to the HS; but some days I do fight the urge to buy a pair of boxing gloves and give him a shiner (or two!).

So, as a last resort, I've trained MYSELF to doggie proof my room before I leave him unattended. And yes, even if know I'll only be gone for a mere 45 seconds, I must make sure that the trash can is unreachable, the laundry hamper is closed, the toilet seat lid is down, any food or food dishes are promptly taken back to the kitchen, and my shoes, yarn stash, and knitting projects are in the closet. Luckily, I picked up my knitting addiction AFTER I got to know my dog's evil ways. To date, my DP has yet to "frog" a project for me (*knock on wood*). Whew! He has, though, lovingly removed a few unused skeins of yarn from my knitting bag, but he never ripped or tangled them (even though he had hours to do so).

Why don't I crate him, you ask? There was a time when I thought crating him was my only option, but having him in there made me feel unbelievably guilty, so I gave the crate away. I did, however, give it a try for a few months, but in the end, it only made him more hyper when I let him out. More energy = more damage. I do not spoil him, which is an assumption I'm sure everyone makes when they see my dog's behavior. Beagles as a breed have a tendency to get very stressed out when they're not around people (which explains why he does these things only when I'm not in the room). I feed him dog food and denta-bones, and I do not give him people food. When he does something bad, he DOES get punished (and he knows he's done wrong even before my veins pop out of my neck and my eyes grow mad with rage). And he does not schizo himself into the Tasmanian devil as frequently as I've made it sound. He's my guard dog, my snuggle partner, and my child. I love him, and I'm glad that I'm patient enough to give him a home and a steady life.

I have noticed lately that he gets a bit jealous everytime I knit. He will try to lie on top of my working yarn and/or "accidentally" tangle himself in it, rest his head anywhere that is an obstruction to my needleworking, and last but not least, conveniently "whine to go out" the second I start to knit. I think he's just used to being the center of attention. If I'm not playing or cuddling with him, I'm definitely scolding or chasing him around the house.

I brought DP up for a reason. Tonight, I worked a 7 hour shift but did not remember to put my Talisman bag project (nearly completed) back in to my closet before I left. When I returned, the bag was still in its place (along with the 4 skeins of yarn I'm using to stripe it). I got lucky tonight. Very, very lucky.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Still alive!

"IT" has hit the early stages for me. Since I'm a new knitter, the small number of projects that I've worked on have been, well, learning experiences. And unfortunately, they all definitely LOOK like they were learning experiences.

It is December 2nd. This means that I have about 22 days to finish my holiday knitting. Now, what's not fair about my situation is that I became a knitting addict a fairly short time ago. Therefore, I: knit slowly, am limited to knitting "easy level" projects, have to frog almost as much as I knit, and hope to the heavens that my family will politely overlook the lumpy, uneven messes they will be receiving this year. What's more, I don't have time to practice new techniques or solve the mystery of knitting in the round. I can't sit on a rocking chair, chuckling at myself as I frog my first attempt at cables. So, everyone in my family will be receiving something that is in the shape of a square or a rectangle. Most likely, their gifts will also be one solid color. Garter stitch, anyone? I'm tempted, but the shear boredom I'd experience would prevent me from finishing anything!

Why I'm in the early stages of "IT," you ask? Well, I read the "IT" chapter in Yarn Harlot and had to give Stephanie a nod (followed by a much deserved golf clap) when I could relate to her ever-so-perfect description. It began when I created a mightily ambitious list of Christmas projects and gave myself only two months to complete them. Mind you, I made this list after having knitted only about, hmm, two or three days. The list goes as follows:

1. Scarf for DM
2. Scarf for SIL #1
3. Scarf for SIL #2
4. Scarf for DSis
5. Scarf for DBro
6. Scarf for BIL
7. Set of 4 placemats for DM
8. Tiny baby blanket for nephew
9. Potholders for roommate

These were the only people in my family that would appreciate and/or use my gifts. My dad, three other brothers, and uncle wouldn't wear scarves or find use for placemats or potholders. In fact, knowing my uncle's I'm-sarcastic-but-I-really-mean-what-I-say personality, I could be scarred for life if I witnessed his reaction to any gift I knitted for him. I'm shuddering at the thought.

Why not dishcloths, you ask? I've always had a problem with knitted dishcloths, even before I fully understood the world of knitting. Knitted dishcloths take time to make, and I couldn't imagine getting them wet, or even worse, scrubbing dirty dishes with them! I have a similar problem with socks (I swear it's not because I'm too scared to try to make them!).

So, what have I finished since I made this list? My first scarf (mentioned in an earlier post) was an absolute disaster. I immediately cast on a second and third scarf, both of which are still OTN. I can't help it -- garter kills sanity. And because of that, I started other projects (the mini bag and knitting needle carrying case). Side note: the carrying case came to a screeching halt after I found out that stockinette has a tendency to curl (it wasn't poor knitting as I'd originally thought).

I know this post is long, but bear with me; I haven't posted in days and have much catching up to do.

Then came the dreaded showstopper. A coworker of mine decided that we should do Secret Santa this year at our holiday party in less than two weeks. I thought it was a great idea at the time. But then I picked a name out of the hat she excitedly passed around. I blindly chose Katie, one of my closest friends both inside and out of the work place. She was one of the first people who I ran to when I picked up my knitting hobby. And, as a dear and genuine friend, she expressed much interest and to this day asks me how my knitting is going. Well, you know what that means. EMERGENCY project (not just added to the list but placed at the top due to the huge time crunch)! Just a week or so before the Secret Santa idea, Katie had her purse stolen from her at the gym. The poor girl has no bad karma whatsoever! She's further in the "positive" than any other person I know. Why this happened to her? I do not know.

I researched and researched "easy" purse patterns. I consulted my beloved mentor, I pondered several color choices and combinations that would match her hippie, bohemian style and personality. Then I found the Talisman purse (free Berroco pattern). I immediately bought 4 skeins of yarn: one navy, one deep red, one hunter green, and one caramel. I was going to make her this little striped purse if it killed me. I would work my hands to the bone, even if that meant that this would be the last piece I'd ever knit.

In the midst of this project, I realized one thing ... I have no drive to knit unless I'm absolutely sure that my recipient will love it. I also don't find joy in knitting for myself; knitting for others is so much more rewarding for me. So, you've got it, folks. Here's my revised holiday list:

1. Talisman bag for Katie
2. Scarf for DM
3. Scarf for DSis

My rationale? Almost everyone on my list lives in Pennsylvania, and I live in Florida. Because of this, I do not get to see what my family members choose to wear, or even how they decorate, over the winter. What if I were to knit my SIL a hot pink scarf, and it turns out that she detests all colors except black and gray? What if DM decided to nix her decades-long love for a rustic, country decor after her love-at-first-sight encounter with a pink flamingo lawn ornament (and adjacent knomes)? I simply could not risk making her a set of placemats that would only end up collecting dust.

I feel pretty good about this decision. But for now, I must get back to the Talisman WIP that, unless I'm going crazy, has been inching itself closer to me for the past hour. Creepy.

I PROMISE pictures are coming; I finally got more batteries for my digi cam! :)