Monday, November 5, 2007

Real Life

There has been a lot going on around here. Sometimes real life gets in the way of internet life, but you know, that's how it's supposed to be. And I know the four of you who check in to my blog understand that. :)

Our parish has been celebrating its 150th Anniversary this year.

The big culmination of the year was over the weekend of the 27th and 28th. We had a big dinner dance on Saturday night.
The next day, we had a big Mass at noon, with the cardinal celebrating.

The choir did very well; I was very proud of how all their hard work turned out.

Then I had jury duty the next day. Thankfully, I was dismissed shortly after noon.

Hallowe'en was also this week. Rose wanted to be "a black kitty." My mom recycled a skunk costume that her cousin (Rose's, not my mom's) had worn a couple of years earlier. She looked a little like a Monchichi. :)

I have also been knitting -- I decided to start the Tilted Duster. After a lot of swatching and many false starts, I finally started the back on the 31st. I just finished the first sleeve last night, and hope to have the second sleeve done soon. I'm washing and blocking each piece as I finish it, and so far it looks like it's going to work out.

See, I'm using Cascade 220, and it's my first time using it. Now, since the Tilted Duster should not be overly baggy, I wanted to make sure I was getting gauge (I've learned my lesson). I knit my first swatch on size 9 needles, and got 17 st./in., as the pattern calls for. Perfect, right? Well, no. I washed and blocked that swatch. I did not stretch it in any way, shape, or form, and it measured 15 st./in. after washing. Ah HA! See, I would have knit another baggy, unflattering sweater, and there would have been much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Unfortunately, it didn't bloom as much on size 8s, and I was having a really hard time getting stitch gauge before or after washing, and row gauge was way off. So I ended up sticking with the 9s, but knitting the 36" size. The fronts and backs blocked out perfectly to fit my 38" bust with just about 1" of ease. Which is exactly what I was looking for, yay swatching!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Another silly internet quiz

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Literate Good Citizen
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I tried to sew the zipper in. I used a sewing machine. It's JUST AWFUL!!! :(

The top of the zipper is sticking up above the knit fabric at the collar. At the hem, one side of the cardigan is at least an inch lower than the other. None of the colorwork is lining up.

Now I have to take all these blasted machine stitches out with a seam ripper and it's taking FOREVER!! I may throw myself bonelessly to the floor like a two-year-old and scream.

I've moved Samus to the VERY BOTTOM of my queue now, because it has a ZIPPER!!


Okay. Okay. It really is not the end of the world. I finished the pair of mittens, and they look great. I've cast on for a mindless little scarf for Rose, and I'm still considering recreating the J.C. Penney sweater, though I may do the Tilted Duster instead. I'll eventually get the zipper out of the little cardigan, and it will go back in better.

Sorry about that tantrum. I feel better now.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sweater ideas

So I was at J.C. Penney the other evening, picking up a packet of Rose's photos from their portait studio, and I saw this sweater:

And I loved it right away.

So did I buy it?

No. I picked it up, laid it out, noticed the set-in sleeves and the ribbing across the bust area, the angle of the a-line as it increased from the empire waist, and said those famous words: "I could totally knit this."

Now, Knitty's Rosebud is very much like this (although a pullover instead of a cardigan), but I'm not as crazy about it. I'm not sure why. Perhaps I'll use Rosebud as a jumping-off point for re-creating this sweater.

P.S. The first mitten is done, and it fits!

Monday, October 8, 2007

This yarn hates me

I don't know why. I like it an awful lot.The background:

  • I cast on, using the same needles I used for the hat I made with the same yarn. Knowing the troubles I had had with the hat, I very carefully checked gauge in several places. I cast on for a women's size medium, the same size I knitted my first mittens. Which fit.

  • I started noticing almost immediately that the cuff seemed "a little loose," yet I kept knitting until I was past the thumb gusset, when I realized that I could probably manage to get both my hands in the mitten.

  • Frogged and cast on again, this time in the women's size small. Decided to do a twisted rib for the cuff. Hated how it looked in this yarn and frogged it.

  • Cast on again, and had a fantastic gap in the join which I could not fix. Frogged.

  • Cast on again, and managed to twist the cast on round when I joined, which of course I didn't notice for 2 1/2 rounds. Threw the mitten in the knitting bag for a long time out.

Anyhow, now I've calmed down and started over again. Fifth time's the charm, I guess, or maybe it learned it's lesson from the time-out because now it's going swimmingly and I think I'm going to end up liking these mittens very much. Good thing I'm stubborn.

Also, I got the zipper pinned to the little Norwegian sweater. I'm not much of a seamstress, but with the help of this post and this post, I feel that I may be able to fumble my way through this one. Next I will baste the zipper and take the pins out and turn it right side out to see how it looks from that side, then sew it in for good. I might even use a sewing machine (no!).

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Amazed at myself

Dear Rachel,

When you taught me how to knit and purl 4(5?) years ago, I don't think either of us ever expected I'd try colorwork, let alone steeking it.

Here is the little sweater as a pullover. The steek is a bridge of 5 extra stitches, marked by stripes where there is colorwork.
The crocheted reinforcement "ties" one leg of the center steek stitch to the leg of the stitch next to it, from the hem all the way up to the neckline.
One side done.

Then the other leg of the center stitch is crocheted to the stitch on the other side, from the neck back down to the hem.
Both sides done.
Between the legs of the crocheted center stitch is a ladder of horizontal purl stitches.

Those are the stitches that are very carefully, one at a time, snipped.

After a lot of breath-holding...

Viola! (Again, I must thank Eunny Jang for her exhaustive steeking tutorials, especially part 5.)

Now I just have to sew the edges under neatly and find a zipper that separates at the bottom! Then I will have a pretty little FO to show you!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A preview

Dear friends,

I have become a very bad blogger for the last couple of weeks. I left the last post with a teaser about steeking, and then cheerfully went about my life, not steeking at all. Shameful. In my defense, there have been issues, namely:

  • I didn't have a zipper yet, and I wanted to buy the zipper before I steeked.

  • It has been raining, and the light has not been good for photos.

  • Ravelry is the biggest time-sucker ever invented.

  • When I finally bought the zipper, I got it home to find out it's not the kind that separates at the bottom.

  • Job, family, housework...

So I steeked my swatch, which is what I was going to do first all along.


I used a crocheted reinforcement, described by Eunny Jang in this amazing tutorial. And that link is just one article of seven on steeking. The crochet added a good bit of structure, and it was just a matter of carefully snipping, one at a time, the strands between the two lines of crochet. The fabric has held together nicely, despite being turned into a headscarf for the cat, who did not want to wear it (sorry, didn't get any pictures of that). What I haven't done for this swatch was to turn the edges under and tack them to the inside. I'll do that for the sweater itself.

So, really, really, next time there will be pictures to document each step of the sweater steeking itself. As long as it's sunny.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Green Beret, take two

Well, it worked... I knitted it using the small instructions instead of the large, and I went down a needle size. The fabric of the other hat was a little too drapey; I think this one will be more winter-proof. It fits much better, although I wish the top was roomier. I'm not going to push my luck, though!

I guess I was a little surprised that the first version of this hat was so very huge, only because I was getting 18 stitches to 4 inches (compared with the pattern's 17 stitches). I either miscounted or followed the directions wrong. I also have a 22 1/2 inch head, so I thought that knitting the large at a slightly tighter gauge would fit perfectly. Oh well. [ETA: No, Jo, I am not going to grow a bigger head :) my current one is big enough!]
Peg, thanks for your suggestions. I've seen at least one of your berets; that's what made me want to knit this one. I love this color, too. The yarn is called Kathmandu Aran, and it's a wool-silk-cashmere blend. It was a little worse for wear after being frogged, but not so badly that you can tell in the finished product.

Next post: Kim steeks!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I may have miscalculated gauge a bit...

Tweed Beret, from Interweave Knits fall 2006 [Edit: it was winter '06 actually] ... now frogged and awaiting rebirth on smaller needles, in the smaller size. LOL

Monday, September 17, 2007

I could have been knitting...

...if it weren't for Ravelry! Holy shmoleys, what an undertaking!

I had gotten this far when my invitation came:

And this is how far I am now (see above). I trust that once I get my old projects onto Ravelry and some of the "new toy" shininess wears off, I'll be able to get away from the computer and actually knit again. For now, though, I'm just entranced by the amazing variety of yarns and projects and I'm getting some great ideas for some future projects.

I did take Rose out for a little photo shoot. It's finally cool enough for sweaters, and this Trellis in the 12-month size still fits her (link is her first photo shoot in it) -- but I have a feeling this will be the last season she'll be able to wear it (her tummy is starting to poke out).

Friday, September 14, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

Yesterday was my birthday. The Kilburns have developed a tradition of extending birthdays into a celebration that usually last three days, sometimes longer. It's a very nice tradition that makes up for my having to conduct (pun intended) two rehearsals yesterday.

It starts with "birthday eve," the night before the birthday, which is observed by the consumption of ice cream. Andy took me to Stroh's after choir practice (yes, I had three rehearsals in the space of two days; I love my job) and we had sundaes -- mine was Butterfinger ice cream with Sanders hot fudge and whipped cream. Yum!

Then, the actual day is celebrated with cards and dinner. Because of my schedule, we're having our dinner out tonight -- see, a three day celebration. We're going to Black Pine Tree for sushi, then to Borders to grab armloads of books and browse through them while sipping coffee and eating bad desserts.

Then, the best part -- the fall Knitty came out yesterday, happy birthday to me! and I got my Ravelry invite this afternoon, very happy birthday to me! So I'm going to be spending some time browsing and playing, and dreaming of projects-to-be.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Baby Norwegian Sleeves

Tee hee... Knitting these is like eating Cool Ranch Doritos. "I'm just going to knit a couple of rounds..." and before I know it, I've polished off half the bag, er, um, sleeve. Gauge and evenness are much improved since the swatch.

On to the body!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Trying to get a head start

I'm patiently awaiting my invitation to join the fun at Ravelry, and it occured to me that perhaps I could get a head start on what I hear is one of my first tasks as a member; namely, posting pics of all my FOs and current projects and stash. Luckily, because of this blog, I've got a handle on the first two categories. But I'm not in the habit of taking pictures of all my yarn before it's knit up into something.

So that's a semi-big something to do; then to upload them and get them onto Flickr is another. But if I do little here and a little there, by the time Ravelry invites me (or is ready to move out of beta), I'll be ready to hit the ground running.

I'm off to take pictures of yarn (my poor neighbors!).

Friday, August 31, 2007


This makes me happy:I finally just sucked it up and frogged the heel, added an inch to the foot, then reworked the heel. Much less painless than having a sock that made my toes curl up. And not in a good way.

This makes me happy:An old-fashioned bell for my old-fashioned bike.

These make me unreasonably happy: I mean, what 34-year-old doesn't need a pair of patent leather Mary Jane-style ballet flats?
And, friends? This makes me very happy:

My first attempt at colorwork. Yes, it is bigger on one side than on the other. Yes, the gauge isn't perfectly even. I'm still thrilled with it. It's a swatch for a little sweater that I will make for Rose. And if Rose's works out, I will make a matching one for myself. Happiness!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

One Year

This blog is a year old!

This time last year, Lena and Rose looked like this:

Just babies! Now they are "big girls" and so funny together.

A sample of dialogue from yesterday's visit --

Lena: (holds up a stack of colored wooden disks) "I made a birthday cake! Rose, sing 'Happy Birthday!'"

(both girls sing)

Rose: "That cake smells delicious!"

Lena: "It's a splendid birthday cake!"

At the time of this writing, Rose is supposed to be having a nap. I've already been upstairs three times to remind her of this. The second time was because she had reached through the bars of her crib to turn off the nursery monitor. The third time was because I could hear her jumping on the bed. Now she's up there saying "huevos con papas" over and over again. In different voices. High, low, slow. "Hueeeevoooos con paaapaaaaas." If it weren't so funny, I'd be losing my mind. She's been great with naps all summer; now Andy's gone back to school and it's like she's forgotten how to sleep.

In knitting news, I'd started another pair of toe-up socks and worked the heel too soon, which became obvious when I tried them on after starting the ankle rounds. I know I've got to frog it back, but I don't want to. So I'm at this stupid impasse with myself: I know the sooner I rip the heel out, the sooner I can get back to work on it and make the foot the right length, but I just hate the idea of going backwards. *Sigh* Well, I like to knit, right? I mean, it's my hobby. This just means I'll get to knit more.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Finished in August

These are the all-knit Monkey socks I started before our NYC trip. I borrowed the idea from Rachel at Sticks and Thread, who had borrowed it from someone else. It had occured to me, as I was knitting my first (normal) pair, that the pattern would look great if all the purls were replaced with knits, but her post really convinced me to try it.

Yarn used: Knit Picks Gloss in Cocoa. This yarn feels amazing on the feet. I've worn and washed them a handful of times already, and I am noticing a bit of fuzziness starting to happen where the socks meet the shoes, but nothing awful.

I also decided to use some leftover Lamb's Pride to learn to make mittens.

Not too bad, if I do say so myself.I had originally used this yarn to knit Coronet from Knitty, which I loved to knit and love to wear. Now I have mittens to match. There's even enough left to make a scarf, but I'm not crazy about the idea of a plain stockinette scarf in this heavy worsted, and cables would make it even bulkier. Perhaps a simple lace, I mean as simple as K2tog, YO, etc. for one row and knit the next, and repeat the two rows. Just something to create a loose, drapey fabric.

It's good to be home, and I'm trying to get back on track with the blogging. Here's one vacation pic: the obligatory Rockefeller Plaza shot.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

What kind of yarn?

This was kinda silly, and I'm not sure how the questions related to the end result, but it's eerily accurate. "Dishcloth cotton" also would have described me.

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Shetland Wool. You are a traditional sort who can sometimes be a little on the harsh side. Though you look delicate you are tough as nails and prone to intricacies. Despite your acerbic ways you are widely respected and even revered.
Take this quiz!


Make A Quiz More Quizzes Grab Code

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Start 'em young

"Mama, can I knitting?"
"Sure, baby, here, I'll cast on for you"
"Oh, ganks. I love to knitting."
"I making you a sock, Mama!"

Friday, August 10, 2007

Here, not here

Dear friends,

I don't feel like blogging today. We got back early Monday morning and I haven't felt like blogging all week, but I wanted you to know that we weren't mugged and left for dead in NYC. In fact, we had a fantastic time, but I just don't feel like writing.

I'm good, everyone is good here at the Kilburns' home. I'll have pics and stories again soon. In the meantime, please to enjoy:

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Don't worry

Dear friends,

Yes, it's been a while... and it will be a while again, as Andy and I are going on a little trip to NYC. Without the baby. (blinks back tears) But we know we are going to have a great time, and she gets to spend the whole week with her Mimi and Papa, not to mention her cousins, so she won't even miss us.

Anyhow, I finished an all-knit Monkey, and it looks great, but you'll have to wait until we get back to see it because I've been too busy getting ready to go to take pictures of it. We're taking the train, not flying, so I'll probably have the second one done by the time we return.

See you in about a week!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


The bathroom has tile. I have a pair of Monkeys.We've got the final Harry Potter book.I'll see you all in a couple of days.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

One Monkey done

Isn't it pretty? I can't believe how excited I am about a sock, for cryin' out loud. It took me a week to finish this first one. That's the shortest it's ever taken me to knit one sock. Must be the pattern.

I found this link to a knitter who used all knit stitches in her Monkey, and it looks amazing! Aren't they lovely and swirly and smooth? I'm going to borrow this idea for my next pair. Which I'll probably start as soon as this pair is done. I'm ill, I tell you.

A good time was had by all at the Wyandotte Street Art Fair this past week. The weather was just perfect. It was cool, breezy, and sunny. We saw two artists who really impressed us. One did Chinese-style paper cuts, and we bought this from her:
The other was exhibiting several really outstanding works of art, and this was his business card:Craig M. Linderman. Please check out his stuff -- it blew my mind. If you can find the one entitled "Face It" (it's under pen and ink), take a look at it. That was my favorite. I may have to order a print from his website.

Also had good, good friends visit from out of town. Monica and her family, including little Luke, who came to be deeply loved by Rose in a very short period of time.
Here they are bonding over Rose's Sesame Street toy. A very good time was had by all.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Green Gable update

I wore this sweater to church the weekend I finished it, and yes indeed, the neckline was too big. It felt like it was just about to slip off my shoulder all morning, and I was not comfortable.

I picked up stitches over the back and two sleeves, leaving the top of the lace panel alone. Then I worked ribbing in short rows. The ribbing slopes down nicely to the front two raglan lines where the lace starts, and pulls the neck in just enough. It's still an open, summery feel, but now I'm not worried about my bra straps showing, let alone my entire shoulder.

p.s. I should have straightened up the lines of the sweater for these pictures. It's not really all slanted and off-center. Sorry about that.