Monday, November 29, 2010

Hoodie Done

Update on Billy's hoodie: it's done. Just finished sewing on the buttons.  Here it is:

Likes: Pattern is fantastic (Knitting Pure and Simple pattern - #105, the Neckdown Hooded Pullover for Men) - as the norm for a KP&S pattern.  Knitted up quickly with size 9 needles. 

Dislikes: Used Cascade Greenland yarn - thought it would be sturdy enough for Billy to take this sweater camping & get fish guts all over it, etc., but it pilled up terribly after the first wash.  (The yarn got nice & soft, though.)  Boring color, but it's what he wanted.  I did suggest to my son that he get a couple of his friends to pick off the pills, picturing something similar to chimpanzees picking lice off each other, but the analogy missed him.  Oh, well - it's probably for the best.  He's messy enough as it is.

Would I do this pattern again?  Sure thing.  He's going to outgrow the sweater in a few months anyway, so I might just do it again for him next year, but with a different yarn.

Next on my dance card is finishing up my red cardigan,  the cabled cardigan #1791 from Plymouth Yarn Company.  I had finished the back & right front before I put it down (got bored with it).  Finished up the left front last night and decided to do the three needle bind off on the shoulders, even though I was so tired I could barely see.  The results: the seam on the wrong side and the front pieces attached to the back on the wrong sides.  I didn't realize this until I took a look at it this morning, either.  The moral of this story is not to knit when you're that tired. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Billy's hoodie progresses.  This is just a basic garment.  No fancy stitches or colorful yarn, just the way he wants it.  When do guys learn to like "guy" styles and colors?  This thing is light brown done in plain stockinette.  No variegation in color.  No texture other than the yarn,  BORING!

I will tell you, it's showing all the different tensions in my gauge.  Different times of days or places (I even took the project with me to the movies last week; glad I did, too -  the movie was terrible and it gave me something to do, although knitting in the dark was really different) make my tension uneven and it's showing.  Billy won't care, but it is interesting to notice.  Oh well, I try to learn something new with each project, so I guess this is it for this one.

Got the body of the sweater done and now have the sleeves and hoodie left.  I may run out of yarn, so I'm going to get the sleeves done next, so if I need to get more yarn the hood won't really matter.  This sweater will be taken camping, hiking, get fish guts on it, be covered in mud, and should be able to stand up on its own after it comes home, so it doesn't need to be fancy, just sturdy. 

Here's my challenge to you: try knitting something very simple (like stockinette) and see how your tension is at different times of the day, locations, stress levels, etc.  It's pretty interesting to notice.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Billy's Hoodie

I was out with my youngest son on Thursday - he'd outgrown all his sweaters and needed to pick up two for now.  He only found 1 that he liked and then turned to me and said: "Mom, I really like your sweaters - would you please make me one?"  Who could resist that?   Gotta love this kid!

So we picked out a Knitting Pure and Simple pattern - #105, the Neckdown Hooded Pullover for Men.  These patterns can be found in local yarn shops, but here is a link to the web site -  The pattern I'm using is on the right side.

Once we picked out the pattern we ran over to Shelby's Place and my son picked out the yarn, a tan/brown color Greenland (I liked the russet color much better than the tan color my son picked out, but it's his sweater, so we went with the tan.  He does the typical guy thing with colors - brown, black, grey, dark blue or deep red. and PLAIN patterns only, please.). 

This yarn fits the gauge (4 stitches per inch using a size 9 needle) and is a true worsted yarn, 100% merino wool.  (to see the difference between a worsted and woollen yarn, please see    This sweater will be used walking around school and will go camping/hiking/fishing with my son and receive all kinds of abuse, so the Greenland was a good choice.  It may be a bit scratchy at first, but will soften up with washing and will really hold up.  Billy is nothing if not tough on clothes.

Once again, may I rave about the Knitting Pure and Simple patterns?  (Sure I can - it's my blog, after all, lol.)  These patterns are so well written and easy to follow.  You can get creative and change things up if you'd like with a texture stitch pattern to the overall garment or just go as written - I think I'm going to add a big front pocket.  These patterns just make sense.  I also love the way she starts things: "cast on firmly" - too much fun.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Exercise in Futility

Ever hear that saying "It's an exercise in futility"?  That's when you do an action over and over again, expecting different results even though nothing in the situation has changed.   I call this playing electronic solitaire. 

For some reason I think I've gotten smarted since the last time I've played...then reality sets in, and after I've lost - AGAIN - I get all optimistic and think, "Well, maybe next time" and start the cycle all over again.  

At least I'm not playing for money.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Amy Singer in the House!

I took a modular lace class from's own Amy Singer this weekend.  Learned a LOT and now have some fantastic ideas for some projects!  (Like I need to have more projects to get all excited about.)   

I liked Amy - she's a self-described goof who likes both technology and knitting, which is right up my alley.  She's also a pretty good ukulele player and entertained us with some songs while we knitted along.  (Wonder if that could become a new craze - knitting along to live music?  Different styles/tempos for different types of knitting, knitting musicians at local hot spots all over the city - I can see it all now!)

The dust has settled down here at home (literally - see the previous blog entry for details) and life is good.  Hope you all had a good weekend!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Life Kicks You in the Rear End Sometimes

Life - or you could call it fate, karma, kismet, etc. - has a way of kicking you in the rear end at times.

Point in fact #1: My friend Stephanie had a cat who peed in her stash basket, I believe while she was gone for the weekend, so she got a wonderful surprise when she returned from her trip.

I laughed my butt off.

Point of fact #2: One (or maybe both) of my friend Christy's twin boys dumped an entire plate of spaghetti - noodles, sauce and meatball - into her knitting basket. He then closed the lid and said nothing, giving her a fun surprise the next time she reached in to pull out her project.

I really laughed my butt off.

Life kicking my rear end time: We had a leak in a bathroom shower, which we fortunately caught right away and were able to fix. It involved going into the pipes from the back of the wet wall, which happens to be the other side of a hallway - also fortunate, since we didn't need to replace any tile that way.

The pipes were replaced and the drywall patched up and things were starting to look back to normal except for the thick layer of drywall dust on every surface in the house. Drywall can be insidious stuff, but I have the power of cleaning in me (sometimes) and industriously wiped down surfaces and such, making everything pretty again.

That was Tuesday night.

I walked in from work Wednesday to see a thick white cloud of what seemed to be smoke, although nothing smelled like it was burning. (My boys were sitting all zombiefied playing video games - I think the house could really burn down around them as long as the power held out. But I digress.)

After frantically running in to the kitchen and determining that the cause of the clouds of white smoke was not really a fire, I had the boys help me open all the windows to vent the air. (November in Sacramento - I think it was close to 80 degrees that day so there was no loss of life or limb due to the extreme cold or anything. I know, all of you up in the Northern climes are thinking daggers at me right now - knitting for me is simply a hobby; for you Northerners, knitting is more of a life skill. But I digress again.)

I then heard a noise and after investigating, found my husband in the hallway with a belt sander and a big grin. He thought the drywall texture had gone up a bit thick and was sanding it down. Boys never do completely grow up, and he's just a big kid with power tools. (But it's OK - he puts up with my knitting, so we're even.) The problem was, now I had drywall dust in absolutely every nook and cranny of the house after working so hard to clean up the mess the night before.

Here's where it gets good (and somewhat gross): We inherited a geriatric cat from my mother when she went into the nursing home. I think this cat is about 20-25 years old. She occasionally gets the runs (the cat, not my Mom). This cat also likes to sit in my desk chair when I'm not home. (Anyone getting where this is going?)

Exacerbated by the mess, I went to my computer to relax for a few minutes before starting the clean up efforts again. I sat down in my desk chair and this foul, sickly, kitty-cat poo smell poofed up in a cloud of white (or maybe more brown-ish) drywall dust, spreading yet more crap - quite literally - into the room. I'm now typing from the comforts of a kitchen chair. My desk chair is out of the way, needing to be febreezed another 100 times or so and then shampooed. Repeatedly. Many times. (Lather, rinse, repeat, and repeat, and repeat...)

Steph, Christy - I really shouldn't have laughed at your pain, even though it was really funny. I'm sorry. I'll try not to do it again, but if I do - and I probably will - you can laugh your butts off at me.