Friday, June 29, 2007

FO: Monkey Socks

Even the Yarn Harlot has made Monkey Socks! I was working on these all through Traverse City, and just finished them a couple days ago. I couldn't show them off sooner because the USB cord to my camera mysteriously disappeared. The same gremlin that took Steve's wallet must have hidden it. The difference is, I found the cord, but not the wallet!

The yarn is Knitpicks Essential tweed. I'm not sure that I'm completely crazy about the yarn. The "tweed" effect to me almost looks like a normal purple sock has been thrown in the wash with a primary-colored load of something very fuzzy, and the pills have clung to the once-purple sock. Oh well. I wanted to try out the Monkeys in something more solid, and I like that part of the effect very much.

I've been trying very hard to work on UFOs, but I pull many of them out of my stash, only to be reminded of why they're UFOs in the first place. Case in point:

Doily for mom. Phone included for scale. I'm not sure why I thought this was a good idea, but I did, and hooman, the 12 stitches per inch are killing me. They're so tiny, and there are getting to be so many stitches that each round takes me at least ten minutes, sometimes more. (Don't worry mom, I will finish it. One day.)

Oh well. Here's some Natalie Dee to brighten your day.

I'm off to listen to the cure now.

Monday, June 25, 2007


I have a domain! Try it! Just go to!

Okay, so it only reroutes back to the blogger at this point. But still. This proves that Steven is working on my site rebuild!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The weekend adventure

I was supposed to go to Chicago this past weekend. The plans fell through at the last minute. I almost never get weekends off, so I had to make last minute plans of some other variety and seize my rare opportunity to get away... I guess Steve and I still could have gone to Chicago, but we wanted to do something more relaxing. I booked two nights in Traverse City, MI. It's about a four hour drive, and it's located in the part of the state where the beaches are mostly sandy, not rocky. It's a delicious relaxing tourist trap. There were two local yarn shops, one right downtown and one a little farther out. I had grand plans to go to both, along with a couple of close-ish side trips.


The drive up there goes through a pretty boring area of Michigan. If one of the highlights is Mt. Pleasant (infamous for being a boring college town), you know you're in for trees and sparse gas stations.

So, when you get almost to Traverse City, it's really, really odd to see a somewhat tall building:

This building became a running joke though the rest of the trip, because it towers over everything else in the area.

This is Grand Traverse Bay by daytime. Well, it's a small portion of it, anyway, but it gives you some idea of the delicious sandy beaches. Friday consisted of driving, arriving, shlepping around town to antique shops, and trying to find Lost Art Yarn Shop. It was right downtown, but somehow Steve and I missed it when we were there. It wasn't on any of the business directory map things either! Naturally we found it that evening on the way to the pub when it had closed. I cursed this fact over a lot of vodka and delicious food before having a long walk on the beach back to our hotel.

This is what that walk looked like, minus the blurriness I get from not being able to hold a camera still while somewhat inebriated.

Saturday morning consisted of a delicious breakfast (mushroom, swiss, and ham omelet) which I'd feel silly taking a photo of in a crowded cafe while sitting at the counter. Just trust me, it was good. We then decided to trek the hour and a half to Petoskey, home of the famous... rocks? Oh, and nice beaches and a cute downtown, too.

The beach bumming didn't amount in any swimming. Even though it was almost 90 in Traverse City, it was only 75 in Petoskey when we got there. Swimming didn't seem nearly as fun (the lake water was pretty damn cold), so my idea of a good time on a beach?

Monkey socks out of knitpicks essential tweed to be exact. I did more than just knit... I mean, I did find one (very small) Petoskey stone at the state park. The Monkey socks are much bigger now, though.

Just an aside, people: if you're going to visit pretty pristine beaches anywhere in the world, pick up your damn trash. I'm really hoping this behavior is limited to us lazy Americans; I never remember seeing trash on the beaches surrounding Sydney. I don't care how artsy Steve's photo of this litter is, I promise you this trash was still an eyesore in person.

What was worse were the (undoubtedly underage) kids we witnessed later that night who left an empty twelve-pack of Old Milwaukee (stolen from a dad, undoubtedly) laying around. Ugh.


We shlepped to downtown Petoskey, where I found a yarn shop! Yarn and Fiber Etc., to be exact. I got three balls of Berroco Foliage, which were incidentally on sale! YES! We also stopped at an amazing coffee shop (The Supreme Bean) which had white chocolate hot chocolate, amazing mochas, and an etch-a-sketch:

Then it was time to drive to the Sleeping Bear Dunes. This is a thirty-mile stretch of... sand... along the water in a relatively desolate (sleepy?) part of the state. In a corner of the park, we found a trail...

...which led to a beach! Exactly what we wanted: MORE SAND!

No, really, we did. And this one was far superior because there were no people. But there were more rocks and a dead tree.

We enjoyed ourselves here for a while, too. After we cleaned up, we went to dinner at an amazing Italian restaurant called Ciao Bella. Oh, I paid out my ass for it, but it was worth it. It was followed up by decent Gelato (that still doesn't beat the stuff in Italy) at the American Spoon. We walked back, with every intent of going to the casino to lose some money, but we fell asleep almost immediately...

Only to wake up today, and decide to head out early. There was a race at MIS, and that was definitely going to throw a monkey wrench into our driving time. We planned accordingly. We were going to get home pretty early...

Until we hit Mt. Pleasant. We stopped for a pit stop at the casino (to lose the $5 I was going to lose the previous evening in Traverse City) and Cold Stone for ice cream... Except we got a flat tire at Cold Stone! (The Cold Stone is next to a Curves, which is pretty funny to me.)

We then ended up driving around looking for a tire place that wasn't Wal-Mart, but alas we ended up in my version of hell: the automotive repair section of Wal-Mart. Actually, Wal-Mart in general is pretty much my version of hell. We walked around the store a little, commenting on censored music, video games that aren't carried, and telling stories of shirts pulled from the shelves. We spent the only money we've EVER spent in Wal-Mart, and hopefully it will be the last... so long as we never end up in a strange city on a Sunday with a flat again.

We're home now. And I'm tired. There are bits and pieces that I left out, but for the most part, you've just had a play-by-play of my weekend.

Friday, June 15, 2007

FO: Dorky Germany Socks

They're done! Two (complete) balls of Regia Nation later, a couple of shots of them lounging around.

They'll probably be sent off to my friend, Claire, soon. She's a pretty cool person, and deserves an early birthday present! Right?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Knitting meme

Stolen from The Spinning Goth. I'll consider myself tagged, all right!

Mark with bold the things you have ever knit, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest.

Garter stitch

Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up

Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns

Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn

Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items

Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns

Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting

Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colours
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items)on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit

Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO

Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys

Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern

Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine

RugKnitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in Public

Ah, that was fun. If any of you want to participate, consider yourselves tagged. (Although personally I'd love to see Rose Red and Petra do this...) Anyone else?

Two WIPs

I've been working on two projects lately that I'm currently so in love with, I'm actually showing them off before they're finished. I don't usually do that.

First up are the gift socks I've dubbed the Dorky Germany Socks. These are to be given to a friend who studied abroad in Germany and consequently adores everything German now and is planning to live there. When I saw the yarn, Regia Nation, I knew that she needed Dorky Germany Socks.

The pattern is just Wendy's Generic Toe-up Pattern. I figured I'd use up the Dorky Germany Yarn and go until I ran out. As you can see, the yarn went awfully far. I had to add calf increases because they stop not too far below my knee. I know that the recipient will love them...

The other thing I've been working on more is Knitty's Mariah. I know, I have major Knitters' ADD, as I've already put the Exchecquered down for now. My progress on Mariah has barely gotten me into the first sleeve. But somehow, it's extremely exciting for me to see the knotwork cable coming together.

(Excuse the difficulty I had photographing the gray yarn. I have no idea why the details got so washed out.) I only am nervous because the buzz in the knitting community seems to point to major issues with the pattern. I haven't seen them yet, but we shall see if Mariah continues to come together nicely...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Circular shrug

Yay! I finished the gray thing mentioned in the previous post!

It's the Urban Outfitters knockoff that was big on craftster a year ago or more. I used this tutorial (.pdf), from Peony Knits. I used pretty much exactly two skeins of caron simply soft with size 9 needles. I'm actually pretty darn thrilled with how it turned out...

Just a little something to jazz up a t-shirt. It's also a really nice use for the vintage and antique brooches I keep buying while antiquing with my mom... I love borderline tacky old jewelry.

I'm also pretty thrilled that I pulled a UFO out of the bottom of my stack of knitting and just did it. I cast on for this baby quite a while ago, to be honest... though once I got back into the groove of the mock rib, it was all downhill! It didn't go nearly as slowly as I thought it would. I almost want to make another because simply soft is so inexpensive and comes in so many delicious colors. The obnoxious brights are especially lovely. Lime green and hot pink and turquoise, oh my! I remember standing in my local Joann, agonizing over the big selection of colors. (At the time, I seem to remember that there were also Christmas glitter colors, so perhaps I cast this on last fall?) How I ended up with a boring heather gray is completely beyond me. Was I thinking practically for once?