Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Centennial Lake

In an effort to get out of the house and to escape the general gloom and doom going on in my life lately, I decided to head to Centennial Lake this afternoon for a little communing with nature. I brought my camera and my knitting and just sat on a park bench and enjoyed the beautiful day. No real knitting content today, so I hope you will enjoy some pictures instead.



centennial lake


Signs of fall

And just because this is a knitting blog:


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Insanity Socks
finished Madder rib socks
Pattern: Madder Ribbed Sock from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn: Trekking XXL color 109
Needles: 40" US 1 Addis Turbos
magic looped, two at the same time.
Started: Sunday, September 17, 2006
Finished: Saturday, September 23, 2006

6 Days! Hence, the insanity title. I was obsessed with getting these finished. I have no idea why. And now, I'm paying for it because DAMN! My wrist hurts!

finished Trekking socks
(better representation of actual colors)

I am really happy with them. They are snuggly and warm. I followed the pattern as written - no mods. I just wanted a simple pattern that wouldn't interfere with the fabulous Trekking color changes. I would, however, like to know why I keep getting random non-conforming stripes in my socks.

Exhibit A
strange dye problem

Exhibit B
random light stripe

What's up with that?

Because I have had knitting OCD with these socks, I haven't worked on the Icarus Shawl at all this week. And since my wrist is complaining loudly right now, I'm going to rest it a bit tomorrow while I decide "what next." I will get back to the shawl soon as it will be a Christmas gift, but I like having a sock project going on the side. Hopefully, it will be a sock project that I will not be obsessed about! I have lots of thoughts about what I want to work on next.

So, I got to work the other day, and was very surprised to find this on top of my light board:
The Museum of Kitschy Stitches book

It was a little surprise gift from my friend Jill! Jill is not a knitter (I did teach her how to crochet a few years ago... I wonder if she still does it!) but she saw this and thought of me! And since I was not having the best day, it was a really nice treat. I haven't actually seen Jill in ages, so that made it even more of a surprise. Hopefully I'll be able to hook up with her and have lunch soon. The book, by the way, is really funny. There have been some really horrific fashion trends in the world of knitting over the years!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

something finished, something new, and something in progress...

Been doing lots-a-knittin' around here. I forced myself to finish my Elfine's socks. I hate them.
finished elfine socks
elfine detail

I liked the pattern, I love the yarn, love the colors. But together, not so much. Also, there is some seriously sloppy knitting going on in these socks. When I knit the first one, I apparently chose to completely misread the pattern. There are purl stitches on the sides that just shouldn't be there. And since I knit the first one that way, ages ago, I felt like I needed to make the second sock match. The heels are atrocious - short rows with many holes. And, these socks do not fit very well. They are too big. So, no likey likey. They will be bed socks. I will sleep in them and they shall never see the light of day.

BUT... They are DONE! Which means I gave myself permission to cast-on for a new pair of socks!
madder rib socks

Yay for Trekking! This is the first pair of socks I have made with Trekking yarn, despite the fact that I have three skeins of Trekking in my stash. It's Trekking XXL in color 109. I love the color changes - so pretty! I am knitting the very simple Madder Rib socks from Knitting Vintage Socks. Something mindless to knit while I am stuck in the light booth. I started them on Sunday and am making pretty good progress. I think there will be heels occurring this weekend. You will notice that I'm knitting them both at the same time. I'm telling ya, second sock syndrome kills me.

Before my show starts every night, I sit at the foot of the light booth and knit. I get comments all the time. Usually "what are you making? who are they for? When are you going to knit something for me?" and my personal favorite "you are always crocheting!" I answer "socks, me, never" and generally just shake my head in disgust at the crocheting comment. These people see me knitting EVERY night, I have corrected them repeatedly and yet they still call it crocheting. And of course, when I did actually crochet, they said "you are always knitting!" Actors - 'nuff said.

I got the crochet comment on Sunday from the reed player in the orchestra. When I corrected him, (nicely, I might add) he said "but those aren't knitting needles!" So I had to show him that despite the fact that the needles were connected (circular) they were still needles and not a hook. Then, the drummer from the orchestra walked by. He asked "Are you knitting with metal?" He was looking at the cable of the circulars and thought I was making fabric out of it. Musicians - 'nuff said.

I am still toiling away on my Icarus Shawl.
Thousands of tiny stitches!

I made a mistake several inches ago. You can't see it in this picture, it's towards an edge. There is no way in hell I am ripping back to fix it. NO WAY. The yarn is sooo tiny it's like knitting with sewing thread. Progress is painfully slow. The last thing I want to do is frog any of it ever again. I've already played that game way too many times with this knit. So the mistake STAYS. But of course it is driving me bonkers. It taunts me regularly. I keep trying to tell myself that it's up high near the neck and only I will see it. But it's still taunting me.

On a slightly different note...

I used to know this woman who would always say that everyone needs something to look forward to. Everytime I saw her, she would ask me to list five things that I was looking forward to. Sometimes, it was very difficult to come up with five things! I haven't seen her in a few years, but I still think of the list of five things.

So here's my current list:

1. I'm going to see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in Baltimore with LL next week. Can't wait!

2. The Maryland Rennaisance Festival. A yearly tradition. I always go with a huge group of theatre people. (gotta love the group rate!) We drink a lot, we eat a lot, we laugh a lot. And no, we do not dress up. My favorite part of Ren Fest is when my friend Bunny gets drunk and runs through the maze singing "I Love You Baby!" at the top of his lungs. It's a highlight every year.

3. VA Fall Fiber Fest. It will be a very busy weekend for me since the fiber fest is the day after the ren fest. But I will drag my hungover ass out of bed for yarn! Though I MUST keep a tight rein on my wallet for this, I still want to go.

4. Fall. I am definitely looking forward to fall. It's my favorite time of year. I want the chill in the air, the leaves changing, the fall smells, pumpkins, apples, Halloween, all of it. I am done with summer!

5. Knit night. We just had one this past Monday and I'm already looking forward to the next one. I always look forward to seeing my knit girls!

Soo..... what are YOU looking forward to??

Monday, September 18, 2006

random fun

I heard about this on Cast-On and had to share. I have no clue what this woman is singing, but it's still fun.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

New Trick

I hate to purl. I'm a continental knitter and I usually purl using my left thumb to wrap the yarn around the needle. I worked on it and I am now able to purl in a more "normal" way by using my index finger to wrap the yarn. But, for long stretches of purling, I still revert back to using my thumb - and either way, I still don't like purling.

So, tonight I started the heel of my neon Elfine sock. It's a simple short row heel. And I thought - UGH, I hate purling. Suddenly I remembered hearing about knitting "backwards" as a way to avoid purling. You knit left to right which gets you out of both purling and having to turn your work. So, I gave it a try. I had no idea what I was doing, but I just tried to think of how the needles and yarn move when I'm purling and then tried to replicate it on the right side of the work. SUCCESS!!! It took me a bit of practice, but I think I've got the hang of it. It will take a bit to be proficient at it, but I think it will be definitely be worth the effort. Especially if it gets me out of purling!

And just for you... a demonstration of the technique. Be most impressed with my camera work - it took some serious acrobatics to accomplish this!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Another Op'nin Another Show

I am finally free of tech weeks!! No more shows opening until November! We opened Kiss Me Kate this past weekend. Tech week sucked. I'm so glad it's over. I'm still having to do fixes and changes with the lights until press night on Friday, but I can deal with it.

Despite the endless hours of tech, I have managed to complete some knitting. As I mentioned in my last post, I finally finished LL's birthday socks.

finally done!

Toe-up Jaywalkers with picot edged cuff
Austermann Step yarn
magic loop on 40" US size 2 addi turbos

I'm fairly happy with how these turned out. I'm not crazy about the random dark green stripe in the one sock. I like that they are fraternal twin socks. (The recipient actually has fraternal twin daughters, so it works!) It was my first picot cuff. I will definitely do it again. I took the time to do a stretchy sewn bind off, but then when I sewed the edge of the cuff down, I made it a little too tight. I learned from my mistake on the second sock though.
picot edge

I currently have two projects on the needles. I couldn't wait to play with the cashmere I got in NYC. It has become the Icarus Shawl. Well, it's currently in it's infancy, but hopefully it will grow up to be an Icarus Shawl!
Icarus in its infancy
The pattern is fairly simple (so far) if you actually pay attention to what you are doing. I however, keep missing yarn overs, so there has been a painful amount of ripping back. The yarn is so delicate and thin, ripping back is not an easy task. And seriously, there has been way too much ripping back! It was extremely frustrating, but I think I'm back on track now. This will probably be a Christmas gift, but if I can finish it in time and it turns out gorgeous, I am contemplating entering it in the Virginia Fall Fiber Festival. Time may be against me on that, but we shall see.

I am desperate to start playing with the Trekking I got in NYC too, but I have forced myself to finish a lingering UFO first. Ages ago, I won some fabulous neon yarn from Spunky Eclectic for being the 1000 sock knit in 2006 on Amie's blog. I made one lonely elfine sock with it. It sat alone for many, many, many months. I have finally started its mate. Finally!
a sock and a half

I forgot how much I enjoy knitting this pattern. This picture isn't great - I will take an outdoor picture with better lighting when they are a finished set. But yes, they are BRIGHT! Very fun!

In other FO news.... during tech last week, I finished my purple Koigu Jaywalkers.
finished koigu jays
I love them. Did these toe-up too. But two at the same time. Which, I think, will be the way I do socks from now on - two at the same time. I definitely have Second Sock Syndrome. (Let's not discuss the Pomatomus sock that I still haven't finished.) If I don't do them both at the same time, I won't finish them. I have learned.

I have more to babble about, but I just realized that it is 2:10 a.m. and I have to get up early. So, I'm off to bed. Maybe, just maybe... I'll actually sleep!

Here's a picture of a very big, very cool moth I saw at the theatre the other day.

Good night!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Coleen and Erin's Excellent NYC Adventure!!
Empire State Building

I had SO MUCH FUN!!!!

Erin and I escaped Maryland yesterday for a quick and AMAZING trip to the Big Apple. We left Columbia at the very scary hour of 6:30 a.m. I'm not normally acquainted with this hour of the day and I must say - I'm not a fan. But just 3 short hours later, our trusty bus driver dropped us off in the middle of Manhattan.
The Bus

And thus began our rainy adventure! We jumped over the puddles, we dodged the rain drops and said "damn you Hurricane Ernesto!" We had only one agenda - YARN.

First stop: School Products.

School Products
This family run shop was a delight. We had a great time checking out all the different yarns. And had a nice time chatting with the owner. He said that they will have a booth at Stitches East in Baltimore in November, so hopefully we'll see him again then! They had a great selection and I put a very large dent in my NYC yarn budget.
yarn from School Products

The cone is a silk/cotton blend in a gorgeous copper color (more orangy than the picture may suggest.)

As for the plum colored yarn:
100% Cashmere baby!
Oh yeah - that's cashmere baby! I got three skeins. There are only two in the picture above because I'm in the process of winding the other skein by hand. I love it. I keep petting it repeatedly. I had IK's Icarus Shawl in mind when I bought this, but now I'm kind of torn between this and the copper yarn for the project. I'm having one of those knitter moments where you wish you had more hands and could knit many projects at the same time!

At School Products, we met up with the wonderful Marie of Brooklyn Handspun. I met Marie briefly at MD Sheep and Wool. (We shared fried oreo cookies.) It was such a treat to be able to spend the day with her and get to know her better. She was great fun and a big help because she knows her way around the city!

After School Products, we hopped on the subway (My first NYC subway trip!) and headed to Marie's LYS The Point.
The Point

The Point was a great combination of yarn store and cafe. We checked out all the yummy yarns and then settled down for yummy snacks and some knitting.
Marie and Erin knitting at The Point.
I really wish we had a place like this here in Maryland. Yarn and coffee in the same place. Heaven! Though Erin and I both thought that someone needs to open a yarn shop that serves alcohol too!

At The Point, we gained another addition to the party.

This is Erin's good friend Arnold. He was a lot of fun. He told great stories and was an incredibly good sport about hanging out in a yarn store with a bunch of girls. Such a good sport in fact, that he offered to drive us to our next destination Downtown Yarns.
Downtown yarns

I was on a mission at Downtown Yarns. See... I have been coveting Handmaiden's Sea Silk. I want some...bad! I had done my pre-NYC research and found that Downtown Yarns carries Handmaiden. But NOOOOOO! They were all out! Sad!!! They did have some in a worsted weight, and it was gorgeous. But I had my heart set on a lace weight. Well, a girl has to console herself somehow, so I found other things to spend money on.
Haul from Downtown Yarns

I have wanted some Trekking in color 100 for quite some time. I love how it looks knit up. As for the Jagger Spun... what can I say, I loved the color!

Downtown yarn

I really liked Downtown Yarns, despite the sad lack of Sea Silk. It had a very cozy, warm vibe to it. The woman working there was really nice. (and let me take pictures!) I would definitely love go back there sometime. Especially when they get more Sea Silk in stock! They also had this very cool knitted/crocheted web in the front window.
very cool knitted web at Downtown Yarn

We had one more destination on our Yarn Crawl. The ever patient Arnold drove us over to Knit NY.
Knit NY

This was also a cafe/yarn shop. So of course we had to get coffee and pull out our knitting again! And I had to pull out my wallet again. I found that I was wandering the store with some Misty Alpaca in my hand. I just couldn't seem to put it down!
yarn from Knit NY

It is deliciously soft. Again... I want more hands so I can knit all of my NYC haul at the same time!

Sadly, Arnold had to leave us at Knit NY. So we said our goodbyes and hopped back on the subway. Marie was going to take us to another yarn shop (hmmm... can't remember the name of it.) but it was closed.

We had intended to go to Serendipity 3 to get Frozen Hot Chocolates.Serendipity 3

I have always wanted to go there, but this was not to be. There was a two hour wait to get a table. This place is hugely popular. Even at 4:00 in the afternoon in the middle of a hurricane. Grrrr!

So, we headed to nearby California Pizza Kitchen for a delicious dinner and some raspberry mojitos. The alcohol made Erin and I a little loopy! (yes, it was me singing showtunes in the rain!)

After dinner, we went to Dylan's Candy Bar and bought chocolate to make up for not getting our frozen hot chocolates. My favorite thing about Dylan's candy bar was that they had candy steps.

The stairs at Dylan's Candy Bar

It was getting late, so we said goodbye to Marie and made the very soggy rainy walk back to the bus.

The rain didn't bother this guy.
crazy guy
If you look closely, you will see that he is carrying an umbrella frame. No fabric covering, just an umbrella skeleton. It was pure NYC magic!

I had the best time. Many many thanks to Erin, Marie and Arnold for making it a perfect day. Must go back again! I'm sure there are many more yarn shops to explore!!

On the bus ride, I finished LL's birthday Jaywalkers. I leave you with a picture of them...

completed jaywalkers

Also... If you care to see more NYC pictures click here!