Wednesday, December 27, 2006

FO action.

I just wanted to share some pictures of my Christmas finished objects and their recipients. Sorry for the bad camera phone photo quality, but I left my camera in my friend's car and haven't retrieved it yet.

mom's socks

My mom's Broadripple socks, in Cascade Fixation.

marie's scarf

My friend Marie's Mistake Rib scarf in Noro Sumile.

sarah's armwarmers

My friend Sarah's armwarmers in Noro Kureyon. (I'm especially pleased with the way these turned out. I think some mitts with the leftover yarn is in order.)

Hurray! Holiday knits are DONE. I've swatched for the Sweet Mary Jane cardigan, but I skipped the sachet instructions that come with the just didn't make any sense to me to knit a gauge swatch in the round on fiddly size 6 dpns when the cardigan is knit flat. I cast on today and knit two rows.

I'm at the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago right now and will leave you with a picture of what I've decided has to be one of my most favorite places in the city: the Winter Garden.

winter garden

Sigh. I love this town.

I'll be back to regular blogging and blog reading on January 3. Until then, have a safe and happy New Year's Eve!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Secret gift knitting. (Oh, you knew there had to be one.)

I'm leaving for Chicago tonight, and Bill is coming to pick me up any second to take me to the airport. So I before I go, I wanted to unveil my secret gift knit this holiday season.

A Harry Potter Hogwarts Scarf for the Boy, and some treats for his pup.
Yarn: Cascade 220, in colors 2413 (scarlet) and 2415 (gold).
Needle size: 7 circulars
Notes: No modifications....just pure stockinette fun, boys and girls. It turned out to be about 66" long, which, um, someone do the math for about five and a half feet.
He's going to be mad, because we agreed to exchange gifts after we get back from spending the holidays with our respective families. But you see, I couldn't send him off to New York without a wooly scarf. Merry Christmas, baby.
And happy holidays to all of you, my sweet knitblogger friends!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Gnarly knits, redux.

A variety of things to tell today:

First, thank you all who posted your honest opinions about the Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers from Stitch and Bitch Nation. It seems that the power of suggestion is a strong one, because almost everyone saw the veins instead of vines once I said it. I decided to frog it, because I also didn't like the way the sloppy way the stitches looked.

I then tried knitting a cable down the back, but didn't like that either because it pulled in the fabric too much. Finally, I decided to go with the Hand/Wrist Warmer pattern in a traveling rib stitch from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

Noro armwarmers

Sigh...much better. It seems that my Noro yarn always finds a tricky rib pattern that it's happy with: the mistake rib scarf in Noro Sumile, and the Noro Lotus scarf I made last year in this very same traveling rib stitch.

Here are some more pictures of works in progress:


One Broadripple sock for my mom. Soon to be followed by another, I hope. This was the Cascade Fixation Hawaiian colorway, which is bright and fun, except for the not-so-fun pooling at the ankle. It pooled in white! It looks like a big old bleach stain. Out of all the colors....anyway.

Cable hat

A cable hat in Cascade Pastazo. Man, this yarn is hairier than my eyebrows before a wax.

Finally, someone left me a funny comment on the whole Sweet Mary Jane pattern issue...this person had the exact same thought I did about wanting to knit it, went through the same hassle of looking for it on the Knitpicks website, and then found me through a google search. It's funny because I could have written that's like we're living in parallel universes.

But this person's comment came through as anonymous, so I hope she sees this post and emails me directly (the address is in my sidebar). I don't want to post the designer's email address on the blog in case she doesn't want that information made public.

And, by the way? Blogger beta isn't giving me your return email information anymore when I get your comments via email. Bastards! I want Marty McFly's version of the software time machine. Where's the flux capacitor when you need it?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Holiday meme.

Stole this from Nancy.

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper for's more fun to tear off the paper than take something out of a bag!

2. Real tree or artificial? This year I bought a red tinsel tree, about 8 inches high, at Michael's. Since I don't spend Christmas in my apartment, I don't put out too much effort.

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually, right after Thanksgiving!

4. When do you take the tree down? After Dia de los Reyes Magos/Three Kings Day, January 6.

5. Do you like eggnog? Oh, yeah. Especially with a little rum in it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? My sister and I got the Barbie Dream House. We had to share it, and it was like both our birthdays and Christmas wrapped up in one, but we loved that house so much! It had a working doorbell, a balcony with French doors, and it came with furniture. Swanky!

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No, but I love them. In keeping with Austin kitsch, Bill and I were joking that I should make one with Frida Kahlo as Mary and Trotsky as Joseph. He argued that Fidel should be the baby Jesus, but I wanted Diego Rivera. It would be a quasi-homage to this.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My dad, for sure. He says he doesn't want anything.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My mom. She loves anything Christmas-themed.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. Although I've pared my list down this year...too much work, not enough time!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I can't think of anything I'd call the worst!

12. Favorite Christmas movie? Definitely A Christmas Story. I could watch that movie over and over and it would never get old.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? After Thanksgiving. I can't wrap my head around it before then.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No. I'm sentimental, so I'll keep whatever it is, no matter how weird. (See also #11.)

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Tamales!

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear lights.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Carol of the Bells. Does anyone remember the Sweeney Sisters' rendition?

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I always go home to Chicago.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Yes, but I have to sing it. "You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall...."

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? We always had angels on top when we were kids.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Now we open them at midnight. But we used to always have to wait till the morning, so we'd scramble out of bed at 6 am. I remember always being awed by the fact that Santa ate the cookies and drank the milk we left out for him.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Christmas music on an endless loop in the stores. If you're cranky, it doesn't help!

23. What would you like for Christmas? A finished prospectus! Santa, do you think you can manage that one?


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Gnarly knits.

So, the holiday knitting proceeds apace here at Chez Yo La Tejo. Except that something weird is going on with my Noro knits. It's not the fault of Noro, I don't least not with the armwarmers.

Hurry Up Spring Armwarmer

The problem here is with the bud and vine motif running up the back. It's the Hurry Up Armwarmers from Stitch and Bitch Nation, and quite frankly, I think the vines look like bulging veins. My hand looks kind of like the Incredible Hulk's, when he's very, VERY angry.

Here's a detail:

Armwarmer detail

See, when it's up close you can see the bud on the left hand side, and it makes sense and is somewhat pretty. But who's gonna be looking at your hand that close up? Ugh. I think that maybe a simple cable would have been better.

Opinions? Be honest, seriously. It took me a Sunday car ride from the Valley (that's South Texas to you Californians) to finish this one, so it won't be a tragedy if I frog it.

More weird stuff is happening with my Noro Sumile* chenille scarf, which I've been blogging about for a while now:

Noro Sumile Scarf

The right side is the first skein I knit in Mistake Rib, and the left side is the second skein. Right side, deep lush ribs. Left side....totally flattened out.

I actually like the left side better because it looks neater, so I'm thinking I'll just be able to block out the right side to match the left. But. So. Weird. I swear I used the same needles.

* Amanda commented a few posts back that she didn't know Noro made chenille. Sumile is what it's called, and I found it in the clearance bin at my lys, which suggests to me that it's heading toward Discontinued City. [TWO MINUTES LATER] Yarndex says yes, this was discontinued in Spring 2005.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Send the Jamaicans to Iraq.

The Iraq Study Group released its report today. On t.v. this morning, every time they mentioned the words "Iraq Study," this is what I thought I heard. Which would make for an interesting exit strategy.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Happiness obsession satisfied.

I knew there was a good reason for knitblogging, along with getting to show your pretty finished objects. This weekend, I was overwhelmed, impressed, and thrilled by the feedback I got on my Sweet Mary Jane obsession. I thought about adding an update to the original post, but decided, no. This is too good. Let me walk you through it.

First of all, thanks to those of you who indulged me with sympathetic comments of the "that blows" variety. I knew you all would understand better than anyone the disappointment of a discontinued pattern. But before most comments had been posted, I got an email from the vice president of Knitpicks. Yes, you read that correctly. She wrote:

I saw your blog post about your frustration in trying to obtain the Sweet Mary Jane pattern. I am sorry our customer service rep did not give you more information. Knit Picks licensed that pattern for one year, and now the rights have reverted to the designer, Celeste Culpepper. I bet she would be willing to sell you the pattern.

Which explains why a pattern might be discontinued with a particular company, but not totally dead in the water. Anyway, the VP gave me the designer's email address so that I might contact her directly.

Can I tell you how weirded out I was by this, initially? I certainly didn't email the company; I'm guessing that they must do Technorati searches for their name to see what people might be reporting. But the more I thought about it, the more impressed I became.

Because, and I know you will be stunned by this news, I have not yet bought anything from Knitpicks. Not a single skein of sock yarn. And yet this woman wrote directly to me to help with an issue that wouldn't directly profit her company. That, my friends, is customer service. And, additionally, an understanding of the market, which must be increasingly driven by blog buzz.

I also want to send a warm thanks to saleknitter, a commenter who didn't leave her email address, otherwise I would email her directly. She suggested a number of helpful things, including searching for other bloggers who have made the pattern and seeing if they might part with it; looking at the errata pdf and deciding if I really still had to have the pattern; and posting on Ebay's Want It Now (which I didn't know anything about...what a great idea!).

Finally, Jennifer actually has that pattern and has offered a swap, so if we can work something out, I think this is the way I might go.

Really. Who knew that one little whiny post could lead to so much good information? You all are beyond fantastic.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I had one of THOSE nights last night.

You know the kind. When you suddenly get it into your head that you want to knit a particular thing, and so you embark on an Internet quest to find the perfect pattern/yarn. And you can't find it immediately, so you grow more obsessed, and more determined...until it's 2 am and you have to go to bed because you're not getting anywhere and you're about to fall sideways out of your chair.

In my version of this scenario, I decided I had to knit this:

It's the Sweet Mary Jane Cardigan from Knitpicks, and I'd had my eye on it for a while, but never got around to ordering it. You know what's coming next, don't you? It's been discontinued. DISCONTINUED!

Which I didn't find out until this morning. I knew I'd seen it on Knitpicks, and so I exhaustively searched through all the patterns, until the certain knowledge that I'd never find it settled like a stone in my stomach. That made me only more determined to find it, of course.

I couldn't remember the name of the pattern, though, so I started googling "lacy bed jacket," "lace cardigan," etc. Desperate to find anything that resembled it, and getting back, of course, tons of patterns that were nothing like it.

This morning I had the brilliant idea of looking in a print Knitpicks catalogue I had lying about, and sure enough, it was in there! I called the company and hopefully asked if they'd be bringing it back. "No, it's been discontinued." Is there anything, um, well, is there anywhere....? "I'm sorry," the nice lady said, firmly. "It's been discontinued."

Of course, this is now the pattern I want to knit most in the world. Has anyone seen any other pattern that sort of resembles it, that isn't discontinued? I also think that I might be able to figure it out from the picture; the lace repeat looks like the same one from Orangina.

Or I could settle on something else to satisfy my lace knitting itch. I'm thinking about the Gibson Girl (which I do have the pattern for, in the Summer 2004 IK).

gibson girl

For post-holiday knitting, of course.