30 January 2008

a few little things

purl beretnot to leave you too disappointed that i have not shared my first finished object, i have two new ones i finished over the weekend. aside from the gathered pullover, which i have been neglecting, i will probably only have small projects until i am off the yarn diet because i am working from my stash, which is... well... full of small project amounts of yarn. the first...

Purl Beret
designed by Isabelle at Purl Soho
published on the purl bee blog

knit in Plymouth Happy Feet (1 skein color 06, 90% superwash wool, 10% nylon) purchased at K+S=B on size US 1 addi turbo circular needles.

started: january 22, 2008
finished: january 26, 2008

this was a a quick little knit. now if i could just knit my socks this quickly. i realized this was a whole sock worth of fingering weight yarn, so i wish i could be this focused and get a sock done with the same efficiency. alas, this was simpler than most sock, so it is no wonder it was faster.

purl bereti was also "project", rather than "process" knitting here. i enjoy going through the process of socks. i was just knitting this so i could wear it because i like the yarn and the pattern is cute.

i think i will modify a bit if i knit it again. i was knitting to the specified 7 stitches = 1 inch, and i think it is a little on the small side in terms of over all scale. of course, i have been wearing my very floppy Urchin beret, so in comparison this is much smaller.

also, i only steam blocked this to even out the stitches from the decreasing. i will probably wet block it over a dinner plate at some point to make it more beret-esque. what can i say? i go for the Little Match Girl look with my berets. (yes, i am well aware of the fact that the story is usually told with her bareheaded.)

fingerless mittsmy next stash project is a birthday gift for a friend who just celebrated her birthday while i was in tech for Life's a Dream. the details...

Fingerless Mitts
designed by Ann Budd
published in Weekend Knitting

knit in Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk (2 skeins color #8, 80% baby alpaca, 20% silk) on size US 6 needles.

started: january 26, 2008
finished: january 27, 2008

i like this pattern a lot. so much so that i plan to make a pair for myself from some Reynolds Rapture left in my stash (previously seen in the center squared hat and unseen sweater). it is simple, pretty, and fast.

on this pair i sewed up the side seam rather than doing the three needle bind off called for in the book because i sew a better looking seam than the 3 needle bind off creates.

i hope they fit. i have stupidly tiny hands, and i try everything on myself, so there is a good chance my friend will need a little more room. here's hoping that is not the case!

so i mentioned the show, and it is closing this weekend. i am a little sad to see it go. it is a good one, and i enjoy knowing it is out here running and people are watching it. so. go get a ticket local folks.

here is another picture to tempt you....

life is a dream

aren't they a good looking bunch? lindsay is wearing a stupid sexist veil for me, and theo grew that silly goatee just because i asked him to. and jim... well, he probably actually likes wearing the crown. go reward them for being good sports in the name of art.

Life's a Dream
by Pedro Calderon de la Barca
Adapted by John Barton and Adrian Mitchell
Directed by Alexander Strain
Produced by Journeymen Theater Ensemble
playing at Church Street Theater

cast: Maggie Glauber, Rex Daugherty, Eric Messner, Brian Crane, Theo Hadjimichael, Lindsay Haynes, Jim Jorgensen, Jesse Terrill, Andrew Vergara Retizos, and Mary C. Davis.

closing saturday february 2, 2008.

27 January 2008

shoot your tv

sippyone of my indulgences in life is having bad TV on in the background while i am knitting or doing my budgets for work. today i heard the stupidest commercial in the world. so stupid i couldn't let it go.

it was for toothpaste and it was chastising people for drinking acidic drinks because it is bad for tooth enamel. they use wine and orange juice as examples and go on to say that when drinking acidic drinks, you should use a straw (and their toothpaste) to avoid tooth contact.

hold on a sec.
am i the only one who made the mistake in college of drinking wine from a Hello Kitty sippy cup with a straw at a theme party? in case i am the only person who ever did this, i can say now... back away from the straw. when you drink wine with a straw you will be catatonic in approximately half a glass.

no joke.
and in case none of you have ever been bitten by wine (accidentally or intentionally), rely on my straw induced mistakes and don't make this one for yourself. don't be this guy!

career goal #47
become the person who tells advertisers when they are making glaringly stupid suggestions.

26 January 2008


lootmy first skein-of-the-month package arrived, and it has lots of fun goodies. first, the skein. i got 1 skein of Sheep Shop "Sheep 3". this is 325 yards of sport/DK weight 30% silk, 70% wool goodness. it is butter soft and delightful to touch. i would not have picked this color for myself, but this whole free yarn thing may be a nice way to expand my color point of view.

if i don't use it for myself, there are always gifts to be made, and i think this yarn would be fabulous for a hat and bootie set.

yarny goodnessalso included in my package was a pattern from the Sheep Shop for scarf knit in one skein of Sheep 3. it is called Silky Leaves Scarf, and they will be releasing it to the general public soon.

look at me... being all exclusive and stuff.

WEBS aso sent me a cute little retractable tape measure. yippee! enough about me.... my mom is becoming a sock knitter! and i taught her! look at her awesome progress!

i completed my first finished object of 2008, but i can't show it to you until february. soon i will get some of my tiny needle knits done and share--the hat is closing in! and i have some old projects that need to be revealed.

24 January 2008

the accidental set

bereti made a set. or am making... this was an accident.

obviously it isn't matchy matchy (which i don't do) but it will be nice to have a hat and scarf that work well together. and i have a red coat that these will be great with! hooray for happy accidents.

i am really enjoying the Plymouth Happy Feet, and the hat is making me want to get more of this yarn for a pair of socks. the colors are great, and this stuff is very affordable!

after the yarn diet ends, maybe.

cashmerei am alos loving this cashmere. who wouldn't?

it was a tough decision what i woild make with it (it was a gift) but i finally decided it had to be the scarf because i wanted something that i would keep for a long time, and this baby won't go out of style any time soon.

unless global warming picks up pace.

i got a new laptop

mei don't think i mentioned that. it is a very pretty MacBook, and look! it has camera right above the screen.

don't worry, i'm not going to bore you with my daily outfits or anything. but i have to say that more people need one of these things. after seeing this picture of myself, i have decided that the camera can be our friend. thanks camera, you gave me nearly angelina jolie-esque lips.

i mean.... strange, no?

laptop = awesome.

22 January 2008

lizard ridge #3

my third lizard ridge block is finished. this means that i have used up all the yarn that santa brought me for this project. but a little bird told me that cupid may be nice to me. that would be swell. who needs a "better" half? or even chocolate? there is always knitting.

(i will say, however, that i have alwasy had a soft sot for flowers. perhaps because i don't get many.)

in an unrelated but annoying note, the squirrels have invaded my attic again. have to see if the landlord gets back to me about it in a timely fashion this time.

21 January 2008

knitting help 101

citric scarfi have been getting a rash of questions and comments about my cross-stitch scarf on ravelry lately. it seems like the pattern is not clear enough for a lot of people, and i have been explaining what i did t people who are drooling of this stitch. in the interest of helping out people with questions, i am posting a reply i wrote to one such knitter.

i hope this helps anyone who is having problems with this pattern. it is beautiful and totally worth the effort--even if it just a scarf.

first, when they tell you to place markers to separate the edge stitches from the pattern stitches--do it! at least for the first few rows until you can really see the pattern forming.

to do the pattern stitch....
knit the edge stitches.
then insert your right needle into the 2nd stitch on the left needle through the back loop (the back leg of the stitch) and knit it.
leave that stitch on the needle.
then insert your right needle into the first stitch on the left needle and knit it as you normally would.
then slide both stitches off the left needle.

on the purl side....
knit the edge stitches.
then insert your right needle into the 2nd stitch on the left needle through the back loop and purl it.
leave that stitch on the needle.
then insert your right needle into the first stitch on the left needle and purl it as you normally would.
then slide both stitches off the left needle.

this is one of those patterns that you have to hang in there to get the pay off. things i learned....

*the first row WILL be ugly, awkward and difficult to work.
* the puring row is actually faster and easier to work than the knitting row.
*because manos is a sticky wool, you may need to tug this baby into shape to really get the pattern to "bloom". pull down firmly then pull side to side firmly to help the crossed stitches not crunch up on themselves.
* if you are a tight knitter, go up a needle size. your fabric will be dense in this stitch, and if you are too tight, it will be impossible to work the pattern stitches.
* after you knit the first 4", pull it all out and restart the scarf. i promise it will look better in the end if you restart (or swatch) because once you have the pattern stitch down, your gauge will probably relax. your first row will also be prettier if you restart.
*wet block it. i know, it is a scarf and it seems like a lot of trouble, but it really helps the manos have a nicer drape and softer hand. and the stitches really pop once they have had to sit in cold water for 30 minutes.

this was really long, but i hope it helps!
i think this pattern is totally worth all the effort. i get so many compliments when i wear my scarf. =)


18 January 2008

lizard ridge #2

lizard ridgei finished the second lizard ridge afghan square on wednesday.

this one was knit in Noro Kureyon color #199. this particular skein had shorter color runs than the last skin i used, so each stripe of the pattern is more a blend of a few colors than a solid stripe of one shade. for some reason how the skein was finished at the factory made the short color runs not match up to the pattern either--so some colors are split. (i.e. the peach or lime green in the photo.)

oh, well!
still pretty.

thanks, peter.

clarion diesi forgot to check the Washington Post yesterday! and it is a shame because peter gave us a rather solid review. i even got a little shout out that my aunt will appreciate.

love the picture.
go see the show.

17 January 2008

now showing

life is a dreamlast weekend i opened another show, and it is running through February 2. the details...

Life's a Dream
by Pedro Calderon de la Barca
Adapted by John Barton and Adrian Mitchell
Directed by Alexander Strain
Produced by Journeymen Theater Ensemble
playing at Church Street Theater

cast: Maggie Glauber, Rex Daugherty, Eric Messner, Brian Crane, Theo Hadjimichael, Lindsay Haynes, Jim Jorgensen, Jesse Terrill, Andrew Vergara Retizos, and Mary C. Davis.

check it out.
no, really. i designed the same show with a different company about a year ago, and i am much happier with this design. and i really enjoy watching the show. i know, i know.... but kitty... Spanish Golden Age drama?

just go, it is worth it.

listen to the City Paper on this one. you can also go read about how it really isn't as golden age-y as some would like over at DC Theatre Scene.... you know... in case you are still reeling from the last time you saw a bad production of Fuente Ovejuna.

and i realize this is going to make me sound ungrateful, but i have to say it.

my costume design is not 17th century Spanish.
just had to clear that up since the DCTS reviewer gives many impressive facts about the period, and i wouldn't want it to be misleading to folks who see the show. (hey, but like a good bra... i am supportive!)

no 17th century.
not Spanish.
those clothes are made up creations that blend the play's origin (Spain) with its setting (Poland) and liberally borrow from a fantasy style composed of elements of the Mongolian plains, late 19th century Algerian Jews, traditional Nordic knitwear, Native American, Byzantian, Indian (dot, not feather), and West African styles.

that is indeed a small insight into the way my mind works.

happy blog-iversary!

cakei started this blog one year ago today. i know. i can't believe it either. who thought i would ever stick with this?

since this is ostensibly a knitting and crochet blog, i should point out that a year ago i didn't know how to knit. i taught myself while watching the Superbowl last year. i like to think that one of the reasons i have come so far with my knitting is this blog. when you have people to be accountable to, you make progress.

so what have i created in one year?

blog posts: 213

finished objects: 63

39 of those FOs were knit, 23 were crocheted, and 1 project used both knit and crochet equally. 13 of these projects were designed by me or otherwise pulled from my imagination (hard to call a seed stitch scarf "designed").

what were those items?

8 knit, 1 crocheted

7 crocheted, 5 knit

2 knit, 2 crocheted

2 crocheted vest, 2 crocheted sweaters
2 knit baby sweaters, 1 knit adult sweater

5 knit, 5 crocheted

(but to be honest on myself i counted all 12 thread crocheted snowflakes as one project. i wouldn't want to be accused of numbers inflation. ha.)

6 knit pairs
no unfinished pairs or singles.

3 knit

2 knit

1 crocheted

5 knit and 3 crocheted

and in case you wonder how i have the time for all of this.... i make it happen. thatisall. i have been working a lot too, so it has been no small task. i have...

opened 14 shows, and i have 2 more designed and just waiting to be put up. i also got a part time job at my local yarn shop, and there was some alterations and stitching work in there here or there.

not too shabby.

16 January 2008

i won!

yesterday i got a lovely email saying that i am one of the 101 winners in Storey Publishing's Skein-of-the-Month contest. the contest was run in conjunction with the release of the second 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders book.

i bought a copy of the book this fall, and there was a sticker on the cover advertising the contest. on a lark, i entered and i won one of the spots.

this means i get a free skein of yarn every month in 2008. this will make the yarn diet easier, i hope. i'm excited!

13 January 2008

lizard ridge #1

first blocki finished the first block of my Lizard Ridge afghan. i am glad i tore it out and started over because it looks a lot better at the tighter gauge, and the colors came out better too.

this is Kureyon color #180. yes, there is a big shadow in the left side of the picture. apologies. no time to snap the pics in the daylight hours.

still pretty, no?

12 January 2008

i have been knitting, honest!

i just have been too busy with tech to be able to post any updates. and even these pictures are a little behind because i have finished the first sock pictured here.

Baby Panda is modeling the sock as usual.

this is the Anastasia sock pattern from pepperknit. i am knitting them in ShiBuiKnits Sock in the "orchid" colorway. i am really excited about this pattern with this yarn because i have seen this yarn knit up in a plain sock, and it pools/stripes in a way that i am not fond of in this color combination, but the yarn-overs and knit two togethers break up the colors runs in a way that the striping is much prettier and less concentrated.

notice something else? yep. those are two circular needles. i decided to give my double points a rest and try these. i was mainly motivated by the fact that i have to knit fingering weight yarn on a size US 0 needle to get my gauge, and i tend to bend wooden needles smaller than a US 2. so i got myself some addi turbos for knitting fingering weight socks.

people keep asking me if i will go back to DPNs or stick with circulars and which i like better. i like them both. right now i guess i will pick what i use based on the gauge of the yarn. i can't afford to buy more circulars for sport/DK socks right now.

i have not cast on for the second sock yet because i needed a project in a different gauge for a little bit--change things up and all that. so i knit the first square of my Lizard Ridge afghan. then i ripped it out because i wasn't happy with the gauge or the way the Kureyon was striping.

i rewound the yarn into two balls and switched the ends i was working from to get a better color pattern, and so far it is looking much better. i also went down a needle size, and that is working much better too.

i'll post a picture of the square when it is finished.

07 January 2008


snaili almost stepped on this little guy when i came home tonight! isn't he cool! i think he is out because it is unseasonably warm here.

funny how something like a tiny creature can bring simple happiness to life. i moved him off the steps and into the flower bed so he would not get smashed. way too neat to be flat!

serious doubts

saw this article over at nuttnbunny's blog, and it makes me very sad about the cashmere yarn i adore.

my boss gave me some truly delightful cashmere for christmas, and i am sad to say that after reading this article, it may be my one and only cashmere knitting opportunity. desertification and air pollution is not worth knitting happiness.


05 January 2008

aw, shucks.

fearlessi don't know what came over me. i was reading the first Knitting Daily post of the year, and Sandi asked the question--how will you be a fearless knitter in 2008? i just had to comment. before i even knew i had done it, i hit submit.

and she included me in the mini-round-up of inspiring fearless knitter moments. how sweet!

Yvette R. inspires because she pretty much wins the Fearless Knitter 2007 award, hands down: I tried to be a fearless knitter in 2007. I taught myself to knit last January and since then I have knit socks, cables, lace, my first fair isle project and a sweater I designed for myself! Um, Yvette? You did not just try to be a fearless knitter. You ARE a fearless knitter. AWESOME!!

full post here. i am touched. knitters are great people.

so how did i conclude i would be fearless in 2008?

argyle socks.
that's right. intarsia + socks = swoons of delight

no swoons of fear!

02 January 2008

tasty holidays

on my way home to visit my parents for the holidays, i stopped off to visit my cousin and her husband. this was one of several high points in the out-of-town festivities.

yes, it really was that exciting! do not judge by how long it has taken me to write about it. there is a plan behind all that. you see, my FBIL (Fake Brother-in-Law) Mark is a total foodie and he writes a rather witty food blog called Eating Cleveland . so the food on that leg of my journey was a major focus (aside from the relaxing, visiting, and gifting) and he can cover it a heck of a lot better than i can.

psycho grilled cheesei will keep it simple and say that we went to a rocking little place called Melt Bar and Grilled. they specialize in grilled cheese sandwiches served with many varieties of beer. this is the kind of food that will put you in a coma--in the good sorta way. read about our visit right here.

Adventures in Food Coma Part Deux

as if grilled cheese was not enough, the next day Mark made an amazing lunch before packing me off to my parents' house. now if you read his remarks on Melt, you will know that Jess and I are on opposite ends of the eating spectrum. no meat for me, and she is convinced that carrots can bite. so he had his work cut out for him when it came to feeding us the same dish. there is one thing she and i are in 100% agreement on... mushrooms.

mushroom tartmeet Mark's mushroom tart... it was delicious, and happily he has posted the recipe. like many good recipes, it is flexible and a little different every time. you can throw in any sort of seasoning you like to make it special. happily, i was present for what mark and jess declared to be his "best tart ever".

it is very easy to make, but if you make the filling a day ahead, you will have an even more simple dish on the day you wish to serve it. the happy couple were talking over the many little tweaks mark made on this particular occasion, so i would say that you should have at this recipe with a flair for customization.

i can't wait to make it for myself! who wants to come over for dinner? yum!


it is already here. happy new year, folks.

i have one major resolution for the new year, and it involves getting my finances under control. like most americans, i am spending a little more than i bring in over the course of a year. not too much more, but enough that i need to do something about it so it doesn't become a real problem.

plan for the new year....

1. yarn diet.
i am not buying any new yarn for 6 months. the only exception to this rule is unforeseen gift circumstances that cannot be met by my stash. (i.e. one of my friends has a baby or i need to make a birthday gift) i should have enough socks to keep me busy. and i have a sweater to get back to!

2. optional food services.
new kitty rule--no frivolous eating and drinking out. 1 drink, 1 coffee, 1 plated meal out per month. looks like friends will need to start coming over if they want to "go out" for coffee. penguingirl and i are already good at this, so i am assuming that others can catch on. i think i will get the occasional get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to tech rehearsal weeks.

3. cut out the junk.
i don't really need to buy things like shortbread cookies. i can make them, and if i want them and other things of that sort, i will have to make them at home. i guess this has the perk of being good for me health-wise too.

4. contracts.
i am way too nice as a freelance designer. i am going to be much more of a stickler on my contracts for design work. the date it says i am getting paid, i will have a check in my hand. period. same goes for reimbursement of money i front for companies.

that's the plan for now. i am sure there will be updates on how i am doing.