Thursday, November 29, 2007

Method to My Stashness

T.'s post has got me thinking about my stash and the types of yarn that I buy.

When I was a newer knitter, I would only buy yarn for the projects I had in mind. I would make a trip to the LYS, sometimes with a friend and sometimes alone. It was always a special treat and I would linger in the shop, touching this and feeling that. I would usually end up coming home with enough yarn to make one or two projects and maybe a ball of sock yarn. In the beginning, my stash was nonexistent as everything was either on my needles or the next in line.

There came a time when I started to amass a stash. I'm not sure what brought this on. It may have been that I was home on a mat leave and had some free time to browse the net. I learned what yarns other knitters were raving about and stalked the online stores that I found for sales or deals. Red Bird Knits was my first online store. They continue to be one of my favorites, with their stock of Lorna's Laces and assorted Fleece Artist and Handmaiden products. Eventually, I found other stores and convinced friends to make purchases with me so that the shipping wouldn't be so bad.

Now I've graduated to knitting tourist and seek out yarn stores in new cities. My husband is very understanding of this and is patient while I sift through the stock, occasionally waving a skein of yarn at him and saying something like "We don't have Koigu at home!" or "This Silk and Seaweed Laceweight is a real steal!"

I seem to have amassed a large quantity of sock yarn. Maybe that's because I have become the Christmas sock knitter in my family. Every year, nephews and neices get new socks and pretend to like them. (I think they enjoy the fact that woolen socks are very slippery on their hardwood floors.) I see my Dad wearing his crazy blue-striped socks around the house and my big brother wears his handknit socks every weekend. Socks are useful and worn often. Socks are for everyday family life.

I also have a little laceweight sitting around waiting for the right project. I think this stems from my pride in the knitted lace I've made and my desire to share this with loved ones. Or maybe just myself. Last week, I dug out my Hanami to bring to work with me. I wasn't feeling well and I wanted to be cozy. I told my daughter it was my binkie. I knew she could relate.

No matter what yarn I buy, it seems to be meant to warm and comfort. What's in your stash? And how did it get there?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Knitting by Numbers (the BMIPSS survey)

We all have it, but we never like to actually put a number on it. We have it hidden in multiple places, receipts still attached, hoping that if it's not all in the same place, we never actually have to admit to the size of it (or if there's a natural disaster, we might be able to make away with a portion of it). The stash.

I have tried to limit mine to my coffee table. It has 3 large baskets in in - perfect for my evening knitting time. Easily accessbile, all in one spot.

Unfortunately, some of it has migrated (perhaps multiplied???) to here....

and here....

I decided I wanted (?needed) to evaluate my sock stash. J. and I have some sock plans for 2008 (you'll just have to wait and see what they are...). So in preparation for this, I dove into the stash and pulled out all sock-related yarn, and asked myself this:

"How many pairs of socks can I knit from my stash?"

And I ask you this question too? How many can you knit?

In the Baad Medicine Informal Poll of Sock Stashes (or BMIPSS for short), we have come across a variety of different sock stash sizes, from minimally invasive (4 for andi) to severely protruding (upwards of 52 for some UNNAMED office mates). Most everyone falls somewhere between that (I can admit to 11, J. to 21. Someone we met at the Lucy Neatby workshop admitted to triple digits. Yes, triple digits).

How do you measure up? Is your stash minimally invasive - only minor intervention needed to clean it up? Or is it affecting your everyday life - protruding from every open orifice? Baad Medicine wants to know.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Pretty, finished objects!

I have one sock down and a good start on the next in this black pair for my Dad. I now know why I haven't knit black socks before. It's very hard to see what you're doing with small black stitches during the shortest days of the year.

I like this pattern but all the k2, p2 is starting to become tiresome. Fortunately, as with all fancy sock pattern, this will become half as bad when I turn the heel and work the sole stitches in stocking stitch. I like to think of the foot part of the sock as the home stretch. It's just a bunch of straight stuff until you hit the toe and then before you know it, your sock is done.

And my pride and joy, the Tangled Yoke. I really like it. Because it is knit on circular needles as one big piece, you can try it on as you go. This allows for a better fit, I think. And you can see that you're making progress.

I do recommend buying a little extra yarn for this one. This is how much I had left.

Who said knitting wasn't dangerous?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's so hard... NOT blog about your Christmas knitting projects.

I am dying to post about some wonderful pieces. One in particular. And I can't. Well, I could but then it would be no fun for the recipient at Christmas.

In the meantime I will bore you with my boring knitting.

My Hanami (no, it's not done).

This big blob-o-knitting (that's all the info you get. And it's knit with this.)

I started this....

And this finished object.

It's lovely but it was a pain in the butt to knit. The pattern stated to cast on 52 stitches in a DK weight yarn. Do you know how big of a circumference you get with that? About 10 inches. That's about 50% TOO SMALL for any human head - no matter how small they are. I ended up searching the pattern on Ravelry (who doesn't love Ravelry?). Someone else had knit it and had the same problem. I followed what they did (cast on 96 sts) and then converted it to knit in the round. Lucy would be so proud. It turned out ok - perhaps could have been a little longer. Just have to add the flower stamens in the middle of the flower then voila - one more Christmas gift done (the recipient of this gift doesn't read my blog as she is 17 months old).

Next up - some more covert knitting, finishing the Hanami, starting some socks for someone and then re-evaluate. How many days left till Christmas?

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm a Big Girl Now

I have grown up. A little.

When people ask my age, I have to stop and think. In my head, I'm 25. In actuality, I'm older than that. By a bit. Less than ten years. That's all I'm saying.

Sometimes when I'm walking down the sidewalk holding my daughter's hand, I have to remind myself that I'm the Mom. I know that in my heart and when I hold her or comfort her, that is all that I am. There are times, though, when the fact that I have a kid slips my mind and I am surprised that I am at this point in my life.

I know that I've grown up because I do my own laundry. In fact, I seem to do everyone's laundry. I cook supper. I wash the floors. I have a credit card and my own car. I think more about my family and less about myself. I watch the news.

And I was willing to frog back 3 rows of my Tangled Yoke Cardigan in order to fix a minor mistake that would have haunted me. There was a time when I would have left it, finished the project as quickly as possible, given it away and moved on. I'm beyond that now. I want to do good work and be proud of what I've done.

So I'm getting a little wiser as I age. I still like blowing bubbles and running around the living room. The Backyardigans is my favorite show. A girl has to have priorities.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Living Vicariously....

There are many benefits to sharing a office with someone, depending on who it is of course. I have lucked out with my office mates. This one is a "keeper". The upsides to having an office mate is that you always have someone to bitch with, and someone usually has ibuprofen when needed for the mid-afternoon "what the hell is going-on" headache (we're both pharmacists - we have a plethora of drugs tucked in our office).

There are even more benefits to sharing an office with a fellow knitter.

Sharing in stash enhancements. This is Catknip's new stash acquired from a trip to Canmore's Knit and Caboodle from this lovely lady.

Actually there is more yarn in the bag at my feet (which you can't see). There was a lot of yarn. A. Lot. Of. Yarn.

And not just any kind of yarn - but really good stuff.
Manos del Uruguary in Agate and Prarie

Other than the Noro, I haven't knit with these yarns. This is some high quality stash. And because it was Catknip's birthday they gave her a ball of Makalu - a wool and recycled sari blend. Very cool.

As a fellow knitter, my office mate Catknip also never judges the size of my stash, as I never judge the size of hers. I have no comment on the fact that she keeps having to go buy new containers to put it all in. Or the fact that she has one giant container just for sock yarn (she's getting me a number on this - it's my goal to figure out how many pairs of socks can be knit from different people's stashes.....even if J. isn't giving up this info, others are....).

We've previously discussed how beneficial sharing an office is with someone who has a major swift/ball winder operation (we try and keep that thing running along).

The best of all is that I can live vicariously through her knitting as well. I am almost excited as she is when she gets new yarn or needles or patterns. We do knitting show and tell on a weekly basis. We also scare the other people in our office when we wield are mighty needles.

All we need now is a couple of rocking chairs and an espresso machine. Then our office would be perfect.

Except maybe for the fact we actually do have to work...

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Christmas is coming! (Don't look if you don't want the gory details.) While I am glad to have had the foresight to start knitting Christmas presents early this year, I still find myself in a bit of a panic.

I have stuck with my sock knitting schedule and have only one more pair to knit once I finish these. I'm really enjoying this pattern, even though I have arsed it up twice now. (Ask T. It wasn't pretty.) It's hard to find good patterns for Men's socks. This book has a few good socks for Men, Women and Children and is one of my favorites.

It turns out that black socks don't photograph that well.

I have been chugging along on the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. The next step is to join the sleeves to the body and then I'm sailing toward one big @ss cable.

Can I be honest with you? When I get stressed about knitting or anything really, I like to make lists. I make lists of what I have left to knit. I make lists of the yarn I have. (No, T. I will not reveal how much sock yarn I have. It is a mystery best left to its own devices.) I make schedules of when I need to have things done.

Unfortunately, I often find myself adding projects to an already full knitting lineup. I could whip up a little vest or maybe one more pair of socks, right?

Who am I kidding? (Myself, actually, but that was a rhetorical question.) I can't knit anything else. I don't have the time and I don't want to drive myself crazy. (It's a short trip, believe me.) So, I have 7 projects to complete by Christmas. I'll keep you informed on my progress but you might not see details on all of them since they are gifts and should be a surprise.

Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow. I'll try my best to be honest but I have been known to be a little sneaky when under pressure.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Conversation at T's House Today

My Big Boy: Mom, what did you do at work today?

Me: Well Buddy, I did some teaching.

My Big Boy: Did you teach knitting???

Me: No Buddy, it was pharmacy stuff.

My Big Boy: Oh, pharmacy stuff.

Me: Unfortunately Buddy - that's what pays the bills.

If only I could get paid for this knittin' thing. It's a heck of a lot more entertaining than pharmacy stuff.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Week in Review - Knitting Style

It's been a busy week - between birthdays, and birthday parties, and school parties, and rodeos (yes, rodeos) there hasn't been a lot of time for knitting. But, we work with what we're given. And the week consisted mostly of good things knitting related.

The good knittin' that occurred this week:

My Big-Boy's New Toque

He requested a blue and green hat (the last hat I made him was blue and green - he isn't the most imaginative child). Ta - da. Complete in less than 3 days (Ann Budd's standard hat pattern from here). And the best part was the yarn. I love this yarn. STR Heavyweight. It's so nice to work with. Luuuuv it. And I have enough left over to make matching mitts. Add that to the queue.

This is a little something for someone special for Christmas - I'm not saying what it is or for whom I'm knitting it for, as this person has taken to reading my blog (hi Mom...).

I also pulled out the Hanami again and we're making good headway with that.

Also have completed these lovely socks (No Sweat Socks in Wick).

That's the good. A pretty good showing for my knitting if I do say so myself.

Then there's the bad.

This is my MS3.

It is officially done. Frogged. Ribbit-ed. Done. And I'm ok with that. It wasn't meant to be and the yarn will turn into something better. Something more T-like. I'm ok with it (I keep telling myself this).

And this is another bad result of the week. Pulled these socks on:

and found this on the bottom:

These are Hedera's I knit myself in some Cherry Tree Hill (Earth colorway - not sure what number Earth colorway because there is more than one). I like the pattern but have never loved the yarn. It really felted up for me (even though it was superwash) and I had a hard time pulling them on. Also the colorway was kind of, well, weird. It had browns and yellows and oranges (earthy colors which I like) but that was mixed in with some steel blue and purple. When I think Earth - I don't think steel blue and purple. But, it doesn't matter. They are, or more aptly put were, the first socks I had knit for myself. Given my size 12 monstrosities, knitting socks for me are quite the endeavour (just ask J.). And now this is the result - a big gaping hole.

Alas the week has been busy, knitting and otherwise.

Did anyone notice anything.....I cast-on 2 new things.....I think I've fallen off the wagon....

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stocking Stitchin' My Way to Finished Projects

So as I mentioned before, I'm doing some straight forward knitting this month. I find November such a drag and I know that stocking stitch can be pretty boring but it does have some advantages:

SSA (Stocking Stitch Advantage) #1: You can watch TV and not be concerned about what is going on with the needles. This is a good thing because I like my TV time.

SSA #2: You can finish things up in a hurray. I have completed a pair of socks for Christmas. (Please see Ravelry for details. One never knows who is lurking on the blog.)
I finished up a sweater.

Ok. I confess that I knit the ribbed buttonband/shawl collar, but one could argue that ribbing isn't too far off of stocking stitch. It's just knitting and purling, really.

SSA #3: You can make a lot of progress on unfinished objects.

I've only been working on this sweater for a couple of weeks and I'm done the body to the armpits and almost half of a sleeve. Sure, this one also has some garter rib, but that's even easier than plain old k2, p2 ribbing since one row is straight knitting.

SSA #4: All of this progress will allow you to start new projects and thus keep yourself amused.

I am amused.

Friday, November 9, 2007


What do you think of the number 4? I think of it in a whole different way than my new 4-year old does.

I think of 4 as being huge. Not being a baby. I think of 4 long years to get to know someone inside and out. I think of 4 hard years of screaming, tantrums, crying and being exhausted. Of love and smiles and snuggles and kisses. I think of 4 years of memories of a little person.

He thinks of 4 as being the gateway to 5. Of almost being big enough for big-boy school. He thinks of 4 as a quick way of forgetting 3. Of being the same as his favorite buddy and his favorite cousin. He thinks of 4 and sees the possibilities of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

I see it and remember 1, 2 and 3.

As I look backward and he looks forward, we meet at 4. An amazing number. A memorable number. A number we won't see again.

I love my Punky. My 4-year old.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Lucy Came to Town

We are delighted to have been able to spend the day with knitting royalty. Lucy Neatby was in town giving some workshops. The Baadmedicine crew spent the day learning finishing techniques from the Master.

We discussed grafting (and we now refer to it only as grafting, and will no longer refer to the Kitchener stitch).

We practised doing mattress stitch. We did short rows (Japanese short rows to be exact) and buttonholes. We even talked about STEEKING! (Gasp.) And you know, it wasn't as scary as we thought.

There were photo opportunites.

We made new friends.

We at Baadmedicine are feeling a little overwhelmed with everything we took in. Lucy's DVDs are great teaching tools so if you're looking for something that is practical and user friendly, this might just be for you.

"Knitting is just a fabric we have a strong emotional attachment to."
Lucy Neatby, November 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Shareef Don't Like It....

...Block the casbah!

Block the casbah!

Ok. There have been a few comments lately regarding blocking lace. Here's how I do it. I'm sure there are many ways of blocking and I'm pretty sure that blocking techniques differ depending on the fibre that you're blocking. Here is my Swallowtail Shawl, which I knit with about a half a ball of Zephyr laceweight yarn in wool and silk.

First, I gather my tools. I use a plain old towel that has been washed a few times so it's not too linty and the color is set. I like to use pins like these. I know that some other people use blocking wires but I've never use those. Stick with what you know. Lastly, grab that used Kleenex and head off to a sink.

I like to soak my tissue in warm water for a few minutes, anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes depending on how patient I'm feeling and how long my kid decides to nap. Gently, squeeze out the excess water. Don't wring it. This is going to be lace, after all.

Lay out your knitting and give it a look. It probably looks better already. Try to arrange the knitting in the desired shape and start to pin your knitting to the towel. You may choose to measure out your piece and make sure that the finished size approximates the finished size from your original pattern. I don't measure. I make the lace look pretty to my eye and then start pinning.

Sometimes you have to pin out special details individually. My Swallowtail Shawl has little peaks along the edge that require a little special attention. Take your time because your efforts here will pay off.

Go eat chocolate and drink wine in another room. You don't want to spill anything on your lace and you will need something to distract you because now you have to wait until your lace is dry. I like to leave my lace for a couple of days, if possible.

Carefully, remove all the pins and toss your shawl around your shoulders. Admire yourself in a mirror. You've worked hard, now enjoy the fruits of your needles.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Christmas season has officially arrived.

How do I know this? The start of my Christmas season begins with the Eggnog Latte, Starbucks style.

Pure deliciousness, spicy richness, all goodness. I love them. Love them to no end. And when they arrive at my local Starbucks I know tidings of comfort and joy.

I love Christmas. I love the preparations surrounding Christmas and the excitement building up to that day. I love the thought of my boys being so excited they can't sleep. I love being so excited I can't sleep.

This year I'm doing more knitting for Christmas than ever before. There are socks, accessories, hats, and baby sweaters. I have a few things done (check out the sock tally) but am pushing myself to get everything done. Spending so much time making something for the special people in my life is what the season is about. It's about putting something into every stitch. Good thoughts, prayers, memories and love. And I've let go of the need for the recipient to understand that. Especially the non-knitters. It's not about them or how much they like what I make (ok, it's a little bit about that, but not much). It's about me doing this for them, keeping them in mind when I'm making them their gift and really giving from the heart.

So, the countdown is truly on. I've got a lot of knitting to do. Better go get another Eggnog Latte!

Friday, November 2, 2007

In which J. takes a break with stocking stitch

I know that sometimes we like to challenge ourselves with our knitting. We take on projects that are complicated with pages of charts for lace or cables. I myself have develped quite the obsession with lace.

For November, however, I have decided to dedicate myself to projects that are mostly stocking stitch. You know, go back to my roots as it were. I'm working on some plain socks that shall remain under wraps until Christmas.

I'm also working on the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. Now, I know you're thinking to yourself that this sweater obviously has some cable work, it's in the title. While that may be true, I am going to have to work through many thousands of stitches in either a garter rib (which is all right side knitting and wrong side k2,p2) or simple stocking stitch.

Note my progress.

If I happen to finish this project and have some November leftover, I think I'll whip up this little number. My yarn has just come in from Knitpicks and is the same color as the sweater above. (The intended recipients are different. ) Also stocking stitch with some simple shaping. Lovely.

I'm sure December will find me knitting cables or lace again. This month, however, I am taking a break.