Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Days with Dexter (and Very Little Knitting)

First off let me say I'm not really a mystery reader, and definitely not a reader of thrillers. But every once in a while I'll read one if it looks interesting enough. A couple of years ago an advance reading copy crossed my desk from a new writer. The book was called Darkly Dreaming Dexter and I don't know what made me pick it up and take a look. Maybe it was the title, or the scarlet embossed smiley blood splatter on the knife on the cover. But pick it up I did, and based on the description on the back I decided to give it a try. It was an original premise--the narrator of the story is a sociopathic serial killer named Dexter. But Dexter's no ordinary serial killer. Thanks to the strict rules of his cop foster father who saw early on what he was, Dexter only kills other serial killers--people who truly deserve to die, and he has to have absolute proof before he can act. The author did a really good job of making a serial killer a sympathetic (without being pathetic) and extremely humorous character. The end didn't quite hold up as well as I would have liked, but I would recommend it as a fresh new read.

I just got my hands on the author's followup, Dearly Devoted Dexter. I'm happy to say that it more than holds its own against the original. I was laughing out loud on the bus reading it. Which is a strange thing when you're reading about death and dismemberment, but that's one of its charms.

I wasn't sure the premise could hold up through more than one story, but this time Dexter has more than his share of problems. And for a monster who has no feelings he has to hold back his murderous urges, he manages to get himself engaged, he finds himself mentoring a young future serial killer, he has to help his sister find and rescue the man she loves, and he has to rescue the detective who thinks he's up to no good and has been tailing him (which is how he ended up engaged). Instead of knitting today, I finished up the book. Get acquainted with Dexter. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Lorene in Person

For some reason unknown to me, I was able to load the pictures tonight. Here's the front and back of Lorene:

And here's the sleeve. There's a cuff that gets attached at the wrist that will make it longer, but the cap is just 2-1/2 inches. I'm curious to see how it comes together. It's moving really quickly. I was able to do most of the right front and the sleeve yesterday and I'm about to start the increases for sleeve two. The yarn feels good and I love the way the colors stripe. There's no point even trying to match it up because there's no consistency to the colors.

Last night I thought the reason I couldn't load the photos was because I was running out of space, but there was no problem tonight so I don't know what's going on. I joined Flickr because I thought I needed a place online to put the pictures. (As it turned out, I already had an account because Flickr is part of Yahoo now and I already have a Yahoo Account for some other reason I can't remember.) It's a challenge to figure out how this blogging thing works.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Back, Two Fronts and a Sleeve

I'm watching Peeping Tom (No. 38 on Bravo's list of 100 Scariest Movie Moments). I expected it to be campier than it is; it's actually rather good and pretty compelling. A very young Anna Massey is in it--I didn't realize she's Raymond Massey's daughter.

I'm pretty excited. Mary gave me her old VCR, so I can start taping shows nights when I'm teaching. My VCR broke a couple of years ago and I decided not to replace it because I didn't want to get hooked on TV any more than I already am. But the one show I won't be able to miss is "24" when the next season starts. The only thing is, now I'm afraid I'll be taping "Jeopardy" and all of the "Law and Orders" and who knows what else. I hooked it up tonight; maybe now I'll get around to hooking up the DVD player I got over a year ago. I have a wee problem with procrastination.

On the knitting front, I've done the back, the fronts, and one sleeve of Lorene. Here's the back and fronts:

. . . never mind. I'm having technical difficulties posting my pictures. I know Blogger is free and all, but I have to admit there are a lot of technical difficulties. I'll try again tomorrow.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Qu'est-ce Que Deja Vu

You may think you've seen this photo before. You may be thinking to yourself, that's the Anya sweater she wrote about a while ago.

But you'd be wrong. This is the front of the Anya sweater. With the obligatory closeup of the beautiful rib that's the reason I wanted to make this sweater.

And here's the obligatory closeup:
I think I'm getting better with the digital camera. You can see the rib better this time.

I also started the first sleeve for Mavis. It's moving along pretty quickly.

That's it for now. I'm tired and ready for the weekend, but I have to get through another day at work first.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

And Now for Some Distraction

I didn't knit at all today. I started an advance reading copy of a book that's coming out in October on the bus on the way home from work and I just now finished it. It's a young adult novel called Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer, and it was engaging enough to keep me reading to see what was going to happen next. Not your usual girl-meets-vampire story.

Just so's you know--it's a five-hundred page book. And I read it this evening. Pretty much in one sitting. That hasn't happened in a long time. Not the best written book, but the story more than makes up for it.

I suppose I should mention that it made a nice contrast for the Paul Berman book I just finished, Power and the Idealists, about Joschka Fischer and the legacy of the generation of '68, especially in Europe, as it relates to the current political climate. I really admire Paul Berman. I read his earlier work, Terror and Liberalism, which I thought was an excellent analysis of how, and why, many liberals have ended up supporting some of the most fascist and totalitarianistic movements in history.

Just to give you a little glimpse of the yin and yang that are my reading proclivities these days.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Back to Koigu

I've been feeling guilty because I haven't worked on the koigu shawl for over a month. So I worked a couple of rows tonight and realized I can't let that much time go between rounds. I kept getting the lace pattern screwed up, and I forgot that the edges were supposed to be garter, not stockinette. So I spent almost as much time unknitting as I did knitting.

I also wasn't too happy with the photos I took earlier, so here's a better shot:
And here's a closeup of the lace pattern:
As usual, it'll show up much better when it's blocked.

Guilt or no guilt, however, it's time for bed. I've got a long day tomorrow.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


I finshed the front of Mavis and look what's on my blocking table:
(click on images to enlarge)
I think the colors are fairly true, although they're not as vivid in the photos. Now I just have to do the sleeves and it's done.

I'm still loving this yarn, but I've run into a couple of knots in the two skeins I've used so far. I guess when you have something with this much yardage it's inevitable, but it's a little frustrating because each time there's a knot it changes the colorway a little. As it turned out, I like how it worked on the top front, but it could have been a problem.

I'm going to spend the day in the knitting shop. I worked there yesterday, so today I get to just sit and knit. (It's not that I don't get to sit and knit a lot anyway when I'm working, but I try to work on stuff for the store when I'm on the clock. Today I'll work on my own projects.)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

What's Going On

I've been pretty busy so I haven't had much chance to post.

I have been knitting, though. I'm almost finished with the front of Mavis. I finished the back of Anya. I started a new sweater with Needful Yarn's Athena. The pattern is called Lorene (it's the first photo on the left four rows down on book 302). It's going pretty fast. I can't show any photos because I left it at the knitting shop. I'm making it for the store so I work on it when I'm there. I'll take a picture of it when it's finished. It's really cute.

All the Fall yarns have come in and it's so overwhelming. I want to play with all of it. Eat? Sleep? Who needs it! I want to K-N-I-T!

More later, I hope.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

On Needles

Last Thursday I pulled out my knitting at knit night at my LYS, only to find that both of my needles were broken. I had the work divided over the two needles, so it was quite a task switching the stitches to the new needles I had to buy. The way the needles stuck out of my work, they looked like broken limbs.

Mary took a picture with her phone and posted it here. She then gave her opinion of wooden needles. While I can't refute her claims entirely, I would like to point out that the needles that broke were birch, which are more brittle than bamboo. Bamboo has some flexibility, and I haven't had any serious problems with them (except for the occasional 6" zero double-pointed needles that snapped like the toothpicks they were). In fact, for some projects and some yarns I prefer bamboo.

People definitely have preferences when it comes to needles. Many of my knitting friends only use circular needles, no matter what their projects. Some prefer straight needles and only use circular when they absolutely have to. I think to a certain extent it depends on what needles you learned on, and what the most influential knitters in your life use.

I first learned to knit when I was really little, maybe before I was five. I'm pretty sure my needles were those old pastel colored aluminum ones. I only knit once or twice, and I added and lost stitches willy nilly throughout the process. I don't remember binding off and I have no idea what happened to the mess I created. Then, when I taught myself to knit this time around, I used a kit, also from Susan Bates, that came with aluminum 7s and 10s.

So it should come as no surprise that I prefer 10" straight metal needles when I can get away with them, followed by 12" straight bamboo. I'll use circular if I'm working in the round or with a lot of stitches, but I definitely prefer metal to bamboo on circulars. The yarn catches where the bamboo is connected to the cable. For some projects I like the Addi Turbos, but most of the time I don't notice much difference between those and any other metal ones. I'm not too crazy about birch (for the above reason), but I basically bought a set of them when my LYS brought some in.

For scarves, I like the Susan Bates brightly colored lucite needles. They're short and have sharp points so they're especially good for novelty yarns.

I think the fancy ones with the gee-gaws on the ends are pretty, but I'd rather be spending my money on yarn.

And I reckon that's about all I got to say on the subject. (Reference, anyone?)

Friday, September 09, 2005


Yes, I finished Mavis's back and I'm still loving this yarn and this pattern. Here's the whole piece:
and here's a closeup of the chevron lace:
(It'll look even better after it's blocked but I don't like to block until I have both the front and the back done so I can measure one against the other.)

I got a little distracted from Mavis at my LYS tonight--the new Luisa Harding yarn and books came in this week and they're incredible! There are some great patterns and the yarns are soft, vibrant, and make my fingers just itch to start working with them.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Sometimes It Happens...

Oh look! She's started the second Lorna's Laces sock!

But wait . . . doesn't that yarn coming off the needle look a little kinky? Like it's been ripped out or something?


I'm afraid it has. I was all the way to grafting the toes when I decided to try the sucker on. The leg was a little short, which I decided I could live with. But the toe was going to be a good 1-1/2 inches too short. Definitely can't live with that. But no sweat, right? I just ripped down to the start of the toe decreases and was ready to do a half-round of the lace pattern to get that extra one-and-a-half inches when . . . can you guess? That little demon started whispering in my ear. "Come on," it said. "You've already ripped out this much. You might as well go all the way back to before the heel and get another good round of lace on the leg. You know you won't be happy with it if you don't redo it."

And it's true. One of the hardest lessons I've learned with my knitting is that if I try to ignore a problem, even if it's an aesthetic one (or maybe especially if it's aesthetic), I'll make an even bigger mistake further down that will force me to rip the whole thing out anyway.

Life's too short to sweat it. It's all part of the process.

I should still be able to wear them this winter.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Qu'est-ce Que C'est?

Why, it's just another sweater I started the other day. The yarn is Queensland's Kathmandu Aran (scroll down to the Euro Yarns). It used to be Jo Sharp's Silkroad Aran Tweed. The pattern is Anya from the Jo Sharp book Gathering. So far I'm the third person I know to knit this sweater. I was attracted it because of the ribbing. This photo shows the stitches a little better (at least I hope it does):

And here's another angle:
As always, click on the photo for a bigger image.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

And Because I'm Such a Show-off

I've made it all the way through the range of colors on the silver thaw. Here it is:

I'm still loving the yarn. I should be able to finish this pretty soon.

How Cute Is This?

I'm so pleased! I just finished a child's hooded sweater knitted in Fleece. Here it is lying on my table. It's the first hood I've made. I enjoyed sewing down the flap on the hood for the drawstring to go through, and I was a little relieved that I was able to pull the drawstring through with a tapestry needle without too much trouble.

The fleece was a little hard to work with. It's not very forgiving, and the fluff was slightly different on each color. But I'm pleased with the overall effect.

And so you can get the full effect, I've also taken a picture of it standing up. (That's a clementine orange crate inside it, so it won't look exactly like that on a real child.) Here's that shot:
The back has the same four-color square as the front. The sleeve fronts were supposed to match up with the top front colors, but I screwed up on the cast-on. I usually make the first row the wrong side, so when I cast on and knit the sleeves, the colors ended up being reversed. But I kind of like it like this. It adds to the patchwork quality of the sweater.

Up Close and Personal

I'm trying to figure out how to get closer to my work when I'm taking pictures. Here's a close-up of Mavis in Silver Thaw. I think you should be able to see the stitches more clearly, especially if you click on the photo to enlarge it.

Unfortunately, the slight shadow in the bottom right corner is my arms holding the camera. I'll have to figure out how to get rid of that.

But progress is being made!

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Year of Noro

Look what I've got:

It's one of Noro's new yarns, Silver Thaw. The colors are much more vivid than this picture shows.

Here's what I'm making:
It's Mavis from the new Naturally Noro. The patterns are by Jane Ellison. The yarn feels good as I work it. It's softer than Kureyon and a little more substantial than Silk Garden and not as fuzzy as Kochoran.

I think this is going to be Noro's year. All of the yarns--new and old--have really strong, vibrant colorways. And the Cash Iroha colors have to be seen to be believed (their website just doesn't do it justice). For some reason I'm having trouble linking, but you can check them out at

I just started this last night. It's moving pretty quickly. I should have it finished pretty soon.

My Heart's in Dixie (although I don't wish I were there right now)

It feels like so little to say my thoughts are with all who have been and are still affected by Katrina, but it doesn't feel right not to say anything.

My heart goes out to those whose lives have been turned upside down, and to those who are trying to help them.
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