November 30, 2005
Too many projects? ME?
12:01 pm est
My neighbor's socks are delivered, and she loves them. For once, things done while under the influence of
illness did not have to be undone and re-done. So, the current project list is:
- Zigzag sweater in Plymouth Galway (most of back done)
- Koigu socks (first sock done, second mid-cuff)
- Lace scarf in KnitPicks alpaca/silk blend (about 30% done)
- Pacific Northwest shawl in alpaca (about 5% done)
- Fingerless gloves (one done)
- Shadow knit sweater (being frogged and rethought)
- Felted hat (knit, waiting to be felted)
A couple of these things are for me, others are intended to be gifts for friends. Somewhere there's also a lonely
Sockotta sock waiting for me to cast on its mate, and a couple of pieces waiting to be blocked. As if that weren't
enough, like so many knitters I've got a list of projects pending, a list that changes several times a day as I see other
To top it all off, my favorite yarn shop is having its semiannual sale in January. Who can resist the lure
of quality yarn when it's on sale? Not me. Not my buddy Leo either. We're talking about staging a combined
assault on the yarn shop one day in January. The two of us have never been in the store and buying at the same
time before, so it could get a little ... um ... peculiar. The manager should be able to cope, but there's no guarantee
that we won't competely bewilder the other customers, especially if we start getting silly. IF? Why do I say "if"?
I mean WHEN we start getting silly - it's almost a certainty.
November 28, 2005
The lost weekend
10:37 am est
It's amazing how many mistakes you can make in your knitting when you're under the influence of a combination of fever
and chills. Four days that should have been prime knitting time turned into four days of sleep, tangled yarns and feeble
curses. Somehow in the middle of all that, the boring beige socks for my neighbor actually got finished - toes grafted
and everything! I'll check them over again tonight to make sure they're okay before delivering - who knows what strangeness
might have happened in those toe grafts.
Of course, now that the boring beige socks are done, none of the current projects look appealing. Instead, I keep
fondling the yarns in the stash, thinking about starting something new. Like so many other knitters, I fall victim to
the allure of a new yarn, which often overshadows the desire to finish a project that's already partially done. However,
I did manage to get the second sock of the chartreuse Koigu cast on last night. The first sock was done about the time
I returned from vacation more than a month ago. The time interval makes that yarn look sufficiently different that
it didn't really feel that much like a second sock. Might just get to wear those this winter.
November 21, 2005
The Song of the Frog is "Rip-It! Rip-It!"
10:46 am est
I'm making a pair of basic boring socks for my neighbor. How much trouble could that be?
Lots, if you forget that you need to do an offset when starting the heel flap in order to continue the
2x2 ribbing centered down the instep. And, of course, I didn't notice and/or remember the offset until I had finished
turning the heel and started picking up for the gusset. Rip! Fortunately, with this I couldn't rip beyond where
I needed to rip, as the instep stitches were on separate needles. Onward. Make the offset, re-knit heel flap,
turn the heel yet again, and continue. With any luck these'll be done before Thanksgiving.
Then, for some reason totally unknown to me, I decided to check gauge on the shadow knit sweater. Where do these
absurd notions come from? It's supposed to be 6 stitches to the inch on a size 2 needle, the book says.
I'm getting 7 stitches to the inch in one spot, 7.25 stitches in another, and 7.5 in still another - all with the same yarn
and the same needle. Hooboy, not good. Apply the eternal commandment, "when all else fails, read the directions."
Hm. Wait a minute here. Pattern book calls for "sizes 1 and 2 (2.5mm and 3mm) needles." Now, my little
knitting needle sizer calls a size 1 needle 2.25mm and a size 2 needle 2.75mm. Scratch head, trying to figure out
what's happening here. My fuddled brain finally figures out that what I probably need is a larger needle. This
is not a happy thought, as there's already a whole sleeve and part of the front and back of the right side knitted up.
Still, if I want it to be right, there's no alternative. Rip, cursing merrily all the way.
"Froggy went a courtin', he did ride..."
November 16, 2005
One of those days...
4:41 pm est
Ever notice how some days everything you touch fights back? Pick up a knitting needle, it slithers out of
your hands and under your chair. As you reach for the dropped needle, the other one drops three or four stitches.
In my home, this leads to noises strongly resembling Yosemite Sam on a bad day. Curse a project and set it aside, and
the next one you pick up has gotten its yarn hopelessly tangled with the ends from two other projects.
So, in despair of getting any knitting done, you decide to postpone knitting until after dinner. In preparing dinner,
drop a cast-iron frying pan on your foot. If you're really lucky, you'll do this before the pan has been heated
up on the stove. If not, it's full of sizzling hot grease, which goes all over the kitchen. I was lucky for once,
and only bruised the foot.
So, eventually dinner got more or less assembled and eaten, and the knitting still didn't want to play. I got even.
The rest of the evening was spent doing finishing work on things that have wanted their buttons sewn on and ends darned in,
resulting in two stabs in the thumb and a soggy leg from spilling the water bottle.
Some days it's dangerous to try to get anything done.
November 14, 2005
The dangers of new yarn
11:02 am est
It's happened again. Six projects are actively "on the needles" and badly needing finishing, especially the socks
for my neighbor, but a shipment from Patternworks arrived on Friday. It contains the yarn for the project that's supposed
to be "next after the one from the Shadow Knitting book."
Next after. Yeah. Right. Sure.
A weekend later, and none of the original six projects has been touched, because the new yarn just would not go
peacefully into the stash. Instead, there's about 10 inches of the "next" sweater's back chortling at me and whispering,
It makes me wonder if I'm going to have to stop buying yarn for future projects just so I won't be distracted by its
arrival. (As if I could stop buying yarn.) There's no guarantee that it'd work, though, because the yarns in
the stash also talk to me whenever I open that closet. They jump up and down and cry "Me! Me!!" and then whimper
softly as I put yet more yarn in with them and close the door. The closet door fights me too, because of the enormous
amount of yarn stuffed in there.
To give you an idea of the scale of the problem, a couple of years ago my friends Frank and Beckie were helping me rearrange
some furniture and shift things around in my apartment. I overheard Beckie say to Frank, "I don't ever want to hear
another complaint about how much yarn I have at home." He simply chuckled. And that was after I got rid
of all the "why on earth did I buy this?" yarns.
There's a reason I call myself a "fiber junkie."
November 11, 2005
12:53 pm est
Rupert King Watts, 1893-1915 (a.k.a. "Great-Uncle Rupert")
Lance Corporal, 1st. Bn, Newfoundland Regiment
Son of Captain Theodore Thomas Watts of the cargo ship Sharpshooter and Jane Magee Watts. Born at sea,
aboard ship. Lived in Newfoundland when WWI began, and was among the first 500 men to volunteer when the Newfoundland
Regiment was formed. He was with his regiment when it went ashore in Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, Turkey, in support of the
Australian forces embattled there. Less than a week later, he was wounded, evacuated to an Australian hospital on the
island of Lemnos, and died there. His grave is part of the East Mudros Cemetery on that same island.
It was supposed to have been "the war to end all wars." Sadly, it didn't. Perhaps one day we'll learn to
share this planet peacefully. We can only pray.
November 10, 2005
When will I ever learn?
9:29 am est
Some authors' works are just not meant to be read in a public place; they generate far too much giggling, which in turn
can cause alarm and bewilderment. This is especially true on city buses.
Last night is a good example: I had received a shipment from my favorite online bookseller that day, including
a copy of Yarn Harlot by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Since the commute home is about 25 minutes, reading the first
couple of chapters on the way seemed to be a good idea.
Wrong. Stephanie's tales of knitterdom are far too funny and/or touching for reading on the bus. Bus riders,
at least the ones in Syracuse, do not deal well with the sight of someone alternately giggling hysterically and snuffling while
reading. Of course, they deal even less well with the sight of me holding four double-pointed knitting needles (and
they don't even know me!). If you knit, you will find resonances in Stephanie's writing; I found myself thinking, "Been
there, done that!" over and over while reading her two books.
Other writers whose works (at least for me) are not suitable for reading among strangers because of being laugh-out-loud
- Terry Pratchett
- P. G. Wodehouse
- Tom Holt
- Tom Sharpe
All of these writers have, on occasion, caused the condition known to my fellow Splinters as "eeping" (a hiccupy squeaking
noise) when I laugh. My dear friends just make the situation worse by counting the eeps, which just makes me laugh (and
eep) more. The things we do to amuse our friends...
November 9, 2005
Welcome to my world
1:09 pm est
Guess I should introduce me, since this is the beginning of my bloggy life.
I'm Lee Radigan, also commonly known online as AuntyNin, a true fiber junkie with far too many hobbies for my
own good. Earning a living takes one heckuva bite out of my knitting / quilting / crocheting / beading time,
but it does pay for my fiber habit. The less said about "the office" the better, no?
The nickname AuntyNin comes from early chat rooms (anyone remember BITnet Relay?) where I used the nickname "Niniane"
and became something of a universal Auntie to many of the young sprouts using the Relay. Dearygracious me, I just realized
that was almost 20 years ago (shudder).
Current "Works in Progress" (a.k.a. WIPs) include a kimono-style cardigan from the book Shadow Knitting (more
about that later), a couple of pair of socks, a lace scarf, and a pair of fingerless gloves. The sweater is turning
into a real pain in the fingers, let me tell you - there's something about DK-weight yarn on a size 2 (2.5mm) needle with
over 350 stitches across that just dampens the enthusiasm, but I really want to get this thing done so I can wear it this
winter. It's one of the few projects in my "to do" list that's actually for me; most of the rest are gifts for friends