Sunday, January 30, 2011

Review of KnitScene: Winter-Spring 2011

Knitscene is a sister publication of Interweave Knits, presenting itself as 'simple, stylish and spirited". They've just announced they'll move from twice a year to quarterly. The patterns tend to include a bit more technical information, and I've knit several things from the magazine in the past.

The Good: lots of patterns: 26 patterns in this $7.99 magazine. Not a lot of editorial filler which is fine with me. The first section features patterns by Debbie O'Neill, and I like the Paperboy Cardigan and the Bas Relief socks..if you like cable work, these are great choices for you. The 'go farther afield' section features patterns with one or two small little twists: I immediately went to the stash to see if I have yarn to cast on for the Chiton Pullover (also the cover look above). There are two cute hoodies in the 'belted' section. If you like simple, classic looks, this issue is a great choice for you. The section on knitting fair isle without steeks has great information and some cute patterns too.

The bad: the magazine has lots of different looks that will appeal to lots of different knitters. Of course, every knitter has their own likes and dislikes, and several of the projects are just not my style. The shawls in the "individual unique" section look sort of unbalanced, and cowls and shrugs look great on paper but not on me. Some of the yarn choices don't work for me: I like the Mette-Merit pullover but a summer top in winter colors seems odd. And please, magazine people, don't put long sleeve shirts under summer tops. It just looks weird.

The ugly: nothing is really ugly. If I had to point something out, I'd say the colors in the 'solveig yoke' aren't going to work on a lot of people. And the pattern names are awkward and silly. USE REAL WORDS, IK. Or go the non-twee route a la Vogue.

Bottom Line: Like I said, if you like simple and classic styles, this is a good choice for you.

Repeat knitting

So a while ago I knit these socks for Tim. He wore them once and loved them. I washed them and then accidentally one ended up in the dryer. And it shrunk. So I had to knit him another one (meaning I had to find another ball of the yarn, which is no longer made) and then knit it again.

Here is the interesting thing: I can knit a basic sock over and over again, but knitting a THIRD of the same sock is not fun.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

And I knit and I knit..

Originally uploaded by kbshee
To finish off this sweater, I need to knit a 3 foot long panel that serves as an inset in the chest area.

With lace yarn.

I've knit on it and knit on it and it's about 6 inches long. Oof.

Juneau's still with us, eating a lot and getting a bit of energy back.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Big foot

Originally uploaded by kbshee
My project for yesterday, other than hang out with Juneau, was working on a pair of felted clogs.

This is the fiber trends pattern that surprisingly I've never made before. I was big into felting when I first started knitting but sort of moved away from it. But my other clogs are falling apart so I thought I'd make some new ones, plus I have plenty of felting yarn in my stash and I'm trying to use that up, so hence, clogs.

The soles are Cascade 220 in black and the tops are Manos in purples and blues (hard to tell from the picture, I know). And. The entire clog was knit during 4 quarters of playoff football. A pretty fast knit, I must say!

Saturday, January 22, 2011


So, as I mentioned, our dog Juneau is very sick. We could tell she didn't feel well on Monday, got her into the vet first thing Tuesday, followed by several days of tests to find out why she had no white blood cells or platelets. The diagnosis came back on Thursday: leukemia. And our meeting with the oncologist on Friday provided the prognosis: she has very few days left on earth. We're trying chemo with a 1 in 5 chance that it will prolong her life for a few weeks.

Yes, it's that bad.

She was hospitalized from Tuesday til Thursday, which doesn't seem long but when you're used to having a dog presence in your house it is (Pilot is still here, of course, but Juneau is our big calm presence). She didn't seem to feel that great Thursday night but since yesterday she's been subdued but with us...breathing normally, resting, eating a bit, and just wanting to be with us. So that is what we will do this weekend, just be.

She is on several antibiotics to fight off infection since she can't do that on her own. She's on steroids just to try to make her feel better. She's on antinausea drugs for the chemo. And if she's still here, she'll get another dose of chemo next week.

But she's home, and she knows she is loved, and she knows she is safe, and that is the best we can give her today.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Brief Hiatus

Our dog Juneau is seriously ill. There's knitting done but not a lot of energy for a blog. I'll post more with her story once we know more (test results coming in today, we hope). Please hold a positive thought for her.

Monday, January 17, 2011

One faculty meeting and one trip to the coast

Originally uploaded by kbshee
And I've completed the second sock of what I"m terming the Peppermint sock.

Despite the warning of flooding and heavy rains, we went over to Florence on the Oregon Coast on Saturday. Got there, it was cold, wet and windy so we had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, walked through some shops, and then drove up the coast to Waldport and came home. The ocean was pretty wild, and it was very grey and wet, but it was also good to get out of the house for a bit.

And, I got quite a lot of knitting done!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Laser Focused

I've finished both the other front of the cardigan and the first sleeve...this sweater goes really, really fast. I knit the sleeve last night in 3 hours. That bodes well for finishing the second sleeve today or tomorrow, seaming it Monday afternoon (HOLIDAY!) and finishing the neckline on Monday. I should be wearing that thing next week! Too bad it's in the 50's.

The knit-down is also going fast, thanks to the Donegal Tweed for this sweater.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More of that VK sweater

Originally uploaded by kbshee
I've finished the back and also finished one of the halves of the front of the sweater. This is going really fast, and I look forward to finishing it and wearing it..and I have perfect buttons...brown animal buttons that Tim gave me for Christmas a few years ago.

Why does it seem that every time one project at work is finished another one pops up? It makes me feel that I shouldn't even finish projects so nothing else will come up. Think I should give that a try?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

From new VK

Originally uploaded by kbshee
This is one of the sweaters in the new VK. I saw it, I figured I had yarn for it, I thought it looked like a fast knit, and it looks comfortable. And I liked the cable on the back.

It's this one, on the left, with the cool cable in the back.

If you blow up this picture, you can probably see the cable. But I'll post another picture soon, because I'm all done with the back! Yes! It took a horrible football game Saturday night, half a not-interesting one Sunday, and a sad, sad one last night but I got the entire back done! I hoe to have the whole sweater done by February 1, so I can still wear it this winter.

My work is going great: I think I will finish one book tomorrow and get that over to Kinko's for printing. Very excited!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

One sleeve down

Originally uploaded by kbshee
I finished the first sleeve on "Somebody's PUllover" from the new IK (somebody is someone's name, I just can't recall what it is and I'm too lazy to scroll down to check. Amelia's Pullover? Maybe?" If it looks a bit off balance in the photo, it is because the neck opening ends somewhere right around the top of one's cleavage. There's an insert knit in fingering weight yarn that goes here and it's all drapey and pretty. It should be a good looking sweater! And have I mentioned I love no seams? And raglans?

Spent much of yesterday watching football, where my beloved Colts lost their wild card game. I hope that does not bode well for tomorrow night, when my even more beloved Ducks fight for the BCS championship! Things are, as you might imagine, insane in Eugene (and apparently up and down the west coast). Luckily I don't have class tomorrow, as I'm sure it will be hard to concentrate. Me and students.

So I encourage you to root tomorrow during the 'little thing in Arizona' (as one of my favorite football playing students refers to it) for your favorite team, especially if it is my favorite team. GO DUCKS!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Review: Winter Vogue

Vogue or IK? Vogue or IK? Knitters seem to like to debate which is the better knitting magazine. I subscribe to both, and I don't have a preference. Rather, it seems like I'll like one a lot and then hate the next issue of the same magazine a lot.

So the new Vogue Knitting (Winter 2010/11) is out, with the theme of "Forever Cozy". While 'Vogue' and "cozy' don't really go together in my book, I found this issue pretty good.

The Good: Cute fair isles in the "Chalet Chic" section (numbers 4 and 5: no twee names for VK!) The entire "Art of the Cardigan" and "Vintage Modern" sections have a lot of great knit patterns. I like #19 in the "Urban Outfits" section..a long cable pullover with a 'capelike cowl'. #25 has a creative cable pattern on the back (but needs to be lengthened). Maybe 6 patterns I'd think about knitting. The article on brioche looks very thorough (although VK has a reputation for being technically, um, iffy). But we'll give them the benefit of the doubt). The editorial pictorial on row counters kind of cracked me up. Is Vogue running out of things to talk about? Still, it made me laugh since it was just a bit ridiculous to devote a page to a bunch of things that all look alike.

The Bad: VK has recently tried to tap into the sock knitting trend but ends up with socks that are dull (31 and 32) or just whackadoodle (33. There are embroidered cardinals on it. Seriously). The "Urban Outfits" section features pastel colors: odd for a winter issue AND for a feature on Urban Outfits. Several patterns feature awkward length sleeves...#2 has kind of cabled batwing sleeves that end at the elbow and #6 is a zip hoody with what looks like fun fur trim on the elbow length sleeves. This makes me feel like either the designer was too lazy to write out a pattern for long sleeves, or that the yarn companies want to make the yarn for an entire project more affordable. Matters little. I don't like it. Finally, the "Fiber Optics" section features things in black and white, which I should love, but I don't. Grown women should not wear mini dresses with intarsia hearts around the bottom (#24).

The Ugly: The accessories shown with some of the patterns are horrendous. Examples: the 'jauntry' mustard fedora on #2 which looks ill fitting, a weird furry mustard SOMETHING underneath the scarf of #3, a bronze velvet pimp hat and dominatrix boots on #11, and the furry mustard SOMETHING re-appearing on #17. Scaryhair in the 'Vintage Modern' feature. And only one pattern gets my ugly vote: a 'cutaway vest' that has a loop-stitched collar. That's one pattern that the weird furry mustard SOMETHING might have helped.

All in all, though, a pretty good issue. Here's a question. When you buy a magazine, do you look for a percentage or number of possible knits for you?

See photos from the issue here!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Originally uploaded by kbshee
I'm formatting two of the book projects that are due next month, and while I like a bit of formatting, to do two books in a short period of time is not fun.

The two books are is a textbook, one is a workbook for that textbook. At least the formatting gets me to read through both books (I have two coauthors on these, and I do need to be familiar with the content, don't I?)

Here's a candy cane sock to make this post more worthwhile.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Here Go Hell Come

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Do you watch "The Fashion Show--The Ultimate Collection" with Iman and Isaac Mizrahi? On Bravo? No? You really should. It's very entertaining. Much more so than "The Fashion Show---with Isaac and that girl from Destiny's Child who isn't Beyonce". Iman is fabulous.

Anyway. There's a designer named Calvin who I think is vietnamese, and he's one of those people on a reality show that gets a subtitle for everything he says (he speaks english, just in his own special way). On the first episode, he said "here go hell come" before some brouhaha with the other designers.

So. Today is the first day of winter term, and so 'here go hell come' is appropriate although it should be a pretty peaceful ten weeks for me: one 2-credit portfolio class where basically all I do is critique. And if you read my blog you know that I'm pretty good at critiquing.

After days of stockinette, I picked up the double knitted bubble scarf on Saturday for a bit of double knit fun. It's coming along.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Why doesn't purple photograph well?

Originally uploaded by kbshee
This sweater is a really rich purple color, which I can never capture with the digital camera. But here it is. This sweater looks like it has a deep square neckline, but then a collar is knit in lace weight in the same colorway and attached. It should look nice when it is finished.

I have about 6" or so left to knit of the body, so clearly it won't be finished by tomorrow when I go back to work. But hopefully this will get done so I can wear it this season. I've pretty much given up on getting the pink cable sweaters done this season.

I've also been designing a pair of mittens in my head, and I"m kind of itching to start on those but I have to wind the yarn first. And maybe I should focus on my other WIPs...nah.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

Originally uploaded by kbshee
So the stash knit down starts! I'm sort of cheating because I finished these last night but I'm counting them because I finished them late enough that if it wasn't NYE then I would have been asleep and thus would have finished them this morning.

Does that make sense?

Anyway---love these socks, from the Wool Girl Wizard of Oz sock club in the "Lollipop Guild" colorway in Sunshine yarns. The yarn feels great and these socks just make me happy!

It was a pretty intense NYE last night. We watched "Kramer vs. Kramer" and then "Absence of Malice" and I fell asleep twice during the latter movie. Then we watched an episode of "Black Adder" and then it was just about midnight, Crazy!. Tim made a delicious mexican dinner and we had margaritas. So that was out of control!

Today: taking down the tree, putting things away, probably napping a bit since the phone rang at 7:30 this morning. How about you?