This is mostly a knitting blog. Sometimes pictures of things I've made, sometimes not. I'm a guy who knits, I usually attend a men's stitch 'n' bitch on Monday nights, and I prefer natural fibres to artificial ones. I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo yarns: I love what they can do and how they look, I hate how they are made. I've been knitting since about 2003, though I really didn't get into it until 2005, while convelescing with a broken leg. I must have discovered something good, 'cause I'm still knitting years later.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Since I finished knitting Death of the Moon, I have been wondering how to weave in all the loose ends. On most rows there is a yarn over after the first three stitches, so those ends don't have a lot of space for weaving, and some of those stripes are only two rows wide. I hied myself over to Bornside Yarns (which is literally a block from my house), and asked Miss Betty for advice. She advised not crossing the yarn over into the main body, which was also my original thought.

Miss Betty and I got to talking about various yarns we like to use for making sweaters, cardigans vs. pullovers, and when sweaters are best worn in New Orleans (honestly, I'm not going to need my heaviest sweater in this town, because the winters are neither long enough nor cold enough). I mentioned that I like Rowan's British Sheep Breeds yarn, which are in a bulky weight and come undyed. I have in my stash some of the Black Welsh and some of the Jacob, enough to make a couple of sweater-vests for myself, and maybe even some Blue Faced Leicester. When Stitch House decided to discontinue carrying them, I bought almost the entire stock, because it was on 50% sale.

Miss Betty mentioned that when the contractor her son uses lost his mother, he gave her a couple of bags full of yarn. She had made something for the contractor with that yarn, but she still had a bag with 12 skeins of bulky weight yarn in it that she didn't know what to do with. Would I like it? Is that a rhetorical question? So I came home with a bag full of beautiful yarn. So what did I get? The yarn is Jaeger Natur Garn, made in Great Britain. It is 100 grams of pure 100% virgin wool. There is no indication of how many yards or metres, but if it is 100 metres, then it's about 109 yards. That's enough to make a sweater. It could probably be used with Lamb's Pride bulky if I wanted to add stripes or colour work. I think it will be fun to knit with.

Friday, April 22, 2016


I decided today, since I have the day off, to block some finished objects. Blocking is one of my least favourite things to do, along with sewing in loose ends. These FOs are cowls for Christmas! I knit them last year and because if all the mishegas associated with my move to New Orleans, never got them to the recipients. So they'll go out this Christmas, leaving me time to work on UFOs I found while cataloguing my yarn. All those sweaters. Which I probably won't wear in the south, because the winter doesn't really get cold enough. Is it too late to take up skiing?

In Malabrigo Rios, we have two cowls for a pair of sisters. The pattern is the New Bittersweet Cowl, and can be found on Ravelry. It's a fairly easy lace pattern, and it knits up very quickly. One of these was knit in Purple Mystery and the other in Teal Feather. Soaking these in cool water really brought the lace pattern out, and stretched them out quite a bit. Before they couldn't be wrapped twice around one's neck, and now I believe that will be rather easy to do.

This other cowl being blocked is in Blue Face Leicester, yarn bought at a S&W festival in 2015, from Jan Marek Raczkowski Studio (there is no website, this is a Ravelry link). It's a gorgeous light purple. I adapted the feather-and-fan pattern to be done in the round, rather than just length-wise like a scarf. It can be drown up like a hood, too.

And in other news, I finished the Death of the Moon shawl! Sound the trumpets, raise calls of, "Huzzah!" and general kudos all around. I still need to sew in the loose ends, and I need to block it. Not sure how to tackle that, but I'm sure I'll be resourceful and get it done.
I'm really pleased with the way it came out, can't wait to sew it and block it. I shall bring it with me to the NHS&W festival next month. I made this with the last yarn I bought at Stitch House in Dorchester before I moved. I just might keep it for myself.

I feel, after not posting any pictures of knitting for a while, that this is text light, but picture heavy. I can deal. I'm just happy to have these done, and ready to go to their new owners this Christmas.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Planning Future Projects

I was able to tink that row on my Death of the Moon, taking out 421 stitches. I corrected that yarn over, and got right back to knitting that row again. And sure enough, I enjoyed it as much the second time as I did the first. After knitting four rows yesterday, I have only five more to go, the final cable row, four rows of garter, and the bind off. Then I have to sew in all those ends, and block it. The end is in sight!

I think my next project will be the two bear hats I started in Boston and only recently unpacked. I'm making them for my friend Tom and his husband Tod, one is in green Mad Tosh, with a brown bear, the other is in blue Mad Tosh, with same brown bear. As Christopher Moore would say, "Strong like bear." I needed to enlarge the pattern to make it easier for my aging eyes to read, and I'm looking forward to getting it done and getting it in the mail. Of course, by the time they receive it, summer will be here and no one in their right mind will be wearing a wool stocking cap. But I like to believe it's the thought that counts.

A while back I planned a man shawl for a friend of mine who was experiencing some health problems and found that after his treatments couldn't get warm. I realised that I didn't have enough yarn to complete the project as planned, so the next time I was able to get some Good Karma Farm yarn, I stocked up. That yarn is now unpacked and catalogued, and this will be my next project. My plan is to finish this before I go to Boston, and to try to arrange to meet with this friend for dinner while I'm there.

Finally, for planned projects, a friend in New Orleans is in the Big Easy Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and is planning a fund raiser in July for a local charity (not sure if it's St Anna's Food Pantry, or St Lazarus' House, but both are worthy causes), and he's asked me to knit a hat for the silent auction. I've got some left over Tosh I could use for this, or maybe some Berroco Ultra Alpaca. I'm planning on a relatively easy Fair Isle pattern, which always wows the non-knitters.

Of  course, all of this could change at the drop of a hat, and I could be working on completely different projects than those planned here, but I like to be mindful of what's in the queue, and even if I deviate from the path (which I know will happen!), know that these are things that I both need and want to get done.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Knitting it a Second Time (because the first time was so much fun!)

I spent very little time knitting this past weekend, since it was the French Quarter Festival, and I wanted to see and hear lots of music. While there were more than 15 stages set up throughout the Quarter, local street musicians were also playing, and I heard several that were very good indeed.

Jo-el Sonnier was at the Cajun and Zydeco stage, and he was rockin' that accordion like nobody's business. The woman to his right was a helluva fiddle player, and I really enjoyed this show.

This is one of the local street performers did not have a sign with his name, but he was playing some awesome fiddle, too.

This local band, while a bit scruffy looking, was making awesome music. I didn't get their name, but if I see them again in the Quarter, I'll be sure to pick up their CD.

There were other performers, both official and on the corners, who really made it a wonderful weekend. I had a terrific time, but got very little knitting done. About two rows on Saturday and another two on Sunday.

Which leads me to reflect on what happened today. I met a friend to knit at a cafe, and I did Row 5 of the Section 11 of the Death of the Moon pattern. This involved some cabling, and since we were sitting outside in the humidity, I found it a bit oppressive, and was knitting very slowly. I started Row 6, and misread the instructions, and did a yarn over (cue Ominous Music). The yarn over will not affect the current row, but will affect the next, since things won't be quite lined up. So this evening or tomorrow afternoon, I'm going to tink back about 440 stitches. All my careful counting for naught. I suppose that the attitude I should take is that I enjoyed knitting this row so much the first time, that I can enjoy knitting it a second time! Woo-hoo!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Who Needs a Gym?

Who knew knitting could be so exhausting? On Monday and Tuesday, I did a section each day of my Death of the Moon. That means ten rows each day, knitting over 300 stitches of fingering weight yarn on US 4 needles. Yesterday I did six-and-a-half rows, not the ten I'd hoped for. And I was so tired I almost fell asleep at the knitting group I attend on Wednesday afternoons. It takes a lot of concentration to get that many stitches done, and to pay attention to all the increases. I wanted to finish the last few rows of Section 8 of the pattern last night, but I just kind of collapsed.

According to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, knitting burns 85 calories per hour (crocheting burns 80, so tthhhppptt, crocheters). I worked on the shawl for 3.5 hours on Monday and Tuesday, for a total of 7 hours, equaling a total of 595 calories the first two days. I knit about 3 hours on Wednesday, so that's another 255 calories. That's a total of 850 calories. I can honestly say. . .

But the sheer brain power involved in knitting something sometimes is what's really exhausting. I also have a tendency to count the stitches as I'm knitting each row, to make sure I haven't gone wrong somewhere, and I really do have 368 at the end of the row. Woe betide me if I come up with 367, because I will go and count each and every stitch (by twos, 'cause I'm not crazy) to make sure I didn't miscount somewhere (math is hard!). And I really really REALLY want this shawl to come out looking good.

I'll be knitting this afternoon after work. Either on the patio in the back courtyard, or at a cafe with a friend. My goal is to finish section 8, and section 9! Burnin' that fat with knitting'! Yeah!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner

I took the baby out of the corner yesterday, because nobody puts baby in the corner. It was such a great day out, that I sat out in my back courtyard (we don't have a real yard, just a cemented-over section with a table and some chairs, and lots of plants; it means the grass doesn't ever need to be cut), and in the glorious bright shade, got back to work on Death of the Moon. Because either my eyes are failing (damn you, middle age!) or the colour of the light in our living room is just wrong, the green yarn and the green needles look almost exactly the same. When I got this baby outside, I wondered why I ever thought the two shades of green looked even remotely similar. Says something about electric light.

The pattern is written in sections of ten rows each, so I finished up section seven, going from 302 stitches to 338 stitches. It dawned on me, when I was halfway through section 4 that the colours I'd chosen were those of Slytherin House, from the Harry Potter books. I had a thought last night while I was putting my other knitting to bed, why not make four of these shawls, one each in the House colours. So Gryffindor would be Red and Gold; Ravenclaw would be Blue and Bronze (book colours, not movie colours, which were Silver and Blue); and Hufflepuff, Yellow and Black. I myself am a Ravenclaw, according to the website Pottermore.

Later that same day. . . .
I spent about three-and-a-half hours out in the courtyard today, and completed section 8, While I was knitting, a small green lizard jumped onto the patio, walked a few steps, ate a bug, and turned around. It looked at me for a bit, then disappeared into the leafy undergrowth beneath a tree. It looked something like this.
I did not take this picture, but found it on the Internet.
The next two sections coming up are all green yarn, no grey at all (or all colour B, and no colour A). I might take it to knitting with me tomorrow afternoon and sew in what lose ends I have, since they are annoying me. I'm really liking this colour combination, Salazar Slytherin be damned. Now I'm trying to decide if I should give it to someone, or if I should keep it for myself? Not my usual colour choices (there's no blue!).

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Cataloguing and Other Projects

I am almost done with cataloguing my yarn stash. I admit that I've taken a couple days' break because it is a bit overwhelming. Also, having 25 huge plastic bins looming over you in ominous towers can be a bit, well, ominous. So I moved the finished bins back to where they belong, and the living room (where I've been doing the work) is a lot more manageable. Here's what I've got so far:

  • 22 bins of yarn catalogued
  • 1 bin of WIPs catalogued
  • 1 box of FOs that need to find their ways to their new owners
  • 2 bins of yet-uncatalogued left over balls of yarn (this is this weekend's project)

The box of WIPs gave me pause. These were projects that once thrilled and delighted me. I'm glad I've got them all in one place now, and can finish them up. Even the Noro Striped Scarves, which don't so much thrill and delight me, but are really excellent television knitting. I also found a double knitted dragon piece that I'd completely forgotten about, in green and black. I wonder who that was for, and did I promise it, or was it to be a surprise.

My regular knitting continues. I've cast on a cowl for my cousin Claudia, in Malabrigo Mecha. The colourways are Londonderry Sky, Paysandu, and Polar Nights. I love Malabrigo yarns, but their colour names are so bizarre.

This scarf for Rudy is in the time-out corner, while I rethink it. I've been told that it will probably continue to curl, even after blocking, and even though I've got my ever-nifty garter border. If that's the case, I'm going to rip it out and make something else, maybe the Irish Hiking Scarf, which, while no longer all that interesting to me, at least doesn't curl. I've never knit with Swans Island yarn before, and this is so soft, but it does leave my fingers dyed purple, and the needles have obtained a permanent hue.
It's really too bad the pattern isn't working out, because it's very pretty: Nine rows of stockinette, an on the tenth (a purl row), a series of yarn overs, purl 2 together stitches. I like the look but the curl is fierce!

The Death of the Moon shawl is on hold, 'til I can figure out how to get enough light to knit the green yarn on the green needles. I must admit, I love the intensity of the colours in the Baah La Jolla yarns. At this point, I don't want to change, and also, I love that Knitter's Pride cables don't get all twisty like other circular needles do. I'm wondering if this need for more light is an age related thing, or if I would have been this way 10 years ago. Of course, 10 years ago I wouldn't have attempted the shawl, so there's that.

I have to say, now that I'm nearing the end of the cataloguing project, I'm somewhat overwhelmed by how much yarn I own. I really need to step up my knitting if I'm going to get it all knit up before I die, assuming I don't shuffle off this mortal coil tomorrow or next week. And as New Englanders are wont to say, "Knit fast, die warm!"