Sunday, July 29, 2007


All my fingers spontaneously turned to Twizzlers a few weeks ago and that’s why I haven’t been able to blog! Have you ever tried to type with licorice? Not easy, I tell you.*

Really, the excuses for my absence are duller than dull (worky work, Potter-mania, blah blah boring), and I’m so far behind on my blog reading that I finally had to just clean the Bloglines slate and “mark all read.” But hey, I’m back now. And Holy Shit the sockapalooza deadline is like 4 days away! How many days does July have? Crap. And so all of a sudden I’m knitting like a fiend despite a nasty case of trigger finger in my left hand. Send ice packs and Advil.

*What you can do with a Twizzler is bite off each end and use it as a cocktail straw for your bourbon drink. Thank god I went to law school so I could learn that valuable piece of knowledge!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Socks and Tag

Katie tagged me for the Wikipedia birthday meme

Type in your birthday month and day only. Post 3 events, 2 births and one holiday that occurred on your birthday.


1938 - Norway claims Queen Maud Land in Antarctica. (I have a fascination for all things Norse.)

1967 - The Human Be-In, takes place in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, launching the Summer of Love. Between 20,000 to 30,000 people attend. (Sounds great in theory, but in actuality was probably sort of smelly.)

1972 - Queen Margrethe II of Denmark ascends the throne, the first Queen of Denmark since 1412 and the first Danish monarch not named Frederick or Christian since 1513. (About time!)


83 BC - Marcus Antonius, Roman politician

1875 - Albert Schweitzer, Alsatian physician, Nobel laureate


Makar Sankranti in India. The event is marked by flying kites.

In knitting news, it’s all socks around here. I started these for my sockpal (Trekking XXL), whose sole request was for stripes:

Unfortunately, they’re not so stripey as one would have hoped. I popped over to Purl the other day before work and picked up some of their custom color sriping Lorna’s. So far they’re striping much more satisfactorily but, as you can see, little progress has been made.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Knitters on Mars?

The European Space Agency (ESA) seeks volunteers for a simulated trip to Mars. Volunteers will spend 17 months in an isolation tank on Earth, with little contact with the outside world. One of the main criteria for applicants is that they have the ability to stay sane while cooped up in a small space for such an extended period.

The ESA would be well served investigating the knitting community for potential applicants – who else relishes a long subway ride for that extra time to turn a heel? Sees a power outage as an opportunity to light some candles and finish the second sleeve? And what knitter wouldn’t relish the opportunity to shop for a stash that would last the trip?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Back to Reality

We’re back, and holycrapParisisbeautifulIwanttomovetheretomorrow. We had a lovely time in France, both in Paris

Excuse the hair, I'm soaking wet. Look at the tower!

And in the Dordogne valley

The trip was perfect – we kept busy, we relaxed, and most of all we walked. We walked all over Paris

And every part was as beautiful as the one before. Really, 90% of the city was startlingly lovely. I don't know what they do with their bad architects, export them to us perhaps?

Then we took the train to Bordeaux and drove east to the Dordogne Valley to see some pretty old and pretty amazing chateaux.

We ate ourselves silly.

I didn’t really knit at all.

The other big news around here is that I start back to work tomorrow at the restaurant and I’ll be starting a new position on the hot line. Pasta! I’m excited but also pretty nervous – in this restaurant, pasta is the toughest spot on the line and really physical work. I hope I don’t make a fool of myself!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Thank You

I’ve been trying to figure out what to write here on the blog and I’m just not sure what to say except thank you all so much for the love and support through this difficult time. I just cant tell you how much it means to me to feel surrounded by such caring people and even though I haven’t been emailing I’ve read every one of your comments over and over again.

Juan and I are doing ok, he took a short leave of absence from work so that we could be together, and we’re planning a trip to France just to get away for a while. This experience is by far the most difficult one either of us has had to go through, and we’re muddling through the best we can. I think it’s going to help me to get back to some of my normal activities, so I’m going to try to return to posting regularly on the blog.

I just want to say thank you again to everyone out there commenting or emailing or just keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Last Thursday, April 12, our baby Lucas was stillborn as a result of an umbilical cord accident. At birth, Lucas was 38 weeks old, weighed 7 pounds, was 20 inches long, and was a beautiful baby. We miss him very much.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

38 Weeks – The Wall

I’m officially at 38 weeks, one hundred million pounds, and 47 to do lists. Most everyone I know was like “Baby – get out!” at this point in their pregnancy, but for me, not so much. As a matter of fact, I find myself superstitiously unable to finish any of the baby sweaters for fear that FOs will induce labor. So it’s been all sunrise circle jacket, miles of orange tweedy stockinette with just enough increasing and decreasing to distract me from yet another episode of Mythbusters.

As of today our apartment now has two bedrooms and one significantly smaller living room. Here’s a photo before The Wall…

And after…

I nearly had a nervous breakdown throughout the installation process, as our renovations were not approved by the building and we were trying to be sneaky. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to sneak 8 foot pieces of sheetrock up the service elevator without pretty much everyone catching on. I think the only reason the management didn't stop us was their fear that I'd go into labor right then and there.

And hey, it’s Sockapalooza time again – head on over and sign up today!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I Am the Champion

The thrill of victory is sweet, my friends. Especially when you’ve worked long and hard, training and preparing and devoting yourself to that elusive goal.

Ok, I didn’t actually do any of that challenging stuff, but I’m still a winner because I (almost) guessed how many books are in Minty’s knitting library! Check out my prize…

2 skeins of Claudia Hand Painted in the Blue Sky colorway.

I’m thinking Minty's Anastasia socks will show this yarn to it’s best advantage! I don't know if I can resist casting on this afternoon. Nevertheless, the Festival of Finishing is by no means over. I’m working on a bunch of things at the same time, so nothing is really finished but everything is just a little bit closer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Festival of Finishing – Day Three

Today at jury duty I overheard/spotted something too priceless not to share -- A woman sitting in the jury waiting room reading Oedipus aloud to her teenage son. Ahhhh! Did the cautionary elements of the story totally escape her? Was she a seventh grade teacher trying to reinforce the message of the story? Yikes!

Now off we go to the Festival of Finishing!

Today we have a very manly kimono, modeled by the ever cooperative Cocoa Bear.

Here’s a bear-free shot so you can see the crochet neckline and stripe detail.

True, it’s not technically a kimono, not by a long shot, but the design was inspired by this little sweater…

The Mason Dixon baby kimono I knit for Baby Gleek, who will be joining us verrrrry soon.

For the Baby Gleek Kimono and the modified Manly Kimono I used the same yarn, Lily Elite Cotton, knit on #7 needles. To create the modified Manly Kimono I just followed the Mason Dixon directions, stopping at the bottom of the V on each side (21 stitches), then joining the two sides together to create a one-piece front.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Festival of Finishing – Day One

As promised, this week I’m having a fantastic festival of finishing! Today’s FOs are not the most exciting, but I’m starting slowly and working my way up to what promises to be a very sweater-heavy end of the week.

Argentina Socks

I originally started these as a gift for my husband to wear to the World Cup this summer, but had to take a time out when I started my new job back in June. I just finished them up last week and now they’re mine, all mine! (Because horizontal stripes are so slimming on pregnant ankles!)

Yarn: Blue and white Regia (german words, more german words) Nation Color 4 ply
Needles: Addi #2s
Pattern: Plain old toe up stockinette with short row heel, using 52 stitches.

And a Mason Dixon Baby Genius Burp Cloth, for my very own soon-to-be-arriving baby genius. Coincidentally knit in my high school colors, black and gold. Go Bulldogs!!

Actually next week at the doctor I’ll find out whether he’s really a genius and has gotten himself in the correct upside-down position or if he perhaps needs a little more time/coercion in that department. (Will it help if I do somersaults in the swimming pool?)

Yarn: Lily Sugar ‘n Cream Cotton
Needles: Crystal Palace #7s
Pattern: Mason Dixon Baby Genius Burp Cloth, no modifications.

Stay tuned tomorrow for part 2 of the festival!

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Tale of Two Piles

I've been knitting and knitting and knitting, and I really don’t have any pretty little things to show for it. Instead, I have two piles. Here’s pile number one…

It’s the back and left sleeve/front of a Sunrise Circle Jacket inspired by Christy’s recently completed Sunrise Circle. Seeing her jacket jogged something in my memory, something about having 7 skeins of Rowanspun DK in the exact same color hanging around my stash.

I swatched.

Gauge was perfect. I’ve never gotten such perfect gauge in my life. Row gauge too! I just started on the right sleeve/front and I hope to make lots of progress on this one because I’ll be attending a class all weekend and should have lots of time to knit.

What about pile number two? Pile number two is an embarrassment. A pile of shame. A pile that was staring me in the face and making me feel guilty until I shoved it in a drawer. Here’s pile number two…

I finished knitting all of these projects, but I just cant bring myself to finish the finishing. I’ve got one pair of socks (really, how hard it is to weave in a few ends), a burp cloth, and six (yes SIX) baby sweaters in need of seaming and/or buttons. Disgraceful. I'm declaring next week to be my own personal Festival of Finishing - hopefully this public shaming will keep me honest.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Awwwww Heard Round the World

Somehow, while knitting an absolutely fabulous EZ Fishtrap Aran, Sarah found the time to make me this adorable baby sweater. Check it out...

And the cutest little knitting card

I've been mulling over a theory for a while now, and I think it's time to share it with everyone. Knitting is far more than just a hobby, it's fifth grade science in action. Remember learning that the animals that reproduce themselves are the ones that thrive? Well, all of these super cute baby goodies certainly give one an incentive to procreate. Thus, it is clear that baby knits and the knitters that knit them and are doing their part to ensure the continuation of our species. Ergo, survival of the craftiest!

Who said that philosophy degree wouldn't be useful later in life!

Thank you again Sarah!!

Monday, March 05, 2007

And the Winner Is...

Courtney from Yarn Tootin'! Courtney, just email me at holdtheraisins[at]yahoo[dot]com so that I can figure out how to get you your spinnerific prize. Thank you all SO MUCH for the name ideas - there are some really great choices in the comments and I bet we'll end up picking one. As I mentioned in the last entry, we're not going to finalize the name until we meet our baby in person in 7 weeks or so. I'll reveal our selection then!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Name My Baby!

It’s a blog contest!! In case you missed the news, I’m pregnant. I have two more months left, but we’ve already started preparing for the baby. Part of the preparation process, especially for apartment dwellers, is the purging of the belongings! Another part of the process is the choosing of the name. With this contest I’m trying to accomplish both.

The Prize…

One Ashford drop spindle and two bunches of purply blue roving (85% wool, 15% mohair). Don’t worry, my attempt at “yarn” currently on the spindle will not be included. This drop spindle is pretty heavy, so it’s well suited for spinning chunky yarn.

To Enter…

All you have to do is name my baby! No, seriously. Just leave a comment to this post (or email me at holdtheraisins[at]yahoo[dot]com) with a boy’s name that works in both Spanish and English. For example, Nicholas/Nicolas or Sebastian. The name doesn’t have to be exactly the same in both languages, Mattias/Matthew or Alejandro/Alexander would work just fine. I’ll throw the entries into a hat and pick out one. Although the name I pick wont necessarily be the name I give to the baby, that person WILL win the spindle and the roving.

The Rules…

If you DON’T want the spindle and roving, but you want to make a suggestion, feel free, just let me know in your comment that you don’t want to be entered into the contest.

I’m just trying to get IDEAS for names – I can’t promise that I’m going to use one of the names suggested in the comments! But, if I do use one of the suggested names, I’ll give that person a prize too (but not till after the baby is born, in approximately 7 or 8 weeks).

I don’t want to spend a fortune in shipping, so North American entrants only, please.

Get your entries in by Sunday, March 4 at 8pm!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Strike A Pose

Last weekend I was chatting with some folks and someone raised one of the great existential knitblogging questions of our time…

How do you photograph your own handknit socks?

I usually go for the bend and click, but this does not show off the socks to their greatest advantage. Other sock enthusiasts set up the self timer and don a pair of heels. Some use props. Here’s a little photo essay of my pinstripe jaywalkers.

Yarn: Lorna’s Laces, pinstripe colorway
Needles: Size 1 circulars
Gauge: 68 stitches around leg, about 4 fewer on bottom of foot where I used plain stockinette.

The classic bend and snap…

A puppet show with a friend …

Dancing on the ceiling…

Still learning how to use the self-timer…

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Showered with Goodies!

This Sunday the Spiders threw a fabulous baby shower for me and Gleek at Red Bamboo! We were treated to gifts and snacks and delicious cake and the mimosas (and ginger ale) were flowing freely. Just take a look at all the amazing knitting…

Blankees and soakers and burp cloths and wash cloths and bibs (go Gryffindor!) and the cutest baby booties I’ve ever seen in my entire life! Not only that, but I got plenty of washcloths and onesies and a very sporty changing pad, so I’m much more prepared and also perhaps in contention for a best-dressed baby award! It was an amazing shower - thank you all SO MUCH!!

One more shot of those booties…

Receiving all these wonderful goodies really inspired me to keep up with my baby knitting for others - hopefully I'll be able to unveil more of those secret projects soon!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Secrets and Dishcloths and Ice Cream, Oh My!

I’ve been up to my ears in secret knitting lately. I suspect that the parents of the potential recipients are too busy taking care of newborn babies to be reading my blog, but I’m not taking any chances – just a few more days and I can post the pics.

In the meantime, I also knit a dishcloth.

Modeled above by the tub because the kitchen sink was full of dirty dishes. I used the 3 and 1 Checked pattern from this site. Dishcloth knitting is the ultimate commitment-phobe project. You use crap yarn, it takes about two hours, and there are four ends to weave in when you’re finished. Perfect for when you’re not quite ready to commit to a new sweater but just rented two movies and need a little something to keep your hands busy.

Also, if you’re bitter about not getting a snow day, here’s a fun way to waste time at work. Using the Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Generator you can submit suggestions for new flavors. In the past few months I’ve been running pretty extensive testing on the existing flavors so I consider myself an expert in this field.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Fun Never Ends



Fiber Trends Felted Clogs. Just like the Harlot said, you never get sick of these clogs.

My felting method is pretty unorthodox – I just throw the item in the washer with my regular dark colored laundry, wash on warm for a regular cycle, and throw in the dryer. I use the industrial machines at the laundromat, so I don’t worry about fuzzies clogging the machines, nor do I check the progress of the felted item during the wash process. In fact, the washers are front loading and you can’t even open them mid-cycle. It seems to work just fine. They never quite dry fully. Thus blocking, whereupon I stick my feet into the warm moist clogs and wear them around the apartment, is the least fun aspect of the whole process.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Finished Swallowtail

The Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark, Interweave Knits Fall 2006
Needles: Brittany Birch size 4 (Use the pointiest you’ve got. Mine were stubby but I didn’t want to buy a new pair.)
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Lace, color unknown (ballband MIA)
Gauge: Swatch? What’s a swatch?

I love this shawl, it’s soft and cozy without being too bulky. I’m not much of a triangular shawl wearer (too Victorian for me) so I’ve been wearing this one wrapped around my neck scarf-style. Sorry about the lack of outdoor photos of the scarf in action, it’s about negative 80,000 degrees outside and my coat no longer buttons across my middle, so I’m only venturing outdoors in the event of a dire emergency (i.e. if I run out of Ben & Jerry’s).

Friday, February 02, 2007

(Silent) Poetry Reading Day

It’s (Silent) Poetry Reading Day in the world o’ blogs, and I’m really enjoying everyone’s contributions.

Mine is inspired by a recent bathtub visitor in my apartment.

The Centipede
by Ogden Nash

I objurgate the centipede,
A bug we do not really need.
At sleepy-time he beats a path
Straight to the bedroom or the bath.
You always wallop where he’s not,
Or, if he is, he makes a spot.

P.S. – There are no funny poems about groundhogs out there, I checked.

P.S.S. – The swallowtail shawl is blocking at this very moment on navy blue towels. (Blue shawl + blue towels = really boring photo.)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Faster Than a Speeding Swallow

A certain chic knitblogger gave me just the encouragement I needed the other night – I’d been thinking about lace and had my eye on the Swallowtail Shawl . “It’s easy” she said, “you’ll be done in a week.”

Crazy, I know, a lace shawl in a week, but here it is...

Fine, it’s been more like 10 days, but that’s still pretty fast. I think I’ve discovered the secret to lace knitting – Don’t Look Back. If I don’t have enough stitches I just pick one up; too many and I k2tog. Tinking lace is just about as fun as the wax based method of personal epilation and in both cases I usually just end up making the situation worse. When knitting lace it’s best to just embrace your mistakes and soldier on, rather than obsessing about the finer details. (Some may argue that the whole point of lace is the finer details, but those people also have alphabetized spice racks.)

If I can find some pins I'll be blocking tonight and have FO photos tomorrow.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Rotten Start

Thank you all so much for your kind baby wishes - I really appreciate it!! Hard to believe I only have about three months left.

My 2007 got off to a pretty foul start. Here are just a few tidbits of the awesomeness that was last week: The bloody nose I got while wandering tissue-less somewhere on 16th street between 8th and 9th Avenue - hello meatpacking district revelers, I’m not a derelict coke addict, just a pregnant lady bleeding out the nose into her scarf. (Don’t worry, not a handknit, just a fake pashmina.)

Then, on the same theme, some bloodletting at the doctors office, and then the waiting, and then the taking of more blood, and then, well, perhaps a bit more waiting. Just drink this, it will only give you a headache for two days straight.

And also death. What week wouldn’t be complete without the death of a beloved grandparent, and the accompanying funerary type ceremonies.

But yesterday was my birthday, and it was lovely, and I believe the heinousness has ended. At least I hope it has ended, because I can tolerate no more. Fortunately, I’ve had plenty of time for knitting. I’ve been working on a mitten, here’s a peek

And a blurry EZ February sweater lounging on the couch, accidentally sized for some very husky little girl

Knitting as therapy, right here chez moi. I expect to have an entire afghan completed by next weekend if this bad streak continues.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What’s Up With All The Baby Knitting?

So there’s been quite a bit of baby knitting ‘round these parts, and some of you may be getting tired of it. Just bear with me – you’ll be able to see all these clothes modeled by a real person in about three and a half more months…

Yep, those little red things are my shoes, and they’re getting harder and harder to see. I’m due in late April and we already know it’s a boy. And he likes Chinese takeout.

Despite all the little half finished sweaters sitting in the knitting basket, I found some time to finish my Shedir and I looooove it.

Yarn: Lana Gatto Prestige 100% Cashmere, 1.5 balls
Needles: Size 3 dpns
Pattern: Shedir by Jenna Wilson for the 2004 Knitty special issue, modified for only three pattern repeats rather than five.