Tuesday, February 27, 2007


In an effort to distract myself from my Jaywalker quandary, I decided to cast on for the Sunrise Circle Jacket using the giant Irish spools of yarn.

Note the ruler in the pencil-cup on the right. That's right, this spool is a good 12 inches tall. Irish yarn does not mess around.

And on the left side? My favorite mug, a gift from a good friend.

You still have time to cast your vote on my Jaywalker quandary! Help an indecisive girl out! UPDATE: Voting is closed, thanks!

Sunday, February 25, 2007


I have always been a docile person. Happy to please, content with following direction, I tend to coast through life with little argument or stress. My teachers always gave me "E" for "excellent" in behavior. I was voted third friendliest in my high school. My most recent performance review at work includes the phrase "a pleasure to work with". This easy-going attitude is useful in most situations, but is a constant challenge when it comes to my crafting, especially knitting.

After ripping back a few rows and a whole heel, I thought the worst was over with my Jaywalker socks. I chugged along happily, my only modifications being a short-row heel and making it toe-up instead of cuff-down. I started the foot at the larger size of the original pattern (78 stitches around) since my foot is pretty wide. The foot itself was actually a bit loose, which I didn't mind, so I figured keeping with size would be fine for my normal-sized ankle and leg.

But now I am at a crossroads with these socks. The foot fits fine now that it has a bit of pull from the heel to keep it snug. It slips on like butta. The heel is fabulous (if I do say so myself).

But the ankle! Oy, it is so freaking tight! I have to grunt...

...and tug...

...to get it on. Once it's on, it's fine. It feels snug but hey, it's a sock, it should fit snugly, right?

So here is my quandary. My docile nature is telling me "Keep going, trust the pattern and the yarn, the process of knitting will be soothing to your senses." But then my latent, seldom expressed, independent streak comes blaring in with "These don't fit! You will hate these socks every time you see them."

And I hate to admit it, but the pooling is starting to bug me. How can yarn sing so harmoniously with a knitting pattern to produce this...

...also hit so many sour notes?

So I need your help. What should I do about these socks? Please cast your vote below!

UPDATE: Voting has closed, thanks for your input!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Kid Tested, Mother Approved

Mom wanted her subtly-requested Scholar Collar to be in a neutral color so that she can wear with her work clothes. Something in black, beige, or red was preferred.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm not afraid of bright colors. Trying to balance the request of my dear mother with the limitations of my self-imposed Knit from Your Stash 2007 rules proved to be a challenge. I thought I might have to break down and go yarn shopping (note the exemption for just such an occasion), but deep deep down in my stash I
found something that might work.

I wasn't totally sure it would fit the bill since it has a lot of dark brown mixed with the beige, but I decided to start knitting so I could show her a swatch during my visit to Dallas. She approved it on the spot. Whew!

This is Lion Brand Al-Pa-Ka, a wool-alpaca-acrylic blend that is now discontinued. It's made from one dark brown strand and one beige strand twisted together. The two twisted colors knit in garter stitch end up looking like a moss stitch. Brainless knitting that looks more complicated? Yeah, I'm down with it!

There are three balls in my stash so I should have plenty for this project. I have had this yarn in my stash since 2001. Yep, that's right, 2001. Thank goodness my mom approved it for her Scholar Collar, because it is time for this yarn to get off its lazy but and do some work!

Monday, February 19, 2007

I Heart Mr. Hipp

This post is a few days late, but sweet nevertheless. Despite his moaning and groaning about balls of yarn all over the house, I believe he secretly loves being married to a knitter.

The proof is in the pudding. Ever eco-minded, Mr. Hi
pp presented these lovely gifts to me on Valentine's Day.

Nature's Palette fingering weight yarn in "Spring Grass" and
a tree-free card.

He could not help but inject a bit of Mr. Hipp humor with the card. Note the wording at the bottom.

This yarn is so soft and squishy. And it's completely within my customized rules for Knit from Your Stash 2007. The green and yellow blend so prettily together. Here is a close up for all of you yarn-porn fiends out there.

This yarn may just have to join the Green Socks Knitalong. Hmnm, yet another project for another day.

P.S. If you're interested in getting yourself (or a loved one) some eco-friendly yarn, head over to Earth Friendly Yarns. It is definitely worth checking out!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Dallas - More Fun than I Thought

We had a good time in downtown Dallas yesterday watching a dragon parade. Happy Year of the Pig!
There was a long line in the chilly weather to get into the Asian art exhibit, so we all pulled out our scarves to keep warm. It was a proud day in Hipp Crafts history -- all three scarves were hand knit by yours truly!

Mr. Hipp is wearing a Gryffindor scarf I made for him in the summer of 2005 while reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Notice the tiny "A" (his first initial) embroidered into the first red stripe. My mom is wearing a stockinette stole (bunched up) I made for her birthday in 2004.

And of course, I was wearing my entrelac scarf. One of my favorite knits ever!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Eye Candy Friday - February 16, 2007

Howdy from Dallas! Visiting my mom gives me access to her photos for Eye Candy Friday this week.

On a crafting note, here is some beautiful Maasai beadwork she saw while visiting Tanzania and Kenya last summer.

And on a Hipp note, here are some hippos she saw in a wildlife park. She has some amazing zoom power on her camera.

Tomorrow we're heading to downtown Dallas to see dragons on parade. Happy Lunar New Year!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Off to Dallas

We're off to Dallas for the long weekend to visit my mom. The Jaywalkers and mom's Scholar Collar are coming with me. I'll try to post while there. Such lovely birthday and Valentine's Day goodies to share!

Monday, February 12, 2007

New Knitters in Progress

Mwahh ha ha ha...my evil plan of converting all of my friends into knitters is slowly taking shape! First, Orange County. Next... THE WORLD! Mwahh ha ha ha!

Okay, so actually, it was just that a couple of friends want to start knitting and asked for a bit of guidance. They tempted me with the promise of gustatory goodies so really the choice was easy.

A bottle of wine, some lemon bars, and two segments of a knitting DVD later, we had some serious knitting action going on.

There were a few moments of consternation, but what is craft without a bit of a challenge?

J figured out her source of consternation and was soon happy happy joy joy again. She had some latent knitting know-how so she jumped right into making a log cabin blanket for her cats. Once she was refreshed on the knit stitch and binding off, I showed her how to pick up stitches and there was no stopping her!

C was equally impressive. She made several inches of progress on a scarf made from lovely sparkle yarn (which is also quite splitty...not an easy task, even for an experienced knitter!). Woo hoo, C! She also makes excellent lemon bars.

We also had some helpful assistants. M used to be a knitter, thanks to a seventh grade class called "Yarn Arts and Tea" (ah, the wonders of the Oregon public school system!).

M and Mr. Hipp brought us empanadas for dinner, cleaned up afterwards, and made witty conversation throughout.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Goodwill is Great

I have never had the heart to intentionally felt my own knits. Part of the appeal of hand knitting, to me, is being able to say, "I made that!" for each and every little stitch. The thought of rubbing those individual stitches -- worked so carefully by my own hands -- into undefined oblivion is, well, unbearable.

The crafting potential of felt, however, is quite bearable and even delightful. Betz White's work is full of felted cuteness.

So why is the Goodwill store great? Because you can get 100% wool, non-hand-knit sweaters for cheap. In other words, knits that can be felted without grief!

I got these two beauts for just $10 total:

The gray ribbed cardigan started at 21.5 inches across at the bust and 25 inches long from the shoulder to bottom seam. The fair isle pullover started at 24 inches across and 27 inches long.

After one run through the washing machine on hot with an old pair of jeans for extra agitation, they looked like this:

The parts around the seams and zipper felted unevenly and buckled badly. It looked like they had felted enough to keep from unraveling, so I cut out the seams and zipper to give the fabric a chance to re-felt as flat pieces.

It was interesting to see the anatomy of a raglan cardigan when the side and sleeve seams were cut:

The pieces are back in the wash right now. I can't wait to see how they turn out.

Now to decide what to do with all this felt. Cute is not enough. It must still be practical. A cupcake pincushion would be fun. My iPod could use a sleeve. A bag or scarf would be quick and easy to whip up.

Have any of you made stuff from felted recycled sweaters?

Do you have any ideas to share?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Eye Candy - Saturday This Time

How did I ever survive without the internet?

Our internet service has just returned after 36 hours. We had to find things to keep us distracted from our lack of access during this time: work, refrigerator bargain-hunting, a tennis tournament, and spending time with our Little Brother -- wait a minute, who has time for surfing the internet anyway?

But it is finally back. Woo hoo! Alas, Eye Candy Friday was again delayed.

So here's your candy for the week...as an epidemiologist, this sort of thing is tons of fun for me (click on picture for larger image):

It is a weekly morbidity and mortality report from an era gone by. I snapped this photo while taking the excellent tour of Plas Mawr in Conwy, Wales, last September. We do a similar report at my workplace that lists all of the reported infectious diseases for the week. While technology and knowledge in public health has advanced dramatically since this report was made, the same basic questions in epidemiology remain. When? How many? What caused it?

Notice the high number of plague cases (all deaths). What gets me are these two causes of death:

Broke her skull by a fall in the street at St. Mary Woel church......1



Cracks me up every time!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Slowly But Surely

Despite being too big to bring along to work and travel for some quality knitting time, progress is being made on the Knock Off bag. Things move fast on big needles and chunky yarn!

It is pretty floppy, just like the inspiration (I finally found a real picture of it). Mine was sort of big, so I threw in some decreases to narrow it down and also give it a slightly different shape than the strictly rectangular inspiration.

I am loving the chilly blue color and chunkiness of the Patons Up Country. But what's up with the splotches of dark blue that randomly pop up?

I guess that's what happens when you try to make something that costs $145 for yourself.

The question now is how to attach the handles. The inspiration piece has nice leather straps sewn directly to the knit fabric. I am worried that I won't be able to attach leather to chunky knit fabric in a way that will be as strong or as neat as the original. Anyone have any advice?

One cute alternative uses corduroy as a thick binding for the top edge with corduroy straps attached to it instead of to the knit fabric. I think that the corduroy binding will make a sturdier base for the straps since it will be attached to the knit fabric all the way around. The straps would essentially be anchored to the fabric by the binding instead of just in four attachment points. Has anyone tried anything similar? Any tips to share?

Hmmm, now that I see the inspiration again, I may have to make a second one when this one is done!

BTW, some people have had trouble leaving comments. I have changed it so that comments are no longer in pop-up window. I hope this makes it easier -- so leave a comment!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Eye Candy Fri...Um, Sunday

So I'm two days late with my Eye Candy Friday post. I was born two weeks late -- and would have been later if my mother hadn't insisted on being induced -- so I suppose I can argue that being late is part of my nature. That, and I had a very busy Friday and Saturday (busy but a whole lot of fun so I can't complain too much). Nature or environment? You decide.

And now to the Eye Candy!

Hey, isn't this just a progress shot of the Jaywalker socks? How can that count as Eye Candy?

Ah, Dear Reader, if only you had seen the state of the Jaywalkers just a few short days ago. I was near tears...tears, I tell you.

I was zooming on these socks. Even the uneven pooling didn't slow me down. These are FUN to knit, even with bitty sock yarn and size 1 needles. I thrilled at pulling out the blue Koigu again to make the heels. Oh and such pretty short-row heels they were, too!

When I picked up the main yarn again to connect the heel to the instep and continue up the leg, horror struck -- I had dropped a stitch on the instep side. Worse, it had laddered down almost an inch. In a hand knit sock, an inch feels like a mile.

The dropped stitch should have been incorporated into one of the double decreases in the pattern. I was not brave enough to rescue it it with a crochet hook while maintaining the pattern.
There was nothing I could do. I had to frog it back to below the dropped stitch. To add insult to injury, the stitch had dropped several rows below the start of the heel, so the whole pretty blue thing got frogged as well. Waaaaaaah!

Here is the poor little Jaywalker mid-frog.

But by Friday, all was well in Hippville once again. The offending stitch was rescued, the pretty blue heel was re-done, and the waterworks were thankfully averted.