Zarzuela Knits and Crochets
My blog about my knitting, crocheting, and anything else I feel like ranting about!

Came back from Memphis...

With a sinus and ear infection! Yucky.
Thanks for all the comments on Samus. I will get back to you all as soon as I have my computer back (it's in NJ at the moment) and I can do more than go to work and come home and eat soup and take drugs of the oral and nasal kind (prescribed of course).
I really wish I had more sick time...
Your regularly scheduled blog will return upon recovery.

Samus completed!

It's taken a good long time, but here is my completed


Pattern: Samus from Knitty.com
Yarn: Lamb's Pride worsted (what the pattern actually called for!)
Needles: Size 8 Addi Turbos (of course)
Knit: Approximately Oct. 23, 2005 - Feb. 9, 2006 (closure added a week later)

Love this sweater, love this yarn and love this pattern! I want to thank the designer for such a wonderful, error free pattern (my sleeve issues were my own making). This was a really nice knit and I do like the way it turned out. I decided to go with a single hook type closure because the knitted frog closure thing just wasn't working out and I didn't want to try my hand at zipper installation this time around. I like the way my Sitcom-Chic came out so much, that I thought this kind of closure would work for this too. I've already worn this to work and I think I'm going to get a lot of use out of it. If nothing else, it sure is W-A-R-M! We haven't had much winter this year, but I think this will be a wardrobe staple in winters to come. I may even wear it as a jacket in the spring!

Postcards from Graceland...


I arrived in Memphis yesterday and got to go on a tour of Graceland today. Just wanted to share some pictures.

Entrance to the attractions

Front of the House


Family pictures


Jungle room

(complete with green shag on the floor AND ceiling!)

The T.V. room

This one is for HWJF (He likes pool)

A few awards and costumes in the Racquet Ball court

One of the cars

(Elvis would apparently buy you a car if you ran into him at the Cadillac dealership!)

The Gravesite in the meditation garden

Definitely a very interesting place and actually quite a modest home considering what similar celebrities live in today.
Now I'm off to MLA's opening reception!
Next time... another finished object and more pictures from Memphis! See you then!

Fair Isle burnout

This Olympic Knathlete is finished with her Olympic games and has come home with double gold!

Apparently, I still haven't figured out what a real challenge for me might be:

Snowflake Bag

Pattern: Snowflake Bag from Vogue Knitting's "Bags and Backpacks"
Yarn: Lamb's Pride worsted in sapphire and Periwinkle (1 skein each)
Needles: Size 7 addi turbos
Knit: Feb. 13-18, 2006

I made several modifications to this pattern. I didn't like the cables at the top, so I took them out completely. Halfway through the project I discovered that the fair isle patterning was only on one side and the back was seed stitch, which is probably why it was originally done in two pieces (way to read the directions before jumping in!). Instead of that, I knit the bag completely in the round, I did all four charts, two on each side, twice using charts 1-4 for the bottom row and the same charts in reverse for the top row. After the three rows of seed stitch after the second row of charts was done, I bound off the three stitches on each side and knit back and fourth, reducing four stitches at the end of each row until 25 stitches remained. I then knit in stockinette for 11 rows before binding off and sewing the resulting flap over the bamboo handles that I bought at Joann's (on sale and with a coupon!).

I took a couple of progress pictures while I was knitting this. The contrast of the colors is better on them so you can more clearly see the actual fair isle patterning:

I'm fairly pleased with how this turned out. It could probably use a cloth lining, but seeing as how I don't have a sewing machine and I hate sewing in general (I always say that's why I knit and crochet!), it ain't happenin'!

And since it did come out fairly well, I've decided to donate it to the silent auction at this weeks MLA conference. I really need another knit bag like I need a hole in the head and I made this more for the technique experience than the want of the actual bag.

Speaking of the technique experience, I'm definitely excited that I can now say "I can do Fair Isle", but I think I'm done with it for a while. By the time I was done with the second row of charts on this I kept thinking "I'd really like to just knit now". I think the acrobatics of using one color of yarn in each hand was getting old, and it's a bit difficult to manipulate on the train. So just knitting is what I will be doing for a while now. There are no fair isle projects on my horizon, but we all know how fast that can change!

So what will I be doing next? Well, since I take off for Memphis tomorrow, traveling knit time calls for small projects and things to read.

The new Interweave, the new Yarn Harlot book, Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress" (I loved the Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons so why not) and Jaywalker's for me and another pair of toe-ups for HWJF. A baby blanket for a college friend whose shower is March 12th may get thrown into the mix too. I hope that's enough to keep me entertained for the week. If not, I've already found a local yarn shop to visit one day so I should be set.

What can you expect for the next couple of weeks on the blog? A shocking parade of finished objects, more of the super secret project diary, and perhaps an Elvis sighting or two. See you in Memphis!

Diary of a Super Secret Project. Part I.

Day 1

Yarn and needles finally come together. Long-tail cast-on. 30 stitches? That should do. Stockinette stitch. Time passes. Time to measure. 5 stitches to the inch. Perfect!! Swatch unravels. Check the pattern. This size. "Cast-on 110 stitches". Damn. Not enough tail. Try again. Ok. A little too much left over, but not bad.

Need an edging. Two by two? One by one? Yeah. That works. One by one. How many rows? Lets try four. That looks about right. That should do. Switch to stockinette. Purl on the wrong side. 4 rows done. 10 rows done.

End of day 1 - 1 ball done. 6 inches long.

Day 2

Stockinette stitch. Lots of stockinette stitch. Keep knitting. Got a deadline. Better make it fast. Keep reading and keep knitting. Oops. Better make sure to hide.

End of day 2 - 2nd ball nearly done. 14 inches long.

Day 3

Many more miles of stockinette. 14 inches. Now 14.5. Now 14.5 (wtf?!). Finally 16. BO 5 at the beginning of next two rows. BO 3 at the beginning of next two rows. Woops. Look at the time. Got to get home and hide.

Day 4
More stockinette. And more stockinette. Finally 10 inches. BO 8 at beginning of next two rows 3 times. Bind off the rest. Yes! Front done. On to the back.

To be continued....


Hope everyone had a Happy Valentine's Day. Mine was very nice indeed.

Finding the time to blog lately has been difficult. But only because of good things so I can't complain. Last Saturday I did this:

After three months we have finally managed to move all of HWJF's stuff to NJ. There was actually very little in that Uhaul. Only the things that were too big to fit in his car. It was unload in 15 min. max when we arrived in NJ. And if you heard about the weather in this part of the world last weekend, you know that we arrived none too soon. As we were unloading it was beginning to snow. Next morning we awoke to a raging storm that dumped about 18 inches. Good thing I had planned to head to work from NJ on Monday anyway! Of course when I got to NYC, this is what I had to walk through:

Not fun at all.

Since HWJF didn't have to go to work because of the weather, Sunday was spent indoors watching movies and just relaxing in general. And of course there was some serious knitting to be done. Which brings me to...

Olympic Update

Seems that there was a bit of underestimation in the air last weekend. Everyone underestimated how much snow would actually fall, and I underestimated the time it would take to knit my Olympic project. Of course I hadn't planned on getting snowed in for a day, but it certainly helped. And thanks to comments left by Beth and Katy, I get a gold medal!

Fair Isle Headband

Pattern: Telemark headband from Bea Ellis Knitwear
Yarn: Peer Gynt wool and some cotton (included in kit)
Amount: 2 balls of wool and 1 ball for the cotton lining
Needles: Size 2 and 4 Addi Turbos
Dates:Feb. 10-13, 2006

This was so much fun to knit! (Thanks for the present Sami!) I wasn't particularly fond of working with the cotton yarn for the lining because it was so slick and splitty, but the results were well worth it. The cotton yarn starts and ends the project so that it can be folded over and sewn together to create a "no-itch" lining. Here it is before seaming:

The directions were easy to follow and the chart would have been easier to follow if I had been smart enough to bring my magnetic board with me. It might also have helped if I had reversed the colors as that would have matched the chart better. Overall I really like how it worked out. I hope to get a modeled shot to share sometime this weekend.

So I obviously have a lot of time left before the games are over. And this underestimation situation has really opened my eyes. It seems to be a theme with me in several areas of my life. So in the spirit of challenge I've decided to add this to the mix:

It's the "Snowflake Bag" from Vogue Knitting's book Bags & Backpacks. I'm doing it in contrasting colors of Lamb's Pride worsted. I didn't want to do the fair isle in the flat, so I've altered the pattern so that it can be made in the round, with just a seam at the bottom and (probably) for the handles. After one false start (just call me Captain Math Impaired), I'm on my way. I've already added two major screw-ups design elements to the pattern, but I think it will work out ok.

I'm also thinking about felting it. Any thoughts on what that might do to the fair isle work? Would I be totally destroying it or will it be really cool? I'm thinking about donating the finished object to the silent auction at the upcoming MLA meeting, so I want it to be good!

Speaking of which, I leave for Memphis, TN for a week next Tuesday. If anyone has been in or lives in that area and can recommend a "must see" yarn shop, do let me know! I'll be staying at the Peabody downtown so I'm hoping public transport will be cheap and available.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I cast on for a pair of Jaywalkers in the lag time between finishing something else and waiting for the Olympics to start. Here's how they look now:

I think they might be too big for me. I'm using Trekking XXL and a size two needle. This may end up being plane knitting, but it may also have to be frogged to be redone with a size one needle. I'll keep you posted.

And just because I can, I leave you with a couple of sky pictures I recently took in my travels. Both happen to be in the Princeton area of NJ. More to come as I continue to play with my new camera:

Coach? Are you out there?


Now that blogger seems to have recovered from whatever went on this weekend I can post again. Spent some quiet time this weekend doing the mundane things I don't get to during the week and finishing up the knitting on Samus. Also managed to get out with the girls for dinner Saturday night since HWJF couldn't get back to CT from NJ until late. Sunday was the Super Bowl and that always means a sale at the LYS. Now I didn't really *need* anything, but HWJF nearly insisted we take a look. We had tried to go there on another Sunday looking for some more sock yarn for him, but it was closed, so we thought it might be good to give it another try and what better excuse than a sale? There was happily an Eklecktica sighting included in the shopping, and after much debating we finally came home with this:

No point in trying to get the cat head out of the picture when it's just sock yarn right?

HWJF was quick to pick out this color for himself. But why two skeins?

We are going to have matching socks. (Yes. We are dorks.)

He insisted that I get something for myself and I liked this color too so that's what we ended up with. Mine are going to be done first since he got the last pair...unless I finally get going with a pair of Jaywalkers. I am horrified to report that I do not have a single pair of socks on the needles at the moment. I find this very disconcerting. Then again, that could be because the Olympic preparations are in high gear.

My first Fair Isle!



I'm so totally excited about this! I did it on the train ride home on Monday. It's like I've finally been admitted to the cool kids club or something. I can knit with color in more than stripes!

Of course it is far from perfect:

See how it's kind of bunching up there? Now, granted, the two yarns are not exactly the same. One is Knitpicks Wool of the Andes and the other is Merino Style. The merino is a bit lighter so that could be part of the tension issue. The other major problem I think is that this area is where the divide of the two sides were. I do everything in the round with the magic loop technique and this is the first instance where it seems to be failing me.

So my questions are these: Is it possible to do this using magic loop or will I need to suck it up and get the 16 inch circular needle? (Remember I'm making a headband and the games start Friday night!) Did the yarn actually effect the tension or is it just me (which is what I pretty much figure)? If I can do this with the magic loop, how can I avoid this problem between the two sides?

I hope I'm explaining my problems here clearly. I really hope there are some willing Fair Isle coaches out there that will help me out!

To digress a bit...

Back on Sunday I also washed a blocked the pieces to Samus. Here they are pinned out and drying:

There wasn't enough room on the bed for all of it. And now I know why. When I went to seam it up Monday night, I tried on the body and it fit great! The sleeves on the other hand...

The bottom one is the original length and the top on is the one I had to re-knit. A bit of a difference no? I've never done anything with cap-sleeves before so when the pattern said "knit until __ inches or desired length to underarm" that's what I did. My wrist to armpit measurement was a good deal longer than anything the pattern said and that should have been the first clue. You can see the results above. A little quick math and I now have one sleeve that is the right length. The second is fixed and sewing shall now commence. That's the plan for train entertainment today anyway.

Now I just have to figure out how to close it....

Many random things...

[Thanks to blogger being a complete putz, this post is being released long after it should have been. Thanks for reading it anyway.]

First, many thanks for all the nice comments about my first to FO's of the year. HWJF was particularly impressed with the sock comments. :) Hopefully there will be a few more FO's to share soon. But as usual, times flies at an astonishing pace these days. Here are many random things that will hopefully catch me up to the present.

1. Went to visit my parents in NY on Saturday [over a week ago now]. Had to wait until HWJF was done with work and drive to NJ to pick him up (no... NJ is not remotely in the same direction...it's complicated...don't ask). I had previously learned through the NJ SnB list that Treasure Island in HWJF's mall was going out of buisness and they had YARN! Despite my precarious financial situation of late, I had to take a peek. I should have ran when I saw only two people working checkout and a line almost to the back of the store, but I had time to kill so why not look. To make a long story short, I ended up with this:

I've been dying to get the sweater book and the yarn is for the bambino one of my college roommates will be birthing in just a few months. Best part, the entire purchase ended up being only $25 (and considering the book usually cost more than that alone, I think I done good).

2. Went to my parents house after this wonderful find. HWJF finally met my Dad (he'd already met my Mom). They got along just fine as I had expected. Breakfast Sunday morning consisted of French Toast and LOTS of bacon. All were happy. Returned to CT on Sunday night.

3. Went back to work on Monday. HWJF took the train back to NYC with me and then went on to NJ alone.

Things that have nothing to do with the first three.

4. I've started [now finished!!] a Super Secret project that you will find the progress of over in the sidebar. The project is keeping a journal. Yes, the project, not me. When it is closer to reveal time I will post the journal in two parts, maybe more. Stay tuned.

5. Found a new knitting podcast that I like so far. It's called About-Time (the link will take you to the website) and features interesting music and interviews. There have only been three episodes so far, but I've really enjoyed the last two (the first one was mostly Xmas stuff and it's a little late for that).

6. I've found that by going through either of these sites I can listen to podcasts at work (despite the fact that our computers are in some kind of downloading "lockdown". I don't have a clue what that means other than I can't change my preferences in the cataloging software which makes no freeking sense). Kind feels like I'm cheating by virtually knitting while I work. I love that.

7. Adam Curry is growing on me. I think it's because his podcast talks about alot of the geeky tech stuff behind podcasting. Otherwise I think he's kind of a self-serving twit.

8. I have resolved NOT to start my own podcast. My voice is weird and I just don't have time for one-more-thing.

9. I found a great website for Fair-Isle knitting instruction (that was mentioned in a podcast...wish I could remember which one) that has a video of someone actually DOING it several different ways. Definitely check it out if you decided to join the Fair Isle team for the knitting olympics. This, unfortunately, has been my only "training" so far. I hope to resolve that soon (must finish the Super Secret Project and Samus first!).

10. There is apparently now a Connecticut Team for the knitting olympics! Go over to to Marla's blog to get your button if you're interested!

That's it for now. I've got thoughts of a poll and a contest in the pipeline coming soon [if blogger doesn't f(@#%*% eat my posts again]. Talk amongst yourselves...