I think I may have broken my July curse and it’s safe to write a blog post. We’ll see if I make it to the end of today’s entry without messing it up somehow. Just to be safe, today’s finished items are going to be a foray back into June.

First up, the great. I really, really like this little cardigan. It’s official name is Tain’s Welcome Cardigan, for my friend’s new little baby boy; however, it could also be called the I-had-lots-of-red-Baby-Ull-and-not-so-much-of-the-other-colors cardigan.


I based it on a cardigan I saw on a little girl in Trader Joe’s. Hers was pink with multi-color striped sleeves, some sort of fluffy polyester or nylon affair, the kind of yarn that makes it look like you’re wearing a bathmat. I filed that away in my brain and came up with this when the time was right. I knitted the sleeves first, then the red body from the bottom up, then joined it all together for the raglan decreases. I added the bottom ribbing and bands at the end and used a suspended bind-off. This is my first time using it and it was a rousing success: the bands are elastic yet hold their shape. I’ll have to remember it the next time I make a top-down hat.

Mostly-matching buttons finish the look:


Pattern: own
Yarn: Dale of Norway Baby Ull, 100% superwash wool, colors 4227 (red), 5755 (blue), 2908 (orange), 5135 (purple), 2317 (yellow)
Needles: US size 2 for the body and 1 for the ribbing
Size: about 9 months
Started 4/26 and finished 6/14/2010

Next on the list, the bad. This is a very bad bad bag. It has been a WIP for more than a year and I decided to concede victory to it. Don’t let this picture fool you; it’s basted within an inch of its life with black thread, mightily distorted from its actual shape so it only looks good on this exposed side, and arranged very strategically for its photo shoot:


Pattern: Small Origami Bag by Vicki Square, as published in Folk Bags
Yarn: Artfibers Sherlock, 75% merino and 25% silk, color I (black); Artfibers Minstrel, 63% mohair, 17% wool, 20% nylon, color 4 (brown/black/gray)
Needles: US size 3
Started 12/31/2009 (actually, August 2008 but I unraveled it then) and gave up in despair 6/26/2010

The square and i-cord were easy. Then came the two little tiny seams. I sewed those over and over until the yarn was shredded, and still the shape wouldn’t come together. Forget frogging it, this one went in the trash! The guilt over throwing away Artfibers yarn went away once the lid was shut. Take that, you bad bad bag!

And now, the lucky. Remember how I said July was cursed? The month started with a clackety-clack when the DVD drive on my computer failed on Independence Day weekend. I had torte design failure (see previous post) and hit major traffic on the way home from the visit. [The good part of that weekend was re-meeting our niece, who is nearing two years old. She took to me this time. I helped her dip her toes into the ocean, we played with the toys in the toy box and I read to her. I also got to re-meet my very active step-nephew and my brother and I played some Johnny Cash together on our guitars.] Then came so much equipment and software installation failure at work that it felt I had the Technology Death Touch. Kind of like the Vulcan Death Grip, only, you know, it makes hardware sleep.

So I decided to do laundry, something I’ve had lots of practice in and can make me feel successful. Fortunately, this hat, the Bird on a Wire hat that I’m so pleased with and spent so much time on, did not take a ride in the Dryer of Doom.

Brown side!


Blue side!


I am totally charmed by how the bird faces different directions on different sides of the hat.

Brown side!


Blue side!


OK, enough of that although I could go on. Back in January, I double-knitted it only to the top of the design, then worked the two sides separately, only to find my purl side (blue side) gauge completely off. In May I ripped it back and double-knitted it all the way up to the crown shaping and now it looks good. Here are the details:

Pattern: #15 Double Knit Hat, aka the Bird on a Wire Hat, by Elli Stubenrauch, as published in Vogue Knitting, Fall 2009 issue
Yarn: Dale of Norway Baby Ull, 100% superwash wool, color 3172 (brown) and 6714 (blue)
Needles: US size 1
Size: large adult
Started 1/3 and finished 6/26/2010 (it spent some time in gauge purgatory)

Back to 2 weeks ago: when I folded the laundry I thought the pile of shirts seemed small. It didn’t click until Monday morning that all my work undershirts and camisoles were gone. Someone stopped my running dryer, rifled through my things, fished out the good stuff (never fear: the beaten-up cleaning t-shirts are all still with me) and started the cycle again. How very rude.

So on Monday I was forced to shop, not my favorite activity unless it’s yarn or I am really in the mood. Hardware/software problems continued Monday and Tuesday, and when I went through the mail Tuesday evening I heard little tapping noises in the living room. I went to the kitchen to grab a nectarine and… bees! Live bees in my kitchen! Hundreds of bees hitting the kitchen and living room windows from the outside, hence the tapping noises. Want to see?

Bee Swarm's arrival

The swarm arrived Tuesday afternoon (my downstairs neighbors were in the yard when it came and took the photo shown above out their living room window) and set up shop in a hole in the wall up at my level. That’s my kitchen window in the picture. Stray bees are getting into my kitchen somehow. The only openings I see are tiny cracks around the tightly-closed window so I stuffed those with paper towels and still they get in. This is day 13 of BeeWatch 2010, with anywhere from 5 to 25 individuals in my kitchen during daylight hours. The first couple of hours after they arrive they are angrily buzzing against the window, trying to get out. So I don’t go in there until it’s been quiet for at least 20 minutes and I feel it’s safe to vacuum them up (I know, bad karma), meaning I don’t get to eat dinner until 8:30pm.

On sunny days they’re really active. I made my own Bee Movie from my living room last weekend:

The bee service finally came 2 days ago to remove the hive. They saw through the outer wall, find the queen and stick her in a hive box, then get the rest of the hive in there, and later patch up the wall. You don’t want to exterminate because bees perform a very important role in food production and several pounds of dead bees are very stinky, but you do have to get them out because the honey and wax can do serious building damage. All this activity stirred up the bees and I had a high bee count Friday night. Rather than face the kitchen’s guests yet again, I went out to dinner. I’ve gotten very jumpy whenever a small fly or a piece of lint drifts into my field of vision. The first 10 days I was able to face them but the last two nights my courage failed me completely. My very brave next door neighbor rescued me last night.

It’s just about lunchtime and I don’t hear any buzzing so it’s safe to make a proper meal, I hope. Maybe all the extra duct tape I put around the kitchen window’s seams early this morning is doing the trick. Although when I look out the window, no one’s going in or out of the opening in the side of the house, so maybe it’s too cold or they’ve given up on finding their hive here.

Either way, I am so grateful for a bee-free kitchen that I can hardly stand it and the first pair of socks for my mom is coming along. Perhaps my July curse is broken.

Tomorrow is Stitch & Pitch (go Giants!). I always wonder what it would be called for other hobbies. For weavers: Weave & Heave, kayakers: Row & Throw, tatters: Tat & Bat, bicyclists: Ride & Slide. Ha!