Category Archives: Project Spectrum

Not quite a dozen…

I totally miscounted – I had ten bibs finished for the baby shower on Saturday and decided that was a very good number indeed. Whew! (Ok, yeah, so I sewed on the last button about an hour before the shower started – what’s your point?!)

As soon as I had the bibs on the floor for a photo, Chaos took matters into his own paws.

“Ha!” -Chaos

“Give it up, Mom. I’m not getting off these bibs.” -Chaos

“No way, no how. I’m wise to you and your little bib racket.” -Chaos

“Well, crap. Since when do you hold another bib in reserve?!” -Chaos

“I can’t believe I fell for that one. I’m so ashamed.” -Chaos

And finally, some knitting

How perfect is this? I Can Haz Cheezburger is having a caption contest! C’mon, u noes u wantz to. Contest ends June 6, 11:59 pm – and it’s a black cat you’ll be captioning. You know you can do it!

Aw, Mayhem really appreciated all the sweet birthday wishes yesterday! For those who are wondering where the heck the year went, I didn’t get her until September last year. Whew! No lost summer of 2006 for y’all.

A few details I neglected to include in my dyeing post earlier this week… I used an assortment of base yarns – some left over from last year and some I was just curious about. I had a lot of Kona fingering superwash, some Schoeller Zimba Top (picked up on Destash from Jennifer), some Kraemer Jeannie, and a random skein of Malabrigo donated by Yarnzilla. So far, my favorite superwash fingering sock yarns to dye are Louet Gems Pearl, Wool2Dye4, and Treadsoft.

We use Country Classics acid dyes, which have citric acid mixed in with the dye – much less stinky than using acetic acid (the acid in vinegar). Our technique is pretty fancy – we mix the dye in plastic cups and pour it onto the yarn, trying to use the minimum amount of water that we can. Then wrap the yarn in plastic wrap and nuke the yarn to set the dye. Make sure you use dedicated utensils and containers for mixing the dye and nuking the yarn! You can use use your regular microwave, but make sure the yarn is well-sealed in plastic wrap and air out the microwave afterward. Wearing gloves is a really good idea, too, unless you want to be mocked at work for your technicolor hands. Right, Jeanne?

Knitting *gasp* Update
I’m part of Sockamania, and we’re supposed to be knitting a pair of socks each month. I loved May’s pattern, but I got distracted by other things and didn’t get very far. I got a lot less far than it looks in this picture, actually, since I’ve decided the heel is way too tight and I need to rip back and start the gusset earlier.

The yarn is Regia Bamboo, color 1072 – I picked it because it had the April-May Project Spectrum colors of pink and green. This sock is probably on hold until after I knit the June Sockamania sock.

I started another, simpler sock, which fortunately covers one of the April-May PS colors and one the June-July colors.

“Hmph. So what if it wasn’t my birthday? What am I, invisible?!” -Chaos

Nope, I didn’t dye that yarn – I picked it up before we really got into dyeing. It’s from ebay seller lotusblossom, but it doesn’t look like she has anything now with Treadsoft superwash as the base.

“Teeheehee, big kitty! I am the cutest!” -Mayhem

Iced java jacket pattern and Project Spectrum mix cd contest!

Project Spectrum
Last year, Anjo the Crafty Modster made and gave away awesome mix cds for each month/color combination of Project Spectrum. Alas, Anjo hasn’t posted since October (I hope she’s ok!), so Heather made the first two PS mixes this year and I will be making the second two.

The colors for June-July are red, black, and metallics – each song or artist will have one of these colors in title or name. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the cd, please send email to my contest email address by 6 pm CDT, June 1. Three winners will be randomly selected. Only entries sent to my contest email address will be included in the drawing! You will not receive a confirmation email back. You do not need to be participating in Project Spectrum to win a cd.

Curious about what music will be on the cd? Some of the artists include Okkervil River, the Builders & the Butchers, the Mountain Goats, Blue Skies for Black Hearts, Joseph Arthur, the Sad Little Stars, Pete Yorn, Joseph Plunkett & the Weight, Thin White Rope, and Radiohead. Hey, I have notoriously eclectic and obscure taste. 🙂

Knitting: Java Jacket Pattern
To avoid having cold, soggy fingers when drinking iced coffee drinks in the summer, I knitted some java jackets from leftover Cascade Fixation. I have one at home, one in the car, one in my purse – you get the idea!

It’s a quick pattern for those of you who drink iced coffee or 20-ounce bottles of soda. For cans of soda or beer bottles, I would recommend casting on fewer stitches.


  • Cascade Fixation or Elann Esprit
  • US size 4 dpns/long circular/two circulars, depending on your preferred method (or size to get an approximate gauge of 5 st/in)
  • Beginning of round (BoR) marker
  • Darning needle

Cast on 36 stitches for seed stitch border or 37 stitches for ribbing. Join by knitting the first and last stitch together and place BoR marker before this stitch: 35 stitches (seed stitch) or 36 stitches (ribbing) remain.

Knit 6 rounds of seed stitch or 2×2 ribbing. Knit 20 rounds plain. Knit 6 rounds of seed stitch or 2×2 ribbing. Bind off and weave in ends. My bind off edge is a bit tighter than my cast off edge, which works well with a tapered cup. If you are planning to use these on cans or other non-tapered beverage containers, make sure you bind off loosely.

For a change, the cats were completely uninterested in all of this.

“Birds!” -Mayhem

“Darned screen. We could so get those birds… although since we are on the third floor, maybe the screen is a good thing.” -Chaos

Please put on your sunglasses

Many, many thanks to everyone who sent such kind words yesterday. I hope that Mayhem responded courteously to you all! I’m feeling about the same – wiped out. Hopefully the lab work comes back soon so we know what sort of anemia (iron, B-12, folate) this is.

Trek has had a lifelong dream of reaching 145 comments on a single post. Toward that goal, leave a comment for her before June 1 with a suggestion about fun things she and her daughter can do over the summer. When lucky number 145 is reached, Trek will draw a random winner who will receive a mysterious but sure to be fabulous prize!

Brenda moved her blog and is having a contest to celebrate! Leave her a comment about what you named your blog and why. If you’re blogless, leave a comment with what you would name a blog. She’ll draw two winners on May 8 (also her eighth wedding anniversary) – you could win some Schaefer Anne or Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn.

KitKatKnit is trying to find the lentil soup recipe she and her college roommates used to make. Leave her a comment with the recipe by noon PDT, May 3 (when she has to shop), and you could win a hat pattern and the yarn to knit it with.

Reading Update
All Shall Be Well, Leave the Grave Green, Mourn Not Your Dead, and Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie. Continuing on with the Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma Jones mysteries. These are very well done and I will continue to read them – in order. 🙂

Knitting Update
I finished my Bird of Paradise slip stitch rib socks! These are from Sundara’s yarn, colorway Bird of Paradise (from her sock club). The stitch pattern is one round of K3, P1, followed by a round of K1, slip one as if to purl, K1, P1. The slip stitch ribbing makes great vertical stripes in yarns that have two colors alternating rounds. I had to tweak the colors a bit because it was very dark when I took the pictures – however, the colors are accurate. Hence the need for sunglasses…

“What, you don’t think I have better things to do with my time than sit here by your socks?! I have fan mail to answer, Mom!” -Mayhem

“Hee hee, May – better you than me! I’ll just lurk here unobtrusively in the chair… wait, was that the flash?!” -Chaos

I was awakened yesterday by…

…Mayhem chasing her tail on top of me. *oooof* Today started out inauspiciously when my espresso maker gave up the ghost…

Looks like the Yarn Harlot got a not-too-bad picture of me… If you’re looking for the Twin Cities “linkorama” Stephanie mentioned, here you go. Hey, our singing “O Canada” is available on You Tube! And here’s a link to the Strib article about the event.

Jenifer’s having a contest – guess what one-skein project she’s knitting and then share what your favorite one-skein project is (not from any of the one-skein books). Submit your entries by midnight, April 14, and you could win a mysterious prize.

Reading Update
Um, I haven’t apparently done a reading update for a while… Brace yourselves.

Maggie Needs an Alibi, Maggie by the Book, Maggie Without a Clue, and High Heels and Homicide by Kasey Michaels. Maggie Kelly writes mysteries set in Regency England. One day she turns around to discover that her hero, the dashingly handsome Alexandre Blake (the Viscount St. Just) and his amiable sidekick Sterling Balder have come to life and are standing in her living room… These aren’t terribly well written, but they are light and amusing.
Ready or Not? by Chris Manby. Light chicklit about a British radio producer who isn’t sure her fiance is right for her as the wedding approaches.
Out of this World by Jill Shalvis. More light chicklit (although significantly steamier than the previous title – *fans self*) about an LA muralist who inherits a mysterious B&B in remote Alaska.
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews. Quite possibly inspired or at least influenced by Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series, this book (possibly the first in a series? It has that feel) features magical mercenary Kate Daniels in an alternate future in which tech is in decline and magic ascendent.
Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath. Book one in a (so far) short series about insomniac Chicago police lieutenant Jacquelyn “Jack” Daniels. Sufficiently entertaining that I’m reading the second book and have the most recent book queued up. Please note that these are pretty gory at times.

Knitting Update
I finished my Regia Crazy Colors socks yesterday for my first completed Project Spectrum April/May project. Although it was a struggle, I resisted doing the Ms. Matchy Matchy thing.

*sniff sniff sniff* -C

*sigh* “She’s still not making the tuna and catnip socks I requested, May.” -C

“Ok, big kitty, then I won’t even bother to stop and check them out.” -M

I hope you’re all sitting down… oh wait, you’re at your computers. It should be ok.

Yay, KnittyMama! She actually got a decent picture of me from Wednesday night. 🙂 (Please note that I’ve been updating yesterday’s post with links to people’s pictures and tales as they’re available.)

Twitching about the upcoming Harry Potter book release? Maybe participating in the Hogwarts Sock Swap will help distract you for the next several months. You have until April 30 to join.

You can sign up for Jennie’s Sound Swap until April 11. However, number of participants is limited, so sign up early!

Julia is having a contest a day for the next week. Check in each day to see what the new contest is! Winners will be selected randomly on Friday, April 13.

Question for Those in the Twin Cities
Does anyone know where I could take an ASL class in the area?! The Minneapolis Community Ed class I was signed up for was canceled (even though it still appears on their website). I’m not interested in taking a college level course (even just auditing). Thanks for any leads!

Pet Food
Obsidian Kitten has some great posts about making your own pet food – definitely something to think about in the light of recent events.

Jeanne turned me on to a good blog for tracking the current pet food issue, as well as others that come up.

Knitting Update
Ready for a bit of color shock? I’ve been working on Project Spectrumesque socks that are a bit different than my usual colors, but this week has been so crazy, I haven’t had a chance to blog about them until now. You might’ve seen this first sock in some of the pictures from Wednesday night – it’s a plain stockinette sock, knit from Regia Crazy Colors. This sock has some black and purple in addition to the pink and red, so it isn’t too much of a stretch. (The purple bag with black cats on it was made by Trek!)

“I am much cuter than the kitties on the bag, of course. Oh, Addis – my favorite!” -M

The next sock is quite a bit further outside of my usual color range…

“Addis, Addis, tasty tasy Addis…” -M

That’s Sundara’s sock yarn in Bird of Paradise, the most recent colorway in the Petals Collection. Initially I tried a garter rib, because I wanted to avoid the less stretchy slip stitch rib in the pattern that came with the yarn. However, the garter stitch broke up the colors way too much. Here’s a shot of the sole (stockinette) – imagine this with much, much more color choppiness.

“Are you going to eat that entire Addi, May? Maybe you could save a little nibble for me?” -C

So I conceded that Sundara knew what she was doing, using slip stitches to pull the alternating rounds of color together. I didn’t use the same ribbing as in the pattern; instead, I decided to use R1: *K1, slip 1 (as if to purl), K1, P1*; R2: *K3 P1*. I like it. A lot. And I’ll probably try a variation of this ribbing on other socks in the future – as long as I remember to make my sock heel deeper to compensate for the slight loss in stretchiness.

How many RPMs can Lola run?

I finished binding off my STR Titania RPM socks last night as the credits rolled for Run Lola Run – a perfect finish for March FiberFlix! Plus, this pair of socks is my last project for February-March Project Spectrum.

Check out how much yarn I had left – that’s approximately 7 inches. Yeah, that definitely added to the excitement. To maximize my yarn usage, I knit each sock toe-up from the opposite ends of the ball.

The sock on the right was knit using the RPM pattern as written. For the sock on the left, I reversed the pattern, so the spirals go in opposite directions. The stitch pattern definitely “pops” more on the sock on the right – is it because the spiral goes the same direction as I was knitting? Or??

“Well, since Mom’s done knitting, I’m sure she won’t mind if I steal this little bit of yarn…” -M

“Eating yarn is very dangerous, Mayhem – don’t do it!” -me

This definitely isn’t my favorite STR colorway (it was a sock club selection last year). I’m not sure that teal, burgundy, olive, orange, rust, lavender, and light blue really work together. Interestingly, the yarn in the miniskein keychain that came with this skein is slightly darker and the colors work much better. (Um, yes, I might’ve been trying to calculate how much yarn I could get out of the miniskein, just in case…)

“Hmph. Meanie. You didn’t need to take away that yarn. I shall sulk.” -M

Another Project Spectrum FO

Lyssa is having a caption contest – caption the picture she took of a Japanese subway ad and you could win some random goodies from Japan.

I’m a little in shock about how warm it’s been. It’s nice, but weird, if that makes any sense. Put it this way – my SIL laid down the law to my brother today: No turning on the air conditioning in March or April because hello! this is Minnesota. 🙂

Reading Update
Silenced by Syrah by Michelle Scott. The Nikki Sands mysteries aren’t particularly well written, but I keep reading them anyway… Nikki works and lives on a vineyard in the Napa Valley and has a slightly complicated love life.
Stately Pursuits by Katie Fforde. This rather predictable romance was a quick and pleasant read. Broken-hearted Hetty takes care of her uncle’s dilapitated country house while her uncle recuperates from an operation. The novel features plenty of cozy British village life. This was one of my alternates for the TBR Challenge.
Out of the Deep I Cry, To Darkness and To Death, and All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming. The most recent three Reverend Clare Fergusson and Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne novels were as well-written and suspenseful as the first two, and the sexual tension remained thick enough to cut. *fans self* I hope Ms. Spencer-Fleming is writing the next book… *taps toe impatiently*

Knitting Update
The Mata Hari Meilenweits are done! Although I usually love knitting with Meilenweit, I think this was a very old skein (of course, I have no idea when or where I purchased it…). The yarn was thinner than usual for Meilenweit and it was kind of hairy – strange white hairs sticking out of the yarn. Not the most pleasant stuff to work with, but the socks are fine – and very Project Spectrum, no?

*yawn* “More socks?” -M

I modified the pattern to be slightly less lacy (and therefore warmer). My pattern notes are cryptic, but I did cast on 72 stitches. The pattern row was *yo, k2tog, k7*, moving over one stitch with each pattern row. I think I knit five plain rows between every pattern row. Fortunately, the hairiness doesn’t show up in the pictures!

In that first picture, May was on her way to the window to conduct important Mayhem business.

*chitter chitter chitter* “Birds!! Birds!!” -M

“I could’ve had that one!” -M

Tired Tuesday

Teyani is having a contest to celebrate her new blog home! Leave a comment by midnight PST on 3/15 and you could win two skeins of Sock Hop yarn.

KnitNZu is having a contest – her 250th commenter will win two skeins of fingering weight Claudia’s Handpainted.

And remember – I’m having a contest! Leave your comments at the contest post by 5 pm CDT, March 19. And if you haven’t stopped by and read the comments – what are you waiting for? They’re brilliant! I hope everyone is having as much fun leaving comments as I am reading them.

Reading Update
Death of a Butterfly by Margaret Maron. I love the Sigrid Harald books, but they’re older and hard to find at my library or used bookstores…
Murder with Peacocks and No Nest for the Wicket by Donna Andrews. More Meg Langslow mysteries! I realized while reading Murder with Peacocks (the very first Meg mystery) how rare it is that I laugh out loud while reading. In Murder with Peacocks, Meg is home for the summer, doing all the grunt work for the three weddings (!!!) in which she is the maid of honor. No Nest for the Wicket (the most recent book) features an eXtreme croquet match…
24 Declassified: Veto Power and 24 Declassified: Cat’s Claw by John Whitman. Hee hee – really, not a lot to say about these. I guess they’re a guilty little not-so-secret pleasure. 😉

Knitting Update
I finally knit my little blanket for HollYarns and Cyrano’s Creature Comforts Drive over the weekend. (You have plenty of time – the deadline is June 2.) I’ve been meaning to and meaning to… and then I realized that my yarn was perfect for the current Project Spectrum color theme. Yup. That was all it took to get me knitting… Anyway! This is about 24″x24″ – I cast on 65 or 66 stitches of doubled Encore worsted on a US13 needle and knit until I had a square. This fortunately coincided pretty closely with running out of yarn. 🙂

*streeeeeeeeeetch* -M

I wish I’d taken the following picture at a higher resolution, so that you could see how long May’s little kitty eyelashes are. Awwww….

“What?! This isn’t staying here for moi?! Hmph. How can everything always be mine if this isn’t?” -M

Of Meilenweit and Mayhem

Aija is having a contest to celebrate her Space Invaders-themed socks appearing in the new knitty! Contribute a few lines to the Choka and you could win some really great stuff from etsy!

KnitWit Kelly is having a contest to help her find her knitting inspiration again – leave a comment by March 13 telling her why you knit, and you could win some yarn, music, and a bracelet!

Recently, I picked up some new Meilenweit Meeting because I thought it looked like a nice Project Spectrum color combination. Unfortunately, after I started knitting it, I realized I hated the colors. The blues slightly clash and there’s not enough grey or black to balance that (for me, at least). So I ripped out this fledgling sock Wednesday evening. (Hopefully none of you got too attached to it.)

“I can see an Addi!” -M

I turned to my stash and discovered some Meilenweit Fun that had plenty of blue and grey to qualify for Project Spectrum. I’m using Craftaholic’s Mata Hari socks pattern (not the charted pattern in that link – it’s explained in text a bit further down). I took these pictures right before ripping the sock back so I could knit another plain row or two between the lace rows so the socks will be a bit warmer and, well, less lacy.

“Maybe if I am very, very sneaky…” -M

“See how sneaky I am? Look out, Addi – you are mine!” -M