Harry Potter Obsessed

I spent a long time working at home at my desk last night. Ever since high school, I’ve needed “white noise” in the background. Too much silence (like in a library) and I absolutely cannot focus. My favorite background noise lately has been any of a variety of podcasts. Last night I had a PotterCast marathon. If you’re a fan of the books, you probably already know about it — the podcast of the fansite “The Leaky Cauldron.” If you’ve never heard it, listen to a few new ones, then get the back episodes so you can follow all the inside jokes.  You can download either from the site or from the iTunes music store.

My FO is a Hogwarts Scarf in Gryffindor colors, pattern from Atypically Knits. It’s in Lamb’s Pride and has 19 stripes. I tried to finish it in time for the release of the last book, but at 3 minutes a row, knit in the round, it wasn’t gonna happen.


Afghans for Afghans NYC Event

I have a kewl event to share! I’m on the yahoo list for a charity called “Afghans for Afghans” which sends warm handknit/crocheted items to Afghanistan in a huge container several times a year. Here’s some info about a public event to benefit the group. Again, I wish I lived in/near NYC!


Afghans for Afghans is a humanitarian and educational people-to-people project that sends hand-knit and crocheted blankets and garments to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan.



Dear Knitters and Crocheters for Afghanistan,

We think you will enjoy reading about this knitting-related exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City:

The link should work for a couple more days for free (then becomes available to subscribers).

You will read about artist Sabrina Gschwandtner, who created an installation where knitters are knitting for Afghanistan and for convalescing troops. The finished wool blankets will be donated to afghans for Afghans. We were surprised to learn that we’re part of her art work! Something different! A creative and unusual way to get people involved and to promote discussion.

Would you like to be a “performer” in Sabrina’s art piece?

For those in the NYC area … Sabrina invites knitters to email her to
schedule a time to stop by the museum and knit squares to be assembled into blankets for Afghanistan. Sandra offers free museum admission to participants. Themuseum is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm and until 8 pm on Thursdays. You’llhave to talk to Sabrina to find out more! Please email Sabrina directly at: Sabrina@knitknit.net

In addition to being an artist, Sandra is founder of KnitKnit magazine. Sheis lecturing on the evening of March 15. The museum’s website has more details:

And, if you do attend, please email us! We’d love to hear all about Sabrina’s installation and the other works in the show.


My FOs for the day are the two pairs of Crusoe socks I knit in different yarns. First, the pastel: idena Bambino Ull 100% merinoull Superwash, “spunnet Italy for AS Knapperhuset” (Swedish? Norwegian?)



The second: my go-to Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM), P102, lot 122, 100% merino, not superwash but machine-washable nonetheless. The pastel’s cuffs were a little too short (I got impatient), so I made a “do-over” with longer cuffs in the Koigu. Both fit like a charm and the stranded pattern shows off the color varigation.


RogueTess, happy it’s sock-wearing weather…

Knitting from Stash

I’m being bombarded with messages from the universe to STOP buying new yarn and knit from my stash! OK, so maybe I’m just projecting…. (1) I listened to the latest Cast On podcast in which Brenda Dayne (whom I admire on so many levels but mostly for her knitting wisdom) talked about this issue. She said there are even contests on various blogs to commit to knitting from stash for a month, 6 months, a year. In a nod to human nature, most have some kind of escape clause, such as the sock exception and one get-out-of-jail-free pass. (2) A knitting group road trip to a warehouse sale appears to be postponed until further away from payday, so as to minimize temptation. (3) I tripped over some of my existing project bags trying to get to my desk for some essential work. (4) And the guilt simply surrounds me….


This is actually a GOOD thing, right? I mean, I love my stash — I should pay attention to it and not allow my eyes to stray to seductive new yarn. OK, just to get myself motivated, I’m posting a picture. No, this is not my stash. This is not even my projects already on the needles (the ones I tripped over). It’s just the corner near my desk of project bags that already have a pattern in a page projector and the necessary yarn in center pull balls inside of them. I resolve to complete at least two before I buy more yarn. Pinky swear….


Rogue Tess

Getting Back on the Horse (or Snowboard)


During yesterday’s XGames in Colorado, history repeated itself with a hot, talented snowboarder named Lindsay Jacobellis. She’s best known for blowing a sure Olympic gold medal with a showboating move that made her fall and allowed the second place boarder to slide ahead of her. Same thing yesterday!

Speculation in my family is that she was trying to shake off the Olympic demon, to prove that she could take the gold cleanly. Ironically, she has won gold in several events since the Olympics, but her slip-up is all the press can focus on.

IMHO it’s morbid human nature. People would rather watch the train wreck than the triumph. Why can’t we as humans focus on the good instead of obsessing about mistakes?

How does this relate to knitting? OK, it’s a little convoluted but let me try: Knitters overly obsess about their train wrecks rather than their triumphs. Like some of my friends, I sometimes have a hard time accepting a genuine compliment about a garment I’ve knitted that I know contains mistakes. The untrained eye sees a lovely sweater in a flattering color on the knitter wearing it. But the knitter knows where stitches were added or dropped, where the seams are uneven, etc. Sometimes I frog an unbelievable amount because I don’t want to wear a garment with an error I know would exist.

My FO for today is my Blaze in Knit Picks Andean Treasure, designed by Jenna Adorno for Knitty. I love that’s it’s done entirely in the round and the only seaming is at the underarms. I started it, with its challenging cable, before I had the skills to figure out what it should look like in process. I can’t tell you how many times I frogged back — thank God for lifelines! It still has a couple of problems, but I think I’m done obsessing.

Rogue Tess

“Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting” exhibit

Check out this NY Times article on an exhibit in the Museum of Arts and Design (formerly the American Craft Museum) in NY. It’s critical of the exhibit for NOT having more actual knitting, crocheting, etc., but rather pieces in other media that mimic the effect of lace and woven/hand-constructed fabric. Still, if I somehow find myself in NY before June 17, I would like to visit it. I like how the critic wanted the exhibit to address more how crafts have exploded and transformed the modern perceptions about traditional activities.

My FO for this post, a somewhat political statement, is my Hopeful sweater in pink Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. For every pattern she sells on her website for $5, she donates $6 to breast cancer research. A real win-win, right?! I also knit this in October, 2005, Breast Cancer Awareness Month — very cosmic, IMHO. It’s hard to tell from these pix, but my stitches changed after I ended the in-the-round section and started regular stockinette. I think my purl tension is just different from my knit tension. Since I started to knit combination (per Annie Modesitt’s instructions), my tension for both stitches is much more even. At first I didn’t like the irregular look, but now I’m philosophical. And if anyone looks closely enough to notice, I just say “I meant to do that!”  BTW, the Hopeful Knitalong suggests different ties, butI prefer the original design which looks like the  pink ribbon symbol of Breast Cancer Awareness.


Hopeful onHopeful detail

New Media and Cold Weather Gear

I’ve been catching up on past episodes of one of my favorite tech podcasts, Cranky Geeks. One episode talked about “new media,” broadly how websites and blogs and sites like YouTube have challenged the old school print and TV media. The cranks agreed that most of what’s out there is basically drek, but one commentator observed that personal blogs with rambling posts and amateurish videos are NOT intended to be high art that seeks a broad audience. Some poll in fact confirmed that most bloggers’ purpose is simply to document personal thoughts and experiences for themselves, their families and friends. IMHO, this and most knitting blogs fall into that category. So there, Cranky Geeks!


I’m in the mountains right now, enjoying some of my warmer knitted items. Below is one of the first hats I completed when I resumed knitting about 4 years ago. It’s a Scalloped Brim hat out of Colinette Point Five Thick and Thin in the Monet(?) colorway. I think it took just over one skein. The thick and thin structure is what creates the scalloped caston edge.


Naturally, I have some socks, Jaywalkers in a Lorna’s Laces custom color for Purl Soho, pink and white.




I’m also wearing an Hourglass Sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (one of my favorite yarns REGARDLESS of the actual cashmere content) in a sort of dusty rose colorway. Hooray (occasionally!) for cold weather!





Hourglass Pattern

Value and Stash

This morning my daughter quoted a newspaper article that UCLA had the highest number of undergraduate applications in the universe, or some such. Obviously this means more people applied there than Harvard or Stanford (yay!) or even UC Berkeley. It made me muse on the notion of “value.” UCLA is a great school (I went there for grad school) AND it’s got low tuition for state residents AND it’s got weather second only to UC San Diego AND it’s in an amazingly diverse and vibrant geographic community. If you want to sun, surf (yay!), snowboard, attend movie premieres, be in movies, eat weird food, hobnob with rich people, hobnob with social justice people, visit theme parks, travel to Mexico or Hawaii, this is a fabulous location and UCLA is a fabulous school.


It all depends on what you value. UCLA is one of my daughter’s top college choices for all of the above, not the least of which is bang for your buck. If we could afford it, we would “value” one of the elite private universities more, even if she had to travel back east. But we have other priorities for that money. If we valued social and business connections more, we’d send her to USC in a heartbeat because of the contacts we/she already have and the potential career help she’d get in the future. But we prefer living in the moment and allowing her to make choices about what will matter to her in her future.


Getting long-winded here … my point is just that I’m weighing what I value more carefully and intentionally these days because money, time, and quality of life are precious commodities. What does this have to do with knitting?!?!?!?! Stash. I wasted so much time this weekend looking for my one ball of cashmere because my stash is out of control. I realized that half of it is castoffs from someone else’s stash! WHY am I hanging onto novelty yarn in colors I don’t even like that much? Because it was free. But how much “value” does free stuff really have if it’s costing me time and storage space and ease of mind?


OK — note to self, all the novelty yarn is already mostly in one bin. When I have time (yeah, that’ll happen!), I will ruthlessly cull out yarn that I cannot imagine enjoying knitting with or wearing or even giving away to strangers in a knit-for-charity item.


Whew! I love how knitting contains all the deep metaphors of life. No one blends the two better in my mind than Brenda Dayne in her podcast Cast On. I want to be Brenda when I grow up, at least the insightful-writer-living-in-picturesque-Wales Brenda. She can be found in iTunes and her website is http://www.cast-on.com. (Gotta learn how to do those tags, links, HTML thingies!)


My FO for this post, in honor of our unseasonably cold weather, my fingerless gloves, Cigar from Knitty.com in Koigu KPPPM, a washable 100% merino (great for socks!). I had another pair in Misti Alpaca Baby Alpaca, a lovely eggplant color, but I lost them!


May you only experience what you value in your life….



Koigu Cigar on

Snowballs and FO Clapotis(es?)

Greetings to pheangeance, my first commenter on my first day! I haven’t even told my family about this blog yet, much less my knitting buddies. I’m amazed you found me….

“Snowballs” refers to effect I expected once I actually started a blog. No dipping in the pinky-toe with this stuff — once you dive in, ya gotta more-than-dog-paddle to keep afloat. I’m immersing myself in this new language and etiquette and, I must admit, it’s daunting! Fun, but … I don’t want to mess up. I keep telling myself, “No worries! No blood involved!” Yet the perfectionist in me still obsesses…. Plus it takes so much time!

My FOs pictured below are my three Clapotis, the iconic pattern by Kate Gilbert published at knitty.com. Does one say “Clapotises”? In French the singular and plural would look the same, but … I dunno…. The first was done according to the pattern in Knit Picks Shimmer, doubled, in Grape Hyacinth. I didn’t like the speckled effect until I kept the colors of the strands together and it pooled in a pretty way. I think the presence/absence of flash altered the colors in these photos. I gave this Clapotis to my wonderful saint of a mother-in-law.

Mom’s ClapotisWearing Mom’s Clapotis

The second in the purply colorway is my own from Mango Moon recycled sari silk. It, too, is to pattern, but the yarn is much wider, heavier, stickier. It was a PAIN to drop, but otherwise I absolutely loved the process of making it. When I wear it, I think, of all places, of Costa Rica because I knit a large chunk of it on the beach at Santa Teresa. As I knitted, I imagined all the women before me whose hands had worked the silk, woven it, sewn it into a sari, wore the sari, unwove it, washed and spun it back into yarn, then finally marketed and sold it to me. I hope it turns into a treasure to be handed down in the generations of my family. This


is a link to a photo of my Clap from Squeeze OC, an online magazine that covered a wonderful performance art event last year where we stitched and bitched and watched knitting on 8 foot needles and toured an art gallery, all in the same evening.

Mango Moon Clapotis

The latest, finished just last week, is in Caron’s Simply Soft for an old friend of my husband’s who is chronically ill. To be perfectly honest, I think I’m trying to atone for bad karma years ago when I considered her competition for my husband’s affections (he was soft of with her when we met). Is a soft (machine-washable!) and warm, handmade Clapotis enough to cancel out the bad vibes I sent into the universe? Anyway, I hope she likes it….Caron Simply Soft Clapotis

Rogue Tess

Caron Simply Soft Clapotis purl detail

Twisted Float Cardigan FO

One of the main reasons I felt compelled to start a blog now is my ever-increasing pile of FOs (finished objects) that I want to photograph, show off, then send to their intended recipients. Below is a detail of my Twisted Float Cardigan, designed by Annie Modesitt in Vogue Knitting, in Lorna’s Laces worsted. I did the smallest size, which is just a little snug, but I think I would have been swimming in the next size up. I can’t figure out how to resize the silly photo — maybe in a future edit.

Another inspiration for my blog is the desire to share my quirky finds: trivia, podcasts, yarn resources, whatever. My latest favorite is the Daily Giz Wiz with Dick DeBartolo and Leo Laporte, who discuss a new gadget each podcast with lively and witty conversation. They are available to subscribe on iTunes or at leo.am/podcasts/dgw.

Rogue Tess

Twisted Float Cardigan Vogue Fall 2005

FO Twisted Float Cardigan Detail

This Cosmic Date

Hi, all — welcome to the first post of my blog. I’ve wanted to start one for a while, but I wanted its first date to have cosmic significance. I missed 6.06.06, and 6.07.06, and 8.07.06, and 12.06.06 (my 20th wedding anniversary!). I can’t wait for 7.07.07. (Apparently, the latter is the most requested wedding date in history because of the lucky superstitions around the number 7.) So….. 1.23.07 will just have to do! 🙂

A little background: the shorthand of my blog is “ssk” which is a knitting abbreviation for “slip slip knit,” a technique that creates a decrease that leans to the left. Hence — my subhead “Musings of a slightly left-leaning suburban mom.” It’s also shorthand for my three most fanatical avocations: I LOVE music, especially singing. Last year I achieved one of my dreams — singing at Carnegie Hall (with my school’s vocal group). I also LOVE surfing and everything about surf culture. I have an 8’4″ Becker Supermodel, sort of a girly funboard. Unfortunately, I’m spoiled with the warm water of Hawaii and Costa Rica, so I don’t surf much at home in Southern California except in the summer. Finally, I LOVE KNITTING!!!!!!! Most of this blog will be about my trials and tribulations and progress and production relating to knitting.

That’s plenty for now. I’m posting my first picture, my favorite view from my family’s property in Costa Rica (it’s my screensaver and my inspiration).  Double-click it to see it full size!


Favorite View