Thursday, December 29, 2005

Book Review - Stahman's Shawls and Scarves

Just before Christmas, the LYS called me up and left a message. "Stahman's Shawls and Scarves is in. We'll hold it for a week before sending it back." Indeed? Of course, the very next message was the same woman, very apologetically - "Oh, I see you put a deposit down. We'll hold this until you come pick it up." That's better. No sending my $30 book back! (Although I see Amazon has it for the bargain price of $50. Go with your LYS!)

In general, I'm happy with it. I'm not a shawl person, really, but I burn with desire to make one. Why? Dunno. The challenge, I suppose. And everyone says that this is THE book, and the stuff on the Faroese shawls seems interesting, even though I know I won't really understand it until I try.

But... I just don't think she's a very good writer. So it's kind of hard to get into. (Yes, I understand that it's mostly patterns. But the other stuff is important too, and that's what I'm talking about.) Anyway, when I do force myself to sit down and read it, I learn things. And if you want to knit this type of shawl, I think it's definitely worth the price.

The seaman's scarf parts - look, I've designed one before. They're not complicated. They're more... the exact opposite of complicated. But somehow, her description makes them sound a lot more bewildering than they really are. Which is a problem with a lot of "how-to" books - it's a lot easier to show someone than to tell them, and not everyone has the knack of telling. You get so caught up in teaching every detail, you make it sound ten thousand times harder than it is, and you just confuse your student. I did learn two tricks about seaman's scarves, at least one of which I will definitely try. So she definitely has information I don't - I just wish she disseminated it more clearly.

As far as I can tell (not having knit any yet), the patterns are well done, though, and that's really what you're paying for, right? The charts seem clear and easy to understand. I haven't searched for errata yet - ok, that's not bad. The Robert Scarf apparently has an error, but I wasn't going to make that one anyway. Of course, the one I am going to make is freely available on the web, but if I'd just used the pattern I wouldn't have all that other useful information.

Bottom line: if you want to learn to make faroese shawls, buy this book. Otherwise, a more general shawl book might be indicated. (I'm really happy with Knitter's Magazine's Shawls and Scarves which has a Myrna Stahman article/pattern in it but also has a lengthy errata page that I cannot for the life of me find right now. Definitely find it before trying to knit anything from it.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas Goodies

Apologies in advance for the massive post this is about to become. Hey, I even broke it up some!

My wonderful knit-swap buddy sent me two skeins of silky wool and two of Noro Kuryeon, which is something I've always been curious about but have never had the chance to try. And it's like she read my mind about favorite colors, which is very cool. She also sent me a handy booklet thingy that has estimate yardages for a variety of projects - I always just use the display ones they have at the LYS, but it'll be more polite to have my own.

My mom apparently just went down my wishlist and gave me EVERYTHING on it. The six-skein knitter's tote (which is ENORMOUS. And quite heavy. So it's more of a storage system than a tote, but if I ever fly anywhere by myself, I've got it covered.) and the Boye Needlemaster set and membership in TKGA and a subscription to Creative Knitting magazine (I'm glad she didn't get me IK, I'm still mad at them) and and and... whew. And she got my aunts and uncles together to get me the first level of the Master Hand Knitting program, which is nifty.

My husband's grandmother sent me the Denise Interchangables. And she passed away between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So it's been kind of an emotional time for us (putting it mildly). And now I have these needles, and knitting with them makes me think of her. She was an amazing person, and while I don't think she'd actually like me getting all gooey over it, they really are special to me. I don't have the way with words I'd need to really express it properly, sorry.

I may be able to do a better job with explaining the next thing. My cousin gave me a gift certificate, which I spent on yarn to make a baby blanket for an expectant friend. (Dear Friend: I'm sorry, the obsessive need to document trumps surprising you. Please stop reading now if you don't want to find out more!) But hey, didn't you want to get that spendy alpaca handpaint? Well, yeah, but I also want to make this blanket. Am I regifting my Christmas present? I don't think so. I still get the joy of picking out a pattern and knitting the thing and using a yarn I wouldn't normally use (fiber snobbery be damned, baby blankets need to be washable!) and giving the present. Which is way more pleasure than I would get just making something for myself. Besides, I have UFOs I need to finish for myself - if I knit for OTHER people, I can start new projects guilt-free.

Speaking of other projects - I ordered KnitPicks' alpaca cloud to knit the Matthew scarf. But it needs to be orange. So I got the "sunshine" (which is much paler than it looks on the website) and some burnt orange dye and I'll be going to town. I've never dyed anything before, so I'm a little nervous, but I have faith that it will work out. (Alison Hyde was very reassuring about the whole thing!) And I was pleasantly surprised - I placed both of these orders at lunchtime, and by this evening I had both shipping confirmations in my inbox. These folks work fast! It is kind of a bummer that I'm spending almost as much on shipping as I am on yarn/dye, but even with that, it's still not going to be a terribly expensive project.

And I don't want them to go too fast - I need to finish Yet Another Hat before I get into another WIP. And at some point I'll probably yammer on about the Stahman book, but today I've gone on long enough, no?

Recycled Silk Hat

FO time - The Three-Month Hat. (Total knitting time: what, like four hours? Sheesh.) It's yet another Tychus, of course. Like I've said before, the recycled silk just does not photograph well. The flash doesn't help, of course. But it's finished, and I like it, and I'm wearing it right now. Now - matching wristwarmers (original idea) or huge heavy scarf? It is a dilemma...

I'm not entirely sure why I'm posting this picture. Bizarre self-portrait contortions aside, you still can't really appreciate how neat this hat looks in person. It's also a lot bigger than it was last night. So I guess it'll be a good thing to have a record of when it's large enough for me and three of my closest friends.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Percy Protocol

It occurred to me that this should be in a separate post, so hey. Here it is!

Ok, so I am completely lame and can't figure out how to post a gift pattern to the Knitlist so here's the slightly-more-verbose version of Percy:

1 ball Bernat Disco (13sts/18 rows = 4") (shown in Aqua Velvet)
Small piece of fabric - I bought a 1/4 yard remnant of pink satin-ish nylon and had a ton left over. 1/8 yard is more than enough if you're buying off the bolt.
2 large googly eyes
scraps of felt
one purse handle - I had a random acrylic one, but you can get much nicer ones online.
miscellaneous: hot glue, sewing needle, thread, embroidery needle for finishing
Needles: US10.5 circular - I use a long one and magic loop, but whatever length you need for a 10" diameter piece.

Percy is 6" wide by 5" tall.

1. CO 40 sts, join (being careful not to twist)
2. knit in round until tube is 5" tall
3. BO 20 sts.
4. Knit remaining sts back and forth in stockinette for 5"
5. BO remaining sts.
6. Sew up bottom opening and turn inside-out (purl side is RS).
7. Attach eyes - cut small circles of felt, sew in appropriate place on flap. Hot glue eyes to felt.
8. Attach handle according to type of handle purchased. Because the one I had was not meant for this type of purse, I cut a very thin dowel to the width of the purse and sewed the handle to it through the fabric (dowel inside purse, handle outside). This gave it enough structure to support the bag, and the lining covers the dowel.
9. Line. I accomplished this by handing it to my mother, but if she's not around, cut the fabric to the outer dimensions of the purse and hem all around until it fits inside. Fold into thirds, and sew the bottom third to the middle third, making it the same shape as the bag. Then hand-sew to the inside of the purse.

Shawl Sharing, Tiny Tychus

Two pics of me modelling the finished shawl. Still haven't given it to the intended recipient yet, but oh well. I think it turned out fairly well - again, I'd do more repeats for less length if I were to do it again, but I still like it. And of course I can point to every, um, design feature in it.

Also, a quickie FO - on Friday, I decided to give my husband a hat for Christmas. I had made him a Tychus, which he claimed to like but also complained that it was too warm. So I had a leftover ball of black Baby Ull (and we all know my feelings about that, but I really like the guy) so I made another one using it. Cast on 60 sts. and short-rowed down to 32, which is a LOT of knit stitches. And I finished on Saturday. So now my shoulder kinda hurts AND he has a hat that looks like he got it for $1.50 down at the gas station! But it is 100% wool, so there's that.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

FO! YAY! (Diamond Shawl)

Yes, I am a Super Genius indeed. Of course I chose a pink background to photograph a peach-colored shawl on. Well, I didn't so much choose it as just not want to disturb it after laying it out to block and then thinking I needed a photo.

Anyway. It's done! Hooray! Now all it needs to do is dry. The person it's for does so much for everyone; I hope she'll take it as something nice for herself. Unless she doesn't like it. Or is allergic to alpaca. My goodness, I hope not. ANYway. As long as it doesn't end up as a carwash rag, I'm happy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Interweave Knits = TEH SUCK

All right. I just have to bind off and (two weeks after I wanted it done, a week after I thought it would actually be done) I'm finished the shawl. So I figured I could take 10 and finally update this silly thing.

And the very first thing I have to do is express how much I dislike Interweave Knits. I bought their stupid magazine, after waiting months, just because I wanted ONE PATTERN. One pattern that, even at the beginning of the month when I checked publication dates, they were still claiming they were going to print in their worthless rag. So I went to the bookstore - husband and baby waited in the car, I grabbed the mag and left. (Um, yes, I did stop and pay for it first. Sheesh.)

Did they publish the pattern? No, of course not. They put ONE SENTENCE about how you could see the winners of the Scarf Style contest on their website. No mention of how they'd been promising to publish them for a year.

So I figured, well, it's not a complete waste of $7, right? I'll look at the rest of the magazine. Ew, that's really ugly. That's awful. Why would anyone knit THAT? Oh, that's ok, but it'd look awful on me. Ugly, ugly, nasty, ugly, insane... hey, those socks are nice! Oh, they're only listed in one size? Well, they're not nice enough for me to get out the calculator, really. Ugly, ugly, icky, bleah. Advertisements. The end.

So I spent money I don't have on a magazine I don't want, and it makes me angry. I sent them a letter expressing my disappointment, but of course they haven't responded. Why should they? The suckering is complete, my cash is theirs, they don't need to have anything else to do with me.

And now I have to find yet more cash to buy the pattern I wanted. Whenever it becomes available. If it ever does. Anyway. If you'd like to see a really cool scarf that I will never actually be able to make, you can check it out in the designer's blog - (The Chinese Luck Dragon scarf.)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Five Ninths!

The shawl is 5/9 done. A little bit more than that. If I were to knit it again (which I won't, not because I don't like it but because 80% of the fun of knitting for me is figuring out a new pattern and I've had this one memorized for awhile now) I'd make it a repeat wider across and then less long. Because it is coming out much more like a double-wide scarf than a shawl. I know, I know, blocking. But I don't usually knit big things, how can I not be nervous?

I can't wait to finish. There is a lot of upheaval in my life right now; knitting this thing is keeping me focused. But at the same time - one of the things I'm focused on is how much I want to give it to the recipient. I hope she likes it. I'm trying so hard to knit it detachedly - ego-free, I guess. It's hard. Really hard. But I guess it's an interesting mental puzzle. I've made measurable progress, though, which is pretty neat. I still can't get over hoping she doesn't give it away, though. More work necessary.

I haven't worked on anything else. In fact, for two days I couldn't knit at all - I had to tink everything I attempted. But I think today I'll be able to get some good time in. I hope to have it finished by the weekend and then maybe, just maybe, I will have time to do everyone else's presents.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Notes to Self:

Two notes to self:

1) Bernat Disco is 13sts/18 rows = 4" on US10.5 needles. Percy is 6" wide by 5" tall. So, basically, the pattern is CO 40, join, knit in round for 5". BO 20 sts. Knit remaining sts back and forth in stockinette for 5", BO. Turn inside-out - purl is RS. Sew up bottom. Attach eyes - cut small circles of felt, sew in appropriate place. Hot glue eyes to felt. Attach handle. Line. I'll write that out better later, but I wanted to note it down while I could still remember.

2) Create pattern for Mommy Mittens. Yeah, in my ample spare time.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Actual post to follow - just wanted to get the pictures up while I was thinking about it.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Stitch Markers

Well, I'm bummed. I actually have a chance to knit, and I left the next ball of yarn at home. So. No more knitting. But I am one third of the way done, so that's cool. (Of course, I want to start another project - and I was really counting on using this afternoon to catch up on this one. Bah.)

So this pattern has a repeat of 12 stitches, and I'm using stitch markers after each repeat, because I can just about manage to count to 12, but 72? No, probably not. But there are three rows where the repeat is shifted, and there's a sl-k2tog-psso at the end so I can't just mentally shift the repeat over a bit. So whenever I'm moving the counter back and forth (because otherwise it would get buried in the k2tog) I get annoyed, and I think, why am I using stitch counters? It's wasting so much time! But then I remember, oh yeah, doing this little manouver three out of twenty rows takes way, way less time than ripping back every time I mess up.

So it's worth it. (But, see, I'm not making any drastic mistakes, because I'm using the markers, so I think, well, I don't make drastic mistakes, what do I need these silly markers for?) So I need to keep reminding myself.

Self? You need markers. Continue to use them. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Home Again

Well, back from Texas mostly in one piece. I'm about a third of the way done with the shawl - well, it will be a third once I finish this ball of yarn. So, ok, more like a quarter. It's a little panic-inducing with how crazy it's gotten at work, but I will definitely be able to finish it, if not anything else, for Christmas.

The lace wristlets are almost done. I need to finish them tonight since I think my husband will be seeing the person they're for tomorrow. And it would be nice to get them out of the way.

And I really want to finish my hat. But who has time for that?

The diamond lace is pretty easy. It's taken me up to this repeat to really *get* it, but I think I do now. I only have to glance at the pattern, and I think one or two more repeats and I won't even need that. There's one spot where I messed up the center of a diamond pretty badly, but I think once it's blocked, you won't be able to tell. (I guess not that badly, then. But it irks me, since I worked really really hard to fix it, and you can still tell where it is.)

So, here is my Christmas gift to you, Internet - a quick, handknit present for the random giftees in your life. Get one of those cardboard coffee cup insulator thingies from your local coffee shop. Knit a tube about that size - you can make it a little bigger than the narrow end and not bother with shaping. Enclose a gift card from said coffee shop. Hey, it's what all the people I can't think what to get are getting this year - quick, easy, uses up scrap yarn, and slightly more thoughtful than "just" a gift card. (What, some people don't drink coffee? Um, ok, you can make a bookmark to give with a book gift card? A cellphone cozy with a prepaid minutes card? Oh, the possibilities, they make my head swim.)

And that reminds me, I promised my husband I would knit him a camera cozy for our spiffy new digital camera (early Christmas present from the in-laws, whoohoo!) I wonder what color it would like?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Casting on

Houston, we have cast-on! (Sorry, got carried away there.)

Anyway. I went last night to get some bamboo needles, since everyone said either those or the Denise interchangables were what I wanted for lace, and as much as I want the Denise, I didn't have $50 to drop for this particular project. Plus I'm hoping I get them for Christmas. Anyway - I was shocked - SHOCKED, I tell you - to find that my LYS only carried one brand of bamboo circulars in a US 7. So I got the Clovers. And I ordered Stahman's Shawls and Scarves which I probably shouldn't have, but, well, too late now.

But back to the needles - I am way spoiled by the Addi Turbos. Swatching with the bamboo was really, really weird. I'm not crazy about the chopsticky feel of them, although I have gotten used to how light they are. Something about the ridges bugs me. I'm sure I'll get over it. I'm not sure about the points, though - it's like knitting with nubbins. I never thought Addis were particularly pointy, but these - these are crazy dull. I'm hoping I didn't make a mistake here. Need points! (I wonder if they have Hobby Lobby in Austin? Perhaps I could take a trip with my mother-in-law. I should check if they carry Crystal Palace first, I guess.)

And I wish I'd get over that "longer is better" thing. (No snickering, please.) I'm dealing with an annoying, tangly 36" cord, and I would have been JUST FINE had I gotten the 24". What is wrong with me? I'm going to try dunking the cord in hot water, see if that helps.

I thought about modifying the pattern to use seed-stitch borders instead of garter. I'm glad I swatched. The seed stitch in this yarn at this gauge looks awful. And the garter is super soft and cushy. So. Garter it is, then. I'm halfway through the first border - only 68" to go!

Have I mentioned how much I love this yarn? All right, it's kind of mushy (ok, very mushy), and I tend to like a crispier yarn, but, oooooh. It's like knitting a kitten. Or a pussywillow. Or knitting a kitten made out of pussywillows. Something wonderfully tactile, at any rate. It's got a sort of mohairy halo to it, but isn't at all scratchy. Alpaca is my new best friend.

And thumbs up to KnitPicks customer service too. I don't know why they didn't just put the tracking info on my "we shipped it!" confirmation, but they were very nice about it when I called for the info. Order came on time, in good condition, everything present and accounted for. (UPS is absolutely convinced that my house is somewhere it really isn't, so they always "correct" it and I have to track it down and get them to put it back the way it was. So it's good to know when to call them and make a fuss.)

So hopefully I'll finish one lace repeat tonight, and then... tomorrow, the PLANE!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Yarn, Yay!

Today I got my nine balls of this:

The color is actually pretty close, I think - it's maybe just a touch darker in the picture than in person.

Anyway. It's KnitPicks Andean Treasure 100% alpaca and it is so soft. I just want to pet it and pet it and pet it. And I can tell it's going to be warm. I have a good feeling about this.

(Why nine balls and not ten? I'm not going to do the fringe, that's why.)

I finished charting the pattern out. As soon as I stop being lazy, I'm going to contact the designer and ask if it's ok to post the chart. Or I'll send it to her and she can post it, whatever. But charted, it looks much less indimidating than written out. How did I survive so long without charts?

(By they way, if you want to make your own charts, this font is a handy thing to have.)

But. I MUST finish the gloves before I start this. I don't need to sleep, do I?

(Also, I'm doing NaNoWriMo this month, which really cuts into the knitting time. But I found out - although I still have to verify it - that is going to provide a free book to anyone who wins, so now I have even more motivation to finish. Whoo!)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Point of No Return

Well, I did it. I CHOSE A PATTERN and BOUGHT SOME YARN. See? See why stashing is so very useless? Anyway. The pattern is this one (PDF) (from the Woman of Many Faces - she has other neat patterns, go look) and I'm going to be using KnitPicks Andean Treasure in Peach. I am very glad I took the KnitList advice and shelled out for the color cards, for two reasons - one, I never would have chosen Peach because I have an irrational prejudice against that color name but seeing it on the card, I had to admit it's the exact color I needed, and two, I discovered that the Alpaca Cloud "Tidepool", which is just ok on the screen, is absolutely georgous in person. I covet it. Not that I'm a shawl wearer, so, you know, nevermind. I'll just have to be content keeping it at KnitPicks and petting my sample card now and then.
I finished the purse for Jo - and I FORGOT TO TAKE A PICTURE! Argh. It came out really cute. Ed dubbed him "Percy" and I think the name has stuck. My mom did the lining for me, because my sewing skills are nonexistant. Still, I figured out how to attach the eyes, so I think I should get some credit for that. And the whole thing cost me $5. (Free ball of Bernat Disco, $2.50 purse handle, $2 remnant lining, $.33 eyes, felt and dowel "borrowed" from mom.) Anyway, I'll see if she'll send me a picture.
Started the second glove, about halfway done with the ribbing. I may wind up making three. We'll see. (Because I'm not 100% happy with the first one, and now I know what I want to change...) At the same time - I want to finish the shawl for Christmas. So the gloves, I think, will have to do. They do look good, but, you know, I can't leave well enough alone. May wind up making another "improved" pair for the cousin I drew in the family secret santa thing, I think she'd like them, but I know she's lost a ton of weight so have no idea what size they should be. Hm...
And I needed some sleepy/car knitting, so I cast on Tychus in the recycled silk. I didn't bother swatching, because I suck. No, wait, because I was pretty sure I had the gauge figured out from my previous experiments with the yarn. Anyway, I like it so far - almost 1/2 done. And it's going to be too big, but that's ok, I think - since I'm doing it in "one" color (well, so many colors they count as one, right?) it'll look equally good with the brim turned way up, and it should be very warm. And I think it'll take two balls, if anyone else wants to try. Then I'm going to make matching wristwarmers. You know, in my ample spare time. Ha!
I'm still in two minds about the silk - it's *so pretty* in the sunlight, or under a magnifying glass - but actual things made of it, meh. So I'm making my hat and will probably wear it, but it looks more like a raggy hippy-chic thing than an elegant silk hat. I'm working on "if it makes me happy (which it does) then I'll damned well wear it", but sometimes I lack the confidence to pull that sort of thing off.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My Stash

Hello, my name is Katie and I am a fiberholic. (Hello, Katie.) I have come to the realization that fiber craft and fiber acquisition are two completely unrelated hobbies, and that I can support one or the other, but not both.

What's in my stash? A lot of junk, honestly. I have about a dozen skeins of acrylic inherited from my mother, now passed on to my husband who believes that if you learn on crappy tools, you become a better craftsman. (I disagree, but hey, it got the acrylic off my tally sheet, so I don't disagree too loudly.) I have the odds and ends from completed projects, waiting for me to find that website on moth-hole repair. I have some tangled masses that used to be sweaters but were reclaimed before I had the use of a ball winder or the brains to realize that it made more sense to frog the sweaters as I needed them, not all at once. Which means I also have a stack of sweaters that count as stash, but at least are stored nicely. I have a few skeins of this and that, pretty fuzzy stuff that I bought before I insisted on project-oriented purchases. (And before "Knitting Without Tears" ruined me for anything that isn't wool.) And then I have the skeins of nice stuff which should be projects, but were abandoned for one reason or another, usually involving a short attention span. Oh, and don't forget the enormous piles of "bargains", including the kilo of recycled silk accidentally bought off eBay. Nice stuff, but when am I going to get to use it?

So, I have stash that clutters and complicates my life. (Where should I put it? Where did I put it? How can I protect it?) And I have knitting, which clears my mind and inspires positive thoughts and actions. I know what I need to do, and yet those soft balls of fluff ceaselessly sing their siren call, bypassing my will and heading directly for my inner greed and basest desires.

To remedy this, a new worldview: I Own All The Yarn. I just keep it at the yarn shop, because my house isn't that big. And when I really, really NEED (as opposed to really, really WANT) some yarn, then I can go to the yarn shop (local or otherwise, for I have many locations in which to store my stash) and pay the nice people there to get it out of storage for me. There is no reason to take it away from its friends and family prematurely; the yarn can enjoy its time at the shop and I will trust it to be there when I need it. Will it work? Only time can tell.

(This entry was written for and submitted to The Carnival Of Knitting.)

Bad Cat!

You know how all knitting blogs eventually talk about their cat? Well, here you go.

Last night I had almost finished the first glove. There was a small child emergency, so we had to go upstairs and take a bath with one edging lace repeat left to go. Child put to bed, I come back downstairs to find... a ball of wool, no knitting attached.


Then I go into the kitchen, where I find... a size 0 circular needle, no knitting attached. Now I'm really worried.

Finally, I go down into the basement, where I find half a glove and a long tangle of yarn.


We were very close to having one less cat. The only thing that saved their furry little lives is that I don't know which one did it, and two of the three were acting totally squirrily. Probably one bit off the wool and the other dragged it around the house. Bad, bad cats.

Um, I mean, yay! I get to knit more without having to pay more for wool! Yippee!

(Well, I thought it was worth a try.)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Well, I haven't given up on designing the gloves. Let's call it a "strategic retreat". If I spent any more time on them, I wouldn't be able to finish any other Christmas knitting. Luckily in the 2006 pattern-a-day calendar, there's a pattern for "lace wristers" that work nicely. I just did more lace repeats and a provisional cast on so I could do a picot bind off at the wrist. Although I seem to recall that it's possible to do a picot cast-on, but, hey, one thing at a time.

I'm glad I went with the pattern. It's taught me some important things about lace. The biggest, most important one of all...

I learned to read charts!


I can't believe how much easier it is than reading written patterns. I don't understand why. But I didn't make any mistakes after I started working from the charts, AND I got way faster. (I was finishing my pattern rows in less time than it took to do the purl rows. Granted, I purl slowly, but still.)

So, I'm really, really happy that I finally got that sorted out, and now I'm ready to try bigger and more complicated projects. It really helped that everything was written and charted - that way, I could go back and forth to double-check that what I thought I was supposed to do was what I was really supposed to do. I guess that's the best way to learn, really - if I had a dollar for every "how to read charts" article I've read, I'd be able to buy a new house to stash my stash in.

Anyway. Yay. Just have to finish the edging and sew up the first glove, then do the second. Should be no problem.

Next up: A lacy stole/shawl/wrap/thing for a friend. I ordered some color cards from Knitpicks, and I really hope they get here in time for me to order the yarn and have it delivered before we leave for Texas. Must have plane knitting!

Monday, November 07, 2005

GRR Gloves!

I've decided these gloves are seriously cursed. It's like I've lost the ability to count to 36. I spent the entire weekend not succeeding in getting anything done on them. On Saturday, I cast on and ripped out - no joke - FOURTEEN successive times. (The first, oh, 8 or so were because I was stupidly casting on a number divisible by 8 instead of 6.) When I did finally get it right - on my third try on Sunday - I found that after switching needle size, I had the wrong number of repeats. So. Here I am on Monday, casting on again...

Plus, did I mention how Baby Ull and I are not pals? Size 1 needles are so not my style, either. At least I haven't sat on them, yet.

I realized an interesting thing the other day - I always knit with circulars, but I couldn't tell you the last time I actually knit the way you're "supposed to" with them. Everything's either straight, double-knit, or magic loop. Mostly economy - I can't afford to buy needles in every length, so I don't. But I seem to recall that just regular knitting in the round is fun and relaxing, so maybe I should start a project that fits the needles I have...

And I'm working on figuring out a shawl/wrap/thing for my friend. I've asked the good folks on KnitTalk for help. I've never done lace before, really. I mean, I made all those afghans whenever it was, but that was just openwork on big needles, I don't think it counts. I like the idea of a shetland shawl, but it may be too advanced for me.

Then again, one thing I've found with crafting in general, and knitting in particular, is that nothing's too hard - you just have to follow the directions very, very carefully. And swatch like a madwoman. Whatever I decide to do with this shawl, I'm going to make a dolly-sized one first with cheap yarn so I know what I'm doing by the time I get to the nice stuff. Plus, it'll give me something to do while I'm waiting, because we all know I just don't have nearly enough projects to keep me busy. Ha!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ugh ugh UGH!

Baby Ull and I are not friends. How can something be so small and yet so very, very splitty?

I'm sure it's me, but man. This stinks. AND I messed up converting my lace pattern to the round, so these gloves are getting frogged again. I think they're going to be back-burnered for the moment. After knitting that scarf, my eyes are begging for some color. Which is weird - I've always been a neutrals sort of person. But the black lace gloves are driving me to despair. (When I get the pattern right, I'm naming them the "So Goth it Hurts" gloves.)

At any rate, I'm going to frog that sweater and start on Jo's birthday present instead. It turns out I'm seeing her next weekend, not this one, so that should be enough time to a) make something up and b) knit it. Right?

FO! (Cabled Scarf)

Recycled YarnSo, this is the yarn I was talking about. The eight unballed skeins, anyway. I've decided that it just doesn't photograph well. When I was looking for patterns, everything looked really ugly, but when I actually started knitting with it, it was a very "ah-hah!" moment. It really does look beautiful in person.

Cabled Scarf Aaaaaand... The Scarf! All done (well, in this picture I hadn't woven in ends or washed yet, but now those things are done and it's upstairs drying). I'm mostly happy with the way it came out, but apparently I need to learn how to Kitchener right - the seam is visible. The ribbing messed me up. Well, let's be honest, I didn't take the time to figure out what I was doing wrong and fix it. But I think it's unnoticable enough to a non-knitter, so I'm not redoing it.

(The texture doesn't really show up well in the thumbnail, so if you're really curious, click for the bigger version. It's still kind of hard to see, being black and all, but I think the recipient will really like the subtleness of it all.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Scarf and things

Well, it's just not in the cards for me to join a knitting group, I think. I did get an email from the Del Ray Knitters - their group met last night - and I did go up there. But once I got there, I realized - no, I don't really want to sit around with a bunch of strangers and knit in uncomfortable chairs. So I went home. Unfortunately, to cover for my embarassing retreat, I spent the last three dollars of my gift certificate on the absolute foulest concoction ever dreamt of by man or beast. (They advertise it as "chai", but that seems to be shorthand for "completely unlike chai in any way".) Bleah. I poured it down the drain, it was so bad, and I'm someone who will go to nearly any length to avoid wasting food. But it was that undrinkable.

Shoulda stuck with the coffee.

At any rate, I got very little done. I mean, I'm almost done with the scarf (wish I'd remembered to take a picture, I'm really happy with it.) I should finish it today or tomorrow. And I didn't have time to figure out the pattern for the gloves (although I dreamed about them all last night) so I didn't want to take them, so I gave myself permission to play with the Recycled Silk.

Now, night before last I was having some serious insomnia issues, so I balled up a couple of skeins of the silk. The first was way overtwisted, although only a couple of spots were so thin that I'll probably have to cut them. The second skein was mostly a good tension (or whatever you call it) with a few really loose unspun parts and one perplexing knot (I untied it, and it wasn't two pieces of yarn - just a random, but obviously hand-tied, knot.) The second skein was also very tangled, and took me over half an hour to ball, which was a bummer, but the colors... reds and pinks and purples and gold and really quite beautiful. I didn't notice a lot of foreign matter in either ball - a couple bits of hay and one small piece of plastic, but nothing like some folks have talked about.

So I pulled that out last night. Started a bag. Didn't like the way it looked. Frogged. Started doing it differently - liked that less. Frogged. Decided to try an openwork fingerless glove - miscalculated gauge and wound up with a few inches of something that fit in the wrist but ballooned to Godzilla-sized when it got to the openwork part. So. Frogged. Which means I knit for two and a bit hours with nothing to show for it except slightly more frayed yarn. Ah well. I learned, right? I'm going to change the openwork I did and go with the gloves on this ball. And do them in the proper gauge.

And then I'll still have 900g left over! Joy!

Memo to self: ask mom about scarf. Because it would be a really good idea to knit her a scarf for Christmas and a matching hat for her birthday. More cables!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Cutest thing you've ever seen? I thought so. The hood is done with Cascade220 held together with Fizz, done in short rows, with ribbing in the back to hold it in. (I should have made it a little longer in the back, but oh well, we live and learn. The ears are double-knit - the Cascade 220 on the inside, Fizz on the outside. The cuffs are the same, with a just-Fizz ruffle around the hands, and the tail has a Fizz tuft. Mom made the suit out of fleece.

The very first thing I knit without a pattern! (Scarves and bags don't count.)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Well, I'll wait until I have the pictures from yesterday to post the Halloween costume, but it came out really, really good. I'm exceptionally happy with it, especially since I did all my parts without a pattern. (Mom made the suit from a Simplicity sleeper pattern. I can't sew. But I did the tail and collar, and all the knitted bits.)

I need to photo the scarf, too. I've got it half done - actually more than half done, because I wanted 7" of ribbing on each side, and the one I was working was 5", and then I knitted for "just one more row" and suddenly it was 8". Ribbing - much faster than cabling.

Oh, and I learned a very exciting thing - it's called a "Norwegian purl" (.pdf from Interweave) - I'd never heard of it, but you hold the yarn in back and do a fancy little twisty thing and get a purl. I haven't decided if I'm going to replace my normal purling with it or not, but I'm practicing now - even if I decide it's not faster than regular purling, it'll be a good thing to know, like holding the yarn in your right hand so you can knit two colors at once.

Also learned to knit while walking. Did the cables and everything, so that was cool. It's really easier than I thought it would be - I knit at about half speed, but it is getting knitting and exercise done at the same time, so hey, I win. Plus it showed me that I can knit without looking, so I tried it in the car and hey, no carsickness! Now I'm actually looking forward to taking the plane to TX. (The motion sickness has gotten so bad that I have to wait until the Metro stops to look at the system map. Seriously, it's out of control.)

Next design idea: I want to knit a kimono style jacket. There's a pattern knit in a horrible yarn that costs an insane amount - and the only way to get this particular pattern is "free" with purchase of the yarn for the project. No pattern's worth $175, so I'm going to reverse-engineer the damned thing. And as long as I'm doing that, I'm going to make it better. It occurred to me that I can make a dolly sweater as proof of concept AND Christmas present, so that's my current plan. (Last year I made a really awsome doll for my daughter, and I'd like to start a tradition of giving her something handmade to wear every year. The doll, not the kid - the doll isn't in the habit of outgrowing all her clothes every five minutes.)

Friday, October 28, 2005


Ha-HAH! Some people on the Knitlist wanted to knit the Hexenhut pattern, but don't speak German. So I made a stab at translating it (although I realize I made at least one mistake) and sent it off. Got tagged by the Listmoms, saying it was a copyright violation. Hm. I don't want to violate anyone's copyright, so I wrote to the company and asked if it would be ok to post it. A very nice representative wrote me back and said it would be fine, so I posted my email to her, her email to me, AND my original translation. Too late for Halloween this year, but, well, there's always next...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Oh, crap?

Oops. I just accidentally bought 1000 (yes, one thousand) grams of recycled sari silk off eBay. Um. How to explain this to the spouse? "Sorry, honey, I didn't think I'd win"? Well, it's the truth, even if it is horribly weak.

Um. Well. 10 skeins for the price of 2 (including shipping) - not so bad. No idea what I'm going to make from them. Perhaps small bags? I saw a kit on one website that was little bags with those tiny Indian bells on them - that'd be cute. I'd have bought the pattern if they sold it separately, but I'm certainly not buying more of this yarn just to get the pattern. It doesn't look complicated, I'm sure I can make up something equivalent.

(On the plus side - the whole reason I was on eBay at all was because I found a pattern I wanted for $0.79, and dude, you just can't beat that. Well, $2.50 after shipping. Still. I am a little worried that I'll get a photocopied or stolen pattern, but I guess that's the chance you take...)

Argh, too many inspirations!

So, I'm knitting the Good Ole Cabled Scarf and it's going swimmingly. Only one mistake so far, and it taught me what the cables should look like after every row, so now I don't have any worries. (My very first attempt at cables. It really is easy! I had the pattern memorized after a couple of repeats.) Plus, I love this yarn. It was a $4 black Aran sweater from Goodwill with a big snag in the front, but now it's several balls of soft, warm, yummy wool. Joy!

A friend is having her second child. I want to make the new baby a baby blanket, but I thought it would be nice to make a "big sister blanket" for the current kid. Great idea - but it stops there. What would make a blanket say "big sister"? I have a couple of thoughts, but nothing solid enough to cast on yet. Obviously I'm going to do it in her favorite colors, and I was thinking about a few different intricate patterns, but... well, backburner that for now, I guess.

And I'm in the middle of designing a lacy pair of fingerless mitts for a friend - I'm really, really excited about them! But I have to finish this scarf! Argh! I need an extra 12 hours a day that nobody else gets.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Welll, maybe next time...

So I thought I'd try joining a knitting group. It's hot, it's hip, I might meet some interesting, fun people, right?

I found a group that meets at St. Elmo's on Tuesdays, which is perfect. I email to see which Tuesdays they meet, and don't get any sort of reply. Oh well, it's rainy and cold, a perfect night to walk up and get a cup of coffee! Head on up, and there's two groups of knitters working away, so I go in, buy my coffee, and introduce myself to one of the groups.

No, they're not the Del Ray Knitters. They don't know who they are. They're The Knitting Group, and while I could sit down with them, wouldn't I feel much more comfortable introducing myself to the group on the other side of the shop? Really? And, you know, quicklike, we're trying to knit here and don't appreciate the interruption. Oh. Ok. Who's that other group? We don't know, we've both been coming here for months but haven't said hi. I was astonished, and said something about that being strange, which elicited the best line - "not like we're that kind of people" - yes! Yes you ARE "that kind of people", because the kind of person who would introduce themselves to a group that meets in the same place at the same time to celebrate the same hobby as you would have done it by now. Sheesh.

Right, then. I don't need any more high-school cliquery in my life - and seeing as how the other group had colonized the sofas and made sure to fill up the one available space uninvitingly with their coats and such, and I couldn't even get them to look up to introduce myself - I high-tailed it out of there and headed for home, where I finished the Halloween costume for the sprout and deconstructed a sweater to repurpose as Jimbo's cabled scarf. Sure I'd like to meet people who share an interest with me, but in Yuppidelphia, finding people who aren't crazy snobby jerks is hard, and really, I can meet crazy snobby jerks anywhere, I don't need to go out of my way to knit with them once a week.