Saturday, November 29, 2008

scarf frenzy

I am sick again. So I haven't been up real late, but I have been doing some knitting during the day, while my children fend for themselves, which they've gotten very good at doing because I have been sick most of the month of November. I am looking forward to December so that maybe I can break out of this cycle of get sick, get slightly better, relapse.

I finished the first teacher scarf, although I have not blocked it yet. I made the Drop stitch scarf from Noro silk Garden colorway 203. I'll take a picture of it soon, I promise. Part of my problem with this scarf, was that I wasn't sure what size needled to use, or how many stitches to cast on, because the pattern is like a good pattern very fluid. So after starting and ripping back oh, say 5 times, I finally looked on ravelry, and discovered most people using silk garden had used size 8 needles and cast on what looked like the requisite 26 stitches. After trying that, I was satisfied and then took about 2 weeks to knit the entire thing. I ended up using a little over 2 skeins, and I probably could have made it longer. I was really impressed with myself because I spit-felt the ends together, making it look like one big skein of silk garden. I think I might make a tiny tippet out of the leftovers. But that will have to come after the second scarf.

The second scarf, I decided to make for the teacher's aide in colinette jitterbug. I decided to use the same pattern, although... again I tried out several needle/stitch combinations before settling on size 5 needles and 36 stitches. At one point I woke up at 3am convinced, I just needed to scrap the project altogether and use different yarn. I think it might be a slight problem that knitting wakes me up in the middle of the night and keeps me a wake worrying! The more I knit on it, the better I am liking it. Again, I'll have to get a picture.

I was thinking the other day, that I should get some of Jill's pretty gift tags (and you should too) to go with them. if for no other reason than then they will know that a) I made them and b) please please please don't throw the silk garden into the machine. The only reason I don't already have some around is that I rarely knit for non family people.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Finished socks!

I finished my purple striped socks!
purple socks

I love love love having nice cozy wool socks in the winter. I usually think of myself as a fairly process knitter, but for me, sock knitting is all about the product. I want more socks! therefore, I should go cast on another pair of socks.

I bought some yarn, for one of the scarves.
(Collinette Jitterbug)

I decided to use the noro silk garden I have for the other (and bought another skein, so I don't worry about running out)
Have cast on this project at least 6 times. I think I finally have the combination tension/stitches that I want. I'm hoping that it moves along nicely, because it just hit me that I have to finish two of these puppies in the space of a month. It is a fairly easy pattern, and I have been able to watch most tv while doing it, which helps.

I should though stop writing about it and start knitting.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


There is something deeply satisfying, to me at least, about felting something I've knitted. Take something big, perhaps unevenly knitted, perhaps with small holes where the color join didn't go smooth and toss it in the washer with hot water, a pair of old jeans and a bit of soap. Take it out and it has been transformed into something smooth and dense and completely unlike what went in.
I like to try new techniques on felted items, as I once told a group of new knitters, all the mistakes come out in the wash. To that end, I did my first colorwork on felted backpacks. I did my first attempts at continental style knitting on my felted yoga mat bag. And I suppose I probably should have done my first socks that way. Then I would have had, before now, this warm and cozy pair of slippers.
(yes, I know they don't match, I ran out of yarn)
I finally finished and felted yesterday, a pair of slippers from Knit one Felt too. Today, I am wearing them thanks to the fact that my house is incredibly dry. I've gotten very casual about the felting process and so now I'm not hovering over the washer waiting and sniffing wet wool. Instead, I throw them in, wander around cleaning things until I notice the washer is stopped, and then I run a rinse cycle, spinning out the rinse cycle really aids the drying process. I used to hang out, pulling the items out every 5 minutes checking progress. I like this new relaxed style better.
Just for comparison, here is the before:

Since finishing these, I've had a really bad burst of starteritis (in knitting, I added lest my family think I would be starting things for them like starting to do dishes or mop floors or clean the bathrooms). I re-started my kindergarten scarf, on size seven needles (as opposed to size five). I don't think it will be nearly lacy enough, but I'm going to just deal with it. I wanted to start a drop stitch scarf with some noro silk garden I have hanging around. I actually carted three projects to my MIL's house for 90 minutes of free time. At that point, I decided I wasn't starting ANYTHING else until I had the purple striped socks done--and I only have another 2 inches of ribbing. I'm glad I set a goal or I would have started a bunch of stuff last night.

Instead, I have a plan: finish the striped socks, buy yarn tomorrow for at least one teacher gift (possibly two depending on what I find, if I don't find what I need, I'll use the silk garden), then start teacher gifts and a swatch for the sweater I'm hoping to make from my frogged sweater.

I also think I want to make another pair of these slippers. Although I'll use leftovers and they may look even more motley.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yarn stash

So the other day, when the ladies were at school, I dug out all of the yarn I have stored upstairs and laid it all out.
I organized it by color and realized that well.... I have a lot of blue and purple yarn. I should not be allowed to buy any more blue or purple yarn. I also have a lot of pinkish colors, so really I should stick to green and red. Just in time for Christmas!
I also have an embarrassing amount of novelty yarn, some of which I've hid in the basement. But in my defense, I bought it all to use as accents on hats and gloves!

I also decided that if I'm going to be knitting for Christmas gifts for the teacher and her aide, I should get my butt in gear. To that end, I've decide that I should probably make the teacher's aide a drop stitch scarf, as suggested in a comment. I've seen her coat and have a good idea what colors to choose--and whoo hoo they are in the blues family. I do think I'd like to buy new yarn for that project, because I don't seem to have anything quite bright enough.

The main kindergarten teacher is a bit more hip, and so I was thinking about something more cool for her. Then again maybe a drop stitch scarf in my noro silk garden. At least that would clear a bit of my stash out. Although I've also toyed with knitting her an ice queen or an Abby. Perhaps I'll just let that one percolate in my head a bit more.

In the meantime, I'm starting to feel better and so stay up later, and so knit! I've finished the first slipper of a pair of felted slippers. I really want to felt it to see if it will fit after it felts, but I know if it doesn't I'll never knit the second. If it doesn't fit I'll have to find someone with smaller feet than me.

Friday, November 07, 2008

double whammy

Funny thing happened to me after Halloween, I got hit with a double whammy: time change and head cold.

Most of the time a head cold wouldn't slow down my knitting, in fact I would probably have had more time to knit because I wouldn't be doing other things. However, last week was so busy and the time changed and for some reason things didn't slow down like I thought they might.
What happened instead of knitting?
Sleeping for one. I've barely managed to be awake past 9pm any night this week. Kind of hard to get much knitting done when your prime knitting time is 8:30-10pm and you've been going to bed at 9.

I have been working on a felted slipper. By all rights I should be felting the pair this weekend, but with the time change and the cold, I have only turned the heel on the first one. Felted items knit up fast though, so maybe next weekend.

Today though I'm going to start going through my stash just to catalog it, and see what I have that might possibly work for teacher gifts this year. No one has managed to convince me that it is a foolish thing. And in fact, I'm trying to put together an entry to help me decide what it is I should be making. So if you have any ideas, leave me a comment. (I already had one idea left in another set of comments, keep them coming!)

Monday, November 03, 2008


I really want to start updating more than once a week.
When I finish a big project, I get on a small high and get very excited to cast things on. However, since Halloween I've been sick, so I haven't actually gotten anything cast on. Well that's not entirely true, I cast on 42 stitches for a felted slipper. For some reason my congested brain could not figure out how to join them. I ended up dropping--and don't ask me how--5 stitches not at the end, but in the middle. I decided to pull it all out and wait until my head cleared.

I have a sock going, and I'll take that to book club tonight--although I took the other sock of the pair to book club last month, and was at about the same place, so I'm sure if they remember, they'll think I don't actually knit that much.

I've also decided that my lace scarf just really probably needs to be on bigger needles. So I'll be ripping out the 6 inches I have on that and starting over. Then I have plans to swatch for a sweater. And then... well I need to do some stash organization and figure out what (if anything I own) would make good holiday presents for the teachers.

See, I have plenty to write about. Now, if I could just get over this cold.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween lessons

Top ten things learned this Halloween:

10) It is probably not a great idea to give the children carte blanche on picking costumes because there are patterns that stretch my limited sewing abilities.

9) The kids will like the crowns better than the costumes.
Glenda's crown

8) Glitter glue does not stick to smooth plastic. It will dry and then peel off like rubber cement did off my fingernails in the 3rd grade.
fell off

7)Glue from a glue gun will make the glitter glue last only a tad bit longer. (the one thing glitter glue seems to stick best to--my steering wheel)

6) If I make the costumes, I should take the girls trick or treating and if at all possible, let them go at least some without coats because the compliments will make it all worthwhile.

5) No matter how creative your daughter thinks she is there will be another child dressed just like her at school (well this was true for Glenda, there were no other purple princesses) yours will be better though (wink wink).

4)Any costume made from fake crushed velvet will automatically look better than the cheap poly/cotton blend that puckered at every stitch.

3)There will always be one costume that makes you want to tear your hair out--this will be balanced by one that goes together much easier than expected (last year this was true too!).

2) It is a costume, do not get upset if it gets oh blue cupcake frosting on it.

1) It is dark or nearly so for most of what people see. The dark hides a lot of mistakes.

But I should also say--I may complain and gripe and moan about this. I may really feel cheated out of knitting time. I may even not be saving any money whatsoever by making costumes. But it was WORTH it.
(if you want to see the version with their faces, click through to flickr and add me as a contact--I've got the other marked friends only).

One lady told the girls that she gave extra candy for extra special costumes, so now the girls are already asking for what I can make them next year. Plus, seriously at least 10 people complimented me on my mad seamstress skillz--and that never happens when I knit (although it should, I knit far better than I sew outfits).