Monday, December 28, 2009

holiday decompress

Time to decompress from the holidays! And time to show off the socks I made for my MIL. She's been hinting for a while that she'd like some handmade socks, but has been hesitant because most of the sock yarn I buy is wool. I understand that she probably has this wool=itchy thing going, but in my opinion superwash wool is a whole different thing. Plus all you have to do is feel some lopi and some super soft merino and you'll be wondering how two different things can both be called wool. Anyway, I found some cascade fixation in some nice bright colors and viola!

Also nice that she didn't balk at my photographing her feet.
I showed you all the scarf I made for the first grade teacher. I made it from silky wool on US size 4 needles. I was mighty sick of it by the time I finished. I ended up using 2.5 skeins, but could have used more and made it longer, if I hadn't run out of time. I was going to knit until Friday of that week and block Saturday and give on Monday. However, I ended up with so much other stuff to do that I quit knitting earlier in the week and blocking Friday. I blocked it at MIL's house since she was away and didn't need her kitchen floor. The pictures I took were all while it was blocking. My blocking board that several people liked is actually a set of Sesame Street foam puzzle blocks that my girls got for Christmas when they were two. They were headed for Goodwill when I spotted something similar in the knit picks catalog. Now they live in my knitting corner and every once in a while the ladies will get all bent out of shape that I'm using THEIR toy.

Anyway, there are already projects on the horizon. I got a ton of yarn for Christmas and the panda and bee sweaters are the next order of business.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I finished the scarf. It did not turn out the be 80 inches. I got busy so it turned out to be 76 inches. She seemed to like it. Details later:
long view


long view

I had to block it at my MIL's because it turns out that I don't have 70+ inches of long space that won't get run over 20 times a day.

Monday, December 14, 2009

72 inches

72 inches. That's how long "the scarf" is. The pattern says, repeat pattern until scarf is 80 inches long or you get very very tired of it has reached desired length. I did end up needing that third skein of silky wool, so I was glad I worried enough about that to buy it. I have decided that I am going to 80 inches or Friday night whichever comes first. I'm binding that puppy off on Friday, and blocking it Saturday so I can gift it Monday afternoon.

After that, I guess it is back to socks.

I don't consider myself a sock knitter, but I do happen to have a LOT of socks in my journal at Ravelry and just generally. I like wearing handknit wool socks in the winter, and now that I have 6 or 7 pairs I'm pretty happy. I also like having a sock going just for traveling and for fun. In fact I have one now that I started and got the heel turned before I started in on the Scarf. It may be just the intermediate project between the scarf and the next big project.

For Christmas, I asked for yarn to make both of my girls' sweaters, and I'd like to start those as soon after as I can (how can I be sure I'm getting the yarn? Oh come on, I put yarn on my Christmas list and I get it because my family KNOWs that I love yarn. They don't understand it exactly, but they do know it. Plus if I don't, well I'll buy it.)
I've had this idea in my head for one of my daughters, she loves pandas. I thought wouldn't it be fabulous to knit a colorwork panda into her sweater! I mentioned to my husband a panda sweater and his idea was different, he thought make the arms and top black and the main body white and actually that sounded easier and cuter. I have in mind a top down raglan, but I don't have a pattern. I'm pretty sure such a thing exists though.

It did present a problem, about what to do with her sister, who doesn't really care for pandas. So I asked her, since it wasn't going to be a surprise or anything and she immediately said she wanted a bee sweater. I'm not sure what style that will be, but right now I'm thinking just a plain set in sleeve would work great. They both want hats to match. I suppose if I left it up to them, they'd both want socks to match too, but we won't go there.

That's where things stand, 72 inches, very tired of the lace pattern, finishing on Friday regardless, and working on socks until I open my Christmas yarn.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Project process

Despite my frantic knitting away, and the space between these entries, I have nothing to show.
So instead of showing, I'll write out my knitting project checklist that I seem to use for each and every project. In between each and every one of these you could insert--check ravelry

1) Choose a project
2) dither about project
3) consider about 20 yarns for project
4) reject 15 yarns
5) debate merits of remaining 5 yarns
6) choose a color
7) decide color sucks, choose another
8) decide just to buy whatever color I can find in an appropriate yarn
9) Worry about amounts purchased
10) swatch for project
11) reject first swatch,
12) reswatch
13) start project
14) worry about yarn amounts
15) worry about size
16) finish project

Usually there are also abut 10 steps between 13 and 14 which include curse pattern, rip back, and decide to use different needles.

I decided on pattern, yarn and needles for the teacher's scarf and have already made it to #14. Today I just decided to suck it up and buy an extra ball of the yarn. I think I'll need it. I'm also adding, worried about finishing this in time.

I decided on lace ribbon Scarf In black because it goes with more stuff. If it comes out right it could work an inside scarf too. I went with Silky Wool. I had a ball from a while back that was all silk and wool--now it seems it has nylon in it as well. Honestly, I am not enamored with it. Also--it is going really really slow--and I've made more mistakes than I care to admit.
Right now I'd estimate I have 30 of the 80 inches. stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

in a holding pattern

Whenever I finish something I get a little stalled. Well either that or I cast on a bunch of stuff. Well this time, I'm a little stalled. I think it is because I know that I need to get started with some gift knitting. And as you might have figured out by now, I am not a snap decision maker. (By the way, the send the denise set in for a replacement won--it got two votes. You could still vote by going here.)

Most of the time I knit for me. But I do like to knit for other people, I just don't get much opportunity (although my daughters would probably both like a sweater this winter--so maybe after the gifts are done). This year though I am making a family member a gift and since one of them might read here, I won't say much more. I will though tell you about the teacher gifts because while I might reasonably expect my family to read, I'm pretty sure the teacher doesn't.

Last year I made both the teacher and the teacher's aide scarves. Scarves are good because it wasn't much of an investment in time or materials and yet still were lovely. This year I only have one teacher but two kids in the class so I was thinking I'd still make 2 gifts. I usually save the food gifts until the end of the year because by then they know me well enough that food might get eaten and people don't overload teachers with food in June like they do in December (last year I baked a loaf of bread and stuck in some homeade jam--the kindergarten teacher ate it THAT day). So, I'm starting to think about knitted gifts.

Of course I've only gotten through the thinking stage. I know that drop stitch scarves are both attractive and easy. I know the teacher's favorite color is puprle, as is mine, so stash might come into play here. Both girls and MIL have all suggested socks as one present. I hesitate with the socks though because I'd have to subtly size her feet and not everyone likes handknit socks--especially if they've never worn them. Although I did think felted slippers might be fun. I've searched on ravelry and come up with a couple of scarves and cowls (including the yarn harlot's pretty thing) that I want to make for ME. And I had a funny thing happen.
I saw that someone had made Lace Ribbon out of Lorna's laces in the lakeview colorway which has a beautiful mix of purple and teal, and it was lovely. I recalled I had some and got a little sad about making a teacher's gift from it because I knew I had bought it because I wanted socks made from it. Well a quick look at my sock yarn stash shows me that I already made socks from that yarn. OOPS.

I also bought the Interweave knits holiday gifts issue--which was $14.99! Thank goodness for Joann's coupons. (and as an aside, I think that this $14.99 crap is really going to force more people to buy this mag someplace where they can get a hefty discount--which makes me sad for the lys) I don't know if I would make he same decision again, but there is a nice lacy scarf in there.

So here's where I am at. I'd like to make 2 gifts--felted (or not) slippers and a scarf of some sort. I'd like to make them all in purple (although not matching cause that's weird). I'd like to use some stash yarn--although I'm finding it hard to part with a lot of the purple because I LURVE it so much. What this means is that ironically--I probably won't use any stash yarn as most of what I'm willing to part with isn't purple. Although I do have some silky wool in purple that I might be able to let go. And I don't think I have anything purple that will felt--at least not in quantities sufficient for slippers.

So that's where I am, knitting something secret, planning the teacher gifts.

Oh PS in the last entry I was asked a question about finishing (sewing seams), I should work up a post on that because unlike a lot of knitters, I actually like finishing.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Hoodie and halloween!

I was going to spread these out a bit so I'd have more blog fodder, but I am too excited.
I finished a bunch of stuff!
First, I finally finished my Central Park Hoodie. I put off writing about it because I had to take the pictures myself and they didn't come out all that great.
It is a little snugger than I'd like--but I tend to like my clothes big and baggy. It does fit, it would close if it had some closure type thing on it. I did buy buttons, but I wanted to wear it so I decided to wait on the buttons and I think I like it button less. We'll see.
For the record: The yarn is Wool of the Andes from knit picks, in sapphire heather. I used size 6 needles and made a size 40. Have I mentioned that I LOVE it. I actually have to stop myself from wearing it every day. Maybe someday I'll even put the buttons on (obviously I opted to go with the crochet chain button loops). I do think it would also look good with a zipper. Ok, I'd love to make this again, but I might make the next size up next time.

Then came Halloween and of course I had the costumes done. Even though when I was making the giant tie that the clown had requested, I broke a needle and it went flying at my EYE. A small piece hit my glasses and I think another tiny piece got in my eye which was all watery and irritated for a day. They were so cute, and ultimately very happy with their costumes.
together2 (masks for Internet privacy)
They were totally thrilled, and most people recognized what they were supposed to be. In my opinion this is win win for costumes. I love trick or treating with them because people will tell them how much they like their costumes and they both proudly say--mom made them!. Warms my heart.
We did go through a little bit of angst about perhaps clown wasn't the first choice (she waffled between that and penguin) but in the end everyone loved her costume, primarily for the wig.

And for some reason I lost this part of my post where I said I had some gifts I was working on. I suppose that will be a post for another day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

harry potter and a POLL

It has been a long day today--actually a long week. But I had some finished socks and going to test a poll.

I finished My Harry Potter socks.
harry potter socks
That's Opal's Harry Und Ron colorway
harry p socks
One is just pulled up farther on my leg--they really are the same size.

Other projects are moving along too. With 9 days left to go I have completed most of the clown outfit. The pattern said--easy 2 hour pattern and I think I might actually have two hours in on it now and only have the neck casing and elastic to do, plus whatever "collar" gets decided upon. Actually I only have 8 days. EEP!

I'm also seaming up my central park hoodie and I think it might actually fit me. I bought buttons, but have no idea if they'll work. Details later.
While I was knitting the border of the hoodie (308 stitches OY), something happened to me that was simply horrifying. the 19" cable on my Denise set (which was hooked to some other one so I could have cable long enough for 308 stitches) broke. as in the little connector thing snapped off. So, here's my decision: I could buy a new 19" cable for $5 total (and pick pink or blue--my set is blue) or I could for the cost of a padded envelope and one way shipping plus $1 send it in for a replacement via Denise's lifetime warranty. I figure both options will cost me close to the same. So--which should I do:

Feel opinionated beyond this--leave me a comment! But please, I love my Denise set and so no anti-denise sentiments.

Monday, October 19, 2009

waxy leaves

This weekend the ladies and I did two things I've never ever done before.
First we found something in a parenting magazine we wanted to try and second, we tried it. The project was waxing leaves.

Now, the magazine article touted it as fun to do with your kids AND a great way to make fall decorations. Well.... I decided after doing it that it was one of those OR statements rather than an AND. What I mean is, you could either have fun with your kids or make something to decorate your home. But unless your kids are way more talented than mine, or you are way more controlling about art projects than I am, you probably won't end up with something you'd want to decorate with. Oh that sounded negative--it was FUN!

So here's what we did:
First I bought some Paraffin wax. The website I had to consult because the magazine we read this in was in a doctor's waiting room, said that you could find it in the canning aisle of your supermarket and whoa, they were right.
parafin(please excuse my messy counter)

We collected a bunch of leaves on Friday on the way home from school and pressed them under a few knitting books.
leaves before
The directions all said, use a tin can on a double boiler, but my MIL who uses the same wax in peanut butter balls (all I can say about that is eww, I knew there was a reason I didn't like those--I always thought it was the peanut butter.) melts hers in the microwave. I started with a tin can on a double boiler, but found the microwave (in a glass dish to work easier--but it was harder to clean up. Also the directions online said to add water tot he paraffin, which I forgot to do.

Then it was only a matter of dipping the leaves in
Of course the girls were a little heavier with the wax than I would have been, and we probably should have added the water and re-heated the wax more often.
But I think the results weren't bad. And as I said we had a lot of fun.
leaves after

Friday, October 09, 2009

not done yet.

The last time I wrote I had a bunch of stuff I had deadlines for and I was feeling a trifle overwhelmed. I actually haven't finished anything.

I've finished all the pieces for my Central Park Hoodie, and they are all blocked. But it took me 2 days worth of knitting to pick up the 308 stitches for the button band. I haven't even finished knitting a single row of that one, but we'll see the weekend is almost here.

I started my second Harry potter sock in time to take it to book club. I like having a sock going all the time, and I think after I finish this one, I'd like to start another pair. I may have you guys help me decide what to do.

I also got a big chunk of the first halloween costume (kimono) done. I had this big mental block on sewing the lining, but I got it sorted out. Then I had this epiphany on cutting out the sleeve lining that was supposed to save me a bunch of fabric. And it did! A whole sleeves worth. Of course I only managed to cut out one sleeve lining instead of two. The sleeves are on the agenda for today. I can't remember if I had bought the fabric for costume #2 (clown) when I last wrote (and am too lazy to go back and read) but it is now purchased and washed and pressed. I'd like to start on it this weekend.

I feel like everything is going so much slower than it should. I had a girl stay home one day this week and I got NOTHING done that day. Next week there is a field trip one afternoon, and an online training one morning, both of which will kill about a day of my time "off."

Well I'd best get back to it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Projects, goals oh my

All last week I kept thinking I would write about my goals. Then I got worried about what maybe it said about me that I had goals for my hobbies, then I decided they weren't goals per se they were projects.
Then I thought I should just knit or sew instead of writing about the things I wanted to knit and sew. You can see now why I've not updated in a while.

Anyway, it feels like I have a lot on my "crafting" plate. Perhaps in part because I always forget how busy fall is, with school starting and halloween and my family's annual visit north. Sometimes it makes me feel better to list things I have going especially things with deadlines. But sometimes it doesn't. Let's see how this one turns out.

I really only have deadlines on the halloween costumes. I am on tap to create a "china girl" costume--which is actually a kimono (although I have looked it up--if you google china girl kimono you end up with Mulan) and a clown costume. Those must be done by the school halloween party which I think is on the 30th. I'm still waiting for the school to send out the calendar of "important dates"

I have purchased most of the fabric I'll need for the kimono, and in fact have cut out the top fabric. I still need to cut out the lining and the trim. I may (or may not we'll see) need a bit more fabric. I've looked at the instructions and it might actually go together easily. I also need to look and see if I have enough fusible interfacing. And since my craft area is moderately cleaned out, I actually think I know where my fusible interfacing is!

I have not purchased material for the clown costume, and I'm sort of counting on the fact that the pattern says--2 hours! on it. Not that I'll be there 2 hours before she needs it sewing, if I can help it, but it is nice to know the pattern company thinks it is quick and easy.

I guess I kind of have a deadline on my central park hoodie. I picked it back up again and am soldering on. I have the back and both sides done, and should block them this weekend. I'd like to be wearing it when the weather turns fallish. Which given Michigan, could be next week or could be November.

I kind of have a deadline for the Harry Potter socks I started when I was fussing about the CPH. I'd like to have the second one cast on before the next book club meeting in October. (so I can bring it and knit) It is getting to be wool sock weather and I'm loving that I have 2 new pair to wear--two that I almost completely forgot about.

Of course then there are all the other things. The things I want to do. the things I've started to do. I started a set of potholders, I want to start finishing the works in progress, I want to knit the dollar and a half cardigan, I have a shrug's worth of Blue sky Alpacas silk/alpaca I'd like to do something with. In the meantime, the house needs to be clean--including the dumping ground we sometimes call the guest room. There just aren't enough hours.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Adam's quilt

A while back ago I finished, rather spectacularly, a baby quilt. Because the recipient is my cousin, and I knew she watched my flickr and my facebook pages I couldn't really post progress pictures there, or say much of anything for my facebook status, but one day I wrote: Just had a whoo hoo moment. Because when I finished this puppy I actually hollered WHOO HOO!

adam quilt
The pattern is from M'lss Rae Hawley's book Scrappy Quilts. The cover pattern. One of the things I like about Hawley's books is that she always includes a "gallery" of quilts in the book done in other color combos. I've passed by patterns in the book only to discover something cool in the gallery and realize that the colors were what made the quilt seem special. In this case, one of the gallery quilts was in all pinks, which had a cool effect.
I did blues because she knew the baby was going to be a boy and thought blues would look like the pinks, but no dice. I threw in the yellows because blue by itself was really kind of dull.
I had a horrible time with the blocks and ended up turning hem all over to my MIL to get them to lie flat.

The trick it seems is that two triangles need to make a 90 degree angle. So MIL cheated on those--cutting them if they weren't. All in all I was very happy even if this pattern was a bit beyond my skills. I only purchased border fabric and the yellow on the corners. And seriously it should not be so hard to find a decent non-gold bright but not dark yellow.

My cousin called the other day to let me know she loves it, and also to let me know that now her oldest son was glad that they each had their own quilts. (this one is mine mine mine, were his exact words.)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


I actually have a finished object, but as far as I know it is still in transit to its recipient. So until it gets there, I guess I'll have to confess something.

I stopped knitting on my central park hoodie.

See, I finished the back and started on one of the sides, and did it ever look small. Like really small. So I checked guage and huh, I was getting 16.5 stitches to 4 inches instead of the 17.5 asked for, which theoretically if my math is correct means it should be bigger. But I do most of my math as I'm falling asleep--I think it soothes me. I checked the schematics and found that the sides were supposed to be 10 inches wide. I measured and realized that my sides *might* block out to eight and if the button band were on that would be 9.5 and that all sounded like way too skinny. So I ripped the side out. Here's what can't figure out, I pinned out the back and measured it and I can get it to the required 20 inches, pretty easily.

I went back to ravelry and checked to make sure I was using the same needle size and everything! I've heard it runs small but, really should I have to make something eight inches larger than my measurement to get a few inches of positive ease? This would mean either making the sides a size (or two) larger than the back and fiddling with the sleeves OR ripping out the back and starting over.

I can't decide which to do so I started a sock.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I know that the topic of WIPs or Works in progress is one fraught with drama and espionage. You know people hide them, pretend they don't exist.

I don't have many WIPs in my knitting life (right now). And depending on your definition of a WIP, I may never. See I always defined them as Works in progress, that is works you started but have not finished for some reason. You could still be working on it, you could have encountered a problem and set it aside for a while or perhaps you just lost interest in it. But then I saw on Knitting Daily that they were defining a WIP as a piece you had set aside for a while, perhaps never to finish.

By my definition--just a project you've started and isn't finished yet--really no value judgment implied about why--perhaps it is the active project--perhaps it isn't, I have 2 knitting WIPS. I'm not counting the socks I have a swatch for but have not cast on. The two I have are--the central park Hoodie I'm working on and a doll sweater I made that doesn't fit the doll and I need to make a decision about (of course it has been more than a year that I made this, but eh).

Up until last month I would have said something similar about sewing. Then we cleaned out the basement. I discovered in that process that I'm really much worse at the WIPS in my sewing than in my knitting. I not only have the "active project" going but at least three four five six (that I've found so far) that are in various stages.
1) Turtle wall hanging that I started Oh who knows how long ago. This one was complicated because all the shells were hexagons, but now I know the secret to making flat hexagons (give them to MIL to do--ha ha) maybe I'll get to this.

2) turtle wall hanging #2--this was actually turtle fabric as the main fabric and was supposed to hang in my kitchen--at the last house, nine years ago. I have a table cloth that matches--which is done BTW. The problem with this is that it is paper pieced and I get tired of that after a while.

3) Crazy quilt from reproduction fabrics. This is also paper pieced but I have a ton of scraps for it--I was thinking bed sized, but all the squares are 4 inches so it might take a while.

4)A skirt. I actually started this so long ago, I can't remember what the entire plan was. I out grew it then shrunk back to its size.

5) a denim quilt. All the pieces cut, just needs to be sewn together--not even quilted!

6) doll dress--the doll thing waxes and wanes so much here that I'm not sure I will finish this.

I was sure there were more, but that's all that comes to mind. I'm sure that as I continue to clean I'll run across more. Of course that doesn't count everything I have fabric purchased for or that I'd like to make (because then I'd have to confess the 40000 knitting projects of the same ilk).

I also wanted to comment about Tricia's comment on the post about the central park hoodie--and I can't figure out how Blogger will let me comment directly. Tricia wants to know why I suspect that the sweater won't fit me--this is a great question especially considering that I have only knit part of the back (now I'm nearly finished with the back but then I only had about 10 inches). Well, I do the really scientific thing of holding it up to me and saying, man this looks so small! I go through this every time and let me tell you I have only been right once.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New space

I haven't written in ten days, so you'd think that I have gotten gobs knitted, but really I've been working on my space.

You see when we bought our house, we turned the partially finished basement into my sewing room--or design studio. I didn't knit then, I didn't have children then. Now, I do both and the poor basement got neglected until it resembled something from the messiest home in America. So a few weeks ago we decided to clean it out, rip out the ugly carpet and start over, creating a full on craft room that all of us could enjoy. So for the past few weeks we've hauled tons of stuff to Goodwill, thrown away several bags of trash and are slowly putting back what's left (and still finding things we neither want nor need). My daughters have moved down there and are itching to start "crafting"--although the new carpet is so pretty we need to find someway to make it stay pretty and still be able to use ink (for rubber stamps), glitter, and glue. We're thinking plastic sheeting.

Tthe first project to get sewn in there, if I ever can get my space cleared up is the quilt I'm working on for my cousin. It has borders and is pin basted and ready to quilt. My MIL is letting me borrow her sewing machine, that comes with the portable table (because I stepped on mine--the room was that messy) and it is all set up and ready to go. Now I just need to use it.

I also swatched and started on the central park hoodie. I can't believe how easy this pattern is--and yet with a nice elegant cable. I'm about halfway up the back and already starting to worry that it won't fit AND that I'll run out of yarn--both of which are par for the course with me.

I don't have any pictures, and really not much more to add to that.

Monday, August 03, 2009

starting over

When I worked at the yarn store, I used to hear people say--they were "afraid" to make different projects. Sometimes I see that on ravelry or Knitting Daily. I never really understood it--after all knitting is just string and some sticks making knots-- what's to be afraid of? Then I started swatching for the dollar and a half cardigan.

I should probably back up and say that usually when I start a project I thoroughly investigate it on ravelry. I look to see what other people have used to make a project, I search to see who else has used the yarn I'm considering. I look carefully at the finished projects, check the needles sizes etc, so I can get a good idea for what I think works. This also helps me to see if there are any problems with the pattern or tips that other have for working the pattern.
In doing this investigation on the dollar and half cardigan, I discovered that there are a few "things" going on. First, it appears that even though the pattern doesn't say it, you really need to use two sizes of needles--one for the lacework and one for the plain sections. If you do not, your piece will pucker. This was borne out by my swatch (which I washed and accidently dried and ugh ugh ugh it puckered). The second is that there is a trick to decreasing (for the armholes) in the lace that there is an entire tutorial about.
Because of how my first swatch worked out--and it wasn't even not really on guage--I really need to swatch again, using two different needles. But I don't want to.

Oh I still want the sweater. I still want to knit this even though it will probably be a pain, but yet I feel this tiny bit of... I don't even know. I'd call it fear but that's not quite right. Perhaps this is really what people mean when they say they are afraid of a project. It isn't so much a fear as much as a bit of something that says I don't want to put in a ton of work on something that won't turn out the way I want it too. And I do think that if I start this project now it has the potential to end up badly.
It has taken me several tiny little knitting projects--smaller even than socks (and they may end up being gifted so I'm not showing them off) to come to the conclusion that I need to set the dollar and a half cardigan aside and start on the next big project.

So I'm back to swatch land, this time I'll be swatching for the Central park hoodie

Sunday, July 26, 2009

quilting, jam, and socks oh my!

When I started this blog I envisioned it to be about knitting. Particularly some of my knitting problems (hence the name disasters with yarn). Then the first few things I had to write about were baby quilts. Then I wrote about jam. And of course I threw in some knitting too. Well today I have all three!
First the baby quilt.
My cousin recently had her second baby, a boy. And since she doesn't read this blog I can tell you about her baby quilt. I decided that I needed something splashy as she is an art teacher and the quilt I made for her first baby was WOW. So I picked finally to do a blue kaleidoscope from M'Liss Rae Hawley's Scrappy Quilts. I have never had so much trouble with a quilt. I could not for the life of me get the triangles to lay flat when they were sewn into the hexagons. Fortunately my MIL is a much better piecer than I am and she put all the blocks together for me. I did everything but that. Now it just needs borders.

And needs them quick because we are turning my "quilt studio" into a craft/play room and the new carpet is scheduled to come in in about a week or so. We still need to pick up my sewing things (which is now down to my sewing table and ironing board) and rip up the existing carpet and mop the tile underneath. Whew. I've decided that I'll be putting a border on this afternoon and moving everything after that, I'll get it ready to quilt while we clean that space and quilt it after we move back in.

Hmmmm there don't seem to be any pictures of the jam I made last week. Since we love strawberry so much I should probably only make that, but I like to play. So this year, I decided to make sour cherry jam. Now, sour cherries are not beautiful like sweet cherries are. They are small and squishy and well... gross. In fact so gross that not only did I not photograph them, I also couldn't bear to taste the jam until several days after I made it. The insides are yellow and so I was pleasantly surprised that after I blended them--and I did blend more than I usually like to with fruit jam, I like my jam chunky--that the resulting jam is reddish. ALso, I was surprised to find it tastes like cherry pie filling. The verdict from the family is that aside from the skins that it is good good good jam.

But perhaps most exciting is the knitting that got done this week. And by got done I mean:
lace and cable socks
These are Lace and Cable socks (size small!) from Socks from the toe up. The yarn is a knit picks bare that I dyed. I took them on vacation and nearly finished the first sock--the second one I took along everywhere for the last three weeks (swimming lessons, playgroup and tv knitting). And for what--socks that are too warm to wear until September! I got so warm posing in the socks that I didn't wait until I got a great picture--just an "ok you can see the socks and tell what color they are" picture.

I also finally got the lace pattern in the dollar and half cardigan sorted out and knit a swatch. The gauge for the pattern is in the lace pattern but I think I may have to go up a needle size for the lace, but I like the look of the reverse stockinette. I'm washing it first though, in case it grows. Ravelry tells me that many people use two different needle sizes so I'm guessing I'm not the first to look at the swatch and decide that. I do need to invest in a circular needle size US 4. I have a denise set and it only goes to size 5 and if the lace gets gauge at a size 6 I may want to bring the reverse stockinette down to a 4. Doesn't make for a whole lot of exciting knitting though.
So for now I have the tongue twister "sweater swatch" that I keep wandering around saying. Try it--say it five times fast.

Friday, July 17, 2009


When I worked at the yarn shop, they told me summer is a bad time for yarn stores--mostly people just want to knit dishcloths and socks. I don't knit dishcloths, usually, in part because I don't use them. I do knit socks though.

Last time I updated I was deep into trying to figure out what to knit. Made in part way more urgent by an upcoming vacation. I like to knit in the car and I like small projects for that so I don't have to pack a ton of yarn. Socks are ideal. I really wanted to work with my Harry Potter sock yarn so I'd have Harry Potter socks for the movie (geek) but after swatching I decided that perhaps a plain pattern would work best with that yarn and by golly I did not want a plain pattern. I did some more swatching, this time with the knit picks yarn I dyed. I figured I was getting about 8 stitches to the inch and took off with the book, knitting socks from the toe up, the yarn and 2 sizes of needles--(my 1s and 1.5s not the zeros which was a mistake). What happened was quite funny. The first day in the car, I started on one pattern and quickly figured out that they would be huge! 8 stitches to the inch at 8 inches around and somehow my sock was coming out way to big. In part because I've learned, my foot is only 8.25 inches around and that means I should be making about a 7.75 inch sock. Which amazed me to discover my size 9 feet are considered small. I did a ton of math attempting to get the pattern to work out and in the end decided to find a pattern that came a bit smaller.
Very few patterns in that book came in a small. If I'd only had the size zero needles, I could have had a few more options.
Instead lace and Cable socks were about my only option.
I like them though.
I finished the first sock on vacation and have been working on the second sock since.
socks in progress

I keep trying to find some space to work on my swatch for the dollar and a half cardigan since I think I've worked out my problem with the pattern. I ended up writing out the lace pattern in a way that I can follow easily with a row counter. Because the lace pattern is written as a seven row pattern but you don't work it in order, instead you work row 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. So why not write it that way? I have no idea I don't write patterns. It was tedious copying it out onto a sheet of notebook paper, re-numbering all the rows, but I think it will help. And I'm sure after I get working on it, I'll be able to take it places and talk while I'm doing it.
I never thought I'd be able to do that with the sock, but I not only did that, I took it with me to swimming lessons and had to set it down mid-row on a chilly day to help my daughters into their towels. Go me.

Also for my future self, I ned to find a way to keep track of the jam I make because I made WAY too much peach last year and I have no idea how much I made. I finally got he strawberry right and have no idea on that either. This year I made 3 batches of Strawberry. I'm only making one peach. I'm going to try sour cherry too--I'll try to photo essay it.
Love Farmer's market:
peas in a pod

Sunday, June 21, 2009

swatch land

I'm feeling a bit discontented.
I finished my socks that were on the needles (toe up basic pattern, knit picks Felici, k7p1 pattern on leg as suggested by Cinnamonamon)
And I was really hot (as in warm) during the photo shoot. So that kind of put me off the idea of starting new socks immediately. Then there was the idea that these were the second pair of socks I'd made almost exactly the same, I decided the next socks were going to have a pattern.

So at the library I found a copy of Socks from the Toe up By Wendy Johnson, and I love love love almost all the socks, but I'm suspecting it is because I love the colors. A lot of her patterns don't work too well with wild stripes or handpaints, which is what makes up the majority of my sock yarn collection. BUT, a quick search on ravelry shows that my Harry Potter sock yarn makes a good version of probably the one sock I didn't like in Wendy's book. (also shows that Jaywalker socks look pretty cool) But both give grave warnings about swatching (which is something I don't often do for socks--and it probably shows given about half my socks come out too big).

The other project I had wanted to start was the dollar and a half cardigan.

What ties these two together? swatching.
I'm deep in swatching land. My dollar and half swatch has showed me, that I need to pay attention to the lace pattern AND I probably need to use a size 6 needle, but I'll swatch that just to be sure--just as soon as I have the energy for the lace pattern--which really shouldn't be tricky after the swallowtail shawl, but it doesn't go row 1-7 it goes 1, 2, 3-6, then flips back to row 2, then something else then row 7. I get lost easily. My sock swatch looks like it could be a barbie minidress and I am not loving the texture. I really want to knit something up with my new handpainted yarn (the skein because I'm not up to the rainbow socks) but I have no idea what it would be.
I'm tired of swatching, I just want to knit something already. If I only knew what.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Adventures in color

So, last week I decided that perhaps the last day of school would be the PERFECT day to dye some yarn. Well, it did seem perfect with it being warm and all. I forgot to factor in the kid input, but overall it didn't go too bad.

I had a knit picks sock blank and a skein of "bare" sock yarn, also from KnitPicks. The plan was to dye the sock blank in a rainbow pattern. And I had decided I liked the roygbivroygbiv as opposed to roygbivvibgyor pattern. The skein I wanted to go from a very light blue to a very dark blue. I was using food coloring--designed particularly to use as cake frosting dye. Specifically I was using Americolors gel dye. I took a class about 18 months ago and used this process with good results. In looking through my notes, I found them to be rather vagues, so I wanted to document the process here. I also decided to document my progress via photos.

So first, you soak the yarn for a few hours in a solution of water and vinegar--this part I had spelled out in my notes--3 parts water to 1 part vinegar. So after marking out the spacing on my blank, I soaked the skein and the blank for 4 hours.
marked blank

Then I set up my supplies. Outside.
I had small paintbrushes, the dye, some water to mix it up, saran wrap, paper towels and gloves.
Then I laid out the saran wrap and it blew away.
So then I decided I'd mix up the dye and then do the saran wrap. Basically my notes from the class said a squirt of dye and water added until it looks right. I have no idea what "looks right" meant at that point in time. I fudged it. I think if you wanted to be more exact some old socks would make a great place to test your color palate out. I added probably a teaspoon of dye to 1/2 cup of water. And STIR! The red I bought was not americolor, it was a paste dye and it took significantly more stirring to mix it up and I was not satisfied even then with how it mixed up.


Then I laid out the saran wrap on the table and put the sock blank on that.
laid out
Then I painted the colors on. You do have to really use a lot of liquid to get it to go through. Knit picks shows them using a squirt bottle, and this probably would work too--I liked the feeling of control that the foam brushes gave me. Even with all the liquid I used, the color didn't fully permeate the sock blank.
And as you can see--the red doesn't look RED. Man I'm still mad about that.
rainbow blank

I mixed up the blue and indigo on the rainbow because in the containers after mixing they all looked alike. Another note to make for next time--MARK the colors too.
After you get it all painted, wrap it up in plastic wrap and microwave in two minute increments until the water runs clear.
The "water" actually pools on the bottom. I'm not sure I got this cooked enough, as later the red kinda bled a little (stupid RED). Anyway, I let it cool while I did the skein. Now, I ran out of color on the skein and I never did get my light blue to look light enough so I went with some green too. I thought it looked pretty. It will probably pool like mad.
dyed skein
I had to really really work at getting the skein completely saturated, it was skeined up too thick I think. I flipped it and massaged it and poured dye into it. I still have some white spots. Anyway, I wrapped that up and cooked it too.

Then after everything was cool, I cut them open--because the plastic wrap gets a little um melted I guess. Then my instructions weren't clear as to whether I should rinse everything or not. So I did, because it still smelled vinegary. Will probably have to rinse again though. The red bled a little (ha a rhyme, not funny though) when I rinsed, so perhaps a bit more is in order, then I hung everything up to dry.

Several things worked well. I would not have done this inside. It was messy messy messy and the dye stuck really well to porous objects Although it washed out of cotton really well much to the dismay of my daughters who "tie dyed" some socks at the same time.
I got really bright colors--brighter than I remembered getting in the class--although I got a better red there! I'm STILL mad about the red! And I am really looking forward to knitting on these.

The next time I do this (and yes there will be a next time) I will:

* try to arrange for the kids to be gone. Because they wanted to help. I do think I might buy them each a skein and let them go to town, then make socks from the results for them. Perhaps as a back to school project--the knit picks skeins aren't too expensive, cheaper anyway than most store bought sock yarns (and my daughters love the hand paints, so you know I'll be actually saving money even if I have to buy 12 more colors of dye).
*I will not buy any paste color--just gel. I will probably test on some old socks how the colors are going together.
*I would probably Flip a sock blank over, just to be sure it was saturated, and I think I might spread the skein out more. Also--I'll be more careful with the colors if that is an important design element.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Usually when I've been not writing I can't think of what I must have been up to because I don't have a lot to show for it. This time, I have so much I'm saving some for the next entry.

First of all, I've been doing a little sewing, as my cousin's baby is due any time.

I've been struggling with getting the triangles to make nice hexagons, so my Mother in law has been doing that part. Makes me feel like I won't be able to claim this quilt as my own work, but she's making it look so much better than my attempts. My attempts are all bunchy in the center and don't lay flat. I have three more hexagons to do, and I'm going to lighten up on the yellow a bit I think. I love how it is turning out though. And it will end up being about 90% stash fabrics too. I need to buy some yellow for the corners (I have some dark blue also for the corners) and some border fabric. I need to go through my stash and see if I have anything appropriate for backing.

After all the fussing I did on the swallowtail shawl. Even going so far as breaking up with it. I picked it up again after finishing the hey teach and amazingly enough worked through the issue I was having. And suddenly I started liking it again. And it was a little easier. Then one night I realized I was really close to finishing, and equally close to running out of yarn. I did what any of us would do: I knit faster as it has been proven that if you knit fast enough you'll beat the end of the yarn. Of course this doesn't really work. Fortunately for me, I had used this yarn to start another lace project that hadn't worked out and I had clipped off 10 yards or so and set them aside--so a little russian join and I had a safety net. good thing too--because I hit that join in the bind off row.
Yep bind off row!

Whew, because this yarn is truly one of a kind. It is Knit picks bare, which I hand dyed oh maybe 18 months ago. In a class--so I could never recreate it. It looks even better blocking
Seriously, I love it. It should be dry soon.
Towards the end, I was so in love with this project that I knew I needed to get busy dyeing the other yarn I had. I also knew I had another lace project I wanted to cast on for.
So, Friday I finally took the plunge and dyed my knit picks sock blank and a skein of sock yarn. Details later (sneak peeks at flickr).

Monday, June 01, 2009

funny thing happened this weekend

Over the weekend I finished my version of Hey teach!, which I called on Ravelry--Hey librarian. After all my futzing with the sleeves, I did get it to actually go on my arms, but maybe in reality land (you know the one everyone actually sees) I should have made the next larger size. It buttons, but looks um, not that greta buttoned. It does look cute and hip, mostly unbuttoned though.

hey librarian

I like it, but I think I'm having a little hard time with it because I need a tighter t-shirt under it than I usually wear, but I understand that's all the fashion. Plus it must look cute--I've been asked to join some group with the picture (despite the fact that my husband won't stand up when he takes pictures of me).

Probably the most unexpected on the results of finishing this sweater was that I picked up my lace shawl again. Yes, I was two stitches off, but I added those stitches and did something on the order of 8 rows (and when each row is over 200 stitches that's saying something). All the rows (with the exception of the one I did this morning were all exactly right. I'm debating unknitting the current row and figuring out what I did wrong. The pros are that it would be right and wouldn't take too long, the big con is that every time I have unknit a row, I've managed to botch it up worse than the mistake I started with. I was only one stitch off which effectively means my nupps (man that word sounds dirty) are a little off on one side. We'll see how I'm feeling the next chance I have to work on it. I need to get it finished though so I can use those needles again to start the next project. They are my denise set, so I can take the points off which will come in handy for the swatch.
I think best part, is how I am actually excited about the lace again. And working with it is making me get excited for the big dye project.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Houston we have a problem...

And that problem is... fit.
I know I saw it coming, I've been afraid for a while now that my Hey Teach was going to be too small. Over the weekend I finished the button bands (and bought buttons, more on that later). and started seaming. When I had both sleeves sewn up and one side seamed, I slipped it on and it fits as long as I wear nothing under it, which is of course a big problem with a lacy bodice. For me anyway.
The biggest problem was the sleeves, they are just too tight. The rest seems to fit fine, and make me glad I didn't make the bigger size which would have been huge on me.

I figure that if you've knit something too small for you, you have 5 choices:
1) you can throw it down in disgust
2) you can rip it out and knit the larger size
3) you can diet until it fits
4) you can gift it to someone smaller than you
5) you can figure out how to make it bigger

Obviously, the first four just aren't happening here. I love my ice cream an d this sweater and I'm going to wear it this summer. So how to make it bigger? Well, my Knitting answer book suggests that you knit a gusset to fit in the sleeve. The main problem that I ran into was, that this portion is also done in the lace pattern. I stewed over whether to knit a stockinette gusset or fiddle with the lace. after a while I figured that if I fiddled with the lace I'd be happiest. So, an hour or so later I had the seam in the second sleeve ripped out and a new gusset knit. I guess this will have to be a to be continued, because I have no idea if it will work. I plan to finish the seaming on that side and see if it fits better, then rip part of the seam out on the other side, and knit a gusset for that.

But who'd want to rip out such a nice seam?!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Work is ongoing on my Hey teach. Both sleeves are done but need to be blocked, and I have the shoulders seamed. Am picking up stitches for the neck and will start the button band probably later today. It occurs to me that I have no buttons for this project. Suppose I should get working on that--assuming that it will button when it is done.

The weather has gotten warmer here--finally and so I have started to think more and more about the next big project--sock dying. For Christmas, I was given a knit picks sock blank. The idea is that you can dye it into a pattern and then knit from the blank. The socks then will have the striping pattern you dyed. I asked for it because I decided that what I really really want is rainbow socks. And to that end, I did a bit of sketching:

sock blank

To try to decide if it should go ROYGBIVVIBGYOR or ROYGBIVROYGBIV. I think I like the latter the best. I have all the materials--now I just need to actually do it. Especially since it is warm and I could do the dying outside if I needed to.
Which do you like the one on the left or the one on the right?

Friday, May 15, 2009

hey teach... er librarian

I'm not done with Hey Teach but I thought this might be a good time to discuss some details about the project in part because I've had at least one comment about the project and because sometimes the excitement of finishing something overwhelms me and I forget details.

So ok, I decided that since my LSY doesn't carry second time cotton, the yarn called for in the project, I would search for some other yarn that might work. A worsted weight cotton blend was how I interpreted that and after much flopping around the LYS, I came away with 4 skeins of Cascade Sierra (color 42), which is a cotton and wool blend.
Then of course came the swatching and sizing issues.
I have a 36" bust and the small in this pattern measures at 35.5 which is .5 negative ease and the medium is 39 which is 3 inches positive ease. In all the ravelry pictures, the snugger the fit, the better the look, so I was really torn, then I swatched.
On size 6 (us) needles I got um not gauge. I can't remember exactly what it was. It was close. I made a math error and went up a needle size and was way off--should have gone down a size. Decided after doing some math with my gauge and the schematic that actually the gauge I was getting would make the 35.5 inch size a touch bigger--like a 36.5 so I decided that I'd stick with the size 6 (even though I wasn't completely in love with the look of the fabric) in part because my size 5's are wrapped up with some lace project that at the time I planned to actually work on. (Stitch holder being a non-issue thanks to interchangeable needles).

uh oh this is getting dull--cue pictures:
hey teach

So as you can see the back is done. And I was worried about the lace shaping, charted it out for the back and everything. But by the time I started the first sleeve, I could read that lace so well that I pretty much know what to do without looking too close to the chart.
You can also see I have re-purposed some of my kids former toys as a blockign board. I must confess that I stole the idea from something I saw in knit picks. Those blocks were headed to Goodwill too!

I finished both the front sections and blocked those too. Although I ran out of pins and had to unpin the back before I did the fronts.
Hey Teach

I decided to block differently than I normally do. Normally I soak everything then lay it out wet, but I did some reading and decided to give steam blocking a try. It seems to have worked out pretty well, but the fronts are still damp (well I only blocked them an hour a go so what do you expect).
So I have started on the first sleeve and am about half way done with it. I think I may sew the shoulder seams before I finish the sleeves, just because then I can work on the neck while the sleeves block. Or maybe not. We'll see what I feel like this weekend.
For the record, I'm still lightly worried about it fitting me. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Stuff I'm working on

So, I am still working on my version of Hey teach--I have the back and the left front done. I've moved pretty steadily through my usual worries about any sweater project i've ever had 1) is this a good color? 2) OMG I'm not going to have enough yarn! and finally 3) This isn't going to fit! I go through this with every single sweater I've ever knitted. I think I have enough yarn on this one--finally being convinced of this after getting within an inch of the top of the left front. I keep reminding myself that this sweater looks best with low amounts of ease, and surge forward.

I'm also still working on a quilt, although BLECH, it isn't coming out as I envisioned it. My mother-in-law has promised to help this weekend, which I think is gracious of her. She is under the impression that if I don't follow the instructions in the book that it will come out better--see where I get this urge to not follow the rules? Although she's probably right and in six months I'll stumble on errata that says so.

I also bought my mom some sock yarn for mother's day--sock yarn that I might add, I kind of want. but I have enough sock yarn, which leads me to:

Which I just started out of the need to have a sock going at all times. I don't have a special plan for it--so maybe 2X2 ribbing at the top? I love the yarn, which is knit picks Felici that I got for Christmas. And after these are done, I'm planning a foray into dyeing my own sock yarn--I have a knit picks sock blank, a skein of bare sock yarn and eight colors of frosting tint. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Socks I made Socks!

It occurs to me that I could be blogging about knitting right now or I could actually be knitting. So I'll leave you with some pictures of the bamboo lace socks. They are a little too wide for my feet. But they are so pretty.

bamboo lace socks

And a closer view:

I'll also say that I'm working away on Hey Teach, but I'm at the decreasing lace part which means I have to do more thinking as I knit so it goes a bit slower. I should be nearly done with the back soon though, so I'll try to update with a picture soon.

I started new socks (or rather picked up where I left off on them) and bought some cake frosting dye for a dying adventure that I hope will happen in May.

And I have some sewing to do too.... busy times ahead, I'd best get cracking.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hey Teach

I have a confession to make. Remember how I was going to break up with that lace shawl. Well I ripped back to the beginning of the section that was giving me fits and I counted my stitches four times and then I did a bad thing.

I knit on it.

And I ended up with too few stitches on one side of the marker and too many on the other. Which might mean that the marker is in the wrong place, or I knit something wrong. The marker looks like it is in the right place. Sigh. I'm going to give it one more row as I think I've compensated for the differences, but I don't know how much more this yarn will take in regards to ripping out. So I'm setting it aside again for a while.

I started my version of Hey Teach!.
Hey teach in progress
I have the back nearly to the arm shaping, which means that the lace pattern starts to get a bit tricky. Am thinking that given my problems with that lace shawl maybe I should dig out some graph paper and graph the decreases into the lace pattern. Well actually I should say that my first thought was to print out something on the order of 50 copies of the lace chart with the pattern and cut it up and go from there. But now I think graph paper might be a better visual, well and easier on the earth.

And no, I still haven't finished the bamboo lace socks, thanks for asking.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Whenever there is a big gap in my blogging I feel like I should show lots of finished projects. Instead I guess I have lots of crafting problems.
Oh wait--I do have finished objects:
I made shrugs for my girls for their Easter outfits. Very cute and quite functional. I improvised the pattern--based loosely on the base for the Lacey-hug me tight.

I'm still struggling with the shawl, if only in my head. I need some quiet time to just look at it and try to figure out where I went wrong. then the guts to rip back as far as I need to. The former may be the hard part. Most of my quiet time happens after people are in bed, and I'm pretty tired then. But maybe Wednesday when the ladies are at school... if not it will be until the 23rd, which is sadly the next time I foresee being alone in the house AND being awake. I guess I could have worked it out this morning when I had about 90 minutes alone, but I'm still angry at it, so I sewed instead.

That was probably a mistake.
See I'm working on a quilt for my cousin (look away Britt, if you are reading) and something just isn't working. I cut some of my triangles so far so good:
But when I sewed them together--it was a mess. I think I need to check that I'm doing a 1/4 inch seam. My machine's .25 foot doesn't work (it breaks needles) and so I eyeball it probably more than I should. My machine quilting foot has a .25 gauge and so I'll hook that up and see if it goes better. Also--I'll probably trim the points on the triangles. I already checked that my ruler was cutting the same size as the template in the book, and it seems to be off by about 1/16th of an inch. It might be making a difference, but perhaps I can compensate. But I was very very very frustrated with the sewing this am.

I did go on a bit of a vacation...if you can call driving 1000 miles with two children a vacation. And since I was doing all the driving I did not get my usual large amount of car knitting done. I did however start the second bamboo lace sock. I'm working on the foot now--and unlike Some people I know I don't have small feet--so it could be a while. And we stopped by Needleworks when we were in Champaign. I thought it was a nice shop, a tad bigger than my LYS. I didn't feel as welcome as I do at my LYS--I felt like I was interrupting either a class or a SnB. I hope no one ever feels that way at the LYS I frequent, because it isn't a great feeling. They did however, have some neat things. My three favorites were:
1) They were having a knit along for Hey Teach and the sample was in the almost exact color of yarn I have purchased. I hope mine looks as good as the sample, which was knit superbly. It was nice to have validation on the color.
2) They had buttons you could buy by the scoop. My girls were in heaven--I bought them each a scoop ($1 scoop--they had three sizes) and they had fun poking through their buttons in the car. I should have bought a scoop for MIL as a souvenir.
3) They had opal sock yarn in the Harry Potter colors! Like I needed any more sock yarn. But I had to have the Ron and Harry colorway--oh who am I kidding I had to have Tonks too, but I only bought Ron and Harry.
All in all here is my review: nice shop, stop by if you find yourself in the area, but only if you don't mind that "I just walked into a party I wasn't invited to" feeling.

Friday, April 03, 2009


Dear Shawl,
This just isn't working out for me. Due to the way you have been lately, I need to say that I can't take you to the banquet. I think we should see other people. I know that in situations like these it is common to say, it isn't you it is me, but let's be real here, it isn't me--it IS you.
Now I do think we can still be friends, and I think if we go back some more and take it slow we might actually get to go out together. But you seriously need to straighten up!


After the last entry I ripped back my six rows, counted, got the center marker in the right place and knit. I made it up past where I had started the rip--placing lifelines every other row. Then... and I'm not even sure what happened I had to stop in he middle of a purl row, which at this point is basically purl until you get to the nupps and then nupp. When I went back to it and finished the row, the next knit row was 2 stitches off. I ripped back to the lifeline, but again I'm still two stitches off.

I also have a place where the center stitch is a little off but it was way back before the nupp section.
So now I'm seriously thinking of ripping bak ALL the way to where the nupp section starts, counting and getting the marker set and then being very very careful. Basically this is something along the lines of 8-12 rows. Of over 100 stitches.

So, I've decided to go stag to this big banquet--and leave the lace home while the girls and I travel next week.

Perhaps this is the time to cast on that second bamboo lace sock.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The good and the bad

Good: I finished my first bamboo lace sock--Yay

Bad: I have yet to cast on for the second.

good: cast on a different more travel appropriate sock to take along to an all day conference.

Bad: culture issues (and seating issues) made it stay in my purse all day. Most disappointing because I had such a neat cast on for a change.

Good: I started swatching for hey teach.

Disappointing: I didn't get gauge on the piece that has the "best fabric"

Good: I decided to finish my lace shawl in time to wear to my husband's end of the year banquet in about a month.

Agonizing: I discovered today that I need to rip back about 6 rows (roughly 2 days of work). That's where my lifeline is. I think I really only need to go back 5, but alas--no lifeline.

Frustrating: The yarn for the shawl broke when it was being wound (after I dyed it--how cool is that). So I thought i might have enough in the bigger half to finish the shawl.

bad: I do not.

More bad: It won't spit felt

Good: There is a technique called Russian join that works pretty well in situations like this.

Surprising: Googling "russian join" does not bring up p0rn.

That's the good news/bad news--I'm off to rip out those six rows.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Funny thing happened on the way to start my version of Hey Teach (called Hey librarian). I kind of got distracted by this sock
bamboo lace
Every time I sat down to knit I picked up this sock. Pretty. In fact, I need to kitchner the toe and then it will be done. I can't wait to wear them. At first I thought they were a little tightly knit (knit on size 1, when really i would have thought a 1.5 or a 2), but I'm liking how it makes the bamboo a little more firm.

Socks have that appeal to me, I can make lots of socks because wow, you need maybe 7 or eight pairs of socks a week. My kids need 7 or 8 pairs each a week and well who needs that many sweaters, scarves or shawls?
But then there is the terrible downside to socks.
sock hole
I wrote a while back ago that I was learning to darn socks, just to make the socks last a bit longer. Well, this is the pair that made me decide to darn socks. I repaired three holes in this pair of socks. Three holes that I might add made me just LIVID, because these socks are not even two years old--were not even a year old when the first hole appeared. (for the record, SWTC Tofutsies--never ever buying it again). Well I darned these docks and then a few weeks later I pulled them out of the was and was confronted by this latest hole. I'm just so mad--so mad I've decided not to repair these socks--am debating frogging them.

Ok, back to my bamboo socks, may they not disappoint me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

decisions made!

I have made some decisions.
First, I decided that I'm starting on hey teach just as soon as I finish one of my current projects. I bought some Cascade Sierra color 42--at my LYS (plus some sock yarn because oh my do I ever have a weakness fondness for sock yarn). I decided that I have enough sock yarn and so I'm not going to be tempted by the lucius purpleness of the purple striped felici at knitpicks. Instead, when the cotlin comes back in stock, I'm going to purchase that plus some wool of the andes to make a Central Park hoodie. (Sapphire heather for the curious).
I realized that if I stick to this plan I have roughed out in my head that I have all my knitting pretty much planned through um October maybe.

Anyway, I have some projects going now. I have a shrug started for one of my girls (and so will have to make a second one). My mom got them each a pretty dress for Easter initially then summer. But here in Michigan, easter and sleeveless dress do not always go hand in hand. So I had envisioned shrugs. I attempted to make a simplified version of the lacey hug me tight--basically the shrug sans lace, and somehow my math messed up and it is too narrow. So I'm adding on to it. I debated ripping out or adding to it, and then dreamt I added on and then crocheted lacy pink flowers on the sleeves and collar. I do not crochet, much less make pretty crocheted edgings. But decided that the dream probably was giving me the answer. We'll see if it works.
I also had to start a pair of socks because socks are the ultimate in portable--although these are a bit more complicated:
lacy bamboo sock
The pattern is called Lacy Bamboo socks--and I'm using the yarn it calls for--On your toes Bamboo. Not getting to use my new needles, and I probably should have gone down a size even as they seem really big.

I also said I wasn't goign to tke any in progress pictures of my swallowtail shawl, but I lied.
I have 3 more lace repeats and then onto the next chart! Of course each row is taking longer and longer because it keeps adding stitches! I worked on it for an hour while the ladies were at school on Monday and I made it through 1 six row chart. ONE. yes I knit slow, but that's a lot of stitches.