Archive for July, 2007


The Trouble With Ravelry

July 30, 2007

The trouble with Ravelry is that I forget what I’ve posted there as opposed to here. For example, I finished a Ball Band Washcloth from Mason-Dixon knitting and never said a word about it on this, my precious knitting blog.

This sure is purple, isn’t it? It’s super easy while still being super cool looking, which is always a plus. This is currently being used as a washcloth and will, once washed again, live in my car as a testament to my “If I’m not prepared for anything, what will happen if something goes wrong?” neurosis. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy said to always bring a towel…mine’s just a bit small.

And now let’s talk about Shedir. Oh let’s do. I have so very many things I could say about this hat…but I’ve been trying to keep this blog at a PG-13 maximum. The cabling without a cable needle works great…but what about the twists? Grumperina never goes over how to make the knit and purl stitches swap places. I tried to figure it out for myself and it just didn’t look right. I hope to figure it out eventually…And there sure will be plenty of time to figure it out since I’m only on the third set of braids out of five (the picture to the right is from a few days ago)…

All that being said, it’s so pretty that I’m determined to make it work. There’s a depth to the pattern that I really like, plus the top of the hat star pattern is such a nice coup de gras to a beautiful cabled hat. Not to mention the fact that I will feel like a total badass when I finish it.

Lastly, the first post I ever made in this blog was about a sweater I was making up all by myself. I haven’t forgotten about it! I’ve just had a couple of bad starts. I was making it from the top down and the first couple tries I did I could tell the sucker wasn’t gonna fit before I even got to the raglan increases. It’s still on my to do list, but I really gotta figure out the numbers more clearly.


Jaywalkers are done!

July 29, 2007

Finished them on Friday night. I’m so happy! My first pair of small gague socks. I learned a lot with these. For one thing, I learned the exact measurments of my foot (basically, that they’re fat) and that one does not have to choke the yarn to get little stitches. The one sock is a little tight, but not uncomfortably so. I like the stuff I make on principle and I always wear it no matter how horrible, so these should see heavy rotation when the weather cools down.

Now I’ve got a couple of other projects I’m working on, so I’m purposly not casting on for Bellatrix yet. It’s hard, but I don’t want to totally forget about my two-toned shrug by getting swept up in sock madness again. I’m also feeling a sweater-y vibe, so I think the shrug should have a pretty nice future ahead of it. I’m also making a quick stash buster project out of a project from Mason-Dixon knitting. The felted baskets. Genius! I can knit things to keep my knitting in! And use up stash yarn! I love it! And it’s super easy, too. Just garter stitch with some handle holes.

And then there’s Shedir. So beautiful…so painful. And I mean physically painful. My cable needles are very pokey and I don’t know how to do the little twists without a cable needle. Grumperina’s Cabling Without a Cable Needle is a great technique and her instructions are really clear, but I can’t figure out how to do the twists. Another technique I’ve learned is the Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn bind off. I much prefer this to the usual knitted bind off, but I’m having trouble figuring out exactly how much yarn I should be leaving to sew.


Picking through the carcass

July 27, 2007

So Rag Shop is going out of business. This upsets me a bit, since I spent a lot of my childhood in Rag Shops getting fabric with my mother. As I was on my back from the comic book shop, I figured “what the hell” and went in to the one on the way home. Opportunity to pick up the little odds and ends of knitting and crochet for cheap, right?

Oh my God it was the most depressing thing ever. Even the fixtures were for sale. Like, metal shelves and stuff. And almost everything was gone, but I decided to scavenge whatever I could. My first mistake was going through the sewing patterns. What I really really really want these days is a new apron. My old one (made by me in Home Economics class almost 10 years ago) is kinda starting to fall apart and I’ve yet to find one for sale that I like as much. Ideally, I’d like to find a pattern for a cute, 1950’s style apron, but even if it can’t have a retro feel, I’ll just take and apron. I know I can wing it (get pice of fabric, cut out shape of an apron, cut out ties for neck and waist. you now have an apron), but I’d like something fancier. The leftover patterns were things you could not pay me to wear. And so many horrible Halloween Costumes. How they managed to make a princess costume for a 5 year old look decidedly un-cute I will never know.

The rest of the store was a mess too, but I wanted to get something. I mean…it was like a dollar store! So I picked up a couple of teeny crochet hooks and somehow found myself in the embroidery isle. Then, just as mysteriously, I found myself leaving the Rag Shop with crosstich canvas and a ton of embroidery floss.

I managed to pick up materials to learn a new craft plus a bunch of stuff for my existing hobbies for less than $20…unfortunately at the expense of a long standing chain of fabric stores, but still! Crosstitch!


Decisions Decisions

July 24, 2007

It was my birthday this past Sunday, and what better way to spend the day than blocking a sweater! Call me crazy but I love the smell of wet wool. (I did do other stuff too, I swear. Not a total nerd 😛 )

This is my roundabout way of saying that the Puff Sleeve Feminine Cardigan is done. I absolutely love it.

This is the first thing I’ve made where my mother was really wowed. She thought I was just messing around with this stuff, but suprisingly I don’t suck! I even managed to get the buttons sewn on straight. And my seams are, as usual, “teh awesome”. Top down raglan means there were only two seems to sew, but they came out real nice.

Last time I talked about the Rowan Pure Wool DK I made this in, I had just taken a nice big swig of Haterade. I’m still bitter about all the poofs and messed up plys and knots…but now that it’s been blocked the wool is so super soft and light. I would also classify it as the smoothest wool I’ve worked with. Way to prove me wrong, Rowan. Next up from the Fitted Knits book is the Two Tone Shrug in some stashed Cascade 220.

In the meantime, I’m still working on that second Jaywalker. Finally finished the foot decreases, but now I need another project to work on next to the sock because God forbid I have only one project going. Enter Shedir.

I have loved this hat for ages and finally decided to give it a try. I love to cable, so it’s been really fun so far, and the wool I’m using is working even better than expected. I threw a couple skeins of Swish Superwash in to my last order so I’d have enough to get the free shipping and pretty much just got lucky that it works for this hat. Otherwise it probably would have sat in my stash forever. Oh. And see that stitch marker? I made that 🙂

Lastly, I picked up a new knitting book as a little birthday gift to myself: Mason-Dixon Knitting. I really like it! In addition to having great ideas about the usefulness of garter stitch, there’s a really cool dishcloth pattern that will help me up the two things of Sugar and Cream I’ve had stashed for like a year.



July 18, 2007

I’ve recently come to a not so stunning realization.

 I love to make things.

Crafting makes me very very happy.

More than just knitting and crochet, I’m finding that I enjoy all sorts of making things practices. I learned to tat recently, I’m trying to learn to sew (I need some help to figure out the sewing maching, still), and I’ve been having a lot of fun recently decorating one of my crafting boxes with decoupage. It’s such simple, silly seeming stuff but it really brightens my day.

I’ve never really had a creative outlet. The title of this blog didn’t come out of nowhere. I was terrible in middle school art class. I can’t draw or sculpt. I can see what I want to express in my head, but my hands just won’t do it. This is upsetting to me since there really is quite a lot of art in my family’s history. My great grandfather was a pretty good painter, and we have several of his paintings up in our house.

But then there’s Nana. My mother’s mother. I remember when she and Pop would come to visit, she always had crochet with her. She taught me to make a chain, which (being 8 at the time) I promptly made long enough to wrap around the bottom floor of the house…I got in trouble with mom for that, but Nanny thought it was cute. She passed away before I could ever ask her to elaborate on that chain stitch, and as the years went by I found out that she was also an excellent sketch artist, scultpor, embroiderer, seamstress….Nana could do anything. I couldn’t even master the art of the stick figure.

Nana really dwarfs us all to this day. My mother is a wizard on the sewing maching, but she always brings up that she’s not as good as her mother. Same with my Aunts. I know I’m nowhere near as talented as she is either, but I can deal with it. This is something that makes me really happy. It’s an outlet. One I’ve never really had before.

If only they’d had a needlecraft unit in middle school…maybe then I wouldn’t have been such a miserable cuss during those years.


Useless Tat

July 16, 2007

I really shouldn’t be allowed near craft stores. All needed was fabric glue. Seriously. And yet…somehow…I ended up walking out of the Michaels with some blue crochet thread and…wait for it….

A tatting shuttle.

I really have no idea what a tatting shuttle was doing at Michaels considering….well no one tatts anymore. But I was going to try, damnit.

I’ve had a fascination with tatting for awhile now…mostly because it strikes me as absolutely futile. It’s lace…but all you can make are circles…with little loops off the side. Yipee….What are you actually going to *make* with your mad tatting skillz? You can’t tat a hat. You can’t tat a sweater. I guess you could tat a scarf, but it would be pretty useless. Yet even with all this haterism going through my mind, I wanted to learn to tat.

The first attepmt was such a failure I can’t even tell you. My finger got stuck in the second half of the loop and I stabbed my finger really bad on the picot catcher, but…It was actually *really really fun*! Impalement wounds and all!


I was getting closer and closer with every try, but I just couldn’t close the ring….All my bad. I was pulling the wrong damned string, and soon enough….

BAM! Closed ring!

 Now the idea is to chain multiple rings in to a kind of lace medallion. In my mind, something like that would go on to a purse or hat or somesuch as embellishment.

 If there’s anyone else out there who wants to pick up this easy and fun craft of yesteryear, the best resources I found for learning how to do it were here.

This new skill cost me less than $10 buck to learn. Thanks, sale at Michaels!


Septic Second Sock Sydrome

July 12, 2007

Okay….I’m trying *really* hard to deny that I’ve caught Second Sock Syndrome. I’m about a quarter way down the cuff on the second Jaywalker, but I got distracted again.

I’ve wanted to make Glaistig for ages, but I’ve never gotten down to casting on. But in the interest of clearing out my stash, I buckled down and settled in to the madness of 1×1 rib forever and ever amen.

Now I have a pretty hat.

Total time to make: About 3 days of solid, dedicated work. Took up almost two skeins of the yarn.

I’ve had these three balls of Mission Falls superwash merino in my stash for, like, a year now and figured it was about time I used them. The hat is so so so soft and I love wearing it (how dumb is it that I think it goes with my hair?), but damn that is a lot of 1×1 rib. I’d totally make it again in a more colorful color…but not any time soon…too much 1×1 rib…

Have I mentioned I don’t want to do any more 1×1 rib?

While on the subject of hats, I’ve had an idea for a hat for awhile, but I still need to work out the bugs. I think it’ll even make use of the Cascade 220 I’ve had sitting around. This is so exicting! Not only am I starting to use up the stuff that’s been sitting in my stash, but I’m also starting to come up with ideas of my own away from pre-written patterns!

Lastly, on the subject of the Puff Sleeve Cardigan there’s good news. My LYS is getting in more of the Rowan Pure Wool DK not only in my color, but also in my dye lot! I’m so stoked to finish it now. It’s already shaping up to be the best looking garment I’ve made in my time knitting.


One down!

July 9, 2007

Woo hoo! The first Jaywalker is DONE!

Had to put it on right away, of course. Still wearing it too, despite the fact that I only have the one. I think for the second one I’m gonna use the larger size instructions. The Lorna’s Laces feels wonderful and I’m going to have a ton of it left over. I was so paranoid about having enough from the two hanks that I shortened the cuff so they’d be just tall enough for me to wear my high-tops with. I’m casting on for the second one right away in hopes of preempting the Second Sock Syndrome.

But now that I’m thinking socks, I’ve even got a couple more sock patterns that I want to work on. I think the next one is going to be Monkey in this other Lorna’s Laces colorway I have (Somerset). That pattern seems to be made for multicolor yarn without overpowering the pretty stitch pattern. Thing is, it’s got an 8 inch “unstretched” circumference and my big fat foot is 9 inches around. I hope it can stretch that far, because I have no idea how to make these things bigger. I’m no n00b, but I don’t want to go messing around with altering lace patterns.

I also want to try this pattern (beware of .pdf), but (a) don’t have the yarn for it and (b) it looks kinda complicated. One thing at a time, I suppose.

Another happy is that the yarn store opens back up tomorrow. Time to find out whether or not I get to finish the puff sleeved cardigan in one color or I need to start improvising.



July 5, 2007

Sock madness has hit.

I’ve already turned the heel on the Jaywalkers I started a couple days ago and I’m already wondering which socks to make next. I think I get the appeal of sock knitting now: It’s fast, it’s creative, it’s functional, and it’s a whole lot easier to haul around than a sweater in progress.


 I also took a little break from the sock making to make yet another project in the round. This one used stash, though, so it only kinda counts. Harry Potter day is coming up (day before my birthday) and I noticed that I have some leftover yellow yarn sitting around in my stash. Dug around for a bit of black, and a few hours of solid work later I have half a set of Hufflepuff mitts: 

❤ ❤ ❤

Just a little something to wear to pick up my books and show my pride in being part of the official “Red Shirt Squad” of the Harry Potter Universe. I also like that it makes my hand look like the back end of a bee…BUT! I could even wear these things around outside of a Harry Potter context since no one would be able to guess they were a little fandom thingy. Non-fans probably don’t think about the good-natured Badgers all that much.


A big bag of fail

July 3, 2007

Well this hasn’t worked out at all.

 I was all set to have the Puff Sleeve cardigan done today but for one thing….I’m somehow one skein short. I have enough to finish this sleeve, but probably not the second. The button band is out of the question. I just hope that the yarn store has some more of that color. I can fudge the sleeves and make the button band a different color…but I don’t really want to, ya know? In spite of all this, the cardigan itself looks really really cute. Exactly what I wanted. But now I’m going to be begging for that one last skein when i ought to be attaching buttons….

 So I ran in to that wall last night, but still wanted to knit. Clearly I turned to one of my secondary projects, the Hedera socks I’ve been making. The yarn itself (Lorna’s Laces Shepard Sock in Jungle Stripe) is really crazy and the sock itself looked like a acid trippy Rorshac Test or Magic Eye Pattern.

I decided to see just how far I had left to go by trying them on…They didn’t fit. At all. And the pattern of the yarn just made my foot look stupid.

So after all that effort….I frogged the sock. I think the pattern for Jaywalkers will do a lot more justice to the yarn, but still two bad breaks in one night? That’s damned frustrating.


And of course the yarn store is closed until the 10th…I cannot even begin to express how frustrated I am. I tried to console myself by starting on my original design sweater, but it’s not helping. Frankly I’m having more fun with the new sock. The Jaywalkers pattern is very easy, but also has some interest to it. That’s a good thing going for this day. That and I got the buttons for the Puff Sleeved cardigan that I will finish someday….