Archive for January, 2008


Abberant Behavior in Socks

January 29, 2008

The Goblet of Fire socks are looking great! Now that I’ve got one completely done, I have a feeling that the next is going to fly off the needles. I know that’s strange, but it’s more often than not the first sock that takes the longest, especially when I really enjoy making it. Somehow, having the number of pattern repeats needed for the right measurements makes a big difference in how fast I get through. Like I can tell myself “oh it’s just another three pattern repeats then I get to do the heel turn,” and suddenly it’s done. I’m also just *so* excited to have these as a full pair. The taller leg will be great in this cold weather and I adjusted my usual foot measurements and got a much better length on the foot. These’ll fit in shoes no problem.

AND the stashdown continues! There’s still quite a ways  to go on the Hartshorn vest, which seems to have stopped growing despite all the time spent on it. I’m really starting to get nervous about it, though, as I think I may have overestimated my body measurements when calculating the cast-on. While it’s good news that I’m not as big as I thought, it might well be this miscalcutaion that makes the sweatervest way too big. Thank heaven for blocking, right?

I also knocked out a quick, one-skein project out of gift yarn that I got two Christmases ago from my friend working in Japan. It’s pretty stuff, I just never knew what to do with it. But a little while ago I broke out Cats and Zig to wind up some old yarn and kind of rediscovered it and other neglected bits. Note to self: The Baruffa stuff is beautiful. Somehow the color shows up more clearly now that it’s in a cake instead of a big droopy hank. Makes me *really* want to cast on something daring, but no. First it’s what I have on the needles, with the occasional one-skein project to chip away at the small bits.

Lastly, I actually did some crochet! My best friend is teaching herself crochet as part of a grad school class she’s taking (trust me, it makes sense) and called the other day to check on something that she was doing (she had it just fine, but crochet really is quite different than knitting so the caution was reasonable) and as I crocheted along trying to match what she was doing on her end of the phone I suddenly wanted nothing to do with my pointy sticks and just wanted to crochet something. Anything!

More stashbusting ensued and in a few hours I made this nice little hat out of one-skein of Patons Devine in black and about half a skein of the same yarn in purple. I’m a fan. It’s kinda gothy…but to girly to really be so (patern from the “accessories section of Mr. Funky’s Super Crochet Wonderful).


What I got

January 17, 2008

The attempts to knit from stash are going very well, I think. The Hartshorn vest is trucking along at a rate I’m really happy with. It looks like I’ll have leftover, but spare DK weight yarn isn’t a bad thing. I have a bunch of hat patterns that call for it. I’ve kinda mapped out that my focus is going to be on the big deposits of sweater yarn. Once I’m done with this vest, I have the Pastaza for the Cozy V-Neck all ready to go. Sock yarn is also getting a cleanout….mostly so I can buy new sock yarn. I’m also looking in to a way I can donate a lot of my old acrylic to Project Linus. I know I’m not a fast enough crocheter to make blankets on a deadline, but I do have the yarn for it, so it can’t hurt to try and donate the raw materials.

Getting in my way of stashbusting is sewing. For some reason I really really want to sew lately. I was at JoAnns the other day just to get a new cutting grid (my old one now has holes in it from bookmaking and will be used for such from now on) and ended up walking out with knife edge shears and 5 patterns. They were all just so pretty! And they were only a dollar each! $1!! And the shears were on sale! And the thing is I’m honestly getting better with sewing. My seams are straighter, I’m not as terrified of the machine, and the little brick of tailor’s chalk I got has been the biggest help of all.  For example, no matter how use less this little varient on the box bag may look, it contains some of the straightest stiching I’ve done to date. The patterns I got are mainly for SUPER pretty day-dresses and I’d love to start working on them, but with so many other pieces of fabric already cut out and waiting for some attention, They’ll just have to stay on the back burner for now.


From the east

January 15, 2008

Yesterday was a great day for a couple reasons. The one I want to get in to to detail with here is that I finally got the yarn swift and ball winder I ordered! I can finally *wind* my laceweight, meaning I can finally *knit* with it, meaning I can finally *try making lace!*

Clearly once I had the swift and winder, I had to set them up right away. But the table that I use for all my craft stuff is too thick, so I set myself up with the swift on the little end table where the printer usually lives and the ball winder on the edge of a chair. I work with the setup I have, not the setup I want.

On opening the box for the swift, I *did* notice it was a Japanese product. That’s cool. A lot of awesome things come from Japan. It must be pointed out now that I did not get one of those pretty wooden swifts like you see at the LYS. Oh no. Not for this cheapskate. Metal and Plastic for the win. It looked like someone decided to turn lemons in to lemonade and made their broken umbrella in to a swift with little pieces of orange plastic to protect the yarn.

After figuring out on my own how to set up the swift, I finally looked at what was written in English on the box. No joke, this thing’s name is the “K.M. All-Powerful Reeling Machine.” Hang on there, buddy. “All-Powerful”? Now I’m all for self esteem, but aren’t we getting a little ahead of ourselves? Can you make me a sandwich? Can you dry my hair? Then right there are just a few limits on your power. Let’s try and keep the ego in check and remember who’s in charge here, eh.

And it got even better…the swift has instructions. GLORIOUS instructions. I tried taking a picture of them to post here, but they got pwned by the flash, so I’ll just have to type them out, changing nothing for added hilarity because it doesn’t need it.

First of all, they’re listed as “Main Features.” How many “features” can a bloody yarn swift really have? Apparently a minimum of six, which are accompanied by the most confusing diagram I’ve ever seen for anything and a photo of an only slightly robotic looking Japanese woman with a cute haircut holding yarn with the swift near her. Here are the “Main Features” reproduced, in their entirety, with no corrections or alterations:

A) Being equipped with convenient metal connector, this tool is attachable to wherever you may wish, in the three directions – vertical or horizontal or diagonal. So there is no trouble at all like entangling of thread or yarn.

B) It is holding type, and made entirely of metal. The connector is of the utmost convenience and permanent use.

C) This reeling machine can be used for all kinds of thread or yarn. Because you can expand or contract it as the case demands, either for hand knitting thread of small reel or for woolen yarn of large reel.

D) The part where thread or yarn are reeled on is covered with vinyl. By this protection, thread or yarn never gets thangled or dirty.

E) This machine is also convenient for washing of old woolen yarn, as small or large reel is made at your will by the use of the handle attached.

F) Push the red buffon and adjust the size of machine – reel. Please.


. . . . . . .


This was honestly a twenty minute gigglefest. I’m not usually this amused by Ingrish but there’s just something about owning an English language challenged yarn swift with delusions of grandeur that was just too funny not to react to. Oh! And let’s not forget the baffeling “Directions” section which I think gives you more of a tip for fun than actual user guidelines:

When you open or shut it. please give a slight swing. just as you do with your umbrella or parasol.

Punctuation aside, my issue here is that it totally doesn’t need a “slight swing” to close. I’ve done it without swinging, so I am assuming this is more of a whimsicle fun fact, like suggesting that pretending those stick shaped pretzels are cigars might be amusing.

So I am now the proud owner of an Ingrish Speaking Yarn Swift with a God Complex, and a perfectly good ball winder. And with my penchant for naming things, this was no exception. It wasn’t even hard to come up with the names.

Folks, let me introduce you to Cats and Zig, repectively

Oh. And the other thing that made yesterday great? I got in to Villanova Law School, which was one of my top two evenly matched choices 🙂


Craft curiousity

January 14, 2008

I’ll admit it. I get distracted easily. As happy as I am that I’m capable of doing crafty stuff other than knit, all the different little things I can do tend to cut in to eachother timewise. Case and point, last weekend I found some cute fabric at JoAnn’s. I had absolutely no idea what to do with it when I bought it, but I ended up making a little zip-pouch:


This project was good, not only because it gave me another chance to use yellow ric-rack, but also because it kinda showed me the anatomy of a piece of sewing…it also showed me that the tension on the machine was psychotically high and no wonder some of the other things I made were getting little puckers. Seriously how the hell did that happen? Did didn’t even know *how* to mess with the tension, or even what tension *was* up until that weekend. For the record, I picked up that little piece of knowledge from Sew U, which I got a while back using up some Borders coupons. It’s a great book for people who know up to “This is my sewing machine. It makes the thread go up and down and puts fabric together.” It gets in to the more technical stuff like tension, seam allowances, and all that other stuff I eat up.

While I was at that Borders, I ended up buying a copy of Craft magazine. I read the online blog all the time, but the print issue had a lot of reall cool stuff. The first thing I noticed was a pair of felted slippers that might help me once and for all destroy the Lamb’s Pride That Will Not Die (I’ve made no less than 4 projects with this stuff and I haven’t used up a single damned color). But then I found a little article on Japanese stab binding…and it stuck in my head.

As a bit of background, I have this thing  with blank books. I’m not a writer or an artist, but blank notebooks have been a staple of my life since high school…actually it was probably *middle school* now that I come to think of it. I have trouble keeping a proper day planner. Too structured. I’m best suited when I have a big empty notbook that I can write anything I need in, including important dates and assignments. It seems haphazard, but I can always seem to find what I need and I don’t forget things once they’ve been written in my little book. I got a blank book from my best friend for Christmas about a year ago, but instead of using it as one of my general purpose journals, it’s for design ideas. For the first time in ages, I’ve been without an Everything Journal.

 So I was bouncing around the idea of making a book for about a week. I thought of all the things I was doing at the time and did I really need another craft to spend time on? Then I found the newest round of Project Spectrum on Ravelry. This years theme is The Elements, starting with fire. And here’s how my brain went from there…

Fire Red Fire Culture Asia Those Big Red Shinto Gates Japan JAPANESE STAB BINDING

I had to make the book.


Here’s my new baby (more on the flickr of course). It’s not perfect: the edges are wavy, the internal paper is all different sizes and the binding is a bit loosely threaded but it’s all mine. In the day it took me to make this book I got crazy attached. Doesn’t hurt that the total cost of the project was a whopping 59 cents (without tax) for the cover paper. I already had the thread, the scissors, the awl, and the filler paper (cut out from the unused sections of old school notebooks). Plus I got to use a hammer to make the holes, which was probably a bigger selling point for the craft than it should have been. I have a feeling this hobby is going to be around to stay, so I’ve decided to let other crafts I’m curious about get their fair shot. To keep it in check, I’ll say I’m going to try one new type of craft for each cycle of Project Spectrum.

And for the record, I actually *have* gotten some knitting done, but this post is already way too long.


A Commitment

January 8, 2008

I have too much yarn. I am not a horder. I’m honestly starting to feel trapped under it. The guilt that comes along with receiving new yarn is no fun at all. Time for a change. I’m gonna ignore that gift certificate for awhile (::cries::) and focus on what I already have.

First off, the red Felted Tweed. I could kick myself for ignoring it for so long. It’s a pretty color and makes a great fabric (I’m really developing a soft spot for the Rowan yarns), and a good DK weight. When I saw it, I immediately thought sweater-vest and now it’s finally on the needles. I’m really winging it here, so it’ll probably be awhile before it’s appreciably far along (I’m not even through the first cable chart yet), but I think it’ll look great and it’s a good opportunity to test my “freestyle” skills. And I would just like to say that the Knitpicks Options needles I’m using (yay for Christmas) are crazy fast. SCARY fast. I really motor along until the cable, but even that doesn’t take too long.

Then there’s socks. Honestly, my sock stash isn’t THAT bad and most of it has specific projects waiting for it. The problem is LEFTOVERS. What the eff am I gonna do with like 90 yards of sock yarn. I’ve been kicking around ideas for some franken-socks, but not all of it has a destination. I need to fix that.

I onlt have two sweater groups of yarn left, thank God. One of them is the zip-up hoodie that’s been hibernating. I miss it! I want to work on it again, but it’s just such a slog right now since I’m on the raglan increases (again, I’m winging it on this) that I get distracted really easily from it. Once I incorporate the cool cable design, I think my interest will be at a high again. The other is part of my Ghost of Acrylic past grouping, to an extent. 6 balls of Lion Brand Wool-Ease that I’ve decided is gonna turn in to a big sack-out house sweater using EZ’s Wishbone pattern from Knitter’s Almanac. Think I’ll be struck down for using an acrylic blend? I hope not. I *really* need a good around the house pullover.


Full spectrum scarf

January 4, 2008

Shocking as it is, the crazy presssure of making Ryan’s sweater in four days *didn’t* kill my desire to knit ever again! On the contrary. I wanted to do nothing BUT knit. In fact, when I stopped knitting and tried to sew a Box Bag for my best friend’s Christmas present, the results were disasterous. I got better, but seriously, knitting has been the way of things ever since and the madness is only now dimming.

The thing is, I wanted to knit, but my brain was blown out on the math EZ had been throwing at me (me no math good). Screw math, I decided, I wanted to make something where the YARN would do the heavy lifting for me.


Noro Stripe Scarf: Wow-factor without any of the effort.

 I grabbed the three aimless balls of Kureyon from my stash, guessed a reasonable order for them, cast on 41 stitches ans 1×1 ribbed myself in to a beautiful, colorful coma, with the two selvage stitches on the edges for stability. It’s pretty, it was unbelievably easy and it’s recharged me for other, more dificult knitting pursuits. For example, once the Kureyon scarf was done, I cast on for the sweatervest I’ve been meaning to make for ages. I did the math myself, figuring out stitch numbers from gague and my measurements, mapped out where the design elements would go, and now I’m ready for a long trip in 2×2 rib-land for the next inch or so. I’ll be taking this pretty slow since, well, it’s kind of haphazard. And I haven’t forgotten about those socks, either! They’re nice and portable, though, so I’m reserving the vest for TV knitting.

Also, I’m getting a yarn swift and ball winder! Late Christmas present that will allow my to FINALLY wind that lace-weght and give some real lace a shot.

Lastly, now that I’ve come down off the knitting high, I’m interested in getting back to sewing. I still have patterns cut out, but after the epic fail that went down on the box bag, I’m not so sure I’m ready to try and apply bias tape or anything like that. I think I’m going to try a few smaller projects first, and get some handstitching in with the newbook I got. The Cute Book is so damned adorable I was having cuteness fits. Now I *must* obtain felt and make a bunny. No, it’s not optional and no it can’t wait.