Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Start of a Trend?

The holiday crafting still goes. I'll be done with it all by Christmas, since it's really just finishing up new hubby's scarf. If only I could tear myself away from my Noro scarf ...

I keep it out when I'm working at the shop, and a lot of people have petted it and exclaimed over it and generally made pleased sounds. Seeing my scarf "in the wild" has certainly had an influence: at least one person bought Noro to make another pattern, but ended up doing the striped scarf! Another woman came in last night and said "Someone told me they were doing striped scarves here", so I showed her mine and she also bought some Noro. A co-worker is tempted, but resisting!

I love that something I'm making inspires others. I didn't come up with the yarn or the pattern, but it's a bit of an ego boost and I love spreading the joy of color. Everybody could use a little brightness in their life. Why not add some to yours, whether it's through a Noro scarf, a new plant, or a shirt in a color you normally wouldn't buy? You deserve it. :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Twisted Stitches


Here, my friends, is what I spent most of my Saturday evening doing. Not partying. Not doing chores. Not writing the thank you or Christmas cards.


Turns out the way I taught myself to knit wasn't quite "right". No, it's not a matter of Continental vs. English. It was literally a matter of my knitting through the back of the loop, therefore producing twisted stitches. You can see those on the top of the swatch, where I attempted some 1x1 ribbing. The correctly-done stitches are on the bottom. Ironically, garter stitch looks pretty much the same to me done either way, which is probably one of the reasons I never really noticed my stuff looked different before.

At first I was upset and disappointed with myself, but whatever! It's a learning experience, I know how to do the knit stitch for real now, and I'm miles ahead of others who have no clue how to knit in the back of the loop. Nyah-nyah.

All of this swatching was done, really, so I could start a new project. (Hey. My husband's hat is done, his scarf is getting there, and that prayer shawl ain't going nowhere.)


Why yes, I did fall prey to the Yarn Harlot's post about Noro Striped Scarves. I had a generous gift of two skeins of Noro Kureyon from a Ravelry pal, and I work at a yarn store with an employee discount. No contest.

It's very smart yarn. It started out green and magenta, and when the magenta turned to purple, and the green to blue to purple, the other purple moved to pink. I didn't tell it to. I literally left a tail and casted on. It's smarter than me. You may notice some curling/tightness in the bottom right corner; I've been playing with how best to carry the yarn and didn't keep my tension well. I figure I can block it out, because I don't want to rip it back. Gotta love knitting denial.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ohmigod, ohmigod you guys!

I have a second job ...

At a yarn store!

I don't want to jinx it, so I won't be dishing about the details quite yet, until I feel pretty secure there ... but then there will be some major advertising! And some more interesting content, for sure!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Typical Holiday Project Post

The title says it all. In the beginning, I had dreams of making my mother queen-sized afghans and the ladies of my family reusable market bags. Scarves that didn't suck and weren't made out of yarn I didn't pick out and just wanted to use up. Hats that fit.

Ah, pipe dreams.

Instead, I'm being realistic and making a hat for my husband. Thankfully I've got him right here so I can plop the yarmulke on his head occasionally so I can see how I'm doing. I'm using Kathy North's Crochet Hat pattern in the large size (you may recall my hat -- same pattern). It's made out of Wool-Ease, which I've never used before. So far, I like it, but I had to go down to a G hook to get gauge, and it's stressing my arm a little. Then again, I started yesterday and don't really need to rush.

I haven't decided who's going to get the other thing I'm making. I'm on a bit of a Kathy North (Kathy North! Kathy North! Kathy North!) kick, so I've also started her Liquid Gold Chain Mesh Scarf in some Patons Brilliant. Ironically, I had to go up to a M hook to get gauge. I might frog it and start over, I don't know. This one isn't as crucial -- I haven't promised it to anyone and I can always give it to myself!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bound and Determined

I promise I've had the very best excuse ever for not blogging recently: I went and got myself married. Or at least that's what I'm going to think until the county clerk calls and says we didn't!

I have a lot to blog about, and no time to do it -- you'd think things would get easier after the honeymoon! Nope.

But I was thinking of yarn while I was there, I promise.


See? I look out for my readers.

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's a Tiny World!

If my Statcounter map is to be believed, I've had people (or bots; who knows) looking at my blog from Canada, England, Australia, Israel, India, and Thailand. Considering I've just got 300 hits (and I think half of those are from me anyway), that's pretty cool. So if you're one of my foreign visitors ... hi! Thanks for visiting my corner of the crafting world.

The wedding is officially in 12 days, and I'm a little sad. I meant to have that charity shawl done by now, but I just haven't had the time to work on it. I contacted the person in charge and they said they could help me finish it, but I think I'd feel bad about that. Seriously, garter stitch on size 15 needles should NOT take a long time, unless you're me. In which case it should take forever and stop being a nice gesture, and instead become a thing of stress. Bah. We'll see what happens. Either way, I'd like to donate it to charity. And as soon as I finish it or send it out unfinished, I can start on almost-husband's hat. And then I can start on socks. Keep plugging away on the Ugly Afghan. I have it all figured out, really.

Anybody want to take over that shawl for me? Garter stitch. Size 15 needles. Mindless. I can pay you in cat fur and perhaps a wedding cupcake!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rust Goes Green #2 & An Ugly Afghan

After putting it off forever, I finally finished my second Rust Goes Green. Thankfully I have a really understanding boyfriend who isn't put off by my stash-busting or having a bag with pale blues and greens instead of manly browns or something like that. Unfortunately, I sewed the handle on wonky and it doesn't lie the way it's supposed to. Oops.


He likes it well enough, and I got rid of a good amount of stash. That sword of Damocles has been hanging over my head for a freaking month! (I consider it one of his early birthday presents.)

Someone also requested a picture of the World's Ugliest Stash-Busting Afghan, so I've complied. Actually, I think it's quite wonderful, but judge for yourself.


There are 7 yarns in it so far. I know where some of them are from; the others I haven't a clue. I am not looking forward to weaving in all the ends, though. Can't I just hire someone to do that for me?

Scratch that, I have a wedding to pay for.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Okay, so it doesn't have to do with crafting, but there IS a crocheted afghan in the background there. No, I didn't make it. We ended up with it because my boyfriend's aunt had made it for his family, but then ended up getting a divorce and his grandparents didn't know what to do with it. We happily took it because the cats liked it. That made me think about what would happen if I made something for someone and that kind of thing happened. Would my hand-made objects be hidden in a closet somewhere because the owners felt too guilty to throw it out or give it to charity? I think I'd rather have it used than ignored.

Anyway, I've had a request to photograph the World's Ugliest Stash-Busting Afghan, so I'll do that after my batteries charge. You'll either love it or hate it. It's great. :D

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy International Crochet Day!


Told you I'd do it. :)
Whoo. Long time no see, blog-land. I promise I have some stuff to show you real soon (I just haven't finished it yet). I finally got a job and so I've been a bit busy with training and all that fun stuff. In fact, today was supposed to be one of my days off, but someone needs me to cover for them and I need money for rent and groceries and yarn.

Apparently today is International Crochet Day, so to celebrate I'll be wearing the last hat I made. (I can't crochet at work! I wish.) I might bring my stuff to the grocery store later, who knows. Otherwise, have a nice holiday, and I swear I'll see you again soon!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Yarn Pyro

So I had this really great blog for you guys. It involved a mystery yarn out of my stash, and pictures, and a burn test video! It was going to be like a murder-mystery party!

And then I went and figured out what it was all on my own. Boo.

Three or four years ago, when I first learned how to knit, I went to Stitchy Women and bought the neatest yarn ever. It was pink and fuzzy. I loved it.


I didn't do anything with it. Well, I made an iPod case. But otherwise I didn't want to waste it when I knew it was waiting for a time when I'd have the skill to make it into something cooler than an iPod case. Like a hat! Or wrist warmers. But because I was a fool, I didn't keep the ball band. Years later, I had no clue what I had, or even how much I had.

I decided to be smart and use the scientific method. I did a WPI test. I got 6 wraps per inch, making it bulky. I did a burn test. All that really accomplished was my boyfriend saying "cool!" and me using a metal nail file to scrape the remains off my sink. But I took a video, and so you can watch that.

Look, I am such a cool blogger I make videos for you. (Things learned, by the way: never let your boyfriend be the last one to use the lighter.) Results? Inconclusive.

So I went online. I plugged in as much info as I thought I had to the Yarndex. Nada. I went on Ravelry, joined the Mystery Yarn group, and made a post. In order to amuse myself until somebody came and magically knew the answer to my question, I went looking through the yarn index on Rav, which I had just learned existed (well, or at least had learned how to navigate better). I slogged through 30+ pages. Amazingly, I found a yarn that looked like my yarn ... but it wasn't. My yarn wasn't variegated and this one was. I went to the manufacturer's page anyway and took a closer look. Nope. Wasn't that.

But on a hunch, I clicked through the rest of their yarns. When I got to the last one, I went "that's it." Except it didn't show up in the color I had. I went back on Rav, plugged it in, and took a look at everyone's stashes. Still none in my color, but I suppose that doesn't mean much, because if that isn't my yarn, I'll eat my hat. (Not my new hat, I like that one.)

By the way, I apparently don't know how to do WPI correctly, since according to Rav it's a DK at 11 WPI, not my measly 6. I knew there was a reason I didn't major in math.

So, ladies and gents, once upon a time ago, I'm pretty sure I bought Catnap by Artfibers. Ta-da!

Please don't be too disappointed that I took away the fun mystery from you. If you think I'm wrong, feel free to keep up the sleuthing! But for now, I'm going to gloat and feel like yarn's version of Sherlock Holmes.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Second Hat!

Once upon a really long time ago (hey, I'm young, four years is long) I learned how to knit, grabbed a pair of needles, grabbed a pattern, grabbed a yarn and made a hat that fit. Don't ask me how. I think the fiber arts gods were on vacation that week. Other than an utterly failed attempt at making another one for my sister, I haven't made a hat or hat-like object since, despite having Calorimetry queued for ages. (Holy gods, is that word impossible to spell.) What can I say, I'm afraid of doing something I haven't done before, no matter how cool the outcome.

On the plus side, I found my Klutz book yesterday. It was on the bookshelf underneath a shower caddy. Don't ask, I don't get it either. I finished the hat pattern in it in a few hours (less than five). I love it. I love that it was easy but looks cute. I love the yarn and wish I knew more about it, other than that it's 100% viscose, made in China, and 2.5 oz/71 g. (It came with the book.) No yardage or anything, but I was crocheting on gauge (yes, I swatched it out!) and the book says it uses 115 yards of DK yarn, so that's definitely a one skein wonder.


Ignore the dumb look on my face, by the way. I wear glasses, but I took them off in case it made for a better picture, and trying to take a picture of yourself by looking at the reflection of the viewfinder in your mirror is hard enough when you're not horribly near-sighted.

It's a little long on me, but I don't care because it covers my ears better and I think I look cute. (Plus, there is no way I'm going back and frogging any of it. My ends are woven in. Do you know how rare that is?) In the meantime, I'm looking for hat-appropriate DK yarns so I can make one for my sister and cousin. I'm open to all suggestions, but I know my sis doesn't do well with wool or angora. Ideally, I could do it in a worsted weight, but ... I'm scared of trying to figure that out. Do I get gauge and hope the bigger yarn doesn't make it too much bigger? I know people have made this hat with like, Simply Soft, so maybe I'll suck it up and ask them. I would gladly own ten of these hats.

Also, if you're here from Post Mortem, hi! I've got an ego-boost now, even though I think we may have turned into those people who read each other's blogs to boost reading stats. Not like I care.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Of Catghans and Lost Books

Alas! So we finally pretty much completely unpacked me, which of course means that the one thing missing is one of my books! My Klutz Learn to Crochet book, actually, which is a little annoying because I really wanted to make the hat in it. It's probably packed in one of the boxes perilously perched in the closet now. Sigh.

Yes, I know that crocheted hats aren't exactly hard to make (or even design), but I liked that hat! Thankfully, I've found what I've decided will be a fair substitute: a hat by Kathy North (http://www.designsbykn.com/), who has made some lovely things for charity that she's put up on the Lion Brand group on Rav. She has some great free patterns up there for both knitting and crochet. There's also a really neat earwarmer that uses the PRETTIEST yarn, Caron Glimmer, which is apparently discontinued. Boo. I love blue with silver sparklies.

In other news, I have finished the catghans, all three of them. I am going to show you pictures of them. However, it is not my fault that the cats take up the majority of the space in my pictures! Look closely. You will see yarn.

Dorian photographs so well. He's such a haughty boy.

Phoebe is cuter than that, but she saw my hand and got excited that I was going to pet her. She's also sleeping in baby kitten's box. Oops.

I've also decided that I need to get rid of some of my stash. I inherited a lot of yarn without ballbands from the person that I bought a bunch of stuff off of freshman year, and while some has been used, most of it hasn't. And I keep buying more variegated acrylic (seriously, shut up, I like it) that I just haven't used because I saw it as "practice yarn". Well, no more. I am going to use it up in The World's Ugliest Stashbusting Afghan. I'm just throwing on a ball, crocheting until I'm done with it, then throwing on another one. No carefully matching colors, no striping, none of that crap. This thing will be hideous, super-functional, and amazing. The hope is that it will be queen-bed sized, though if I have that much acrylic, I might be slightly afraid. So far I have one row done. One. This is gonna take forever.

And then when I use up all the fun yarn, I can buy more pretty yarn, like trying to find blue with silver sparklies! I have a problem. I know.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Kittens, Acrylic and Catghans

Abandon all hope, Yarn Snobbes who enter here. But there will be talk of kittens. And maybe a picture.

Hey, guys. It's 5:53 AM and I can't sleep (whoo-hoo headaches). Much like drunk dialing, I am of the firm belief that nothing good comes out of early-morning blogging, especially when you haven't been to bed, but it's 5:53 AM and I can't sleep. Hence, I blog.

Well, and craft. I worked on the Comfort Shawl with a bit more dedication last night, and finally finished the first skein (minus the part at the end that unraveled when I moved the bunched-up yarn down the line. Hello fringe.). I know a lot of people hate Homespun, but I like it. Sure, it's a little annoying to work with if you want mindless crafting, but I don't mind looking down every once in a while. Keeps the neck active.

But I promised there would be kittens, and I guess I'll deliver, because I'm so nice like that. To make a long story short, my boyfriend sucks at surprises and caves and tells me because usually I guess it and he has no poker face or ability to lie to me. I'm getting a kitten in a few weeks. We've already got two cats, and I have another two that I grew up with living with my family, and I suppose I can count the one my mother adopted last year even though I've seen her maybe twice, because she has pounced on my face while I'm sleeping and if that's not a sign of cat ownership, I don't really know what is. If you're good at math, you've been counting and you'll see that in a few weeks, I will have somewhere between 5 and 6 cats. (My mother's cat is like the Schrödinger's cat of ... well, cat ownership.) That's a lotta cats!

Having not had a kitten in a while -- the sole boy kitty of this lot was four months when we adopted him -- I thought it might be nice to make it a little bed out of a cardboard box and a blanket. I was going to ask my boyfriend for a small spare blanket to use when I realized duh, I knit and crochet. And have a ton of acrylic. Stash-busting away!

This is important, so I am going to say it in all caps: I LIKE ACRYLIC YARN. Seriously. I have voluntarily bought acrylic yarn on many occasions, and used it. Now, don't get me wrong. I have also bought and been given other yarns that were not acrylic, and liked them and used them. But sometimes I'm scared to. I'm a knitter who doesn't know how to do a yarn-over, for Pete's sake. I have to frog sometimes and I don't want the yarn to look less pretty when I do.

Let's face it, shall we? Acrylic is cheap and forgiving. Some of it is really nice and soft! It can be washed and dried with little fuss. My cats can puke on it or chew on it and I wouldn't feel terrible about throwing it out. I also love variegated yarn -- have I totally alienated all of you with this, by the way? Since my nearest good yarn store is half an hour away, I can get cheap variegated acrylic in town. And I have done this, repeatedly. Right now I have four full skeins of Red Heart Super Saver and partial balls that I inherited from a friend that are likely the same.

But I haven't been using it. While a lot of me is going "Yay cheap! Yay, I can make a really awesome bright pink blanket! Or a rainbow coaster!" another part of me is going "But it's going to look like a Care Bear threw up on it. It's not all that soft. People will look at it and run screaming away or lie and tell me they like it even as they're suppressing the gag reflex."

But ... so what? Apparently it takes a 5:00 AM realization of "Why the heck should I care?" If somebody really wants to come up to me and criticize my choice of yarn, I will smile, show them the nearest exit, and throw scrap yarn at them. My cats don't care about the color or type of yarn I use to make them blankets. If a thing has a useful function, it doesn't matter how it looks or what people think of it. Clearly, a genius breakthrough, and enough to get me to break out a Super Saver skein (variegated, of course) and a crochet hook and get crackin'. I have three catghans to make, after all.

(By the way, I would like to think that I am clever enough to have invented the word "catghan", but I know I am not. But let's pretend, because I'm tired and cranky and have acrylic I can throw at you if you disagree.)

Of the cats that do or will be living with me, one is a boy, one is a girl, and one is a who knows? Well, we have an idea, but in case it's wrong I won't sweat it. Because I feel like it, I'm being gender stereotypical and making them in "girl"/"boy" colors. One will be pink. One will be camouflage. And one will probably be rainbow. Not like the cats will actually pay attention to which is their assigned catghan, but I like color and would get bored working them all the same.

Because you've been such a good reader, I shall now introduce you to Baby Kitty. Please notice the barcode on the top of the head, as I have been told this means that it is Satan. Duh, it's a cat. Satan is a collective feline middle name.

"I can has gender time now pleez?" "No, you are two weeks old and we can't tell if those are testicles or not."

A la the Yarn Harlot, I will now shamelessly ask people to guess its gender. This may all be a ploy to make people comment and see if anyone is actually reading. Screw it, it's totally a ploy. The colors of the catghans will not help you! Name, gender, and catghan will all be revealed when we get it and know for sure.

Thrilling, I know. And potentially more humiliating than drunk dialing, because all of this is written down and you can read it whenever you want. My acrylic may squeak with shame, but I do not.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

More sock news!

I live in a kind of not-big-on-the-industry state (::coughcough::Vermont::cough::). There's a local yarn store half an hour away, but I don't drive and there's no public transportation there. Generally, unless I want to order it online, my local options are Wal-mart, K-mart, Big Lots, Michael's, and Jo-Ann's. Lately I've been scouring the last two in hopes of finding Lion Brand's new sock yarn, Sock-ease, but no luck.

Until today.


Okay, it's not Sock-ease! It's Red Heart's Heart & Sole. I haven't seen anything claiming to be sock yarn in any of these stores, so when I came across some today in Michael's, my jaw dropped. I walked right past it at first, because there was so little of it there. There were only 3 skeins of the particular color I got, so I feel bad for whoever else sees that yarn and wants to make a pair. I thought about buying the third, but $5 for 50 grams of yarn (while a good sock yarn price) gave me enough pause for my boyfriend to point me in the direction of the checkout line and out I went.

Then I had to go back to Jo-Ann's and get US size 1 and 2 DPNs. I have size 3 and size 5 already, but I want to be sure to make gauge here. If a yarn can look pretty and all I have to do is get a certain stitch count per inch, I'm all for that.

What about that other sock you were knitting, you ask? Shhh. Shhh. It's alright. I'll just keep the yarns apart and they won't fight.

(Don't tell the other sock I'm frogging it. It won't understand.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rust Goes Green

I have something super-exciting to show you all today. Something so exciting that I didn't even dare mention it before I finished it, because I was so afraid I was going to screw it up. I'd like to present to you the hardest thing I've ever made!

But first, I feel like you need back-story. I'm a girl who loves rectangles. Scarves and washcloths are where it's at, seriously. I made a hat once, but have never been able to replicate it. I started a sock, but didn't get past the cuff.

I've been wanting to make a market bag for a while, but the very popular Everlasting Bagstopper was more than a little intimidating. I've never picked up stitches or any of that kind of stuff. So while it seems like a great pattern, right now it's not for me. So when I learned how to crochet, I tried looking for patterns a real beginner like me could do.

You may recall that I've been crocheting for ... oh, like a month. In this time, I've made a bag that was a rectangle folded and sewn up the sides, and a few afghan squares. Go rectangles!

I was perusing Ravelry and found a bag that one of my friends had made. When I posted to ask her if it was a pattern a beginner could do, I got a message from the designer herself! Her personal assurances helped give me the courage to give it a try.

Now, it's not perfect, and I have a feeling I screwed up the joins for the rounds for the most part, but it functions and actually holds stuff! It's an absolutely fantastic pattern and I couldn't be more thrilled that I made it.

So now, without further ado, I present to you my Rust Goes Green.


Not too shabby, I think.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

To Give or Not To Give?

Ah, now I remember why I rarely make people gifts. I'm selfish. No sense beating around the bush. I buy yarn that I think is pretty. I don't want to give it up!

I have made some gifts for people that I was fine giving up. In these cases, I chose the yarn with them in mind or it was made out of yarn that I hadn't bought, so it was okay. But right now I'm re-purposing something that I'd originally made for myself as a gift for someone else. (I'm on a budget and a deadline here.) The first one I'm okay giving away, but I decided one wasn't enough, so I made her another one ... and I want it!

I can make another one for myself. It's nice to be nice. (And it's not nice to be cryptic, but you can see pictures once her birthday is over.)

I think I missed a lesson in kindergarten.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hooray for holidays!

Did you know that this weekend is a sales tax holiday in Vermont? (Did you even know I was in Vermont? Because I am.) All items under $2000 bought for personal use are sales tax free! Sweet!

I've finished two of my afghan squares. ("Finished" meaning "I haven't sewn in the ends yet" but who actually does that until they have to?) I'm guess that I'll get three to a skein of yarn. I made my boyfriend do out the math, and at minimum, this thing will have 80 squares. (Let's say 90 because I'm crocheting smaller than I was at first. Don't ask; it involves frogging.) If I'd been a smart girl, I would have figured this all out weeks ago (nevermind that I didn't crochet weeks ago) and figured out exactly how much yarn to purchase and do it all this weekend. Because that's like, 30 skeins of yarn. At $3 a pop. Minimum. That's like, a gallon of gas in sales tax. Just for the afghan. And you know I'd find a way to spend more money on yarn with no actual thought-of purpose.

If I'd been smart, anyway.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How to make a tiny bag in four days.

Hey, I'm a busy girl. What would take most dedicated (aka "not easily distracted") people ten minutes took me a few days. I didn't work on it that much!


I've been meaning to make a small bag for a personal item out of this yarn (Lion Brand Microspun) for some time now, and crochet seemed like a much faster way to do it. It's not the most ideal yarn to crochet with, but I found it okay to work with. It's so soft on the ball, but when worked up it's a bit less soft. Oh well, there's an inanimate object occupying it now. I don't think it'll mind.

Ideally, I'll line this with fabric and make it a better drawstring bag, but for now it's good enough.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What's seafoam green and frightens many knitters?


CROCHET! Single crochet, anyway. Before my half-double whatever-it's-called swatch melted away because the hook fell out of all of the stitches, I sort of learned how to do that, but I think I'm going to stick with single crochet for now. It ought to make a decent afghan, and at least I know how to do it now.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Impulse buy? What impulse buy?

I just got a rebate check from school (haha! I don't owe them money!), and having wisely accepted that I'll need to use most of it for rent, I decided it wouldn't hurt to go get more yarn. Since, of course, yarn trumps food and other life necessities.

Why? Because I want to make an afghan. I think these are famous last words, by the way.

Yes, I already have lots o'acrylic in my stash, but it's variegated and doesn't exactly go with the other variegated acrylic I have, so unless I want the world's ugliest afghan, I must start anew. I went with Vanna's Choice from Lion Brand in colorways Olive and Colonial Blue, since they were the two nicest I saw.

I also found a colorway of Patons Rumor on sale for $2, so of course I grabbed it. It's rainbow! (Okay, technically it's called Moonstone Heather.) I have a problem. I like rainbowy yarn, especially when it's cheap.

I'll probably be updating again in a few days with a picture update on the comfort shawl, as well as a surprise swatch! (What have I learned to do and what does it have to do with seafoam green yarn? Find out next time!)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I am sitting here, ripping out at least a foot (if not two) of Homespun yarn that I had managed to knit into a ribbed prayer shawl (you may remember it from this blog post). Frogging this sucks, by the way, but I'm doing it all in the name of a cause.

A post in the Livejournal Knitting Community today let people out there in knitter-land know that an organization in Connecticut is collecting prayer shawls to be handed out to cancer patients in CT and Massachusetts. Since I used to live in Connecticut, and I have the recommended three skeins of Homespun, I am frogging the darn shawl.

Hopefully when I finish, I'll still have the desire to cast on again for the correct shawl. They're not due until October, so I should be okay. I'll miss it (the yarn was striping in a rainbow pattern that was really pretty), but I think I should start giving back.

For more information on this project (like how you don't have to use Homespun), go to The Comfort Shawl Project page and take a look around.

Sorry for no pictures today, but I thought that a shot of the rainbow monster that's currently eating my lap might not be something I want captured for all eternity.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm baaaaaaaaaaack!

Hey look, I'm alive! I know the two of you who stumbled on this blog accidentally probably didn't even miss me. I've been pretty busy for the past few months -- receiving both a B.A. and B.F.A. from my college, moving, the works.

Unfortunately, the week after I graduated my older brother died. I've been in a funk for the past month, but lately I've been opening the windows, finding the camera cord, and trying to get my life started again. The day my brother died, I received the most wonderful birthday package from a college friend. She had no way of knowing what was going to happen, or how much her package would mean to me, but I was so appreciative.

She sent me the most gorgeous wool yarn ever. I have no idea what to do with it. I don't want to ruin it.
It is Storm Moon Knits Celestial Worsted.

She also sent me two skeins of Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande. I'm thinking of making an amazing, fluffy hat. (One skein is blue and one is white.)

For no good reason, last week I dug out one of the crochet hooks I happened to have but had no idea how to use, and learned how to make a foundation chain and the chain that goes on top of that. Then I was lost. Because it had given me a challenge, I went on amazon.com and ordered Kutz's Learn to Crochet book. It arrived today. While I haven't opened the accompanying items or tried anything in the book yet, I am pleased. Maaaaaaaaybe one of the reasons I ordered it in the first place is because it came with a tapestry needle, and I can't find one of the four I know I own.

Just maybe.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Back To Basics

I have placed the sock far far away because somehow it got a hole and in the process of my tinking it back (since I did NOT drop a stitch), I managed to--you guessed it--drop a stitch.

Instead, I have picked up a prayer shawl made out of Lion Brand Homespun that I mis-followed the directions to, making it ribbed. Most shawls aren't ribbed, but this is me giving a flying hoot. (It is not fun to frog a foot of knitted Homespun.)

I don't know if the colorway I have is supposed to make rainbow stripes, but mine is. I picked an arbitrary set of needles and an arbitrary cast on and yet it's making rainbow stripes. Go figure. Of course, as soon as I add the next skein of Homespun, the rainbow stribes will fail me and everyone will laugh at my sucky joining.


I may or may not be overanalyzing this.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Um, Not Quite ...

So today I was sitting at a table for my school's Fem Fair -- I had chosen to show alternative menstrual products (sea sponge tampons, cloth pads, menstrual cups, unbleached tampons, etc) and had been getting mixed reactions.

One student who I've known for a few years came over and told me that it was "kind of scary", but then expressed some interest in the items. We chatted for a few minutes.

"Someone told me you had a knitted tampon over here."

Whoa. Stop the train. I held up the sock-in-progress and squinted at it. "This is a sock." I told him. "Or it's going to be."

"Oh, I know," he assured me. "But somebody told me you had a knitted tampon, and I don't know what I think about that."

I informed him he was mistaken, though you probably could knit a tampon, and he went on his way.

... does my sock really look like a tampon?

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Joys of Frogging Socks

Well, as per the title, I think you can guess what happened to me over the weekend. When I finally looked at the ribbing, I realized that I'd been managing to wrap the yarn over the previous needle I'd worked with, adding stitches. I'd also dropped a stitch somewhere along the line, and since I have no idea how to pick the darn things up, I began the arduous process of tinking.

Of course, in the process of tinking, I dropped another eight stitches and finally ripped the damn thing up, frustrated. The fire alarm had given me a migraine that still hasn't quite kicked the bucket.

Every time I tried to work on the socks over the weekend, I would lose the last stitch I had cast on and end up with one short when I joined and knit the first row. This happened more times that I would like to count or admit.

Finally, last night I tried the long-tail cast on again (that thing is complicated, but so much faster than knitting on) and amazingly kept all 48 of my stitches. So far, so good. I'm over an inch and a half in the ribbing, I haven't lost any stitches and I haven't gained any. I check the ribbing fanatically every row to make sure I haven't dropped one, either. Makes for more tedious knitting, but it's worth it to me.


Friday, March 14, 2008


When the first thing you grab after the fire alarm wakes up are your glasses, the second are real pants, the third is the sock you've just figured out to knit and finally stopped working on five and a half hours ago, and then the keys to your room -- clearly, you've got your priorities straight.

On the plus side, I used the downtime standing in the freezing cold to keep knitting and got a few rows in (and some amazed looks -- gosh, I feel special), which means the ribbing on the first leg is officially at one inch. Four to go. And then the rest of the sock.

But shh. I'm tired and want to feel like I've accomplished something, so we'll let me have my small, false victory.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

That Fabled First Pair of Socks

So maybe the real reason I started this blog was because of socks. I've knit some scarves, some dishcloths, some coasters, a hat, and a stuffed heart that looked like an amoeba. Clearly, my ability at something that isn't rectangular kind of sucks.

About a month ago, I decided that I Was Going To Make Socks. I went down to my local yarn store, Stitchy Women (I'll write a post about them later), asked the lady for forgiving yarn and needle size suggestions. She steered me in the direction of Plymouth Encore Colorspun Worsted and size 5 wooden DPNs because I told her I knit loosely.

This yarn had the possibility of becoming That Yarn You Bought That You Don't Do Anything With, or That Yarn That You Finally Make Something Out Of Because It's Been Sitting In The Shopping Bag For Six Months But It Wasn't A Pair Of Socks And You're Kind Of Disappointed About It.

(The yarn in question, by the way.)

So a few weeks ago I ordered two books: the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules! and Ann Budd's Getting Started Knitting Socks. I trusted my fellow knitters when these books were suggested. I even paid real shipping on them when they came out to be under $25. (Yes, I could have bought something else knitting-related, but you start with stitch markers and end up with a $40 blocking board and you know it.)

Of course, by the time I got them, it was spring break and the only thing I'd brought with me to knit was a poncho. A poncho made out of Lion Brand Trellis on big honking needles. Garter stitch for four feet. I think my rationale was that I was going to work on my thesis over the break. Clearly I was an idiot, because I didn't. I should have brought the yarn and DPNs.

Even though I've been back at school for a few days, I haven't had the time to look for them. In some fit of organization which apparently only lasted five minutes, I'd put them away somewhere -- away from the other 18 places I keep my stash. Kind of hard to make socks if you can't find the ingredients.

Of course, they ended up being right behind me, literally. I found them in the file cabinet behind my desk chair. They were within fiber-inhaling distance all along.

So I started them last night. I even did something Very Important And Rare.

I swatched.

Since I've basically made rectangular items and items that don't mind if you don't swatch (seriously, if I can't get one tiny stuffed heart out of 158 yards of Lion Brand Wool, I shouldn't be a knitter), I have never actually swatched before. I didn't want to swatch, but both the Yarn Harlot and Ann Budd gently dissuaded me. Okay, maybe the Yarn Harlot was a little more hyper about it, but I swatched. I swatched and it was Okay.

(Just because I swatched doesn't mean I swatched four inches of stockinette like Ann Budd suggested. Ann, so far I like you, but I don't like you that much.)

I found out that I got 6 stitches to the inch, a stitch above what the yarn suggested. Apparently I don't knit as loosely in the round. But whatever, because Ann had a pattern for it. I dutifully measured my foot and promptly couldn't figure out whether I should make the child large or adult small. I went for the small, but with my luck this sock will fit on Bigfoot when I'm done with it, so oh well.

I will say that Ann's visual directions for the cast-ons (Long-tail and Old Norwegian) weren't too helpful. In fact, I went to several other websites. The one on Knitty helped, but then I couldn't replicate it. So I found the one from KnittingHelp on YouTube.

Success! I began casting on my 48 stitches and started working in K2P2 ribbing.

Which was all fine and dandy, until I realized somehow I'd managed to tangle the yarn around a needle, and it was now a closed tube. Since I'd already made a yarn ball, it wasn't going to fit through a bunch of tiny DPNs to untangle itself. I tried, though. I tore out feet of yarn from both directions. I don't know why I did it, but really I do. I didn't want to frog. It had taken me this long to get it started, and I didn't want to frog.

But I did frog, and rewound the entire darn ball of yarn. I even began to cast on again, but by then it was like, two in the morning and I knew that I would stay up until I'd done five inches of ribbing and that's a bad idea when you have school in the morning.

In the meantime, I've lost my stitch marker. Oh well. You know, I think "oh well" is going to be my motto here. I have hairbands. I don't have a lot of hair. Hairbands can be stitch markers, damnit.

While I have an hour where I'm proctoring an exam later, I'm not going to bring the sock. The sock is not conducive to making sure people don't cheat. Besides, I still need to work on that thesis.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Well! My very own knitting blog. How weird. I really like reading knitting blogs, and since I knit and blog, I guess it only made sense to blog about knitting. Or maybe it didn't, but everyone has one, so nyah.

You'll have to forgive me since I haven't had a public blog in a good few years. I'll probably be sarcastic, snarky, somewhat amusing and/or boring. Maybe all at the same time; we'll see.

A bit of backstory: I taught myself to knit as a freshman in college in late 2004. I ended up buying some things off a friend who was not returning to school and part of that ended up being a basket full of unlabeled acrylic yarn and some Boye straight needles. I didn't know how to knit, so I looked to the Internet.

Keep in mind this was before YouTube, so I didn't watch videos. I looked at pictures and read. It was arduous and frustrating, but eventually I figured it out. I can't remember if I ripped out the first thing I ever really knit, but since I can't find it in my closet where the knitting lives, I can only assume it went to the frog pond. I went out and bought a pair of Clover bamboo needles (size big -- 10s, maybe?) and made my first scarf. Garter stitch. Acrylic. Crappy. Seriously, I don't wear that. It acts as an (ineffective) draft blocker sometimes.

I don't have a picture of the scarf, but I think knitting blogs are much more fun with pictures, so I'll try to post at least one an entry. After that scarf, I decided to knit myself a hat. I found a free pattern online, taught myself how to decrease, and somehow managed to produce something that fit my head without so much as a single swatch made. Believe me, I can't figure it out either.

While the hat is made out of the same acrylic yarn as the scarf, I wear it much more frequently. It's not the best hat ever, but I'm darned proud of it. The second hat I made was not so successful. I haven't made a hat since. In fact, that hat might be the most complicated thing I've ever made. Four years later, that's probably pretty sad. Then again, I stopped knitting for a few years in there, so maybe it's not so sad.

Anyway, I promised a picture, and you've all been good readers and stuck with me this long, so here's a picture of said hat:


Yeah, so maybe it stretches a little, but whatever. I love it, and that's really all that matters.

Thanks for tuning in, kids. I have a lot of old projects and stories that I'd like to share, so keep an eye out for more pictures and updates. Until then, this is Nitzie, signing off.