Friday, December 31, 2010

As Much As Possible

I've decided to make some crafting resolutions this year. It's a good thing I wrote them down in October, because otherwise I'd be scrambling last-minute as I usually do.

Have I mentioned that I haven't bought yarn since Tunbridge? October 3rd. 90 days. Basically 3 months. 25% of the YEAR. I just need you to validate the success of my yarn diet.

Anyway, I call these resolutions the "as much as possibles", since I won't beat myself up for not sticking to a solid plan.

As much as possible, in 2011 I will:

1. Not buy yarn.
I have a large stash and it's time to knit some of it up.

2. 1st in, 1st out. Since I know my chances of following 1 are very slim, I will continue in my quest to knit older yarns before newer yarns.

3. Craft for charity first. I'm fortunate to have all that I do. I can give back through my hobby.

4. Projects for others before myself. This one kills me a little. I'm a selfish crafter. My poor, patient husband now has the Binary Scarf that spans multiple years. What am I working on right now? Not his scarf. Naughty Jen. No new yarn for you.

5. 2 skeins a month. I belong to a stashdown group on Ravelry, and one of their challenges is 100 skeins in a year. While I'm sure I have the stash to sustain that challenge, realistically it ain't happening. But I think I can manage 2 skeins a month, if not more.

6. USE IT UP. Use it until you can't get any more use out of it. I've used as little as 12 yards of leftovers in my crapghan. It feels awesome to use it ALL up and not throw any away.

These are my goals for 2011. I am definitely the kind of person who likes to deprive herself. I'll almost buy something and then put it back and feel bad about it forever. And while material goods don't bring happiness, life is also too short to not enjoy it. So if my quality of life will be improved by buying some yarn or finishing something for me? Not gonna freak out. 2011 -- I'm ready for you.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

IWTMT: Revontuli-huivi

I won't pretend that this week's IWTMT is clever, or an interesting pairing of yarn and pattern. No, my brain is too fried.

I want to make a pretty Revontuli-huivi with my Kauni because 412 other people on Ravelry (and two of my real-life friends) have done so. I don't care if I'm copying; we can have a Revontuli party!

(It will be a rainbow party, by the way. Rainbows are nice to think about in 20 degree weather.)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

IWTMT: Double Vision

If you've read more than 3 posts on this blog, you know I'm BIG on color. I don't necessarily look good in colors, but I'm a sucker for a rainbow yarn. *cough*Kauni*cough*Zauberball*cough*MiniMochi*cough*

Oh, excuse me. I seem to have a plethora of rainbow yarn lodged in my throat.

It should be no surprise to you that a lot of my faves on Ravelry involve rainbow color schemes. Whether it's the yarn or the design, I have an itchy "add to faves" trigger finger.

One of the coolest designs I've seen is a blanket called Double Vision, which is available for purchase on the Woolly Thoughts website or through Rav. While it looks insanely complicated, the website says that "Double Vision appears to have 55 different shades though it only uses 10 ordinary, easily available colours."

You don't have to do it in rainbow colors, of course. But I totally would.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

IWTMT: Balaclava

In the good news category, I have acquired a new job. I no longer have to take public transportation to this job! However, I do have to walk home after the sun has gone down, and in Vermont in the winter that can be a little completely frigid. I have lovely wool hats and scarves to keep me warm, but a few nighttime walks have proven it's my face I have to worry about.

Enter the Balaclava pattern by Nanette Blanchard (Rav). There are plenty of great balaclava patterns out there, but the reason I chose this one is simple: there's a picture on the project page of it folded up and worn like a hat. Sold! (Except it's free.)

Fun side note: for many years I didn't know that baklava and balaclava were two different words. I just figured people were mispronouncing the food. Hee!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

IWTMT: Mary Jane Slippers

Welcome to my 150th blog post, by the way. (That's what Blogger tells me.)

I am an absolute sucker for Mary Jane shoes. I don't know why. I'm not that big on shoes in general. I don't wear heels and I don't dress appropriately for "sexy" shoes. I'm still young enough to get away with "cute", and a lot of Mary Janes are cute. Like this free pattern that produces very cute Mary Jane slippers (Rav). (Good segue, huh?) They don't even count as a shoe, which is the best part. Slippers are awesome.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

IWTMT: Wooly Dryer Balls

I found both of my essential oils this week and have really been getting back into using them. I have peppermint and lavender and like to add a drop to my hand lotion for a little aromatherapy pick-me-up. Another thing you can do with essential oils is add them to scrap white cotton and use them as dryer sheets. I use commercial dryer sheets right now, but I don't dry towels with them since it reduces their absorbency.

At first I figured I'd just knit little cloths and throw them in the dryer, but a quick search on Ravelry showed me something even more fun: Wooly Dryer Balls. You create a ball core of acrylic, then wrap it in wool and felt it -- dryer balls!

I don't have any light-colored wool right now, but I do have plenty of acrylic I could use. (I've heard that some white wools do not felt as completely as colored wools, and I would want white to reduce visible fuzz.) Add a few drops of essential oil, and this seems like the perfect laundry companion.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Get It Out!: Microspun

We're not going to talk about the Binary Scarf, because someone who shall remain nameless may have worked on the Binary Scarf while drinking and made a mistake and hasn't been able to fix it for two weeks.

SO, instead we'll talk about Get It Out! (Get It Out! joins a short-standing tradition of my naming things in the hope they'll catch on, like I Want To Make That and Sell The Stash. Also, it helps for organization purposes.) Back in September, I blogged about my "first in, first out" plan.

I'm pleased to tell you that, except for a very small amount of leftovers, the Lion Brand Microspun in turquoise has gone from stash to actual object(s). We ended up waiting for our Thanksgiving guests, so I sat myself down with the Klutz Crochet book and taught myself how to make the flowers. Never underestimate either flowers or the amount of yarn in Microspun, because I managed to bang 21 flowers out of a partial skein. I'm only in possession of 20 of them, because my little cousin wanted one, but 20 is a lot of crochet flowers. It's so many, in fact, that I'm thinking of abandoning the putting-them-on-charity-hats idea and making a little scarf. What do you think?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

IWTMT: Temair Throw

I keep saying I'm going to crochet an afghan. One of these days, I bet I'll even do it. Lately I've been feeling the holey, decorative will-this-actually-keep-me-warm afghans. Like, the ones where you drape them artfully on the couch and people ooh-and-ahh over the fact that your house looks like Oprah and Martha Stewart got married and expensively crafted on everything.

The Temair Throw (Rav) is basically this crafting love-child. It's a free pattern on Lion Brand, so you will need an account to see it. Using 16 balls of Vanna's Choice, it's one of the more affordable artsy afghans I've seen.

I can very easily picture this in a beach house, I don't know why. Why don't I have a beach house? Oh yeah, I live in Vermont.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

In Progress: The World's Ugliest Stash-Busting Afghan

Thanks for sticking with me, anonymous readers! Here, have an entry with a picture.

Remember how over 2 years ago I learned how to crochet and I began the World's Ugliest Stash-Busting Afghan? When I started it, we had a queen-sized mattress. Now we have a king. This is going to take FOREVER, especially since I haven't made any charity hats and thus don't have a ton of scraps right now.

It's been kind of slow going, yeah. But this is the kind of project you commit yourself to. (Here's the post with the first picture I took of it. Progress was also made here.) I mean, I've been working on this thing longer than I've been married and it's only 41" long.


The last time you saw the blanket I'd just started the gray strip, so ... progress. That's the 'ghan on the king-sized bed. Amazingly it's wide enough that it shouldn't be a problem using it. I don't remember what measurements I was using previously, but now I'm using these for a king. According to that, a king blanket should be 108" by 100".

I don't know if my scrapghan is 108" wide, but I'm getting there with the length! I know I'll finish it ... one day ...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

IWTMT: Thermal

In guild this year we're going to make sweaters. I don't know that I can commit to a sweater. However, I said I wasn't going to make socks either and I ended up caving. We took our measurements and I think we'll be making up custom-fit patterns based on measurements and gauge.

However, that hasn't stopped me from lusting after sweater patterns. As usual, because I'm crazy, I fell in love with a pattern that uses fingering weight yarn. It's Thermal (Rav), which is a) a free pattern from Knitty, and b) designed by cosmicpluto, who also designed that lovely Dipped Infinity Scarf pattern I never made.

Actually, it seems that the Dipped Infinity Scarf was the FIRST IWTMT. Apparently I'm just a cosmicpluto junkie.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Adios, Plymouth Encore!

I found the crochet hook I've been using in the Scrapghan. It was, of course, tangled up IN the Scrapghan. I immediately sat down and polished off a few little balls I had laying around, including some remnants from the Baby Blanket of Doom and its predecessor. Apparently the last time I worked on it I hadn't learned the Russian Join, so things are a lot more fun now.

What I'm most excited about using up, though, is the Plymouth Encore. I used up the last 12 yards of the blue from my first socks, and 40 yards of orange remnants that someone gave me for this project. This is awesome because I can move them over to the "used" tab of my Ravelry stash page. They're small victories, but every victory counts.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where Have You Been All My Life?

Let me be honest: I've lived in this apartment since June and we're not unpacked yet. There's plenty of stuff that we could probably use still in boxes in the attic. One of these things is our food scale, aka my yarn scale. Another is my passport in my maiden name. Haven't seen that one in a while.

Back in the last apartment I'd picked up a cheap fabric shaver as an impulse buy one day at Staples. (I know, right? Staples!) But I never used it. While unpacking a box I found the shaver and knew enough to put it in my craft room, but I didn't know if we had batteries for it. I was up in the attic a few weeks ago looking for something and I'd run across the pack of C batteries we had, leaving it there because we didn't have anything that needed C batteries anymore. Except, apparently, my fabric shaver.

Ta-da! I used it last night on my Amanda Hat, which was getting kind of fuzzy, and can I just say? Where have you been all my life, fabric shaver? Why did my parents never have one of you? You will make all my knits look better. I can take the pills off my shirts now.

I was so excited I cleaned out the little reservoir with a piece of toilet paper and brought it to show my husband. He didn't get it. He never gets it.

Poor guy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

IWTMT: Koolhaas

Oh no, you may be saying to yourself, not another hat pattern! Well, yeah. Or did you forget about all that green yarn I have?

Not only is this week's IWTMT another hat pattern, it's another Brooklyn Tweed hat pattern. I'm not creative and I'll admit that. Where Habitat is very classic, Koolhaas (Rav) is like the cool kid at the hat table. Koolhaas is the hat the other hats secretly wish they could be like. Am I gushing? I'm the uncool not-a-hat at the hat table. Even I want to be Koolhaas.

I bet Koolhaas would look really good in my Green Mountain Spinnery Wonderfully Wooly. Ding, ding, I think we might have a winner.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

IWTMT: Gaenor

After last week's IWTMT, I'll admit it. I went out and bought the Habitat pattern. And two others. Guess what you'll be getting for the next two IWTMTs?

I am a sucker for sock yarn, as you may know. But really, most of it is way too pretty to hide on my feet. (Not to mention my failure to complete more than 1 pair of socks.)

So instead, I apparently buy shawl patterns like Gaenor (Rav). Gaenor is nice for a number of reasons, which I will list here:

1. Garter stitch that looks pretty and makes variegated yarns look good.
2. No picking up stitches (which I suck at).
3. Reversible.
4. Increase until you hit 1/2 your yarn, then decrease.
5. Start with 2 stitches, end with 2 stitches.

Uh, yeah. Sold.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Math: Or, How I Learned How Much I Don't Know

I was one of those kids who was put in honors classes as soon as they had honors classes. (Third grade, in case you were wondering.) That was also the year I got glasses. Braces and puberty were soon to follow. Thanks, universe.

I worked with stuff like Microsoft Powerpoint and Excel in elementary school. I'm guessing it was Office 95. God, I feel old now. Anyway, these programs have been in my life for a long time. Doesn't mean I really understand how to use them.

My point is, the school system didn't think I was dumb until high school, when my brain hit its math plateau in pre-calc. I believe the first half of my junior year was honors pre-calc and the second half was regular. Let's not get into the debacle that was senior year calc. When I got to college, I only had to take one math class. I took pre-calc. 'nuff said.

Math and I generally don't get along. I think it's that visualization thing. I can visualize one apple plus three apples, but how do you take the square root of an apple? I am not one of those knitters who can look at a pattern and configure it based on their gauge swatch. I am one of those knitters who says "I had 30 stitches on the last row. It must be magic that now I have 33."

As you may know, I've been selling some of my stash. This led to an infamous loss of 17 cents on my first transaction. My original brilliant plan for keeping track of total money earned involved a calculator. I realized quickly this would not be a good idea in the long term. Next I opened up Notepad and started to write in each positive and negative transaction, when the light bulb went off.

Duh. Spreadsheet.

Except apparently all I remember how to do in spreadsheets is type things. None of this formula stuff! Formula stuff is for sissies. My spreadsheet dork of a husband is, of course, at work, and I don't think his boss would appreciate me calling to ask how to add up the numbers in a spreadsheet.

So I look at the help. Help is good. Help usually helps. Help. The help is not helping. Help is a weird word.

Finally something from the depths of about 1995 managed to slosh through my sluggish brain and I figured it out. (With assistance from the help.) I'll be okay until I need to add something in A6, anyway.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sell The Stash: LB Trellis

Not much has been going on in crafty land. I sold 3 skeins of Lion Brand Trellis out of my stash. Two more skeins are tied up in the attempt I've been making at a poncho for at least two years. I think -- and I hate to say this -- that I'll just throw it out. Now I don't have the yarn for it, and the yarn I do have is two different dye lots. Yeah, not a clue about dye lots 2 years ago.

I'm down 5 balls out of my stash, since I sold the Patons Rumor and knitted up a Cascade 220 in the Binary Scarf. My year-end goal is to destash 10 balls, since we're going to be knitting sweaters in my knitting guild. Having never knit a sweater, I don't really know what a "sweater quantity" is, but at the LYS that's usually a bag of 10.

1 Cascade 220 + 1 Patons Rumor + 3 Lion Brand Trellis = 649 yards down. That's not terrible, right?

I hit 50% of the way done on the Binary Scarf a few weeks ago and my brain shut down. For 10+ months I'd been knitting the same way and all of a sudden I had to change it. AND I decided to change the message for the second half. You knit bottom-up for the first half, and I had to read my numbers backwards and bottom-to-top so they'd read right. Now I get to read left-to-right and top-to-bottom, but the numbers are knitted upside down. I don't deal well with change. I just struggled my way through 2 digits/6 rows of this. Only 73 more digits to go. No wonder this is taking forever.

I'm one of those people who needs to imagine exactly how something is done before I do it. This makes me spectacularly bad at things like: driving, cooking, crossing the street and crafting. It's one of the reasons I don't tend to do complicated stuff. I'm trying to get over it.

P.S. If I've been knitting wrong on this Binary Scarf, or if I just started knitting wrong on the second half, it might be better if you didn't tell me.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

IWTMT: Habitat

Something I neglected to mention in my One Green Hat post is that my weakness for hat-amounts of green yarn really only seems to apply to worsted/aran weights. Wow. I need some help.

Anyway, I figured maybe if I found an appropriate hat pattern and used it for an IWTMT, it might help. I know everybody and their brother has made Brooklyn Tweed's Habitat (Rav), but it be so purty. And maybe if I pay for it I'll actually make it.

Oh. Right.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One Green Hat

Have you ever been at the store and you don't remember if you have a pair of size 9 needles, so you buy some? You get home and realize you have 6 pairs of size 9s. But you don't take them back, because you never know.

I'm apparently the same way. Only with yarn to make green hats.

Exhibit A:


Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk.

I received 2 skeins for Christmas 2008. There's not too much you can do with 2 skeins -- maybe a hat. I was thinking maybe a cabled hat back in February 2009. Okay, so I didn't mention the word "hat" then, but I definitely did in this IWTMT from August 2010.

Exhibit B:


Green Mountain Spinnery Wonderfully Wooly.

I purchased 1 skein of green and 1 of yellow back in March 2010. I was going to make mitts out of one and a hat out of the other. Verified in my most recent IWTMT post. I'm still on the fence about what's going to be what. The hat could be green.

Exhibit C:


Queensland Collection Kathmandu Aran. In October 2010, I quote: "I want this to be a hat."

Exhibit D:


Mountain Vewe Coopworths' wool/mohair blend, purchased at the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival. October 2010. I quote: "I only bought one because I thought I could make a hat!"

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I believe this evidence proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have a weakness for hat-quantities of green yarn. I have hidden these yarns in my subconscious when acquiring more and more green hat yarn. I lived in denial. Denial of what I already had.

It might seem harsh, but I believe in tough sentencing. Please sentence me to shop from the stash and actually make a green hat. I may find this cures me from my obsession and I can become a productive knitter of non-green hat objects.

And if it doesn't cure me? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have one thing to say to that: they're all very different greens.

I rest my case.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sell The Stash: How To Lose Money

Last week I had a lovely gal contact me on Ravelry looking to buy my lone skein of Patons Rumor in Moonstone Heather. Since it was an impulse buy that had sat around for probably two years, I was more than happy to send it off to her. We agreed on $7, which included shipping.

Generally, I don't have shipping materials at home since I mail things so infrequently. I took this opportunity to stock up. I bought an envelope, packing tape and freezer bags (for rain protection -- just in case!) at the store. I spent $5.44 getting materials. Shipping was $1.73.

In case you're about as good at math as I am, I lost 17 cents on that transaction.

Things I have learned:

1. I need to charge more for shipping.

... yeah, I think that was the extent of my life lesson there.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

IWTMT: Sweet Fern Mitts

It was 34 degrees out when I woke up this morning. 34 degrees!!! Two years ago tomorrow I was outside getting married in a short-sleeved sweater. On Friday it ... snowed. Not here, but on the mountain. That means it's coming. Yuck (and other words that rhyme with yuck.)

I was walking today with my Amanda Hat and my Amazing Striped Scarf on but I was still shoving my hands in my pockets because they were freezing. Yes, I'm one of those cold-handed females.

When I went to Green Mountain Spinnery, I picked up 2 skeins of Wonderfully Wooly, one in yellow and one in green. The plan was that I'd make mitts from one and a hat from the other.

I do plan on making the Sweet Fern Mitts (Rav) from Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Wool. That's what I bought Wonderfully Wooly for. Do you think I should make them green or yellow? I'm leaning toward green right now.

If you can't see the Ravelry link, or you'd like to see a nice blog post with the Sweet Fern Mitts, please check out the Easter Report at The Knit Knack's blog. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go drool over her Crazy Zauberball in that post.

(P.S. - Just a reminder! When I post to blogs like this, the nice people there usually don't have a clue. I like to spread the blog love! I'll tell you if I'm pimping a blog, promise.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival 2010

I went to my very first fiber festival this month: Vermont Sheep & Wool in Tunbridge, VT. My pals with the sheep wanted to buy a spinning wheel and asked me to come along. It was a fun, tiring day and I didn't really take any good pictures because I was so busy trying not to buy yarn. (I failed.) I did take a few, though.

We went on Sunday. One of the things they had going on was a Cashmere Buck & Wether Show. I have no idea what a whether is, but apparently nuns raise them. My friend and I agreed that if we were in a competition with nuns, we'd drop out.


Then there was sheep shearing. I resisted the urge to hop over the fence and run off with the stuff.


It was cold in the morning, so I wore my Amanda Hat and my Butterfly Moebius, which I took off as the day wore on. I also bought a sweatshirt. Yes, I left the tape on intentionally. I was thrilled about fitting into a small.


A really nice gal at one of the booths in the "soft barn" (where they had the bunnies) took my picture after I explained the "last small" to her. I later found out she was on Ravelry, since she remembered taking my picture after I posted about it! So Kristen of Gilead Goats -- if that's you -- thanks again!

I did buy yarn, which I was expecting to. I didn't keep track of some of the vendors, so if you recognize any merchandise, let me know!


So I was in Mystic River Yarns in Mystic CT and I ALMOST bought Tidal Yarn, remember? I didn't and I regretted it. Guess who was at the festival? I picked up this little beauty, which is another example of how I need to take things outside before I buy them, because it looked gray in the barn. I realize now how strange this statement is. That's okay, I like purple too.


This one I DID look at in the light and I still loved it. It's a Coopworth wool/mohair blend, semi-worsted, approximately 185 yards from Mountan Vewe Coopworths. Unfortunately they don't have a website, but leave a comment if you'd like their contact information. I only bought one because I thought I could make a hat!

I ended up buying 2 skeins of superwash merino yarn from Biltmore Wool Barn. The woman does all the dyeing herself, and I could have lost it and left with a lot more than 2. Each skein is a generous 430 yards. Mmm.


I started chatting with another lady at the booth and showed her this skein below, which I'd been waffling on. She picked one up too, even though it wasn't what she had been looking at! Of course, I had to snatch mine up after that. Random lady, I hope you like the yarn I apparently talked you into!


I didn't write down who this next vendor was. Sorry! I don't have a button stash, but when I saw she had Danforth Pewter sunflower buttons, I bought her out. I don't really know how 4 buttons will be useful, but I can't not have pewter sunflower buttons.


Oh, right! My friends ended up buying an Ashford Kiwi from The Merlin Tree, on my recommendation. But that's a blog post for another day ...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Finished Object: Butterfly Moebius

It's not often I get to post a finished object that's also an IWTMT. So far, I think it's really only been the Amanda Hat.

When I visited Green Mountain Spinnery back in March, I went equipped with an idea of something I wanted to make. That something was the Butterfly Moebius from Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Yarn. I even found yarn! I bought this gorgeous skein of Sock Art Forest. I even finished knitting the moebius in time for my sister's college graduation in May, right before I moved.

Granted, it ended up being 90 degrees at my sister's graduation. I forgot my strapless bra. I ended up wearing red polyester. My skin is finally beginning to recover from the sunburn, by the way.

My point is that I finished the Butterfly Moebius almost five months ago. I'd lost and found the camera, but I'd lost and not found my project until not too long ago. Then I made my husband take a lot of pictures. Ah, the perks of marriage. Please ignore my tie-dyed shirt, if you could. I was more interested in getting the pictures taken than I was accessorizing.

Pattern: Butterfly Moebius from Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Yarn
Yarn: Less than 1 skein of Green Mountain Spinnery's Sock Art Forest in green
Needles: US size 7 circular for cast on, size 6 for knitting
Timeline: I bought the yarn on 3.26.10. I cast on 04.10.10. I finished sometime before mid-May. Who knows.


Opinions: Love. Loved the pattern. Loved the yarn. It's a little hard to arrange on yourself properly, but get someone to help you and you're golden.


Random Thoughts: Once I found my project and it got cold enough, I wore it to work. I kept track of how many compliments I got without telling the person it was hand-made. I got 6. Not bad.

Also, later that night I got my eyebrows waxed for the first time I ever. I was excited to look vaguely French, so I made my husband do another photoshoot. I neglected to think about how red my forehead looked. This picture is in black and white because of that.


Did I miss my calling as a model?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

IWTMT: Boneyard Shawl

I have a lot of sock yarn. I don't knit a lot of socks. (I've made a pair.) You can usually make a shawl out of sock yarn.

I don't have many occasions to wear shawls. My 2nd anniversary is coming up in a week and we're going out to dinner somewhere nice. All of my dresses are more suited to the spring than the fall. Perfect -- wear a shawl!

One small problem: I've made it a goal of mine to only cast on for charity hats this month. Shoot. But if I were so inclined, I think I could still crank out a Boneyard Shawl (Rav). Simple yet elegant. Good for a time crunch. Did I mention it's free?

Stupid October no new casting on.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

IWTMT: Snowflake Hat

Since I finished the Baby Blanket of Fail, there have been no more excuses. I've been working on my husband's Binary Scarf. And, now that I remember which hand to hold the dominant yarn in (my left), it's going pretty well. In fact, you could even say that I'm ... enjoying it. Gasp. Shock. Awe.

I've been very bored with my vanilla charity hats, and I have tons of partial balls, so stranded colorwork could be a great way to use some up in an interesting way. I know fall just started, but I'm really digging the Snowflake Hat by Carissa Knits (Rav). In fact, it'll be a great way to use up stash yarn, since it calls for Caron Simply Soft and I seem to have almost a dozen skeins stashed. Works for me!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Stash: Gift Certificate!

Everyone I know went to the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival today, and I don't get to go until tomorrow, so I took pictures of yarn to console myself. And maybe to guilt myself into not buying anything tomorrow. I don't think it will work.

I did some work for my LYS a few months ago and got a gift certificate. I was trying really hard not to spend it. Then I decided, screw it, what if the yarn I like isn't there anymore? Which is exactly what happened. I still got good yarn, though.


Malabrigo Sock in Abril. Shawl, I hope.


Two skeins of Queensland Collection Kathmandu Aran colorway 183. I want this to be a hat.


Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektgarn in EQ. Yes, I caved for rainbow.


Araucania Ruca in colorway 103. Araucania seems to be a new favorite of mine.

I wanted a skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Sock, the Kauni and the Malabrigo Sock, but someone bought the green Tosh Sock while I was waffling on it, so I had to come up with a new way to allocate my gift certificate. I'm still pleased with my purchases, and I got more yarn out of the deal. I also bought a little "rate of increases/decreases" keychain so I could fully use my gift certificate. All in all, I spent under $2.

I have a feeling that won't be the case tomorrow.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Finished Object: Reversible Basketweave Blanket #2

Okay, I think I am far enough removed from this ordeal that I can blog about it now.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I have been madly working on a project that I gave myself 90 (and later 100) days to do. I even added on to it at the 11th hour, giving myself more work. I got it done. I think I may have had a nervous breakdown.

Pattern: Simple Reversable Basketweave Blanket by Yellow House Designs
Yarn: 8 skeins Vanna's Choice in colorway Chocolate
Needles: US size 6, Boye interchangeable
Timeline: I began knitting on 06.10.10. I finished knitting on 09.08.10. Blocked & washed from 09.18.10 to 09.19.10.
Modifications: I don't know if I modified the pattern or not, honestly. Oh, wait, I did 19 basketweave repeats, not 17.

Opinions: By now, I've usually posted a picture. I'm going to save that for random thoughts. This is the second time I've used this pattern. There is an error on the pattern page, which is corrected on the Ravelry page. You need to cast on 236 stitches, not 124. I will not use this pattern again.

Random Thoughts: I decided to make this blanket almost 6 months after I found out my husband's co-worker was pregnant. I gave myself a 90 day deadline to get it done before she had her baby. I started this project ten days after I moved. I got the knitting done in 91 days and finished washing it on the morning of the 102nd day, the day of her baby shower.

I think this project was doomed from the start. I did not swatch. Let me repeat that. I DID NOT SWATCH. Foolishly, I believed that using the same size needle and the same weight yarn as I did the last time would produce similar results.

I'm not sure if I'm an idiot or if the pattern is faulty. What I ended up doing was having 28 8-stitch basketweave blocks in each row. Maybe there are only supposed to be 14. But 8 x 28 + 12 (for the seed stitch border) = 236, so who knows.

The moral of this story is that the blanket was very long. Very very long. Also, I did not have enough yarn. I had to buy 8 skeins of Vanna's Choice to make it what I considered a decent height, which was only 2 weave repeats over what the designer suggests. I was assuming I wouldn't be able to steam block it any bigger, which is probably the smartest thing I did. I used over twice as much yarn as what was suggested. Did you know that 1360 yards is 77.27% of a mile, by the way?

I borrowed a friend's steamer to try and block the blanket. I knitted a swatch after the fact, but unpinned it too soon and it shrank back in the wash. I spent hours threading crochet cotton through 19 spots because my blocking wires weren't long enough. I went out and donated blood and picked apples and when I came back home and finished threading crochet cotton, it was like 10 PM. I attempted to stretch the cotton tight to pin the blanket out and it failed epically.

I think I collapsed on the floor at that point. I definitely cried. My husband came in and did something to help while I curled on the floor in the fetal position. You think I'm joking, but I'm really not. I had invested so much time in this thing it was ridiculous.

My husband managed to fix things somehow (I'm fuzzy on the details) and I steamed the s*^t out of that blanket. I left it pinned on our bed overnight. We slept downstairs on the futon. I woke up the morning of the party, wove in the ends and washed and dried the blanket on the lowest dryer setting.

Maybe I should have used the hottest setting. You know where this is going, don't you.

Blanket post-block, pre-wash & dry:


My bed is queen-sized, by the way.

Blanket post-wash & dry:


In closing, I don't know what I did wrong. I failed on multiple levels with this. It was the most humbling and hurtful knitting experience I have ever had.

So what I have I learned? Here, I'll break it down into a handy list for you.

1. Swatching is not a bad idea.
2. I don't know how to properly block acrylic.
3. I am never knitting a baby blanket again. Or, I am not knitting another baby blanket again until a lot more booze has washed away the pain.
4. On the plus side, acrylic bounces back nicely. Good to know.

The mom-to-be, by the way? Loved it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

IWTMT: Chunky Cap

I think one of the reasons I got so tired of making hats for charity was because I was using the same pattern. Every time. Four times. In a row.

Sometimes you just need a super bulky yarn and a size N crochet hook. I've had the Chunky Cap (Rav link) by Kathy North queued for almost two years, and I think it's about time I used up some of my big fluffy yarn. I could definitely knock out some Patons Divine and Lion Brand Homespun. Yeah, fat yarn and a big crochet hook.

I could go for that.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Confessions of a Diet Breaker

In 2010, the year I was supposed to be on a yarn diet, I bought 33 skeins of yarn. I think I set myself up for failure, though.

I bought 3 skeins on my first trip to Green Mountain Spinnery.

I bought 4 skeins on my first trip to WEBS.

I bought 9 skeins for items that have been gifted.

So really, that's only 17 skeins I should feel somewhat guilty about. But of those 17 skeins, I have started and/or finished projects with another 5. That knocks it down to a dozen. For five more, I had a gift certificate.

7. 7 skeins. That's not so bad.

Did I mention I'm going to the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival for the first time too?

Screw it. 2011 can be the year of the diet.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Goal: Stash Reduction

So technically I've been on a yarn diet. This year, I think I've only bought about 30 skeins. Whoops.

In addition to my IWTMTs, I'm adding a new crafting goal: thin out the stash. Whether I knit/crochet it, trade it, give it away, or sell it, some of it's gotta go.

This works well with the charity kids hats, which I need to get back on making. Scraps that don't go into charity hats can go into the scrapghan.

Obviously, I have to do this in a painful way that involves suffering, because that's how I operate. I'm going to go through my Rav stash by date. First thing listed? First thing to go. I don't get to play with a new toy until I'm done with an old one. I can start something like a charity hat, but I can't start a new pair of socks.

The first thing in my Rav stash is a partial skein of Lion Brand Microspun in turquoise. There's not a lot, and it's not worsted weight, so I'll try to crochet some flowers to put on some of the charity hats. There! It's not so bad when you have a plan.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

IWTMT: Rasen

You'll have to forgive me for being a little brain-dead today. I just finished a super-secret project that took up 102 days of my life and it's due to be gifted today at 3. Knitting? Wha? I'm lucky I even realized it was Sunday at this point.

Whenever I buy new yarn, I add it to my Ravelry stash immediately so I can use the "yarn ideas" tab when I browse patterns. I finally used my gift certificate to Green Mountain Fibers and picked up some lovely, lovely yarns that I fully intend to document in a future blog post. Anyway, I was browsing some of the things people had made in those yarns when I came across the Rasen mitts (Rav link).

Ooh. Pretty. Brain-dead Jen likey.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finished Object: Toe-Up, After Thought Heel Socks


Oh, hey there socks.

Pattern: Toe Up, After Thought Heel Sock (PDF file) by Liz Lafferty (Rav link)
Yarn: 0.94 skeins Encore Colorspun Worsted in colorway 7304, approximately 188 yards
Needles: Clover bamboo US size 5 DPNs
Timeline: 4.13.10 - 9.15.10
Modifications: I knit the cuffs in a 1x1 rib. I used the bulls-eye heel.

Opinion: FINALLY. I have made my first pair of socks. I was just lazy and didn't weave in the ends on the second sock until today. Just in time too, since it's getting cold out and I need some socks to bum around the house in! The legs are a little loose, and next time I'll knit more of a cuff. Also, I knit the bulls-eye heel a bit too pointy.


Random thoughts: It really is hard to take pictures of your own feet.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

IWTMT: Shipwreck Shawl

It appears to be Sunday again!

I think I just have a thing for Knitty patterns, especially Knitty patterns that I have no hope of ever actually making.

So I love the ocean, right? I wrote a poem once about standing on the beach after the apocalypse. (That, by the way, is totally normal for me.) There's a scene in one episode of Doctor Who where Amy Pond and the 11th Doctor are standing on a beach and she's wrapped in a drably-colored blanket and all of the colors are desaturated ... don't ask me why, but I love that. Which is funny, because I lovelovelove rich colors. I can't explain myself.

Anyway, this is all leading up to say that I could totally see myself standing on that post-apocalyptic shore wearing the Shipwreck Shawl (Rav link). Instead of waiting for my love to come home, I'd be mourning the loss of all humanity. Awesome.

Less awesome is the fact that it takes 1320 yards of fingering weight yarn and I only have 1128 skeins of that Araucania Ranco Multy. S%#t.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

But I Barely Did Any Work At All ...

I went on vacation to visit my mom and sister down in Rhode Island for the week before Labor Day. There was some sun, some swimming, some relaxing, some knitting, and a little bit of stash enhancement.

I had the good luck to visit two stores on my trip. The first was Mystic River Yarns in Mystic, CT. What a beautiful shop! Light, airy and full of yarny goodness. I'd made it a personal goal to only buy things I couldn't get at home, so I asked the employee what local yarns they had. I was very close to leaving with some hand-spun naturally-dyed Tidal Yarn. I ended up picking skeins from two local dyers.



This is a skein of Ellyn Cooper's Yarn Sonnets Fine Merino in the colorway Aqua Tide. Mmph.


This is a skein of Peace of Fleece Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn Semi-Solids in the Iolite colorway. I don't think that's exactly the name, but I can't find any info on this yarn online. In the store, it looked very blue but when I took it outside it's really more purple. That's okay, I still love it.


Then I visited Knitwits in Westerly, RI. This store was so cute & cozy! There were a few women knitting when I went in who greeted me. Some of them even started saying "y'all come back now, y'hear?" which I find to be hilarious. Knitwits was lovely and had beautiful yarn, but most of it was stuff my LYS already carried. I did manage to snag two skeins of Jojoland Melody Superwash in the excitingly-named colorway MS16.


Whoops. I guess I'm back in my blue/ocean phase.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Storm Coast Creations is on vacation. See you after Labor Day!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shared: Do Not Do This

Normally I wouldn't post just to share a link to someone else's blog, but if you haven't read The Panopticon today, you should. Mr. Franklin shares some advice on what not to do in a coffee shop and. It. Is. Hilarious.

(However, it is rated, at the very least, PG-13.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stitch Markers

Blog, I don't know if you're ready for this. Remember how I changed the blog name, in case I ever became Betty Crocker or Martha Stewart and started doing stuff other than knitting?

Hah. I beaded.

I had a few extra dollars on me the other day and was looking at some homemade stitch markers at my LYS, since right now I'm using tied-up little pieces of yarn and they stink. These stitch markers went for almost $2 apiece! I was all like "aw nah, I have beading supplies, I can make some!" (True story, I was into beading before I got back into knitting in 2008. I had a bead stash before I had a yarn stash.)

But since I'm basically a crafting idiot, first I had to find a good tutorial. I wanted to use beading wire because I'm lazy and cheap and had some on hand. Cue PDXKnitterati and her tutorial on how to make stitch markers with bead wire. I probably shouldn't show you this link since I want everyone to think I'm a genius, but I am honest and credit should be given where it is due. Use this tutorial. You too will look like a genius.

I know some gals who are super-nice to me and I feel like I can never do anything in return for them, so I busted out the dusty bead stash and picked out some beads for their stitch markers. I did ten of each, since ten is a good number. If I was buying stitch markers, I'd want a lot so I could use them on most projects.


First there's Ms. S. She loves the color blue (can you tell?). She has been really nice to me, giving me fiber to spin with and letting me dye some of her fiber, or even just giving me a bag full of yarn to use for my crapghan. 10 little stitch markers doesn't even make a dent in the kindness she's shown me.


Then there's Ms. B. I also call her the "Tuesday Taxi" since she is often willing to come pick me up after work on Tuesday and take me to the yarn store to hang out. She taught me how to use my drop spindle and puts up with my endless questions. She's even offered to lend me her loom. Yowza.


Ah, Ms. K. (Well, one of many Ms. Ks, but you don't know the others.) She is bright and cheerful and has put up with my constant rescheduling on our hanging out. We'll do it someday! I did need to take one of these stitch markers back because it needs some maintenance. I'd used a size one crimp bead on the "different" marker and didn't realize that the millefiore bead hole is large enough that it can fall off. (See the bottommost bead on the left, the one without seed beads on the bottom? Yeah.) Whoops. Thankfully she brought this to my attention and I'll try again with a larger crimp bead.

Doing this basically cleaned me out of crimp beads, so I'm thinking of going to the store and picking up some more as soon as I can reconcile not spending that money on yarn. It's gonna be tough ... but I want some!

This post is featured on Little Andalucia's Creative Friday Features.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

IWTMT: Knitted Stars

I love stars. Don't know why, but I do. This week's IWTMT is a pattern called Knitted Stars as found on the Knitting in Color blog. Oh my goodness, how cute are they? Super-quick, too. I can imagine knitting a few of these up in a sparkly yarn and hanging them from my ceiling.

My landlord might not be too happy about that, though.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Sheepies

On Friday, hubs and I went to dinner at the house of our friends who own sheep. Theoretically I am going to get one of the fleeces off the girls, but our friends are learning all about washing and processing first so I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed. I believe our guy friend said they were Shetland mixes, but he didn't know what else they were.

Please pardon the terrible pictures; I'd only brought my cell phone.


The girls sure were aloof! We tried tempting them with food but they weren't fooled. I hope to get one of Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky's fleeces -- they are the dark ones. Apparently they were named before it was discovered they were girls. At one point, all four of them filed past the fence in neat color order and stared at us. It was a little like being back in high school.


The boys were a lot more friendly, as you can see. They spent most of their time laying in my husband's lap, though I managed to tempt Poe (the dark one) away for a little while. Sorry I don't have a better shot of you, Oliver!


It was a great evening and a fun opportunity to meet some sheep in person. I would love to spin with their fleeces!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

IWTMT: Star Crossed Slouchy Beret

I still have two lovely skeins of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran in my stash. I never did make the Darkside Cowl. Since I am trying very hard to be on a yarn diet, thus commences the Great Stash Knitdown. And if I don't make the Darkside Cowl, what am I gonna make?

My original plan for the yarn was "something with cables". I was thinking a hat. Oh, hey, Ravelry. You've found me an awesome Ravelry-only pattern for a slouchy hat with cables that I can make with two skeins of Alpaca Silk Aran? It's called Star Crossed Slouchy Beret? Why, thank you! You are so nice to me.

And for those of you not on Ravelry who want to see what this hat looks like, I guess I'll just have to randomly pick someone who blogged about it for some link love! I pick ... tentenknits! Ugh, she looks way too good in that hat. Not fair.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Finished Object: Seed Stitch Scarf

I was hesitant to put this up as a Finished Object post for two reasons. One, I haven't woven in the ends yet. Two, I'm supposed to tell my LYS what I think of the yarn.

I'm going to put it up anyway, for three reasons. One, I did block it, and that's close enough for me. Two, it's summer. I'll tell the store about it when I've worn the scarf. Three, I don't have anything else to post.


Pattern: No real pattern. I cast on a number of stitches, which escapes me now (but I'm sure it was an odd number), and knit in seed stitch until it looked like I was going to run out of yarn. Helpful, I know.
Yarn: 1 skein of Zealana Kia Ora Kauri Worsted Weight in colorway K11. The website calls this color Pink Roha.
Needles: US size whoops didn't write that down either. The ballband suggests a 7, so I probably used a 6.
Timeline: 5.11.10 - sometime later. Look, I did most of my work on this in moving vehicles. I didn't have time for notes. I think I finished the knitting in the car either on the way down to or on the way back from my sister's graduation, which puts the end knitting date either on May 20th or May 22nd.
Modifications: n/a

Opinion: Please keep in mind these are all strictly knitting-related, not wearing-related. I loved the saturation of the color, though it bled a lot in the Eucalan wash. It did keep a nice deep color though, and blocked very well. While knitting, the possum (?) hairs (the dark hairs) did seem a bit scratchy. I'll have to see how this feels while wearing.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

IWTMT: In the Pink

Have you ever wanted to knit a galaxy? Yeah, me too.

Unbelievably, In the Pink is a free shawl pattern. Only catch is it's a Ravelry-only download. Not on Ravlery but you just need to see it? Check out the project on They Call Me Yarn.

You've heard of carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Forget that. Give me the ethereal weightlessness of the universe.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Finished Object: Amazing Striped Scarf

Hey, look! It's a finished object post! Haven't had one of these in a while. (Please ignore my dirty bathroom mirror. I've cleaned it now.)


Noro Striped Scarf as popularized by Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed
Yarn: 2 skeins of Lion Brand Amazing in colorway Olympia
Needles: US size 6 in my Boye interchangeable set
Timeline: 5.22.10 - 7.10.10
Modifications: I THINK I cast on 29 stitches.

Opinion: This is my fourth Noro Striped Scarf, so obviously I like the pattern and have a problem making other scarves. It's so classic!

Random Thoughts:
I started this in the car on the way down to Pennsylvania to see my sister's graduation. This was also my "waiting for the bus to come" knitting. I was inspired to try a NSS with just one colorway by my friend Cindi and the "Gloaming Scarf" by jenna-b on Ravelry, who had also made the scarf in the Olympia colorway.

Many people commented on how I was making a scarf in the middle of the summer. Haha, now I have a scarf and you don't.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

IWTMT: Sock Yarn Blanket

Hi, blog. I've been quiet lately because I started my Crazy Zauberball socks and it's just like knitting with Noro. I. Can't. Stop. Knitting. Which is good, because I'm working on size 1 needles and therefore it's taking forever.

Speaking of sock yarn and things that take forever (hey-o! what a transition), I am very glad I'm into making socks right now, because I have a lot of sock yarn. In fact, let me list it so I will be ashamed. I have:

1. Araucania Ranco Multy
2. Colinette Jitterbug
3. Crystal Palace Yarns Mini Mochi
4. Dream in Color Smooshy
5. Red Heart Heart & Sole
6. Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball

And that's just counting the yarns Ravelry classifies as "fingering". It's a little sick for someone who hasn't actually completed a sock yet. But since now I'm liking making socks, this means I might actually finish some. And when you finish things, sometimes you have leftovers.

With my worsted weight acrylic-blend leftovers, I'm making the Crapghan. What do you make with sock yarn leftovers? Why, you make the Sock Yarn Blankie, of course. It's a free pattern/tutorial from Shelly Kang. I'm enjoying learning new techniques with my projects lately, and mitered squares are something I haven't tackled yet.

Going through all the projects on Ravelry makes it clear my little sock yarn stash ain't nearly enough to make a blanket, but I can always get more yarn!

Monday, July 26, 2010

From Foreign Lands

I was so excited to find the camera, you know. I got a few great shots from Friday Night Live. Yesterday, I tried to take some pictures of FOs and ... the battery had died. Phooey. A quick trip to the store later and I have at least two posts for this week!

I may have busted the yarn died last week. My justification was twofold. One, I was almost done with my socks, which meant stash reduction, so a new skein would cancel it out. Two, I was in the paper and my fame entitled me! I only feel mildly guilty and I'll be a good girl now, I promise.

One of my super-sweet friends over at my LYS is also super-creative. She comes up with great displays for each holiday and season that incorporate yarn. For example, right now she has the "ocean table". Can you already tell I'm sunk? But really, how was I supposed to go home without this?


It's Colinette Jitterbug in the colorway Aegean. I've wanted Jitterbug since I worked at the yarn store, but couldn't really justify it since I didn't knit socks. Well, all I have to do on these socks is make a heel, so I bought some! Colinette is a Welsh yarn company, and I had the great fortune to go to Wales my sophomore year of college. (I fit in the doorway of the smallest house in Great Britain. True story.)

I might have been able to resist even then, but the Aegean Sea is on the coast of Greece, and I went to Greece my senior year of high school. So you see, I had no choice but to buy it.

That was my impulse buy. Last week the Crazy Zauberball came in, and after seeing socks made out of Zauberball at Friday Night Live, there was no way I was letting that get past me. (The website isn't quite working right now, otherwise I'd link it.) I almost bought the blue (I'm in a Blue Phase again, apparently), but bright colors prevailed and I went home with the rainbow (colorway 1702). Since this was the first time I'd taken pictures since we'd moved in, I had to learn where all the good light and backgrounds were. I was putting the yarn on the windowsill when my littlest helper decided to investigate.


My husband wants to print that and frame it. So that's not stash, that's art!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

IWTMT: My Sweet Cogette Lace Cuffs

As my husband and I were driving home yesterday after going out to breakfast, we noticed some of our neighbors were having a yard sale. Of course we checked it out! I admired a faux-leather coat that was a little too big for me, but when the lady said it was $2, I sent hubs running to the house to get together spare change. The coat is a little bit pirate, a little bit highway robber, and a little bit steampunk. If nothing else, it'll make a great Halloween costume accessory.

In honor of my new-found obsession with all things steampunk, IWTM My Sweet Cogette Lace Cuffs (Rav link). The pattern costs $5.50. I just love the thought of wandering around like a female Captain Jack Sparrow, waving my hands erratically with these cuffs flapping around. Maybe I'm just weird. Who cares? These cuffs are awesome.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Friday Night Knit

Well, it was knitting and spinning. No one brought their crochet hooks, though I thought about it. It poured at six o'clock, but we were still on! I didn't actually count, but I think we had between eight and ten crafters at all times. Not too shabby.

Most of us were knitting, but our guild president was the big draw. Everybody wanted to know "how do you do that?" Me too! (Thanks for letting me put you on the blog!)


I ended up bringing my sock. I got a lot of work done! On that note, it's hard to take a flattering picture from this angle.


In fact ... I was even in the paper. Picture 11 is the flattering one. That's what I get for knowing/heckling the photographer, I guess! Kids, don't sit like that while someone's taking your picture. You look dumb. I'd know.

Being in the paper (and the subsequent recognition from everyone I know - I didn't realize that many people still read the paper) shamed me into finishing that sock! Rather than suffer from second sock syndrome, I cast on for the second sock this morning. I figure I'll knit them both and then do the afterthought heels. If I get lazy, they can be tube socks.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

IWTMT: French Market Bag

I'm really beginning to think renaming (and re-URLing) the blog has broken it. Not a single hit this past week. Ouch. That's okay, I can be persistent.

It might have something to do with the seven loads of laundry I did this past week, but I've been on a felting kick. I washed the afghan of unknown origin and am pleased to report that it is acrylic. I was pretty sure, but the fringe had "felted" together over the years so I wasn't completely positive. I think it's more likely they melted together a little in the dryer. (I, of course, put it in on low heat.)

I haven't felted anything yet. Nowhere near to making something I can felt. But I keep finding projects I adore, and of course I want to share them with you. This week I want to run out and get some Cascade 220 and make the French Market Bag (Ravelry link) from the winter 2003 Knitty. It's so classy, and would be perfect to bring to my local farmers market. How cute would it be to have one in each color of the rainbow?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I found the camera!

Guess what I found? Finding the camera is good news, since it means I can post pictures again. In the past two months, I've finished three items. I've blocked two of them, and they're just waiting for their photoshoots. Plus, I can bring the camera to Friday Night Live tomorrow for our knit-in and hopefully take some pictures.

Friday Night Live is a summer event in Rutland, VT. I don't know exactly how to describe it. There are music, food, vendors and community groups. They close down a street in the middle of downtown. It's a lot of fun, and some of us crafters are staging a fiber-fest. Quite sneaky, since we don't actually have a booth. I'm curious to see how many show up.

Of course, a problem with this is deciding what to bring. I could bring my drop spindle, but I'm still not very good at it. I could bring my super-secret project that could use the attention, but it's super-secret and I'm paranoid. I could bring the Binary Scarf, but I have no idea where the code I wrote down is. Okay, that's a cop-out. I could bring the Binary Scarf, but it's the Binary Scarf. It's like the car my dad's been fixing up for me ... for the past two years.

I could start something new, but that's not so good. I want to try to finish things.

I'll probably bring the socks I never finished, but of course in the move I can't find the pattern and I don't have a working printer.

It's just like picking out an outfit for the first day of school. Speaking of, what am I going to wear??

Sunday, July 11, 2010

IWTMT: Shoulderette

This week's IWTMT might seem a little funny, considering last week we were busy having a heat wave, but I don't claim to make sense. In fact, I'm just thankful I started writing this before 11 PM on a Sunday.

I'm one of those people that's always just a little bit cold (except in heat waves). I have tons of sweatshirts, but I'm also vain and don't like messing up my hair. Only one is zip-up, and that's the very grown-up Mickey Mouse print I got at Epcot. Consequently, I look like I'm five. A lot. (I'm not five.)

Last October, when my cousin got married, I considered making a shrug. This normally would have been a great idea, except I considered it about two days before she tied the knot. I am not a fast knitter.

Shoulderette (Rav link) seems like one of those things you can take your time with. Sure, the instructions are a little vague, but sometimes it's good to have a challenge. I love the little lace details. This would be fun to have for a special occasion or just going to the movies. Maybe they'd stop asking for my ID!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

IWTMT: Warm Up America

This week's IWTMT will be a little bit different. My original intent was to find an American flag afghan in honor of the holiday. As I sat here in my shorts and a tank top, looking at the weather forecast for tomorrow (94 degrees), I decided maybe an afghan wasn't the best project to express an interest in right now.

Instead, I'm going to highlight the Warm Up America Foundation. Maybe making a whole blanket is a little warm for the summer, but I know you can handle a little rectangle! Warm Up America is a group I didn't know that much about until today. While it's a national group, great emphasis is put on doing things locally: joining together afghan squares with a group as well as distributing finished blankets to churches/hospitals/shelters in your neighborhood. If you can't find any local support, Warm Up America also accepts individual afghan blocks knitted or crocheted to be 7" by 9". They even offer patterns in case you need a little inspiration.

Lately I've been using up my scrap yarn in charity hats, but I love this idea as well. I'll let you poke around their website, but here's the direct link on how you can help. It may be 94 degrees tomorrow, but I'd love to Warm Up America!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

IWTMT: Cambria Wrap

Apologies, blog: this week's IWTMT is a Raverly-only exclusive. Not signed up for Raverly yet? Why not?

Anyway, remember this yarn? The yarn I got at Webs? The yarn I got at Webs with no idea what I was going to make with it? I figured 3 would be enough. Yeah, 3 will be enough. 3 would be enough to knit to the moon and back, if my research is correct.

Anyway ... it's probably bad blogging (and bad English) to start two consecutive paragraphs with the same word, but I'm a child of the 90s, so you're lucky I didn't say "whatever". Regardless of the amount of yarn, I bought it exactly because it reminded me of the new blog name. While I'd love to knit some oceany wrap with it, the variegation might block some of the detail. It's tough looking through dozens of patterns, but you know, somebody's got to do it.

Please meet the Cambria Wrap (remember, Rav-only link & download!). While not quite oceany, the description says it's variegated-yarn friendly. It also doesn't hurt that it's quite pretty! And, since it only uses about 800 yards of fingering-weight yarn and I have 1128 yards of Araucania Ranco Multy stashed, I figure I can make something coastal out of the rest of it. Oh, I love leftovers!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Nothing's Changed, Just the Name

I may have just broken my blog. I'm not sure.

Ta da! I've been brainstorming a new blog name for ages. I came up with this one a while ago, and have been waiting on my husband to do the graphic work. He's busy playing WoW right now and I'm bored, so here we are.

I grew up on Long Island Sound. The ocean has always been a big part of my life. I also love thunderstorms. There's something about a beach in a storm that recharges me. I hope the new name will recharge this blog as well.

If you have been following me at, please update your bookmarks or feeds to

Sunday, June 20, 2010

IWTMT: Stained Glass Window Afghan

I warned you in my last post that the next few IWTMTs would probably not be free patterns. Going through 50 Sensational Crochet Afghans & Throws, I can already pick out at least 3 afghans I plan to feature here on the blog, so you might as well go ahead and buy the book too. :)

I know I've already featured a stained glass afghan on IWTMT, but it has a totally different look than the Stained Glass Window Afghan (the afghan featured on the book's cover). I think the Stained Glass Window Afghan might also be a bit more manageable! It's the reason I bought the book in the first place. I can't wait to bust down some stash so I can start this!

You can see a finished Stained Glass Window Afghan at the blog On My Hook, or you can check it out on Ravelry here. (Fun fact: I've had this project saved in my Ravelry favorites since September 12, 2008.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


My first KnitPicks order came today. My husband got my blocking wires from them, but this is my first order. Mine mine mine.

It all started with a ball winder. I wanted one, but my LYS had them for a very high price. Figuring it wouldn't hurt to poke around, I checked KnitPicks and they had one for $20. Sold! I like to support local, but a $50 price difference is a good motivator for the internet.

That would have been it, if I hadn't also put their knitting earrings on my Christmas wishlist and not received them. (Good job, honey.) From there, it's a very slippery slope into "I can get free shipping if I just spend $30 more!" I have a bruise from the fall.

I also got:
-50 Sensational Crochet Afghans & Throws (I forsee some not-free IWTMTs in your future)
-sock knitting needle holder (maybe this will get me to work on my socks)
-yarn cutter (now I don't have to hold the nail clippers hostage)

I managed to avoid the lure of yarn. Actually, I funded this little venture by selling some of my stash. Discontinued Kidsilk Night that I had for 2 years and did not use, you have gone to a good home. You made me enough money that I could get all this cool stuff. I can't complain about that.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

IWTMT: Plastic Bag Tote

I'm big on reusable bags. I also have a bad habit of saving my old grocery bags, though I almost never use them and always forget to bring them back to get recycled. If only there was some way I could combine all these things and make something useful ...

Oh wait, I can. Blog, meet the Plastic Bag Tote (Rav link). It's made entirely out of plastic bags cut into strips and then crocheted together. Love it. It's certainly more fun than having your cats get into your cabinets to play with the plastic bags you keep forgetting to recycle.

Not that I'd know.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Have I ever mentioned that I am like, the queen of unrealistic dreams? I also grew up in the 90s and blatantly disregard comma rules sometimes. Ha!

Sometimes my unrealistic dreams relate to my writing, like the time where I was going to write a book and I was SO SURE I wrote a book and actually all I wrote was 10,000 words, because that's not a book. Wikipedia calls it a "novelette". I had no idea that word existed. Sometimes I make up awesome costumes in my head that I have no way of transferring into reality or even onto paper. I dream big; I just don't usually have a way to make those dreams actually happen.

I don't really know why wanting to knit a dress is an unrealistic dream. Maybe because I have a fear of fitted objects? I have established that I generally look okay in hats. Dresses are a whole 'nother story. If you make an ugly sweater, that's okay, because ugly sweaters are still functional. Nobody loves ugly dresses unless you're going to an ugly dress party, and I've never been invited to one.

Anyway, I think I'm sleep deprived, so let me get to the point. My unrealistic dream of the week is to knit Coco from Berroco (oh my gosh, do those rhyme? Awesome.). Only 4 people on Ravelry have made this dress. An unrealistic dream that's also an obscure challenge? Oh, it might be on. One day.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Wondering what the acronym in the title means? It means "I don't want to make anything this week"! I couldn't not post, seeing as I have such a streak going, but I felt it was only fair to explain to you why there's no IWTMT this Sunday.

First, I am moving. Well, I guess I'm moved at this point, but there's a loooooooot of unpacking to do. We just got the internet back after a few days without it and I'm actually on my hubby's computer. No saved passwords, noooooo! Suffice to say, I'm exhausted.

Second, it's my birthday in like, four minutes and I'm lazy and I can do what I want on my birthday weekend and 3-day-weekend and moving weekend. So there. I'll be back soon, I promise.

Just to switch it up, why don't you share with me something you'd like to make?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

IWTMT: Footie Sock Pattern

It's my birthday in eight days, and I decided to go out and buy myself a new pair of shoes a little early. I'm not normally a big shoe person, but these are some of those toning shoes, and I can wear them to work.

Of course, I'm probably going to want to wear socks with these, but socks kind of look dumb with capris and shorts. While perusing the Ravelry boards, I found a sock pattern that would work perfectly with these shoes. I never took dance, but they're called ballet slippers/footies.

I want to make the Footie Sock Pattern from Be Still and Knit. (Rav link) It still counts as a sock, but it's smaller! I love it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

IWTMT: Prairie Star Afghan

I think WEBS stole my brain. That, and I had to work today.

I have a thing for complicated afghans I will probably never make. Prairie Star crochet afghan. (Rav link.) But it's good to have dreams.

Mmm, dreams require sleep. I like sleep. 'scuse me, going into post-WEBS coma now.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tent Sale 2010

A few weeks ago some friends of mine invited me to tag along to the WEBS Tent Sale, knowing I'd never been. I set my alarm for 6 this morning. Ugh. We got on the road at 7:15.

As a passenger, of course I brought car knitting, a seed stitch scarf I started on Tuesday. Oh, I didn't tell you about Tuesday's guild meeting? Our prez had gotten in touch with with someone who distributed Zealana yarn and they sent us a bunch of their yarns to try on the condition that we let our LYS know what we thought. I got a skein of the Kia Ora Kauri, a merino/possum/silk blend in Pink Roja. So now I can say I've knit with possum yarn, though I'm reserving judgment until the scarf is all done.


We got to WEBS pretty early and were able to look at some of the great vendors outside first. While in one of the booths, I thought I recognized the woman from our Green Mountain Spinnery tour. Turns out I was right! It was Lisa from Boulder Meadow Farm in Fitzwilliam NH. What a small world.

Soon enough I was dragged into the store, which was basically what I like to call baptism by fire. I'd come with a few project ideas and yardage notes, but I was clearly the new kid in school. Let's just say I have no idea how far some of those shopping carts traveled before getting to WEBS.

I did manage to find some Louet Euroflax Sport Weight, which I've been looking for. By the time I got to it, my choices were a bright pink and French Blue. I grabbed the French Blue. Eventually I found some more, but the blue was my best choice, so I took it home with me. (On sale, of course.)


While wandering the aisles, I found some Araucania Ranco Multy I liked, so I jotted down the color number and aisle and kept moving. One aisle over, I realized how stupid that was, so I ran back and grabbed three skeins. Normally I go for saturated colors, but this yarn was perfect considering what I'm renaming the blog. (Soon, I promise!) I have no idea what I'm going to make with it, but I figured 3 was enough. The website says color 317 is black/white, but this is clearly stormy blues to me.


That's all I bought at WEBS, but upon leaving the store I got sucked back into those independent vendors and ended up purchasing a Skinny Stripe Gauntlet Kit in Lipstick & Leathers from Kama Suutra Fiber Arts. (My kit is brighter pinks and black.) Yet again I was torn between pinks and blues (no, this doesn't mean anything!!!), but I went for the pink this time. I think this lady is a genius and someone to watch out for, by the way. You heard it here first.

We left WEBS and hit up Green Mountain Spinnery, but nothing caught my eye this time. When we got back home, I decided to hit up Michaels since I had some extra money and bought a skein of Lion Brand Amazing in Olympia.


I got a 40% coupon at the register, so I might just go back tomorrow and pick up another skein. What am I thinking? I'll never get tired of those Noro Striped Scarves.

P.S. Have you guessed the name change yet?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

IWTMT: Baby Starghan

Hi. This IWTMT deserves a better writeup, but it's late and I had a lot of stuff going on the past few days and maybe I forgot about the IWTMT.

So. Baby Starghan. Free. Crochet. Want to make.

Good night.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

IWTMT: Darkside Cowl

It may have hit 80+ degrees today, but it snowed last week, so you really never know with Vermont. To that extent, I'm not throwing the winter knitting out the window just yet.

I've never made a cowl. I don't know that I'd look good in a cowl, but what a good use of just a little bit of luxury yarn!

For example, I have two skeins of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran from Christmas 2008. At first I thought I'd make a hat, but apparently alpaca is going to stretch no matter what you do and I don't know that the slouchy look is for me. But then I found the Darkside Cowl, which is pretty and free (though only available as a Ravelry download) and people have made it out of two skeins of Alpaca Silk Aran. Score! (And it's totally okay for a cowl to stretch; it's fashionable.)

It could snow again. Really, you never know.

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2010: Day 7

There’s one love that we all share: yarn. Blog about a particular yarn you have used in the past or own in your stash, or perhaps one that you covet from afar. If it is a yarn you have used you could show the project that you used it for, perhaps writing a mini ‘review’. Perhaps, instead, you pine for the feel of the almost mythical qiviut? You could explore and research the raw material and manufacturing process if you were feeling investigative.

Hmm. If you haven't guessed by now, I'm a big fan of Noro, especially the Kureyon. The colors are so vivid! I've used Kureyon for two Noro Striped Scarves, Silk Garden for a third scarf, and Iro for my mittens featured in the last post. I also have some Cotton Kureyon and Silver Thaw stashed. Oh dear.

I do have a skein of qiviuk/qiviut. Are you jealous? I should have bought two, but I think I went into a coma and emerged with expensive yarn. Merino, silk and qiviuk. Yep. You're jealous.


This is my coffee table yarn. I pull it out to make others jealous, but I never read it ... I mean, I don't know what I'll make with it. Hopefully something before moths get to it. I'd never forgive myself then.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2010: Day 6

Bring the fortune and life of a past finished project up to the present. Document the current state and use of an object you have knitted or crocheted, whether it is the hat your sister wears to school almost every day, or a pair of socks you wore until they were full of hole. Or maybe that jumper that your did just didn’t like that much…


Ah, my first mittens. I think they're somewhere in the side drawer of my computer desk. I don't know, because I think I wore them once this winter.

I was so proud of these mittens. I used the yarn my husband bought me for Christmas 2008. I swatched (and washed the swatch, and didn't rip the swatch out to reuse the yarn). I followed a pattern. It was the first project I finished on DPNs. It was a pretty big deal.

And I don't wear them.

It's not because they're a little tight in the thumb -- I imagine if I blocked them I could fix that. No, it's because I hadn't yet learned about knitting ribbing on smaller needles and the ribbing is much too loose.

I could always insert a post-knit lifeline, frog the cuff, and reknit it down. Unfortunately, I wove in my ends really well, and I'm too annoyed to even try looking for them.

Maybe I'll just buy some elastic.