Friday, December 23, 2011

Treating Yourself

Many knitters and crocheters are just about half-dead right now, because they have decided to craft for the holidays. Crafters, I salute you and your selfless efforts.

Don't forget, though, that it's okay to be selfish. You've earned it. It's almost the end of the year, and it deserves to go out with a bang. Get your nummiest materials and make something nice for yourself!

Me? Oh, I have that skein of Jacques Cartier Qiviuk Majestic Blend, and I just bought Pettine by PicnicKnits, who also designed the Gaenor shawl that I've made twice. Pettine, like Gaenor, has you increase until you've used half your yarn, then you decrease. It seems like the perfect way to make sure I get the most out of my yarn -- and when you have a qiviut yarn (even if it's a blend), you damn well make sure you get the most out of it!

Is this qiviut next on the chronological list of yarn to knit? Nope. Is it anywhere near the top of the list? Nope. Do I care? Nope. After all, I've earned it. Have you?

Happy holidays, everyone!

Edit: I just realized I have 217 yards of a laceweight yarn. Um, we'll see how this goes. It might be a really expensive hankie.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Measure Twice, Cut Once

An alternate title for this post might be "Hubris: A Primer". Or "Pride Goes Before A Fall".

Actually, "Gauge: I Does Not Have It" is probably best.

I've been working on a matching hat for my husband's Binary Scarf, so I measured the gauge on the scarf, did the math, and started knitting. I got through two character repeats before it was long enough to put on his head to measure, and it was obvious that something was wrong. So I threaded on a lifeline and slipped it off the needles to assess the damage.


Ah, yes. That's going to be a slight problem when it's windy.

The gauge I (thought) I had measured on the scarf was 27 st/4 in -- maybe it is. I don't know. I had to change to my aluminum needles from my bamboo, so that probably didn't help. I was so high from my Binary success that I succumbed to the hubris and did not reswatch.

I'm getting closer to 18 st/4 in, which makes a lot more sense for worsted-weight yarn. So now comes the frogging, the recalculating of stitches, and a reconfiguration of what the darn hat was going to say. Here's hoping the second time's the charm.

Because if it's not, he's getting a cowl for Christmas.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

FO: Binary Scarf

I'm going to let you mull over the title of this post for a minute.

Yup. It's done.

Pattern: Binary (on Ravelry)
Yarn: Cascade 220. Black (8555) 2.85 skeins/627 yards. Green (8910) 1.67 skeins/367.4 yards.
Needles: US size 8 Clover Bamboo DPNs
Timeline: 1.1.10 - 11.27.11


Opinions: Oh, man. What to say? My first stranded-colorwork project. My first project using Continental and English style knitting. My first time knitting with charts. It was an ambitious project, but I managed to finish it.

The pattern is pretty well-written. I had difficulty on the first section (cutting the yarn every few rows -- not sure why I couldn't have kept stranding it?) and the fringe. There really weren't directions for the fringe, and her math and my math didn't agree, so I just did my own thing. Also, I wanted it to be authentic, so I put in an actual message using binary instead of just doing random digits, and did more repeats than she called for so it would fit evenly.

This is a very long, warm scarf. I used smaller needles than the pattern called for. Next time, I'll use the recommended needle size, even though I'm a loose knitter. The stranding really tightens it up. My version is 114" x 5", which makes it 9.5 feet long. Whoa!


Random Thoughts: Happy Valentine's Day 2009, honey! This yarn was purchased 1.27.09, even though I didn't start the scarf until almost a year later.

I like doing stranded colorwork. Who knew?

I don't like doing fringe.

He wants a matching hat now. We'll see.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Here's what I'm thankful for today: my husband.

If he hadn't asked for it, I never would have learned how to do two-handed stranded colorwork for the binary scarf.

He waited almost a year for me to start it and almost two years for me to finish it.

He offered to help me with the fringe.

He said it was okay that I made mistakes I couldn't fix (even the ones that screwed up the message).

He wanted to wear it before I even blocked it.

He threaded the blocking wires for me so I didn't have a panic attack.

Thanks, honey. You'll have your scarf real soon. <3

Monday, November 14, 2011

The 5-Minute Rule

A few months ago, I was reading the Knitter's Review, which mentioned the 10-minute rule. It is basically like it sounds -- work on things for 10 minutes a day until they're done. Well, I have a bad attention span, so I made it the 5-minute rule. I began by applying it to the binary scarf (done knitting!), as well as some personal projects. It's funny, but I seem to work on things for more than 5 minutes once I get started! (I guess that's part of the point.)

Since I need a few hours to block the scarf, which I won't have until the weekend, I've been working on a few other things in the meantime. I pulled out a loom hat that's been languishing and did 5+ rows last night. I found my loom sock and gave it some much-needed attention. But since these are fun things, I've also tried to balance them with not-fun things.

Example: I have a craft room. Most of the stuff from my craft room is on my desk in the office. So every time I finish a row on the sock, I have to put 3 things away. So far I've managed to organize most of my needles, actually find (and keep together) darning needles, and put away balls of yarn I haven't used in months. Ultimately I'd like to find my flexible measuring tape, but one step at a time, you know?

The 5-minute rule has definitely helped me make progress on things, even though I haven't applied it to all my UFOs. Have you given this rule a try? How has it benefited you?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I'm Finished Knitting

No worries, I'm not giving up the craft. Nope, I just finished knitting & binding off ... the binary scarf.

Wow. I think I need a moment's reflection there.

I have a few spots where I want to try and duplicate-stitch some errors, and I need to add the fringe, wash & block it, but ... that's it. I'm done knitting it. The rest is a piece of cake, comparatively speaking.

I have no idea where I'm going to block it, though. Sucker's long.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Binary Day!

Well, okay, first of all, happy Veterans Day if you're in the US.

Secondly, happy Binary Day!

What's a binary day? No, I haven't finished the scarf. I wish! A binary day is where you write out the date and it's got only ones and zeroes -- today is 11/11/11, so it's a binary day.

I'll celebrate, even though the binary I'm using for the scarf has 8 digits per piece of information, not 6. After all, I wasn't alive on 11/11/1111.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Like Finding Couch Money

I knew I kept my husband around for some reason.

He asked for a percentage complete on his scarf, and I told him it was at 70%, because I had done 10/14 message repeats. Then I found the halfway point on the scarf, folded it over, and said "I have that much left".

But looking at where I had stopped knitting versus how long the other half of the scarf was, it was clear I didn't have 4 repeats left. Uh-oh!

This is where good note-taking comes in handy. I'd written down 5 tally marks for each letter, and then on the LEFT of each letter, I'd made two more. I assumed this meant I'd done 7 repeats. Apparently it meant I did 5, and I'm weird? I don't really know.

I had my husband tally each letter as I rattled it off to him, and the first half of the scarf does, in fact, have 5 repeats instead of 7. I have no idea why I wrote down those extra two tally marks. Even though I'd been pretty good at keeping track on this half of the scarf, I was afraid I'd done two repeats, and then changed to a new page in my notebook and done several more, so we had to confirm how many repeats were on the second half (I was hoping I was up to 4).

After reading off a bunch of ones and zeroes the first time, my husband says "oh, why don't you just count off how many rows of letters there are?" (60 letters in 4 repeats/2 letters a row = 30 rows). Yep, I had 30 rows.

Why didn't he come up with that earlier?

Why did I make extra tally marks?

Why is zero such a weird word?

Can you believe I have 90% of this scarf knitted? It's like finding money in the couch! I mean, sure, I knew I knitted it, I just didn't realize how close to done I was.

(And how glad am I that I have one repeat left, not 3. Sweet!)

Monday, October 31, 2011

White Halloween

Okay, so most of the snow has melted, but "white Halloween" sounds better than "some snow and mostly mud and freezing cold Halloween". We caved and turned the heat on last week, because even all the hand-knits in the world can't stop your pipes from freezing.

It snowed on Thursday and again Saturday night. Thanks a lot, Mother Nature! I was feeling like I had tons of time to knit and crochet before it got cold, but nooooooooooo. It had to snow in October, didn't it.

I did hit some "milestones" on the Binary Scarf this weekend. I attached the third ball of black (using up the stash, oh yeah!) and I hit 70%.

P.S. Does anyone have any clue why I wrote the letter L next to how many repeats I did on the first half? Because I don't have a clue.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ones and Zeroes and Zeroes and Ones

I've actually been working on the Binary Scarf -- stop the presses. Last night I finished the first repeat of two letters after I'd ripped out & picked up the stitches on the 18th, so I carefully counted my stitches and made sure the letters matched up.

Which they didn't.

I cried a little. I may have considered putting it back in the naughty bag. But it was all my fault, really. My Binary Scarf actually has a message in it, which means I have to be very careful that it says what it ought to! My problem was not paying enough attention. Part of my message goes N (space) L. What does that look like in binary?


Do you see the problem? The N and the L are ONE digit apart. When I'd knit it originally, it was fine (I'd put the zero), but reknitting it I misread and thought I needed to knit N (space), not (space) L. Hence I knitted it as a one, assuming I'd messed up on the original row and I'd duplicate stitch after I was done.

Well, that's what you get for taking a year off, I guess. I managed to calm myself by saying a few things:

1. Just duplicate stitch it like you were planning to. You don't have to rip it.
2. This is your first stranded colorwork project ever. The numbers aren't random, they say something! This is a huge undertaking and it's really impressive.
3. It's wool, not acylic, so your mess-ups will theoretically block out.

And you know what? I came to peace with my screw-up, and I've been vigilantly paying attention ever since. I'm almost to the end of my second repeat of 7 for this side. I hate to jinx it but -- this scarf might even be done for Christmas.

That would be good. I don't intend to make this a three-year scarf. And for my next colorwork project? I'm thinking not a scarf.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On Being an Idiot

So if you've been reading for any length of time, you know all about the naughty Binary Scarf, which was supposed to be my husband's Valentine's Day present in 2009. (At least, I think so. I'm officially fuzzy on the details.) I finally started it in 2010, dropped a stitch somewhere around Thanksgiving 2010, and put it in the naughty pile, where it has lived for almost a year.

Well, today is our 3rd wedding anniversary, and I thought I would pull it out and see if I couldn't fix it. Lo and behold, I managed to get back to 66 stitches, which is more progress than I have made in said year. I'm sure I went wrong somewhere, but hey, progress.

So once I did that, I started to look for my little notebook so I could see what letters I was on, since I brilliantly wrote the message down in a tiny notebook that's not hard to lose, no siree bob.

I just spent the last half-hour looking for it. I mean, this was worse than my tendency to lose my interchangeable set AND darning needles combined.

And then I remembered that I took it with me to VT Sheep & Wool. Duh.

There is a danger to having like 6 tote bags devoted to knitting, and why would I look in the bag that's been at my feet for two weeks? Because that makes sense. But anyway, I found it, so maybe I'll even work on this thing at some point in the near future.

By the way, future self? GREEN GOES IN THE LEFT HAND.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

FO: Gaenor (#2)

I've been horrible about actually photographing some of the stuff I've finished, which is why it seems like I'm the world's worst crafter. This FO has been done for a while, but the recipient has finally received it, so I can talk about it now!

Pattern: Gaenor (on Ravelry)
Yarn: I dyed the yarn from a Ewe Dye It kit at my LYS. (I don't own the kit; they opened one at the store.)
Needles: US size 7 on my Boye interchangeable set
Timeline: 8.5.11-8.19.11

So this hand-dyed yarn


turned into this shawl:


The colors aren't perfect, but you get an idea of how crazy it is!

Opinions: I liked the Gaenor pattern enough I made it twice! I didn't have yardage on this skein, just weight, so this was perfect.


Random Thoughts: I am a strange dyer. Most of my color "repeats" were 3 stitches or less, and some were just one stitch.

I have nicknamed this Water Lilies. Nobody knew this but me.

It was very difficult to send this to my mother-in-law. Hope she likes it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

VT Sheep & Wool Festival 2011

Smack dab in between two 12-day shifts at work was the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival, and you can bet your stitch dictionary that I made sure to have both days off! I ended up going on Sunday, and from what I heard about Saturday's weather, that was the good choice!

My friends with sheep were kind enough to let me tag along with them. They went for the learning and I went for the shopping, so it worked out well for everyone. I had a budget of $130 and I spent all but 16 cents. I'd say it was a success!

My pictures are few, far between, and extremely boring, so I'll share a few that were interesting and then show you what I bought.

I walked around first to try to scope out what I wanted to get. I chatted with a very nice lady who saw my Ravelry pin, but I didn't get her name. Darn! She was part of the Mountain Fiber Folk co-op, and she was the doll-maker. Anyway, they had a really cool display and she let me take a picture of it. If I'm remembering correctly, they did everything in the process, not just the dyeing.


It's a hunting vest! They also had kits for hats and the orange yarn for sale on its own. I was sorely tempted because it was awesome, but my husband doesn't hunt. But what a great idea! I hope they sold a lot of their stuff.

In my wanderings, I found Green Mountain Fibers, and they were kind enough to take the 3 granny squares I had made for Irene quilts. I live close to the store in Rutland, but I never manage to get there since I work into the evening, so it was great that they were willing to take them. I know it must have been a hard fit into the car, but it was appreciated! Of course, I didn't take pictures of my first granny squares, because I have -- what did we decide the word was? Camnesia? Yeah, camnesia.

More wandering was mixed with intermittent rain. I ran into Mary Lee from Stitchy Women (another pal), and it looked like her booth was hopping! She started telling some of the women there about my Boneyard Shawl and how she watched me at multiple guild meetings trying to bind off! I'd actually brought it with me, so they ooh-ed and ahh-ed over it and told me to tie it on, so I did. I think it was helpful for my friends when they were trying to find me! Plus I kind of looked like an awesome superhero. One lady even told me that I looked like "a rainbow in the storm"! Perfect!

I stopped by the Good Fibrations tent, which actually had a few vendors sharing the space, and the nice spinning lady whose card I apparently forgot to get gave me a spinning demonstration on her drop spindle. I have a drop spindle and I use it sometimes, but I'm not very good at it, so the demonstration was much appreciated. Then -- and this is one of the things I love about fiber people -- she suggested I go check out another vendor who was selling something I might be able to use when drop spindling. So few people are willing to lose your business by sending you elsewhere, but she was fabulous! I hope to see her next year and buy lots of her roving!

The booth she told me to check out was Ball and Skein. There were some gorgeous drop spindles there that the guy took the time to tell me about, but I didn't get a picture. They were modular spindles, and when you ran out of room on one, you unscrewed it and screwed on another one! He was selling boxes that you could put the used spindle shafts on and ply that way. I thought it was ingenious! Unfortunately, I couldn't afford the spindle AND the box.

However, I did buy a Wristaff, which is what the woman at the Good Fibrations tent told me about. You put it on your wrist and wrap your roving around it so it doesn't tangle or get caught while you spin. You can also put a center-pull ball on it and knit from the outside. Yep, sold.


They also had these fabulous beach buttons, which were natural stones that had been drilled to make buttons. I almost bought all of them, because hello, Storm Coast? Instead I settled for a skein of their Super Sock 416, which is 450 yards of fingering-weight, 75% merino and 25% nylon. I am really enjoying making shawls this year, and wait until you see this color. It's called Riverstone.



The second picture is kind of fuzzy, but you can see the colors better. Guh, right? I know.

There was a man outside one of the buildings who was making drop spindles. Like, right there, at that moment. I watched for a while but forgot to ask if I could take pictures. Oops. Anyway, it was very cool. This trio of gals next to me started talking about how they were thinking of buying some, so I slipped away to check out the booth. It turns out I had already been admiring the spindles before I knew they were hand-made! Yellow Dog Farm is a husband-and-wife team. She spins on her wheel and he makes and uses the drop spindles. I bought a gorgeous heavy spindle. I don't know what it will be good for spinning, but it just felt right in my hand. I know I'll find something.


The spindle wasn't labeled, and of course I forgot what the lady said it was made out of, but I think it was cocobolo. Nobody quote me on that.

Brilliantly, I am going all backwards on my shopping, because the first skein I bought was in the same building, and I haven't told you about it yet. Remember that green skein of yarn I bought at last year's Sheep & Wool? Yeah, they're doing variegated now. Mountain Vewe Coopworths, who still doesn't have a website.



This is a bit different from the yarn I bought last year. It doesn't have mohair in it and it's a bit heavier, so it's 150 yards. Remind me to take a picture of the hat I made with the green yarn. (Yes, I made a green hat, sort of. It's complicated.) I LOVE the colors in this yarn. All oceany!

Well, I think I've mostly rambled on enough, so I'll show you the last thing I bought. I'd looked at this booth last year and not bought anything, and this year I'm glad I stopped by and did. The booth was Dyenamics Yarn, I believe, and I bought a skein of The Periwinkle Sheep Watercolors Sock Yarn in Thunderstorm. How could I not?



I'm a terrible photographer, so trust me when I say it's gorgeous. 460 yards of fingering-weight in a 75% merino/25% nylon blend. Hello, shawl yarn.

Funny story -- I recognized the purple sheep on her card, and it turns out she's one of the moderators in the Stash Knit Down group on Ravelry!

That's not everything I did, or everyone I visited, but I think it's enough. I wouldn't want to give away ALL my secrets, after all -- I want there to be some yarn left for me once I get more money!

As for the diet, obviously I blew it. 1060 yards. But you know what? I love them, I got some great tools to use with them, and I earned it. What a great time I had at the 2011 Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival! See you next year!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

As Much As Possible: 3rd Quarter

Wow! I can't believe it's October. I mean, finally! Here's the 3rd quarter report. I hesitate to say it's better than last quarter, but we'll see.

1. Not buy yarn.

I did not buy a single skein. I really didn't. A friend gave me two skeins of Debbie Bliss Stella, which adds 182 yards to stash, but it was a gift!

2. 1st in, 1st out.

No measurable progress here, but I have about half a dozen projects that are using various old yarns, and I haven't bothered to measure what I've used.

3. Craft for charity first.

Um. Well, any of the loom hats that don't sell next week are being donated to Pat Pat's Hats! I've also learned how to make granny squares, and I have 3 finished to give to Green Mountain Fibers for blankets they're putting together.

4. Projects for others before myself.

Loom hats! Granny squares!

5. 2 skeins a month.



I gave a lot away.

Okay, so we're still in a so-so position here, but wait until you see the numbers.

Used or given away:

1. Patons Berber Cotton - 230 yards
2. Lion Brand Homespun - 185 yards
3. 2 skeins Patons Divine - 284 yards
4. 2 skeins Lion Brand Jiffy Solid - 270 yards
5. Berroco Candy FX - 68 yards
6. Berroco Chinchilla - 77 yards
7. Brunswick Bermuda II - 105 yards
8. Lion Brand Fun Fur - 64 yards
9. Sirdar Funky Fur - 147 yards
10. Unger Plantation - 153 yards
11. 3 skeins Bernat Caress - 304 yards
12. 2 skeins Lion Brand Trellis - 230 yards

And that's not counting a lot of what I used in the loom hats, since some of those were partial skeins and I gave the rest away to a kindergarten teacher. Assuming the math is correct, though, that's 2269 yards out, or almost 1.29 miles.

Purchased or given:

1. 2 skeins Debbie Bliss Stella - 182 yards

So that's a net loss of 2087 yards, or 1.18 miles. Yeah, I can live with that.

Also, tomorrow I am going to the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival. I've been a good girl, I haven't bought any yarn in 3 months, I gave away over a mile of yarn, and I have been saving my money for months.

Justification? Oh yes. Do I care? Nope.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Best Season

Well, today is the "official" start of fall, even though we've been swinging between 60 and 80 degrees for a while here in Vermont. For any of us who have put down our hooks and needles for the summer, now is the time to pick them back up again!

The Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival is next weekend and I can. Not. Wait. I was talking with the friend I'm going with the other day, and we were joking about how some girls get their hair and nails done, but we go walk around in mud and look at sheep. I am working 13 days in a row before Sheep & Wool, so I need this break!

Of course, I haven't touched the Binary Scarf since I mentioned I had to work on it. It's all this working! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I've been mooning after yarn for the Stained Glass Window Afghan. It's looking like I'll be able to make it for under $30, which? Is awesome. (Yes, I have a degree in English and I'm mangling my sentences. It's intentional.) But I am definitely not buying that yarn until I have a) gone to Sheep & Wool, b) destashed at least a little more, and c) theoretically worked on the Binary Scarf. Actually, I'm looking at a 2012 purchase date. We'll see.

Before I dash off (not to work on the Binary Scarf -- too early!), I'd like to mention a charity hat drive. My friend (see above) told me about a child in Connecticut who recently had 3 tumors removed from his brain. His family is organizing a charity hat drive for the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital. The event is called Pat Pat's Hats (I believe you have to belong to Facebook to see the event & RSVP). What's nice about this hat drive is that they are taking hats made out of all kinds of fibers, not just acrylic. Check out the Facebook page and please consider donating a hat. I made a lot of loom hats, and I've already decided that any that don't sell will be donated. If you are in Vermont, I am willing to collect hats and ship them down. After all, it's time those hooks and needles got busy again!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Minor Stashdown Victory

I belong to the Stash Knit Down group on Ravelry. Someone recently posted a thread about going stashless, and many people chimed in with their opinions. One person mentioned wanting to give away some of their stash, but feeling bad because it was given to them.

Yep, I've got that kind of guilt in spades. Let's move on.

Another person said that your stash shouldn't be a burden, and no one who has given you yarn wants it to be a burden. Wow! It was like some little switch in me had been turned off, and those were exactly the words I needed to hear to turn it back on again. I'm so grateful people have given me yarn, but I shouldn't keep things just because I feel guilty. My stash should not be a burden. (This is so totally my new mantra.)

I approached a kindergarten teacher I know and asked if she ever used yarn scraps with her kids. When she said yes, I offered her a bunch of mine. Not content to just give her scraps, I also bagged up at least 9 full skeins of yarn that I know I'll never use.

Total stash reduction in one day: at least 844 yards.

My acrylic bin is a lot roomier, as are my heart and head. Yarn is not something that should sit, unused, like it's in some kind of museum. It's supposed to be enjoyed. If you're not enjoying it, find someone who will. Life is too short not to enjoy it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A New Obsession

I have found a new obsession, and its name is loom knitting.

I bought that set of Knifty Knitter looms a few months ago when my hand went bum, and as you can tell from some of my recent posts, I've been having fun with that.

I've been trying to save my money for the VT Sheep & Wool Festival, but stupidly I kept it in my purse instead of hiding it. When I find cash in my purse, I want to spend it. The urge to spend is greater than the urge to save. I know, I know, I'm working on it.

I recently found out that the Knifty Knitter line is being discontinued, which I don't mind so much since I already have the set of looms. I guess Boye is putting out a new line, so not much is changing. Except then I found out there was the elusive purple hat loom, which lets you work with worsted weight yarn instead of bulky, and that one was not being replaced by a Boye loom. So I went on a quest to find one, and I found one, and I bought it, because it was 25% off and being discontinued and there were only 2 in the store and I had cash in my purse.

And that should have been well and good, except then I decided I wanted a sock loom, even though the sock loom was not made by ProvoCraft, nor was it being discontinued. I bought it, because I had cash in my purse. But I did get that for 40% off (gotta love the day after a sale ends and you get a store coupon to use on a full-price item, eh?).

Willpower, I don't have it.

It's the adjustable sock loom from Authentic Knitting Board, and I cast on for a pair of socks last night. I've learned the knit and purl stitches for a loom, which is nice because making the loom hats I've just been using the e-wrap. I'm using some Red Heart Heart & Sole that I've had in my stash for three years, so that's also good. I'm hoping to see some stash reduction by using the loom to actually make -- gasp -- socks. Sock yarn socks, at that.

You may have noticed that I have not said a thing about the Binary Scarf. Yep. And I'm not gonna.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

ReCrafting Vermont

As you may know, Vermont was hit hard by Irene. Rivers flooded, and roads and bridges washed away, stranding many. People have lost possessions and livelihoods. Luckily, I am fine, but so many are not.

I am not a native Vermonter, but I am proud to say I live here when I see the massive efforts put forth to help others. Volunteer groups have sprung up literally overnight, which is amazing. Even the crafting community has pitched in to help.

I have culled this information from different sources and compiled it here. Hopefully this will make it easier for people to see what is being offered by the crafting community. I've done my best to make sure all information is accurate, but if you have any doubts, please contact the company or individual. I don't take any credit for getting out the initial word -- I'm just helping pass things along.

  • Green Mountain Spinnery in Putney is donating profits of the physical and online shops until September 11th to the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. I've been lucky enough to visit the Spinnery. It is a lovely place filled with even lovelier people (and some very lovely yarn!). I can personally vouch for the awesomeness of the Spinnery Sock Art Forest, which I used in my Butterfly Moebius. I've also purchased 2 skeins of the Wonderfully Wooly, which is so pretty I've been afraid to use it. Please spread the word about Green Mountain Spinnery's generosity.

  • Green Mountain Fibers in Rutland is accepting 12" x 12" squares to be collected and sewn together into blankets for Irene victims. The squares can be knitted or crocheted, any weight, and any color, as long as they are made of a washable yarn. (I'm assuming they mean machine-washable.) You can see all this information on this image, this thread on Ravelry, or this thread on Ravelry. (I believe that a free Ravelry account is required to view threads.)

  • A group has been started on Ravelry called Warm Hats, Warm Hearts to make and collect a multitude of handknit objects to be distributed to Irene victims in Vermont and New York. There is also an e-mail address for this group, which I am more than happy to e-mail to anyone who can't see the group.

Phew! I think that's everything so far. If you know of other sales/volunteer opportunities for crafters in the Vermont area, please let me know and I will link them here.

Together, we're going to ReCraft Vermont.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Separated at Birth

First of all, this is what I've been doing with my time: 


That, my friends, is a baker's dozen of loom hats. I've used up 3 skeins of Bernat Caress (burgundy and the green/pink), 2 skeins of Jo-Ann's Sensations Margherita (orange), and the remnants of some Bernat Boa (blue). In fact, that blue hat up top? Except for what I snipped off after I was done weaving in the ends, I had nothing left over. Nothing. Do you know a. how lucky I was that I did that without measuring anything? and b. how awesome it is not to have a little ball of yarn left over?

I've been crawling through the stash trying to find more appropriate yarn (a.k.a bulky), and I found a skein each of Patons Cha Cha and Bernat Eye Lash that a friend gave me. Different brands, right? Different labels. Exact same yarn.

In fact, exact same color. I figure that's why she bought them.


Can you tell the difference? I can't.


Actually, I just looked at both labels and the address for Patons is the same as the address for Bernat. So I guess they are the same company. It just seems weird to make the same exact yarn in the same exact color under a different brand.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sell The Stash: Mini Mochi

I put up a lot of my yarn for sale when I injured my foot, hoping to pay for a visit to the doctor. My foot started to feel better shortly thereafter, but I left the things for sale, because I am trying to destash this year, donchaknow.

Last night someone contacted me about my 2 skeins of Crystal Palace Mini Mochi in the rainbow colorway, and we were able to come to a speedy and satisfying agreement. I hope to get to the post office today or tomorrow, and then the yarn will be on its way to its new home, removing 390 yards from my stash.

How come nobody wants to buy any of my ugly yarn?


Saturday, August 27, 2011

FO: Burgundy Loom Hats (x6)

I don't want you guys to think that I'm all sound and no fury. I've finished like, 8 loom hats that I haven't taken pictures of. In fact, I've made six since Thursday. Have I mentioned I love loom knitting and bulky yarn?

I had two skeins of burgundy Bernat Caress, and I was able to squeeze out 3 large hats, 2 medium, and 1 small. Some have the double-knit brim and some are rolled. I started a new one in the variegated Caress I have, but it's not done yet. So here, you get a picture of me wearing one of the large hats.


I hope people want to buy these! If not, I can always donate them to charity.

Also, I am so set for Irene. All I need is a little candlelight, 'cause I got TONS of bulky yarn.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Diet Dilemma

I've been invited by my friend to go to this year's Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival, which is awesome, except for 2 things.

1. I have like, no money right now.
2. I'm still on a yarn diet.

Through some clever cleverness, I've convinced my husband that I should get the extra money from two weekend shifts I've picked up at work. I figure I can look at tools, not yarn, but who am I kidding? I don't have enough money for a wheel, and yarn is smushy. I'm doomed.

But wait! I've recently finished a bunch of projects. Instead of starting something new, I really should fix the Binary Scarf. Yeah! If I work on that, I'll allow myself to look at and/or purchase yarn at the festival. I'm awesome!

Except I had some whiskey tonight, and the last time I drank and worked on the Binary Scarf is when I dropped the stupid stitch in the first place, so ... no.

But hey! My friend who invited me also asked me to make a ton of hats for her to sell, and I have a Knifty Knitter and a lot of stash. Perfect. It doesn't count if I'm selling it for money.

I'm using a skein of Bernat Caress someone gave me, and it's quite lovely. Except I just found a dead bug on the skein. But that's okay! Because:

1. It was dead.
2. On a skein someone gave me, so it could have been there before.
3. Oh yeah, it was in the acrylic bin, and I don't know of any bugs who eat acrylic.

I think I'm safe.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sharing Our Stories

I got to work early today, and the sun was shining, so I settled myself on a nearby bench and pulled out my knitting. As I was working on it, a woman stopped and asked me if I was knitting. When I told her I was, she started to tell me her story.

Her mother had made her a bulky sweater-coat once, and she used to wear it under her regular coat for extra warmth. But the coat had been lost in the move from New York, and her mother was now deceased. What she wouldn't give, she said, for that coat again.

I could see in her eyes that it wasn't about the knitting -- obviously. It was to have something her mother had made for her with love. Seeing me knit was the chance for her to remember.

I thanked her for sharing her story, because how can you not? It was so touching that she was willing to share that with me, a complete stranger.

I wondered what had happened to the coat when she'd walked away. I figure it ended up in a thrift store somewhere. I always get so sad when I see handmade items in thrift stores, because I figure someone stopped loving them. But that can't always be true. Some things out there are loved and missed, and what we wouldn't give to have them back.

(If you've come across a bulky hand-knit sweater-coat in a thrift store in New York, please message me!)

(And if that story depressed you, here: have a link to some crocheted pug butts.)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

IWTMT Hiatus

I'll admit, I wobbled back and forth on this. I'm putting IWTMT on hiatus for a while. I don't know how long. IWTMT was originally conceived as something that would keep me posting on a regular basis, and it's worked wonderfully for a long time. But -- let's be realistic here -- I list 52 IWTMT projects a year and usually finish one or two at most. Also, I put publishing off until the last second, and you can tell!

If you have any suggestions for a weekly post, please give me ideas!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

IWTMT: Ardor Shawl

I will be honest with you; I forget exactly why I faved the Ardor Shawl (Rav only). I'm thinking because I have a lone skein of Malabrigo Sock that's begging to be a shawl, but that might be a lie.

Anyway, I'm kind of on a shawl kick (2 in one year -- that's big for me), so I hope you can log in and see it!

Monday, July 25, 2011

IWTMT: A Trio of Necklaces

Right, so I had jewelry on the IWTMT last week. But that was a knitted bracelet and this week's is a crocheted necklace, so that's totally different! (I'm reaching and I know it.)

A Trio of Necklaces (Rav) is a free tutorial on -- however did you guess? -- how to make 3 crocheted necklaces.

I've worked with the flexible beading wire, but I imagine this calls for something a bit more mold-able. I'll have to go to the store and see what's there. I've definitely got enough beads for this!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

IWTMT: Keeland Bracelet

Remember how I looked up knitted bracelets at midnight-something a few weeks ago? I had a very specific type in mind -- probably one that is not knitted. But whatever, I found one that was close enough to what I was looking for.

The Keeland Bracelet (Rav) is a neat little pattern for a cabled bracelet. Worsted weight scraps, you say? I've got plenty. In fact, I've been making them into coasters.

But that's neither here nor there.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Forgive Me, Hand

For I have sinned. Look, I managed the yarncraft hiatus for almost 3 weeks, but my mother-in-law visited us this weekend and we don't have cable, so what else was I going to do with her?

We went yarn shopping and I didn't buy anything. Does that get me any points?

We made felted dryer balls, and she used up some of my Simply Soft.

I led her completely astray on making some felted coasters because I've never felted anything but dryer balls before, but it was okay because we ripped it out during Inception.

But I couldn't have all these yarny pursuits for her and not help her out, so I maybe started a coaster with some of my bad handspun. It turns out it's probably going to be more like a hotpad, once I figure out how to felt it. And then I maybe started a coaster out of Noro scraps, but only so I could keep her company.

I did give her some of my stash. Does that get me any points either?

I'll stop again until next Sunday, when I expect to dye, spin and make some loom hats.

Forgive me, hand, but I'd do it all again. The time with my mother-in-law was worth it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

IWTMT: Mossy Zen Rock Garden

I won a giveaway over at Just Add Glitter and Stir! A copy of Kooky Crochet is making its way to me even as we speak ... (I hope!) She sent it via UPS as opposed to FedEx -- you've gotta read her story. This is really cool because I don't have many crochet books.

Looking at the patterns on Ravelry, one really jumped out at me: Mossy Zen Rock Garden. It's basically a cozy for a rock.

The pattern seemed really familiar, and it turns out I'd read about a similar pattern on Eclectic Chica!

I'm thinking crocheted rock cozies are in this season. Finally, I'll be ahead of the trend!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lady Greenskeins

Okay, at first the green hat thing was a joke. I like hat quantities of worsted weight green yarn, I've never made a green hat despite all this yarn, ha ha ha.

So I got serious about it. I bought some hat patterns. I even started mentally assigning the yarn to the pattern. "Okay, Wonderfully Wooly, you're going to be a Koolhaas, and Kathmandu Aran, I think you'll be a Habitat! No, you can't switch bunks, sheesh."

And then I started to stray. All of a sudden maybe the Wonderfully Wooly wanted to be a Seedling instead, and who was I to stifle its creativity? I had yellow WW too; it could still be a Koolhaas.

Man, was I going to have a lot of hats.

And then my sister wanted a worsted weight green hat, so she got one. And maybe since then, I've gone a little crazy.

Last night I lay in bed at 12:30, tossing and turning. I swear to god, green hats were tossing and turning in my mind's eye like some knitterly version of the twister from The Wizard of Oz. They were mocking me, mocking my plans for them and mocking all the other projects I should finish first before I start them. They were mocking my knitting hiatus. They were mocking my love of green yarn. I literally couldn't sleep. It was pretty bad.

I finally fell asleep at one-something after I went on Ravelry and looked up bracelets. Don't ask.

I still don't have a plan for that single skein of green yarn I bought at the Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival. Maybe I'll dream about that one tonight.

(Yes, the blog title is a play on Greensleeves. Yes, I'm a dork. No, no one's written a song about me ... yet.)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

IWTMT: Sparreholm

I am currently playing several games.

Game 1: My mother-in-law is visiting next weekend and she's staying in the craft room. Crap! Time to clean!

Game 2: Why have I not washed any of my cold-weather knits yet? It's July! Well, if I wash them and lay them out to dry in the craft room, they should be done by the time she gets here.

Game 3: Oh, is it Sunday again?

I've been looking through a lot of my knitting books again while I'm on hiatus. (Does anyone know what day this is? I have no idea. Have I made it to 2 weeks yet?) I have a really bad habit of buying pattern books and -- well -- not making anything in them. I have 22 pattern books in my Rav library and by my count, I've made something out of a whopping 5 of them. And at least two of them were dishcloths.

Approximately a billion years ago I bought a Noro book. Looking through the book again, I've decided I want to make Sparreholm (Rav link). It's in Silk Garden, which is pretty easily attainable at my LYS. It's a vest, which may help me build my way up to a sweater. (We're going to pretend I don't have a sweater-quantity of yarn already.) It's Noro. It may flatter my figure if I ever lose some weight -- which I might by the time I actually get around to knitting this. Who knows?

Don't have the book or can't see Rav? Check out Chocolate A Chuva's post on it. Ugh. Gorgeous.

Friday, July 1, 2011

As Much As Possible: 2nd Quarter

Let's check in, shall we?

1. Not buy yarn.

Compared to last quarter I did pretty well. The only yarn I purchased was a skein of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride. I did win 3 skeins in a contest, so I will count their yardage even though I didn't buy them.

2. 1st in, 1st out.

I'm doing better here. An early entry into my stash is the Caron Simply Soft in Dark Country Blue, which I used in my loom hat. So it's not gone, but it's getting used. Once my hiatus is done I have another loom hat started with the same yarn.

3. Craft for charity first.

Loom hat! I don't know where it's going to be donated, but I fully intend to whip out a bunch of hats from my stash. But I did make one, at least.

4. Projects for others before myself.

I totally finished my sister's Sneaky Snakes hat before making my Gaenor shawl.

5. 2 skeins a month.

I'm beginning to think this is a flawed goal. Noble, but flawed.


Well, nothing was completely removed from stash, so I suppose this is technically a fail.


I did crunch some numbers this quarter, which may redeem me.

Yarn purchased/received:

1. Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted - 190 yards
2. Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool XL - 104 yards
3. Queensland Collection Kathmandu Aran - 104 yards
4. Elsebeth Lavold Twice Tweed - 82 yards

Total: 480 yards

Projects completed:

1. Gaenor shawl - 399.5 yards
2. Boneyard shawl - 502.9 yards
3. Sneaky Snakes hat - 133.2 yards
4. Loom hat - 100.8 yards
5. Dryer balls (wool) - 104.5
6. Dryer balls (acrylic) - 190.5

Total: 1431.4 yards

So, if you subtract the second total from the first total, you get -951.4 yards total gain, which you may notice is actually a loss! Almost a thousand yards out of stash in 3 months?

I'm going to consider that a success.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

MIA: Crochet Gauge

I think today is day 10 of the yarncraft hiatus. I don't really know, though. I'm coping with a lot of iced coffee, which I never used to drink.

Speaking of coffee, I had this idea around Christmas of 2009 of how to crochet a better coffee cozy. I never made it, but I threw down a few preliminary sketches. While begging for sympathy re: my hand on Ravelry, someone from the PMPTWs group suggested I take this time to design. Time + already had an idea = genius! Right?

Wrong! I guess I didn't realize this until just now, but try to find a hook suggestion, let alone a crochet gauge on a yarn label. Stitch 'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker says that you can use a hook that corresponds to the suggested needle size in millimeters. Thankfully all that info is readily available online, if not on your needle itself.

Now, obviously you are going to find a suggested hook size on some yarns. I just pulled a few random skeins out of one of my bins and here's what I found. Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton: needle size only. Patons Divine: suggested hook size as well. I wanted to use Cascade 220 in this coffee cozy design, but there's no suggested hook size or gauge. I could just -- gasp -- crochet a swatch, but I'm on a hiatus, remember?

Thankfully The Happy Hooker has a yarn weight system chart with suggested gauges. I would have found this out if I'd turned one page past the hook-millimeter page, but I didn't and you can also find it online. Go to Craft Yarn Council's and click on the downloadable guidelines PDF file.

I used to make fun of knitting books that had a bunch of patterns and then shoved a ton of "how to knit" stuff in the back, because it seemed like a bunch of filler and I had like 6 books with the same info in them. Of course, while trying to find crochet gauges I couldn't find a single knitting book with a yarn weight chart in it, so I don't know if they tend to put the crochet info in as well.

All that work for a little crochet information? Phew, that was exhausting. Crochet is definitely the red-headed stepchild to many yarn companies, apparently. Is it so difficult to imagine someone might want to crochet with your yarn? I will now end this blog post with a short letter.

Dear yarn companies:

Don't discriminate.

Love, Jen

Sunday, June 26, 2011

IWTMT: A Better Bucket

Once upon a time, I had a green bucket hat. I loved my bucket hat and wore it many places, including a middle school trip to Washington DC. My mother hated it. I think she still hates it, because it may be kicking around somewhere still.

Have I mentioned all the green yarn I have? As soon as my 4-week hiatus is up, I am so knitting a green hat for myself. Seriously. I'll knit 7.

I'll knit this Better Bucket hat, which is Ravelry-only but that's okay because I can SEW A BIG BUTTON ON IT. (I may have put that in all caps because I had iced coffee and soda today and there's a major crash coming in the next five minutes. Shh.) Buttons. Ooh.

Can't see the Rav page? Here. This person made a green one and it is awesome.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

FO: Gaenor

Gaenor is off the blocking board, folks. The beauty of this shawl is going to have to last me 23 more days, because I believe today is day 5 of the yarncraft hiatus.

First off, Gaenor was an IWTMT back in October, so go me for actually making something from a pattern I bought.

Pattern: Gaenor (duh) or on Ravelry
Yarn: That random skein of Peace of Fleece Hand-Dyed Sock Yarn Semi-Solids in the Iolite colorway that I picked up at Mystic River Yarns in Mystic CT. I can't seem to find any info online on the dyer. It is supposed to be 100 grams, but mine was only 98. Of the 98 grams, my shawl used 94, or approximately 399.5 yards.
Needles: US size 6 on my Boye interchangeable set
Timeline: 5.28.11-6.15.11


Opinions: This pattern was 100% worth the purchase for many reasons. It's very easily adaptable to any yarn, as long as you are able to measure your skein. You start and end with 2 stitches. The lace pattern is very simple for beginners but very pretty. It really does work well with variegated yarn. And it has both written and charted instructions, which is awesome for a chart-hater like me. I really enjoyed this project and would like to make the shawl again in a different yarn.

My shawl grew from approximately 42" x 17.5 to 51" x 22". Not bad.



Random Thoughts: Lifelines. Always use them. Even on the last repeat. Because I debated not putting the last one in, and I ended up needing it.
I still have no idea if my shawl is blue, purple or indigo. I don't really understand what indigo is. I'm leaning towards blue.
If it is blue, I'm still wearing it to the wedding even though my dress is purple and my shoes are turquoise.
I do not look good in the bib style.


Nor do I look good in the babushka style. Live and learn.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

FO: Loom Hat

I may have cheated on my hiatus with a loom, but it turns out you can finish a project on a loom in a matter of hours, which is why I have a FO on a hiatus. The light sucks today and I hate the flash, so bear with the awful picture.


Pattern: The hat instructions that come with the Knifty Knitter round loom set. I don't know if there's an actual webpage or PDF for it, but it's on Ravelry here.
Yarn: Some amount of Caron Simply Soft held double. No, I didn't measure it. I will. (7.1.11 edit: The hat weighs 54 grams, which is approximately 100.8 yards.)
Loom: The red (child-sized) Knifty Knitter round loom.
Timeline: 6.19.11-6.20.11

Opinions: The Knifty Knitter is meant to be used with larger-weight yarns, which I didn't realize when I purchased it. Two strands of Simply Soft held together doesn't seem thick enough, and I hope the hat doesn't stretch as much on the child as it did on the foam head, because that is not going to be a warm hat. Otherwise, it was exceptionally easy and I can't wait to make more once my hand heals.

Random Thoughts: Poor Sally had an unintentional nose job. Please don't say anything about it, as she's very sensitive right now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Existential Crisis

Something I haven't really talked about on this blog is the existential crisis I've been having lately. I started the year with these great plans, and I've pretty much done a 180 and not wanted to deal with yarncrafting at all.

One of the blog posts I never made was about the term "knitter". Obviously I do more than knit, but the whole idea was that I didn't label myself as a knitter, I was someone who knits. I'm pretty sure if you asked anybody who knows me outside the knitting world, they'd call me a knitter. But I don't self-label as one.

It's kind of funny to keep a knitting blog and not call yourself a knitter, by the way.

This year has been pretty crappy on the medical front, which has sucked a lot energy out of me. My latest issue is this hand deal, and I am Not Supposed To Do Yarncraft for 4 weeks or else my hand will fall off or something.

You'd think, with this existential yarncraft crisis, that I would be totally fine with that. After all, I've finished like 3 projects in six months. This would be no problem if a doctor told me not to, because Doctors Know More Than I Do. Besides, it's not like I've been enjoying knitting lately anyway.

But I've felt like I'm floundering without the yarny identity. Like, I can't knit, so what else do I do? Nothing. Nada. Zip. This would be a great time to pick up a new hobby, so I went to the store and bought a set of knitting looms.

Oops. I cheated on my own hiatus with yarncraft.

I thought I could loom without using my left hand, but it turns out that doesn't work so well either. So while I'm depressed about the no-yarncrafting, I guess I'm starting to think of myself as a "knitter". Well, and a "crocheter", and a "loomer". I didn't know how much I identified with it all until I couldn't do it anymore.

But seriously, I have gotta stop touching yarn. I'm considering wearing a big red mitten on my left hand and shouting "no!" at myself when I reach for the loom. Because that's totally normal. Yep.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

IWTMT: Vermont Shawl

A lot of the time I make fun of the fact that I live in Vermont. I mean, I'm from fancy-Connecticut (it's a subsection; check it out on a map). I stick my pinky out when I drink water. I pronounce my t-s. I get confused when cars stop to let me cross the street and when people I don't know smile and say hi. And I don't like the Red Sox.

Now that everyone in New England who reads this blog has violently unsubscribed, I do like Vermont well enough. It's very pretty. I went to college in Vermont. I got married in Vermont. I got my license in Vermont (June 9th!). Go nature.

Plus, I don't think Connecticut has any shawls named after it, and I want to make the Vermont Shawl, so I guess I have to be nice to the state. Since it's a Rav-only download, here's a blog post about it from the designer herself. That version is pink; the version on Rav is (obviously) green. The only color you're allowed to knit in Vermont, donchaknow.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Knitting Injured -- Don't Do It!

I would like to preface this post by saying that I'm not a doctor. (Shocker, right?) Please don't listen to my medical advice or do what I do. Always go see your doctor when experiencing pain like I am about to describe, unless you're me, in which case you're (I'm) just going to self-diagnose with WebMD and Google because you're (I'm) uninsured.

Thus ends the disclaimer, by the way. Jen = not a doctor, if you're part of the TL;DR camp.

You may remember back in May when I went to WEBS and didn't buy anything? I also hurt my hand, which I attributed to knitting with cotton and driving, so I took a hiatus from knitting. Except I'm not really sure how much of a hiatus I actually took, since that post is dated May 3rd and my Ravelry project page says I finished the hat on May 27th. And then I started my Gaenor shawl on May 28th.

To recap, I am still having difficulty putting weight on my left hand, so obviously I didn't take enough of a hiatus (and starting a shawl probably wasn't a great idea either). I never realized how often I put weight on my hands. It is now difficult to do such things as:

-push myself out of my chair
-push myself up in bed
-close the trash can lid properly
-push-ups (are you noticing a trend with the word "push" here?)
-get down from the windowsill at work by leaning on equipment (maybe don't tell my boss I do that)

I looked up my symptoms (DON'T DO THAT! Go to a doctor. Okay, I think I've legally covered my butt here. Carry on.) and a lot of sites suggest carpal tunnel syndrome. I don't think I have that because there's no pain or tingling, just an inability to put weight on the hand.

I can knit just fine. I can carry the vacuum in my left hand. I can do a lot of things I'd rather not be able to do, actually, like take the trash out and scrub the toilet. How inconvenient, this injury.

Anyway, my best guess is that it's some kind of Repetitive Stress Injury and I was a naughty girl and didn't rest my hand enough and now I'm paying for it. (Except not with money, because I don't have insurance.) Paying with my BODY.

I knit English, by the way, which is why I'm a little confused that it's my LEFT hand that hurts. But who knows?

I'm 25, and that's too young to have a hobby put on the sidelines because I was too stupid and "worked through" the problem, so now I have to take a serious, real hiatus from knitting. This is so serious I'm debating making a ticker for it because I might have difficulty counting to July 15th.

But really. At least four weeks of no:


That was kind of a small list, actually. I plan on weaving in the ends on my Gaenor and blocking it, which ought to be interesting because I tend to lean on my hand while blocking. Note to self: don't do that. Because collapsing on a bunch of t-pins will probably hurt.

And you don't have insurance.

And WebMD probably can't help you with that.

But I bet Google can.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

IWTMT: Chapstick/Lip Balm Holder

I am not really one of those people who has a million things on their key chain because, well, I've never needed to. (It's all shoved into the messenger bag that doubles as my purse.) I am one of those people that has a million lip balms, because a) I need them and b) I lose things a lot.

Somebody invented a lip balm holder that you can put on your key chain. I love it, and I fully intend to make at least seven, because I'm pretty sure that's how many lip balms I have floating around. Maybe more.

Ravelry page (free download -- Ravelry only): Chapstick/Lip Balm Holder
Not on Rav but you need a visual? Check out this post on Growing Free.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

FO: Sneaky Snakes

I have been hiding a horrific secret from all of you, and for that I am sorry.

You may have noticed that I don't tend to post full-on face shots unless I am wearing a hat, and the reason for that is two-fold. One, I look pretty good in hats. Two, I look like Benjamin Franklin when I don't wear hats.

Hey, look, laugh if you want but it's true. I'm not going to post pictures here so you can laugh at me and put it on Facebook, because I'm totally going to do that later and I don't want you to steal my idea.

I finally finished my sister's birthday hat and sent it out on my birthday (hmmm ...). I was able to take one shot where I don't look completely horrific, and that's only because I turned my head away from the camera. Hey, at least I remembered to take a picture this time.


Also, I apparently have a mole on that side of my neck. You learn something new every day.

Pattern: Sneaky Snakes
Yarn: Approximately 133.2 yards of Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton in the Khaki colorway. This is assuming I measured correctly, which is a pretty risky assumption these days.
Needles: US size 3 and US size I forgot to write it down
Timeline: 3.2.11-5.27.11

Opinions: The pattern itself was great, once I figured out how to do what it wanted (I think I got confused on the yarnovers, but I used this page to help me.) It's very open-ended as to how slouchy you want to make it, which I suppose can either be a blessing or a curse, depending on how much yarn you have. The Eco Cotton, by the way? Splitty as all heck. Nice yarn that lost its twist if I so much as looked at it funny.

Random Thoughts: I have really patient family members.
I injured my hand working on this project (cotton is so unforgiving).
The ribbing was too big and I had to put elastic thread in it.
Buy smaller diameter elastic thread than you think you need, because the thick thread is not stretchy and is very visible.
Don't get superglue all over your hands when attempting to glue the elastic thread knot.
What am I going to do with a skein and a half of leftovers?
I apparently still look like Benjamin Franklin in slouchy hats. Good to know.
My sister doesn't. Brat.


(At least one of us is not sporting our natural hair color. So there.)

Sunday, June 5, 2011


As usual, I've put off making this post because I've been distracted by things like massages, X-Men movies, and Farmville. Not gonna lie to you. This is never high on my list of priorities. But I still love ya.

This week's IWTMT is actually inspired by one of the above things. Can you guess which one? I'm gonna give you a hint, it's not the massage.

Hubs and I saw X-Men: First Class today and rather enjoyed it. Let's not talk about continuity though, 'kay? Anyway, there's a scene where one of the characters is wearing a blue hat and I want to make it. I tried to find a picture, but basically no luck. It's either a seed stitch or moss stitch with a short ribbed bottom. (Fun fact: what's the difference between seed stitch and moss stitch? Seriously, I'm too lazy to look it up.) The reason I'm not linking any of the patterns that I found is because they don't match the top decreases.

So I figure maybe I'll branch out a little and figure out my own pattern. Except with green yarn, because damnit. Next post should be my sister's green hat, and she's not allowed to have a green hat if I don't. Mom says.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

I have apparently never blogged here on my birthday, so obviously that has to change. Happy birthday to me! I've been telling people I'm turning 24 again, but I am actually 25. I consider that a milestone! It's downhill to 30 from here.

For my birthday, I don't think I'll buy any new yarn. Shocking, right? I'm pretty comfortable where I am right now.

I'm going to the post office to send off my sister's birthday hat, and I started a new project over the weekend. It's Gaenor, which is a pattern I purchased back in October. It's also an IWTMT, so that's good! I'm using some stash yarn -- the mystery Peace of Fleece in Iolite that I got at Mystic Yarns last September. I still don't know if it's purple or blue. My original intent was that it would be a shawl to match a purple dress I'm wearing to a wedding, but even if it's too blue it'll look great with jeans!

My ironing board + bright sunlight makes for less-than-awesome shots, but I figured I'd give you an in-progress pic. I've done 5 increase repeats already and I love it. (Ignore all the white lifelines. I messed up and had to rip it out once. I ain't taking any more chances.)


Yeah, it looks really blue there. What do you think?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

IWTMT: Parallel Twist

You know what's cruel and unusual? When you fall in love with a pattern and it's sold out. That's the case with the Parallel Twist sock pattern (Rav). There's a little picture on the website, but the Ravelry projects are better.

And I don't even like knitting socks, so this is pretty major.

Friday, May 27, 2011

FO: Boneyard Shawl

Have you heard of the term "camnesia"? It's when you forget to take pictures of things. It's a very serious disability, which I totally have.

I finished my Boneyard back in April. I even wore it to work a few times, before it got to be 80 degrees. And I just haven't taken any pictures until today. Camnesia. Look it up.

In addition to camnesia, I also have badselfportraititis, so the weak of heart may want to turn away now. The self-timer button is not my friend.

Pattern: Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West.
Yarn: Approximately 115 grams of Kauni Wool 8/2 Effektgarn in EQ. My skein was 140 grams, so I attempted to do some math and I THINK I used 502.93 yards. But don't quote me on any of that.
Needles: Boye Needlemaster size US 6.
Timeline: 1.21.11 - 4.25.11


Opinions: A great pattern for my first triangular shawl. This pattern is easily adaptable to any weight yarn. Absolutely 100% will make again.


Random Thoughts: Try not to look at my electrical outlets or my butt in the first picture. I told you, badselfportraititis.

I wish I hadn't started this while on morphine. I screwed up some of the beginning increases. Also, you may notice the rainbow is upside-down. GOOD JOB, JEN. I mean, it's a design feature.

Kauni is a nice, nice yarn, but I don't like how it spit-splices, which is pretty much why I didn't cut the yarn when I did the EZ sewn bind-off. Never again, by the way. I will suck it up and spit-splice.

But I like it a lot and it's purty.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

IWTMT: Snow White

I never did make my knitting guild sweater. Never got past the swatching & buying the yarn parts, actually. But you probably already guessed that.

So it's definitely not cheating if you never even established a relationship -- heck, you barely went out a few times, and it didn't buy the drinks.

This is basically all justifying my ogling Snow White (Rav) by Ysolda Teague. Is it free? No. Do I have the yarn for it? No. Am I not on a yarn diet right now? No. (Did you follow that one?) Do I care? Nope.

Am I buying the pattern? Well, no. I think my sister would appreciate if I'd finish her hat and send it to her at some point before her next birthday. Sorry, sis.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

IWTMT: Sunflower Dish or Wash Cloth

According to Blogger, this is my 200th post. Good bloggers would have an awesome post planned out, or a giveaway, or at least something with pictures. Sorry, you happen to be stuck with me, and you should probably know better at this point!

I am not handy in the kitchen or in the garden. I tried to grow some lavender last year but it died. I guess you're supposed to take it out of the pot. I can boil a mean pot of water, though.

I guess my point is that I found a really cute pattern that transcends my inability to cook and garden and instead focuses on what I can do, which is crochet. The Sunflower Dish or Wash Cloth (Rav) is a great free pattern that will use up little bits of yarn, even if they're not sunflower colors. The designer suggests using cotton as they're meant to be dishcloths, but I would also consider using wool and making them hot pads. You could even felt them for extra protection.

Also, I love sunflowers. I know better than to try and grow sunflowers, but I'm pretty sure I could crochet one.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

IWTMT: The Blue Box Beret

I think my parents bought me a beret the time they visited France. Apparently I look good in hats, but I'm not so sure about berets.

While I was checking out With A Tangled Skein for the Wooly Dryer Balls pattern, I decided to see what was new on the blog.

I'm still not sure I'm a beret person, but I'm pretty sure I'll be making the Blue Box Beret (Rav), because it's a hat that looks like the Tardis.

Do I need to say more than that? I want to make it; heck, you should want to make it.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

FO: Wooly Dryer Balls

Hey. Hey guys. I made something else. And I took pictures. Are you looking? Look at me!

AND it was an IWTMT.

Last week I bought some Lamb's Pride Worsted, thinking if I was going to make dryer balls I wanted natural-colored wool. Don't ask me why I didn't just use the perfectly good wool I have in my stash. Didn't your mother teach you to mind your manners? All these questions!


Pattern: Wooly Dryer Balls from With A Tangled Skein. However, I say "pattern" loosely; it's more of a brief tutorial. It does not include instructions on felting.
Yarn: Less than one skein of Lamb's Pride Worsted covered four acrylic balls of approximately 8.5" circumference. I used color M-140 Aran. The acylic core was probably Caron Simply Soft Ombre in Country Blue, but I don't know that for a fact. I got four small balls out of a large partial ball I had, with very little left. I really should measure this stuff.
(7.1.11 edit: I weighed the balls and did some math. I believe I used approximately 104.5 yards of wool and 190.5 yards of acrylic.)
Hook: Haha, bet you thought this was a hook/needleless project, huh? You use a crochet hook to secure the yarn ends so the ball doesn't unravel. I used a G because it seemed like it would lessen my chances of loosening all the yarn as I secured the ends.
Timeline: I got it all done yesterday.

This was a perfect quick project for me, since my hand has still not recovered. I also felted for the first time, and it was easier than I had anticipated. My washing machine is more computer-like than the turn-dial ones in the felting tutorials I looked at, so it was difficult for me to feel like I was doing it right. I sent the dryer balls (in tied-up pantyhose) through 2 wash cycles on hot with a pair of jeans, and then dried them alone in the dryer on hot for 60 minutes.

They had felted really well at that point, but I decided to do a hand-felting in my sink after, just in case. You can see how beautifully they felted here:


Isn't my robe a pretty color? I was afraid the M-140 wouldn't felt, being a natural color, but it was a champ and I would definitely repurchase that yarn/color.

They take FOREVER to dry once they're soaking wet. Mine still aren't dry, even the 2 that I sent through the dryer today. That's something to consider.

(Also, these pictures are all pre-shave. I put some in the dryer with my towels pre-shave and everything seemed fine, but I used my fabric shaver on them after I took them out to defuzz them a bit.)

Random Thoughts: So ... how do they work? That's a good question. I made 4, but I intended for each one to be used with one essential oil, so I haven't used all 4 in the dryer yet. I think I'd really need to use 4 at once to see a reduction in drying time.

I put about 5 drops of lavender essential oil on one and 5 drops of eucalyptus on another and tossed them in with some towels. The towels seem un-staticky and amazingly, they actually smell a little like the essential oils, so I'm going to consider this a win.

I definitely, definitely definitely want to make more, both for myself and others. I think these would be great gifts, especially when gifted with a nice essential oil (rose or lavender, perhaps?). I purchase the Oshadhi oils at a local store and find them to be very high quality.

Actually, I can see the most lovely hand-made package, with wooly dryer balls, essential oils, maybe a hand towel knit of linen ... mmm. I know I'd love to get that.

And if the recipient doesn't like them, they make great juggling balls.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Stash Sale

I may or may not have mentioned that I fell down some stairs and hurt my foot on January 2nd. To make a long story short, I still have foot pain and have decided it's time to see a doctor about it.

I don't have health insurance. To see a doctor and get an x-ray is going to cost, at best, a few hundred bucks.

I've decided it's time to be ruthless, so I am willing to sell a lot of my stash. I went through my stash on Rav and marked a lot of it as willing to trade/sell. I don't have prices listed since I'm willing to be very flexible. Some of the skeins were given to me as gifts, so I hate to sell them but I need the money.

Items for sale are currently only listed on my Ravelry stash page. I don't have the patience to relist them here, so I apologize if you are not on Ravelry and are interested in purchasing something.

You can see the items here. If there is no picture and you'd like to see a picture, let me know. I'm very flexible with prices, so please feel free to make an offer. I can be contacted through Ravelry or via my e-mail (stormcoastcreations at gmail dot com).

Thanks for taking a look, and I'll update you guys with info on my foot as soon as I can get to the doctor.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Falling Off the Wagon ... Ouch!

I fell off the wagon. I bought yarn.

I had Friday (aka Royal Wedding Day) off and so I went to my LYS to hang out. It was quite lovely, and I got a LOT done on my sister's hat because my nail has finally grown out. It was so nice that I decided to get myself a little yay-I-finished-Bonyeard/yay-I-actually-worked-on-my-sister's-hat/why-didn't-I-marry-a-prince? present and bought myself a skein of Lamb's Pride. I'm hoping to actually make those Felted Dryer Balls. A friend made them and didn't have a ton of success, but I have a top-loader and she didn't, so maybe it will work better. And if it doesn't, that's okay, since I've never used Lamb's Pride and will enjoy the new experience.

That's all the yarn I bought. Turns out there was a little fashion show going on, and since I stuck around for it I got a thanks-for-being-there prize. I love those. I got to pick from a few options, so I chose a bag of 3 individual skeins. Not sure what I'll do with them, but when do I ever?

I now have some more Kathmandu Aran (in cranberry! maybe I'll make a Christmas hat since I have some green too). There was also a skein of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool XL. I have a skein of her DK Silky Wool, but I haven't used that yet either. Finally, there was a fun little skein of Elsebeth Lavold Twice Tweed, which is apparently discontinued. If nothing else, I will enjoy a little yarn tasting.

On Saturday, my husband dragged me down to Massachusetts for some LARP thing he does. I drove a little, since I'm trying to get my license, and then I worked on the hat more. Once we hit MA, things started to look strangely familiar, and I said "wouldn't it be funny if WEBS was around here?"

Oh, yeah. Where he games is about 2.5 miles away from WEBS. Since we got there so late (they were closing in 20 minutes), I showed my husband the store and then we left. I didn't buy anything. Can I just repeat that? I went to WEBS and I didn't buy anything. Not even a pin. I might have fallen off the wagon, but I wasn't about to throw myself on the train tracks.

Besides, I didn't have any money.

I finished knitting the hat on Sunday, and now I just need to reknit the ribbing because it is way too loose. Unfortunately I think the stress of driving and the major knitting I did after a serious hiatus led to my left hand officially hating me. I went to push myself up out of my chair and my hand collapsed. That's right, I can't put any weight on it. So I have to take a knitting hiatus right now, because I'm pretty sure if I try to reknit worsted weight cotton on size 2 needles I might need a hand amputation. And that would suck.

Falling off the wagon hurts, guys!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

IWTMT: Cassady

I managed to finish blocking my Boneyard just in time for spring weather to finally get here.

Of course.

My yarncraft slows down in the warmer summer months, but usually I can find a cute little pattern or two that won't suffocate my lap. I also tend to try to grow my hair long so I can put it in a ponytail, but I get annoyed long before it ever gets there. So, Cassady (Rav) is basically the perfect warm-weather pattern for me. It's small, free, makes variegated yarns look good, etc.

Besides, I went to college in Vermont. I can so rock the kerchief look.

Monday, April 25, 2011


I am considering importing this blog over to WordPress. I like that you're able to reply to specific comments there. Does anyone have experience using both Blogger & WordPress and would like to weigh in on their favorite?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

IWTMT: Skalva

For my knitting guild, I am supposed to be knitting a sweater. I did gauge swatches. I bought the yarn. I am not knitting the sweater.

In my brilliance, it turns out many sweaters are knitted flat and then seamed together, and my swatch is in the round. I know I could just reswatch, but I did all that work. My swatch (oh, I never did finish blogging about swatches, did I?) measured 12 st/2 in and 14 rows/2 in in stockinette stitch. Now, it's easy to find patterns that are for 6 st/in, but not so much for 7 rows/in. Because believe me, I've tried. Apparently if I go down a needle size, by the way, my st/in count stays the same but I get 8 rows/in. Go figure.

Anyway, my gauge is weird, so I just searched Ravelry for pretty sweaters that I could theoretically knit in the round with a stitch gauge of 6 st/in. I was hoping for free, but nobody in their right mind writes that kind of pattern and just gives it to you. Alas.

I found a few options, but this week I'd like to highlight Skalva (Rav). This is a good pattern for if I feel like going insane and using the size 4 needles, since the pattern's row gauge is 33 rows/in, only 1 row off my own gauge. Plus it has pockets on the front, and I love pockets.

So it's not what I had in mind, but I have no mind left to design my own sweater, so.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Many Spheres of Our Existence

Like many people, I have more than just knitting in my life. This theoretically makes me a more well-rounded person. The tough part for me is when parts of my life intersect because it can be very confusing!

For example, I'm trying to lose weight and get in better shape, so fiber means two things to me. Thankfully not many people confuse those two!

I work at a gym, so spinning has multiple meanings. I've had people ask me if I spin, when they really meant do I Spin? That's led to some confused conversations!

Do you find your craft terms overlapping with your other hobbies?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

As Much As Possible: 1st Quarter

It occurs to me that maybe I should do a quarterly report of As Much As Possible.

Guys, first quarter sucked. If I don't see these numbers start improving ASAP there are going to be a lot of pink slips around here. Oh, wait, I'm the only one who knits in this house. Whoops.

1. Not buy yarn.

Okay, this was a fail. I purchased a Kauni during my morphine-haze. And then my sister wanted a hat made out of sage green cotton, which I didn't have. Crap.

2. 1st in, 1st out.

Considering nothing has technically gone out? Double crap.

3. Craft for charity first.


4. Projects for others before myself.

Um, I'm making that hat for my sister?

5. 2 skeins a month.

Fail. Just ... let's not talk about it.


Hey, one I can say I did! I gave away that whole skein in my giveaway. Take that, 2011 stashdown!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

IWTMT: Pimpelliese

I'm still not done with the Boneyard shawl, which is probably why I'm straying. I still haven't started the wedding shawl, so I remain in the dreaming stage. I also don't know why I pick things with strange names.

Pimpelliese (Rav) is available for free (warning: that takes you right to the PDF file). I guess I just really like the simplicity of a shawl knitted -- is there a word for that? Up and down as opposed to side to side? I don't have any idea. But the name is funny.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

IWTMT: Granny's Cup Cozy

I'm aware that it's supposed to get to be 84 degrees in my corner of Vermont tomorrow. That's why this week's IWTMT doesn't make much sense. But it was just about a week and a half ago that I was stumbling down the road I work on, clutching a package and a cup of tea in the rain, hoping against hope that I didn't spill anything. Somehow I managed, but now I know why people actually make cup cozies. And now I want one.

I've also not mastered the granny square, which is why Kathy North's free Granny's Cup Cozy (Rav) pattern seems pretty perfect to me. After all, I don't have the desire to sew ten million granny squares together to make a blanket, but I could sew two together to make a cup cozy. Genius. Besides, it'll probably snow again on Tuesday.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Being Stubborn

I worked a little on binding-off my Boneyard Shawl yesterday, and counted how many stitches I have left to bind-off. 120, in case you were wondering.

Why is it taking so long? Let me show you in pictorial form.


That? Besides that being what would happen if the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat met a spaghetti tree and made a baby, that is me not cutting my yarn. You can't even see the green section in that shot. I have to draw that small yarn animal through each and every stitch. More than once. I am not cutting the yarn because it's Kauni and I'm just. Not. Doing. It.

This, by the way, is called being stubborn. Apparently when two Cancers procreate and produce a Gemini, they should just let it loose in the woods because it will never ever listen to them. Or reason. Or shortcuts. Or anything. Obviously that bit of advice is too late for my mom and dad, but maybe it will help someone else out there.

After all, you're talking to the person who kept knitting a comfort shawl in Lion Brand Homespun even after she realized it was ribbed, and thus she had royally screwed up somewhere.


Look "stubborn" up in a dictionary and paste that picture in there to remind you.

I had previously calculated my Boneyard bind-off rate to be 3 stitches/hour, which means I have roughly a full work-week left. Despite my best efforts, my boss thinks I should actually do work stuff at work, which I don't understand. Kind of like how I don't understand why my parents wouldn't buy me that Pepto-pink New Beetle. I mean, I could never get in trouble and lie about it, because who else would have one of those?

I got them, though. I never got my license and they had to drive me around for years. Seriously, they should have just left me in the woods.