Saturday, January 02, 2010

Some are born to blog

...others have blogging thrust upon them.

A short recap of the past 8 months:

I joined a knitting group! We meet at the Panera in West Bend, WI Tuesday nights from 6-8. I am loving the scheduled, dedicated knitting time, and have been inspired to move along more on all my knitting projects, so that I have progress to show. And it came about at a good time, as I broke up with my boyfriend about the same time the group started. I had just finished a pair of socks for him, too. That was irritating.

But there's plenty of good news.

Got a new kitty, Polly. She's all growed up now, but isn't she just a cutie? Awww.

Got a design published in a magazine. Off-hand Gloves, to be found in Knitcircus, Winter 2009.

Knit a pair of socks in less than a month. This is the Rushing Rivulet pattern from Cat Bordhi's New Pathways book. In Araucania Ranco Multy. First toe-up socks I've done, and I found the gusset, which is located on the sole, interesting. I like the reinforced heel, too. I'm going to try other architectures from the book as well. Maybe I'll find one I like enough to replace my usual cuff-down, short-row heel and toe variety.

Knit the Swirl Shawl (well, ok, scarf) from JoJoLand. I had no idea the Yarn Harlot was knitting this until I pulled it out at my knitting group. It was kind of fussy to knit--a lot of picking up and casting on as each hexagon is added to the scarf. But the finished product was truly beautiful, as this pattern made the most of the yarn. A Christmas gift for a dear friend who looks wonderful in it.

Knit something for myself out of my own handspun! The yarn was spun from the last bit of merino Kathy and I dyed, oh, way back in September 2007. I'm calling these Mariposa Mittens, as I knit them while watching The National Parks: America's Best Idea. I learned there that one of the first National Parks was the Mariposa Grove of Redwoods in Yosemite. So, knowing mariposa is Spanish for butterfly, I put a purled butterfly motif on the back of the hand. I have enough handspun left over for a colorful headband for a matching hat, and I bought a nice purple shade of Cascade 220 for the crown of the hat.

Things I am working on now:

  • The Classic Lines Cardigan from Knit Picks, which will be my first adventure in steeking. I'm almost done with the yoke, so the scary thought of cutting my knitting looms. I love the fabric the doubled laceweight is making, and bought more for a second version.
  • Purl-less Monkey socks. I was done with the leg and half the foot of the first sock, but tried them on and figured they were too tight around the leg, so I frogged them and cast on an extra eight stitches for the cuff. Since then, stagnation, but I will return to them soon. The lace stitch pattern is easy and quick, and I like the stream-lined all knit version better than the original.
  • A pair of fingerless gloves for a co-worker with cold hands.
  • and a mountain of other UFOs that I vow to either finish or frog.
So that's the skinny on me. I hope this post makes Kathy happy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I jumped on the bandwagon and knit myself a February Lady Sweater:

I made some polymer clay buttons for it. I blended red, yellow, white, gold and a smidge of blue to get the persimmon color of the yarn, then I blended that with pearl for a lighter variegated color. I tried several other combinations as well, but these looked the best:

It doesn't look half bad:

It's really comfortable. I did lengthen the sleeves and taper them down from the elbow to the wrist, cutting out about three lace pattern repeats as I did so. I made M1 increases on the yoke instead of the called-for YO increases. If you do this too, do it on the WRONG side, where it will show less. I'm very pleased. It was a quick and fun knit and I think it'll become my most-worn handknit sweater to date.

Next up: The Classic Lines Cardigan from Knit Picks. In dark, dark, dark blue-green with a pale strand of eucalyptus. Swatching starts today.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Small accomplishments

I spun this into this:

3-ply Merino/Silk (80% Merino/20% silk)
Dyed by Red Fish Dyeworks. ~500 yards, fingering weight.
It spun like a dream, but it took forever because (a) I really fell off the spinning wagon this winter and (b) three-ply is, you know, three times the work.
I was thinking socks originally, but I'm not sure now. For one thing, I have tons of sock yarn and I prefer machine-washable for socks, which this is not. I have half a mind to weave a scarf from it, or maybe knit one. I guess I'll let it marinate a while.

I finished these, although I seem not to have taken a picture of the completed pair:
Twin Rib socks in Online Supersocke 100. Cuff-down, short-row heel and toe. The rib is pretty clever, a 6-stitch rib of knit-seed-knit, purl-seed-purl, and it's reversible. They are nice and cheerful and took the bad taste of those really ugly socks out of my mouth.
I'm almost halfway through the February Lady Sweater, and have two socks on the needles; a mystery sock I'm lurking at over on Ravelry, and Eunny Jang's Bayerische Socks. For the Bayerische socks, I overdyed some kind of overly-pastel merino tencel I had a nice sapphire blue. If I can get it together soon, I will post pics of ongoing projects.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


So, I've been up to a few crafty things over the past, um, five months.

I needed a necklace to go with a blouse I planned to wear to my Christmas party. So I got out my polymer clay and mixed up some colors. I tried and tried to create a circle like in the fabric, but failed miserably. So I ended up mixing and marbling the colors and liked the results. I got out my beads and found I had some tiger eye and Botswana agate beads that went perfectly and voilá! I was further pleased to discover I had sometime in the past made a purple and gold bracelet that went almost perfectly. Of course, when I went to get ready in the hotel room, I discovered I had left them on my bed at home and had to go to the party jewelry-less. Which made me feel kinda naked. I did rewear the blouse on Christmas day, however, so I was able to wear the whole ensemble.

This fall, I bought a new medium-weight coat, which was dark brown with a tan, red, navy, cream and black plaid lining. I had no gloves to match, so I dived into my stash and discovered I had tan, red, cream and black Merino Style from KnitPicks. Hooray! I wore my new coat on a road trip out west in early October and I took the yarn along. I got one glove done and up to the fingers on the other one. It was cold and snowing in the mountains and I failed to bring any other gloves or mittens. When I got home, I tried several times to finish the gloves, but made very little progress. One day, I pulled out the glove project bag and discovered I had lost the tan yarn. I faced the dilemma: rip out the other glove's fingers and make different color fingers? Or leave the one done glove as it was and make the other not to match? As I was thinking this over, a miracle occurred! I went to visit my sister and see her Christmas tree. And on her coffee table was the missing ball of tan yarn! A Christmas miracle! It had made its way under her couch, and she found it when moving furniture to put the tree up. I took the yarn home. I dilligently worked the fingers. Halfway up the middle finger of the second glove, it became clear I did not have enough tan left for the index finger and thumb. So I pulled out the index finger on the other glove, finished the other thumb in that yarn, and made the two index fingers red. Let's call it a design feature, eh? They'll keep me warm, anyway. I knit them tightly on size 4 needles. Should be fairly windproof.

A few months back, when I was struggling to make my sister The Ugliest Socks in the World (more of which anon), I had to put them aside and give myself a break. I wanted a pretty, lacey sock, because a friend had picked out some pretty pinkish Koigu for her birthday socks. After several false starts, I decided on Knitty's Spring Forward socks. I also decided to try the Magic Loop method, which I love. Absolutely love. I was happy with four dpns, but Magic Loop makes it so easy to keep the project tidy when it's time to put away. I used to have issues losing stitches if I wasn't careful putting the work away. I've been converted. And I really liked the Spring Forward pattern. The lace was easy to memorize and easy to decipher on the couple of times I lost my spot. I knit these mostly while sitting on a bench in the sunshine, watching my boyfriend practice on the driving range. A definite success.

Now, what's all this about The Ugliest Socks in the World, you ask? For several years, I have been buying sock yarn I think my middle sister would like. Every one I showed her, from Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Argyle, to Regia Cotton in Surf, to the fabled Trekking XXL 100, failed to excite her interest. Then one day, she came home and presented me with a ball of OnLine Supersocke 100 in the ugliest colors I had ever seen together in one yarn. Let me enumerate: Petal pink. Baby blue. Royal Blue. Cream and beige jacquard. Dusty rose. Apricot. Pale, pale, pale pink. And back to the cream and beige jacquard. It was like one of those 1980's sofas with the "impressionistic" pattern on it. A sofa which had been place in front of a southern-facing curtainless window for twenty years. My sister requested "fancy" socks, but not cables or lace. I settled on Grumperina's Jaywalkers since the yarn was self-striping. I started these socks at Knitting Camp in July, complaining mightily to all and sundry. I made a fair bit of progress and had hopes that I would finish soon. I came home and had my sister try on the sock in progress. Too small, and I was almost to the ankle. I tried to convince her to renounce the yarn as hideously ugly. No dice. She liked the yarn. The colors reminded her of high school. O-kay. I cast on again for the next larger size. I knit these socks through countless movies and NCIS and CSI episodes, losing Packer games and in front of the computer reading blogs. Finally, two nights ago, I finished the second toe and wove in the ends. They fit and my sister likes them. I am free of the albatross around my neck. Things I learned from these socks: Jaywalkers are not for me. I need a sock with more ribbing to accommodate my cankles. And ugly yarn knits a lot slower than pretty yarn.

I was afraid The Ugliest Socks in the World might prejudice me against OnLine Supersocke 100, so I immediately cast on this:

Now, there's a colorway I can work with.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Once a month is ok, isn't it?

Time for an update! I'm making a little more progress in the crafty side of my life, so I'm hoping I'll be back in the swing of things soon and have more to blog. Here's what I got up to in July:

Beads and buttons made in the polymer clay class Kathrows and I took at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair. I enjoyed messing around with the clay so much that I went out and bought a bunch of different colors and a case to put them in. When I start buying books and a pasta machine, we'll know I'm in trouble.

80% Merino/ 20% silk purchased from Red Fish Dyeworks at the MFAFAF. This was the ONLY fiber I bought there. I can't wait to spin it up. Right now on the bobbins is some organic cotton top that's driving me crazy, and I want to finish that up before starting anything else, because I think it's good for me to get more comfortable with cotton. But I am just itching to get at this.

After the MFAFAF, we had Knitting Camp. Did I take any pictures there? Don't be silly. Luckily, Elizabeth was more organized than me, and got a great picture of us all. It was a fabulous time at camp. Great weather, great food, great fun, and knitting, knitting, knitting! So much knitting that I finally finished something:

Mini-cable socks with short-row heel and toe, from Jojoland Melody. They're fraternal twins.

And before I started the organic cotton, I spun up a little BFL:

100% Blue-faced Leicester, dyed and given to me by One Skein Wonder in a secret pal exchange. Damn, I love BFL! It's so easy to keep fairly even, and so sproingy and cushy! Top pic is more representative of actual color.

Up next: some truly hideous socks, just wait, and a new lace project with handspun. I'll try to post 'em before September.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

I hope you were sitting down

I know, I know. Unforgiveable to leave the blog stagnant for five months. I could cite some excuses: started dating a guy, which has considerably cut into my knitting time (but in exchange I have discovered how much I enjoy taking motorcycle rides), a month-long bout of mono (!), big work project (not much of an excuse, as I have not made big strides on it), and most pertinently, a loss of knitting mojo. I have completed nothing since the socks I blogged in February, although I am approaching the heel of the second sock of my next pair (sorry, no pic yet), and have reached the separate-the-arms-from-the-body stage of a neck-down raglan (no pic for that either.)

Meanwhile, although I had temporarily abandoned my knitting, one of my knitting friends did not abandon me. Looky what the great Kathrows knitted me, from yarn made of fiber we dyed together and I spun up:

I know, the picture sucks. But they are very, very fabulous.

Beads and everything, and a great textured pattern! I just love them.

I did complete a spinning project recently.

About 500 yards of tweedy wool/silk 3-ply, about 12 wpi. It has a nice rustic, bumpy texture that I'm really digging. I got the fiber at last year's Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair, which is coming up soon. It is a great show, and if you're anywhere near Chicago, I encourage you to check it out.

Finally, a bit of sad news. If you read this blog, you'll know Chester, the world's best cat. Sadly, he developed kidney disease, and although we tried to treat it, he eventually got to the point where he wouldn't eat or drink, and I had to say good-bye. He was a devoted companion of over 12 years and slept on my bed most every night of those twelve years. He enjoyed playing hide-and-seek and I never heard him hiss. I will miss him something fierce.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hooray for socks!

Trekking XXL 100 socks
My basic sock pattern: 2x2 rib cuff, 6x2 rib leg and instep, short row heel and toe.
If you like wool socks, you will like Trekking. And if you like color, you will like Trekking XXL 100. Unless you are my sister. I had planned to give these to her for her birthday, but she called them outright ugly while I was knitting them! Her loss is my gain.
I've decided to finish up an old project before starting anything new. Can't tell you about it as it is a gift, so we might experience a slight blog delay. OK, even more of a blog delay than I've had lately. I blame winter. It is simply brutal this year.