Monday, December 22, 2008

Freezy poofs!

It has been a while since the last knitting update, mostly because I had some ideas about projects for Christmas presents and ....... well, that just isn't working out to plan. Those projects are on the same path to destruction as the other unnumbered cross-stitch projects that are marinating in the closet from Christmas-es past.

On a happier note, I finished the baby sweater! It's not exactly to plan, but it worked out for the best. The pattern was for a little layette with jacket, hat, pants and booties. It was in seed stitch with I-cord trim. I decided to do the jacket, in a size slightly larger to account for my knitting speed so that it would actually fit the recipient when it was received. The I-cord also ended up by the wayside. The ties were cute, but the color of the trim keeps playing tricks on my eyes. It really does match pretty well in the right light. Other times, not so much. So, I edited the I-cord to the length I could stand to knit and designed a closure that would be baby-friendly. Pictures will go up after Christmas. (This one made the deadline.)

As for the others, more to come. Maybe if I get busy now, at least one will make the show. The weather outside has been frightful --- wet and foggy for the weekend changing to sunny and blustery today. If I hold my coat just right and run REALLLLY fast, I might even get airborne.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Let me tell you why I suck.....

I, being of unsound mind, have been found guilty of suckage by the Tribunal of the Needle and by my own admission. (To learn more about the Needle, click here.) My penance is to write out this admission, here in what will be known as "the flog blog", the top ten reasons why I suck.

  • 10. I use movie quotes in conversation. For proof, see above blog title.
  • 9. My yarn stash is quietly taking over my house. I have yarn that will probably never see a project but that I can't liberate or trade at the moment. Maybe someday, but not today. My preciousssss.......
  • 8. I have a frog pond the size of Lake Erie.
  • 7. I love Hot Topic. Deal with it.
  • 6. I love Halloween. I didn't dress up to answer the door this year and so this Halloween was terrible. There were also only 5 trick-or-treaters which made it a double-bummer.
  • 5. I am an accountant and I love my job. Working to pass the CPA exam is partly to blame for me having to write this post. Still working on that whole work/life balance thing.....
  • 4. Heavy Metal music is my personal drug of choice. The louder, the better. My hair will always be long so that it whips around as I bang my head. Given enough time and AquaNet, I will make my hair bigger than yours.
  • 3. Disco sucks, but ABBA will forever hold a special place on my MP3 player. I'm not giving up my roller skates either.
  • 2. I want real paper in my newspaper and my books. The on-line versions are just not the same to me.

And the number one reason why I suck:

  • 1. Bailing on my friends at the last minute after PROMISING to make it for the first time in weeks. For one who was present at the conception of the Needle, this is probably the biggest reason why I suck.

Respectfully submitting the above, I throw myself on the mercy of the Tribunal.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fall is in the air

Yesterday was the first fall-like day that I have been privileged to experience. Although the weather was nice last weekend at the CRF, it got a little sweaty towards the middle of the afternoon. Yesterday was breezy with just enough of a nip in the air to let me know we had passed Labor Day. Yay Fall!

I particularly enjoy the season because it encourages me to work more on my knitting. It's just easier to hunker down on the sweater when you REALLY want to wear it the next day or next week. It also doesn't make working on the Christmas stockings seem as ridiculous when you can sort of imagine snow as a vague possibility in the near future.

And then there are the church bazaars and fall festivals. Well, who can say no to a cup of cider or the scent of hand decorated cinnamon brooms? I am also hopeful that I can attend a fiber festival towards the end of October. It would be my first, but I think it would also be a lot of fun.

The projects are going well. The baby sweater has made significant progress, although I anticipate sending an IOU for it to the mother's shower. Oh well. I also started a vest for myself. It is probably going to undergo a "design change." The pattern has a plain back and a cable pattern on the front. In knitting the back with my thick & thin yarn, I found that it made a wonderful "bubble" pattern. Sort of an illusion of the yarn, but pretty cool nonetheless. After consultation with the needle gurus of my knitting circle, I'm going to do the front in plain stockinette also. Less work and better results than getting lost in all of the cabling frou-frou. Pictures to come soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just for fun

This is what greeted me shortly after breakfast. The blue dot is a sticker from the banannas on the counter. It says, "Place sticker on forehead. Smile." I think my husband has something to do with this.....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A diversion

These are little socks that are a lot like me -- twisted in a good way! Cat Bordhi's latest sock book has these as a practice pattern for the full-sized version. The pattern is called Coriolis and is named for the force that makes the water circle down the drain in the same direction every time. Really neat! Notice that the little curly seam bit curves out towards the ankles on each sock -- which means you get to knit a different pattern for the left and the right foot.
I was also very pleased with this yarn. It's called Red Heart Heart 'n Sole. The fiber has aloe added to it so that it softens your hands as you knit. It should also help the socks stay soft -- perfect for baby feet.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Update on Rory

Rory went to his new home yesterday with many hugs and much jubilation. He will be a companion to a recently-arrived little boy.

Tommy is right. Toys are awesome! Not only are they fun (and instructional) to knit, they are fun to give away.

(P.S. Check out Tommy's blog here for his latest endeavor -- the Cowboy!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Androcles and the Lion

(Reader note: If you have never read Aesop's Fables, I suggest you run to your nearest library, find the kindly lady that reads to the children every day at 10:00 and beg her to tell you what I am talking about. Or just Google it...but that would be almost cheating.)

I have often heard it said that you should always be good to those you meet on the way up because you never know who you will meet on the way down. Enter the story of Androcles. A little bravery, an act of kindness and two minutes out of his busy day saved his bacon in the middle of the gladiatorial ring.

I was reminded of this story when I was flipping through channels and came across a PBS program reading the book Andy and the Lion, loosely based on the fable. And it also happened to be the same day that I finished this little guy.

It was not exactly a revelation, but it was enough to make me think: Slow down and make a conscious effort to help those I can, particularly when it costs me little or nothing.

The lion (who was promptly dubbed "Rory" by my favorite Patty in all the world) is based on a pattern from a toy book. I don't remember which one, because I forgot to write it down. The legs are different because I intentionally made him floppy. I also recommend knitting it in the round, because 1) there are a lot of pieces to this joker and 2) less seams = more peace in my knitting happy place.

More to come soon. I get to knit for a baby and these pieces go pretty fast!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monkey sock, not a sock monkey

This is a long awaited picture of socks knitted from the pattern titled "Monkey" in a article last year. You can find it here. It was my first attempt at lace. These were also knitted at slightly larger than gauge because I did not possess size #2 DPNs at the time.

The pattern is marked at the second level of difficulty (advanced beginner?), which is fairly accurate. If you are tired of plain ribbed socks, these are a good step up. The pattern makes them interesting and it's not too hard to find where you were in the pattern when you last left off. If I did anything differently, I think I would have picked a lighter shade. The pictures don't really pick up all of the lace pattern because the colors in the yarn are a little too strong. All in all, I am still pretty happy with the final result.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hal the sock monkey

This is Hal in his new home. It's not really that stark, its just being re-floored & repainted. Also with his new cat. Kitty 1, Hal 0

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Where does he get such wonderful toys?

Last week, I made a sock monkey. It was my second one. He was properly christened "Hal" at our knitting group. He's now at his new home. Hal has a little time to prepare before he meets his new buddy, sometime in November. Until then, I am told he is getting curious looks from the cats.

If you have never made a sock monkey, I highly recommend it. It's not complicated (2 socks + clever cuts + strategic sewing+ stuffing = monkey). It's not expensive (less than $15 for materials makes 2 monkeys). And the comic value alone makes for a fun afternoon. (Come on, who DOESN'T smile when they see the red heinie?) Take your project on the road while you are working on it and you are sharing the laughter.

I also got a pattern for a knitted lion. It is pretty cool, but it has a lot of parts to sew together. I've been totally absorbed in working on it every evening. Despite having to knit the first leg three times (she can be taught!), it is actally going fairly well.

Now I am hooked on toys. I found a pattern for a little dragon, pulled out the stash, and have some things ready to go on that project. My favorite knitting magazine in print has a pattern for a wonderful bear in fuzzy novelty yarn (another stash raid? or can I go shopping?) Or maybe a ball to use up some more stash oddments.......

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Branching out?

Today the new issue of Knitty came out. You can find it here. I am a devoted Knitty reader of several seasons now. The patterns are free and usually pretty easy to follow. And the magazine covers cool new books and tools in an evenhanded manner.

Most exciting this time was the announcement of the calendar contest for 2009. I am thinking about making a submission. More to come on that one.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Fun with Kool-Aid

How do you like the new picture? It is the first foray I have made into the vast land of dyeing. Those are wonderful hanks of a merino/silk blend in a sport weight that are now trying to decide what they want to be when they grow up. The "wheels" of yarn look a lot different than the dyed hanks. Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to do a "before" and "after" shot.

For the past few weeks, the knitting circle has been kicking around the idea of dyeing yarn. has a few great articles, but we decided to use the technique described here. Kool-Aid as a dyeing agent -- who knew?

It's safe and relatively inexpensive if you are just trying out dyeing as a test project. Not including the yarn (under $20), I spent around $7 on Kool-Aid in every color that the store had and another $3 on a gallon of white vinegar. We had enough to cover all of the yarn, the carded fluff, the uncarded curls, and probably a stray sheep or two. There is definitely enough to have another go at a later date.

It also causes no permanent damage to your house or cookware. The dye is food grade, so no worries about lingering residues. I do, however, recommend gloves. The dyes did not damage our skin, but my cuticles and nails still had a zombie-esque look after repeated scrubbing with soap and baking soda. Another perk was the fruity sent left behind in the kitchen and the shower (where the skeins drip-dried.)

The only down side was that it took most of an afternoon. We used a handpainting technique that applied the dye to specific parts of the skein using a turkey baster. It put the dye where you want it, but it was tedious. After all the dye went on, the yarn had to be wrapped in plastic wrap and zapped in the microwave for a while to set the colors. This is supposed to keep the finished garment from fading as well.

All in all, it was a successful venture. I am definitely interested in doing it again, but right now I am thinking about knitting a test swatch to see how these work up.

Friday, May 16, 2008

We're back!!!!

Hi all! The knitting basket is as full as ever and I have stopped long enough to post snippets.

First, the bad news. My favorite LYS in all the world closed. :-( A group of the regulars has formed a support group and we have begun meeting at the local Starbucks every two weeks. There are plans for a resurrection, but capital and location are a challenge. In the meantime, I have cut back on my yarn purchases.

But all is not lost -- I have finished the pinwheel sweater! It made its debut last week at our meeting. I do not have pictures yet, but I am pleased with the way it turned out.

New socks are also on the needles. I am attempting a pattern called 'monkey' by Cookie. It is available in the free patterns on the website. The pattern is a variation of lace that looks like overlapping bamboo shoots. It is labeled under the 'experienced' skill level, but so far, so good. I am turning the heel on the first sock now and have not goofed up the lace pattern yet (knock, knock).

I am also in the middle of a spring sweater experiment. A few months ago, I went to a warehouse sale at a local mill. There was a lot of novelty yarn, but also a few natural fibers. I bought a really soft thick-and-thin cotton yarn in a variegated colorway that I wasn't really sure what to do with. A gauge swatch later on size 13 big fatty needles, and I had a plan. It's a simple plan really, just a front, back and slightly flared sleeves. The front and back are complete, as is about half of one sleeve. Because it is not too fiddly, I hope to have it done in time to wear before the weather gets too hot.

Next up is a dyeing experiment. I ordered a few hanks of natural yarn in preparation for some free time in the next few weekends. There was a really good article on about dyeing yarn with KoolAid. I have also seen a few things on TV that look almost simple enough to do in my kitchen. The good thing is 1) KoolAid is relatively cheap as a dyeing agent, 2) it smells pretty good -- lots better than an acid dye, and 3) it will probably come off the counter and the floor.

Hopefully new posts will come more frequently now. Things are settling down and I will have more time for knitting in the near future (and hopefully for pictures. Sorry for the delay.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The wild ones plus one.....

My house has become a puppy hostel for the next two weeks. My husband's friend and coworker is travelling and has entrusted his itty-bitty beagle yearling to our care. She's a beauty and a little bit of a troublemaker, but I think that is mostly youthful exuberance.

Our last puppy experience was when we took on the wayward Uma. She's the one in basic black. Grey lady Azure, at a mature seven years, was not quite sure what to make of the new arrival.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Hats off!

Two pictures are languishing on my camera. One is of a camoflage hat/facewarmer that was supposed to be a Christmas present, but was "reappropriated" for my husband's hunting gear -- not entierely a bad thing. The other is of a hat for me(!), which is currently in suspense as to whether or not it will have a complete set of matching fingerless mitts. (We seem to be having a bit of a matching fiber shortage, so a pattern deviation is imminent.....) More to come.

And the pinwheel? It is coming along nicely. It now has a "sle", which is almost 1/3 of A sleeve. Yay!