Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Stalled. Frustrated.

BPT/Jesus Sweater: I simply don't know what to do for the bottom. The applied icord rolled up and I spent 3 hours making it and then an hour pulling it out. I don't want ribbing or garter stitch. I've had suggestions to put a cable around the bottom but that will mean knitting it separately and then grafting it together. Yuck.

Noni Bag: I just got the yarn needed and I think I'm going to rip out the whole thing. It's a beautiful bag; but it's a beautiful need-to-carry-in-your-hand bag. And I really prefer to carry a bag on my shoulder, or at least be able to. And I think I want a smaller, more structured style. So there. Sigh.

Test Knit: I can't say too much about this, because I signed an agreement of non-disclosure, but I ran into part where I am completely lost and so I have to wait to hear back from the designer.

Flamingoes: I think the yarn I have will work for fuzz on the flamingoes. But as I pulled it out I remembered that I was at a point in the pattern where I was rather unsure I was doing it correctly at all....so that may be another rip. And another pattern I can't understand.

I HATE THIS! I like being in the "flow" of a project. I've been stressed lately and I need something to work on that is just merrily flowing along, as opposed to requiring much thinking/alteration/experimenting. I also feel like I have way too many projects "in progress" and since they are all stalled I feel like I have multiple problems. I've made a load of dishcloths though. I keep thinking "I'll start another project that is simple and non-stressful" but then I think do I really want to start ANOTHER potential issue?

This was all just whiny. Feel free to ignore. Or if you have suggestions, offer 'em. :-P

Friday, August 25, 2006

When life hands you too-tight socks, make armwarmers.

So last night at knit group I was merrily working along on my ZigZag socks. I've got both on one needle, I've got the pattern down, it's not making me crazy, and the patterning of the yarn is turning out cute.

I got to a particular point where I thought I should try them on, as it would probably be time to start the heel soon.

And they would not fit over my heel.

We all agreed, sadly, that it must be time for a trip to the frog pond. And they were turning out so nice! I was playing with them on the table while mourning the fact that they'd have to be ripped out AGAIN, when I slid one on my hand to admire the pattern. And then suddenly I realized that these would be perfectly adorable armwarmers! Everyone wholly agreed; this was definitely the way to go.

The best part is...I'm already almost done ;-) We had an immediate powwow on what to do; increasing a bit for the hands beginning now, and then Doree has a clever way to make the thumb holes that she is going to show me.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Take that, grouchy spinner man!

I spun this this morning because the thunderstorm wouldn't let me sleep. It's bumpy and it's slubby and it's uneven and it's MINE and I like it so there.

Na na na boo boo.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Spinning Rant

Over the weekend I went to the Michigan Fiber Festival with my mom, which was in general loads of fun. We petted sheep, saw alpacas and bunnies, watched a goat get sheared, ate corndogs, and enjoyed petting all the lovely wonderful fiber.

There was also a man who had some very neat handmade electric wheels. He was letting people try them with some fiber he had there. So he handed it to me and I was starting to do it, thinking "Hey, that looks pretty cool!" when all of a sudden he grabbed it away from me. "No no no you're doing it ALL wrong! You have to hold it HERE and HERE or else you will have UNEVEN YARN!!!"

Now my perspective is, if I wanted perfectly even yarn, I would go to the LYS and buy some Cascade. I want to spin in order to make something unusual and interesting. Interesting to me involves bumps and slubs and thick & thin spots.

I was kind of ticked that this guy was so quick to judge and tell me I was doing it wrong. Perhaps I wasn't doing it strictly by the spinning rules but I was getting the effect I wanted. You can pay a pretty penny for some very unusual yarn, Colinette Point Five comes to mind. It's thick & thin, uneven, bumpy, slubby. And it's lovely and $26 a skein. So what if I were to spin something like that? I would consider it an accomplishment and would be proud of it, but I was stung by the man's words.

I'm trying to figure out if there is a good reason not to have "interesting" yarn, or if it is just like the Old Guard of the knitting establishment, who think everyone should be knitting cobweb-fine lace shawls that fit through a wedding ring. Those people I can just ignore, but since I am so new at spinning I don't know if I'm just doing something entirely wrong.

At any rate, I thought that guy was kind of a jerk. He even cut the part I spun off of his little sample skein and handed to me and told me to hide it. Um, geez dude, even if something I'm doing isn't perfect, I'm not going to hide it in shame. :-P

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Personal Record!

Holy mackinoley folks....9 comments!!! That is definitely a personal record! And only one of them is me! Thanks for all the lovely warm compliments!

The jumper came from Kohl's. I think Kohl's is probably the go-to spot for denim jumpers, should anyone decide they want one :-) Dress Barn is probably also a pretty good bet. I must say that jumpers ARE both cozy and comfy and easy to get dressed in the morning, though not terribly flattering :-)

In order to make it, I simply figured how large of a pice I could cut around the motif (limited by the seams on the sides) and that set the size for the bag. The flap was 11 inches by 11 inches with half inch seams so it is 10 inches by 10 inches.

If you wanna make a knitting bag from jeans, Lucia, it's even easier. Cut the legs off just under the crotch. Flip inside out and sew a few times over (for strength) right across the bottom. Flip back right side in, add straps however you like, and decorate as desired. These are super nice bags to carry because they have lots of pockets for your water bottle, purchases, notions, etc.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Dowdy Jumper to Adorable Purse

When I used to work in the classroom, I had a denim jumper with a cutesy fall motif on the chest. It was your standard-issue grade-school teacher shapeless-sack denim jumper. And YES, I did in fact wear it.

Alas, I do not wear it now :-) but something just would not let me part with it. It recalled fond memories of my days in the classroom.

Last night I had a brainstorm. It would make a perfect little purse, using the cutesy motif as a purse flap decoration! I set right to work on it and finished it in time to carry it to the Michigan Fiber Festival this weekend.

The strap is salvaged as well; it began life as one of those D-ring belts. I had three of them, saved because I liked the pattern though I NEVER wear belts. I used two of them in the making of my corduroy purse a few months back, and found one more straggler in the bottom of the drawer, perfect for this purse!

So this was an absolutely FREE purse; a repurposed jumper and belt!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Rose By Any Other Name Is a Scarf!

The original pattern for this object was an edging to be made with crochet thread an a tiny tiny hook.

The pattern designer for the book One Skein Knits decided to make it with chunky yarn and a larger hook, to make a lovely scalloped scarf.

While trying to fit the scarf neatly in a package, I began winding it in a circle....and made a rose.

Monday, August 14, 2006


What a fool am I! Stitches Midwest, the yarn expo to end all yarn expos, has been happening every year practically right outside my door for as long as I've been knitting.....and I first went yesterday!

I went in a group with Lucia, Heather, Heather's friend Christine, and my mom. I had been concerned I wouldn't find someone to go with me, and I ended up with a group of 5! It is much more fun with a group than it would have been on my own. We split up and met periodically through the afternoon.

I was worried also that I would feel claustrophobic. I don't do well with crowds; I tend towards panic attacks when there are too many people around. So I've always avoided conventions. However, it was not crowded and not claustrophobic at all! I had a wonderful time; I think we stayed over 3 hours.

I did pretty good with not overpurchasing too! Although it was tempting, I pretty much made an informal rule that I wouldn't purchase anything I could just buy at the LYS or online from the usual sources. I was on the lookout for things that are special, unusual, one-of-a-kind, hard-to-find, and handcrafted.

I bought 2 bags of alpaca fiber from a lovely alpaca farmer man. The neatest part about his fiber is that the dye lot is the name of the animal. Mine was from Abby; a caramel colored alpaca. I actually bought only one at first and then went back for another :-) It is my hope that I can spin it well enough to make myself a small shawl or capelet from the resulting yarn.

I also bought an Addi sparkle hook. I know it's silly to spend money when I already have more hooks than I'll ever need, but this is an *Addi Sparkle Hook* for heaven's sake. So hard to get anywhere! I would have spent $15 to get the same thing shipped from Germany so I was thrilled to find one for $4.50 at Stitches. From the same place I bought a little bag of roving ends to feed my new obsession; needle felting.

And my lovely momma bought me a huge skein of fingering weight hand dyed yarn from Canada! It is so neat; has practically every color in it! I'm planning to use it with a neat shawl pattern I bought; which is more than a full circle but split in the front; resulting in nearly a poncho but one you don't have to put over your head. Sort of a Faroese shawl on steroids :-)

Besides that I got plenty of ideas and inspiration. One was an adorable Little Red Riding Hood cape that I simply MUST make. I didn't buy the pattern because I'm sure I can figure it out on my own, though. I also found JUST the pattern for the monster-green Lacey Lamb I bought with my birthday money. It's a shawlette that's featured in a Victorian Shawl book that is not even published yet :-)

Pics to come!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sheep to Shawl

This was actually finished a while ago, but it got too darn hot to even THINK about wearing a capelet, so it has been hanging out at home for a while.

The yarn is a skein of handspun yarn I bought at Colonial Williamsburg 2 years ago. The wool is collected, processed, and spun using all colonial-era methods and no electricity. It actually comes from the Blue Faced Leicester sheep raised on the property, who are themselves descendants of Thomas Jefferson's flock.

This capelet faced a lot of challenges. The pattern, which is the Spider Web Capelet from Stitch & Bitch Nation, contains what I believe to be an error, but we have discussed this at length at my own S&B and it seems many consider it to be more of a difference in the understanding of terms rather than an actual error.

The pattern contains a directive to yarn over a number of times. To me, "yarn over" is a type of increase that leaves an extra stitch on your needle. However, in the pattern, sometimes the yarn over means only to move the yarn from the back to the front in preparation to change from knit to purl.

This was discovered when a number of us found that our pattern mysteriously gained somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 stitches after performing a particular row, because our interpretation of the instructions was that we should yarn over, or add a stitch!

After about 10 tries between us, one of the members of my group, Tiev, figured it out, and so we were both able to make the capelet, when we thought we would simply have to abandon the pattern.

The pompoms also posed their own challenges; my first couple turned out looking like a bundle of sticks rather than a fluffy pompom. My mom devised a method of fluffing, combing, and drying in the dryer to fluff them up, and so they are now perfectly fluffy thanks to her!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Jesus Sweater

I have decided that a more appropriate name for my BPT sweater is The Jesus Sweater.


Because I have spent half of the time I have been knitting it changing water into wine! (converging cables to diverging cables and vice versa) I have unraveled and reknit that dang center cable about 4 times to correct cables twisting the wrong way.

The center cable and underarm cables have two cables that twist in opposite ways. I have the center cable converging, and the underarm cables diverging.

For some reason, my brain decided that as long as the cables were going opposite directions, all was well. Which is not exactly true. :-P

Now, it does indeed give me a little thrill to be able to ravel down just the errant cable and make the problem go away. But the thrill is wearing off now that I have had to do it 4 times!

Hence, the Jesus Sweater. Which, for all its woes, is actually now too big to fit in the frame of my webcam, so you'll just have to wait until it's finished for a good pic :-)

As you can see above, I am cooking along on those zigzag socks.

Monday, August 07, 2006

A Mellow Knitting Weekend

The Mister and I have had so many social engagements of late, I feel like all I do is run around!

So...I declared last weekend Hermit Weekend. I cooked out of the pantry, and we watched....9 movies in all (I think, I can't remember if we did 1 or 2 on Friday).

During all that movie watching time I got my ZigZag socks back on track. I had begun to work them separately then realized I could work them together. So I caught up the one and put the other on the needle....and I realized they were not the same width. THIS is why I like doing them at the same time! They were a whole 1/2 inch off due ONLY to gauge variation with the very same size needles. So, after trying to convince myself that they were really the same size and it was all in my head, I realized that it was a lost cause. I ripped the one and did another. Now both are caught up and the same size and on the same needle. Further progress should actually be...progress now.

I also got in some good work on my BPT cardigan. I divided the sleeves from the body as we watched the credits of Scream 2, our final movie yesterday. And then I discovered one of the cables was twisted the wrong way (sigh) and so now I have to fix that. Fortunately I have no problems laddering down the whole cable and reknitting just that part. Because this is the 4th time I've had to do it!

All in all I felt very productive this weekend. I even did my laundry, made cranberry walnut scones, cleaned the kitchen thoroughly, and made a picture frame for someone's birthday present. I felt much more productive then when I'm actually out running around!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Alas, my zigging and zagging was spiraling around in an unpleasant way. And my brain was also in a state of non-comprehension of the pattern, even after repeated clarification from Lucia.

Finally, she had a brainstorm and moved one little instruction from *here* to *there* and suddenly the whole thing made sense! She even figured out a way I could work both at the same time, but unfortunately one of them had a bit of a problem and will need to get caught up tonight.

Now here, to the left, you can see one of my first patterns; a baby stegosaurus! Yes, I know, he is missing eyes. I haven't sewn them on yet. The number of stegosauri I *need* to make keeps growing and so they'll all get eyes at once, I think. Pattern will be available somewhere online soon, so watch for it. He's SO DARN CUTE, isn't he??

And then here's a new project I'm working on
called BPT. It's a cabled cardigan, done top down with raglan sleeves. My friend kneesocky asked for some pattern interpretation and we discovered there was a pattern error; one of the markers they wanted you to put in was missing! Thus throwing off the whole thing. I figured it out by using nearly every stitch marker I own, flanking the cables and also putting markers where they suggested, and found that that ONE missing marker totally screwed up the whole thing.
On the plus side, I really am liking the pattern and it's nice to find a nice top-down pattern for once. And it solved a problem for me; making a perfect use for a bunch of lovely mulespun yarn I bought 3 years ago from Marr Haven.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fancy Links Everywhere!

Now I can tell you to go visit my friend
Miss 13 and see the cute pic she has up of her & her gramma.

I can also show you this lovely
photo of me as a little kid

I can even show you one of my other favorite sites!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I Learned TWO New Things Today!

Look three posts back, to the post entitled "Ziggity Zag". You will notice I apologize for using an old-school link because I am not technically savvy.

Then below it you will see a fancy link, and if you click on it you will go to Lucia's pattern.

I think my brain got about 10 new wrinkles today!

Oh! Oh! I did it! I really did it!

[bouncing up and down in my chair]

Look to your right and you will see a real honest-to-God BLOGROLL! I did it! It took me all afternoon but I did it! It's not perfect, but it is THERE and I am so proud!

Thank you Miss 13!

[bouncy bouncy bouncy]

I Made Yarn!

So...I made this yarn....over a year ago. It might even be two years ago. Isn't that terrible? I spun the singles, plied it, and wound it into a hank. Then I put it in a box and I FORGOT IT for two years. I finally fished it out and set the twist and now I have a ball of yarn that I made!

It looks really nice and even because I cheated and used pencil roving. Shhhhh!