Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I'm really enjoying my new cable needle.

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I bought one when I first learned to do cables, then immediately lost it. Since then, I've made do with dpns or those little plastic seaming pins. The dpns were a bad idea, because I lose those just as easily as I lost the real cable needle. The little plastic pins work okay, are easy to stick in my project between cable rows, and don't traumatize me when I lose one.

But the cable needle makes things easier. It's got that little bend to hold the stitches. I can knit the stitches right off of it instead of slipping them back onto my knitting needle or remembering how to slide them onto the plastic pin the right direction so that I can knit off of that. And it's just less fiddly. I'd buy myself one of the pretty birch cable needles if I wasn't so sure it would vanish into the couch cushions or get carried off in a toddler's grubby little hand.

I'm not even sure where the needle I'm using now came from. It might've been one of the knitting notions I picked up when Joann's was having one of their marked down clearance sales, or I might've found it when I was sorting through stuff in the sewing room. It got into my knitting bag somehow.

The cables are for my Cabled Hobo Bag. I think I mentioned before that I'm using the cheapest of cheap yarn for this project -- fifty cents for a bag of four balls. My wild guess is that I'll have enough yarn to finish, even though there were styrofoam balls hidden inside the yarn, which threw my original wild estimate of the yardage way off. Knitting with thrift store yarn is such an adventure, isn't it?

I just realized yesterday after catching up on digests from a couple of the big knitting lists how grateful I am for the knitters who use inexpensive yarns and share their sometimes downright fantastic results with the rest of us. Because there are too many nasty yarn snobs out there spreading horror stories.

No one is making them knit with acrylic from Walmart. No one is making them shop at Knitpicks. So why are they so damn determined to make the knitters who like knitting with acrylic buy high end yarns?! What's with all the bitterness?

I'm not talking about knitters who point out that knitting with nicer yarn will get you nicer results. Or that people shouldn't go to the LYS expecting help with the cheap supplies they bought someplace else. I'm talking about the people who answer a question about whether it'll work to knit a log cabin blanket with hand-me-down acrylic with the advice to throw it away. I've read warnings that knitting with acrylic will drain the soul out of a knitter. I've read that knitters who can't afford anything better than acrylic should take up plastic canvas instead of knitting.

And I've started to fall for it more than once. Which makes me mad at myself because I should know better than to listen to total strangers without considering that almost every sweater I owned until a few years ago was acrylic and I liked them just fine. But it's easy to forget things like that when you're learning something new and everyone is telling you the same thing.

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I've let myself get way too cranky up over this. There's plenty to be happy about. Leif's side has finally stopped leaking like one of those plastic drink and wet baby dolls so he won't need more surgery. I've got a yummy pork roast thawing for dinner. And I found a pattern for a knitted trilobite.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I keep casting things on.

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This cute little thing (Katja from the Spring 2006 issue of Knitty) found its way onto my needles last night. I couldn't remember where I'd put the pattern or the yarn, but suddenly they were right there and I was happily knitting away. I'm doing the bottom portion in the round because I'd already started it on circulars and it suddenly didn't make any sense at all to keep squishing the stitches back and forth when I could just join them and go round and round and not have a seam to sew up later.

It's taken me maybe four hours to get this far, and I've only got a few rounds to go before it's done. The yarn is TLC Cotton Plus, leftover from the kerchief scarf I knitted last year. And it's cute!

There are a few more things I want to start right this second, but I think I'm out of Denise cables. Gotta order more of those once I've made it through this round of the yarn diet....

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I still hate hospitals, although I guess this stay was easier than my last few. Leif's surgery went well and is supposed to have fixed his kidney problems. He slept most of the time and I sat next to him and started three new projects.

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The red thing is a top I'm making for Alex out of Red Heart Casual Cotton I picked up on clearance a while back.

The purple lace is a scarf is for my mom's birthday.

And the green cables are going to be a Cabled Hobo Bag, if I have enough yarn. It looked like enough, but then I tried to stick my cable needle into the yarn and realized that someone had wrapped them around styrafoam balls. Why would anyone do that?

Friday, August 18, 2006

This is NOT fair. I've had my fair share of stupid little garbage and big scary garbage to deal with lately. And now my bad luck is eating my YARN!!!

I was moving stuff from my little sewing corner in the dining room up to the real sewing room so that no one will mess with it while I'm gone and went to pick out some sock yarn so that I could cast on for Pomotomous or maybe Baudelaire while I'm up at the hospital. One skein at the top of the sock yarn box had ends sticking out of it like a little tan hedgehog. ACK! I don't know what moth damage looks like, but there's no way this could be anything else. Even if I tried to convince myself that one of the kids had gone after it with a pair of scissors, there are casings.

The rest of the sock yarn looks fine and both boxes went straight into the chest freezer. Dollar wise, that's the most expensive chunk of my stash, so I'm sick to my stomach just thinking that there were moths having a happy little buffet in there. The skein they did get was old thrift store stuff (but it's been in my stash long enough that I know the moths didn't come home with it) But there's my Knitpicks yarn in the colors they don't make anymore, and my few treasured skeins of Opal, and I just feel sick.

The good news is that it was in the sewing room, which is all self-contained so I don't have to worry about chemical warfare in the rest of the house. Bill is supposed to be bringing me home bug bombs -- if not, I'll go to the store myself when he gets back. As much as I hate filling the air with that crap, I'm going to make sure every last living thing in that room is poisoned. It can stay sealed up til I get back, then I'll air it out and see if I can figure out how bad the damage. None of the other skeins looked damaged. If I rewind them and don't find any breaks or casings, can I assume they're okay to knit with?

Except for my sock and laceweight yarn, 90% of what I've got is acrylic and cotton. I still had the gorgeous hand dyed roving my mom bought from a friend of hers in my hands, so it's safely sealed in plastic and back in the dining room.

Take that sick feeling I got in my stomach when the little girl who'd been playing with my babies at karate happily announced that she had lice and multiply it by a really big number.

sigh

Someone please remind me that moths aren't the worst thing that could happen and that my baby's going to be okay.
Three days til Leif's surgery and I'm starting to panic and wonder if we really should have agreed to let them operate on his teeny tiny little kidney to fix a problem that hasn't caused him any health problems so far. I don't want to do this to him. I don't want to wait until he has kidney damage. We've got two opinions. I'm going to do what the doctors say is best for him, but I don't have to like it.

I should have packed my knitting last week when my head was full of projects I wanted to bring. Right now, I can't even manage to find the patterns for the few things I remember were on the list. At least they were internet freebies and I can print new copies.

Leif's little blue cardigan is done...

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Isn't it cute? This is by far one of the most successful things I've ever knit. It fits with just enough growing room. It's cute. I had fun knitting it and used up some old stash yarn that was supposed to be a baby sweater for Quinn.

After I finished that one, I started another project, the "Everyone's Doing It" shrug. Here's a link to the picture and pattern I can't get the pattern link from the picture to come up on my computer - hopefully the one I'm using is the same!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Yarn and Fabric Diet Update

It's eight days into my second try at the yarn diet. Round 1 was a miserable failure -- partly because I kept running into yarn and fabric buying opportunities that weren't likely to be repeated and partly because there was so much other garbage going on that I decided to just buy what I really wanted and start over in a couple of weeks. I'm not going to admit how much I spent.

This time, I'm doing a much better job. I did spend $4.33 on a couple of Halloween novelty prints this afternoon, but the cute little skeletons were dancing and playing leap frog and I didn't want to risk waiting until the witch print was gone because I can see the quilt so clearly in my mind.

I've printed up a bunch of patterns that I'm thinking about trying for the Mystery Sock KAL and need to pair them up with yarn before I head to the hospital. They should be fun to play with. And I love the button, but I can't get Blogger to upload any images.


Day 8 of the stash diet - 21 hours knitted, 79 hours to go, $4.33 spent ...

Monday, August 14, 2006

After yesterday's post and lousy photography attempt, I got a lot more done on Leif's little cardigan. There's not a lot left to do, just knit straight until it's long enough and then add the sleeves. I can do that! And I can even show you what color the thing really is...

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Then, because I started thinking about the hospital and got myself too worked up to sleep, I got out of bed at midnight and cast on Tater's Cotton Cardi for Alex. The instructions aren't as clear as Leif's cardigan, but because I did his, I think I know what I'm supposed to be doing on this one. Maybe.

This afternoon, Mom drove down and we started our stained glass window wall quilts.

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Heath was fascinated by how we traced the pattern onto fusible web and cut the fabric to the exact shape we needed. I'm not sure WHY he was so impressed by our window tracing and cutting skills, but it sparked a great idea for a wall quilt for him. Picture dinosaur bones lying on the ground. Now why can't I come up with a drawing of that and cut out the bone shapes instead of making windows? Light fabric underneath for the bones...dark fabric on top for the dirt... This could work!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The world is getting weirder. When I drove Alex up to town for her karate lesson on Thursday, everyone was talking about bombs that had gone off around town. There was nothing on the news about local scary stuff (not that explosives in sports drinks aren't scary enough!), so I assumed it was just a bunch of rumors. After the knitting guild meeting yesterday, Sue reminded us that our cars had been parked for a while and we should check underneath them before we got in.

One of the bombs that did go off on Thursday was five blocks from our old house. Have I mentioned how glad I am that we don't live in Salem anymore?

My infatuation for the log cabin blanket came to an abrupt end last night. I don't exactly hate it, but I'm not planning to work on it again any time soon. The random placement of colors is starting to look wrong and I'm worrying about it way too much and it's time to cast on something else. There are some interesting ideas on the Mason Dixon KAL about what to do with the center square that have me plotting more log cabin blankets, but that's in the distant future.

This morning I started the Easy Baby Cardigan, an online freebie from Knitting Pure and Simple. Bonnie on Knitting Mothers just finished one and it's cute as can be. After a brief moment when I realized that my plan to start the collar and measure the stitch gauge from that wouldn't work because the gauge is supposed to be in stockinette and another moment when I started to worry about whether or not I'd be able to figure out all of those markers and increases, it's going great. The Denim Twist Wool-Ease looks great knitted up, and I've got that wonderful sense of contentment that comes when you realize that stash yarn is really going to become something cute instead of just sitting there forever looking like a bad idea. I bought this stuff when Quinn was the size Leif is now and if I'm going to make a sweater to fit one of my own babies, it's now or never.

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It looks black in the picture, but it's really this great combination of dark and darker blue. I think it's going to look even nicer in the sweater than it does in the skein, and I really like the way it looks in the skeins.

I've been deliberately ignoring the date, and certain people who seem determined to count down the days, but it finally hit at about midnight last night that Leif's surgery is soon. In an attempt to keep myself from thinking about how we're going to be in the hospital for three days and how freaked out hospitals make me, I'm planning which yarn and patterns to take with me.

I'm definitely going to take some of the wonderful stuff that Denise brought back from the Brown Sheep outlet for me. The purple Cotton Fleece is going to become a lace scarf. The yellow superwash is for my Rapunzel socks. Not sure about the rest, but it's gonna be something good.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

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I've got this sudden crazy urge to knit afghans. I've actually had it since I started knitting a few years ago, but it's suddenly gotten stronger, fueled by the book I picked up at the library so I'd have something to look at during Alex's karate class. There are six patterns in here I can see myself starting. And then there's the Flying Geese Blanket and the Mitered Square Blanket and the Keepsake Baby Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting. Not to mention the Log Cabin one I'm already working on. I'm fighting the urge to make a Wal Mart run for more acrylic.

I want afghans. Like the one in the top picture, which is crocheted, not knitted, but only a couple of family members would know the difference and that's because Great Grandma didn't knit. At least I don't think she did-- she did everything else, so maybe she did knit and we just don't have any surviving examples of her skill.

That afghan is scratchy. If I wasn't so sure it was acrylic, I'd swear that it was partially felted. But she didn't use wool as far as anyone knows. Can acrylic start to felt after 30some years? Did wool come in that nasty shade of green?

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The log cabin is growing quickly. I'm knitting away, trying not to think about things like how easy it would be to whip one up in Softee Chunky as a baby gift. Because even though I've cheated like crazy on my yarn diet, I'm going to start being good and resisting temptation. Wish I'd bought a bunch of Denim Style when Wal Mart had it on clearance, because that stuff would make a wonderful squishy cuddly log cabin....

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I've been wanting a huge garter stitch or stockinette thing, a project that's always there waiting for me to pick it up and knit another few rows, no matter how my other projects are going or how loud the kids are or what kind of mood I'm in. No counting, no shaping, just lots and lots of knitting.

The ball band dishcloths are great, but they only take two or three hours and then I've got to pick new colors and cast on a new one. Too much thinking and counting involved, even if it is only 40 stitches at a time.

This is starting to seem like the perfect project:

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Sure, there's a lot of binding and off and picking up stitches, but I don't have to count them. I've got a vague plan and a laundry basket full of cheap acrylic in colors that thrill me.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Edited 1/31/13 -- These socks are no longer with me. They went through the laundry in a pair of jeans and they're not the same. The wonderful cables just don't show up now that they've been felted. They were my all-time favorite knit socks, so maybe it's time to think about knitting another pair!

This post is linked to Show us Your Socks at Patchwork Times.




These are neat. They've got a fancy looking cable on the top of the foot. They only took two skeins of Knitpicks Wool of the Andes. The pattern is an internet freebie. And because they're worsted weight on size 6 needles, they knit up faster than you'd think a pair of size ten socks possibly could.

Socks knit in this gauge might not be suited for long term wear, but I but they'll be just great for keeping my toes warm when I'm knitting on the couch at 2am. And fun to knit beats practical every time as far as I'm concerned. I'm going to do more of these with different stitch patterns on the tops. There's another free sock pattern at d-made -- Rapunzel Socks, which I'm determined to make as soon as I get my hands on the right shade of yellow wool. I've got two skeins of Highland Wool in a gorgeous blue green heathered color and a book full of stitch patterns...

This could become a whole new obsession if I had more wool and wasn't on that stupid yarn diet, which I've broken too many times to even think about another yarn order anytime soon.

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And I discovered the Garterlac Dischloth. It's a fun project -- and a lot easier than I thought it would be -- but it's not a ballband warshrag. I don't think I can knit one of these with kids climbing on me, but I said that about the ballband cloth, and by the second one I could do it without the pattern. Maybe I'll get that way with the Garterlac cloth if I knit enough of 'em. Bet they'll make good hospital knitting...
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