Friday, February 29, 2008

My little boys need socks, so I dug out a skein of Knitpicks Felici and cast on with the Harmony dpns I got for Christmas. I haven't knit socks in a very long time. It took a while for my fingers to get used to the needles and yarn and I've made more weird little, easily fixed, mistakes than I can figure out, but I'm happily getting the hang of this again.




The Felici socks were done in a couple of days, so I dug out the Trampoline Stretch and cast on a second pair. Then I got to worrying what I'd do when they were done. I knew there was a single skein of Regia something-or-other, but the rest of my sock yarn was in 100 gram quantities. I'm not going to use half of one skein and leave the rest, and I'm not going to knit four pairs in the same color.

I had myself halfway convinced that I needed more sock yarn, but I dug through the stash and reality has sunk in. I've got enough for at least five more pairs without digging into sock yarn that's intended for adult feet, or resorting to wildly inappropriate colors.

I don't know if I'll finish that many pairs or not -- after seeing how quickly these little socks fly off the needles I'm about ready to cast on a new pair for myself.

And I'm going to make toddler sized Sock Blockers out of place mats. If I can find some appropriate place mats. Walmart didn't have any -- at least not in the section where the place mats are. After we left the store I remembered seeing some once by the little plastic dinner sets. So we'll have to go back.

Value Village had one plastic place mat. It's clear with pink and brown swirls on it, and I plan to use it for sock blockers for me.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

a pretty little wisp of lace

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My Chapel Veil almost met a tragic end when I got bored with casting off and walked away from it. I know better than to do that, but I tempted fate and the next time I saw my lace, half of the stitches were dangling loosely and there was a deep ragged tear where a pretty scallop should have been.

It was gruesome -- almost too awful for this former horror writer to deal with. (I suspect that it was attacked by the same little guy who stuffed my sock yarn down the heating vent so that I had to put my arm in up to the shoulder to get it all back. I'm still not sure I got it all, and even though I asked nicely, Bill won't crawl under the house and open up the duct to check.)

Even though I knew the veil was beyond rescue, I started picking up stitches to see what I could do and I fixed it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's like giving a mouse a cookie.

Let your daughter see you working on a quilt (or knitting a Mystery Stole, or a sock, or anything else remotely related to pretty fiber stuff) and she'll want to know if it's hard and what materials you're using and if she can make one herself.

Then she'll go running for the basket of fabric Great-Grandma gave her for her birthday and start pulling things out and planning colors and stealing your magazine so she can try making one basket.

The cord from her sewing machine won't reach from the kitchen table to the outlet, so she'll need to use your machine. And iron. And rotary cutter.

Cutting strips to the exact right size is hard, so you'll wind up cutting them for her.

The bobbin thread will run out, so you'll wind another one even though you just filled the thing and had to rethread the machine six times to get the tension to come out right, because the machine is a spoiled little thing that must have things exactly its way.

She'll get the baskets done (four, not just the one she originally planned) and need the setting triangles. Then she'll need the first border. She doesn't have any cuts of fabric big enough for the second set of triangles, so she'll want to raid your stash....

And when you convince her that'll have to wait until tomorrow, she'll start piecing scraps together and making a tote bag. Her brother will think that's a pretty cool idea and talk her into making one for him and then you'll have to wind another bobbin...

Every time I turn around, the machine is whirring and the iron is hissing steam and SHE IS IN MY WAY! I tried to talk Bill into taking her out to the barn and teaching her to use power tools, but he didn't go for it. Maybe I can give her a socket set and point her in the direction of one of the parts rigs out back...

When I can actually get at my own stuff, I've been cutting up scraps into three inch squares that I'm going to piece into shaded nine-patch blocks. If my math is right, I'm going to need about seven hundred of them. Which is a scary-lot, but I can't find my fusible web and don't really want to applique flowers today anyhow.

There are pictures of some of the new Knitpicks yarn! I want it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

This unexpectedly productive streak seems to be picking up speed!

I'm ready to turn the heel of Quinn's second sock. They're just basic toe up toddler socks, but I'm using the new Harmony needles I got for Christmas and self-striping yarn and having a lot of fun with them.

Thursday night I cast on for a Half Circle Chapel Veil. I don't know why I think I need this, because as romantic as a veil sounds, I don't belong to one of the religions that wears head-coverings and I suppose it would look odd to wear one just because it's so pretty. The pattern says it can be a shawl, so that justifies it. Not that I wouldn't knit a pretty something I have no use for -- but it's nice to have a reason.

I'm using Knitpicks Palette and loving the way it works up on size 10 1/2 needles, plotting another shawl with the leftovers from my Mystery Stole. At that gauge, there might be enough yarn for something pretty.

I also did some more work on the basket quilt.



That's two afternoons of sewing and cutting and I'm pleasantly suprised to realize that I can do borders after all and they're not the big scary deal I expected them to be. I've still got about fifty flowers to applique in the baskets and along the white border, but this is looking awfully close to a quilt top.

All of the fabric is from my stash, and I've already got the fabric and pattern picked out for the next quilt top, one with pieced blocks and appliqued kittens.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

We stayed home today! And in the time that I didn't have to spend behind the wheel, I dug out my sewing machine and did this --

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The pattern is for one of the magazines I found at the library Tuesday. It's going to have flowers appliqued in the baskets and a bunch of borders, if I can convince myself to use the blue and pink fabric I dug out.

Because I wasn't excited about knitting on anything in particular last night, I made myself finish Leif's sweater --

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It came out slightly better than I expected, but the sleeves are impossibly skinny. I think I had gauge issues. And it took two more tries to get the neck ribbing right. But I did manage to make the set in sleeves work without any problems, so that gives me hope for future projects.

I'm heading back to the sewing machine now...that basket quilt is just too much fun!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My entire day has been spent getting ready for bedtime. I've done the dishes, got the laundry mountain caved down to an acceptably sized hill, made sure the schoolwork got done, fed and watered the chickens, got everyone to karate and back in one piece...and now I'm just about ready to tuck them all into bed.

Then I get to knit.

I've been planning this all day and it just hit me that I've spent the whole day getting ready to knit and I don't have a clue what I plan to work on. Probably Mystic Waters or the pair of socks I'm making for Quinn, because those are what's on the needles. I could finish that awful cabled sweater for Leif, which might only take a couple of hours...or sew the handles onto Trimiters....

I've been distracted from my actual projects by some wonderful rumors. They say that the Knitpicks podcast (which my dial up connection won't let me listen to, so I'll have to rely on second hand informations) said there'll be new colors of Shadows soon -- and lacewight Gloss!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I really wanted to skip today. The week hasn't gone well. It started with the piercing migraine that would not die, and now that the pain has faded enough for me to be upright again, I guess I'm supposed to do something about the fact that there isn't a clean dish or a clean towel in the house. I've been washing dishes and laundry for two days now, but I'm not making any progress.

Think it's like those stretches of knitting where you seem to spend a solid week going backward and then suddenly everything is miraculously done? I don't.

And, because I'm not stressed enough, Leif had a doctor's appointment today -- probably what caused the migraine in the first place, because I can't possibly describe how much I dread taking him in to see the doctor. And this time we were going because there was something wrong and I fully expected her to schedule surgery or refer him to a specialist.

We made the run to Salem yesterday for Alex's belated birthday party, today to see the doctor, and I get to do it again tomorrow for karate. Just in case I find any possible reason for us to stay home tomorrow, we hit the library and grocery store before we went to the doctor.

I also thought about stopping at Joann's for the new Quilter's Newsletter, but convinced myself to be good. I've got a long tradition of rewarding myself with yarn for surviving doctor's appointments. But this time I was going to tough it out without a fibery reward. The universe apparently had other plans.

On my way to the reserve shelf to pick up Bag Style, I saw a quilting magazine sitting on the free magazine bench. It was stacked there with about ten other old issues of Quilter's Newsletter and a couple of brand new ones -- including the one I'd just talked myself out of going to Joann's for! I scooped them up into the stroller, checked the rest of the magazines on the bench to make sure there were no more treasures, then went to get my books and round up the big kids.

Quinn had to run over and look at the snake mural before we went upstairs. He had to run over and look at it again while I was in the checkout line. And while I was trying to wrangle him out to the car, I almost tripped over a paper grocery sack sitting next to the magazine bench. The one that was full of fifty more quilting magazines. Which I would have totally missed if he wasn't throwing that particular tantrum.

And it turns out that Leif is just fine and probably will outgrow his hernia without needing surgery. Yippee!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Turns out I do like the Mystery Stole after all. (Sorry Rachel, I'm gonna keep it for me -- but thanks for offering to take it off my hands!) I wore it yesterday when we went to the nursery to look for more apple trees, and it fits fine. Could be Aa few inchesa longer, but I'm not going to rip back and change it now. I'f I'm going to concentrate on lace, it's going to be Mystic Waters.

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Now I've got to figure out what I was doing with my WIPs before the week long lace binge.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ulterior Motives

We all know the real reason I was so anxious to get Mystery Stole 3 off the needles and (sort of) blocked. I was dying to cast on for Mystic Waters.

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After a disastrous first attempt with the Elann Super Kydd I'd planned to use, I cast on again with Palette. I love this stuff for lace! It's pretty. It's dirt cheap. It's got a bit more substance than laceweight, but is still delicate.

I've got a sudden urge to start stockpiling more of the stuff, but that'll have to wait until I build up my Cash for Stash balance again. I was still a few dollars in the hole and then I went to Joann's today armed with a handful of 40% off coupons.

The whole purpose of the trip was to find some handles for Trimiters. The ones I found aren't my dream purse straps (I would've preferred something longer and less sticky-vinyl-y), but they were cuter and a lot cheaper than I expected to find.

I was hoping they'd have the issue of Craft with the hatching chick pattern, but they didn't. So I got one of my favorite quilting magazines and the new issue of Vogue Knitting.

Buried in that mess of garish sweaters, there are a couple of articles about lace and patterns for nine shawls. I definitely plan to tackle the Nicky Epstein one and maybe a couple of the others.

We also braved the bead section at Craft Warehouse to find beads to go with my yarn for Ice Queen. I found some sparkly foil-lined ones like the pattern calls for and once I figure out where my itty bitty crochet hooks got to, I may be ready to try beads sometime soon.

Monday, February 11, 2008

No more rows to knit!

Not on this incarnation of Mystery Stole 3, at least. When Bill decided to go to bed last night, I still had four rows left to go and decided to stay up until they were done. It took longer than it seemed like it should and as soon as I bound off the last stitch I decided that I hated it, but it's looking better all stretched out by the light of day. It'll need a better blocking job, but this works for now.

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I got up early this morning and did the last row of triangles and picked up the stitches for the bottom edge of Trimiters.

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And then I had to check my Ravelry notebook to see what else is on my needles because I've been so obessed with the stole that my other wips got lost.

I just proofread this and realized that I need to explain myself better. I don't hate my Mystery Stole. I'm just not sure I love the wing as much as I love the first half. I love all of the others I've seen pictures of, so I'm sure mine will grow on me once it's dry enoug hto try on.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I need to find more boxes

My freshly arranged sock yarn got me so excited I decided to find some regular boxes and put my cheap acrylic on end the same way. That was after I convinced myself that it was a bad idea to take the fabric out of the bookcase and put the yarn there.

Five boxes later, I've got most of the nice acrylic organized and I'm convinced that this is good system. The matching skeins are all right next to each other and (if I can remember which box is where and what yarn is in it) I can get at them easily.

Now what do I do with the yarn that's not going to sit nicely on end in boxes? I suppose I break out the ZipLock Big Bags and sort it into groups, then decide where to go from there. Some of it -- like the million partial skeins of dishcloth cotton and weird thrift store and auction stuff -- is never going to be perfectly organized.

But I'm getting there. Maybe tomorrow I can find more boxes and figure out how to neatly wedge yarn into them.

I've been drooling over the new patterns at Drops Design, especially these socks. I want them. Enough that I went googling to try to find some Eskimo, which apparently costs more than the price listed on the pattern. I can't quite imagine super bulky lace socks, but that doesn't stop me from wanting a pair.

The DROPS socks in Domino Diamonds are breathtaking, but I don't think I've got the skills or patience to pull them off.

And this bag had me all set to cast on until I looked a second time and realized that it was crochet. I don't see why I can't miter myself some squares and make a knit one.

I'm also intrigued by this and this. My dial up connection won't load the whole page, so I'm sure I'm missing some other pretty projects that I'd be drooling over.

Eight more rows to go on the Mystery Stole. I think I'm in one of those knitting time warps where you knit for hours and wind up in exactly the same place you started.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I'm glad I don't know

The other day I found a Ravelry thread about how much people spend a year on stash. Some of the numbers were just unreal -- FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS?! There was more than one woman claiming totals close to that.

I don't know what I spend on yarn a year, but it's a whole lot less than that. I agree with the lady who said it was like knowing how many carlories are in a bag of cookies -- some things just shouldn't be known. Whatever I've spent on yarn the past few years, it was within our means and budget and that's all I have to be absolutely sure of.

Some things are fun to figure out, like how many skeins of yarn I do have in the stash (hovering right around 700), or what I could knit with that yarn. I sat down with a printout of my Ravelry stash and came up with a partial list:

82 pairs of socks
14 laceweight projects
25 toddler/kid sweaters
10 sweaters for myself
10 summer tops for myself

I could see myself getting through the sweaters and tops and lace...and the sock yarn doesn't have to be socks...

And out of curiousity, I decided to figure out about how much I spent on the yarn I actually knit up last year. It came up to about $300. So did the yarn I used in 2006. So I can justify spending at least that much a year -- as long as I conveniently forget that I've already got 10 years worth sitting here.

And while I was watching the kids watch The Blob, I decided to pull together the new sock yarn from Elann with the rest of my solid sock yarn and lace weight and put them in the hat boxes Grandma got me for Christmas. I used all four had to go out to the sewing room to find another hat box, then thought about taking back the one I just gave Alex for her new calligraphy stuff.



This is so much better than the Zip Lock big bag the sock yarn was in before! The matching skeins are all next to each other and I can see what I've got without spreading it all over the floor.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

67 rows to go

I'm a little obsessed right now. The end of my Mystery Stole is in sight and I'm getting desperate to see how it all works out.



I probably shouldn't have shortened it, but so many of the shawls I've made have been way too long that it seemed like a good idea at the time. And I'm not ripping out all of those short rows now. It'll probably grow when I block it. Or it'll make a nice decoration for the back of my rocking chair.

I'm so in love with lace right now. The lace I'm knitting...the lace I want to be knitting...the pretty lace I'm drooling over on Ravelry that I'll never knit because it's in some obscure out of print publication in a language I don't read...

I am printing out all sorts of shawl patterns in languages I don't read, but that's different.

And I should find some file folders and make sure I'm getting all of the clues from the KALs printed out and in order...

But right now I'm going to make a batch of French Toast and then see how many of those 67 rows I can get done before I have to go to bed.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The pattern for the shark hat is up! Quinn's favorite description of things is that "it will EAT people!" I need to knit that hat.

And after, oh 10 or 15 tries to download it, the pattern is printing -- yippee!
But the grey yarn is in the sewing room and I'm not really crazed enough to bundle up and rummage through my stash with a flashlight.

Not when I'm soooo close to finishing clue #5 of my Mystery Stole. Five more rows, and then it's on to clue #6. I'm starting to think I may actually finish this thing!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Do shawls have sequels? Or are they called something else?

I found out yesterday that there's a follow-up to Mystic Waters -- Mystic Light -- which starts on my birthday. And I got all excited because I've got two different lace weights that are nice and flamey...then I read the messages today and found out I need fingering weight.

Which isn't a bad thing. I like knitting lace with fingering weight. Palette is cheap, and either Salsa Heather or Golden Heather would make me happy. Not that I'm ordering any right this second. I'm being good and trying to have some self restraint.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I've been torn. Deep, deep in my heart I know that what I wanted most was that new sock yarn from Elann. But there are all of those new shawl KALs just starting and, even though I've got plenty of laceweight, none of it's in large enough quantities to start Spring Suprise or any of the others.

Since I've got a secret hope that Knitpicks will eventually have new laceweight colors (there's gotta be a reason they just discontinued so many, doesn't there?), I ordered the sock yarn and also bought the pattern for the Mystic Waters Shawl.

There's logic here! I've been waiting an eternity for that sock yarn and it was always supposed to be the thing I could break my yarn diet for. I've got enough blue yarn to knit Mystic Waters -- I missed the deadline for the KAL so I've been sulking and waiting for the pattern to go on sale.

While I'm waiting for laceweight that may not even exist, I can work on some socks and Mystic Waters and my Mystery Stole and try to build up my Cash for Stash savings.

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I cast on those mitts again and this time they came out. The stitch pattern doesn’t show very well in the pictures or real life, but I’m so excited about the color and the fit that I don’t care. Who says that cables have to jump out at you from across the room? I used two strands of the Red Heart Soft and probably have enough left for a hat or another pair of mittens.

TriMiters is coming along. I just need to do the bottom and figure out what kind of straps I want. And hope the washer is working when it's time to felt it. Six visits from the appliance guy since December 12th and it's still not right.

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And I've cast on another sweater for Alex, hopefully to replace the pink one I made her out of Softee Chunky that she's still wearing four years later. As soon as I got going on that, though, I realized I want those needles for a sweater for myself.

There's gotta be another long Denise cable around here someplace...

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