Wednesday, June 29, 2005

If I'd knit a couple more rows on my scarf and bound it off before frogging the whole thing, would that have counted as a finished object?

Instead of working on one of the projects I had laid out, I wound up playing with a skein of Sari that's been again in my stash for quite a while. The pattern I ordered it for uses size 50 needles, which I still don't have. So I swatched with my 35s and discovered that there is no way on this earth I'm knitting anything on those. So I cast on with some 13s and made most of a very cute scarf. I dropped every third stitch so it had more texture. The bronze and copper colors of the yarn were gorgeous....... I was happy with it until I realized that it wasn't going to use anywhere near the full ball of yarn, even if I added fringe. Using half of the ball on a scarf I probably won't ever wear seemed wrong, and at about that time I dropped the wrong stitch and instead of fixing it, I unravelled the whole thing and put it away until I think of something more useful to make with it. Or more fun.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Don't know what to do with myself...

I get to knit tonight. After spending most of the day sorting through stuff and putting together the 18 boxes of books I hauled to GoodWill, I deserve a long stretch of time to work on whatever I want to. Too bad I don't know what I want to work on!

Not the round baby blanket. Or the Euroflax stole. Those are my big no-concentration projects.

Maybe the notebook cover, which I started last night. It'll probably be more fun once my first triangle is wide enough and I get to start the short rows.

I could swatch for Spring Fling....or Trellis (after the trip to GoodWill, we stopped at Tuesday Morning for three skeins of Pistachio Cotto-Ease)...or I could dig out the pattern for Ruffles and start it with the pink Cotton Plus....the sock yarn won't get the gauge the neat sock pattern calls for, so that won't work...

There's got to be something exciting in that pile of pretty yarn!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Black Sheep Gathering

I love the Black Sheep Gathering. I love my little baby who let me haul him around the Black Sheep Gathering for six hours, only fussing when a sheep made a loud scary noise at him, and my five year old who put up with the experience. Alex doesn't get any credit because she was having as much fun as I was.

That lace knitting I thought I was doing? My lace is nothing like the beautiful creations I saw today! Skaska Designs had a booth draped with the most beautiful shawls -- so many it was impossible to take them all in.

I saw the Heirloom Baby Aran from IK knitted up, and I've definitely got to work up the courage to tackle this one before Quinn is bigger than the largest size.

I think I found out what I'm doing wrong with my spinning.

And as a souvenir, I bought a skein of gorgeous lace weight alpaca to use for the Flared Lace Smoke Ring. That should last longer than a t-shirt, right?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Packing and Abandoned Plans

I'm packing today. It's not fun. I'm only doing it because I'm hoping to make it to the Black Sheep Gathering on Saturday and don't want to be reminded that I should be working on the house.

I tried to work on the Sunshine Sweater this morning while the ER reruns were on. Packing is more fun than struggling with that d--- sweater. So it's been laid to rest. After wrestling with it for a whole fifteen minutes, I came to the conclusion that since it won't fit Heath now and wouldn't fit Quinn until he's at least three, since the yarn hurts my hands, and since I can't remember how to do the slip stitch color pattern, there's no reason to suffer through it just because months ago I spent ten bucks on yarn and finished two sleeves. I transferred the live stitches to a length of waste yarn, wrote down what needles I was using and what size I was making on the working copy of the pattern, and shoved the whole mess into a mesh laundry bag which I'll hide somewhere in the rest of the stash until I find a new use for the yarn or decide to finish the sweater after all, and removed it from my list of WIPs. It's gone and I feel good about it.

There were six projects on the list that made up the plan. I've finished three and will finish the second bootie as soon as I unearth the stupid book with the pattern in it. That only leaves the cardigan which needles sleeves and seams. It's warm and getting warmer -- I'm not convinced I need to finish a heavy cardigan right now.

And if I'm going to pack everything we own into endless boxes, I deserve to spend the rest of my time knitting something fun!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

High Stress Knitting

I don't felt often. I love the look of felted knits, it's just that the process of felting scares the pants off me. There's no turning back if it goes horribly wrong. Not that I've had anything go wrong yet, but it could and if I'd spent a lot of money on pretty yarn that turned into a worthless mess it'd take me a long time to get over it.

I had the patterns for the Buttonhole Bag and the sweater with the little horsies on it in a project bag with the yarn and needles, so last night after the kids were in bed I cast on and started knitting before I lost my nerve. By midnight, I had the horses almost done and was starting to worry that the stranded color work might not felt right. I was a good little knitter and waited until morning to finish the top handles instead of rushing through them and trying to felt it at 2am. Which I've done before -- that's definitely hard on the nerves!

I can't believe how easily this thing felted. Four minutes of agitation and it looked pretty good. A couple more minutes and it was done! I did knit a swatch and sort of felt it in the sink to make sure the different brands of wool I used would play nicely together, but I'm still amazed it felted so quickly.

 I used a single strand of worsted weight wool (Plymouth Galway and Knitpicks WOTA) and sort of kind of followed the pattern for the shaping, adding increase rows to get enough stitches for the horse pattern,making it taller, and making the buttonholes wider. The whole process probably didn't take more than four hours total.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Summer of Lace...and Socks...And Embroidery...

I finished the Cathedral Window Shawl without making a total mess of it!

After lots of false starts over a period of months and months, things suddenly came together and got easy. I even managed to graft the two sides together instead of doing the three needle bindoff that was going to be my last resort.

I'm please with the way it came out. Actually, I'm on the verge of jumping up and down and screaming. This was a big finish, the kind that under normal circumstances would justify buying wonderful new yarn. Or at least something to wear under it, since I obviously wasn't thinking about what would match the grape yarn when I ordered it from Elann.

Actually, I'm not sure when or if I'll wear it outside. This thing weighs an absolute ton. I spent real money on the yarn, unlike Clapotis which materialized out of yardsale stuff and can get tossed into the stroller or backseat without guilt. Which means it's handy when I need it. I feel like I've got to take better care of Cathedral Windows which, knowing me, means it's going to be hidden out of sight and I'll forget it's there.

Next step in the lacey summer...probably more of the Euroflax Stole...a pi shawl if I can figure out where I put the yarn and if it still seems like a good idea after I swatch it. This morning, I was dreaming so vividly of knitting that it was a shock to wake up and realize that there wasn't a shawl in the bed with me.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I really do knit!

When I'm not reading blogs and following links to neat patterns for aprons and lacy baby bonnets, I do get some knitting done:

Not bad for 4 days of off and on knitting, especially on a project that's been jinxed for the past seven months! And I've been hauling it around with me, knitting while I watch the kids play outside and wait for Alex to get through with her Karate class. There are a few little mistakes, and the second row of windows is one row shorter than the others, but since I did the first half while I was in the hospital and heavily medicated and know I was making mistakes then, I'm not worried about making this half perfect. I don't knit perfect things.

Four more repeats to go, then I've got to weave in a lot of ends and learn to graft garter stitch. Or whatever it takes to hold both halves together.

Tonight's obsession is BAGS. The sewing tote I got the pattern for on the shop hop last week...the patchwork one I think I can make with the squares of flannel I got in the grab bag I bought on the shop hop...the wedding ring bag I found in The Ultimate Collection of Classic Quilt Blocks...the bag Mom and I both fell in love with on the shop hop and were told there wasn't a pattern for (but she found the pattern at several different quilt shops while she was shopping with a friend this week -- yippee!!)...and the idea that I might be able to use a slip stitched pattern on a Button Bag.

I'm going to stay up late and watch movies and play. Hopefully the rest of the family will cooperate!

Friday, June 17, 2005

I've gotten myself a bit lost

I can't tear myself away from the Garnstudio website. All of those wristwarmer patterns I fell in love with a while back are there -- and they're free. They're also in Norwegian, but that's a teeny tiny little detail.

As if the pretty wristwarmers weren't enough, their baby patterns are spectacular. This and that in particular. Not that there's any way I'm going to learn to knit patterns like that, let alone patterns like that in a language I don't speak, before my baby is too big for them, but this is fantasy knitting.

I printed up this wristwarmer pattern, along with their page of knitting term translations and my Googling also turned up
Norwegian to English Knitting Lessons It must be possible to knit from these patterns, or American LYSs wouldn't be selling them. I do wonder why the catalog didn't mention that the patterns weren't in English. If I'd splurged to order a pattern I couldn't read, I would not have been a happy knitter!

Before I got all obsessed by the pretty Norwegian stuff, I jumped on the bandwagon that's taking everyone to Tuesday Morning and came home with two bags of Wool-Ease Sportweight, which I haven't been able to find locally. Three skeins of black, for the Knitty Spring Fling cardigan (thought I was going to have to do it in a baby color or wait months and months for the Mill End Store to have a 25% off coupon and then hope I had money by then) and three skeins of the natural color for socks or a baby aran or I don't know what. I didn't buy any Cotton-Ease, then I got home and found out that it's the exact gauge and fiber content as the two tops from Rebecca I want to try resizing. I'm trying very hard to be good and stay away from the tempting yarn. I don't know if I can successfully resize the patterns or not. If I do make them fit, they wouldn't be practical for nursing in. I really don't need this yarn right now. But I do kinda want it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I did it! Just like the pattern said, I finished Lolita Toes with one skein of Fixation. I used the ankle from a different pattern to make them shorter, but I also wear a size 10 shoe, so I'm sure it somehow balances out. They're done, and I didn't run out of yarn, and they fit!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Bad Bonnet Sue

I'm in a weird mood today. It started out with a search for traditional Sunbonnet Sue patterns, or maybe some redwork, and I wound up here. I like the devil Sue, and the Lizzie Borden Sue -- they're cute. Sue sitting on the toilet or mooning people is just a bit too tacky and crude for my taste. I'd rather see her freezing on a life preserver while the Titanic goes down behind her, or hanging out of the mouth of a gator.

And those reminded me of the Touch My Scissors and Die wall quilt we saw on the shop hop. Mom didn't approve. I doubt she'd like BadBonnet Sue much, either.

My Lolita toes are coming along nicely, and it looks like I may really have enough yarn to finish them. I think I'm going to make the ankle more like these instead of the picot edge the pattern calls for. Since this is another pattern that says you can make a pair of socks with one skein of fixation, I'm feeling pretty optimistic. And I'm loving the way the yarn is working up. It's tiger lace!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

I had this plan to finish my old WIPs before we moved, then I refined it to "Finish them before we close on the house or frog them and get rid of the yarn." Since the seller was planning on paying rent after our closing date and staying in the house until mid-August, it was a very reasonable plan that still left me time to pack and dabble with new projects. Now he's calling to see if we can close on July 5th or 6th and they'll be out by the 18th.

So, do I stop casting on interesting new projects and stick to the plan to get this stuff done? Give up the green sweater and the yarn that was going to be Pixie Boots and finish the stuff I'm most excited about? Or just be happy that I'm getting my house soon and that before long we'll be out of here and settled there so I can knit and quilt and whatever to my heart's content and stuff the old WIPs into the darkest corner of the new sewing room?

I'm leaning toward the third choice.

Friday, June 10, 2005

I am so tired! Mom and I (and Dad and the kids) went on a quilt shop hop today. I had to be at their house before 7am and didn't get back here until almost 8. It was exhausting, but definitely worth it. All but two of the eight shops were new to me and most had lots of pretty stuff to look at, but I didn't buy much.

I got some cheap but very cute novelty fabric to try making these pants for the baby. Scroll
down past the cool knitting patterns to get to them. I'm also thinking
about trying the mitered felted bag and the baby hats. Because even though
my little guy doesn't wear his hats, I like knitting them.

At the last shop, I fell in love with the shop model for this, which would make a great project bag. The store on the front is embroidered, and I'm sure I can figure out a way to put a spinning wheel in one of the empty windows and add a couple of yarn references.

I also found a card with a really intriguing picture and quote that I plan on hanging in the new sewing room. I'm not sure exactly what it means, but I like it.

I was very tempted by some fabric with Day of the Dead type skeletons on it, and a print that was like an indian map from an old children's picture book. And the Japanese magazines. But I was good. There will still be great stuff in the shops later, after we're out of this house and have it sold. That's what the Yarn Harlot said in her book and right now while I'm trying to be so good and frugal, I'm choosing to believe her.

Since I knew we were going to spend most of the day driving, I thought I'd work on the new shawl. It seemed like a good idea for about the first dozen knit stitches. Either I'm too clutzy, the Euroflax is too slippery and splitty, or Highway 26 is too bumpy. At least I know I'm not missing out on tons of potential knitting time during our long road trips.

And I'm almost afraid to admit it, but I did check for the second Mystery Stole clue before I left the house this morning. It wasn't there yet, but it is now, and I've got it printed off and ready to go.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Not Like Costco Socks are done, done, DONE! That last few inches of ribbing seemed to take forever.

Now I can go back to my Lolita Toes, which I just re-started, and the Euroflax shawl which I finally got gutsy enough to cast on, and whatever else sounds fun.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Mystery Stole Along

For the first time ever, I've managed to start a knitalong at the same time as everyone else! I was still on the couch at two thirty this morning, working on Step One of the Mystery Stole Along. It was almost done at midnight, when I suddenly started dropping stitches left and right and wound up so frustrated I cut the whole thing off the needles. Then, since I was starting over anyway, I had to go online and find a better way to do the provisional cast on. And once I had the 111 stitches on my needles again, I had to keep going. I would've been knitting even later than that, but I convinced myself I should get some sleep before the kid leapt out of bed to start their day.

The most exciting part of this project so far has been the swatch. Feather and Fan really is as easy as everyone says it is! So while I wait for Step Two, I think I'm going to dig out that Euroflax I've been so afraid of and cast on the shawl it was supposed to become.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Just because I have three pairs of size six dpns and two pairs of size six circulars does not mean that I should use them for the round baby blanket I started last night. That wasn't obvious at midnight, but by around two am it finally hit me that my gauge was probably a whole lot tighter than it needed to be. I want a finished blanket that will drape gently over the baby, not stand up by itself. So I'm gonna use the second skein to swatch with bigger needles and see how that feels.

I love this color, enough to convince me that I don't hate Red Heart Supersaver quite as much as I thought I did.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

My DPNs needed a new home too

For the past few days, I've been drooling over blogs with pictures of bags and pincushions and other wonderful stuff. It must've sparked something, because tonight I wound up digging out a Pendleton shirt I felted a couple of years ago and then buried in my stash. I'm not quite sure what I originally planned to make with it, but suddenly it needed to be a needleroll.

I've needed one of these for ages, but making one from scratch seemed like too much work, and I'm way too cheap to buy one of the ones at the LYS. Then someone on one of the lists suggested making one from a quilted placemat and it seemed like the perfect solution, until I tried Walmart and a couple of thrift stores and couldn't find a placemat I liked even a little bit. So I forgot about it.

And then this afternoon it struck me that I could use the felted shirt. Just cut a rectangle and fold it and stitch to form the little pockets for the needles. And since it's plaid, I had straight lines to cut and stitch along.

Think I'll stop losing whole sets of DPNs now?

Plan #1

I've got a plan. Actually, I've got many plans that involve finishing all of my current wips before moving into the new house and knitting lace curtains and cutting up a (deliberately) felted Pendleton shirt to make a needleroll for my DPNs. And packing lots of boxes.

Plan #1 is to finish my currents WIPs before our closing date. I've got fifty days, which means if I finish a project a week, I've got more than enough time to get them all done and still cast on some new stuff.

Clapotis was on the list, but it flew off the needles as quickly as it jumped on.

The Costco Socks are coming along well, especially now that I know exactly what size they need to be. I need to frog Lolita Toes and make the foot a bit snugger and the heel less ugly. The Pixie Boot doesn't excite me at all, so I'm going to start a different pair of booties with the yarn I have left, and frog this one if there isn't enough.

I love my Cathedral Window Shawl, but can't seem to finish it. When I was sleep deprived and heavily medicated, I knit the first half without any trouble. I probably could've finished it there in the hospital, but I hit the center point and my little windows looked a lot different once I was increasing for them instead of decreasing, so I put it aside to knit baby hats and figure out what to do. I like the windows on the first half much better, so the plan is to knit another piece like the first one and graft them together. But now that I'm rested and coherent, I can't make the stitch pattern work.

The cardigan intimidates me. I don't know why, especially now that I've finished the tricky interlock part. All it needs is a pair of sleeves.

I'm even less enthusiastic about The Sunshine Sweater than I am about the Pixie Boot. I'd stopped enjoying it even before the discussion about cotton and all of the nasty things it can do came up on the knittingparents list. The pattern called for Lion Kitchen Cotton, so that's what I bought. Now I'm wishing I'd started it in acrylic. Since I don't need a zillion green dishcloths, I'm going to knit the front and back and wait until Quinn grows into it. Or give it away. Gotta use the yarn so I won't feel guilty for wasting eight bucks on it.

When I get them all done, I'm going to treat myself to the perfect yarn for a flared smoke ring.


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