Sunday, December 31, 2006

my 2006 year end totals

2005 turned out to be my year for knitting big flat things that didn't require gauge swatches, so producing some actual sweaters and things that fit was one of my goals for 2006. I'd hoped to finish a sweater for each kid, but Alex wound up with three little summer tops. Leif got a pullover and two cardigans, Quinn got his Green Bamboo Cardi, and Heath got that camouflage raglan that makes everyone's eyes hurt.

I only made four pairs of socks -- two for Heath and two for me. One of my pairs was worsted weight anklets. The other pair was the stockinette Regia Jubilee socks that I finished over the course of two road trips. Socks -- pretty ones with cables and lace -- will be a priority for 2007!

Six scarves, fifteen dishcloths, two pairs of mittens, four pairs of fingerless gloves (and I still need to make something to keep my own hands warm), three hats for my own kids, eighteen premie hats that I need to send to the hospital, two stuffed animals, two bags and a box, a little shrug, a couple of little baby gifts...and I pieced two little quilt tops that need borders and backs and binding so they can do more than sit quietly folded in a drawer.

I finished a lot of little projects this year, none of them spectacular. The big projects that I did tackle are still on my needles, so I guess I've got a head start on some big finishes for 2007.

My favorite new knitting book for the year started out as Mason Dixon Knitting, which had no competition until I got my hands on Victorian Lace Today earlier this month. Now I'm torn. The lace book makes my heart go pitty-pat and my knees go weak as I fantasize about creating things like that with my own yarn and needles, but MD Knitting is such a fun read and has a bunch of projects I actually made. Trying to decide between the two is comparing apples to oranges. I know I bought some other knitting books this year, but they weren't nearly as exciting.

I learned how to make cables wander across my knitting (the Traveller Socks and the Cleo clutch) and, thanks to Bonnie for posting the link to the Knitting Pure and Simple baby cardigan, and Christine for telling me about the Incredible, Custom-Fit Raglan Sweater, I fell in love with the concept of top down raglans. I don't know if one would work for me, but for the kids, they're the best idea ever. I keep looking at sweater patterns that appeal to me and trying to figure out if I can take the details that I like and slap 'em onto a raglan.

Tomorrow I'll post my list of what I think I might knit in 2007.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

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I'm not planning to make more socks on the Knifty Knitter any time soon. It would've been much faster on dpns, and I could've made them a perfect fit. But it was a fun little challenge and now Alex has a pair of ridiculously thick slipper socks and I've used up what I think was the last skein of Wool Ease Thick and Quick from my stash.

I bought it, along with a blue skein, when I first started knitting and had some vague plan to make scarves for the kids. The blue skein did become a scarf with a cable down the middle, and the natural colored leftovers from the Learn to Knit kit that started this whole obsession wound up as a baby sweater that could stand up by itself. I don't expect to buy any more of it -- unless maybe I find two matching skeins dirt cheap. That sock pattern on the ball band intrigues me. I don't think I'd enjoy working on size 13 dpns, or that I'll ever buy a set, but the idea of thick, cushy socks in that shade of blue or burgundy is seductive.

I was up late last night working on the Endpaper Mitts and got an unexpected chance to work on them this afternoon and now I've passed that fine line that separates "this is really fun" from "I can't bear the thought of another round." I think I'm going to pull out that Alterknits Wrap and figure out where I left off.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Andrea called me brave. I'm not. I'd never volunteer to go nine months without buying yarn -- I'm just trying to make the best of an unpleasant situation. If I pretend that I want to knit only with yarn from my stash, maybe I can make myself believe it. At the very least, I can play with my pretty yarn and fabric and by the time this is far enough in the past for us to laugh about it, I'll have an actual need to buy more pretty yarn. I've got yarn for a ton of socks, and lace, at least five or six summer tops, at least two sweaters for each kid and myself...not to mention fabric for several quilts. This could be a lot of fun if I can keep from sulking about it!

Last night I finished the first Knifty Knitter sock. The loom set came with directions for making a hat. The sock pattern wanted me to do short rows, "just like in the KK booklet for flat panels." We don't have a booklet, so I guessed. I'm not sure if I did it right, but what I came up with looks enough like a sock to make me happy.

And I made some progress on my Endpaper Mitts --


Happy Boy wanted to be up before the sun, so I worked on them early this morning and suddenly the pattern makes sense. I'm not holding the yarn right, but Pat said it was actually okay to drop my yarn and pick it up again with every color change, so that's what I'm doing. Rachel pointed out that knitting continental is lots faster, so I'm definitely going to keep trying until I can make it work, but for now I'll take any method that gives me decent progress.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Knit From Your Stash 2007

I don't want to do this. I have no urge to reduce the size of my stash. I want to knit with most of what I have, but I don't want to have less yarn. But it looks like we need to have a new well drilled and that's going to be expensive and I guess I've got to be a responsible grownup and quit spending money on stash. Yuck! I just hope I can start buying again when the nine months is up.

My rules:

1. Now through September 30, 2007
2. Inexpensive bits and pieces I need to finish projects are okay. That would include buttons, batting, backing, binding....
3. Interweave Knits and For the Love of Quilting are okay. Vogue Knitting might be, if there's really good stuff in it.
4. Knitpicks is sold out of the yarn I wanted to order myself for Christmas, so I'm allowed one Knitpicks order.
5. If the budget allows, I can buy one new knitting/quilting book for each 5 pounds I lose.

I'm still sort of drifting around the house, trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do now that Christmas is over and what I can do with no water.


I did figure out how to turn a sock heel on Alex's Knifty Knitter. What I should do is pull out the WIPs I set aside to make time for Christmas knitting and get started on them again.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Does putting together a Hot Wheels Shark Park Playset count as a finished object for 2006? I really think it should because that thing had at least twenty little stickers and a bunch of plastic pieces and instructions that didn't include many actual words, just lots of frustrating line drawings and arrows.

That's how my day has gone, putting together a plastic roller coaster (which the two year old has now taken apart) and trying to get estimates for a new well. We're on our fifth straight day with no water and have already spent $300 to find out that there's no water in the well. Apparently the way this works is that you throw money at the problem until you either get water or starve to death and don't need it any more.

We have heat. We have light. My sewing machine is back from its checkup and they tell me it works just like it should. We've got a whole stack of new DVDs. And I've got a bunch of new projects I could/should/want to be working on. But I'm feeling too out of sorts to actually sit down and do anything more productive than playing around with the Nifty Knitter that I bought Alex for Christmas.

She loves the thing and has already made a hat. Apparently you can make scarves and bags and even socks with real heels. I know, just because you can do something with yarn doesn't mean you should -- but this is intriguing! RIght now, I'm using some Wool-Ease Thick and Quick for a baby hat. Alex's hat seemed to grow at an amazing rate, but mine is taking a bit longer.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I was going to go through and re-inventory my yarn, writing out on index cards what the yarn is, how many skeins there are, and what I think I'm going to use it for. I figure I can do it a box at a time, then organize the cards for stuff that doesn't have a purpose by weight or amount or something. I got the contents of one of my knitting bags done, then couldn't find the other knitting bag, the one with most of my favorite "good" yarn in it. I how it hadn't left the house....There's no reason it would have left its spot by the couch....But I looked other places and it wasn't in the sewing room...or in the corner of the dining room that I actually use as my sewing room.... The bag eventually did turn up in the kitchen. Empty.

My partially completed Mystery Stole was in there. The pretty yellow wool for my Rapunzel socks was in there. The Elann yarn for two summer tops was in there. So was a mesh bag with yarn for several pairs of socks -- but that turned up on top of my sewing table. I think I've got a vague memory of emptying the bag to use it for something, but I have no clue what I did with the yarn. And it's not any of the places that it would make sense for me to have put it. sigh


Alex's hat is finally done! It's been my gas station knitting for a couple of months now, riding around in the pocket of my car door. I knit it top down with one skein of Knitpicks Parade and used some Kroy sock yarn for the ribbing and rolled hem. She likes it and I'm glad to have used the yarn for something cute.

I also made fudge today. Or something that resembles fudge. I've got a suspicion that there's really more to fudge-making than putting butter and chocolate chips and evaporated milk in the microwave, then mixing it all together and pouring it into the cardboard tray that came with the box of fudge mix. Whatever it is, it's yummy and has satisfied the craving that Alex triggered when she bought a piece of fudge home out to the car from karate last night.

And I'm making white chicken chili. Because it's the perfect food and every meal should be white chicken chili. The rest of the family does not agree with me. And no, I'm not pregnant. I'm just in the mood for white chicken chilli every single night lately.

I'm not sure if I'll work on the endpaper mitts or the lace tonight. Or wrap presents, which is really what I should be doing because Christmas is coming fast and I haven't wrapped a thing yet!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I didn't realize what I was getting myself into. This stranded color work thing is hard! I realize that my four little rows of colorwork don't even show up, but trust me, they're there. I think I even got all of the colors in the right places.


I did a couple of baby hats back before Quinn was born, but I think I must've been dropping the yarn and picking it up again each time the color changed. That won't work for a whole pair of mittens, so I'm trying to learn to do it right.

Maybe it's because I'm left handed and don't hold my needles right or something, but my fingers don't seem to be long enough. It makes my hands hurt. It almost makes me want to give up the whole idea of stranded colorwork, but I want those pirate mittens even more than I want my endpaper mitts. So I'm going to keep trying.

I've also got one of those little feelings about this. At karate last week, one of the mothers sat down in the chair next to me and started knitting with the yarn held in her left hand. It looked so different than any of the knitting I'd seen before that I sat there looking out of the corner of my eye, trying to figure out if she was knitting or purling, telling myself it'd probably be rude to ask. But between what I saw her doing and a picture I found here have given me an idea of what I think I'm supposed to be trying to do.

It's slow. It's not even remotely comfortable. But I think it's working. I'll give it another try tonight.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I did cast on for my Endpaper Mitts and got eleven rounds of k1, p1 ribbing done before real life took over the rest of my day. I'm a bit closer to the fun-looking part, but I'm still not loving the yarn. Especially after looking at the yummy stuff some other knitters are using.

I'm going to try to get some more done this afternoon, before I'm totally overcome by the wonderfulness of what I picked up on the way to karate yesterday...

I almost waited to see if the library got a copy. I almost waited until I'd restarted the yarn diet and lost my next five pounds.

I can't believe I was almost that dumb!

I love this book more than A Gathering of Lace. More than Best of Knitter's Shawls and Scarves. It's the best bit of eye-candy in my whole collection of knitting books.

It was Grumperina's review that gave me the courage to order a copy sight unseen. Go look -- there are lots of pretty pictures that will do nothing to prepare you for the gorgeousness of the actual book. She pointed out how many rectangles there are in here. I can do rectangles! It's the increasing in pattern on those dumb triangles that keeps me from realizing my lace knitting dreams. But rectangles -- and not plain rectangles like my Cathedral Window Shawl or that feather and fan Euroflax thing I spent too much money on the yarn for.

It explains how to design your own to plan shawls with knitted on borders...because just in case I knit the 30some projects in the book that are screaming to me, I should know how to make up more of my own.

I've been mentally listing all of the laceweight in my stash, trying to figure out how much lace I can make.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I am going to do this!

I am going to start my Endpaper Mitts for the Stranded Colorwork Challenge today, even if I'm not totally in love with the yarn I dug out of my stash. Even if the blue skein had too many ends to it when I tried to wind it into a ball. Four extra ends is not necessarily a sign of moths, is it?

Even if it is, I'll be happier if I use the yarn for something than I will be if I shove it into the bottom of the freezer and let it haunt me for the next ten years. Alison did fabulous things with damaged Angora. I should be able to handle a few silly breaks. I don't even know for sure that it got hurt while it was in my stash. It could've come from the factory with extra breaks for all I know.

I will not panic and abandon my project just because I can't figure out the Italian Tubular Cast On. I Googled, I sat in front of the computer with yarn and needles, and now I'm going to try some other cast on because I can't figure out which hand is taking the yarn where. There are other ways to cast on. Ones that I actually know how to do.

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's a good thing my Christmas knitting wasn't tightly scheduled because there's been very little knitting in my house for the past four days. There's also been a similar lack of light, heat, and running water. I'm still feeling cranky about the whole miserable episode, and thoroughly ticked off at certain people who told me to stop being so cranky. That's easy to for someone who isn't wrangling babies by firelight or hauling water up from the stream to flush the toilets with to say.

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The lasting damage isn't too bad, I guess. We lost a bunch of shingles and one thirty foot oak. If we absolutely had to lose one of the big trees, at least it was one that didn't land on the house or van or barn. But it still makes me sad that something so massive and beautiful can be pushed over by the wind. Between the wind and the idiots who look at big trees and see free firewood (I've got the ugly evidence of that on the far end of our property), it seems like a miracle that there are any trees left.


This is the project I was all excited about on Thursday night. I was going to write an entry about how easy it was to modify a baby sock pattern into the Christmas ormant I've had in my head since last year but never got to make. And how it's my project for the December Whodunknit? book.

My enthusiasm got lost in the dark and cold somewhere. But the copy of Victorian Lace Today I ordered is in and I should be able to pick it up tomorrow. That'll bring it back!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I've started a more subdued pair of Target Wave Mittens for my sister's Christmas present. The colors are her and it seemed like a great idea until I finished the first one. They don't look that impressive just lying there without hands in them.


Guess I'll have to hope that she gets the full effect by putting them on right away.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Quinn's Bamboo Cardigan is done! Finishing that last sleeve took less than an hour and would've been faster if I'd written down what I was doing with the decreases before setting the project aside for a couple of weeks. I've got to start taking more notes, especially when I'm making up the pattern as I go along.


I had three skeins of Wool-Ease that was left over from a cabled sweater I made for Heath a couple of years ago, and this used up almost all of it. There's enough left to add stripes to a baby hat or pair of socks, but not enough that I have to worry about making productive use of. Feels good, since I didn't know what I was going to do with the stuff.

The pattern is my own creation, using two stitch patterns from the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary, Volume One -- Garter Ridge Rib on page 8 and Big Bamboo on page 28. Where the pattern changes, I had to increase a bunch of stitches because Big Bamboo pulls in so much more than the Garter Ridge Rib. The whole thing came out thickly textured and is very stretchy, perfect for a toddler sweater.

It does tend to pull open and I don't want buttons, so I'm trying to think up an alternative....toggles or something...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I got those seams sewn and the ends woven in and it feels really good to have those projects completely done. I've got one more pair of mittens that have to be done before Christmas, and then I can forget all about the calendar, at least as far as my knitting is concerned.

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The fluffy scarves and fingerless mittens are for my new nieces. It's my own pattern, which I came up with after realizing that since I had something so specific in mind I could make it up myself faster than waiting for a bunch of online patterns to download while I searched for the right one.

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The ballband warshrags are for Dad, who I hear has been buying dishcloths at the craft co-op down in Arizona.

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And these are for my Grandmother, who spends a lot of time in her drafty antique mall or searching auctions and estate sales for furniture. I'll be knitting a pair for myself soon.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I was going to post about the Alterknits wrap and how even though I'm still totally in love with it, I'm intimidated by its size. Then I noticed the date and realized that it was past time to start my Christmas I've been meaning to post about the fuzzy novelty yarn scarves and little fingerless gloves and ballband warshrags I've finished over the past few days, but I can't quite work up the enthusiasm to weave in the ends and lay them out to take pictures.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

16 cute little hats


I was sure my total was eighteen until I laid them out for the picture. Either I lost a couple or I can't count. But none of the little hats seem to be missing, so I guess it's my math skills. I did knit one before the KAL started, which doesn't count towards the total, but that only makes seventeen.

Knitting these was a lot of fun -- and I'm surprised at how many vivid memories flashed into my mind while I sat curled up in the corner of my couch making tiny little hats. One skein of yarn, which I didn't wind up using because it wasn't the right fiber or gauge, smells exactly how it did when I was knitting those grey gull socks in my hospital room last Christmas. I can't figure out exactly what the smell is. Not a hospital room smell, because that can still send me into a sick panic. I think it's a combination of the stuff that was in my knitting bag and bedside drawer.

I used up some stash yarn and tried out some new stitch patterns and played with different color combinations. I'm so pleased with some of the results that I plan to make larger versions for my own grown-up premies. I'll be doing this again next year, hopefully without all the emotional baggage.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

After twenty or so preemie hats, I can't stand even the thought of knitting another one. And I'm having concerns about my Central Park Hoodie, a sudden fear that my gauge is wrong or I'm doing the wrong size so that even though everything looks fine disaster lurks just around the next corner. So I'm working on the Lace-Up Shawl/Scarf/Wrap thing from Alterknits. And I'm loving it!


I fell in love with the pattern a year ago and I've had the yarn in my stash for months, but I never got started because keeping track of a bunch of different stitch patterns at the same time looked hard. It's not hard at all -- at least not with this particular group of stitch patterns. It is big, so I'm hoping my enthusiasm will hold out for 30some more pattern repeats.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Yesterday, I started out on the wrong foot and stayed that way. Today looks much better -- the headache is gone, the nausea from the Advil that knocked out the headache is gone, and there's a ten hour marathon of Monk episodes that I haven't seen yet. So I'm going to knit more itty bitty baby hats.

Here's the latest bunch --


I got all inspired by the newest Sally Melville book (which might not count as new anymore, but I just found out that the library has a copy, so it's new to me) and the idea for about making your own varigated yarn by striping different yarns together. I'm pretty sure that just makes stripes (Dawn had a great idea to spit splice different colors of wool from a striped sweater she'd unravelled to make a yarn that really would be varigated, which I'm anxious to try someday when I've got a striped sweater and know how to spit splaice), but it's been lots of fun to play around with.

My favorite is the hat with the wide stripes. I used the varigated yarn and a solid yarn in the same shade of dark blue and worked four rounds of each. The dark blue matches the one in the varigated yarn closely enough that the two stripes blend together and hide the straight lines that make them look like stripes. I want to do a whole sweater this way.

My other favorite thing about this is that if I was knitting hats for my own kids, I could get at least four different color combinations with two skeins of yarn. I have a hard time starting a baby hat with a brand new skein of yarn because I know I'll still have 3/4 of a skein left and it seems wasteful even if the yarn was cheap. I'm not claiming I would knit that many hats, but I like knowing that I could.

Friday, November 24, 2006

It was my turn to wake up the baby this morning, since we had to leave the house by 3:30 to get to Toys R Us before they opened at 5:00. There must've been well over a hundred people in line ahead of us, but we got everything we were after there and almost everything we were after at Target and then the fabric selection at Joann's was so picked over and the cutting line was sooooo long we didn't even borther with that.

I'm definitely going to need a nap soon!

And I've been Knitting Unto Others...

premie hats

These little preemie hats are so quick and fun I could knit bunches and bunches of them. I used a pattern the first one and have been winging it ever since, playing with different colors and stitch patterns and whatever else the yarn tells me it wants to do. It only took three evenings of knitting time to do this batch.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The baby woke up even earlier this morning, but it wasn't that bad. While he played with his springy caterpillar, I made some progress on my sleeve. Then we went back to bed. Does it really count as sleeping late if I was up and dressed and doing stuff at 3am?


Did I mention how much I love this color? I keep glancing over my little bit of sleeve and realizing how badly I want this sweater. Hopefully my enthusiasm holds out until I actually get it done!

I'm all set to start Knitting Unto Others once the kids are in bed tonight. Last year, I hoped to knit ten premie hats for the NICU at the hospital where Quinn was born. That didn't work out, so I'm going to give it another shot.

Oh, and because I refuse to miss out on the holiday sales at the craft stores and the good holiday food for a second year in a row, I've decided to suspend the yarn diet until after the first of the year. As long as I can keep myself at my new weight, I figure I'll be doing okay. And I'll resume the weight-loss-as-bribe system after the first of the year.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My morning was all planned out. I was going to get up early with Bill and cast on for my Central Park Hoodie when he left for work. There were four episodes of Six Feet Under coming on that I hadn't seen yet and I thought I'd get to watch at least a couple and get a few inches of sleeve done before the big kids got up. Except someone had to start throwing a fit at three-something and had to be entertained in the front room and I wound up going back to bed as soon as he fell asleep again. I did manage to slip a tape into the VCR first, so if I had the thing set right, the shows are there for me to watch later, along with almost all of Kingdom Hospital which I recorded weeks ago and then forgot about. I need a DVR.

I'm caught up on sleep now, but the late start threw my day off. Not that anything had to be done at any specific time -- I just thought I'd have a lot more day than I wound up with.

I did get a chance to swatch and cast on for the hoodie. There were at least three false starts before I got it right. Not the gauge, the actual cast on. How can casting on 46 stitches take that many tries? It's not like I haven't done this plenty of times before.

The green toddler cardi has turned into my evening TV knitting, although I expect it to be finished by bedtime tonight. There's only half a sleeve left and then a few ends to weave in. If there's enough yarn. It looks like there should be, but I won't believe it for sure until I've got eight inches of sleeve.

Friday, November 17, 2006

It's here!

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I picked up my Central Park Hoodie yarn yesterday and it's absolutely exactly the color I've been wishing Lion Brand would come out with. I would've started swatching last night, but I'm happily distracted by this --

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If I don't get that second sleeve done soon, I have a feeling it's going to sit unfinished until Quinn is on the verge of outgrowing it. I'd hate for that to happen because it's been a fun project and I'm really proud of the textured stitches and the way they work together and the whole increasing-in-pattern-so-it-looks-decent thing. As far as I can tell with part of it still on the needles, it fits with just enough extra room. The body and first sleeve didn't take anywhere near as long as I expected them to.

But if I don't get started on Central Park, I'm going to get distracted by something else. Like the itty bitty Christmas stockings I saw suggested on one of the lists, or the Cable Embrace scarf or a cascading leaf throw...

I don't like the yarn the pattern calls for. There's no way I'd ever manage 48 identical squares of something that complex -- but wow it's pretty. Wonder how many squares a baby blanket would take?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

and now there are two

The second mitten worked up even quicker than the first one. I got the whole pair done in under seven hours, which is good because I'd really like to do three more sets.

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I did a Google search and found lots of bloggers working on this pattern. There's a toddler sized pair, a felted pair, and a pair knitted in the round. That's how I want to do mine, but I'll need to research that jogless jog technique first.

My yarn for the Central Park Hoodie is at the post office waiting for me and I'm anxious to go pick it up and cast on before I get too distracted by the gorgeous cabled cardigans in the new IK. I love the Nantucket Jacket. And the Cardigan for Arwen.

I will not panic that my hard-earned copy of Knitscene isn't where I left it. I must've moved it to a safer place. One that I have absolutely no memory of.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Late night knitting has got to be one of my favorite indulgences. I cast on just after chasing the kids off to bed and by 12:30, I had a mitten!


There's a lot I like about this project. It was easier than I expected and worked up quickly. It almost fits my hand, even though the pattern only goes up to a large child size. I can see where to add a couple of rows to make my pair fit just right and I've got the perfect color combination of wool to do it with. Alex wants this pair, so it'll work out just fine. Heath wants a pair, too. Think my enthusiasm will hold out through three pairs?

The yarn -- Red Heart Soft -- has me hoping that it's really as good as it seems. It's nice to work with, comes in a lot of pretty colors, has great yardage, and was absolutely dirt cheap. If it holds up in the wash, I'll be even more thrilled.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A couple of days back, I wrote an enthusiastic post about how incredibly well the yarn diet is going and how I'm down about ten pounds from where I started. And then a leaf fell on the power lines and the computer rebooted. After the third leaf, I just gave up and headed up to town early. The power is usually only out for a few seconds at a time, but it's still a hassle.

Anyway, the yarn diet is going great! I did not expect visible results this quickly, but some of the bulges that were really starting to depress me are gone. I can pull my old jeans up over my hips and zip them. And, so far at least, I've only cheated and bought one little thing which I'm not even sure counts as a cheat. (It was the 2007 Knitting Pattern a Day calendar and they only had a couple of copies at Costco and I'd tried to buy it pre-yarn diet so I would have already paid full price if it had been there...and even if that is cheating, I wanted it badly and I don't care.)

Thank you to everyone who's left encouraging comments. It helps keep me on track when I know that if I do break the yarn diet I'll have to admit it.

The yarn for my Central Park Hoodie (my reward for hitting 180) should be here any day now. I'm anxious to get started and hoping that my enthusiasm holds until the yarn is in my hands and I can start swatching. While I'm waiting, I've started a little textured cardigan for Quinn...


It's sort of inspired by a baby sweater I saw at the LYS while I was there to pick up Knitscene. That one had a plain stockinette top and switched to a lace pattern for the sleeves and bottom. I didn't even look at the name of the pattern because I would have had to substitute a less girly stitch pattern anyway and I figured I could do something like it with the Knitting Pure and Simple baby cardigan pattern. Then I got playing with the Vogue Stitionary I just brought home from the library and realized I could use two stitch patterns instead of leaving the top part plain.

I'm even managing to increase in pattern here! Not bad for a project I'm working on while the kids tear through the house. And not a bad way to use up some leftovers from a sweater I made Heath two years ago.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

After I got Cleo sewn together last night, I stayed up until 2am working on a lace sock I'd frogged because it was too big. The only reason I went to bed then was because I knew the baby would be up early. He got up at 3am, before I managed to fall asleep, so I could've knit more repeats without losing any sleep at all. This morning, I dug my neglected Honeymoon Cami out of my knitting bag and worked on the bust shaping while I watched the babies play. And now I'm counting the hours until I can send the littlest ones off to bed and work on something more complex.


Cleo is felted and I can't decide how I feel about her. The size and shape are perfect, but the cables blurred away into nothingness. They show up a lot better on the scanner than in front of my face -- how's that work? I'd planned to give it to my mother for Christmas with some quilting notions tucked inside, but it doesn't seem exciting enough. I may give it to her "just because" and work on something else.

Oh, and after seeing this melted bead interpretation of Starry Night I've decided that the stash diet also applies to plastic pony beads!
Now I understand why I didn't buy that issue of Knitscene when I had it in my hands a couple of months ago. The few projects I can actually see myself knitting are very well hidden. I'm not sure if I even noticed the Central Park Hoodie while I was flipping through the pages and trying to quickly decide if it was worth spending eight bucks on while watching the four kids to make sure no one touched anything but the toys in the corner.

It doesn't matter, because I've got it now and I really do love that cardigan enough to have spent eight dollars on a pattern for it. I've just got to ignore the other 20some patterns I don't like. Because for some dumb reason a magazine doesn't seem worth buying for only one good pattern, even if I'd spend the same money on an individual pattern for the same thing.

Now I've got to decide on yarn. I'm just about positive that I want Wool-Ease, but not sure about the color. I think I know the answer, but I've only seen Paprika on my computer screen and it would kill me if I bought enough skeins for a whole sweater and then hated it when it got here. I buy yarn blindly online all the time and have never been really disappointed, but this sweater is special. I lost five pounds for it!

The local stores don't have the new Wool-Ease colors, and don't seem likely to get them, so I guess I'm going to have to order a single skein and make sure I love it. Or order then 10 skeins I need and cross my fingers. It's kind of a fun dilemma to have. I'm not at all worried about whether or not I should buy the yarn for this project because I worked so hard to earn it.

This is by far my most successful attempt at a yarn diet. I haven't decided what to splurge on after the next five pounds. Hopefully I'll be halfway there before I figure out what I really want.


Cleo is all knitted up and ready to felt. I'll get to that tomorrow.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I'm happy!


I have green cables meandering their way from here to there and back again. They're fiddlier than any cables I've played with before, probably because the gauge is soooo loose and the cable needle keep slipping out and then I have to ladder up the dropped stitches and can't get the tension right, but they're pretty and I have faith that they'll be prettier once they're felted. I got three of the nine pattern repeats done yesterday, so it looks like Cleo will be a quick project.

My scale read 180 this morning, so I get to stop by the LYS and pick up the fall 2006 issue of Knitscene on our way to karate. I called, and they're holding it for me. I'm honestly not sure if I'm more excited about getting the pattern or shedding the pounds.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I followed a link from the Fall Cables KAL to find the Penny Sock pattern and found a whole set of tutorials about designing socks -- lace socks, cable socks, plain old sock socks... I'm printing the Penny Sock Pattern now, wishing I had pretty golden sock yarn to knit them up in. Not that I've ever followed a sock pattern as written, but LOOK AT HOW SHE DID THOSE TOES!

I'd really rather read the rest of her blog than finish dinner, but I suppose the rest of the family would object...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The sun is shining, the leaves are crunchy and I've got a sudden urge to knit cables. And grow twisted gourds that look like they came from a fairy tale garden, but that'll have to wait til next year.

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I can start the cables now. Or as soon as the headache I've been fighting all weeks either goes away or becomes so much a part of me that I can ignore it and get on with my life.

This latest cable obsession started a few days ago when I stumbled across the 2006 Fall Cable Knitalong. There are about a zillion links to free online patterns -- and there are even more of them on the blog for last year's Fall Cable Kknitalong. I'd ask how I managed to miss it last year, but I was a little distracted.

I want to knit a Cleo Clutch for a christmas present. I want to knit a Cozy in Cables Toddler Sweater, but I'm not sure if it'll be for my toddler because the yarn I have is a girly color. And there's Fetching, and that cabled wrap thing from Alternits, and Trellis, and that other cabled baby sweater or two I've got the patterns and yarn for... Oh, and Calla or whatever that little cabled top is called. Can't keep forgetting that one, especially now that I've got the yarn!

But what I really want to knit is a Central Park Hoodie. It's in the Fall 2006 issue of Knitscene. I want so bad to get my hands on the magazine and see what sizes it comes in and what yarn it calls for. I've been resisting for four whole days, haven't even called to see if they still have a copy, but if this whole eating less and moving more thing doesn't start to show some results soon, I'm not sure how much longer I can last.

I guess this is exactly the motivation I need to keep me out of the Halloween candy. Knitscene will still be there five pounds from now.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


This is the kind of tangle I had in mind when I named my blog --

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A pile of different colors and textures all jumbled together, waiting to become exciting new projects. It just sparks with possibility....for me, at least. I'm sure some of the fiber snobs out there would take one look at the Super Saver and Simply Soft and shudder. That's okay, 'cause I'm the one who gets to knit with it.

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There is nothing romantic about this mess. I bought an itty bitty skein of hand painted soy silk at Oregon Flock and Fiber last month. It was just a little splurge, a chance to play with some pretty stuff I haven't tried before. I thought I'd wind the skein into a ball yesterday while the babies were napping so it'd be all ready for me to cast on with tonight.

I don't know if it's something I did or the way the yarn came, but after about ten minutes, I was ready to email the knitlist and offer the yarn to anyone who wanted to try taming it. I should've done that, because now I've got so much time invested I can't give up.

At some point, I decided that it might be a good idea if Quinn got his hands on it and took the decision whether or not to keep fighting the tangle out of my hands. It's been sitting unsupervised in the living room all day and he hasn't touched it once. Obviously he's smarter about this than I am and can sense that there's something bad about this yarn.

I'm going to have to do something tonight, because if I leave it sitting there much longer, it'll be my fault when one of the kids ruins my swift. If I put it in a drawer, it'll just get snarled up worse, I'll never get back to it, and its presence will haunt me forever and keep me from ever buying and enjoying more soy silk.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How badly do I want that?

That's the question I'm asking myself lately when it comes to food. Do I want that whatever it is badly enough to delay my next yarn purchase?

Don't misunderstand me -- I'm not skipping meals here. I'm talking about things like that last piece of sausage that my husband offered me because he wasn't going to eat it, or swinging in to the drive through on the way to karate because a cheeseburger really sounds good. Those I was able to resist.

Turns out I really did want one of those little pecan pies Bill brought home from Walmart, so that's what I had for breakfast yesterday. I never said all of my decisions had to be good ones. But they all add up, so hopefully I can make enough good ones to make a difference.

Today, I've been very good. I got up early and had my cornflakes with skim milk for breakfast, along with a little thing of yogurt. I started the toe of a new pair of socks. I danced around the living room with the kids for a while. I stir fried a whole bunch of veggies for lunch and had them with a couple of egg rolls.

And I've gone FOURTEEN FULL DAYS without buying yarn. Or fabric. Or magazines. Even though I was within sight of at least five Hobby Lobby's on the trip. I could've made an exception for Hobby Lobby, but I didn't.

The temptation didn't hit hard until yesterday when I realized that the 2007 Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar is probably in at Borders by now. I didn't go to Borders. I didn't go to Costco to see if they had them there this year, even though I've got a pair of pants to return that would more than pay for it. That would be cheating, right? But playing the Who's Who game on Whodunit and hoping I win (the calendar just happens to be the prize ) is definitely abiding by stash yarn diet rules.

Oh -- in case you were wondering -- I was down two pounds, but it seems to be back. :-)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006



Decaying old gas stations and motels fascinate me. It's a great thing to be a grown-up with the ability to pull over and take a closer look -- or to be the adult in the passenger seat with the map and Route 66 Adventure Handbook. "You've got to exit here, because it says there's a grotto that was built in the 30s by the WPA and it's not even dark yet and the motel is only another twenty miles..."

My husband is not a big fan of man-made grottoes, especially ones that require traipsing through a cemetery to find them. This is the same guy who drove me way out into the middle of nowhere to look for Sacajawea's grave years ago, but now that we've got kids I guess we're supposed to worry about whether or not it's appropriate to gawk at people's graves. The grotto, by the way, was breathtaking. I didn't take any pictures of my own, but did manage to find an old black and white postcard online that doesn't capture the beauty of the place at all.

Bill will exit for rattlesnakes. While we were heading east, we passed a ruined place with billboards encouraging us to stretch out legs while we saw the snake pits, but on the way back we couldn't find it again. And I missed the exit number on the sign for the place advertising live rattlesnakes and fried rattlesnakes. Wonder if that's like the lobster tanks where you get to pick out your dinner....


I love the old neon motel signs, especially the ones with sweeping arrows and tall spires that promise television and phones in every room like they're something special.

I've got a plan for all of that pretty neon we saw, if I can pull if off. And I'm still excited about the projects I was planning before the trip. After six thousand miles in ten days with four kids in the back of the mini-van, I'm dying to get everyone tucked into bed and curl up in the corner of the couch with my knitting.

Instead, I get to load the kids into the van and run errands all day. Yuck.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This scares me...

In my constant quest to figure out a yarn diet that works, I've made a difficult, awful, frightening decision. I'm not going to space out my yarn and fabric purchases based on the calendar or how much knitting I've been getting done...

I'm not going to buy any more yarn until I lose some weight.

Over the past three years, I've been off my feet way too much. First it was a broken knee, which didn't get properly diagnosed for months. Then I was pregnant and on bedrest and recovering from surgery. Twice. I wound up putting on 20some pounds. Which probably isn't bad for two pregnancies, but I'm just not snapping back.

I'm not going to buy yarn again until the scale drops below 180. That's five pounds. I can do five pounds.

And if I can do five pounds ten times, that'll add up to the fifty pounds I want to be rid of.


Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm gearing up to start the yarn diet again...maybe....

Today after I took Leif to get an ultrasound, we went to Joann's to see if there were any magazines I needed to use my coupons on (there weren't, but we got two skeins of Fisherman Wool to dye and make into mitens) and to the Dollar Tree to see if they had neat little bins for my dpns (they didn't, but I got some wooden spoons and a niftly little plastic cutting board) and to Wal-Mart to pick up something for dinner and get some more cheap acrylic for the raglan sweaters.

The plan was to get enough yarn to knit raglans for everyone, except Heath who just got a sweater and Bill who wouldn't wear one anyway, but they didn't have enough Softee Chunky in the color I wanted for mine. Or any other color I could convince myself I wanted. I'm not sure if I should delay the yarn diet until tomorrow when I can check the other Wal-Mart or just put off my raglan and start the ones for the kids and work on the nice things I do have pretty yarn for. It's frustrating!

Oh, and I bought myself a Swiffer so I can knit a Ball Band Cover for it. Alex and I tried it out with the pads that came with it and came to a couple of conclusions -- it's pretty neat, and our kitchen floor was filthy!

It's clean now, though.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

It doesn't quite make sense...

I think Ben Franklin Crafts is the closest to my ideal LYS I've found within driving distance. They've got yarn store brands that I haven't been able to find in any of the LYSs around here -- Noro and Cascade 220 and Cascade Fixation and a bunch of others I can't remember off the top of my head. They've got a bunch of the craft store yarns that the craft stores have quit stocking. They've got swatches and samples and free patterns all over the place. If they were just a little closer to home, they'd be perfect.


After finishing Heath's sweater, I had 2 1/2 skeins of the camouflage yarn left over and absolutely no desire to knit another sweater in that same exact color. So while Bill and Heath worked on the chicken coop, I drove down with Alex and the babies to exchange it for this stuff. I got so sucked in by the gorgeous colors, great yardage, and sale price that I didn't spend much time examining the texture. Oh well, how bad can it be? I'm hoping it knits up okay, because I've got plans for it.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

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Bernat Camouflage yarn and knittting in the round did not work well together in this sweater. Those stripy zig zags are just as awful in real life. I think it would've looked better if I'd alternated two skeins of yarn, but didn't think of that until the body was almost done. I'll try it next time.

For now, Heath has a new sweater that he likes. And it fits. It's not a wild success, but it's good enough to hold him until I make something better.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I finally finished my cardigan!

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It's not photogenic, possibly because it doesn't look good in real life. I love the color. I got gauge and managed to pull off the nifty interlocking twist that the front pieces do. But the bust is too snug, the body is too short, the sleeves are way too loose... A lot of poor knitting choices added up, but since I made most of them while I was heavily medicated to stop pre-term labor (two different round of pre-term labor, by the way!) I'm not going to feel bad about them now.

I will, in the future, look at the schematics and if the sleeves seem huge I'll do something to narrow them down. I'll make sure the body is the length I want and that I'm using a size that will give me a comfy amount of ease. I'll do it in less than two years so I might be the same size when I finish as I was when I started. Or at least a smaller size than I was when I started.

My first "mommy size" sweater is done. And I could wear it if I wanted to.

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Mousie's done, too. It was a learning experience, which is what it was meant to be. I was getting better at intarsia by the time I finished, but I think I'll wait a while before tracking down yarn for that chicken sweater.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

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This is a baby who does not need heart surgery. This afternoon, we went in for more tests and found out that the hole has closed on its own. I must've asked the doctor at least three times if she was absolutely sure, but it's definitely gone, it definitely can't come back, and he won't need any more follow up with the cardiologist. I'm a very happy mommy.

I found some neat things while I was reading blogs this morning...

There's Crossed in Transit, with some of the most tempting cabled sweaters I've ever seen. If the book was in English, or if I could figure out how to order from, I'd probably be ordering a copy tonight. But it's not, and I can't, so I've been able to maintain my self control. For the moment, at least. There's pretty lace in the book, too...

That led me to Dory's Knitted Spiral Counterpane Blanket Oooooooh! Can you believe that gorgeous masterpiece used to be a sweater hanging on the rack at GoodWill?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

So what should a mommy do when the thing she was getting ready to make for baby falls into her lap, already made and just as cute as Mommy could have made it herself?


Leify-Doodle's getting more serious about solid foods and I've been thinking about doing up some ball band bibs. I even went up to the sewing room for yarn, but two months of dashing up and doing a quick rummage to find what I need or dashing up and shoving in whatever it is I want out of the house has taken its toll. Somewhere up there are 30some bags of dishcloth cotton, all neatly organized in one bag or box or something that I can't remember.

This morning, I found these cute bibs at happythings and got all inspired to use some of the little scraps of baby prints I've been hoarding in my stash. Two seconds later, I read an email from a local homeschooler who was giving away garage sale leftovers so she wouldn't have to haul it to GoodWill. She mentioned toddler clothes and toys. And craft stuff. What she didn't mention was that she sewed a lot of clothes for her little guys, and did a fantastic job of it. Or that there was yarn.

I brought home a huge load of baby clothes and toys and books for the kids and fabric and buttons and lace and others treasures. And the bibs. I would've made those bibs if I had that gorgeous fabric and knew how to do the really nice snaps. Actually, I might've used the gorgeous berry and veggie fabric in a quilt, but I like to think that I'd have made the bibs.

There's been lots to blog about lately, but I got hit hard by a bug the kids must've brought home from karate. Nothing serious, just a stuffy miserable thing that left me unable to enjoy the yarn I brought home from Oregon Flock and Fiber (after four years of cancelled plans, we finally made it there!) or the new mini-van. Which can find yarn stores on its own.

Friday, September 22, 2006

New eye candy!


I stopped at the library on the way to karate yesterday to pick up a couple of suspense novels I've been waiting for and browsed the knitting section just long enough to find some books to take home and drool over. I needed Creature Comforts to figure out how much yarn that chicken sweater takes....Kids Kids Kids because I've had intarsia on my mind and wanted another look at that Hiawatha sweater...and I just sort of stumbled across Nursery Rhyme Knits -- Hats, Mittens & Scarves with Kids' Favorite Verses...

I'm so totally dazzled by Kids Kids Kids and Nursery Rhyme Knits that I've forgotten everything else on my needles or planned for the future, not to mention the fact that I don't have a baby girl of my own to knit for. Leif is tiny enough I think I can get away with knitting the eyelet sweater in dark blue...I could do the bog jacket for Heath or Alex, depending on the color combination...and there has to be a way to adapt the mittens in Nursery Rhyme Knits to mommy size. Bigger yarn or extra repeats or something. There are three sets in there I'd love for myself. And a bunch for the kids.

I went to search Amazon and make sure both books were still in print, read the reviews for Kids Kids Kids and got really upset with the woman who gave the book a lousy rating because she says you'll feel so bad when your kids get the sweaters dirty.

So I should knit my kids crappy looking sweaters so it'll be okay when they get dirty? What kind of stupid logic is THAT? Not that I'm planning to knit an intarsia masterpiece, put it on my son and send him down to wallow in the creek. If I'm going to knit for the kids, I'm going to at least try to knit nice things. Because when I knit unintentionally crappy looking sweaters, they insist on wearing them out to the Knitting Guild or LYS and telling anyone who will listen who made them those crappy looking sweaters. And sweaters that you know will look crappy aren't as fun to knit as the ones you hope will look nice.

I'd been all set to buy some Softee Chunky and knit raglans for all four kids until I read her review and got all riled up. Now I don't know what I'm gonna make them. But it's going to have cables or lace or something that's intended to look good.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


It's supposed to be intarsia.

Intarsia is one of those knitting techniques that I had no desire to ever attempt. I was never ever ever going to knit my kids sweaters with big blocky animals on the fronts. Then I checked out Creature Comforts from the library and saw the cute little chicken sweater and now I've got to make one...

So I'm attempting Mousie Mousie from Handknits for Kids and it seems to be working. I don't really like this technique, but if it gets my baby a cute sweater with a chicken on it, I'll figure it out.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Guess I should've kept casting on new project while I had the urge last week, because after a little flurry of finishes I'm back with the same old WIPs I didn't feel like working on before. And now that I have to start something new, I don't want to. I want to knit, I just don't want to scrounge for the right needles and make sure I'm getting gauge and all of the other un-fun stuff that comes with starting a new project.


So I spent an hour tinkering with Frozen Lake and, although I did figure out what I was doing there for a brief moment, I think it's a bigger mess than it was when I started. Of course I didn't put in a lifeline before I started messing with it, because at the time it didn't make sense to put one where I already suspected there might be mistakes. Now it sounds like it would've been a good idea!

Finding a new project shouldn't be a problem. There's gorgeous eye candy at Mason Dixon Knitting. How can that woman keep coming up with newer and more gorgeous ways to play with mitered squares? There's a new issue of Knitty up, with a cabled baby sweater and pretty cabled socks. What really intrigues me, though, is the little glimpse of that sweater at the top of the picture for Intolerable Cruelty.
The new MagKnits has yummy socks -- even a pair inspired by the Lemony Snicket Books.

Maybe I'll just snuggle up and read the September book for WhoDuKnit....

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I guess there was something in the air Friday night because a couple of my online knitting friends were having just as much trouble as I did. Whatever it was seems to have cleared and I'm making happy progress on my WIPs again.

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I got the ends woven in on Alex's easybreezy. The yarn I used (Red Heat Casual Cotton) isn't nearly as cute as what the designer used. I was starting to wonder what I was thinking when I bought it, but everything turned out just fine. I dread picking up stitches more than sewing up seams, but the effect it creates is neat. I think I want to try sizing this up for myself, and I've even got yarn that might work.

The cast on and bound off edges of my hobo bag are looking much better since I used a smaller needle to pick up the stitches along each edge and added about an inch of garter stitch before binding off again. I'm not sure if I'll fold it under when I sew the purse together or not, but I've got options I can live with, so I'm plodding away on the strap.

I've only got two repeats left on the Dayflower scarf. It's been a fun knit and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for another easy lace project like Branching Out, but I'm ready to be done with it.

And the camouflage sweater is coming along. I'd been warned that the yarn was splitty, but I'm not having any trouble with it.

The rest of the WIPs? I'll get to 'em. Eventually....

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The pattern said it would be obvious which stitches to work the increases on in each right side row, that there was no need for stitch markers. The pattern lied.

In case you couldn't guess, my knitting did not go at all well tonight.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I've got another bee in my bonnet. This one is telling me that I absolutely must knit raglan sweaters for all four kids. I did want to knit new sweaters for all of 'em this year (so far Leif has three and no one else has any, unless we get to count Alex's summer tops) and that little cardigan for Leif was so much fun it made perfect sense to try a pullover.


Then I heard about Bernat Camouflage. I can't remember where I heard about it, or what I heard about it, but it seemed like the perfect yarn for a sweater for Heath. Of course none of the stores I go to sell the stuff. I was hoping that Fabric Depot up in Portland might, but no luck there. Knitting Warehouse has it, but their shipping isn't cheap enough to just buy four skeins -- and they're temporarily out of stock. Joann's has it, with free shipping, but not in the color I wanted.


I thought I was going to have to wait. Then we went for a Sunday drive down through Marcola to Springfield (I really wish I'd been paying better attention to the route we took!) and I commented that we were going past a Ben Franklin Crafts and I didn't think there were any of those left in our neck of the woods. And my wonderful husband turned into the parking lot. Yarn shopping isn't his favorite way to spend his day off, but he stopped without being asked and held half of the kids while I wandered the yarn aisles in a happy daze.

They've got Noro. They've got Cascade Fixation. They've got Brown Sheep. They've got DenimStyle. They've got Sugar-n-Cream in colors I haven't been able to find anywhere but oneline.

And they've got Bernat Camouflage!

I compromised on the color and they did overcharge me so I wound up spending more than I would've if I'd bought it from Knitter's Warehouse and paid the expensive shipping. But that's okay because I've got it here with me now and I've been happily knitting away with it. I'll get some of that other colors I wanted when I can get it cheap.

Once this sweater's done, I'm planning to cast on with either the Denim Style that's been waiting to become a sweater for Heath, or the pink Red Heart Tweed that's been sitting in my stash forever.Or maybe the red TLC Wiggles. For a pattern, I'm using The Incredible, Custom-Fit Raglan. I was going to buy the raglan pattern from Knitting Pure and Simple but was too impatient to wait until I could get to the LYS.

And there are still five or six other projects I want to cast on for Right This Second.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I'm really enjoying my new cable needle.


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.


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.


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!


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