Monday, April 30, 2007


Last night, I finally got to start the "H" on Heath's Weasley sweater. Those eight inches of solid stockinette I had to get through before I could start playing with two colors of yarn took days and days, but somehow I'm already up to the cross bar. And it looks decent, unlike my only other attempt at intarsia. I wasn't at all excited about trying it again, but it sounded more fun than duplicate stitch, and this time it hasn't been bad at all.

I love the way the colors work together. I really like the bottom edge. There's an actual name for the edging where you do several rows of stockinette, then a few rows of 1x1 ribbing, then switch back to stockinette, but I can't remember what it is. I probably found it in Knitting on the Edge, or Knitting Over the Edge.

I'm sort of using the pattern here, but I'm modifying things as I go because my yarn isn't the same gauge and I didn't trust plain stockinette not to roll right up to the neckline. I'm sure I'll make some other changes by the time I'm done, because that seems to be what I do lately.

I hope I didn't give the wrong impression about my feelings about my yarn stash in yesterday's post -- I really am excited about knitting with most of it. It's the thought of how long it will take me to make even a little itty bitty dent in the exciting stuff (life's too short to worry about the icky yarn) that could start to stress me out. If I let it. And I'm determined not to let it loom over me like a dark raincloud or a scary to-do list.

I've got plans for that yarn! While I was sorting through it yesterday, I dug out some red hemp to use for the shopping bag KAL over at knittingparents and some worsted weight acrylic for a pair of Horcrux socks.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Yarn lies.

At the old house and here, right after we moved in and all of my stuff was still neatly packed away in the corners of the sewing room, I managed to convince myself that I didn't have that much yarn. It was all hiding quietly in its plastic drawers and bins, and in the cupboard under the coffee table, and at the foot of the stairs that lead up to our attic.

I knew where it all was, and I was sure there wasn't too terribly much of it. I went for a pretty long stretch without buying much, then when I got some money that I could justifiably spend on yarn, I did.

I knitted from my stash for the first three months of 2007 with absolutely no cheating and was feeling pretty good about my need for more yarn.

Then I started to clean up the mess in the sewing room. I bought a bunch of those Zip-Lock Big Bags and started sorting yarn into them -- one for sock yarn, one for dishcloth cotton, a really really big one for all of that acrylic I've bought to make sweaters for the kids...

I've got a scary amount of yarn here! And a sneaking suspicion that "What the heck is this and why on earth did I buy it?" isn't the best attitude to have towards my yarn stash. I did figure out why I'd bought a skein of lime green Supersaver and what I'm going to do with it, but for a moment I had myself worried.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Alex's Aqua Acrylic

aqua 002

I didn't expect to have this finished so early in the day yesterday. To be honest, I didn't know for sure if I was going to finish it at all. I've had a horrible attitude toward this project.

Months and months ago, I stumbled across the pattern on the designer's blog and really thought it was cute. I had some stash yarn that would get the right gauge, so I cast on and promptly got myself lost in the increases that were supposedly so easy I wouldn't need to use markers. It sat and sat and sat and I finally got around to frogging and restarting it.

This time, I kept track of myself in the increases, although I would've liked markers. It turned out that I wasn't quite matching my gauge from the previous attempt, so I added increases in hopes that it would still turn out big enough. And I couldn't figure out what the instructions for the front band and ties actually wanted me to do, so I went with my best guess.

Somehow, it all came together in a little cardigan that fits Alex, and that she's been happily wearing ever since I handed it over to her. I'm so glad she liked the color, because I can't stand it!

aqua 003

I do like the idea of a lacy little cardigan with ties, enough to wonder if I could do something bigger for myself with a different lace pattern and prettier yarn...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Since joining the Harry Potter and the Book Seven KAL, I've managed to re-read the first three books and swatch and cast on for a Weasley Sweater for Heath, but I keep going back to this --

stashflash 009

The pattern is Tater's Cotton Cardi and the yarn is some Lion Brand Baby Soft I bought a couple of years ago with plans to make a baby bunting. I don't know how I managed to pick aqua for quite so many projects before deciding that I really don't like the color. I'm glad to have finally used most of it up on something, and Alex is happy with the color. So it all works out.

Except it's gotten REALLY boring. The lace section is just the same row over and over and over and I'd really like to be doing something else. There's other stuff waiting to be done, but I keep picking this thing up. The last time I measured, I only needed three more inches. So it will be done soon. I should keep going.

stashflash 008

Rachel asked about the geese. I don't think they have a real purpose. Bill went to the feed store to see if the baby ducks were in and came home with these two guys in a cardboard box. I've heard that once they get big geese make good watch-dogs and will raise a racket if someone comes onto the property. That sounds pretty useful to me.

We took them outside for the first time this afternoon and they followed us around and nibbled at the weeds. Geese are way cuter than chicks!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

What would you do if you had fifteen minutes of free time? I read that question in a magazine last week and didn't agree with any of the ideas they suggested. I wouldn't take a bubble bath, or write a letter, or sleep in.... I get those things done with the time I've already got.

It finally hit me that if I had fifteen minutes when I could do absolutely anything, I'd do something about the sewing room. All of those mad dashes in to rummage for this or that have taken their toll. I started plotting to dump the kids on their dad and head up there for a while, but it's been a busy week and he just got a new lawn tractor.

Then we got the geese. The kids want to look at the geese. The geese are penned up just outside my sewing room door. This works! While the kids were watching Sponge Bob and Loco Moco, I dealt with the boxes that Bill shoved into my sewing room to make room for the geese. I can't complain too much -- most of it was mine and really did belong in the sewing room. But I still think I should be the only one who gets to dump stuff in there!

The big kids watched the geese, Leif watched the big kids through the door, and I got to work. The yarn that was on the bed and floor is sorted into those new monster size zipper bags. I hauled the vacuum cleaner out there and sucked up all of the little dead bugs that were all over the windowsill and the bits of broken leaves that I've tracked in over the past year and a half. I made the bed with the chenille spread I've been meaning to put on it. I've got plans to hack it up and make things with it, but for now it's covering the bed. I found a new blade for my rotary cutter and the walking foot for my sewing machine. And some fabric I'll hopefully post about soon.

I'm still plotting how to get those fifteen minutes, but now I'll get to spend it enjoying my little haven.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

little distractions

There were thoughts in my head when I went to bed last night, and thoughts when I got up this morning and turned on the computer and then three kids came in and jumped on me and the creative bloggy thoughts all went away. Do everyone else's kids do this to them, or is it just me?

When Alex was a newborn, my entire brain would shut down if she started to cry. Which wasn't much of a problem, because she only cried when she actually needed a meal or a diaper or a cuddle. Heath cried for reasons no one was ever able to figure out -- I still think it must've had something to do with the alignment of the planets because no one could yell that long or that loud without some cause. So I learned to function with a little person screaming at me. For a while.

Now, all it takes is a poorly timed "Mom?" and I totally lose track of which two fabrics I'd just decided would be perfect for the quilt I'm planning. Or what I was going to type, or what I'd walked into the room to find.... I'm starting to worry that the house could be on fire, someone would ask me a question, and I'd forget that we were supposed to leave. But it's probably not that bad yet.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I did have plans to go out this morning, but after hauling the kids all over creation last night and Friday and I don't know how many days in a row before that, I couldn't face even a couple of hours out in the world. So we stayed home and the kids watched a couple of DVDs while I worked on my quilt.

stashflash 005

It'll look cuter once the five little monkeys are appliqued on it. I hope.

This quilt does not want to exist. I've cut the fabric wrong -- seven or eight times so far. I've sewed pieces together backwards and then not realized it until I trimmed the seams and it was too late to fix accurately. I've cut the fabric exactly the way the directions told me to and then had it not match up with the other pieces of fabric. But I'm going to finish this thing and I'm not going to go back for more fabric to do it with. If that means extra seams running across the edge of a couple of blocks so I could make the fabric I cut too narrow wide enough to cut those blocks from, I'm fine with it.

I've got four more of the monkey wrench blocks to make, and I think I've got just enough bits of the blue and red to make them work. Not sure what colors I'm going to use for the corners, but I'll find something. It needs some black.

This whole thing has me feeling all happy and productive, especially since I've got an entire evening stretched out in front of me. I could finish those four blocks, or work on the boring part of Alex's cardian, or cast on for something new because I've suddenly got a second set of Denise needles!

Friday Mom and I (and the kids, because they're always where I am) went up to Portland to spend my birthday money and stopped at the little quilt shop that belongs to the same company who runs Knitpicks. There were a few neat odds and ends of yarn for $1 a skein and sitting right there on the shelf was a set of Denise needles with a $15 price sticker on the front. I seriously expected it to be just an empty case, but there was a complete set of needles inside.

I'm still trying to figure out what it was doing there for that price. Obviously it was lost and unwanted and needed to come home with me.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Elann has a new shawl. I want it, despite the fact that I've got yarn for about a dozen other pretty shawls I'm not currently knitting and despite the fact that it would be way too huge for me and I'd have to figure out the math to size it down and would wind up with extra yarn I didn't know what to do with.

But aren't those colors pretty? Wouldn't it be great to snuggle up in on the couch or long car trips? Please, someone enable me and tell me it's a great idea!

I got myself through the past month by promising to treat myself with some new yarn as a reward for going in and getting the nasty dental work done instead of cancelling the appointment and seeing how long I could pretend I didn't notice that hole in my tooth where my filling had fallen out. I spent two and a half hours in the chair. My mouth still aches three days later -- and since it didn't hurt before I went in I am not a happy camper. I absolutely deserve some yarn right now, and if I still love it this much tomorrow, I think I'll go ahead and order it.

I made it through the first three months of knitting from my stash without cheating, then I bought a cheap quilting kit and a skein of yarn and now I'm rethinking the whole thing because I know I'm never going to make it through another six months.

My original reason for knitting from my stash turned out not to be true, so I'm going back to the diet-yarn-diet. After our trip up to Fabric Depot and Knitten Kitten tomorrow!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

There's something in the air and I think it's wool.

Yesterday, I met a wonderful lady named Terry who gave me eight pounds of raw fleece (I found her through a Freecycle listing) and then offered to teach me how to use my wheel.

Today, while I was loading the kids into the van after getting their picture taken with the Easter bunny, a member of the knitting guild who we haven't seen in ages came up and we had a brief but fun conversation about what we'd been up to and what we were knitting. I had came SO close to wearing Ester to the Ester egg hunt but didn't put it on. Now I'm kicking myself, because it would've been so much fun to show it off.


I've got the first sleeve done on the fast stockinette cardigan, then one more sleeve to go and it won't be quick stockinette anymore since the body is done in a pattern stitch. At least it's an easy pattern.

What I'm thinking I really want to knit is a Weasley Sweatter for Heath. Because he named the stuffed penguin he got for his birthday Ron Weasley. I talked myself out of knitting a sweater for the penguin.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

This stay at home mommy stuff is physically demanding! I feel like I've been run over by one of those log trucks that's always speeding by the house, and all I did was lug around my toddlers. Not even both at the same time -- I've finally learned my lesson and stopped doing that unless it's a real emergency. Something in my elbow is not happy with me right now.

This'd better not mess with my knitting tonight -- I've got stitches to divide onto waste yarn and sleeves to start! I'd forgotten how fast stockinette can be, even with sport weight yarn, and I'm enjoying the instant gratification.


Ester is done. Actually, it's been done for a couple of days, but it didn't seem worth posting about until I could actually show it to you. I'm not in love with it, but it's growing on me. I am in love with the fact that I made it from half of a forty-nine cent thrift store sweater.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

more and more shawls to knit

Even before I finished my Swallowtail Shawl, I wanted to do more shawls like it. I knew about Kiri, and the Sun Ray Shawl, and thought Shetland Triangle from Scarf Style would work until I got the book from the library again and found out that I'd have to start by casting on a zillion stitches. I still have hopes to do that one eventually, but right now I'm in love with the technique these other shawls use.

Last week, I was browsing Elann and found the Moonlight Sonata Shawl. It took a lot of willpower not to order the yarn from Elann then and there -- or to head over to Knitpicks and buy some dark blue Gloss. And this morning I was having yarn buying urges and checked out the Elann site to see if there was anything new to fuel them and found the Lunca Moth Shawl

I've even found yarn in my stash that'll probably work for both of them, but I still want that Gloss.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I love Flash Your Stash time! It's so much fun to look at what other people are hoarding, even if it is getting a bit harder to find knitters with more yarn than I've got. I know they're out there -- maybe they're knitting with their yarn and not taking pictures of it.

This is the third year in a row I've done this -- even if I am late this time, and it is only a partial stash flash. I'd planned to get all of my yarn organized and take nicer pictures than I managed in 2005 and 2006.

That didn't happen. The first of April snuck up on me and I didn't think I was going to get pictures at all this year, then I got an unexpected sliver of time, got the kids set up watching Eragon, and ran up to the sewing room to do another quick sort and pile and photograph. Something is better than nothing, right? And if some awful catastrophe does strike, my Flash Your Stash pictures would prove that I actually did own such a ridiculous amount of yarn.

Yes, I'm still traumatized by that break in we had a year ago while I was in the hospital trying to delay having Leif. No yarn was taken, but that's only because it was the first thing I moved into the new house, along with the baby pictures and my wedding dress. I had a nightmare last week about coming home and finding that the shop and sewing room were totally empty -- not just empty, but like something from a burned out horror movie set -- and the sick feeling stayed with me for a couple of days.

But on to happier things -- here's the yarn!

I've got sock yarn --


The last time I counted, there was enough actual sock yarn (not counting regular fingering weight yarn or worsted weight yarn that I plan to make socks out of) for forty-some pairs of socks. I've bought more since then. I like sock yarn.

I've got acrylic coming out of my ears --


My definition of good acrylic is yarn I bought new at Walmart, or yard sale yarn that's nice enough to make a sweater out of. The rest is in bins or plastic bags or heaven only knows where. Trust me, there's plenty of it! Most of this is meant to make sweaters for the kids.

And I've got lacweight --


I seem to be missing almost half of my laceweight, but the fact that there's so much gone is reassuring. I must've put it somewhere safe.

And I've got a bunch of yarn that wouldn't pose nicely for photos here if you really want to see most of the rest. Lately, I only go up to the sewing room long enough to rummage around for whatever I think I need, so it's a mess. But it's my mess and I love having a spot where I can spread out my yarn and know that no one will tie it around the table legs using the method Alton Brown just explained for tying up a cut of meat.


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