Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rumplestiltskin! Rumplestiltskin!

Knitter's Stash is the book that made me need to knit. I'd already made a garter stitch hat from a Learn to Knit Kit that I got at Craft Warehouse for 75% of the lowest marked price. I'd knit a couple of dishcloths with holes that weren't supposed to be there, and a huge rectangular garter stitch thing that must've had some intended purpose when I cast on for it. (Several years later, we realized that if you folded the thing in half it was just the right size to line the bottom of Quinn's cradle, so it did get more use than most of my projects.)

I was having fun, but the yarn and needles hadn't taken over my life.

Then I brought home Knitter's Stash from the library and found the patterns for Rumplestiltskin's Toddler's Jacket and the linen washcloths. It was late at night and I waited very impatiently for morning so I could haul the book and two kids down the street to the LYS and buy the yarn.

They didn't carry chenille (or the Euroflax for the washcloths) and the owner told me it was too expensive, that I didn't want to knit with it, and that I should substitute two strands of whatever worsted weight I liked. So I wound up going to Walmart and letting Heath pick out Red Heart Supersaver in an extremely vivid combination of purple and teal.

The sweater had horrible gauge problems and didn't fit. I wound up hiding it at my Mom's house because poor Heath wanted to wear the sweater his mommy'd made him and it just wasn't possible. I had enough leftover yarn to make a second sweater with problems of its own, but at least he did get to wear that one.

Fast forward to last week and I had these three skeins of pink chenille and no desire to use it for a hat, a scarf or a bag. Then I remembered this little jacket and decided to check out the book again and try it in the chenille.


This one's a little better, but I won't be trying it a third time.

This isn't meant to be a complaint about the pattern. I think it's been a mix of bad luck, yarn choice, gauge and maybe the alignment of the planets or something squirrely like that.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Daddy's not on the roof anymore

My babies seem confused and a little bit sad. After almost two weeks of vacation time, Daddy is done fixing the roof and has gone back at work. Even though there's no more thumping and banging and bits of exciting stuff falling down past the kitchen window, they keep pointing up at the ceiling, saying "Daddy?"

I've been celebrating the new roof section and our return to a normal life by knitting like crazy.

The Hemlock Ring Blanket has a couple dozen more stitches to bind off, then I get to try blocking it.

The little chenille sweater I was thinking of casting on is done except for the back and a whole scary lot of finishing.

Knittingparents is doing a KAL for the Knitting Needle Knitting Bag and somewhere I've got a pair of beautiful old wooden needles with impossibly blunt tips that would make the perfect handles. I did my lifetime quota of berry stitch on that pineapple baby hat for Leif a while back and the yarn I'm determined to use looks horrible in berry stitch, so I'm doing seed stitch which so far looks pretty darn good. If I can remember wher I put those needles, and handle that much seed stitch, this may be a wonderful bag someday.

I found some green Wool-Ease for Presto Chango, but the two skeins are different dye lots. I'm determined to make a green one, so I guess I'll alternate between both skeins to make sure any color difference blends. Or something like that.

There's a free Showtime preview this weekend, so I've got the sattelite receiver set to auto tune some movies I never got around to renting. And I'm going to play with my yarn.

Friday, September 28, 2007

What big teeth you have, Grandma!

When I was little, I couldn't sleep at night unless this doll was put away, with Grandma's bonnet covering the wolf's face, and Red Riding Hood's dress covering them both.

My Great-Grandma Walters made it. Red's and Grandma's faces are painted on, and the wolf's features are felt. I remember being nervous about those teeth and that red mouth, but didn't really think much about those dead, sharklike eyes until I was taking his picture yesterday.

No wonder the thing creeped me out as a kid!

And while I was looking for something else in the sewing room a while back, I stumbled upon a handwritten copy of the pattern, the same one that Grandma used.

Visit Kelli's House to find more great Show and Tell Friday posts.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

This feels like fall knitting

I pulled out the Hemlock Ring Blanket last night and sat up with it for a little while, knitting just a few rounds. It's almost time to start binding off, but I made myself go to bed at eleven. There's no such thing as staying up just long enough to finish that last round and bind off a few stitches. It either would have been so much fun I'd have sat up and done the whole thing, or so miserable I'd have spent hours lying awake and dreading the rest of it.

So I went to bed and tossed and turned and thought about yarn and patterns and how I want to cast on for a new pair of socks from the Socken-Kreativ-Liste that both intrigues and terrifies me, and debated whether or not I want to use that chenille to make that toddler jacket now that I've confirmed it's possible and found a girl toddler who happens to be the right size and who I really should knit something for, and worried about the wooden needles with the blunt tips that I suddenly need but might've gotten rid of...

So I didn't get up before the kids and start binding off the blanket this morning like I'd hoped to.

The Cobblestone Pullover has been a happy knit so far, a good project to pick up and work on while I've got to keep my attention on other things. I've got about four more inches of mindless knitting before it'll be time to do some math and start the sleeves.

I'm sizing it down for Heath by kntting at a tighter gauge. Hopefully that means I can knit the yoke part as written and have it turn out okay. If not, I'll figure out how to fix the problems as they crop up. How bad can it get?

The Sierra Pacific Accord has been a bit of a mystery yarn. I've only found a couple of mentions of it online -- both of those knitters absolutely hated it. I don't think it's that horrible. It's cheap acrylic, along the lines of Red Heart Super Saver, but even cheaper. I bought a bunch on sale for $1 a skein last Christmas.

I did actually knit and wash a swatch, and it seemed to come out just the same as it went in. Okay, it was a baby hat, but that's as close to knitting and washing a swatch as I'm likely to get.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Quilting has taught me valuable skills!

Last night, Bill said it would save him a whole bunch of time if I cut the shingles for the top edge of the roof. After he's spent the past I don't know how many days up on the roof from the time he got out of bed until it got to dark to work, I wasn't going to complain that I didn't want to do it.

But I sure wasn't looking forward to the job. At the very least, I was afraid it'd be hard on my hands, which are already twinging a bit lately. I was very good last night and put down the Cobblestone Pullover at the first little ache.

Turns out, cutting shingles into thirds is an awful lot like cutting quilt squares. Except the shingles are already slit halfway, so there's no measuring. And the cuts don't have to be anywhere near as straight to be good enough. And I think it's faster, maybe because you don't have to iron anything first...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I was adding new yarn to my Ravelry stash earlier and having trouble with some of the links, so I went looking through the forums to see if it was my computer or a Ravelry thing and stumbled across a discussion about the massive yarn stash.

What is with some of these people? What makes them think they have the right to decide how big a complete stranger's stash should be? Why would they even care how much yarn a stranger has, let alone make public statements about what she should or shouldn't do with it?

That's why I was hesitant to put my stash information on Ravelry. I wasn't sure I dared to admit how much yarn I've got.

I've added a lot more this month. There was the Elann order and the cheap acrylic sale at Michaels. And then while my house was at its most chaotic yesterday, Dad called from his cell phone to tell me that Mom wanted to know if I knew about a yarn called "Paintbox" and if it was worth a dollar a skein. She was at a yard sale buying quilt fabric and the lady had some yarn. We had half a conversation, I hung up and got things settled, then called back to see if she'd bought me the yarn and what exactly it was.

Six skeins of Knit One Crochet Too Paintbox in different colors. And the lady had some other stuff, along with a bunch of Homespun. Dad turned the car around and drove back to get me two matching skeins of Homespun I've been after for a project. Have I mentioned what a wonderful enabler he is? The lady wound up selling them all of her yarn for fifty cents a skein, so along with the Paintbox, I wound up with four skeins of Berroco Suede in different colors, two skeins of Softwist, and five skeins of Homespun.

I have no clue what I'm going to make with it. And that doesn't bug me one bit.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Why haven't I had a knitting bag lately?

Once upon a time, my knitting projects were ready to go. I could pick up a bag on the way out the door. During that eternity in the hospital a couple of years ago, I could call home and tell my oldest exactly where to find the yarn and patterns I wanted her to bring me.

Then, somehow, the knitting got loose. It literally escaped. Projects -- big, half finished projects -- are missing. I have no stitch markers, even though I know I've bought at least three packs of jump rings so far this year. I even managed to lose track of the big three ring binder with my patterns in it. The past four month or so have been hectic, but not enough to explain that. How could I forget the whole concept of knitting bags?

Last night, it finally hit me that instead of carrying the Hemlock Ring into the dining room and hiding it on top of my sewing machine, I could put it in a bag, the one that even says "Knitting" on the front. Along with the Cobblestone Pullover. And their patterns. I'll still have to hide the bag, but at least things will be together.

As for other projects, we're still working on the roof. That means Bill works on the roof while I stay in the house with the kids and listen for him to bang for my attention, then find whatever it is that he needs and hand it through from the attic.

What kind of person uses flattened beer cans instead of flashing? (Probably the same jerk who "forgots" to load up the cat when they moved and then told us to just take her to the pound if she got in our way.) If he'd done the roof right, we wouldn't be losing the wonderful old tongue and groove boards that give the attic so much character.

We knew the house was a fixer-upper with hidden problems, but someone went way out of his way to hide a few of them.

And, just to put everyone's minds at ease, BooBoo still has the run of the place and although she seems older than dirt and I expect her to keel over any day, she's doing just fine. We're saving as much of the tongue and groove as we can in hopes of keeping the other half of the attic intact, and it's my new mission in life to make sure that nothing that could be of use to anyone goes on the burn pile.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cheap acrylic!

I think I might've mentioned that cheap acrylic makes my heart go pitty-pat. I've developed some standards (at least when it comes to overpriced estate sale stuff), but Simply Soft for two bucks a skein? I've been dancing around the house with anticipation since I saw the Michaels flyer Sunday. And wishing there was one just a bit closer to home.

The new Michaels, which is even farther from home and less convenient than the one they closed down, but does have a lot more yarn, is next to the new Lowes...Bill's using a week of vacation to reroof the house...

So he sat in the van with the kids while I did some quick stash enhancement and then the whole family shopped for shingles and nails and roofing felt and I don't know what all else.

I got a bunch of the Simply Soft and some Bernat Satin Sport, which I hadn't seen before, and some wool to make myself cabled mittens. I'm sooo in the mood to knit sweaters right now, as soon as I finish the Hemlock Ring.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm in love with the Hemlock Ring Blanket

Friday night, more out of a sense of "you bought the yarn so now you're committed" than real desire, I cast on for the Hemlock Ring Blanket. Except for a rocky moment when I read the instructions for the fourteenth round and almost gave up then and there, this thing has been so much fun I can barely stand it!


I never, ever, thought I'd want to knit a wool blanket, but reading the post about it at Brooklyn Tweed convinced me that not only did I have to knit a Hemlock Ring for myself, I had to knit it in yarn I could actually block.

The wonders never cease...

Friday, September 14, 2007

I've been destroying perfectly good batik.

After that cute little paper pieced tree, I went on a hunt for more patterns. Didn't find the birdhouses I was looking for, which are in a magazine that's gone missing along with most of the other quilting magazines I'd collected before we moved here, but I did find some really nifty ones in a back issue of Miniature Quilts.

And yesterday, I picked up a couple of magazines at the library and found three more quilts I can't live without, two of them paper pieced.

So it seemed like a good time to actually do some more paper piecing. I'm glad the first attempt went so well, because if it was anything like yesterday, there wouldn't have been a second try.

I'm having problems here. But I'm going to keep muddling through, because maybe by the time I'm done I'll have figured out how to make this work.

Mom called a week or so ago to ask if I wanted the wooden scissors holder she'd painted years ago for my Grandma Marr. It was, she warned me, really ugly. I remembered how she used to have a wooden holder for her good fabric scissors hanging behind her sewing machine, thought how useful it would be to have one of my own, and asked if she'd mind if I decoupaged it or something.

We need to revise our definition of "ugly." The hot pink scissors are ugly. The green wooden scissors holder that blends so nicely into my dining room wallpaper is not.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007



At six am this morning, I was binding off my Picovoli. I got up and out of bed at six to finish it. As opposed to staying up until six, which I'm much much more likely to do.

After weeks of knitting and knitting and getting nowhere and hoping that my modified shaping was going to work, it was suddenly three inches from done. Then two inches, then ready to cast off, and now I'm wearing it.

It fits much better than the first one -- yay for negative ease! And covers my bra better, probably because it's snugger and because I paid attention to the directions for casting on the underarm this time.

I never did post a picture of the first one...


I really did like it until I finished the second one. Now I'm not so sure. And I'm trying not to be irked because my fingers slipped and I lost the whole explanation of why I don't like it quite so much.

My whole train of thought has derailed, so I'll write about Mindy's dishcloths and my Mystery Stole tomorrow. And hopefully have some new yarn to gush about if that box from Elann gets here!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Cobblestones and Crocodiles

After saving the new issue of Interweave Knits for vacation reading, then not having time to look at more than two or three pages while we were actually gone, I finally got a chance to settle in and go through the whole thing while I was sitting on the back porch Saturday night waiting for an advice nurse to come on the line. We think I got bitten by a brown recluse, at least that's what the bite looks like. What is it with me and these creepy crawlies?! Snakes in my knitting, wasps in my t-shirt, and now things that aren't my children are biting me...

At least it got me time to read my magazine. I still don't like the new layout, mostly because it makes it hard to flip through it in the magazine aisle and decide if there are any patterns I can't live without. If I wasn't subscribing these days, I might not have bought this one. Which would be a shame, cause I would've missed the Cobblestone Pullover, which I'm trying to resize for Heath. And wouldn't have seen the ad for the Alligator Scarf.

Friday, September 07, 2007

We're home from the trip

We've spent the past week driving from Oregon to Salt Lake City, to Colorado, to Albuquerque, then up along the Extraterrestrial Highway in Nevada to get back home. I'm too exhausted to remember most of what we did, but I know there was a mine tour, hiking past petroglyphs, and a thrilling ten minute trip to Hobby Lobby.

The van's unloaded, the laundry is running, and I've got about a million things I want to start working on as soon as I get a few minutes to myself.

First, here's my Show and Tell Friday post while it's actually still Friday...

Trixie Belden's Mystery in Arizona introduced me to the idea of sugar skulls when I was younger than Alex is now. I don't think the book described them in great detail or really explained the Dia de los Muertos, but I remember wanting one of those skulls.

I grew up and forgot about them, and then I found Pandora's Button Box and saw her embroidered skull dollys and fell in love with the idea all over again. I found some great candy skull fabric on one of our trips up to Fabric Depot, which made my mom wonder whether I'd lost my mind.

And while we were wandering through the shops in Albuquerque earlier this week, I saw a trio of little skulls sparkling in a display case. I expected Bill to roll his eyes when I asked the lady if they were real sugar and how much they were. Just out of curiousity, because I don't have any real need for a sugar skull, and our howling pack of children make displaying fragile things a risky idea.

I wasn't really meaning to buy one, not until Bill told me to get one if I wanted it. So now I have a sparkly sugar skull on the high shelf in my sewing room, where no one but me will see it. That makes me happy.

And I'm freshly inspired to figure out where I put that fabric so I can make myself a tote bag.


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