Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My Stash, and Yarn Storage

Brace yourself! I'm going to post pictures of my stash. Well, let me add a caveat - this is my stash as of 6+ months ago. That's the last time I was brave enough to take it all out and look at it. Plus I was moving, so it was all out anyway.

I keep most of my yarn stored in one of these babies from Ikea. Works in Progress are stored in a large basket on the floor, or in one of the cubby holes in my coffee table. I can't tell you how much I love this coffee table - I've got various baskets and boxes in most of those holes, holding everything from random craft supplies, my drop spindle and roving, ball bands and random scrap yarns, and my sad & forlorn Central Park Hoodie WIP.

Now, onto the stash:
On your right, we have the copper red yarn I previously wrote about winding, plus my New Zealand wool (first "real" yarn purchase, ie not Micheals or Joanns). There's some mohair in the ziploc bag, which I can't seem to make anything out of, and an assortment of ribbon yarns that I bought at an lys for $1 each. Course now I don't know what to do with them. And on the far left of this picture is my collection of cheap yarn - Lions Brand and Patons. I use them for swatches, mainly, and things that need to be washable like toys. Someday I'll use it to knit up some squares for charity, I think.

To your left you can see my Danica scarf, which I put aside because I got bored, my Poncho Of Death, which was the very first non-scarf project I started. I ran into problems 2 yrs ago and have never finished it. Also the back of a discarded cardigan and a WIP shrug. The green yarn in the box on the left is now 75% of my Central Park Hoodie, and the blue yarn next to it will one day be a beautiful sweater. The light purple near the lower right will hopefully one day be a Claptois, while the white cotton boucle next to it has thrawted any attempt to become anything. I've realized I have serious issues with mohair and boucle - both of them annoy me too much to knit with often.

The good news is I've used a bit of this yarn for personal projects and Christmas knitting. I've made a real effort to knit only from my stash, both for monetary and available space reasons. Hopefully one day I'll be able to reference these pictures and say that all of this yarn has been used. Course by then, I'll have bunches more waiting for me!

On a random cat note, Emma has begun attacking my knitting and playing with my yarn while I'm at work. *sigh* So I'm adding covers to many of my baskets and hiding WIPs out of her reach. I think it's her kitty way of saying "I hate it when you're at work all day and then come home and play with this yarn instead of me. Bah!" And she has a ridiculous passion for mohair. And super nice yarn. But not acrylics, oh no. My baby knows her expensive yarns.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Mary, Did You Know?

From my Stitch and Bitch calendar on Thanksgiving:

A Stitch in Time:

Several 14-century Italian paintings depict the Virgin Mary knitting, with Jesus Christ on her lap or by her side. Around this time, both art and literature took up the theme of the human and personal aspects of the life of Christ; the knitting Madonna evokes a tender scene, representing a more intimate portrayal of the holy family's domestic life. In these representations, she knits in the round with three or four needles and carries the yarn in her right hands.

So we know that Mary didn't like seaming (who does?) but I think we've all figured out the real question here: If circular needles had been invented, would the Virgin Mary still prefer her dpns? Discuss.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Revving up the Engine

Here we go again! I'm going to try super-hard to keep this blog updated and somewhat current. The good news is I will be in possession of a new (working!) digital camera by month's end, so I hope to increase my picture posting. Of course now that the holiday's are approaching, a large amount of my knitting is Top Secret 100% Confidential, but those pics can go up in January.

What have I been doing since my last post in August? Well, I wrote a spec screenplay for the best show on television, "Supernatural." And I did it in three weeks. Whew! And then I wrapped the show I was working on, which is exhausting. And then I flew home for two and a half weeks. So as you can imagine, there was very little knitting going on for quite some time. I finally got back in the swing of things with my Swatch of Many Colors (pics and a story someday!) and the amazing, incredible, Santa Cruz hat. I knit one of these babies in three days, and it inspired me so much that I knit another, in a different yarn and gauge. And then another! I've knit three so far, with two destined to be Christmas presents. For some reason, this pattern really jump started my creativity, and now I'm back in the saddle.

I've completely overhauled my Christmas knitting agenda, for the better. Last year I handknit almost 90% of the gifts I gave. Translation: from August to December, knitting was work, rarely enjoyed, and frequently procrastinated. (Annie, you had it right all along!) This year I'm knitting a few choice gifts for certain people, and a lot of smaller and more homogenized gifts. Since I have friends on two coasts, I can knit the same thing twice and two different colors and no one will ever know! Shh! And I'm knitting more for myself, which is selfish and awful but it helps give me the momentum to keep going.

Knitting is a process of discovery, an almost magical revealing of the pattern as you work. That's why right now I'm in knitter's heaven. I'm working on a Christmas gift for my boss, so it had to be *perfect*. I knew what I wanted - something red, classy, and super-soft. Ta-da! Knitty's Argosy scarf fit the bill. But now for the yarn. I poked around in a few LYS' and found nothing, until I checked out That Yarn Store in Eagle Rock. And I hit paydirt! (Geez, what's with the colloquialisms I'm trotting out for this entry?) Plymouth Yarns Royal Bamboo in a deep red (color #13 on the color card). I've heard a lot about bamboo yarns, but I've never tried them, so this will be fun. I'm already noticing that it's super slippery and pretty splitty but you know what? I don't care! You know why? Because it is so amazingly soft and cushy and wonderful that I just want to rub it on my face and scrunch it up in my hands like a baby blanket. I find myself absently petting the skien while I watch TV - it's that bad! I have no idea how durable it'll be, but right now I literally look forward to my knitting time every night because it's so much fun watching this pattern emerge in this beautiful yarn. Darn it. I just remembered I have to give it away once I'm done with it. Boo.

And, if you're in the mood for some jaw dropping knitting, check out this site: Bug Knits
It's enough to make my brain, eyes, and hands hurt - she knits to-scale garments using thread and wires the thickness of fishing line! Oww! Here's the ones I think are craziest: The Aran Series. Can you imagine CABLING with fishing line?? My head hurts.

Oh! And last night I had a dream that I was spinning! With a drop spindle and amazing golden fleece. And no, I haven't been watching Hercules lately. But I was spinning, and I was really good at it (unlike in real life) and then I ran out of wool and the people around me said I couldn't have any more because they had given me enough to begin with. Silly fiber dreams :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Airplane Knitting and Suspicion

It's that time of year again - the time when I start planning airplane and vacation projects and setting aside some current projects for when I get back. My Central Park Hoodie is still MIA - I haven't had the time to stop in at my lys and ask someone my sleeve cap question. If I could just finish the sleeves then I'd be so much closer to being done! Oh well, another job to put on my "When I'm Unemployed" list. (Which, for the record, is in two weeks. I'm so excited to be between jobs!)

As for the airplane knitting, I'm planning on starting a lacy scarf, but I have no idea what my vacation knitting will be. Assuming the stars align, I'll be done with my shrug in time to wear it on my trip home *crossing fingers* so I won't have that to work on. I'll have to find something small and portable to bring on the plane....hopefully something I won't need my Denise's for, since the last time I brought them on the airplane they aroused the suspicions of the lady going through my bag.

A reenactment:

She pulled out the case and said (after telling me our conversation was being recorded!), "Can you explain what these are?"

"They're knitting needles. You see," I opened the case and pointed out the various components to her, "it comes with various needle sizes and cords and you can connect different lengths of cord to get different sizes...."

That was when I got The Blank Look. But at least she knew I wasn't a terrorist, so I guess it ended well :)

In other news, I'm a bad blogger. I update my livejournal at least four or five times a week, but this poor thing languishes. I think it's probably because blogs (to me) don't have the same sense of community that a site like livejournal does. And I just took a three week hiatus from knitting *gasp* to write a spec screenplay. Which I did - go me! I'm proud not only because I wrote one, but also because I wrote one within the intense time constraints. So I may not be a phenomenal writer, but I can work under a deadline!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Where, oh where, have my posts gone?

Like the yarn harlot, I frequently undergo strong cases of startitis, that sickness that causes you to cast on for more projects than you can handle even if you have a perfectly good one going. Well, I think my cure to startitis has actually become a sickness on it's own.

On or around June 8th, I finally cast on for my Central Park Hoodie. I was cautiously excited - it's a cardigan, which I've never done before, and it involves semi-complicated instructions. Well, complicated because I generally read them while watching "Supernatural." :) But it went well, so well, in fact, that I haven't worked on anything but my CPH since that day (Except for a brief scarf foray during some nasty math issues which I thankfully worked out). This is unusual because I'm an ADD knitter who frequently has 7+ projects going on at a given time (see WIP Bar).

Back to the CPH: I'm knitting the fronts and back as one piece, and I'm literally inches away from finishing. I'm knitting the sleeves at the same time, and once again I'm only inches away from being done. All that's left is to finish those inches, bind off/block/seam, pick up and knit the hood, and pick up and knit the ribbing. So I'd say I'm in the home stretch, which is very exciting considering this is the most complicated project I've done. Of course, now I'm having sleeve cap shaping issues so I really can't continue on those until I get some answers. Darn math, and being short, and sleeve caps that threaten to swallow my entire shoulder.

I've been posting more in the CPH KAL than I have here, so if you want to read about my progress or see lots of pretty pictures from other people, head on over!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Mother's Day Piano Bag

As you know, I had an extra two weeks to finish my mother's day gift for my mom, as I was able to hand it to her in person when she came to visit (Yay!). One highlight of my mom and brother's visit: We stumbled upon a yarn store in Santa Barbara staffed by the nicest lady ever. While my brother took a nap on the sofa, my mom and I looked through all the yarn. Eventually I decided to make her a So-Called Scarf, because she loved the store version so much. She picked out a skien of manos (although my mom's is much lighter than those colors), and I decided to grab a skien of variagated purples for myself. If I don't tire of the pattern, I might make one for myself as well. If not, there are plenty of scarf patterns.

Now, onto the mother's day gift! This was loosely inspired by a pattern on as you can see, the only thing I stole was the piano note motif. Despite my meager sewing ability, I decided to sew the tote bag (note: this was primarily due to lack of time) out of a heavy almost-canvas fabric I bought at Joanns. I used a cheap Patons wool and knit a long, wide rectangle which I then hand felted in the sink. Should I mention that due to my procrastination and frequent mind-changes this ocurred at 1:30 in the morning? No? Ok.

Then came the fun part! I grabbed some great black New Zealand wool I bought off ebay way back when and began the fun process of needle felting it to the felted (fulled, technically) wool. I think in the end all my lines ended up straight, but I had some moments of doubt along the way! I really enjoyed the process of creating the notes and the C clef, because I realized how you can use needle felting artistically - to slightly thicken a section here, or round a curve there. The most miraculous part? No bleeding. I needle-felted, often after midnight while watching tv, and sustained no serious finger injuries. Whew.

Sorry this picture's sideways. I realized, too late, that I can't rotate images on blogger, or the computer I use at work. Hopefully this gives an idea as to the construction: One long folded piece forms the front and back, and another long thin piece (folded in half length-wise to make it extra sturdy) was wrapped all the way around the bag, including the bottom. This gave the bag depth and a strange, almost supernatural ability to stand up on it's own. Since my earlier vision of used fulled fabric instead of regular fabric fell through, my goal was to make the construction as sturdy as possible.

My mom used it for the first time at choir practice and told me it worked perfectly - when filled with her music it's just the right shape and size. Yay!

Monday, May 21, 2007

My sad neglected blog... & yarn winding (!)

Ahh....freedom. Today's the first day in over a month when I'm not doing the work of two people at my job. This means I have time for things like email, aim, and updating! Highlights of the last month's worth of knitting: I started and finally finished the pink keyhole scarf for my grandmother. More details will be coming, but let's just say I've been working on that since Christmas, but I always had trouble finding the motivation to finish. I've cast on for more projects than I care to mention right now, as I seem to be going through an extreme case of knitters ADD. I'm trying to make another Lelah but I can't find the perfect yarn. I put aside my Central Park Hoodie (no small feat, considering I'm a whopping 2 rows into it) to work on a mother's day gift for my mother, which will be completed in the next few days. Combining sewn elements with fulled knitting and needle felted embellishments, it's a true test of my craftiness. This is a knitting blog, after all. If it were a sewing blog, I wouldn't have the numerous wounds on my hands and fingers caused my sharp needles and too much force.

And now for some pics! As these are the only pics I have uploaded to my work computer, you're going to be treated to the laborious process I went through preparing some Valley Yarns yarn for knitting. I originally bought it in a big cone, meant for machine knitting. Since the whole thing only cost about $25, it was worth it. First I had to wash the yarn, to get the machine oil off it. I unwound the cone into three huge hanks and tied them off at intervals so they wouldn't get tangled. After a soak in my bathtub (new apartment! I finally have a bathtub!!) I hung it to dry, which took forever. Then came the winding. And winding. And winding. It took forever. Well, I should use the present tense there, actually, because at the time of this posting I still have one hank hanging in my hallway (it's a decoration, I swear!) because I can't bear the thought of winding it. I think I have about 15 variously sized balls right now.

Unfortunately, once I swatched with this yarn I realized it was the wrong yarn for the project I had in mind. I love this color, but it's definitely on the scratchy side (it's 100% wool). So I think I'm going to use it to make my first ever top-down raglan sweater, coming to a theatre near you....whenever I finish the many other WIPs I have going on right now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Good Morrow, M'lady!

I'm worried that people think I'm weird when I go to Ren Faire. I'm not a guy, yet I spend quite a lot of time staring at the ladies. No, it's the oft-overflowing bosoms that catch my eye - it's the knitwear. Scarves, caps, shawls, snoods, fingerless gloves, you name it. I have the same issue every winter and fall in malls, stores, parking lots, etc. I'm sure people think I'm staring, when in reality I'm wondering: I wonder what stitch pattern that is? How is that sweater constructed? Do I have that same yarn at home? I bet I could make that at a fraction of the price she obviously paid at Gap. It's like a mental illness or something. As a matter of fact, it's quite common for me to completely lose my train of thought when a piece of knitwear crosses my line of vision.

For a bit of a history lesson: if you want to be technical about it, knitting and crochet were not practiced during Renaissance times - they developed much more recently. What was common then, especially among the people of Northern Europe, was the craft of sprang. And no, I can't figure out if it's supposed to be "spranging" when used in that sense. I don't think so. The spinning and dying of wool was done pre-1600, but the resultant yarn was used almost exclusively for weaving (at least as far as my google-fu is telling me). Which makes me sad because if I were to ever participate in a reenactment of some sorts (and don't think it hasn't crossed my mind recently) I wouldn't be able to knit. Although (thank you google!) I would be able to use my drop spindle, as it's one of the oldest spinning tools known to mankind*.

*That is, once I actually receive it in the mail. See earlier post about my broken order.

~~~ Edited to Add: Wow was I off! This page has some excellent early knitting information. Interesting stuff! I can't imagine knitting at that gauge...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Good Old Fashioned Customer Service

Warning: This post will start out as a rant.

I hate the Jo-Ann's Fabrics near me. Hate it with the fires of a thousand burning suns. Before I moved out here, they built a brand-spanking new Jo-Ann's down the street from my apartment in Orlando, Fl. It was a mega store - massive, with more merchandise than you could ever want. If it wasn't in that store, Jo-Ann's didn't carry it.

Then I moved to Glendale. *sigh* My Jo-Ann's, which I visit because I can walk there from work on my lunch break, is a pit. A disgusting, dark, tiny pit of a store, with empty shelves, disinterested employees, and the most pathetic selection I've ever seen. They have one (1) usable type of yarn there (Patons Merino), and the rest is that plastic eyelash stuff, which they're currently trying to unload on an unsuspecting public at 50% off. In fact, I don't know why I go there anymore. I always go needing just one little thing (size 7 bamboo dpns, bobbins for the intarsia I'm attempting, etc) and I almost never end up finding it. So I walk there on my lunch break, return to work empty-handed, and then drive to Michael's on my way home from work. In fact, the only time I ever find what I need is when I go there for fabric or sewing notions.

So on a happier note - I bought a drop spindle off the Joann's website (only $7, after 40% off) and I was soooo excited to try my hand at spinning. I've literally been day dreaming about it at work. So when it arrived Monday, with the wooden rod broken in half already, I was very sad and disappointed. Imagine my surprise when I called Joann's today to see how I should go about exchanging it, and dear Bridget (I wrote down her name because I was so happy!) said "Don't worry about sending it back, we'll just send you a new one. It should arrive within a week! Thank you for calling!"

I think she singlehandedly raised the status of Jo-Ann's in my eyes. Thanks Bridget!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spending Spree, pt. 2

I know what you're thinking: Part 2? There hasn't been a part 1 yet! At the end of my last post I mentioned my recent purchase (recent like yesterday) from, so I'm counting that. Though I just realized I won't get that yarn for probably two weeks, by which time I will have forgotten about it. That's the best - when you get a package that you forgot you bought, so it's exciting all over again :)

Today I (finally!) used my gift card to, which my mother bought for me a month and a half ago. Trust me, if you had $50 to spend, and tons of stunning yarn to choose from, it would take you that long to decide too. I decided on a beautiful blue yarn (see pic), which will become either a hoodie, pullover, or cardigan. I'm toying with the idea of turning it into the Central Park Hoodie from Knitscene, but a big part of me feels like that should be green, because cables=celtic=Irish=green in my mind. Plus I don't know if 9 skiens will be enough (guess it'll depend on the pattern; I'm buying about 1,200 yds of yarn). Maybe it's destined to be a simple stockinette stitch pullover, to draw all the attention to the beauty of the yarn itself. Or maybe I'll just hang it all from my walls and stare at it - petting it occasionally. Any ideas?

In other crafting news, last night I used Modge Podge for the first time. Over the years I've received many a gift or handmade card from Annie *waves to Annie!* and I finally decided to try it out myself. I have this box I keep crafty notions in, and I covered it in this awesome vintage looking cloth, and then messed around with random ribbons and photos I've cut out of magazines over the past few months. I definitely want to buy more cloth, because I love the look of surfaces covered in neat graphic patterns, and I want to buy some scrapbook paper (I don't scrapbook much, but I love the paper!) and see what I can come up with there. Maybe I'll end up with some neat magnets! Oh, and speaking of magnets (do I write train-of-thought or what?) I needle-felted another flower, this one shades of purple, and made it into a magnet along with my pink flower I made months and months ago. My needle felting skills still leave a lot to be desired - I need to work hard on achieving randomness and "going with the flow" rather than trying to force a design into a solid shape - but I'm going to keep practicing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Back in the Swing of Things

I haven't posted in almost a month, because I haven't been knitting all that much. First there was the move (all my yarn is still in a big box in my living room), and the unpacking and cleaning that occupied a large portion of my time, and then there was this strange math kerfuffle I experienced. (That's a word, right?) Basically all my WIPs stalled due to math issues, and I haven't felt like untangling the mess to see where I went wrong in adapting the patterns. Too much work for my overburdened brain. The only thing that's gotten me over this 'I don't feel like knitting" (gasp!) hump is buying new yarn. Doesn't that always solve everything? :)
Because I know you care. My getting over the hump projects:

- I've been working on a square from the Oddball Sampler to work on my cabling. I've already screwed up twice but rather than rip back 5 tedious cabled-filled rows, I'm chalking it up to a learning experience. Note to self: Do NOT attempt difficult celtic braiding while watching 24.

-I picked up some yummy 50 alpaca/ 50 merino wool yarn (forgot the brand) in a springy green and I'm making a spring scarf based loosely on the Peekaboo scarf in a back issue of Knitscene I have.

-I took some advice from my newest pattern book, Weekend Knitting, and bought an expensive hank of yarn (Manos del Uruguay, color is Cornflower) and knit up a simple 6 st garter scarf on size 19 needles. After finishing I attached some pretty abalone buttons I had to the fringe, and voila! Completed trendy looking project in four hours! Talk about instant gratification. Hopefully I'll get pics of that up soon.

-The most exciting project, which I can't start yet: Lily's Bordello pillow, from "Hip Graphic Knits." I've been wanting to make this pillow forever, but now that I have a new couch arriving this weekend (yay! No more lawnchair!) I have to make this because it will match perfectly. I also bit the bullet and (for the first time in my knitting career) went online and ordered the EXACT YARN CALLED FOR IN THE PATTERN. Whoa. What a novel concept! I never do that. In this case I was going to try to seek out a cheaper alternative, but then I realized for maybe $15 extra I'd have the peace of mind of knowing the colors will already work and it'll look like the picture. I ordered from Fuzzy Mabel for the first time because they were the only place where I could find all the colors I needed, and I lucked into their Moving Sale, which saved me $12. All I have to do is wait until April 2nd for my yarn to ship (because they're moving) which is a sacrifice I'll have to make.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Reasons why I'm not knitting

Reason #1: Work. This month is crazy month - the month where everything my department is responsible for (like delivering a fully edited and completed television show) happens. Half of April will be bad too, but the majority of it happens now because there are so many overlapping shows.

Reason #2: Moving! I'm excited to finally have my own place (again) but moving is a lot of work. All my yarn is in one (big) box, my WIPS in another, my needles and random accoutrement's in a a third. When I knit, it's just for a swatch I'm working on that requires no thought or energy. I've also stalled on my City Shrug, because I've realized I screwed up the math and I don't have the time to figure out where I went wrong just yet.

Also, check this out: Knitwiki, an online wiki-type knitting reference page. They're encouraging people to add content just like wikipedia. When I have more time I'll fully explore it, but for now I wanted to give it some free press on my blog!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Resisting the urge to spin's striking again. The urge to learn how to spin. What brought forth this sleeping desire? The Yarn Harlot's latest blog entry.

Can you imagine starting with this beautiful stuff:

And creating this beautiful stuff?

I feel it calling to my soul!

The main problem with taking up a new craft? The same problem I always have: Space. Or lack thereof. Maybe when I move I'll be able to buy a drop spindle (the joke here being that they don't take up any room at all) but that's it. And I think I might go roving crazy - it's bad enough that I know how to (barely) needle-felt. This roving is calling to me like mad - it's saying "I know you don't really know what you're doing, but buy me anyway! At least you'll be able to look at me and pet me occasionally! Maybe even rub me against your cheek when no one is looking!"

It's like those old cartoons where the character has the devil and angel version of himself on his shoulders urging him to get the roadrunner, or leave the roadrunner alone. Only I don't have the angel on my shoulder, just the devil, telling me one more craft can't hurt ;)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lelah: The Venus of Our Times

Every time I look at her, I fall in love all over again. *swoon* Alright, I'll stop gushing. Overall I'd say Lelah took a little over a week to make, so it's the perfect short project - I'm definitely tempted to make some modifications (different lace pattern perhaps?) and make another one. There's a very inspiring thread on craftster where knitters have posted their FO's, some with really neat modifications.

I used Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton in #620, Fern which surprisingly knit up to the same gauge as the pattern's wool did. I also lucked into the perfect ribbon in the $1 bin at Michael's - I actually wanted more of a copper color but couldn't find it. Throughout the knitting I was freaking out about the bust - not that I have much in the area of boobage, but still, exposure is not an option. So I measure very careful and cut the elastic very carefully and it somehow (magically?) ended up being literally perfect.
I don't know if you can see from the xcu on the left, but I was actually upset at how much pilling there seemed to be with the cotton. The bottom half of the lace (where I had frequent frogging and lots of handling) doesn't look as clean as the rest of the top, and I actually used a pair of scissors to cut away the worst bits of dangling fluff.

One weird bit: The pattern says to use a bindoff (forgot the name) where instead of lifting one stitch over the other, you lift two. This created an extremely tight, gathered edge (I hope you can see it in the pic on the right) that is hell on your hands and fingers. After doing it for about 5 inches I decided to continue in regular BO fashion and just use the special bit on the back. Once completed, however, it wouldn't even fit over my head. After sighing and breaking out the scissors, I ripped and cut out the offending BO section and then reknit & bound off again normally. This worked just fine, and I'm not missing the gathered look at all.

Next update: My fair-isle camera case!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Because I think you guys are slightly more likely to understand this, here's a little something cross posted from my Livejournal. "I'm currently adapting the "City Shrug" pattern from last yr's Knitscene magazine for my thinner cotton yarn. As I'm doing the math and checking my results, all I can think of is Farscape: "Right Side, Wrong Side, Right Side, Wrong Side!" It has to do with Starke from Farscape and the mechanics of Stockinette stitch....ok, I've lost you all. Sorry."

Anybody? Starke? Farscape? Maybe I've lost you guys too ;)

As for the City Shrug, now that I'm nearly 2 inches away from finishing my Lelah (two very...very...very boring inches of pure stockinette) my fingers are literally itching to start another project. For some reason I've felt an incredible urge recently to actually make clothing items. My Top Secret Sweater is currently on the needles again for revisions, but other than that I've never made clothing, just lots of accessories and bags. My recently discovered love of Knitscene Magazine (I now own two of the three issues) led me to the City Shrug - I'm in love with lots of garments at the moment, but this one fit three important criteria:

1) I already have yarn I can use
2) It's a simple pattern
3) It's a fast knit

The problem is, I'm making lots of modifications. I'm using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece instead of the recommended yarn, which is a different weight. Time to break out SnB:Nation and a calculator! I've figured out my stitch & row ratios, and now I'm trying to rework the decreases/increases, which is too much math for me right now. And I'm making bobble changes, because when I swatched (and made bobbles for the first time!) I didn't like the look of the bobbles just two stitches apart. I'm increasing that by three stitches, and since the yarn I'm using is smaller than the yarn in the pic, my bobbles are smaller and less obvious. Since I generally don't make anything flashy that calls attention to me, small and less obvious is key :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Patience, Young Padawan

If you remember, "learn to be more patient" was one of my 2007 knit resolutions. How am I doing? Very poorly.

Case in point: The new love of my life, Lelah. I'm determined to make this out of some of the yarn I bought at the All Yarn No Football party at Unwind in Burbank (50% off the back room, 30% off the front. It was beautiful). So I sat down and swatched, maybe not as thoroughly as I should have, but I obtained gauge and decided to start my top. (Using Blue Sky Alpaca Cotton in a dark khaki green, if you're interested) Two abbreviated nights of knitting and 8 rows later, I realized I had twisted the stitched when I joined. *sigh* Isn't that rookie mistake? Shouldn't I be over that by now? Oh well, so I frogged it and began again. Only then I realized "Wait a sec! I bought two skiens of the dark green, not three! This patterns requires three! What was I thinking?" So now that we've established that I'm a moron, I decided to use my Lamb's Pride Cotton Fleece in Sedona Red instead. After swatching with that (with a little Hercules therapy in the background to calm me down) I realized I liked the bulkiness of the green cotton more. *sigh* So my current plan is to hit up Unwind sometime this week and hope they still have some of that dyelot left.

Another resolution is coming along nicely - "Learn fair-isle." On the left you can see my sample swatch for my Endpaper Mitts. I'm very pleased with how it turned out - ignore the bottom few rows, because that's where I was figuring it all out. I've figured out a rudimentary way to knit with yarn in both hands, though I have to confess this swatch took me an entire hour to do. This doesn't leave me filled with much hope as far as finishing the darn mitts goes. A part of me wonders if I should just hold off until I get better at not just fair-isle, but also knitting with such tiny (fingering weight) yarn on such tiny (size 3) needles. I'm a bulky/worsted weight kinda gal. On the right you can see the K1P1 ribbing that I'm supposed to do for 18 rows. Excuse me while I peel myself off the floor from the shock. I'm thinking of changing it to a K2P2 or something just so I don't lose my mind. I ended up doing those few rows with the wrong needle size, which explained why it wouldn't fit over my hand. So, right now my endpaper mitts are merely a swatch and a dream, to be resumed shortly ;)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

2007: A Year of New Techniques

A kitty in repose (on my yarn!)

Since I finally have a bunch of FO & WIP pictures, I think I'll ration them out over a few days. After learning how to do cables with "Fetching" (did I post those FO pics yet?) I decided to use my lone skien of Patons SWS in Natural Denim for the cute cabled hat in the SNB:Nation book. I decided to go for the pom pom, because really life's too short to live in fear of pom poms, as I have done in the past. Making the darn thing was much more difficult than I thought it'd be - don't stores sell pom pom makers? If so I'll have to buy one, because cutting my own of out cardboard got really old.

Behold my beautiful cables! I blocked this hat over two bowls in my kitchen - a smaller bowl set over a bigger one, which approximated the shape of the human head well enough. Thankfully Emma didn't decide to mess around with "that strange thing on the kitchen counter" since the bowls were balanced very precariously. I don't think picking glass shards out of wet wool is anyone's idea of a good time.

In case anyone's interested, I still only cable without a cable needle, and it's worked well thus far. After my first disastrous attempt with an actual cabling needle I wrote off cables for months and months, until I learned of this technique and decided I simply had to make a pair of Fetching.

To continue making this an SWS-only post, here's the beginnings of my Danica scarf, inspired by this lovely knitter, who's created quite a splash in blogland with her version. I'm rather annoyed - ok, VERY annoyed at the way the SWS is behaving. The pic on the left shows how much I was able to get from one skien, and though it's supposed to be a three skien scarf I'm a little worried. Not to mention the girl who's scarf is in the photo swears she didn't cut her yarn to make her squares solid colored, but for the life of me I can't get it to work. As you can see in the closeup, almost all my color shifts occur smack dab in the middle of a square. And to make matters worse, my first skien contained three (3!) knots and was missing an entire color. This colorway (Natural Earth - my favorite!) transitions into this really awesome deep navy blue, and instead all I got was a washed out dark grey. *sigh* Of course the second I joined my second ball, what color shows up? The navy. If this end of the scarf looks funny because of it I swear I'll chop it off and reknit it with a brand new skien. I keep consoling myself with the knowledge that very few people will notice any of this once it's done.

On a non-whiny note, I'm really getting a good short row workout. I've done them before in the artyarns tutorials, but it's amazing how easier it is to remember once you start. You don't even have to really count stitches, because you either decrease or increase one every row so you can visually keep track of where you are. I love seeing the entrelac come to life - you work a triangle, a square, another square, and a triangle, and then repeat backwards till you're back on the same side of the scarf you started on.

Ok, enough for now. I probably should get back to work :) Next update: I tackle fair-isle! Do I come out on top? You be the judge!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

How to wash yarn?

One of the things I need to do, besides actually uploading knitting pics and bringing them to work on my thumb drive, is figure out what the heck to do with this yarn. I have a pattern in mind, just a nice and simple v-neck sweater with ribbing at the wrists and bottom, but this yarn is that funky stuff made for machine knitters. Meaning it's been treated with some kind of oily, soapy stuff.

Based on what I've read online, I need to wash and dry this yarn before using it, because if I knit it with the goo still on, my sweater might get distorted once I block it. That's bad. I found this yarn online for about $25, which I couldn't pass up (that, and I love this color! Hard to find, believe it or not). I was so excited at the price I didn't think through the mechanics of washing 1,000yds+ of yarn in the tiny shoebox I call my apartment. I don't have a bathtub, just a standup shower. I don't have a back yard, or a slop sink. I do have a bucket big enough (I think) to hold this yarn plus water, but then I'm faced with a winding dilemma. Do I unwind it from this ball into a large hank, tied off at intervals with string to keep it mostly untangled? I have a feeling that once it dried I'd have a devil of a time re-winding it again.


Any suggestions or personal experience I could put to good use? I installed one of those awesome visitor-counter things, so I know (some) people are reading this. Feel free to add your opinions, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, January 15, 2007

I [heart] Twanky!

Twenty points to anyone who gets the reference!

Ok, I know none of you will get it, but it's from "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" which, in my oh-so-humble opinion, is one of the best tv shows ever produced. The gorgeous and sexy Madame Twanky is the *cough* female alter-ego of Michael Hurst (who played Iolaus). The colors in the pin are inspired by the colors and shapes in Iolaus' vest. I made it to represent the Hercules love at the Xena Convention this weekend. I was one of the extremely few people there who were in the Herc camp ;)

Anyway, onto crafty nonsense. I found a pattern for a simple knitted circle in "The Knitters Bible", which is the outermost ring. The middle ring is actually fabric that I found (which I'm hoarding away for one of my other 2007 resolutions: Make a scarf patterned after the patches in Iolaus' vest), and the middle ring is store-bought felt. I used my meak embroidery skills for the words and the outline of the heart, and I needle felted some pretty pink roving into the middle of the heart. (Question: at what point does roving cease to be roving and become felt instead? Would this technically be called felt, since I performed the process of needle felting to get it?)

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Green Dragon, Rearing it's Ugly Head

Can I be rich yet? I mean c'mon, I graduated college, I'm working in my chosen field...can't we skip the years of toiling away at low-level, and then mid-level, jobs until finally I'm an executive producer? Can we just skip those years so I can afford to buy this?It's a knitters tote bag, made by this brilliant company:Offhand Designs. This is their "Zhivago Weekender" tote bag, and it comes in a billion different colors.

Think of all the knitting you could shove in this bad baby! Not to mention how stylish it would look! The price? Oh, just $220.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Years Resolutions

I haven't posted in so long, I don't know where to begin. First, an explanation. On the last show I was on, I brought my laptop to work everyday. On this show, I have a mac in my office. It's much much easier to manipulate pictures when all you have to do is upload them at night and then mess with them (and post them) at work during your downtime. I find it hard to actually get on my computer when I get home at 8pm...I just want to knit and watch tv and relax.

Enough excuses. Here's my list of Knitting Resolutions for 2007:

1) Learn cabling. Oh wait, I figured this out right before Christmas - Ha!

2) Learn to do colorwork, both intarsia and fair isle. I think I can do intarsia, after using the basic technique on a pair of slippers for my mom for Christmas. Fair isle is another story entirely, and looks slightly difficult. That said, the end result is gorgeous!

2) Finish my $*&^#! poncho! Grr. I need to get to an lys and pay someone to help me get over this hurdle.

3) Stop buying yarn unless a) it's on super-duper-prices-won't-be-this-low-again sale b) it's one of a kind and I'll never be able to pick it up elsewhere or c) I have a project in mind that I'll be able to start within the next month. Leaving myself a lot of loopholes, eh? :)

4) The biggest and most important resolution: BE PATIENT!! SLOW DOWN!! DOUBLE CHECK!! It took me until after bind off and sewing in the ends to realize one 1/2 of my recently completed Fetching was one cable round longer than the other. How does something that big just pass me by? Oy. I believe knitting was put into my life to help me be more patient and methodical, and while I have definitely improved, I'm nowhere near where I need to be.

And just for fun, some pictures!

First, we have the winder I bought before Thanksgiving with a 50% off coupon from Winding without a swift is, well, difficult, but I have a strange system where I hang the hank off my left arm and wind with my right hand, veeeery slowly, occasionally unraveling or shifting the hank so the yarn doesn't get tangled.

And my Top Secret sweater - done!! This is a shot of it blocking. As you can see, the only flat surface in my apartment isn't big enough for my sweater, thus the arms hung off. I believe this is why the arms on this sweater are about four inches too long. *sigh* I'm going to cut and use lifelines (I'm scared!) and take off about 3 inches.

*drool* Patons SWS...I love it! Simple stockinette hat - forgot where I got the pattern. I didn't even bother blocking it, though it's only been cold enough a total of 3 times (all of which were in Florida over the Thanksgiving holidays) to wear it. Hence why I love hats, but have no use for them. Although this weekend it's forecasted to get into the 30's (eep!) in Los Angeles, so maybe I'll wear this one all day around my apartment. Actually, I have a geek*con to go to this weekend, so no hat for me. Geeks unite!

Aww, Emma's helping me knit! Ok, no she's not - she's getting in the way. This is my hideously expensive alpaca yarn that I used for my mom's scarf. Emma somehow a hold of one of the balls while I was gone for Christmas and I ended up being forced to cut out pieces of the yarn from the ball because she had ripped it with her kitty claws.

Projects in the works right now (No, my WIP bars haven' t been updated):
-V-neck sweater. I have the yarn, now I just need to wash it and wind it. (It's that "pre-treated" stuff used for machine knitters, so it's covered in some kind of oil).
-Scarf for my grandma. She requested one after seeing my mom's. Hers is pale pink and it's a "Joann's Exclusive" yarn, which really means next to nothing in the long run. Perfect color though :)
-Knitty's "Danica" in Patons SWS (different color than my hat, I think. Actually, I can't decide). I'm inspired by this knitter's recent creation which I saw in the Knitting Livejournal community. Beautiful!! And I got a $40 gift certificate to Michael's from my awesome sister, so maybe I'll use $15 of it towards the SWS.