Friday, May 29, 2009

UFO Friday - progress on Two Items...

Well, the Serenity Stroller Snuggie is struggling along. I figured out the weird increases that made it all work so that all my leaves "finish" at the eyelet edge, and I'm officially 1.5 rows away from the final cable twists, then a row after that, the color change and the eyelet rows begin. Which, of course, will have to be re-charted, since my Snuggie is vastly different now from the Actual Serenity Blanket... but I'll make it work. The thrill of being able to start the new yarn (matches in tone beautifully, may be a bit thick... but that'll make the edge fluffy, right? Right?) Anyway, here's the edge as of the end of lunch hour today:

I've also been working on Clapotis, and have determined that it may actually just be the two balls of Coral Whatever that will make up this shawl. (This is cool; that way the Dragon's Whatever can be something else fun.) I'm almost to the center of the shawl (as slightly widened from the pattern), and I'm still on my first ball of sock yarn! Who knew 400 yards was so much yarn? Here it is at the beginning of Vacation Day last friday:

... and here it is as of this morning. I've hit the point of six dropped stitches, and I'm really looking forward to blocking it:

The only downside to this project is that I forgot to fix the dye in the yarn, which, yeah, I know one is supposed to do, even with Bought Yarn, so my hands are turning a rather violent shade of red at times - luckily, it *almost* all washes off with a wee bit of Mary Kay Silkypaws (I can't remember what the product names actually are - it's what I call the hand cream, sloughing cream and cleanser all combined together).

Can I just add how difficult it's been to NOT start the Pacific Northwest Shawl this week? I'm being SOOOOOOOOOO good!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Yarn on Thursday: Ribbons!!

As part of the running around this past weekend, I wandered into In Stitches on Route 1, and found some ribbon yarn. I planned to use the new ribbon yarn to make another one, but the first skein on size 13 needles (don't want to go any bigger with the needles, or it'll be a "cover" not a "shirt") didn't yield quite enough area. (Yes, I knitted up an entire ball of yarn to discover this. I'm SUCH a process knitter!) So, I've got lovely yarn, and need something do do with it.

Thus, this week - what, really, *can* you do with ribbon yarn?

First, what is ribbon yarn? Usually "not natural fibers", and frequently glittery, shiny, and sparkly. Here's a color card for one sort of ribbon yarn:
And here's a photo of a ball of Nu-Mei Luna:
Who could resist knitting with Louisa Harding's Glisten? I may be hunting some down. has a section on Ribbon Yarn, with a brief primer on what it is and its pitfalls, as well as links to patterns that use it, including this little beauty from Crystal Palace:

Of course, there's lots you can make from ribbon yarn. I've made at least one top:

I winged the pattern, and call it "Hot Tamale" for the colors.
I really should write it up; it came out cute!
Vania (ACraftyVegan.Blogspot) made a cool ribbon yarn scarf for her Dad:
Barb made a cool bolero out of ribbon yarn;
I believe Emily designed this beautiful Solomon's Knot Shawl:
You can make a ribbon yarn vest for summer by Knit One, Crochet Too out of Tarlette, pattern available at
Skeinscene has entire online pattern books to buy; the one linked includes this cute little summer top:

Now, even though I said "who could resist this yarn?" up above, I know some people really don't like using artificial fibers (or fiber-like stuff) to knit or crochet. Never fear - you can also find some pre-made items. That way you can have them, without having to *make* them.

The Accessory Lady has many beautiful and amazing accessories for sale in her online shop, including this lovely necklace. (I also like the Moulin Rouge cuffs.) has some scrunchies made out of ribbon yarn - I think this is my favorite, I'm all about the bright metallic ribbon yarn. (My hair isn't quite long enough for scrunchies yet, though.)

Now, since I have fun zooming all over the internet looking for links and photos to share here on Thursdays, I sometimes stumble across unexpected goodness. If you're in or near Babylon, New York, check out classes at The Village Knitter. This came up under a search for "made with ribbon yarn" - and while I couldn't find a photo that for-certain contained ribbon yarn, it looks like a great little store, with a great range of classes.

Now up at the top of the post, I mentioned stumbling into In Stitches and getting ribbon yarn. This is what I got: Two skeins of Prism Flirt! The photos on the site really don't do justice to the depth of the actual colors, so here's a photo of mine in the sun:

I think it's going to turn into one of Emily's Solomon's Knot Shawls... I think. Although... wouldn't a Clapotis made of sparkly ribbon yarn look cool?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I got KITS in the mail!

To continue on from yesterday, after we ran a gazillion errands last night (including FINALLY mailing in my TKGA homework!!), I was able to come home and finish stitching up my little Lizzie*Kate kit. Here it is about 3/4 done:

... and here it is finished. Yay!

As an extra added bonus yesterday, there was also a package waiting for me at the house, from Nestucca Bay. My Midnight Sun Tam and Pacific Northwest Shawl kits are here!!


Yarn for kits! It's so pretty!

I'm going to be good and finish the Serenity Stroller Snuggie and Clapotis before I start the shawl, and at least two other UFOS (from the list, not new ones) before I start the Tam. That should be pretty good encouragement, because I REALLY want to start the Tam!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quick patriotic cross-stitch break...

As part of the running around this weekend, I wandered into In Stitches on Saturday afternoon, and found this adorable little Lizzie*Kate kit:

During the race on Monday (Memorial Day in the US), I started stitching. I got quite a ways before I realized that the light blue flag-pole and bright-red masts weren't going to work for me.

So, I frogged out the flag-pole, and replaced it with light brown, and did the masts in light brown, and made the boats red. I like it much better:

I should be able to finish it up tonight, assuming (a) I get back from the post office and L.L.Bean at a resonable hour and (b) can find my beading needle to attach the embellishments, and I figure I'll frame it up and give it to my mom, who sails. It's a fun, quick little kit!

Friday, May 22, 2009

UFO report, and "What idiot printed this canvas?"

UFO Report: Last Thursday evening, knowing full well that the Serenity Stroller Snuggie was going to be the Featured UFO for UFO Friday for the forseeable future, I picked it up and knit a lot. Friday morning, I discovered that something had gone horribly, horribly wrong about six rows back... so Friday night, I frogged. And wept a bit, since at this point I was looking at something on the order of 400 stitches I needed to pick up, in a lace pattern with cables. I persevered, and got THAT done. THAT could have been another four hours of knitting time, but NOOOOOOO, I had to spend it ripping back and very carefully recasting, all while keeping my energy positive and upbeat - since it's effectively a baby blanket, and I don't want any bad juju near a baby. It wasn't easy, but I kept watching my favorite video podcast, and it kept me happy and sane. (PS, there's a new episode up, if you didn't already know.)

Anyway, it's cast back on, and by Sunday, I was cursing it as I attempted to fall asleep, and my brain insisted on figuring out what increase/decrease combination I needed to alter the pattern to do what I wanted it to do.

Luckily, I figured it out, and I'm about 12 rows from where the eyelet edging begins:

Now, ask me how often I've picked it up. Go on. I dare you.

I should add that Clapotis, which many people have deemed Quite Dull through the center bits, is a pleasant change from intricate re-scaled what-the-hell-let's-wing-it-completely lacework. On the upside, I'm getting a lot of Clapotis done (up to the straight part now), and I'm at the point where I could design my own fairly intricate lace & cable thingy. Which is good, since I'll be doing some of that in the Masters, right?

And about the canvas I've been playing with. Lots of folks have questioned me about my usual insistence on hand-painted canvases. "So let me get this straight - you're paying hundreds of dollars for a hand-painted piece of art, and then you're going to cover it up with yarn?" Um, yeah, that's it exactly. This is one of the few kit pieces I've bought (ever), and the reason I don't like them is this:

I'm maybe 30 stitches from the corner, and the thing is already so far off-register that if I didn't have the chart, I wouldn't be able to stitch this thing. The paint might as well not be there, and the canvas *is* kinda cheap. If I had been paying more attention when I got it, I probably would've NOT started stitching on this bit of canvas, getting a blank piece instead and working on that. Since I'm already worried about running out of blue wool, though, I'll keep going here - but definitely just using the chart, and remembering not to pay any attention to what's on the canvas. Here's what I've stitched so far:

I figure I'll count out the stitches for the "frame" and get that in place, and work inward from there. I think there may be rules against doing that, but whatever. This is gonna be a totebag someday, when it grows up, btw.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Check out Techknitting. Seriously. If you haven't seen it yet, GO. It all starts here. This has been your Yarn On Thursday, because there's enough to read over there to keep you busy until next week!!

Also, because I like entries-with-pictures, I give you this:

I love playing Bookworm. Does anyone else tend to look for fiber-related words when they play?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm All About the Shiny

So, yesterday, I bought something off the internet. I'll show you when it arrives. It's not exactly yarn-related - but it could be, and if I ever make it to any of the big Sheep & Wool festivals, it's totally what I'm wearing!!

Having discovered I had my credit card on me (I'm not supposed to - really, I have no idea how it got in my wallet), I was a bit startled. Could I get the Midnight Sun Tam & Pacific Northwest Shawl kits? Had I saved up enough in the Magic Change-Counting Bank?

Turns out I had, and I could, so I did. From Nestucca Bay Yarns ( They have a Pay With Money Order option, and were sweet to check that was really how I wanted to pay. (It totally was.) I got my money order at lunch, and, having some cash left over, I treated myself to a yummy lunch at Johnny Rockets.

I huddled up at the counter and read my new Knitting Mystery, "While My Pretty One Knits", by Ann Canadeo:

Then, I wandered into the mall. There's a Very Dangerous Store there, called Fire & Ice, which has all sorts of shiny. But I still had cash left after mailing my money order and getting lunch (quite unexpectedly) - and I knew I had some coupons left on my account at the store, so I got something. See here? Notice anything missing?

That's because I got it! For cash, and not much at that, since all my coupons applied. It's Dichroic Glass, and looks like it has nordic runes on it (which, if it did, spell "R-NG"). I really like it, yay!

Since I was already on the correct floor of the mall, I dropped by the bead store and got more beads for the Peacock Feather Scarf I'm making, which will likely be the next UFO up for UFO Fridays.

Pay no attention to the spangly coin-things with them. I have no idea what I'm going to do with them, but since I still had cash left, and they were shiny, I got them. I'm all about the shiny, as you can probably tell!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

$20 a YEAR yarn budget??

Coolest idea that I don't think I could actually handle: The Used Yarn Chronicles, one crafter's journey on a $20 a year (yes, you read that right) yarn budget, found via Max's Blog.

Because it's been raining for a long time in the afternoons, I haven't had a Knitting with George up for a while, so here you go:

Clapotis with George, May 18, 2009

Progress report: Sure enough, stating that I would keep reporting on the Serenity Stroller Snuggie meant that I picked up a lovely peacock pillow kit (canvaswork) that I tracked down a few years back. (Actual tracking was required; it was out of print, but I managed to find a needlework clearinghouse that had one. It didn't have the main/background color, though - but it's a Bucilla kit, and they're a class act, and sent me some, free of charge. Yay! This is what it will look like, eventually:

I've got the left side blue border 2/3 done.

I've managed to figure out a technique for getting continental/basketweave stitch going without having to have a hand at the back of the canvas - this is making it go MUCH faster than before. Of the area that I've done over the past two years since I got the kit, I'd say easily two thirds of that was finished Sunday evening, when I was trapped in my magic chair. (I'd hurt my leg, the chair helps. A lot.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Knit, knit, and re-knit...

So, as of Friday evening, I had my little swatches all ready to measure, sort of. You see (and you can see) that the lovely merino wasn't really blocking flat all that well. (Don't get me started on the "hey, these aren't rustproof pins!" debacle.)

Anyway, I got actual worsted weight Patons Wool on Saturday, and, thanks to my right leg/hip deciding to Not Cooperate on Sunday, I reknit all six swatches. Three blocked overnight, three will block tonight, and then, maybe, finally, I'll be done. (I can only block three at a time, you see, because I only have eighty stainless-steel blocking pins. I am taking no chances with Edge Curl on these swatches.)

So maybe, just maybe, I'll get this turned in THIS week. *Sigh.*

At least my consistent-tension knitting speed is getting a lot faster?

Friday, May 15, 2009

UFO Friday - the First Attempt

Well, I clearly need some sort of focus to keep myself going on projects. And keep an eye on my needles, too...


Heaven knows, Yarn on Thursday keeps me scouring the internet for information I can share, and in the case of yesterday, made me get off my tail-end (finally, Wednesday evening) and finish up my homework for TKGA. So, you get to see things on UFO Friday from here on in (until I get distracted by something more fun to post, of course).

I will pick one of my UFOs - not necessarily knitting, and eventually, it won't be, since my UFOs are mostly cross-stitch (cross-stitch outnumbers all other crafts combined by at least 2:1). I will then report my progress on this UFO every Friday, starting today. This will *make* me work on no more than two projects at a time. (If the UFO isn't portable, then I still get a portable project. You don't want me going crazy while commuting because I haven't got some sort of needle/hook in my hands.) The photos will (I hope) be the same size and same resolution, so you (and I) can see progress from week to week, etc., etc., yadda yadda.

Anyway, here is the first UFO of this little experiment:

The Serenity Stroller Snuggie
About the UFO: It's the Serenity Blanket (click on the button on the right of the linked screen for the pattern). The center (up to the eyelet band) is in a custom color of Purled Llama 'Dulce'; the outer edge will be the green stuff you can sorta see in the bag (can't remember what it is right now, and the bag is at home). Pumpkins and pine needles, but muted, quiet versions of both so the eventual recipient's mom's eyes wont bleed just by looking at it. I cast on at the end of March (see here and here). I'm changing up the pattern a wee bit so that all the leaf cables end at the same level (after the 3rd row of leaves so there isn't a half-row at the bottom), using the short eyelet version, and otherwise fudging so it's not a full-sized blanket, but something that would work to keep a tot of, say, four months, warm in a stroller in November. I've moved up to the largest of my Addi Clicks cables - tried to add one on, but I need to do the warm-water cable smoothing trick before I try that again; the shorter cable looped oddly and annoyed me, so off it came. The longest cable *is* long enough; I just look like I'm knitting a really big russet-striped bag.

Anyway, let's hope this internet-based prodding of myself works. We'll *all* know by next Friday, right...?

And just because:

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yarn on Thursday: The importance of Gauge

Gauge. It actually is very important. SWATCHING is way more important than I thought.

I freely admit that, until I did Lesson #3 of the TKGA Basics, Basics, Basics course, I was not a swatcher. "It couldn't make all that much difference," I reasoned. "I mean, the stuff I knit still mostly fits."

Well, sort of. And most of it could fit a lot better, really. (I attribute the fact that my socks fit me to sheer, blind luck and the stretchiness of sock yarns.) Some of it, like my first Celtic cabled sweater, would have fit the Octomom while she was late in her most recent pregnancy. Some of it had to be gifted to my smallest relatives, since it just wasn't gonna fit me, no way, no how. The largest misadventure was a sailing sweater (there were little sailboats on the yoke) I knit for my mother, which she deemed "too big", so she frogged it and re-knit it... and it wound up fitting her toddler godson.

So, clearly, the not-swatching thing really hasn't been working out for me.

My eye-opening moment? This photo (also posted last week, yes, you've seen it before) - it's of swatches. Identical yarn, identical needles... and they're 28 stitches wide by 32 rows high. Swatch #4 has 4 extra rows, and Swatch #6 was actually 27 stitches, just to be accurate, but STILL. Here are six different patterns, and there are some VERY different results!!

So, this swatching thing? It's actually a really good idea. If you'd like to get started, or read more: The brief overview can be found on CJ Wyche's site, here - basic nuts and bolts, specially targeted to beginning knitters. Faina Goberstein has a comprehensive Why and How To on gauge and swatches - go check it out. She also has pointers to Jenna Wilson's article on gauge and Marilyn A Roberts' article on swatching, both in Knitty. Purlwise has a whole bunch of stitch swatch pictures on her blog, which is fun to poke around anyway.

And just in case you were thinking "Hey, how much difference could you get in a swatch, anyway? This swatching thing - if you use the yarn and needles, it'll be close enough, right?" lookie here. These were knit with the same needles and the same yarn, and there's a vast difference in gauge.

Garter Stitch Swatch

Seed Stitch Swatch

I mean - that's a pretty huge difference - I was just knitting the larger ones, without doing anything special, and for the smaller ones, I was trying to knit tightly and evenly. Same needles. Same yarn. A sweater done with the bigger swatch tension would fit me; the smaller might not even fit my smallest niece. Since I'm (once I finish at least two more projects, really) going to knit myself a cabled biker jacket (got the pattern from a library book, then found it here using Google Books), I really want it to fit, since my two ACTUAL biker jackets are either too small or too large right now!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Not quite the entry I had planned

So today was the day I was going to tell you all about how I re-swatched and measured everything and actually got all my homework ready to turn in *before* Friday night. Sadly, the stuff I was going to tell you about didn't happen. I did re-swatch, and I did print out the labels for my tags, and everything is in its binder, and... I still haven't measured my swatches. *Sigh.* But here are the do-overs:

These are SERIOUSLY about half the size of the first ones. Same yarn, same needles, different tension.

Instead, there was a three-hour-long Biggest Loser finale that required watching, and some Clapotis got knitted:

Indoors. Yes, I'm using paper clips as stitch markers again.

Outdoors - actual colors of the yarn. Sooooooo pretty!!

Oooo! I almost forgot!! I finally (FINALLY) got Deb her Wedding Sampler.

She really liked it!! Yay!!