Monday, December 24, 2012


Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Best Wishes for 2013! Wheeee! Skate In The Snow

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Where little WIPs come from...

Have you ever wondered how you got so many UFOs/WIPs going at once? I'm still under fifty, so I'm doing good, but I was up to 217 at one point. And getting there usually involved something like this:

So, last night, instead of being a good bunny and finishing up my Christmas cards, or working on the Advent Calendar Scarf (I'm on Day 14 now, only 5 days behind!), having discovered another shawl of Dee O'Keefe's that I just love, and having gotten some lovely royal blue sparkly S. Charles Luna... I kinda started it.

It's the Glenallen Shawl (Rav link), and it's gonna be gorgeous. And fluffy. And WARM.


Friday, December 14, 2012

iTunes Apps for Knitters

So, say you get an iTunes gift card over the holidays, and you need somewhere to spend the cash. Or, say you have someone you need to get something for, and have no real clue what, but they knit and they have an iPhone, and they don't have any knitting apps yet. There are some nifty knitting apps out there, and many are free. These are the internet links, so you can see everything on a big screen, and if you decide to try it, THEN go to the app store on your phone. Or you can give them a gift card, with a link here, and they can pick what they want, or get all of them. Not that expensive, these knitting apps.
  1. Yarn Genie (by Yarnmarket, Free) - you have yarn, what can you make? conversions? etc.

  2. KnitMinder Lite (Free) - track your stash. Can be upgraded to full version for $2.99. I'm gonna have to upgrade now that the storage unit has been emptied (into my garage).

  3. Stitch Minder (Free) - keep track of stitches/rows. VERY HELPFUL.

  4. KnitGauge ($.99) - an actual gauge. On your phone. (I use this the most.)

  5. iKnit Needle Sizer ($.99) - not perfect at sizing crochet hooks, but great for needles. Especially those little needles that manage to separate themselves from the herd, and might be size 5... or maybe 3.

  6. Touch and Go Knitting (Junior version Free, upgradable to full for $4.99) - just got it myself, so no real review as yet.

  7. KnittingHelp Video Reference ($4.99; over 160 videos available) (Don't have this myself yet, but it's gotten good reviews from ravfriends)

  8. JKnit Lite - does a bunch of things, FREE (Don't have it yet, but the "highlight where you are in a *.pdf file" will be wonderful if it works for the *.pdfs I already have)

  9. Vogue Knitting Knit Buddy ($3.99) is another project/yarn/needle tracking app that's gotten good reviews from ravfriends.

There are more out there, of course, but this is the quick list I whipped up when I was asked "Hey, are there any useful knitting apps?" by a new iPhone owner. Hope this helps!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 11 (a bit behind)

Still knitting away on the 2012 Advent Calendar Scarf. It's Day 11, and I'm currently 1/3 of the way through Day 9. Not sure I'll ever catch up, but I'm having fun!

Days 5-8 plus 1/3 of Day 9

What I have so far

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Still here, just not posting much right now

Not dead, just hella busy in RL. Have been knitting. It's Day 5 of the 2012 Advent Calendar Scarf; I just finished Day 3 at lunch. Could be much worse, at least Day 4 looks fast?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Advent Calendar Scarf 2012

It's time!! Kristin has once again created an amazing mystery scarf for Advent 2012.

The link to her blog (where the patterns will ultimately be, yes, it's in German, yes, it translates with Google) is here:

The link to the Ravelry group is here: Advent Calendar Scarf 2012

The Twitter hashtag for everyone playing along is #adventscarf

I already have my yarn:

It's Neigborhood Fiber Co.'s Maisonette, a lovely laceweight merino/silk blend, and hopefully the 1250 yards in the skein will be enough, because it was the only skein left at Fibre Space last night.

I'm really looking forward to it - and maybe THIS will be the year I actually finish it to wear to Christmas services!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Playing with Shapes

Yeah, two posts in one month, woohoo! (Life is... interesting right now.)

So, here's some of what I've been doing the past month.

1. Took an AMAZING class with the Woolly Thoughts folks. Yes, it was all math. But it was math that made sense to me. "I'm a geometrist," said... I think it was Pat, not Steve. Anyway, they do math visually, which TOTALLY works for me. We were given some tricks and such, and then everyone in class was given simple instructions to follow, and everyone wound up with a different shape.

PEby took a photo of it all, as you can see. It was a REALLY cool class.

2. As you might expect, shiny new techniques spawn new projects. The first of these was some shadowbox mitts I sketched up:

Need 24 tiny 1.5" x 1.5" squares for 2 mitts

Starting the third side, finally

May have them done by the end of the month, may not. It's NOT a carry-around project, despite being small, because those little tiny shapes will try to escape and hide under anything nearby with little to no provocation.

3. And since when have I only started one project when I could start more? Inspired by one of the amazing baby blankets already finished by another class attendee (she sketched it out during class, and it was done two weeks later - or possibly less, the end of October is blurry for me), I started a something of my own. I think it's going to be a sweater:

I'm not entirely sure which end is up yet, either, but I think the stripey-square with the two flat-ish blue pieces is the top-center of the back of whatever it will be.

4. And yes, I started a Square to Infinity kimono jacket sweater thing out of some old Lion Brand Homespun that I'd been meaning to do SOMETHING with, but hadn't quite figured out what, but I don't have a photo of that.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Still On Hold

Healthier enough to get back to work; not healthy enough to stay there. Sigh. Blog updates are going to be sporadic, as I'm still not back to knitting every day. Sorry about that.


Over at, there is a sweater story (those are always fun), and a video. I almost fell off my chair when I saw it.

This is how I knit. I've never seen anyone knit exactly the same way I do before. Close, but not exactly like me.

Until now. (There's a really long pre-explanation that I can't actually listen to at work, but I trust the aforementioned blogger's description. Also: buy "her" books. They're fab.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The word for the week is...

ACHOOOOOO! Back next week once the Hell Sniffles are over!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It cast on ITSELF. Really it did!

Remember how on Monday I was going to start Maplewing?
I had a wee accident with Red Heart Team Spirit yarn instead.


It just jumped on my needles ALL BY ITSELF and started knitting up this cool sweater....

....from the latest Sabrina Fashion Knits. (Yeah, the page is in Swedish, sorry. And does anyone know what "Förhandsbokning" means? I think it's something like "pre-order"... but it would be cool if it was the word for knitting.)

Anyway, here's the Knitting Accident so far...

It just jumped on my needles. Really, it DID.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Perfect Yarn (Not Pictured)

So, last week, I went to Fibre Space to get more of the lovely silver Metalico. Sadly, they were completely out, but ordered more (and two more skeins will be mine, bwahahahaha!). Since I was in a YARN STORE, some stuff came home with me. The first thing I picked up was a cute little pewter square neckthingy - YO on one side, K2TOG on the other:

It's like a little knitter's dog tag. I'm wearing it today, of course.

I also got some yarn. I can't remember whose, but it was lovely. (And I'll find out for Wednesday.) Oranges and browns and just screaming of autumn. In other words, I finally have the yarn to make Ann Hanson's "Maplewing":

Ann's Photo, not mine.
Isn't it GORGEOUS????

Someone pointed this shawl out to me, and I knew it was going to happen If I Ever Found The Perfect Yarn. I did, I just bought the pattern, and it will be cast on tonight.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Not much knitting, but I finally tracked down a song that's been haunting me since I caught it on a vidshow a year or more ago. So, I share with you:

Have a good long weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The month-long splice

So, about a month ago, I went on a cross-body bag shopping spree (NOT a cross body-bag spree, that's something else entirely) and got a lovely little green LeSportsac bag. Which happened to come with a smaller bag, which I wasn't using until last week. (The quarter - really, the shiny thing is a quarter - is for scale. It's a pretty small bag.)

What I put in it was my Jolly Roger cowl thingy. Which I've been carrying around since the last time you saw it, with the second ball of Metalico all balled up and ready to go, but not spliced.

Finally, today, during lunch, I spliced the yarn. Metalico splices like a dream, by the way...

So, there it is, all spliced, and ready to finish Row #7. (The slightly darker yarn in the bit-of-splice that's still drying.) So I might actually finish it before it gets too cold for a light lacy alpaca/silk cowl!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Can acrylic be un-scratchified?

In the arena of "this is either brilliant or nuts", I was driven to an experiment by the following:

From a comment by "Kristal" (September 13, 2012 at 4:44 am) on the relevant day's Worsted For Wear comment section:
There's a secret to using Red Heart. Leave it in the skein, but remove the wrapper. Get the whole darned thing damp - all the way through to the core - then wrap it tightly in a plastic bag. Tie or ziploc the bag shut so no air or water escapes, then toss it in the fridge for a few days.
The scratchy fades.
A lot of the scratchy, awful feel is from the sizing chemicals they put on the acrylic. The water and cold breaks these chemicals down, and gets rid of a surprising amount of that nastiness.
So, we start with a partial skein of green Red Heart.

Then, fill a bag with water, get the air out, and put it in the fridge:

Now, in the photo on the right, the water appears to have a greenish tint - it doesn't really at this point - it's just refraction, reflection, and other neat tricks. Four days later, however....

Yeah, that water is pretty green. Next, we remove the yarn from the bag, carefully dump the oddly green water, and rinse the yarn.... and then hank it so it can dry. (My lack of tinker-toys is evident; I'd have a knitty-noddy else.)

Now, the test. Is it actually any softer than un-soaked Red Heart?

The answer: NO. In fact, the soaked yarn feels slightly sticky/tacky at this point, but the un-soaked yarn actually feels about the same scratchy-ness. I will continue the experiment later by knitting up one mitten from the soaked yarn and the second from the unsoaked, to see if there's any difference in how it feels as it's worn, but I'm thinking (at this point) that soaking Red Heart doesn't really do much. Possibly they changed the formulation of the yarn or chemicals - but this batch is no softer than it started, and feels slightly worse.

PS, if you're not reading Rachael & Josh Anderson's Worsted For Wear webcomic, you should be!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A magazine to track down...

I need to find this today, I hope it's still where I can get it:

... and yes, it's not been a needlework productive week. Hoping to have something more interesting for Friday!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hooray! It's THIS time of year!!

Friday, September 21, 2012


This really should have gone up on Wednesday, which was Talk Like A Pirate Day, but I was sick Tuesday (well, most of the last week), didn't finish it, and otherwise had a Day That Went Arrrrrr.

It's my little Book of Heroes Pirate, and he's becoming well-armed:

Right Arm Started

Right Arm Done

Left Arm Started

I'm glad I kept the eyes from... DrusillaWormwood's owls, I think?... they were useful. Now I just have to make the vest, head scarf, and swords... and decide how the beard is going to work.

But it's slowly turning into a pirate!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Ways to Get In Trouble

I don't remember exactly what I was looking for on iTunes - basic sewing books, I think - when I discovered that there is a Keepsake Quilting App. In other words, THERE IS A TINY CATALOG FOR MY PHONE!! It's pretty cool.

For example, say you're on this page of the catalog in the app:

"Oh, hey, that's a pretty cool table runner. It'd be kinda cool to make that. " So, stab the table runner with your finger... and suddenly you're on the Keepsake Quilting website, right on the page to order that table runner:

That's pretty darned cool. And it's probably going to get me in trouble before too long... For example, there's this bedspread...

Yeah. This is gonna be one of the more expensive Free Apps I've stumbled across...!

Friday, September 14, 2012

First, fail at video...

So, I've decided I really, really love the Blue Sky Alpacas Metalico. Not just because it's the only Alpaca I can handle without my hands turning bright red - although that's certainly a consideration - but because it is SO SOFT. And it's just cool. Here's a video of the Untangling of the Skein - I'm sure this is a perfectly ordinary normal way to arrange yarn, but it's the first time I've paid attention when I've come across it, and I was delighted. Sadly, it's very dependent on which end you pull first - so here's a video of the exact WRONG way to smoothly unbraid the skein:

The cameraman is laughing so hard that he can't hold the camera steady. Oh well.

Yeah, well. If it had worked, it would have been cool.

Anyway, once I thought a bit (and pored through several Ravelry pattern searches), I realized I wanted to make a Moebius-something. The Lovely L taught me a Moebius cast-on back in the dark ages (aka the 1990s), but as I've crashed several computers and lost any ability to recover things from 5" floppy disks, I had to re-learn with my 2012 brain. Luckily, the internet coughed up CAT BORDHI - Intro to Moebius Knitting, which was all I needed to get going. Originally, I was going to knit up her free Cashmere Moebius Cowl, too, and that's the number of stitches I cast on. Went happily along for quite some time (about five rows - which on a moebius is a LOT of stitches), and then decided to put in stitch markers every pattern repeat (which is 16 stitches for this pattern).

Then a fellow Black Adder put some of her patterns on sale, and while buying several of them, I discovered her Jolly Roger Shawl. The skull motif was just the sort of thing I was looking for. And by some miracle, my initial cast-on of 288 stitches (done at random, no real planning, just Seemed About Right) was ALSO divisible by 18 - the stitch repeat for the skulls. I didn't know this as I was knitting a row to move the stitch markers down - and you could've knocked me over with a feather when I got to the final repeat and I had the right number of stitches. Very, very nice coincidence, that!

So, I knit a few more rows, and started the pattern. Here it is on Monday morning, just about to start the third lace row - the one with the 1-to-5 increases:

And here it is today:

Okay, so there's not THAT much progress. But it's still very, very soft!!! Plus I figured out there were 550 stitches a row - so cut me slack. That's a lot of lace stitches!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Softest Ice Cream Sandwich

This past weekend was spent inspecting potential new bedroom furniture, chairs, lighting and assorted other things-for-the-home. It was also spent examining a plethora of Things Plush that I hadn't seen before. At IKEA, there were "healthy" choices: carrots and broccoli in several sizes:

At Barnes & Noble, the offerings were more tempting. Donuts, pizza, cupcakes and burgers (is a wedge of lime "healthy"?). More my thing, really:

The plush on these things? SOFTEST STUFF EVER. Soft like fluffy little kittens soft. I picked up an Ice Cream Sandwich and my inner three-year-old refused to put it down.

Sometimes, the plush is just gonna follow you home.

Monday, September 10, 2012

September Sunshine

So, the little Zauberwolle cowl/scarf is coming along nicely, and it picked up a name thanks to this photo: "September Sunshine."

I am now understanding that despite my use of size 6 needles, this is really shawl yarn, and knitting a scarf with it is slightly insane. But it sure is going to be pretty...

Here's the photo I grabbed Friday morning. I liked it enough that it's up on my DeviantArt account as a print - mostly so I can buy a glossy (if I don't get around to printing it out myself). It's not photoshopped or mucked with in any way (but for about 1/8 inch cropped off the bottom), and I really like the shadows and the almost-too-intense sunshine. It almost looks like the yarnball is floating... and it's the only time I've actually been able to SEE that there are two colors of yarn in this yarn. Anyway, I like the photo.

Yay, pretty September Sunshine!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Things I didn't NEED to buy...

So, being somewhat confused as to what day of the week went with which date in September, I went to FibreSpace on Wednesday. (I thought it was Fashion's Night Out, which was yesterday. And the 6th, not the 7th. And today is the 8th... no, the 7th. Drat, it's going to be one of those months.)

I didn't really need to get anything, but things managed to follow me home (as they usually do). I did not get a full set of knitting bags decorated with cheerful turquoise owls, a feat of restraint for which I should certainly be rewarded with a cookie, if not two. This is what I did get:

First up, size large Bryson stainless steel sock blockers. I've wanted a set of these for quite a while. I will still have to stuff the toes of whatever socks I make for my husband because they don't MAKE sock blockers big enough, but these will at least help a WHOLE lot. (And I've got about 60% of a pair of socks for him finished; it might happen this year!)

Next is a lovely shawl pin from Rajkovich Designs; this is the second one of theirs I have, but the green and silver really kinda cinched it for me. I have a lot of green shawls...

Finally, two skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas "Metalico" - shiny soft baby alpaca/silk stuff that is just WAITING to be turned into a fluffy cowl or hat. Normally, I can't really touch alpaca, but this blend didn't bother me at all. (Since I managed to self-innoculate into being able to handle most wool without a problem, it's time to start on the camelids, right?)

Looked through Ravelry, but nothing jumped out at me as Perfect for This Yarn as yet. Which means I'll probably be winging it into something at some point...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Knitting a Pirate

So, there's this lovely iPhone/Android game calle "Book of Heroes". It's horribly, horribly addictive. It's a MMO in your hand, complete with guilds, social interaction, specialization, adventure... anyway, it's fun. Lots & lots! The art is a lot of fun as well. This is a screenshot of one of the Enemies: a pirate.

Screencap from the game

This is my knitted interpretation of same... thus far. It's mostly cotton (so it will be washable and get softer with age) with polyfill. It's bigger than I had originally anticipated, in part because I'm using cotton dishcloth yarn, but also because the stripes on the pants would have been a REAL challenge done any smaller. As it is, I actually figured out how to make them follow the picture, which I'm pretty proud for having done.

Stripes down one leg and around the other?

Originally, I was thinking I'd do a pattern to go with it, but it's not my starting image, and I'm winging it so much I can't really remember what I did!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Things Upcoming (I think)

Christmas Lights Garland by Jean Herman, a free Ravelry download. I just found this, want it for my tree. May put actual LEDs inside the tips and wire them so they glow... or is that too geeky?

This is Knitblue19's photo of her garland-of-lights

Bigger on the Inside Shawl by Kate Atherly. Free pattern from the Spring + Summer 2012 issue of Knittty. This was supposed to be my Ravellenics project; I never actually started it due to the Ailment That Ate August.

This is Amy Singer's photo of this lovely shawl

Plush Pegleg Pirate - sort of a soft chibi toy version of some of the artwork from the Book of Heroes iPhone/Android game, just for fun. I found this delightful Grisig the Cat pattern (downloadable here from I like the way it’s constructed; I think it will work well as a base. (And I’m totally making something vaguely Hello Kitty-based for my niece for Christmas, too. It’s an adorable pattern!)

This is PaintedMagnolia’s photo of her lovely little kitty

Something with my red Wild Hare Fibers Galaxy yarn (OMG there's an Etsy shop! Eeeeeee!). No idea what. Something pretty and special, though; of all the yarn out there, this is my favorite. It's just so springy and sparkly and happy!

This is my copper Galaxy;
photos of the red forthcoming once I figure out what to do with it

Of course, there’s another 200 things in my Ravelry queue, and I’m sure there will be more shortly. And there are some things I actually want to start more, once I’m sure I have the skillset (I’m looking at YOU, adorable HandMade Awards Sweet Grandparents!)

Friday, August 31, 2012

And Crochet! I do that too!

The other thing I started this month was a small cotton bathmat. The fancy bathmats with the rubber backing just don't survive in my house (even the cute duck-shaped one), and I did manage to do a major cotton yarn haul at the Dollar Store last year. So, I found a really pretty crochet pattern: Simple Tunisian Bath Mat by Sarah Beaton. (It's possible I found the pattern first, and thought - "that's bloody brilliant!") I then got a fancy new hook:

(click on hook to get one of your own)

... and then I discovered I have COMPLETELY forgotten how to do Tunisian crochet. And I've got an entire SWEATER made out of Tunisian crochet.

Very sad.

Now I didn't have big-screen (over the size of an iPhone) computer access, but I had a new hook and yarn... so I decided to wing it. I still remember afghan stitch, so I got two orphan balls that kinda went together, and cast on the number of stitches I would have if I was doing the Tunisian crochet bath mat (which is still lovely and I'm totally doing one eventually), and I have gotten this far:

Totally the wrong background to shoot against.
The camera can barely handle the carpet, but the carpet and the yarn...?

If I can finish this one, I may well be on to something...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Knitting! Actual knitting!

Okay, time to start making things and putting together patterns. I had so much fun doing my little Pineapple Dish Cloth, and people were actually able to use the pattern and wind up with things that looked JUST LIKE THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO. Plus, I need pattern-writing practice for Level II of the TKGA Masters (not that I've turned in Level I yet - but soon. I have three weeks before my deadline). Anyway, here's the beginning of the Diamonds Button-Up Cowl:

In other news, I'm doing a Student on Sabbatical term at Hogwarts, since there's some doubt I'll actually be able to finish three entire projects over the term. I just barely made it through my 7th year, plus lots of my snakie-peeps are changing houses, taking time off as well, etc. I'll still be hanging 'round the nest, but decided to get a new icon made up for the term I'm out:

I rather like it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Okay, it's just been a weird summer right across the board. Time to get back to the knitting, since it was COLD AND RAINY in the middle of August in DC, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what I expect to deal with during the Dog Days!

Wandered into Nature's Yarns (conveniently located near my doctor's office), and discovered the giant Table of Sale. Upon which was nestled a lone pretty cinnamon Zabuerwolle...

I'm making a cowl with it for fall (since it's almost fall, according to this weekend). I recently went through all the photos from my Yarn on Thursday: Stitch Edition project (which was last dealt with in 2010... time to finish that...), and picked a pretty textured diamond pattern, just knits and purls, with which to knit it up.

Progress on Wednesday, I promise!!