Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Sockings

Here's a pair of socks I just finished for my aunt as part of my Christmas knitting. My mom's feet are the same size (luckily!), so she's my model in the picture.

Yarn: Bernat Softee Chunky, color Harmony


I used a figure-eight toe. I increase 4 stitches on the first two rows, and then I alternated increasing every other row until I arrived at 32 stitches.

I used a heel flap with gusset and worked the entire cuff in 2x2 ribbing. This is pretty much my vanilla sock pattern, tweaked for a size 7 foot.

I've done LOTS of knitting lately, so I'll be posting pictures all week. Did I mention we bought a camera at Walmart on Black Friday? Yep, trying it out as well.

Also, when I was digging for the link on Knitty, I ran across this one too, instructions for Magic Cast-on. I've never seen that, but it looks super handy. I'm getting ready to cast on an identical pair of socks for my mom as these, and I think I'll give this method a go. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, November 21, 2008

...on vacation

Thank God!

I need a break more than I can say. Not only has work been hectic lately, but there's enough drama going on to satisfy even the nosiest person. The two combined? Not good.

So, I am on vacation for the next 9 (count 'em) 9 days. We're not going anywhere, not doing anything particularly ambitious. Doesn't that sound fabulously lazy?

I do plan on getting caught up on my knitting pictures. I've got a finished cardigan, a finished pair of socks, one mitten, a half finished pullover and a half finished hat to photo and talk about. Whew, that's a lot of knitting.

Btw, I am NOT a monogamous knitter, just in case you didn't notice. Doing one project at a time sounds positively torturous to me. I guess that makes me a knitting slut.

Anyone out there know of a good site to download blogger templates? I'm looking for something different. I don't have anything particular in mind, but nothing available on the blogger site is really speaking to me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What I've Learned from Knitting


And no, I don't mean patience from using thin yarn and small needles, making hundreds (thousands!) of stitches, or frogging something a dozen times before I get it right.

I've learned that I can tackle big projects a little at a time and make progress, and eventually achieve what I wanted, even if it seems overwhelming.

If you sat down and calculated the number of stitches in a sweater, a shawl, or even a sock, how overwhelmed would you feel? That would seem pretty daunting when you picked up the needles to start, right? But we all know that those projects are very doable.

My hubby and I went out to dinner the other evening with a couple we're friends with. I was wearing my recently finished top-down raglan (pics later!). I got the same response I usually get form non-knitters. She could never do that, would never have the time, etc. I'm never quite sure how to answer that without sounding rude or condescending. Even worse, I'm never sure if the non-knitter is implying that they're just too busy with more important things to take time out to do something like knitting.

I want to ask about how they spend their time, but I don't. I wonder how much of her time goes for television, shopping, phone calls, waiting around in offices, etc. I use that time to knit. No, I'm not Miss Productivity, but I do take time out to do it because I enjoy it. I don't expect everyone to enjoy it, but I would like people to be a little less quick to make judgments about it, and me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fantastic News

Hubby learned to knit today!

He's tried before, but he decided to sit down again and give it a shot. I cast on for him and did the first couple of rows in garter. After that, he took right off. He's even getting the tension to be pretty good.

He's still struggling a little, and he hasn't figured out yet if he's going to enjoy it, but I have hopes.

He's doing a scarf, and yes, it's for me. I already know it'll be my favorite.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Secret Pal 12 Wrap-up

If you were told you could never again buy yarn, what would your last yarn purchase be?

About three tractor trailers packed full of wool and woold blends. And a new garage to put it in.

If you were told you could never knit again, what would be the last thing you’d knit??

A pair of socks for my husband. He loves them so much!

In a given year, how many times do you buy yarn? And what is your favorite place to buy yarn from? A festival? A shop? Online? Dish your favorite places!!

I usually buy my yarn online. Knitpicks and WEBs tend to be where I go first. I do shop at my LYS, but their selection isn't quite as broad as I'd like, so sometimes I just have to go online.

Lastly, with Fall in full swing in many areas, what is the one thing you look forward to most?

  • Fall colors are my favorite, so autumn is great for me
  • Cool weather for sweaters
  • Halloween!
I just sent out my third package, and of course, I forgot to take a picture of the knitted item I sent out. Isn't that just great? It was cute too.... Oh well.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

My mom wanted to go visit her sister, so this last Saturday we drove her out for a visit. It was a beautiful day for a trip, and we all enjoyed the little outing. She's having a good time, and that's good!

I've been doing a little secret pal knitting. No details or pictures, just in case she's figured out who I am already.

I did a scarf for my father-in-law. It's ready to be mailed, but I'll try to get pics before it heads out in the mail. I hope he wears it!

I hurt my back over the weekend and stayed home today. It's a good thing too; my stomach has been all upset. I wouldn't have wanted to be stuck at work today. Yuck!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Suddenly very popular

Suddenly, I'm very popular with our two cats. Here they are, sleeping (or almost sleeping) at the foot of the bed.

They are not sleeping now.

They've been all over me tonight. I can't even go to the bathroom by myself. It's as if I've been using catnip lotion!

I'm still working on the shawl, and since I really want and need to finish it, the knitting is going so slowly it's almost torture. To make matters worse, I foolishly chose a dark yarn, so it's difficult to knit unless I'm in really good lighting.

My sweater is lying here next to the bed, mocking me, pleading with me to work on it instead. And I want to, believe me. I'm dying to get it finished and ready for the first chilly day. Well, I'll probably just wait for the first day when I can tolerate wool and not worry about if it's chilly yet or not.

I have that skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn dying to be knit up too. I don't think I'll be doing another shawl for a while. They take too much time and attention. Give me a sweater any day, much more worth that much work!

Friday, September 5, 2008

MY new Dell mini

I have one of these on its way (in October).

I've wanted an ultra small notebook for quite some time, so I'm really looking forward to getting this one. I got the base model, which is plenty for what I'll do with it. As an added bonus, I got Ubuntu instead of Windows, which is super!

I promise pics when it arrives, if I can tear myself away from using it long enough, that is.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

SP12 Questions and Answers

I do tend to fall behind in answering the Secret Pal questions. Well, this time it's only two weeks, and I can blame my knitting for my failure to blog recently, so that makes it okay. (I think).

I'm working on a shawl for my aunt (my mom's sister), and I just found out they're coming to visit "soon." I'm hoping soon means two weeks or so, that way I can have the shawl ready to give her when she comes. I've been wondering how I'll ship it without it needing to be re-blocked when it arrives, so this should work out great.

I'm sure most of us have a proudest moment when it comes to knitting. A project or technique that you've tackled and completed beautifully. What is your proudest knitting moment??

I think it was when I successfully turned the heel of a sock. I was following the directions in Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules, and my first couple of tries might have fit an alien. With tentacles. When I finally got it I was so excited. Turning a heel still makes me feel talented, even though I've done dozens of them. Yes, I've even done it in a movie theatre!

And on the flip side? What is the one thing that you can't get right? What is that one project that you've never been able to complete? Or that you did complete but then hid away instantly because it was too embarrassing?

I am plagued by gauge problems. No matter how carefully I check the gauge, it always seems to be off in the final project. I've taken to knitting items that resist gauge issues, like toe up socks and top down sweaters.

What is the best thing you've ever received in the mail/post?

I like just about anything that's yarn, or a surprise, so surprise yarn is a double treat. My husband is great about ordering me yarn – he recently got me one of the lace samplers from KnitPicks. I love getting sock yarn in the mail too; there's just something about sock yarn that I love. My SP12 pal just sent me a fabulous skein of Cherry Tree Hill, and it's taking every bit of my willpower not to wind it into a ball and get started.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Secret Pal Pic

Here it is, the SP12 package. There was a magazine in there too, but it's already joined my knitting bag downstairs.

In the back, you see a cute little knitting, great for storing small items, which I tend to lose! Inside were some dove chocolates -- there's one sitting out there, lucky to have lasted this long. There's a bear shaped tape measure -- very cute and handy.

In the little bag are some of the cutest double-pointed needles. They're only about 5 inches long and very small and delicate. I can't wait to try them out!

Then there's a bath bomb (love those things) and a foot scrubbie that I've never tried. It looks really cool though. There's a picture mouse pad and a magnetic notepad. I use those on the fridge to keep my grocery list.

And in front, a skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn. I LOVE that yarn brand. If I had to name a favorite sock yarn, that would have to be it. How did you know? The color is Mountain Morning. The picture here really doesn't do it justice. Imagine autumn colors, reds with a little gold and teal. Beautiful! This is going to be a pair of socks for me, very very soon!

Thanks SP buddy! You did fantastic!

Friday, August 22, 2008


I just finished doing some patterns and other work for an online site. I'll provide the links when they're up and going. In the meantime, here's a pic to peak your interest.

This is a scarf pattern I did. It's got a rounded, scalloped edge that's a bit different but still easy to do. It's in garter stitch, so it's a super-easy knit.

I'll post more pictures later, and links to where you can find the patterns as soon as the site is up. I also did a hat, some wrist warmers, and a gift bag.

Right now I'm completely in love with this pattern. It's a top down raglan cardigan that, so far, is so easy and fun to knit I can hardly express how much I'm enjoying it! And since it's top-down, you can get the size right. Take a look at some of her other patterns as well, very nice.

I'm re-using the yarn that I had picked for the perfect sweater. If you remember, that one met its end this spring when I finally realized I'd missed gauge so profusely that my husband and I could probably wear the sweater at the same time. Talk about knitter's denial. What the heck was I thinking? I promise progress pics of that too.

My other big project is another shawl, this one for my mom's sister. It's in a dark blue yarn with flecks of green, and it's the same pattern I used for my mom's, the North Sea Shawl from Folk Knits.

And one final tease... I got my first SP12 package, and it's fantastic. We were out of town, so I actually got it a bit late, andI haven't had time to do pictures yet. She included a skein of cherry tree hill yarn. I love their yarns, and she picked out a very pretty colorway in a sock yarn. That is definitely becoming a pair of socks for yours truly.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

SP questions catch-up

Have you ever entered your knitting (or anything else) in the fair? Would you ever consider it?

No, I’ve never entered, and I don’t think I would want to. I usually knit for my own pleasure or for gifts, so trying to win something at the fair would make the knitting not so much fun.

What is your favorite supper for a hot summer evening?

I love my crockpot! There’s something about coming home to a hot cooked meal that I didn’t have to stand over and cook. Even in warm weather, I still enjoy a “real” meal that’s hot and freshly made. Sandwiches and salads are nice some nights, but there’s no better comfort food than a big pot of soup after a hard day.

What yarn (that you don’t have/haven’t used) would make your stash “complete”?

I love wool/silk blends. As soon as I buy it, I typically use it right away so it doesn’t last in my stash very long.

What yarn do you never want to be without?

Wool! I love wool yarns in general, whether 100 percent wool or blended with other fibers. Worsted weight wool and sock weights are my two favorites – I can do just about anything I want out of those.

What would you consider the perfect amount of stash?

You can NEVER have enough stash! I love getting an idea and being able to rummage around and find some yarn that’s appropriate for it. Since I don’t have a lot of yarn shops locally, I almost have to keep a good amount of stash (yep, it’s a necessity!!!) or I have to wait to get something in the mail. When I’m feeling inspired, waiting is the last thing I want to do.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hodge-podge update

Wow, things have been busy, but in a good way.

First off, I'm doing some knitting design work for a new website. I can't give more details now, but let's just say I'm having a lot of fun with it. I'll try to post an update when I know what details I can and can't release.

I've been vicariously enjoying Tour de Fleece, via Yarn Harlot's blog. She's been making some absolutely fabulous yarn, and I'm itching to get back to my spinning. I've just been using a spindle, but I'm seriously thinking about asking for a wheel for Christmas.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a good beginner's wheel? I'd likely spin various weights, so I'd need something that can adjust to that.

I've finished up the scarf for the ravelry scarf exchange, but it's been too busy to get it in the mail. I still need to get one or two things to put in the package anyway. Hoping to get that by the weekend.

I'm also behind in answering my secret pal questions, but I'll get to them too this week. Playing catchup, whew!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Test post; giving scribefire a try.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Little Blogger

I was sitting out on our back porch writing the other day. I went inside to grab a drink and came out to find this.

Isn't she cute?

She's one of two kittens our outside cat has. I might as well call her ours; we've been taking care of her since she gave birth to a litter of four beside our house.

Her sister is a gray tabby, and my husband has dubbed the O and G (orange and gray). Over time, those have developed into Oh Boy and Gee Whiz. Goofy names for cats, right?

Unfortunately her sister is much more shy. Unless we catch her, she won't let us handle her at all.

Friday, July 4, 2008

First Dyeing

I dyed some yarn today for the first time. I have to say it was easier and less messy than I expected and overall, pretty fun! If you're interested, here's what I did (and what I might do differently next time.)

You'll need...

  • One skein of yarn. I used KnitPicks bare 100 percent peruvian wool (fingering weight).
  • Kool Aid. 2-3 packs of each color you plan to use. I used 3 lemon lime, 2 orange, 2 lemonade, 2 strawberry, 3 ice blue raspberry lemonade
  • One quart glass jar for each color you intend to use
  • Some dish cloths/towels
  • A large pot or pan that all the jars will fit in
  • Scrap yarn
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Collander

First step is to wind your yarn into a larger skein. Mine was about 12 feet in circumference (roughly.) Some people measure out some sock yarn they already have and like and figure out the length of each repeat that way. I just wound my yarn around the backs of two kitchen chairs and used the scrap yarn to tie it in 5 sections of unequal length.

When your yarn is tied off and ready, put a towel in the bottom of your pot and put your jars in the pot, on the towel (it will help keep them from breaking). You're going to heat the jars double-boiler style, but that comes later. For now, fill each a little over half-way with tepid water and add the koolaid.

Fill the pot with tepid water so the jars are surrounding. Now, get your yarn, decide which colors you want where and start shoving sections down in the koolaid water. Note, this is where rubber gloves will come in handy!

If you're like me and forgot that part until it was too late, a sugar/oil scrub will remove most of it!

Use a spoon or your fingers, and push the yarn down into the koolaid mixture. Turn on the stove and heat the water (slowly!).

It took about half an hour, but most of the dye will be absorbed by the yarn when it's finished. For mine, the yellow and orange finished in about 15 minutes. The water turned a milky shade, but it was obvious that the yarn had most of the dye, not the water.

The green and blue took a little longer, and the red (strawberry) never did clear up. Next time, I may try just one pack of that rather than two since it's such a strong color.

When the yarn is finished, take it off the heat and let it cool back down to room temperature.

When the yarn cools, give it a quick, gentle rinse under tepid water. Hang it to dry, and there it is!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Yarn Teaser

Originally uploaded by cornerscribe

Here's a little teaser pic of the yarn I dyed this weekend. The navy is the scrap yarn I used to tie it off, so ignore that.

The yarn is red, yellow, orange, green and blue. Very bright!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Yarn Dyeing

I dyed my first skein of yarn this weekend. I'll post pics tonight, but let's just say it came out pretty. I think it'll make a nice pair of socks!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Scarf Finished!

I finished the scarf for the ravelry scarf exchange. Sorry, no pics or details right now.

I'm going to get it in the mail next week, and I'll post some details and pictures when it has arrived and she's had a chance to be surprised.

In addition to that, I've got a sweater going for me and a pair of socks for hubby. Pics of those soon, I promise.

There's been an interesting (and rousing!) discussion on Ravelry lately about acrylic vs. animal fibers. I never realized people could get so wound up (pardon the pun) in their yarn.

I'll knit with just about anything, though wool is my favorite. I have acrylic in my stash, and I find it useful for some items. I usually put no acrylic on exchanges though, simply because it isn't something I prefer. However, I don't have anything against it. I use acrylic for blankets, rugs, etc. and I use some acrylic blends as well.

I have a king size afghan I crocheted for my husband about three years ago in acrylic. It's fuzzed up quite a bit, but I can't imagine caring for something that large in wool!

At the risk of opening up a firestorm, do any of you have a strong preference one way or the other?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

SP12 question

This week's question is what we liked most about summer vacation.

I enjoyed having the summer to do what I wanted, for a change. Although I was good in school, I tended to be pretty bored as well, especially in the lower grades. I spent the year doing lessons and then waiting quietly (yeah right).

When summer came, I checked out stacks of books each weekend. We'd drive to the library, and I remember how cold it was inside. Our car didn't have air conditioning, so the building was an absolute haven. Quiet and cool, it fairly beckoned.

It was a wonderful Saturday afternoon ritual, and we still keep it in a manner of speaking by heading to the bookstore.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I'm working on a sweater in Knitpicks CotLin. It's very nice yarn, but I've found one thing about it that surprised me. Maybe I just haven't worked enough with cotton or linen. The yarn shows decreases. I mean, it really really shows decreases. I thought that after I had done a few rows it would resolve itself, but it looked just as bed.

So, it's frogged.

I had intended to do a little waist shaping to account for a slightly too-wide sweater at the hips, but I just decided to start over with fewer stitches. This also means that I doubt I'll be able to do any kind of short row shaping for the neck as well -- the decreases are just too glaringly obvious.

Has anyone had similar problems? Maybe there's something I can do to make the decreases less obvious?

Friday, June 13, 2008

SP12 Question of the Week

I think the question of the week is a great idea. My favorite summer drink is iced tea, made with splenda, not sugar. Lemonade is a very close second, also made from splenda. I like real brewed tea and lemonade from lemon juice, none of those mixes!

If I want something alcoholic, I like the bottled fruit wine coolers and malt coolers and even an occasional Corona with lime.

Forgive the lack of updates, I got a case of food poisoning early this week, and I'm trying to get myself pulled back together.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Secret Pal 12

Secret Pal 12 is getting underway. Here is my questionnaire.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I like just about any animal fibers. I don't like acrylic.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

A bag for small needles, a vase for long ones.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I've been knitting about five years. I learned the basics in a class, but I've taught myself most of it. I'd consider myself intermediate.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Not really.

5. What's your favorite scent?

Citrus scents and lavender.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Dark chocolates.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I'm just learning to spin.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

Autumn colors, especially orange, yellow, rust, brown, etc. I don't like pink.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

We have several pets.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Scarves, hats and mittens - yes. I don't wear ponchos.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Just about anything really, but I keep socks on the needles practically all the time.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Scarf, socks, sweater.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Circular. Bamboo.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Yes, my husband!

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

About 10 months old.

18. What is your favorite holiday?


19. Is there anything that you collect?

Gargoyle and sheep figurines. (My husband got me started on the latter)

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop. I don't have any magazine subscriptions.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

Button bands for cardigans.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

I wear a size 8 1/2 shoe. Yes, I knit socks.

23. When is your birthday?

May 6

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?


Friday, May 30, 2008

Shawl FINALLY finished

I think I spent about four months knitting this shawl. It really turned out pretty, and I'm happy to report that my mom loves it, even though I didn't make the Mother's Day deadline.

The pattern is North Sea from Folk Shawls. It's a super easy pattern, but it turns out looking a lot more complicated that it is.

mothers day shawl 2

This picture gives you an indication of the size. That's a queen size bed, and it easily stretches across it.

mothers day shawl 1

This is a better representation of the colors. If I can talk my mom into it, I'll get an action shot too!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Charity Knitting

I just knit my first pair of sock for Warm Woolies. Check out their site for details, but they provide knitted garments for orphans overseas and for poor children on two reservations in South Dakota.

They ask that items be knit either in bulky weight or double-stranded worsted weight. I chose the latter for these socks, and I think it gave it a cheerful color scheme. Items should also be mostly or all wool since it does so well in cold wet weather.

warm woolies socks

If you have some extra time or yarn on your hands, what better way to use both up? This is a great cause, but you can always find something else if you like. Just google "charity knitting" and you'll find plenty to keep you busy.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ravelry Scarf Exchange

I'm participating in the Ravelry Scarf Exchange. My knitter was Boldly. The scarf is really pretty, as you can see.

scarf exchange 1

I've finally chosen a pattern and yarn for the one I'm knitting, and I've even done about four inches. Woohoo!

If you get a chance to join a swap like this, I'd highly recommend it. It's fun to knit for a stranger. You get a chance to "get to know" someone and work on doing something they'll like. I've tried about half a dozen patterns so far before settling on one I like, and I think she'll like, as well.

Of course, one great benefit is that you do get some knitted goodies. Who can complain about that?

Monday, May 19, 2008


I’ll finish the shawl today, and I plan on getting up in time to block it tomorrow morning before work. I think it’s going to be really pretty, but I’m also pretty sick of working on it too. I usually don’t work on just one item at a time like I have with this one, so I think that’s made it even worse for me.

I’ve got several projects clamoring for attention. Three pairs of socks, a sweater I’m dying to start, a sweater that needs ripping back (the im-perfect sweater, it turns out), and I want to start a shawl for myself. Looks like it’s going to be a busy summer.

I promise (honest, really) to post some pictures. I’ve been so busy with the shawl, I haven’t taken time to do anything. I’ll remedy that. Promise.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Still here, or back, or whatever

I'm still around. I've not been gone, really, though I haven't felt particularly inspired to write for the blog. We do have new kittens (pics later).

I very nearly finished the North Sea shawl for my Mom's Mother's Day present. It's still in my purse, getting all the attention I can spare. That's one reason for my slacking here, so at least it's a partly good excuse.

I think I can finish in three or four days, and then I'll have plenty of pictures of the finished product.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Are you a keeper or a user?

I've been reading the Yarn Harlot's book, Stephanie Pearl McPhee Casts Off. Although the book doesn't seem to have been generally well-liked, I thought it was good.

One thing it made me think about was how we approach knitted items. Do you store them away, like an heirloom, or use them as you would anything else?

I'm most definitely a user. If I knit something for myself, you can almost bet I'll be wearing it tomorrow. To me, putting it in a drawer to "save" isn't any fun. And what am I saving it for anyway? My husband tends to be the same way. He wore his bright red and yellow knit socks to the grocery store recently -- with shorts. Can you imagine the looks he got?

When he got home, he proudly told me people were looking and admiring his socks! Heh...

My mom is just the opposite. She rarely wears what I knit her. She has a tendency to put away anything she really likes to "save" it. I have trouble understanding that; it just doesn't seem like she'd get any enjoyment out of it at all.

Anyone care to enlighten me?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New Blogger Feature

I'm trying out Blogger's new feature that allows you to write a post and schedule it for a future time. I'm writing this Saturday night and scheduling it to come up Sunday. We'll see if it works as smoothly as Wordpress does.

This is one of the features I think Blogger was really lacking. If I'm going away or know I'll be busy, I sometimes schedule posts to publish on my wordpress blog, but I never could do it here. If this works well, then I can see this helping me to keep a more regular posting schedule.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Shawl update

First off, here's the obligatory spring flowers shot. Aren't they pretty? I have no idea what they are, but they were blooming last weekend at the hotel where we were staying.

Speaking of hotel, that's it.

Okay, a shawl update. It's coming along really well. The pattern is North Sea, from the folk shawls book I've mentioned here before.

I'm using Knit Picks Gossamer, which is a lace weight yarn. The color is trail, which is a nice mix of earth tones (rust, tan, green, brown). Like I said before, the pattern is super easy, but it's knitting up to look more complex than it really is.

Here are some pictures of it (thanks to my husband, who's much better with the camera than I am!) Try to imagine that it's blocked already. Lace does look a bit crappy while it's on the needles, doesn't it?

The pattern is hard to see unblocked, but the color is pretty accurate. I'm pleased with it.

We almost had a disaster right after the shot. Our dog got her foot tangled in the yarn and we had to do some quick grabbing and untangling. She has a tendency to flip out a bit if she gets into the yarn, and I had visions of all this work getting unraveled and dragged all over the house.

I need to lie down.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

At least someone can relax

That's actually a picture of TWO cats. They're almost the same color and curled up together. She wasn't terribly happy that I woke her with the flash.

We've been down with a cold, after being out of town for a couple of days. It was a trip I'd been looking forward to, and I was lucky not to get sick till after we got back, but still.

I'm still working on the shawl, which is coming along nicely. It's the North Sea shawl from the Folk Shawls book. I didn't realize it when I picked it, but it's a simple pattern to memorize (one line!), and it's turning out very pretty. I couldn't stand it; I had to show my mom to be sure she liked the color. She does. If you've never done lace before, then this is a perfect one for a beginner. Not only is it an ultra simple pattern, there's also no edging to do, so that's even simpler. It's a rectangle (which I prefer anyway). The only downside is that two panels have to be grafted together at the end. If you don't like doing that, then that might be an issue. I'm a really slow grafter, but I can do it.

Here are a couple grafting links (also called kitchener) that might help. I have very little patience, and if I can do it, anyone can.


Both of those sites have great pictures and cover grafting stockinette.

Grafting stockinette and garter

This one doesn't have as many pictures, but once you get the idea, you shouldn't need them. The nice thing here is that it covers grafting garter stitch as well as stockinette.

I'll try to get some good pictures of the shawl not that it's no longer a secret. My daffodils are gone, but my consolation prize is that my lilac bushes are almost bloomed. I promise pictures of those too when they're fully out.
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Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Things I Say

So far today, I have said all this to my dog....

Don't eat the trash!
Don't eat the rabbit turds!
Do NOT drink out of the toilet!

I sound like a blithering idiot.


Wow, it's been a while since I wrote. Sorry about that; things just got away from me.

I finished my husband's first sock and started the second, but no pics for now. I'm too lazy to run upstairs and grab the camera. I promise pics later though.

I decided to do a shawl for my mom for mother's day. I did a little figuring last night, and I'm only about 1/6 of the way finished. I have only a little over a month to finish it, wash and block it. Am I being unrealistic? Let's hope not.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Knitting Exchanges

I just signed up for a scarf exchange on Ravelry. It looks like it's going to be a lot of fun, and you have until the end of summer to finish, so there's not even much pressure. I'm jkay on Ravelry if you want to look me up.

I've decided to frog the Birds Nest Shawl and try something else. It's knit with two strands of yarn, and I was looking for something a bit more light and airy. I'm going to try the North Sea Shawl on page 93 and see if that speaks to me.

If you haven't taken a look at the Folk Shawls book, you really should. Some of them are just breathtaking.

I'm still working on my husband's socks, and the fit is really good. I'm glad I ripped them out and made them a little smaller in diameter. It made a huge difference in the fit.

I was disappointed that I didn't get to dye yarn this weekend after all. My hubby even picked up some mason jars for me, and the koolaid packs are laid out on the microwave. I may start to wind the yarn tonight at least. I can't wait to try my hand at it.

Well, I'm off to cast on for that shawl. If I like it, I'll take some pics.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sock Tutorial, Part 2

Well, here it is, the second half of the sock tutorial.

I ended up ripping it back out after all. After a few inches, it was apparent that it was a bit too big. So, I ripped back to the toe increases and left it at 12 stitches per needle, for 48 total. That's down from 56 from the first try.

I worked the top of the foot in knit 2/purl 1 rib, with a purl stitch beginning the top of the foot to separate it from the stockinette on the bottom. That means the top of the foot is worked on a 3+1 pattern, or 25 stitches.

I knit the sock until the top of the foot reaches the point where the foot and leg meet. (Sorry about the mess; lazy Saturday!) See what I mean? My hubbie has BIG feet.

Now, forget about the top of the foot for a while and knit the bottom. This is the same as knitting a heel flap, only upside down. Remember to slip the first stitch of each row and then just knit (or purl) across.
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Knit the flap until you get almost, but not quite, to the end of the foot. I'm about half an inch from the tip of his heel, with the sock unstretched. Now, you're ready to turn the heel.

I use the directions from Yarn Harlot's book, Knitting Rules, but you can find similar instructions online of you don't have the book.

You knit to a little past the center, knit (or purl) 2 together, knit (or purl) one, turn. After the first time on this sock, I had 8 stitches left unworked. Then I turned and did the same, being sure to leave 8 stitches unworked.

Then, you'll see the "hole" your turns make, and you'll knit (or purl) the 2 stitches together on either side of that hole. Then knit (or purl) one and turn. You'll gradually use up stitches. You should progress by 2's. Here's how mine went.

Purl across, purl 2 together, purl 1, leaving 8 stitches unworked.
Turn, knit across, knit 2 together, knit 1, leaving 8 stitches unworked.
Turn, purl across, purl the 2 stitches on either side of the hole, purl 1, leaving 6 stitches unworked.
Turn, knit across, knit 2 stitches on either side of the hole, knit one, leaving 6 stitches unworked.
Turn, purl across, purl the 2 stitches on either side of the hole, purl 1, leaving 4 stitches unworked.
Turn, knit across, knit 2 stitches on either side of the hole, knit 1, leaving 4 stitches unworked.
Continue until you've worked all the stitches.... Notice that it doesn't matter how many stitches you're working. It's easier just to count the stitches you're leaving unworked.
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This is what the hole looks like on the knit side.
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And this is what it looks like on the purl side.

If you need some more help with this part, here are some links.


This one is a bit complicated, and she does wrap her stitches.


This one is similar to the way I do it, but she workes it over only a couple stitches.

Knitting Fiend

This is pretty much exactly how I do it, with some more pictures.

This is what the heel cup looks like when you're finished. Note that I don't bother wrapping my short rows, but I know plenty of people do. I just try to be careful and pull them tight so there are no holes. This picture is the back of the foot, bottom up.
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Now, all you need to do is pick up your gusset stitches. Those are the loops you made by slipping the first stitch of each row. On this sock, I ended up picking up 10 on each side, between the heel stitches that remain and the stitches on top of the foot. The heel is at the top of this picture, the foot at the bottom.

Now, you're back to knitting in the round. I keep the top of the foot in ribbing and everything else in stockinette until I get the number of stitches back down to where I started (48). If your calves are a bit thin, you might want to go a touch smaller, if they're big, then a touch bigger. I decreased this sock to 51 stitches for my husband. Just be sure to keep your ribbing pattern in mind when deciding on the final number of stitches.

Decreases are worked every other row, in the corner where the gusset stitches meet the front of the foot.
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On this side of the sock, knit until you're within three stitches of the end of the gusset stitches. Knit 2 together, knit 1, and then continue knitting across the foot.
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On this side, knit 1, work a slip/slip/knit decrease, and then continue knitting.

When you've decreased back to the number of stitches you want for the leg, start working the ribbing all the way around. If you need to alter the size of the leg after starting the ribbing, change needle sizes instead of number of stitches so you can preserve the ribbing pattern.

That's it! Just knit the leg as long as you want it and bind off loosely.
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Monday, March 17, 2008

Knit, knit, knit

I have one more sleeve to sew in to the perfect sweater. I did it with a rolled hem, but I'm re-thinking that. I think I may add an inch or so of ribbing to give the bottom a bit more shape.

Sorry there are no pics. I've been struggling to get back to feeling like myself. I've been working mostly on the sweater, and I cast on for a cute beanie that's in the winter Interweave Crochet magazine. If you're a Dr. Who fan, it's a lot like the rose colored one Martha Jones wore in this week's episode.

I've been so looking forward to Kool-Aid dyeing, and I just haven't felt up to it. That should give you an idea how rotten I've felt. I've still got my Kool-Aid packs and sock yarn waiting. Hopefully this weekend...

Not much progress on the bird's nest shawl. I haven't felt particularly inspired. Maybe that's a sign or something?

I promise pics soon and a better update.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Back at it

I'm back and finally feeling better. I got my yarn and started the bird's nest shawl, but I haven't made it more than a few rows. I've got the socks still going, and the perfect sweater ready to assemble. I'm thinking that's a job for this weekend.

I've had this itch to start organize my stash. I've got yarn stuffed everywhere, needles, etc., and it's tough to keep track of what I have. I'm thinking I need to make better use of Ravelry.

By the way, if you're a Ravelry member, I'm jkay. Look me up.

I'll post some pics of my work this weekend.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

On the Mend

Wow, I've been really sick. I've had the worst case of the flu since I was a little kid. To give you an idea... I didn't even feel like knitting. Now, that's sick.

I'm still not feeling well, but I'm better than I was. I'll get some posts up soon.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I finished the knitting on the Perfect Sweater. I just need to sew it up, which is a bit of a daunting task. I've just worked two 11-hour days, so there hasn't been any time for the sweater since the weekend. I'll post pics as soon as it's finished.

I'm working on my husband's socks. That's working out well, and I may not have to unravel them as I thought I might. They seem a little big, but I think they'll be fine once I get a couple of inches done. When I get them up to the ankle join, I'll start posting tutorial pics again.

I'm off to bed...exhausted.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Yarn Goodies in the Mail

I got my yarn. I ordered some for dyeing, which I talked about earlier. If I get to work on that this weekend, I'll be sure to take lots of pictures. Unfortunately, I have to work a little this weekend, so that may keep me from dyeing (bleh).

If it turns out that I'm any good at it, I may offer a few skeins for sale. I'll post pics here of the results, and you all can let me know what you think of my first dyeing.

I also ordered enough laceweight to do two shawls. I'm going to do the Birds Nest shawl from Folk Shawls, which I mentioned a couple posts ago. The shawl is very pretty, and I think it's something doable for a first lace project. So far my lace has extended to dishcloths and a few swatches, so this should be fun.

I finished the back on the Perfect Sweater, and I'm almost up to the V-neck on the front. Anyone want to take any bets on whether I'll get to wear it this year?

Friday, February 15, 2008

About to dye!

We have the flu here, so I've been playing nursemaid. I was okay until today, but I'm finally coming down with it too. Maybe I can finish that sweater?

I've been thinking of dyeing my own yarn for a while now, and I just ordered 6 skeins from knitpicks to get started. For now, I'm going to experiment with Kool-Aid dyeing and see how I do with that before trying acid dyes (if I try them at all).

I've been doing some research, and I thought you all might be interested in some yarn dyeing links too, whether you plan on using Kool-Aid or something else.
  • Knitpicks has a tuturial. Scroll down and click the free pattern download button.
  • Knitty also has one.
Both Knitty and Knitpicks cover the basics of Kool-Aid dyeing, but they both focus mostly on solid colors. Knitty talks a little about handpainting, but it's a bit too brief for me.
  • Fig and plum has some nice pictures of hand-painting.
  • And here's a tutorial on using Wilton's icing dye for yarn.
  • Although these are written for acid dyes, they are good instructions for doing handpaint in general.
  • Pea Soup shows how to dye with regular food coloring, and the skein in the pictures is too cute!
  • See Eunny Knit has a very good tutorial on tying off your yarn to make a self-striping yarn with regular stripe repeats.
  • And here's another tutorial on making your own self-striping yarn.
So, go a little crazy, pick some colors, and get to dyeing! I just ordered my yarn, so when it arrives, I'll be sure to post pictures of my work, and results.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Maybe I'm too ambitious?

Good news: I've made more progress on the Perfect Sweater.

Bad news: I'm still stuck in stockinette hell. I knit, knit, knit and still, I've got lots more stockinette to go.

Good news: My husband's socks I'm doing for my tutorial look great.

Bad news: They're a little too big. I measured like I always do, and for some reason, they're still too big. I'm not sure, but I think frogging is in their future.

Good news: I picked up a cool pattern book on crocheted rugs today. We have an old house, so they'd look great. I even have some yarn I'd like to try for them.

Bad news: If I'm having trouble finishing a sweater, how in the world will I finish a rug? My knitting time is limited usually, so that's a big undertaking. I might get one finished by next spring.

I'm also planning on starting a shawl as soon as I order some yarn for one. I'm holding off though till I finish that sweater. Anyone want to bet on whether I get to wear it before it gets warm weather?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fabulous shawl patterns

This is a fantastic book. I picked it up this weekend when we went browsing at Barnes and Noble. I was considering a new sock knitting book, something with some patterns that are more complicated than what I've done.

Instead, I ran across this book and sat down to look through it. This turned out to be a definite must-have. I'm valiantly putting off buying yarn for any of the shawls so I can finish my sweater and my husband's socks first. Maybe that'll motivate me to finish?

If you haven't checked it out, there's a nice mix of triangle, square and rectangle shapes. Also, some are quite large and complex, others look pretty doable even for a first lace project. Anyone have any experience with any of the patterns? Any pics of shawls from the book?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sock Tutorial, part 1

As promised, here's the first part of my toe-up sock tutorial. This is easy to resize for any foot size, but I'm doing this one for my husband, who is a size 13!

Yarn: Patons 100% wool, worsted weight
Needles: 3.25 mm double pointed (5)
Gauge: doesn't matter, as long as you're getting a fabric density you like.

Step one is casting on. For most women's socks, you'll want 8 loops on each needle. For these, I'm doing 12.

You do a figure 8 cast on. Knitty has some good pics of how to do one as well. I find it easier to wrap a few extra loops. When you start knitting, just knit up the ones you need and let the rest drop off your needles.

Knit half the stitches from one needle off onto a third needle, then the other half off onto a fourth.

You should have something that looks a bit like this.

Next, you'll flip the needles over and knit off the stitches from the bottom needle (which is now the top needle.) I find it easier to knit into the BACKS of these stitches, and it tends to tighten up the stitches a bit too.

In all honesty, I had to do this a bunch of times before I could get the stitches tight enough. Make yourself some coffee (or something stronger) and resign yourself to frogging a few times. It's worth it when you get it right.

You should have something that looks like this picture (below). It can seem a bit of a mess at this point, but be patient, and after a couple rows, you'll be fine.

You'll increase every row from this point on. I do a make 1 increase at the ends of each needle. So, you'll knit one, make 1, knit to the end of the needle. Then, knit all the stitches to the last stitch, make one, knit the last stitch. Flip the sock and do the same on the other two needles. You're increasing along the edges of the sock (not the center!).

One trick I use is to concentrate on pulling the yarn especially tight when moving from the top of the sock to the bottom of the sock. This helps to make the sock start taking on a tube form.

You can see my sock below starting to take that shape. With this sock, I increased 4 stitches per row until each needle holds 10 stitches (40 total).

At that point, I start working increases only every other row. This provides the nice round toe shaping. You'll continue working that way until you get the sock as wide as you want it.

How do you know when that is? Just hold the sock against the bottom of your foot (or the recipients) and see if it's wide enough when slightly stretched. In this case, I finished with 14 stitches per needle.

Here's a picture of the toe just starting to look like a toe. Remember to pull your stitches tight where top and bottom meet or you'll get ladders, and you'll have to frog it.

By now, it should be a lot easier to work with (thank goodness, right?).

Finally, here's the sock actually looking like a sock. At this point, it's easy. Just determine your ribbing (if you want it) or just knit in stockinette until you reach the base of the ankle.

For this sock, I'm doing a 2x1 rib. The stitch count for that is something divisible by 3 plus 1. You'll need to start the ribbing with a purl (to separate it from the stockinette on the foot), work knit2/purl1 rib across the top and end with a purl.

So, make sure your stitch count across the top of the sock is right. You might have to adjust your increases a little to get the right number. Work stockinette along the foot and ribbing along the top.

When you've reached the base of the ankle (with the sock stretched as much as it will be when it's worn), stop. It's time to work the heel.

Now, I'll catch up so we can do sock tutorial 2. Have fun! Leave a comment if you have any questions, and I'll try to help.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

So much for the hat

You remember the cute hat I was knitting? Well, it turned out to be not so cute after all.

Instead of a "normal" hat, I ended up with something that looked like a cross between a condom and an old-man fisherman's hat. Oh well...

Sorry, no pics of that one. I frogged it and put it out of its misery right away (and out of my misery too...)

Now I have a ball of nice handspun, and I need a good idea for it. I don't think I'm going to take the hat route again. I've already done a scarf out of the same yarn (and it turned out really cute). There's not enough for mittens or a stole. Ideas anyone?

It's still freezing here today, but not quite as bad. We got above freezing (barely), but we did get some snow and ice today anyway. I'm making good progress on the sweater, and even on the socks. Stay tuned for some sock pics.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dang, It's Cold!

I think we've officially hit about 5 below freeze your butt off here. It is cold!

I've put off doing the sock tutorial in favor of working on a sweater I've had on the needles for about two months. It would be nice if I finished it before spring....

I've started the socks, and I have some pics, so I should be able to get the first part of the tutorial up soon. I've been lazy the last few days, hence the lack of blog posts.

Be back soon with pics and details, just as soon as we thaw out.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Upcoming Sock Tutorial

I'm still working on the top down hat, but there's not enough progress to warrant a picture.

I also just started a pair of socks for my husband, Mr. Size 13 extra wide. As with most patterns, I've not been able to find any patterns to fit him, so this one is a mix of what I know from following others' patterns.


So, I thought I'd start off with a simple sock tutorial, and I plan to get the first steps up in the next day or two. These socks are toe up, worked with a heel flap and gusset. I'm doing a simple rib up the top of the foot and then up the entire cuff. I've found that ribbing carried the whole way (instead of stockinette with a couple inches of ribbing) gives him a better fit. If you'd rather have smoother socks, then you can just ignore the ribbing instructions, of course.

Toe up socks

I learned to knit by following the basic sock pattern in Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks. I really enjoy knitting socks top down, as she does, but I'm using toe-up for this tutorial (and for many of my socks now) for a couple reasons.
  1. You don't need to check gauge to do toe up socks. For some mysterious reason, I always get the size wrong when I do cuff down, even if I check gauge. So, this keeps me from ripping out... and swearing... a lot.
  2. Toe up lets you make the most important part of the sock first (the foot!) so that if you run short of yarn, you can just shorten the cuff a bit. That doesn't work the other way, unless you're a fan of toe-less socks. For my hubby, this is important. When you're making size 13 socks, you need to be careful about your yarn supply.
  3. One problem is that doing the first row or two of toe-up socks is a huge pain. The first time I tried it, I bet I ripped it back out at least half a dozen times, and it still wasn't great. I'll give you some of my tips for getting through this first, most difficult step.
Gusset or no gusset

I've tried socks both with and without a gusset. Since both my husband and I have relatively thick ankles, gussets make the socks fit SO MUCH better. If you're ankles are thinner, you can probably get away with no gussets.

One problem with my approach is that it will disrupt your striping pattern, if you're using a self-striping yarn. I can live with that easier than I can tight socks.

I've already worked the toe of the first socks, and I have some pictures of what I did. I'll get that up first, along with stitch counts, yarn, gauge, etc. However, these are super easy, and the "pattern" should work for sock sizes from tiny all the way to enormous.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Top Down Hat

I'm working on a top-down hat that I found on ravelry. My project link is here, for members.

It's hard to tell from the picture, but the top has a bit of a point -- my husband says it looks a lot like a boob. I wonder if it'll look like that on my head?

If you're not a member, then you can find the pattern here too. It's super easy, but as you see, I've already moved it off to several double pointed needles. Yes, it would be easier on a circular... but I found out I didn't have any circulars in the right size AFTER I'd gotten too far to rip out and start again. Luckily, I have lots of sock needles in that size...

I'm using a cream worsted wool and some handspun I got from Christine in a secret pal exchange. I've been in a small-project mood lately, and I've managed to do a pair of socks, two pair of mittens and now the hat in the last couple weeks. I have a sweater on the needles too that's crying for attention, and I need to get back to it as well.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

First Post

I've been thinking of setting up a knitting blog for a while, so here it is. If you're a Ravelry member, I'm jkay there. Look me up!

So far, I've done socks, mittens, scarves, hats, and sweaters. One of my goals is to start designing for big and tall men -- it's almost impossible to find patterns for big guys. I'll get busy posting some pics (and updating my ravelry info!!)