Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year!

It's been a really good month. I was able to be off from work for a 1.5 weeks leading up to the new year. We had attempted painting our bathroom and gave up, calling a professional company to come out for an estimate next week. We went from sanding the wall to chipping the current and past layer of paint. And then...when we entered "OMFG the layer of paint attached to the plaster board (the wall) is coming off" territory, we decided it was much to complex a project for ourselves. We'll get an estimate on Monday.

Aside from this project, I've worked on a pair of Eric's Glovelets (found on Ravlery) for my sister, who bought the pattern ions ago but found she doesn't work well with double pointed needles and has never knit a gusset. It was a really quick knit and taught me that the thumb gusset on the Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers (in Stitch 'n Bitch Nation) have serious issues. The biggest plus is that when she bought the kit, it came with two skeins and it only took one to do the gloves (she has small hands and I did some modifications) so now I have enough to make a pair for myself. I used Frog Tree Alpalca Sportweight. It is some of the softest yarn I have used.

For Christmas, I received a few knitting gifts, including:
  • Subscription to Interweave Knits
  • Blocking Board
  • Fiber Fantasy Sweater Blockers
  • T-pins
  • Knit Klips
  • WEBS Gift Certificate

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blackbird - 6th Shipment of Socks that Rock

As the name of the yarn states, this yarn is black. The colors range from black, grey, burgundy. It's a yarn that is just as easily an abyss/absence of color. Because I only knit one of the kits, I won't be renewing my membership. It's for the best really.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My new Formal Boot Bag

I found it really tedious to back stitch the panel in place and will openly admit, I did a bit of a shoddy job. In the end, I found one spot that indeed had a gaping hole and so I dragged out more yarn and completed the panel. Since the bag and panel are wool, it's likely that over time they wll start adhering to one another as part of a felting process so I'm not terribly concerned. On Ravelry, I saw loads of knitters put in a lining, which now has me considering doing the same. I might put one in down the road (and perhaps a zipper too) but right now I would just like to cross the project off my list.

They're Finished!!

Finally, the Queen of Beads...

Job Change

I had a recent change in jobs and this has caused me to not post as frequently. I wasn't inclined to move out of state with my past employer (along with some other things) so I found a new job. While I'm still a fundraiser I'm no longer on the front lines and happy to be working in an office and environment with such highly trained staff. The most awesome part of this change is that I'm now mere minutes away from home. However, this also a challenge for me as a knitter. Whereas I used my knitting to pass along the time on my long commute, I'm now having to actually spend my spare time on it. And unfortunately for my large stash, I'm just not knitting as much. But I have finally gotten around to reading Knit Two. I'm going to post some items that have been lingering for months in my edit pile for weeks so bear with the strange time passing that may be mentioned in them. I just don't want to look at them anymore.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

An Evening of Felting

I spent tonight felting the Formal Foot Bag. It came out perfectly and roughly matches the dimensions in Bag Style. The bag turned out really well. It took an hour or so of being in the washer. After it dries I'll affix the bag to the leather handle I purchased from Homestead Heirlooms LLC at Stitches Midwest. I'm still working on the panel that needs to be attached to the front and back of the bag. I completed a few rows watching Watchmen but still have 6" left to go. I should have it finished next weekend. And maybe have the bag completed.

The news on my Queen of Beads socks is that there are no beads matching mine at the store. There going to send me some beads that are closest to them and I'll just use them to finish the rest of the sock. I'm not sure I care all that much at this point. and maybe if I
un-knit some of the other sock and mix up the beads, it won't look so pronounced. need to worry yet. I'll just have to evaluate the situation once I have more understanding of what I'm dealing with.

Monday, September 28, 2009

River Rocked - 5th Shipment of Socks that Rock

This shipment arrived on Saturday, while I was taking a nap. I really like the colors in this yarn: blue, brown, purple, orange, red. Just spectacular. It is like looking at the color palette of a forest. This is both a color way and pattern I would have easily picked out in a shop.

I am still hoping that the Sock Club folks might have some leftover beads for my Queen of Bead sock. It turns out they used five different types of beads when putting together everyone's shipments. By my own calculations, after looking over the first sock, I'm short nearly 3 dozen beads. I'm not sure what I'm going to do if I'm unable to acquire more.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Formal Boot Bag

Last weekend, I busted out the swift and ball winder. Three skeins of Tahki Donegal Tweed wound and I'm ready to start the Formal Boot Bag in Bag Style. The body of the purse is felted and a panel of stockinette and bobbles is added to add a little bit of flair. I have a really great black, braided leather handle that I picked up at Stitches Midwest that should go perflectly with the charcoal color. In addition to a lining, I might add a zipper to close the purse. As a big-city girl, I am not a fan of purses that don't close all the way.

I've also wound the Cascade 220 I need for the Master Hand Knitter hat project. In other news, I've worked the heel of the Queen of Beads socks and have realized I will not have enough beads for my sock. I added an extra repeat at the top of the socks, which was recommended in the pattern. My thought is that when it comes to a pattern and supplies, there should be enough to do the largest of the recommended pattern and well...there just isn't. I'm short 30 or so beads based on the other sock. Hopefully, I'll be able to find more from contacting the Sock Club folks.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Master Hand Knitter Progress

As I reported a few months back, I signed up for the The Knitting Guild Association’s Master Hand Knitting Program (Level 1) and received my instruction package in mid-April. I knit five or so swatches on a size 9 needle shortly after the package arrived. But a few weeks ago I was looking on Ravelry and saw that members could queue the program in their project listings. Before doing this, I looked at other people’s submission and noticed very few knit with this needles size. So I opted to scrap the five swatches and start fresh. Over Labor Day weekend I cranked out 8 swatches and in the interim I’ve finished 15. The last one I have to work on is a “create your own cable pattern,” using some perimeters they provide on swatch length and width. This is a giant pain in the ass. The first swatch I knit came out to long because of the pattern repeat. The swatch has to be balanced so there is no having a half repeat of the pattern as the ending point of the swatch. I’m not sure how long this is going to take me so I’ve once again set it aside.

The somewhat alarming thing that I learned is that I’ve not been casting on in a manner described in any book. I use a slip knot and then proceed to doing a long-tail cast-on. After learning that a slip knot is not traditionally used a in the long-tail cast-on method, I began using the “normal” method, except that when I’d start a new swatch I would always want to resort to my “strange” method so now I’m not sure which swatches are what. I’m going to do a little positive thinking and hope that the master knitter’s on the committee won’t notice my poor little slip knot at the cast-on.

It's a little lazy of me but I don't really want to spend hours re-knitting without being told to by the committee that’s it’s necessary. I know it’s not the best attitude to have but what is a self-taught knitter to do in this situation. Re-knit preemptively? No.

I did double-check my gauge and measured the swatches twice to make sure I wasn’t fibbing on the number of inches they want things to be. I haven’t been entirely lazy. Although, even there I had to look up how one measures gauge because I didn’t know if it was from any ol’ spot on the knitted stitch and well…it’s not.

This weekend, I think I might wind the yarn for the ugly, striped hat (the project for the program) and cast-on.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Stiches Midwest 2009

It's amazing how many yarn stores you can fit under one roof!

I had the opportunity to visit several this weekend at Stitches Midwest. I attended the marketplace and walked out with an awesome braided leather handle for the Formal Boot Bag in Bag Style I plan to knit and 10 skeins of Noro Korchoran. I didn't really plan on either but the Noro is not something I really thought out. It was just too good a deal to pass up and thankfully, I do have a pattern that I can use. My in-laws bought me "Knitting Noro: The Magic of Hand-dyed Yarns" for my birthday, which is awfully handy right now.

I didn't have an opportunty to touch the Noro Korchoran until I was home and it's the softest Noro I've ever felt. Wool, angora and silk are an awesome combination. The colors are rust, red, tan, purple, and gray.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cabled Headband

This is a long post in the making.

Last month, I finished knitting the cabled headband knit with leftover Noro Tidiori. I probably should have made a test swatch but I wasn't thinking about the implications of what could happen should I not get gauge. Well...when I was finished I was three inches short of the desired length in the pattern. Since a headband is stretched over one's head, it's worked out as okay as it can. The viewer just sees more of the tangled string and less of the headband towards the back. At some point I'll hit up JoAnn's or another craft store and pick up some elastic band (in black preferably). I think I'd be more apt to wear the headband f it has an elastic backing, rather than tying string together.

On a more positive note, I finished knitting the Branching Out scarf using Crystal Palace Merino Frappe. There was a time many years ago when I had considered using this yarn to make the Spiderweb Caplet in Stitch 'N Bitch Nation. Nowadays I wonder what the hell was I thinking.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I can't seem to stick with having one project at a time. I have several projects slumbering but I guess I have a compulsion to have two projects in actual motion. I started on the second of the Queen of Beads socks (about time!) while on my stay-cation. I'm working the heel and realized that I never wrote down how rows I knit to get the length. I'm going to have to count and measure and hope I come close. My second sock doesn't always match the first so this should be interesting.

While off, I also cast-on a headband using the leftover Noro Tidiori from the Clapotis. It's the Bamboozled pattern on Ravelry. I'm 63 rows in and debating whether to do another repeat of cabling as the pattern suggests or just go straight to the decreasing. I'm afraid I don't have enough yarn. I don't quite have a full skein but I do have some scraps from where the other skeins had knots.

In addition, I made some progress on the TKGA Master Hand Knitting project. I was able to go to the library and pick up some knitting reference books, which came in handy in answering some of the 17 questions. I also stopped by a LYS and picked up some white Cascade 220 for the hat I have to knit, which will be the next thing to knit after the handband.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Knitting Mags Fall 2009

Guess what arrived last week? Fall 2009 Knitting Magazines - Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting and Cast-On Fall. My subscriptions are coming up for renewal and I think I’m going to have to break down after seeing these issues.

This issue of Interweave Knits easily rivals that of 2008. The majority of the patterns in both issues are classic in their composition. I like to think that many of them would be as wearable 10 years from now as they are today. There are few patterns in here that I would not consider making and the one’s I have in mind for the future are:

-Farmer's Market Cardigan
-Nordique Swing
-Double Knit Hat (Bird on a Wire)

This issue of Vogue Knitting featured an article on going seamless. It offers a quick synopsis on converting flat knitted pieces to knitting in the round. It couldn't have come at a better time for me. I have a number of queued knitting projects that I've been putting off because they would require seaming. I still have a sweater from September sitting in a box waiting to be seamed. Hell, I'm not one for weaving in ends either. I always find reasons to put off the finishing require of most knitting items.

As a member of the The Knitters Guild Association, I now receive Cast-On (no subscription necessary). In the last two issues, I have realized I am not really the audience for this magazine. I might marvel at the complex knitting it takes to knit an intarsia sweater with various pattern motifs but I will never attempt to make such a garment. I honestly find them to be a bit busy and unappealing.

Mom's B-Day Present

The cable footies I mentioned last month were a birthday present for my mom. I got really bored after the first one. While the simple cable keeps a knitter engaged, it’s a little monotonous. I ended up starting on a lace scarf so as to not give up knitting as a whole. I wrapped up both projects and have even worn the scarf to work a few times (of which only one person noticed was hand knit). My mom loved the socks and though it’s too hot right now to wear them, I’m sure they’ll keep her feet nice and toasty come winter.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lastest Shawl - Clapotis

I’ve been scouring since 2004 and when the Clapotis pattern was released back then, I was there to view it. At the time, I made a copy and put it in my storage binder for online patterns. I had no idea years later I would come to knit it in Noro TIdiori. As I mentioned earlier, I impulsively bought four balls of this yarn on sale at a LYS but found that this was too small an amount to make anything I’d actually want to wear. So a few weeks ago I scoured the web trying desperately to find Tidiori in the colorway and dyelot (it having been discontinued). I finally came across some at The Woolie Ewe - the last bastion for Noro Tidiori.

The first skein went great. The second skein was cursed. Not only was it riddled with knots--I stopped counting at four--but it also had spots of being thread bare. Who wants that?! To say I was pissed is to put it lightly. I was enraged that a skein could be this horrible and become disheartened with the project’s ability to progress. Shawls that are 100 stitches across aren’t exactly forgiving when on stitch 40 you find that there’s not enough yarn to finish the row because you’ve just discovered it’s two strands tied together.

The remaining balls weren't as fraught with knots or bare spots so I carried along with knitting. I started almost a month ago and have wrapped up the knitting this week. All the stitches are dropped (so much fun!) so in essence it looks like a Clapotis. I still need to weave in the tails. Although I do like the end result, I would never use this yarn again were it still in circulation.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Garden Daze - 4th Shipment of Socks that Rock

I received the latest shipment of the 2009 Socks that Rock Club over a week ago. In that time, the pattern and yarn have not grown on me. This entire package is not something I would ever choose to knit. For my taste, the colors are too bright and a little too reminiscent of a vegetable garden. Having not finished the first pair of socks (second sock syndrome is in abundance), I won't be getting to this any time soon.

Loved this!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Winding Yarn Sunday

I busted out the ol' swift and ball winder this afternoon. That was the best $100 I ever spent. I used to wind skeins using a nostepin and it was just far too difficult after a certain point. I wound three skeins of various yarns for a list of projects in my Ravelry queue: Cascade 220, Lorna's Laces Shepard Worsted Multi, and Blue Sky Alpalca's Dyed Cotton.

I just started on a pair of Cable Footies in One Skein by Leigh Radford. I've become an increasingly big fan of this book. The patterns are cute and who can argue with using only one skein. I've looked at the One Skein Wonder books and I can't say that quantity equals quality. All of the patterns in One Skein are easily recognized for their quality and uniqueness.

I'm thinking of giving the Footies away as a gift but haven't decided.

Self-Impsed Exile

After injuring my back, it was difficult to resume knitting for hours on end. I took a week or so off after the baby hat. I've started seeing a chiropractor and have started to take longer breaks between my knitting so as not to put myself in any further discomfort. I have managed to stay busy.

In the interim of my last post, I've knit one footie and finished a lace scarf using two skeins of purple Laines du Nord Mulberry Silk I had in my stash. I bought this on clearance with no clear intention of what I would do with it. After scouring Ravelry, I settled on the FishTail scarf. The finished scarf measures 5 feet; a little short for my taste but it'll do.

I purchased 5 skeins of Noro Tidiori to add to my four skeins. I bought the first few skeins because it was on sale for $5 each. Looking back, it wasn't really the wisest decision to make but I couldn't pass up Noro or sale yarn. I saw a few examples of Clapotis (check out made with Tidiori on Ravelry and it reminded me of Missoni. With a lot of luck, I was able to find a retailer still selling the yarn, which became discontinued a year ago. At some point, after the footies and the mystery project, I'll start on a Clapotis. I really have to stop having incomplete projects laying around. All the UFOs I mentioned back in March are still lingering about the condo.

I'm still queued on the Queen of Beads socks, which means I have have two other Rockin' Sock Club kits sitting in wait. There's a new kit that will ship this month. I'm so terribly behind.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Umbilical Cord Hat

So even though my shoulder and neck aren't exactly functioning normally, I finished knitting another baby hat. I chose the Umbilical Cord Hat from Stitch 'N Bitch for our neighbors new born. I knew she was due soon but it seemed to quickly creep up on me and low and behold her due date was last week. I hope he enjoys the simple little hat (that is when it's more appropriate weather).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Injured Knitter

Yesterday, I pinched a nerve in my back so I'm a bit incapacitated at the moment. I attempted to knit but found it to be extremely unpleasant. I can't move my head very well without experiencing pain and that puts a damper on looking at one's knitting or pattern. Also, my left arm is pretty out of whack as well.

I'm relegated to only reading about knitting. I just started reading The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club. The first 30 pages are interesting but I'm hoping the story will start to pick up. I'm not sure how far I'll get now that I'll be taking muscle relaxers to help ease the strain on my neck, shoulders and back. I imagine not very far at all.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pepe Le Plume - 3rd Shipment of Socks that Rock

Yesterday my husband and I went to a Chicago Opera Theater performance. This totally screwed up my ability to review the third shipment of the Socks that Rock Club. Luckily, the members of the SRC Club on Ravelry were sharing photos that afternoon so I was able to get a glimpse of the pattern and yarn. I'm not someone who can wait for the big reveal. Christmas Eve is an angst-ridden day, not because I need the satisfaction of opening presents but because I can't stand a secret.

It's not a colorway I would normally choose but is very lovely. It's a mix of pink, purple, lavender and grey. I hope it knits up in a flattering manner.

The pattern is difficult to see in the photographs. It looks almost like a wavy lace pattern, and lace is more often than not, not easy to make out in darker colors. The squiggly effect of the socks is very whimsical. Having not finished the Queen of Beads, TKGA swatches and the mysterious project, I have no idea when I will ever get to these socks.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ugh...14 swatches to go

I began knitting swatches on Sunday and have completed two so far. I don't normally knit swatches before casting-on a project. I like to think that I will automatically obtain the gauge on the yarn label and refuse to check that assertion.

The first three swatches test your ability to increase evenly and unobtrusively, maintain tension and accurately measure the gauge. My K1P1/stockinette stitch swatch is not turning out all that great but I totally kicked the K2P2/garter stitch swatch in the ass. The K1P1 stitches are extremely large and look misshapen compared to the stockinette stitch. I can't tell if that's accurate to what they look like or not. I don't normally knit ribbing on size 9 needles, the size recommended for Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool. I'm going to leave the swatch alone. I've already ripped the swatch once, after knitting a few rows of ribbing. I imagine if the judges don't like it, they'll let me know n their review and offer recommendations on how to change it or at least offer a critique on what is wrong.

I haven't "finished" the swatches because I hate weaving in ends. My plan is to wait until I've finished knitting all of the 16 swatches to start on this task.

I also stopped by the library picked up some books listed on the TKGA Bibliography for the Master Hand Knitting Program so I can start answering the questions and work on the essay.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Finished the Children's Hat

The children's hat was a quick knit. Perhaps too quick. I found a minor error in my hat. And, it was unfortunately something I didn't notice until the very end.

What happened exactly? My hat is missing a yarn over, trapping one end of the I-cord inside the hat. To overcome this absence, I just pulled the I-cord through a knit stitch. I know it might cause some undue pressure on the knit stitch but I don't really like the thought of ripping back most of the hat to knit in a yarn over. When I gift the hat, I'll warn the person of this error ("Don't take the I-cord out."). I'm sure they'll understand, whoever they happen to be. Since most of my friends and acquaintances aren't knitters, I'm sure they won't mind. Or so I am telling myself.

I'll definitely knit this pattern again. It's a quick knit and the end result is a very cute hat. I'm going to give it a go in Lion Brand Wool-Ease. I have loads of this yarn and need a means to get it out of my stash.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

TKGA Progress

There is really little in the form of progress. To date, I have :
  • Typed up the questions, and a few answers, in the TKGA Master Hand Knitter packet;
  • Looked up whether the recommended reference books are at my local library (many are so hooray!); and
  • Ordered/received recommended yarn, Lion's Brand Fisherman's Wool, in a cream color.
I know. It's really not much at all. I've just been so side-tracked with the other projects and work that I haven't buckled down to start the process. I plan to knit a few swatches in the next few weeks. That ugly, ugly hat is just going to have to wait until the end. I'm not a fan of i-cords and this poor hat has them featured on the crown. I imagine it's for whimsy but I find it unappealing. It reminds of a cartoon-ish version of Medusa.

This weekend I won't be doing much in the way of knitting. Tomorrow is my five-year wedding anniversary and we're planning on going out over the weekend. I've been looking forward to it for months.

New Project - Children's Hat

I'm working on a stealth project and unfortunately since my intent is to give it away as a gift, I cannot post anything about it at this time. Also, I'm only half way done with the garment and am not really in the mood to comment on it, lest it end up like the Queen of Beads socks in that 50% complete limbo land that is UFOs.

I started on a child-size Children's Cotton Hat in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts.

I'm knitting it in the recommended yarn, Mission Falls 1824 Cotton, and I have very mixed feelings. I love that the yarn is textured. But I absolutely hate that the thin piece of yarn that is wrapped around the larger piece is broken in over a dozen of places. It really makes me sad that I purchased yarn that is this shoddy. It's a lovely orange-sherbet color and fun to knit with but who wants string hanging out every which way. I can't think this is the intent of the yarn manufacturer. I'm willing to give the yarn another shot but just based on this limited experience, I would never want to knit a larger garment with it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Queen of Beads Update

I'm never going to finish the second sock. Never. Ever.

I've tried casting-on a half-dozen times and even made it so far as to have gotten to the row where the piece is joined, only to have then dropped a stitch and been unable to pick it back up. At this time, I've given up.

I've started another project but am waiting to post on it.

Branching Out Lace Scarf

After seeing this pattern years ago and adding it to my Ravelry queue, I started this project on April 21.

It took 30 pattern repeats and two balls of
Crystal Palace Merino Frappe
to reach 5-feet. I purchased the yarn years ago intent on making a Spiderweb Capelet from Stitch 'N Bitch Nation. Needless to say, I did not make the capelet.

The positive part of using this yarn is that for a wool yarn, it's quite soft from being merino. The downside is that with it being frappe, it is a pain in the ass to rip. By knitting stitches, the felting process starts. It made ripping back on rows with too many stitches a very annoying experience. And wouldn't you know, that all had to happen half-way through the project, which was not very motivating.

Interweave Knits Summer 2009

As a subscriber to Interweave Knits (4 years proud!) and Vogue Knitting (as of Winter 2008), I started to think that perhaps I should write about the issues after I've had an opportunity to read and review them. I'm one of those people where if I really like the magazine, I keep them stored in magazine holders for years and years and years. Right now, I have four years of Interweave Knits sitting on a shelf -- Spring 2007 is by far my favorite issue! I just started filing my Vogue Knitting issues. I'm also a subscriber to Bust (whose editor is of the Stitch 'N Bitch fame - again, it goes back to my knitting addiction) with issues dating back to 2004 and would highly recommend this magazine to women everywhere, particularly those who enjoyed Jane.

Anyway, I just finished reading the Interweave Knits Summer 2009 issue. In having recently signed up for the TKGA's Master Hand-Knitting program, I'm very appreciative of the article, "Beyond the Basics: New Methods for Jogless Stripes in the Round." The hat that has to be completed as part of the program requires jogless stripes and I will definitely be reviewing this later on to make sure I get it right.

There's a bit of difficulty in how I think about clothing's use in my daily life. I have several tattoos on my arms and keep them generally covered while at work. I can possibly get away with 3/4 length sleeves but nothing shorter. This requires that most of my clothes have long sleeves so there's not many short-sleeved jackets or sweaters in my closet, as cute as they are in any given season. Although I can find knitted garments very appealing, I will likely not make them and am dismissive of them. If I can only wear something on the weekend, it's just not worth it to me. With that in mind, I look for long-sleeve sweaters that have enough detail to make me look somewhat fashionable or short sleeve sweaters that won't look "weird" with a long-sleeve shirt underneath.

The patterns I really liked from this issue were the the Grotto Wrap, Great Gatsby Dress, Ribbons and Lace Cardigan. I tend to like the frilly, more complicated garments when it comes to knitted attire. I think they're more visually appealing. The fitted form of the Great Gatsby Dress makes is very flattering and something I'd wear in the summer, on the weekend.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Someone's enjoying the rainy weather...

TKGA and Queen of Beads

Yesterday was a great day! The weather was perfect, 70s and a low wind, celebrated my father-in-laws birthday, purchased some half-price CDs at Boarders, knit most of the foot to my Queen of Beads sock and received the instructions for the TKGA Master Hand-Knitting Program (Level One). Admittedly, in looking at the brief description on the TKGA PDF on their correspondence classes and the Master Knitting Programs, I felt this could be accomplished with little issue. However now that have the instructions in hand, feel a surge of doubt. The instructions are 16 pages long and are definitely reminiscent of government grants in the level of detail they are providing. Not one to back down from a knitting challenge, I'm taking the instructions in stride and thinking up ways to divide them up in a manner that makes them seem less daunting. I haven't exactly worked out how to do this but there's no way I can just go at it without forethought.

In other knitting news, I've completed one of the Queen of Beads socks.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Master Knittery Begins

Something took over me this afternoon and before I knew it I was on the Knitting Guild Association website purchasing a one-year membership and the instructions for their Master Hand Knitting Program. I should get my Master Level 1 kit in the mail soon. Ever since I came across the article about a knitter having completed the three levels (see, I've been intrigued.

I'm a little scared about the other two levels. I've never knit argyle socks or cared to try Fair Isle knitting. The very thought of an Aran or or Fair Isle sweater sounds more like punishment, than fun but I guess that would all depend on the pattern. I don't think I'll be at the Level 3 stage for quite some time. This will soon be my homework:
  • 16 knitted samples: three swatches of ribbing and basic stitches and gauge, mirrored increases and decreases, yarnovers, cables and color change.
  • 17 questions to research and answer.
  • One hat.
  • Two-page report on blocking and care of knits.
Can I become a master knitter and go to school once a week?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Swallowtail Shawl Finished

I finished blocking the shawl this morning and it looks awesome. I didn't always feel this way about it. When I was done knitting and was admiring my work, I felt it looked very wonky. I think the four pattern changes and it's triangle shape lent to it being very tight right off the needles. Blocking it really made the lace patterns more pronounced.

I'm very happy with how it looks and lays. I'm quite proud of having knit it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Progress on Swallowtail Shawl

Over the weekend, I've worked through the third and fourth chart of the pattern. All that's left is the 10 rows of the fifth chart...not that 10 rows isn't enough. It takes me over to 20 minutes to work a row (what with counting and knitting the stitches). I'm hoping that if I work on it during the evening, I'll have the shawl completed by the weekend. I don't have blocking wires and will have to consider investing in them for this project. I'm not sure I want to block eyelets with pins.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Second Shipment of Socks that Rock

My second shipment from the Blue Moon Rockin' Sock Club arrived yesterday and it is bountiful. Just look at all those goodies.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Swallowtail Shawl Progress

I finished knitting the second chart of the Swallowtail Shawl - that's 84 rows completed!

After being at this for a month, I'm still far from being done...and it's getting more and more tedious. On this second chart I have had to rip back at least three separate occasions. When you're ripping back over 200 stitches that's a lot of time and effort being for naught. Still, I'm going to stick with it. I still think it's an interesting pattern and am eager for the final result. Pictures at this stage don't really do it justice so that will have to wait until the knitting and blocking are complete. I've found that if I don't count each row and at the halfway and end mark of the row, I invariably end up having screwed up. This last time, I ended up with two extra stitches and it caused me to rip out two rows of work - an hour of my time wasted.

On a side note, I bought a new phone and am somewhat enamored by it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Less Frustrating Shawl Pattern

It's true that I have a diminishing attention span and I have mounting proof of it. At this moment in time, I have at least a half dozen UFO (unfinished objects) laying about my home:
  • Berroco Brea Bag
  • Stitch 'n Bitch Henry Rollins Doll
  • Rowan Ribbon Twist Honey Sweater
  • One Skein Petal Bib
  • Berroco Astrid Shawl
  • AlterKnits Felt Circular Coin Purse
With all of these items still needing much more time and devotion to complete them, I cast on a new project and began the Swallowtail Shawl. This lovely pattern can be found in Interweave Knits Fall 2006 issue. What is wrong with me that I can't keep my mind on any one thing. I think I enjoy the process of knitting but hate to have to do seams. Each item, but the bib, calls for either seaming or sewing of some fashion. The issue with the bib is that I am not familiar and cannot yet understand how you knit an icord onto live stitches. I imagine this will be sitting until the summer when it comes to me in a dream.

I think as part of my spring cleaning (in perhaps May), I should really hunker down and finish these items so that I might enjoy them or at least give them away so that others might.

But back to the shawl. It's turning out quite lovely. I'm knitting with Blue Heron Silk Rayon Twist on size 8 needles. It's not a quick knit but I still find the pattern visually appealing and the pattern repeating every six rows helps to keep ones attention span. I've been knitting the same pattern repeat for over 70 rows and still have a few left. This will be the first project I've ever done that calls for knupps. They sound like a royal pain in the arse. The thought of purling five stitches is something that can't be dwelled on so I'll just have to tackle them as they come up in the pattern. I hope it doens't cause too much pain on my wrists. I found knitting the hat from two posts ago very painful on my wrists.

Anyhoo, when I get far enough along, I'll drop picture.

Astrid Shawl Mishap

It's truly amazing how quickly time slips by, particularly when caught up with knitting and work issues. I can't believe I started this project back in November. As you can see at the berroco website (, the pattern is a wide array of circles in various sizes that are grafted together to form a triangle shaped shawl. To date, I've finished all 25 small circles and 14 medium circles. There is still the matter of 13 large circles, which had me puzzled for weeks. I recently resolved what was confusing me about the large circles for this pattern and attempted to knit the first large circle. Only, I royally screwed up some where when knitting this thing. It's quite amazing how it unraveled and not in a pretty--pattern following--way. It's going to take me another try at knitting a circle to figure out how and where I went wrong.

I swear one day, I'll finish this thing and I'll wear it with the utmost pride.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's been a busy two weeks

I finished up my flaming wave socks a few days ago. I don't want to gloat but don't they awesome?! They only took forever and a day to complete. It also turns out that I read the chart in reverse so they're not exactly like the pattern. I didn't realize that i was reading charts incorrectly until a few days ago. I learn something new everyday about knitting. Like the last pair I made, they were a pleasure to knit. The pattern gets stuck in you head so you no longer need it around all the time to repeat it.

As if the socks weren't enough, I also finished an unoriginal hat, courtesy of the yarn harlot's pattern on ravelry. This was a really easy pattern to knit (and this time I followed the chart correctly!). If I were to knit this again, I would use needles one size larger. I used Plymouth Yarn Hand Paint Wool on size 10 needles. It's a bit of tight knit, considering the recommended needle size for this yarn is size 15. I'm not sure of the color way as the yarn was a gift from a few years ago. I had originally knit it into a scarf but didn't like the scarf so I frogged it. There's still close to a full skein left in my stash.

I have another item to report on. I started the Rockin' Sock Club pattern and am now at the part where I work the heel cuff. I do love the colorway for this yarn and have found that knitting with beads isn't nearly as difficult as I had thought. I'm really glad that I haven't run into a knobby bit or part where the yarn is tied. It seemed lots of other people were encountering this problem.

Because of this project, I'm now very interested in knitting the Wild Clover Maxi Clutch pattern from Valley Yarns Stockbridge
with beads. I had originally thought of not using beads.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's here!

The package arrived last Thursday and it's just as awesome as I imagined. Not only did I get the sock yarn and a pattern but a nifty keychain (of both sock yarn and Rockin' Sock Club) and pin. I have attached my pin to my cubicle, as well as the the spare keychain of sockyarn. I've already had someone comment. It was more of "what is that?!" but still, it's got people talking.

Yesterday, I spent an hour trying to decipher how to get the beads on the yarn and finally succeeded. Now I just have to figure out what how to do a tubular cast-on.

Chris has been nagging me abo
ut not knitting him socks for weeks. I finally broke down and purchased some Cascade Fixation in black. Hopefully the color will satisfy him and since the yarn can be knit up on larger needles, it won't take me nearly as long. I couldn't buy just sock yarn so I bought a skein of Cascade 220 in magneta for a Two-Toned Ribbed Shrug (by Stefanie Japel in Fitted Knits) and two balls of Laines du Nard Mulberry Silk to make Candy Wrapper Sachets (by Leigh Radford in One Skein). The lavender I purchased over the summer is still very potent and will work well in the sachets. I really want to start getting into the habit of making little projects that can be given out as gifts--things smaller than hats and scarves.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I had a rough day at work so it was great to get the email from Blue Moon Fibers indicating they shipped my socks that rock. I am super excited for the shipment to arrive. I have to go out and buy a binder, lest the packages accompanying the yarn remain loose. How awful would that be?

I'm of the group of people where waiting to open Christmas presents is really arduous so when a club member opted to reveal the contents of the package, I can't deny that I went straight to the website and proceeded to view the pics. And let me just say, the yarn is lovely. Although now I'm kind of sad I purchased Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck in a blue/green palette. Then again, can you have too many hand-knitted blue socks.

My other issue is that I am still working my way through a pair of Flame Wave socks. I'm happy to say over the weekend I made significant progress and have completed one sock. If I continue to knit at this rate, I should be able have the heel turned by the weekend. I'm 3/4 into completing the leg so I don't think this is me being too ambitious.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It's almost time.

I've been anxiously waiting and today...I got my username and password for the Rockin' Sock Club. Fantastic! I'm ready for my yarn package to arrive, which reminds me...

I went a little crazy this weekend at the local yarn store: Wool and Company (Geneva, IL). With reckless abandon, I went through almost my entire gift certificate, purchasing:
  • 3 skeins of Tahki Donegal Tweed in Charcoal
  • 2 skeins of Noro Kureyon
  • 2 skeins of Lamb's Pride Worsted and 1 skein of Lamb's Pride Bulky
  • 1 skein of Blue Sky Alpalca's Dyed Cotton
  • 1 skein of Rowan Wool Silk DK

I do have plans for each skein so I'm off to a better start than normal. When I go on yarn expeditions, I tend to buy whatever is appealing which doesn't always work out with than making it into something. But with my stash being an ever growing beast, I don't know when I'll get around to these projects.

I'm still working on the Flame Wave socks from Favorite Socks, after having ripped back from the heel over Christmas. I choose the smaller size and it turned out to be too small for my feet. I couldn't even get them over my heel. It was quite sad and disappointing to have to rip back hours worth of work. In the end, I'll be able to wear them so it works out in the end.