Tuesday, December 29, 2009

holiday catch-up

Look. I got a new macro lens for my camera for giftmas. SeyMo says I should stop taking very close pictures of him. You can see his eye boogers. Ick.

Also accomplished over the holidays and demonstrated with the new macro lens are some more stockings. I practiced smooth methods of circular joins and for making jog-less stripes. I am getting better. But in my excitement I forgot to measure the foot length as I went along so the stockings turned out a bit stubby.

Some close ups:

Still trying to master grafting the toe closed. This may be easier with less fuzzy yarn.

And in an exciting development I landed my first set of Knit Picks Harmony needles. My sister sent me the circular kit with an additional size 15s. I can't wait to use them. The crazy stained wood is rather psychedelic.

I was lucky enough to receive an amazing painting from my Aunt Lynn for Christmas. I can't believe she sent us her original painting of Barnegat Light House. She sent a sweet note stating that she hoped it brought back happy memories. And it did. I immediately hung it in the kitchen in the Alabama house. It is perfect right there where we can enjoy it often.

Monday, December 21, 2009

log cabin blanket is done

This thing has many problems. Too small. Too drape-y from loose gauge and bamboo yarn. And too many mistakes, most related to picking up stitches from the wrong side but quite a few from dropping stitches. I think this has to do with the yarn. Not that I am immune to dropping stitches but I think the slippery bamboo made it easier to do. I like the finished look even though the drape does not hold the rectangular geometry of the different color blocks. The needles size on the yarn label was an astoundingly large size 11. Not so good for garter stitch. I am also pretty sure that the the colors from the different lots of yarn didn't quite match up.

If I were to make another of these I would stick with a wool blend or cotton blend. If I were to use this yarn again I would use wood needles. I think I would consider making this as a baby blanket. But a full size bed blanket? Hell no.

Meanwhile my little Christmas stocking obsession continues. I have mastered the jogless join for color stripes - sort of - thanks to Ravelry. I tried Tech Knitting's method of slipping the first stitch of the color change but I wasn't that happy with it. In answer to the question of jogless stripes on Rav the consensus seemed to be that you knit the stitch below the color change stitch along with the color change stitch. That worked better for me. I have mastered the circular join thanks to Tech Knitting. I need to post pics...

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I humbly submit my first effort at knitting socks. Mini-Christmas stocking socks (This Seasons Stockings, page 30, Interweave Knits 2006 Holiday), but socks none the less. You have to make a heel flap and turn it and do a gusset. And I am trying to learn to graft the toes. So far I have learned that consuming wine or eggnog is contra-indicated while grafting.

Christmas knitting
For my next trick I will attempt a jogless color change and a smoother circular join at the top of the sock. Also to be investigated is the small hole where I picked up stitches along the heel flap and why my ssks look lumpy compared to my k2togs. I thought it might be that I slipped the stitches purl-wise rather than knit-wise.
Christmas knitting

Christmas knitting

The plan is to keep making these mini-socks until I figure it out, I get bored or Christmas is over. The yarn is leftover worsted weight Vana White acrylic crap and leftover white fluffy yarn from the first scarf I ever knit. I used size 3 dpns to keep the stockings small with the relatively thick yarn.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I keep screwing this up

Christmas knitting
This is supposed to be the easiest project in the world. Its my own free flowing version of the Modern Log Cabin Blanket from Mason Dixon Knitting. I don't remember the project description exactly but I could have sworn there was something in there about mindless knitting or possibly knitting you can do while drinking.

Never the less, I have managed to screw this up by trying to be clever. The details of my cleverness are too embarrassing to reveal. I was just hoping the "mindless" meant "without paying any attention to what you are doing." Now I have to frog back a couple of rows. I have already done this several times. And its too bad its along the nearly full 3 foot wide edge. And its too bad I knit with this bamboo yarn that is insanely slippery (Bernat Bamboo Natural Blend is very attractive, however. Nice shine). This f-ing afghan has been in my basket for over two years. And now I know why. It's a pain. And it's boring. But giftmas is coming and I want to get it out of the basket and into a gift box for my sister. At this rate it might be next year.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

details on the alpaca afghan

So this was a long slow burn of a project but the end result was worth it.

I bought this expensive awesome yarn at Loopy Yarns in Chicago to celebrate our new beach house. The colors reminded my of the living room and the water. Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky is a pleasure to knit. Yummy all around.

After a bunch of swatching from a stitchionary, I found the bamboo stitch pattern complimented the quick color change of the yarn. And the wrong side looked fairly reasonable for an afghan.

Loopy Yarns saved the day for me too. I started knitting and realized that I needed at least 10 skeins rather than the nine that I bought in the shop. All it took was a quick phone call and they quickly sent me the last two skeins they had (same lot number too). Yeah!

With a critical eye I would say that I bound off the bottom too tightly because it does not match the tension of the very loose cable cast-on that I used. I bound off in purl on the front side in order to get a similar look as the cable cast-on. That worked well but I bound off too tightly because I was running low on yarn. Blocking was fairly helpful in tweaking this but not a cure.

Here's the right side - nice colors!:

Here is the wrong side which is attractive,too:

You can see from the picture below that the final afghan is a pretty good length and width. I didn't bother to measure the final dimensions. I don't care at this point. Its big enough and I am not reworking it. Best not to block on the bed without shutting the door to keep Seymore out.

My design, if you will:

Materials: 11 skeins of Misti Alpaca Chunky Handpaints in CP05 Havasu. Size 10US needles

Gage: 8 rows = 1.57 inches, 13 sts = 4 inches


Cable cast-on 155 stitches. Based on my gage swatch this would be approximately 46.5 inches wide. [This yields 3 sts for Garter boarder on each side (6 sts total) plus 140 +9 stitches for the Bamboo stitch patterned panel.]

Knit 4 rows in garter (2 ridges)

Next row: Knit 3 sts for Garter boarder. Continue in bamboo pattern until the last 3 stitches. Knit the last 3 sts for the garter boarder.

Bamboo pattern (8 row repeat, 14 sts +9 for pattern repeat; from The Harmony Guides, Knit and Purl : 250 Stitches to Knit, edited by Erika Knight)

Row 1 and every odd row (right side): P2, *k5, p2; repeat from * to end
Row 2: K9, *p5, k9; repeat from * to end
Row 4 and 8: K2, *p5, k2; repeat from * to end
Row 6: K2, p5, *K9, p5; repeat from * to last 2 sts, k2

Repeat these 8 rows including the 3 st garter boarder on each side (knit beginning and end 3 sts all rows) until you have run through 3/4th of the last skein of yarn. This is an estimate – double check using a measured length of yarn or weight of yarn. Knit 4 rows garter. Cast-off.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

finally done!

Details to come.....but yeah!

Monday, September 21, 2009

very promsing and very disappointing

In the "promising" department: my design of cup holder for the Adirondack chairs that sit on the dock. I am sure these chairs had cup holders in the holes in the arms but likely a storm blew them out. Alas! Where to place my beer? I decided to design a knitted replacement with some left over cotton yarn complete with button attachments. I have not really been taking notes but I borrowed a pattern from this lovely and talented gal and added the necessary straps. Once done I will post.

I tried it out in the chair and found that the top strap just needs a button hole and the bottom strap needs to be bound off. The remaining straps can all be the same length as the one still on the needle.

In the "disappointing" department: my coffee mug cozy for a friend (more specifically a work colleague and long-time friend) with an oddly shaped mug. I decided to wing it with almost no planning on my part. Because I would like to surprise her with it, periodically I have been stealing her mug off her desk taking it home to try on the cozy-in-progress and then returning it to her desk. All this without her noticing. My husband keeps asking me why I don't take measurements. I think I did at one point but then lost them.

Anyway, it appears that despite my best effort this will be frogged. I might give it one more try though because I am high from the promise of my cup holder for the Adirondack chair.

SeyMo says "this sucks - fix it."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

9th aniversary

Steve and I have been married for nine years today, 9/9/09. Pretty neat. Too bad we did nothing to celebrate - as usual.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

scrub bags for hand made soap

These are not an original idea but I have always wanted to try to make little soap bags to be used as wash cloths with the nice spa type soap inside. After screwing around this is what I came up with.

Cast on 38 stitches with Lion Cotton worsted or similar. I used size 6 straight needles.

Knit 4 rows stockinette.

Then start a stitch pattern that is open and bumpy for the exfoliating effect. I used a bramble pattern in one and an open cross stitch in another so the suds can flow out. Leave a knit st on both sides of the row as selvage for sewing up.

Continue in the pattern for about 3 inches (or enough to cover your soap bar.)

Knit a row.
Purl a row.

Next row: K1, *K1, K2tog, yo. Repeat * to last stitch (ish. doesn't have to be perfect) k1.

Next row purl.
Next row knit.
Next row purl.
Next row cast of with a picot cast off. I used a two stitch picot: Cast on two, bind off four. Repeat.

Sew up the side seam. Sew the bottom seam with the side seam centered in the back of the bag.

I made i-cord with a small US4 double point. I made the cord just long enough to tie around the top of the bag.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I have wanted to make something from Weekend Knitting for a very long time. This book was one of the first in my knitting library and it was a gift from my mom. When I first got it I could not get over the creativity of the projects and the great photography. It made me want to knit everything. However, I was a new knitter and I could not imagine completing any of the projects save a few.

The lap blanket that is featured in the book is shown in a fabulous shade of green which is what drew me to it along with the fuzzy mohair yarn. I vaguely remember reading the pattern several years ago when I had just learned how to knit and I just didn't get it.

Fast forward a few years and six balls of Jo Sharp rare comfort and one of Rowan Polar later and it was done in no time. I followed the pattern from the book quitting the length when I was down to the last ball of mohair. I also had to buy a very pointy set of wooden size 13 needles in order to knit the mohair. The slippery blunt-ended Addis I tried initially were awful for that yarn.

Great result although I think the Jo Sharp was not as soft as it should have been for a blanket. I made it for my mom who I hope will enjoy it. As soon as she gets it in the mail I will explain to her that I have been trying to make this project for her for five years. I am sure she will get a laugh out of that.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Adorable Ree

It is crazy how cute Ree is getting. He is 17 years old, give or take. He has a a bunch of health problems and he is stubborn and cranky. But he has never lost his kitten-like cuteness. He looks a bit mellow in this photo but his snowy white fur and pinkish ears look as soft was they are to the touch. He is tired but as content as can be expected.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

four years

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

song I want to get

Closer to fine - Indigo girls
black coffee in bed, pulling mussels from a shell - Squeeze

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

shameful abandoned WIP pile

Time to fess up. I am either going to complete these or frog. Here is my stuck-in-a-bag-and-put-away-and-almost-forgotten knitting project list:

cabled afghan - leaning toward finishing but I really done know if I have all that cabling in me.
log cabin throw - finishing
mason dixon wrap sweater for a baby - done need to sew and find a baby that might fit it
matching stupid baby blanket - finish while drinking. How bad can it be?
Tank top (knitty) - could go either way.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ebay yarn saves the day but I ruined it anyway

I finished my Cherish shrug over the weekend using the Tahki Baby yarn I found on eBay. I have to say, this was the most rewarding eBay experience I have ever had. Without going into too much detail, I find eBay purchases aggravating for a number of reasons and I pretty much stopped using it. When it comes to yarn, overly competitive bidding makes me want to go elsewhere. Nickle and dime-ing stuff seems petty. And that scratches the surface of my past issues with eBay.

Anyway, the gal (or guy, I have no idea) who sold me the long-since-discontinued yarn is clearly an angel. First, they miraculously had what I needed. Second, they shipped it the day I bought it and I got a ship confirmation via email. Third, it was exactly what I thought it would be - no seconds or partials. And it was a perfect color match! Last, I got the shipment in 2 days. Way to go USPS.

But here's the punch line. I accidentally felted it. I put the shrug in the washer on gentle with the intention of removing it after 2 minutes and hand rinsing it. But I forgot about it. Even on the handwash cycle, parts of it felted. It looked great and fit great before this. Poop.

I knit this on 15's rather than 17's and I am pretty sure I got gauge (until the felting). The needles were Lantern Moon and are simply the best needles I have ever used.

I would make this again because it was fast and cute. The sewing up part was slow but not too tricky. I would make the arm circumference a little larger too. But that's because of my arms not a problem with the pattern. My picots look a little large too but I could probably fix that the next go round. Actually, looking at this further, I think I screwed up the sleeves too. I may have too many of the rows of garter stitch and picots. It is still cute. The color in the picture below is bad because my living room is poorly lit. But the picture above shows the truly awesome pink-ness of great yarn.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

inch -tall icing

This is my own version of my cousin's version of peanut butter cake. I foolishly believed that one can never have too much icing so I made enough chocolate peanut butter butter cream frosting for 2 cakes and tried to pile it on to one. Turning chocolate peanut butter ganache into butter cream was my idea sort of. And, yes, you can definitely ruin a cake with too much icing. oh well.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

knitting nightmare

It finally happened. Despite meticulously calculating the required yardage for my Cherish shrug and happily determining I should have enough, I ran out of Tahki Baby. Which, of course, has been discontinued in color 48. My stash was several years old so I doubt I will be able to locate more. How much more you ask. Enough for the last 10 very short rows of the second sleeve. If you listen carefully you can hear the sound of my heart breaking over the internet.

Update: found some on ebay. What are the chances that the color remotely matches?

Monday, May 11, 2009

love the fuzz

This color is awesome but I fear the resulting sweater will be rather annoying and itchy. Not because it's not a soft yarn. It just seems like to fuzz level is a bit high.

Anyway, I got gauge with the recommended needles. (Highly suspect, if you ask me.) I started this on the airplane to the Kentucky Derby and it got a lot of attention. I think my fellow passengers were admiring my deft analysis of the racing form while casting on 102 stitches. One guy asked me if I brought my knitting to the track. Of course not - I am too busy making bets and drinking.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I really have been knitting

I just haven't had much time to discuss. So here is a little gem I just finished for a South Park themed swap on Ravelry. The pillow is my own "design", if you will. Basically, I have never done color work before and it shows. The yarn is that acrylic Vana White stuff from Lion Brand and I am not loving it. I blocked the hell out of this and it still looks wavey. Could be I was having tension problems that went undetected....

I followed the instructions I found here for making a diagram. After swatching I figured I needed about seven rows and 5 stitch wide seed stitch border for a 11 inch-ish pillow. It came out over sized which is great since I could only find a 14 inch pillow. I blocked it to just under 14 inches square so it could stretch a bit over the pillow.

I made the back in contracting orange (to symbolize Kyle's opposition to Cartman's lack of morality - hee) and crocheted the seam together. Of course I really don't know how to crochet and I think the chain edge come out on the wrong side but it looks ok. OK?

Next time I do color work I will go a little slower and ask for help from some one who knows what they are doing. Also smaller needles and more stitches for better graphic definition. I used 8US which is one size down from the Vana's Choice recommended 9's.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

more birds in the yard

Yesterday I was able to observe this warbler close enough to make an id without binoculars and he was cooperative enough to allow me to run inside get my camera and change lenses so I could then take his picture. Also showing up in the yard: three orchard orioles.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

maybe I just can't stand most people

I think my cats are pretty close to being people - only much better. Yup I am one of those "crazy cat lady types". This probably comes across as psycho-humanizing of cats.

I am pretty sure my belief reflects my poor opinion of people. Yes, I know cats are animals and not people. I don't think they are entitled to universal healthcare and I don't freak out over leather or fur coats as long as they aren't made out of cats or dogs. Clearly, I am no vegan-PETA-card carrying animal lover.

But after today's experience in line at the drive through at the bank - completely insane stupid person in front of me - I know my cat passion is a direct result of my feelings about horribly annoying people sharing my space and breathing my air.

Its all in the contrasts: stupid annoying lady inline at the bank vs. easy going soft playful purring Ree. Who would you prefer to hang out with? Who would you want to spend energy on? Who sucks the life out of you versus giving it back?

I think the extent to which you love a pet sneaks up on you. And when they die the impact can be surprising. Like falling into a deep funk. Or sudden irrational urges for a new cat even though you swore you would never go through that again (vet bills, clawed couches, vomit, hairballs, etc).

And so I present Newey and Itchy. Two irreplaceable cats. But I am sure I will try.