Monday, February 27, 2006

I never like to say goodbye

Three days ago I had to say goodbye to a very close friend, MA. She moved away, and it's possible that we'll never live near each other again. This is terribly sad, but I'm trying not to think too much about it, although I miss her already. She was the one I was knitting these socks for.

Since she already knew about the socks (I had to get her measurements for them), I had to do something special to add a little surprise to the gift. MA and I had been talking about card making a few weeks ago, but never got the chance to make some together. So I decided to make her a card set. Taking my cues from the Winter Knitty article on gift wrapping, I wrapped the cards in the socks. Click on it to unwrap!
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Stats: stamped, torn, smudged with inkpads, quilted with sewing machine (some of it is straight stitch to outline, some is zig-zag for effect).

My first attempt at quilting cards. I got the idea from MA, who sews.

I had so much fun making these that I decided to join in on Project Spectrum Postcard Swap with Lolly. (Check the knit along buttons in my sidebar for more info.)

On a lighter note, the surprise patterns are live on Knitty!! Starsky is tempting me, especially since it's done in KnitPicks Sierra, which puts it in the "affordable range" for a possible project (a size small would cost $44.90).

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Casting off

I didn't "declare" this, but I added an extra little Olympic challenge for myself, and here's what happened:
Image hosting by PhotobucketPattern: Multidirectional Scarf by Karen Baumer
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden #211, 3 skeins
Needles: size #7 DPNs w/rubber bands on one end of each to make them straights.
Notes: this has 6 "full length" triangles, and the two short ones on each end. I had a little bit of yarn left over, but this is a pretty good length.
My other posts on this project: I've Got Mail, When A Good Thing Goes Very Wrong.

My multidirectional scarf is finally done. I had gotten a little bored with it, and also I had to keep ripping back for stupid reasons. I'm not sure why this time it was harder than last time. Also, does anyone see that one side is thicker than the other? Yes, let's just not speak of it, shall we?

Once I had cast off for the scarf, I only had the lace scarf on my needles, so I had to cast on something quick and mindless, pronto! I've had my eye on this cute pair of toddler socks by Amy Boogie for quite a while, and my little guy has been asking me to knit him a pair of socks anyway, so this is what I started:
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Cute, yes? I was almost finished with the heel, using the "slipped not wrapped" version, but then I noticed Really Big Holes. I thought I was pulling the yarn tightly enough when slipping stitches, but apparently not. I'm going to re-knit with wrapped stitches instead. This is my first attempt at a short row heel.

And Knitting's Amy won't quite make it, but she had fun trying and got a lot done anyway.
Strange Theory's Amy also won't be a gold medalist, but that's ok. It was a good run. =) She's got some skeins of Lorna's Laces in Jeans for the prize pot as well as one skein of SWTC Bamboo in hot pink. She'll post some pics on her blog later. (Thanks Amy!)
Danielle actually may finish...she's running down the finish line...
Heather is wearing her new sweater!!!!
Karen won't be taking a golf medal, but she's got consolation prizes for all those who knit hard and, well, are still knitting. =0 Send her an email at knittykarenAThotmailDOTcom with your snail mail address (check her blog for more details).
Kathy is done! Her sweater turned out a little bigger than intended, but she's learned a great deal and will be knitting more sweaters now!
Sharon Hurlbut has completed two (!!) sweaters, and the pics are adorable!! Go check 'em out!

Congratulations to everyone here on Team First Sweater. You all chose challenging projects, and I think each one of us learned a lot from this. A sweater is just another knit, another set of instructions to follow. No big deal! It may take longer than some other things, but that's no reason to back down from it.

I hope you've all had a great (although possibly hectic!) 16 days. I know I have. It's been really cool to check in on all of you each day, and watch the journeys that everyone has taken.

Remember to post today or tomorrow an "interesting" or "Really Cool" picture of your sweater for a chance to win some yummy yarn. There will also be some people chosen for prizes at random (names chosen by a random number generator). I'll be posting who gets what on Tuesday, so keep checking back. If your name is listed I'll also send you an email or leave a comment on your blog. You will send me your snail mail address, and the person who owns the prize yarn will mail it to you. Did that make sense? Great! I'll check back later...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Here I am!

Here, at long last, is Picovoli. I'm so glad to have it done. Whenever I knit something, the beginning is about the process, and about a day or so into it, I'm all about the finished object. Supposedly process and "gotta have it now" knitters are on two sides of the spectrum, but...well, I am the way I am, I guess.
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Pattern: Picovoli by Grumperina
Needles: Boye, size 2 circular interchangeable. I DO NOT recommend this needle set, as they unscrew while I knit. Very annoying.
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine in Turquoise
Cast on: February 10th
Cast off: February 24th
Modifications: This top was knit in size XS, but the bust section was knit to 6-1/4 inches instead of 4. I was concerned this wouldn't work correctly, but it fits! And the shoulders fit! My shoulders are small, so it always sucks that I have to buy bigger size shirts, because then they tend to hang funny.
Additional notes: This yarn grows a good deal when blocked, so blocking a swatch is essential! Also, this is my first experience knitting with cotton, and I am less than thrilled. EVERYTHING shows up in cotton. Everything. Any little change in gauge, weaving in ends, etc. I guarantee that I will be knitting with cotton again though, just because that's the way things go, but I don't look forward to it. However, blocking really saved the day. I didn't think that it would look even halfway decent, and it seems that all inconsistencies have "come out in the wash" as they say. (Who are "they" anyway?) This pattern was written up very clearly, and I didn't have any problems with it at all.
I posted a lot on this knit since it was my Olympic Knit, so here is just one: I'm Done

This morning I was up at 6am (mornings are one of the few quiet times I get to myself), and was poking around blogland. After a little while and some breakfast I was ready to knit, but had forgotten my knitting bag in my room, where my husband was sleeping. Near me on the desk I suddenly noticed the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool I'd snagged at that yarn run last week. It was calling my name. Recently on the Knitlist, a lace-leaf scarf pattern popped up, and I downloaded it. Now Liesel (PDF file) is on my needles.
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(Scanned image -- the best way to capture lace, I think.)
Mmmmmm. This is my first successful attempt at lace knitting. It takes some focus, but can you see the leaves? Can you see it, can you see it?? (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) (If you can't, blocking will help when it's done.) The pattern is written in a worsted weight, but I decided to just try it in this dk weight (on size #5 instead of #8 needles), and I love how it's coming out. It feels sooooo soft and whisper light. Yummy. Also, the width is perfect for me. In the original, it comes out much wider, but I'm loving this.

Sarah (my blogging buddy here at The Needle And The Damage Done) has put a skein of her own multi hand dyed into the prize pot! Sarah's yarn came in the mail a few days after The Great Cast On, so the last I heard she was still plugging away, but with the end a little further off in the future. =(
Amy of And Knitting seems to have been waylaid by some lovely alpaca.
Em just finished up her second(!) sweater. It's so cute! Great job!
Heather is on her second sleeve, and has posted a soup recipe that looks really good. I love soup, so I'll have to try it out.
K is sick, so she's out. Best wishes that you start feeling better soon!
Leah is still knitting on that sweater...she just bought the book Happy Hooker. I'm so excited that it's finally out! I'll have to swing by the bookstore to look inside.

For those of you still working towards the goal, keep your hands steady and chin high. Who needs sleep? =) Seriously, I look forward to seeing all of your finished sweaters. Make sure to post as soon as they're done!

Friday, February 24, 2006

I'm done

My sweater is done. It's blocking on a towel on the floor of my room. The photo of me with the scissors is of The Last Snip.

Tomorrow I'll post a pic of me wearing it, but it's still wet today. (I should probably buy a sweater screen someday soon.)

Amy from And Knitting found some interesting knitting content in the most recent issue of W magazine.
Strange Theory's Amy is having some trouble keeping her focus, and is noticing (as I did with mine) that all the stockinette really highlights ALL those stitches -- for the better or worse!
The more I see of Danielle's sweater, the more I want one of my very own! She's almost to the home stretch. It's looking really great.
Debi has a little tutorial on Knibberish, and appears to be making some sweater headway (if I'm translating correctly).
Heather is seaming!!
Jessica is almost to the Blocking Point.
K isn't feeling so great, but her sweater is turning out so well. I love the delecate all over lace. (What pattern are you using?)
Karen's sleeves are almost finished.
Kathy was having some troubles with gauge, but it appears that her sweater is going to work out after all. It looks great, and hopefully it will fit! She also knit her first sock. Great job, and welcome back from your Mexican vacation!
Leah is holding out one last hope that she can finish on time.
Nancy is feeling the time crunch for all those ends yet to be woven in! Her dad died 10 years ago today. She wrote a beautiful tribute to him, so make sure you go check it out, and leave some virtual hugs for her.
Pamela has been feeling pretty sick, but she's back in the game! Go, Pamela, go!
Sharon Hurlbut is piecing everything together for her 5-year-old's sweater! Also, she's added two balls of GGH Cadiz to the prize pot, and has a pic of them on her blog. This will go to the knitter with the best final blog entry on Team First Sweater (whether you actually finish your sweater or not doesn't matter for this prize).

If anyone has anything else to add to the prize pot, let me know in a comment, and then post pics of it on your blog so that we can all go there to gaze. (It's all about the wool!)

Knit on, fellow stitchers, and don't give up! It's been so inspiring to watch all of you in your struggles and triumphs towards this goal. Weather we all make it or not isn't the most important thing. The main thing is that we have fun, challenge ourselves, and learn, which is what always happens when we stretch for something new. Go Team First Sweater!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Oh the shiny yarn...

I am almost done. I can smell (see?) the finish line. I must knit.

This is where I was last night:
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Since my tummy isn't what it used to be (before babies!), I've decided to knit at least another inch before the picot edging.

I have some things to say about knitting with cotton, but I will save that for my "hey, I'm finished!" post. It's not all good. However, I like the color.

At the beginning of the Olympic Games, I said that I would award a yarny prize to the Team FS participant who took the most interesting picture of their sweater. The photo judges will be Sarah, her husband Jesse, and me and my husband, Greg. The prize that I will be sending out to one very lucky person is this incredible skein I picked up last week (I know! It hurts to part with it so soon, but at least it hasn't gotten sucked into the Black Hole Of Stash.) Here it is:
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Fiesta La Boheme in colorway Safari. This is 165 yards and 4 oz of 2-strand A) Brushed Kid Mohair, Wool, Nylon and B) Rayon Boucle. This stuff almost glows, and is OH! so soft. It would be enough for one skinny, lacy scarf or as a great addition to...your stash? No, I didn't just say that. Ok. So does anyone else have something to throw in to the Prize Pot? If you do, leave me a comment or email me with the specs. Also, if anyone can think of any other reasons to award prizes -- silly, crazy, serious, whatever. (First to finish, last to finish, unfinished, etc.) I'll be waiting on your comments!

Monday, February 20, 2006


I'm just reknitting increases (mostly I knit at night, so I'm just about to start since the boys are in bed now), and there's nothing new to show.

Since it's always nice to see something beautiful and fibrous, I give you this:
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Blue Faced Leicester roving in Mahogany colorway from Amy of Spunky Eclectic. It got here a few weeks ago, but I haven't been able to spin any of it up yet because of the Knitting Olympics. I'll get to it some day...

I won't do the full review of everyone on Team FS today because I don't have the time, but you must click on And Knitting's Amy. All I can say is "drug raid". Read it yourself, it's hilarious.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

This just in: brand new knitting/fiber podcast reviews

***Even if you've already read this post, please scroll down to read the new reviews of the shows I forgot. No idea how that happened. This post should be retitled "Where's my brain?" Must be Olympic knitting or something. The new shows added to the reviews: "About Time", "Pointy Sticks" and "Musings Of A Peaceful Knitter".***

On to the reviews.

If you don't know what podcasts are, or think that you might not be able to listen because you don't have an iPod, please click here first.

I must start with a brief explanation of podcasting and my method of rating them. First, it's important to understand that podcasts are "shows" that can be put together by anyone. It's quite a bit of work, a little bit of money, and takes some guts to just put yourself out on the line like that with your voice and creativity.

Some podcast hosts are professionals in the audio media world, and so their shows reflect that. Other hosts are people who have never touched a mic, done public speaking, have no experience in piecing a show together or using the hardware and software needed for publishing a podcast.

In a past review that I posted, I held each show under a microscope and came off as the Judge Simon of the knit-blogging world. When I wrote it, I didn't mean anything personally by it.

I am a perfectionist myself, and am sometimes hard on others when it seems that they may not have planned all that carefully. This can be unfortunate, because it can lead to others being swayed by my ideas, and vilifying the person who was criticized.

Taking all of this into consideration, I have modified my style of reviewing, though not my standards. That being said, let us begin. In alphabetical order:

About Time by Whit Larson. Just before the Olympics started, Whit released her best show so far. She managed to land an interview with Stephanie Pearl McPhee (AKA Yarn Harlot), and I must say, it is her best show thus far. She sounds relaxed, everything is pulled together, all in all, a great show. I look forward to hearing more from Whit.

CastOn, by Brenda Dayne. If you've heard anything about knit related podcasts, chances are you've already heard about this show. Brenda does an outstanding job of blending music with entertaining commentary, an essay often by a guest writer (last week by Franklin Habit), and my personal favorite part, Today's Sweater. In Today's Sweater, Brenda gives us a visual picture of whichever sweater she's wearing that day, the story behind the yarn and the knitting of it.

FiberCast by Caroline. This is the most technically explicit podcast. Caroline recently released a show where she explained step by step how to prepare a raw fleece for spinning. Very cool. She's doing a really good job with this show and improves each episode.

KnitCast, by Marie Irshad. This show just celebrated it's first "birthday" on February 15th. The Birthday Show was recorded in a Real Live radio station, and she has other knitting podcast hosts Brenda Dayne, Caroline, Rhonda Bell and Whit Larson as guests. They discuss the finer points of podcasting, their individual decisions to start a show, etc. This episode is great if you want to learn more about podcasting. Marie's monthly show centers around an interview with a prominent person in the fiber arts world, which are always well done. Past episodes have included interviews with Stephanie Japel of Glampyre, Knitted Babes author Claire Garland, Debbie Bliss and Annie Modesitt. On her show's blog she has a list in the sidebar of future guests, and she's got quite the lineup!

Knitting Newscast by Rhonda Bell. When Rhonda first decided to start podcasting, she was so taken with the idea that she couldn't even wait to get home, and recorded her first show in her car. Since that time, she has gone from a flying-by-the-seat-of-her-pants style to an essential stop for knitting news. Her show now truly lives up to it's name, and it's a great resource for finding out what's going on in the knitting world.

Musings Of A Peaceful Knitter, by Lisa Akers. The promo lives up to it's name. The music and her voice are reminiscent of a yoga session. Lisa plans to have peaceful, well, musings throughout her episodes. I know we're all sick of hearing the media depict knitting as "The New Yoga", but this promises to be enjoyable. I plan to check back with her when her show debuts on March 1st.

Pointy Sticks, by Christine. I would describe this podcast as an audio-blog/radio-talk-show hybrid. She's got some great tunes on the first episode as well, and sounds pretty polished for someone who's just launched her first episode. Her second episode should be live soon, so look for it!

Secret Knitting, by Daniella. Each show is an audio pattern. Daniella tells you what weight of yarn to use, how many stitches to cast on, and then you knit your stitches to the sound of her voice. She doesn't post pictures of the finished project until a few weeks later, so that you have time to complete yours, thus the name Secret Knitting. If there were awards to give, this one would get the "most innovative idea yet" award.

Unraveled, by Shannon Chower. Unfortunately, it seems that this show is on hold for now. On her blog she hints at some life issues that are getting in the way of her blogging and podcasting. It's unfortunate, because I enjoyed her show for the brief time it lasted.

WeaveCast by Syne Mitchell. The first episode of this show was just released on the 14th of this month. She has a warm voice and has some cool music as her intro. In her introduction it sounds like she's got a great format lined up for future shows. She takes a page from Brenda Dayne's proverbial book with "Today's Swatch" and featured essays. I'm not a weaver, but I'm afraid I'll want to be one by the next show!

NOTE: if you go searching for the post where I last reviewed podcasts, you will notice that there are some chunks missing out of the original entry. This is because I regretfully wrote a few things that should probably be forgotten, and so I have removed them.

Ripping along

As of last night, here's Picovoli.
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This morning during church, I noticed something. The increases are crooked. (I probably should never knit at church. Haven't I said this before? Something ALWAYS happens.) Now, I'm sure that I could just leave them alone and probably no one would notice. But this is cotton, and I can really see it. I mean, REALLY. Also, I'd always know it was there. You know what's coming next. Yes, I need to rip back about two inches. Doesn't seem like a lot, but since it's in the round, it's sort of like ripping back four inches if it was knit in pieces. Sucks. It's okay though. I will persevere, and I expect to be done within two days or so.

This week I started a brand new Stitch N Bitch group here in my town, because I was tired of not having anyone to knit with. As it turns out, there were several local ladies just waiting for this to happen. They joined and we had our first knitting circle on Monday. It went well, and I had quite a good time.

Yesterday I went with one of those ladies, Laura, to the closest thing we have to an LYS, 35 minutes away. We were pleasantly surprised that it didn't take us longer (Mapquest said it would be an hour!) (??), and also pleasantly surprised at some really nice yarn. From my conversation on the phone with the shop owner a few days before, I had the impression that she wouldn't have anything I'd like. She didn't have any interesting sock yarn (except Mountain Colors "Barefoot", although the colorways seemed too moody and dark for me), but she did have some Elaine Schaffer among other things. There was a bit too much cotton for my taste -- in fact, I've never seen such an emphasis on cotton in a store before, but I did come across some very yummy things that had to come home with me.
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I also purchased the Gloves In A Bottle, since I've been having such dry skin, and a needle gauge/ruler, since I somehow lost mine.

My husband isn't crazy about any of the yarn in this purchase, or even the colors. Oh well. It'll be something for me anyway.

Oh, I got to feel "Touch Me". Unfortunately there was only plum and ruby, which didn't really stand out to me. I was tempted to buy one ball anyway just for feeling. It feels that good. You must go out and touch some if you ever have the chance.

Unrelated, but two days ago I happened to look out the window and see this little guy:
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I didn't even know we had lizards here!
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He was pretty cute, but I was glad he was on the other side of the screen.

Strange Theory's Amy doesn't have a real update for us, but in case anyone was wondering, if she was a yarn she'd be Cashmere. Danielle finished the front of her Weasley, and the intarsia is looking gorgeous. I love that tweedy cream color. Debi is having something of a knitting crisis, and has ripped back Tubey. Hopefully she will be able to settle on a pattern and complete it before the flame goes out! Heather has a pile of VM from her Rowan Summer Tweed, and got some beautiful handpainted yarn from her secret pal. Jennifer finally has some pics of her project up, which is a very bold red-blue combo. K has set some knitting goals for herself -- hopefully she can get it all done! Karen is having some focus troubles. Nancy has completed her very stripey sweater, and has added socks to her Olympic challenge. Sharon Hurlbut started her second baby sweater, and wrote a poem on knitting.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Growing pains

My little guys let me knit yesterday while they were awake (!!), so I made some progress. This is how it looked just before bed yesterday.
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We're below the bust! Strange Theory's Amy wondered if the fabric would grow in length enough to start decreases at the point I was at in yesterday's picture, since my swatch grew so much. It's possible that it will grow in length, but the main thing that happened was that it blossomed out wider. I am knitting this pretty form fitting, in the hopes that it will have a good fit once I block it.

I sustained an injury yesterday -- a yarn burn on my left index finger that turned into a tiny split. I put some medicated prescription ointment on it last night with a band-aid, so it's more of a hot spot today than anything, but it's a little sore. Also, my hands are feeling kind of stiff, but the end is near! I think that I'm going to be able to finish this up before the Big Day. I've knit through 3 out of 5 balls of yarn already, and we're only on day 6. (Sarah, there's hope for you!)

And Knitting's Amy has decided to knit through her pain, and has taken up the needles once again. Alright Amy! She wrote an interview with herself that had me rolling. =) Danielle is planning to knit through class today. Perfectly acceptable, I would say. I mean, what could be more important than Olympic glory? Em has stayed under the radar, but has actually finished her sweater already, and is challenging herself with a second one! Unrelated, but she saw a sunken boat the other day. Strange. Unfortunately, she forgot her camera. Leah just joined our team yesterday, and she's wondering how in the world she'll ever finish.

Tomorrow check back for a review of the knitting/fiber related podcasts that are out there. Podcasts are perfect entertainment for Olympic knitting!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

and I'm off!!

YARN! I've got yarn! Yesterday the yarn came in and here it is! yay! Let the Olympics begin!

Second fitting

My sweater is growing. In the directions it says to knit 4 inches beyond the armholes and then start the decreases for shaping. It also says to make sure that the fabric nearly covers the bust before decreasing. At the moment, I'm well over 4 inches, but it's nowhere near covering this particular bust. Check it out:
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A few more inches to go, thanks to my nursing baby...

Unrelated, but this is what my husband got me for Valentine's Day. I have sworn off all cheap candy. I would gladly give up all other chocolate if I could have this once a year. These chocolates are pretty much the best thing I've ever put in my mouth.
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You can see their website here.

Strange Theory's Amy is nearly to the first try-on point with her Picovoli. If she could just make sure that her dog doesn't get a hold of it, all will be well. Thankfully, she's got an awesome boyfriend who cooks dinner for her so that she can get more knitting time in! Danielle is just about to start piecing her sweater. So exciting! It'll be cool to see how it all comes together. Heather's sweater is coming along nicely. Her husband said that she could buy some knitting books for Valentine's Day, and she needs suggestions. Go help her out so she can place her order! K is wondering what sane thought was going through her head when she chose her project. Karen has decided to add brown stripes to her blue sweater, which is one of my favorite color combinations. Great idea! =) Pamela has been making stitch markers, and her sweater is coming along beautifully. The purple-multi colorway that she chose is knitting up so well. Sharon H. is knitting along at top speeds, and will be finished before the deadline! In other news, she just had a wonderful poem published.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sometimes I do things other than knit

Have you ever wondered why it's called Valentine's Day? Here's the story:

A priest named Valentine is said to have lived in Rome during the third century, during Claudius' rule.

Claudius was having trouble with his army because men were always concerned about their wives and families back home. He decided to outlaw marriages in an attempt to solve this.

Valentine was a priest and felt that it was wrong for Claudius to challenge the institution of marriage, so he continued to marry people to each other in secret. Valentine was eventually caught and thrown in jail.

Claudius' daughter was blind, and undesirable, so she was a servant in the jail. Her job was to take care of the prisoners, and she cared for Valentine. He was kind to her, even though no one else was. He would describe things that she'd never seen like flowers, trees, and other things outside.

On the day of his execution, February 14, 269 A. D., she began to see again, miraculously. Valentine died, but the whole family of Claudius was affected by Valentine showing God's pure love to an undesirable girl.

Kind of gives a whole new meaning to "Be My Valentine", doesn't it?

In a former life, I was a scrapbooker. Since I have all the supplies, I spent my creative moments today making this for My Valentine.:
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Stats: Stamped, torn, smudged, stickers, ribbon, quilted with the zig-zag stitch of my sewing machine. White-core cardstock and paper.

My favorite guy and best friend just got home from work, so I won't take any more time away, but Happy Valentine's day to everyone, and I'll be back with some knit progress on the morrow.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Try that on for size

I'd gotten about 10 rows into the sweater, when I realized that my cute little stitch markers weren't quite little enough. Since cotton is very unforgiving, it was causing these stitch ladders no matter how tightly I pulled the stitches on either side of the markers.
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So you know what's coming. I pulled it all out. It took me a few hours to knit back up to that point because I was trying to be so careful about the raglan increases.

My husband and I were watching Lost In Translation last night, so I tinked back and forth on this (I wish I could say "knit like the wind"), and this is as far as I got.
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Not so impressive, but I feel like the hardest part is behind me. Also, at this point I have a good feel for how to handle the cotton, so I've got an edge.

Tonight is my Stitch N Bitch group, so I'll at least get a solid hour or two of knitting there.

And Knitting's Amy seems to have sustained an injury. My best wishes for a speedy recovery! Heather is inching along, but her couch is having a few issues, and that new sock yarn just looks so good.... Jennifer had to rip her sweater back. You're not alone -- I feel your pain! Karen is calculating just how much yarn per day must be knit... Nancy is almost done, and is adding on an additional project to her Olympic challenge -- a pair of socks. Pamela has been through a big snowstorm, but the needles keep clicking away...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Down with cotton

As the title suggests, I haven't made much headway on my sweater, and the progress I have made has been hard won. I should have done something else in wool. Ah well. I will press on. Since I'm only about 3 inches in, I'll post, instead, my little tutorial on picking up stitches for the gusset of a sock.

After turning the heel of a sock, I knit back across the row, according to the pattern. Then I take an empty needle and pick up the inside edge loops from the heel flap. (I don't pull yarn through to make a stitch, I am literally picking up a stitch loop that is already there) Here is my needle, set up with the stitches.
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Then I knit through the back loop of these picked up stitches, to twist them. This makes them tighter and less likely to cause holes.
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This is what it looks like after I've picked up all the gusset stitches and then knit a few rounds.
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See how the twisted stitches are crossed in little "x's"? I love that detail. I'm stretching it out a little so that you can see it -- in reality, the fabric is a little firmer than it might seem.

So there you have it. My favorite way to pick up heel stitches for the gusset. Hopefully I can post some real sweater progress for tomorrow. That's all for now, folks!

Saturday, February 11, 2006


I've cast on! It took me until midnight last night, but I did it. When I read over the directions (which I've never taken the time to do on other projects, so score one for me!), I noticed that there was a provisional cast-on for the picot edging. OK. Cool. I proceeded to cast on with the long tail method, and was five rows in when I I ripped it out and learned the provisional way. It doesn't look difficult, and I guess it isn't really, but it just takes a looong time. Or at least for this knitter.

Here are my swatches, and my sweater thus far:
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Note: my swatches grew tremendously when I washed and dried them (with a blowdryer!). If you're using this yarn or any other yarn with cotton, please swatch! I went down two needle sizes and one shirt size because this yarn blooms so much.

My husband was a doll and made provisions for the late night:
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This is his famous vanilla fudge -- the best I've ever tasted. Ever. Seriously. If you beg me, maybe I'll share the recipe. (He's a nice guy, so he might let me if you ask nicely.)

So what was I doing at 2:00pm, you ask? Why, weaving the ends in on these bad boys:
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I LOVE them, and Lorna's Laces is so soft! I'll be buying more of this yarn (I have my eye on some in the brown and pink colorway...)
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Pattern: Broadripple by Rob Matyska
Yarn: Lorna's Laces, colorway Daffodil

Needles: size #2 aluminum DPN's

Cast on: February 5th
Cast off: February 10th (my best sock time to date!)
Modifications: As mentioned, I used a wool yarn instead of cotton/elastic. I swatched to gauge, and everything turned out well, so I would recommend this if someone wanted to make a substitution. Also, I used the German Round Toe, which I like to use for gift socks -- this seems like a sturdier toe than most, and is nicely shaped, even when off the foot.

Other posts regarding this project:
Unswatched, The Broad Ripple

I have a few notes on picking up the stitches for the heel. Apparently I do it a little different -- an older lady in my stitching group back home taught me -- but I REALLY like how it turns out. It's just a tiny detail, but it makes me happy. I'll post a little tutorial on it tomorrow.

Amy persevered with the provisional cast on for her Picovoli yesterday. Danielle, with some chocolate assistance, made a few inches headway on her Weasley sweater. Debi was getting all set up for some Knitting Alone Time. K got 9 rows done last we heard from her.

I'll be checking in on each of your blogs once a day, so post pics and progress reports so that we can all cheer you on! Also, click on the links for the team members! Leave comments to encourage each other. Go Team FS!!

Note: if you don't have a blog, you can either email me pics and progress stats or just leave a comment and I'll note it in my next post. =)

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I haven't started swatching yet for Picovoli (my Olympic knit). Should I be concerned? Hopefully I'll get a chance to swatch tomorrow before Cast On Time.

Danielle has been doing some swatching though. Heather posted a shining example of yarn porn. Karen is swatching and setting out all her yarn to gaze upon it. If you've been making any progress on your Olympic training and I've missed it, please leave a note for me in the comments and I'll post your link. Can't wait to watch all of you as we work together to complete our sweaters!!

Well anyway, I got this in the mail a few days ago:
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The turquoise is the yarn for Picovoli, the pattern is Sweet Mary Jane (a gorgeous lace cardi), and the color card is for Knit Pick's pure wool sock yarn. I thought it would help me decide which colors I should buy for the Knitted Babes I'm going to knit, but all it did was make me realize I have to buy all of them. $50, but not bad, since that ends up at around $1.60 a ball. And let's be honest here, who is going to tell me "oh, you really don't need all that." That's not so much the point, right?

Moving right along. Here is one completed sock, the way it looked yesterday morning. The second sock has turned a heel, and I'd take a picture but by the time I uploaded it and such...well, I could spend that time knitting, so I will.

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These socks were going to be a suprise farewell gift for a very good friend who's moving away in a few weeks, but since I REALLY wanted them to fit her, I had her try it on. It fits. As it turns out, we wear the same sock size.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

This is Sarah here just slipping in a cute little crochet project before the olympic madness begins (sadness on my part because my yarn isn't here yet for this time-honored sporting extravaganza).
Here are some slippers made from Erika Knight's book Simple Crochet. As usual I'm using the wrong yarn, wrong gauge, wrong hook, ah well. Thankfully, I'm an intelligent individual when it comes to crochet and I can make it all work together for good. So! drumroll please...

Lion Brand Fisherman's wool, hand painted by yours truly with Wilton's icing dye

Couple of things about this pattern. The beginning shaping was good, it all made sense. The bottom, back of the foot shaping on the other hand did not really make sense. I had trouble with the increases. In fact, I totally abandoned the directions at that point and went for the gold, I mean, broke the mold. The other issue I came across (mostly because of the wrong yarn/hook/gauge issue) was that these were turning out to be the wrong size. Let me also mention I have size 6.5 feet. Yes, that it small. To make things more complicated, I was formulating the nice idea of giving these to my grandma who has size 5.5 feet. I added more to the round part (front foot) without increases and then did approximately ten rows with sharp increases at the heel... and it worked! Let me also mention that using a stretchy yarn like wool creates a ballet shoe like slipper, whereas the cotton would make a loafer like slipper. Whatever suits your fancy. Here's some other people's attempts :
Blue Blog (scroll down)
Does anyone else notice that the front part is nice and long for Erika Knight and not very long at all for everyone else?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

More buttons...

Heather sent me these outstanding buttons! Steal one for your blog and link it here, so that we can all follow each other's progress!

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In Broadripple news, I've turned the heel of the first sock, but really I needed to finish it yesterday...why am I blogging?! I need to knit!!!

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Broad Ripple

Brenda Dayne's Cast-On, episode 10 is out! "Bitch and Bitch". Will be my Knitting Tunes/entertainment for today. Knit Cast is supposed to come out with another episode today too, but hasn't yet.

If anyone has any other buttons for Team First Sweater, please send them to me! Also, if you've got a prize you want to add to the "prize pot" for random awards after the Olympics, please let me know.

Once again, Yarnbow came through for me. I'm telling you, this place is incredible. I get my yarn within 2-3 days or purchase, and the prices, including shipping, are less than I can get it at my LYS back home! I can't say enough good things about this store.

Anyway, on to the yarn:
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Soft, sqishy Lorna's Laces in colorway Daffodil. Gorgeous.

My plan was to knit them up as Diagonal Rib Socks from the downloadable patterns by Interweave Knits. This is what happened when I tried that:
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The one side looks pretty good, but lets take a gander at the other side.
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Does anyone remember me saying that I like pooling? Well, I did say "most" pooling. I do not enjoy pooling that relegates one color to only one side of the work. That's no good for me.

What I realized is that with yarn that has longer color repeats like this, it needs more straight stockinette (like in the Jaywalker pattern, where there's a pattern stitch for one row, then knit straight for the next). Another thing I remembered is that I really don't like ribbing. The ribbing on the top of any sock generally is something that I have to push to get through. The entire Diagonal Rib is, well, rib. Yes, should've caught that by the name, right? Ok.

I ripped it out and started deseparately casting about online for somehting that would work with this yarn. Of course I could've used Jaywalker, but I really wanted to knit something I hadn't done before. Oh, did I mention that this has to be cast off by the Knitting Olympics? (I'll explain more about that in a few weeks.)

Finally, I came across Broadripple in Knitty. I was unsure if it would work with a plain wool as opposed to an elastic yarn, but I cast on anyway. As it turns out, it's coming along beautifully!
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This is what I knit yesterday. I'm ready to start the heel flap. The average time I've knit socks before is in 2-3 weeks (check the sidebar for my finished projects). I'm a faster knitter now though. Does anyone think there's any hope of me finishing these in time for Friday's Big Cast On? Wish me success!!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Knitting Olympics: First Sweater Button

*edited to note details on Team First Sweater*

I've just created a "first sweater" button for the Knitting Olympics, since I hadn't seen one anywhere.

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So steal it if it applies to you! Leave me a comment if you'd like to be part of this team KAL. I'll host it from this blog. I've already started a list or participants.

There will be prizes for Most Interesting Picture of Finished Sweater and some other random awards as well. I, of course, will contribute some fiber goodness -- email me if you've got something you'd like to add to the prize pot!

Whit, I would have loved to be part of your Team DPN, but I've decided, "officially" to knit a sweater instead. Thank you so much for letting me know about it though. It looks very organized, and would be fun! If anyone reading this is knitting socks or anything else on double pointed needles for the Olympics, be sure to check it out!!
commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.


I've just added to my blog, so all previous comments have been deleted. However, now I can actually email people back!

Knit on, babe!

Thank you to those of you who wished me well. On the day when I felt like I couldn't get any worse, a friend brought over chicken soup. I was overwhelmed with gratefulness, and although I couldn't eat it on that first day, I have been able to enjoy it yesterday and today. Nothing like chicken soup to do the heart and body good. I am feeling much better today, thankfully.

This came in the mail this week, and is my new obsession:
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If you've never looked through this book or perused the website, you must. The dolls are adorable and sophisticated. I am making a version of Flo Tilly for my little sister's birthday. Her favorite color is pink, and most of the accessories are in that color. This will be my March project for Project Spectrum. (Which I've joined, because I'm a hopeless joiner, although I haven't added the button yet to my blog since I can't seem to choose one of the many available. Maybe I'll just make my own?)

In other news, here's a terrible picture of what I've accomplished so far on the Textured Tweed Clutch. Unfortunately, I chained 100 stitches less than the required amount for the strap (this is what happens when I watch movies and crochet), so I had to chain on an extra 100 once I was (or thought I was) done, and am doing a little bit of trickery to make it all look seamless.
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It seems to be working so far, which is good. This project is driving me to distraction with boredom. I look forward to finishing it and mailing it out to my sister.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I've been crocheting for a good part of the day, attempting to finish up the Textured Tweed Clutch for my sister (from Interweave Crochet, Fall 2005) for Christmas (!)

Unfortunately, I've also been on the couch most of the day as I've been quite sick. For a week now I've felt sick to my stomach and my little guys have both been feverish, snotty, etc, but today it really hit me hard. I sincerely hope that I start feeling better, because this sucks.


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