Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Oh my aching hands

Look what I got in the mail yesterday!
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Sarah (The Other Blogger here at The Needle And The Damage Done) sent me this wonderful gift to cheer me up since I'm missing my family, who are now back home up North. Sarah, you are one of the most thoughtful people that I know. Thank you!

Those two balls of sock yarn are hand dyed by none other than Sarah herself, and she calls the colorway "Easter". It is truly Springtime in a ball. The purple skeins are Berroco "Denim Silk" (20% silk, 80% rayon). It has this incredible drape to it. I want to do something Summery with it -- can anyone think of a good suggestion? I was thinking something along the lines of a lightweight, lacy scarf. Or maybe a tiny scarf/shawl like Georgia ("...On My Mind") knit once. It was almost like a little kerchief, but worn around the neck.

My hands and forearms have been killing me ever since last week. I thought that I was all better on Sunday, so I knit through church, but it was a bad idea. So what have I been doing instead?
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That's the Mahogany BFL I bought from Amy Boogie (Spunky Eclectic). I had no idea that it would spin up so beautifully! The only problem is, now I'm dying to knit with it, but can't.
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I REALLY hope that I can knit again soon.

In the meantime I'm working on some more cards...

NOTE: So sorry for the lack of links. You'll have to source your own research (or blog hopping, as the case may be) today, because I'm short on time -- date night tonight!)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

What's spun is done

I spun my very first 2-ply!
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Not only that, but I then sent it away! It was pretty scary, actually. (The sending away, not the plying.) See, it's one thing to work on something for yourself or someone you are close to. It's another thing entirely to send it off to another KNITTER. That you don't know in person. And that's what I did. See, Stacy over at Sheep In The City put out a call for fellow bloggers to send her a skein of yarn so that she could put together an Afgan Of Friends or some such thing. It's a pretty cool idea. So I decided to send this, my first 2-ply, to her. Because I figured, even if it sucked, what person would appreciate some handspun like a fellow knitter?

I've dyed it orange in pink, similar to the colors of her blog. I hope it's knitable, and I hope she likes it. (These colors also bring together March and April Project Spectrum)

A note about the yarn, which you can kind of see in this closer shot. I was spinning along, and spinning a finer yarn than I had ever spun (seeing, of course, as this is only the second skein that I've spun), and thought that I was keeping it pretty even. When I went to ply it I noticed something interesting. The first spool was very loosely spun, and more like a light, puffy worsted. The second spool was a tightly spun laceweight. The end effect was something of a boucle, I think. Well actually, I'm not really sure what, but it's slightly "curly" with the one spun around the other. Interesting. Hmm.
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Reguardless, I'm proud of this, my little skein. It's about 70 grams of Brown Sheep 100% wool roving.

This is the card that I sent along with the yarn, inspired by this project on Craftsanity. For anyone who reads Sheep In The City, you'll notice some of Stacy's favorite things on this card.
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If you're not Sharon, click on the card to see my Project Spectrum Postcard Swap card. (BTW, this was sent out at the beginning of the week -- not sure how long it takes to get to Australia, but hope you get it soon!)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Knitter Down!

I've been away from the blog all week, so you know something's been going on. Let's start with the little star that you're all waiting to see:
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Unfortunately she only has the little lacy undies at the moment, but my little sister is eagerly awaiting the completion of the waredrobe so that I can mail this Babe to it's new home.

Under the Babe is a nearly finished adult sized Magic Stripes sock to give an idea of size. And this sock is where the story begins.

I was knitting furiously on the Babe in hopes that I'd have the doll and enough of a wardrobe done for my little sister to take home with her once the week was up. As might be expected, I ended up spending more time visiting than knitting, so didn't quite get that done. Ok, no matter. As soon as they left I realized that I'd better get cracking on the sample project for the class I'm teaching next month. Also, I'd offered to knit a sock sample to hang by the Magic Stripes yarn, if you remember. If I just hadn't knit the sock, all would have been well. I had no idea what miles of stockinette on tiny needles with tiny yarn at hyper speed could do to hands. There have been several days this week when I could not even knit. Not one stitch. I have sustained a bit of a knitting injury, so I've begun stretching my fingers and trying to take a bit more care. No project is so important as to ruin my hands for the rest of my crafting life. That would just be silly.

If you dare, take a gander at the before and after pics of my felted bag class sample:

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It shrunk about 4 inches in length, and 2 in width when felted. I like to felt things down good and dense, personally. If there is still any stitch definition, I must ask: why was it felted at all?

Please give me your honest opinion. I don't ever use (or care for) novelty yarn. Would you take that class, or is it just a horrific piece of knitting that would give you the jeebies?

Speaking of felting, the cozy slippers I knit and felted for my paternal grandma got sent off last week. I hope she likes them. I shaved them just before sending them, and I really like the smooth, clean simple effect. Also sent off were the socks for my maternal grandpa and bunny for my maternal grandma (the one who knits). The story of the bunny is a bit long so I won't bore you with it at the moment, but of interest to note is that it was knit entirely out of one 6" x 6" swatch and two little triangles (for the ears). You can get the pattern here.
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That's all for now kids. Up tomorrow are some Project Spectrum pics that you won't want to miss.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


My eyebrows are raised almost over the back of my head:
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Yes, that's exactly what it looks like. Let me explain. Remember how I'm going to be teaching at that Major Chain Craft Store? Well, the only kind of sock yarn they sell is Magic Stripes (as I posted earlier), and there's nothing inherently wrong with a self-patterning yarn, but it's just not enough to hold my interest....well, plus self-patterning yarn has never been my thing. (Sometimes self-striping, but that's a different thing altogether) If you happen to like this type of yarn, please excuse my prejudice -- it's just my personal preference, and I won't think bad of you for feeling otherwise. =) Anyway, I realized that if a sample was knit up and hung by the sock yarn, people would be way more likely to buy, therefore (possibly) encouraging the store to buy more and different kinds. Hey, I can dream. I was given this yarn for free, and am being paid to knit it up. Not bad.

As for the novelty yarn...on Saturday they need A Knitter to sit an knit out on the floor of the store. On the needles of that knitter needs to be the yarn they're promoting that day, Moda Dea Flip and Prima. That knitter would be me. I decided to hold it with the Paton's merino wool, knit on the diagonal, and felt it into a bag. I'm basing it on a pattern I found online. This will be the Felted Bag I'll be teaching in the class I'm doing next month. I will sell this bag back to the store to use on display, since I'd never use it myself.

I really have no idea what I have against novelty yarn. I certainly don't have anything against people who use it, I would just rather never knit with it myself. Although getting paid to knit with it isn't that bad of a deal.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


The new Crochet Me is live! The spring issue is all about Amigurumi. I'd never heard of this Japanese style creature/doll until just this morning, but now I want one! (Well, of course!) The only snag is that crochet seems to hurt my hands more than knitting does. I think I'm going to have to figure out a way to cope though, because these are seriously awesome! There's a tutorial for creating your own too, which is key.

I love making stuffed animals -- I don't do it a whole lot, but it's a great, quick and satisfying project for me. I've got two bags of stuffing, and two eager little "toy testers", plus it's a great stashbuster.

Remember when I said that I was going to scale down the Diagonal Socks (downloadable pattern from the Subscribers Only section of Interweave Knits)? Well I cast on for a 52 stitch sock a few weeks ago, and was happily working along.

Something I discovered is that when working in the round, if I wrap my purl stitches under instead of over (as in combination knitting), I get perfect ribbing, but still get to execute my knit stitch at top speed. (I'm a little slow at knitting through the back loop when practicing true combination knitting.)

I was loving this little sock until I showed it to my husband. I must mention that he is always terribly supportive of my knitting, and takes time to appreciate what I'm doing, ask intelligent questions about it and listen to my endless fiber tales. Anyway, he turned the knitting over and over for a few moments, and then finally asked "what is this pattern stitch supposed to be?" He really couldn't see it. Once I pulled on it and looked at it for a little while, I realized I couldn't that much either. Heathered yarn doesn't work with a detailed, subtle diagonal rib in fingering weight yarn. Point taken. Rip.
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Currently on the needles:
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The KnitPicks wool finally arrived! I bought a bunch of the Palette colors, and it's so fun to have so many colors to work with. I'll have to place another order to get the blues and greys. Really, I should have just bought the whole Palette box, because...well, I'll probably end up with every color in the end. Ah well. I'm almost done with this babe. Can't wait to start making the clothes! I plan to go out to the craft store today to pick up a few more fabric pieces.

The perfect thing to listen to while knitting a Babe: CraftSanity's latest interview with Claire Garland, author of Knitted Babes.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Slouch

Well, my family got here, but the yarn did not. I am not exceptionally pleased with KnitPicks customer service at the moment. I hope it will come today. You didn't stop by here to hear me gripe though, so on to the good stuff.

Does anyone remember these Jaywalkers I knit for my mom for Christmas?

Well she told me yesterday that she wears them all the time, and people notice them and comment whenever she has them on. Now that's reason enough to knit her a drawer-full!

She showed me last night what has happened to the leg of the sock:
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See how wide it got? She said that although the sock slouches a bit on her leg, it never slips off her heel or bunches up in her shoe. Also, it returns to almost it's original width in the wash each time. That's all good, but what in the heck?! Has anyone else had this happen to socks they've knit? The only pair of socks I've knit for myself are a pair of BMG Footies, so I don't know how a full length sock wears. From what I've read, specifically Jaywalkers are never supposed to fall down.

Picked this up at Heather's blog:

Your Linguistic Profile:

45% General American English

35% Yankee

15% Dixie

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Teacher, A Podcaster, A Knitted Babe Maker

Can you guess what I'm about to do?
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How 'bout some of this?
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Hopefully the yarn will come in the mail today. My little sister is arriving here (along with 6 other members of my family!) tonight, and I had wanted to have it done in time for that. At this point I'm just in straight out denial that it will be done, but let me live in that little happy world for a minute. Her birthday is the 26th of this month, and I could mail it to her once she goes back home, but it would just be so precious to see her face when she opens this. Maybe (that means definitely) I'll be knitting this in front of her. If so, she can help me pick out accessories, so I suppose that's not all bad.

The early part of this afternoon was spent at a craft store, picking up the supplies shown above. I almost never shop for craft and knitting supplies at large, nationwide chains, preferring to support either local boutiques or online stores (better prices at the latter!), but I went to this place anyway. (BTW, the ink is not for the Babes, it's just because it was pink and gold, and, well, this is Pink/Red month of Project Spectrum, after all.)

I checked out their yarn supply (well, of course), and found out that there's actually some very nice natural fibers there. Did anyone realize Lion Brand has some 100% wool now? And that some of them are in gorgeous multis? Well if you did, why didn't you tell me?! Also, there was this other brand that said it was handpainted...can't remember what it was called, but it started with an "A". Anyway, I was impressed. Not so much that I would consider shopping there all the time (the only sock yarn was LB Magic Stripes), but enough that I know I can run over there for a quick inexpensive yarn fix if the need arises.

As it turns out, I may be spending more time there than I had thought. The other night my husband said to me "you know a lot about yarn and knitting. Why don't you make some money off of it and teach?". Well, I was shocked. "Me? Teach? I've only really been knitting for 9 months!" This turned into "hmmm....me, teaching...." You know what happened. While shopping today I talked to the store manager, and I'll be teaching a "felted bag" class, starting next month. I've never been to a class before. Stay tuned for my adventures!

This is a lot of blog text for one day, I know, but if you're still with me, here's a little bit of news you may (not) find interesting: A podcast is in the works here at flashbangfibers. Yes, because I don't already have enough to do. (??!!) I'm developing an idea as we speak, and of course it will be knit related. It'll also have some other stuff too -- some currently unused ideas in the knit-casting community. Look for more news to come!


Never knit lace when tired. My lace leaf Liesel has only about one more pattern repeat from last time I showed you. Not for lack of trying. Well ok, I haven't really been working on it all that much, but just because it requires my absolute attention, which I can't devote to it all that often. I can't listen to music, have my children anywhere near me, visit with my husband. I also can't knit it when tired, which rules out late at night. (Found this out after an hour of tinking back and forth last night.) This scarf requires a pretty demanding relationship, let me tell you. I would post a picture of the current state of things, but won't for the fear of you asking "what progress?" Humph. Maybe I can knit during nap time today. Although I do have some baking that needs to be done...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

One cute pair

I have been woefully neglectful of this blog in the past week, but I think I was a little blogged out from the Olympics. However, I have not ceased to knit!

Here are a pair of socks that I knit for my toddler, Sparky:
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Pattern: Toddler Socks by Amy Boogie
Cast on:
February 26th

Cast off:
March 6th

Knit Picks
Essentials in Dusk
Aluminum DPNs #1

The toes were turning out too pointy for me. I like them to follow the contours to the foot more, so I knit the foot a little longer and stopped the decreases at 20 stitches (instead of 12), and graphed them together.

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The sock on top is the one that was too pointy.

Sparky LOVES these socks. He's been wearing them all day. I've already cast on for a second pair. These will be a toddler version of Ann Budd's Diagonal Rib Socks (women's pattern available to subscribers on the Interweave site).

When I went to the mailbox yesterday, I got a package from Sharon Hurlbut. This is what she sent me as a thank you for hosting Team FS. (!!!) I almost shrieked when I opened it!
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Does anyone remember when I was talking about "Touch Me"? Well Sharon does. I can't believe how thoughtful she is!! And it's in my favorite color, blue. Not just any blue either, but a deep turquoise/peacock blue. It's a blue that actually looks good on me! Thank you thank you thank you! I don't even know what I'm going to do with it yet, but if I can just rub it against my face from now on, I'll be just fine. Probably this is going to be a scarf, because I couldn't bear to do anything else with it. OH. MY. GOSH. Hold on, I need to go rub it again.

Ok, I'm back.

Off topic completely, but this just came via FedEx:
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My husband bought this 30G iPod for me with part of our tax return. I am so excited!!!! My CD player broke in my car (well, it got a penny in it. Ahem. Sparky does interesting things with his spare time.), so this, along with an FM transmitter, will be even better. I almost never used the CD player anyway, since it would mean lugging around a case of CD. Goodness knows I already travel with enough baggage. (Babe in arms, toddler to prod, knitting bag, diaper bag, pocketbook, and etc.)

This is the first month of Project Spectrum, and you probably thought that I'd forgotten. Well I have not! I have been in the pink and red! This is warm-ups for the postcard swap:
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Click to see a larger image for better detail.

I am really loving this new little phase of mine in card-making. It's so satisfying, because it's little pieces of art that can be easily sent to someone.

My newest thing (the ones on the far left and right) is "painting" with a cotton ball or Q-tip rubbed in scrapbooking chalk. I've mostly just used ink before (see the two center ones), but chalk has a totally different feel to it. Very soft. It also lets the inked image show through, which is cool. Better than markers for coloring in a stamped picture (at least for me).

Also in line for this month is a Knitted Babe. I'm waiting for an order from Knit Picks so that I can begin. It should be here this week though. Itching to cast on...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Team First Sweater Participants

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Amy D
Faith (The Needle And The Damage Done)
Sarah (The Needle And The Damage Done)
Sharon Hurlbut

Prizes, prizes

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And the winners are....

Heather for Most Interesting Picture - Fiesta La Boheme, plus a little extra something yarn surprise from me.
Sharon Hurlbut for Cutest Picture Set Ever (plus, she knit four sweater! Four!!) - Lorna's Laces and SWTC Bamboo from Amy.

Names chosen from random number generator:
Karen - Sarah's own handyed LB wool.
Nancy - GGH Cadiz from Sharon.

I'm emailing the winners to make sure they know. The winners can email the person who has the yarn to give their snail mail addresses.

Congratulations to everyone who finished, everyone who competed, everyone who challenged themselves to do their personal best.

I'm sure everyone's already done this, but make sure you check out Stephanie's blog to get your gold medal, and even if you didn't go gold, enter in the prize drawing and get your certificate of participation.

Yesterday, I was looking at my multidirectional scarf, and although I've been wearing it since casting off, I'm just not happy with it. I called my sister Grace to see how many full length triangles are in the one I knit for her, and she said there are 8. I mine there were 6 (because it grew so fat in the end, it was eating up more yarn and I was only able to get that much length out if it).

I'll let the pictures tell the story of what happens next. (Thankfully I was listening to podcasts to numb the pain -- otherwise I may not have been able to...)
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I will have a perfect scarf.


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