Saturday, March 31, 2007


Simplicity seems to have restored my mojo. First the diamond shawl which is coming along and now this:

It's the Shapely Tank from White Lies Designs. (Am I the only one who is waiting for her book?) I had some KnitPicks Shine in Orchard that I got for this project last year and never got around to making it. But starting on the shawl and realizing that simplicity was what I really needed right now, it really seemed the perfect project to start. Simplicity is indeed under-rated. And you know, one can never have too many tanks for summer.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

WIP Wednesday

It's been a while since I've actually had a WIP Wednesday, but I finally have something to show. As is probably a bit obvious, I've been very uninspired lately when it comes to my knitting. There are a few things that have been lingering OTN because they just haven't spoken to me. I picked up my Victorian Lace Today book the other day and thought I'd finally found something using the red silk, but I wasn't happy with the red silk. So I kept looking and came across something else. It's funny because I ignored this stole earlier in favor of the Hexagon Shawl and The Cap Shawl and several other more elaborate ones. But this one spoke to me the other night because of its simplicity. And you know what, I have a bit more of that wonderful alpaca silk from Webs (I LOVE that stuff!) in a wonderfully rich purple. Simple stripes of diamonds with a border.

Just a simple stole with a fairly easily memorized pattern on size 7s. I'm sure I'll complain when it comes time for the border, but right now, this is what I need.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Random Questions

Having just darned a sock, I was curious - For those of you who make socks, do you bother with darning them when they get holes? I know there are some who will just throw them out, but I'm one of those thrifty types. If I spend so many hours making the socks in the first place, what's another half hour mending them every so often? The best way to mend socks is to look at the bottoms every time you put them on (or at least occasionally). When they start to get a little thin, do duplicate stitches in the thin area before the socks actually get holes in them. A great tutorial for what to do if holes actually develop can be found right here. Darning socks, to me, is just a part of wearing handknit socks. I know the ancestors that had to make socks didn't throw them out because of a hole; they darned them until they just couldn't be darned any more. (And you can actually get some pretty good mileage out of darning.) It can actually be as meditative as knitting or spinning, too. If you've never tried darning your socks, give it a try.

My next random question: Am I the only one not particularly impressed with the latest issue of Vogue Knits? The lacy tops were sort of cute, but not really anything that inspired me. Of course, it could just be my ennui talking.

Has anyone gotten their 2007 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival Catalog yet? Just curious as it's getting to be pretty close, just over a month away now, and I can't remember when I got mine last year in relation to the actual festival. And while we're talking about the festival, anyone else going?

I guess that's about it. I actually started something new last night, but it's only the cast-on right now; I'll show you some progress later this week. And it wasn't with the red silk. I just didn't it right now, so it's back in the basket for now. I just picked out something rather simple and relatively quick, but still lace.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Red Silk

Thanks to everyone for the commiseration about my tangled mess. Luckily, it wasn't nearly as bad as it looked at first. I'm so glad that I didn't go with my first instinct which was to toss it! I still have to finish winding it - it's a lot of fine laceweight (unfortunately a lot of opportunity for more tangling), but I really want to use it for the Three-cornered shawl in clover pattern from Victorian Lace Today. I actually started a swatch, just to see what it's going to look like.

I've been wanting to use the yarn for a while and I'm determined to actually start something. I know I still have FPS to work on, but it seems to be dragging. The VLT shawl is worked by casting on something like 600 stitches and working the two shorter sides of the triangle and working in to the center, so while it's a PIA to cast on, each row will actually get shorter. I will tell you that I won't be doing the recommended loop cast on because while it's really easy, it's also a pain to try and get into for the first row. Six hundred stitches of that, I don't think so. I'll probably do the knitted cast on.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Good, the Bad, The Ugly

The good:
This yarn

The bad:
This yarn is a wee bit tangled

The ugly:
This yarn is really tangled and is going to take a while to untangle.

Please ignore the bad picture and the mess in the background. The point is it's a mess. When I was winding it, I think I must have snapped it in a couple of places because there is more than one end and in trying to wind it with the ball winder, the ends found their way out and tangled it all up. *Sigh* I thought I had found my knitting mojo, but it may leave me again once I get this mess taken care of.


Friday, March 23, 2007


Well, there has been a little knitting progress. Not much, mind you, but a little. I really do like the pattern for the yarn.

Now for the bad news. You know how everyone who has told me that they've had fit problems with the Jaywalkers have had them be baggy in the ankles. Well, I'm having the opposite problem. Maybe it's because they're toe up or something, but they are too tight in the foot/ankle area. I'm also using 0's instead of the called for 1's, but the fit on the foot is an absolutely perfect fit. I think I'm going to rip back to where the gusset starts and make the gusset a little longer by having two knit rounds between the gusset decreases instead of the usual one. I'll see what that gets me.

By the way, when I said yesterday that I had a serious case of knitting ennui, I probably should have mentioned that I'm just having a serious case of craft ennui. I haven't been working on much of anything. Well, not anything with pictures. I'm reading a really good book by Rebecca Brandewyne (never read anything by her before, but it is good) and a bit less noble, I've been sucked into a computer game called Pharaoh. It's not exactly a new game, but it's one of the highly addictive, micro-management games by the same company that did Caesar. They are basically the same game (except one is set in Egypt and one in Rome). You build a city, making sure the residents have water, food, entertainment, etc. Yeah, sounds really boring to some people, I know. But for the record, I also like Sims.

There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel for my knitting ennui. It involves pink Regia silk though and Sheri is supposed to be getting some in soon. I swatched my cream-colored stuff last night and the gauge seems right, so I may have an exciting project soon!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

If I had been blogging at the time... or The Wedding Story

Chris held a contest recently about what you would have written about if you had been blogging at the time and I posted a comment about knitting the Ballet Wrap Sweater and figuring out that my purl gauge was a wee bit looser than the knit. Reading all the funny stuff about what people would have blogged about reminded me of something and I'm sure my mother will appreciate (or not) as well. When my mother remarried several years ago, I was her maid of honor and therefore responsible for getting all the stuff together after the wedding and reception. She and my stepfather were supposed to be heading to Florida afterwards and they had left to get stuff together back home and we were supposed to meet them there. I put all the stuff in the trunk and realized after closing the trunk that I put ALL the stuff in the trunk including the keys. Wouldn't have mattered so much if it was one of those cars that had the back seat that would let down into the trunk or had a open-trunk switch, but of course, it wasn't. And the extra set of keys? They were in my mom's purse which was also in the trunk. We called my mom and stepdad and they had to come back to the church and they finally got through the backseat into the trunk to get the keys. They didn't get to Flordia because it was too late by that point. They went to a nice local cottage. She really should have known better than to trust an absent-minded klutz, right?

I know this is a knitting blog, but it's really hard when there hasn't been a whole lot of knitting going on. I have one Jaywalker which I've just started the cuff (I'm doing them toe-up.) I'll show progress soon. FPS is sort of slow going. I have something in mind from Victorian Lace Today, but I haven't gotten around to winding the yarn yet. I'm just experiencing serious knitting ennui lately.

Exciting news though - Spring is definitely on the way:


Monday, March 19, 2007

New Yarn and The Mystery of the Pink Spot

First, the new yarn:

This is Seacoast Panda (merino, bamboo, nylon) from The Loopy Ewe, of course. The colors are Beach Glass (top) and Thistle (bottom). I didn't realize they would be this similar, but they do have subtle differences. The Thistle has more purple, purple pink and a darker blue green and the Beach Glass has more pink. Both are lovely and the stuff is soft and shiny. I'm glad I grabbed a couple of skeins. I have to get around to using them. I had originally intended to get some of the Louet Gems, that's what I went to Sheri's site for - some solid colors, then I ran across the Seacoast and couldn't resist. I ended up NOT getting any Gems and only one solid color in Regia Silk.

I need to check the gauge to see if it will work for the project in mind. If it does, I'll need to get some in pink and then I'll let you in on my spring project.

I'm sure you're wondering about The Mystery of the Pink Spot. Saturday night before I went to bed, I was going to kiss the kids goodnight as always. When I went into my youngest's room, I smelled something funny, sort of sour or acrid, but I couldn't quite place it. It wasn't strong, just there. I looked around, but didn't see anything out of the ordinary except that she was wearing a vest over her pajamas which she usually doesn't do. (Should have been a clue.) I kissed her (sound asleep) and went to my room leaving hers open to air. Paranoid that I am, the smell bothered me so I went back to her room. She rolled over and her shirt pulled up a little and I saw a pink spot about the size of a dime on her stomach. It was sort of irregularly shaped and there were a couple of smaller dots a little higher up. I watch too much House, MD so I'm thinking "Okay, what sort of disease does my daughter have with a pink spot on her stomach? Did she hit herself in the stomach?" I went in my bathroom, worrying excessively, to find my cabinet open which is odd because it's my cabinet for my bath stuff and what little makeup I own. DH doesn't go near it. I opened up a drawer and saw a bottle of red fingernail polish with little fingerprints on it. You know, that pink spot did look a little shiny. I went back to her room and opened up the vest to this:

The fingernail polish had seeped through the shirt to her stomach. Smell solved, weird pink spot explained. Miraculously that is all she got polish on. At least all that I've found. Sigh. (Anyone know how to get fingernail polish off of clothing? It's 100% cotton if that means anything.)

Stay tuned. Chris posed a question last week about what would you have blogged about had you been blogging at the time. I've got a pretty good one about a wedding.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Dear Mother Nature,

I realize that back in December when we were having 70 degree weather, I thought it was a little odd and instead of appreciating it, I was wondering where my cold weather was. I am a knitter, after all, I have some sweaters and lots of socks that wanted to be worn. And yes, quite honestly I wanted snow. So in January, we got a little snow. Then the stupid groundhog said we were having an early spring, I thought oh, well, maybe next year. A couple of weeks ago, you dumped 6 inches on us. Then last week, you teased us with promises of warm weather, daffodils springing up, crocuses blooming, my pansies budding. Then you decided to cool things off again and now, this:

Maybe you're just planning on giving a dusting, but really, it's the middle of March. The six more weeks of winter that the groundhog was supposed to predict is over even. It's Virginia; it's supposed to be spring now. Is it really too much to ask for some daffodils? Thank you.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Houston, We Have Pictures

Well, our old camera (I say old, but it was only 2 or 3 years old) stopped recognizing batteries. It sort of doesn't work if it doesn't recognize the fact that there are good batteries in there. Anyway, we decided to see what has happened to technology in the past couple of years and get a new one. It's smaller and will take some getting used to getting the settings just right, but in the mean time, I actually have pictures to show. Yeah!

First up is my Jaywalker:

It's not bad, but it really is hard to capture the vibrance of the yarn, even with a really good camera. Maybe I'll get the settings just right sometime. As for the sock itself, not much progress.

I've been distracted by this:

It's a cross-stitch I started a while back, but put down. I have the woman's shawl just about done. Yes, it looks huge, but most of the garden in the background are actually only half cross-stitches. But it's still big. Don't worry though; I'll get back to knitting a lot soon. Just taking a short mojo break while I make the transition from winter knitting to spring. Hex Coat is pretty much on hold now until it gets cool again, but I have something in mind for my first spring project. Just have to wait for the yarn I need to come in so I can order it. Then I'll share.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Knitting Book Reviews - Lace Style

First, I want to say congratulations to Eunny Jang for becoming the next editor of Interweave Knits. (I can't imagine any regular blog reader NOT knowing this by now as Blogland is buzzing with the news.) Interweave has always been my favorite knitting magazine - I like that they usually have a sock pattern each issue as well as all their sweaters. I like that the magazine hasn't been "dumbed down" with the influx of new knitters. While I love that new people are continuously finding the craft, I never tell new knitters that something is too hard for them. About socks I tell them not to fear all the needles, that you are just working on two at a time just like regular knitting; the rest of the needles are just stitch holders. About lace I tell them that it's just knit togethers and yarn overs. I think most people can handle things beyond their comfort level and if not, there are plenty of books and magazines out there for beginners and intermediate knitters. I really like that the designs in IK (in both the magazine and their books) are not labeled with their difficulty and that the designs are sometimes a bit challenging, but completely doable for many knitters. Seeing what Eunny knits and designs, the talent and care she puts into the designs (have you seen this sweater?!) and her knowledge of techniques, I have confidence that the magazine will continue to offer challenges to knitters as well as beautiful stuff.

Now, for Lace Style. I honestly like just about every pattern in this book. Not all are me, so I won't be making them all, but there are a few that I really like and will probably make. First of all, I'd like to say something about the photography. It is not like Scarf Style where often the photos tend to the artistic side and you can't really see details. This book often has several shots of the same project from different angles much like the magazine's new format. I like the Point About Cuffs, nice little lacy cuffs that can be worn under a blazer. The Lily of the Valley Shawl is by Nancy Bush. Need I say more? Evelyn A. Clark has some adorable little Floral Lace Anklets. There are several pretty tanks/corsets - Lace-Edged Corset, The Essential Tank Top (a very lacy leafy pattern), and the Shetland Shawl turned Vest which is nice and lacy. I love the Katharine Hepburn Cardigan, very clean lines and elegant, and there are a couple of nice shrugs though I'm not really a shrug person. My favorite of the whole book though has to be the Ooh La Lace Dress and Stole by Shirley Paden which can be seen here. I really don't know why I'm in love with this dress, but I think it would look so cool in red with a long black sheath underneath. Anyway, I think this book is really a nice addition to my library and if you like lace, but not shawls, this really is a good book for you. I've just told you about a few of my favorite projects, but there are several more (including a couple of cool hats which, if I was a hat person, the Greta Garbo Garden hat is pretty cool).

Now, I really hope to have some pictures for you on Friday. Not that I've been doing much knitting. Working on the Jaywalkers a little, but I've been stung by the cross-stitching bug for a little while.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Knitting Book Reviews - Favorite Socks

Happy Monday, everyone! Thanks for all the suggestions for my Interlacement socks. I had actually been considering something like Feather and Fan, something with an uneven pattern. Then Chris suggested Jaywalkers. Why I never considered this pattern is beyond me, but it is absolutely perfect. Yes, you're expecting pictures, but my camera is experiencing technical difficulties. The problem should be resolved by the end of the week.

For now, a certain online bookstore finally got their act together and got me my new Interweave books - Favorite Socks and Lace Style. So if you want to know what I think, here goes.

First up is Favorite Socks. Several of these patterns I have in the Interweave Knits magazine, but as Jess pointed out, it is very convenient having them all in one place. Also, I've only been subscribing for a couple of years, so there are some I didn't have. There are several offerings from sock (and lace) gurus Evelyn A. Clark and Nancy Bush, including my favorite "Anniversary Socks" which is a lovely lace diamond pattern on the front of the sock. I have done a few pairs of Nancy Bush socks, but I usually modify the socks for 0 needles and a slightly larger foot than she usually writes her patterns for. Also by Nancy Bush are Ilga's Socks (Latvian inspired colorwork), Ute Socks (Ute beadwork inspired colorwork), Meida's Socks (nice little lacy socks), and Eeisti Trail Hiking Socks (more colorwork in heavy yarn for maybe hiking?). By Evelyn Clark, the book features the Retro Rib pattern (a nice different little rib pattern), Go with the Flow Socks (a nice little lace rib pattern), and Waving Lace Socks (zigzag pattern with a little lace). There are other great patterns including Ann Budd's Mock Wave Cable Socks which is pretty much how it sounds and several others. I like how the book shows nice closeups of the socks. My biggest complaint would be that all of the socks use solid colors. I really would like to see a book someday that features patterns for handpainted sock yarns. (Anyone want to write one?) Other than that, I really do like the book and I guess there are lots of solid color yarns I've never tried.

And well, since I probably won't have any pictures for Wednesday either, I'll share my thoughts on Lace Style then. I'll tell you now that I do love the book.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm Stuck

This is my new sock:

It's a toe-up and the toe is as far as I've gotten. I can't decide on a pattern for the sock. I love the yarn - it's Interlacements for any one curious, very rich, lovely colors. But for some reason, I can't come up with a pattern. It's frustrating me considerably.

Forest Path is coming along very slowly. I'm now about to begin on tier 6. It looks pretty much the same as the last picture, so really no point in pictures.

My presentation went well; thanks for all the "good lucks". I basically got my stuff together, had a general idea of how I wanted to go about it and totally winged it. I showed how to make and use button molds and how to make canes. In May, I'll be helping with a spinning demonstration for the guild.

I baked bread yesterday - kneaded the dough myself and out from the oven came just about the best bread I've had in a very long time. Nice silky texture on the inside, crisp, but not tough crust. And all whole wheat.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

New Socks and More

My new socks:

Pattern: Oriel from Sensational Knitted Socks; it was my first toe up sock and I might just be hooked. I only had a few yards leftover. I've been asked about the toe-up heel flap and here's a closeup.

It's from SKS and really is a neat thing. You work it back and forth along the heel and pick up the stitches along the bottom of the heel instead of the back and then you work around, decreasing as you go up and working the slip 1, knit 1 between stitch markers for the back of the heel. The heel flap really does cup the foot on the to up heel very nicely. I highly recommend trying it.
Yarn: Apple Laine in Blueberry. I really need some more of this stuff. Gorgeous and feels so nice. It has wool, mohair and a little bit of silk and nylon.
Needles: Size 0s, my usual. I love the fabric with 0s.

Now for the more:

Tonight is my polymer clay demonstration at my knitting guild meeting. I'm going to demonstrate how to make polymer clay buttons. Here are some of the buttons I've made with molds. The two upper ones on the right were painted after baking with artist's acrylic paints and then varnished with a polymer clay gloss and the rest (except for the pink one which was not touched at all) were decorated using a brush and Pearl-Ex powders before baking, then varnished after baking. The tutorials on buttons are on the sidebar. Wish me luck.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Good Things

I've been seeing positive thing lists around blogland and after the week I've had, I think I need to take a moment to think about good things.

1. The new dishwasher is now in and it rocks. (More room and no pre-rinse needed. Yes, I am lazy. I think we've established that fact in previous posts.)
2. Tax returns (Equals yarn)
3. Homemade bread
4. My kids (no longer sick and much less whiny)
5. My husband
6. Spring is very close
7. The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is also close (only two more months)

Have a good weekend everyone. I think I'll a finished object or two to show on Monday.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Project Spectrum

I took this picture a couple of weeks ago with all the ice. I just thought it looked pretty cool and very grey or blue. Which is sort of how I feel today. We got a new dishwasher yesterday. Cool, huh? Nope, we got the defective one. They are hopefully supposed to be back out today with another one. This is the second time that something like this has happened to us in the last six months. A pretty substantial purchase and it dies (or never works properly in the first place). The first was a new TV that died after only two months. Completely kaput. So, does that mean things aren't being made well, or are they being dropped at the stores/warehouses more often? Or are we just incredibly unlucky when it comes to this sort of thing?

*Sigh* No knitting to show. Second sock is to the heel turn. Oh, for those of you who have asked, the toe-up heel flap is from the Sensational Knitted Socks book. Just look for the Oriel pattern. (Yes, I am too lazy to get up and get the book right now. I've just had a trying couple of days. Sick kids, sick dishwashers.) Well, at least it looks like spring is one the horizon. Nights are still pretty cold, but the days seem warmer and sunnier. I'm wondering if I should go dig out my daffodil bed; that's where all the snow from the driveway always ends up and never melts.

You just ever have one of those weeks? I'll try to be less crabby with the next post. Promise.