Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yarn that does not count as stash

The following yarn does not count as stash:
1. Lace weight
2. Sock yarn
3. Gift yarn (including yarn bought with gift certificate)

Just in case anyone is keeping track, all my yarn still fits in my stash bin with room to spare.
Tonight, I had dinner with JL and her family.

I showed her the knitting disaster that was my first clapotis. I brought the partially knit stole as well as the additional yarn. She agreed with me, definitely fug. It wasn't my knitting skills or pattern that made it horrible it was the color combination of the yarn. The yarn felt great, knit wonderfully, the colors sucked. It looks like the colors of the DC football team (burgundy and gold with some pink thrown in). Even if I followed and supported the team I still wouldn't wear these colors. We couldn't think of anyone who, in their right mind, would like this stole. JL did the right thing. She was brutal but, brutality was needed. She took the cable out, saved my stitch markers, disappeared with the Crap-otis and the yarn (baggie and all) then came back to the table empty-handed. This is something I need to forget and just move on.

In stash news, I got a whole lot of yummy. First, my final yarn order of 2008 arrived from Eat.Sleep.Knit. That was fast. I ordered it the day after Christmas, when I realized I hated the colors and yet another person said, "Those are 'Skins' colors." It was waiting for me when we got home from dinner today. The order contained 4 skeins of Malabrigo worsted merino in Little Lovely and 2 skeins of lace in molly. And, JL bought me some Malabrigo sock for Christmas (btw, gift yarn doesn't count as stash).

Monday, December 22, 2008

My friend JL let me borrow her size 9 tips while I wait for the replacement circular to arrive. Being a knitter she knows I was like a junkie going into withdrawal because I wasn't able to touch the single ply worsted merino for a couple of days. These past couple of days haven't been pretty.

I like the feel of the metal tips and will ask Knit Picks for metal replacements instead of the Harmony wood.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm going to give up on the Knit Picks Harmony set. While knitting a clapotis Thursday night I had another tip separate from the metal cup. This time I almost lost stitches. This makes the 4th set of tips with which I have had problems. There are many things I like about the Harmony needles. I like having an interchangeable set, it is cheaper than having to buy a comparable set of fixed circular needles. They are warm, I like the feel of wood, and they are pretty. Knit Pick's customer service is excellent. Every time I called in the past with a problem they sent replacement tips out immediately.

The problem isn't getting a replacement tip. I might even call Knit Picks to get the tips replaced. For the moment, I ordered fixed circulars. The problem is, I like to knit. It is my activity in the evening after the children go to bed that helps me unwind. It is what I like to do in the middle of the day to take a break from work. I don't like having to be nervous about whether or not I'm going to lose stitches because a tip came apart and I don't like having to put projects aside because I have to wait for replacements to arrive.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

We got home from visiting my parents for Thanksgiving late last night.

For the trip I packed 3 projects, the Lady Eleanor stole, My So Called Scarf and the yarn for a clapotis. I brought the clapotis just in case I finished the stole while at my parents. I did not touch the stole whatsoever. When you add DD and all the breakable collectibles my mom has in every room of the house you literally get a bull in a fine china shop. Add to that we forgot her portable crib and I spent two evening sitting and laying beside her on a floor I had to limit my knitting to something small and easily put down. The scarf is now half way complete.

I showed my mom what I'm working on and she thought they were nice. She mentioned knitting is something she never learned to do but I think she could pick it up because she crochets. She still has a blanket she made for me over 30 years ago. She sews, too. She made window treatments for her house that look professional. I think she might like getting back into crocheting (and maybe even start knitting). She can sit in front of the TV and do it. Plus, with her volunteer work at the shelter, she could make blankets to give away.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Last night, as part of my big clean out, I organized my yarn stash bin. I grouped my yarn by projects, placed them in a zip lock bag, then labeled the bag with the yarn stats and intended project. I also printed the projects and placed it into the bin. I have room in the bin for 2 or 3 more projects. There is one more project I'm going to put in my bin but it can wait for now.

We had some network problems at work. My boss told me to go out for lunch because it wasn't going to be fixed any time soon. I took the Lady Eleanor stole to my local Starbucks and had a gingerbread latte while I did a some knitting. The stole received attention from a couple of ladies sitting beside me. I think they were sincere when they called it lovely and gorgeous. One of the ladies commented that the knitting must keep me calm. It does. Whenever I knit I am in my happy place.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Saturday, I was able to get to the Janome dealer and take a look and "test drive" of the Janome Jem 760 Platinum. I am pleased with what I saw. First, because it is designed to be so, it is lightweight and portable. It comes standard with a start/stop button where it is optional on the Bernina 230 and, I believe, not available on the Bernette 82c. While having one isn't required, after using one during the test drive, I see where it enhances the sewing experience. It comes with a needle up/down option and, what I think is cool, a push button bind-off feature. The sales rep who assisted me (who was very nice) put together several strips of fabric to show me the machine will handle thickness without missing a beat, it is a powerful machine. The Janome isn't as quiet or smooth as the Bernina, but, for now, that is not important. My one complaint is it is a little convoluted to make a stitch selection, however, since my main stitch will be straight stitch and the machine defaults to that when turned on that too is not a real issue. I think the Janome is the machine for me. I may want a Bernina next year but I would rather buy this machine and find out I'm not too keen on sewing instead of making an investment on the Bernina and coming to the conclusion sewing is not for me. The Janome is at the right price point where I wouldn't feel I was throwing money away if I upgraded to a Bernina, plus, because it is made as a portable machine, I can take it with me on trips and to classes.

Now we come to why I will not be buying it from the dealer where I did the test drive. This can be summed up to poor customer service. There was another sales assistant who acted like she just couldn't be bothered with me. When I walked in, she was on the phone. I understand that she was in a conversation and probably could not end the call but there was no acknowledgement whatsoever. She didn't look at me, she looked through me, turned around and walked out of the room. But, I wasn't quite ready to give up on it mainly because of the sales assistant who came to show me all the features. I got fed up today when I called the shop to inquire about the price and availability of the machine. The woman I spoke to, and I think it was the same one because I would hate to think they had two rude people working at the shop, treated me like it was a waste of her time to speak to me on the phone. Now I am considering either purchasing the machine from another Janome dealer that is about 45 minutes away or buying the Bernina which is twice as much as the Janome but the SA was nice.

To any yarn or sewing or crafting shop I would say this:
Forty to fifty years ago, sewing and knitting was a necessity. Women had to know how to do these things to clothe their families and decorate their homes. Now, women -- and some men -- do it as a way to relax and express themselves. In other words, it is not a necessity. We are in the middle of a recession and the first things to go will be what is not necessary. If we decide to spend money on our pasttimes we take a long hard look at who we give that money to. So, the next time I walk into your shop, I'm not saying you have to bow at my feet, look at me and act like you want me to spend my money at your establishment. A little customer service and respect goes a long way.
I got more knitting done than I expected. DD is sick, so I didn't think I would get any done. But, she went down for a short nap which allowed me to finish one row on the stole. My distraction then was DS wanting to play with my yarn and using my knitting needles as swords.

After both children were down for the night, I was able to complete another row on the stole. After I finished the row I knit 5 or 6 rows on My So-Called Scarf.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Between DD's cold and my pounding headache I didn't think I was going to do any knitting, but, the siren song of the Lady Eleanor called to me. I must knit. I got about half way through a row when I decided to call it quits and come to bed.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tonight, I went over to JL's house for wine, pizza and knitting. I brought Little Bear with me while DH stayed at home and had quality time with Punkywunks. For the most part, the kids kept themselves busy eating, playing and watching movies. JL and I were actually able to get some knitting done. I almost did a full row on the stole before LB hit the wall and it was time to go. He does this weird hyperactive thing when he gets really tired. I completed the row after DH got him down for the night. I don't think I'm going to have the knitting complete by Thanksgiving, I'll be close but this is probably going to be knit on during Thanksgiving dinner.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Updated Lady Eleanor Progress Photos

Following all the advice I've read and heard, I bought Zip-Loc bags for my yarn stash. I wrote the name of the yarn on the bag and plan to print out the pattern for which the yarn is slated and place that in the bag.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole
I finally took some updated photos of the Lady Eleanor stole. I don't think the photos quite capture how beautiful this is. I love it.

Lady Eleanor Entrelac Flat

Lady Eleanor Flat
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Folded
Lady Eleanor Folded

My So Called Scarf
The rosella is knitting up nicely. I am pleased with how this is turning. What I like most is this is an instant gratification project. After knitting for an hour I can see definite progress. This is the result of knitting on it for two lunches. It will take me a week or two to complete. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to block it.

My So Called Scarf Rosella

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm going to wait on posting. I'm charging the camera battery and tomorrow I'm going to take lots of pictures of my new yarn, progress so far on the Lady Eleanor stole and how the scarf in rosella.

There was a package waiting for me when I got home. It was the yarn needed to make the Kusha Kusha scarf.
Not much knitting related happened today. The biggest thing was I forgot my knitting bag at home and had something close to withdrawal symptoms because I couldn't knit at lunch.

The Lady Eleanor stole has outgrown the haiku bag. I moved it to the larger knitting bag. I lost the battle and cast-on My So Called Scarf with the rosella. This is now in the haiku and will be my portable project for taking to work.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I am finding hard to stop myself from casting on with the merino I had skeined Saturday. I want to cast on the rosella to see how it knits up and I would like to do an instant satisfaction project like My So Called Scarf.

Last night, DH and the kids came with me to knit night. JL brought A and Miss Monkeypants with her. We had a nice turnout of eight people. I got very little knitting done. Maybe two rectangles.

Later, as I sat on the couch and knit, DH came down and asked me how much yarn costs? That's a hard question to answer. One could spend as little as $2.00 and as much as $150 (probably more) per skein. I told him how much it cost for the Noro Silk Garden I bought for the Lady Eleanor which was a little over $8.00 for a skein. In my opinion, much of the cost of knitting isn't the materials but the time I put into knitting. He then said I could probably go to a department store and buy something like what I'm knitting; why would I knit? From Macy's to Neiman Marcus, I have never seen anything that looks like an entrelac stole. Yes, I could buy a scarf from a store, that is not the point to knitting. I knit mainly because I like it. Second, because I have connected with a group of other knitters, and because of that, find myself getting out more for social gatherings. And, third, I know what I like and want, many times when I want something I may find a style but not a color and or material to my liking; now, I can just knit it up.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole (Noro Silk Garden)
I am half way through with the stole. It is gorgeous. I am very happy with it. Usually, I start to doubt myself and question my choices but not with this. I can't wait for it to be complete.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My day started with yarn. First, I went to the post office to pick up a package. It contained 6 skeins of 100 pure wool worsted merino in 2 colorways Ravena and Rosella. They are very similar to the pictures on the website. Maybe the Ravena is a little brighter than I was expecting but I am still satisfied. It is going to make a beautiful clapotis. Like the Malabrigo worsted it is single ply and oh so soft. DH asked me how getting more yarn helps me towards my goal of not adding to the stash. But this yarn had already been factored into the goal when I made it. And, except for the Habu Textiles yarn I ordered last week, I've stuck to it.

We then went to the library where I returned books then picked up a few more on eco friendly living and quilts. As an aside, I didn't know this, quilters have stash, too.

Later in the day, DH and Little Bear (DS) were sitting on the couch playing video games. I had just put Punkywunks down for a nap and went downstairs to be with them and get some knitting done. DH suggested we go for a drive around 3:30 hoping DS would fall asleep in the car. Since he had no place particular in mind, I suggested a yarn shop (of course). DS made it clear he had no interest in going to a yarn shop and, "I should just go by [myself]." I would not be put off so easily. Eventually DH decided he was going to take a nap, too. I then resorted to bribing DS with apple juice and peppermint patties as well as a promise to stop by Starbucks and get him vanilla milk. That did the trick. We were at the yarn shop 15 minutes later.

We went to Capital Yarns which has the friendliest staff. What I like most about this shop is the knowledgeable sales staff. When I told the sales associate who was helping me the problems I was having working with alpaca she showed me some Berroco and Alpaca with a Twist that would work much better. My next alpaca project will definitely be the Berroco. They wound up 4 skeins of yarn that I did not purchase from them for a small fee. The sitting area is child friendly. It was enough to keep DS occupied while the yarn was wound. I spoke to the owner about carrying Malabrigo and she said she is considering it. In the end, I bought only some darning needles and a row counter to round out my knitting accessories; again, they cost slightly more than on-line or a big box store but is worth it because I want them to stay around as long as possible.

Friday, November 14, 2008

This is going to be quick because I had a rather long day starting with a flat tire on the way to work. I was fortunate that a couple in the car next to me pointed it out and were nice enough to follow me to a gas station to make sure I got there okay. I'm sorry I won't be able to thank them. And, DH was wonderful. He left work to pick me up and drive me in to the office. It probably took 45 minutes to an hour out of his day. Through it all, I had my knitting with me. It did keep me calm, just having it near.

I did some more searching for a namaste knitting bag. I found one for a good price. I don't remember where now. I had it in my cart and was about to get it when I did a quick calculation; $60 is enough Malabrigo to make a decent size wrap or vest. That would be taking away from my stash money, I would rather have the yummy yarn. Now, if someone would like to get me either a Laguna or Malibu bag by Namaste in charcoal or saddle for Hannukah or Christmas, that would be the sweetest thing.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole in Noro Silk Garden
I joined in the fourth skein of yarn. It is now up to either 16 or 17 rows and too big for me to attempt standing while knitting. I hope to have this finished, at least cast-off with ends woven, before Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Today was a gray, cold, rainy day. But, my day was brightened by having pho with JL. Of course, we brought our knitting. She's working on a beautiful Christmas gift made of Malabrigo lace. I'm still working on the Lady Eleanor, I am almost halfway there and about to join in the fourth ball of yarn. For me, this is going fairly fast. I told her she's a better person than I am because there is no way I would give something made of Malabrigo lace to anyone. Unless, it was another knitter who could appreciate he quality material and time. Then again, I wouldn't knit something for another knitter I would give her yarn. I couldn't imagine what I would do to someone if he (or she) threw the gift knitted from Malabrigo into the washing machine. I know it would involve some rather unpleasantness involving a circular needle.

I have finally chosen a sewing machine. Don't worry DH, I will not be getting it until I get rid of a lot of stuff and finish 3 or 4 knitting projects. At this rate, I won't be getting a machine until Spring of 2009. Then I'll have to change my blog name. Any suggestions? Email me at honeybearknits [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Last night I said I was going to practice continental before working on the stole but what really happened was I was really, really sleepy and decided to jump into bed and go unconscious instead.

Tonight, I was good. Punkywunks went down earlier than usual and I took that time to knit. I put on the Sticks 'n String podcast by David Reidy and sat down to finish a row of entrelac on Lady Eleanor. I have recently started listening to this podcast. I'm catching up on his previous episodes; I am now up to Season 3: Local Knitting. What I like about his site is two to three years ago, like me, he took up knitting after not doing it for a long time.

Today I did a search for naturally dyed and/or organic yarns (I don't know if they are considered the same). A couple of my hits have already been profiled as a Lime 'n Violet Etsy Store of the Day so there is no need to mention them here. Go over to the Daily Chum and look around.

For knitters looking for a variety of wool and silk free knitting products I found Knit For Brains
From their website...
Knit for Brains is a shop dedicated to yarn fiends who steer clear of wool, but crave fibers that feel delicious.
Our goal here is to make the growing variety of wool alternatives available to needleworkers far and wide. At Knit for Brains you will find yarns made from organic cotton, bamboo, soy, and more: all renewable fibers that are a dream to work with. Whether you're vegan, allergic, or just antsy to try something different, you will find plenty of wool alternatives and project ideas here.

Here is a knitter I wish to emulate. She is dedicating 2008 to busting her stash. Paraphrasing her post on January 1, she will not buy any (none, nada, zip) yarn during 2008. She is only knitting from what she already has on hand. Check her out at A Little Yarn on the Side.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Before I work on the Lady Eleanor stole I am going to practice knitting continental style. I'm hoping it will increase my speed. I'm not sure it's going to work because I have a hard time doing anything with my left hand. At the rate I'm going now it takes me an hour to do a row of rectangles, it would be nice if I could get that down to 30 to 45 minutes.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm happy to announce my blog readership has doubled from one to two. Now, along with JL, DH is reading my blog.

Today, my boss was visiting my office. I was in meetings all day. Plus, when she's here for the day she shares my office with me. I like her and even though I know she sometimes knit I don't want to knit in front of her. To give her some privacy for a meeting today I ate lunch away from the office. I went to the local pho restaurant to eat. I took my knitting in with me and got a couple of rectangles knit on the stole after I finished my soup.

When I arrived at home tonight I found my Yarn Market order waiting for me. It wasn't anything big, all I did was finally order Scarf Style and a crochet hook needed for Lady Eleanor. Yes, I've been using a library copy all this time with every intention of buying the book.
DH and I went to a play tonight. I brought my Haiku bag with me just in case I got an opportunity to knit. The play was rather tedious. Nothing against the actors but given the plot of the play without the context of society in which it was written it was hard to empathize with the characters. And, it was a comedy, not in itself a bad thing just the jokes are said as jokes. The point? During a scene change I whispered to my husband I was going to take out my knitting. He gave me what I could only describe as "the look of death". Possibly because we are only two rows from the stage and the actors would see me knitting. He didn't protest when I knit during intermission.

I went to check out sewing machines today. DH agreed to it because if we can strap DS down in the car long enough he'll fall asleep. The first place I went to see Janome sewing machines is closed on Sunday. The Quilt Patch was 5 minutes away so we went there instead. They are a Bernina only dealer. I have to say that although I was overwhelmed with the machines and all the choices (when did this get complicated) the SA was friendly and patient and showed me every feature available. When I expressed interest in the 82c she explained to me why I should get a higher end model even though it cost a little more (maybe a couple hundred dollars); mainly because after a short time I may find the 82c limiting and frustrating. She didn't attempt to do an insane upsell, she kept my novice level and budget in mind and for that I thank her. She suggested one of the Bernina Activa models, possibly the PE (patchwork edition) because I do want to use it for quilting and home decorating projects. She showed me the Aurora 440 QE knowing I wasn't going to buy it; that is how nice she is. The 440 has the BSR which is amazing, it is a sensor which makes the needle only moves while the fabric is moving, great for free hand quilting. If I did quilting as a side job, definitely something I would consider. One thing I can say about all the Berninas she showed me, they sew like buttah. They make me want to find something to sew. I'm going to hold off getting a machine for a couple of months. There's a lot of knitting I want to finish and some other things I want to get rid of before I get a machine and sewing cabinet taking up space in the house.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Eat.Sleep.Knit Rocks

I have to give a shout out to the owners of Eat.Sleep.Knit for exchanging the extra Malabrigo for me. I did a miscalculation when I bought the Malabrigo worsted for the second Lady Eleanor stole. I didn't pay attention that a skein of Malabrigo is twice the size of a skein of Noro Silk Garden and ended up with 5 (possibly 6) skeins more than necessary. No, problem. They were nice enough to let me send back the applewood in exchange for blue graphite.

Because of PurlBee and their gorgeous quilts, I started researching sewing machines. I haven't touched a sewing machine since high school. A lot has changed. A basic sewing machine under $200 that doesn't fall apart if it's looked at cross-eyed does not exist. I got in my head somehow that Bernina makes a good sewing machine. Why, yes, they do. At $3,500 I cannot justify buying it unless I'm going to make a second income from it. I did find the Janome 760, it is perfect for my needs. A great price, powerful, small, and portable. Every review I've read about it is mostly positive.

I got a message from JL this evening indicating that perhaps she visited a yarn shop and maybe something came home with her. You know how these things just fall into a shopping basket. My answer to her question is, "No, lace does not count as stash."

Friday, November 7, 2008

I wish knitting designers did more on-line/pdf publishing. It would be great if the knitting books I use were available on-line because; one, I could easily print out a pattern instead of lugging the book around; two, I could also have the instant gratification of downloading the pattern instead of waiting for it to be delivered by UPS; and three, as my tastes change I would no longer have a book taking up space in my home or a landfill.

Today, I learned my boss knits sometimes. I showed her my set of Knit Picks Harmony interchangeable needles and she was intrigued. Another convert to knitting obsession, perhaps?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I discovered something good about the Haiku bag fitting one large project at a time. It carries all my notions, keys, wallet and water bottle, which is excellent. Yet, because of its size it forces me to finish a project before I start another. I am avoiding the dreaded start-itis. And, I would rather spend the money on yarn instead of a knitting bag.

I have fallen in-love with yet another online yarn shop. The newest object of my affection is Purl SoHo. If such a phrase existed I would call them a home arts/textiles shop. Everything is at the store and not a little bit of everything, everything. They have both yarn (knitting, crochet, felting) and fabric (quilting). The blog seals the deal.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole I - Noro Silk Garden
I'm moving faster than I thought I would on the stole. Last night I joined in the third ball of yarn. It is up to about 11 rows now. I'm afraid I might have a bad skein of Noro Silk Garden, the thread feels loose and I've been particularly careful to knit loosely because I'm afraid it is going to pull apart or snap. I showed the stole to DH, he asked how did I decide which colors I would put beside each other on the stole.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For anyone who may have been vacationing on Mars for the past two years, yesterday was an historical Election Day in the U.S. The prediction was voter turnout would be high and lines would be long. I went to the polls prepared. I slung my Haiku bag messenger style and pulled out the Lady Eleanor stole to knit. I was probably the only person in line hoping for a long wait. Lady E received some attention. One volunteer said it was pretty while another called it pretty. There was no long line for me, I was out in about 30 minutes.

Another bag rationalization:
As the Lady E. stole gets bigger I have moved my other projects out of my knitting bag. I really need a Namaste Cali Malibu or Laguna bag in charcoal.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I didn't get the extra hour of sleep I was hoping to get because while the rest of the country observes Daylight Saving my four-year-old does not. At 6:30 this morning someone was ready to start his day. I eventually went downstairs to watch Playhouse Disney. He watched, I knit. I am convinced my yarn has a secret kiddie magnet in it somewhere; whenever I take it out he has to scrunch it. I remind myself that I should not put him into time out for touching my yarn.

At the last minute, I went to the monthly Ravelry meet-up. DH wanted to spend some quality time with our daughter and I volunteered to take our son with me since JL was bringing Monkey with her. They were very well behaved. We distracted them with food and movies.

We had a great time even though there wasn't that big of a turnout. That's to be expected during football season. It was me, JL, and another Raveler. Oops! I forgot her name. I can tell you this about her. She's very nice. She loves the color green. And, she knows how to do magic loop (she demonstrated it for us). She wore her clapotis (I LOVE) and showed me her Kureyon hat (cute and love that too). And, she told me how to block and soften my Lady E once it is ready. I may have been inappropriate with her bamboo yarn, but it was so soft I had to molest it. She has a Namaste Cali Laguna knitting bag which I've been lusting over since the first time I saw it. I am making rationalizations here. I technically do not have a knitting bag. I have a re-purposed diaper bag and the Haiku messenger bag but no "made as a knitting bag" knitting bag. And, the Namaste is great for travel. Where I can only carry what's on the needles I can carry the project and extra skeins in the Namaste.

I have borrowed several books from the library. I borrowed the Vogue Knitting Volume 2 cables stitchionary because I'm looking for the perfect cable pattern to graft onto the Lady Eleanor malabrigo. This is now on my purchase list. I borrowed Vogue Knitting to go: Shawls Two because I love the idea of wrapping myself in yarny goodness. While I was not crazy about the first book, I found 5 patterns in this one I would like to make. And, I borrowed a couple of knitting for children books because I would like a little more variety in my daughter's wardrobe. There is only so much pink I can take.

Gmail Account Ready

I created an email account. You can contact me at honeybearknits [at] gmail [dot] com.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole I
Tonight, I was able to get a good bit of knitting done on the stole. I joined in a second skein. I didn't know this about Noro but although my skeins are all from the same dye lot the color each skein begins with can be different. That's kind of cool.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Noro I ordered arrived today. Luckily they were able to get the same dye lot I bought at the LYS. Now, I can take Lady E. I out of hibernation. I knit a couple of rectangles. I intended to do 1 row but I'm a little too tired.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Do the math

I took a long hard look at my stash and came to the conclusion that, realistically, there is no way I'm going to knit all this up by the end of December. My goal is to finish the two Lady E. stoles and Frida Poncho hopefully in time for the first Malabrigo Club delivery in January. I'm on a yarn diet.

On my sticks
Frida Poncho
I didn't make the swatch guage sacrifice to the yarn gods and for that I am being punished. I kept wondering why my poncho didn't look like the others on ravelry. It is because I am knitting from the errata where the others knit from the book. The one from the book looks better. The best way I can explain the difference is, on ravelry the lace looks like it is on a center panel; the errata does not make the panel. On top of that, the errata has a stitch that creates a big hole in the lace pattern. At first, I thought I did something wrong but now I see it is happening based on the instructions. Maybe it will work itself out with the blocking. The good news is, I am through the first 24 rows of the panel and I love the color and the yarn.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I have a set of pattern tamers. I first heard about them in a Manic Purl podcast. If you get a chance listen to it, Chrissy is friendly and easy to listen to and one of the reasons I picked up the sticks for good. Back to the pattern tamers. They, get this, make it easy to read a pattern. If you ever have one of those patterns where the chart makes you go cross-eyed or every row is different, you are going to want a set of these. I used it tonight while I was knitting and instead of making a mark with a sharpie each time I completed a row I just moved the tamer. Get it, get it, get it. And, if you do get a set, please, get it from Yarn Sprout. While you're there get some yarn it's 100% naturally dyed, the colors are beautiful and they are having a sale.

Tonight, I was not planning on doing very much due to being tired from being up early this morning with Punkywunks. We had a quick dinner then got the kids in bed as soon as possible.

On my sticks
Frida Poncho
I knit 4 rows on the Frida poncho because I wanted to use the pattern tamer. Between the pattern tamer and the stitch markers I'm becoming a real knitter.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stitch markers are my friend

We did our usual Sunday ritual and went to DH's parents' place so he could watch the game with his dad. I put Punkywunks down for a nap a little bit before half time. She didn't go down easy so I sat beside her crib and knit while she settled down. Instead of going out into the living room with the rest of the family I stayed in the room with her and knit while she napped. That was relaxing. If I was in a rocking chair it would have been a Norman Rockwell painting.

F.I.L. shared that his mother used to knit, do cross-stitch, and sew. She even worked as a seamstress. She regretted that she wasn't able to do any of it once her eyesight went bad. He had a couple of tablecloths on which she cross stitched. They saved two from his sister's storage space. One for each of our children; I hope they have an appreciation for these heirlooms.

My evening was typical. We got the children off to bed then I knit while DH played video games.

On my sticks
Frida Poncho
I started over again today at my parents-in-law's place. This time it is going much better. I am using a bigger needle and instead of wasting time counting and re-counting I am using stitch markers to block off large sections. Much better. I was able to knit up to what I messed up plus a couple of additional rows. The lace panel in the center takes about 16 stitches but because each row is different it slows me down. I should have the first 24 rows done by tomorrow evening.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I had a bad day. First, I went to the mall because DS needs clothes. I hate the mall; it is crowded and noisy. I bought just enough to get him through the week and I will order more online. Second, it's a cold rainy day and I couldn't take the kids out to play. Add to that the play area at the mall is closed. Then a combination of being tired and cooped up all day made Little Bear a beast. All I wanted to do after getting Punkywunks down was knit. That was a disaster.
On my sticks
Frida Poncho
I was going to not knit tonight but thought I could use the relaxation of knitting. A little tip, don't knit angry. My guage changed and I somehow picked up a stitch. Fortunately, I am only on row 11 so frogging this isn't a big deal.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Noro Silk Garden I ordered earlier this month shipped. It should arrive by the middle of next week. I haven't decided if I'm going to buy another set of size 8 tips so I can take Lady Eleanor I out of hibernation or finish Lady Eleanor II.

On my sticks
Ruffles Scarf

The scarf looks better than the picture suggests. Probably because it is laying against a surface while the scarf is meant to drape. I like the color of the yarn but I'm not crazy about working with it. It is 100% alpaca and it seems to be felting at I knit plus the plies separate. Although I'm not crazy about doing short rows, I may knit this again with another yarn like Malabrigo Silk Merino.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Photos of Lady Eleanor Entrelac II

Since I am sick today I don't have much to say about knitting. Here are some photos of Lady E.

I was able to get the base triangles plus 6 rows from 1 skein of Malabrigo worsted. It will take approximately another 5 skeins to finish the stole.

Here is a close-up of the weave pattern. I haven't decided if I'm going to block the stole. The bumps add more texture but blocking will make the stole bigger. I would love a big soft malabrigo stole in which to wrap myself.

Here is that rustic back of the Lady E. that -- to me -- looks as good as the front. I'll never wear this side out but I still like it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And, here comes another stash rationalization. I have been looking at Scout's yarn for the past two weeks. I have been telling myself that I have enough (ha!) yarn and don't need any more. Then I do something really stupid, I look at the FO's in Ravelry. Are you ready for my rationalization, here it is and it's a good one. I'll just buy one skein of fingering and make something like a headband. It's small and a quick knit. I am losing this battle. If she made something in turqoise and deep pink with a smattering of gray I would be all over it. I would have a yarn purchase black out then be surprised when it arrived at my house next week.

On my sticks
Ruffles Scarf
This is out of hibernation. The replacement needles arrived Monday. I did 4 or 5 repeats of the pattern. I have learned that I am not crazy about short rows and a whole scarf of it is going to be painful.

Lady Eleanor Entrelac II - Malabrigo
I did not knit this tonight. I want to take a progress picture before I go any further; I'm almost to the end of the first skein and want a picture of that. I did check out Knitting on the Edge from the library. Instead of doing the fringe in the pattern I want to do a cable trim on either end of the stole.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How does stash happen?

Two weeks ago, I had 2 projects' worth of yarn, as of today I have 6. Make that 8 due to a slight miscalculation I made. I don't remember buying this yarn. I think I had blackout. And, I have a deadline; I have to get most of this used up before January because the Eat.Sleep.Knit malabrigo club starts in January.

Today, after being on back order for over a month, the Knit Picks Gloss Lace in mango finally arrived. It is prettier than the picture. The color is more of a pinky peach. I have decided to make the Muir stole out of it. I will cast on after the Ruffles scarf is finished.

I had dinner with JL tonight. I showed her my new goodie bag. Feel the covet. I also teased her about the thingie I got her that she's going to loooove.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Haiku To-Go Bag

Here is my new knitting bag which I totally love. I sent a request to Scout over at Scout's Swag and she found the bag and had it shipped to me before she left for Rhinebeck. Although this is not designed as a knitting bag it functions perfectly as one. Mainly, it has lots of pockets -- 6 of them -- and one big main compartment. I was able to fit 3 medium projects in the main compartment. I haven't tried it, but I think it is possible to wear the bag messenger style and knit at the same time.

Malabrigo Lace in Cinnabar
This is the Malabrigo my son decided to use as a bouncey ball. My knitting bag has become a source of fun for him. My knitting needles are "scribble sticks". Mover Rich on Playhouse Disney's Imagination Movers uses drumsticks that he calls scribble sticks to draw images in the air which become reality.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac II - Malabrigo
This is moving right along. I have completed 5 rows of rectangles. I started the 6th row but stopped because I felt like I was making simple mistakes. That's what happens when I knit sleepy. I made one slight modification to the pattern. I added 8 stitches to the cast on because I wanted a slightly bigger stole. I'm thinking I should have added 16 stitches instead. I'll have to see when I block it. I haven't had any problems with the Malabrigo felting as I knit.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I knit when I can

This day started when Little Bear decided the whole family should be awake at the crack of dawn. The upside to that is Punkywunks went down for her nap quite easy. Then it was knitting time. I got about two rectangles of the Lady E. II completed when a political campaigner knocked on the door waking her up. (Darn it!)

Since she was up, we went out to brunch, then to Greenberry's for a pumpkin spice latte. All the while I had my knitting bag with me, just in case.

We then went to DH's parents' so he could watch the game and, finally, I could have a chance to knit. MIL kept DS busy with chocolate milk and Disney movies while DD had fun playing with Zayde and being held by DH. She is such a daddy's girl. There was one tense moment when DS reached into my knitting bag and started playing with my yarn. I clenched my jaw a little when he mushed up the Andean Silk. I had to remind myself that he's my child and I love him when he used my balled Malabrigo lace in cinnabar as a bouncey ball. Bonus -- glee and joy -- DD fell asleep. I was able to complete 1.5 rows of Lady E. before we left. I then did another row after the kids went down for the night.

Friday, October 17, 2008

My new knitting bag arrived. I'm happy with it. It has lots of pockets and it is big enough to carry all the projects I would want.

I brought the Malabrigo to daycare so JL could have a look and feel but, alas, she went to drink and be merry at a knitters' gathering while I had dinner with my FIL.

I borrowed Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard from the library. I fell for her work when I first saw the somewhat cowl. This book is definitely on my "Must Buy" list. I want to make every pattern or a variation in this book. This isn't a book of patterns only. It includes advice and tips regarding designing patterns and how to modify patterns to suit one's personal style. This book along with The Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters..., another great technique book, are must-haves for my knitting library.

I would post more about my bag and knitting projects but I want to get further on Lady E. II plus take some more photos before doing that.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I have a yarn yummy

I finally have some Malabrigo worsted. I have the color applewood which is a kettle dyed solid. It is a subtly variegated camel brown with a slight red undertone. The yarn is a rich neutral. It will go with anything. And the texture, oh so soft. As soon as I could I wound, by hand, the hank into a ball. This is the kind of yarn that begs to be wound by hand at least once; just to enjoy the softness. If DH could have seen the look on my face he would have been jealous. The yarn was purchased from Eat.Sleep.Knit, they have great prices, awesome selection and fast shipping; check them out.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac II - Malabrigo
I had to cast-on as soon as I had the yarn balled; this yarn screams, "KNIT ME!" Although this is a popular pattern, I have not seen many in a solid color. The luxurious fiber, neutral yet rich color and entrelac pattern combine to create a luxe but understated piece which can be worn with anything from blue jeans to a business suit.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Props to Knit Picks

I called KP this afternoon to tell them about my faulty Harmony tip. The very nice lady in Customer Service looked up my order, asked me which size tip and shipped another pair out to me. They don't want the broken tip back. No fuss, no muss.

At lunch, I sat in my car and knit. I did a backward loop cast-on. The backward loop is not my favorite method (I am surprised I have an opinion on this). The problem is the first knit row. It takes forever because I have to struggle to get the needle through.

I met JL at Panera to give a little moral support. She had a deadline and was working like crazy to get something finished in time for the VIP's of her company. She was more than a little stressed. But, no probs, she's the best at what she does. I know things turned out perfect. I even got her to giggle a couple of times. I knit while she typed away on her laptop.

On my sticks
Frida Poncho
Since the Noro for Lady E. isn't here and the size 7 tip needed for the Ruffle Scarf is broken I decided to start this project. I'm knitting this in the Knit Picks Andean Silk (yummmmmy). I first cast this in the backward loop. I absolutely hated knitting the first row. Somewhere on the second row I missed some stitches and ended up frogging it any way. When I recast it I did a long tail cast-on instead. Much better. I knit three rows while sitting with JL and knit two more rows after the kids were down. I would have knit more but DH was watching television and I couldn't concentrate on all the counting this pattern requires. I'll post a picture when I get the first 24 rows completed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Best laid plans...

Today was a busy day for the family. We met my parents for brunch, immediately afterwards we had to go to DH's parents' place so DH and his dad could watch a football game together. I made sure we stopped at home before going to his parents because I wanted to grab my knitting. We got there and after finally getting Punkywunks to go down for a nap, I fell asleep in their big comfy arm chair in their nice warm sunroom. Short version, no knitting.

BTW, MIL totally rocks! She bought me some green tea from my favorite tea store, Teavana.

I finally did some knitting after everyone had fallen asleep. While switching the ruffle scarf from the Addi to the Harmony I found that one of the interchangeable needles won't tighten completely. No worries, I heard Knit Picks customer service is the best.

I also knit a swatch of the Andean Silk. Ohhhh.... This...is...nice. It is soft and drapey. I was able to get guage but I'm still thinking about going up a size or two.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole

Hibernating Lady E.

Close up of entrelac

This is hibernating. I am at the end of my only skein of Noro and I have no idea when the additional skeins are going to arrive. I love how it is turning. It looks harder than it is. Another great thing about Knit Pick's interchangeables -- the end caps. I took off the needles and replaced with end caps. This also works great if I want to do multiple projects with the same size tips.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Secret lovers...

that's what we are

That is how I feel about my knitting. I have to keep it as some sort of illicit secret from my co-workers. People who have affairs aren't this discrete. I brought my knitting to the office, thinking if my officemate wasn't there I could get a few squares knit at lunch time. He was there. Instead, at lunch, I went down to my car to spend 30 minutes alone with my knitting.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Yarn Goodies

Today was the best knitting day ever (so far).

The Harmony interchangeable needle set and Andean Silk yarn arrived today. I came home at lunch to get the package. I pulled into my parking space and squealed -- yes, squealed -- with delight when I saw the box. I was going to take the box inside, go back to work, and open it when I got home later but, I couldn't wait. I was ripping it open as I walked over the threshold.

First, the Andean Silk. It is so beautiful and soft. I wanted to rub my face in it. I stroked the yarn for a good 5 minutes. I'm not going to cast on until I get through the first ball of yarn for the ruffle scarf.

Second, the interchangeable needles. How did I live before this? They are awesome. I put one size 8 point and an end cap on a 32" cable. I'm planning on moving the Lady Eleanor to the circular when I finish the row.

I sent an email to JL stating that I had knitting goodies to share. Really I just wanted her to be covet. We made plans to meet at her place tonight for some knitting, drinking and coveting.

I brought my son over. He and her daughter watched movies and played in the basement while we drank wine, ate pizza, knit (which is impacted by wine), and looked through knitting books. Does the day get any better?

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole
Because I had a glass of wine and I'm a slow knitter anyway all I accomplished was finishing off the row I was working on and transferring it to the Harmony 32" circular (like buttah). The needles arrived just in time because 10" needles are a tad too small for this project. While I finished the row, I was afraid I was going to drop a stitch.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

In the swing

I have been obsessively checking the status of the Knit Picks order. I should receive the needles and yarn tomorrow. I can't wait. I started a new job last week and it would probably be bad form to take the day off to take delivery of a knitting order.

I'm also getting ideas for making a second Lady Eleanor. I love entrelac and self striping yarn but there are only so many things I would want to wear them. A sweater or cardigan in self striping just looks wrong. Making a Lady E. in a solid color would be nice. I don't see many of them around. I have already chosen the yarn.

I finally looked up "skein" in the dictionary. I didn't know if it is pronounced with a long e, long a, or long i. Drum roll, please. It is prounounced with a long a.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole
I have knit a couple of rectangles on the second row and I like how it is shaping up. I'm happy with the colorway I chose. I have to make this last because my additional yarn won't arrive for a few weeks. When I make this again, I'm going to cast on more stitches. I would like it a couple of inches wider.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Not a good knit night

The one saving grace today is that JL had a crochet hook I could borrow so I could pick up stiches on the entrelac stole. I was feeling hopeful. This was even after my son's little blow up on the car ride home and my husband's foul mood. At least JL understands me.

On my sticks
Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole

My daughter Punkywunks is still a little sick but not nearly as bad as she was yesterday. I took her upstairs and got her to fall asleep quickly. I was looking forward to some knitting. I settled in, picked up the stitches, sl1 p2tog, then I k8. Something didn't seem right. I looked at the instructions and I followed them correctly. I took a look at Knitty Otter's Entrelac tutorial. TURN, TURN, the freaking instruction in the book are missing one simple freaking instruction: TURN.

Okay, I only knit 7 stitches, it's not going to take anything to rip back. It's just given everything else that happened this evening I wanted this to go smooth.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I must have it!

But, I'm going to be good and resist buying the extra soft Malabrigo worsted in the most gorgeous graphite color ever. I don't even have a project for it, yet. When I am ready I found the perfect source Eat.Sleep.Knit. It looks like they have every color ever made. I could buy one skein of each, lay them on my bed and just roll in them.

Anyway, no knitting today. I have a sick toddler and she is getting all my attention. She's asleep right now but she can wake up at any moment.

Here's a random thought: my friend JL and I should start a knitting\crochet podcast. We could talk about the best way to make an appletini, why our husbands shouldn't irritate us while we are holding the pointy sticks, knitting bags, making lace (for which she has finally caved), and why my ADD keeps me from finishing a project.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I consulted the Vogue Knitting Quick Reference Guide and found a solution to the stitch pick up problem. I can use a crochet hook to pick up the stitches. I wasn't able to try it because between watching the kids during the football game, attending a play, and the lack of a crochet hook I didn't have the time.

No knitting againt today. I picked up my sticks a couple of times to look at the scarf but no stitches were made.

I thought about knitting a lot. I took my iPod with me to the play because it is one I don't particularly like but thought better about it because we sit close to the stage and the actors would have given me the look of death if they saw me placing earbuds during their performance. The production values and implementation and acting of the play was fantastic it is the play itself I have never been fond. We went to Romeo and Juliet. They did an interesting twist to this one. In the fashion of Shakespeare's times all the roles were played by male actors. I probably would have enjoyed the play more if it had been one of the other serious plays like King Lear or MacBeth.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

No knitting today

That doesn't mean something knitting related didn't happen. I chose a knitting bag. It should arrive within the next two weeks. I will take and post pictures when it does.

On my sticks
Ruffles Scarf
This is on hold until the Harmony interchangeables arrive. I want to transfer to them for the rest of the project.

Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole
This was an accidental cast-on. I didn't intend to cast on but the yarn of choice was causing me grief and I wanted to do some practice knitting to determine if I should look for another brand. So far, it looks good. I did the base triangles and the left side triangle of the first row. I'm stuck on picking up the stitches for the first right slanting rectangle. Not really stuck, the stitches are hard to see and I need plently of daylight and few distractions to get this done. I will try it Monday after work when I have some alone time.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Goodies coming

I should have a couple of knitting goodies arriving by the end of next week. The Knit Picks order with the Andean Silk and Harmony interchangeable needles shipped yesterday.

My friend JL has the lace bug. She checked out two lace knitting books from the library which we looked through together last night while eating Milwaukee's Best Custard. Knitting books and ice cream, does it get any better? She just sent me a link to an heirloom lace book. JL, don't fight it, give in to the lace.

I have to laugh at myself

Thank you to Amy and everyone else at Knitting Help who made many useful videos for me to follow whenever I get stuck. You are the best. On the site every stitch is demonstrated in both English and Continental style.

I was browsing these videos last night when I was trying to figure out the backward loop cast-on. I was able to cast-on but for some reason could not get the second row knit. It kept unraveling. I gave up and did a long tail cast-on instead thinking my Lady Eleanor might look a little strange but it works.

Then I came across a stitch I didn't know how to do, k1f&b. Back to Knitting Help to learn. I noticed something odd as I watched the video, Amy (I'll assume Amy) did an English style knit different from mine. I watched the basic knit video. She was definitely doing the knit stitch different. This is where I had a good laugh at myself, after all this time, I've been doing the knit stitch wrong; that would explain my unfortunate knitting ventures.

Again, thank you Amy at Knitting Help. My knitting looks much better now.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

An open letter to Yarn Maker X

Names and swear words have been removed.

Dear Yarn Maker X,

I have to ask, "Is there some joke I'm not getting or do you hate knitters?"

Your yarn is gorgeous. It is soft and warm and pretty. Your colors are outstanding, and your palettes are sophisticated. All that said, your yarn is expensive and it breaks on purpose and for that I hate you.

By design, the yarn has varied thickness because some sections are spun tighter than others. Great for texture, bad for doing something like actually knitting. In the places where it is loose, it breaks. At $11.00 a skein this is unexpected -- some would even say unacceptable -- yarn behavior.

There are yarn snobs who would say this very characteristic is what makes this yarn desirable and it is possibly my Western ideas of what $11.00 yarn should act like that need re-evaluating. They may even go so far as to insinuate that there is something wrong with me because I don't enjoy the challenge presented by my yarn breaking mid-stitch.

I know there is a simple solution to yarn breakage and that is splicing the yarn; but, I don't want to spit on $11 a skein yarn.

I should thank you for one thing. Because of this yarn, I have learned to be a loose knitter.



P.S. Did I mention I hate you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Looking for a knitting bag

I was proud of myself. Instead of going out and buying a new knitting bag I used a diaper bag for carrying around my stuff. But, I hit a road block. The company I work for issued a laptop to me but not a bag to carry it. It fits perfectly in my knitting bag where the changing pad used to be. Plus, with all the pockets it can fit power cords and peripherals, and the big open pocket is great for carrying tech manuals and a Kindle. I guess I'm going to have to buy a knitting bag.

I have it narrowed down to three. The to-go bag by haiku, malibu by namaste and knitter's tote by Eagle Craftstor. They all have their selling points. The haiku bag isn't a knitting bag but it has lots of pockets and could probably hold two medium size projects at once. And, the haiku can go incognito, I could take that to work and noone would know it contains knitting, therefore avoiding the "you're weird" look. The namaste bag is huge. I could probably get an afghan into it. It's somewhat stylish, it could also be on the low down. The knitter's tote, just read the description. My friend JL has one and it rocks. The best parts are the grommets in yarn pockets. She could have two or three projects going and not have to worry about tangled yarn.

Maybe I should buy two bags.

Losing the stash avoidance battle

Last night after I mentioned I placed another Knit Picks order for Andean Silk yarn, JL pointed out that for someone trying to avoid stash I'm not doing a good job. But, I'm still in denial. Although I have enough yarn on order to keep me busy for, at least, the next 6 months, I don't consider this stash, and, of course, I don't plan on buying any more yarn until all that I have is used.

I have also revised the stash management rules:
1. No more than one plastic storage box full of yarn/projects.
2. All yarn must be associated with a project.
3. Lace weight doesn't count as stash.
4. No more than 5 projects may be stashed.
5. Allowances will be made for cashmere on sale.

This is my stash as it stands:
Classic Elite Alpaca
I don't think this counts because it is part of my current stash busting project.

Knit Picks Gloss Lace
Lace weight doesn't count.

Knit Picks Andean Silk
This is celebratory yarn for starting a new job. Plus, given that the gloss has been pushed back twice it will keep me busy until it arrives.

Noro Silk Garden
I admit, this is a yarn-fume-haze-gotta-have-it-now-because-it's-gorgeous purchase. After knitting this I got drunk on the yummy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I caved

I bought a set of the Harmony interchangeable needles. After knitting with the pair I had and the Noro earlier today I had to get them.

I also bought 6 skeins of the Andean Silk in Merlin. I'm planning on using it for the frida poncho in Viva Poncho.

Don't touch my yarn!

Since absolutely fierce is off the sticks I started thinking about doing the entrelac stole in Scarf Style. Many of the ravelers use Noro Silk Garden for this project. I usually stay away from yarn like this. There are a couple of reasons. It looks hideous in a stockinette stitch sweater -- old lady, mom jeans hideous. There was a demo sweater on display at the yarn shop and I thought, "Uggh!" Two, this yarn costs $11.00 a skein. Far cry from knit picks. But, for the entrelac pattern this stole is great, instead of self striping, the color works out in blocks. Here is an example of what it looks like on Fig and Plum.

First, I called ahead to the shop to see if they carried it in the colorway I wanted. They did, so I drove over. They had to go to their stock room to get the colorway I wanted. Some chick had the NERVE to try to touch my yarn before I made a decision about how many skeins I wanted. I came close to slapping her. I bought two skeins.

I brought them home and immediately cast-on. This stuff is super soft. I knit up about 10 rows in stockinette. I can't wait to buy more skeins so I can knit the stole.

Back to knitting (sort of)

Last night after I got my daughter to bed. I met a friend for coffee and knitting. I had every intention to knit but things didn't work out that way.

First, my friend agreed that I should abandon the absolutely fierce arm warmers. They look too much like tube socks. Maybe it is because I used cream for the main color. I like the color combination, just not the ratios.

Second, she brought the knit picks gloss lace and the crochet shawl she made form the yarn with her. For its fineness, gloss is very warm. I can't wait for my lace weight order to finally ship.

I didn't knit anything because we hadn't seen each other for over a week and decided to have coffee and chat instead. I told her about the contact fluid/alpaca incident. She agreed, not cool.

JL has told me that her yarn is Alpaca Cloud not Gloss Lace.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Back from the happiest place on earth

We returned from our 8 day trip to Disney World late this afternoon. I am in knitting withdrawal.

I took a project with me but had absolutely no time to knit on it. From the time we got up in the morning until we put the children to bed at night our day was packed. Because we were in a room instead of a suite, all the lights were off so they would fall asleep. I tried to knit by the dim light of the bathroom but that was impossible. Plus, Addi Turbos are advanced needles. Knitting in the dark with them by a novice just shouldn't be attempted. I got a minor fix through listening to knitting pod casts and audiobooks.

The day we left for vacation, the Harmony interchangeable arrived. Unfortunately, my yarn was backordered so I can't even try my new needles.


I checked the yarn order, it has been pushed even further now it won't ship until October 10.

My husband's contact fluid spilled on my knitting project. It was somewhat blocked because the project bag got more soaked than the yarn that was inside but I could still smell the alpaca when I opened my suitcase.

Monday, September 15, 2008

This time with feeling

I'm reading Knitting Rules! by the Yarn Harlot. She's right, you can't explain stash to non-knitters. Ever notice when mentioning you knit to a non-knitter they give you a look? Ever sit in Starbuck's sipping a beverage and working on your knitting and notice that you will be interrupted? Not that I mind, but knitting in peace hasn't happened yet.

I finally placed my Knit Picks order. Sorry for taking so long JL. I ordered the size 6 Harmony Interchangeable and a 32" cable. I'm looking forward to comparing the feel of the harmony wood to the Addi Turbo nickel. Afterwards, I will make a decision about which set I'm going to buy.

I almost didn't knit tonight. I caught something from my DD. But, I kept looking at my knitting bag and just had to pick something up.

On My Sticks
Ruffles Scarf
This is officially on my sticks. I cast-on last night. I am using size 7 Addi Turbo 16" circulars. I love these needles. How could I have gone so long without using them. I like them even though I am a newbie knitter. I can tell when I get better and faster projects are going to fly off the sticks. I used them for 30 minutes and I don't seem to be melting them. Once I get into a rhythm this should be an easy pattern to knit. I'm just not fast at working the short rows and this pattern is nothing but short rows. The pattern calls for 3 skeins, but since this is really just for busting stash, I'm going to use the 2 skeins of Classic Elite Inca Alpaca and bind it off.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What would I do without the Internet?

If I did not have the Internet, I would give up on knitting. It has been a great resource for learning new techniques. I'm a newbie so everything is a new technique. From the long tail cast on to binding off, I have found everything I am looking for on the Internet. Just a quick search in google and everything I need comes to me. Tonight I needed to learn about short rows and found Cat Bordhi videos on youtube.

Tonight DH asked me when am I going to actually knit something I can wear. Does he not realize I am holding some very pointy sticks in my hand?

I must be transitioning to a real knitter. While knitting, I started thinking why anyone could possibly do this for fun and let loose with some colorful language under my breath. Yet, I didn't stop. I had to continue. Back to the Internet to see what the heck I'm doing wrong.

On my sticks
Ruffles Scarf
This is the source of the swearing tonight. One, as much as I love the Classic Elite Inca Alpaca -- so soft, so pretty -- this stuff sucks when it comes to knitting. It is slippery and comes unraveled as I'm knitting it. This is not beginner yarn. Two, my first attempt to cast on and follow the pattern was a disaster. I had to go back to the net and watch Cat Bordhi's short row video and follow along with leftover yarn from the armwarmer project. Afterwards, I cast on in the left over yarn to work two sides of the scarf before I understood what I was doing. I will do the "real" cast on tomorrow night.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Adding more to the stash

I found the bag that contained the yarn for the project I abandoned after I met my husband. I found 6 balls of yarn that I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with. That breaks down as 2 skeins of a worsted silk linen and 4 skeins of a super bulky boucle cotton both are in a beige-ish color. Both of these yarns have been discontinued so I need to find a project so I can use them up. Honestly, the silk linen has promise, that can be a made into some sort of small stole. As for the boucle, what was I thinking?

There may be a slight change up in what my next projects are going to be. I found a pattern to use the 2 skeins of alpaca. The ruffle scarf from Scarf Style. This I might use as a diversion until my Knit Picks order comes. What I like is that it looks like a fairly quick knit and it uses short rows, which is a technique I have heard a lot about. I'm even, for the first time, making a gauge swatch. I cast it on tonight and found that I need to use bigger needles than what the pattern lists. Looks like I'm a fairly tight knitter and I will need size 8 instead of 6.

Mini rant:
Maybe some people need an explanation of the due date. That is when the book is supposed to be returned to the library. I understand, and am guilty of, keeping a book a couple of days past its due date. But, here's the beauty, the system is on-line. Log-in and extend the borrow time. That way a psycho knitter like myself doesn't keep searching the card catalog wondering when the freakin' book is going to be returned.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Planning my next two projects

To avoid future project burnout, I am planning to have two projects going at a time.

I've been knitting k1p1 rib forever. I get excited every time I join in a new color. Too excited. Here is the bent part. I want to make another pair of arm warmers. But, next time I will use circulars and a different brand of yarn, that will make all the difference.

My next two projects will be a lace stole and a knit in one piece sweater. I know I'm a beginner, and my projects are ambitious but, one doesn't learn until one tries. Another reason why I love Knit Picks, great yarn at a great price.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stash Avoidance

I am trying to avoid the unavoidable: stash accumulation. I have a mini-stash right now (2 balls from an abandoned knit hat and 1 ball of extra yarn I bought for the arm warmers). I am trying to limit myself to 1 or 2 active projects at a time. But, stash avoidance is hard, especially when Knit Picks sends me an email about the new yarn samplers. The sunset picnic lace sampler has been in and out of my cart many times in the past week.
This is what goes through my mind:
I love the colors they have light, dark, and variegated.
It will make me try something different.
Since I don't know how to knit lace, this is perfect for practicing and learning.
I can use this as scrap yarn to try out patterns before committing to a project.

Then a few minutes later:
This is going to become stash. It will sit in its bag mocking me.

Really, yarn makes me crazy. I think about it all the time. I look at it on ravelry on the time. I like to search for yarn and see how other knitters used them in patterns. I am on the search for the perfect yarn, and the perfect lace yarn in particular.

On my sticks
Absolutely Fierce Arm Warmers
I cast-on the second arm warmer last night and this time I didn't drop any stitches. This one is starting better than the first arm warmer. I debated whether I should buy 16" circulars for the second warmer instead of using dpn's. I concluded I should stick with the dpn's and if I come across another project that needs size 2 needles and my friend neglects to give me that much needed slapping I will get circulars.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Am I a Product or Process Knitter?

I'm listening to the audiobook Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting which is a book that only another knitter can truly understand. Her book explains knitters and the knitting world. Within the first 30 minutes of the book, she breaks down a process versus a product knitter. In a nutshell, process knitters enjoy the act of knitting and product enjoys accomplishing the finished object. I am a product knitter. This explains why, so far, I have not gotten into knitting socks. I look at sock patterns and think they are nice, interesting, and take skill to knit but because I don't think I would wear the socks once knit I don't want to make them.

Today, I visited Capital Yarns in Chantilly, VA. I liked it as soon as I walked in the door. I was warmly greeted by a lady who I believe is the owner. When I told her I was just browsing with nothing in mind, she showed me around a little bit and let me to my own devices. There is a comfortable area in the back with two couches a small coffee table and a chair for sitting comfortably while one looks through the books she has for sale. I think I thumbed through every book she had and didn't feel rushed. She did come back at one point to check on me. I told her I was interested in knitting lace and she gave me lots of ideas and suggested books to me. She offered me bottled water to drink while I looked around the shop some more. I would say good yarn selection, but, if she doesn't have something in stock, if she is able to she will order it.

I have decided to get over my fear of lace. It's just yarn and needles, if I mess it up no one will take me out back and shoot me. I've set up my cart on knitpicks and should be placing my order for some laceweight yarn and circular needles. I'm going to tryout the interchangeable needles by ordering a pair of Options in size 6 and a 32-inch cable. I know I melt metal but I'm going to give it a try.

I found a great resource for knitting demonstrations, check out theknitwitch on youtube.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

September Sit 'n Knit

Today I was able to attend a local sit 'n knit with a friend. It was nice to sit, have coffee and knit with a friendly group.

One of the ladies was kind enough to bring her Knit Picks interchangeable needles with her for me to have a look. She has both the wood (Harmony) and metal (Options) interchangeables. I believe she has a full set of the Options and buys the Harmonay on an as needed basis. I was more interested in the Harmony since it is turning out that I drift towards wood rather than metal needles. The Harmony options are not as loud as I thought they would be. The needles are quite pretty and not distracting at all. They are smooth to the touch. They scream, "Knit with me! You know you want to." I have to agree with her that they tend to be dark and someone knitting a lace project with dark fiber would go blind using these needles. I love the Options also but, given that I tend to melt metal, I don't think they would work for me. Yes, I melt metal. When I played flute in elementary and middle schools, I left fingerprint impressions in my flute keys. I think a set of Harmony interchangeable needles is in my near future.

On my sticks
Absolutely Fierce Arm Warmers
During the meet, I cast on the second arm warmer. Somehow I ended up dropping a stitch. Since I had not progressed too far -- only 4 rows -- I decided to frog the whole thing and start again. I have instructed my friend that the next time I pick up size 2 needles to do a 1x1 rib to please slap me, and slap me hard.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Book Review: No Sheep For You

I checked out No Sheep for You by Amy R. Singer from my local library. This is a book that is definitely going to be purchased for my personal knitting library for the first three chapters alone. The first three chapters are a great primer about non-wool fibers.

mini rant:
One of the great things about this book is she demonstrates the suitability and characteristics of a fiber by referencing one of the patterns in the book. There is a reference to a vest pattern to view the characteristics of cruncy silk which I turned to look at. Some selfish low life has ripped the pattern pages out of the book. This is not cool for two reasons. One, which I think is obvious, this is a library book you moron! You don't rip pages out of a library book. Two, if you like the pattern so much, buy the book! That way the artist/designer gets paid for her work. What is odd about this is in my library system, one can go on-line and renew a book as many times as possible. My system does not charge late fees, even if idiot wanted to keep the book to knit the vest and that was past the due date, no worries. And, I do not advocate this, if he or she wanted to cheat the author out of well earned money for her hard work, copy the pattern with a copier.

Now, I know there are so many shades of gray when it comes to author/designer royalties. Some may feel that it is ridiculous to purchase a $20 book for one pattern. Some may not be in a financial situation to purchase a $20 book for one pattern. To that I say, "There are so many free patterns out there, if you like what you see in the book, do a search to find something similar." I know, everyone does not have internet access at home but, it is free at the library. And, if loser could get to the library to rip out a page, then surfing knitty or DROPS or Lion Brand Yarns on a library computer was just a terminal away.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I am late starter when compared to most of the knitters I know. I am 37 and just recently started knitting my first serious piece. A pair of arm warmers.

I started knitting several times.

The first time was in high school when a neighbor took me to either K-mart or Bradlees or Jo-Ann's had me buy a pair of metal needles and some acrylic yarn in purple and black sat me down taught me how to cast on and do a knit stitch. I don't remember if she taught me how to purl. I ended up making a hideous scarf that I never bound off. I'm sure if I go through some boxes at my Mom's place I will find the scarf still on the needles. Although I didn't appreciate the scarf, I do appreciate what Mickey had introduced me. It always stuck with me.

The second time was over 10 years ago, right before I met my husband. I was out of a relationship and wanted to take some time away from the whole dating thing. I went to a yarn shop, found an Adrienne Vittadini I liked, bought 7 skeins of yarn, 2 pairs of Crystal Palace needles, and the Vogue Knitting reference book from the Yarn Barn. The nice lady there showed me how to cast on. I went home and started knitting. A few months later I met my husband and somehow never went back to the knitting. That project is in a closet upstairs. The sweater is now outdated so I doubt I'm going back to it.

The third time was almost 2 years ago. A co-worker at the time showed me a project she was working on and I got a thought in the back of my head that I wanted to knit again. Then my friend showed me a scarf she made using the mistake rib and that is when I decided I would make a scarf using the mistake rib. I walked to Knit+Stich=Bliss on my lunch break and bought a pair of needles and 2 skeins which they wound for me. Then I got pregnant with my daughter and didn't feel like doing anything. But, this time it was different. In the years between my second and third attempts of knitting, content delivery took off. Between sites like knitty (awesome free patterns) and ravelry (how did we live before ravelry) I was still browsing knitting patterns and planning for the day I could make something complicated. Add to that fabulous podcasts like Sleepy Eye Knits, Manic Purl, and Cast-On I was listening to women talking about their knitting all the time. And, don't forget the yarn harlot. Weekly if not daily I was still in touch with the knitting scene.

This time I picked up the scarf from my third attempt and started knitting again. Except one thing, I forgot how to do the mistake rib and I lost the pattern. No probs, someone on ravelry had it. I started knitting again and it still looked wrong. No probs, I can just frog it and re-knit. Okay, probs, frogged yarn doesn't re-knit that well. But, I didn't let it end there, I found a free pattern for arm warmers I liked, bought some yarn from knit picks and am now close to actually completing one of the arm warmers (yay!). I even re-purposed a diaper bag as a knitting bag.