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.