Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Secret stuff

100_3694, originally uploaded by Alissao.

I sent out my Defeat the Winter Doldrums swap package yesterday! This is the petal dishcloth I made for my swap recipient. It was supposed to be coral, I swear it looked coral under the lights in the store, but it is really a bit paler. Oh well, it was the closest I could come. Hopefully she likes the goodies I sent her!

So that's one thing down from the "on the needles" list. ;-) But then I had to cast on for Trevor's Dashing gloves instead of finishing another wip. I really did have to, since they are only 6 weeks late.

edited to add the links since I did it direct from flickr the first time

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Progress Bars

If you look over to the right ---->

You will see my awesometastic new progress bars, thanks to the magic of Ravelry. Now I can be embarrassed by the number of things in progress to everyone who sees this, not just Ravelry users. Sorry, but the links go back to Ravelry so they won't work unless you are a member. The hat is a charity donation and it is done but I have to dig it out and take a photo so I have it as incomplete...

A near perfect Sunday...

Present: Two sleeping kittens, knitting, a couch, and the laptop about to show Netflix online
Missing: Chocolate (upstairs and would require waking a kitten) and my husband (working)

Enjoy your Sunday afternoon!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Log Cabin is my new favorite thing!

I finished my first Log Cabin pillow and I am in love with this technique!

It basically uses the Log Cabin technique from Mason-Dixon Knitting. It is a 16 x 16 pillow form for reference.
We charted out our color design using graph paper and colored pencils. I have a geeky love of graph paper (but not for math usage) so that was fun. ;-) I used six colors, most of the examples in class used four, so you have options there. The numbers are the order that you work the pieces.

Here's a close up of the colors:

I was a little unsure of my color choices when I had the red, orange, and yellow done... it seemed a bit too bright. But as soon as I started to add the blue and grey, I loved it. It has a brown border going all the way around that you really can't see in the photos (darn pillows with their curves). All of the sections were picked up on the right side except for the border which was picked up on the wrong side. That gives it a different, almost sewn look that is nice for a border. Also the border was done with increases to give them diagonals that get sewn together as miters so it has a "border" appearance not just another color square.

I used a fabric backing so that I wouldn't have to knit a plain square (well it could have been done in a pattern but what's the point for the back?) and so that it would be a bit more cat friendly.
nope, I didn't iron the fabric creases out. I'm a rebel like that (i.e. careless crafter who hates to iron)
I did that simply enough - the fabric piece is just cut to the same size as the knit front with the addition of a little extra seam allowance on just one side. Fold the little seam allowance over and sew it down. Then I held them with the right sides together and sewed the three sides without the extra allowance together. Turn it right side out and put the pillow form in! For the other edge (which is the bottom on my pillow), I used medium ("size 4" - not sure of the measurement) sew-on snaps to close it. I used seven snaps (one on each far edge, one in the middle, then four more evenly spaced. The snaps work from either end and if you pay attention and put them going the "right" way they will blend in more without a silver bump showing through the knitting (I put the first two on with the bump before I realized they could go either way).
All closed up
I love it! The only thing I'll change for the next time, is to use a smaller needle with this yarn. (all Plymouth Jeannee) I used a nine but would use an eight next time, it is a bit loose.

I'm going to be doing a lot of projects from Mason-Dixon this year - in addition to the ones I've already mentioned I've decided to do some of the Baby Bibs o'Love and the One-Piece Baby Kimono for some of the babies coming this year among my family and friends. (found out about another one this week!) I mean, the idea of a baby kimono is adorable to begin with, but how can you go wrong with one that is so cheap it uses Sugar n' Cream? I got some of the great twist colors to use too. (take note that the patron calls for two balls but that is of the solid colors - the twists, stripes, and variegated are all smaller balls than the solids so you'll need three)

On my needles now: a dishcloth for my swap recipient! After that, Trevor's dashing gloves.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Broadripple socks, finally done!

I finally finished the Broadripples that I started back in August! They were for my sister's birthday and I finished the second sock with 10 minutes to spare. Just enough time to wrap them and write the care tag. Sheesh, that was a bit close for comfort!

Yes, there is a mistake half way down the foot. Shush, I don't want to talk about it.

Friday, January 18, 2008


If any of you are in the area, I just read about an upcoming Knit-in!

Sunday, Feb. 24

1pm - 4 pm

Come join the knitters of the Capital District at Barnes and Noble of Colonie Center!

Bring your knitting/crocheting and a chair!

The event is sponsored by:

BeauKnits Yarn Shop in Cohoes, Eastside Weavers in Troy, The Yarn Depot in Brunswick, Trumpet Hill in Colonie, and Wool ‘n Word in West Sand Lake

I'll be there!

Sock Candy!

I finally managed to get my hands on some BMFA (Blue Moon Fiber Arts - the makers of Socks That Rock) Sock Candy! I have been wanting to try it but it is hard to get (not on the BMFA website, only as part of a kit, etc.) but when I decided to make a Baby Surprise Jacket and saw that BMFA had started kits for the sweater using Sock Candy I thought it was the perfect opportunity. One kit is enough yarn for one Baby Surprise Jacket plus some other accessories or two Baby Surprise Jackets if you reverse the striping. I want two sweaters in different colors so I ordered two kits and then I'm going to use the remainders of all the colors to make either a pair of socks for me and a few pairs of baby socks to match the sweaters, or maybe two pairs for me, we'll see.

So, this is what you get in a kit. Four 200 yd skeins of Sock Candy each in a different color

This is kit number one and the colors are Denim, Sunlight, Copper, Madder
You also get a card showing the finished sweater colors and some information. The other side of the card suggests a needle size and tells you what rows to do in each color to get the striping the same as the example. Note that the kit does not include the BSJ pattern - that has to be purchased separately and can be found here among other places.

And this is the other kit I got, number 3 colors Poppy, Granny Apple, Coral, and Chocolate (brown not black like it might appear)

The yarn feels really soft but that's all I have to say about it so far since I haven't even wound a ball up yet. It's bad but the real reason I want to hurry up and make one of these sweaters is so I have leftovers for socks. ;-) But this is a bit down on the priority list...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Late Christmas Socks

Wait, I forgot to post my mom's completed christmas socks! I was waiting to post them until she got the package in the mail then I forgot.

Here it is on my lovely new sock blockers:

100_3597, originally uploaded by Alissao.

Excuse all the extra floor around the sock - you have to frame photos just right for Ravelry and I blogged this photo directly from flickr since I misplaced the actual photo.

I love the way these socks turned out. I definitely need a pair this color for myself, eventually.

2008 Knitting Goals

I don't like resolutions, I never make new year's resolutions. But I did decide to write down a few knitting goals for 2008. Because the year will go so fast and I want to get a few things done that I've meaning to do. So here they are:

2008 Knitting Goals (in no particular order)

1. Make one tiny sock per week to have a stockpile for Christmas and to have a tiny sock tree for myself (I've already blown this one since I haven't made one yet this year. But hopefully I'll make a bunch at least)

2. Learn Fair Isle - well, I'm part way there since I didn't get this posted until after I took the class. But since I haven't gone that far yet, I don't consider it "learned" yet.

3. Make at least 6 pairs of socks, at least 1/2 of those for me (I have completed 5 1/2 pairs of adult socks so far in my knitting career and only 1 of those is mine)

4. Make at least one baby sweater - this was going to be making one to have on hand for any future babies in the family but we just found out we have one niece or nephew on the way so now I'm hoping to get two done. I already have yarn for a couple Baby Surprise Jackets ordered.

5. Catch up on all IOU gifts from last year - with my mom's socks done, this leaves the Dashing for Trevor from our anniversary and the George socks for Trevor that I started way back when and haven't finished

6. Make myself a bag - I have everything for a booga bag and that is the next thing to go on the needles after the gifts are done.

7. Make myself a shawl - I have one cast on with the silk I got in a swap but it is just a little baby right now

8. Organize my needles and update the list of what I have - done! I did this last weekend

9. Finish organizing my craft room after it was torn apart for misc. work upstairs

10. Knit a Sunggles cat blanket and donate it to the shelter we got Cal and Butternut from

There, those are my goals. Will I get them all done? No, I don't think so. But at least I have them in my head to work toward. What about you, any knitting goals or resolutions for the new year?

Monday, January 14, 2008

More crafty presents

I got a few more crafty Christmas presents! I got this lovely knitting bag, the Total Tote. It is also available from JoAnn Fabric online, but not in the stores. But please read the listing at KnitPicks as they have wonderful advice about removing a divider that has the worst velcro ever on it. Seriously, did someone who knows yarn even participate in designing this? Velcro with yarn? um, no. But once that is removed, it is a great project bag.

The main compartment opens up from both sides, this side has two little cubbies where I currently have my little notebook and a packet of tissues. As you can see the main compartment holds quite a lot. In this photo it has my headband on a circ needle and the three small balls of yarn that go with it, and my log cabin square on 9" straights with the small ball of yarn that goes with it and there is a bit of room to spare.
This one is the main compartment opened from the other end. It shows the little side cubbies where I have scissors etc. And the other end where there is a clear zippered pouch (needle card, stitch markers, etc.) that also snaps out of the bag so you can carry it around.

And here, we have the smaller zippered section on the outside. At the top we have a row of elastic strips holding options tips, cable needles and a lemonade packet. :-P And on the other side is a mesh zippered pouch holding a beeswax hand thingy, nail file, etc.

This one isn't knitting but it is crafty. I got a Stupid Sock Creatures book and kit!

It has a big softcover book detailing all of the instructions to make multiple different styles of stupid sock creatures, and everything you need to make a couple sock creatures of your own! Socks, buttons, ribbon, needles, thread, stuffing... it actually comes with everything you need! I am a bit daunted by the thing (steps include cutting the sock, sewing the sock up into a body, stuffing it, adding appendages that you sew from more sock pieces, and decorating with the buttons etc.) but I'm sure it will be fun when I find the time to get into it.
I also got a few more Harmony options needle tips but they haven't arrived yet.

Log Cabin time!

I did get registered for the Log Cabin Pillow class this upcoming Saturday! Yay! You have the option of starting a pillow or a blanket and I said I'm doing a pillow because a blanket just seems so daunting. But I really like the blankets so maybe I'll just keep going and make it big enough to be a blanket, we'll see!

I got the same yarn for the log cabin as I am using for the headband - Plymouth Jeannee (cotton/acrylic blend). Here are all the colors I got:
red, brown, grey, orange, blue, and yellow

It is really quite nice. The bit I have done so far for my homework feels so soft and great for a blanket (see, there I go again. Maybe it will be a blanket. A small blanket.). Here is my homework square:

I am in love with the way this yarn feels worked up in a loose garter stitch. I hope it is supposed to be as loose as mine is... but the sheet called for a worsted yarn and a 9 needle and that's what I have... (no gauge to check)

I am tearing myself apart trying to decide if I am doing the right size for my homework square. See, the homework sheet (I don't have the full pattern yet) says "for the blanket, cast on 42 stitches and knit 36 garter stitch ridges. For the pillow, cast on 30 stitches and knit 28 garter stitch rows." See the problem? Does she really mean rows for the pillow or does she mean ridges?* Why would it refer to the pillow and the blanket with different terms? Finally I said to myself (and the cat, but he didn't respond), "Shut up, it's a log cabin! It doesn't matter what size square you start with." So I am doing it as if it is supposed to be ridges. If she really wanted rows than I'll either start with a bigger square or rip it back.

* For the non-knitters saying what the hell is the difference: a ridge is actually two rows, so 28 garter stitch ridges is twice as big as 28 garter stitch rows. For those of you saying why is a non-knitter reading this, I say, "Hi, Mom!"

Continental, wha?

Yesterday was my Two Hand Two Color headband class. It was good, overall. See, I had somehow managed to forget the important fact that two handed knitting requires knitting Continental. Oops. I don't do that. It wasn't a prerequisite for the class - I wasn't the only one learning it for the first time. But I'm slow with new things of that sort. Once I get going with it I'll be fine but I am sloooow in the beginning. So we start out learning continental in the round (so I do only need to know the knit stitch so far) and I think I'm doing o.k. I think, "Wow! I'm knitting continental!" We add the other colors in as stripes first and she teaches us a good tip for adding a color (knit the first stitch of the new color round with both the old color and the new color held together then drop the old color. When you get to that stitch again, only knit the new color stitch and just let the other one fall off the needle. Pull it tight and voila, no hole or gap). We moved on to actually fair isling (word? probably not.) and she showed us how to carry the other yarn across with us and hold it in - very cool. Did I mention this was also my first time with a chart? Granted this is a very basic chart but the things mystify me, I am much more a written learner than a chart learner. Also? I think I will stick to charts in the round (which isn't so bad since I love socks!) since the whole read it right to left one time and left to right the other time thing when you are working flat is extra confusing. Then she comes around and shows me that I have mysteriously started picking the yarn the wrong way and am now knitting continental with twisted stitches. Blast! Now I am feeling very lost and exasperated. But she showed me again and I *think* I've got it. I think what I really needed was some extra time to practice continental before the two color part was thrown in.

Here it is so far, it still doesn't look like much of course. You're looking at a round of white (the second color that will be the snowflakes too) then a round of the light pink (accent color) followed by more dark pink. Then you have the first round with two color work in it, here let me get a closeup. That little white stitch in the top middle is the bottom point of a snowflake... That's as far as I got.

The bottom looks odd like that because it gets folded up under along with an identical piece that will be on the top and then gets seamed. So that the headband is a double thickness.

The thing I'm worried about now is that I don't have time to go back to my headband for awhile now - I have to finish my homework for the Log Cabin Pillow class and I have to finish this sock for my sister because her birthday party is this coming Sunday instead of two weeks from now (!!!). So I might have forgotten everything by the time I pick it back up again. I've been doing some of the knitting on my Log Cabin Pillow homework continental but I keep subconsciously falling back into english knitting since I'm more comfortable that way. I need a local continental knitting friend. Katie, don't you knit continental? Come visit me! ;-)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Me? A winner?

I'd like to thank the academy... O.k. I was picked randomly. Thank you random number generator!! ;-) I won a prize for signing up for the Defeat the Winter Doldrums Dishcloth swap and posting about it here. squee! You can see my prize here and I'll blog it when it arrives!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Defeat the Winter Doldrums Dishcloth Swap Questionnaire

There's still time to register!

1. Do you knit, crochet, or do both?
I know how to do both, but at this point I really only knit.

2. What types of needles do you enjoy using for making dishcloths?
bamboo or wood; straights or circs or the flexs (split circs)

3. What types of cotton do you enjoy using for making dishcloths? Is there any that you've been wanting to try?
Anything! So far I've used sugar n' cream, peaches n' cream, and Blue Sky Cotton

4. What color(s) are your kitchen and bath decorated in (if any)?
My kitchen is turquoise and pink (1950s!) with also some red. My bathroom is blue and neutrals (stone colored floor etc.).

5. What are your favorite colors for yarns? Least favorite?
I am overly fond of pink. ;-) I can't really think of any colors I don't like except for just yucky colors like 70s green and yellow.

6. Do you like Winter, or do you count the days until it ends?
I like Christmas and I like it to be snowy at Christmas. After that, I'm pretty much done with it.

7. What's your favorite way to brighten your day when you're down in the dumps?
Knitting and British tv.

8. What is your favorite treat to indulge in and when your down in the dumps?

9. Do you drink coffee? Tea? Cocoa?
no coffee or tea for me. I do like cocoa.

10. If you could take a vacation starting tomorrow and go anywhere for one week and money were no object, where would you go and what would you do?
Hmm, either Ireland or Savannah. See the sights in Ireland, show Trevor everything I loved in Savannah last time.

11. Do you have any allergies or aversions your pal should be aware of?
Allergies: wool Aversions: I am not a fan of nuts, even in the aforementioned chocolate

Monday, January 7, 2008

New year, new skills!

I am signed up for a bunch of knitting classes at a bunch of different yarn stores over the next two months! Let's see, this Sunday I'll be taking Two Hand Two Color Knitting (only $15) at Saratoga Needle Arts "Learn Fair Isle knitting..or how to knit with both hands when doing color work. We will make a great headband." I haven't seen the headband yet, the example wasn't at the shop but it has snowflakes on it they said. These are the colors I'm doing my first one in - the dark pink for the background and the white and light pink for the design.

I also got these colors to make another one (well, it is the same ball of white since it only takes a little)
And here's my homework that I needed to do for the first class - it doesn't look like much so far. ;-)

Then on February 17th I'll be taking another one at SNA: BLOCKING, ETC. (also $15) "You’ve finished your knitting - now what? We will make our own blocking boards and discuss finishing garments for a neat, professional look. We will also talk about caring for your beautiful hand knits." This was the first knitting related class that I had to shop at Lowes for! ;-) I had to buy a 6 pack of foam insulation panels at Lowes, and 6 yards of gingham fabric with 1 inch squares at JoAnn fabric.

On to the next store, on February 9th I'll be taking an Entrelac class at Beau Knits. This will be the first time I go to the store so I'll have to check it out at the same time. This one is only an hour class so I'm not sure what exactly we will accomplish, maybe just the technique for no particular project? The description just says it will cover the basics and to bring worsted yarn and #8 needles. It's only $10 though so whatever I learn about it will be worth it.

And then, I might be taking one more but I'm not sure until I confirm that they have room in the class (they are closed today) - Log Cabin Design Pillow on January 19th (also $15) at The Spinning Room. "A great call for the beginner to advance their skills while starting a quick project that can be used to make a blanket, if so desired. Choice of color motif can change the outcome dramatically. This project can also be made of wool, then felted for a whole different look and texture. The pillow can be made as large or small as you like. You'll leave this class knowing how to continue on your own to completion." I love the Log Cabin designs (especially in the Mason Dixon book!) but it looks... complicated. I feel a bit stymied by the picking up stitches thing. I mean, I know how to pick up stitches (socks, baby!) but this is different. So I thought instead of trying it on my own and maybe being confused, I'd try out a class (assuming I get in).

There you go, 3 or maybe 4 classes in the next six weeks!

More finished Christmas gifts!

I made a bunch of tiny socks, here's one that showcases my sock monkey tag that I'm putting on them.
To make the tags, I bought a sock monkey head rubber stamp and stamped it on Shrinky Dink (the official website is down) with brown ink (you have to use a permanent ink pad not just any kind), then I used colored pencils to do the lips in red and the eyes in black. Don't forget to punch the hole before you shrink them! A regular size hole punch comes out to a nice small hole when it is shrunk. Then I put on a jump ring and stuck it to the tiny sock!

Yet another pair of fetching... these were for my mother-in-law. This is Rowan Summer Tweed, the same as the pink one I showed earlier. This yarn works great for this pattern, but be careful! Now that I've made two of the same pair, I want to warn that you can get two from one skein but it is close. Really really close, I had a few yards left at the end of the second one. So don't let any yarn go to waste with extra long tails or anything, just in case!

I have one more Christmas present to post but that has to wait! On my needles right now: the second pink Fetching for me.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Defeat the Winter Doldrums!

Remember the Fall into Autumn dishcloth swap I did? Well it is now time for the Defeat the Winter Doldrums swap! Registration starts on January 11th.

These are the swap requirements:
  • You must have a blog.
  • You must post regularly - no less than once weekly.
  • You can't have flaked or been AWOL in previous swaps from that group, in the Tea Swap, or in KVVS
  • Package Requirements:
    • $20US Minimum Spend Requirement
    • Knit or Crochet Dishcloth(s)
    • Yarn for your pal - at least enough for a small project (100g or more recommended)
    • Some sort of yummy soap - there are links to some handmades in the sidebar (of the dishcloth swap blog), and any kind that's not your average Dial or Lever 2000 is welcome!
    • Any other treats that you think will brighten your pal's winter - Edible treats or notions for Knit or Crochet are great things to include.
And you can go here for more information and to sign up starting January 11th.

Made by Lena