Archive for the ‘A Knitter’s Library’ Category

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Episode #43: Weave Only Just Begun

January 7, 2010

Episode #43 is now loaded in iTunes, please subscribe for automatic notification of future episodes.

Announcements:

  • Spring for Babies Kal/Cal 2009 was quite a success!  I am currently making arrangements for a Spring for Babies Kal/Cal 2010 and will keep you posted.  A few changes this year: all handmade items donated to any local charity or organization are permitted.  To include items for the elderly, poor, homeless, displaced, abused, recovering,etc, as well as pets.

Books Reviewed:

Links:

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Book Review Update

November 21, 2009

If only I had this information yesterday!

Vikant Crafts Publishing sent an email stating the Special Issue Verena Knitting: In 80 Socken Um Die Welt, 30 European Sock Designs is presently being considered for publication to be made available to the Verena Knitting English language audience.  Great news, or what?

Stephanie van der Linden also sent an email to confirm that  Sock Aus Aller Welt will be made available to its English language audience in Fall 2010, published by Interweave.  I plan to review this edition once it is available, I am certain Interweave will provide charts as part of the book, as opposed to an addendum.

Keep those comments coming!

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Long Overdue…

April 4, 2009

… We’re at three – almost four – weeks now since the last post, right?  All I can say is, life happens. ;)

So let’s rewind and post a few pictures.

===

That’s as far as I got last week!  Obviously we are now at the four week mark :/

===

There was a whole lotta dyeing going on last month:

Sweet Feet

Sweet Feet, Sherwood

Big Fat Love, Primavera

Merlon

Merlon, Valpolicella

Sport Sock, Lupine Magnifica

===

And then my month was sweetened even more with numerous swap packages, two prizes and a RAK:

Pattern Swap, sent by rebeccawip

Spin Swap, sent by volkat

Spin Swap, sent by volkat

Color Swap, sent by toadyjoe

Color Swap, sent by toadyjoe

RAK, sent by Purr

RAK, sent by Purr

Phat Phlag Prize, sent by Aztecmonkey

Phat Phlag Prize, sent by Aztecmonkey

Broomstick Lace CAL, sent by Palomabella

Broomstick Lace CAL Prize, sent by Palomabella

Saucy Sweet Original Sock Swap, sent by TwinsMama

Saucy Sweet Original Sock Swap, sent by TwinsMama

Technique Swap, sent by FairySari

Technique Swap, sent by FairySari

===

I started Unst by Nancy Bush, Knitting on the Road.  Sock #1 was knit to near perfection, except for some snuggy-ness at the ankle.  Since I have been receiving a lot of questions in regards to tension, I thought this would be a great opportunity to showcase issues in tension and the all powerful gauge swatch.  Sock #2 was CO and is being knit on the same needles with the same yarn at a much loser tension.  Sock #2 is still on the needles and is nearly finished.  Once I have it BO and blocked, I will do a brief write up and post the pictures for comparison and then, decide which sock I like best and knit a 3rd!

Unst #1, just my size

Unst #1, just my size

===

My daughter had been working on a recital for her choir club.  As the recital neared, I learned that her Instructor will be leaving right after the recital to have a schedule Cesarian Section!  With just a few days notice, I decided to whip up a 2nd pair of Saartje’s Bootees.

Musical Bootees

Musical Bootees

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Ah, I have had lots of messages on this one!  In need of  a better organizer for my circular needles and DPNS, I decided to give a neglected CD Binder Case a new purpose.  So far, so good!  I find that the slots are just perfect for the circulars and nearly perfect for the sock sized DPNs.  The longer 8″ DPNs are also in the binder but don’t seem to want to stay in the binder.  I am working on a solution for this last issue and hope to have all my needles in this binder eventually!

CD Case for Needles!

CD Case for Needles!

CD Case for Needles!

CD Case for Needles!

CD Case foe Needles!

CD Case for Needles!

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Periodically throughout last month, I received various fiber purchases… so hard to resist!

I purchased some Polwarth and  Shetland from David of Come in Spinner, now South Cross Fibers.  I just love the colorways of both!

Polwarth, Carins fr South Cross Fiber

Polwarth, Carins fr South Cross Fiber

Shetland, Koala fr South Cross Fiber

Shetland, Koala fr South Cross Fiber

I also burned the credit card on some super soft 80’s Merino and a bump of natural brown Polwarth, which I purchased from someone’s destash.  Both are remarkably soft! … pure love.

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Finally, in this week’s Podcast I mentioned a great cast on for toe-up socks.  I tried my best to describe it for you and then tried to make a video.  After several attempts, I realized a much better way to execute this new cast on and how to modify it for those who prefer to knit using the Magic Loop method.  Enjoy:

<<video coming – – – I hope! — If I find video to be too difficult, I will post photos instead. Stay Tuned!!>>

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IOU ~ lotsa pictures

March 1, 2009

As the title suggests, this will be a photo heavy post.  

So, let’s start with my dye session from a few weeks ago. I had mentioned dyeing sock yarn and roving – I had posted the roving but not the yarn!  This yarn is a Merino Sport Sock dyed in a colorway I am calling Stratosphere, I have two skeins available.  

 

Stratosphere Merino Sport Sock

Stratosphere Merino Sport Sock

 

 

I actually am knitting a pair of baby socks with it right now – it’s knitting up nicely and I am wishing I had taken better notes during the dyeing session :)  I am taking notes on the baby socks will post the pattern as soon as possible.

(photo coming soon)

Did I mention the BFL I spun?  I know I mentioned when I dyed it and I might have mentioned that I was spinning it up – no?  Well I did spin up some singles – 

 

BFL Singles - SoFistiCat

BFL Singles - SoFistiCat

 

 

then I knit up a pair of Saartje’s Bootees for my soon-to-arrive niece:

 

Saartje's Bootees for Charlie

Saartje's Bootees for Charlie

 

 

They are sooo cute, aren’t they?  Surprisingly this pattern is super easy, knit flat in garter stitch and then seamed.  Anyone can knit these purties up and I strongly suggest this knit for the Spring for Babies KalCal!

So, after knitting these booties I still had quite a lot of yarn left, so I plied it up and plan to knit another pair or two for the growing babe ;)

So then I went on and dyed some more roving – this time it was Merino and for a secret Spin Swap for the Monthly Adventures Group in Ravelry.  As of this post, the recipient has not yet recieved, so I only post the wet roving in the sink at the moment:

 

Spin Swap Fun

Spin Swap Fun

 

 

Shopping for swaps is always a lot of fun and often a source of pain (to the purse) as we often tend to do the ‘one for you, one for me’.  I did manage to stay within our budget (have I mentioned that we have a swap budget in MA?), so I am quite please with myself and I even managed not to buy (too much) for myself. ;)  I picked up a WIP gauge from KaratStix and a gorgeous Orifice Hook.

 

WPI Gauge from KaratStix

WPI Gauge from KaratStix

 

Orifice Hook in the Shop

Orifice Hook more in Shop

 

 

 

I also dyed some Finn top up.  It was one of those surprises as the end result is not what I had envisioned, but it still came out rather lovely – a deep blue with variants throughout.  I reserved 2 oz of the Finn to be blended with some Mohair, which had been gifted to me from Tnsinko (Linda), a fellow spinner who I ‘met’ in Ravelry.  The wool is presently being spun for socks… I am only guessing that Finn will create a soft and durable sock and that the addition of Mohair in some of the yarn will make for iron toes and heels.  What do you think?

 

Finn for Socks

Finn for Socks

 

 

In addition to the Mohair, Linda also sent various samples of her Romney sheep, which she raises for her own spinning pleasure ~ Lucky Gal!  I am so very grateful to have made  a new friend, Linda you are wonderful!  Linda sent over 2 oz of processed Romney from her most beloved sheep, Dianthus.  I have spun it up and am planning a special project for it ;)

(excuse the dark photo)

 

Romney fr Linda, plied to 17 WPI

Romney fr Linda, plied to 17 WPI

 

 

 

So what else? … Ah, the kids have spent some time spindling.  I managed to remember to whip out the camera toward the end of the last session… this one is of DS1, spinning up some BFL he had dyed with Kool-Aid.  This is the same son who fashioned a spindle out of Legos :)

 

DS1, Spindling

DS1, Spindling

 

 

I knit up a block for our Monthly Adventures BOM KAL.  The block will not be added to my planned afghan, however, but is intended to serve as a binkie for my soon-to-arrive niece.  It was knit with KnitPicks Crayon, an easy to care for cotton, which I found to be surprisingly soft and not so difficult to work with, for a boucle.  

 

BOM - as a binkie for baby

BOM - as a binkie for baby

 

 

I have already sent the binkie off with the booties and the below socks.  Unfortunately I did not take pictures of the finished binkie, I added tags around the edges, just right for teething babes.  The socks have a story to go with them, doesn’t everything? I will attempt to be brief.  Last July my DS3 was born, the entire pregnancy was complicated as was the delivery – – I will not go into details, this just isn’t the place.  

Bottom line, the Doctor who delivered my son, saved his life.  I was and am so deeply grateful and wanted to express this as any knitter would – I wanted to knit him a pair of socks.  So, I cast on a week after DS3 was born and I scooted right along and then I stopped.  I was at the point where I might start decreases for the toe on a Men’s size Medium… you can see where I am going with this… 

I had no idea what his foot size is and just couldn’t bring myself to ask him.  I did make a ‘fake’ appointment with him, just to try and get a visual… no luck, those shiny shoes really threw me off.  So, I made a wine basket, stuffed with crackers and chocolates and wine of course!  And the socks have sat in my UFO basket all this time.  Well, enter a Sock KAL hosted by fellow MAer Sulkycat and I suddenly find those socks and finish them, intending to send them to Laura, the soon-to-be-Mommy.  I think the socks will be nice and cushy for her tired feet in the weeks ahead.

 

New Mommy Thujas

New Mommy Thujas

 

 

Speaking of Sulkycat’s Sock KAL, I had to decide which pattern I wanted to knit up.  At first,  I thought I would knit the Heelless Sleeping Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks, but I decided to go with a lace sock and learn a new-to-me technique, Magic Loop.  I am going to knit, in fact I will cast on just as soon as I finish this post, Unst in Knit Picks Essential, Green Apple.  The color is almost exactly the same as the color shown in Knitting on the Road.  I chose these socks because I wanted something ‘Springy’ – we are all beckoning Spring in our own ways, aren’t we?

 

Unst from KOTR

Unst from KOTR

 

 

This past week, I have dyed 6 skeins of yarn.  At the moment,  I am waiting for the to dry, then I will take photos and post them in the Shop by next week’s post – stay tuned….

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Early Release This Week…

February 12, 2009

… Why?

Because we’re having a PRIZE DRAWING!!!

Maevie has won the door prize and doesn’t even know! hehehe

You can win the next prize – and it’s easy to enter – all you have to do is go to iTunes and leave a comment about the Podcast!  

But hurry – this is a short contest – I will assign each comment a number and then randomly select a winner at Midnight PST (9am Rome) on Sunday Feb 15th. (click here for a time converter)

So, what’s up for grabs?

Winner’s Choice of one of the following Surprise Theme Packages:

  • Socks
  • Lace
  • Spin
  • Mitts

So you actually read down this far?  GO!  Leave a comment!   ;)

 

ETA – Due to the ‘distance’ issue and my wanting to get prizes out ASAP, I have decided to go through a third party to send the prizes out – will keep the winners posted ;)

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Oops!

January 12, 2009

In my haste to record and air Episode #12, I forgot to post here as well as on the DTP Notes Page!  :”)

:apologies:

Since I am catching up with you, I must warn you that this post will be quite heavy with the photos…  But you don’t mind, do you? ;)

My Holidays were bustling as each of yours were, I am sure.  Still, I did manage to find a few moments of solitude in the forms of knitting, spinning and dyeing, every now and then.  My only true knitting obligation was a ‘neck warmer’ of sorts to be ‘sent back’ to the wonderful Fibers, who gifted me a Magnificent MYB (see last post).  Fibers’ yarn was a gorgeous merino/silk blend and I must admit, I had a very trying time deciding just what to do with it.  

Ultimately, I chose to knit a mobius cowl, something with a nice amount of drape to play up the silk content of the yarn.  I thought this cowl could be worn not only to keep the neck warm but also the head, by pulling the back up as a hood or worm simply to dress up an outfit.  

 

Mobius Cowl

Mobius Cowl

Mobius Cowl

Mobius Cowl

From there, I went on to dyeing.  I had spun up some Corriedale, labeled as Bobbin No. 5 and it has been sitting here just waiting to become something.  DD had received some yoga gear for Christmas, one of which was a yoga mat.  The yoga mat, we quickly learned, did not come with a carry strap or sack as advertised. :/ Mom to the rescue, well sort of.  I told DD I would knit her a sack but it may take awhile.  In the meantime, we dyed Bobbin No. 5, resulting in this:

 

Bobbin No. 5 Hand Dyed

Bobbin No. 5 Hand Dyed

Not too bad.  Most importantly, she likes it!

After we dyed that skein of yarn, I realized I really wanted to spin.  I pulled out 4 oz of Corriedale and started right away.  The next morning I had 4 oz of this:

 

MY Sock Yarn!

MY Sock Yarn!

I will admit, I was so pleased with myself.  I had finally managed to spin 4 0z of somewhat consistent yarn, and sock yarn no less!  

I toyed with the idea of just casting on for a pair of socks.  But, I then thought of the dyeing I really wanted to do… mixing and testing new colors and trying lime instead of vinegar to fix the color.  I decided to split the 4 oz into mini skeins and soaked them overnight.  The next morning, after breakfast, after lunch, after playing with the kids, after dinner… OK, it was the next evening ;)  after the kids were in bed and DH was in his office, I started a few dye pots and after an evening of dyeing and a day of drying, I ended up with this:

 

Dye Night Bounty

Dye Night Bounty

 

 

First, I wanted to replicate the color I had mistakenly made for the Blue Booties.  I think I came very close, what do you think?

 

Darkest Blue

Darkest Blue

After pulling the above yarn from the pot, I noticed there was much dye left.  I plunked in another mini skein and the results were surprisingly pleasing:

 

Surprise Blue

Surprise Blue

Believe it or not, there was still so much dye left in the pot!  I then reserved the dye pot to later dye some top.  

 

Surprise Blue Top

Surprise Blue Top

 

 

 

 

From there, I was in search of forest colors.  Green and Brown is what I was after.  Green and a Rusty Brown is what I got:

 

Green

Green

Rusty

Rusty

While the brown is not the shade I was going for, I am pleased with the resulting color.  I can see this color on my feet ;)

After the green and rust skeins were dyed, each dye pot still had some color left.  I decided to play with my “Exercise Yarn”, resulting in this:

 

Exercise Yarn

Exercise Yarn

I think this will be knit up and felted for some future projects DD has in mind.  No waste! :)

My Holiday ended just after the New Year, this is when I allowed myself to log in at Ravelry.  There I had discovered the BOM KAL in Monthly Adventures Group had begun.  Fibers had selected a Moss Stitch block, my favorite textured stitch.  Since I had been knitting that stitch for the Kenobi, I decided to search for a stitch pattern which incorporated Moss Stitch into it. 

 

Tumbling Blocks

Tumbling Blocks

I’ve loved this stitch pattern for baby blankets and thought having a block of my very own would be nice.  

I mentioned in the Podcast, my children and I spent several hours over the Holidays, spinning.  After which, DS1 presented me with this:

 

Qs Lego Spindle!

Q's Lego Spindle!

Yes!  My DS1 fashioned a working spindle out of Lego parts!  You can see the yarn we started, wrapped around the shaft.  

I think that is all for now… see you next week!

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Book Review

October 13, 2008

 

 

 

Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard

Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard

Last year, I had gotten wind of a knitting book in the works by Wendy Bernard, the creator of KnitandTonic.

For those of you who do not know of Wendy or her blog, she is a funny and quirky knitter and designer.  Of the many posts I have read on her site, I have LOL many a time – go check her out.

So, I sort of stalked Wendy’s designer’s page on Ravelry – hoping to catch a glimpse of the designs that will be in the book.  I will admit, that as designs were released there was only one design that I was really interested in and one design will not send me running to the bookstore or Amazon.com  to purchase the book.  In fact, our hokey little bookstore would likely not carry the book, I feel like I’m extracting teeth when I ask for a knitting book.  Anyhow, imagine my surprise two weeks ago when I stopped in and saw on the shelf Wendy’s book, Custom Knits.

Surprised that I was, I did not even graze the cover – I had that sneak peek on Ravelry, so I just knew I wasn’t interested.  I left the bookstore empty handed.  Last week, I stopped in again, I am waiting for the Holiday issues of Vogue and Interweave to show up.  Nope, neither of them were there, but Custom Knits was.  I decided to take a gander.

Wow, I hadn’t even opened the book yet and I was surprised at how big this book is.  Now, I don’t mean that it is an oversized book, but it is thick!  What in the name of knitting was between the covers?  Were there more patterns inside that were not spoiled on Ravelry?  I had to find out.  I opened the book and was immediately taken in by the beauty of it.  As I had expected from STC Publishing, it is after all, a beautiful book.  

What I hadn’t anticipated from this book was that it was to be an instructional and reference book more so than a pattern book.  I love reference and instructional anything, almost on any subject, but if it is knitting – I’m buying it!  So, I barely thumbed through Wendy’s book and I quickly walked to the cashier’s counter and purchased the book.  I then went outside of the bookstore, ordered a tea for me and an ice cream for my little guy and I was absorbed in that book.  

Custom Knits is a pattern book but, more importantly, it is a How-To book.  Wendy shows us how to create sweaters mostly from top-down and how to customize them to your own body shape or your own style to ‘Make It Your Own’. She gradually enables the knitter to learn and try new techniques in small ways, such as fair isle and steeks – almost sneaky!  – and encourages us to design our own knitwear.  This book is a great addition to any knitter’s bookshelf, the new knitter who wants to learn to knit from the top-down, and the practiced knitter who wants to design her own sweater but just needs a little nudge to do so.

From now until October 31, Custom Knits is on sale at KnitPicks for $16.50, or every day at Amazon for $18.15.  Go out and yourself a copy, today!