Posts Tagged ‘wool’


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 ;)


What’s on My Sticks?

September 15, 2008

Whether it is being worked everyday, once a week or tossed in the “for later” basket, there is always something on my sticks.  Which is why I have so many needles and have just ordered more.  Insane, I know.  Some might ask, ‘Why don’t you just move the projects to stitch holder or scrap yarn?’  

Ah, easy to say, not easy to do.  I’ve done this before and, after a long and restful hibernation, I have picked up the project – a sweater, for example – and can not for the life of me remember which needles I used.  Of course, this was all before Ravelry and my newer, organized, record keeping self (ha!), but still – I simply prefer to have the needles in the project.  If this means multiple needles, so be it.

At the moment I have several projects in the works.  From socks, to sweater, scarves to rugs, I have employed many sets of needles.  The oldest project on needles at the moment are a pair of Pomotomus for Darling Z.  These were started in June of this year and, once I was confident in pattern and my gauge, they were tossed in the basket.  I hope to finish these by next Spring.


Poms for Z

Poms for Z



The next hibernating project is the February Baby Sweater, up-sized for Darling Z, also started in June.  I stopped knitting this one once I started the button holes, realizing I had not selected buttons and did not have any on hand.  Just three days ago I found the perfect button online and purchased three.  This too, I hope to finish by Spring.


February Young Lady Sweater

February Young Lady Sweater



In June, I also cast on for gauge, a lace project for a KAL to begin in July.  The South Seas Stole was such a pleasure to knit.  Was?  Yes, was.  I finished the body of the stole just in time for the KAL to end.  However, I have not yet finished the stole, as the border remains undone.  I was hoping to start the border sometime this month but other KALs, obligations and, of course, holiday knitting has me otherwise occupied at the moment.  I am hoping to cast on for the border once my holiday knitting is complete.  

South Seas Stole
South Seas Stole

Dr. Thuja has been on my needles for way too long.  Although I only just cast on at the end of August, these socks, which are worsted weight house socks, should really be finished by now.  What is taking me so long?  I am not sure exactly.  I think my procrastination on this project revolves around not knowing the recipient’s shoe size.  I have guessed, based on height and visual sizing, that I should be knitting a size large, which I am.  But I am so afraid that this person has freakishly large feet and therefore, a large may in fact be too small.  

What to do?  Based on information found in collective knitting books, I know I can assume the foot is the same length as the forearm and the same circumference as the fist.  I have mentally measured both, based only on sight.  How do you get a person’s measurements without their knowledge!  I am befuddled here. Once I make up my mind to make up my mind, I will finish the socks as a size large, perhaps with a little extra length, just for good measure.     pun, definitely intended for comic relief


Dr Thuja

Dr Thuja



So, that is actually it for ‘hibernating’ projects.  Then there are the projects that are about to be started.  chuckles insanely I am not so sure that I can finish the projects I have set myself up with, but I will try nonetheless.  Here is my list of projects to be knit by Christmas Eve – most ideally, by December 20th.

Project:  SOSiii – As of this posting, I have not even started this.  I have, but I have to start over in a different yarn.  So, until that yarn arrives, I can do nothing and have fallen behind 5 charts so far! :sigh: 

Recipient: myself

Priority: low


Project:  Convertible mitts – this knit is intended as a Christmas gift but also is part of a KAL incorporating our hand-dyed yarns into a colorwork project.

Recipient: Darling Z

Priority: High


Project:  R2D2 Hat – Inspired by other hats and using my own charts.  I expect this hat to take awhile as it will be design, knit and learn as I go.

Recipient: QXT

Priority: High


Project:  Transformers Hat by Lori Magnus.  This hat is also stranded. KFJ loves transformers, so to find this pattern was perfect.

Recipient: KFJ

Priority: High


Project: Kenobi by Norah Gaughan.  There is a lot of moisture in the air here.  That means humid summers and cold, damp winters.  This jacket would serve as a great housecoat for DH.  Presently he uses a very expensive jacket he purchased in Japan.  This jacket is not easily replaced or repaired.  That said, this jacket is beginning to fall apart.  Time for something new and to pack away the Japan-coat.

Recipient: DH

Priority: High


Project: Hooded Baby Sweater by Debbie Bliss.

Recipeint: AEJ

Priority: High


Project:  Flutter Scarf by MimKnits.  I love this lace scarf.

Recipient: Making 2, one for MDT and one for me

Priority:  High and Low, respectively.


This list in by no means complete but the most immediate items to be knit.  And of course, does not include any new techniques I may be picking up or KALs I am signed up for or swaps or clubs I belong to. 

ETA – I can not believe that with all the UFOs and WIPs I have currently, I have just cast on for three additional new projects!!!  I need a 12 step program.

So, I want to know – What’s on your sticks?


Thine Covet

March 20, 2008

This month is sailing by and I just realized that I forgot to post a Thine Covet!  Could it be there is nothing tempting me?  Not At All.  In fact, there is much tempting me as of late.  Let’s see… yarns, patterns, books, gadgets, even needles.  Oh yes, I have been tempted.  Thankfully, I have been almost too distracted to care to do anything about my wants and wishes.  But things are starting to settle down and I find myself over at Etsy, Amazon or WEBS to fill in the voids.

So, what have I had my peepers  on?  I have really wanted some luxury yarn.  Something soft and decadent.  What does that mean exactly?  I’m not calling out any brand names necessarily, but something that is soft and lofty like an alpaca or cashmere.  Of course, I do not neglect my wool either.  I know full well that there are sumptuous wools that I have yet to try, like Malabrigo.  Below are some eye candy that I have saved in my ‘pictures’ folder – imagine that.  I actually download and save pictures of the yarns I want… Help me, please.



 Malabrigo Silky Merino, Teal Feathers

 Malabrigo Silky Merino, Green Grey


Malabrigo Silky Merino, Amoroso


Malabrigo Silky Merino, Plum Blossom 



Malabrigo has been lost on me.  I know, I know.  No, I did not give into the craze of Malabrigo when I first heard of it, no matter the gushing I heard from other knitters.  It’s so soft!  It’s so rich in color!  This was all lost on me for one reason, I like lighter weight yarns.  Don’t get me wrong – I will use Heavy Worsted and Bulky in projects, but I  prefer to knit with DK or lighter.  I find the knitting more enjoyable when I use a lighter weight yarn.  So, no, Malabrigo was not even close to the top of my Wish List, not until I saw the Silky Merino.  Now, my friends, I too will join the brigade of Malabrigo revelers.


Break a Bowl – Free Pattern

March 10, 2008

 One of the greatest things about knitting is creating functional pieces.  Bags, trays, bowls, blankets, slippers – whatever.  I have made and gifted several bowls over the past few years, finally making one for myself.  I have had a few people ask how to make a bowl, which is really quite easy.  Here is a link to a PDF e-book titled Break a Bowl.


Yarn Selection is Just as Important as Gauge

February 26, 2008

Just a few posts ago, I had mentioned my struggles in blocking the Flower Basket Shawl.  The issue definitely was not gauge – this was shawl after all.  The issue was the yarn I had selected.  It contained polyamide, which technically, is a compound structure similar to protein.  Silk is a natural polyamide, while Nylon is a synthetic polyamide.  Can we guess which type of polyamide my yarn selection contained?  Yup, the Nylon.  While I was able to block the shawl, it was not as simple as it should have been.  Lesson learned – don’t use yarn with synthetic polyamide for a shawl.  I won’t make that mistake again. (smug)

Oh but we must learn the hard way before a lesson is truly learned, right?  At least, I must.

This month, my favorite organized swap, Monthly Adventures, featured a theme titled ‘Tops and Pots’.  The idea is to knit a head covering (hat, band, etc) and send a recipe for a one-pot meal to your swap partner.  Easy-peasy, right?  I decided to knit the Calorimetry, as the weather is easing up and my swap partner is not fond of hats.  My first thought, after seeing a picture of my swap partner, was that her hair is so fine and a bulky knit would be too much yarn on top of her head.  I decided that a Calorimetry knit in lace or light fingering weight would be more suitable.  I did the math, OUCH!  I would have to nearly double the cast on stitches and do additional math to obtain the correct results.  Since my soon-to-be-three-year-old was pounding a plastic toy against the tile floor of our highly acoustic house as I attempted the math, I decided it was best to use the suggested yarn.  And, since my stash is well-stocked and I really can not justify to WMH why I should go and purchase more yarn, I decided to make a substitute.

Well, little ole me started feeling ‘o-so-smug as I selected a yarn from my stash that had the same WPI as the suggested yarn.  I knit a swatch, obtaining the same gauge as well.  Feeling extra smug now.  I CO and began the Calorimetry, which is a relatively quick knit.  In a few hours I was nearly finished and inspected my work.  Wow, this thing looked like a feminine pad for an elephant, I am not even kidding.  I would show you pictures but I was so horrified that I frogged the thing immediately.  Trust me, your mental health and suffering has been spared by lack of photos.

What was the dealy-o?  I mean, I did everything right, right?  Why was this happening to me?  Wha, wha, wha (the sounds of violins in the background)

Well, lets examine the yarn itself: 


This is the yarn I used    


and these are two strands of the yarn   

If you consider that the end is curling back in the top strand, then you would realize that the two pieces, which are the same length, are almost exactly the same length when one is stretched and the other relaxed.  There isn’t much ‘give’ to this yarn.  But, how is it that the WPI and the gauge are the same as the suggested yarn?  Well, WPI is WPI… you can’t change that fact.  If I get 8 WPI, then I have 8 WPI, unless I want to squeeze another wrap in there.  Gauge however, well that gauge is a tricky thing.

You can knit a piece that is 4″ x 4″ and it will look, feel, stretch in just the way you expect it to, as in this case.  But, if you knit a piece that is 22″ x 22″, you may get very different results.  Why?  The added stitches will weigh the fabric, particularly if it is a dense fiber, and you may find that you knit differently when you are knitting a larger piece such as a sweater or afghan than when you knit a smaller piece such as mittens or scarves.  In my case, the yarn I chose to substitute, while it was 8 WPI and I did obtain the same gauge of 20 sts x 22 rows in a 4″x4″ swatch, seemed to g-r-o-w as I added the stitches necessary for CO.  The fiber itself is very dense, resulting in very little stretch in a larger piece, making a heavy fabric.

What to do now?

Well, I went with my original idea.  I mean, if I was willing to spend my precious time knitting a piece I was only going to frog later, then I can spend 5 minutes to do some math, even with noisy toddler in the background.  Using lace weight yarn, I figured I would have to CO 210 sts and the results are working out great:


I have one gripe about the pattern, it does come out a bit wide for an average person’s head.   Of course, if I just do a bit more math, the problem is solved.  If I make this again, I will definitely shorten the width.

I am nearly finished, then off to the Post to send out to my swap partner… :) 


Flower Basket Shawl ~ FO

February 20, 2008

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Ravelry?  I mean, I really, really love it.  Like a kid loves candy, I love Ravelry.  I can’t get enough of it.  And, as if it couldn’t get any better, Casey and Jess keep adding new features, making Ravelry a knitter’s dream.  If you do not have Ravelry, sign up now!  Yes, there is a waiting list.  Yes, it seems like forever before your ‘in’, but once you pass through the portal of the Welcome page, your knitting life will change forever.

How so?

In my last post, I mentioned I was having trouble blocking my Flower Basket Shawl.  This had never happened to me before and I could not figure out what the problem was.  In addition to posting here, I posted my issue in Raverly as well.  I received a flood of PMs and direct responses to my issue.  I tried the first suggestion and Viola!


See that?  No pins there!  The points stayed!  Yea! 

 So, what was the problem?  A dear Raveler suggested that the yarn I was using had a high oil or lanolin content and that I should wash again in very warm, almost hot water. Well, considering I had washed in quite tepid, almost cold water, I re-washed and re-blocked.  Thankfully, that worked.  Another Raveler mentioned that the issue began before I started knitting since I selected a yarn that contained polymide.  I myself considered this at first.  In fact, I thought of this before I began knitting, but I was assured  through another Raveler at that early stage that the ratio was ‘okay’.  Still, I think in the future I will knit lace with wool, alpaca or silk and steer clear of  any elastin-type fiber.

Thanks to all who helped me with this little issue! 

 ETA: Can you believe it?  Among the many suggestions I received, Katie Himmelberg of Interweave Knits sent her suggestions along as well!  Noting that the yarn I used contained polymide, she suggested steam blocking… which would have been my next choice had the re-washing not worked!  Thanks Katie!


All Lace is Not Created Equal

February 19, 2008

Bad Brambach, Saxony, Germany


 So here’s how it goes: Last summer, our family went on a really peaceful vacation to Bad Brambach, Germany.  It was so peaceful, we were feeling somewhat ‘lost’ without the convenience of a super center of some type.  Low and behold!, during one of our daily excursions, we happened upon a Globus, (think Super Walmart).

As we made the rounds in this huge store, I remembered why we came to Germany in the first place… to escape this hustle and bustle of our every day lives.  But then, well, let’s just say I spotted some woolen goody-ness and all was forgotten.  We walked out of the store 25 minutes later with some needed supplies and two bags full of yarn.

 Flash forward a few months to September, when my sister announced that she and her fabulous boyfriend were engaged! Can we say ‘squee!‘?  A September 2008 wedding was planned.   I resolved that I was going to knit my sister a lace stole for her wedding, something she will have forever.

Well, as with most things in life, plans change… four times.  The date was moved around to various dates in September, then to the summer, then to the spring.  Two weeks ago, my dear sister let us all know that she and fiance are going to elope, in early March.  !!!  I went from having plenty of time to knit something beautiful to four weeks!   I am a turtle knitter folks, this news was not taken lightly.

Still, I was determined.  I thumbed through every book and magazine I owned, I searched every pattern in my computer, I Googled  ‘lace stoles’ for hours.  There was just no way I could make the design I wanted in the given amount of time, not at my knitting pace.  I felt anxiety and depression as I was about to concede and join the other well wishers in sending a gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond or Williams-Sonoma.  Grump.


A few days later, as I reluctantly re-shelved my knitting books and magazines, a page fell out of Interweave Knits, Fall 2004… The Flower Basket Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark.  This was the one.  It was a short, sweet knit.  Easy-peasy.  Just perfect for a March elopement… not too fancy, packable, wearable.   I went through my stash and chose forgotten yarn from our Germany trip.



 I cast on that evening and finished knitting yesterday.  Last night I hand washed the shawl and pinned it to my blocking board.                                                       


FBS, center

FBS, center, no flash  FBS, r FBS, edging

The photo on the top is a true color photo, the other photos are taken without the flash, so as to capture the lace detail.

 This morning, I checked to be sure that the shawl was dry before I started to unpin it. I unpinned the center point first, it rolled up towards the top!  I unpinned three more points, each point doing the same thing, Wha!  I quickly re-pinned the points and stood, starring at the shawl wondering, ‘What went wrong? How do I fix this?  Am I going to have to start over?  Will I indeed have to send a gift cards to Williams- Sonoma?’ Then, I walked away.   Not by choice, mind you, but I had to walk the older kiddies down to the bus stop. 

 Once the bus closed it’s door, I sprinted home.  Visual: Imagine a pregnant woman, in her substitute pjs (yoga pants and WMH t-shirt), hair a mess, no make up, running down your road in the early morning.  Ha.  

 Again, I stood before the shawl.  Where did I go wrong?  I still do not know.  Now I am searching the net, asking knitting gurus this question.  I am also pondering as to whether or not I should break out the iron and steam block… but first I have to find the iron because it gets little to no use in this house.  Have any dear reader run into this situation?  Please share or I will indeed be sending my sister a gift certificate and this shawl will become a dust rag.