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Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Keep on Knitting, Keep on Knitting...


OH NO! Not more of the neverending wrap cardi from Vogue Holiday 2006 that looks simple but is amazingly fiddly for the fronts! Well, yes, but look - it's the RIGHT front, not the left front!

Yipppeeee! I've finished the left front and the shoulder is joined to the back (3 needle bind off) and the front band is sitting on a holder so I can Kitchener Stitch it to the right front, front band at the center back neck - did you get all that? Now I just have to keep on knitting on the right front, then I can do sleeves. Sleeves, glorious sleeves! Everyone, sing along with me!

OK, you don't have to. I'm just really excited to be done with one of the fronts. As you can tell.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Warm Wooly Hat in Progress


Over the weekend, I started Caleb's Nordic Skier Hat (the kit is here, scroll down). The curly thing at the bottom of the hat is the cotton lining band so it doesn't itch him. Once I've completed the hat, I'll sew that to the inside. If you look carefully at the top near the needles, you can see that I'm just past the ski. I figure I'm around halfway done since the top has decreases and I'm through with the cotton section, which seems to take longer to knit. This morning he had to wear his polar fleece hat to school, but hopefully later this week he will be properly attired in wool, as all knitters kids should be. He hasn't told me if he wants a plain top, a pom pom, or braids for the top of his hat. I'm personally leaning more towards the plain top or possibly the braids, but I'll leave it up to him. These kits are really fun to work, a nice price, and the fact that you can choose your own colors with them makes them even more fun.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Almost a Front!

Attention Patty who purchased Solace and had trouble with the download: If you'll go to the Solace page (where you found the purchase link) you'll find my Mother's email address there. Drop her an email and she can get you sorted out. Thanks.


I have almost finished with the left front of the wrap cardi from Vogue Holiday 2006. I'm up to the place on the shoulder where I'll do a 3 needle bind off to join the front to the back and then I have to keep working the front band section until it's long enough to reach to center back where I'll graft it together with the front band from the right front. I AM going to get this half finished and the right half cast on this weekend. I really, really am! I keep telling myself that if I can just push through these fronts with all the yarns and all the needles, I'll zip through the sleeves in nothing flat. It's just the pushing through the fronts that's the hard part.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Taking time for Solace

First of all, I'd like to say thank you to each of you who left such encouraging comments yesterday and also thank you to those of you who are still stopping by to read my drivel. You have no idea how much I appreciate it and even though I can probably only put names to about 30 or so of you guys, I know you're out there and you're reading. (Site Meter tells me you are!)


I've been working on Solace more and since the weather cooled off yesterday and it's been raining off and on since yesterday morning, it's a very welcome project to spread over my lap. I'm almost 2/3 of the way through with it (I know that because I bought 12 balls of yarn for it and I'm almost through ball number 8 - sometimes knitting is obvious that way) and it's big enough to keep me warm while I knit on it. As long as the weather stays cool, that will be a good thing.

By the way, I've been trying to help Finn work through some dog behavior issues lately and I've been reading Cesar Millan's books. If you have a dog, I really recommend that you read these. I didn't really grow up with a dog and honestly I have no idea what's going on in his head (especially compared to the way I can read Ramius - I did grow up with cats), and I think that's a big part of what's going on, but I feel like I'm starting to understand him better thanks to these books. I've still got a long way to go, but at least we've started the journey. (Wow, I do sound a bit like a fortune cookie today, don't I?)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Random Wednesday

Some of you may have noticed that the blog has been a little "off" lately and I wanted to apologize. For the past three summers, I have hosted the Mystery Stole knitalong and the first two I affectionately referred to as "Summer Eaters." This last one though, due to the sheer size of it, which I was not expecting and did not plan on, really was a Summer Eating Monster and that took a lot out of me, both timewise and emotionally, that I wasn't prepared to give when I started it this year. (I'm not saying this to get sympathy, I'm just explaining what has happened.) As of the first part of September, it had calmed way down and was taking much less time, but I think I needed some time away from the computer to re-balance myself. I have been spending as little time as possible online and there have been some evenings that I haven't knit at all. I've got some things I definitely want to do, but the motivation hasn't been there. I think part of it also has to do with the unseasonably warm weather we've had around here this Fall - it's hard to convince yourself you need a warm wool cardigan when you're wearing shorts to walk your kid to school early in the morning and by afternoon, you've gotten out the flip flops again.

Slowly but surely I have felt myself getting back to where I want to be and I have learned some things about myself and what I am willing and able to give. I have learned to say no to some opportunities that have come along because while they might be good things, I've learned to look at the other parts of my life, the parts more important than knitting and give myself an honest answer as to whether I'm willing to commit the time and effort needed to incorporate these opportunities into the rest of my life right now. I hope that I have got a better idea of what I need to do to balance my life and keep my priorities and sanity in order, and if I have learned this, I can only thank MS3.

Like I said at the first of this post, I'm not writing this for sympathy, but I know that the blog has been the one to suffer lately and I felt like those of you who have kept reading through all of this deserved an explanation for the blah posts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New Spinning

I've started spinning the Ice Blue Merino (this is a commercial Merino Top - nothing fancy or handdyed) portion of my three ply/three fiber yarn. I decided to do it as the second batch of fiber because it doesn't change colors or do anything interesting and we all know that at the end of a spinning project, I tend to get a little bored. I have finished all three bobbins of the Mojito Love batts (the third one looks surprisingly like the first two so I'm not going to do show and tell with it), just in case you're wondering. This particular fiber, while it will be rather boring to spin (the Mojito Love had silk and Angelina in it, the last fiber - Delia's BFL - changes tones and shifts colors), this plain Jane Merino top will be a very important part of the finished yarn. Because it is a solid color, it will anchor the whole yarn and make it look cohesive, even though the other two plies sparkle and change colors. This one is going to be the glue that holds the whole thing together and will make the combination work.

As of tomorrow, things should have settled down as much as they ever do around here so I'm hoping to get back to regular blogging!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Try to control yourselves


I've gotten up to the armhole shaping (or the place where I'll start the armhole shaping) on my wrap cardi. Can you stand the excitement? Yes, I know it still looks like a rectangle, but it's a rectangle knit on two different size needles with two strands of yarn in one place and one strand in another place? Does this make it more exciting? Not so much, huh?

Yeah, I'm losing steam knitting it and the fact that the temps got warm here again isn't helping with the motivation. I keep telling myself that once I get this done and the other front (and it's not taking that long to do once I sit down and actually knit it) that the sleeves will zip by and then I can sew it together and have my first Fall 2007 cardi finished. Unfortunately, because of all the switching yarns and needles, it's not a project I can sit and work on in small moments of the day, or when I'm distracted or when I'm on the phone. I have to sit down and get into a rhythm with it. My goal is to finish this front and start on the right front by this weekend, maybe that will help. No really, it will help.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sporadic Blogging

I just wanted to say that blogging will be sporadic over the next couple of days. We've got a lot going on around here and I'll blog when I can, but I don't think I'll be able blog as regularly as I usually try to (as you've probably figured out already from the time of day I'm posting this).

I'll be back!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Spinning Away

I spent some time this weekend and got the second bobbin of Mojito Love (one of Kary's Kitchen Sink Battz (tm)) singles finished. I have one more bobbin of this fiber, then I'll move on to the next fiber. I'm not sure if I'll do the commercial Merino Top next or Delia's handdyed BFL (Blue Faced Leicester - its a sheep breed). I'm leaning towards the Merino Top because by the time I get to the last fiber, I will have 6 bobbins spun and I might be running out of steam. Having colors shade in and out as I spin them might just be what I need to keep me going down the home stretch.

I've been thinking about what kind of sweater I want to make with this yarn and I'm leaning towards a cardigan. I might have a cardigan addiction, seeing as I have yarn and patterns picked out for 4 or 5 in my stash and some others on my wish list, but seeing as I have a vast T-shirt collection and I can throw a cardi on over any one of them to make it cool weather appropriate, it makes sense. Besides, I can quit anytime. Really!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Saved from myself!


I'm still working on the left front of the wrap cardi (Vogue Knitting Holiday 2006 - links to pictures are in Monday's post). Fortunately, Elann came through and yesterday afternoon the extra yarn I needed showed up. Right colorway, right dyelot, right amount of yarn for finishing the project! Woo Hoo!

As you can see in this picture, the right section of the front is worked over a single strand of yarn on one size of needles and the left section (which will be the center of the cardi) is worked with a double strand of yarn and a larger size of needles. So yes, I'm working with two balls of yarn and two sets of needles. And yes, it's REALLY annoying to work like this. I can kind of get into a rhythm with it, but it's slow going. I typically work both fronts at the same time when I do a cardi, but there's no way I could put up with that much going on at once, so I have to knit the left front, then go back and do the right front. After all this, the sleeves should fly.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 11, 2007

More than 50% More Solace Than Ever Before! (Or something like that.)


I have been working away at Solace and now that the temperature has dropped to more Fall like ranges (90 degrees F on Monday is NOT Fall), I'm inspired to really get it finished so I can snuggle into it. At this point I'm knitting from ball number 7 of 12, so I'm past the halfway point. I have done 9 repeats of the chart, so I should get 7 or 8 more to finish this wrap.

Every time I show this project, I get comments that the center section looks like cables in my Solace, but not in my Mom's original Solace for her pattern. I promise there are no cables in the design. It's an eyelet pattern and because the decreases aren't right next to their Yarn Overs, the knitted fabric looks like it changes directions, which gives it the textured look you see in the picture. I think the reason it looks more "cabley" in my Solace has to do with the yarn. My Mom used a Soy Silk/Wool blend and I'm using 100% Wool. Wool is more elastic than Soy Silk, so my yarn is bouncier, making it draw in with the texture, while Mom's yarn relaxed and draped, opening up the design. Once I finish this wrap, I will wash it and lay it out flat to dry and smooth it down. I don't think it will need a hard blocking the way I would do a traditional lace piece, but smoothing it out should make it look nice.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A New Spinning Project

This summer, while looking at my stash, I realized that I had some Kitchen Sink Battz (tm), some BFL top dyed by Delia of The Fiber Denn, and some commercial Merino top that all coordinated (links are below). All three different batches of fiber were in the pale blue green color family. I had enough of all three, if I combined them, to make enough yarn for a sweater, so that's what I decided to do. Above you can see the first bobbin from the Kitchen Sink Batt - Mojito Love. I'm almost done spinning this first bobbin up, then I'll spin the other two (I'll have 3 bobbins of each fiber type when I'm done), then I'll make a 3 ply yarn with one ply from each fiber type for my finished yarn. I plan on spinning all of the fibers in a worsted technique, even though the batts are obviously not combed, but carded. (True worsted spinning is done with combed fibers.) This should make a smooth, strong yarn.

I haven't sampled what the finished yarn will look like, but I think that since the overall color scheme is close it will coordinate, with the differences making the finished yarn interesting (the Mojito Love is the greenest of the batch, while the Merino top only hints at green and Delia's BFL has a wider range of lights and darks). At least that's what my gut is telling me and we all know - listen to the gut!

Kitchen Sink Battz (tm) are available from the Knotty Sheep on Ebay or on Etsy.

The Fiber Denn is also on Ebay and Etsy.

Solid colored Merino Top is available all over the place, but I got mine from Ohio Valley Natural Fibers.


Monday, October 08, 2007

A Few Skeins Short of A Sweater

A while back, I was wandering around Elann (if you haven't ever been, you should go check it out- they get discontinued yarn lots and closeouts and mark them WAY down, plus they have a nice yarn line of their own), and I ran across this. I thought it was cute (I don't like the collar up as much as the way they show it in the magazine) and it looked like a simple little cardi to toss on in the Fall. So I read the blurb that Elann had kindly put with the picture and yarn, and ordered 10 balls of yarn.

When I got the yarn, it came in with the yarn I'm using for Solace and I remembered thinking that it didn't seem like enough yarn for a cardi, particularly when the front bands and cuffs are knit with the yarn doubled, but I had read the blurb, so surely it would be fine. Over the weekend I decided to begin the cardi, so I cast on (I'll explain changes I've made at the end of this post). As I was working on the back, I looked at the pattern (Vogue Knitting Holiday 2006, design #18) and paid attention to the yarn requirements for the first time. They called for Montera which is 127 yards per skein. I was using the Elann yarn which is 76 yards per skein. Hmmm. My gut was telling me this could be a problem. As a knitter who has learned the hard way to listen to her gut, I paid attention. I had 10 skeins so I had 760 yards. The yardage requirement for my size was 1143 yards or 9 skeins of Montera. This wasn't a case of "maybe I could shorten the length a bit and it will all be OK" this was definitely "Holy Math Challenged Knitter Batman! This thing has no sleeves!" Ooops.

I went back to the Elann site and actually READ the blurb about the pattern and yarn. Turns out, they listed both the Montera yard requirements and their own brand's requirements. I didn't actually read it before - it was more of a skimming. Well, the knitting goddess was smiling upon me, because they still had 50+ skeins of my yarn in my dyelot (thank you, thank you, thank you Elann, for listing your yarns with dyelots). So this story should have a happy ending - there are 6 more balls of yarns on their way to me just as soon as the US Postal Service goes back to work tomorrow! (It's Columbus Day, Federal Holiday, No Mail.)


Since I don't do anything the way I'm told to, here are all the details: I'm using Elann's Peruvian Highland Chunky in Tranquil Lagoon. After casting on, I worked a WS row in Knit, then switched to stockinette stitch, instead of just starting in stockinette. It still needs blocking, but it will help the rolling a little bit. I also added back neck shaping so it doesn't creep down my back all day. On the fronts, since I do intend to wear it with the collar folded back as they show in the magazine (there's a link on Elann's site if you don't have that issue), I didn't like the way the edging (or lack thereof) looked on the collar as it folds back, so I'm knitting an I cord edge on as I go to make the edging look more finished. As you can see in the picture above, I've finished the back and have started the left front. It's not a difficult pattern, but the fronts are a little fiddly since you work with a single strand of yarn for part of them and one needle size for that section, then switch to a double strand partway across the row and use a different needle size for the second section.


Friday, October 05, 2007

A Public Safety Announcement from Ramius

Mommy has been very busy the last couple of days and when I mentioned that I was concerned about the following issue, she suggested I take over the blog today. Of course, it's not like I need her permission to take over the blog. It's my blog, I just let her make most of the entries. Just like it's my house, my sofa, and my king size bed. I just share with the lesser human types. Because that's the kind of cat I am. Yep, I'm a giver.

This issue I would like to discuss with you today is far more sinister than the yellow haired terror you all know as Finn. (By the way, we have a yellow dog free to a good home, or even just a home, or pretty much anyone who's interested.) Today's concern is actually for your own safety.

For years now the canine species has allowed itself to be dressed in clothing and "accessorized." That's fine. They look stupid anyway. A pink tutu can only help. The upcoming human holiday Halloween is like a giant free for all with the dressing up of the dog types. Dogs that don't usually wear clothes on a daily basis will put on Yoda suits, bumblebee costumes, and other humiliating gear. This year however, Target (a human store) is marketing something called "Cat Hats." That's right. They are suggesting that we felines need to dress up for a human holiday. Take a moment to sit down if you need to. I was so shocked when I first discovered this I had to sleep for 2 days.

First of all, we are cats. The superior species of this planet. We will not be dressed up and dragged into some silly human holiday at the whim of those who control the tuna. Secondly, if we choose to participate in the human silliness, all we have to do is arch our backs, puff up and make scary noises. WE ARE CATS! We can do Halloween (on a purely voluntary basis only of course) without demeaning ourselves with these so called "Cat Hats."

If you are lucky enough to be allowed to live with a cat, DO NOT, under any circumstances attempt to place one of these "Cat Hats" on the cat who so graciously allows you to live with him. Loss of limb, eyes, and even your life could result from such human arrogance. Unless you dream of being known hereafter as One Armed Sally or Decapitated Dana, just leave the "Cat Hats" at the store and let Target learn their lesson from this unfortunate marketing attempt. Don't worry, they won't take a loss. They'll just repackage them as hats for the smaller dog things.

You have been warned. Oh, and by the way, tuna treats make lovely handouts for trick or treaters. I'm just saying.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Stash Enhancement for Pattern Purposes

It sounds like a more noble cause than just plain stash enhancement, don't you think? I got these yarns to use to write a sock pattern. Not all of them will be used in the pattern, but since you can't always tell how a yarn will look on the computer, I like to get more than I'll need. And also, that way I don't run out of sock yarn. Because that could be disastrous. And really inconvenient. Well, I'm sure you understand, and if you don't, knit a sock, then you'll understand.

Anyway, these are from Yarn 4 Socks, a web based yarn store that specializes in (wait for it) - SOCK YARN! From left to right are Shibui Knits in Breeze, Madelinetosh in Logwood, Fleece Artists Seawool in Spring, and Seacoast Handpaints in Olive Branch. You'll have to wait and see which ones I use for the pattern and the pattern won't be available until after the first of the year, but these yarns are so pretty, I had to share. Also, its fun to cause trouble.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Remember way back in May when I dyed some Merino Top (at top) and some Romney (at bottom) a rich ultramarine blue? Then I carded them into batts and blended them with some Angelina (the Opal colorway) on my brand new drumcarder?*
Over the summer I slowly spun the batts into singles.
And this weekend I plied the singles together, ending up with 590 yards of fingering weight 3 ply yarn. It's a firm but bouncy yarn and I think it will knit up into some really nice socks. I think I could have used some more Angelina as the sparkle is less than subtle, but I'd rather it be too little than have yarn that resembles a disco ball - maybe that's just me. As the first yarn that I took from raw fleece (the Romney part), cleaned, dyed and carded it myself, then spun and plied it, I'm pretty proud. I might just spend the next week or so walking around with this on my shoulder like a wool parrot.

*I have a Strauch Petite with the Brush Attachment in case anyone was wondering.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

One Sock, Two Sock, Big Sock, Small Sock


With apologies to Dr. Seuss, I have finished Caleb's tiny gray socks. I have only been working on them while I'm waiting for Caleb to do his after school activities, so they probably took longer than they should have. His socks really look tiny next to Mickael's big socks, but the two of them both look cute in them. They wore them over the weekend, but neither would sit still long enough for me to get a group foot picture.

The details in case you're interested: the yarn is a Regia color that was discontinued that I got from Elann. I knit them on size US 1's (2.25mm) in my generic sock pattern with a heel stitch heel. I used two balls (these were 100 gram balls) to get all four socks. They were simple and fast to do and a great no brainer project for me, but I'm ready to work on a sock with a little more going on now!