Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last bits of 2007

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and had a chance to relax, and maybe even get some knitting done. I sure had a good time, but the knitting part, well I didn't have much time for that. I did, however, get a nice gift card to my LYS from my coworkers. I was so surprised that they had thought of that! Not that there's anything wrong with getting a bottle of wine, or something like that, but yarn... for me that is a much more personal gift. I went to spend it yesterday, and here's what I got:
Zephyr silk/wool lace weight in three colors, for a scarf from the Icelandic Three Cornered and Long Shawls. I had to get started last night already, but I don't have a progress shot. Not that it looks like much, yet, as you start with 329 stitches, and it takes a while to get just 4-5 rows done...

Another new (to me) yarn I thought I'd try was Reynold's Soft Seawool:I'm going to use it for a pair of socks. It's a little thicker than what I usually use, but really squishy! Can't wait to get started with this one, too.

The other in-progress project is still Oblique:

I've got a good start on the second sleeve, but I'm running out of yarn... The yarn requirement in the pattern seemed low to begin with, but I thought I'd go with it. Now Webs is of course all sold out of this yarn, and I had to order 2 more balls from somewhere else for twice as high a price, and a different dye lot. Grr... Fortunately it's a variegated yarn, so I'm not terribly concerned about the dye lot issue. Just seems like such a waste to spend almost half as much for two balls as for the rest of the sweater together. But I'm still in love with the pattern, and I've got high hopes for it! I've read several people's comments about Veronik's patterns, and how they thought they were confusing and hard to follow. I haven't had any problems with this pattern and I think it is extremely clear and well written. I'm very tempted to buy her recent book.

As far as getting help with my knitting projects goes, I'm still doing good. Suzy is training to knit socks:

And I didn't even have to ask her...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happines is...

This new little gadget moved to our house last week:

It is of course Ashford Joy! The perfect little spinning wheel:

I started by practicing with some yellow corriedale I had in the stash. Not the prettiest wool ever, but very suitable for the purpose.

And of course I had some help:

My creation, 100 % novelty ;)

And in the knitting bag:

Veronik's Oblique from the fall Knitty:

I'm in love with both the pattern and the yarn. The pattern is very carefully written, I haven't found any errors or illogical solutions, and it is a pleasure to knit. The yarn, Maldi Fusion, is super soft, and makes the project even better. The only problem I'm having is that I don't think I have quite enough, and Webs, where I ordered this yarn from, sold out in no time. For that reason only, I'm changing the front of the sweater a little, and crossing my fingers that I'll have enough.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

New skills

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had a chance to try my mother-in-law's spinning wheel. I've only spun once before, and it was with flax (home grown, mind you), and I couldn't remember a thing about how to do it. I had some kind of an idea from tutorials on-line, and she (MIL) had some kind of an idea from taking a class, and so we tried to put everything we knew together, and gave it a shot. Her wheel is one on those made after and antique spinning wheel, and doesn't have a lot of adjustments one way or the other, so it wasn't the easiest thing to use. But nevertheless, I had a blast, and even ended up with some yarn!

The wool I was spinning was very nice and soft, but there were no details available about it, where I bought it. I got two half pound balls in two shades of dark red, which I was mixing as I was spinning.

I of course had to try to knit with my "fun novelty yarn" (my favorite quote from a tutorial: don't worry, if your yarn has thick and thin spots, you're making a fun novelty yarn!") My yarn had a little too much novelty in it at times, but at the end, I actually ended up with something you could call a thick-and-thin yarn, instead of the hard and snarly over-spun wire I made first. The hat is grownup size, but I asked the kids to model so I could get some pictures:

I also finished the socks for E:

A basic sock with 2x2 rib cuff and a heel flap. The yarn is Trekking XXL. I first attempted to make the socks symmetrical, but then noticed that the stripes just don't repeat the same at all, and I gave up. That's fine though, I think this is a real fun colorway for kids!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Long time, no see, eh? I apologize for not posting... I don't really even have a good excuse, except that I've been too distracted, and too busy (read: lazy) to take proper pictures to post. I still have a whole bunch of polymer clay projects that I'd like to share, but haven't taken any pictures of, so that'll have to wait. As far as knitting goes -well, remember this cardi from a while back?
I actually did finish it. And it actually turned out absolutely horrible. I was thinking all along that the instructions weren't too good. The design is really pretty, but to get form the instructions to something that looks like garment in the photo is another matter. The construction is terrible, just a plain bad design. I'd look up the designer, if I hadn't lost the magazine, so I'd know to avoid them next time. It's not that there were too many errors, but the whole thing just wasn't going to work out. And I was wondering how it could, but thought I'd just knit all the way to the end and see. And it didn't. And I'm pissed. So I ripped the pieces apart, and I'm redoing the shoulders and the tops of the sleeves, as well as the collar. We'll see, if I'll be able to salvage it, or if I'll have to rip out the whole thing and start over. With a different pattern.

On the other hand, I've made progress on the black alpaca cardi, and I was actually determined to piece it together this weekend, so I could wear it to work tomorrow. My office is getting increasingly cold as the fall progresses, and I need to wear WOOL every day, or I'm not going to make it.

Here are the pieces taking a bath: Blocking went smoothly, since I had help again, as usual:

So much nicer, when you don't have to face a big job like this all alone! Now all I got to do, is piece it together and add a button band and a couple of buttons.

That was my plan until last night, when both the kids came down with The Flu. A nasty stomach virus that changed my schedule and made laundry and cleaning my first priority, and forced me to put the cardi on the back burner. Bummer. But I'll get there, should only take a couple of hours now.

I've also been knitting on some on-the-go projects, namely sock in sizes 3-years and 8-years:
This is the "hurts-your-eyes" colorway of some unknown sock yarn (not really unknown, but one of my helpers likes to remove the bands from balls of yarn, as you might recall.) The next ones weren't quite as bad, as far as colorful yarns go:

I actually started to like this colorway of Trekking XXL a lot, as I kept knitting. The color changes are slow, and there's always more than one color going on at once. Even when it looks like it's just one color, there are speckles of other colors in it. The socks are actually already finished, but I just don't have a picture yet.

Now back to knitting... got to finish that cardi!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend fun

Oh, the crazyness that is polymer clay...

This is a technique called "Cutting Edge" by Dan Cormier. He doesn't have a web site that I could find, but he gives a lot of classes, and has published some instructions in the Polymer Cafe magazine. The beads are made with a silver (or alternatively gold) clay mixed with a color clay. Those tiny little silver mica particles reflect light differently from different angles, which is what makes the beads interesting. (Carissa Nichols gives a pretty good explanation on mica shift here.) Also the lines are sort of under the surface, and all the beads are polished to a fine silky smooth finish.

This is a crazy curly-swirly bead that I made with the left over clay from the cutting-edge-beads:

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Black sheep -no, black alpaca!

I'm trying to post a little more often than once a month, so tonight I had to practically force myself to post something. The issue isn't that there would be a lack of crafts or knitting, not at all. I've just been way too lazy to take pictures and edit them to have something to show. But since my goal is to get back to posting once a week, I thought I really should do something about it tonight!

I have the pieces to the sweater from the last post just about finished, but I still have to put them all together and knit quite a bit of border to finish it. Not a very good mindless project, so I had to start something new. I wound the black alpaca I bought in Seattle into balls, and oh, my goodness, it is sooo soft! I just can't get over how this yarn feels! So even though most of the yarns in my stash have been waiting for much longer to be turned into something wearable, I started a sweater with this yarn. Modeled after my current favorite cardigan, it is going to be very plain, with a slightly shaped waist and a V-neck, button-down front and possibly small pockets (I haven't quite made up my mind about those, yet). It is a very true black, and therefore quite impossible to photograph, as you can see:

It has a bit of a sheen, and looks wonderful in a moss stitch, so I decided to do an inch of moss stitch in the cuffs and the hem:

If you can only see a black square, don't worry. That's pretty much what it is...

I also started a pair of socks to have a small portable project. I let the boys pick their own sock yarn from the stash, and this is what Mr S. picked:

And I thought I'd never get rid of that yarn... ;) I'm not sure how it ended up in my stash, but it certainly isn't something I'd pick now, so it must have been there for a while.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


That is Second Sleeve Syndrome. A major case of it, to say the least... This is where I'm today, after finally picking up and starting yesterday:

I have not as much as touched it all summer, although I have to admit that knitting has been slow over all. But I know that with a few days of knitting, I can have this thing done, and can feel better about moving on to other things. The pattern (in the picture) is from last winter's Vogue. Surprisingly the pattern is written for Cascade 220, which is an unusual choice of yarn for Vogue, since the cost of the sweater only ends up being around $ 50, instead of at least double that. I'm enjoying the pattern, but there are a couple of weird things about it. In the front pieces, the stitch count is reduced in an odd way before binding off for the shoulders. Not sure how it will work when I'll piece it together -I may end up having to re-do the shoulders. The other thing is that in the pattern they don't mention any other closure than the belt, but obviously in the picture there's something holding the front together at least at the tip of the shawl collar. I think I'll just add a couple of buttons but that would mean I also have to add a button band. Or maybe I'll use some hooks instead.

The way I was able to overcome SSS was to compile a list of unfinished projects, and projects on my to-do list. I don't have a ton of things on my unfinished list, but there are 4 sweaters that are only a couple of days worth of knitting away from finishing. So I thought I should pick up the slack and stop feeling guilty about them. Here's the list:

1) Petrol blue cardigan, I have to re-do the shawl collar
2) Oxblood sweater, needs second sleeve and collar
3) A sweater for E, needs the collar finished and sleeves lengthened (I've piddled around long enough on it that the sleeves are already too short...)
4) A light blue cotton sweater, needs 1 1/2 sleeves
5) A hat for E
6) Socks for S

The things on my to-do list are all projects that I already have yarn for. I actually don't have any yarn (at least not in large quantities) that doesn't have a project planned for it.
1) Cable sweater from moss green wool
2) Cowl neck sweater from brown boucle
3) Mohair sweater
4) V-neck sweater from Art Yarn's light green wool/silk
5) Christmas scarf
6) Christmas scarf 2
7) Sweater from black alpaca
8) Sweater from blue wool
9) E socks
10) lace scarf from blue-green wool
11) lace scarf from purple silk (could be a gift)
12) lace scarf from Art Yarns silk
13) Sweater from brown/tan wool

Obviously, I don't have to go buying any more yarn for a while, at least until most of these are finished...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Stop and smell the roses

I do still blog, I swear I do! Life just got in the way for a while. I have not only enjoyed the summer (and smelled the roses), but also covered North America from Seattle to New York in the last two weeks. In knitting terms, this means one finished object and lots of time thinking about new ones, and even some swatching (no photographic evidence of this).

May I present to you, Rose:

Rose is made out of Plassard Coton-Lin, a 60/40 cotton and linen blend, about sport weight, I would say, 195 m to 50 g. I used about 8 balls, I think. The finished fabric has a nice drape to it, and feels cool to the skin, like linen fabrics usually do.

I used a 3.75 mm needle for the lace in the bottom of the body and sleeves, and 3.25 mm for the stockinette top. I didn't like how loose it looked with the bigger needle -I'm usually more a fan of a smaller, tighter gauge, than a looser one.

I used an I-cord edging for both the front and back. Or in the front I actually just took advantage of the rolling of the stockinette, but the back side is true I-cord up to where the neck curves. And the cool thing is that you can't even tell where it switches from I-cord to stockinette.

I took the measurements from one of my favorite sweaters, and it fits perfectly. Me love Rose. :)

And if I ever get to it, there might be a pattern available for Rose. At least I wrote my notes so that it would be possible.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The other craft(s)

You know all these babies I've been talking about? Well, with each gift, there needs to be a card. So off to shopping for cardstock and paper I go... (by the way, I've calculated that I'd have to make well over a 100 cards for this hobby to pay off, assuming the average card from the store costs aout $ 2.50... oops...)

Here's two "boy-cards" and one "girl-card" (click for bigger).
Materials used: cardstock, patterned paper, plain paper, bubble stickers, glue, color pencils.

I was going to make more, but ran out of ideas and inspiration. Oh, well.

I was also going to take pictures of my jewelery, so here goes. These are all from the last 2-3 years. I combined the pictures into collages so I wouldn't have quite as many pictures in the post. Again, click for bigger. First the bracelets:

From the top left, specks: 1. a three strand bracelet with amazonite and silver, 2. a garden themed bracelet with mostly glass beads and silver charms, 3. a two strand bracelet with pearls, mother-of-pearl, citrine and gold 4. Check glass, mookaite, mother-of-pearl, silver, 5. my 4th of July -bracelet with glass beads, silver and pewter (I lost the cutest charm ever, a small stage coach with moving wheels and all -boo hoo!) This bracelet tells a story of immigration to America. The first charm is a US map, the second one Statue of Liberty (connection to early immigrants and Ellis Island), the third one was the stage coach, because that's how the settlers got across the country, especially to our neck of the woods. Fourth is a map of South Dakota, fifth is a baby, because Mr S is my American baby, and he connects me to this country more than anything else. The last one is an American flag. Where was I... ok, 6. One of my most used pieces of jewelry (I like green!) with handmade glass beads, silver, yellow jade (I think), and pearls.

My latest addition to the bracelets is this, with matching earrings:

This is one of my favorites, made with fire agate, carnelians and gold. It oddly reminds me of a plastic bracelet from my childhood. The problem with this is that I can't stop touching the smooth oval beads. :)

I've also got a bunch of earrings that I've made:

From top left: 1. amazxonite and silver, 2. rose quartz, pewter and silver, 3. handmade glass beads, gold, 4. glass beads, pewter and silver, 5. jade and silver, 6. glass and silver.

And my favorite pair of earrings:

Made with citrines, mother-of-pearl and gold. Love them!

And the only necklace I've made, that I'm also in love with:

The dark wood beads are bayong. For the crocheted beads I just used whatever wood beads from the craft store and crocheted in mouline thread over them. The cord is leather and the closure silver.

I get most of my beads from Artbeads. They have a large selection, free shipping and no minimum order. So for someone like me, who doesn't order large quantities, it's perfect. Even if I need just one thing, I can get it without worrying about shipping. I make jewelery mainly out of "necessity", that is, when I want a pair of earrings or something else to wear with an outfit. It's at a very random frequency, even though I enjoy doing it a lot.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Travel knitting

Another work trip, another chance to spend hours on end just knitting and minding my own business. :) I sort of like work trips! This time I flew to Houston for a day, which meant two travel days with a total of 14 hours of time at airports and planes. The result?

Two baby sweaters using the Elizabeth Zimmermann Baby surprise jacket -pattern, and a little felted cozy for my new phone/toy from work.

I really enjoyed the EZ pattern -this was a first for me. The Baby surprise jacket is a fun knit and a perfect way to use leftover yarns! I used up 5 balls of miscellaneous yarns in making these two sweaters. Pretty good, I would say. So the total cost for making two baby gifts was $ 3.50 for the pattern (plus shipping) and about $ 3.00 for the buttons. Not bad.

Here's the front of the first one before finishing the shoulder seams and weaving in the ends:

The back with the shoulder piece folded down to show the construction:

The back with the shoulder piece up:

The finished sweater:

This one was knitter using a dark green, a sage green and a white DK weight yarn and 3.25 mm circular needles. The fabric is maybe a little on the dense side, and the sweater is quite small (0-3 month size), so I used a 3.75 mm needle for the next one, and added a few stitches across the back and sleeves. The pink and the maroon are left over yarns from the Argyle vest, and the white is the same as in the first sweater above. Here's the sweater from the inside, spread out:

The front folded up:

The back:

The sleeve:

And finished:

And the felted phone cozy, using Paton's Soy wool:

Pattern from the "make it up as you go" collection, using 4.5 mm needles, 48 stitches around, attached I-cord edging and loops. The stripes just happened to turn out symmetrical, which made me very happy.