Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Button & A Fall Off The Yarn Diet

I got a button for the Green Shrug the other day at JoAnn.  I wanted a bamboo button but all they had was toggles and that wouldn't have worked.  I found this tortoiseshell looking one with holes big enough for the super bulky yarn to go through and I think it's just right.

I worked along on the Wildflowers Shawlette at work yesterday and realized that it's DK or fingering weight yarn *head, slap*  but I am not frogging it at this stage.  Besides I like the way this is looking and it'll look awesome with a winter white ruffle.

After my walk this morning I stopped into Monterey Yarns to see when their last day is.  End of May, she said, but judging by the emptiness of the shelves they probably won't make it that long.  I did my part and brought home a skein of Noro Silk Garden and one of Silly Stripes, it's 100% cotton.  See?  Variegated, colors--I can't resist.  It wasn't a big fall off the yarn diet, only a little one, and it was kind of pity yarn.  I couldn't go in there to see when they were closing and not buy anything, could I?  No.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Finished, Frogged, Started, Frogged, Resurrected, Started, & a Flashback

So, what did you do on your day off?  That up there, that's what I did.  I finished the Green Kerchief although I may unpick the tail, rip back about the last 1 1/2 inches and redo them because I had a bit of a brain fart on one edge and it's kind of wobbly.  I didn't think it'd bother me but it does.  It's not a big deal so I still count that as finished.

I frogged the Yogi Sock like I said I would.  It wasn't floating my boat and I just didn't think I'd wear it even if I do manage to go to yoga more often.

I started another boot sock.  I know, I know, boot weather is done for the season (it damn well better be anyway) but I have it in my mind to make one with the remains of the yarns I've used for the earlier socks and want to do it NOW.  Besides I'm wearing boot socks in my tennies right now because my feet still get cold but I don't want to use foot warmers anymore because it's Spring, or it's supposed to be.

About 18 months ago I cast aside the Summer Fever Shawl for reasons I no longer remember.  (something shiny must have passed by)  I thought I'd pick it up yesterday and just take up where I left off.  I couldn't.  Oh, I had notes and a row counter but they weren't helpful.  I tried.  I knitted one row the way I thought it should be, then counted, then squinted at the pattern, back at the knitting, back at the pattern, and I was lost.  So out came the needle and I rolled the yarn back into a ball.  I might begin again.  Maybe.  Or maybe I'll tag the yarn for another less complicated pattern.

When I went down into the (endless) stash for the Summer Fever Shawl I saw the bag with the parts of the Red Marl Sweater in it that also got cast aside nearly 3 years ago.  Okay, maybe closer to 2 1/2, but a long time ago nevertheless.  When picking up the shawl was a bust I thought that even though it's pseudo-Spring I could maybe apply myself to that sweater and have it ready for the next time Winter rears its head, so I brought it upstairs and checked its status and I think I can.  (I think I can, I think I can... remember the Little Engine That Could?)  I'm about 2/3 of the way up the front and had left off where the armhole decreases start, so I did those last night watching TV and will give it some attention to see how far I can get before it's too hot to knit a bulky wool sweater.  I also have the sleeves cast on and the cuffs knitted; that's good mindless knitting for TV watching too.

And because I can't leave well enough alone I dug out the yarns and needles to knit another After the Rain shawlette.  It's such a great pattern and I've been wearing the Psychedelic one at least once a week so I need another one, one with less flashy colors to go with more stuff.  (good rationalizing, don't you think?)

I want to knit ALL the yarn.  Right now.  It's Spring, flowers poking up, birdies singing, startitis raging.  Ahhh.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the coolest thing I did yesterday.  It's the flashback in the post title up there.  Durwood has a pair of ancient denim shirts that he got eons ago when he worked for Gillette selling Right Guard etc.  He loves those shirts and has worn them to shreds.  Well, at least one of the collars is in shreds so he asked if I couldn't take off the worn part and put on a piece of ribbing or something so he can still wear it.  (understand that he does not wear this out of the house)  I didn't think that ribbing was the answer even though all he was looking for was preservation not fashion so I let the problem stew up in my gray matter for a week and had a brilliant flashback.  I remembered my Great-grandma Barbara and Grandma Freida "turning" collars on men's when they got worn.  Turning means to pick out the stitches attaching the collar band to the body of the shirt (leaving the collar untouched), turning it around so that what was the
neck side becomes the underneath side and vice versa, a few pins, a little sewing, and voila! the shirt is saved.  I'd never done it but I have picked out enough stitches to go to the Moon and back, and this is not a dress shirt, not even a wear outside shirt, so what did I have to lose.  By golly, it worked.  You can see by the pale blue and the "ring around the collar" stains that even bleach won't budge how old and beloved this shirt is.  I'm glad I could save it for a few more wearings for my long-suffering and patient beloved.

Monday, April 22, 2013


I finished the Green Shrug this morning.  I spent most of the weekend piled up on the couch tending my cold and knitting, and had only one more row of bottom ribbing and the bind off when I got to work today and I finished it.  I like it.  I added 2" to the body so that it didn't look like a green wool sports bra so when I got near the length the pattern specified I quick picked up the sleeve stitches, knit those, and then picked up the neck band stitches and knit that so that there would be plenty of yarn to add a couple inches plus the bottom ribbing.  And I've got about 4 oz. of yarn left.  I thought about keeping going but I'm glad I didn't.  I slipped it on and I like it.  Tomorrow I'll paw through my button boxes to see if I've got an appropriate button for it.  This is an excellent pattern, well-written and easy to follow.  The only thing is I'd recommend that those on the XL end of the size range use a longer circular needle as that's a lot of stitches and they wanted to jump off, the scamps.

I made the decision that I'm going to frog the Yogi Socks.  There's no yoga at Friday Night Knitting anymore and I don't go to the yoga center every Wednesday (only when Mardi's teaching) so why would I make something I won't wear.  No reason.  Into the frog pond.  I'll make an anklet with the yarn.  Cross my heart.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's Starting To Look Like A Sweater

Just a quick post so I can show you that I got to the point of putting the Green Shrug's sleeve stitches on waste yarn, casting on armpit stitches and beginning to knit my way down the body last night.  Woohoo!  And I'm just about through the second skein of four so I'm sure I'll have plenty of yarn to finish it, neck and all.  Woohoo again!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Few More FOs

(that's Finished Objects for those not familiar with knitters' jargon) 

I buckled down Saturday evening and finished the Pumpkin Great-Grandbaby hat to send to Aunt B for her impending first great-grandchild.  That seems wrong on so many levels.  First of all, my Aunt B is nowhere near old enough to be a great-grandma and second, LD's not old enough to be a grandpa.  Hell, he's younger than I am... although I will confess that both of my children are in their 30s and haven't made me a grandma yet (no pressure, guys, really) so perhaps my perspective's a little skewed.  But the hat is darling.  I highly recommend it if you need a quick baby gift.  If you devote yourself to it monogamously you can finish it in one long day or two evenings of chat & knit.

All day Thursday at work (and it was a looooong day with only a single customer, paying or non) I made a lot of Green Shrug progress.  I'm within 5 rows of putting the sleeve stitches on waste yarn and joining the body stitches at the underarm and keeping on down the body.  Remember this is a shrug so it's not longer than the bottom of my ribs anyway and I'm knitting it with hawser-gauge yarn (3 rows = 1") so it shouldn't take me long to get to 15" from the top of the shoulder.  A casual measuring just now shows that I've got approximately 9" done already.  I may be tempted to add a bit of length to the body and sleeves; I'll see how the yarn holds out because there is no buying more (I got this yarn in Goshen, IN in 2011; hard to match dye lots) and I need to save yarn for the neck band which is added last.  I want to have it finished so that I can take it with me to The Clearing in mid-May.  I'll so make it by then.

Yesterday afternoon when it began to snow AGAIN I took my iPod and went down into the basement to sew something.  Skully shared a pattern for a soup bowl potholder that I've been meaning to make and seeing Durwood carrying his hot bowl across the kitchen yesterday at lunch gave me the impetus I needed to get the job done.  I decided as long as I was making one I'd make two, one for him and one for me.  I dug through the stash and found a fish print for him and a chicken print for me, and some yellow near-solid for the insides.  This is a very straightforward, simple pattern that turns out a very handy item.  The only caveat is that you must use cotton fabric and cotton batting so nothing melts in the microzapper.  And they're washable for those worried about soup slopping over on the walk from micro to table. 

And do not put them away because they're "too nice" either.  Handmade things don't reach their full destiny if they're not used and loved and sometimes loved to rags.  As a knitter/crocheter, lotion crafter, and sewist I expect the things I make and give away to be used and abused.  Don't save lotion or lip balm, the stuff I make has no preservatives in it and is only good for about a year.  If you wear out, felt from use, tear, lose on the bus, spit up or whizz on (mostly I'm speaking to the babies in my audience here), or sit too close to the fire in anything I have made you, don't be embarrassed, just tell me and I'll either fix it or make a new one.  Cross my heart.  Makers like to make things so if we get to make more, that's all to the good.  Sorry for the rant, it just bugs me when I make things for people and they don't use whatever it is.  (can you tell?)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Off On Tangents

I am convinced that I have late-onset ADD.  I can't seem to stay on a path, can't really focus on one project, complete it, and then move on to the next.  I had 2 perfectly good WIPs (works in progress) in my knitting bag after we frogged the Fino Bias scarf the other night but did I just focus on them?  Of course not.  No, I had to gather up 3 (THREE) more from downstairs on Tuesday, haul them up, and cast on 2 of them that very night.  I have been laser beam focused on the Green Shrug for the last 24 hours.  I left it at home on Wednesday and worked solely on Yogi Sock #1, which is the second of the 3 new projects, at work on Wednesday.  That means that I have not crocheted one stitch on the Green Kerchief or added one round to the Pumpkin Great-Grandbaby hat.  Now those baby hats take very little time, I could probably have it finished by the end of the weekend, no problem.  Will I?  Probably not.  I am more than three-quarters of the way to finishing the Kerchief.  I should bear down and get that baby done, washed, and blocked so that I could wear it (if it ever warms up again).  Will I?  Probably not.  Why?

Because look, here's the Green Shrug after yesterday's quiet day at the dive shop.  It's yarn the thickness of the hawser used to tie up a tugboat knitted on needles as thick as a horse's leg.  I get a lot of progress with each row and that's like those electromagnets that pull the Bullet Trains along to me.  When things are going quickly I knit faster and longer because I just love watching that knitted fabric pile up, form itself into something that I can wear or use.  For me that's knitting crack.

I don't know what it was about Yogi Sock #1 the other day but it was THE project I had to take to work and HAD to work on exclusively.

I will say that I have NOT cast on the third project (another boot sock) that I brought upstairs.  Yet.

Last night at the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild meeting Founding Knitter, TS, taught us how to put bling in our knitting by putting beads in it.  It was more of a challenge than I'd anticipated but it was fun and most of us went home with postage stamp samples of beaded knitting.

There was a guest at knitting last night who is a member of Evergreen Quilters, which shares a president with the Knitting Guild, who brought a garbage bag full of twin-size wool quilt batts she had gotten from a co-worked who had inherited the fleeces.  She had them carded and cleaned, and was selling them for $10 each.  Ten bucks!  I just looked them up online and most are available for between $20 and $30.  I bought two of them, one for the quilt I'm working on and one to have.  Hey, when else am I going to find a 90x50 wool quilt batt for ten bucks?  Even if I don't make another quilt I can use the wool batting for a lot of other projects.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Bad Startitis Outbreak

Remember on Monday when I said I planned to frog the Fino Bias scarf?  Well, after supper on Monday I did.  With Durwood's help I turned a scarf back into 2 skeins of yarn.  I got my ball winder up and wound them back up.  They'll become a scarf again soon, but not right now.

Also on Monday I started knitting another one of those darling baby hats that look like flowers for a coming great-grand-baby.  It's going to be another triumph.

Naturally I couldn't be one project down so when I was downstairs yesterday afternoon doing a little sorting, filing and organizing I came upon three others that had to be started last night.  No, HAD to be cast on, were desperate to begin the process of being created and I obliged.  (I'm a nice person, deep down.  Deep, deep down.)

When I was pawing through the sock yarn bin (looking for a pattern in a bag with a single skein that was in a different bin) I came upon the cuff of a yoga sock.  Wonder why I stopped?  I carried it up, tried to put needles back in the loose stitches, gave up, frogged it, and started over.

I think my battle with that laceweight yarn last week led me to rebel.  I dug out nice big needles and the biggest yarn I own, and cast on a pretty pale green shrug (that may only take me a week to make) to wear this spring.  It's kind of hard on my hands but it's going really fast.  That photo is of just over an hour's work.  Pretty good, eh?

The other reason I was pawing through the sock yarn was to gather up all of the remains of the making of various boot socks (Plymouth Encore mostly) to ball it up and pick out a couple to use to make a sock out of whatever comes to hand.  I also found 2 unused skeins.  Ooh, goodie, more big yarn socks.  I like making socks with big yarn, but I also think I might make sure to have one sock-yarn size sock OTN for the summer too.  I need to start making a dent in that big bin of skinny yarn.  I didn't cast that one on yet.  I'll get there.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sock, Kerchief, Frogging, and a Cushion for Pins

I finished the Gray Spiral boot sock the other night.  I'm wearing it right now.  It feels warm and comfy on my foot (it's a rainy day), so comfy that I'm thinking of casting on another sock tout suite.  I'm thinking of gathering up all the remains of past boot socks, starting with one, knitting 'til it's gone or nearly so, and then grabbing another random ball.  Maybe tomorrow...

The Green Kerchief is growing.  I've got 1.5 oz. of yarn left (out of 4 oz. total) so it's moving right along, and I like it.

What I didn't like was the Wrap & Go shawl.  Even though the yarn is super-soft silk and alpaca it's also lace weight.  It was my first time knitting lace weight all by itself and even after I got out my pointiest needles I kept losing stitches or splitting the yarn as I knit it.  I got all of 3 rows knitted before I realized that I was clenched from the roots of my hair to my toenails, so I frogged it and that yarn will become something else.  One day.

I've decided that I have to frog that Fino Bias Scarf and start over with fewer stitches.  I'm thinking I'll ask Durwood to wind up one skein while I wind the other.

In sewing news, in the bag-sewing book I bought the other day there is a photo of a jar-top pincushion that intrigued me.  So I did a little web surfing and found a tutorial.  I used some ground walnut shells as stuffing of my first attempt only to discover that they don't compress so it's impossible to put it in the ring to attach it to the jar.  That one I hot glued into the inverted ring to be a short, jar-less one.  I started over making one that would fit into the ring and onto the jar.  It's okay.  The ring still didn't want to fit onto the jar but I convinced it.  I like them both.  I'll be looking for another tutorial to see if anyone has a tip about that problem so my next attempt is even better.  Hey, this could be a fun gift for those who sew.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sewing. Knitting.

I am working hard to rejuvenate my mojo, re-energize it, find it.  I have the 2-days-of-yoga achy muscles to remind me that I got up off my fat ass to do more than get a snack this week, and I love it.  I plan to do it again and pretty soon my muscles will work and not hurt.  That'll be a good day.

Last night after supper I sewed up a child's messenger bag for the Big Sister of the New Baby I knit those two recent baby hats for.  It is freaking awesome, if I do say so myself.  I had the exactly right upholstery fabric in my stash, there was even a coordinating stripe for the pockets and strap.  I skipped the Velcro flap closures but added another pocket on the outside.  Everybody likes pockets, especially kids who always have important things to put in them.

The other night I frogged the few rows of badly knitted Wrap & Go shawl and started over.  This time I was smart and put in stitch markers and I'M LEAVING THEM IN so I don't find extra stitches creeping in like before.  This is the first time I'm using lace weight and it's a challenge to knit it.  Thank god I remembered that I own US10.75 Knit Picks Harmony straights which are adequately pointed for the task.  I'm doing my best to sew and knit with what I have (although I did get a book about sewing bags at Barnes & Noble this morning but I used a gift card so it wasn't like really buying) so I was determined not to buy bigger pointy needles.

I so enjoyed drawing at the museum in Sheboygan a couple weeks ago so I got myself a copy of Wreck This Journal at B&N too.  I will be getting the colored pencils out of the box under the bed as soon as I post this.  No page will be safe.

I also got myself a treat:  a little 3x5 Moleskin notebook with unlined paper.  I love unlined paper to write on.  See, I'm too German and rule-bound to write across lines but if there are no lines I could write any which way.  I usually don't, but I COULD and that's what I like.

I've been working on my latest boot sock.  I really like the yarn.  I think I'm about 10 rounds from decreasing for the toe.  I'm sure I'll get it done in time to wear it before it's too warm for a thick sock.  (god, what did I just do?  did I wish for the cold to last longer?  I need to lie down with a cool cloth on my forehead)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Starts & False Starts

Well, I got a little ahead of myself last week.  I had every intention of casting on a hat and shawl at Friday Night Knitting, but I couldn't bring myself to cast on the wool hat and couldn't find the inside end of the lace weight for the shawl.  So I kept working on the cotton kerchief which I unexpectedly like how it's turning out.  After a little hitch in beginning it, it's ticking right along and I like the way the marled green color's looking.  I have high hopes for it once it's finished, walked, and blocked.

I did survey the other knitters about whether to finish the scarf or frog it and start over.  I kind of think it's too wide for comfort but I also don't think I want to rip it all apart and begin again.  Z-Dawg suggested that I back up just to where I started the decreases, knit until I'm really running out, bind off, and see how I like it.  I think that's what I'll do.

I tried casting on the shawl last night after I wound the yarn up but the needles I chose were too blunt for the yarn.  I looked online for pointier needles but didn't want to spend the moola.  Big needles ain't cheap.  I unearthed some metal needles which are okay but this morning I remembered that I have a pair of Knit Picks Harmony needles almost the right size and they're extra pointy.  I'll be giving them a try after work.