Monday, December 23, 2013

Where'd time go?

Time really MUST fly when you're having fun.  Or when you're just too busy to notice.

Holiday knitting is non-existent and I'm happy about that.  As always, I have a pair of socks on needles for my Mr., but there is a real good chance that they won't be finished in time for Christmas.  In fact, it's pretty positive that they won't be.  He will not be surprised to get them wrapped up, still on needles.  And he'll say something cute like, "Oh cool! You got me yarn!" And I'll say "Yes, and I'm not finished knitting into socks so I'll need those back!"

In other knitting news, I've finally got sleeves and body separated on Miranda.  And that red sweater vest?  I'm in the process of reclaiming the yarn.  I just .... don't love the process of knitting that anymore.  And it's been on needles for nearly 2 years.  I think that's long enough to figure out that it probably won't get finished.  I'd rather knit something else with that yarn, so I'm thinking about doing the Owls sweater by Kate Davies instead.  That one has been in my radar for years ... it's about time to actually cast on.

Photo is from Kate Davies' blog -- copyright is hers!

In related news, there is now a table set up in the "loft" area. This space is not exactly a room but more of an unused space upstairs at the front of our house. Don't worry, I'll post photos once it's all set up and ready.  One thing I know I will need is a self-healing mat for cutting fabric. The Mr. and I will maybe go shopping for that sometime in the next couple of weeks so that I'll have an idea of how much that stuff costs.  I SWEAR that in 2014 I will sew an actual wearable garment (likely a dress or skirt)!

Okay. I gotta get back to winding that yarn.  It's a gigantic headache to unravel but I've started so I must finish.

Bye for now, friends.  I hope your holiday season is merry and bright!!


Friday, November 29, 2013

Light at the end of the tunnel

I started this pair of socks for my brother in 2010:

I ended up actually hating the yarn and the socks, so I threw them out and started over. Yes, I was THAT frustrated!  The socks I restarted were much better, but given that I'm easily distracted, one project after another stole my attention.  So this sat in the pile of unfinished projects -- kind of like the island of misfit toys.

This week I finally pulled out the bag this was in, and realized that there really isn't all that much more to do.  The first sock is finished, and at this point there is maybe 5 inches worth of knitting left to do on the second sock.  So that's pretty much all I've been working on this weekend.  Is it me, or does it seem like the more you knit on a project, the less progress you seem to make?  So in my finishing frenzy, I'm knitting away, hoping to finish by the end of the weekend at the latest. I'm really looking forward to pulling another unfinished project (or two!) out of the pile, as well as starting another pair of socks so that I can try out a new method for knitting heels (Fish Lips Kiss heel, for you sock knitters!).

I am also looking forward to a good chunk of knitting time tomorrow.  A friend from Pittsburgh will be in town and a few of us are going to meet up at one of the local watering holes for a bit of reunion and a lot of knitting.  I haven't decided what to take with me, but you bet your needles my brother's sock will be in my bag.  I can't wait to get this sock off my needles :-)

And with that, I'm off to curl up in bed with a book and my knitting.  Or maybe I'll switch it up and crochet a bit tonight. Living on the edge!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

And another one's done ...

I went to bed early-ish last night.  However, instead of going right to sleep, I listened to a few chapters of Dracula (via my very favorite podcast, CraftLit). Next thing I knew, the toe of the second sock was finished, all of the stray ends were woven in and I was done!

Next up is to finish the socks I started for my brother in June of 2012 ... 


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Warm woolies, part 2

Take a look at this cowl, willya?  It's a lovely handknit, the Honey Cowl, which is knitted in Madelinetosh DK.  This is already queued! Maybe I should go ahead and cast on sooner rather than later ... this would surely keep me cozy and warm during these cold Ohio winters.

I love, love, LOVE the cable patterns in this sweater.  It is not a hand-knit, and I didn't ask if I could check the fiber content.

There are SO many other knitted garments and accessories that I've seen around campus. Unless I've already been acquainted with the wearers, though, I admit to being a little shy about asking them if I can take photos. "Oh hey, yeah, I really like the knitted hat/scarf/mittens/sweater/socks, etc. that you're wearing ... um, d'you mind if I take a picture of it?"  How would you ask someone a question like that?How would you respond if someone asked you a question like that?  Inquiring minds want to know!

In any case, my own knitting adventures are moving along rather slowly.  I'm STILL working on the gray socks for my Mr.  It seems like the more I knit them, the less progress I make!  I'm down past the heel on the second sock, though, so i hope it's not too long until I'm at the toe.  They'll look great on him.  The other project in my purse/knitting bag is a dishcloth that I'm using to practice Tunisian simple stitch.  It's been forEVER since I've done Tunisian crochet and it's neat to see how much it resembles knitting.  See?

I don't have a photo of the reverse side of this fabric but it looks just like the "wrong" side of stockinette stitch fabric.

I'm also knitting a wool sweater for my hot water bottle.  Most of you probably know what a hot water bottle is, but I've recently talked to some people who didn't know.  All I can say is that they are AWESOME for warming up your bed on a cold wintry night, or for easing muscle pain and such.  I used to wrap mine in an old wool sweater until I finally decided to knit a cover for it.  The wool helps keep it warm through the night.  I think it looks great so far and I am very much looking forward to using it once it is finished.

But for now, I'M finished.  It's way past bedtime, so off I go.  


Saturday, November 09, 2013

Score at the thrift shop, or: This is f*cking awesome!

Last night after work, I stopped by the local thrift shop just for fun.  I was looking for sweaters that were 100% wool. Partly, I was looking for a felted one that I could cut into pieces and make coasters (which I did!), but I also wanted some to wear.  Sadly, I can't seem to knit them fast enough!

Here's the one I used for my coasters:

It didn't fit me but was slightly felted so I thought it'd be perfect for cutting.  Turns out I was right!

After I'd made a nice stack of them ...

... I thought about crocheting an edge around ...

... but figured out I really prefer the raw edges better.  

I'm not sure what I will do with the rest of the fabric, so if you have ideas, please let me know!

Next up is a 100% wool sweater that DOES fit:

It has been soaked and is now laying flat to dry on my blocking boards.  It'll be really nice to wear. Maybe a teeny bit itchy but hey, that's what long sleeve t-shirts are for! Next time I soak it I will add hair conditioner to the water.  I forgot about trying that little trick until the sweater was all laid out to dry.

In other knitting related news, I tried to um, organize my WIPs today.  This bin looks a LOT better now than it did this afternoon:

I know, right?  There are, um, close to 20 unfinished knitting projects in there.  TWENTY!  That's not even counting the stuff on needles and hooks right now that I'm actively working on. So that gave me an idea for a new plan, which is basically to work on only one or 2 projects at a time.  As I finish one, I'll pull another one out of the bin.  I have also decided for the time being to quit carrying a knitting bag AND a purse around.  Purse knitting will be smallish projects like socks, hats etc.  I have several socks in the works so I definitely won't lack a project to carry around!  Couch knitting will be larger stuff like sweaters.  The big knitting bag will still be put to good use, particularly when I travel, and ESPECIALLY when I'm hanging out with my knitting friends across the state. Those are times when you can never ever ever have too much knitting ... ask me how I know.  On second case, don't. Because I actually don't know what it's like to have too much knitting :-)

Last thing you'll hear from me tonight:  I'm still collecting photos of for the "warm woolies" series -- that is, photos of OTHER people's warm winter knits.  I hope to have another installment in the few days or so.

Until next time!


Saturday, November 02, 2013

Warm woolies

One of the things I love most about fall and winter is scoping out all of the wonderful warm sweaters, hats, scarves, etc that people wear, whether they are handmade or not.  Here's a sweater that I spotted yesterday:

I love the cable patterns and the toggle buttons. The wearer said it's a store-bought sweater, and he liked it so much that he bought another one in a charcoal gray. Stay tuned for more photos of neat knits throughout the season.

In other knitting news, I am *this close* to finishing the blue sweater, and I imagine I can get that all done this weekend. All that's left is to --
  • bind off the button band
  • make button loops, and sew them on
  • add the buttons
  • graft underarm seams
  • weave in ends

It's also time to shift into high gear on the "finish all the things" project. I decided that I need to make a serious effort to finish many of the WIPs that are piling up. Several pairs of socks, a few sweaters, a couple of hats ... you get the idea.  Just look at that list over there -->.  As a matter of fact, I was looking for some yarn in my stash last night and found a hat project hat isn't even on the list.  Time to whip my WIPs into shape! The plan is to finish as many items as I can by the end of the year and report here. I hope you'll be motivated to plow through your own projects that may be hibernating. And I am counting on you to cheer me on!

But before I settle in for more knitting on this cool, dreary Saturday, there is some housework and other "life maintenance" stuff that has to get done.  Stay warm, guys!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Mr's 2013 hat

It has recently occurred to me that I've been making hats for myself and my Mr. every year.  I only thought of this as I was knitting this year's hat. He has mentioned that hats I've knitted in the past weren't warm enough, so I poked around Ravelry until I found just the thing that should be perfect: Elizabeth Zimmermann's Very Warm Hat. This is a double-layered, reversible hat and is indeed very warm. You start by knitting a hat. When you're done, you pick up stitches along the cast-on edge and knit another hat.  You'll get a something that looks very much like this (note that the second hat is not quite finished).

Once both hats are finished, you just stuff one inside the other and ta-da!  A double-thick, reversible, very warm hat!  Last night I was cruising along on hat #2 and tried it on even though the decreases aren't quite finished:

It'll only take a little while to finish. I can't wait to give it to the Mr. I think he will love it.  And then I will cast on a hat for me, except that I will use fuchsia and charcoal gray and will knit skulls, crossbones and hearts into mine.  It's my own design, and one of these days I'll make it available on Ravelry. 

Happy Sunday, and happy knitting!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Almost finished!

Hood is finished. All that's left is to knit the buttonband and attach the bad-ass skull buttons.  First I must finish a bit of housework then it's time to settle in and finish picking up all the stitches!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Women and knitting

A coworker saw this coaster at a flea market over the weekend and got it for me. I love it!


This past weekend I got to spend some quality knitting time with 2 of my friends in Columbus (OH). On Saturday we went to a little shop near Dayton called Fiberworks. I gotta say that I was not prepared for all the lovely stuff that was there.  The store has yarn -- lots of lovely yarn -- but also fiber. Lots of lovely, squishy, beautiful, soft fiber.  I was lucky to get my hands on 8 or so ounces of this:

50% red alpaca and 50% white Romney wool

... and about 4 ounces of this:

50% black alpaca and 50%white Romney wool
This stuff is SO lovely and soft.  I can't wait to get it on the wheel but it'll have to wait until I'm finished with this:

Lovely Malabrigo roving. Colorway: Baya Electrica

My friend Connee bought about a pound of lovely Corriedale roving on Saturday.  I told her that she should get all they had (about 2 pounds total) but she said 1 pound would be enough. But once she started spinning it later that night, she knew I was right! Luckily, the shop is open on Sundays, so we went back to get the rest of that Corriedale. And while that was happening I found this:

100% natural wool sliver*
There is only about 6 ounces of this stuff but I LOVE the way it looks and can't wait to spin that up too.  I think it'll make for a rustic-looking but not itchy yarn. I'm thinking it'd make a nice hat and for my husband. Although honestly, I'm not sure how he'd feel about fingerless mitts.  Hmm maybe I'll make those for me :-)

Well, kids, it's way past my bedtime.  If I don't go to sleep like NOW, tomorrow will be real ugly. Thank goodness for coffee, yo!


*Sliver is one of many different ways that fiber can be prepared for spinning.  Read more here -- Abby is a very knowledgeable and skilled spinner!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Sweater progress

I decided that THIS would be the weekend that I'd make significant progress on my Everything Nice sweater, and that is exactly what has happened.  Today I was able to finish the yoke and start the hood. After the hood, pretty much all that's left is to:
  1. pick up stitches from one side of the cardigan, up the front, around the hood and down the other front -- and knit a border. I'm thinking maybe 2" wide or so.
  2. knit i-cord loops and attach them to the border
  3. sew on buttons (see below for a pic of the ones I chose)
  4. graft the holes in the underarms where sleeves were attached to the body.

Here's me modeling the sweater after the yoke was finished. Check out that neat ribbing on the side.  

And here's a photo of my AWESOME pewter buttons:

I'm cruising along on the hood now. Shouldn't take too long to get finished, now that I'm super inspired to just keep knitting, just keep knitting.  It feels great to make progress on stuff that's been languishing on needles.  I need to keep it up, so the rest of 2013 will now be known as the "Finish ALL the things fest."  Can't wait to figure out how many sets of Addi Turbo needles I actually own, and see how much my wardrobe will be expanded once everything is finished.  It'll feel like Christmas -- hell, it might actually BE Christmas before I've made a significant dent in the WIP pile. But getting so close to done on this sweater is helping me feel all motivated and stuff.


Monday, September 30, 2013


One of my good friends and I started a thing this year, where we knit the same sweater together.  This is a really good way to get help from someone who may be having the same trouble you are, or give advice about something that you've conquered.  So far this year we've done Julissa, Everything Nice (which I'm still not finished with), and are currently working on Miranda, which I shouldn't have even started. I couldn't help myself ... you can see why!

The pattern includes options for a hood (which I think I'll do), short or long sleeves (haven't decided yet) and pockets (definitely!).  I love the cable detail on the front, too.  I chose a plum color worsted weight yarn (Cascade 220).  Unfortunately, I'm not really far enough along to take a decent photo, but take my word for it, this will be a nice sweater! 

One of the things I want to work on is FINISHING the stuff I've started. I've got a whole bit bin here full of stuff that has been sitting here untouched, for months in most cases. At least one thing has been on needles for well over a year. What are your strategies for keeping projects moving toward completion? I find myself distracted by all the lovely patterns out there.

Until next time, happy knitting!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

It's late (or early?) ...

... and I'm *thinking* about knitting, even if I'm not *actually* knitting. And while I was up thinking about knitting, I figured I may as well renew my domain, even if I don't blog all that often. Which made me think that I should really try harder to blog more often, since I have so much blog-worthy stuff that I'm knitting and would like to talk about. Like these socks:

Long story short, these are my grandmother's birthday socks. The yarn is Madeline Tosh Vintage in tart (one of my favorite colors!). I knitted myself a sweater out of this yarn earlier in 2013 (see photos below!). When my grandmother asked me to knit her some socks, this yarn immediately came to mind and I cast on right away.  She recently received them, and by all accounts she really likes them!

I'll catch you up on other knitting stuff later today, most likely. But now, I really ought to try to get back to sleep.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

One done, 12 to go!

Pattern Name: Julissa (scoop neck version)

Yarn Used: Madeline Tosh Vintage in tart

Modifications made: none

This was do much fun to knit, and I'm stoked about wearing it today. I finished it last night, and will wear it even though it's not properly blocked. Who cares ... It looks pretty good!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

No frump here*

Sorry for the blurry pic.  But look!

I was at a weekend retreat with my spinning & weaving guild, and was able to make a ton of progress on Julissa. Actually, I made even more progress since this photo was taken on Saturday afternoon.

We had such a wonderful weekend. It was the first time we had this kind of retreat. There were 7 of us, and there was no agenda -- it was just a time for us to work on projects (I took a bunch of unfinished knitting projects but only worked on two of them!), chat, and get to know each other better. It was fun to share advice on other people's projects, too.  It's really neat to have a problem and have the benefit of the collective wisdom of the group to help you along.

There was another guild from northwest Ohio who was having a retreat over the weekend too, and they were very near where we were. So on Saturday night, we went over to their group to meet each other, knit, spin and drink wine :-)  Their weekend was a bit more structured than ours was, in that they were all learning various dyeing techniques. I really like the loosey-goosey way ours was set up.  We spent some time on Saturday exploring a couple of the local antique shops, and some of us visited the Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum (I skipped that in favor of more knitting). We shared the meal prep, and let me tell ya, these women made some great stuff.  I'm a little afraid to get on the scale after all the great food we had!

I hope I can finish this one pretty soon, now that the body is mostly done. I haven't yet decided whether to go with short cap sleeves or elbow-length sleeves. But either way will be fine, and will very likely depend on how much yarn is left after the body is finished.  Full-length sleeves are out of the question, though ... I think they will increase the "frump factor" which I don't want!

But now, I think I'll settle in with a bit more knitting before bed.


* in 2011 I knitted a sweater that I really liked. One morning I put it on and the Mr said "Don't wear that." I asked him why and he goes, "It makes you look frumpy. You're not frumpy, you're hot, so don't wear that sweater." So this is my first attempt at knitting sweaters with absolutely NO frump factor!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

2013 sweaters ... what's next?

No photos this time, because I'm not far enough along yet to show any real progress. But I'm cruising along on Julissa (Ravelry link!). Over the weekend I finished the raglan shaping, cast on stitches for the front, joined to knit in the round and have already started the waist shaping area.  I wonder if I can get this done by the end of January .... Which makes me think about which sweater to start next.

I pre-ordered Cooperative Press's Fresh Designs: Sweaters  book shortly before it was published, and man, I want to knit just about everything in there.  Right after I got my copies (yup, I bought one print copy and one digital copy), I went straight to Smith's and bought enough Malabrigo Rios yarn for this sweater:

It's got everything -- hood, pockets, extra long cuffs (optional), a figure-friendly silhouette. I can't WAIT to knit this one.  In a gorgeous blue color called Azul Profundo. See?

I will cast on this sweater in February, whether Julissa is finished or not. Because it will truly be "Everything Nice" -- and who doesn't need a little burst of color to get through winter in Ohio?

It's way past bedtime, folks.


... this has been a QuietStorm production, dahling ...