Friday, September 28, 2012


I started knitting my Lissajous Socks in July of 2011. They were the For Yarn's Sake knitalong that month. After the knitalong ended I only really worked on them for one hour a week--For Yarn's Sake Sock Hour. (Pro Tip: the hour before the open knit chat is sock hour, if you come to sock hour you can get a really good seat for knit chat.) Well, after a year plus of one hour sessions, they are done!


What's that you say? The last time I showed them to you they were white? Oh yeah. I may have dyed them. You see, they got dirty. While in progress, they fell out of my bag at Red Robin one night while we were having dinner after knit chat. I didn't notice, and when I retrieved them from the restaurant a week later, they had clearly been left on the floor for a long time and were soaked with nasty mop water. In the picture below you can see the dirty parts on the outside compared to the part of the sock in the middle of the picture where I had joined a fresh clean ball.


After about two straight days of washing they were cleaner, but still discolored. Enter the magic that is Jacquard dye. I pulled out my little pot of "Lilac" and after half an hour, I had this:


Dying is seriously magical because you put the dye in the water, and the water turns a very dark version of whatever color you are using. Then you put the yarn or fabric in and the dye gets sucked up into it. The water goes back to being clear once all the dye has been sucked up. It's pretty cool. And look, you can't tell they were ever dirty.


The pattern will make you extremely comfortable with twisted stitches and 1x1 cables. Also, the cable pattern is only charted, so if you have problems reading charts you might want to brush up on your skills before attempting this one.


These are one of my biggest knitting accomplishments. I would definitely rate this as harder than most of the sweaters I've made. Finish anything big lately?

On the reading front, I have dropped everything to start The Casual Vacancy. Yes, I am a sheep.

Go check out other people finished projects that Tami has rounded up. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New project!

I've been really trying to knit down my number of WIPs. I've been doing pretty good actually, and have managed to get from 16 to 8. But guys, I'm starting to get bored. Very bored. The call of brand new projects is strong. My solution:


You see, weaving is NOT knitting so this really is NOT a new projects. It's just the thing I'm currently working on. 

Back in May I picked up a 10" Cricket Loom at Black Sheep Fiber Festival. I wove my first project up in a jiffy, but then my loom sat. The thing was, I knew I wanted my next project to be with this yarn, but I didn't have the correct size heddle. 

This lovely String Theory Caper Sock yarn is fingering weight, and I only had a heddle suitable for a worsted-ish sized yarn. (The heddle is the white piece in the middle that you move up and down to weave. The further apart the holes, the bigger the "mesh" that you weave. Finer yarn needs a tighter mesh. Make sense?)

No problem. Saturday and Sunday was Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival (Oregon is such a yarn-y state) and I picked up two new heddles. One that will work with fingering weight yarn and one that will work with bulky yarn.

The green is waste yarn that you weave a bit with at the beginning to even out your tension. It gets pulled out when you're done. 

I wanted to weave this yarn up because I knew I'd never knit with it. In a fit of crazy-pants I had it wound at the yarn shop when I bought it even though I knew I wasn't going to use it immediately. I hate knitting with yarn that's been wound for too long, and this has been sitting wound in the stash for over a year. Oops. Wound yarn gets super kinky near the center of the ball when it sits too long and the tension put on the yarn when it's wound can mess with your gauge if the yarn sits in a wound ball for too long. Weaving solves all these problems. 

What new things have you not started?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New project bag

Guys, before I was a knitter I was a sewer. I have a very nice sewing machine that I splurged on when sewing was my major passion. I also have quite a large fabric stash from back in the day.  Since I fell in love with knitting, my sewing has slowed down considerably and my fabric stash has just been sitting around.

Recently I decided that having all this fabric just sitting under my bed and in my closet (out of sight out of mind) is no good. It either needs to get used up or go to a good home. So, this week, I pulled out two boxes and took stock. Then I turned to Pinterest and found this tutorial and decided it would be a perfect project for getting back into sewing.

One of the coolest things about this pattern: you're almost certain to have the pattern pieces lying around your house already. Here's Mine.


I found some blue and purple seersucker fabric in my stash that I now have no idea what I bought it for. I decided it would work well for this project. I only used about half a yard of each fabric. I forgot to take in-progress photos, but here is the finished bag:


It's fully lined meaning there are no exposed seams and the handles are double-thick so they feel very sturdy. In the picture above the bag is holding about 600g of yarn. 4 skeins of bulky yarn and 4 skeins of fingering weight yarn. I've been using it to carry my iPad, fingerless glove project, sock project, and two shawl projects, plus various papers and a book to the yarn shop with me this week and it is working perfectly.


The bag whips up very quickly. I sewed it over two days because I did some other running around in between, but it is probably a 2.5 hour project. I might make more to use as grocery bags. They are very sturdy.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I'm very excited because I'm going to start teaching knitting classes at For Yarn's Sake in October. In October I'll be doing a class for the October Dream In Color Kit (I won't know what this is until the kit is revealed) and a two-part class on colorwork.

In order to get ready for my teaching debut, I decided to watch a master at work. Anne Laird is a teacher at For Yarns Sake who is phenomenal and loved by all. Tuesday I sat in on her class about the garter tab cast on for starting shawls. It was lots of fun. The choice of projects for the class was either Summer Flies or Dinner in the Eiffel Tower. I chose Dinner in the Eiffel Tower. I love it. I'm already in Section 4.

Dinner in the Eiffel Tower

I've done the garter tab cast on many times, but I loved being in a class because it let me observe how Anne runs her classes and I got to chat and have fun with some wonderful people. 

I'm knitting this up in DK weight and it feels like it's flying. Should be off the needles within the week.  

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mystery revealed

OK, so I'm certainly not the first person to reveal this particular mystery, but I managed to finish up my Stephen West Mystery Knit-a-long from this year: Rockefeller.


For those of you not familiar with mystery knit-a-longs, the concept is that you sign up not knowing what the pattern is, then over several weeks, the designer releases "clues" until you finally have the whole pattern. Yes, you could wait for all the clues to come out and see if you like the full pattern, but that's not really in the spirit of the mystery. 

I jumped right in with yarn and needles the day clue 1 was released. Clue 1 was the band of collar meant to sit at the back of the neck. Clue 2 was the more solid light green section that was picked up and worked down from the collar. Clue 3 was the slipped stitch edging around the circumference of the semicircle. Clue 4 were the garter stitch wings that grow out of the ends of the semicircle. I loved watching the clues come together.


This is my preferred way to wear this shawl: collar sitting at the back of the neck, wings crossed over the chest and tied in the back. Because this shawl is so large I think that this way shows of the design the best while still letting me move around without getting in the way.


It also really shows off the pattern on the back which I think of as the highlight of the piece. Generally I prefer to wear shawls more in the kerchief style with the bulk in the front and the wings wrapped behind me. As you can see, this shaw is just way to big to do that with.


My one serious complaint with this shawl is that the yards requirements specified on the pattern are WAY low. I found that the estimate for color A was about 40 yards too low and the estimate for color B was a whopping 90 yards too low. 

This led to me running out of both yarns. For my color A I used Tosh Merino Light in the colorway Brother's Grimm. It was easy to pop by the yarn shop and pick up a second skein. For my color B however, I used Wollmeise 80/20 Tiwn in the colorway Grunfink. I knew it would be impossible to get another skein so I had to make due. I managed to find a close color match in a skein of Abstract Fibers O'Keefe yarn in the colorway chartreuse. I knew if I just changed colors after running out of the grunfink the change would be obvious, so I ripped my first wing back to the beginning and began striping every other "B" colored stipe between the lighter O'Keefe and the darker 80/20 Twin. This is really obvious in the first photo. 


Now that I'm done with it, I'm in love but there was some serious cursing each time I ran out of yarn. I would also like to point out just for the record that this is the first of Stephen's patterns that I've come across with this problem. Usually I have no trouble completing his patterns with the yardage he recommends. Just be warned if you decide to start this one. Buy extra yarn!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Yesterday I fell... twice. It was pretty public and embarrassing. It probably also hurt, but at the time I didn't notice any pain because I was too busy wishing the earth would swallow me whole. It didn't and I had to stand up and go on with my life.

This morning though, the pain kicked in with a vengeance. I was woken up much too early by a throbbing leg. I consulted with my dad who is a life-time runner and coached track and cross country for many years (and therefore has experience every kind of leg injury known to man.) I described the falls (dear god why did there have to be two!) and he's pretty certain that it's a "high ankle sprain." He tells me these are slower to heal that your run-of-the-mill ankle sprain. Joy.

Frustratingly, as with most minor muscle, ligament, tendon injuries the "treatment" is rest, ice, compression, and elevation (I think I was born knowing about RICE treatments... so common were they in our house growing up.) I don't have an ace bandage (dad would be appalled) and I definitely don't feel like limping out to get one, so today has been all about RIE.

The only upside has been the knitting. The LYS I work at has been featuring Calliope's Odyssey as the September knit-a-long and I've been loving it!  After today I'm through 4 of the 9 repeats of chart B. After chart B comes the fun colorwork section.


Of course unblocked and scrunched up on my needles it's not looking like much, but I assure you it will be amazing once finished. The yarn I'm using is a 50% merino 50% tencel blend called Agleam by Sincere Sheep  and I'm loving how crisp and shiny my stitches look.

No laughing if you see me hobbling around in the next few days.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A very bright scarft

When last I showed you my first weaving endeavor it looked like this:


That is my 10" Cricket Loom all warped and ready for weaving. They yarn it is warped with came with the loom as practice yarn to get used to the process. The loom also came with a color picture tutorial for warping and weaving. I followed the tutorial and it was really pretty simple to get the loom warped up. 

It only took me a few days to weave the scarf. I could have easily done it in one day but I only let myself work on it for an hour at a time. Here is my very first woven project.


It is not without mistakes. There are several places where the weft went over/under more than one strand of the warp. I must remember to be careful on my next project to make sure I'm going through the center of the opening between the warp strands. The edges are also very tight compared to the center. I still need to research the best way to combat this. Any ideas?


These colors are very bright and high contrast. I understand that that makes the learning process easier, but it also means that I probable won't wear this scarf that often. The green really is quite electric.


I have two more finished projects completely off the needles and one more that is so close I can taste it. I should have a nice parade of finished-object posts ready for you.

On a sadder note, the Kitties went to the V-E-T today and I learned that one of them has to have a minor surgical procedure to remove a bad tooth. I was warned when I first took her in after adopting her that she was high risk for having bad teeth and it's actually pretty amazing that she made it to 4 years old without having to have any removed previously. Still I don't like the idea of subjecting her to the anesthesia and the ordeal of a day-long vet visit (the one hour visits are bad enough.) Here she is with her sister (who was given a clean bill of health) cowering under the chair in the exam room.


For all the trouble they give me when I try to get them in the carriers at home, once we get to the vet they refuse to come out and then once the top is taken off the carriers they dash under the chair to try to hide. The vet-teches are really good-natured about getting down on their hands and knees to wrangle them. Send good thoughts on the 17th--surgery day.