Monday, December 13, 2010

A cunning tree

The teen in my life has a wee Christmas tree that he carries to school with him. Adorned with USB Christmas lights, it twinkles festively, powered by his laptop.

Last week I decided it needed a Jayne hat.

Yeah, it took me less than an hour.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

Stripey insanity

It just so happened that I had two very excellent skeins of stripey yarn, fresh from etsy. Garbo, by Rosy Retro, and some black/green from Anne's handspun. I couldn't decide which to cast on first.

I had one of those epiphany moments. I picked up a 40" long size one needle, and wondered, "How many socks could I fit on that?" The teen said, "YOU'RE SCARING ME MOM"

Clearly I can fit four socks at once on two 40" needles.  The crowd control on the strands of yarn took a bit of getting used to, but once the socks got big enough, I could stuff the separate balls into the socks, which settled down all the yarn riots.

The four socks grew up together until the cuff, when I split them up for more individual attention.

And now I have two new delicious pairs of socks.

Both are plain toe-up socks with garter stitch toes, stockinette feet, mini-gusset at heel, short row heel, 3x1 rib on the leg, and 1x1 for the cuff.

Yay for stripeys!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Play at Life Hats

Yarns! Hats!

A week ago, I got two new yarns from Play at Life Fibre Arts. One is from reclaimed yarn, recycled and dyed by the artist. That's the purple gradient yarn. The other is new fibres, aran weight in the colour "twinkle lights."

Since then, I've been knitting hats. First, a slouchy hat for the tween girl. The pattern is Arrow, but I knit the arrowhead pattern nearly twice, instead of once as directed.

Then, a long pointy hat for me, which used up the entire skein.

Modeled photos to come, as always.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mini mystery skeins

While shopping in yarn stores for buttons, I discovered a little basket of sock-yarn skeinlets. They were sold by the ounce, and I bought a little selection that was about 1.2 ounces. It cost me $3.10.

Once I got home, I realised I wouldn't be able to classify the yarn on ravelry! I quite think the purple is Auracania, with the way it sticks to itself, but the pink is some merino superwash. I cranked out some teeny-tiny newborn booties. The picture shows how much yarn was left after making four booties. I have woven in about two thirds of the ends. More button shopping is in order!


Just over a week ago, the first of the two nephew-babies arrived. She was 3 weeks early, small, but healthy. This meant that we could spend our Thanksgiving time adoring a brand new baby.

I got the buttons on and the ends woven in this morning, just in time to hand deliver the gifts to the new family.

But of course, the aftermath of the underwhelming blizzard is that the roads are closed, so there will be no Thanksgiving journey, and no hand-delivering the gifties.

We adults are disappointed to not see the family, but relieved to not be driving in adverse conditions. The teen is happy to be able to stay at home. The 12 year old yelled "IT'S NOT FAIR!" and ran to her room in tears and slammed the door. Is she right on schedule or what?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A story

Once upon a time, long long ago, I was young. At the time of this story, I had a very nice boyfriend. Very fine indeed.

One day, my boyfriend said to me, "Would you like to come to my grandma's 80th birthday?"

I thought, "Wow, he's taking me to meet his family!"

He thought, "This long trip will be a lot more fun if she comes along."

Although he was clueless to the implications of taking a girlfriend to a major family gathering, no one else failed to catch on. Even his four-year-old nephew knew that this was an interesting development. He beamed at us cherubically and inquired sweetly, "Are you guys gonna get married?" We weren't quite ready to deal with that kind of question, and I'm sure our answer was an awkward splutter.

But within the year, we were indeed married.

A couple years ago, I had the pleasure of attending that cherubic nephew's wedding. Now both he and his older brother are expecting babies in the new year.

Of course, I've always been the weird aunt. And I'm supposing that hand-knitted gifts from the weird aunt might not be among the favourite gifts. But you see, I'm one of those knitters who, when hearing that a baby is coming, casts on. It's just what happens.

The yarn is Dream in Color Classy, and I bought it specifically to have for baby knitting. I was very pleased, while agonizing over what to knit, to remember this yarn. I still have to locate the perfect buttons for the booties.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Retroactive Blogging

In November, I finished a pair of socks that had been languishing on the needles. I failed to blog them, and I know that no one will care but me, but for my own closure, I'm blogging them in the future and backdating the entry.

It's funny, I have a pair at home just like them.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Miller's hat, more pictures

Did I mention how very toasty this hat is? I love it!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

A surprise

I didn't notice that I liked orange until I looked at my yarn stash...

Seriously, I have NO orange clothing. But I something about orange yarn seems to suck me in!

acquisitions--more yarn than knitting

I recently brought a little more Bugga! into my life. They had a Hallowe'en special, where for a small discount, you could buy two matched skeins designed for striping knee-highs. You could get black-and-orange or black-and-purple. That brilliant orange sucked me in, and I had to buy it.

While I was ordering straight from the source, I decided to bring home one more skein. I didn't notice at all how close it was to the other skein until I had them both in my hands. Both a vivid orange, but different enough to really not work well together. I think the picture is a little too red, it's really very orange.

 It came with a soap sample, so it smells very very good.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Unfinished Skew

Remember Skew? The pattern quite took over my spring.

Then, with 3 unfinished Skews on the needle, my attention wandered elsewhere. Recently, I have been working to finish up languishing projects. I started work on the mismatched pair, progressing through the increases. Then I remembered I had a single sock I could work on, and perhaps I could finish it up in time for it to count for Sock-A-Month's October. So I switched to the grey sock pictured above and got knitting.

So let me recap the story of the grey sock. I started knitting the skew for my dad. I wasn't sure if it would fit him or not, so I didn't finish until he was visiting and could try it on in progress.  We determined that it would fit, and I quickly finished off the first sock, and knit like mad to finish the 2nd sock. I didn't make it before he left.  My attention might have wandered, but I returned to the grey sock, intent on finishing for Father's Day. When I got to the heel, I discovered my numbers didn't line up. I ripped back to the start of the increases, ready to redo it more carefully. I ran the numbers in my head and couldn't get them to line up, and that's when I put the sock in time out.

I ran the numbers again recently, and pretty much figured out that I wasn't going to get the heel numbers to match up without fudging one stitch. I don't recall doing it for the first sock, but I just will go ahead and do it to on the 2nd sock so I can finish it up. I knit like the wind on that 2nd sock, got the heel done and kitchenered, and started on the leg. That's when I held the 2 socks together to see that they matched perfectly. They did NOT. The sock I was knitting on was smaller than the first sock. I counted stitches, but the rows numbered the same. I compared the two socks. That's when I got a sick, sinking feeling. I've been there before.

I got out the calipers and measured, but it only told me what I already knew. Sock #1 was knit on a 2.50mm needle (size 1.5), and Sock #2 was knit on a 2.25mm needle (size 1).

Ironically, when my dad was visiting, I had pulled out the calipers, the size 1/1.5 needles, and the St. Peter Port socks, and told him the disastrous story of what happens when you knit a sock on a needle .25mm different. He's no knitter, but he's worked all his life with electronics and wood, and has a good appreciation of precision and of utilising the right tools. He fully appreciated the story, and commented that he wouldn't even have kept the 1.5 size needle, he would have thrown it out to prevent this from ever happening again. I countered that the 1.5 size needle was useful, and look, I was knitting those new socks for him on it.

I don't recall what happened that I allowed myself to start the 2nd sock on the wrong needle. I can't imagine why I let my attention lapse so carelessly. But now I won't be able to finish sock #2, and that pair of socks is going back into TIME OUT.

an embarrassment of yarnz

I seem to have a lot of incoming yarn this fall. I found a new dyer of delicious stripeys, Rosy Retro, and decided I needed to bring home one of her skeins. The skein is called "Garbo", which reminds me of my mother's paper dolls that I used to play with, and I can't wait to see how those blues and greens knit up.

I traded my Old Blue Jeans WM for an Amethyst WM. The colour is rich and deep and very lovely.

Lastly, I needed some trim for my Miller's Hat. I went to a local yarn store and spent a great deal of time wandering through, looking at all their worsted weight yarn in brown, grey, rust, black, and even olive.  I found some Malabrigo that looked promising, but it was a chunky weight, and I needed worsted. I eventually settled on some heathered Cascade 220. I hadn't intended to choose Cascade 220, but of all the colours I examined, this one had the warmth and richness needed to compliment the lovely Ember colourway.

Finishing the Miller's Hat didn't take long. I don't have any good photos of it worn; beware, those are yet to come. But I'm quite pleased with the outcome, even if the decreases will forever be steep and a little too short.

Monday, October 25, 2010

a second finished object for today

Yay, something else got finished off today, ends and all. These haven't been languishing nearly as long as the hat, but they've been waiting for a few weeks for just the final inch. Now I can get these soaked and ready for gifting.

Unfinished Object, Finished

I woke up this morning thinking about the Quincy I started last November. I'm home with a recovering flu-victim, so I had the time to pull the hat out of the drawer and take a look at it. Turns out, it didn't take long at all to finish up the crown and make this a finished hat.

I think it'll fit a kid 5-8 years old. Yay, an unfinished object out of its hibernating drawer.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How I fixed the hat

After my previous post outlining how I ran out of yarn for the decreases for my miller's hat, I settled down to see what I could do.

I did go ahead and use the leftover Skinny Bugga by holding it double stranded. I alternated rows between the gothling and the Bugga, and I only knit the decrease rows. This made the decreases rather steep, as there's supposed to be a row between each decrease row. Impressively, the Skinny Bugga doesn't show at all.

Next up, I need to find a contrasting colour for the lower band.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Miller's Hat, Stuck.

So, the pattern requirements are 220 yards of worsted yarn. The skein supposedly has 260 yards of worsted yarn. But it's not enough. On the 2nd row of decreases, I have 7 grams of yarn left, and no hope of finishing this hat.

When staging this picture, I also tossed in the little ball of fingering Bugga that was left over from making the herbivore. There's 4 grams of that. If I held it double, it might pass for worsted, but while it's the same colour, it's far more luminous than the worsted yarn.

Not. Happy.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pernicious Gauge

Not too long ago, I started knitting up my worsted gothlings in Ember, using the Miller's Hat pattern. The pattern suggests a size 6 needle, with a recommended gauge of 20 stitches to 4 inches in herringbone stitch.  I just started up the hat as a swatch, which allowed me the luxury of already having progress made, if the gauge was correct, or I would have to start over anyway, if the gauge was wrong.  Well, the gauge was way off.  In a size 6 needle, I was getting 20 stitches to only 3.25 inches.  I went up 2 needle sizes and started over.  My gauge is still small, more like 20 stitches measuring 3.5 inches, or sometimes 3.75.  I'm not willing to go up any more sizes.  The cable part of the hat is to be knit on one needle size larger, and I'm not willing to knit this yarn on a 9/10 combination, which would be too loose for this weight of yarn.

The herringbone stitch is tricky, because it involves floats, which tighten up the gauge, but I pay careful attention to those floats to make sure they aren't too tight. That's what makes the knitting so tedious.  I have 8 more rows of this stitch, and I am quite looking forward to being done, so I can move onto the fun part.

The picture shows the size 6 version above, and the size 8 version below. I do think it'll be very pretty when done!


The red-n-black yarn from the previous post got sent out into the world, and in return, I got Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder, a Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs club yarn.  I've wanted this yarn since I saw it, and am glad I could make a successful trade.

The pictures I took of it were all washed out, so I sent the picture to NinjaTeen, and handed him the skein of yarn. With his photoshop skillz, he painted it up so it looks like the true colours again. I'm still deciding what this yarn will be, but it will be worn around the neck for sure.

Recently, I looked at my WM in "My Old Blue Jeans", thinking about starting to knit it into a clapotis. I looked at it critically, and realised it wasn't quite the right blue for me.  So when I saw a blue WM at Loopy Ewe that was to my liking, I tossed it into my cart and bought it. Amazingly, I succeeded. I had already filled up my cart, so that I just hit the $75 shipping threshhold. I have 2 skeins of Malabrigo, both destined for things for other people, 2 fancy-shmancy crochet hooks I want to try, and the WM in Blaue Tinte.

The My Old Blue Jeans was perfect for a Ravelry swap, so it's on its way out, and I'm expecting a lavender skein in its place.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


A few weeks ago, I had a really good etsy day and managed to snag 3--count them, 1 2 3--skeins of Gothsocks. My secret was to employ the ninja skillz of my teenage son.  This would be gluttonous and greedy, considering how difficult it is to buy this yarn, but I'm only keeping one of them. One is going to Australia, to a mama who couldn't wake up at 2am to buy yarn, and the other will be traded for a colour that caught my fancy.  The blue one, Tardis, will stay with me.

3 colourful skeins of yarn together

Acquisitions and progress

Last week I ordered yarn. I read about it on the Ravelry Longies/Soaker group, and I admit I was encouraged by a glowing review by the Yarn Harlot. So I ordered a skein of green merino from Marr Haven.

The yarn arrived early this week. It was every bit as wonderful as I'd hoped. So soft and so plush!

skein of green yarn

I caked up the yarn as soon as I'd photographed it, and immediately started swatching. I've been working all week on a little pair of newborn sized longies. For a friend. No babies expected around here.

a pair of green wool longies in progress, still on the knitting needles

I do love being able to knit the legs together, just like 2 socks at a time.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Sparkly completed objects spring forth fully formed from my needles

I have 2 finished objects. They're delightful things, and I'm very happy to have completed them. Looking back, I see that I never blogged any progress, and there's not even progress photos, save one. Looking back further, I see that I didn't even blog the arrival of this lovely stripey yarn.

The yarn is Night, a gilded Gothsocks by Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs. I was so impressed with how perfectly it pairs with  Eurota Purplewing, a Skinny Bugga! yarn, that I had to knit them together. Twice.

It started with some socks, of course. Sparkly socks with no fancy pattern, just a toe-up sock with a ribbed leg. The heels were knit double-stranded for extra strength.

Moments after completing those, I cast on for a pair of gloves. Thus we get the only in-progress photo, and ill-staged shot of the cuffs that start out a pair of top-down gloves.

I wove in the ends to these last night, and would be wearing them now if it weren't so dang hot!

 Here's me, headless but happy with my new sparkly knitwear!

No picture--Green smoothie

I'm new to the Green Smoothie thing, and I'm still trying to make one that the kids will consume. I tell them it's not a fruit smoothie but a green smoothie, which helps, but still it has to be delicious. I use a VitaMix, which is the only blender I've ever owned that can churn up anything I toss in it.

Today's smoothie:

Carrot juice (from Costco)
frozen spring greens
frozen banana
ripe pear
flax seed
1/2 avocado
frozen blueberries

Delicious flavour, but a little sludgy.

Monday, September 27, 2010


The Etsy divinities have been smiling on me. I have had success in not one but two Rainy Day and Wooly Dogs updates. Some people are still hoping for their first skein of this yarn, so I feel very fortunate to still be able to acquire some now and then.

This first of the yarns arrived today. The only word to describe it is "SQUEEEEEEEEE"

skein of orange and yellow stripey yarn

Need another look?

As they say on the Rav forums, "CDH", which means "Cold Dead Hands", or rather, "from my cold dead hands." But this will be knit long before anyone could ever try to pry.

Off to snuggle up with my new yarn. G'night!