on the needles

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Yes pooling...

No, don't avert your eyes! I realize that pooling is the not so secret bugabear of the knitting world, the one hideous blot on our love affair with vareigated yarns. Pooling is a fact of life. It happens to the best of us. Knitting with a variegated yarn is always an adventure - what will come next? Lovely stripes? Dots? Or the dreaded pooling??

I say it is time to break free from the fear of pooling! Dare I even say...embrace pooling! Learn to love it! It is all part of the beauty of variegated yarn.

Now, I'm not saying pooling is acceptable everywhere. I admit it doesn't look so great over large expanses, particularly on something flat - a shawl for instance. But I think pooling looks just fine on... say... a sock. :)

This is my first full sized finished sock! Hooray! Don't worry, it will shortly be joined by a second sock - it's already on the needles. :) As I was knitting, I saw the yarn starting to pool and realized...I don't care! Heck, with my devil-may-care attitude I seriously doubt the second sock will "match" the first one. Especially since I am not even trying to make it "match"! If I wanted matchy matchy socks I'd buy some. Know what I mean? Call me reckless, but I say, if you wish to conquer your fear and loathing of pooling I suggest making socks.

These socks are: "Conwy" from Knitting on the Road
I am using: "Neon Rainbow" from Over the Rainbow Yarns and size 1 bamboo dpns
I learned: Twining Cable, closing a toe by decreasing (SO disappointed I didn't get to use the Kitchner stitch!)

And it fits!! :)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Food Blog

My husband has tackled a new project. He has realized that a lack of "food skills" in the kitchen is a serious problem when you have two food allergic children! Unfortunately, his kitchen training as a child was limited to heating up steak um's and a few other microwave friendly foods. Therefore, he has decided to learn how to cook. I'm in full support of this effort because it gets me out of the kitchen & ups my chances of getting an edible meal when my husband does cook! ;) So far he has been doing a great job. Last night I got chicken enchilladas - with avocado slices and all! So anyone with an interest in food (and who isn't interested in food??) or who has to cook for someone with food allergies, check out hubby's new blog: What's REALLY Cooking?

Another Reason to Visit Ireland

Nona linked to a really interesting story about The Knitting Map which apparently was in the latest Vogue Knitting. I have the magazine but entirely missed seeing this story! I guess I really liked the patterns this time. :) Anyhow, The Knitting Map is an installation/performance art project going on in Cork, Ireland. 50 volunteer knitters work in shifts to translate the life of the city into stitches. Using GPS technology, they are tracking the movement of people throughout the city, day and night. Volume of movement is assigned a numerical value and translated into different patterns for the knitters. For example, rush hour traffic will become heavy cables. Small gatherings of people are represented as bobbles. Sleepy late night hours become stockinette. The project will last for a year and color changes in the yarn will reflect the changing seasons. Wouldn't it be fun to participate in this project??

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Crossing my fingers....

With a little gulp and some crossed fingers, I dropped off a little sweater today at the LYS to go to the finisher to be seamed. I feel so decadent and a bit guilty "letting" someone else finish my work. But really - I'm all about the knitting. I feel like I earned my chops by learning how to seam and putting together that tank top for my daughter. Now that I have proven I can do it, I don't really feel the need to spend my precious knitting time doing all of that tedious work. I had to do the blocking myself so at least I'm still halfway involved with the finishing. (Lol) It will be interesting to see what comes back to me though............ I did see some examples of sweaters which had been to the finisher (doesn't that sound like some sort of a mobster title?? Seriously, you do not want to mess with "the finisher".) and they looked great. But this sweater was the little one I did for my daughter out of that ladder tape type yarn. No fun to work with so I've passed it one to someone else! Not my problem anymore! :)

In other knitting news, my Mom is in town and she actually suggested that we take a trip to the yarn store. So you know what happens next. We spent an UNGODLY ammount of money there. Mom got hooked up with materials for a Manos throw and I got some of that new Rowan Harris Yarn - you know - the new stuff that has Alice Starmore's panties all in a bunch. (Now she will probably try to sue me too!) Anyhow, the yarn is so gorgeous. And expensive! - at $16 a ball for 18 balls... well you get the idea. Thanks Mom!! The yarn is the chunky weight and the color is a beautiful flecked teal. It's SH020 if you want to look it up somewhere - it's too late & I'm too lazy to link to it right now. :) I got the yarn to make the ribbed coat from the Debbie Bliss Book Six. It's the one in the dark yarn that they photographed from far away with the model standing in a dark doorway. So I actually have very little idea of what the coat is supposed to look like. :) Anyhow - obviously the original yarn that was used is Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky - which just as obviously was discontinued. :( WHY?? WHY??

Oh well.... so I got the Harris Chunky, went home and swatched. After two swatches I realized that this yarn just does not want to become a ribbed coat. It's a four by four rib but it looks completely flat! No definition at all. I think this yarn wants to become a cabled jacket, maybe with some seed stitch, something that will force more texture into the yarn. But I love the yarn, don't want to give it back! So onto the internet to do some research. Found out that Rowan Yorkshire Chunky Tweed is the same gauge. There is a beautiful jacket called "Willow" in the Rowan Yorkshire Fable book. So back to the yarn store to pick up the book. Will be swatching for that this weekend. Cross your fingers for me!

What about the ribbed coat? I found some awesome chunky Cascade that will be arriving mid-September. Ahhh - how I love winter knitting!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Work Work Work!

I haven't been blogging much - but usually that means I've been too busy. Here's what I've done since the last post:

1. My Leaf Lace Shawl is in the middle of the 15th repeat. It's harder to find time to work on it since I don't like having to stop in the middle of the row & the rows are so long now they take about 20 minutes each. Also I need to work on it when I'm not tired so I don't make mistakes!

2. I finished organising the yarn closet:

3. I cleared out the 2nd closet in the craft room. Hubby dismantled the old shelves and painted the wall.

We mounted the shelves and I sorted out that huge mound of supplies!! This closet holds my needlepoint, quilting and sewing supplies, as well as the craft yarn I use for making toys.

It took several hours and really aggrivated my asthma but at least the room is usable now.



Of course I've still got to get a couch/daybed thing, a rug etc. but at least it's just a matter of saving up some cash now! I also have some children's book illustration art I need to get framed to go on the walls. I can't wait to get that stuff up!

4. I found my yarn swift! Too late to save me from all of that tedious winding but at least I have it for the future.

5. I found my amigurumi book! I was looking for this so I could make something for the Amigurumi-Along.

Over three days I crocheted, stuffed and sewed a cute bear. My daughter hijacked him as soon as she saw him. I had to pry him away from her in order to get the legs put on. I think the amigurumi patterns are really cute & they must be because my son (who never wants me to make things for him) requested an animal for himself. :) I am going to sew a button on for the bears nose as soon as I can get him back!

6. Had my first sock making class. Learned German cast on (awesome & worth the price of the class alone!) and made a mini sock up through the heel flap.

7. I came home and immeditely started a pair of socks. I am using Meilenweit Fantasy and size 2 needles. I wanted to get the sock done through the heel flap so I would have something ready to work on after I learn the rest of the sock making techniques in this week's class.

8. I got through everything I knew how to do on the first sock so I started another in Schaefer Yarns Anne. I'm using number 2 needles on this as well.

9. Watched The Big Chill with hubby because he had never seen it. I had seen it before & it is still a great movie. I watched the 80's version (St. Elmo's Fire) a few weeks ago too. It was still fairly good as well. Not as good as The Big Chill though. Whatever happened to the fad for William Hurt? He was a really big deal for awhile & then he pretty much dropped out of sight.

10. Last but not least, I sent a package of goodies to my friend Amanda who hosts Knit the Classics with me. I don't know her in "real life" so it was a bit strange trying to pick out things for her but I hope she likes it! :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My busy week

I've had a busy week!


1. Found my yarn swift! Woohoo! Unfortunately not in time to save me from the 5 hours of misery which it took me to wind up 2400yds of merino lace from Cherry Tree Hill. My husband gave out after three hours of holding the hank for me while I unwound it & respun it onto the ball winder. The last two hours went really slowly!!

2. Found my Amigurumi book! Woohoo! I Instantly grabbed some yarn and started working on a teddy bear. I finished it in three days. My daughter instantly claimed it as her own & my son (who never wants me to knit him anything) asked me to make him something too! Photos to follow. :)

3. Went to my first sock knitting class - on dpns. I had knit some hats on DPN's before so it wasn't a total shock to me. Plus we are just knitting a little mini sock in worsted weight so it was not too daunting. We made it through the heel flap which was as far as I had ever gotten on my own with a sock so I can't wait to learn to turn the heel next time! I went home and started a regular sized sock in sock weight yarn. I want to try too have it finished up through the heel flap by next class so I can continue with it as soon as I learn the next steps. I am using Lana Grossa Meilenweit Fantasy - color number 4810.

4. Learned the German cast on in my sock knitting class. I'm so stoked about this cast on - I doubt I will ever use anything else for a garment. It is a very nice looking cast on with plenty of stretch & looks the same on the front and back. Pretty nifty. I have noticed that lots of European patterns (especially Gedifra) like to use this cast on so I feel like a whole new world has opened up! The sock class was worth the money just for the German cast on. :)

5. Not much advancement in the craft room. :( We pulled out the old shelves in the second closet and hubby repaired the drywall. Now we are just held up trying to find the time to repaint the closet before we hang the shelves. Hopefully done by this weekend.

6. Sent a package of goodies to my online yarn pal and co-hostess of Knit the Classics, Amanda. Since I don't know her in real life it was a total guess as to what she might like, but I just wanted to send her something because she's such a sweet person. Maybe I should have sent her some bear repellant! ;)

7. Went to my second knitting class this week (two in one week!!) where I decided that I actually didn't want to use the Cherry Tree Hill Merino Lace for the Shoalwater Shawl after all. I think the shawl needs a heavier weight yarn. So I didn't get much done in class. :( I knitted a few rows of my Leaf Lace Shawl but I couldn't really settle down with it so I went back to knitting on my trusty sock. This class has more people in it than last time & they are a bit more chatty so I think between that and my shawl angst I wasn't able to concentrate on lace knitting. That's okay though, sock knitting is just fine with me! :)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

All Wound Up

My arms and back are killing me! I just spent the last two days winding hanks of yarn into center pull balls. Yesterday I wound 15 hanks and today (so far) I have done 11. It was all of the super soft Handpainted Yarn worsted that I fortunately got before the huge craze at KRB wiped the company out of stock! I did this all this without the aid of a swift. I think I have a swift, but it is lost under the mountain of unsorted crap that occupies the center of the floor in my so-called craft room.

Which brings me to the reason for this flurry of crazy yarn activity....

I finally got shelves for the craft room closets!! I got the "platinum" shelves from the Elfa system (available from Container Store's everywhere). Since one closet was ready to go we were able to install the shelves the same day we got them. It was really easy to install & I think the look great. I immediately dragged all of the yarn which was filling up my clothes closet and pilling up in the corners of the bedroom down to the craft room and started sorting it out. Holy crap I have a ton of yarn. The majority - 95% of my stash yarn - is Noro Silk Garden and Kureyon. I had a serious crush on Noro last year and if I saw colors I liked at a good price I bought it. I've also got a couple of bags of Cash Iroha and one of Transitions. I've got a bunch of the Handpainted Yarn - in colors, Lavanda, Mango, Cypress, Oriental Night and Verdes. There's a box of different sock yarns (I start my sock class next week!) and a box of lace weight yarns. Then there are a few bags of Schachenmayr Rainbow in different colors and some Princess, one Katia Dolby, two bags of Lavold Silky Wool, some Gedifra Gigante, Aragona and Posie and lastly some Endless Summer Collection Sonata. These are all the things I consider to be stash yarn because it isn't really earmarked for a particular project. I have about a fourth as much yarn which is "project yarn" which I put in boxes with a copy of the pattern. About half of my project yarn is being actively used.

Ta da! The yarn closet!!

This is about 90% of the yarn I have & I didn't even use the top shelf yet. Now that I think about it, that's not SUCH a huge amount of yarn. I have certainly seen stashes that were much much worse!

In a day or so, when I finish sorting all of the stuff that goes into the first closet we will tackle the second one. That involves some demo of the old wooden shelf, pulling off the wood bracket and then repairing the drywall. Once that dries we can install the second set of Elfa shelves and then I'm home free! I have a table where I can sew and I just need to save up some money for a couch/guestbed, rug and easy chair, some curtains...........okay that's a lot of stuff I still need & alot of money I still need to spend but at least since I already have the table I will be able to use the room. Also, I am really looking forward to getting the rest of this stuff sorted and stored properly.When that is done we will finally have a house that doesn't have a room where all of the random crap tossed in a heap. All of the rooms will be set up! There are still a couple to paint but there won't be any unusable space of jumbled up piles of stuff. What a relief! And maybe I will even find my yarn swift. :)