Thursday, December 30, 2010

Poking Through Holes

Bait.  Hook.  Line.  Sinker.

 I've taken it all and am thoroughly hooked.   

Someone, who should remain nameless, gifted me with a gift during the festive merriment that is a family Christmas.  Yeah and verily, beads,  supplies, findings and printed words are now in the stash.

Of course, there is no room in the stash for a new stash.  Something has got to give.  The stash hiding space(s) just might have to expand somehow.   One would think that such tiny objects - beads and all - would not, could not, shall not require very much space.

 Really.  Beads are so small.  Little hooks and bits and rings are so small.  But somehow, it expands so quickly and uses up shelf space and squeezes out the yarn stash.  

OH WAIT.  This is a blog about learning to knit beaded bracelets.  It is not about stash building and stash hiding and stash space and stash organizing.

I learned to knit  a beaded bracelet.  With supplies from my gift.  A new addiction of poking needle and string through beads is born.    

Before the stash digression got me off track, I indicated that someone should remain nameless.    Should.   Not will.

This is Sarah - aka daughter #1.  If you see her, back away and run in an opposite direction.  She might look like an innocent and sweet intelligent adult who has love for her mother.

But she is a sneaky gift giver who blows up your yarn stash with a new addiction.  Oops, I mean obsession.  

I just might demand that she return to the homestead and reorganize the whole stash system to make room for beads, beads, findings, beads, instructions, beads, &tc!

PS - thank you Sarah.  Love, Mama

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Under The Wire

It is not a big deal.  But every year I try to complete an afghan.  Last year, daughter #1 benefited from the warmth of my efforts.  Some years, the extended family provides a baby that creates urgency toward completion.  This year - nothing special was on the horizon and no one was planning to redecorate a bedroom to spur me on toward the goal.

I was left to my own sense of plodding along to get 'er done.  Yes, just under the wire the wool is ready to pull over my sleeping eyes.

 Actually - three whole days early! 

But, I may have fudged just a tad.  That's right, I deleted a whole bunch of knitting.  What was planned to be suitable for sofa movie snoozing whilst fully stretched out was not going to happen in 2010.  No way.

You guessed it.  I made a smaller size.  Oh, come on.  Haven't we all done that at one time or another?  

Who needs calf length socks when anklets will suffice?  Three-quarter sleeves are just fine, thank you very much.  And what was the origination of the shawlette?  Exactly, someone who got freaking tired of knitting!  Surely, that is the derivation of the little swath of lace  that barely keeps the neck warm, much less the shoulders and upper back.

The joy of the Modern Log Cabin from Mason Dixon Knitting is that is lends itself so simply to any size.  I wanted to be done.  And by golly I was done.

Bind OFF. 

And it is not even 2011.  Way under the wire in my book.  Yeah me.

PS - I did not cheat.  I did not cheat.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bottoms Up

 The wonderful thing about a skirt is that so many folks don't really believe that "I made it!" is truth in action.    But it is true.  This is my second skirt and compliments come my way each time I wear a hand knit wonder.

Admittedly, with this color combination, I do look somewhat like an upside down Christmas tree.   And so I wore this ensemble for this most festive of Christmas days. 

Already the skirt is destined to become a favorite.  And the  pattern is one that can be repeated should the need arise or the winds of a  whim waft over.  

My first foray into Berrocco Vintage is successful.  I was concerned about the 50% acrylic and how it would feel for so many rounds.  But the working was quite comfortable and truly the wool (40%)  feels dominate.  My hands did not dry out nor did the yarn feel yucky.   Hopefully that final percentage of nylon in the blend will help with longevity and strength of wearing.

The pattern is Bell Curve which can be had on Knitty if the link is not working.  The increases hidden within the vertical columns of star stitches is brilliant.  Absolutely brilliant.  Because the resulting panels are exactly the same, it is easy to give a quarter turn on each wearing and counteract skirt sag.  And we all know where that can happen!

The way the pattern is written, it was an almost too simple adjustment to shorten for us height challenged women.  

All in all, I am pleased, proud and planning every possible wearing opportunity. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oh, Holey Night

Much knitting has occurred.  Some of it on the stealthy side of the yarn, but knitting none the less.  Already one manly man scarf has been delivered - with genuine surprise and delight.   

A few practical home type items are pre-stuffed into stockings.  There is always room for practical - even during the season of impractical indulgences.  

And so it goes.  Hidden (as in not written about here in e-public space) work taking place during both long stretches of time and stolen moments; it all gets accomplished.

 Photos of my gift to myself are yet to come, but in the mean while perhaps you will enjoy this soon to be raglan sweater.  Knitting a top down seems to go so fast - especially at the beginning when there are relatively few stitches per row.  In no time at all the sleeves are divided away to waste yarn and the body zips along just as quickly.

Mr Greenjeans by Amy Swenson has a fun twist on the plain v-neck raglan.  I am really looking forward to getting down to the interesting part.  

Unfortunately, late night knitting during a state of holiday induced exhaustion is sometimes not the wisest course of action.  Witness:

The dreaded dropped stitch.  

Several rows back.   

Discovered over the morning mega mug of coffee.

That's right - you understand.

Oh, Holey Night!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Waist Not

 Once again, a bit of knitting has pleased me greatly.  This is the inside casing of a waist band.  Just look at those beautiful stitches where the inside is knit with the public side.  One stitch at a time it works so perfectly.

There was a time that I feared such fiddly work.  It just seemed so tricky and complicated.    Over time, and with faith in my own ability, making a hem  or casing look neat and tidy from both sides is actually quite easy.

First, I start with good light.  Whilst sunshine is my preference, a bright and non-glaring lamp also works well.  

This is one of those tasks that I avoid doing in the evening.  Body rhythm being what it is, history tells me to join stitches in the morning or early afternoon.   Late afternoon and evening are lacking in patience and make for much frustration with the process.

For me, the folded casing or hem is a "one fell swoop" task.  Unless there is and ample uninterrupted  space of time, I don't even put the first stitch in place.  Oh sure, I'll pop a marker in stitch number one and smooth things out to see how everything is aligning.  But no stitchy stitchy unless there is time, time and more time.

If you've never turned a casing the basics are actually quite simple.  
  1. Knit stitches as called for - often 4 - 6 rounds or 1/2 to 1 inch or some other specified measurement.
  2. Purl a round - or do picot stitches if it will show in the wearing.
  3. Knit the same number of rounds as at first
  4. Fold along purl row and line up stitches nice and smooth and straight.
  5. Pick up (with left needle tip) a stitch from the cast on edge and knit it with the first stitch on the needle, making sure that the stitches are lined up and no skipping occurs.
  6. Do that around until the last 10 - 12 stitches and work those with out picking up.  This leaves a hole in the casing so that elastic can be inserted later.
  7. After the elastic is inserted, sew the casing closed.

From the public side, it looks this smooth.  The purl round (#2 in above description) makes a nice straight turning ridge.

Pattern:  Bell Curve Skirt by Kira Dulaney  which can be had on Knitty here.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Serpentine Beauty

Cashmere swath

A study in indigo

Twisting and turning

Winding into air

Wispy breath

From pointy ends

So full of holes

So full of warmth

Thou art mine, alone.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

So Soft, So Warm, So Fun

 The kit followed me home.  All I was doing was chatting with the good folks at a LYS and this was on the shelf near by and then it jumped to the counter and then next thing I knew it was on the front seat of my car following me home.  

Yarn is a sneaky and mystical thing.  It has a mind of its own and goes where it wants to go.  

Any who - - one week after this kit from The Alpaca Yarn Company  followed me home the work was done and the joy was abundant!  It is a very simple knit to create a mesh pattern.  That would be warm enough - given the alpaca.  But no no no.  More to come.  Paca Cinta, a bulky woven yarn provided in the kit, is woven through the mesh, tied off, and fringed.  

Do please click on the photo and view in a larger size.  Owing to the color dyes on the Paca Cinta and the simple weaving, color undulates across and through the brown scarf.  The impact is very pleasing, even when viewed from the "wrong" side.  I consider this one to be reversible.  And I do so love reversible scarf patterns.  

While I was rushing to finish this gift, Bert was reduced to spending time in his too small travel cage.

Bert does not enjoy his too small travel cage.

What's a mother to do?

Bert received the dregs of the Paca Cinta and he used it to make his very own scarf!  Way to go, you crafty creature.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back To Basics

 The extended holiday weekend brought me back to the basics.  The basics of home decor and practical string work.

Bert needed a new lovey/play cloth.  He is rather protective of this new bright blue cotton.   If you look close, you'll see that his seed supply is covered up for safe keeping.  Sometimes it even becomes necessary to sit on top of the cloth so as to protect the food supply from some unseen seed thief.  

Although it does not show up here, and try as I might Bert would not pose appropriately, the bright blue does bring out the tips of his tail feathers.    He does so enjoy being a color coordinated flight of fashion.
The same simple crochet for Bert became new dish cloths for me.   Clicking on the photo might embiggen it and then you'll notice the texture.  These are just single crochet (sc).  The texture comes from working one sc in the back loop of the row below, the next sc in the front loop of the next stitch and repeat across.  A little bit more textural scrubby than plain single crochet.

All this new practical basic string work took just a few football games.  And - here is the joy of it all - no blocking required!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Coffee Olé

 The sweet aromatic smell of success.  Oh yes, the coffee dyeing experiment was indeed a success.   Just look at that color!  Not exactly a pure coffee shade because there is still the coral undertone.

But this is my very own shade of yarn.  No one else in the whole world will ever have this exact little scarf.    Giddy.  That's what I am.  Giddy.
 Lest we forget, here is the original coral scarf from the Seaweed Scarf pattern that can be had via this Ravelry link.  Look at the color change!  Think about this photo the next time you spill coffee upon your self.    

I still love the pattern.  It is a very quick knit and does not take too much yardage.  This is definitely all about the edge and that flirty ruffling impact. 

As you can see,  size adjustment did occur so that Coffee Olé is larger than the first version.  It could be even bigger, but the result would then move way past scarfness and into shawlness.  It is a tricky bit of verbiage - the difference between scarf and shawl.  At what size, exactly, does the line move from one to the other?  Do I care?

All that I really care about at this point is the success of the great dunk on coffee experiment and that the combination odor of wet wool and coffee has wafted away and does not engulf me whilst wearing Coffee Olé!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Time For A Coffee Break

 That coral yarn from the seaweed scarf showed up again.  Three skeins of the stuff is a lot!  

Not feeling like a making a copy cat anything, The remainder (well, most of the remainder of the skeins) was quickly knit up with the intent of over dyeing the result so that it did not look like I was simply using up the leftover yarn.

A few trial runs occurred.  Do you remember that phase of tea dyeing everything including the kitchen curtains?  That was prime plan #1 and it almost worked.  Unfortunately, no matter how strong the brew of black tea nor how long the soak, the result was not what I had in mind.

So, trial via plan #2 commenced and was pleasing in its result.

 Coffee was brewed.  Nice strong Community Coffee.    A lot of coffee was required.

I drank the dregs of the second pot - just to calm my nerves for what was about to happen.

Dunk on Coffee.  That's right.  The coral swath was dunked on coffee.  
Total soak time was in the neighborhood of fifteen minutes - give or take.  I didn't really time this because I was busy and figured that something would come out in the wash, so extra color could not hurt.

There was cooking involved.  Do please notice that the lovely Cornflower pots from thirty-five years ago remain quite serviceable.  This is, however, the first time that this large one had coffee in it - unless you count the great chili experiment, which is great story that has no yarn in it.

Here is a lovely look at the pause to check the  color change.  

One major caution:
Do not attempt dyeing with coffee unless you really love the combination smell of coffee and wet wool wafting about the premises.  The faint might be sensitive.

All in all, this was a grand and successful coffee break.  The result will post soon.

Friday, November 19, 2010


There are times, where blingness is just right.

 Plain neckline - not plain closure.

Here is the asymmetrical cardigan finally and totally completed.  Things that make me happy about this one:

  • The strong line of the decreases in the neck shaping.  Because the edging is crocheted around once the pieces parts are sewn together, I decided to work the decreases two stitches in from the edge.  It makes for a nice detail that is visible, but not the star.
  • The crochet edging.  Just a bit of girly on what is otherwise workhorse Plain Jane stockinette
  • Blingness!  Oh, sure - Plain Jane, non starring role decreases, a bit of girly - all players in the final piece.  But the bling of a big honking safety pin type closure encrusted with fake sparkles is delightful.
  • Bling!  Discovered forgotten in the drawer of unused pieces.  Everything not tossed out is ripe for the recycling.
  • Sleeves that are too long.  Now you are wondering why I'd like sleeves that are too long; and I am going to tell you.
  • This cardigan is winging away to its rightful owner who is endowed with height and length of arm.  Those extra inches of floppiness on me will be perfection on her.

You know what?  There is something totally awesome about this ability to custom fit to the individual.  To spark up plain stitches with Blingness.  Maybe I'll stick with the yarn thing a bit longer.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Getting Done

At least one thing is getting done.  The cardigan is coming together quite well.  

There is something very satisfying about a well done seam.

 Setting in sleeves has never been a bother.  While working the stitches on these, I began to think about why sleeves always sew in easily for me, while yarn friends often utter words unprintable during the activity.

Perhaps it is because I am otherwise experienced.  Meaning, that I learned to set in sleeves while sewing on a pedal Singer machine.  

That's right, pedaling and guiding and turning curves and accomplishing inset sleeves that not only fit but look might fine.  Old school experiences have much value and transfer to all manner of construction projects.  Including yarn rather than fabric.

Sometimes, such as today, the only thing better than a well done seam is two well done sleeves.  

So happy am I over the smoothness that after a break for consuming an autumnal apple and typing these characters, I'll be back at the table to sew up the sides.  

Yarn, football and iFriends.  Life is good.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Not Done

 Not Done #1

Cardigan.  All the pieces are complete but just look at that curling stockinette.  Blocking, sewing, button finding.  
Nope - not done.

Not Done #2
Sampler Scarf.  Please don't click on photo so as to see the two incorrect stitches in the current lace pattern.  We are not amused.

Nope - not done.
 Not Done #3

Serpentine Scarf.  Probably only needs one more pattern repeat and it did get stitches added yesterday including a cable row.  Smooth sailing for a few inches until the next cable row is needed.  But, alas......

Nope - not done.
Not Done #4

The Modern Log Cabin.  At least this is back to a colorful section so there is some anticipation of color changing amongst the bazillion garter stitches.

Nope - not done.

Four projects not done.  So why did I just print a copy of this?  I am undone.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Zing Vest

If I ever write the pattern, someone please remind me to adjust the size of the right front rectangle.  It should be slightly wider.  And naturally, additional sizes would need that whole calculator action.    All in all, the putting together of three rectangles has pleased me.

The front is composed of two rectangles.  The left side is knit of a striping yarn with simple garter edges.  Here the yarn is on display rather than any fancy stitchery.

The right front (a tad too small) is knit with a circular pattern of two yarns that coordinate with the main yarn.  Again garter bands surround the stranded work. 

More about the closure later.

 The back is knit side to side in the same manner as the right front panel but composed of the striping yarn from the left front.   The little surprise is a single pattern at the center back that mimics the right front side.  

And look at the side seams.  No simple mattress stitching here.  
Bands of silver toned circles set in fake pleather connect the fronts and back.   It's a reference to the button and those circles that appear on the right front and center back.

 Here is a better look at the side.  This insert is a trim from the fabric store.  The stuff just jumped up and declared itself the perfect accompaniment to the stranded pattern.  Sometime, kismet is - well - kismet!

This is just enough edgy attitude for me.  In my youth, there would have been more.  But for now it is just enough.  Frankly, it was not difficult at all to hand stitch through the vinyl trim and the wool.  Rather like stitching a zipper into a cardigan.  As always, I used quilting thread.  I like its strength and it slides right through the two different materials.

Oh, yes, the metal circles running down the sides are enough.  Well, except for the fringe that I added to the left front - it being purposely shorter than the right front to make room for this!

This fringe was, in a former life, the bangles on a necklace.  And I am pleased to report that this use of clearance rack costume jewelry is a fun and festive way to add a whole lot of "well, look at that!" to any project.

So, what with the novelty trim looking like silver grommets set into leather and the costume jewelry mimicking onyx and crystal set in silver, this button had to come along for the ride.

That single shining orb hints at the other surprises and all in all was the final touch that makes this vest Zing.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ooh La La

 Really, not much need be said other than "Ooh La La!"

Or perhaps Festive!

Elegant seems a bit over the top and not quite right.

 Does not seem trendy.

Maybe très chic is appropriate?

Or how about Stylin'!

Nope.  I'll stick with my original thought.

Ooh La La with a hint of Cha Cha Cha!

Reminder - Cha Cha by Trendsetter Yarns

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blocked and Bigger

 The blocking of the coral colored Seaweed Scarf is now accomplished.  And, the scarf has indeed grown a bit - it is almost seventeen inches down the spine and will wrap around my neck.

The edging is even more lovely now that it is blocked out.  I am fascinated with the way that this scarf lays so wonderfully around my shoulders, back and front.

I still am thinking that the function can be enhanced if there are more rows of stockinette before the edging is worked.

This size - the pattern specified - would work wonderfully well under a coat or jacket.  But, worn that way, the edge will be hidden.   When worn "on top" I still want some way to lock it in position.  Maybe a shawl pin or strategically placed buttons (for both function and adornment).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Some Blocking Required

Two days.  That's all the time that is needed.  OK -make that two days of only fiddling with yarn and sticks, but it is possible to complete Grace Akhrem's Seaweed Scarf in two days.  Well if you don't count the time to wet block this edge into some manner of niceness, it can be done.  (You can find all manner of Grace's patterns on Ravelry, your local LYS or online.)

 Oh, yes, some blocking is required.  This is straight off the needles.  Much curling mess - rather like Seaweed!  No one will ever say that the pattern is inappropriately names.  The pattern cover photo naturally shows the small (as in very small - but more later) scarfette in a lovely green so as to drive home the name seaweed.

Naturally, I found a soft coral sport weight from Louet in the stash and used it to make my first Seaweed Scarf.  The very thought of seaweed around the neck sounds just a bit "icky" and strangely suffocating to me.  But soft coral about the face sounds so very glow enhancing!  Yes, me thinks it better to be swathed in soft coral than to be choked by seaweed.  

The pattern has a single spine down the center.  A slipped stitch garter edge keeps the outer neck wrapping stitches nice and flat so that really, in all honesty, it is only the bottom edge that will require serious blocking to control the flow of the seaweed.  

Two options are offered within the pattern.  Counts for both worsted and sport weight are offered so all the math is already done.  


As written, this is a small scarfette.  Too small for me, I think.  Even if the blocking results in some growth, I still think it will be small.  Testing the fit about my own neck has me thinking that some closure is required so that constant and continual adjustment and fiddling can be avoided.   HMMM.  I am still thinking through this and hoping that the blocking solves my major concern about length. 

Do know that this version is made with sport weight and I followed the instructions to the exact row and stitch count.  Please do not mis-read these words.  The pattern is fine.  The result is fun and flirty.  The beginning is unique and adds new skill to the repertoire.  The bind off is not typical.  I'll probably make this again - just because it is a quick knit.  But,  the math to add another twenty-four rows to the stockinette section is already hand written on the pattern and more yardage will be acquired before commencing on version two.

 The edge is quite fun.  I love a "look" that is easy to memorize and does not require constant pattern reading just to make it through.  Here you get a feel for how the blocking will turn out.  

All in all, a nice quick fun knit with just enough thinking at the cast on, edging and bind off to keep the mind happy.  A good movie knit.