Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Azalea Malabrigo Blue Jeans Lace Leaf Shawl Completed

Cast On:

Wednesday, 19 March 2008


Saturday, 24 May 2008

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Blue Jeans Lace Leaf Shawl by spinndiva



Malabrigo Yarn Lace in Azalea Colorway

Purchased on sale from Pick Up Sticks


Nearly all of 2 skeins = approximately 900 yards


US 5 / 3.75 mm Knitpicks Harmony

My first lace project that isn't on socks. *gulp*

I had to rip out the beginning at least 4-5 times to get it right. Also, I started off with the Knitpick Options size 6 needle. It was way too slippery. I switched to a size 5 Harmony as I don't have a size 6. It definitely worked better. Also, the Harmony needles have an even sharper tip which worked well for the k3tog stitches that occur in every lace repeat.

The repeat isn't too bad. It got easier with time and I could see it if I made a mistake. (Though there were a couple early on that I didn't spot but given the yarn color, they are pretty hard to pick out.)

It is taking some getting used to lace yarn. It is much thinner than anything I had used.

I couldn't do this as tv knitting when I started. There is just too much going on with it to keep track. But I did find that I was able to knit without looking at it as much with some practice. So I could do some of it in front of the tv.

I had to look with the k3 together decreases that are in all the right side rows. Otherwise I would miss a stitch and drop it which would be bad. So it wasn't mindless enough TV knitting, so I did miss things from time to time. Luckily, my hubby Paul is patient with me and rewinds when it is important or tells me if I missed something. *grin*

I think the Malabrigo Azalea colorway is probably be a bit busy for the pattern. However, I like the pattern & enjoyed the way it come out. I think the yarn might have been better served with a very simple pattern. But I would have gone batty doing tons of stockinette with lace weight! So the pattern is keeping me interested without being so busy that it is totally lost.

I was originally thinking that 30 repeats would give me enough length. However, I found 35 gave me the length I wanted. I wanted it to come down to my tush. I kept saying I would just keep doing the repeats until it is long enough. But I decided to go with 35 which was good as I kept wanted to opt out of more repeats the wider it got.

I confess that I got pretty bored with the repeats about half way through the project. I just started saying I had to do X number of rows before I could do my other knitting for the day. The good news is that it is done!

I honestly don't know if I will do lace weight again any time soon. I think I would need to be a much faster knitter to enjoy doing a lot of it. But I may try more again at a later date.

I will probably see in anyone wants the remaining skein on Ravelry. I don't think I would want to do something in this colorway again any time soon. So I would rather it go to someone who would enjoy it. I don't honestly think I will be buying any more lace weight yarn in the near future.

After blocking it is longer than it was. It is around 40" long which seems ideal. I should take some more pics with it wrapped around me to show the length.

Though I think I might have pulled a bit too much when I blocked it. The repeats are a bit elongated. But I like it.

Though I have learned that blocking lace and getting a straight edge is not easy. The top isn't a straight line. I blocked it and then repinned the edges when it had dried a little. I put the pins further into the edge and smoothed out the edges. I can see why people love blocking wires if they are doing a lot of lace knitting.

Though the Yarn Harlot says she runs thread through the edge and uses that. That seems like a great way to go as well. Just not sure how exactly that works. But might be worth trying if I do it again.

St. George's Day Dragon Scarf

Just wanted to share the pics my husband took of my St. George Day Dragon as he was hanging around to dry. It was finished knitting & blocking on Wednesday, May 21st. Just waiting to get some eyes for it (the kit came with eyes, but I want the plastic eyes that are used for stuffed animals).

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Puff the Merino Dragon Scarf by Morehouse Merino



Morehouse Farm Merino Merino 3-Strand

2.5 skeins = 350.0 yards (320.0m)


US 8 / 5.0 mm Bamboo dpns

I will take more pics when it is completed with the eyes and smoke. Just wanted to share these in works pics at the moment.

Scarf for Paul

I wanted a super simple project to knit at a Memorial Day weekend BBQ. Paul and I were going to see some of his college friends. And last year I found by having knitting in my hands I snacked a whole lot less than I had in the past.

I really wanted something that would feature the yarn I bought at Unique Designs by Kathy. But I knew it wasn't enough to make a scarf for my husband. And he liked the yarn.

Unique Designs by Kathy Handspun Kid Shetland

I decided to make a scarf for him by adding another yarn.

I figured the handspun would really be best featured by something simple. I decided to just go with garter stitch. Super simple for knitting for chatting and easy to drop in the middle of a row if needed.

I cast on 80 stitches on the size 4 needles. However, after a few rows it was turning out 12" wide. My husband's ideal scarf width it 8-9". So I ripped it out and cast on 60. That gave me around 9" which is good.

When I added the Bernat Cashmere Blend, I knit one, then knit 2 together. This way I decreased to 40 stitch to get it around the same width. It isn't perfectly even but I think I can block it and the two areas should look pretty even.

I am doing a basketweave stitch pattern for the body of the scarf. I handed Paul my first scarf which is a sampler scarf and told him to pick the pattern he liked. I find the basketweave is very simple. I am doing k4, p4 for 5 rows & then p4, k4 for 5. That way it seems to come out roughly square.

I think it should look good and I think he might wear it. Though again, I wanted to make a heavier scarf for him. As the other one I made for him is cotton. But he only wears it when it gets really cold. And for him, that is 20 below! *sigh* But the Bernat Cashmere is actually mostly acrylic. It is only 5% cashmere. So it won't really be any warmer. But honestly, that might be better for him as he might wear it more. *laugh*

Bernat Cashmere Natural Blends

My sister-in-law kindly gave me some yarn for Xmas. It is Bernat Cashmere Natural Blends. She gave me 6 of them.

I decided I really wanted a simple project for the weekend. Paul and I were going to a BBQ that some of his college friends were hosting. Last year I found I was much better about not snacking too much if I had some knitting. But I knew it had to be something super easy.

I cast on a scarf for Paul. I wanted to use some beautiful handspun yarn I got when in AZ at Unique Designs by Kathy. But I knew it wouldn't be enough for an entire scarf. The yarn is blue, grey & white. So I figured I could do the body of the scarf in the Cashmere Natural Blends my sister-in-law gave me. My husband loves grey.

So I went to wind a couple of them into balls. While winding one I found there was white in the middle of it. And looking further I had already missed some white that was earlier in the ball! *sigh* I cut out the white I found while winding and will just have to cut it out again when I get to it while knitting.

I have to say, it seems really weird for a commercial yarn to have this white in the middle of the yarn. *blink* I really don't know what was going on.

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I emailed the company today. I do think they should be aware of the issue. It isn't a huge issue, but it annoying. And it does mean I will have to weave in more ends and lose some yardage because of it. Ah well.

Kaylee Socks


Kaylee by Monkey Toes

Unfortunately, no longer available online but hopeful her husband will upload it to Ravelry sometime soon.

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Made for:

Me - Size 9


Done Roving Frolicking Feet Superwash Wool Yarn in Fancy Footwork colorway

1 skeins = 480.0 yards (438.9m)

Purchased at Seaport Yarn in NYC


US 1 1/2 / 2.5 mm Knitpicks Options & Harmony

2 socks on 2 circs

Started for the May Sock Knitters Anonymous KAL.

The pattern has no gauge. Luckily, they are toe-up. So I was able to tweak them as I went along. I needed to add 12 stitches to get them to fit my foot. I am not sure how I will adjust the pattern for the additional stitches when I get to the leg, but I am sure something will come to me.

The pattern is really more like a stitch pattern than a full pattern. It just gives the pattern repeat & says do whatever toe & heel you want.

The repeat isn't as complex as I feared. Though I had trouble understanding row 5 of the pattern. Shansays on ravelry explained it in a way that made more sense.

Basically, for the middle stitches of row 5 it goes:

* Cast on 4 using backward loop cast on

* Pick up the 4 dropped stitches from the 4 previous row, knit them as a stitch

* YO

* Again pick up the 4 dropped stitches from the 4 previous row, knit them as a stitch

* Cast on 4 more stitches using backward loop cast on

I should take some pictures as it would make it easier to understand what is happening.

I struggled with this because this means that you are gaining a lot of stitches in this row. However, each of the previous rows is decreasing the number of stitches. So row 5 gets it back to being as wide as it needs to be.

I really like the pattern. Now that I understand row 5, I am finding it is pretty quick to knit.

The toe was done using Judy's Magic Cast On. I confess since learning this method, I really do not use other methods unless the pattern specifically states something different. It is wonderful and makes a terrific toe.

I really had hoped to cast on another Monkey Toes pattern for the Sock Knitters Anonymous May KAL. I really want to do a Brigit socks. But I am guessing that will wait.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Organizing & Project Updates

I am feeling pretty good. Last night I feel like I accomplished a lot.

Silvercat/Beer Knits and I have been sending mail on Ravelry. She inspired me with some of the work she has been doing. She organized her patterns recently. And last night I decided to tackle that myself.

It isn't a biggie. But I put each of my patterns into a plastic sheet protector. I sorted they by type and added some dividers. They are in a large 3-ring binder. So that way if I decide I want knit some toe up socks, I can look at that section and see why I want to try. I feel like it was a big accomplishment to finally do it.

Though it also made me realize that there are a ton of patterns I have bookmarked and such that I don't have printed out. So I may print more of them and get them into the notebook.

I also may break down the notebooks into smaller ones. I have a huge one that is holding everything. It is a bit cumbersome. So it is probably worth it to put them into smaller, more manageable binders.

I am also feeling very accomplished as I finished knitting the Morehouse dragon scarf! I soaked it last night and blocked it. Then I just need to add the eyes & smoke to him.

I am going to see about getting some different eyes than the one that came with the kit. I would love to have some plastic cat's eyes. I think they could look very much like a dragon's eyes. I still need to get the buttons to finish the Tomten for Trinity as well. So it would be good to try and get both tomorrow. Though I do fear given I have a half day that many of the stores may be closing early for the long weekend. But I figure it is worth a trip to the Garment District's notion shops to see what I can find.

The Blue Jeans Lace Leaf Shawl has 33 repeats done out of 35. So it is getting there! I am hoping to finish that up this weekend as well. But it may not happen.

I need to figure out what to cast on next. I am thinking a simple scarf with the handspun yarn I got in AZ at Unique Designs by Kathy.

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It is really beautiful. Also, I will probably be going to a bbq on Saturday. And I really need something to keep my hands busy. So something simple that doesn't require too much counting and such it probably a good way to go. Now, I just need to decide on a pattern... Hmmm...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Seven Deadly Spins May Project - Spoilers

This was my May shipment from the 7 Deadly Spins yarn club.

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Sheepy Washcloth and Soap Sack by Sarah Wilson


Unique Sheep Pima Petite in Peace colorway

Made for 7 Deadly Spins Yarn Club


US 6 for Sheep Washcloth

US 5 for Soap Sack


I decided to it as a present for my mother-in-law. She likes sheep a lot so I figure she would enjoy it.

I increased the needle size as I tend to knit tightly. Though I think that was a mistake. There are some gaps around the base of the legs where I stitch from knit to purl. Washing it did smooth it out a bit, but it would have been better in a smaller needle size.

Definitely a fast knit and cute for anyone who likes sheep.

Soap Sack:

I knit this in the round rather than having to seam it. I am working in magic loop and finding it is pretty quick.

I decided to knit the stitch pattern as it was written so I did the K1, P1 for a row, then the K across for the next row. Then I turned it inside out to get the bumps on the outside. I knit faster & tighter than I purl. So it is quicker that way.

Very simple pattern though I think it will be nice. I am think my mother-in-law liked it.

The yarn is really nice. I machine washed and dried it. It still feels nice and soft. Definitely a delight.

I am leaning towards knitting up some washcloths & soap sacks as Xmas pressie. They are quick and can easily be customized to the person which is nice.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Trinity's Tomten & Christmas Knitting

Cast On:

April 4, 2008


Modular Tomten Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann

From Knitting Without Tears

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Made for:

Trinity for Xmas


Lion Brand Lion Suede Solid in Teal

5.8 skeins = 707.6 yards (647.0m)

Purchased at 99 Cent Jacks


US 10 / 6.0 mm Knitpicks Options

This came off my needles on Sunday. I haven't marked it as finished on Ravelry yet. But all the knitting is done. I am just waiting to attach buttons but I need to buy some for it.

I started this before leaving for my work conference at the beginning of April. I wanted something simple to knit during the meetings. It definitely fits the bill with this. Loads of knit stitches and very little else.

I did a simple crochet arch stitches to border the edges. It looks pretty and adds a touch of femininity. It is a simple arch which looks like a loop. Nothing fancy, but it was a good way to start with crochet. It is my first time edging in crochet at all. So I feel happy with that.

I knit it for Trinity, my grandniece (no, not that old, just have nephews around my age). I suspect it will be too large. But she can grow into it. At 4 months she was 20 pounds! So she is growing fast.

I admit I wouldn't have bought this yarn except for it was $0.99 a skein at a local store. So I figured it would be good for some baby stuff.

I dislike knitting with the yarn a great deal. It isn't a yarn I would buy again. It sticks. A lot. And the sticking leave the stitches very uneven. I may toss it in the washer to see if that helps at all. But my guess it that it really won't. It will just look uneven.

But I think Trinity's mom will like it. The yarn is very soft and fuzzy. And machine washable. So I am guessing it will be a good present.

It is nice getting a jump on holiday knitting. I figure this way it is very relaxed. I was going to knit a matching hat as part of the pressie, but I used up nearly all of the six skeins! I may use the remaining yarn as a trim for the hat. Or maybe this will be it. I do have other Xmas knitting to tackle.

Though I did learn that I am only knitting for kids up until about 2-3 old at most. I knit my grand niece who is 6-7 a couple purses which I figured she would like. She barely looked at them. It didn't make noise or light up. So she had no use for it. All she wanted to do was listen to Hannah Montana and play with her handheld gaming piece. *groan*

It kinda scares me how some kids are sucked into all these marketing fads. It is sad. The older kids all just get Target gift cards at this point. They aren't for a lot of money. But at least that way they can get what they want. I certainly don't have a clue what they want. *sigh* Ah well.

Ultimately, I hope the parents are happy. I figure that is what matters most with the little ones. I will make something for Littlest George. I made him the Tomten last Xmas and his parents love it. I didn't see how Trinity's folks liked the baby kimono I made her. They didn't come down. But they told me at Easter they liked it. So I am hoping they like this. And they have another baby on the way. So I will make something for that baby.

Other than that, I am not sure about any other Xmas knitting. I am will see. I have some patterns for quick projects that I might do for some of Paul's siblings on his dad's side. But it is just as likely that I won't. On his mom's side, the ones who knit are really good! So I wouldn't dream of it. *chuckle* Okay. Other than J who has avoided knitting somehow. I did make the socks for her last year. Though I really doubt I will knit for her again anyhow. Not unless I see something that screams that she needs it.

I may knit for my friend Kyle again. I did a cabled scarf for him last Xmas that he seemed to like. I was thinking about the Bloody Stupid Johnson hat as he is a big ol' sf geek who has been reading the Pratchett books. But after hearing about some headaches that Silvercat had, I am a bit tempted to rethink that. *laugh*

I still owe my friend Meredith a pair of birthday socks. But we just had a chance to get together on Thursday. I measured her feet. Now, I just have to dye some yarn for her. I was going to buy pre-dyed, but she didn't react well to the superwash wool. She did respond well to the 60% superwash merino / 30% bamboo/ 10% nylon blend I have. I got that from Dharmafey at Cosmic Fibers. I bought her Dexter colorway and love it so much that I bought some blanks that I can dye. I might look around though. Meredith just wants brown and/or black. So I would really prefer not to bother dyeing it. I will see if I can find a colorway in the same blend that she will like.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Spinning - 1, Michele - 0

Yesterday the drop spindle kit I ordered arrived. I was really excited. Though I was good and ate dinner before driving into it.

I got the kit off ebay from an alpaca farmer. I was happy because it came with alpaca fibers. And given my allergies I am not sure what spinning with other fibers might do. So I thought it was a good fit.

The spindle is a top whorl. I thought given the descriptions that a bottom whorl would be better for a beginner. But honestly, I am not sure. I think Kathy from Unique Designs by Kathy in AZ might have said I should try a bottom whorl. Though honestly, like everything involved in fiber, it seems to be largely about preference.

I read the instructions. Though they were pretty limited honestly. Though on the plus side, I had done some reading online before. So I felt prepared. So I started trying. The first few inches looked okay. But that didn't last. It got really thick with a large nub. Then it got even thicker. So I stopped. I untwisted part of it and tried again, and again.

I pulled the leader yarn off the spindle and weighed it. It is 1 3/4 oz. So it is for DK/sport weight yarn. DK/sport is a lot thinner than anything I had done. So I knew I was going in the wrong direction.

I went looking for some videos on YouTube in hopes that they would help. I got part of what I was missing. It requires both hands on the yarn at any time you are drafting it. But then I couldn't get the spindle to spin. I tried sitting so I could 'park' the spindle and work the twist into fiber that way. Again, not so good. *sigh* I just couldn't get the spindle to spin for any length of time when I did that. So it was coming out super chunky with some large nubs.

I was getting frustrated with it. So I decided that was enough for the night. I put it to the side for a bit and decided to watch some tv with my husband. I undid the fibers and tried to get it so the fiber would there to try again. *sigh*

I decided I wanted some ice cream as a reward for my trying. *laugh* So I got out the ice cream. Our freezer is really cold, so getting the ice cream out is something of a challenge. My husband suggested a butter knife to break up what was left. I said I was worried about going through the bottom. So what do I do? I picked up the container and put it onto my left hand and used the knife with my right. I proved myself right and stabbed through the container...and into my hand! *sigh* The butter knife comes to a point so I did break the skin. *shakes head*

My hubby says this counts as a fiber related accident. No, the fiber was not involved. But yes, it did mean I was frustrated and rushing. So I did something stupid.

I think the fiber won this round. I think I may wait til the weekend to try again. I think I might be better when I am not rushing it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bat Pillow with Chart

I created a bat pillow as a Christmas pressie for my friend Karen.

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I have been meaning to post the chart for the bat pillow for a while. It is actually the item I have the most favorites for on Ravelry. *grin*

Here is the chart for the pillow:




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The original chart was created with Knitpro. It is a terrific free tool that allows you to chart patterns for knitting as well as other needle crafts.


The original graphic was a Gorey drawing. However, I reduced the amount of detail involved as I didn't think it translated well to the knitting. I figured if there was too much detail it would be confusing what it was.

Despite reducing the image to white & black and removing a lot of line work in the drawing, Knitpro created a lot of greys in the pattern. So I have changed those squares to either black or white.

I used a combination of intarsia and fair isle for the colorwork. I found it made more sense to use fair isle for the white stitches that form the edge of the moon and the beginning of the bat wings.

I start at the bottom, adding the white intarsia piece. Then as the bat wing came along I used two sections of black at each side. So basically until you get to the bat's feet, you have a black section, white, then black with small white bobbins for the fair isle bits of the moon's edges.

When I came to the bat's feet, I added another bobbin of yarn. I worked that bobbin to form the bat's body. The feet were fair isle while the body was intarsia. When the body became intarsia, I needed to make a small white bobbin for the area between the left wing and the body.

If you look at the layout, you can see the point where it becomes nearly black with just the slivers of white at the edges. The edges continue to be fair isle.

When you are at the head area, it is very similar to the body in reverse.

I hope this makes some sense. Honestly, the chart is probably more than enough for a lot of folks. This was only my second intarsia project and my first using fair isle. So I suspect if I could do it, most anyone can!

I did reference the videos on knittinghelp.com for these techniques. I went really wrong with my first intarsia project because I wasn't paying attention to the technique as closely as I should have. Though when I watched the video, it clicked for me. So I suspect that will help others as well.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to leave a reply or email me. I will try and respond.

Ummm... Interesting Washing Instructions...


Friday, May 2, 2008

Free Ebooks

is a site that has free ebooks. the catch is you need an address that is non-anonymous. So gmail, yahoo, etc. will not work.

But it will allow you to download 3 e-books for free. There are only 3-4 knitting books. But still, they are free. Of course I already own one of them! *laugh*

(Though I haven't gotten the confirmation email after a half hour. Could be stuck in my spam filter. Gotta log into that account and can't do that from work. *sigh*)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

No Maryland Sheep & Wool for Me

I had been planning to go to Maryland Sheep & Wool. A lot of Paul's family is in the area, so I could have even met up with my sister-in-law who is a knitter.

Problem is I have had a sore throat for a couple days now. It started as a tickle in the throat late on Tuesday. Yesterday it got more sore. Today it feel so-so. Still tender, but not as bad. I am still hoping that it is just sinus season nasal drip. But the two people in the office with desks closest to mine have been hacking up their lungs pretty much since I got back from AZ. *shakes head*

So as consolation, I went yarn shopping last night. I stopped at the Point first as it is close to work. They had just gotten in some Brooklyn Handspun yarns which look really nice. The thing is I am beginning to suspect my color palette is just not the same as the person who buys for the Point. They were all very bright colors or pastels.

The PATH trains weren't running locally due to some track problems. So I had to go down to World Trade to catch the PATH. And that told me it was a sign to stop off at Seaport Yarn. I stopped off there for the first time about a week & a half ago to get some yarn for a beer & fiber swap I participated in (sent my package out to the reciepant who was really happy, haven't gotten my package yet). I had just gotten back from AZ where I got a lot of vacation yarn. So I didn't want to spend anything on myself right then.

However, I recalled really liking some of the yarns they had in stock. Checked their website and as luck would have it, Wednesdays are their late night. So I headed over there.

I am really happy with the yarn I got. It is Done Roving Done Roving Frolicking Feet Yarn in Fancy Footwork colorway.

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It is 100% superwash wool and looks like it will be good for socks. I love the different colors in this yarn. Some burgundy, purple, yet also some blues & greens. It is really beautiful.

The woman at Seaport Yarn was very sweet. She invited me to participate in their Stitch & Bitch (though I can't recall what she said, something like knitting circle). But I didn't have any knitting with me. I only take it into work when I know I will be able to knit. I read on the train most of the time as there is rarely enough space to knit.

I should get some work done. Whee...