Friday, March 30, 2007

How Did You Learn To Knit?

My knitting week hasn’t really improved. The wind blew so hard here that it whipped the car door right out of my hand and broke a nail way back. Then I stabbed myself in the tip of that very same finger that night. Perhaps someone somewhere is trying to tell me to do something else…

just a hint

Since I couldn’t knit with great comfort, I decided to concentrate on something else. Ever since I got my spindle (and maybe before) I’ve been wanting to make my own handspun yarn and sell it. My spinning isn’t coming along that well, so I decided maybe I should make something different that I currently have more talent for. For the past few days I have been working on some patterns for things I could make and sell in my very own etsy shop. And now that I have said something here, I can’t take it back and I’d be embarrassed if I didn’t do it.

I can’t knit, so I am going to talk about knitting. I learned to knit when I was nearly 21 from an old how-to book that my mother had bought many years before. I picked a pattern out of her collection and a bag of her old yarn and made myself a sweater. It didn’t fit and I really don’t know what ever happened to the thing. I didn’t know what gauge was. I was knitting a sport weight yarn into a sweater that was supposed to be made with bulky weight. When I talk about the first sweater I ever made, I am really talking about the 2nd sweater I made. It was a fair isle yoke sweater and I still wear it. I’ve always thought of that first sweater as a learning how to knit experience. Not as an actual finished object. How did you guys learn to knit? Speak up now, no one will bite…

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Not Much Knitting Here

Rebecca asked if I used a pattern for the car bag or if I did it freestyle. I started out with a pattern and altered it a bit to suit me. I found it in a craft magazine that I bought a few weeks ago. The main alteration I made was to line the bag. Mine is 12 ½ inches square like the one in the magazine, mainly because I conveniently own a 12 ½ inch square quilting ruler. Bags are pretty simple to make, but sometimes it pays to ignore the instructions and put it together the easy way. I learned a lot about what I don’t like in a knitting bag (and in sewing them up) when I made one for my secret pal last fall.

Today I am considering the apron that I really need to have in the kitchen. I spent part of my morning making potato salad. Naturally, this is a fairly mindless task and I needed something to think about. I made 3 or 4 of them in my head. Too bad they don’t get cut and sewn that easily!

For some knitting progress, a picture of a Boo sleeve. I don’t have much left on it, but I have been working on socks the past few days. I really haven’t done much knitting today. I smashed one of my fingers in a baby doll stroller and it is a bit swollen. Children’s toys can be really dangerous for parents. (That’s a warning for all of you who don’t yet have children)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Car Bag

This short little post is really just to show you what I did with my Saturday. I made this bag to go in our car between the kids’ car seats. It holds a couple blankets, books and some toys to keep them happy and entertained when we are on the road. On a recent shopping trip, the oldest was bored and whiney. I got the inspiration from a bag I saw in a craft magazine that was for baby things.

There were some questions left by commenter about my window covering. I am making it with some red heart super saver yarn that has been laying around for a few years. Since it is being knit from acrylic, I am not planning on lining it. I am knitting it at a dense enough gauge that I don’t think it will let too much light through. Right now, I am considering where or not to put some snowflakes on it . I might just leave it as is until I reach the top.

Friday, March 23, 2007


For a secret pal contest, we are supposed to post about our favorite current project. Mine is Boo, which I went back to work on yesterday. I tore it all out and started over with a sleeve last night. I was enjoying it so much, I had to tear myself away from it and FORCE myself to go to bed. It is a pretty easy pattern, so my alterations to it aren’t a big headache. I can remember when I looked at it on Knitty one day and my daughter came in the room and told me she wanted a sweater like that. The top reason I like it so much is that I am working the sleeves in the round and the body in one piece. It is knitting up fast and will have minimal seaming at the end.

As you can see from the picture of my sleeve, it is a very nice day today. We even have a flower in bloom today. I should probably mark it on the calendar. Maybe next week I will have cut flowers in the house. I love having fresh flowers around the house.

This is my progress on my window covering. Last night I held it up to the door, and I think I might have made it too narrow. I might have to add an additional edging besides the garter stitch I have been doing. The elk is much lower on the window than I thought it was going to be, so I may have to add something in above him. I am going to do a tree border at the top, but all that blank space in between might need a little something.

I think I need to jump start the sewing slump I am in. This morning I discovered Angry Chicken’s apron page. It is inspiring to see the cool aprons that people make. I might have to make myself one. If I had one I liked, I might wear it and spare my clothes in the kitchen.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Counting My Yarn

Yesterday, the ADD Knitter asked if I got my baby birds in the mail. We get our babies through a local feed store. They come from a hatchery that is about 40 miles away. The baby birds are sent by the hatchery to our local post office and the feed store people get the early morning phone call from the post mistress. We raise them just for the joy of them. We don't care for the eggs that much, but they do outlay chickens. I tried to oust the ducklings from the house last night, but it didn’t work. It was going to be too cold, so we brought them back in.

After reading Rebecca’s blog post a while back about tallying up her yarn collection, I decided to keep track of my yarn, too. Jean of Jean’s Knitting does it as well. She has kept track for years. Jean keeps track of yarn being used and yarn coming in to see if she used more balls than she has bought at the end of the year. Last weekend I wrote down what I had bought since the beginning of the year. Today, I went through my collection and wrote down my yarns, the colors and how many balls of each. If I keep up with it, it’ll be a great way to keep track of what I have.

I’ve been thinking about how I am going to make Boo into a sweater you knit all in one piece. I think I am going to knit the sleeves first. Since it is a kids sweater, there aren’t any armhole decreases. (I guess that is why it has the blocky shape, anyway.) I am using up some remnants to imitate the striping pattern of the Silk Garden used in the original. I want to knit it in one piece so I don’t have to worry about running out of the first few colors I will use. If I do the sleeves first, I can do a little math and figure out how far to knit before I need to separate the fronts from the back. There aren’t any schematics to check. I LOVE when I get to make something harder than it really needs to be. I’m almost giddy thinking about it right now….

These are some goodies that came last weekend. They came with the yarn for my husband’s sweater. When I saw how tiny those 16” circulars were, I didn’t think it would be possible to use them. I played with them and changed my mind. They are in sizes 0, 1, and 2. Possibly, I should have gotten them in the 24” length instead. I am loving the Barbara Walker Treasury. Naturally, I have already picked out some stitch patterns I want to use someday. I haven’t looked at Knitting Workshop much yet. I have no doubt I will like it. It IS Elizabeth Zimmermann, after all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

FO and Babies!

Let’s do the finished object dance. If you haven’t had one lately, dance for practice. The vest has been delivered and isn’t even here anymore. My picture really isn’t very good because the light was beginning to fade by the time I got the zipper in last night. The vest looks black, but it is really navy blue.

Specifics: I made this vest using The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns. To make a crew neck vest, I had to flip to the sweater section. It was knit on size 8 circulars at 4 sts per inch with Red Heart Supersaver acrylic. I did a 3 needle bind-off for the shoulders instead of binding off a few stitches here and a few there until they are all gone. I always hate the way those shoulders look when I sew them together. The less sewing I do on a sweater, the better I think it looks.

Now I am back to working on my window covering. I also want to start tinkering with Boo again for my daughter. In an eon when I am done with them, something for me. Besides socks, that is.

Babies, as in baby chicks and ducklings. I have 12 runner ducks, 6 white cochin bantams and 6 birchen cochin bantams. I am already champing at the bit to get the ducklings outside and out of my nose. The baby ducks don’t smell bad, the mess they make smells bad. Basically, baby ducks aren’t happy if they have a dish full of water. Water dissolves their food and creates a disgusting odor. Especially disgusting if it takes you back to the nauseous early days of pregnancy. The first time we got ducklings I was pregnant and having them in the house made me want throw up 5 or 6 times daily. I didn’t get the joy of actually throwing up, just that rotten feeling every time I walked in the room where they were. It is really fun to watch baby ducks go for a swim. Water goes everywhere. The same thing happens when we refill our duck pond (kiddie pool) outside. I love ducks.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Fabric + Books = Bliss

So much fabric, so little time. It is amazing the amount of fabric you can buy and still not break into the triple digits. I bought lots and lots of red fabrics today for a quilt for the master bedroom and I absolutely love them all. I did buy some fabrics for the girls. Knitter # 2 picked out her own fabrics, too. This all means I need to do some sewing or I am not going to have anyplace to store fabric.

When we got home, I actually missed seeing a box of art supplies on our porch. My dog must have been under the porch when the Fed Ex guy showed up. I noticed there were dog biscuits. I wonder if he threw them and the box as he ran away…. Sam is the sort of dog that WILL bite strange people in his yard. Thank goodness for package tracking. I expect I missed the box because of the heavy bags of fabric and my excitement over the box of books that were in the mail box. Here are two of them:

One is a birthday present for a little knitter. I am not going to tell you which one. All I can say is I am going to go drool in MY book.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Succulent Garden

This is my succulent garden. I got the idea watching a gardening show last fall. When I saw all the goods at Home Depot last weekend, I didn’t attempt to resist. Today I got the last ingredients: cactus mix and rocks. The hardest part was finding interesting plants that had the same water and light requirements. There are lots of really cool looking succulents out there, but you can’t always plant them together successfully. That is why I have another pot with a really pretty red and green plant in it. I used to have something like 40 houseplants. Currently, I couldn’t possibly tell you.

Anyway, I have some other new goodies to show off. Yesterday, the mail brought me my Wool Gathering subscription. My 3 year old told me she wants the gansey. There is a kids version inside. I was surprised. I really thought she would go for the Norwegian number.

Last week after art class, I went to JoAnn’s where I found this quilting toy. I really wished I had one when I pressed the blocks for Brent’s quilt. That same day, I passed on the sewing magazine that I got at the grocery store today. I’ve looked through it and I really like it. It is put out by Threads, but I would never subscribe to Threads itself- it doesn’t appeal to me. This magazine does and I think I will subscribe to it. Threads seems like it is for very experienced sewers and Sew Stylish is geared toward beginners. It also seems to be for a younger crowd than Threads.

My knitting? It is coming along. I hope to have the vest finished by Friday so I can take it to my aunt when I leave the kids. I need to get a zipper for it on Thursday when I go shopping. Right now, I have no idea what length I will need.

Monday, March 12, 2007

New Things

We did some shopping this weekend. And I got something knitting related. But first, I have a picture of my new yarn from Elann. It is their Peruvian highland wool in Candy Cane Red. You will note that it is very, very red. Especially in the sunshine. It is going to be this sweater that I found on the Elann website.

Now for the knitting related thing I got over the weekend:

A book! I have had my eye on this book and found it in JoAnn’s. I got it with my coupon, so it was a very good price. I LOVE this book. I have already marked 8 different things in it that I would like to use on future projects. There are several projects in the book, too. I thought there would just be the edgings, cuffs, etc. and was pleased to find there were a few projects. I’d have definitely bought the book without them, though. The different sections of the book are: cuffs and collars, necklines, corners &edges, closures, and patterns. There are also some small sections about neckline variations, necklines and patterns, and adjusting edges. I hadn’t actually seen any of the Epstein books, so I didn’t really know what they were like. There are some cool flowers that I think are just dying to go on the flap of a felted bag. In the closures section, there are a lot of cool variations on button bands. Even cooler, there alternatives to even using buttons. Or maybe you would call them knitted buttons. Anyway, I spent half my weekend looking at that book.

This morning while my littlest knitter splashed all the water out of the bathtub, I looked through my Simple Socks book. I want to make some socks with some kind of a motif on them. The drawing in the book looks cool. I think Eastern style stockings are absolute works of art.

Coming soon: A succulent garden

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Some Knitting Books

Since I don’t have any real knitting progress to talk about or show, I’m going to talk about the knitting books I ordered last night. I ordered Knitting Without Tears by EZ, Knitting Ganseys by Beth Brown-Reisel, and Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. I can’t wait to get them and drool all over the pages. I am going to use some of them to make my husband a sweater. Back in the old days before I learned about gauge, I made him this sweater that turned out really badly. I am going to tear it out and make him something new and improved with the yarn. I am also making him a sweater for his favorite university’s football season. When he was suffering through missing the favored school’s bowl game, I realized just how much he loved his team. I hope to have it finished by the time football season starts. The other sweater is no big deal as to when I make it. I may be able to knock off a new technique or two with the sweater I use these books to design.

When I finish my current sock, I am going to do my first toe up sock and get one new technique out of the way. I am going to make my husband a pair of socks that will hopefully be his perfect socks that I can make over and over for him. I already have a perfect hat pattern for him. He has a fairly large head (my poor MIL!), so most baseball caps he gets at work become mine. Our little knitters inherited his head, but I lucked out (sort of) and ended up with cesarean births both times.

The ADD Knitter commented the other day that her oldest didn’t like the sweater she was knitting her. My oldest actually told me this morning that she doesn’t NEED another sweater. We’ll see about that (she‘s only 3). With the right shade of pink and some prissing up, I bet she would need one really badly. 3 year olds can be really fickle. Every day she tells me what she needs for next Christmas. I can tell how badly she wants something because if she REALLY wants it, she will say she could share it with her sister. She has apparently forgotten that she will have a birthday before then…

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Hint of Spring?

I’ve been playing with my sidebar today. It is rather cool the things you can get in your sidebar these days. And so far Blogger has only malfunctioned on me once. I was creating something and it just disappeared on me. Typical computer behavior.

Our weather has turned so nice again that I am really afraid to think it is going to stay this way. We will probably get the deep freeze next week or something. Yesterday afternoon I found this on the edge of my yard:

I love crocuses. The first bit of brightness hinting at the coming spring. Too bad my feet have been cold all day.

Last night I finished the left front of the vest and got started on the right front. If I am not careful I will be having finished objects all over the place… (wishful thinking)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Knitting Boredom

Some knitting pictures. This is the nearly finished left front of the vest. I will be so glad to be done with this project because I don’t really like the yarn. The only nice thing about acrylic is that you can toss it in the wash and not worry about it. As far as I can tell, it is the only nice thing about it. Maybe I am grumpy today. Or tired. I just want to knit something for me, and right now I am not doing that. The socks are mine, but they aren’t a sweater. I want a new sweater. Whine, whine, whine. It isn’t as if this project isn’t moving right along. My real problem is that I currently have 4 projects on the knitting needles and I am working on only 2. There is a basket of yarn next to my chair that just smirks at me. That yarn is going to be a sweater for me if I ever finish my other projects. One of the projects I’m not working on is a sweater for knitter #2. I would love to be working on it. That would be almost as good as working on something for me.

I should just get over it and go knit…..

But first, my second Travelling sock. It is coming along better than the first one, but I have been setting it aside to work on the vest quite a bit.

Now I’m off to knit or surf the web or something.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

My Secret Pal 10 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I like natural fibers, and do not really care for acrylic

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
A vase

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I learned from a how to book when I was 20. I would consider myself intermediate to advanced

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes, an Amazon list.

5. What's your favorite scent?
I like spicy scents that smell of baking.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I LOVE dark chocolate…

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I spin, crochet, embroider, and sew.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
My computer can play mp3’s. My stereo refuses to play most music mp3, or otherwise.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love red. Really like lavender type purples, too.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Husband kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 1 evil lovebird

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Socks, sweaters, mittens, gloves, and pretty much anything you can knit

13. What are you knitting right now?
Socks and a vest

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I prefer aluminum and circular. I haven’t tried bamboo or wood needles, though.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Not yet.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
A few months.

18. What is your favorite holiday?

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Yarn and chickens

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Currently, I really want to try some koigu and I am always wanting more knitting books. I keep thinking I will re-subscribe to IK .

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Hmm. Where is that list? I promised myself I would learn 5 new techniques this year.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes. My foot is 9.5 inches (24cm) long and 9 inches (23cm) around the instep.

23. When is your birthday?
July 1