Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Ends

The Good News

I finished the afghan.

The Bad News

OK, it's not 100% finished.  I have to weave in the ends.  And there are A LOT.  If you figure 10 skeins of yarn, and a couple skeins had knots... I have over 20 ends to deal with.  Why did I figure that out?  Now I'm going to have an even hard time getting it done.  

The Sock

So, as you might have guessed, I started on my sock again.  All so I don't have to weave in those ends.  Procrastination they name is Neeners.  Here's where we're at:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


9 is my favorite number right now.  I'm on my 9th skein of yarn for the afghan.  When I hold the afghan up it's to my shoulder.  I'm going to keep going until I'm done with the 10 skeins.  It's going to be big, but I don't ever want to see this yarn again.  Then I'm going to have a serious talk with myself before I even think about knitting another afghan; it makes the '8 hour' baby blanket look like a walk in the park.  It's unwieldy.  But it's also pretty and will be great to snuggle under in the winter.  I'm pressing forward and will not work on the sock again  until I'm done with the afghan.  Light at the end of the tunnel, people.  Light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Oh, Hey. Hi!

Vacation Knitting

We went on vacation for a long weekend, and I took my sock knitting.  Guess how much knitting I got done? None.  Not a stitch.  I think on the way there I was too excited to knit, during vacation I was too busy to knit, and on the way home I was sick.  I ended up coming home with bronchitis.  Not fun. I've never had bronchitis before.  Coughing gets old - fast!  So no knitting happened while I was away on vacation or while I had bronchitis.  Ah well, it gave my hands an opportunity to rest after knitting on that damn sock.  I am now working on that damn afghan again.  I got through another skein of yarn.  I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. 2-3 skeins to go.  

Not Knitting Didn't Stop Me From Buying!

I ordered these before vacation, and they finally came in and hubby picked them up for me.  I haven't used them yet.  I'm not letting myself use them until either my afghan or sock is done. 


We went to my first fiber fair yesterday.  My friend who dyes fiber had a booth, and I picked up a couple of beautiful skeins.  Check out Moose Manor Hand Paints to see her awesome colors and work.  It was extremely difficult to choose. This pic is extra big so you can hopefully see the gold tinsel in the yellow skein.  

Also at the fiber fair:

Jump, llama, Jump!  Llama obstacle course.

This guy looks like a sharpei.  You can barely see his eyes.


Someone got a haircut...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Getting Deeper Into Socks (And More Deeply Confused)

The sock class I'm taking turned into more of a knit-along, because I was the only one who signed up it.  The instructor, who owns the LYS, is knitting her own pair of socks while she helps me along.  As I've already said, learning to knit on two circulars was a little awkward and challenging at first.  The beginning of the ribbing was a real bugger, but I eventually got the hang of it.  Once I had knitted two inches of ribbing, I did an inch of just stockinette that went very quickly.  That's where I left off yesterday when I said that I wouldn't do any more sock work because I needed help and didn't think I was going to get to the LYS until Tuesday.  Well, I jumped the gun and went yesterday instead.  This isn't me, but I'm fairly certain I had this expression on my face both during and after the session:

Before socks I would classify my knitting skills as maybe beginning advanced.  I'd stuck to generally easy things (the majority being scarves), with some cables, increasing, decreasing thrown in a little bit here and there.  This sock stuff, however, is blowing my freaking mind so far.

So far in sock knitting I've learned how to:

  • knit in the round on two circular needles at once. 
  • turn the work and knit on the other side.  I didn't even know that was a thing!
  • pick up stitches.
  • knit a short row.  I still don't know what this even means, but the woman teaching me told me I did it...
  • use stitch markers.  I've never really used them for anything other than marking the beginning of a row before, but they are important in the sock because for one color you do one thing right before the marker, and for the other color you do something totally different right after the marker.
  • slip slip knit.  She did the first one of these, but they are part of the sock and I will be doing this stitch today for the first time.
And I'm not even to the toe yet, which has some knew stitch I'll be learning, as well.  SHEW!

Don't get me wrong.  There are parts of the sock I really enjoyed knitting.  The heel flap was a lot of fun and went really quickly. Turning the heel was mostly fun, because she just read to me what to knit and it went quickly and it was different with all the turning.  But rearranging the stitches and the gusset... what?  I still don't know what happened there because she did most of it, even though she tried to claim I did it myself. I'm on to the foot part now, where every other round on one needle I knit the last two together before the stitch marker, and on the other needle I do the slip slip knit right after the marker.  Again:  SHEW!

Here's my progress after yesterday:

This thing takes concentration.

I promise not to talk so much about socks with the next one.  The first one, though, needs to be properly documented!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Little Blue

Here are a few picture showing my progress with little blue.  The color was a little messed up in the first pics, so hub fixed my camera settings.  This is from basically three sessions.  I'm now to the point where I need help - I think she said we do the heel flap next.  I'll work more on this probably Tuesday.  The next couple of days I'm going to work on the poor neglected afghan.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Of Socks And Clouds

I am learning to knit socks on a pair of size 2 circular needles.  I was told it's easier than using double points. Since I'd never done either before, I had nothing to compare it to.  I will say I had a little bit of a learning curve at the beginning and really didn't understand the love of knitting socks.  First of all, I've never knitted anything on such small needles.  Secondly, it take some getting used to having an extra needle attached and hanging around so closely while you're knitting.  This is different than when you use a cable needle, because you can move the cable needle out of the way pretty easily.  The 'extra' circular requires holding your work differently; it feels awkward and bulky at first, but you eventually figure it out and get into the groove.  Getting set up, knitting the first few rows, and learning how to move the yarn correctly after every half row was a pain in the butt.  I'm not going to sugar coat it.  I will say that now that I've gotten the hang of it, I do enjoy it.  It helps that my yarn is so pretty.  Meet Little Blue.  (Yes, I've named this yarn).

It's so strange for me to have two active projects.  I feel like I'm cheating on the afghan, and yet I just can't quit Little Blue.  The nice thing is when my hands get tired of knitting on the little needles I can switch over to the 13 US and it's like knitting on clouds.

Exhibits A & B:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Little Things

Caving In

One reason that I stuck with scarves so long (and then added hats to the repertoire) is how quickly they can knit up.  A few weeks ago I added the dishtowel.  There isn't really anything else useful and small to knit... except socks.

For some reason I've always been leery about trying to knit socks.  I guess I was a) convinced I would end up cross-eyed, and b) afraid of those itty bitty needles.  My LYS is giving a sock class and I decided to take it.  I am still working on the afghan, so this will actually be the first time I'll be working on two projects at once.  Of course I have a couple unfinished projects in various bags right now, but I haven't touched those in years.  I'm usually all about finishing one thing before I start another because I don't want to add to that unfinished project list. Wish me luck.  Between the yarn, needles, and class, this will be the most expensive pair of socks I will ever own.   

                                                          (My hub is not fat, and I have better hair.  Otherwise, this is about right!)


I wish I had some news like, "Woo hoo!  I'm back to where I started yesterday morning!"  I don't.  12 inches doesn't really knit up that quickly when we're talking blankets.  I want to get this sucker done.  Baby blankets are a relatively 'quick knit' when you compare the two.  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013



Yesterday I got to my 7th skein.  The afghan was long and cumbersome to knit.  It was exciting.  I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  All those sentences are sadly past tense sinceI found a mistake.  I think I got so comfortable with this 'easy' pattern that I didn't take the time to look at the work.  I just kept knitting and knitting and knitting.  And knitting.  I literally had to rip out over 12 inches of the freakin' afghan, which equals about 2 skeins.  I rarely have to rip mistakes out; I usually just tink (knit backwards) because I *usually* find the mistake within a row or two at most.  Usually.  I have no idea what I did.  I held my breath ripping that sucker out.  I suck at trying to put the stitches back on the needles since I think I've only done it twice  before, and it's been at least a couple of years.  This was one hell of a lesson to learn:  ALWAYS CHECK YOUR WORK EVERY FEW ROWS REGARDLESS OF HOW EASY THE PATTERN IS.  In the past, something like this would have put me off knitting for a while.  I guess this time I'm more addicted than I thought, because I'm still plugging along, although definitely grumpier.

In trying to find the silver lining of having to redo so much, I will say that I found three (!!!) knots in the 6th skein; two I cut out and treated it like changing the yarn, but the third one I didn't see until I was halfway through the row.  I was sick of the blasted knots and I just kept going.  The silver lining of the huge rip out is I ripped out that knotted part so it won't be in the afghan anymore.*  

*I would rather have lived with the knot than rip and re-knit.  AhHHHhHhHhHHh!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Livin' On A Prayer

Woo hoo!

Well... they aren't sheep, which would definitely keep in the theme of this blog, but they'll have to do:

Yes, people, it's true.  I'm finally halfway there.  The prayer will be needed to finish this monster.  I told hub I'm sick of knitting this sucker.  He said he's surprised it took me so long to get sick of it.  It's all downhill from here.  Here is the pic I promised.  It's sort of hard to take it myself and show how big this is so far, but at least you can see the pattern:

This afghan already comes highly recommended by my dog, who seems to spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to successfully lay on it without getting kicked off the couch.


After my last post talking about the (assumed) wonderful German person who is reading this blog, I discovered there are (assumed wonderful) readers from two new countries.  Go figure!
Accueil to the French reader.  I love crepes.добро пожаловать to the Russian reader.  I love vodka.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekend Update

Wie Gehts?

I was checking out my blogger stats and saw that someone in Germany is reading this.  Pretty cool!  (Especially since I thought I only had two readers, one of which I'm married to and the other one of my good friends.)  Willkommen!  When I was in high school I took German.  Fast forward to many, many years later and the only German I remember is, "it is cold outside".  And now that we're getting into warmer weather, that's not going to do me any good...

Blanket Progress

I'm on the fifth skein!  I hope to have a pic for you all (Hubby, F & my German reader) tomorrow.  I think after blocking, it's going to be the perfect size.  That's the good news.  The bad news is apparently I started new skeins a couple of times in the wrong spot (middle) instead of the end of a row.  The owner at the LYS said it could unravel because I didn't start the new skein on an end.  WHAT?  I asked if I should tink back to where I added the new skein and she said no.  If I have to weave in *and knot* the ends of the middle skein, damn it, I will.  I'm going to have to do some research on this.  Especially since my yarn is machine washable and I'm sure they will be popping it into the washer from time to time.  I don't think they'd appreciate opening the washer to a mess of yarn.  And I wouldn't appreciate hearing that they did after all the time this sucker is taking.

Why I Like Machine Washable Yarn

Speaking of machine washable yarn, the main reason (besides pure laziness) is I had a bad experience with a scarf I made once.  I chose this fantastic yarn that was hand wash.  I decided on a pattern than was a little more complicated than normal.  The end result was beautiful.  The recipient, before wearing it even once, put it in the washing machine rather than hand washing it.  It shrunk and fuzzed up and I had to make another scarf with machine washable yarn.  What a waste of money and time - especially when it didn't even get to be worn once.  Now I shoot for machine washable only, because people are going to forget to hand wash these handmade, *precious* items and I'm going to get pissed if it gets ruined.  This helps both parties, as far as I'm concerned.  Lesson learned.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Project Update

Afghan Progress

Well, I'm into my fourth skein of yarn, which is why you aren't seeing my progress photo yet; you will when I'm finally done with the fifth skein!  I'm finding the pattern easily memorized, however the bigger it gets the more cumbersome it is switching it around so I can add a row every time.  I have to say, it looks pretty good so far!

Odds & Ends

All of that stuff (baby blanket, afghan square, etc.) that I have completed except for weaving in the ends?  I still haven't done it.  I don't know what it is with me and the ends, but geesh.  I need to get my butt in gear. 

Austin LYS

We were gone last weekend to Texas for a wedding.  One thing I like to do sometimes when we travel is to check out the LYS in the area.  We recently went to Austin, and I discovered Hill Country Weavers.  In a word:  Wow.  It was absolutely fantastic.  Now I love my LYS at home, but it's quite tiny.  This place was at least 4-5 times bigger and had tons of yarn.  I was smart (even though now I'm kicking myself) and stopped by on the way to the airport.  This meant I had a limited amount of time available to look at yarn - about 10 minutes.  I didn't even make it into some of the rooms.  I walked in and asked where their machine washable stuff was and was directed to some of the softest cotton yarn I'd ever felt.  Between the softness, the quantity, and color choices, I was in a daze.  It took all my time to choose which color I should pick (especially since I didn't have a pattern in mind), but I knew I wanted to make some sort of sleeveless summer sweater.  I have to wait until the freakin' afghan is done, though, to begin.  I bought several skeins of two different yarns:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Insane In The Membrane

The day before yesterday I finished (well, other than blocking) the baby blanket. As I said, I will take a pic once the blocking is complete.  Yesterday I did one square for a charity afghan.  Today?  I started on my first afghan.  We are going to a wedding this weekend and I decided for the wedding gift I would make an afghan.  I think this is the definition of insanity.  I mean, come on.  I just finished that dang baby blanket, and it is smaller than what this afghan is going to be!

So much knitting.  My  hands actually hurt a little bit. I've never knit through a skein of yarn in one day before.  I'm 1/9th of the way through this sucker, and I doubt I'm going to knit this much on it in a day again, so who knows how long it's going to take to complete this.  I will say it's a cute pattern.  I'll take a pic when I'm 50% through.

Afghan Block

I still need to block it, but yesterday I knitted a square that will be used in an afghan that will be given to Mazy's husband from her friends from the bc site.  It went very quickly.  I really like this checkers afghan squares pattern.  It's super easy.  Clearly I need to work on my project photos, but you get the idea of what it looks like here:

Monday, April 15, 2013


Well, mostly done.

I finished the "8 hour" baby blanket today.  I still need to block it and weave in the ends, but I'm done with the knitting on it.  I even added an extra strip than what was called for in the pattern.  I think it looks nice, and I hope the person I give it to likes it :)  Pictures to come!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Like Grandma Used To Make

Before I started the blanket, I decided to knit a dish towel.  Yeah, I know.  Why?

  1. We have friends that have a new-ish kitchen and the cotton yarn I had happened to perfectly match their kitchen colors.  
  2. I've never knitted a towel before, so why not?  
  3. People aren't going to need scarves for a while.
  4. I was putting off starting the blanket, plain and simple
I checked around on Ravelry for towel patterns and decided on the leftover dishtowel.  Just like the ones Grandma used to make!  And really, those goofy looking things are practical.  It was a lot of fun to knit, and it's actually super cute.  I decided I want to knit one for myself now, too.  I ended up having enough yarn left over from the two skeins I started with so I also ended up knitting the basket rib dishcloth.  I finally wove in the ends (not sure why I take so long doing that since it takes less than 3 minutes to actually do).  Also, the dishtowel was the first time I had to both create a button hole and sew a button on my one of my knitted projects so I actually learned something just knitting a dish towel.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Yarn And Sangria

I'm a bit late in posting this, but Tuesday I went to my LYS and basically stayed there for 4 hours.  At first it was just the owner and I, then a visiting Grandma joined us, then a teacher, then a dude.  This yarn store is teeny tiny, so we were pretty much at full capacity (with enough room to spread out appropriately) with five people at the table, and these people were interesting characters.  It was a fun time for an unemployed, bored wife.  At 4:00 they declared "It's 5:00 somewhere!" and broke out the sangria.  How could I refuse?  These people are right up my alley!

I started on the "eight hour" baby blanket (quotes definitely necessary - I got maybe 1/8th of it done in 4 hours!).  I made a few mistakes - I'm not used to knitting and talking/drinking, I guess.  My friend used to come over and we would knit, watch tv, eat & drink, but it's been quite a while -- I need more practice.  I'm looking forward to spending more afternoons at the store, as well as enjoying more sangria.  Cheers!   Below is the baby blanket I'm working on...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Like Yarn. Also, The Sun Is Hot.

One of my projects to keep myself busy since being laid off was logging all the yarn I had in my spare bedroom, and the yarn I brought home from work.  Any reasonable person would assume I'd have a few skeins at work, and keep the rest of it at home.  Well.  I worked just a few blocks from the Lion Brand store, and I am lazy with carrying stuff home.  When we went to clean out my space at work the yarn I had in my desk drawers (plural) filled a garbage bag to the top.  I also had a smallish container that was filled, as well.  

Logging everything into ravelry takes pretty much forever.  You need to take pics of the yarn and enter all the info for every different type of yarn.  I had over 70 different types (not skeins) of yarn that I organized (some were already in ravelry and some weren't).  That was a lot.  Any reasonable person would assume that since I have all this yarn I won't be buying any more yarn any time soon.  Especially now that I'm unemployed.  Well.  Clearly you didn't read my last post about finding a new yarn shop.

There is just something about yarn.  The various textures and colors - I love 'em all.  And I love the potential I see in it.  I'm also a big fan of all the implements used in knitting.  I have several sets of needles, project bags, stitch markers, and various other dodads that I've deemed important to have in my collection.  The hilarious thing (to me and maybe not to my husband) is that I still only consider myself barely past beginner level.  This is mostly because I will go through streaks with my knitting.  And mostly because I hate gauge, so I rarely make anything non-scarfy.  I was shocked when the 'newbie' knitter I met today said she was on her third project and it was a sweater.  A SWEATER?!  I looked at her like she had just turned water into wine.  I've made two sweaters (both for a baby) and one ended up super small - maybe a preemie could wear it for a few hours - and one ended up big enough for a two year old.  See?  I hate gauge.  The good thing is now I have a new friend, the store owner, who is determined to teach me gauge.

New Friend after I told her about the skull cap incident, as well as the sweater incidents, "You know why gauge is important, right?"

Me, "Absolutely.  I just hate doing it because it takes me forever to actually get the right gauge a lot of times."

New Friend, "Eh, you don't need to do that Four Inch Swatch crap. That's a waste of time."

That got me hook, line, and sinker.  See:  I am lazy.  And I fully expect my yarn stash to continue to grow.  I'm going to try to use an old yarn for every new one I buy, though.  [I'm saying that because I'm 90% sure hubby is reading this; we'll see what actually happens.  Love ya, hubs!]


There's a new local yarn store in town. Or at least new to me.  And it just might be the thing I'm looking for.

Background:  This week is my first week unemployed.  I have a lot of free time.  A lot.  What do I do with it?  Well, up until now I've been doing some light knitting, cleaning, and watching some of the worst movies ever on Showtime/HBO.  For example, yesterday I stumbled across "Rock of Ages" about halfway through.  Soon after I started watching, Alec Baldwin (in a longish wig) and Russell Brand started singing, as a love song, the old hit "I Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore".  To each other.  I knew then that this movie had nowhere to go but up.  Neither of those actors can sing worth crap.  That still didn't stop me from watching the rest of it.  Sadly.  OK, back to the knitting story...

So today I went to lunch with another friend who doesn't have a job, and we stopped at the new knitting store afterward.  It was super tiny, but felt just right.  There were two women there working on projects (one the owner, one a customer she taught to knit).  I told her about the layoff and having all this extra time now with nothing to do, and she basically demanded I go there and knit with them from now on.  I'm already planning on going tomorrow.  It's a nice walk from my place, they were both very nice, and she offers wine later in the day.  That's 3 for 3.  I'm very excited.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Knit With Love

I think homemade gifts are sometimes the best ones.  The fact that people put their time and skills into making someone for you? That is special.

I was lucky enough to know an amazing woman, via the wonderful wide, wide, world of web, for a year.  I met her in some bad circumstances (a cancer chat), and found her to be one of the most positive people I'd ever met.  She never diminished my feelings even though I was lucky enough to be diagnosed early and she was Stage IV.  She had battled cancer for years, but from what I saw this past year and what everyone who ever met her in the chat or in person said, she was always an upbeat, positive, loving woman.  She always had a laugh.  Always.

The chat does a secret santa and last December was my first time participating.  I was extremely happy to see I got Mazy's name in the exchange.  I knew right away I wanted to make something for her.  I also knew that I didn't have enough time to knit a blanket (apparently that takes me multiple years...), but I could at least knit a scarf.  I loved knitting the Chunky Alpaca Scarf below for her.  When it came time to open the gifts, she said the scarf was in her favorite color (I had no idea) and she loved it.  I told her to please think of us all giving her a hug whenever she wore it.

Mazy passed away last night after a long battle.  She will be so missed.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tight vs. Loose

I've always been a tight knitter.  Always.  So recently when I was making a friend a hat, I swatched it, saw the count was off a little, and immediately went to larger needles without giving it any thought.  I started knitting the easy rolled brim hat, just whistling away while I worked.  OK, that would be true if I actually knew how to whistle.  I whistled in my head -  how's that?  The point is, I was enjoying a very easy pattern (Holly Hat on Ravelry) and I love seeing how quickly the hats progress.

After I was weaving in the ends, I noticed that the hat was big.  I have a big head and it was loose on me.  Now normally I wouldn't probably send such a big hat, but the yarn is super soft and I actually think it will work quite nicely for someone going through chemo.  I'll take a pic and add it after I block it.  If worse comes to worse, I'll keep it for my own big head since I don't know what hap

Somewhere along the line I've started knitting more loosely.  I have no idea when, but I like that I have because now I might actually use needles that patterns call for, rather than 2-3 sizes bigger... which means less swatching.  A win-win any way you look at it.

Old Posts And Gauge

I hate gauge.  I always seem to screw it up somehow or another.  So when I read my last post about from FOUR YEARS AGO about how I was going to be knitting a skull hat for my hubby I had to wipe a tear away...from laughter.

I remember this hat.  Gauge is the reason I remember this hat.  At that point I had mostly been making scarves, so when I tried doing a swatch or two of gauge for the hat and it wasn't right, I guessed as to the size of the needles that would be needed to obtain the gauge and I went for it.  I threw caution to the wind and just started knitting away.  I impressed myself with the ability to do color work.  I loved working with the soft yarn and seeing the skulls grow row after row.  When I was done it looked awesome.  Except for one small detail - it was really freakin' huge.  The gauge.  The damn gauge.

So now what was I supposed to do?  I had to search for someone with a big head.  I thought and thought about it and decided I needed to give it to my friend with the afro; surely it would fit her head.  I gave it to her on her birthday and it looked like she was wearing a shower cap.  In fact, I think I suggested to her to wear it in the shower.

Oh, Hey, Uh... Hi

Hi haven't had this blog going in over four years.  Matter of fact, I forgot I even had this blog.  Now that I've discovered it and have started getting more into knitting again, I'm going to start posting about my knitting projects and maybe just life in general.

Here is a hat I recently finished.  I absolutely loved making it.  The cable was fun and easy, and who doesn't love owls.  The pattern is called Owl Hat, and I got it for free through Ravelry.  I encourage you to make it :)  I'm sending this to a friend in the UK that has been going through chemo.  She loves Dr. Who, and I'm going to tell her it's a Dr. Hoot hat.  The yarn is soft and machine washable - I hope she likes it!