Monday, January 31, 2011


Due to an unexpected family death early in January, nothing crafty has been happening. The art-doll swap is still on, and I'm starting to work on those so they get sent out on time. Everything else is on hold for now.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

2011 ideas

I don't have a lot planned for 2011, but I'm sure I'll manage to find things to do even without plans..

Anika Shrug from Cascade220. I really don't need a worsted weight sweater unless I'm skiing, and I don't see that happening this winter. I can use a warm shrug/shawl thing though. (the Ravelry pic is better)

Finish a pair of socks for my mom's birthday. It's a pink bamboo/silk/wool blend yarn. I got them at a sheep show and it's a lighter color than I thought (bad lighting). Too pink for me but my mom likes it. It's a simple seaweed rib pattern, a little more than anklet high.

Finish the NineTailors socks. I've changed my mind again and I'm doing them toe-up, I just didn't like working on them top-down. This discussion at Craftster helped.

Craftster swaps...whatever looks interesting. I've already signed up for Jan/Feb swap with art dolls (3-6" so nothing major size-wise).

Some kind of pooling shawl. I have a few different yarns that will work.

Something for the sit&knit at the LYS. It has to be using yarn bought there. I only have 3-4 yarns I bought there, so choices are a little limited, but I bought yarn specifically for a BSJ so I'll probably do that first and after that...well, I guess it depends how much I enjoy the sit&knit times.

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 wrap up

2010 was not a good year. Crafting-wise it was a little 'light' but ok. DH's health was not good at all, which made 2010 a really tough year.

I made a Baby Surprise Jacket using a lot of different techniques talked about in the BSJ group on Ravelry. It's one of my few projects there.finished BSJ

I don't think I'd do it
seamless again though, yeah, it's nice to have it finished as you go but the ends were cramped from the seaming and it didn't hang comfortably from the needles. OTOH, I did like the way the seam line looked with the cast-on looking like a row of stem stitching. I'll have to remember to do that when I sew up a BSJ again.

The 'decrease 2 every row instead of 4 every other row' I'm going to try again with two differences from how I did it this time ... use one or two yarns that will show the sharper diagonal seam, and use better markers to know right/wrong side so I can keep track of rows easier.

I did the "center 90 section" using alternative #2 where the 'center 90" are knit using the same yarn as the earlier rows, then cutting the yarn. A new yarn is used for the last 34 stitches and then all the stitches are picked up on the next row. I usually do alternative #1 where the center 90 is knit with a separate yarn. There's the same number of ends to sew in with either one, so there's no benefit that way with one over the other. I think which one I use next time depends on the yarn, if I'm keeping it all the same color, I'll probably go with #2, if it's stripes or a color change, then #1.

For the pick-ups, I put a thin ribbon (1/8” polyester ribbon) in the knitting when I turned each row of the center 90. After the rows were done, I slid the needle under the ribbon, pulled out the ribbon and easy, easy all the stitches were picked up. It was a little annoying to have the ribbon flopping around while I was knitting the rows, but it's worth it to have the stitches just slide on the needle instead of doing the pick-ups.

Barbara Walker's one-row buttonhole was good

The 'sock toe hood' was good (although the self-striping yarn I used didn't line up at the short-row diagonal lines so it looked 'off' but that's just a yarn that didn't go well with short-rows.)
BSJ hood

Making buttons by crocheting a cover looked good when they were finished but it was a pain to do.

I still want to try an
asymetrical BSJ and a stockinette version and a textured one.

I made Robot 3.0. (Robot 2.0 and my first robot). I did the legs & arms as double knitting flat, instead of in the round. I the head as an afterthought - I cast on at the bottom front, knit up to the shoulders, did some stitches with waste yarn, then knit the back. The head was knit flat as double knit from the shoulder up, and russian grafted closed. I don't remember if I attached the legs as I cast-on, or when I seamed the bottom closed. The only part I still don't like is how the arms attach to the shoulder. I think next time, I'll attach them to the shoulders somehow either before it stuffed, or during the knitting.

I found pics on Ravelry of the robot in progress using the real instructions. I was surprised to see the pieces it's made of I think I like my way better

I also crocheted a little robot for an Artist Trading Card (ATC) swap over at Craftster.

The purple sweater in progress since forever hasn't been touched in months. And the reasons from July 2009 still apply. It's being ripped out and being turned into an Anika Shrug. (the Ravelry pic is better)

And I've done a whole bunch of ATCs this year and some preemie caps and a few other odds&ends

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Book review and amazing shawl

I got Intentional Spinner book from the library, but didn't get a chance to really go through it entirely before I had to return it. But it looked interesting. There's a few chapters about fibers and how to spin (all pics are on the wheel, no spindle pics) and about plying. There was a good description of worsted vs woolen and the variation in between. The part I didn't get a chance to look at was the project sections and the details about adjusting the wheel, instead of your treadling/drafing speeds. When I have some more time, I'm getting this again to study those sections.

The pooling scarves at Yarn Floozie are amazing. I have a skein of Anne yarn in beige shades that might work with this kind of pooling scarf.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Stitches East

I went to my first Stitches last weekend. I didn't do any classes because it was a last-minute day-trip, I didn't have time to do the pre-work, and since I was only there for the day, spending 3+ hours in a class that didn't really excite me wasn't something I wanted to do.

Plus, I'd missed most of the sheep & wool shows this year, I wanted the shopping time! The two hour drive wasn't bad, I think the hardest part was finding the up-ramp in the parking garage :)

I had gone through the vendor list and the general info parts of the Stitches East website a few times beforehand. At first it was curiousity, but the last week or so when it was looking promising that I'd be able to get down there for a day, I started making a must-visit list of vendors.

Walking into the marketplace was overwhelming - the booths, the colors, the noise, the people, everything. I did the Extreme Stash Wall (which wasn't all that extreme) first just because it was close to the entrance. It's a nice idea - 4 or 5 different yarns from about a dozen companies, already cut into 12" or so lengths. There was a poster size flyer next to the wall with all the name and rolls of scotch tape.

Then I started wandering, more or less, aimlessly up & down the aisles. It was set up like the vendor booths at Rhinebeck or the NH Sheep & Wool shows. Stitches East had much better lighting, and the rain didn't matter. The sheep shows have animals, but rain would make it less enjoyable. Stitches had a nice concession area (not a great food selection though) to sit & eat & relax. There's more food selections at the sheep shows, but not usually a place to sit and relax - the last time I went to NH it seemed like everytime I sat down at a picnic tables, I was asked to move because it was needed for a class (why they didn't bother to put up a 'reserved for class' sign, I have no idea).

Stitches East also didn't have anywhere near the amount of fiber as the sheep shows, even though I recognized some of the vendors from the sheep shows. On the other hand, I did find some fiber to buy though A small bag of qiviut from Windy Vally Muskox and a purple/white silk merino blend from um.. Ellen's Half Pint farms maybe. (I got receipts from everyone, but I didn't realize that almost none of the receipts have names.)

And some yarns...One skein skacel laceweight from Skaska and 6 skeins of Santa Fe Asland Trends sock yarn in the purple heart colorway, no idea from who.

And a bunch of patterns - Baby Mine baby sweater by the Yarn Harlot, Dual Cable Fingerless Gloves from Bijou Basin Ranch, a reprinted pattern of Galina Khmeleva's Orenburg Lace Triangle from Interweave Knits, the Portugese Fisherwoman's Shawl, La Valse shawl (Ravelry link), and Sneaky Socks from comicknits

I tried out the Kollage's square metal knitting needles and flat wooden needles from another vendor. I didn't notice any difference in holding the needles, but I did notice that when I slide the right needle tip into the stitch and then off the left needle, the needle 'jumped' a bit at the square edge. Not so much with the metal needle, but definitely with the wooden ones. I'm not sure if it's because the square edge was more rounded or because the rounded tip edge was longer with the Kollage needles. There was also square handled crochet hooks, but I didn't get a chance to try those - they were all packaged and I didn't see any available to try out.

I also tried the Signature needles with the stiletto point. Very nice - the points are nice and pointy and the rest of the needle has a bit of a texture that's not usually on metal or aluminum needles. Sort of like a super-super fine emory board feel. It was too noisy in the hall to hear if they have the same 'whine' as aluminum needles do. If they don't, I'd definitely buy them, if there were a little less pricey.

The only tools I got was a pair of flex needles in a size I don't have and a set of small double-ended crochet hooks (they're maybe 3" long) for picking up stitches etc.

Would I go again? Sure,but I'd rather go to one of the sheep shows instead.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday evening

and I'm (sort of) surprised it's been so long I've posted. On one hand, I think of things that I want to keep track of - the kind of thing that's perfect for a blog, but then I don't. Maybe it's just proof that blogging, and any other kind of craft-journaling isn't 'me.' On the other hand, it's still a good place to keep track of things when I do use it.

I did the Serafina shawl this summer for a Craftster swap. I had a heck of a time with the first few rows - and if those aren't right, the rest of the pattern doesn't work. Luckily it starts at the center neck and works down (out?) to a batwing triangle or faroese style shape, so ripping and re-doing wasn't hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of stitches.

It's a repetitive pattern - start to center and center to end is the same - I thought my problem was that I was leaving out something on the 2nd half of the rows, that I was skimming the pattern writeup too much and leaving out something. Before I ripped out (again) I spread it out and compared what I had with what the pictures looked like and figured out where I was going wrong. The next try worked :) It was a few more repeats of the 4-row pattern before it clicked enough that I didn't need the pattern.

That's when I drew up a chart and wrote a simplified pattern for myself for next time - I think it'll be good for the zephyr wool/silk yarn I have no idea what to use it for.

Too bad I didn't find the errata or the color-coded chart or the Ravelry group for the shawl before I went nuts trying to figure out where I kept messing up the pattern - turned out I wasn't using the version with the corrections.

So, for my own sanity the next time I make this, especially since I'm liable to lose my written notes before then... I'm typing up my own notes for the pattern.

Notes are just that - the pattern is not mine, I'm not claiming it as mine, this isn't another version of Serafina's shawl. It's just notes. I don't know if these are detailed enough to crochet without using the actual pattern. The links to the pattern and errata are above and working as of 10/10/2009. Click on the link if you're interested in reading the notes.


V (V stitch)
At the beginning of a row: ch4 and dc in base ch
At the end of a row: dc, ch,dc in the 3rd ch of the starting V from the previous row
In the middle of a row: dc, dc, dc in the next dc

V2 - (dc, 2dc, dc) in the ch1 sp of next V

DoubleV - (2dc, ch, 2dc) in ch 2 of next V2

DoubleV2 - (2dc, 2ch, 2dc) in ch sp of next double V

Shell - (3dc, 2ch, 3dc) in ch2 sp of next shell or double V2

Pattern - shell, ch1, 3dc (the shell is made in the 2ch space of a shell and the 3dc is one dc in the next 3 dc)

Rows 4-7 and 7-10 increase 1 dc after the starting V, before and after the center shell, and before the ending V. The increase is made by doing a dc in the ch1 space of the previous row.

Shell is the center of the row and the center of the shawl

Row 1 -In ring do - V, ch1, shell, ch1, V - tighten ring closed

Row 2 - V [ch1, 5dc, ch1] shell, repeat [ ], V

Row 3 - V [ch1, 3dc V 3dc, ch1] shell, repeat [ ], V

Row 4 -V [ch1, 4dc ch1, V2, ch1, 4dc, ch1] shell, repeat [ ], V

Row 5 -V [ch1, 5dc ch1, doubleV, ch1, 5dc, ch1] shell, repeat [ ], V

Row 6 - V [ch1, 6dc ch1, doubleV2, ch1, 6dc, ch1] shell, repeat [ ], V

Row 7 - V [ch1, 3dc V 3dc, ch1, pattern (1 time), V 3dc, ch1] shell, repeat [ ], V

Row 8 - V [ch1, 4dc, V2, ch1, 3dc, ch1, pattern (1 time), ch 1, V2, ch1 4dc, ch1] shell, repeat [ ], V

Row 9 - V [ch1, 5dc, doubleV, ch1, 3dc, ch1, pattern (1 time), ch 1, doubleV, ch1 5dc, ch1] shell, repeat [ ], V

Row 10 - V [ch1, 6dc, doubleV2, ch1, 3dc, ch1, pattern (1 time), ch 1, doubleV2, ch1 6dc, ch1] shell, repeat [ ], V

Rows 11-14 - repeat rows 7-10 doing "pattern (2 times)"

Repeat rows 7 - 10 for desired length, doing one more "pattern" each time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Socks and a sweater

Not finished ones though. Yet.

Socks first. Nine Tailors Socks After a fairly lengthy discussion over at Ravelry, especially message 28, with TsockTsarina about doing these toe-up, I'm doing them cuff-down as written. Mostly. I'm doing them cuff-down starting just after the ribbing, (provisional cast-on) and then doing the ribbing upwards which will give some leeway to adjust for fit.

Most of the sock details I understand how to reverse them to toe-up, but the one thing that she pointed out was that as written, the cable starts at the ribbing and goes down. If you (I) work them toe-up, you don't know where to start the cable (at the toe) so that the cable ends at the ribbing at same beginning point.

On one hand, if the cable doesn't end at the same point, it doesn't matter, because both socks will match.

On the other hand, the cable is a bell-ringing 'song' (chant, verse, whatever) so it won't be starting at the beginning.


I've been thinking about the Sort Of Thora (last update) sweater that's been hanging around for, um, 3 or 4 years. Besides the fitting issues from the last time (which, I'm guessing haven't changed), a fewer bigger 'problems' have come up.

Warmth - I don't really need a worsted weight 100% wool heavy sweater. It'll be too hot to wear indoors, and probably not jacket-y enough to wear outdoors. I think the cable design will get obscured the first time the sweater's washed. I found a small swatch I had done a long time ago (no notes, so I don't know if there was any shrinkage) and the knit stitches were all fuzzy and blended together. Ok for a simple pattern, but not ok for a cable. It's a dressy cardigan that's been dressed-down. The dressed-down part is ok, but... I still have that picture of the dressy cardigan in my head. And the Sort-of Thora is ok, but sort of a let down. I think it's the yarn (a casual, soft, tweedy purple) more than the re-sizing and top-down vs bottom-up etc changes I've done. A different yarn, maybe a jewel tone with a little more body to it, would work better.

I think this is going to be ripped and re-knit (or crocheted?) into something casual. Maybe. Or maybe not.