Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I Got Nothin'

Aaah, how I hate the first week back to school. Between two sleep-deprived teenagers and the daily battle with teenage drivers in the high school parking lot, I'm spent. Plus, my cousin is incommunicado in New Orleans and I've been waiting for the results of a biopsy, so I'm a little stressed right now.

Of course I've been knitting, but it's not anything I can show you (yet). So I took some photos at Stitch 'N Bitch last night of the wonderful projects being knit by a couple of the women.

First, we have Teri looking rather jaunty in her Feather and Fan scarf knit from Rowan Kid Classic:

And here's Gwen and her fabulous self-patterning socks:

And here's a photo of Emily's amazingly cute Nantasket Basket knit from Wool Pak yarn:

Don't you love the way the colors flash on the sides. Bet you could never get that to happen intentionally. By the way, Emily, how many of these baskets are you going to knit anyway???

And, before you go, check out these socks that were knit from my Almost Argyle pattern. I'm hoping the Sockapal-2-za recipient likes them.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

WIP Revealed

I don't think anyone correctly identified this weeks' WIP. It was a Spey Valley sock from the book, Knitting on the Road.

Here's a photo of the detail at the top of the cuff.

I made the leg smaller than the pattern suggested both because I'm short and also because I wanted to make sure that at least some of the cuff peeks out when I wear the socks.

I've been meaning to knit this sock for a while and then Miriam gifted me some yarn that was perfect. She dyed some Knit Picks sock yarn using Kool Aid and a tie-dye technique that creates a yarn known as "flammegarn." The technique is explained very nicely, with great photos, here.

And, as some of you fellow Westerners guessed, my vacation destination was Las Vegas. How many of you knew that you have to pass through the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona when you drive from Las Vegas to Utah on I-15? That's three states in 30 minutes; quite unusual in the West.

Flower Basket Shawl

My Flower Basket Shawl is blocking as I type this:

It came out to be a nice size: 60 inches across the top and 25 inches down the center back.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Shawls and Obsessions

Although I have plenty of other projects I could be working on, I became obsessed this weekend with starting a new Flower Basket Shawl. I did a little stash diving on Sunday night and came up with two balls of Katia Austral. Each ball contains 153 yards of yarn. So, I only had 306 yards to work with. How big could I make the shawl without running out of yarn? Ah! Time for some mathematics.

After I knit up the first ball of yarn, I did a little calculation to figure out what percentage of the shawl was completed and what percentage remained to be knit. Here's how you do it:

I've never tried this calculation with anything other than a rectangular shawl or a triangle shawl knit from the top down with a constant rate of increasing (i.e., an average of 2 stitches increased per row), but I think it would work even if you knit the shawl from the bottom up. I've actually set the whole thing up as a spreadsheet so I was able to monitor my progess as I knit the Flower Basket Shawl.

Not that I'm obsessive or anything.

Looks like my calculation worked:

Pattern: Flower Basket Shawl (Interweave Knits magazine)
Yarn: Katia Austral
Date Started: August 21, 2005
Date Finished (but not blocked): August 23, 2005

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Blame It On Amy

When I read on Amy's blog that she was on a quest for some black Cotton Ease yarn, I was happy to enable her. The local Hancock Fabric store just happened to have 10 skeins crying out for an owner. While I was there, I decided to pick up a couple of skeins for myself. I've never tried this yarn and was curious as to what all the fuss was about. Turns out, I also had a pattern booklet in my stash with a pattern that I've been dying to knit up for a while. So, the perfect match was made:

Pattern: Lace Edged Shell from Filatura Di Crosa's Spring/Summer Collection 2003
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease

Mary guessed correctly this week. Yikes! what a great guess.
I made a few alterations to the pattern. I knit a few less rows of ribbing and more rows of stockinette. Mainly because I didn't want the holes from the lace to expose too much of my stomach. I also used short rows for the shoulder shaping and then a three-needle bind off to join the front to the back at the shoulder. The pattern was wonderful, and I think the lace edging is clever. The yarn, well . . . let's just say I don't know what all the fuss is about. It was soft and it's certainly inexpensive, but I'm not sure I'll hoard it if I see more for sale.

Birthday Round Up

Thanks to everyone who sent me emails and e-cards for my birthday. DH came through with a fabulous gift. I guess he actually listens to me sometimes; or perhaps I did a better job this year of contantly repeating myself. So what was this fabulous prezzie? It was the book, Three-Cornered and Long Shawls, and six skeins of Icelandic lace-weight wool from Schoolhouse Press.
And what did I do all day? I spun up the kid mohair that Anne gave me for my birthday:

Isn't the color wonderful!

WIP of the Week

There's a twist to my WIP of the week this week and here are the photo hints. The first two were taken from the car on my way home from a short trip I took last week:

I saw this sign first:

And this sign about 30 minutes later:

Since the second photo sucks, I'll tell you that it says, "Welcome to Utah."

And, for the last clue, a photo of my WIP taken from the destination.

Can you guess the WIP and the vacation destination??

Who's linking here?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Birthdays, and Prezzies, and Treats, Oh My!

(Warning to those on dial-up. There are lots of photos in this post.)

My birthday hasn't arrived quite yet, but I was the lucky recipient of some fabulous prezzies at Stitch 'N Bitch on Tuesday night.

First up, the treats (from an excellent, local bakery):

Then the fiber:

Both of these were gifted to me by Anne (see below for a photo of Anne with her amazing hand-woven rug). The orange fiber in the first photo is kid mohair. Isn't the color gorgeous. The grey in the second photo is a blend of alpaca and angora from one of Anne's German Angora rabbits. I can't possibly explain how soft and luscious this is. We passed it around at Stitch 'N Bitch and took turns petting it. Even my hard-to-impress-with-any-fiber son deemed it "Pretty damn soft."

Next up is the yarn:

From Margene, this utterly fabulous hand-dyed yarn that she got at Estes Park.

That's "my" color, don't you think? I'm still not sure what I'll make with this. For now, I'm content to just gaze it it longingly. Margene also have me this cute, "Got Gauge" t-shirt:

Does this mean I have to be better about swatching first???

Then, from Emily (who needs to update her blog, hint hint), this great ball of sock yarn that I don't already have in my stash!

According to Emily, the owner of my LYS produced this skein from a box in "the back room." Kewl; I'm probably the first person in Salt Lake to own a skein of this yarn. Again, check out the fact that these are "my" colors. OK, people, am I that transparent????

Next, from Miriam, there's this awesome skein of Knit Picks merino that she dyed herself with Kool-Aid (pictured with the homemade jam, yum):

And, last but not least, this incredible hand-sewn needle case from Teri:

I'm in awe of anyone who can sew.

Phew! So, how lucky am I anyway to be a member of such a wonderful knitting group! And just to prove how truly wonderful they are, check out these two projects:

First, there is Teri's "impenetrable baby hat" that reminds me, somewhat hauntingly, of Parker Posey's "Jackie O" character in The House of Yes:

And here's Anne, binding the edges of the rug that she wove herself!!! Note: you absolutely must click on the photo to enlarge it!

Since I can't come up with the words to adequately describe this amazing rug, I'll stop right here.

Have a great weekend. My WIP of the Week is finished but I'm on my way out of town so I'll "reveal" it on Monday.

Who's linking here?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

FO #2

Remember this?:

Well, it's finished!

Pattern: Baltic Sea Stole
Yarn: Vintage 100% Alpaca from the "overflow room" at Knit Craft Studio in Ogden, UT

I actually finished this quite a while ago; the beginning of July, I believe. But I never got around to blocking it or taking a photo. I overcame the first obstacle by bringing it to my LYS and having one of the employees block it. This is the best service offered by any yarn shop in the area, and possibly by any yarn shop in the world. Sandy charged me the ridiculously miniscule fee of $7.00 and did a wonderful job. I overcame the second obstacle last night at Stitch 'n Bitch when Margene agreed to hold it while I took the photo. At 6' tall, Margene was able to hoist it several inches higher than anyone at my house. The finished stole is quite large; if you look at the photo, about a foot of it is behind Margene's head.

My thoughts on this pattern?

1. The increases and decreases along the sides edges are an extremely clever technique used to counterbalance the waviness of the stitch pattern.
2. The stitch pattern is extremely easy to memorize so, despite its size, this is a great take-along project.
3. I was happy that I told Sandy not to block it too severely. I like the way the lace is still a tiny bit bumpy.

More FOs

Stay tuned tomorrow for a couple of FOs from some fellow Stitch 'N Bitch members. And I hope to have some photos of the fabulous birthday prezzies they gave to me last night.

Yesterday's Shawl

A couple of people had some questions about the shawl I blogged about yesterday. The pattern is knit from the neck down. So you begin with only a couple of stitches and work to the bottom edge. The lace edging is applied by working perpendicular to the bottom edge of the shawl. I used the edging pattern from the Meadow Flowers Shawl in the book Knitter's Stash instead of the larger edging called for in the original pattern. I purchased the yarn several months ago from the eBay seller "Over the Rainbow Yarns." However, it is very different from the other Twinkletoes yarns I've purchased from the same seller. It is more loosely spun and appears to be an overdyed, lace-weight Shetland type wool.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

FO #1

If things go according to plan, I should have some FOs to show you this week. Here's the first:

Pattern: Wings of Fantasy Shawl by Hazel Carter
Yarn: Twinkletoes (the color is off in the photo; they yarn is red-orange)

If you regularly read my blog, you haven't missed any discussion about this project; I'm springing it on you without prior warning. I was home sick from work one day last week and had 8 hours of free time so I was able to start this shawl and make considerable progress. Unfortunately, I realized that I would not have enough yarn to complete the pattern as written, so I eliminated the last band of patterning and also substituted a more yarn-friendly edging. I quite like my version. And, since I'm vertically challenged, the smaller size is good for me. I'd recommend this pattern to anyone, even a newer lace knitter. The instructions are clear and just when you're getting bored with one stitch pattern, you change to the next.

Tomorrow, I promise to show you another FO. This one you have heard me discuss on the blog. I'm just trying to get a decent photo of it.

Who's linking here?

Monday, August 15, 2005

WIP of Week

Here it is:

Give it your best guess.


Here's how two of you found my blog this weekend. I'm not sure I really understand either of these:

knitting pattern three colors of pink from old lady

do you knit fun fur wrong side or right side

Who's linking here?

Friday, August 12, 2005

WIP Revealed

Well, there weren't may guesses this week, but Kim was correct that the photo of my WIP shows two sleeves being knit simultaneously. Perhaps it was Kim's recent sleeve issues that made her sensitive. I always knit my sleeves simultaneously so that I don't have to keep track of shaping and so that both turn out the same length since I'm sure my gauge varies slightly depending on whether I'm stressed or relaxed when I'm knitting.

Yarn: Lane Borgosesia Knitusa (100% superwash wool)
Pattern: Blossoms and Bowties Baby Cardigan
Needles: Boye Needlemaster
Date Started: November 2004
Date Completed: August 8, 2005

If this sweater looks familiar, it's because I made another one last November out of a slightly heavier cotton yarn. After I finished the first, I immediately cast on for the second and was moving right along until I made a small mistake on the sleeves. I was in the throes of holiday knitting at that point so I just set it aside . . . for 9 months. I discovered it last weekend and was determined to finish it up. Less than 3 hours later the little devil was blocking. Unfortunately, the baby for whom it was intended is now far too large to fit into it. I'm thinking of donating it to this year's Utah Legal Aid auction. What do you think? Would anyone bid on this?

New Knitalong

I cleaned up my sidebar a little bit yesterday and added some links to my free patterns. I also joined a new knitalong; the Knitalong hosted by Jessica.
Isn't the pattern wonderful. And Jenna, the designer, is donating all the proceeds to charity. So head over and buy a copy.

Who's linking here?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


I had intended to blog about a couple of FOs today, but my plans were thwarted last night at Stitch 'n Bitch. Val, one of the regulars, brought an afghan she'd recently completed and within an instant I realized it was totally superior to any of the stuff I'd brought to "show off."
So, without further ado, here's Val and her fabulous afghan (being held up by the statuesque, but hidden, Margene).

Isn't it amazing! Each square is different and Val said it took her three years to complete it. She got the idea after she took a cable class, knit up four squares, and tried to think of something to do with them. Because the squares were various sizes, she added the garter borders and even learned to crochet so she could even out the size of some of the squares. Brilliant!

What's Val doing for an encore? Since you asked, she's now working on THIS. Yikes! I'll crawl back into my little knitting hole now.

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Monday, August 08, 2005

WIP of the Week

May I present, this week's WIP:

Do you have a guess as to what it is?

Contest Winner

The winner of my contest is Jessica. At the time I picked the winner, she'd left the 110th comment. Here's that comment, in which Jessica describes her biggest knitting nightmare:

I started a toddler sweater for my first son when I was pregnant with my second. It was going to be my first completed project ever. I knit all the pieces but couldn't figure out how to pick up the stitches around the neck. My LYS wouldn't help me unless I took a class. I gave up in frustration. Years later I finally pulled it out of the back of the closet. I saw that I had whipstitched (!) the fronts to the back reversed. So I picked them apart. In doing so I accidentally cut a hole in the back. I darned it and finished the neckline. I still haven't sewn the buttons on that damn thing. It is a size 2T. The son I was making it for is 7 and the son I was pregnant with is 5. I keep saying I'm saving it for a granchild but I am repulsed by the sweater. It's full of twisted stitches and odd little blips.

Congrats, Jessica.

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Friday, August 05, 2005

Answering My Own Question

Here's my answer to the question I posed to all of you on Monday.

My most prized knitting possessions are:

#1. The Holz and Stein ebony and rosewood circular needles that Tine has sent to me.

I love, love, love these needles for lace. The tips are just pointy enough and the wood is not too slick or too sticky. Perfect! A grrl can never have too many H&S needles.


#2. This wonderful, fabulous, amazing, vintage Vogue Knitting magazine.

I picked up this little beauty at a local second-hand store for the whopping sum of fifty cents. Oh, and while I was there, I also found this:

You do know what this is, don't you.

It's the pattern book that blew away from me before I had a chance to finish completing one of the sweaters (see last Thursday's post about my biggest knitting regret)! No kidding! The sweater pattern I love is the one in the top right in this photo:

After I caught my breath, I shelled out the purchase price of 29 cents and took it home. Unfortunately, I had already frogged the half-finished sweater and given the yarn to the DI.

I plan to pick a winner of my contest on Sunday so check back on Monday to learn who won.

Who's linking here?

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Several people asked what kind of wheel I bought. It's the Schacht double treadle model and I got it from Bountiful. The singles I showed you yesterday have now been plied and I'm fairly happy with the yarn:

I spun up a little more of the same roving; but this time a little thinner without so much twist. I might like this one a little better.

The roving is from a local fiber artist, Lynn Snell, who operates a wonderful business here in Salt Lake called Spinderella's Creations. It's gorgeous, unique, and carded in a way that makes it incredibly easy to spin. But don't even think about buying all she has left unless you intend to send some of it to me!!

Who's linking here?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

WIP Revealed (Early!)

Since nearly everyone correctly guessed this week's WIP, I've decided to reveal it early. It is, indeed, the next sock in the Six Sox Knitalong. The pattern is called "Amble" and it was designed by KAL member, Alison Clayton, based on traditional gansey patterns. If you go to the KAL page you can see a photo of the completed sock. I've only finished one repeat of the 16-round pattern:

Someone on the Six Sox list was asking what the twisted stitches look like. Here's a close-up (if you click on the photo a new window opens up with an extremely huge, detailed photo). Hopefully I've done them correctly.

It's a wonderful pattern and the finished sock is beautiful. But, I haven't worked on it much because something else is consuming my free time.

Yup, I bought a spinning wheel. This is my first bobbin of singles. Tell me the truth; thumbs up or down.

Oh, and don't forget to enter my contest by leaving a comment to this Monday's post and/or the post from last Monday.

Who's linking here?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Contest Question #2

I just looked at the answers to the first of the two contest questions and I seem to see a common theme. Most of your knitting nightmares involve acrylic yarn and/or gauge issues. Hmmm . . . maybe that will help me choose an appropriate prize for the contest.

In any event, here's question #2:

What is your most prized knitting possession or most amazing knitting achievement.

It can be something you've knit, something in your stash, or just an amazing knitting experience like the first time you managed the Kitchener stitch or the class you took with [insert name of wonderful instructor].

If you post a comment answering both questions I've posed (both this week and last), your name goes into the hat twice.

good luck!

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Running commentary on my unending quest to knit up my stash.