Tuesday, February 28, 2006

In Which I Reveal The Project That Must Not Be Named

Gwen was been warned via email that I’ll be discussing her secret knitting present this week so let’s hope she’s not watching.

The secret project, a/k/a The Albatross or The Project That Must Not be Named, is completed and sitting in my living room waiting to be gifted. I admit that adding the little finishing touches almost became my personal Waterloo, but I persevered. It took two tries to assemble the whole thing, but I’m pretty happy with the finished bag:

Pattern: Via Diagonale
Yarn: Cascade Sierra and Sierra Quatro
Time To Knit: Don’t ask
Injuries Sustained While Knitting: Too numerous to mention

It’s surprising it took me so long to knit this bag because I made it significantly smaller than the pattern suggested. Instead of a 192-stitch cast-on, I cast on 144 stitches. Any multiple of 12 will work. I also knit until the bag was 8.5 inches long, instead of the 9.5 inches called for in the pattern. Not only do I like the smaller size, but I think it has a little more structure and is less floppy because it’s more compact. Obviously, I didn’t follow the pattern in other respects, either. I purchased handles and I didn’t knit the applied I-cord edging at the top. I did do an edging at the top, but I’ll give the details on that tomorrow. I also utilized my own method to create a rigid base at the bottom of the bag. More details on that tomorrow, too.

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Monday, February 27, 2006

The Hinterlands

On Saturday, I met up with Teri and we explored some of the retail opportunities near her house. When I first moved to Salt Lake, her neighborhood was, for the most part, undeveloped and referred to by me as "The Hinterlands" even though it was only about 10 miles away (as the crow flies). Although it is now becoming heavily populated, I still get uncomfortable venturing south of 4500 South and west of 900 East so Teri drove, navigating her way through the traffic like a pro.

What did we buy? Well, here's Teri opening up her fantabulous black & white wallet at Three Wishes:

And what's this? Could it be we have a new spinner to welcome into the fold?

The Albatross Has Landed

The "Project That Must Not be Named" is finished!! Woo Hoo!! Photos and full details later this week.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006


Eliza's having a contest on her blog but you have to hurry and enter. She's only taking entries until Sunday night. You have to guess which sock pattern she's using for her Sockapaloooza pal. The prize is fantastic! Head over and check it out.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

D is for . . .


One of my all-time favorite yarns that is now, sadly, discontinued. The three skeins pictured above are the last ones I have and I’ll probably never knit them up, choosing instead to gaze longingly at them and lament the fact that they’re no longer produced.
I recently used two skeins in another colorway to make a multi-directional scarf.

Great yarn, great pattern.

D is also for . . . Dancing; a sock yarn sold by Knit Picks. I won these two skeins in a contest held by Teri and Bonnie.

Good thing, too, 'cause we all know I could use some more sock yarn.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006


What's this? Looks like my 5.5mm Holz & Stein circular needles are empty:

That can only mean one thing. The acrylic baby blanket is finished. (Sorry for the glare in the photo. It was sunny today for the first time in several days.)

I'm a bit disappointed with the finished blanket. It's not completely square and that bothers me because I'm donating it to a silent auction and want it to be attractive. The yarn is 80% acrylic and 20% nylon. I tried wet blocking it into a 40-inch square and it looked fine until about 2 hours after I removed the pins and blocking wires. Then it torqued slightly. Do you think I can steam block acrylic into submission or is it futile to even try?

Oh, and my Rick Rack felted purse pattern is now available from Knit Picks. Just click on the photo to order a hard copy.

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Monday, February 20, 2006


Believe it or not, knitting on "The Project That Must Not Be Named" is over. I’m taking a bit of a breather before I add the lining and the handles.


Documented proof that friends shouldn’t let friends knit worsted-weight cotton on 3.25mm metal needles.

Is there a band-aid in this house???

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

My Albatross / Don't Read This, Gwen

Several months ago we held a wonderful scarf swap among the members of our Stitch 'n Bitch group. I knit a scarf for Eliza and I received an absolutely gorgeous one from Karen. Here's a photo of the group modeling the scarves:

The swap was such a rousing success that Michaele organized a purse/bag swap. I drew Gwen's name and spent several days searching through my pattern books for a great pattern. I found the pattern, purchased the yarn, and excitedly cast on. It took about a day to realize that I hated the project with a deep, burning passion. It's not the pattern itself (which is wonderful), but a combination of the yarn, which is a cotton blend (mental note: do not knit with cotton), and the stitch pattern which grows at a snail’s pace.

The project has become affectionately known at my house as "The Project That Must Not Be Named." I've come to view it as my own personal albatross. I'm determined to finish it, not because I’m getting any pleasure whatsoever out of knitting it, but because I’ll be damned if I let it get the better of me.

If you're still out there Gwen, now's the time to move on to the next blog 'cause I’m about to show a photo of the dreaded project.

Oh, I can't give it all away now, can I.

I have until March 7th to finish. Wish me luck.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006


One of my sock patterns was just posted on Knit Picks. Best of all, it's free for the takin'.

Just click here and start knitting!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Custom Candy

There was such a positive response to the custom-printed M&Ms I showed you last week, that I feel obliged to give equal time to the custom candy we ordered for DS's Bar Mitzvah several years ago. Believe it or not, there's a decent-size candy factory located between Salt Lake City and Provo in the small town of Alpine. The company has been expanding quickly over the last few years and I believe they recently acquired Fannie May. Even before then, they produced a huge number of candy canes and lollipops (or suckers as they call them here in Utah) which are sold in tourist areas around the country. During certain hours, the factory was open for tours and it was possible to watch employees making candy sticks, hand-poured lollipops, and hand-decorated "candy climbers." Seriously, these things are totally hand-decorated by women armed with pastry bags filled with quick-dry frosting. Click on the links to see some of the products they carry.

Anyway, I called them about DS's Bat Mitzvah and had them produce some hand-decorated lollipops:

They were an enormous hit. In fact, my friend just called me the other day and said she'd found one in her sideboard. Apparently, she had prohibited her daughter from eating it 'cause it was just too damn amazing. Well, the one I have is 3 years old and while it still looks pretty good, I'm not sure I'd eat it. Any idea how long lollipops last???

If you want to order of your own personalized Lollipals, just click here.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006


Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions in the "name that scarf pattern" contest. Although I ended up choosing a name that wasn't suggested by anyone, I got a lot of inspiration from the entries. I went with the water theme and came up with the name "Mountain Stream Scarf." I chose a winner at random from everyone who left a comment or who sent me an email and that winner is . . . Erin. She suggested "Ocean Jewels" and "Diamonds and Swirls." Both great ideas.
Got enough snow there in Massachusetts, Erin???

The downloadable pattern is now available from Mary Moran at The Knitting Zone. Just click on the photo below to order it.

Mary recently set up a forum at The Knitting Zone and she indicated that she can set up a knitlong for the scarf on the forum if anyone is interested. Email me if you think you'd participate in something like that and I'll let her know.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Mail Call

There was a package waiting on the porch when I got home from work yesterday--a big package:

Ha! You thought it was yarn, didn't you? Nope, it's a box filled with personalized M&M for DD's bat mitzvah. Too cute:

Here's the link if you're interested in ordering some.

I did, however, purchase a knitting-related item yesterday. I swung by Hancock Fabric to take advantage of their McCalls pattern sale (just $1.00 for each pattern / limit 5) and picked up one of these needles from the sale display.

At 50% off, it was only $1.50 and worth a try (or so I thought). If you're at Hancock and see these, don't buy them. They suck. The join is horrendous and there's actually a rough "lip" where the colored tip of the needle ends and the white portion begins.

See, you saved yourself $1.50 just by reading my blog today.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Half Way Point

Several weeks ago, we had a small fête at our Tuesday night Stitch ‘N Bitch group. As part of the festivities, we all contributed a small, knitting-related gift and held a Yankee Swap. I went home with the gift contributed by Teri: a huge, skein o’ acrylic boucle (note the key for size perspective):

My favorite part is this “warning” on the label.

I mean, really. I can’t even conceive of a project that would require more than one of these skeins. In fact, you could probably knit hats for an entire village from one skein. But, since I don’t have a village to knit for, I’m using my skein to make a baby blanket. I've been working on it for several weeks now and just made it to the half-way point last night. Here's DS helping me out by holding it aloft for the photo session:

OK, 'fess up. You're all thinking, "Is she really knitting with acrylic yarn??" See, I'm not the yarn snob you may think I am. In fact, this yarn actually doesn’t suck (too much) and the blanket has been a wonderful, mindless project that I work on during lunch or at Stitch N’ Bitch. And, it’s destined for donation to an up-coming silent auction being held by Utah Legal Services.

I’m sure most of you have made a baby blanket like this; it’s essentially a huge dishcloth knit from point to point. But, in case you’re interested, the pattern is simple. Each increase row is worked as: k2, yo, knit to the end of the row.
Just work this same row until the piece is as large as you’d like then begin decreasing by repeating this row: k1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, knit to the end of the row.

Pretty simple. I don’t get confused even when I’m flappin’ my jaw at Stitch N’ Bitch.

Contest Update

Thanks for all the fantastic suggestions for a name for my scarf pattern. I’ll be collecting them until Friday and I’ll pick a winner on Saturday. So there’s still time to submit an idea.

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Monday, February 06, 2006

New Pattern and a Contest

I'm not quite finished test-knitting my new pattern yet, but this is what it will look like when it's finished (hopefully):

It's a rectangular lace scarf knit in the Orenberg style. In other words, the bottom border is knit first, the bottom corners are shaped with short-rows, the side borders are knit along with the center panel, the top border is knit horizontal to the center panel, and the top corners are shaped with short-rows. I've chosen a fairly simple stitch for the center (it has patterning only on the right side).

It's a nice introduction to Orenberg shawl construction without being an overwhelming project. Hopefully, it will just whet your appetite for more Orenberg. I knit the one in the photo from just one skein of Kidsilk Haze and I'm testing it with some lace-weight wool/silk from my stash.

Here's the contest part.
I can't, for the life of me, come up with a name for the pattern so I'm solicting suggestions from anyone who cares to offer one. You can either leave me a comment, or email me. If the name you suggest is chosen, you win the red/orange cashmere sweater I blogged about last week. You can frog it or wear it; your choice. So enter early and enter often.

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Music Meme

Both Teri and Margene have tagged me with this music meme. Since Teri has predicted that I won't respond (do you sense a little reverse psychology there), here are my songs and the instructions:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

Pensacola - Joan Osborne: My all-time favorite song.

Boots of Spanish Leather - Nancy Griffith: As much as I love Nancy, I prefer the Bob Dylan version. But, damn, I've misplaced the Dylan CD.

Cleaning Windows - Van Morrison: I think this is the cutest song ever.

Bat Out of Hell - Meatloaf: What can I say. A vestige of my childhood. It's the first thing I listen to when I turn on the Ipod.

Walk this Way - Aerosmith: Same reason as the Meatloaf song. And, hey, I'm from Boston; they played at my high school before they made it big.

C'est la Fucking Vie - Ginny Clee: Brenda Dayne played this song in a recent podcast and now I'm addicted to it. Fabulous.

America the Beautiful - Ray Charles: I have a tendency to play this over and over in the car. I've got DD addicted to it, too.

Am I done? Oh, yeah, I'm supposed to tag 7 other people. . . . nah

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

More On Recycling Sweaters

I have a couple more things to add about recycling sweaters but, first things first. Is anyone else having a trouble with their Yahoo email account? Periodically, I'll get a batch of messages that are, like, two days old (which is why I haven't been responding to many of your comments). Then I get nothing for hours; then another batch of oldies but goodies. What gives????

On to the recycling. Thanks to Carla and Emily for pointing me in the direction of this tutorial on recycling sweaters. I took a quick look at it, and I use pretty much the same technique with one, big exception. I don't cut the sweater with scissors at the bottom of the seam. In fact, I don't use scissors at all. I open up the seam at the mid-point and use a seam ripper to cut one or two threads. Then I attempt to unravel the thread in each direction. Almost without fail, it will easily unravel in one direction but not the other. I pull it in the direction it does unravel, then I go to the bottom of the seam, make another small cut with the seam ripper, and unravel the remainder by, again, simply pulling on the thread. I know I'm not explaining this well, but maybe you get the idea if you've tried this before.

I've set my off-white cashmere aside and turned back to a pattern I started writing a few weeks ago. It's 99% finished now; I'm just re-knitting it to try and catch any errors.

I've got a ways to go. But at least I'm using up stash yarn!

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006


My reclaimed cashmere yarn is dry and measures out to 1,472 yards. A nice amount for a rectangular stole or a shawl. I don't plan on dyeing it since I really like the off-white color.

Yahoo was not my friend yesterday, and I did not receive any of your comments so I'll respond here.

Bonnie asked if there is good cashmere and bad cashmere. Yes. I'd say this is pretty good cashmere; the sweater was from Target's Isaac Mizrahi line. Not only is it soft, but I knit up a little swatch and gave it some abuse and it didn't pill. So the fibers seem to be mostly the same length.

Marie and Carole asked how I knew the sweater would unravel so easily. Well, it was fairly loosely knit (probably the reason why even the full, retail price was only $40.00) and I didn't wash it before I unraveled it, so the fibers hadn't felted at all. I knew I would get one, long strand of yarn because the parts of the sweater (sleeves, front, back) were knit in separate pieces and seamed, not cut and serged. You can tell this immediately by looking at the side seams.

Kim (a/k/a Chef Messy) wanted to know how I measured the yardage. I just use the niddy noddy, Kim. One time around is 60 inches.

KT and Susan want a tutorial on how to unravel a sweater. Maybe some time in the near future when I have a bit of spare time; OK. Since I just might have another cashmere sweater to unravel anyway.

I'm just sayin'.

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