Knot Again

I knit myself to sleep

(Monday, February 28, 2005 @ 7:41 AM)

I cast on last night for Clapotis (actually, I did so a few times). I got through the set-up rows, and about 2 1/2 repeats of the increase rows. Here's a couple of progress photos:

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Notice anything unexpected?

I am not using stitch markers. A BIG thanks to Stephanie for the idea. Basically, you purl the stitches you're going to drop... actually (and I'm not sure if this was what she meant, but this is how I did it), you do a ribbed row... purled on the front and knit on the back. Here's the details, if anyone wants to do the same:

On the WS row after adding a yo, make sure you knit the yo.
On the RS rows, p1 (instead of k1) in between each set of k1 tbl
On the rest of the WS rows, knit all stitches that were purled on the front

It's that easy, and you can keep track of the stitches to drop w/o having to use any stitch markers. SLICK!

Here's a pic of the back:

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This is a really cool pattern! Once you get past the set up rows, it is really easy to do, and actually fairly easy to remember... even with the modifications I made. I didn't want to stop knitting on this at all... in fact, I worked on it, until I was tinking as much as I was knitting because I was so tired I couldn't count any more... and then I set it aside and dozed on the couch a little before I could get up and go to bed. It's a fantastically engrossing pattern, and I haven't even gotten to the dropped stitches yet. I can totally see more of these in my future!


(Friday, February 25, 2005 @ 12:09 PM)

Wow... it's been awhile since I've worked on any crochet. I wonder why I let it get away from me... I really love to do it. I think it's just because there are so many truly incredible knitting patterns that I want to do that it tends to take over.

So, anyways... I got started on the afghan for my new niece. I got through the whole bottom border of motifs last night, take a look:

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Also note my lovely new Clover Soft Touch crochet hook. I couldn't find my H hook to get started, and I'd always wanted to try one of these, so when I went to buy my ball winder, I picked up one of these, too. It is nice.

Back to the crochet... here's a closeup of the motif (on a darker background, so you can see it better):

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The picture of the finished afghan shows these being taller than they are wide. Mine have turned out wider than they are tall. I think I cinches on my double crochets more than most. In the future, that'll be something for me to work on, but for now, I'm just going to leave it as it is. Unless you're comparing it to the original, I doubt anyone would look at it and say there's anything wrong with it.

At this rate, it'll probably take me about a week more to finish the main body of the afghan, and I'm guessing another 2-3 for the edging. Since the baby is supposed to stay in the NICU for at least another week and a half, I should make it in time to send before she comes home. If I want to add a hat and booties or anything else, though, I'd better pick up the pace.

All wound up

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Betcha can't guess what I finally gave in and bought.

How much is someone's time worth? I had been winding my skeins into center pull balls by hand. It took me nearly 2.5 hours per 200 yd. skein. I wanted so bad to start using some of this yummy yarn I have, and I just couldn't bear the idea of all the time that winding it would involve... even if I just did the stuff I wanted to use right now, it would take so long I wouldn't be able to get around to knitting any time soon. With the ball winder, 200 yards only took about 15 minutes to wind. There's nearly 12*200=2400 yards of yarn shown here... that would've taken me somewhere between 24 and 30 hours to wind by hand, but only about 3 with the ball winder. So, using a conservative figure, I'll say I saved 21 hours by using the ball winder... my time would only have to be worth $2/hour then for the ball winder to have already paid for itself (mine cost me $38 plus tax and a 40 minute one way drive to get to the store... you can get them for about that from ebay, and a little more from one or two online stores... others have them for way more... the other yarn store near me was charging $12 more... oh, yeah... JoAnns online has them for $40 now and is offering 20% off your total purchase, which would probably cover all the shipping charges).

So, if you have a knitter in your life who doesn't have one of these things... they will love you forever if you get them one.

A swift might be nice, too... but the time savings for adding that would probably not be quite as dramatic, and they cost even more than the ball winder itself.

Stash enhancement, take 1

(Thursday, February 24, 2005 @ 10:13 AM)

Look what I got in the mail:

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I've wanted to make my own My So Called Scarf ever since I saw Stacey wearing hers at the Knit & Crochet Out in October. The colors in this yarn are just like a watercolor painting... they remind me very much of a Monet. This is definitely one of my favorite yarns EVER!

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This is Araucania Nature Wool. I bought it to make the Backyard Leaves scarf from Scarf Style. I wanted something that was mottled when knit up, rather than just a solid color... but I did want it to be all greens, and not a fully variegated colorway. This does that. That being said, I am a little disappointed in it, because it doesn't look like the same color as the swatch on the site:

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It's more Kelly green than the swatch makes it look. I'm not sure I would've bought it if I'd seen it in person first. I'll probably still use it, because I haven't yet found a better option for a reasonable price (occassionally has a green that I like but it's just as likely to look different on my monitor as the Nature Wool did), and, I've already spent the money on it. If I don't use all the yarn for the scarf (I think I should have a bit left over), maybe I'll knit up a swatch and see if I can get closer to what I had in mind by overdying it. If I still don't love the color, I'm sure this scarf would make a really nice gift.

I got them from Rosie's Yarn Cellar. I couldn't have more nice things to say about this company. They shipped fast, and there is no flat shipping fee... just per-skein amounts on some of their yarns... the shipping for my order totalled only $2.00. Woo-Hoo! Way better than I could do elsewhere.

I also picked up some of this:

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To make this:

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GORGEOUS crocheted afghan for my brand new niece who was born this weekend, 5 weeks early. I love the feel of this yarn. Some reviews say it blooms when you wash it, which doesn't bode too well for the stitch definition, but I'm willing to chance it, because it just feels so good, anda preemie just ought to have soft stuff next to their skin.

One down...

(Saturday, February 19, 2005 @ 9:11 PM)

I finished my first fuzzy foot:

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I'm so glad I picked a felting project for my first sock, because I did not do well. This is the sock's good side.

I put a piece of white paper in for contrast so you can see a little better... here's a closeup of the decreases on this side:

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And here's a closeup of the decreases on the other side:

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As you can see, the decreases on this second side leave A LOT to be desired. It's also extremely evident to me where the needles came together. I tightened my stitches up as much as possible... they were good and snug as I knit them. But, as I came around to that same spot, and all the weight of the sock and the other DPN's was hanging off of just a stitch or two, those stitches stretched out, and that's where the looseness comes from ( I'm not sure how much that would be eliminated by lighter needles and yarn). I couldn't figure any good way around that... any advice would be much appreciated.

As of now, I'm afraid to even bother with real socks or mittens or hats done on DPN's. Maybe I should try the 2 circs method... at least that way, there's only 2 joins, instead of 3 or 4. Or, maybe I should give up and buy some Clover mini-circular needles. Of course, you do still need the DPN's to do the toe decreases, and probably the heel flap, but it might save some frustration.

I have cast on for the second sock and knit an inch or so on it. So, even though I'm a bit discouraged, I haven't totally given up. Which isn't to say that the second one is looking to improve upon the problems of the first, but I DO want these.

Falling farther and farther behind

(Thursday, February 17, 2005 @ 12:14 PM)

I had a plan for what I wanted to accomplish with my knitting this year (the first 3 months are fully fleshed out, the rest have very little yet):


  • MIL's Sophie needs a small fix and a felt
  • SIL's Sophie DONE
  • SIL's Scarf DONE
  • Sister's scarf I still need to get the yarn
  • Mom's Booga I have most of the yarn, and have done some calculations


  • Ribby Cardi I've got a long ways to go
  • Homespun poncho still stalled
  • Fuzzy feet one about half done
  • DH's NaCraga I have the yarn... I REALLY need to get started on this if I'm going to get it even close to done.
  • DD's crocheted poncho I have the yarn


  • Bear in bunny suit (for baby girl to be born near the end of March)
  • ? ABC Blanket (for same... might do a crocheted blanket instead).
  • Clapotis I have the yarn
  • A different SIL's ?
  • Nantucket Brocade sweater I have the yarn

As you can see, I'm really not making the kind of progress I'd like to (and this list includes putting off the thrummed mittens for my Dad for next Christmas... there was no way I would've gotten them done by his birthday last month).

I think part of my problem is that the projects I need to work on most are NOT at all the ones I want to do. I can't feel justified in doing what I want with the already promised items still nagging at me to finish them, but I also can't get excited about them and make serious progress on them.

Even the fuzzy feet I'm working on, which I really NEED because my feet are always so cold, are not really much fun, because I'm still not liking working with the DPN's... mostly because I'm not doing as well on them as I would like to. I'll talk more about that in another post, though.

There's so many more projects I want to get to, besides what's on this list, and I can't hardly even look at NEW ones... I'll never get to them anyways.

Sorry about the whine... I'm just so discouraged about it all, and wish I could find a way to start making some real progress.

A day late and a dollar short

(Tuesday, February 15, 2005 @ 11:21 PM)

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This is what I've been working on for the last week and a half. I realized the Saturday before last that if I wanted to complete this for Valentine's Day, I would have to start it. So, I went to JoAnn's and picked up some Jiffy Thick 'N' Quick, which is as near the same gauge (and in a Valentiney color) as the yarn called for in the pattern.

This project nearly got the better of me (or maybe it did... you decide after you finish reading). There has been much ripping involved with this project.

One of the first problems I encountered was that I didn't want half a heart at the bottom of each end of the scarf. If you follow the pattern as written, that's exactly what you get, so I figured out how to modify it to eliminate the extra yarnovers on the first 2 RS rows. It took me a couple of tries to get it, but I finally did. If you want to make the same modification, here it is:

1st Row 1: K8, yo, k1, yo, k8.
1st Row 3: K5, k3tog, yo, k3, yo, k3tog, k5

I also did the first and last two stitches in garter stitch, and made a nice slip stitch edge by slipping the first stitch of each row purlwise with the yarn in front. If you need more information on that because I'm not being clear, let me know.

So, anyways... I got sick last Tuesday, and have been dealing with that, and then the after-sick-symptoms for the last week. That did not help my knitting at all.

I finished the first side by Wednesday, and took the second side with me to a meeting with the ladies group at my church on Thursday. I knit, and knit, and knit, and made a lot of progress (probably 5 or 6 repeats). I picked it up again Friday, and noticed that in the 1st repeat I'd knit on Thursday, I'd put a yo in the wrong place. There was no way I would be able to fix it without at least ripping it back to that point (I know of no way to drop a stitch down when there's lace bits on that column). I tried it, but since every RS row had lace on it, I was not able to pick up the stitches right, so I ended up just ripping back to the start. And then in my haste, I forgot to do the modifications I mentioned for the first couple of rows, so I had to rip it out again. I finally got going and actually knit a lot... I was nearly back to where I'd been before I had to go to bed.

Saturday, I just could NOT bring myself to work on it, even while I was watching TV. I was really disappointed, because I had wanted to get it done for Sunday, because I see a lot more people on Sunday than I do during the week. Sunday also ended up seeing very little knitting.

Monday was rather busy, and I didn't end up getting to it until late afternoon. I worked as fast as I could, but I still didn't get it done before the last errands of the day, so I never even got to wear it out. I did finish the knitting last night, and did a 3 needle bind-off to finish it up. But having missed the day, I just cut the yarn and called it a day.

I'm surprised I could get any desire together today to work on the finishing, but I wanted to steam block it, and since I've never done it before, I think the novelty helped spur me on. Steam blocking made a HUGE difference, though. Before blocking, it wanted to fold backwards along the center line and at the change between stockinette stitching and garter stitching. It pretty much wanted to be a tube. Here's a before and after comparison:

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Now all I have left is weaving in ends. I'm not quite sure if my regular needle will be big enough to do it... this is HUMONGOUS yarn. And, it's almost like, what's the point now, since Valentine's Day is over.

Oh, and you should know, k4tog is a bear of a stitch. I dreaded it every time, and it was HARD every time. Since the Jiffy T'n'Q left me with so much left over, I may try it out with 2 k2tog's, the first slipped over the second, to see if that gives a descent alternative that would be infinitely easier.

Also, I don't love the tip of the bottom-most heart quite so close to the edge... if I were to do this again, I would add a couple of rows before starting the pattern (maybe in garter stitch or seed stitch, to help with the curling).

Oh, and one last note... the color of the scarf is off in both pictures (although I tried to correct it in the first one). The color is really a nice burgundy/wine color.

Too much to talk about...

(Tuesday, February 08, 2005 @ 10:55 AM)

I've been doing stuff, really I have. I've also been meaning to post... I just kept saying "when this is done, I'll write"... I kept wanting to include more stuff.

I finished knitting up my sister-in-law's green Sophie and felted it:

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I wasn't totally happy with the way the handles joined the bag on the first one I did, so I tried something different on this one. I knit 3 past the row marker, and then bound off until 3 before the next marker. I knit the next 12, and then bound off until 3 before the last marker. I slipped the last 9 stitches and the first 3 from the last round onto dpns, and then did the same with the 12 stitches I'd knit. Then, I knitted back and forth in stockinette, doing k2tog or p2tog at the beginning and end of each row until I had 6 left, and then started the handles. Here's what the difference looks like:

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I do like it better, although if I do this bag again, I'll probably k2tog or p2tog only at the beginnings of each row, so that I get a gentler curvature on the transition. I also used the ends of the yarn to join the two parts of the handles for the first inch or so, so that I didn't have a gap right at the bottom.

I don't know why, but the green yarn lasted much longer than the blue yarn did. I used almost every bit of 2 skeins of the blue yarn. With the green, I made the handles longer, and still had at LEAST 2 yards left over (maybe it was even 4). I measured the two bags against each other, and they were very close... it might be possiblethat I added a row on the blue or missed one on the green, but I can't tell for sure... otherwise, the skein lengths are not consistent.

So, anyways, after I finished the green bag, I noticed something... the handles on the blue bag are NOT long enough. They're about the same length now as my original was AFTER felting. This will not do. However, I wove the ends in REALLY good, so now I have to cut the handles and pull them back a bit and work on them a little more. Luckily, I mistakenly ordered 3 skeins of each, so I do have more I can work with.

I also finished weaving in the ends in on the crocheted scarf I made her (her birthday came up recently, so she had 2 things picked out from the Christmas Gift Catalog), and I should be able to send them off today or tomorrow. Oh, wait... I hadn't mentioned doing the scarf, had I? It was such a quick thing, I must've forgotten about it. Here's a picture:

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In other knitting news, I started my first sock. I picked the most forgiving way to try this out possible... with the Fuzzy Feet felted slipper pattern from knitty. I've made it through the heel turn. That was a leap of faith... the instructions didn't make sense to me when I first read them. They sounded a little better this morning, and then of course, it all just came together when I tried it. See:

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I also placed a small order with elann. I had been trying to hold off purchasing anything, but one of the colors I had planned to use on another Ribby Cardi (the pattern is just so great for possibilities, that I keep wanting to do more, even though I haven't finished the first) was about to sell out, so it was then or never... well, at least then or I'd have to wait and see if they got more of it in. I bought 8 skeins of Oxblood (it's more than I'll need, but since there would only be a couple left after I got what I needed, I just picked them all up), which I planned on using for the sleeves, with Coffee Bean Brown for the body. It arrived a few days ago, and I'm not sure what I think of the color.

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This picture of it looks like the color sample on the website did... a nice deep, rich red. That's not really how it looks in person, though. It's more like half-dried blood - less red and more brownish. I don't know if I would like it paired with the Coffee Bean Brown... it won't have the kind of contrast I had in mind when I bought it.

Now, it's not a bad color... just not what I had expected. In fact, it looks like it would match my dishes rather well... take a look:

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So, if I don't like it, I could make some felted potholders, and maybe even some felted placemats, I don't know. There's always elann's swap center, if I can't figure anything out at all.

I also got some more sock yarn. Stacey is right... buying sock yarn is addictive! I have 2 each of 6 different colorways (from various companies) and 1 each of at least 2 more. And if I didn't think $20 for a pair of socks seems outrageous, I'd have a bunch of Cherry Tree Hill and Koigu and more and more, as well.

Have I mentioned I haven't knit any socks yet? All I've done sock-wise is start the Fuzzy Feet.

Here's a peek at what I got (It's elann's Sock it to Me, Colori in Tiffany Roses and Northern Forest):

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