Wednesday, December 27, 2006

More knitting dilemmas

After a four-day knitting hiatus, I finally pulled Mom's stole out to work on last night, and I did 10 rows before I went to bed. Before I put the knitting down, however, I started calculating how much was left to do.... I'm on the 2nd of 5 chart repeats, each of which is 84 rows. I have 20 more rows in this repeat. That makes 272 rows, plus 21 more rows of edging before the knitted-on border. At 10 rows a day, this will take me another month, before I even get to the borders. I did give Mom a non-knitted gift, and told her that I was working on the stole, and I'd get it to her as soon as it's done.

I got some gorgeous yarn in the mail yesterday (charming son said, "You can have Christmas all over again!"). I'd love to play with it, but I'm afraid that if I do, Mom's stole will again be neglected. And there are socks in progress that I haven't touched in what seems like months.

It would probably be best if I keep plugging away at Mom's stole (Leda's Dream) -- it's not that I don't like it -- somehow it's just not very exciting. Could be the yarn, too -- I'm using KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud, in Mist, which is a pale pale purple. It's OK, just not very exciting, either. Aw, I really don't mean to sound so whiny. I'll go knit now.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas knitting

Well, I have finished my Christmas knitting.... except for Mom's stole. Still haven't touched it except for the half-dozen rows I did right after my last post. I think Mom's going to get something else (not knitted ~gasp), and I'll give her the stole as soon as it's finished.

I made 1 hooded scarf for a niece, 2 ski masks/helmet liners for her brothers, felt clogs for my sister (their mother), my daughter, her college roommate, another niece, my mother-in-law (started those on the way to her house on Wednesday, finished them on Friday morning, and we opened gifts Friday evening. I hadn't felted them yet, so I asked her if she thought they'd fit, and the look on her face when she realized how big they were was priceless). A seaman's scarf for my mother-in-law's husband, and Faina's scarf for my sister-in-law.

More felting lessons: I probably should try using something like Soak or Eucalan, that doesn't need rinsing. I used a cold rinse and then spun the water out of my mother-in-law's slippers, and I just about got them too small, with odd little creases in them. So next time, no cold rinse!
I'll be making at least a couple more pair in the near future -- one for my son, and one for me!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Decisions, decisions

I am faced with a bit of a dilemma -- too much Christmas gift knitting! I don't know what came over me this year. Most of it is smaller stuff that can be done rather quickly. Then I have one big project that I actually started in June, didn't finish in time for Mom's birthday in mid-July, and thought surely I had plenty of time to finish it by Christmas. It sat untouched from sometime in early July till just a couple of days ago. If I'd actually done just a couple of rows a day during all that time, I'd be [hmm, where's the calculator? Oh... it looks like I'd have about 30 more rows to do, instead of 300] a lot closer to having it finished. As it is, I calculated the other day that I need to do about 20 rows a day. No problem! Except that a row seems to take about 10 minutes.

So, the decision I'm wrestling with is: do I work on the smaller projects, and do Mom's stole after I finish the other stuff, or do I work on Mom's stole and not get to the other stuff at all? I'm working on one of the smaller projects now, so I guess that's the direction I've decided to go. I've already moved any knitted gifts for members of my immediate household to the end of the queue (and yes, Princess, that includes household members who are off at college but will be home in a couple of weeks, and not going back until the middle of January).

I could do a couple of rows on Mom's stole each day, but concentrate on getting the other projects done. I hope Mom won't be too disappointed -- there is some (very slim) chance that I could get all of this done in the next 22 days. Who knows?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Oh, darn!

This is what I found when I took off my shoes the other day. It's the first time this has happened. These are just over a year old, the Amble pattern from SixSoxKnitalong. The yarn is Jaeger Matchmaker merino, and I decided not too long after I'd made them that it would have been better to have used a size 0 needle instead of the size 1's I used. A firmer fabric would probably have been more durable. A closer look revealed that just one strand of yarn broke, so I latched up the escaped stitches and duplicate stitched/Kitchenered the loops. Ta daa! And just so you can see that there are two whole socks ...

There is another pair of felt clogs finished, and another in the works. Also working on several other Christmas gifts.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Get felted!

More felting projects, inspired by the November theme at Romancing the Yarn.
The Sophie bag, from MagKnits. I used just under 2 skeins of Noro Kureyon, color #92. I had used part of one of those skeins to finish the Big Booga Bag I made earlier, and was starting to be concerned that I wouldn't be able to finish Sophie. In fact, I had less than a yard of yarn left at the end.

Second pair of felted clogs: This one is made with Elann's Peruvian Collection Highland Wool, in Peridot & Nutmeg Heather.

Things I am learning: It is a bit of a challenge to get 2 items to felt down and look identical. They do need to be checked every 5 minutes while felting, even if you know they're going to need more than just another 5 minutes, because they might get smooshed or folded in some awkward position, and that crink might start to get felted into the slippers, but if I'd checked them earlier, I might have avoided that.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I have been watching the squirrels run across the yard with walnuts in their mouths, storing them away for the winter. Meanwhile, I have been some kind of nut, squirreling away yarn for the winter. I got 3 packages yesterday, and when I was in the post office picking them up, one of the girls my daughter used to play softball with said, "Wow, I guess you haven't been here in awhile, either." The postmistress chuckled, and I said, "No, this happens more often than I should admit."

I have started some Christmas knitting (ok, I know that time is getting short). I made a pair of felted slippers from the Fiber Trends Felt Clogs pattern. My daughter & her roommate at college have each asked for a pair, and that's one of the packages of yarn I got yesterday. Another was 2 skeins of Noro Transitions I found on sale at, and the 3rd was a skein of Socks That Rock in Rocktober. This is in addition to 3 skeins of sock yarn I got the other day from Sheri at The Loopy Ewe, and a Camellia Scarf kit from Morehouse Farm.

I hadn't made the felt clogs before, and I was able to use some stash yarn for those (yay!). They are a women's small, and should fit ... one of my nieces? I hope.
The inner sole is the first part, then the instep, which is done a bit like turning a heel on a sock, with some additional shaping, then the cuff. Then you sew the bottom center seam, make the outer sole, and attach it. I made each of these slippers in about a day, then felted them last night. The yarn is Classic Elite Tapestry, another discontinued yarn I dug out of my stash.

The picture makes the finished clogs look like they're different sizes, but they're not -- just poor photo styling!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Socks That Rock club kit!

The new STR Club kit arrived in today's mail!  I love the color: Pink Granite. Shades of cream, rose, and gray.  The sock pattern is called Marble Arches, and looks like a faux cable, with a short-row heel (my favorite heel).
After a very busy week/weekend, with 4 late nights, today was mostly a resting and catching up on email day.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I have been remiss

One leisure sock finished, the other past the heel and headed toward the cuff. Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Navy Olive. Pattern: baby cable rib from Sensational Knitted Socks (link in sidebar). The yarn was donated by Claudia to Socks for Soldiers, and has been passed out to SFS members to be made into leisure socks for soldiers.

This charming little bag was created by MzMar, who has other bags for sale here.

It has been raining here for 3 days. Makes it hard to get motivated to do much. That, and sleep deprivation -- I'm about ready to curl up under a blanket and nap. I've been up way too late the past couple of nights.

I won the prize drawing at Six Sox Knitalong, for the August/September sock. My prize arrived yesterday, from Australia. Thank you, Sandra in Sunny Queensland!

Persistence finally rewarded -- I lost count of the number of times I attempted to load these photos, but I have triumphed over the balky Blogger once again.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Just a little light entertainment

What kind of knitting needles are you?

You are interchangeable.Fun, free, and into everything, you've got every eventuality covered and every opportunity just has to be taken. Every fiber is wonderful, and every day is a new beginning. You are good at so many things, it's amazing, but you can easily lose your place and forget to show up. They have row counters for people like you!
Take this quiz!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


"So," says our local postmistress, handing me yet another box of yarn, "do you knit sweaters, ...?" As she trails off, I blithely answer, "Sweaters, socks, lots of stuff!"
To which she responds, "I'm asking because I don't think I've ever seen you wearing a sweater you've made."
"Well, to tell you the truth, I guess I haven't made very many sweaters. Mostly socks & shawls, parts of afghans. This yarn that just came today is for a shawl, but it's a heavier yarn. It'll be more like a blanket-weight."

I have resisted winding that yarn and casting on for the shawl (all will be revealed in due time!). I am trying to reduce the long list of works in progress. I finished the lace scarf mentioned in the last post. I have finished a pair of Big Black Socks for Socks for Soldiers, and they are currently in the wash. I still have 4 pair of socks in various stages, 2 scarves, 4 shawls/stoles, one sleeveless top (Sizzle), the Manos afghan, and more! But I want to make sweaters, now! To make it worse, I saw a preview of the Winter Interweave Knits, and there are 3 sweaters I like.

There are 2 sweaters on needles, stuffed behind the couch with the rest of the unfinished projects. One of them is barely started; the other may be mostly done. It's the 2nd go-round for this yarn. It has already been a sweater once, which I wore a couple of times & decided I didn't like. So I took it apart, and this pattern is the 2nd chance for this yarn. It is Classic Elite Waterspun Weekend, a very bulky and now discontinued yarn. I should dig it out and see about getting it finished.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A little bit of everything

We've just returned from a lovely weekend in Mountain View, Arkansas. The kids (my son and the team he clogs with) performed at the Ozark Folk Center on Friday & Saturday. They were quite well-received, and we enjoyed the musical performances as well. All of the music is from before 1941, when the first recording was made using an amplified guitar. The instruments were fiddles, guitars, upright bass, banjos, mandolins, occasionally some piano, by people who love what they do. There are craft cottages in the park, where people are doing things such as woodcarving, sewing, quilting, spinning, weaving, silversmithing, broom-making, pottery, printing. The ladies in the spinning & weaving cottage said there are some spinning ... workshops? ... not sure ... anyway, I left my name & email so they could send me some info. I didn't ask about knitting, but apparently it is not an historic Ozark craft.

I still have those six different socks in progress, in various stages of completion. Only one is the second sock of a pair. I took a silk scarf with me to work on, but didn't get much done. It's the Lace Variation on the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf, and I'm making it with one skein of Fiesta La Luz Multi in Coral Reef. I started it in May and set it aside -- not sure why -- as there are only 8 triangles to do, and it's not like a triangle takes very long. This will probably be a Christmas gift. It's easier for me to make things & think, "oh, this person would like this", than to decide what to make for someone and then make it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Thank you for your kind words of condolence. My husband keeps assuring me that it could have happened to any of us, at any time. I really thought that UPS or FedEx was going to run over her someday. She chased those trucks out of our yard and halfway to the gate whenever they came.

Kai was a stray who found us several years ago. My husband and son were clearing fence row in one of our fields, and my husband stepped over a log and saw what appeared to be a coyote standing there watching them. He finally realized she was a dog, and they got her to come over & get acquainted. When they came back to the house that evening, they came to the door and said, "Look what followed us home!" So we started feeding her on the porch. After awhile, we tried inviting her into the house. She'd stick her head in, look around, and back out. Then head & front legs, and back out. Eventually she came into the house, and gradually worked her way into our lives. It took her a long time before she'd use any of the other doors into the house, though.

On one hand, she was quite prissy, scared of storms, petite feet, which she usually placed one on top of the other (front feet) when she stretched. She looked like she was doing some kind of dancer's curtsey. She "swam" like a grandma with a once-a-week shampoo & set -- can't get the head wet. She would wade into shallow water, lie down, and make paddling motions with her front feet. Silly dog! Loved Ritz crackers. She could identify the crackle from those cracker sleeves from the other end of the house, and always sat and pretended to be a good girl so Greg would give her a cracker. Pretzel sticks were good, too, but only with ranch veggie dip on them.

On the other hand, she hated strange vehicles in our yard (as in the previously mentioned delivery trucks), and chased them out, barking the whole time. Got into snarling, teeth-baring arguments with our black lab, also female. Regularly slept with her head in her food bowl to keep the other 2 dogs out of it.

She always wanted to be wherever people were. She'd go "help" with the cattle, or over at the sawmill, or just hang out in the house with me if the boys weren't home. Always had to ask her to move so I could get stuff out of the kitchen cabinets, or trip over her when I got out of bed in the morning. She looked so much like a coyote that we bought her a child's orange sweatshirt, cut the sleeves off, and dressed her in it in the fall, so she wouldn't be shot by someone who didn't realize she was a pet. She came home without her sweatshirt one day, and we wondered what she'd done with it. The next day, my son was out wandering around in the woods, and found the sweatshirt hanging from the fence. She'd hooked it on some barbed wire and wiggled out of it, like Peter Rabbit with his lost jacket. Can't find any pics of her in it.

Back to knitting content next time. It's all socks, anyway. I think I have 5 pair going right now.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sad Day

Things were going along fairly well today. I finally finished one Big Black Sock for Socks for Soldiers. I made a men's large (shoe size 11 - 12), and weighed the sock when I finished it -- a whopping 96 grams! It's sportweight yarn, but still.... So I now have a guideline for winding the rest of that ginormous 2 lb. 13 oz. skein into manageable chunks.

It took me most of the morning, but I now have 11 100g center-pull balls of black sportweight yarn, and the twelfth one is 128g. I did some calculations, and figured I could get 13 1/3 socks out of the whole skein, but since 1 1/3 socks wouldn't do much good (I'm knitting for people who still have both feet, after all), I rounded up and made 100g balls.

Wouldn't want to have made 96g balls & found myself a few feet short of making a sock to match the first one. I had to drape the yarn over the back of a chair, and unwind it a loop at a time. It completely overwhelmed my swift -- there was no way to put that much yarn on that poor little swift. I put a piece of paper around the center of my ball winder, so I could take the ball off occasionally to weigh it, and put it back on if necessary (the paper tube keeps the center open). Most of the time I was a few grams over when I took the ball off, but a few times I had to put it back on. I weighed them on my handy-dandy digital kitchen scale. I have a love/hate relationship with this thing. It's great for measuring yarn weights, and occasionally even food. But the thing eats batteries, and it uses 9V batteries. Anyone else hate 9V batteries? Is it just me?
So I finished winding, went to run a few errands, stopped in our storage building on the way home to find some accessories for the Princess, who is attending a '60s-themed party at her sorority in a couple of weeks. Our Kai dog went with me (this is a building across the field from our house -- remember, we live on a farm). I found what I was looking for and headed back to the house, with the dog running alongside the vehicle. Then I lost sight of her, and then thump, bump. Oh, no... I stopped, saw her trying to run toward the house with one leg held off the ground, yelping. I went to the house, got the phone book so I could call the vet, put a mattress pad in the back of the vehicle, and went back out there, and she was lying very still. Not breathing. So sorry... why didn't I stop when I didn't know where she was?

Monday, September 18, 2006

It's never done that before!

Right in the middle of my short-row heel, I heard & felt a crack! Then I was holding 2 short pieces of needle. Fortunately, I was able to pick up the stitches & continue the heel without losing anything, which is quite an accomplishment. I've had short-row heels come out quite wonky without any help from broken needles. I found the phone number for Brittany (these are Brittany birch needles) and left a voice message about my broken needle. Haven't had a return call; I'm hoping I left them enough info that they could send the replacement, and they just didn't need to call.

These are the finished Scales Skin socks for the Six Sox Knitalong. The yarn is Fortissima Cotton Colori, 75% cotton/25% nylon, very soft, easy to work with. Color is #0004. I seem to remember it was called "Tapestry", although that is not printed on the label.

I know I said the Fleece Artist Mahogany was going to be my next sock, but I seem to have taken a detour. I started the Conwy socks from Knitting on the Road (see link in sidebar). I'm using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, color is "Jeans". I've had both the book and the yarn for quite awhile, and this is the first sock pattern I've made from the book. It's also my first Lorna's Laces sock. The yarn seems a bit thinner than other sock yarn I've used. I'm easily getting 8 sts/inch on size 0 needles.

Just in time for my birthday (tomorrow), the new Socks That Rock sock club package arrived. The yarn is beautiful! The color name is Titania, and there are 2 (two!) patterns in this shipment. The more challenging Titania's Revenge has cabling across the foot, and the Central Air pattern is simpler, but also very pretty.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Socks, again (still!)

I got a lovely package yesterday, my order from The Loopy Ewe. My first-ever skein of Fleece Artist Merino (sock yarn) in Mahogany -- gorgeous fall colors! They will probably be my next socks, as soon as I finish the Scales Skin socks. I just need to find the right pattern! The new Knitty is out, with a couple of sock patterns I like (Cable Net and Diamante, or there's always Sensational Knitted Socks (link in sidebar). Oooh! I also recently purchased the Eleanora Socks pattern from
Yesterday's package also contained Snip Tipz, by Zecca -- I'd seen them in a magazine, I think over a year ago, and finally ordered one -- pretty cool, no?

Bad news/good news on the cashmere socks: it turns out that ColourMartUK did not, after all, have a cone of the same yarn I'm using. Apparently, they forgot to update stock as they sent out those generous 50g sample skeins. Since I had ordered and paid for a cone that was not in stock, they offered me either 2 cones of any other yarn, or a $50 refund. I found another cone of yarn that looks very similar -- I'll have to wait till I get it to decide how I'm going to do these socks (alternating stripes of each color, or some other arrangement). I'm also getting a cone of laceweight, Highland Green. All in all, a favorable outcome!

Big Black socks are ready for heels. I tried the sock leg on Bigfoot my son this morning, and it seems to work. He said it was very warm -- I guess I could make legwarmers for soldiers. Hmm, maybe not.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Another hour on the Big Black socks brings me to about 8.5" on the leg; I'll need about another hour to get to the heel. Three hours of work so far:

Yesterday I was browsing the ColourMartUK eBay store, and remembered that I had ordered samples from them a few months ago.
Along with a generous supply of samples of various weights, they sent 50g of fingering weight cashmere. Sounds like a sock to me! So I started a sock... people, I think this is my new favorite sock yarn (keeping in mind there are a lot of sock yarns I haven't yet tried). Cashmere socks... so soft... I thought about putting some wooly nylon in the toes, but it was entirely too fiddly, so I quit messing with it. Of course, 50g is only going to make one sock, so I had to order more. Fortunately, they had more of this color (yes, I checked before I started the sock).

I'm also working on the Scales Skin socks for the Six Socks Knitalong. They're coming along quite nicely. This yarn is also very soft -- it's Fortissima Cotton Colori, 75% cotton/25% nylon.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Big Black Socks, Manos progress

I got a little ahead of myself on those socks. The yarn is sportweight, and when I did a gauge swatch I got 6.5 sts/inch. Which would make an 80 stitch sock over 12" around. I looked at the specs for the fingering weight socks and recalculated for my gauge, and restarted with 64 stitches. A couple of hours worth of work:

Yes, that's a lot of ribbing. The Army's new socks are ribbed all the way down to the ankle, but it's much finer ribbing than this, so I don't think I want to do that. I'm going to try 6" of ribbing and 6" stockinette before I start the heel and see how that looks. I stuck a ruler down inside my husband's boots and got 8" - 9" from the bottom of the foot to the top of the boot, so this should give me smooth stockinette inside the boot, and maximize the amount ribbing above, which I hope will result in socks that stay up.
I have also been working on my Manos throw:

Finished block 6 and started block 7 yesterday.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Big Black Sock

Here's my first 20 minutes of work on a Big Black Sock for Socks for Soldiers:

That's 80 sts cast on, and 3 rows of K2P2 ribbing. This is going to take awhile.

I looped the ginormous skein of yarn around the back of a kitchen chair, and I'm just unwinding as I go.

Another hour's worth of knitting while listening to a podcast yielded half a diamond. Today I was listening to About Time, which has, unfortunately, been discontinued. She did do 6 episodes, which are still available to download & listen to at the podcast website.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Hmm? Wot is zis?

It's a dishcloth! Started it last night (only the cast-on and part of the 1st row) and finished it a couple of minutes ago. It's the ballband dishcloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting; if you don't have the book, the pattern is also printed inside the label on Peaches & Creme cotton yarn, available at your local Wal-Mart. Obviously, a very quick little project. Why did I do it? I started it thinking I could work on it at my son's baseball game without looking too weird, then didn't even touch it -- not that the game was that fascinating.

This is 2 lb. 13 oz. of sportweight superwash black wool/nylon for socks. I joined Socks for Soldiers last week, and this is what I'm going to use. It just came in today's mail, ordered from Chamomile Connection. Now I have to figure out what size needles to use, and how on earth to handle this huge honkin' skein. I'm thinking I'll see if it will fit on my swift, and just knit one sock with the yarn on the swift. Weigh the sock, then wind off balls of yarn about that weight. I'll let you know how that goes. The group's founder is a mom with a son in the Air Force, and she has set a goal of getting 100,000 pair of hand-knit socks to our military members overseas. She's asking everyone to spend 20 minutes a day working on a Big Black Sock -- I'm thinking about actually timing myself to see how many 20 minute sessions it will take to make a sock.

Yesterday I was listening to Cast On, blithely knitting away on the Manos block. At the end of the podcast, I measured my square, and I had made it too long! I had to rip out only two rows, though, and started the next square. Le voila:

Saturday, August 26, 2006


So I dug out a WOOP (work out of progress, thank you Sheri, for the new acronym), and started to work on it. The yarn is Manos del Uruguay. Here's the pattern:
It was copyrighted in 1997, written by Anne Simpson. I can't find any links to it where it might be currently available. I probably bought it about the time it came out, and started working on it. As you can see, it was intended to be a block of the month. The patterns for the 12 squares are on colored cardstock. I have them all in a neat little envelope:

The first 4 squares have been done for years.
I'm not really sure why I stopped, why this project has been in time-out so long. I have all the remaining colors. Each square takes most of a skein of Manos. I think I was having gauge issues. I do remember having to re-do the square with the staghorn cables, and running out of yarn before I got to the required length on one of the other squares. They're supposed to be 13" squares. They are 13" wide, but only about 12" tall. I'm hoping they'll block out ok.
The new square has cable panels:

I just wanted to work on something different, and hadn't done anything like this in a long time. So we'll see how this goes.
And just because I know you were biting your nails, worrying about the yarn from the previous post, I did get the tangles out, and rewound it. Lost only about 10 yards, all from the outside of the ball. The "lost" yarn is in 5 pieces of varying lengths.

Now, go check out Sheri's new online sock yarn store, The Loopy Ewe. She's got some great stuff!