Friday, July 27, 2012

An Unsolicited Plug

Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comments on my last post! Thank you for all of your kind and encouraging comments, actually. I don't say that enough. You guys are great! :)

Today I have to extend my encouragement and gratitude properly to a friend of mine. I've been meaning to do it since December, but now is definitely the right time.

I met Kate three or four years ago when I first moved here to go to school. We were always at knitting on Fridays at the shop where I now work. Since then our schedules are always opposing and we haven't seen each other much until recently when our revived Friday night knitting group grew to add a few more members. In December, we miraculously had a corresponding free day and she invited me over to dye. That session (to which I went only wanting to see and try it and spend some time with my friend), resulted in this:

She called it "Bettaband" because I dyed it. It's my first hand-dyed! And she gave it to me! It's so pretty....But I really must credit her with teaching me and suggesting the colors.

Kate is the Fangrrl of Fangrrl Fiber Arts and her dye jobs are awesome. Let me tell you how awesome. I went to a local yarn shop downtown looking for a complimentary Madtosh skein for a project I'm making for a friend, but they didn't have anything from any manufacturer that I thought deserved a second look until I got into the back corner and saw some bright colors with a familiar business card attached. Lo and behold! Fangrrl Fiber Arts! I searched through all the skeins with zeal and found the perfect neutral, "Buckwheat" on Sherlock Worsted:

Look at the tag! So cute! And hand-stamped!
Not only did I find that, though, my eye was immediately drawn (I'm talkin' as soon as I walked into the store) to this little number, which I was sure was Skein or Madtosh or some other crazy popular yarn because of the saturated and speckled colors:

Nope, Kate strikes again! It's her Socket yarn in "In the 3rd Dimension". I might let it be the skein that will always be a skein...just for looking and petting. I told her she was a genius, but I must tell you (and her again). So, if you are in the area, go check out her stock (and it's a pretty big one!) at Home Ec. Workshop and if you aren't, visit Etsy. She's also got a Ravelry group where you can ask her to dye something specially for you and get news on new bases, updates, and sales.

There, now I've been very sales-pitchy, but its because I really love Kate and what she does! I hope I've adequately shown you why. I also share because I know there are so many indie dyers out there that do gorgeous work and that they can't possibly be seen or known by everyone. I would love to hear of some of your favorite indie dyers (so I know where to go when I'm ready to stash-up again in several months! :D), so do share!

For more FO Friday posts, go to Tami's Amis! This only counts because I've been meaning to do it forever. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

And I am a Knitting Addict....

I've been trying really hard to be a good girl today and read, but I made the mistake of bringing yarn upstairs with me and I fear I have done more knitting than reading. I need a snack and some aspirin, but I'll get through my Greek one way or another.

Knitting distraction #1 was "Hey, I'd  really like to get the back of my sweater done. Only a few rows left!" And now I have a whole piece of my sweater done. Four more to go.

Knitting distraction #2 was casting on my swap gift for Eliza. The good news is that I love it, but the bad news is that it took me a few hours of do and re-do to get to that point. No pictures because it's a surprise, sillies!

Knitting distraction #3 is that I desperately want to start picking up the edges of my freshly steeked blanket, but I was wise enough to leave that downstairs. I need to steam it first anyway and for that much effort, I'd rather read Greek.

Please tell me you've lost your coffee table and couch beneath knitting stuff too?

For more WIP Wednesday posts, go nyah. For more Summer Sweater KAL posts, go nyah.

I probably won't have an FO for you Friday, but I will have a post about some gorgeous yarn I picked up earlier this week. Mmmmmmmmm.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Secrets of Seaming

Anyone who knows me know that I love to seam. It's relaxing and you have a new garment when you are done! What's not to love? Well, most people are afraid. Someone at the shop just the other day told me she was terrified she was going to ruin her first sweater by seaming it poorly, so she waited ages to do it. Then she realized as she was doing it, she could take out any mistakes and fix them. Most people just don't know how to do it or where to start. Let me show you.

Most tutorials use contrasting yarn to aid in the visual representation. I always find that somewhat annoying because then I don't know what to expect when I use the same yarn as the garment was knit in, so I'm going to show you with the same yarn and hope that I don't confuse you horribly. You can click on the photos for larger images.

Step One: Block your pieces.

This is critical. The edges lie down, the stitches open up, and all your edges are blocked to matching lengths. Those schematics in your patterns are really important.

Step Two: Sew the shoulder seams.

There is a prescribed order for sewing your sweater together. It's all about the sleeves. Begin by laying your front and back pieces flat, right side up, with the shoulders lined up. If you are a wise knitter (and I'll admit that I seldom am), you will have left a long enough tail when binding off that you can use it to seam your shoulders together. A length of the shoulder seam plus one half of that length ought to do the trick.

Run the yarn through each corner on the arm-hole edge of the pieces (you'll see I had to use a different piece of yarn because my tail wasn't long enough). You will work on each piece in this same order (I did front, then back here, but back, then front works just as easily).

The next step is true of garter and stockinette pieces: find the "v" of the nearest knit stitch in the piece you threaded first (here the front) and run your needle behind that "v". Pull the yarn through.

Do the same for the other piece. Here the back is upside-down, but the "v" I have picked up is in the same direction as the one I picked up on the front. This is will put you a half-stitch off, but it will look nicer and won't make the slightest difference in the long-run. If you are doing a stockinette stitch garment, choose "v"s that are one stitch away from the bound-off edge or you'll get an annoying bump right where you are seaming. Garter stitch does this automatically because the knit stitches are each a purl bump away from the bind-off row, if that makes sense.

Continue picking up every "v" on each side until you get to the end.

Weave in the ends. Since you get this lovely seam on the inside, I like to weave my ends back and forth through it like this for several stitches.

There you have a lovely shoulder seam!

Step Three: Set in sleeves.

Sleeves are hard enough to explain as it is and this sweater's sleeves are oddly shaped, so I won't go into detail yet, but I will tell you that as soon as the shoulders are seamed, clip or pin the sleeve into the armhole and seam it flat this way, taking each clip out as you get to it. This assures that the sleeve remains perfectly fitted to the armhole. I'll try to show you some tricks when I get to seaming my Exeter's sleeves, but it's largely an improvisational seaming experience.

Step Four: Sew the sides and sleeve seams.

These are my favorite seams! You need a length of yarn 3-4 inches longer than the seam you want (or longer if you wish to be more cautious). You can seam all the way from the bottom edge of the sweater out to the cuff of your sleeve if you want or have each seam meet under the arm. It's up to you and it works either way.

Match the sides (you'll see I was naughty and forgot to do my shoulder seams and sleeves first, oops! Trust me, it only makes things harder for you!). You can clip them like the sleeves if you want.

Run the yarn through the lower corner of each piece. You will alternate between the pieces in the same order that you run the needle through, just as for the shoulder seams.

When doing an invisible seam in garter, catch the garter bumps, not the knit stitches. I don't think it matters terribly which ones you catch as long as you are consistent and you skip the edge stitch. Edge stitches are ugly and should always be ignored. A purl ridge consists of bumps that go over and bumps that go under. I have gone through one that goes over because the yarn I am drawing through will look like a bump that goes under (a later photo will illustrate this better).

(I can't get these next two photos to upload turned the right direction, so sorry about that. I'll try to fix it!)

Choose the same stitch on the opposite side and go through it the same way. One stitch in and an "over" bump.

Continue in this manner for an inch or so. Here you can see the zig zag of my yarn and (hopefully) how it goes into each purl bump better than I explained it earlier.

Tug the ends of your seaming yarn (not too tightly, though!). Ta-da! It's invisible! Cool, eh? I always get a seam-y indent, so it's never really invisible, but I've had some pretty darn close ones before. The second photo is what the wrong side looks like. Very tidy.

Now to invisible seam stockinette: insert your needle into the middle of the second "v" from the edge (remember those edge stitches are silly and to be ignored). With a little wiggle or some fishing you should be able to find and catch a bar in there. Here it is fished out:

Do the same on the other piece. I was seaming a fingering weight sweater, so instead of catching the bar of every stitch, I skipped one. I find this gives a little better drape with just as much support and it's both less tedious and easier to fudge (because you don't always have an equal number of rows on each piece and some times you have to skip an extra one here and there to get it to match up perfectly). Here's how it shapes up: (again, sorry about the orientation)


I hope this is at least somewhat enlightening. As long as it isn't entirely confusing, I'll be happy. I'm also happy to answer any questions! Either here or on Ravelry. Wednesday I have lots of exciting progress and projects, so I'll see you then (with a more timely post)!

Friday, July 20, 2012


I haven't shaved my legs, so no dress. ;) Next week.

You'll see I also haven't put on make-up. Such is life. :)

Monday, I'm going to do a seaming tutorial. It's been a long time since I've had to seam a sweater and I thought I might share my tips and tricks as I sew up my sample. It looks lovely! I can't wait to share it with you!

Our hearts go out to the victims and families of victims in Colorado. The senselessness is staggering.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Hi! Remember me? It's okay if you don't. I won't take it personally. :) On the off chance that you do remember me, though, I find it's high time I show you what the hell is happening over here!

Here's a big box of secret. Well...maybe not. I'm never really sure if sample knitting for an existing pattern is supposed to be secretive, but I'll keep it that way anyway. Ish. It's Hawthorn by Courtney Kelley in The Fibre Company's Road to China Light, which I kind of want to sleep in every night and have a tendency to pet just because. I wish I could afford some of my own! Mitts. Some mitts might be in order. You won't get to see the finished object until she rereleases it. Just in case.

And here's the progress on my Exeter. Yep. Two weeks and it's only grown by two repeats. That sample's been keeping me fully occupied. Not for long, though. It has been super nice to set aside the stockinette or garter and dig into some intense cables!

I've also picked up my Rams and Ewes again, but there's not enough progress to share. I need to have it done before the end of the month, so I better get rockin' on it. This weekend, I also plan on starting a project for an awesome swap with my friend Eliza! We're knitting something for one another. It's going to be awesome! I've been thinking about it non-stop since she proposed it, so now I just have to do it! You should see it in a week or two.

So, how have you been for the last two weeks? I've been reading your blogs, just not writing my own. :) Friday I hope to distract you from the fact that I suck at finishing things this month with bangs and a dress. But we'll see. I could have socks or a tank top. But probably not.

For more WIP Wednesday posts go visit Tami. For more Summer Sweater KAL posts, go see Shannon!

Monday, July 9, 2012


It is now that time in the summer when I take a glance around me and think to myself, How in the world am I going to get all of this done before school starts? I just have to hope that it will and try my best to get there. I'm determined, so we'll see how far that carries me.

In more optimistic news, I have been waiting for about a month to get some goodies in the mail and two of those goodies have arrived today! You might (or might not) recall a dreaming post I put up last December about a British shop called Cabbages and Roses and how I adore their clothes but couldn't buy them because they wouldn't ship to the U.S. (and they are very expensive). Well, they now ship to the U.S.! But before I discovered that, I found a few pieces on eBay and scored one.

It's a coral summery dress and I got it at a pretty good price! I'd love to be the kind of girl who can wear a dress from time to time without someone saying, "Why are you so dressed up?" I'm hoping this school year will be the one. I promise posed pics. With bangs. When I have time to get the bangs. :)

The second goody is this delicious Plucky Primo Worsted! I have followed The Plucky Knitter for about a year and a half now, I think, and though I have often dreamed of sitting by the computer and continuously refreshing to hit an update, I am not that organized, nor had I had a project in mind for any Plucky yarn. Last month, I accidentally (I swear!) stumbled upon an update! I thought it was remnants of an operation that had finished earlier in the day, but, just to check, I ordered enough yarn in this gorgeous Glacier colorway to make Avery. The order went through and I now have Plucky Yarn for the first time ever!

I was really afraid that I wouldn't like the Glacier color because I noticed Sagebrush after I had checked out and thought it was way better, but now that I have it in my hands, I know I was silly to doubt! It actually looks like how I imagined Sagebrush would look in person, oddly enough. I still want Sagebrush. Next time.

That's the end of my excitement today! Back to school stuff. Are you waiting on anything super fun in the mail? Maybe you got it recently too. Tell me what it is! I have to live vicariously for a few months, I think, haha.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I Warned You

I told you there would be more. And there are.

Nebula Sockettes

PatternBallet School Drop Out Sockettes by Inspire Knits
Yarn: Holiday Yarns FlockSock Sock Yarn in Orion's Nebula
Needles: US 1
Project Page

I made these ones a bit longer than the last ones so that I don't end up inadvertently participating in the ancient practice of foot-binding, but the result is opposite of what I intended. I thought maybe I'd be able to keep them up better if they actually fit. Nope.

My friend told me last week that I should revive the fashion of socks with pom-poms on the heels because those would keep them up. I laughed at the suggestion, but she's totally right. Besides, with socks as obnoxiously bright as these, what harm are a couple of little pom-poms? :)

I'm now grappling with whether I should make more. I probably will, if only to use up sock yarn. They are pretty cute. It's really just the addition of shoes and walking in said shoes that disrupt the sock-wearing. I wear them around the house quite happily. There will probably be more. Not next week, though, so never fear.

For more FO Friday posts, go see Tami!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's Love

I should say it's love again. I used to go crazy over cables, then I moved to lace, then to stockinette and garter (I've always been a bit backwards like that), but it's cables and love again!

I am so I love with this project, I can't even tell you! The yarn is like butter and the pattern with it is just magical. I don't think I can say anymore than that. Or taint this post with lesser projects (though there are others), so I'll just leave it at that!

Happy belated 4th to all  my U.S. friends and happy belated Canada Day to my Canandian friends! That's as far as my holiday knowledge extends, so I'll just wish the rest of you a great day! :) Go to Tami's Amis for more WIP Wednesday posts and luvinthemommyhood for more Summer Sweater KAL posts. I'll see you Friday!

Monday, July 2, 2012


I lost a month somewhere and I'm not sure which. It must have been May. But so much happened in May that it couldn't have been! What about June? Did you miss a couple weeks in June too? That must be it. A couple weeks in May and a couple weeks in June were stolen from us.

I can't believe it's already July! And it's boiling hot outside! Granted, it's nice that it's only now boiling hot out when Iowa is more prone to being boiling hot beginning in May and ending in September. I'll take it, I think. Some nice thunderstorms would be excellent, though.

I'm trying incredibly hard to get work done so I can work on fun things like my Greek special author and knitting, but it's killing me. I'm helping a professor rewrite a Latin composition textbook and parts of it are just torturous! Other parts are kind of fun, though, so I keep telling myself that after the torture, there will be fun. I've been telling myself that for a week. I'll be done with it after this week, though, so on to fun stuff all the time pretty soon!

I'm really just avoiding work, so I don't have much else to say, but here's a crappy phone picture of some knitting (on top of avoided work) to thank you for reading (if you bothered ;]). It's cursed yarn that wants to be a Corona Camisole, but given it's record of wanting to become things and not becoming them, we'll just have to see what happens. Surely you have projects like that? Hopefully they are just as few and far between as mine are.