Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I don't knit with bulky or super bulky yarn very often at all. That means I don't have any needles larger than US 11. I just can't justify the cost of giant needles I might use once a year. I've rigged up a solution, though. It's not always easy or as quick as I'd like, but it gets the job done.

I needed a US 13, so I am holding a US 6 and 7 together. They equal a US 13! Nifty, right? Navigating knitting with two pointy tips isn't exactly a picnic, but you find a rhythm after a while. If I had to make a sweater or giant shawl or something, I'd break down and buy the big needles. Fortunately, this is just a hat. :)

Sorry the weekend ate me. I had a sick bunny and got a bit sick myself. Fun all around. I'm finally on the mend and feeling optimistic about life again, haha. Hopefully, I'll finally have a chance to get some photos of my new fabulous shawl!

What are you working on? Did you have the needles for it stashed away or did you have to go out and get them? Do you use larger or smaller needles more often?

For more WIP Wednesday posts, visit Tami's Amis!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tucking In

I started a project that I may regret. I'm going to try to finish it in a month and then do a similar scarf for John.

After that, I suppose I will never knit herringbone again....It's really pretty, though, isn't it? Of course the color of the yarn doesn't hurt at all. It's Mallard on Tanis Fiber Arts' Pink Label Lace Weight (oh gosh, she has some gorgeous, gorgeous colors and yarns!). I won it about a year and a half ago and just haven't known what to do with it. Picking a light-weight scarf pattern for John helped me decide. We are both getting herringbone scarves for spring. :) mine first, of course. His will be knit length-wise and I just want to put that off as long as possible.

So far, the herringbone has been fun. It's neat to see the stitches racing back and forth. We'll see how I feel about it after 60 more inches or so.

Are you working on any tedious knits? What about fun ones you can't tear yourself away from? Mindless knits? Tell me what's on your needles and how you feel about it.

For more WIP Wednesday posts, go to Tami's Amis (she's actually back this week ;])!

Monday, January 20, 2014


I never shared any more with you about my December art project! It came out pretty well and was chosen (I think because it was the only entry) as the face of our campus graduate student conference. It's not exactly what I had envisioned, but with the very short amount of time I had to do the whole thing, it came out pretty well.

The gears came out just as I had hoped. I used one of my favorite techniques for that part: put down a (dark) sketch on the bare paper in pencil, lay a layer or two of charcoal over top (cover the area in charcoal and use a tissue or paper towel to smooth it), and use chalk or conte crayon to raise a subject out of the dark. I'm under the delusion that I'll have time to play around with my art supplies this semester. We'll see if I can manage it once or twice a week.

I've got some finishing to do before school starts tomorrow (in knitting and school work), so I better keep this short. I'll see you Wednesday!

Friday, January 17, 2014

One Down, Many More to Go

I told you last week that this was an easy finish. How long do you think it took me to get around to it between last week and today? Again, too long.

Scaled Armor

Pattern: Scallop of the Sea by Katie Canavan of Holla Knits
Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Woodland in Fern and Prussian Blue
Needles: US 6
Project Page

I would venture to say that most patterns I'm drawn to on Ravelry are because of the photo on the pattern page. If I'm on the fence about it, I'll look at photos of the finished objects for a couple fabulous pics to sway me. Sometimes, I see one amazing finished object and trace it back to a pattern I would have otherwise overlooked or dismissed. This is a case of the latter. Let me tell you, before I properly got to know her (as much as that is possible in Ravelry groups and through blog posts), Michelle (of  My So-Called Handmade Life, and mamatronic on Ravelry) and her stunning photos of her perfect finished objects inspired me to pursue projects that I was hemming and hah-ing about. This is probably the only one I've finished, but that has nothing to do with her leading me astray. I'm just easily distracted. :)

I spotted her photos in my Ravelry friends page and found a link to her blog post about this great clutch. It's just so functional and finished! I think I was really drawn to the challenge of lining it.I found the perfect fabric at the yarn store I mentioned last week and took it to my grandma's. She helped me decipher the instructions and sew it up. I think it turned out damn-near perfect (for my rather poor handmade standards, that is ;]).

Mine is a cover for my Surface tablet. I needed it a year ago. it is at last. :) The big pocket is a bit of a hindrance for tablet insertion. I have a bit of fabric left over, so I might put a flap on it. the interfacing I chose is also a bit heavier than I needed, but it should help protect the tablet, I suppose.

The yarn is surprisingly great. It has nettles in it, so I thought it might be rough on the hands. It wasn't. Ginny's Cardigan calls for this same yarn and I'm considering getting enough to make it. I don't know that it's wearably soft, but it's not bad. It blocks beautifully and has a lovely sheen. I picked it because the colors were great, but also because I knew I needed a hard-wearing fabric for the use I expect this thing to get. The nettles are just the fiber.

It's been too long for me to give any knitting notes. Hopefully I have some on the project page if you need any. :) Now, onto the next Michelle-inspired, too-old, so-close-to-finished project: my Corona Camisole (it only needs straps :P).

For more FO Friday posts, visit Tami's Amis!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

No-Think Pink

My plan was for this project to be nearly finished after I returned from Idaho between all the couch-sitting, car-riding, and plane-catching, but I finished surprisingly little of it. Sure, it's hundreds of tiny fingering weight stitches and it's probably too much to expect for them to turn into an over-sized sweater quickly, but a girl can hope, yes?

It has turned out to be the perfect project here at home too, though. John and I frequently argue about Tom Cruise's worth as an actor (I think he's awful and John thinks he's good...or at least okay), so John finally pulled every Tom Cruise movie he owns and we are slowly working through them. They aren't bad movies by any means and I must admit, Tom Cruise isn't the worst actor...but he's definitely not the best either. In any case, I have been working away at this pink beast while we watch movies (and not just Tom Cruise ones--a girl needs a break!) and it has grown surprisingly fast while I'm not thinking about it.

I'm just over halfway to the underarms, where I expect the work to get a bit faster (for no particular reason that I can articulate). My gauge is totally weird at the bottom but is getting more fabulously open and wonderful as I work. Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light is easily the softest yarn I've ever worked with. I can't wait to wear this thing!

Are there certain projects you work on when you watch movies or otherwise sit with an active mind and idle hands? Is stockinette the way to go or maybe you prefer ribbing or some other textured stitch?

For more WIP Wednesday posts, visit Tami's Amis!

Monday, January 13, 2014


There's an evening hour after which I should no longer knit anything charted. I have yet to figure out exactly which hour that is. That means tinking back 6 very long rows of very dark, sticky yarn. :P

It's fixed now, I'm back on track and very nearly done. The joys of worsted weight shawls.... :) How was your weekend?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Back to the WIPs

I really need to get rid of these suckers. Here's an easy one. It's been entirely knit for nearly a year now and the only thing left to do is hand sew the zipper in. Sewing scares me. I have always had a bit of an irrational fear of the sewing machine, but used to sew things by hand often when I was little. I hand-sewed a Pound Puppy from a kit. That thing was adorable! My mom was an excellent sewer and my grandma wishes I'd pick it up. She thinks my knitting skills would translate very easily to sewing skills. She actually helped me with this project, but I'll tell you more about that in the FO post. ;)

Last year, for my birthday, I treated myself to a sewing class at one of my local yarn shops (that also happens to be a sewing/quilting shop). I made a cowl and it wasn't that scary after all. just fiddly. And very, very precise. At least knitting allows for a bit of fudging. For the rest of the year, I eyed a class to make a dress, but wasn't sure if I might be jumping too far ahead of myself going from a super simple scarf to a dress. I have to keep reminding myself that sewing isn't knitting. I can't as easily undo my mistakes on a sewing project as in a knitting project.

This year (again for my birthday, though I bought it a month early), I treated myself to the pattern and fabric for the dress I'd been eyeing all year. The owner of the shop (who taught me to make the cowl) told me I could do it and said she'd be happy to help me through any rough spots. So I'm going to do it! I don't have a sewing machine and haven't decided if I should camp out at the shop in front of a rented one, wait until I'm back at my grandma's, or call up one of my local sewing friends for a social afternoon, but I'm going to make this dress and I'm going to wear the crap out of it.

My step-mom told me she plans to bring me my mother's sewing machine this summer if they drive out here. I don't know if I can wait that long to make the dress, but the idea of owning a sewing machine to make other things with is really exciting. We don't have room for the sewing machine...but that's another matter altogether. :)

Do you have any non-yarny hobbies? Which do you find more difficult? For you sewers, do you have books or online resources to recommend to me about fabric properties, different stitches and their uses, threads, etc.? I'm seriously a total n00b.

I hope you have a lovely weekend! I'll see you next week!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

HP Madness!

I traveled home last week looking like a big ol' Harry Potter nerd (which is not to say that I am not one, but I'm usually more...discrete about it). I had my Unofficial Harry Potter Knits magazine in hand to start socks for the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup while listening to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince skillfully read to me by the one and only Stephen Fry (who has nothing more to do with Harry Potter, I just like him a lot :]).

I started a pair of Narcissa Socks in this absolutely gorgeous yarn (Storied Yarns Superwash Sock in the colorway "Star Wars", but perfectly suited to Narcissa Malfoy, I think). Note: wind yarn by hand before you get on a plane. My seatmate was entirely too polite.

The pattern is getting lost in the variegation, but I don't care. These are socks any admiring knitter needs to look at very closely, even in a solid yarn, and they still look really cool to muggles from afar for the color alone. Isn't the picot edge great?! My first pair of socks with a picot edge. You were right, Eliza, the picot totally decided the pattern. :)

I'm still not the biggest fan of knitting socks, but I'm turning into a bigger fan of wearing them, which might convert me on the knitting side a bit more. I took one pair on my trip home and wore them a lot more than the other socks I had packed. I'm wearing them even now, as a matter of fact. :) I have a few sock patterns queued up for the coming months. I'm hoping one or two of them will become as well-worn.

Do you block your socks? I've considered making sock-blockers because they might help me break in my socks sooner and help some of my ill-fitting ones fit better, but I just don't know. What do you think? If you don't block them, do you find you need to wear yours a few times before they fit perfectly? Do certain patterned socks need it and maybe plain ribbed or vanilla socks don't? I'd love to know what your experience is.

Just to round off the geekiness, here's my Deathly Hallows bag from the same shop where I got the yarn. ;)

For more WIP Wednesday posts, go to Tami's Amis!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Goodbye 2013

I was waffling about a new year's knitting review post, especially after, glancing through project photos, I realized that my autumn was quite bereft of projects. But I also found myself shocked at how many projects I had completed at the beginning of the year (and either forgot about or thought were older than a year) and I counted them....

I began 52 knitting projects in 2013! I finished 42 of them, but I'm working on the remainder.

11 sweaters (1 frogged and begun anew in a different pattern)
8 hats
2 neckwear items
6 socks/legwarmers
3 stuffed critters
5 mitts
3 shawls
5 baby things
7 misc. other things
Oh, and 1 wedding dress. :)

I don't put much stock in my own resolutions because I'm lazy and forgetful, so I was surprised to look back at last year's review and find I had stuck to a number of them and the more important ones, to boot. Resolutions I completed:

-I gave more of my projects away and have still more that
I don't intend to keep, though I haven't found owners for them yet.
-I did more dresses and skirts and more muted colors (Gap tells me they are in style now, so I'm on trend for once in my life).
-I added a blogging day.

Resolutions I intend to keep working on: updating the blog's look and scheduling posts so I don't disappear for weeks. :)

I'm hoping to get more knitting and stash-busting this year. I have to get rid of these WIPs, too. They are eating up my needles and I don't like it. :P What are your knitting resolutions? Links to blog posts are entirely welcome. :) Happy New Year, all!