Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Knee socks

So, a little while ago, Kate sent me some gorgeous sock yarn.
It's from something called Three waters farm, hand painted in the Aunt Maude or Crazy Maude colorway, depending on which skein you believe. It's 100% superwash merino, fingering weight, 373 yards each.
My first thought was, "Wow! That's enough to make knee socks!"
I suspect it is. I think that's the plan, although I've never done it before. Suzi Anvin has this brilliant tutorial on how to make the perfect knee socks, and I think I'm going to rely heavily on that.
Uh, any other suggestions? Have you made knee socks before? This is enough yarn, right? Favorite patterns? Any advice is appreciated.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It's Not Even Friday Anywhere

How could I have missed Fugly Friday? Well, I got a little busy. Cleaning the stash sent me off cleaning the entire apartment. Not just cleaning, cleansing, as I've removed bags of stuff for charity. I should not be allowed to watch Oprah, that's all I have to say.
Apparently the Fugly Friday contest has run its course, since I haven't gotten any new submissions this week. It's still open, should you knit something fugly or find something really bad on the internet. And now the stash is all up there on the link and badge, so you can see exactly what you could win.
For example, you might find a picture like this:
It's the Punk Jacket from Crystal Palace. Perhaps the punks elsewhere in the world are very different from the ones I knew when I dabbled in punk in high school. But I don't know anyone who would wear this. Especially not those cooler-than-thou punk kids. (Well, okay, maybe I know one person, but she's definitely not a punk.)
Everything about this is wrong. The shape is wrong, the sleeves are wrong, the stripes are wrong, and for the love of god, the yarn is wrong. Could we please, as a knitting community, ban fun fur? Please? At least on garments for people over the age of seven?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Two Cloths for Sister Sara

Okay, the boy's sister...in-law. But she is named Sara.
Here they are posing with my handsoap. I'm going to buy a pretty soap to wrap them up with.
The boy's SIL had a birthday about a week ago, and a huge party which involved the Beer Olympics (further details need not be mentioned here). I did not bring a gift, but that was semi-intentional, as I was determined to knit her some lovely facecloths and needed to scope out her bathroom first. I considered asking the boy, but you know what asking boys about things like that is like. He wouldn't have known, and would have asked his brother, who probably also wouldn't have known.
The bathroom is sort of a dark marble, but their towels are white, and that's what counts.
So I grabbed some Bernat Cottontots (cheap, but good), and knit up a couple of these. I had originally intended to make several with different stitch patterns, but I liked this one so much, I thought a matching set of two would go nicely.
The central stitch pattern was adapted from a vintage craft book, and it goes like this:

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Ktog across
Row 3:Kf/b across
Row 4: Purl

Simple, easy to remember, a little lacy, but still sturdy. Perfect for a washcloth, I think.
(If you're further curious, I cast on 44 sts with a size 7 needle, knit 5 rows garter stitch, and maintained a 3 stitch wide garter border on either side, knit till it was almost square, and finished off with 5 more rows of garter stitch.)

In summary:

Pattern: See above
Yarn: Bernat cottontots, from the stash, about 1/4 skein makes two. 100% washable cotton, the stuff is available at box stores for around $3 a skein.
Needle: Size 7 (4.5mm)
Time: Maybe two hours each? That's being generous.
Cost: Free, since it's from the stash. But probably less than $3 anyway. Still, it's the effort that counts.
Oh, and dudes. Check out the new flickr badges.
This blog is officially 87% cooler.

Monday, July 23, 2007

You Thought I Was Kidding

I decided to sort the stash, even before I had figured out storage options.
I'm not really sure what I was thinking.

This is how my living room looked last night. Bear in mind, this doesn't include any UFO's or WIP's, or even any projects in my mind where the yarn and pattern are reserved.

And then go look at the stash on Flickr. I found so many yarns I didn't even know I had.
But, on the bright side, it's all inventoried and ready for ravelry. And also you. When you look at the flickr site, it's kind of like shopping. In the titles of the pictures, those marked * are available for rapid destashing. You can get it if you submit something fugly for Fugly Friday. You could also maybe get it by asking nicely. These are yarns that just need to go to a good home.
Other yarns are pretty okay, but I'm not married to them. Those are marked with **. I'm happy to trade or sell those.
Some of the the stash is just permanent. You know how this goes.
Also, does anyone know of a good charity that wants acrylic yarn? I have a ton. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just, well, acrylic. I've moved on.
The yarn sat all last night while I debated storage options. Lots of good ideas from you guys. Lorna is just too organized for her own good. Also, my stash would eat hers for breakfast and still be hungry.
But since I was too broke and lazy to go out and buy new storage bins of any kind, I decided to use an existing built-in bookshelf in my apartment. I was resisting doing this because 1. there were all sorts of decorations on there 2. it's where I throw my junk when I walk in the door and 3. I wasn't really sure the stash would fit, 4. it won't help much when I move.

In the end, though, I think it was the right choice, for now, anyway. The trouble is that there is now a ripple effect, in which all the junk that was on these shelves now have to find new homes. That's okay, it's part of my greater cleaning/decluttering process. (Shoes and clothes are going to take a hard hit next.)
From top to bottom we have noveltry/acrylic (those I'm not getting rid of), wool, cotton, sock and lace, and exotics, which at the moment includes everything from alpaca, silk, cashmere, bamboo, angora, aloo, quiviuk, and some other crazy things, I'm sure.
I like having it all visible. It's sitting there, begging me to knit it. I'm sure this will be good in the long run, but right now it's a bit of a problem. What is it that is so magical about casting on? But I'm going to try not to for a while. The next stage of yarn organization will assess the UFO situation. I will finish current WIP's, and then I will start to go layer by layer into Area 51.

Organizationally Challenged

The stash is...well, out of control, even by stash standards. I'm anxiously waiting for ravelry, and I realize I'm going to have to inventory my stash when I finally do get accepted. Much of it is really hard to get to, buried deep in my closet, and in huge bins I have to root through to find a single ball of yarn. These bins often have other bins on top of them. Also, I've added to it considerably recently, which I will show you in a bit (though most of it is sock yarn, which we all know doesn't count).
Clearly, it's time to at least attempt some sort of system. The trouble is this. I like to over-organize. I know this sounds contradictory, but it's true. When I come up with a system, it's so complicated, I can never follow it. Yet I can't mess up the system, so instead of actually putting anything away and not putting it away perfectly, I pile them up and end up with a huge mess. I realize this makes no sense, but that's just how it goes around here.
Don't belive me? Here's what I've done in the past. I've sorted by fiber type, and then weight, and then color, reserving a separate portion for things that are current projects. Obviously, this is too complicated to keep up with, and I don't like having the yarn buried in the closet.
I need massive reorganization, but I can't really afford to buy those nifty shelves, which would probably be the best answer. I also wouldn't have the space for them if I could buy them.
This is going to be a huge project, and I'd like to get it done all in one sitting. So...any suggestions? Which is the best way to organize (fiber, weight, color, something completely different)? Is there a way to keep the yarn somewhat out of the way but easy to get to?

Friday, July 20, 2007

This Could So Easily Be Misinterpreted

Carrie sends this link as a submission for Fugly Friday - and I so agree. She says it's just the picture. I think it's far worse than that.
It's the Coronado Beach Thongs, exclusively from Berroco:

Now, I am not one of those people who has ever called any form of a footwear a "thong." In fact, I was in college when I first found that some people did. I found out in a pretty terrifying way. I was doing some research on Long Island, which has a great many beaches. My elderly male professor turned to me and one of my classmates and asked us if we knew where to buy thongs.
I'll let you process that.
I was stunned, horrified, confused. He clarified, but not before life-threatening mental images were seared into my brain.
I still never think of footwear first when I hear that word. They are flip-flops, they are sandals, but they are never, ever thongs.
And the trouble with this picture is that it also takes you a minute to process that the white cardboard thing is supposed to be foot. And given that it's cloth, well, it sort of looks like it could be that other kind of thong, doesn't it?

*EDIT* Kate says, (and Barb seconds) "So many things I don't understand...like, are the soles to this footware contraption? There don't seem to be. And why does it hook aroud the second toe? And, why exactly would you want to spend time creating these again?"
Judging from the pattern, no, there really don't seem to be any soles to these. I have absolutely no idea why. As for the other questions, you're completely on your own there.
Also, if you really want to complete the mental image, my prof looked a little like Mr. Rogers.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Goth Sweater

Ahhhh, taste that instant gratification. Delicious, no?

Here I am in the Carie Cardigan from Fitted Knits, which I shall lovingly call my goth sweater.
The yarn is hand-dyed chunky merino, exclusively from the LYS. (Sorry, it will be tough for you to find.) Since Veronica, dyer-in-chief, generally tends to dye her own favorite colors, I was thrilled when this colorway came along. I had been eyeing the bulky for a while, mostly because I was feeling the need for some of that intoxicating instant gratification, but the colors weren't really screaming my name. Then this one showed up. I've been wanting a black cardigan for some time.

I had also been lusting over the patterns in Fitted Knits for quite some time. I'm an avid reader of the Glampyre blog, so I got the book as soon as it came out. This is the first thing I've actually made from it, though.
It's like the yarn and pattern were star-crossed lovers....or something else appropriately romantigoth. Anyway, here's a closeup of the sleeve. There are some pretty eyelets here that you can't really see, no matter how well I try to photograph it.

I played fast and loose with gauge here. The pattern called for 6 sts over 4", and I was repeatedly getting 8. And let's not even talk about row gauge. I liked the way the fabric looked though, so I made the XL size, when I would normally take small. There are much better ways to get the right size, including 1) actually getting gauge and 2) reworking all the math to match the new gauge, but I threw caution to the wind here, tried on frequently, and it worked out all right.
The pattern in the book shows it in a lovely purple with a gorgeous rose button at the clasp. I was worried about finding one, because I had the picture in my mind of exactly what I wanted. I wanted a gothic black rose.

And somehow, I found exactly that at Peggy's Strands of Heaven, which is a LYS. (Tertiary LYS? Moving up in the ranks to the new secondary LYS? Time will tell. Either way, we're knitting there on Sundays now.)
This was a quick knit that is pretty flattering, in the way most bulky sweaters aren't. I would recommend it. But get gauge first. Do as I say, not as I do.
In Summary:
Pattern: Carie Cardigan from Fitted Knits, by Stephanie Japel
Yarn: Hand dyed bulky merino, from the LYS, 120 yds, $12, 3 skeins
Needles: Size 15 circular (necessary, though it's obviously worked back and forth)
Notions: Black gothic rose button, $5.25, from the new secondary LYS
Time: About 3 evenings of light to intermittent knitting (you could maybe do it in a night if you got gauge right off the bat)
Cost: $41.25, plus tax

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Button, Button, Who's Got a Button?

It's me!

I was just going to make a T-shirt out of this, but I think I deserve a button. Despite the fact that the boy and I have been planning on going on T-shirt spree for a little while, it hasn't gotten made. But in the meantime, link it up! Only use this instead of the blogger link, since I recently found out how not to steal bandwidth.

*EDIT* Since so many of you mentioned it, I learned how here, but not before reading about 30 pages (I'm not exaggerating) of posts about why stealing bandwidth is evil. Yes, we know, but tell us how not to do it, don't just complain.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Swallowtail Shawl

Remeber that shawl I promised you more info and an agressive blocking on?
Agressive blocking done.
I adore this yarn. It's a mohair I picked up in Japan, the first of the souvenir yarns to be knit up. The label says, "It had the Graduation with long pitch Newly. How about warmhearted?"
If that's not proof it comes from Japan, I don't know what is.

I usually prefer plain yarns, particularly in lace, but the color variations here are just gorgeous. They drew me in while in the skein, and I'm very happy with how they came out. I think it's because the color change is so long and gradual. I used only maybe a skein and a quarter, so there would be plenty to make a little lacy scarf with as well. Not that I'm likely to do that when there are so many new yarns begging to be knit, but I could, and that's the important thing.

I'm likely to wear it over a T-shirt or something cool like that. It's big enough to wrap fully around my shoulders, or even around my hips as sort of a skirt/belt thing too. Maybe if I
This was also the first test of my new Addi lace needles, and I am a huge fan. When you get to the p5tog part on the lily of the valley portion, they're a life saver. Besides that, though, it's not a particularly hard pattern. I would highly recommend it to someone who has done a little lace and is looking to move up to the next step.

In summary:
Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark, IK Fall 2006
Yarn: Warmhearted Japanese mohair
Needles: Size 5 Addi turbo lace
Time: Probably about a month
Cost: I don't remember, but it wasn't much. Under $20

Friday, July 13, 2007

Fugly Friday the 13th

This week's Fugly Friday is brought to you by Carrie!

First she submits this poncho:

And once again, the look says it all. Myself, I am not a fan of the poncho as a fashion item to begin with. Maybe because it so often comes out this way.
Also, some sort of wrap?

I'm not entirely sure what's going on here. But it's definitely a winner.
She also sent in some pictures of a hat and a flowered scarf, but they weren't bad at all. I saw nothing at all wrong with the hat, and the scarf was on her blog. It's kind of obnoxious, but in a cute way.
So, Carrie, you win! Let us know what patterns these were so we can all avoid them.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cutest Cat Ever

Okay, I've slowly been collecting cute pictures of Worfy all over the house. I thought it was time to share.

"Hmm, what shall I knit today?"

"Ah yes, a sock in grey stripes. Grey stripes are always an excellent fashion choice."

He sort of looks like he's drunk and fell out.

But he's pretty pissed that you're saying that.

Borrowing a page from Cute Overload, here's an X.C.U. of a little silver paw.

"Take me to your leader."
(That's whoever controls the catnip.) I didn't mean for this to come out so creepy. I just thought he was cute perched on the pillow like that, but the glow in his eyes is really unholy.
Oh well, he's still my baby.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How did they know?

You Are An INTJ

The Scientist

You have a head for ideas - and you are good at improving systems.
Logical and strategic, you prefer for everything in your life to be organized.
You tend to be a bit skeptical. You're both critical of yourself and of others.
Independent and stubborn, you tend to only befriend those who are a lot like you.

In love, you are always striving to improve your relationship.
You have strong ideas of what love should be like.

At work, you excel in figuring out difficult tasks. People think of you as "the brain."
You would make an excellent scientist, engineer, or programmer.

How you see yourself: Reasonable, knowledgeable, and competent

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Aloof, controlling, and insensitive
If you take this too, leave a comment so I can come spy on you.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fugly Monday (Amanda)

Now, Amanda thinks this bag she knit is fugly. Personally, I think it could be a lot worse. But, she deserves a post because
So go hassle her and say hi. She wins the contest/gets birthday presents.
Her commentary on this is pretty funny though, she claims that it is "like a spotted cow that mated with a zebra - only worse." I suspect that yarn is acrylic, but she doesn't say.
The purse's fate is unknown, because, "This beauty got "donated" to the salvation army before I left the Bend. I'm sure that they think that I should have also stuffed it with a cash donation too, as I really should have paid someone to take it off my hands." I'm sure someone who's into zebras really loves it. They may be 5, but hey.
Also, have you guys ever heard the sound a zebra makes? Go here and have a listen.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Lest You Think There's No Knitting Being Done...

This Swallowtail Shawl (Evelyn Clark, IK) has been off the needles for a few days now, but it needs agressive blocking.
As you can tell, I'm looking far more sleepy than agressive right now.

It's in a very pretty mohair I picked up in Japan, the first of the souvenir yarns from that trip to be knit up. More details when all the work is done.

Also, fresh off the needles, a bag ready for felting. I made the pattern up as I went along.
And joining the frog pond was a misguided attempt to make a summer tank. For some reason, I decided to make it with a sock yarn. This was silly, as it was a stockinette tank that was just shapeless and rolling. So, hey, new sock yarn now.

Lion Brand Homespun Poncho

If that doesn't let you know what's coming, I don't know what does. It's Fugly Friday!
Featuring Jen! She's in her intentionally fugly crazy cat lady outfit from Halloween.
Jen says, "A couple friends and I always talk about how we will never be married and will end up as crazy cat ladies someday. This being the case, I decided to dress up as a crazy cat lady last Halloween. A crazy cat lady would, of course, make her own poncho out of some Lion Brand Homespun, so that's what I did. Some people actually thought the poncho was cute, but with the whole costume, I think it might be slightly fugly. "

I have to say, that is an excellent idea for a costume. I really like the attached cats. It's like the poncho has started devouring them!
And of course, the piece de resistance.....throwing the cats at someone.
You wouldn't be a crazy cat lady if you didn't.
Also, go check out Jen's etsy shop. She has some heartbreakingly beautiful hand dyed yarns (heartbreaking because I really can't buy them right now). I'm generally not into the patriotic themed things, but this Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is gorgeous. Well, okay, all of them are....

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Seriously, with all the great submissions I've been getting, there need to be more days of the week that start with "F." Do you think anyone would support my lobby for Fruesday? (Yes, Fuesday would work too, but Fruesday sounds funnier. Try it.)
Robin, who normally has impeccable taste in patterns (seriously, I've commented on this many times), has sent me these two beauties. One can be seen on her blog here.

I think the look says it all. Fair warning, it's the "Waterlily Top from Interweave Knits [Spring '06] in Colinette Giotto." So, maybe we should all stay away from that one. Also, from anyone with that look. I'm scared even from here. Honestly, it could be worse, though.
This one - I wish there was a front view. (Bonus points if you send one, Robin.) But I'm still a fan.
Aparently, it's "Lambada" from the Cotton Braid Collection. Robin says, "My husband had me posing hitting the punching bag to signify my distaste for it." Bad fit? Check. Droopy armholes? Check. Random hood? Check. This one's a winner.

Monday, July 02, 2007

My Awesome Secret Pal!

I got a reveal package today from my secret pal. She's Kozy Kitty! No wonder she took such good care of Worfy. She's been such an awesome secret pal.
I can't find my camera at the moment, or I would show you what she sent in the final package (as if she hadn't sent me enough already). She got me a flowering tea and cool clear teapot to watch it bloom, some more yummy exotic choclates, some gorgeous handpainted yarn (550 yds!) in wonderful pinks and purples, and, this is the best part, Hello Kitty stitch markers in their own little Hello Kitty change purse! I'm absolutely obsessed with Hello Kitty (because I'm secretly 5 years old). I squealed when I saw them. I'm also really excited to try the tea. I've seen it stores, but I've never actually watched one bloom.
And in a final note of irony, hers was the suggestion I think I'll use for the Hello Kitty red cardigan. So, secret pal, you win! Uh, want to discuss a prize?
My own secret pal was Suzanne, but don't go telling her just yet. I mailed her a reveal card, but I don't think she's gotten it. I tried to be a good pal, but I didn't rock it quite as much as mine did.

*Edit* Okay, rock on. The camera was in my car. Here's what my awesome secret pal got me.

The flowering tea (which can aparently be obtained from http://www.numitea.com/).

The pretty super-soft yarn (it's purplier in real life - it looks a little blue in this picture)

Holy crap! Hello Kitty stitch markers!

I mean, seriously. Rainbow argyle Hello Kitty stitch markers! For the Hello Kitty sweater she found the perfect pattern for. I can't believe how cute this is!

*Edit #2* And SP 11 is now open! Go sign up, and you could get awesome, awesome things like I did.