Friday, August 31, 2007

Definition of Fugly -- Contest!

Carol asks, "Hey, for a 'Newbie' what constitutes a Fugly? "
Good question, Carol.
Fugly Friday started as an homage to the late, great You Knit What? blog. They used the word frequently to describe anything that was "effing ugly." My rule of thumb is that if it makes me ask, "You knit what?" it qualifies for Fugly Friday.
This got me thinking, though. Just like Cute Overload has the Rules of Cuteness, I think we should work up some rules of fugly. Or at least guidelines. What would you like to add? And hey, let's make it a contest. A random winner will be selected from everyone who makes it on the list. And let's have pictures to illustrate. As usual, the email is theoriesofstring[removethis]@gmail[removethis].com.

Here's what I have so far:

There is no good reason for the item to exist.

If there is a good reason for the item to exist, it should not be hand knit.

A garment does not appear to be designed to fit the human body.

It is flagrantly the wrong size and you finish it anyway.

It often involves fun fur.

It is made in an extremely impractical fashion.

It is made with extremely impractical materials.

What else have you got?

I (heart) Fugly Friday

Vicki sends this submission:

It's on a random Japanese blog here. Don't ask me what any of it says; I have no idea. But it does appear to be a vaguely anatomically correct heart. Again, I really don't know why. It makes me wonder why someone hasn't knit an entire body with all the correct knitted organs. There certainly seem to be a lot of them out there. I'm sure it would be a great toy for future doctors to play with.
I like this idea far too much for my own good.
This comes at about the same time that Barb mentioned the knitted uterus. In fact, Kate already knit it, and won her own Fugly Friday (or Monday, whoever is keeping track).
Don't forget, if you make something fugly, be sure to submit a pic and win some yarn from my stash.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bad Secret Pal-ee

I'm so terrible! I can only claim that I was sick, which is a poor excuse for bad manners. My Secret Pal sent me an awesome gift last week - a gift certificate to the Loopy Ewe! I thanked her personally, but I forgot to make a public post.
I'm seriously looking forward to spending it. Of course, knowing me and my recent trends, it's likely to be sock yarn. It's not as if I actually need more sock yarn, but they have some with small cashmere content, and that is awfully hard to resist. They might as well coat it in chocolate and have it come with a kitten. I am powerless.
Seriously, though, gift cards rock. Give the gift of shopping.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fugly Friday called in sick last week

Sorry about that. It will be back this week.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Fugly Friday - Apple Jacket

This was floating around the socknitters list last week, and I thought it was pretty funny.

It's actually kind of cute, and there's a chance that you might actually save some bruising on your apple by using these.
But part of me still screams - you knit what?
A (very) brief search did not turn up a pattern, but I did find several etsy sites selling them for about $15 each. That's the part that really boggles the mind. That can't take more than an hour and some leftovers to knit. If you find a pattern, link it. I may do it for novelty purposes.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Oops Again

My name is Sarah, and I am a sock yarn addict.
After that haul at Stitches, two days later (two days!), I managed to stagger home with not one, but 6 more skeins of sock yarn. Six.
See, it's not all my fault. First, Carrie sent me this really cool pattern. Then Jen dyed this really cool sock yarn that suits it perfectly. See? I couldn't resist. Also, Jen came out to the LYS's knit night, and I got to meet her IRL for the first time. Her yarn is awesome, and super soft as well. I can't wait to start that pattern.

Also, the shop got in a shipment that day of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock solids. I had been bugging them for it for, I don't know, a year or so. So I had to snap up four skeins or so. That was restraint on my part. The black will likely be dress socks for the boy. The royal blue might get incorporated into some Cubs socks, if I'm smart enough to figure out how (I think the answer is duplicate stitch, but somehow that feels cheap). The other solids will likely get turned into some very patterned socks, such as some Cookie A socks that have been lurking in the back of my mind. I'm paralyzed by indecision at this point. I want to cast on about 10 pairs at once. I'm trying to finish up some Irish flag socks for the boy first, but he has really big feet.

Also, I had been eyeing this colorway at the shop for a while. I have no excuse for buying it, since there were at least four skeins there and not in danger of going anywhere.'s very Sarah-colored, and as long as I'm going for broke here....

I think these might want to be Broadripples, especially after seeing Jen's in person.
I did get some stuff done, since afterwards I went over to Lorna's and used her robo-washer to felt some things. Pictures of that when they finish drying.
Also, in case you're wondering where I get the time, this is my life.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Guys. You shouldn't have let me go to Stitches Midwest. That was a bad idea all around. I bought way, way too much. Observe.
Cindy and Heather went with me, and Valerie was there taking classes (all sadly, blogless), but they did nothing to hold me back. At least I got to push off some of my excess yarn-buying frenzy on them.
Before I get to the purchases, the other thing I want to mention was that Franklin was there working on his 1,000 knitters project. He's a photographer, and wants to catalog 1,000 knitters, all working on a scarf. Anyone who lives in the Chicago area should participate, and if you're not lucky enough to live near the Windy City, keep an eye on his blog in case he starts travelling. I sat for a picture wearing my Swallowtail Shawl and chatted with him for a few minutes. He's very nice, and quite buff. Apparently, that ridiculous christening blanket he knit for his neice was not enough - he is now hooked on lace and wants to do an heirloom pattern. Some people.
Okay, first, I had been wanting some of these from Chappy on eBay.
She was actually there with a nice selection of these. She's a very nice lady, and I got to see all the designs at once. I also saved on shipping. That counts for something, right? In retrospect, buying these first may have been a bad idea. They got rather heavy after carrying them around for 6 hours.
No, you don't really need to block socks. I just got tired of taking really weird pictures of my own feet. The socks on my blog (and ravelry) will be much prettier from now on.

Also, I get unduly excited about sock yarn. This knitting thing is out of control, but the socks are rapidly becoming their own problem. I'm also always on the hunt for plain colored sock yarn, so I can do something with exciting stitches. I found this, a new yarn called Aussi. Superwash, 400 yds, etc, all the good things in a sock yarn. I picked it up in purple and red.

Also, there was this sock yarn I had heard about online called Soxx Appeal. Besides just being a funny name, it's 97% wool with 3% elastic. As the owner of the shop put it, it's basically Cascade Fixation but with wool instead of cotton. Nice. I can't wait to try this. (Also, it's not this blurry IRL.)

I thought I was done with sock yarn after this, but then I found some amazing deals. Jimmy Bean's Wool was having all sorts of ridiculous half off sales, including some very eye-catching Regia.

And something more subdued in very Sarah colors of red, black, grey and white.

I mean, Regia doesn't break the bank to begin with, an then it's half off? I can't resist.
But okay, this time, I was really done with sock yarn. Seriously. Done.
And then there was a bag of 10 (!) for 75% off - it was only $25, and enough for 5 pairs of socks.

So, uh, yeah. I kind of wound up with 10 more skeins. I'm only actually going to use two, so if you want to swap or something, let me know. That's why I didn't feel too bad about buying all the extra skeins. I know so many other knitters.
Part of the fun of the Stitches extravaganza was the Victorian Lace Today fashion show. If you thought the book was pretty (and it is), you should see everything in it knit up and modeled in front of you. It's just amazing. So, I'm inspired to want to knit some lace that I have at home, for one thing, particularly the quiviuk I picked up in DC. I think I know which VLT pattern I'm going to do after seeing it in person. There was also a small shawl knit out of Malabrigo laceweight, so I had to pick up a couple little skeins of it.

I adore Malabrigo in general, and I only recently heard that a laceweight existed. I'd been eyeing this colorway in worsted, so I was more than happy to get it in lace. many red shawls does one girl need? Aparently at least 3, because I've done one, and I have the wonderful yarn for two more. At least it's my favorite color, and the one I'm mostly likely to pick for a formal dress.
I also picked up some needles, but those don't make for very exciting pictures. I had heard really good things about the Hiya Hiya circulars, so I picked up two in size 1 for socks. They were half the price of Addi's, so we'll see how I like them. I got some highlighting tape for lace charts, too. Also, a couple of places were giving out free bags. Score.
I met Jordana Paige and ogled her bags, which are fantastic, but I realized I couldn't buy one of those and all the yarn I wanted. (I couldn't even buy all the yarn I wanted.) I guess I'll stick with the free bags.

Okay, I know what you're thinking, that wasn't so bad. Maybe I have a problem with socks, and slightly unrealistic expectations for what I can knit in one lifetime, but how much money could I really have spent?
Uh, at least enough for an entire bag of Jaeger silk. In my defense, it was half off. Also, Jaeger is going out of business, so this silk that I pet in the shop all the time is about to be no more. So...I bought enough for what I think will be a very pretty little cardigan.

Yeah. That was the last several nails in the coffin.
So how much did I spend? All in all, approximately 12,000 Indian Rupees. I don't want to look at it in US dollars. That's not as bad as it sounds, but the silk alone was 5,000 rupees. I wanted the Sweater Wizard software really bad, especially after playing with it, but I was beyond cut off at that point. Someday. Maybe around a certain day in October. Like the 8th, or thereabouts.
Also, we are on the cusp of football season here. Don't expect to hear from me at all on Sunday, and not too much on Saturday, Monday, and sometimes Thursday either. Maybe I'll actually have a chance at knitting what I've bought.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Double Baby Blogger....

See, here's the thing about Ravelry, and I know I'm not the only one to notice it. It really makes you want to finish projects. There's something far more satisfying about entering in something as an FO than as a WIP. (For those of you not in the know, mom, that's Finished Object and Work In Progress). So I finally got around to putting the finishing touches on some projects that were almost done, but yet not quite.
These little guys were so almost done it wasn't funny. I made this scarf way back in February of 2006, according to the blog records. I even note in that post how I had some left over and made some baby booties. They just needed buttons.

Completely done, mind you, except for buttons.
So I picked these up at the secondary LYS last week. And it took the better part of the week for me to actually sew them on. But here they are.

Despite being blue, I think these are actually pretty gender neutral.

Pretty damn cute buttons though.
I also highly recommend this pattern. It's the One Hour Baby Booties from Stitch and Bitch Nation, and you really can make them in an hour. Go forth and knit.
In summary:
Yarn: Reynolds Blizzard (65% alpaca, 35% acrylic) 66 yards - less than one skein
Pattern: One Hour Baby Booties from Stitch and Bitch Nation
Needles: Size 6? Whatever the pattern calls's small for the yarn size
Time: One hour to knit, over a year and a half to put on the stupid buttons....
Cost: Less than $10, including buttons

What is it about my cat that makes him think he belongs in every picture? I'm not kidding you, he hears the camera turn on and comes running.

This was the other project that was languishing. It also needed buttons, and little bit more embroidery. See, I started the embroidery around neck, just some simple little leaves in the contrasting green. But then, since one of my pet peeves is when the design on the front of something doesn't carry around to the back, I had to at least finish them along the neck too.

I could have done more, but mostly I just wanted to finish this.
The other issue was that once again, I could not find any buttons I liked. This time, I made some.

Only a few of these get used on this sweater, but as long as you've got the oven started up (which is rare enough in my house), you might as well bake up a whole pan. Now I have extra buttons, and nothing to put them on. Come to think of it, it's really the cyclic nature of the stash in general.

I made these little blue and green "rustic" buttons, which is artspeak for "amorphous blob". They're still pretty cute though, and I'm happy with the finished product.

With or without Worfy.
In summary:
Yarn: Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton (blue) and Bernat Cottontots (green), both leftover 100% cotton
Pattern: Loosely based on a Walmart baby sweater pattern
Needle: No clue anymore. Medium sized crochet hook
Time: Who knows? Probably two years or so
Cost: Two packs of Fimo Clay for the buttons

These are both going in the hope chest. Despite being a raging feminist, I am still likely to incubate an alien lifeform some day. Baby things are fun to knit and great for leftovers, so I might as well keep the ones I like.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fugly Friday - the Late Edition

Sorry guys, I know it's late in the day. But at least it's still Friday for quite a bit.
Today's submission comes from Vicki, found at the bottom of this page. (No pattern, sorry.)
Um....they're kidding, right? This is a joke? Because it would be a pretty good one.
I'm generally not into knitting things for the sake of knitting things. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. But at some point, someone decided they wanted to knit a high-heeled shoe.
Okay. If that's what you want to do, if that's what you really feel is missing from your wardrobe, okay. Knit it.
But why the weird stripes?
And why, for the love of god, pompoms?
Why with a sock that doesn't match? And more importantly, why isn't the sock at least handknit? If you're going to go to all that trouble to cover an uncomfortable shoe with knitting, you'd think you'd at least want a comfortable handknit sock.
How are those weird ropes attached? And why?
Is anyone else as confused as I am?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Mom's Sweater

Now, if I were smart, I would horde these things. I could already have a Christmas gift for my mom. But I'm completely incapable of that, and this was a pretty quick knit.

It's the Bold and Bulky Mini Cardi from Fitted Knits by Stephanie Japel.
It's more of the random hand dyed merino that turned up at the LYS. This time, I was on gauge though.

I really like the shaping at the back, and the lace detailing that forms the raglan increases. I can see why everyone and their neighbor is knitting this.

It still needs some buttons, but since I wound up at home, I figure I can trust her with those.
In summary:
Yarn: Bulky merino, hand dyed at the LYS. Two skeins dark, One skein light 120 yards $12.00
Needles: Size 15, circular
Pattern: Bold and Bulky Mini Cardi from Fitted Knits
Time: A few days
Cost: $36, plus buttons

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Woooooo! Woooooo! I'm in!
I am, unsurprisingly, theoriesofstring. So...friend me up, since most of you have been in way longer than I have. It will probably be a while before I get everything in here (you have no idea how many UFO's I have), but, in case I didn't mention it, woooo!

*EDIT* 4:00 am.
Oh my god I am never going to get work done or sleep again.


From Ravelry

Found you!
You signed up on June 10, 2007
You are #8122 on the list.
3 people are ahead of you in line.
15482 people are behind you in line.
34% of the list has been invited so far

Three people! Three!
This means I should get in tomorrow, but it's still kind of frustrating.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Oh Claire

The boy has a little niece named Claire, who is currently about eight months old and the cutest thing ever. She's a cute, happy little baby, always babbling and smiling.
Of course I had to knit her something.

And what's better than baby socks? I picked up some Cascade Fixation on a small field trip out to Ewe and Me in Sandwich, IL. It's a small shop, but it's all good quality, and they have a sock club (which reminds me, I really need to get out there and pick that up).
I was dying to try to the Fixation on some socks, and they had some adorable little baby examples lying around. I couldn't resist. The owner said she got two pairs of baby socks out of one skein, but we must knit at vastly different gauges. Still, I got one pair, and for $5.50, I'm pretty happy with that.

I love baby socks. Can I just say that? Love them. They are so little, which means they go so fast. I did these little guys with a heel flap, which meant that by the time I was done with the gusset decreases, I was almost ready to work the toe. This is wonderful, because the foot is usually the most interminable part.
The girls in the knitting group (especially Lorna) wanted to see them on Worfy, but he wasn't pleased with that idea.

Instead, please see them on Einstein.

Or there's this modern art variety, where I attempt to wear the bootie, and Worfy looks on. Either way.

In case you're wondering how to do baby socks, I'll do the pattern at the end. For the record, it's a lot like big people socks.
In summary:
Yarn: Cascade Fixation (98.3% cotton, 1.7% elastic, 100 yards), one skein, $5.50
Needles: Size US 3 (3.25 mm) dpns
Pattern: See end of post
Time: Less than a day each sock. I love baby socks.
Cost: $5.50 Did I mention I love baby socks?

Oh Claire
Simple baby socks

Gauge: About 7 sts/ in (2.5 cm).
Since babies grow so fast, gauge is not really crucial here, and your swatch would likely be about the size of the sock. However, Cascade Fixation is a very thick and stretchy yarn, so substitute at your own risk, and probably go down a needle size if you do. This should fit a little one in the 6 - 12 month old range.
I've tried to tell you not just how many stitches to knit in each region, but why. That way if you need to size up or down, you have a guideline.
Yarn: Cascade Fixation (98.3% cotton, 1.7% elastic, 100 yards) One skein will easily make one pair, two if you're lucky (I'm not).

Needles: Size 3 (3.25 mm) dpns, or whatever size needles give you an appropriately dense fabric

Cast on 32 sts and divide evenly over dpns. Join for working in the round.
Work in 1x1 ribbing for about 3 inches (7.5 cm)
Heel flap:
You will now be working back and forth over half the stitches (that's 16, in case you're bad at math). It is important to slip the first stich of each row, as it will make life much easier for you later on.
Row 1: (Slip 1, k1) across
Row 2: Slip 1, purl across
Work until heel flap is square.

Turn heel:
Knit until two stitches past center (10 stitches), ssk, knit one, turn work
Slip one, purl until two stitches past center (6 stitches remain on right needle), p2tog, purl 1, turn work
You will have created a center section of the heel with gaps on either side of it.
Slip one, work until one stich before the gap, SSK on right side (p2tog on wrong side) across the gap, work one more stitch.
Repeat in this manner until all stitches are used up
Pick up one stitch for each slipped stitch on the heel flap (plus one or two more to avoid a gap), work across instep in stockinette (or ribbing, if you prefer), pick up an equal number of stitches on the opposite side. Rearrange stitches on the needle so you have an equal number on either side of the gusset, with the beginning of the round starting at the middle of the heel.
Round 1: Work until three stitches before instep, k2tog, k1. Work even across instep. K1, ssk, knit even to end of round.
Round 2: Work even
Repeat these rounds until you have the same total number of stitches that you cast on (32).
Work even in stockinette until foot measure about 3 inches (7.5 cm) from the heel.
Round 1: Work until three stitches before instep, k2tog, k1. K1, ssk, work even until last three stitches of instep, k2tog, k1. K1, ssk, knit even to end of round.
Round 2: Work even.
Continue in this manner until 12 total stiches remain. Place the six top stitches on one needle and the six bottom stitches on another. Graft toe.
If you've never knit socks before, this tutorial is a good place to start. She has really good illustrations.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

It's the SP11 Questionaire!

Here are is the questionnaire for SP11. Please be sure to post it in a spot on your blog where your pal can easily find it. Since your pal will use this to help create your packages you'll want to have it posted to your blog no later than August 15th.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I like natural fibers. I'm not a total yarn snob, but I'm very iffy on acrylics. Also, I'm not comfortable with Tofutsies because of the crab shell content, but that's not likely to come up much.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
A very spiffy Della Q circular bag, and some homemade roll up ones for straights/dpns.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting about 6 years or so. I would consider myself advanced intermediate, partially because I know if I say "advanced," I'll do something like screw up garter stitch.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No, but now that you mention it, it's a good idea.

5. What's your favorite scent?
Lavendar for relaxing, citrus for energizing.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Oh yes. Favorites are chocolate cherry and chocolate mint.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I knit and crochet pretty regularly. I'm an early beginner at spinning, but I hope to take some classes this fall. I do not cook or do anything else vaguely domestic.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I'm into a little of everything, but mostly sort of indie/punk rock. I can certainly play MP3's.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love reds, pink, and purples. I'm kind of picky about greens, and I usually don't look good in yellow or orange (though I don't have anything against them personally).

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have one cat, who is spoiled rotten. I'm single, but the boyfriend visits a lot.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
No on the ponchos, yes to everything else.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I've been on a bit of a sock spree lately.

13. What are you knitting right now?
I'm trying to tackle the UFO situation. It's pretty out of control.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Of course!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Circular, anything but plastic.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
I do indeed, and it's very cool.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
Since I began knitting, so about 6 years.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Does my birthday count?

19. Is there anything that you collect?
I do have a weakness for Hello Kitty.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I don't subscribe to anything right now, but I usually pick up Interweave Knits in the shop. I always like something new and interesting. I have a lot of the popular books, but I'm trying to pick up the classics.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I want to learn to spin properly. I'd like to get better at slip-stitch patterns.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I am a rabid sock knitter. Women's US 7.5, pretty average.

23. When is your birthday?
October 8, which happens to be in this Secret Pal cycle.....(hint, hint)

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?
Not yet....but I'm getting close. Look for updates.
*EDIT* Now I am! I'm theoriesofstring.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Fugly Friday

Busy day today, so I'm slacking off with Fugly Friday.
One of my favorite bloggers is of course, Wendy of Knit and Tonic.
Never afraid to poke fun at herself, she has an entire collection of what she deems "FO...the Losers."
Some of them aren't so bad, but some of them, well....are.
But her commentary is worth the price of admission, and we've all done things like that before. Go check it out. And start reading her blog too, if you don't already.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

It's sort of destashing....

Okay, actually it's just circulating stash from one person to another. But it sure is fun!
This is what I swapped some stuff with Vicki for:
It's some of her gorgeous handspun. Seriously, this stuff is everything handspun should be. It's wonderfully smooth and even, but with just enough of those beautiful quirks to let you know this didn't come off of a factory mill. I think Vicki's gotten better since the last time I saw her handspun IRL. It's much prettier (and not as dark) in real life. I can't wait to find the perfect shawl for it. Maybe something all wind and waves inspired.
But there were also surprises in the package too!
I figured it had to be something with catnip, considering Worfy was unduly interested in the package I brought in. It had two little rollies and a catnip mouse for him!

Worfy started playing with them right away, which is unusual for him. He usually doesn't play with anything. You can find the patterns on Vicki's blog. Worfy approves.
Here's a video link of him playing with the mouse. Of course, he stopped being as cute as he was being the minute I turned the camera on, but at least my mom will like it (Hi, Mom).
Also, there was a mysterious stapled and taped package about eight inches long. It took me forever to open, but the surprise was totally worth it.

It's one of Vicki's handmade orifice hooks for my spinning wheel.
Non- spinners, that's not as dirty as it sounds (usually).

The wheel has a thin little section (the orifice) you need to thread the yarn through to actually spin it, and you need a grabby tool (the orifice hook) to pull it through. I had been using a paper clip, so I definitely needed something like this! Bonus that it's bejeweled and matches the yarn.
If you like what you see here, go hit up Vicki at her blog. Patterns are on the side bar (she has lots of other good ones too), and you'd have to bug her for the other things.
Thanks, Vicki!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

More goodies!

Carrie both won Fugly Friday and decided to help me destash. When she sent her payment for the yarn she bought, she also sent this!

It's a sock pattern based on Fawkes, the Pheonix from the Harry Potter books. How cool is that? It also really looks like a neat pattern. Now I have to find the right firey yarn for it.
I know I said I wasn't going to buy more yarn, but Stitches Midwest is next week. There's going to be shopping, so it might as well be with a proper project in mind.